This project was surprisingly less stressful than I imagined it being. My group was knowledgeable in a variety of subjects that made bringing our vision to life relatively easy. Keira brought forward the idea for the source material. We were all on board for doing a fairy tale but she was the one who brought up Little Ida’s Flowers. From there we just had to build a narrative around it. Everyday Ida wakes to her flowers drooping and dead, one night she stays up to see what happens to them at night and witnesses them going to a flower ball. We decided to recreate that flower ball. Keira made the music, I choreographed, Emily brought props and kept us on track, and Anais created our background images. The music was not rhythmic on purpose, we weren’t actually reenacting a ball but the memory of one. When I was choreographing this I wanted it to mostly be accessible to Emily and Keira who didn’t have as much dance experience as me but I also wanted us to have some form of interaction with each other. So the repetition of movement was a tactic to make it as clean as possible in the short time we were given but also acted as a reflection of the funny way we remember things. If Ida had seen her flowers dancing the night away, the chances of her remember the entirety of it in her adulthood would be quite odd. I often find I can never remember the entire story when I’m reflecting on my childhood. And just like memories, the dance gets cut when we are reminded of something else for a moment, but then it goes back to that dance. The dance wasn’t traditional ballet, it leaned heavily into contemporary which I think was what was best for the peace, anything more modern or more strict would’ve carried an alternative meaning. Emily did a great job with props and with keeping us all on track, storyboarding and ensuring we all knew what was going on. And Anais did a fantastic job with the video, finding the perfect imagery for what we were trying to convey. I’m very happy with how the project turned out. The only thing I would’ve changed would be the costume budget, flowing, bell-shaped dressed would’ve made it just that much better. Though I think the homemade feel lent itself to the fact that we were reenacting a child’s memory which likely included dress up. It was a perfect finish to my year here, and I hope my classmates nothing but bright futures here at Emily carr.
I’m going to be honest I had a hard time knowing how our performance went as I had my eyes closed on the floor for nearly the whole thing, though audience the reaction would suggest that it went a least pretty well. The thing I was concentrating on was trying not to let too many fake teeth fall out of pocket.
Overall though I do genuinely believe our group did well over the course of the project. Communication was comfortable and frequent from the beginning which enabled us to intertwine our ideas very easily.
It’s been explained before but the concept of our performance centred around nightmares and an unsettling moment in which a person questions how much of those experiences are contained the dreams. That’s my particular take on it anyway.
It was really interesting for me to see the dreams the others arranged for me. And was incredibly fun interacting with those scenarios rather blindly.
My part came in performance but also in the video editing and sound. I started with the video, chopping up what we had filmed and putting it together in a way that felt coherent and flowed from one pace to another without taking the viewer out of the experience. I then made the sound to accompany the timing of the video which was a challenge in and of itself. I had to adjust some of the cuts slightly afterwards so that the interaction with sound was dead on. Finally, I editing the colours of the video to help set the mood.
I’m quite happy with what we pulled of in this project and am proud of my group.
Performance projects were something i’d barely even heard of before we were assigned this project. I don’t think my other group members knew much about that type of thing either cause we all had to figure it out together. Having said that, it allowed us to divide things out evenly and learn together as we went through the process which was valuable. When i first saw the project handout i was actually quite upset, as in the past doing any form of presentation had made me extremely worried and it was something i grew to dread and genuinely fear. This, to my surprise, was an extremely interesting and pleasant experience and i’m happy with what i managed to do and talk about on the stage in front of so many people.
I’ve always enjoyed writing in genres such as surrealism and magic realism, so creating the storyline and atmosphere around our piece was something i got excited about.
Nima was sick on the day we needed to plan the project out, so we did it in a way where he would be using what me, Ilyssia, and Akelia came up with and wrote out. We each wrote a dream cliche out and then got Nima to act in them. From there he added the audio and put it all together. We wanted a passive scene for the filming to accommodate the diversity of our dreams without jeopardizing any of them, so we ended up settling on using a study room in the library.
A really cool part of this, for me, was experiencing mine, Ilyssia, and Akelia’s footage with the sound that we trusted Nima would find and add on. I don’t know what i was expecting, but i was pleasantly shocked as to how much it added to the acting.
