SCAD ATLANTA'S STUDENT MAGAZINE SPRING 2018 | VOL. 10 NO. 2
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Contents RECOLLECTIONS AND REASON
LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
There’s a science behind the phenomenon of nostalgia and why we idealize the past.
What will you remember from your time at SCAD?
GETTIN’ THRIFTY WITH IT
Shopping secondhand is a great way to update your closet without breaking the bank.
What would you do if you couldn’t use technology for 24 hours?
SET IN SILVER
Check out the talents of students Laura Cash and Connie Hernandez.
Take it back to old-style glamour with vintage details and classic silhouettes.
CRAZY FOR THE ‘80S
QUIZ: WHAT ‘90S CARTOON CHARACTER ARE YOU?
Why are we currently obsessed with spandex and scrunchies?
Take the quiz and find out if you’re more of a Bubbles or a Dexter.
COMICS CORNER: PAST AND PRESENT
Food halls aren’t just a trend, they’re a throwback to how things used to be.
THE PLAZA ON PONCE
Atlanta’s history plays on the big screen at the Plaza Theatre.
THE LOSS OF A VICTOR
Photos have the power to capture our memories and emotions.
See how students view the past and the present.
LET’S PLAY I SPY!
See if you can find the following on our cover:
- Barbie purse - Five pom poms - A flip phone - Five plastic stars - R2-D2 Pez
COVER PHOTOGRAPHED BY NATHON RUEHL SCAN is the quarterly student magazine of the Savannah College of Art and Design in Atlanta. All editorial content is determined by the student editors. Opinions expressed in SCAN are not necessarily those of the college. © 2018 SCAN Magazine. All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may be reproduced in any form without written permission from the publisher.
GETTIN' THRIFTY WITH IT
Shopping secondhand is a great option for the stylish student on a budget. THIRD EYE BLIND
BROWN LEATHER JACKET
BLACK EYED PEAS
KANYE WEST FT. JAMIE FOXX
RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS
BLUE PINSTRIPE PANTS
VINTAGE BEADED CLUTCH ForgottenMuse: Etsy
Our amazing contributors describe their favorite childhood memories.
From Our Contributors
INTERVIEWED BY ANYA HABER
HELEN CHOI, B.F.A. ILLUSTRATION – Comics Corner My dad would stay home on the weekends with my little sister and me. On Saturdays we’d always catch the ice cream truck. One Saturday, it felt like we waited forever, but when it finally came we ran out and bought my favorite Flintstones push-up pops. When we were done enjoying our ice cream, my dad suggested that we make and play telephone. He had always been very crafty and loved art. I want to say he gave me his artist genes.
NATHON RUEHL, B.F.A. PHOTOGRAPHY – Cover My favorite childhood memory would just be my whole childhood. From my first thoughts to the age of five was probably the best time because I had no worries in my life. My feelings and personality were raw and simple. There was never stress nor worries to deal with. When I think of my childhood, the first few things that play in my head are the moments when I was doing the most kid things possible, like stealing snacks out of the fridge or waking up early for no reason and ending up laying on the living room floor in the rising sunlight that was shining through the window as I watched cartoons. Or, when I would run around the tree in my backyard 100 times with no clothes on as my dog chased me. I was doing anything there was to keep myself entertained, curious and full of imagination.
EMILY KENISTON, B.F.A. ILLUSTRATION – Comics Corner One of my fondest childhood memories involves the journey to pick out my dogs. I had been born into a family with a lab named Moonshine, but she sadly only lived to see me turn four. So we decided to get a new dog. Since I was so young, I only remember parts of the trip through Maryland and into a neighboring state, most likely Virginia. The day was sunny and mildly warm and our Grand Cherokee had a sunroof, which I always liked to look out of. We passed some hills where a few air balloons hovered above, which is a vivid memory from the trip. And to top it all off, we came home with not one, but two miniature schnauzers. They lived long and happy lives.
ASHLEY STEWART, B.F.A. GRAPHIC DESIGN – “Which ‘90s Cartoon Character Are You?” When I was five years old, my cousins and I were sleeping over at my grandparent’s house. We all decided to get up in the middle of the night to prepare breakfast for everyone in the morning. Mind you, it was about one in the morning. It felt exhilarating to be up that late because our bed time was 8:30 p.m. and our idea of breakfast was a bowl of cereal. When all three of us snuck downstairs we made quite the racket setting the table with bowls, spoons and cereal, loud enough to wake up my grandmother who came stomping down the stairs to shout, “Get back up those stairs!” I remember my face going completely red and quickly following my cousins as we sprinted past my grandmother, up the stairs, and back to bed.
