Wednesday, April 30, 2008
I LOVE LUCY! I really do!
Ever since I was a little girl watching reruns of I Love Lucy on Nick at Night, I have been captured by and down right addicted to the television series that set the tone for not only production and cinematography of television and film, but the de-polarization of traditional gender roles during its time. I chose to focus on I Love Lucy because it represents and intertwines so many aspects of visual culture.
I Love Lucy brilliantly debuted during an important moment of American history when technology moved entertainment from radio and film to an in-your-home simultaneous audio and visual stimulant called the television. American families now had a deeper connection with the stars they were watching in their living rooms every evening after dinner, and Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz used this to their utmost advantage. I Love Lucy was particularly unique due to the real life marriage between Ball and Arnaz which translated from their private life into their public, on screen scripted marriage. The actors played off the public's knowledge of their real life relationship, blurring the lines between realism and resemblance, causing an even greater effect on the viewing audience.
I have created an artistic 3D sculpture painting that illustrates three of my favorite episodes, but more importantly represents some of the major revolutionary anti-domestic ideals that I Love Lucy was famous for portraying. In each smaller hanging panel is an example of a particular moment where Lucy Ricardo is pushing her way through the traditional, unbending roles of what women in the 1950's were suppose to play. In Episode 56 entitled "Equal Rights" Lucy and Ethel demand their husbands to treat them as complete equals and as a result the men refuse to pay for their dinners later that night at a restaurant, therefore the girls end up having to wash dishes to pay for their meals. And to stay true to the situational comedy, the girls get even (as they always do) and fake getting held up in a robbery, throwing the men in jail to teach them a lesson.
Woman all over the United States recognized a little bit of themselves in Lucy Ricardo: the liberated crazy, looney, comic - a role known to only be suited for a man. Women identified with Lucy who was a lady ahead of her time, as the feminist movement did not reach it's hey day until the 1960's and 70's. Yet in 1951 I Love Lucy was revolutionizing the way society viewed gender and helped pry open the vice gripped around the polarization of men and women in the home and work place blending these worlds together.
Episode 39 is probably the most well known I Love Lucy to have aired, entitled "Job Switching". Here Lucy and Ethel speak for woman across the nation as they moan and groan over the repetitive dullness of cooking and cleaning, which was prompted by Ricky complaining about the pains of making a living in. The men of course challenge the woman to a contest to switch jobs and see who can last the longest. While the woman realize they aren’t cut out for chocolate factory work, the men have a revelation of their own when they encounter a disaster attempting to make dinner and almost burning the kitchen down. The episode resolved back into the traditional lines of domestication where Ricky went back to making the living and Lucy went back to being the housewife, setting audiences at ease who were not quite ready for such a bold social move forward.
The larger main canvas is painted using acrylic and has flowing spiral red ribbon to mimic the fabric behind the big heart during the opening title of the show. Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz are fixed in the middle of the art, as the household icons. People fell in love with the Ricardo's because they knew parts of the Ball/Arnaz family's real life was connected to what they saw on camera, and that made watching even more alluring. Lucille Ball played the first openly pregnant woman on television as she was expecting in real life. It was playing variations of their real off screen lives that lead to that intimacy and connection for the viewers. It was the everyday life inside the home of a hilarious yet fearless couple that tugged on the strings everyone's hearts. Even to this day, almost sixty years later, the show still communicates to audiences, and I am a prime example. Back then heterosexual couples looked toward the Ricardo's as their prime example of love and middle aged housewives looked toward Lucy Ricardo for what they hoped they someday could be. Now we look back with nods of approval that we might possibly not have had, had the world not been given Lucy Ricardo, the unconventional and revolutionary female model.
Although gaming isn't necessarily "new" media, it is relatively new within the past 50 or so years and continues to lend itself to newer and more advanced technologies. I took this opportunity to delve into the vast subject and educate myself. This is what i found...
A video game is a game that involves the interactivity of the player(s) through a user interface generating visual feedback on a video device. Some fun facts: Half of all Americans between 12-55 play video games, video games have been known to help children with following directions, problem solving and logic, learning computer technology, practicing fine motor and spatial skills.
First and foremost- the platform: electronic hardware in conjunction with software allowing the game to operate. Examples are: PC game is where player interacts with personal computer hooked up to a video monitor, console game is a specialized device that connects to a TV or video monitor, arcade game is designed in special cabinet enclosure for specific one game, and hand held game is self contained device that is portable. Although we cannot forget online and wireless games too!