We wanted Nima to get up and experience elements of his dreams to establish the fact that it was not simply a dream, but that there is something askew in the universe he (and the audience) are living in, as opposed to the weird dream being the extent of our narrative.
From the feedback we were given, i believe we were successful in conveying emotion and strangeness to the audience.
The experience of doing this piece was unlike any other. None of us in our group really liked performance art; had never really seen or indulged in it, and certainly could not name any performance artist. I think now looking back on it we all realise how challenging it is to craft a piece with mostly visuals and actions and also how hard it is to communicate to the audience exactly how exactly you’d like them to feel in the space you’ve created.
In our project, we explored the idea of dreams; how many of us dream of the same things, dream clichés, and how what we visualise unconsciously can affect us when we’re awake. We settled on the exploration of nightmares and the emotions associated. With limited resources, we imagined how we could reflect all the relevant emotions (fear, anxiety, invasiveness, confusion e.t.c.)
Three sequences were crafted in this response. Nima was sick the day we were first brainstorming so he agreed to be our reactionary element. We crafted three scenarios people often have nightmares about: teeth falling out, running with no escape, and being trapped in a foreign, uncomfortable space.
The scenario of teeth falling out was mine and as I can’t speak for the other’s creative process, I’ll just discuss that one. My teeth falling out was a very commonly occurring nightmare for me, it was the way, according to google, my body communicated it was stressed (I think it’s pretty messed up and counterintuitive for the body to stress itself more in their sleep with that imagery but to each his own). Apparently, according to the rest of my google search, I wasn’t alone. Teeth falling out was the number one rated commonly occurring nightmare. The question now was how to invoke those same feelings to an audience when it wasn’t happening to them.
I decided on making the other elements relatable and transferable. Shooting against a plain blank wall that could be associated with any place in the audience’s imagination, eating frosted flakes; everyone’s favourite cereal. The sequence starts off with nima changing out of his pj’s and sitting down to eat breakfast. He then realises he can feel something extra between his frosted flakes and spits it out to reveal his teeth coming out in the mix. This action repeats itself as the camera draws you in closer and closer each time; you’re forced to view him up close and personal. There’s nothing more anxiety-inducing than having to see someone’s face and a living nightmare than when you’re right in front of them and you can’t help. (you can’t escape either)
I was excited and nervous when I knew that our final assignment for this semester was performance art. I never had a chance to make performance art, though I heard about it a long time ago and saw many excellent works. I got very nervous because this is a group project, and it was my first group project in Emily Carr. Although group project lets me make new friends, I am still worried about the communication between me and other team members since my first language is not English. I ended up making a group with Carina, Lindsay, and Desiderio. I was not as stressful because I’ve known Carina for a while. We have three weeks to work on this performance art work. In the first week we discussed the topic of our homework. Although there were still some communication difficulties, I tried my best with my non-fluent English to deliver my views and ideas. My team member’s patience on trying to understand what I was saying actually gave me a lot of confidence, and I very much appreciate that. Our most-interested topic at the beginning was nature. We thought about a lot of things that would happen in nature, such as how plants and animals live in nature, or how the plants differ during the day and night. Day and night gave me an idea about the difference of the shadows of organisms on earth. After I told my team about this idea, they seem to be very much interested in this topic. As we were thinking about what to do next, Desiderio suddenly proposed that we can conduct an interview with the shadow, in which the shadow represents the thoughts of the international students and local students studying at Emily Carr and their psychological activity of studying at this school. I like this theme very much because I think it is very realistic and easy to relate to my life. I know some people have bad impressions on international students I hope that this performance art can break down the prejudice against international students and allow the audience to understand more about international students.
In the setting of our performance, shadows are not allowed to speak, therefore we can only express our emotions through motions and noises. We give up using background music and videos in this work so that the audience can focus more on the emotional changes of the shadows. There are two roles in our performance, which are host and shadow. I am playing the shadow, which means that I need to make a black robe and a black mask by myself. Unfortunately, I found that the sewing machine at my house was broken when I started making my robes, which forced me to make it through needlework. Although it cost me extra time and work, I still managed to finish it on time.
