DS106 Art on the couch – critique
When I first heard the poem on sound cloud it was the voice, the depth of the voice that stood out for me the most. I wondered how to do an art critique with audio art. So I went googling. I guessed that music might offer some constructs to comments.
From my explorations I get that the tempo of the voice is steady and this is what brings me in. The monophonic nature of the voice has a hypnotic effect and I also notice, on hearing again, that there is a rhythm to Melinda’s voice as she read her poem, it becomes almost a song.
Is this what people refer to as a melodic voice? When she talks about the losses in the game, one can almost tap to ‘the music’ of her voice. Repetition is used to great effect in this part of the poem to create the sense of hopelessness in playing this game.
I found it interesting to compare the written words with the performed words. ‘Look again’ says the text. ‘Look again, player.’ says Melinda’s voice. ‘Player’ added to keep the rhythm in the voice I am guessing.
The last part of the poem has a different tempo. I am not sure how to interpret that, I just noticed it. I notice the change comes when she says ‘Look again’. May be this looking again gives new information and this is shown by the change in tempo in the quality of the voice and the cadence of the words?
The voice is used to convey the emotion of the words. The contrast between the possibilities when we play a game is marked with the change in tone. As we are losing the game, the option comes up to win it. But if you think you can win it, think again. Nobody does. Can I win? Will I lose? Can I leave the game? There really is only one choice, if you play on the wire you will always lose.
It is that dangerous.
The poem starts with ‘walking the wire’ and ends with ‘playing on the wire’. A way to bring closure to it? a kind of circle that keep going in a never ending cycle of despair?
The poem has a realistic and expressive style.
Unless you have seen the TV series, ‘The wire’ and what the wire is is hidden from the composition. Yet it stands alone as a description of a kind of life style that leads to the destruction of life. Anyone ‘hanging by the wire’ is in danger. The poem brings up despair and hopelessness blended with a sarcastic ‘gotcha’ flavour – just think again, player.
And now for the informal critique: I thought it was so bloody good (as we say in the UK, Melinda) that I wished I had written it myself.
If you want to know why I am doing this and how you can join in, read this post
“Sketch a Screenshot” by Lauren Brumfield
DS106 Art on the couch – critique
The similarity between the screenshot and the sketch stands out once you put the two pieces together. Yet what drew my attention to the sketch initially were the colours and the emotion it expressed. It was not until I went to see the original from our DS106 site that I learnt it was a ‘sketch a screenshot’ assignment.
The contrast between the dark hair and the green clothes say ‘extreme’ to me. The centrality of the subject and the ‘close up’ style say ‘high drama’ to me. As I keep looking the expression of the eyes jumps out at me; the stark sketching lines speak of a ‘stark’ state of mind in the subject. The stark contrast seems to be between green, white, black. This draws attention to the centre of the piece and made me wonder what is wrong with her.
As I focus on the centre, I want to pull away from the piece. Too distressing to ‘stay’ in the artwork. Yet, there is nothing else in the sketch to focus on, the background is bare. This seems to be how tension is held – the viewer wants to pull away and yet cannot.
A very expressive piece with lots of feeling.
The background and any sense of why the distress of the subject are hiding from this composition. Leaves viewer wondering why the distress and despair. I imagine potential titles for the artwork might be: Why? Make it stop. I can’t take this no more.
Once I saw the screenshot, I could see that it has been faithfully reproduced in the sketch. I am not familiar with the series the screenshot came from. I would be interested to learn if what I ‘took’ from the sketch is in any way connected with what was going on in the episode.
if you want to know why I am doing this and how you can join in, read this post.
I have been reflecting and feeling the need for a new project to keep my #4life badge in the DS106 community. It is true that one cannot keep up the intensity of experience that comes with doing the full course for the first time. Yet, I have kept involved and creating for the last year.
One of the things I notice is that I have become lazy about narrating my work and, if I am honest, lazy about giving time to the art being created by the community. This ties in for me with my other involvement in online educational communities – how do we learn/support the type of engagement that encourages people to join into the wonder that the web can be?
