I am American. White bread and white-bred. My parents are from America, and so were their parents, and my lineage can be traced back to the American revolution. I have a white name and come from an average, white, family.
In the last two weeks, in to of my classes discussed parental heritage and its effect on our culture. In my Design for Change class, a group of students presented their cultural heritage through food and talked about the blended nature of the culture. The students in Design for Change presenting the cultural heritage I didn't disagree with (as there was no conclusion or thesis of their ideas), but they talked about the cultural duality. This is a concept I hadn't realized I didn't relate to! I had assumed most English speaking, accent-free Caucasian-ish (on the tan scale), wouldn't share a more similar background. Their pride in their cultures, made me think about my cultural heritage, how I define it, and what cultural heritage I belong to.
In my hip hop class, the instructor talked about how no one is American; everyone is something American. Then saying that the only Native Americans can call themselves American (although would they? Their tribes are as diverse as European countries we distinguish between). So is there anyone that is American American? Because I feel like I am. Or more, I am not enough of one thing to call myself something other than American without being wrong. For example, I am a mix of German, English, one of the Nordic countries, and maybe Frace (based on what my mom has told me, and my features and stature). But I don't know of anyone in my family that is FROM any of those countries. I am not from anywhere more than I am from America.
Being from somewhere to me would mean that that is where your most geriatric individual in your direct line (probably a grandparent, maybe a great-grandparent), was born in the same country you were. For me, this is true, but for a lot of individuals I know, it is not. Then, they are African American, Polish American, Irish American... etc. Otherwise, your cultural heritage is American and your ethnicity is different from your cultural heritage. For example, a Korean person who was born and raised in America has the race (or ethnicity) of Asian, but the cultural heritage of Korean American. The race of the person describes their appearance and physiology (there are slight differences between race based on the conditions of where they ancestors lived), where is their cultural heritage describes the kind of food they would eat, the music they listen to, how they dress and view themselves and others. But for me, my race is Caucasian, and my heritage is American. So should I be called Caucasian American? Or, because Caucasian is the dominant race in America is that a given trait, unless you specify otherwise, such as Japanese or African American? Would a white South African person call themselves African American? Why do we sometimes specify countries (French American, Argentinian American) and other times continents (Asian American, African American)?
I don't have the answers. Right now, I am responding to what I hear around me, because I don't think I agree with something that was said, and I am exploring why.
Swing skirt Sewing Finished
So far, I have done a lot of ordering of stuff. I also made a skirt! I wanted to test a new technique, specifically for the swing dancer costume, but also for future pieces, of creating mesh piping to sew around hems that encase neopixels. Since this is a costume rather than an everyday garment, the LEDs don't need to be quite as obtrusively hidden. In the mesh, they are partially, but not entirely hidden from view.
THe other part about the real world progress is that I am trying not to sew as many of the garments by hand this time. Some costumes will be mostly hand sewn, but I am trying to find better ways to incorporate electronics into ready-made clothes.
This code is supposed to use two Microbits, communicating with radio singles, light neopixels based on their proximity. Right now, this is technically working but will require more fiddling before it is exactly what I want it to be. The signal readings that the brightness respond to are a little in consistent, and I am trying to make the whole thing more smooth.
For this one, at this point, this is just test code. I was tiring to get the compass to work, and it doesn't work all that well, to fill bars on the MicroBit based on where you are facing when turning in a circle. It didn't work, but after more fiddling, we learned that it is because the Microbit's compass readings are about 30 degrees off in random directions for no apparent reason. We (Kari and I) used an iPhone compass pointing in the same direction as the Microbit, and the Microbit was consistently off.
This is the final version of our stencil design.
We took off the sexual organs off of the people because any version of showing the undercarriage seemed to piss off some people, so fuck 'em. This is how we like it, and so it shall be. We took this and sprayed painted it on the wall (that you're legally allowed to spray paint on), and are going to put it on t-shirts frame the stencils as gifts.
After switching groups from dance group to the feminist group, because I had no faith in the project idea that the group would agree on, I started thinking about feminism and its relationship to my personal beliefs and gender equality and not I'm not sure if I should be in the feminist group either.
So first, feminism. As it is defined, and as we use the term in some circles in society, is the equality of the genders then equating equality between the sexes to feminism. I had always held the assumption that gender equality was the same as feminism, but I am starting to see that it is not. When you look up the term feminism in google, it relays back that feminism is "the advocacy of women's rights on the basis of the equality of the sexes." Feminism, by definition, does not take into account the inequality that men (and non-binary individuals) face. I would not say that men's (and other non-represented groups by the term "women") inequality is equal to that of women's, just that it exists and is different and needs addressing for all genders to be equal.
