Author: gabiechii

Final Project

For our project, Evan and I created a series of photos paired with gathered quotations from individuals recalling their experiences dealing with menstruation. Today we will be showing you our series digitally, but we are in the process of making it in to a zine.

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In early stages of this project, we spent time digging into our memories and unpacking our own perceptions of menstruation in order to develop a basis for the photographs. We took the photographs over a period of days, taking turns suggesting focal points of the images. In this way the photos reflect both of our perspectives: Evan’s external perception, and my internalized perception of my own menstruating body. We took photos around our personal spaces to try and convey intimacy and truth, exposing what menstruation means to us in the context of our lives. During this process we thought about how our perceptions are in part formed by the environment in which we first encountered menstruation, and the people surrounding us during this time. We realized that in order to truly understand our own perceptions, we would have to understand those of others. We began asking our close friends and family members their thoughts on menstruation, emphasizing how they perceived it during adolescence and early years of discovery. Off the bat we began to see patterns between our own thoughts and theirs, and reflections of their words in our photos. We decided to pair quotations from these individuals with our photographs. This unexpected integration is key to making this exploration representative of our own lived experiences. About half if the responses came from men, and half from women, which was also essential in understanding this subject. It gave insight from both male and female perspectives to represent our own differentiated viewpoints.

By gathering responses, we hoped to allow this project to unfold in an open-minded, open-ended manner, leaving enough ambiguity that the quotations would speak for themselves. By pouring our own perspectives as well as collected responses into our series, we are analyzing both the idea of a body existing in a space and the body as a space itself. In our extended research, we drew on historical accounts of menstruation in cultural and religious practice around the world, to gain a broader understanding of menstruation in society, and how this history informs how we perceive it today. This allowed us to make connections between modern day stigmas and the old cultural customs that they rooted from.

BLOG 3- BODIES & SPACES ONLINE

I think that often on the internet, especially on social media platforms focused around user-imagery, images of female bodies are expected live up to society’s standards of what is feminine. Powerful, influential women are judged by their looks–female celebrities are constantly fat-shamed because they’re pregnant. Another example is body hair on women, which is shown rarely to never in the mainstream media. If it is shown, it’s considered a vast political statement usually labeled as feminism, which is a bit questionable. Why isn’t it just accepted as an aesthetic, a display of preference?

We spoke about the deleted Sticks and Stones image. It’s believed that it was banned because of pubic hair peaking out from the two models’ bikini lines. It is important to acknowledge that currently in mainstream media the shaved look on women is considered desirable. Beauty standards are always changing. However, for this standard to be encouraged to the point that it is enforced by platform’s regulations seems to only limit women.

Relating to body hair, I heard a rumor that in his Calvin Klein shoot, Justin Bieber had body hair (a happy trail) photoshopped in. Does anyone know if this is true? Because if so, that is pretty insane–that women’s body hair is thought to be undesirable to the point of censoring it, while a young male pop star has had his lower-abdomen body hair intentionally included? I have never seen a female Calvin Klein model with any kind of body hair. Calvin Klein depictions are not nude, but often very provocative. How is a picture of an oiled up Eva Mendes in tight jeans and t-shirt, a look of ecstasy on her face any less provocative than two models in swimwear, a bit of pubic hair protruding?

All of this discussion makes me think about what, as a society, we consider to be sexual.

I think that it is important not to conflate nudity with sexuality. Everyone has different standards of what is sensual, so who is to say there is a universal standard of sexuality. Why does nakedness = sexuality? Why is a woman’s breasts inherently sexual, when a man’s bare chest is considered to be perfectly normal and acceptable? Lots of people find male nipples provocative. These sorts of ideas are the focal points of the “Free The Nipple” campaign, posting images such as this:

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(Source: image source: http://mamasmilknochaser.com/2014/09/30/what-you-need-to-understand-about-free-the-nipple/)

Also in regards to breastfeeding pictures being taken down, the aforementioned blog(ger) makes a great point, saying “People need to see what female nipples are used for, just like female breasts should not only be on display when oiled up in music videos, selling beer, Photoshopped in fashion magazines, and serving as the subjects of “before & after” plastic surgery ads targeted toward adolescents.”

I read a bit about Scout Willis, a woman who walked around New York bare chested to exercise her right to do so. I’ve seen her a few times, which was pretty shocking because I had never seen bare breasts in a public space. I was with some male friends who began to comment on her breasts as if the automatic response was to judge her body. It seemed that everyone around was doing it. Some people made comments, took photos, or veered away form her on the street as if they were worried they’d contract a contagious disease from her nakedness. Willis released a documentary showing her experiences walking in NY, and the film was given rated NC-17, considered to be pornography.

