Thursday, July 2, 2015

The Trip There is Beautiful: A "Make" for Make Cycle #2

Last summer, my husband and I took a trip through the American Southwest.  Over 17 days and 4,000 miles, we sampled some of the most beautiful, and most desolate, landscapes from El Paso to Santa Monica and back to our home here in northeast Oklahoma. There was never one destination in mind; we were on a road trip. Sure, we stopped and marveled at the snowy sand outside Alamogordo, paused to mark the end of Route 66 in Santa Monica, crossed Donner Pass in the middle of the night, found ourselves on America's loneliest road across Nevada.  But the journey itself was really what it was all about.

My make for this week was like that journey. I started out to build something, and I did...but the trip to get there was fraught with detours and notable sights.  I knew what I wanted the result to look like, but I didn't know what I wanted to say, and when I finally put it all together, I realized the process taught me something.

This week's invitation, Make Cycle #2: Re(media)te With Me, asked us to "consider how we communicate and interpret". I thought I'd take something static and turn it into video, showing the transition from the analog me to the digital me.

My planning page for this week's make.

Starting with the picture I used for my "un"troduction in Make Cycle #1, I realized the picture had already been (re)mediated.

The class picture from my kindergarten graduation many years ago had been scanned and cropped to reveal just my face. I took the resulting picture and used an online photo editing site to "Warhol"-ize it, then another to alter the exposure. So before I even started (re)mediating, I had (re)mediated.

Mind blown, I thought about how I wanted to make a video that showed a clearing focus, maybe with some television static and noise, until the final image was clear.  I used a variety of tools to try to mimic the rolling images from a TV just out of range of a decent signal (familiar from my childhood, practically unknown today).  The blog post about the cycle had some links to online video tools, and Stupeflix seemed easy to use, so I started there. The site allowed me to upload the pictures after I'd "glitched" them with the online glitch generator I'd learned about in make cycle #1.  


From the Image Glitch Experiment

I found some copyright-free television static footage and added that at the beginning and end.  Added music from the library on the website.  Watched. Rearranged, duplicated, watched. Watched.

I was happy with the video, but there weren't any words. Shouldn't there be words?

Detoured into an experiment with Sheri Edwards 6 word challenge, an experience I documented here

Found the words. The words I couldn't make work the way I wanted to in the challenge were the words that fit my make.

Went back, played with adding definitions, adjusting the timing, adding my words. Watched. Rearranged, deleted, watched. Watched.

Felt something.

I spend a lot of time telling the student actors I work with that the point of performing is to make someone feel something. Watching my video, I felt...something. The music was not the murmuring chorus of voices I'd first imagined, but it was unsettling in its own way.

I had to stop and reflect, so  I uploaded it to YouTube and shared it in the #clmooc Google+ community so I wouldn't mess around with it anymore.

And then I thought.  And what I thought was: I felt a deep sense of creative flow in making the video. I saw myself working on it the way I work on directing a play; I 'saw' something I wanted to create and then I set about creating it.  In the process, I learned from the missteps I took and got something better than I had. The images came before the words, but the images said something before I laid in the words.

Total communication.  I think of theater as total art. It brings together sound, movement, visual arts, and literature to communicate something we can't merely speak.  My make feels the same way to me.


  1. I see your slide words from the SiX word Story:
    Empower Agency
    Encourage Presence
    Enable Creativity

    so powerful!

    And you add that power to the end of the remediated remediation of your remediated kindergarten photo. The music sets the tone for mediating your thoughtful definitions mixed in with the images.

    total #reMEDIAte !

    Really: it's amazing!

    I hope you link to your post in the makebank

    One other request: could you share with everyone where you got your music! Thanks for writing blog posts of what you're thinking, your struggles, and what you learn that you didn't expect. I think that's an important learning from #clmooc

  2. I love how you walk us through your thinking. For me, this is more valuable than the video (which I liked) and more valuable than gold. Seriously, the reflective stance of the composer is where the real learning takes place.

  3. I love this, especially "the journey itself [is] really what it [is] all about." Road trips are a great analogy for so many things.