The three problems I see with feminism as both a term and a movement. The first is that the word feminism, in its tied to the feminine gender by its etymology. Women make up a substantial amount of the world's population, but they don't make up more than half. Using a word that in its make up is inherently exclusive and then expecting other genders to champion its cause is obtuse. The second is that feminism is only about women's equality, not the equality of all genders. Only focusing on the rights of women is exclusivist, limited, and unproductive. Most of the liberal society has excepted that gender is non-binary and also that your gender should not affect the way your treatment. As in, the rights you have should not be determined by the genitals you have, the genitals you want, or how you express your gender. The last, and most important are the connotation that the word has now. I don't want to be a feminist, because so many feminists that have come before me, both in this wave and previous waves of feminism do not support what I believe. First wave feminism didn't want black to get voting rights before women. Second wave feminism is notorious for man-hating, which isn't cool either, and this previous wave is so fractured and full of conflicting opinions, it shouldn't be considered one movement.
Gender equality on the other is defined as "the state in which access to rights or opportunities is unaffected by gender" which sounds pretty great to me. Gender equality is a more inclusive and welcoming term to describe the equality between all the gender, rather than brining one gender equal with another and ignoring the rest. So I don't think I am a feminist. I support women's rights, but I also support men's rights and all the other gender's rights as well: not just the rights that correspond with my gender.
So that's that.
The story I am creating here is why certain pairing won't work. This time, I focused on why hip-hop does no pair with certain things to highlight why hip pairs well with ballet. I will be creating more of these comparisons to choreograph against, and then chose the ones that are most effective at demonstrating that they're a bad pair.
Hip Hop Sketches
So I am a little conflicted here. I based the silhouette on what the guys in my hip hop class wear, rather than doing wider research. I did this because I want the representation of what people wear rather than what people wish hip-hop dancers were. The guys usually wear a t-shirt and some jogger or sweatpant. The more research I did, the more I found more pictures of people were tighter leg pants and joggers with massive crotch drops, and a hooded or crew sweatshirt with the sleeves rolled up. So I sketched both versions.
The leads with being in some fashion like the decals of popular brands for hip-hop wear, like Adidas, making horizontal or vertical lines of LEDs on the shirt, and some pant detail similar to that of the house dancer, but instead of on the calf, on the thigh.
Similar to the hip-hop one, once I mocked up the idea that I sketched, I found more ideas that I like and would be the easier way to integrate put lights. The left most is a modern ballet practice outfit, leotard with a chiffon high-low wrap skirt. Then, I was thinking about put LEDs into it; I was a little uninspired. I could zig zag stitch fairy lights into the chiffon... But I still wanted it to flow beautifully, which I worry that metal in chiffon won't be able to accomplish. SO I started to do some research on non-knit ballet wear. Thinking that the only time there was non-knit ballet wear would be before knit was a primary textile in daily wear. So I looked back into ballet practice clothing of the 30s and 40s: both because those are my favorite decades in that century and because knits were not as popular as a textile then, rather they utilized biased cut fabrics to create wrap.
Then I was conflicted again, because what I sketched when I found 30s/40s ballet wear started to look like a cheerleading uniform rather than something that could pair what I had in mind for hip hop. So then I started thinking of even more modern practice wear. Instead of thinking of modern as in modern dance, I thought of modern like what I would wear to class, or other girls would wear to class.
I like all three of these. I am also playing with the idea that this costume changes. Where the ballet dancer might start in a black leotard and pink tights and no LEDS and then as her trajectory evolves as a character, her costume can changes. Maybe she loses the pink tights, cutting them off and then dons a more expressive wrap dress.
Updates to other costumes
New to the costume cast is the house dancer (second from left) and a shorter skirt on the swing dancer, the to the left of the house dancer.
I need to say something about this or my head is going to explode.
I am in a web design class at CU, and today we were going over typographic elements. The web design teacher, who is the Lead Multimedia Instructor in the TAM program, seems to know very very little about the design side of the website. How to construct one sure, but how to make it look good? No concept. What is this?!
I am continually astonished by the lack of communication between disciplines, but never so shell-shocked by the lack of communication between one discipline that is a subset of the concept that it ignores! As in, web design is a subset of entire design umbrella, but at the very least this dude, who is in charge to teaching DESIGN to 300 kids a semester doesn't know how to design. Technically, the course title is "web," but I attributed this more to TAM's determination to have single word course titles rather than the course poorly addressing a significant part of the subject. While the coding is foundational, but if the person never takes the TAM "text" class, they might churn out pages thinking that Papyrus is an appropriate font to use as a professional.
"Worldchanging" Reading p 307-368
I didn't get a ton from this reading this week. It was long, and I feel like I zoned in and out, catching a lot of it. LIke the previous reading, I felt like I knew about a lot of the initiative and statistic the book provided. Such as the statistical data on the Nordic countries being baller at pretty much social-everything, and the OLPC, and tech gaps, and some developing world technologies. It didn't make or encourage me to think outside of the information is provided. Similar to the previous reading, this book might've been an excellent resource in 2006, but it is 2017, and this information already effectively disseminated in my communities. For someone who has never had this information, I bet it would be eyeopening and revolutionary, but for me, it just repeated what I already knew.
"I don't see color"
From the "So you say you're not a rascits" Zine.