Today is the release day of our work. We are the last group to perform, which makes me extremely nervous while watching other groups perform. I was a little bit worried when I saw all the other groups had perfect background music and videos, but I knew that we made the right choice. We believed in ourselves, and our performance was not bad at all. This group project was a great experience. I met some new friends at Emily Carr, and I became more confident at the same time.
I worked with Taylor, Jade, and Wilson for our final project. We wanted our video to have a constructive narrative that had a proper storyline, but enough space to play around with. Going in reverse order of the lifecycle, the video progressed from death to birth/conception. Supplementing the video, as the performance segment of our project, we decided to each write a poem on one of the stages of life. My responsibility for this project was to work on the childhood and adulthood portion of the video with Jade and write a poem on adulthood. I also edited the video in Final Cut Pro, compiling everyone’s segments, producing clips for the poetic interludes, and adding music and other audio clips.
In terms of editing, I was aiming to have everyone’s portion to have their own individuality, while also maintaining a feeling of unity, connecting the sections enough to feel like a complete, wholistic video. I also wanted to play around with the filters and editing to give a disconcerting, yet also pleasing atmosphere. It was important to me that I evoke the proper emotions, working the visuals, music and other sounds to portray such feelings. I think everyone did a wonderful job highlighting the sentiments that coincide with their part. This made my job considerably less challenging. My poem on adulthood felt quite bleak and depressing. I see that more so now than when I first wrote it. I think the stress of finishing the video and studying for the final was getting to me. I wanted to focus on the misconceptions I had about adults as a child. They seemed so knowledgeable and confident, and I perceived them to have so much wisdom. As I grew older, I realized how false these notions were, and that we ultimately never grow up. I see us imagining these ideal end goals that aren’t really a place to be reached. I don’t feel as though I’ve lived enough to write a poem on adulthood. I’ve hardly dipped my toes in the water. I still feel like that kid who can’t keep up with grown-up conversations about taxes and politics due to my lack of context or vocabulary to comprehend such convoluted topics. I also still feel really lost, but I suppose those feelings won’t be going away any time soon.
In hindsight, I wish I had thought over and fleshed out my poem a little more. I think it only focuses on the disheartening facet of adulthood, and there were more positive aspects that I failed to acknowledge. Furthermore, I’m not sure if our project completely encompassed the spirit of dada. I find that movement to feel a little more dissonant and chaotic, and I didn’t feel that as much in our project. Considering our timeframe, however, I think we did quite an excellent job overall.
This project was a great experience for me. I’m usually hesitant to work in groups as I have had my fair share of terrible encounters in group projects, but I am pleased with the outcome and think we all worked wonderfully as a team. I was impressed by everyone’s artistry in their videos and poems. The 2D and 3D animations had so much character and were so wonderfully executed, and the childhood/adulthood videos had a distinctly homey and nostalgic quality that resonated so much with childhood memories. I felt everyone’s personality in their poems. I enjoyed how distinct each of ours was. Moreover, I think we had really good chemistry. We communicated efficiently as a team, and everyone was cooperative and had an optimistic attitude. This was one of the most enjoyable group projects I have encountered. I am so pleased with the outcome. It was a great way to end the semester!
Prior to this project, I had little or no knowledge of performance art. So I spent a lot of time arranging what is performance art, and also learned about the needs of a performance art work through the materials and videos given by the teacher. The artist’s body is mainly used as the medium, and the artist’s behavior is used as an artistic expression. When I discussed with the group members, we also had planned changes, or we chose to reconsider our ideas, but fortunately we did not spend too much time on them. I am very happy and thank my team members because although there are language differences between me and them, we ca n’t communicate smoothly, so in the process they need to take time to explain to me patiently, very considering And also take care of my deficiency. And I feel guilty for my shortcomings and hope that I can improve in the future. Although language problems prevented some things from being completed smoothly, we all have a tacit understanding of what we need to accomplish and help each other make masks and black clothes. However, I still feel that I have not done my best to do what I should do. For example, on the blog, I did not actively show what I completed, and I did not actively communicate my thoughts with the team members, just waiting. And finish the work given to me by the team members.
