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Week 3 Reflection

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This week in DS106 was what I would call a great week! I had fun with every single assignment, and I think I completed all of them pretty well. Again I would have liked to have participated with other students more, I posted comments on other blogs, however no one commented back on my blog (which makes me cry). For some reasons my posts aren’t allowing people to comment by default anymore (even though it is still enabled in the settings), so I had to start adding the comment box manually on each post which was a big pain.

Not too many things gave me trouble this week. I have already had tons of experience with Audacity, as I have used to it create sound effects before. Although I really did enjoy working with it, I think my favorite assignment this week was creating a “death poem”. I can’t really articulate why I enjoyed it so much, but I really did. I think it was kind of my chance to redeem my lackluster poem skills from high school english. I always hated writing poems, but I was finally able to show that poem who’s boss (me).

I learned a ton of things, not technical things, but theory about using sound effectively. I very much enjoyed watching the videos from Ira and Jad, and I feel like a learned a lot from them. When listening to the radio story, I could tell I was able to pickup on many of the techniques that they discussed in their talks, and that was really awesome, because I think being able to break a good piece of work down into its components is the first step into being able to actually being able to put together a whole bunch of things into a good piece of art, and in this way I think that was the most important thing I learned this week. Its kind of like when you are learning how to prove things mathematically, you end up seeing a lot of the same tricks, and you probably wouldn’t have thought to use any of those tricks yourself, but now they are all in your “bag of tricks” for you to use at will, and now you can create something truly awesome!

Again like last week I would certainly start earlier, however I felt as if the workload was a lot lighter this week. I still want to be more on top of all of the assignments. Tonight I plan on sitting down and submitting one of my assignment ideas (something I wanted to do, earlier this week). As far as question, I really don’t have any. I think I got everything out of it that I was supposed to, which is a really good feeling!

This week I (attempted to) depart from my normal math themed work, I wanted to try to do something a little new! Most of my work kind of turned into me pointing at things I thought were silly, and then laughing at them. So I guess in that respect the whole basis for my work was kind of cynical, which I don’t think really is a bad thing, cause we do need cynics.

As far a social implications, I would want my work to say something along the lines “don’t be an idiot, please“.

1. My Ira Glass/Jad Abumrad reflection. I really learned a lot from listening to their advice. The key points I took away from the whole thing was that, adding ambient noise can really set the mood. From Ira, when talking on the radio there is no need to try to imitate the stereotypical radio voice, because there are already tons of those guys, and you would just end up sounding like a knock off. In this way I took his advice as you need to brand yourself in some way, you must set yourself apart, and that it is important to talk naturally. His advice about how you have to fight your good taste to keep up working hard until you can meet your own standards was also very awesome.

From Jad I found the idea of leading the listener through the story, instead of just lecturing the idea to them, to be the most compelling part. It really sets the medium apart, you can force the listener to create a mental image in their brain (“do not think of a pink elephant”). Which to me seems so very powerful. From there, I based all of my audio assignments on this few key ideas.
2. Pig bung is yum? ~ My reflection on the radio story. I very much enjoyed listening to the story while trying to dissect the piece into it’s various components. I found the whole process very enlightening. From there I took what I had learned and applied them to the audio assignments I had to actually create myself.
3. My audio assignments, eins und zwei.

The first audio assignment I created was me having a conversation with god. The story behind the story is there is a guy who knew that this day would come, and he couldn’t believe it. I purposely, made the sound of god’s voice somewhat demonic to create kind of a juxtaposition, and to make the listener uncomfortable. There was no resolution in this piece, and I meant for this to happen, the viewers anticipation should build through the piece, and then at the end, they should still be asking why. In this way I sort of intentionally broke some of the rules laid out by Ira, however I still feel as if it works in this context.

For the second story I was kind of poking fun at the idea that the only reason some people would be interested in the idea of climate change is because more people are being attacked by sharks. In my mind this was just such a trivial reason. There are 10000% more important reasons to be interested in climate change, but this guy chose to try and persuade people to care about from the point of view that there are two many shark attacks nowadays. When creating this piece I wanted to focus on making it sound like people were actually having a conversation. It was challenging, getting the timing correct, however I really think that I pulled it off well.
4. Daily creates: eins, zwei, drei, und vier.

For the first daily create I had to blend the a drawing on a piece of paper with a drawing on my hand. I found the idea very intriguing, however my execution was poor in my opinion. The whole concept was, when I get ink on my hands I wished it looked good, instead of just looking like huge spots. I liked the idea of the dichotomy between having ink on the page, and ink on the hand, and from there I played off of that. I just wish I was able to draw better, I think if I had a better drawing on my hand the whole piece would have turned out much better.

For the second daily create I was to use the simple primitive objects of drawing to create something, I decided to try and capture the human face, because that is something nontrivial. Through the construction I had the idea that “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts” in my head. And in that way I kind of approached the face from an abstract point of view, I wanted you to be able to see the shapes flying off the face, as if they were being deconstructed back into the building blocks. In my opinion I thought the whole thing turned out very cool

For my third daily create I had to construct a poem from the perspective of someone who knew they were going to die. However almost everyone knows they are going to die, so I tried to write my poem from the perspective from the entirety of the whole human race. I think out of all of my assignments for this week I am most proud of this one. There is just something very compelling about it in my mind.

For my final daily create this week I had to take a phrase that meant to be drunk from Ben Franklin’s dictionary of drunk synonyms and illustrate it. I decided on the phrase Haunted with Evil Spirits, because I really liked the imagery, and the connection spirit has to the word alcohol. The image of the piece I had in my head was way cooler than how it actually turned out, and again I chalk this up to me not being able to draw very well unfortunately.

5. Comment Feed Back:
My first comment – This student stated there were more primitives, and I tried to start a discussion, about what other primitives were there, but they didn’t reply, instead someone else added that they also drew a house. I didn’t feel as if this thread was very constructive at all :(

My second comment. I don’t think I learned much from the actual interactions that occurred with the other DS106 students, however I did learn quite a lot from “lurking” on their posts. One of my favorite things to do was after I finished an assignment I would go around and look to see how the other students completed it. The most interesting thing to see was everyone’s different interpretations of the same assignments, and quite a few times I found myself thinking “damn…. I wish I thought of that myself”. In this way I think I have grown as a ds106er more than I thought possible, because just like with mathematics, art can’t exist in a vacuum. You need feedback, and more importantly you need inspiration, and alone you can only ascertain inspiration up to a point, and then you need to rely on the community (at least that’s how I feel). My goal for text week is to make sure I tweet every assignment I create, I have a bad habit of not twitting them as often as I should, and I think that is the real reason I don’t get too much feed back from the other students! So next week I am going to fix that 100%!


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