I have often felt that the phrase "I don't see color" is insinuated in a negative way when it is frequently not intended as it is received. In a conversation, I had with Jackson (my partner), when I brought up my irritation at the seeming lack of understanding in this phrases we came up with a few situation of how it is applied and just creates something for white people to be angry at to show that they support black rights.
First, my understanding of the phrase "I don't see color" doesn't automatically disregard the path any person has had to the spot they currently stand. Instead, "I don't see color" meaning that the color of a person skin will not affect their treatment of them. Which is what equality is all about, right? Treating everyone equal, regardless of their color, religion, gender or sexuality and rather the content of them as a person or their skill as a professional. I can certainly see how this could be misconstrued, or be perceived as offensive, but people get offended when someone tells them "you look nice today," as this would indicate that they did not look nice other days. Reacting negatively to a person "not seeing color" seems like a similar reaction to being offended by someone saying you look nice.
Turning it on its head, if someone didn't see my whiteness, what would I miss? LIke would they forget that I like Christmas but don't know Jesus or get a crazy bad sunburn if I'm outside for more than 30 minutes? That's ok to me. But I don't know what it means to black people. But would be different? If anyone has any experience, let me know because I am curious, and I am wrong for a reason based on logic rather than emotion, I would like know so I can change my opinion.
Of course, people are offended by a myriad of trivialities intended as positive declarations, and I am white, so what I say will likely be discounted in this conversation, and that's ok. Also because about three people will read this blog post, but I wish we could treat each other as if we don't see color.
I was kind excited, and then that waned. Another girl said that her dance community was dance team... Which is like the cheerleading of the sports world, it counts, but not entirely. One of the girls int he group got immediately hooked on the idea of doing a flash dance, which isn't the point o this class... Its to design something, and while choreographing is designing a dance, it really shouldn't count in this way. I was hoping to do something more productive or informational, where you could provide information on common injuries, and more good stretches or something like that. I hate group projects with a vengeance.
"World Changing" pages 29–46.
Readings like this give me a few feelings, and I find them challenging to reconcile. At first, I think, this is not enough and will never be sufficient. It is entirely too hard to change so many entrenched ways of living with out a dramatic and close-to-home event (ahem Irma even if it's not proven). Next, I think that the writer is asking too much of people, or expecting that enough people have access to the recycling centers and other service mentioned, that the suggestion is almost entirely worthless. Lastly, all I can think is I know. I know I hear you, you're preaching to the choir, dude.
I wish I could make people read books. Because although this book is a little over a decade old—lol at calling this the "iPod generation"—it does provide useful information and resources for a less informed person. So much of the information in this book is a repeat of things I have learned in school, on the internet, or as a part of my research into specific industries, in particular, clothing. It seems pretentious to not think about the waste we generate! Like the girl in class that sounded like she had never considered a styrofoam takeout container effected anyone but her! I could be wrong and could be a great environmentalist in other ways, but still–take out containers in any form are so obviously such a waste, I don't understand how a person could overlook that waste before this reading.
There was one major thing I disagreed with in the text: the idea that technology hindered more than it helped. Before I had an iPod, I had STACKS of CD. Cold, hard, plastic compact disks in their protective cases, carelessly stacked on the windowsill of my room. Owning an iPod, and now between my Mac and my iPhone, I have more than I ever would have had access to. Even if I "owned" less music, because I would be buying every CD, I still think that the relative ecological foot print of the manufacturing and disposal of my iPhone and laptop vastly outweigh the content I would physical consume with out it. Between my laptop and phone, I have hundreds of books (e and audio), thousands of CDs and songs, books of sheet music, day/homework planner/calendar, flash/note cards, sketch book, and as many blank pieces of paper to write on as I want. I have often thought about doing an art project visualizing the amount of STUFF my electronics contain, and the paragraph where he says, "the iPod is probably the best example of a gadget with extremely limited functions— and earth-shattering success."
Also as a side note, please don't buy your clothes if they're labeled "renewable." All clothes are recyclable. They're either plastic or plant. Rather, buy clothes with primarily recycled content, or be a hipster and buy used.
One of that paragraphs that frames what I want to do with my life is as follows:
"At present, two types of "good" clothing are generally available: the gunny sack garments that scream "Granola" and a handful of high-fashion (and high priced) "ultra green" lines" (Abrams, 36).
This is exactly the problem I want to solve / the gap I want to fill. There is no place between Alternative Apparel and Patagucci. Nothing you can sweat in without spending nearly twice as much. That is where I want to be, providing ethically made, environmentally responsible, clothing that you can go to the gym, mountain biking, hiking, and running in.
9/11 class Discussion
Today, in class we talked about 9/11. I've been through enough tragedy in this life to feel like I've hardened to people emotions when there is no logical background to having them, so when the girl cried its class, I bristled. Everyone is entitled to their emotional responses to things. And that's that other wise I'll sound like a right asshole.
I appreciated the discussion and respectful disagreement that happened in the back left with the international affairs student and dude-who-wears-hats-inside. To see arguments about a sensitive topic, both individuals supporting their ideas with reasonable evidence and not getting defensive when their point was opposed was heartening.