Input devices is the controller and this ranges depending on the platform of the game.
History and Development:
The world’s first video game was invented in 1958 with “Tennis for Two” by William Higinbotham on an oscilloscope. The first commercially sold, coin operated video arcade game was “Computer Space” in 1971 by creator Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney. First home console was Magnavox Odyssey in 1972 used a standard television and game generated video signal. Next came ATARI with “Pong” in 1972 with an arcade version and a home version in 1975.Of course as the years went on newer editions of both Atari’s Pong and the Magnavox Odyssey appeared.
Released in 1976, Wonder Wizard 7702 was built using the Magnavox Odyssey circuit board and casing, but with the “Wonder Wizard” name on the top. The same year the Coleco Telstar (Coleco’s first video game) appeared and was the first system to use GI's AY-3-8500 chip, which proved to be very successful. The chip allowed 6 games to be played with more levels of difficulty and in color. Over the years, Magnavox came out with the Odysseys 300, 400, 500, 2000, 3000, & 4000. The Fairchild Channel F came out as the first programmable video game on the market with plug in cartridges containing ROM and microprocessor code rather than dedicated circuits.
Modern day video games:
Through the 70’s and 80’s Atari, Magnavox, Coleco kept releasing newer and more advanced video game systems as technology gave way. Although in 1980 Mattell entered the gaming market with Intellivision system that offered 12 games with better graphics and sounds than other competitors. In 1985 Nintendo Entertainment System was released and gave way for one of the world’s most popular video games. The next year Sega entered the console gaming market with the released of Sega Master System, followed by Sega Genesis in 1989. Now the modern gaming market is heavily controlled by Nintendo,
Sony, and Microsoft.
Gaming hey day:
Consoles are the most popular video game medium and the leader in video game platform sales. Today the video game industry is in it’s hey day and by the looks of things, it will only continue to rise. Right now the most popular games are Nintendo’s Wii, Sony’s Playstation 3, and Microsoft’s Xbox 360.
What lies ahead:
Gaming Industry is considered above average growth sector of the global entertainment industry and will continue to out weigh music and film through 1011. $633 million spent on game rentals. $6 billion spend on gaming software. 4.5 times VHS & DVD sales combined. Today the gaming industry out weighs the record industry and film industry COMBINED
By 2011 the worldwide gaming market will be worth $48.9 billion. 12.5 billion in U.S. region. Asia-Pacific region remains highest overall spending on games and will reach 18.8 billion. Gaming growth rate is second highest in Africa, Middle East, & Europe. Composers for film are now turning to composing for games. This no doubtedly will become an increasing trend for musicians taping into this stream of income.
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
This is a picture of my avatar
Friday, April 25, 2008
This is my avatar I created on SecondLife. Let me tell you I think this program is lame! It wants to be a game so bad, but it just isn't fun. Growing up with the development of games I know what is capable for online games. And this is so badly executed that it hurts my brain the play it. Now I know it's not supposed to be a game, but, come on, it looks like a game, has many of the same controls of a game, it just has no purpose/story/achievement/fun that are associated with any decent game. The connection to the server of SecondLife is awful (i.e. it LAGS). The graphics are terrible, if this was around 10 years ago it might be an accomplishment, but it's not, so it sucks. I found it so confusing to figure out where to go and what to do, not intuitive at all.
Secondlife does nothing new and exciting. It's just a big, over-glorified chat room. Games like World of Warcraft, EverQuest, and any other Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (MMORPG) have been doing this for years, but with a game attached to the "chat room" making it enjoyable for the "video game generation".
I could only tolerate SL for about half an hour so some might say I never gave it a chance. But to them I say a "game" is like an album in that it must captivate the audience within the first couple of minutes or it has lost them. And SL just lost me.
SecondLife might be cool for someone who has never seen or played a MMORPG (or any online game for that matter), but for the millions who have, it's a mediocre attempt at entertainment and networking which is headed in the direction of the Sega Dreamcast (i.e. DEAD) unless they make some major changes.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
At our last visit to the MFA my partner and I looked at this giant sarcophagus lid in the Egyptian Funerary exhibit. The idea and purpose of this piece is obviously to protect and honor the deceased person inside the coffin. It is composed on rock, more specifically, basalt. The sculpture is very iconic, not individual or realistic in the least. The structure is interesting, but not unique in the Egyptian idiom. Showing only the head on top of a body shaped stone covered in hieroglyphics that give us some kind of message from the deceased. The sculpture was done by very skilled workers that were "hired" to create such a magnificent piece. The surface is awe inspiring, it's sheer size and quality of craftsmanship makes the viewer feel almost insignificant next to it. This piece is connected to many other ancient works that deal with death and honoring the dead. It is an elaborate tombstone.