Today is the due day of the performance project. We carefully planned, thought and produced the work for 3 weeks. When performing, I was nervous because our performance was without music and video, and the focus was on the body movements and language of the four of us. In fact, our three shadows actually represent the depressed and helpless side of the students in the school, the dark side, which cannot be easily found. And “shadow” does not necessarily refer to a specific person. It can be the negative side of anyone. It is not a shadow we think. As a “shadow”, there is no way to use language to express one’s emotions, so it can only be expressed through sounds and physical movements. This is also the most difficult part to complete, which is a challenge for me.
The first one is an individual from whom i purchased art at the student art sale that happened at the beginning of the month. Her name is Jasmine, and I discovered her social media from the little business card she attached to the sticker pack I bought (which lives on my iPad now).
The second one is an artist named Lana who goes by Lanajay_art (makes sense, no?). I love the colours she uses in her illustrations, and how they always look warm regardless of the colour palate she has chosen.
(My memory isn’t the best so some of these might be muddled!)
When I heard the word “group,” I knew I was going to be in a conundrum. And then we were given the handout… Performance Arts? Really? I thought with anxious exasperation. Prior to watching the videos on Moodle and much like Installation Art, I had limited knowledge and basic assumptions about Performance Art. I thought it would be like acting; however, the videos showed me that theatre and PA (I’m gonna abbreviate it) were extremely different. PA is like… surreal and has to do with connotation, whereas theatre is somewhat of an antithesis because it’s following direction and has structure and is straightforward. PA does contain elements of theatre (it needs an idea to follow, scripts, props etc.), but the artist themselves becomes a crucial component to express those hidden meanings; their body is art.
The process of deconstructing the class and reconstructing into groups irks me. Although it hasn’t happened in a long time, it feels like the universe is still reminding me of my insignificance to the whole. But this time it was (a little) different. Drawing those little strips of peculiar coincidence (if I remember, how did most us get the person beside us???), I became partnered with Adrienne. Breathing a quiet sigh of relief, I recalled that she was the only one I had been mostly acquainted with since the start of our installation project, so there was some familiarity between us. And then we had to join two others and there was this kerfuffle which made my anxiety worsen. And of course, it just had to be process of elimination. I saw that we had been partnered with Carina and Savanna (I actually didn’t know their names!!! I knew one of them did their installation based on one of my favourite movie OST, but that was it). I was apprehensive. I wanted to leave. As we discussed and planned in the library, I felt like “hey, we can actually do this!” But those ideas didn’t last long. We wanted something to do with plants and flowers… about the lotus… something that revolved around one lotus that bloomed in the night and one that bloomed during the day and they wanted to meet and… yea it sounds cliché. And then we talked about mushrooms and war? I felt really lost and questioned again why we were doing this. I didn’t want to! I can’t talk. I can’t act. I can’t. Can’t can’t can’t. I can’t do this. We went to the caf and they ate. I didn’t feel like eating. I didn’t want to. We called it a day.
Luckily, we exchanged our contact information. It was my first time doing that with peers for a project… I felt weird. I never sent anything. And then it’s the second Monday and we were back in the library. I was starting to feel those giving up feels. It’s been a week and we didn’t really talk. And then the concept for “shadows” was introduced. I felt this collective pang of interest. Ooh, what can we do? Shadows… they talked, I listened and nodded. I was the protagonist, and they were my shadows. Art school problems like the plague. They were going to copy me, imitate me. (I’m a bad role model please don’t!!) I thought this was really cool. I offered one thing: “maybe at some point I can get a sketchbook and pretend I’m drawing and then I start to rip the pages out of frustration?” I felt happy I got to provide input (a check on my social interaction to-do list). And then the plan changed again. I didn’t like how we weren’t very cohesive. We lacked communication. Sure, it was understandable considering Carina and Savanna’s situation being international students, but I felt like there was this trepidation between all of us. In my “lone wolf” phase, I liked to talk (I realize now maybe boast) about being “independent.” I thought that independence meant being alone but in truth, it meant being able to do things yourself. I couldn’t do that. I needed people to show me what to do (what a weakling). Because of this uncertainty, I did message them on a group chat we made on Instagram to clarify things. It was a new plan.