I'm not sure if it was just today or if 9/11 has more of an effect that I am seeing, but it made me think about the language around death, and I got kind of pissed off, and, like a good millenial, I wrote a more extensive blog post about it here. Some individuals will certainly disagree with my positions and will likely feel offended so I wouldn't advise reading it if you can be touchy.
Per the schedule, I ordered the items that will have embedded electronics in them for the characters I have sketched so far (contemporary, blues, aerial, and swing). This list wasn't very long—I'll be using Microbits for all of these projects if I can, and will order the hardware I need to replace them if I run into things that Microbit that can't support. I also ordered a reel of 300 neonpixels for all of the wearables combined. It should be enough to cover all three of these wearable and more, but if not, they are easy to order on Amazon. Also to Support all of the projects, I ordered LiIon batteries and a few chargers from Sparkfun.
I bought steel cable for the internal structure of the trapeze, which was much more expensive than I expected, but it helps to prevent the rope from stretching and twisting that make bars uneven, which is irritating. I am still working to get the thing welded together. I bought galvanized thimbles, which Jackson informed me that wouldn't campus fab spaces wouldn't accept because welding to galvanized metal creates a hazardous gas. So we're waiting on friends who have a welding system to get back from traveling so Jackson can weld the two pieces together (you apparently just have to hold your breath while welding the galvanized).
For the contemporary costume, I ordered an oversized black button down. In the sketch, she is wearing what looks like an oversized knit cotton shirt, but the button down is still true to what a contemporary dancer would wear in practice. The button down will be easier to add the LEDs to, because there is less stretch to the fabric, which, while it is something I could do, in performance wear, I am more comfortable attaching LEDs to woven, non-stretch fabrics. Also, this way, as the button down shirt is large and loosely fitted, if my dancer changes, I won't need to modify the costume too much, the rest of the costume will be shorts, which are more dancer-specific, and will be bought once I the individual dancer.
For the male blues dancer, I got the suspenders. I will need to find a webbing I want to use, but I want to have the suspenders to better color match the strap and webbing, and decide the length measure after accounting for stretch needed. The suspenders will complete the costume with either a white, gray, or black button down shirt and jeans, which will be purchased with the dancer is solidified.
I got a lot of stuff for the swing dancer, but I didn't find exactly what I was looking for. I wanted a swing dance circle skirt with a full contrast zip back boxy crop top. I might just end up making this exactly because I am not sure if I liked the substitution solution that I came up with in its place. I got the circle skirt, which is easy, thanks to retro revival. The problem was with the top, as I said, I couldn't find the boxy top that I was trying to find. My solution was a sheer lace full zip back shirt under which there will be a stretchy high neck crop top, into which I will embed LEDs, and and then the lace over the shirt to high the electronics, but allowing the light from the LEDs through.
For the aerialist costume, I had already ordered the main body costume—which I rendered in the sketch after ordering it, so it is accurate. The one problem with this costume is that on the purchase base costume is the silver elastic bands that I wanted white. So the only thing for this costume I ordered in this round was spray paint to paint the synthetic elastic bands around the waist and the binding. I am concerned about the stretch factor, but and going to try and make a body model of my body.
THINKING / IDEAS HAPPENED
I was having a conversation with the teacher of the hip hop group I train with Larry, about partner dances in hip hop. Hip hop is often a solo form of dance, and house, being a thread under the large umbrella of hip hop, it differs in that it was made to be a partner dance in some sense. He also cited the only other instance of partner dance in hip hop, which is kid-in-play hacky-sack like tandem footwork and some acrobatics. Learning about the limited instances of partner dance in hip hop affirmed my gut reaction to pair house and swing because the way they feel in the body is similar.
Happy 9/11 everyone! Mass death makes me think about general death, which makes me reflect on our social toe-stepping around the concept of death. Cheers!
No one passes. Or well, old people why to die in their sleep pass away, they slip from being something to be not something or whatever something your religion tells you you become when you die. Your grandmother may pass away. A firefighter is killed doing his job. The way the person dies helps define the language we use to describe the act of their current non-existence in the physical world.
There is such a stigma to saying that a person just died. But that's what happened, people died before you, your parents will (hopefully) die before you, and then you will (hopefully) die before your children. Friends die, pets die, and plants die. They could be killed, by cancer, drunk drivers, or themselves—in the case of life habit-caused disease and other quicker versions of suicide.
My father killed himself when I was 7. Which sucks and everything, and when I reveal this fact about myself, people always say "I'm sorry for your loss." I think that loss is measurable. And that measure decreases over time. When he died, I lost a third of my being, me being one-third, and my mother is the other third. But every day since then, with a few exceptions, like Christmas, my dad's birthday and Fathers day, that has become less and less. The foundation of who I am as a person's foundation rests on that event. But, if this death happened a while ago, the person you are speaking to isn't the same individual that the death happened to—of course—literally, they are—but metaphorically if it affected them greatly, it would have changed the foundation of them as a person.