It’s a sticky slope because I honestly don’t want sites like Instagram to be flooded with porn. My nine-year old cousin is a user, which is today’s reality. More and more children will be on the internet at a young age, and realistically some of the first sexuality they will discover will be online porn. I only hope that they will discover something other than intense, often violent porn that is all over the internet. I am not anti-porn in the least, but I do not think it should necessarily be the first glimpse of sexuality that a person is exposed to. I think that there needs to be controls of some sort in these spaces, maybe a “mature content” label that would restrict access. Distinctions need to be made, because without good distinctions, internet platforms err on the side of censorship, ever leaning towards censorship of the female body.

http://www.c-heads.com/2015/01/12/natural-female-bush-gets-shamed-instagram-cencorship-a-talk-with-ainsley-from-sticks-and-stones-agency/

Alone together?

Last week in New York, Red Bull Studios held an exhibition featuring web artist Ryder Ripps and his project “Alone Together.” The show discussed the new and omnipresent nature of the internet in our lives and the idea that the more we become connected in the virtual world, the farther apart we become in the external. The show responded to the focal question in neither a negative nor positive light, but asked viewers to consider it. I was reminded of Jason Farman’s concept of the sensory-inscribed body within a world of pervasive computing. Is engaging in virtual reality distancing us from one another or is it just another way for us to experience the world?

Ryder’s show is also an example of how an art space can be turned into an interactive, all-senses experience, rejecting the traditional gallery setting. You can read the full description of the show in the articles below.

“Conceived by Ryder Ripps AlONE TOGETHER exaggerates the relationship between the content creator and content consumer, illuminating the physical solitude of virtual relationships. This dynamic is physically reinforced by the sculptures’ divided orientation between the upper and lower floors of the space. The upstairs replicates the solitary voyeurism found in the online viewing experience while the downstairs performance enacts the corporal aspects of a network.”

“Exhibition goers become voyeurs, surveilling the performative Internet experience encased below. Just steps away are six self-mediated video interviews that serve as introductions to each performer/user, drawing back the curtain of content and addressing the dichotomy between our representation and corporal self.”

You can check out the Red Bull Studios page and Ryder Ripp’s site for info on the show ad other work he’s done.

http://ryder-ripps.com/alone-together/

http://www.redbullstudios.com/newyork/events/ryder-ripps-alone-together

I also recommend checking out this New York Times review, which includes a Snapchat tour of the the show:http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/02/27/ryder-ripps-on-putting-virtual-reality-into-a-box/

In addition here is an article the NY Times ran an article about Ryder in the summer:

http://mobile.nytimes.com/2014/07/10/fashion/ryder-ripps-an-artist-of-the-internet.html?referrer=

Blog Post 2 – Reorientation

The space I described in my first blog post, my living room and kitchen in my apartment in New York, is now a different space all-together. In past 4 months since I came to Montreal for school, my parents decided to revamp the space and turn it into an air bnb rental apartment. It was intensely cleaned, my odds and ends and artwork removed, and new decor put in the place of the old. It now excludes certain bodies, while it includes others: While I used to welcome friends into it regularly, it is now a place that strangers inhabit- strangers who are willing to pay around $100 a night to stay. It is more sterile now in a homey kind of way, and I have to take close care to make sure it kept it’s order. No more painting, partying, smoking, or disorderliness. When there are people renting the space, I am excluded. Though I am nostalgic about what was there before, it was a smart and necessary business decision considering the rapidly gentrification of the neighborhood, Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

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The transformation of the space led me to thoughts and reflections about the history of the neighborhood.