The third Monday was like a full sleeping cat. We finalized our concept. Gone were my shadows; instead, I became one. Adrienne was going to be the host interviewing us. We discussed the personal problems we had with life and art school. I didn’t like sharing my issues because it felt wrong to tell people them. I didn’t want them to pity me with my own depressive thoughts so I gave the basic ones like family financial stuff. I’m glad Adrienne caught on to my saltiness about the fan art (honestly, I know that it’s wrong but hahaha whatever!). I can make original things, but my style is inconsistently frustratingly versatile (cartoons, serious stuff, realism… I guess). The only thing that was left for us to do was think about our reactions. I wanted to cry (both at the moment and for the performance haha). I can’t express myself in a way that I want to. I feel like I can’t allow myself to feel compassion (or is it that I’ve forgotten?). We went up to the caf again and I didn’t want to eat. My stomach churned with anxiety. I thought of what we were going to do… it sounded more like a skit I’d make in high school. I was worried we weren’t going to make the ten minutes… that our idea was weird. I was also concerned about how to make the cloak. They were eating and it smelled really good in the caf. My stomach scolded me with persistent growls. I didn’t want to eat.
The next few days were filled with procrastination on my part. I did’t want to think about sewing. I was too scared. And then Friday came and I thought “crap I gotta do it.” So there I was, looking at hand sewing tutorials on YouTube while feeling a sense of impending doom. I berated myself for doing this now. Blaming my anxiety became an excuse. But surprisingly, I was enjoying sewing. I tend to learn techniques easily if I like them and sewing was an exception (albeit it wasn’t the cleanest and I was getting impatient). I learned how to do the running, back, and blanket stitches and practiced them on old socks. I was stalling myself (from what?). I finally cut out the pieces I needed for my cloak from the fabric that Carina and Savanna bought. It was going to be different from Carina and Savanna’s cloaks because it was more like a cape with a hood. I wanted a simple design. My mum offered to take me to the seniors village she worked at so I can use one of the ladies’ machines to accelerate the stitching process but unfortunately, no one was available so I had to go on Sunday. I was relieved I didn’t have to talk. And then I remembered we would be presenting in a few days… oh f-
I worked on a mini cloak on the bus and finished it in church. I stitched the hood.
On Sunday, I went back to the seniors village. (Explained in a previous post). It was thrilling to use a machine again; my dormant muscle memories felt galvanized with the familiar hand positions and body posture. The way the fabric looked on the machine and how it sounded as it passed under the needle and presser foot were nostalgic. I could feel my brain becoming overwhelmed as it started projecting rapid images of the time I spent in Textiles 8… I felt sad. Why didn’t I do this earlier? Now I’ve got a big hood (at least it can cover my face!) and we were performing on Tuesday.
On the Monday before the big show, our group met and explained what we had done. We sat in the caf again for a long time. I bought a granola bar and Snickers. I was bothered by the Skytrain strike because I didn’t want Carina and Savanna to be brought down by my incompetence. I was bothered that our performance was possibly lacking in things and that it wasn’t going to be ten minutes. I went home feeling dreadful and drew things until I felt sleepy.
I think I forgot to turn the lights off? (Oops).
I arrived early (maybe ten something). There was no one else at the Reliance Theatre yet (maybe some people inside I dunno). I thought about my new third question I conceived in the morning:
Speaking of family and burdens, how do you feel about being the eldest child? To be the one viewed as “the most responsible, the smartest?” You’re tasked with having to constantly improve your drawing skills, right? And where did that leave you? In your pursuit of amelioration, you’ve isolated yourself. Why are you unable to consider anyone a friend and view them as only “acquaintances?” Huh? Oh, you don’t call them that anymore? Really?
Uh huh, I see. You don’t even know what to think of people anymore? Haha that’s great! Weren’t those 4 solitary years kind to you? They’ve certainly helped you become better at drawing, won’t you say? All draw, no talk. You know, having all that time to practice and practice and practice and practice… Haha I knew it! Exactly! I can really see it. This whole persona of yours: the lone wolf. It’s been years since you’ve called yourself that right? Hahaha! Oh you also don’t call yourself that anymore? Embarrassing? Oh hahaha! You know, sometimes I wonder if you’re really you, you know? Do you wallow silently in your thoughts and pretend someone will notice? Or did you cover it up with your good grades and art skills to appear like the quintessential eldest child and student? The straight-A epitome! (Except for math haha we all hate math). Because that’s all it is right? Right??? An appearance. An artistic façade. You must really love yourself. I can tell! Hahahahahahaha..