So what do you say? My mom and I have had a lot of conversations about this topic. We agree that saying "I'm sorry for your loss" not only does nothing but in many cases makes things worse; either by bringing up settled emotional sediment or by bringing up anger at how little the "sorry-er" understand the situation at all. "I'm sorry for your loss" also brings the conversation back to you. Someone shared something with YOU, and although it may feel like a polite way to convey your empathy, all it does it bring the conversation to surround your feelings, which, at this moment aren't the important ones. Find another way to express empathy, without announcing your feelings about this very feeling-full event in the other person life.
Instead of "I'm sorry for your loss," ask a different question. "I'm sorry for your loss" is the answer from someone who has never experienced a significant loss. When other have told me, my answer is usually "that sucks." Because it does! It sucks. It really sucks. It's awful to have someone close to you die. If it's a recent death, just bring food, or sit with them and let them talk, or not talk.
We are uncomfortable with death. No healthy human wants to die. It is programmed into us to be afraid of our death, so using terms like "passing away" and "loss" help us become comfortable with the awful idea of our death or the death of those who feel like they're a part of us. So please, please just remember death is not a passing and "I'm sorry for your loss" means nothing. Confront death and use proper language and emotional empathy in your answer to someone sharing an emotional event in a person's life.
Stay healthy (mentally & emotionally), happy, and stare in the face of death and say its name. It's not he-who-must-not-be-named. (;
Something strange happens every year, where my feeling switch from positive to negative (and vice versa) throughout the semester. Since some of these classes are not starting out well, I hope this principal will be true for the class I despise at the moment and not be true for the classes I am enjoying.
I like to think that I like math. I like the order in it: making the seeming chaos of the world into numbers that can be found and controlled. Signing up for this class, while still not something I wouldn't take if it weren't required, I was excited to take. In algebra that I had taken in middle school, I remembered really liking matrices, which is the premise of linear algebra at the elementary level. Unfortunately, I am not enjoying the class. It takes only takes a little inattention, and genericism is teaching style and a poorly designed curriculum to wet the excitement matches, damaging interest and throwing it all together in the other direction.
From the accent, which is often intelligible, to the handwriting, which is often illegible, to the weak explanation in initial instruction to not understanding the questions asked of him: I give his teaching a solid D at the moment.* He does respond to emails quickly, which I appreciate and he hasn't done anything to shame me in front of the class, which is why the performance is only a D.
Despite frequent communication errors due to English being a second language, what happens in class only loosely corresponds to what is in the required text book. I do realize that textbook choice is not the instructor, but of the course facilitator, but it does contribute to the challenge of the class existing outside of the material on which the course encompasses. At this point in the semester, the course receives a C overall.
* I completely sympathize with the difficulty of learning and especially speaking in front of a group, a language that is not a person first language. The language challenge does not mean that instructors with difficulty speaking the language spoken in the course are the best to teach the said course.
I have struggled with the language. With English, I spoke very early but read very late. It wasn't until 5th grade that I was up to grade level. I attribute this to my time homeschooling when both math and reading reduced me to a small wet puddle of tears. So instead I listen to hella audiobooks of the lives of composers, the Greek, Roman, and Egyptian myths, built pyramids and mummified chickens.
I have never understood language requirements after the age of 12. Proven time and time again that there is a dramatic reduction in the ability to form the synaptic connections that allow for language to stick. Of course, there are exceptions, and there is still some capacity to learn a language after the age of 12 meaningfully, but if it hasn't worked before college why would it work now? Or how would it make me a more rounded person?
If someone knows how why this is a requirement, please tell me. I am much better at doing something I don't want to do if there is a substantial reason: supported by scientific evidence and reasoning. I have found no basis for teaching language in college in either reason or science, but only in feelings. Feeling are nonsense, and not on what we should base our academic decisions.
DESIGN FOR CHANGE
I am excited about this class. It has the potential to be great. The one problem seems to be some of the students. There are a lot of people who wear hats inside (sorority girls with limited problem solving) individuals who don't know anything about design or had a passion for making waves. I care about this stuff, creating in a way to influence people, and I worry that these non-caring people will disrupt the flow and passion of the class through their apathy.
We've had some interesting and mildly thoughtful discussions, but they often seem stunted because of the type and volume of individuals in the class. I usually have opinions and am pretty vocal about these views, but it is hard for me to find a balance between contributing my voice to the discussion, and feeling like I am one of the only participants in the discussion.
The first project seems ironic because this is a design for change class, but the first project advocates for high volume printing of paper to communicate ideas. The project is to create "'Zine;" a printed mini information magazine with a message. For me, this is challenging to reconcile. I care about the environment, and avoid physical printed items when at all possible; all my books are audio or electronic, so are my note cards and all my class work. But how do you circulate such randomness in the electronic world? The 'zines are distributed in high traffic areas (like coffee shops or poster boards) that increase the interaction between a wider, and hopefully deeper audience: which I don't know how to do without paper waste effectively. So I still feel undecided. It seems like a .5 step forward, .25 step back. Opinions?