TINA GANCEV, M.A. LUXURY FASHON MARKETING AND MANAGEMENT – “Set in Silver” My favorite childhood memory is when my grandmother used to make clothes for my mom and I. That is basically what got me interested in fashion. I wanted to know how to make my own clothes and that is what inspired me.
SCAN MAGAZINE // SPRING 2018
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SCAN MAGAZINE // SPRING 2018
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR WORK?
It's more of a reflection of my personality which is constantly changing. I will say with every piece I create, I try to take the assignment and bend it to my will. I'm always fascinated in seeing how much I can push the limits within each piece, and I think that's why my work differs from others. It is what I would consider my biggest strength and weakness, in that sometimes pushing the limits can make the piece more interesting but also more challenging.
WHAT'S THE MOST REWARDING PROJECT YOU'VE DONE SO FAR?
It's hard to choose just one project. Each piece that I work on has very special meaning to me and were all rewarding for different reasons. However, I will say that some of my most rewarding work comes when I'm faced with a project that terrifies me. I just recently completed a piece that required me to utilize cinematography. It was a title sequence remake, and I was terrified because I am not comfortable with my skills as a cinematographer, but after diving in and spending sleepless days working on it, the piece came out looking a lot better than I expected.
WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE PROCESS?
LAURA CASH B.F.A. MOTION MEDIA
INTERVIEWED BY MASHA ZHDANOVA PHOTOGRAPHED BY CONRAD MAXWELL-GIROD
My favorite aspect of the creative process is the initial brainstorming. Sometimes you will beat yourself up trying to come up with a solution to the creative problem. Sometimes the idea will pop into your head instantly. A lot of the times my better ideas come when I am under stress.
WHAT'S SOME ADVICE YOU CAN GIVE TO ASPIRING MOTION MEDIA ARTISTS?
Some advice I would give for any aspiring motion media artists would be to consume a lot of media. This is something I struggle with personally but am actively trying to do. By consuming more media, you are building up a library of visuals, styles and techniques that you can access later when working on your own pieces. It may feel like you do not have time to devote to that, but consider it a part of your training and set aside time for yourself to do it. You will benefit from it whether consciously or unconsciously.
WHAT'S ONE OF THE BEST EXPERIENCES YOU'VE HAD AT SCAD?
One of the best experiences I've had at SCAD would have to be my CLC class last quarter. Our class got to work with Adult Swim, to create some awesome work for them. It's always nice working with companies, but being able to work with a company that you have admired your entire life is awesome, and I'm so grateful to have been a part of it.
WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS FOR AFTER SCAD?
After SCAD I hope to get a job with a studio and continue to create work and build up clientele. Later on, I would love to get my M.F.A. and teach at a university to help shape the next generation of motion media designers. 7
WHEN DID YOU DECIDE YOU WANTED TO PURSUE A CAREER AS A COMICS ARTIST?
CONNIE HERNANDEZ B.F.A. SEQUENTIAL ART
INTERVIEWED BY ALEXANDRA BADIU PHOTOGRAPHED BY CONRAD MAXWELL-GIROD
When I was in about 7th grade I did that thing a lot of young anime fans do and decided, “I'm going to go to Japan and become a Manga-ka!” I wanted to have a published series by age 15, which was ridiculous. But then, when I was actually 15, I went to a comic shop and checked out the smaller print, independent artists' works in the back and discovered Becky Cloonan's short stories. That's when I remembered, “Oh hey, I can do the same thing but in America,” and thus started my more realistic, comic artist career.
WHAT WAS THE STRANGEST THING THAT INSPIRED YOU IN THE PAST?
It wasn't directly related to comics but my art in general — in 7th grade (again), I was trying to draw a piece of Kleenex, and I realized that the tissue I was seeing right then was something no one else would ever be able to witness. Because the air was constantly touching it, and it was shifting in fractional ways on an extremely small scale, no matter how much you tried, there would be no way to make that tissue fold or wrinkle that exact way ever again. It made me feel like literally everything in existence is beautiful. The things around us are overlooked even though everything is a once in a lifetime experience. It's one of the reasons I really like trying to capture small moments and feelings in comics. Besides the fact that I'm kind of a cheesy person.
WHAT IS YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS?
A lot of what I draw and write about is just feelings. As in, I think about a feeling I had once, or a feeling I want a set of characters to have, and then I run those feelings through my head until I think up dialogue. Most of it I think is pretty standard after that: thumbnailing and sketching, penciling things, inking them, coloring them sometimes.