My family moved to our home in East WIlliamsburg 2011, a part of the neighborhood  that managed to remain somewhat ungentrified.We converted the bottom floor, which was previously a small church, into a rehearsal and performance space. The studio is both a private and public space, as sometimes it is reserved by individuals who pay to use it to rehearse, but during performances, it is open to the public to attend. It was very conflicting taking the space of a church, but the move was inevitable and the patrons were glad that the space was going to a family who would use it for arts, as opposed to a developer who would demolish it. Something I was faced with upon moving to our new home was our impending effect on the neighborhood. My parents moved to Williamsburg in the 80’s, and like most artists arriving to the neighborhood, were young, poor, and white. The artists of Williamsburg- and their whiteness- brought about undeniable change. The influx of artists coming to the neighborhood began in the late 80’s and in a decade, Williamsburg became a hip hop spot. There was something romantic about the quaint polish-Italian brooklyn neighborhood-turned sanctuary for starving, young artists. The predominant ‘whiteness’ of Williamsburg’s inhabitant’s was also a significant aspect of it’s gentrification. The neighborhood went from hip to gentrified. My building was evicted in the mid-2000’s and we found our home in East Williamsburg. Entering my new neighborhood something occurred to me: The same way that the poor artists moving into Williamsburg caused the area to gentrify, perhaps my family moving into a less gentrified area could have the same effect, directly because of our whiteness. Race is a tool of gentrification, which racializes urban areas by appealing to certain groups and increasing prices, which forces low-income and minority groups to leave. This in turn leads to racially segregated neighborhoods where either wealth or poverty is concentrated.  Gentrification forces people to turn their lives upside down, benefitting some while it hinders others. Molly Crabapple’s writings on “The myth of Rescuing Sex Workers” loosely relates to ideology that people use to justify gentrification: Sex workers are all disempowered victims who need to be saved: The neighborhood was “rough” and “dangerous” before, “we’re just trying to help by making it a better, safer place:” The idea of swooping into an area and “rescuing” it’s inhabitants from their decrepit surroundings- the idea that whiteness inherently makes a neighborhood more safe. In recent years Williamsburg has had reopened community centers, parks, and public pools. Oh good, positive change for the community! Oh but one thing- The neighborhood’s only inhabitants are now those who can afford the whopping rent. The changes made to “improve” the neighborhood occurred after it’s previous inhabitants have been pushed out through rent increase and eviction. Go figure.

Introduction

Hey there I’m Gabie 🙂 I’m in my second year in Coms Studies. I’m not too sure where I want to go with my degree in Communications but I love the broad range of stuff I’m learning and the lovely people I am encountering along the way. I’m from Brooklyn, NY I’m a Gemini, I have a pet bunny named Root. This is me:Photo on 12-31-14 at 5.30 PM #4

Apart from the time I spend in school I float around the universe, hang with friends and make art. I spend a good amount of time making music and playing in a contemporary ensemble. I love walking around the city and exploring, napping and eating like most people do 🙂 Dreams are an important realm to me and I think eating is an amazing way to celebrate life.

In this class I would like to explore the different ways that people experience space, and open my mind to fluid physicality. I love the idea of the body being a multiplicity as opposed to a singular bounded entity. I am also interested in the relationships between people’s energies and the spaces they inhabit. I’ve always thought that people’s energies still linger after they’ve left a space.

One of my favorite places is my living space back home. It’s filled with collected odds and ends such as silly chachkies and found objects. It has been a gathering place for my friends and I to spend nights and goof off and make art, so it’s become a kind of sanctuary for all of my favorite people. A lot of memories and great, creative energies are contained there. The space is a rectangle shape on the small side, and filled with stuff, but the crampedness of it actually makes it feel more big and free then when it was emptier: I am not sure why this is, maybe it is something we will explore in class. This is a very comfortable space for me because it is a place that is only occupied by people I allow to occupy it (friends, family members). The room is on a third floor, but the roof patio outside on of the windows (a place where I have a small garden) makes it feel less trapped: At any point I can crawl out of the window and be outside. There is also a hanging plant, a number of potted bulbs, and a larger fern, which gives the room a nice natural feel, especially since it is in the center of Brooklyn.

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All of that being said about physical spaces, I am also heavily influenced by ideas of solipsism- that one’s mind/consciousness is the only thing in the universe that one knows to truly exist. In particular Epistemological solipsism, where psychological spaces such as dreams and alternate states of being/universes are as real, if not more real, than physical spaces that we experience in the “external” world. Ergo, I would say that my favorite space is a familiar place I visit in my dreams.

Five things faculty do to make learning hard: 

1. Super heavy reading. I love to read but when there’s too much I usually revert to skimming/not comprehending it well or not reading at all.

2. When prof’s are not open to new or different ideas, or opinions that differ from theirs.

3. Too much or a complete lack of group work – Balance is nice 🙂

4. Forgetting that there is a different between a challenge and insane expectations.

5. Super long lectures without giving opportunity for discussion.

Five things faculty do to make learning easy:

1. A bit of energy and enthusiasm always helps!

2. Understanding and flexibility truly encourages me to work harder.

3. Creating a comfortable, fluid environment in the classroom.

4. Readings that are not exclusively written by old white men 100 years ago 🙂

5. Writing assignments in class! Just my personal preference, but I find them very stimulating.