The other thing that gets me is the book. I've written more about the contents of the book in a post for the class, which I support in some ways and have issues with in others. But the physical book. Sure it printed on better paper. But printed?! Really? There are no e-books or audiobooks available whatsoever. Partially because I hate reading physical books and prefer the options and interface of an electronic book and partially because holy shit how much paper did that book contribute to the environment? It's a thick ass book. That's a lot of paper.
Over all, I am excited and hopeful and hope we get to spend more time in smaller groups for discussion, and I get valuable feedback to improve my performance as a designer.
I have the same comments for advanced typography. I am excited for the class overall, the projects seem interesting and through provoking, but worry that the apathy of other students will disrupt the flow of the course. Joel is a commanding force in the room more than the instructors for Design for Change, and I hope that will be enough to prevent the class from falling apart at the seams.
HIP HOP 2
Hip hop is hard. That's all. Rennie Harris, the instructor, called me out on the first day in a way that disrupted class and embarrassed me, because I made a small error, and I felt awful for the rest of class. But that is how my last hip hop class started, and I ended up liking the teacher and have continued to train with him since. So I am keeping my hopes up, practicing, and working hard in class.
WEB (web design)
I have long lamented the disconnect between programmers and designers, and web only affirms the breadth of this crevasse more than soothes my concern that coders don't know anything about design.
The skills we are learning are useful: I can code a straightforward page in HTML5 after two lab sessions and two lectures. But I did use the class site as examples in Advanced typography as high type crimes because the site looks awful.
I have learned more from the assigned videos than the instructors (the TA or the course facilitator that teaches the lecture), which is disappointing. I like to have a real person explain concepts and skills, rather than Lynda.com. I understand the limitations of classroom size and instructors, but when the course has massive wait lists semester after semester; however it would be appreciated if the classes were made smaller and teach more in the class lectures. Smaller class size and more teaching in that period would allow for questions to occur throughout the education, rather than an almost entirely self-guided course that also happens to have an in-person requirement.
In short, we are using useful skills, but I am frustrated by the lack of focus on aesthetics and usability demonstrated in the project of the course facilitator.
Transnational is great! Brain teasingly difficult to do muscle isolations in the body, but it I enjoy practicing it around the house; I try to walk around rolling my stomach, walking on the inline half point, and hip shimmying. I am disappointed that the web gets in the way of this class, but I am delighted I am a part of it.
INDEPENDENT STUDY / GRANT PROJECT
I feel like what I would guess a lion would feel like if it were in the zoo all its life suddenly got the freedom to roam in a city. I don't know what to do first! I've alway dreamed of this freedom, but now that I have it I feel choice paralyzed.
Letting ideas stew has been a great tool. I started thinking about this project about two years ago, but I got the resources to work on it in June. Then I started thinking a lot more, and every week, I feel like I am making small, but meaningful project physically (visualizing ideas, ordering and creating costumes), and making decisions about the plot of the piece, so I have a better structure on which to rely.
All in all, I am nervous, and getting myself ready for the chase. I have made a schedule for myself for the semester, which I intend to follow, but I think it might go differently than outlined. I have ordered a lot of supplies, but making for me comes in waves or periods. I bet I will get all the supplies, and then basically all the making will happen in a weekend, and then the coding in the next week.
I know people say that steady progress is the way to go, and I have been doing the steady growth. But now it is time to taper and bring the productivity to a max to produce the costumes, and once created, I have solid characters and people to write a story about.
COLLEGE CORE REQUIREMENTS
Who decides college core requirements? Why and how do they make these decisions?
When frustrated by having to take classes that seemed to have little relation to what I am interested and don't feel like they make me a more "rounded" academic. I did some surface research to see if there was a particular set of the reasoning behind the core requirements that seem pointless and unrelated to students as individuals and their field of study.
First, I do think that becoming a well-rounded person is an essential thing that not enough people care about, and I am not necessarily the person that these rules are made for. But the system doesn't seem to work for the majority of students that I interact with.
But most of the electives that I have taken to expand my knowledge in areas that I care about have not been listed under approved allectives or counted (without petitioning) towards my core or degree requirements. So how would follow the "accepted" elective and core classes had improved me when nothing on the list was whatsoever exciting to me? Also as I said in the Italian section of this post, this isn't the best time for us to learn a language, and my time would likely be better spent focusing on something I would be able to apply more directly to my life and careers.
So where do these requirements from? I still have no idea. And I still don't understand the reasoning used by the people with the power to make these decisions. If anyone has any information on this subject lmk 'cause I am bewildered and frustrated.
"It's just the way it is" isn't an answer, btw.
Thank you for listening to this all the way to the end. I respect the effort,
The idea behind this zine is that people care about stuff, sure, but they don't DO anything. Like what do you care about? What have you done about it? I feel like I see people with "be the change you want to see in the world" buttons and tee-shirts around enough... But I would guess those kids would be more likely found in their parent's basement smoking weed or Hoola hooping in a park than actually doing something.