And then this lands on my stream:
I follow and get inspired by The Art Assignment daily. I often adapt their assignments for our Daily Create in DS106. I have a list as long as my arm of art assignments I will try one day. I watched Sarah talk about how to critique at a time when I was struggling with some of the dark under belly of the web – it is just not okay to threaten people’s lives and harass them because I disagree with their views. I have been shocked by what I have read and have written a post to help digital storytelling students at York College to engage with these issues. None of this felt constructive enough.
And then this lands on my stream: The critique Assignment! Somebody called Joanna (update: who read this little post and reposted on the blog, thank you Joanna)set up a Tumblr to do the very thing that Sarah suggested in the Critique episode. Joanna is on fire and I have not been able to keep up with all her critiques – but what a great thing to do: To give time to fellow artists to explore their art. I read her manifesto for this project and wow! I have been following since day 1 and thinking about it. I could not make the commitment to publish as regularly as she does, but surely I could do something?
And this morning Art on the Couch was born. I firmly believe in the ‘show, don’t talk’ ethos of DS106, although I do use 10 words where one would suffice most of the time. (For those of you visiting from other web spaces: DS106 is a Digital Storytelling Course which run on the web and at various universities mainly in the US)
I was inspired by Joanna and Sarah, but I do not have their skill. What little I know about art critique I have picked up from learning to comment on DS106 blog posts. I am just a beginner artist and never in my life did I think of myself as a budding art critic – it takes a lifetime to learn to do this well. I am just a psychologist playing at being an artist and loving it.
I did what I do best. Google it.
I have a whole lot of resources to try: I have learnt about the Percy Principles of composition, found an awesome Prezzi on the process critiquing art and this incredible wiki that seems to have everything I ever needed to know about critiquing art. There are also the resources Sarah recommends and I will be publishing the transcript of her programme in the next post – it deserves study.
My commitment to my DS106 fellow travellers
I will limit what I do to DS106 art. I have created a submission form for you to submit stuff you want critiqued knowing that I am learning as I go.
I found the work of a wonderful man. His name is Marvin Bartel and he has a lot of material online to help people like my learn art critique. From his work I created a Google Form which I will use to do each critique. You can view it but not edit it.
I think if you tag any art you want critiqued this way anywhere on the web I can find it on Google eventually. Clearly easier for me if you use the submit form.
I plan to keep reading and updating resources under that tag as I go. The Google form is laborious but it take on board something I believe in strongly enough to have written a whole book about it – engagement takes time. Sarah talks about this in her episode and Joanna is mindful of this in her manifesto when she commits to spending at least 5 minutes with the art she critiques.
It is clearly possible that nobody will submit anything. I can live with that even if I shall cry daily into my coffee that my great project is bombing…So, initially I will take the Daily Create site, select random and pick one submission from that random daily create to work with. I will do the same with the assignment bank, pick a random assignment and select from it. (Update: jimgroom suggested I also use our DS106 in[Spire] website, where we submit art that inspires us from the whole of the community. I will select from there too).
In my ideal world other DS106 peeps will want to join in and write up critiques. I can repost anything tagged #artonthecouch here on Tumblr. if you use the same tag on twitter, I can find stuff elsewhere on the web. There is a rule if you do submit a critique you must fill in the google form for the piece of art you are critiquing. I am doing this to make sure we show we care for our art by spending time with it and reflecting on its meaning beyond ‘interesting’.
I am borrowing the rules for this project from Tilde Club. Awesome project but that is another story.
– No drama. What constitutes drama? There is a Mary J. Blige song called “No More Drama.” If Mary J. Blige would think it was drama, it is drama.
– This is a guilt-free project and total disaster is ALWAYS a possible outcome.
– This thing is a de-facto whitey sausagefest so everyone be actively, aggressively cool and sweet and remember that the only binary that’s real is the one that we use on our microchips.
No drama, guilt-free and no binaries. Now, that is something this shrink can get behind. You?
If this takes off in our little corner of the Internet then I can create a dedicated Tumblr for DS106 Art on The Couch.