WHAT IS THE MOST CHALLENGING PART OF BEING AN EMERGING COMICS ARTIST?
Definitely getting over my fear of talking to people. I'm incredibly scared of reaching out and trying to make connections (which is the entirety of how my job is going to work). It's mostly because I don't know where to start and I psych myself out when trying to talk to people I admire.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO ASPIRING ARTISTS?
Make things you want to make. Don't worry about trying to draw or write things you think other people will find interesting. When you do that, you'll get too absorbed in trying to make the thing happen, instead of actually making it happen. When you draw what you're passionate about, it will show and people will get passionate with you. Also, just draw a lot. Draw everything. Work on the things you're bad at. Don't avoid them. Things get better with time and you don't have to be the best right this second.
SCAN MAGAZINE // SPRING 2018
SCAN MAGAZINE // SPRING 2018
Crazy for the ‘80s
WRITTEN BY LOGAN HUGHES COLLAGE CREATED BY KATIE HOWARD
Society’s collective nostalgia for the 1980s is the reason behind the cycle of trends in today’s culture.
Pop-culture trends are on a constant loop, a cyclical beast that traps us into repeating even the worst trends of decades’ past. When the time comes, we start to see trends from the past bubbling back up to the surface whether we want them to or not. In the 1970s, pop-culture reflected the ‘50s with “Grease” and “Happy Days,” while in the ‘80s, movies like “Dirty Dancing” showed an obsession with the ‘60s. Trends of the ‘70s snuck their way into the ‘90s and the ‘80s began to reemerge in the 2000s. From the music of Whitney Houston to Zac Morris crushing hearts on “Saved by the Bell” to the obsession with Princess Diana, the 1980s were a turning point in society that saw some of the biggest changes in trends and culture. The ‘80s steered away from the relaxed flower child and free love mentalities of the ‘60s and ‘70s, witnessing the birth of classic rock, the death of John Lennon, and the introduction of some of the most iconic fashion trends of all time: leg warmers, shoulder pads, giant hair and neon colors. All the flowy, Bohemian style of the ‘70s was gone, and oversized structure and color ran wild through the decade. But why, in 2018, are we still so obsessed with the 1980s? In films, we’ve seen recent remakes of staple ‘80s movies and television shows like “Tron,” “Nightmare on Elm Street,” “Footloose” and “21 Jump Street” — even the hit Netflix show “Stranger Things” is set in the ‘80s which causes everyone to gush over the nostalgia of pop-culture references in the show and admire the clothing of the kids from Hawkins, Ind. And, of course, “Star Wars” is back. Crop tops, leopard print, power suits and denim jackets were hallmarks of style in the ‘80s, and now we can see them on just about every streetThe reemergence of drop-crotch pants (unfortunately) and fanny packs (also unfortunately) were huge in 2017 and don’t seem to be going anywhere in 2018. Even athleisure — that means your favorite pair of leggings — have roots in the spandex craze of the ‘80s. It seems like the only thing that hasn’t returned is the massive hair (and I pray it never does). Most of us in the younger generations who eat these trends up weren’t around during the 1980s. For most of us, the ‘80s were the generation just before ours, a bright, retro era we’ve only heard about, and I think that plays a big part in why we fixate on the decade so much. We grew up with stories from our parents about the ‘80s, their lives just before we were born. It’s easy to romanticize something you didn’t experience or don’t fully understand. But maybe the true appeal of the ‘80s is that the decade represented a time of rebellion, freedom and self-expression that we feel we need or can relate to right now. The decade was about color, music, ridiculous clothes and most importantly, standing out. In the overstimulated world we live in now, it makes sense we’d feel a connection to that sense of individuality. And though the reemergence of the ‘80s is exciting, if you’re tired of the shoulder pads, spandex and crazy colors (and fearing the return of teased hair), don’t worry — the ‘90s will be here soon enough.