Catholicism has found an amazing trick that has worked wonders for a significant portion of white people: guilt. A project where you ask people to identify what they care about, and then ask them what they have done to further that cause, or protect what they deem needs protecting (i.e., the environment). Hopefully, they'll realize that they have done little, and then reexamine their commitment to that value, or take action. To aid in the engagement portion, I would like to have a section where there are small steps a person can take to protect and preserve what they are about; whether that be people, the environment, animals, defeating cancers and other afflictions or politics.
I like to think that I've always been a designer. I liked art projects, but I didn't like the art part of the projects, I loved fashion dolls where you could change the clothes with scraps of fabric... But I've never felt like a real designer.
For a while, I tried to convince myself that I would be a scientist; because I liked bugs and considered people more or less squishy cars as far as plumbing systems go. I wanted to be a doctor in particular. I liked the idea of solving problems for a bigger goal; curing disease through the incredible medical means and developing better ways to rid humans of afflictions. But I got frustrated with the mindset of academic scientists and the rigidity imposed to reach an equally rigid goal. I didn't fit in with the scientists, and I didn't believe I fit with the designers either. "Designer" seemed like a term applied to the lucky few that got to solve (and also create) the problems I feel like I see in so many of the things that surround us.
So after that little preamble, why am I taking Design for Change? I am taking design for change because the scientist in me still wants to pinpoint issues and remove the disease with the methods of which I am capable. As a designer, the methods I have area visual construction of ideas in a way that can communicate an idea. Design for Change allows me to put both the scientist and designer together to express my values to the world in a way others will best receive them.
What are my values, you ask? I am particularly passionate about people respecting their bodies, environments, and each other. By respecting their bodies, I mean mostly exercising, but not too much, eating, but not too much, and making sure that said squishy and in regards to the environment, being conscious of the consequences of their actions and being ok with those results. For respecting each other, I think the decisions people make, so long as they don't unduly effect others around them, should be allowed. Such as people sexual preferences, religious practices, the fact that humans come in many different shades, and traffic rules.
Also, just because there are my values doesn't mean that I am not a human and make mistakes or have flawed judgment. I like cake. A lot. I have hurt myself mostly by reaching and missing goals (cliff jumping, trail running) in an irresponsible manner. The one thing I will not do though is cross when there is a no walking sign.
That's why I am taking Design for Change.
I got a grant to create wearables for a performance that I will create as a part of my senior project! I am excited and grateful, and below are the little bits of planning. FYI, this WHOLE section will be full of spoilers for the performance. (;
Interaction, Color & Placement Planning
In the first table of this page, I have laid out my plan for identifying dancers, the colors, the cut & sew of their clothing, and wearable placement and functionality. In the second I have laid of the pairing of the people. In the table, I explain my reason for pairing each style and describe the interaction that will happen between the two dancers.
What is not explained is the genders. I think this is important to my values, but not necessarily my message. I believe anyone should be allowed to be with whoever they want and that the power dynamic (who wears the pants) is a very big spectrum. So I have a traditional M/F dynamic for the hip hop/ballet pairing, and a F/F for house mostly because both swing and house are done by women, but not dominated by women. The contemporary/blues couple will be fairly balanced, but lead towards the female controlling the interaction. And the aerial dancer (who will be me) is female because I happen to be a female. Also because I think there is a lot of social stigma about females choosing to be alone which I believe is wrong.
[in progress] Relationship Stories and Progression
This is currently the least developed of the sections. I know where I want things to start and end, but the middle will develop as I interact and choreograph with the dancers and get to know them as people. The best way for dancers to act is naturally in my opinion. So the stories will develop and grow with the project.
Initial Costume Sketches
Left to right:
Aerialist: Traditional aerial garb, LEDs sprinkled between sequins in a mock neck long sleeve crop top and waist high briefs.
Swing dancer: Cut and sew T and full circle skirt. Keds with a wingtip pattern in LEDs, (revealing the traditional nature of swing).
Blues dancer: This sketch differs a little bit from the description I have proposed in the first table in the first photo/page. I was struggling with finding a way to incorporate LEDs into simple men's ware.
Contemporary dancer: Easy peasy. Black shorts, black top with spangled arms and shoulders.
This semester, I am taking the Aerial Dance class at CU taught by Nancy Smith of Frequent Fliers. It has been a really great and eye opening experience in terms of learning an entirely new skills and continual struggles with the responses of instructors when I questions why things are done the way they are.
I am really fascinated by the way that avant garde subsets of populations quickly become institutions that then perpetuate the same nonsense that the group originally combatted. I have especially noticed this in the maker field (the community of people who make things, especially when using prototyping electronics like Arduino), but I did not expect to find it in the dance world as well.
The original ideals of modern dance from people like Isadora Duncan, Loïe Fuller, and Ruth St. Dennis, was to make dance easier for people to access and a better means of self expression by doing away with the classical technique defined in wester ballet. These women all accomplished this and their own way and blazed a trail for the women, and later men, to follow. This became pretentious, and post modern dancers from the 60s, 70s, and 80s, sought to fight against this institutionalized dance system again... However, it seems we have again reached the top of the cycle, 100 years from the pioneers of the form, where there is more technique and structure where there should be expression.
