Author: sadinternet

Blog Post #3: Amalia Ulman

Amalia Ulman is an Argentinian artist who works with different mediums, including video, poetry, graphic design, and more recently, iOS applications.  One of her recent projects, Excellences & Perfections, explores the concept of society’s obsession with the Instagram “micro-celebrity.”  Ulman herself had become so infatuated with famous Instagrammers that she decided to become one herself.  She did extensive research to fabricate an identity for her project: “I began by researching the cosmetic gaze and the beauty myth, then I prepared a script and timeline that followed the rhythm of social media. I identified three popular trends: the Tumblr girl (an Urban Outfitters type); the sugar-baby ghetto girl; and the girl next door, someone like Miranda Kerr, who’s healthy and into yoga” (Vulture.com).  Next, Ulman set out to create a timeline for her character to act out.  Her character found a sugar daddy, who would buy her products such as designer bags, and who also paid for (fake) breast implants.  She would travel, meet her friends for brunch, and use the selfie as a form of cultural capital, just as true Instagram micro-celebrities.

Excellences & Perfections is a prime example of how bodies can be quite literally produced in an online space.  Ulman was careful to not interact with her ‘fans’ and to keep the project as ambiguous and authentic as possible.  Many of her fans, myself included, were totally unaware that her online persona was an art project.  Through her performance, Ulman touched upon aspects of the micro-celebrity, through the use of Instagram, and the privileges of a white female who’s income is dependant on a richer male.  She also was careful in choosing which spaces were photographed; fans were not sure what to think of the spaces in which her selfies were taken.  Does she live in an expensive condo paid for by her sugar daddy?  Is she travelling and staying in an expensive hotel?  The space’s ambiguity mimics other Instagram celebrity’s relationships to the spaces in which they photograph themselves—they never say where they are, or why they are there at all.

Amalia Ulman’s Excellences & Perfections gained media attention from websites like i-D, Art in America, and was featured in an online exhibition on New Museum.

Questions:  Do you think Amalia Ulman’s work, as a stand-alone performance piece, speaks to issues surrounding the micro-celebrity?  Should we question our acceptance of the micro-celebrity as real?  On the contrary, should we be critical of the micro-celebrity’s authenticity?

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Thai Government to ban the underboob.

What do you guys make of this article on Dazed today?  Up to three years in jail?  This is an interesting article; it illustrates how online censorship does not pertain only to Instagram in North America.

Post 2 – Re-Orientation

Re-orienting myself in my own room was not easy.  Through focusing on Lefebvre’s triad, however, I was eventually able to see my room in a different way.  By deconstructing my room into the three parts, spacial practice, representations of space, and representational space, I could understand my room from perspectives other than my own.  To do so, I had to remove myself from my relationship to the space.  Doing this helped me better understand the spacial practice, or perceived space.  This concept includes my day-to-day actions within the space, or, how my body routinely interacts with(in) the space.  I soon realized my body moves and carries out similar acts depending on what part of my room I am in.  For instance, if I was in the workspace section, my body would be seated at my desk, next to the heater, or standing looking through books and magazines.  My bedroom is opposite the workspace, furthest away from the window.  If my body was here, it would be either be laying down in bed, sleeping or resting, and changing clothes (I hide behind a tiny wall which separates the two sections of my room.

Once I discovered how my body interacts with my bedroom using the idea of spacial practice from Lefebvre’s triad, I moved to representations of space.  At this stage of my Re-Orientation, I decided to photograph my room by a method I have never tried—photographing with my eyes shut.  I thought I had known my room very well until I tried taking the photographs.  As you can see, some are blurry and disorienting, while others lack a subject or composition of any kind.  These new representations of my space are interesting for me to look at because they are not the way I visualize my room.

IMG_8141 IMG_8139

After photographing my space, I began to try to reconceptualize it through Lefebvre’s idea of representational space.  This concept defines spaces by their symbolic form, where the imagination seeks to change and appropriate.  I researched the history of Portuguese homes and spoke with my landlord (I live in Little Portugal), and discovered many families would share one home.  This explains why my room can be divided into two parts—a wall used to exist between them so more people could be housed.  The two sections of my room also have two separate doors and light switches.  I began to think of the placement of other utilities in my room, and how I interact with them.  The heater is located on the far end of my room, with a window above it.  I found that having my bed the furthest away from this wall was a good idea; during the morning, my bed does not get any sun, while the front room does.  This way I can sleep undisturbed by the soft sunlight that enters.