If you're feeling nostalgic for some Southern tradition, look no further than your local food hall, like the one at Ponce City Market. WRITTEN BY ALLISON BOLT PHOTOGRAPHED BY EMMA DAKIN
I miss family gatherings. The Southern kind with everyone crowded around a table passing the cornbread, talking and laughing. After moving to Atlanta for college, I found that the holiday season just wasn't the same without attending a family gathering. It wasn't home. That is, until I stumbled into a 150-year-old factory repurposed into a “food hall.” Food halls have largely been referred to as a “millennial trend,” but I disagree. The word “trend” implies these food halls are a fleeting concept and will soon disappear. Food halls aren't going anywhere. Their deeply interwoven relation to America's roots creates a sense of nostalgia that is irreplaceable. They are getting back to wholesome Southern traditions. In my family, the gathering tradition happened at least once a year. Every member of the family attended, including divorced uncles, step-cousins, half-great aunts and the grandparents who kiss your cheek and tell you how much you've grown. These gatherings took place at my great-grandfather's house. My great-grandfather, known as Grandaddy to us, used to own a little convenience store in front of the house which had been repurposed into his woodshop. That building was a little piece of history. It was the building in which he ran his business with his wife and all five children. The building in which he received his draft letter during World War II. The building that my grandma met my grandpa in while working behind the counter. The one Grandaddy spent his retired years in crafting furniture and birdhouses. The building that we cleared out once a year for the family he had created. I always liked walking into that building and imagining the stories my grandparents told me. SCAN MAGAZINE // SPRING 2018
Our gatherings were potlucks, as most Southern family suppers are. Each member cooked a family recipe to bring. For us, that was our special mac 'n' cheese, the good kind with crushed Ritz crackers baked on the top. I can still remember the way my mother tied a white apron with red, floral embroidery around my waist while we cooked. Everyone arrived hours in advance for supper to decorate and set up the food. White, plastic folding tables with paper tablecloths stretched across the long, rectangular building, covered in casseroles, hams, mac 'n' cheese, collard greens, rutabagas, green beans, deviled eggs, cabbage and of course, fried chicken. We sat at one long table passing the cornbread, soothing crying babies, taking family photos with Grandaddy, and catching up loudly enough that we drowned out the music playing in the background.This was the same atmosphere I found the first time I entered a food hall. I stumbled into Ponce City Market one day, a colossal old factory turned food hall, drawn in by the familiar smells of fried chicken. I walked through the oversized metal doors and found a gaping room filled with communal tables full of people eating, passing the bread and chatting. It felt as if I had wandered into a family gathering at Grandaddy's. The building had a feeling to it. It had a heartbeat. It breathed life back into a forgotten place. Upon first entering the market, I felt a sense of nostalgia for something unknown. I was utterly unaware, at the time, of the factory's vast history as an Atlanta landmark, but I could feel that I was stepping into a part of Southern history. Walking through what used to be the steel-coated
p loading area, I felt as if I was stepping into my Grandaddy's store building all those years ago. I climbed the old staircases leading from one floor to the next, the same way I climbed the stairs to Grandaddy's woodshop as a child. Now, I emerged into a crowded room filled with music and exuberant conversations. People filed into the hall through the left door which led to the Beltline and trickled in from the right door which led to Old Fourth Ward and an interstate full of traffic. They walked from across the street, or from the apartments and neighborhoods nearby. It was as if every road, bike path and sidewalk led the citizens of Atlanta to this building. My Southern roots led me to Hops Chicken, a window-service stall offering comfort food. There, I found fried chicken, collard greens and of course, the famous family gathering mac 'n' cheese. It was as if I had gotten in line at my Grandaddy's store building, surrounded by my family as we served ourselves our traditional food. It was as if I was home. I ordered too much food, reminiscent of how I used to put too much food on my plate as a child, but I didn't care and had hopes to eat it all. I turned around to find an oversized wooden table filled with people, and one empty spot.
I took a seat between a woman typing away on her laptop with a French pastry and coffee and a man eating a paneer tikka roll with a Thumbs Up soda. They both greeted me. In fact, everyone at the oversized communal table greeted me. I was soon involved in a conversation with strangers as I ate my fried chicken and mac 'n' cheese inside an old factory where a worker probably ate their lunch in 1925. I suddenly felt like a part of something bigger, like a part of a community I had only just joined. Grandaddy is gone, the store building has been sold and the family gatherings have fizzled out. I am far away from my family, and so food halls have replaced the feeling of potluck suppers in my new city. I do not eat at local food halls because they are trendy. I eat at local food halls to feel what I once took for granted as a child. I eat at local food halls to remember my Grandaddy, to remember that day in his store building when he smiled a mischievous smile at me and trusted me in his beloved woodshop. I eat at local food halls to reminisce of home as I am surrounded by the chatter of people catching up, taking photos and passing the cornbread.