Bringing this back to my experience at CU, I have been in many modern dance classes that seem to, in my opinion, adhere to the modernist ideals and the general spirit of modern dance (or self expression with hits of balletic technique but without the pretentiousness, and then there are some that take the more pretentious side of modern dance, exemplifying the attitude that seems to start the revolution ball rolling.
This pretentiousness creates an attitude of superiority around dance not based in classical technique that is also fascinating. I do a lot of varied activities, including Muay Thai. In the Muay Thai class I am taking at the moment there are two men that are non traditional dancers, people who have only been dancing a few years and who have never been classically trained, and they said, without prompting from me, that they recognized this attitude around the dance classes they were in; modern and somatic conditioning. The two theories that were suggested were the dancers having a Napoleon complex or the simple desire to be different.
How the Napoleon complex applies to dance is how dance has never been considered an academic pursuit. Sure, it is something you study in college, and I personally believe that it is a worth while pursuit for anyone of all ages for their mind, body, and spirit. However, it is not physics or advances mathematics, or engineering. Dance and hard science are both challenging and rewarding in their own ways, but not in the same way. The Napoleon complex comes from trying to make dance feel like an equal pursuit in the eyes of others in an academic setting. In order to accomplish this, they must create an air of elitism, which they do with attitude. The dancers of institutionalized avant garde techniques, in order to feel equal in an academic setting, act pretentious to equate the challenges of dancing with the other academically rigorous studies present at a university.
Lastly, the desire to be different. Everyone want to be different, to feel like an individual in the sea of mass production and standardization. Modern dance is a place where individuality is celebrate, too a point, rather than subverted. Nancy often says that she is going to write a blog post about how being an artist in a subversive act in todays culture, and it is—although that statement reminds me of the Napoleon complex explored above more than leading me to being sympathetic with an artist's crusade. But isn't that where many modern dancers get their pride from? From being different? From subverting the norm that the Nancy wants to write lamenting about? Being different is ok, its great even, when done for the sake of being yourself, not for the sake of simply being strange. You can be yourself anywhere you're ready to fight to be yourself. And you do have to fight. Everyone who wants to be an individual does have to fight, so it ironically, no longer makes the struggle to be unique, unique.
In conclusion... I am constantly astonished by the cycle of avant garde arts becoming institutionalized, and the attitude of superiority that surrounds the art, why that occurs, and how we can get back to just being humans who are nice to one another even if we do different things that require different skills sets.
Let me know what you think: email@example.com
Last, week I decided to sign up for something I've never done before; a 300 mile ride in the Pacific Northwest to raise money ($3000 to be exact) and awareness for climate change. What is this all about? I've always felt like I should be doing more to support the causes I believe in, and in the rude awakening of the Trump presidency, I am taking action. Check out more information on the ride here.
How can you help me make it? Please support me by donating to the campaign. It's simple, donate here. Anything helps, really. I am a college student, and I know money is always tighter than we'd like it, but a few dollars really can help the environment. Plus, if the earth is destroyed, money isn't worth anything anyway... so...
On a happier note, training for the Climate Ride means I'll be biking a lot more than I already do, which is always fun.
I have never been much of a writer - not for lack of skill, but simply lack of interest and necessity. I tend to prefer for my work to speak for itself, and then use words to fill in, the hopefully minimal, gaps. Words are a means to and end; the end being communication. In light of recent events, personal and political, I want to write; in the hopes that I will be heard. So this post is to give a little background the random internet passerby that happens to read this and thinks, "what is this girl talking about?"
As a child, I was always taught that children should be seen and not heard. This left me with the feeling that I should be seen, and not heard - which only was confirmed as a grew to be a young woman. Unfortunately that kind of clashes with my personality... I like to be heard! As a woman, I think I; my words, body, ideas, have value. Weird, right? So then there is also this intersection of who I am, and what I do. I am woman, but I am also an engineer.
As a woman in engineering, there is this fight - not just with the rigor of the academics, but with the stereotypes. The stereotypes of engineering as "socially isolated/isolating, technologically focused, non-collaborative, masculine," and that girls ability being inferior to boys, keep women from being equal to men in engineering and computer science (Cultural Stereotypes as Gatekeepers). Anywhere one group is systematically and continually underrepresented, their voices are subjected to manipulation. So, as a women in engineering combating stereotypes, I will share my voice, and my story to give a humanized perspective to men in the field so they might reflect on their actions, to other women, so they know they are not alone, and for myself, because I matter.
More generally, I also want to explore why people behave in the manor I observe; the social values that spring up around us without, to my understanding, logic. In those expressions, I want to question my own reasoning and understanding of a situation and I hope that you, dear reader, do the same to yours. The world works so much better when we all think a little bit about why we do what we do; in my ever biased opinion.
In short; I am going to use words to think out loud to you, reader, about stuff I see and experience and what I think about it.
Took a lot of iterations to get to this point but this textile can be printed completely without support structure and requires no work once it is off the printer.