This re-orientation was successful in getting me to think more analytically about my body’s relationship to the spaces I inhabit.  By really thinking about my room, I was able to discover how I live and interact with it, as well as uncover why I organized it the way I did.  I find the act of re-orientation helpful in discovering a new perspective on something you know very well.

Fumeur: A Mis-Guide

By Garrett Lockhart and Evan Smith

“The student is a tired, busy, and usually stressed body. A cigarette, for some, is an ironic breath of fresh air.  We see students smoking outside doorways after an exam, on the steps outside the cafeteria after a quick meal, or huddling under an archways when the snow is too much to bear; these spaces in which students smoke are not chosen without thought…”

Fumeur is a photographic essay designed to be used as a psychogeographic map of the spaces in which students smoke on Concordia’s Loyola campus.  Users of the guide are to participate in a derive, an activity of the Situationists, defined by Guy Debord as “a technique of rapid passage through varied ambiances” (65).  On this walk, participants may begin and finish where they please, but must attempt to place at least three of the spaces depicted in Fumeur on a map of Loyola campus.   By examining these spaces, we are able to make assumptions of the smoker.  For instance, if a patch of cigarette butts exists outside of the library building, we may assume this space is used to have a smoke during a break from studying or reading; users of Fumeur are encouraged to conceptualize the cigarette butt as a modern breadcrumb.  By taking note of the amount of cigarette butts in a specific area, we are able to understand its popularity as a space to smoke.  The goal of our guide is to reimagine the spaces in which students smoke, and to uncover reasons why they smoke where they do.

Even though smoking spots are not given much public attention, they are telling of the bodies which inhabit them for only a moment in time.  Choosing a space to smoke is dependant on factors such as ease of access, weather conditions, and practicality.  These spaces are also never neutral.  Some are designated for smokers, while smoking in other spaces is strictly prohibited.  Our guide works to explore and expose these spaces, whether intended for smoking cigarettes or not.

Introduction

Name, brief background, and selfie.

My name is Garrett Lockhart.  I was born in Nanaimo, B.C. where I studied digital media at Vancouver Island University.  After my first year, I moved to Montreal to study Communication and Cultural Studies at Concordia; I am currently in my second year of the program.  Here is a recent selfie.

me

What do you spend most of your time doing?

I spend a lot of time shooting photographs and clicking around online; I enjoy seeing what other people are making.  I also like going on walks around the city when it is not -25 degrees outside.

What is your goal for the class?

My goal for this class is to reconceptualize my relationship to different spaces.  I have begun to become interested in how different people act within different spaces, and how those spaces may determine their actions.  I am also interested in the bedroom as a product of the person living in it—how do different spaces change when different people inhabit them?

What is one of your favourite spaces?  Describe it.  Why?  How do you use your body to be in that space?

My favourite space is my bedroom in the old Portuguese apartment where I live with two others.  I believe at one time the room was two separate rooms divided by a wall because of the two doorways and light switches present in each half of the room.  One major reason I love this space is the lighting situation.  The apartment has great light in the afternoon, leaving it nice and dark in the mornings.  I placed my bed in the back half of the room, which has no window.  My workspace (desk, books, etc) is in the front, brighter half.  By having my room set up in this way, I have am able to have two separate places; one to relax, and one to work.  My body uses these two spaces everyday; I know where to be when I have a new magazine to flip through, or when I have to write an essay.

 

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What are five things faculty do to make learning hard?  What are five things faculty do to make leaning easy?

😦

  1. Assigning long, complicated readings that often seem outdated.
  2. Relying on dry PowerPoints during lectures; it’s 2015!
  3. When professors speak at students rather than with them.
  4. Expensive resources and hard-to-find texts.
  5. When professors cannot handle viewpoints different from their own.

🙂

  1. Using contemporary examples to illustrate concepts.
  2. Making sure students are able to meet with/contact their professors.
  3. Providing ample feedback with assignments.
  4. Giving clear instructions.
  5. Maintaining an safe environment for students to voice their thoughts, online or off.