I just found it incredible and it was cool to be able to look behind the piece (up against a wall) and see how it would have fit in the bottom half of the tomb. Being able to see that made it feel more real, unlike the paintings and "stuff" kept behind glass at the museum. It felt more real, and the viewer has a closer connection with this type of sculpture.
Thursday, April 17, 2008
For my New Media presentation I chose to speak about the iPhone. This new wireless device has seemed to captivate audiences all over the world & is becoming the "must have of 2008," named the invention of the year by Time Magazine. For the first time you literally have the internet in your pocket. With the touch of your finger you can surf the web…check your e-mail…manage your contacts…listen to music…have visual voicemail…take pictures…record videos & much much more.
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
Some of my favorite internet videos from various sites:
Jake and Derek's Road Trip 2: The Lost Footage (from YouTube)
Nick Swardson video making fun of druggies (from Super Deluxe)
Lasse Gjertsen edits video into music (from Dailymotion)
Jake and Amir - "Lyrics" (from Vimeo)
Most of the time these videos are filmed from built in computer cameras, or web cams mounted on the computer’s display. The “artist” in the video then introduces himself or herself, and begins singing to a karaoke track they have stored on their computer. Most of the time these singers are just starring blankly into their computer screens at their own image being filmed by the camera. They evoke emotion as if the song was their own, and as if they were performing for a live audience. However, much too often these home videos are of poor talent quality and potential, and to the artist’s surprise, the video actually becomes a worldwide form of comedic entertainment viewed by thousands made possible by the amazing YouTube.
Voyeurism is an old habit that has gained a considerable amount of popularity in recent years because of technology. Google Earth, an online map of the world, is quickly becoming an amazing resource for people around the globe. The concept of satellite images is nothing new, but making it available to the public is worth talking about.
Google Earth is a program for both Mac and PC that allows the user to “search” the globe. It’s possible to type in an address to see an aerial view of the location, zooming capabilities for close up shots or far away views to find directions, and a way to spend hours looking around. The feature that makes Google Earth an impressive program is its 3D capabilities. The view isn’t this flat image, but a 3D view of the world. Looking straight down into the Grand Canyon is an amazing sight, and looking straight down at people on the street is both fun and a tad bit creepy.
The peak of this program has yet to happen in my opinion. People are just beginning to take advantage of this amazing piece of software. Giant ads are being placed in desolate areas of the earth to promote various endeavors. The Simpson movie had crop circles of Homer and Maxim had a football field sized ad in the middle of the Nevada desert.
The future of this program is causing a lot of talk about National Security. The idea of being able to look down on the world is something exciting, but it may also be considered an invasion of privacy. Right now it’s only images, but in the future it’s very possible that we will be able to see the globe in video. It would be absolutely mind blowing to punch in coordinates and see live video of the earth, but is it appropriate? It’s an exciting thing to think about, but at some point we need to consider what is a useful piece of technology and what is necessary.
Monday, April 7, 2008
No longer the realm of computer nerds and high budget film studios, high definition video has come to the masses. Advances in technology and mass production have lowered the price of HD capturing and viewing devices so much that the common consumer can be involved in this visual medium.
In fact, this past weekend I was involved in such an experience. The 48 Hour Film Festival came to Boston and I was on a team set to produce a short film in only 48 hours. We had the option to film in standard definition (480) for free, but opted for the HD camera (1080p) instead, investing some money for the upgrade. This was quite an experience, and the video looked crisp and clear, even while filming at night in the rain. Hopefully I will be able to show a clip of the film (in a compressed form however) during my presentation on this subject.
The image above is an example comparing HD to SD (Standard Definition) video. Its a frame from the movie, Terminator 2 : Judgement Day. The frame on the top is clearly the HD one, its crisp, undistorted image had much more detail than the SD frame below it. The color is more vibrant in the SD image, but not as realistic. The SD frame is stretched to fit into an aspect ratio foreign to the standard NTSC format. (I'm not sure what resolution the HD frame is in as the caption for the image was unclear)
The future of High Definition Television is looking bright, but who knows where it will take us. Maybe 3D is the next big leap?