I thought that this was at least going to add a minute if told properly, but it didn’t happen. I really felt like I would cry. I really wanted to cry. And during the performance, I tried so hard to cry. I didn’t know what I was doing. I panicked. Did I sound like I was crying? Gods… what am I doing?! I asked Adrienne why she couldn’t say it and she told me it would look off-putting to glance at her phone, especially since we were being filmed. I agreed (but I was a little disappointed sorry Adrienne haah). She did incorporate a bit of it in a way. Despite this, I’m glad that people were saying they were uncomfortable because that was one of the things we wanted. While looking at PA things, some videos explained how the audience should feel uncomfortable. But why was I still feeling pessimistic? I liked our performance but maybe it wasn’t enough? I like to think whenever I present something, people don’t know what to say because I’m weird. Did my curse of weirdness affect our project? I hate it (myself). (Trying) to look at everyone’s faces unnerved me. These people presented some really rad things. Maybe it was because our group wasn’t balanced? We didn’t talk much? I feel alleviated but terrible. My apologies to Carina and Savanna.
This final project cleared up my misconceptions about Performing Arts as a medium. Additionally, the whole process was excruciating. I find it amazing how some artists are able to be so attuned to their bodies, to be so unified with their souls. (I’m envious). I’ve become negligent to my own being. (I’m fine). I’ve joked about not wanting to do this again because my first experience with certain things tend to become how I define them. Maybe I’m saying this because I think my anxiety won’t get better (glass is fully empty thinking). But who knows where this artistic path will take me? There is still a fear that will lead me to backtrack and take shortcuts… to go on the “wrong” trails and become lost. But there can never be art if not for the fear of not making art. (If that makes sense… or I make sense haha).
Wow, I can’t believe this semester is done already.
We presented our final performance projects in class today. My group was made up of Jade, Kaede, Wilson, and I.
My initial worry upon receiving the news of an impending group project has, and will always be, dread. I’m always worried that my group members won’t pull their weight or someone in the group will end up dominating the project with an iron fist, restricting everyone’s creative licence with utterly reckless abandon. This fear, thankfully, was dashed when I started talking to my group. I’ve admired the projects presented byall my group members at critiques in our class before, so I knew right off the bat that they were all capable of producing exceptional work. This comfort was compounded when I realized how well we communicated, and how open and willing everyone seemed to collaboration and putting in effort. We actually worked well together as a team- crisis averted!
When it came to the conception (pun intended) of our idea, I brought forward the tentative suggestion of the physical and emotional development of the human form. It was very reassuring when my group quickly welcomed this idea, and we began to workshop it until it became something we were all satisfied with. I had a great time spitballing ideas with my group members, who all had great contributions and suggestions that helped our project get to where it was today.
When we decided to divide our video component into four equal parts(which later became three when Jade and Kaede merged their talents for the middle portion), there was no strife in how we decided who would get which life stage. Thankfully, our group had a diverse menagerie of technical skills and medium experience, so none of us produced our video chunks in the same medium. Despite the extent to which artistic style influences the whole of a work much more than the medium in which it is produced, I still feel as though the different mediums of our video project give it a certain je ne sais quoi. My part was done in mostly 2d digital slideshow/animation, Wilson’s in 3D animation, and Jade and Kaede’s in stopmotion and found imagery.
When discussing the role that sound would play in our project, we decided to add non-lyrical music as well as small tidbits of sound that we recorded in different places that we frequent during our daily lives. Unfortunately, I forgot about this after recording only one sound effect (the water boiling on my stove while i made tea). Thankfully, though, the rest of the group compiled enough sound effects to forgive my transgression. And, if i do say so myself, my water boiling sound effect was pretty great.
In conclusion, I am extremely satisfied with how my group worked as a cohesive unit to produce a polished final product. I think we held up our end of the assignment, and I’m very proud of us! This good experience with group work will hopefully carry forward in my attitude towards it in the future.