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Nostalgia shows on the big screen at Atlanta's oldest continuously-operated movie theater. For some of us, our most nostalgic memories happened at the movies. Maybe it's where we made our fondest family moments or had a first date or kiss, but more than anything, the movies allowed us to experience a journey to worlds we could never have imagined. It's safe to say that cinemas are a mainstay of our culture and have a great influence on who we are. Atlanta, as a movie mecca, is no exception. Without a doubt, anyone looking for a nostalgic, cinematic experience will find it at the Plaza Theatre. According to History Atlanta, the iconic theater opened its doors on Dec. 23, 1939, making it Atlanta's longest-running, continuously-operating movie theater. The establishment was originally art deco in style, with 1,000 seats and an orchestra pit and balcony levels. Following its initial success, the theater continued to entertain audiences through the 1960s. Several notable classic films played at the theater during this time such as “Around the World in 80 Days” (1956) and “King of Kings” (1961).
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However, things began to take a nasty turn in the 1970s when the area around the theater became a hub for drug use and prostitution. Much of the neighborhood and its establishments lost value. The Plaza Theatre was no exception, and during this time it began showing X-rated porno films and burlesque shows to stay afloat. Fortunately, the theater would recover as the '80s rolled in. During the early part of the decade, property owner Robert Griffith enticed business owners to come in to help restore the area, and he got movie theater entrepreneur and enthusiast George Lefont to bring some life back to the Plaza Theater. Lefont's leadership and influence had the most significant impact in the revitalization. Under his guidance, the theater began to focus on independent, foreign and arthouse films throughout the '80s and '90s, giving the theater a more sophisticated appeal.
As the 2000s came around, one of the theater’s most popular attractions, “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” screenings, was born. On Dec. 1, 2000, the fan group Lips Down on Dixie put on their very first showing of the classic story. While “Rocky Horror” definitely helped propel the Plaza into a fun, urbane light, the theater still struggled financially. In 2006, the Plaza was sold to Gayle and Jonathan Rej, a couple dedicated to historical preservation. While keeping the indie and arthouse ambience set forth by Lefont, the theater began to mix classic films with mainstream releases.
To some locals, ensuring the Plaza, and cinemas like it, keep going is crucial to keeping Atlanta's history alive. In 2009, to celebrate the theater’s 70th anniversary, the theater presented screenings of some of the most popular films of 1939 including “The Wizard of Oz” and “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.” A year later, the theater hosted the Atlanta premiere of “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” with stars Michael Cera, Jason Schwartzman and director Edgar Wright attending the screening. In both 2010 and 2012, Tommy Wiseau made several guest appearances at the Plaza to attend the theater’s famed midnight screenings of Wiseau’s 2003 cult classic “The Room,” which have arguably become nearly as popular as the Rocky Horror Picture performances. According to Atlanta Intown, the theater was then sold again, this time as a non-profit to theater enthusiast Michael Furlinger in 2013. With a reported 500 percent increase in attendance, the theater was sold most recently to Christopher Escobar, executive director of the Atlanta Film Society. According to Curbed Atlanta, Escobar purchased the establishment for $18.1 million in the summer of 2017. As a primary spot for the Atlanta Film Festival, it’s no surprise that Escobar would be next in line to take care of this legendary landmark.
Escobar has made plans to strengthen relationships with the theater and its supporters to encourage more community involvement, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Such relationships include those with Lips Down on Dixie, Candace Weslosky, who has helped curate and perform in the Cineprov troupe, a group that does live comedic commentary of bad movies much like Mystery Science Theater 3000, and, of course, the Atlanta Film Society. Similarly, the theater hopes to increase involvement with the indie filmmaker community, allowing opportunities for filmmakers to rent out the space. Through thick and thin, the Plaza has always been here for Atlanta and given us lasting memories in the process. To some locals, ensuring the Plaza and cinemas like it keep going is crucial to keeping Atlanta’s history alive. Second-year film and television student Ivy Bufford said that she believes “preserving Atlanta’s history, the good, the bad and the ugly, is important for us to know how far we’ve come and to help us continue to make improvements, so that history doesn’t repeat itself.” The Plaza Theater also stands as a testament to the past, as second-year film and television student Helet Van Staden said, “In our modern society, we are taught so often only to look towards the future because the past was bad … but sometimes we need to preserve things just because they survived this long.” Now that Atlanta has become such a major industry for filmmakers and streaming services making for tough competition, it seems that the Plaza and the one-of-a-kind experience it offers is needed more than ever. But as long as there are people who want to experience movies and share those nostalgic and emotional journeys with the ones they love, the Plaza will be around to offer new memories for everyone.
The Loss of a Victor WRITTEN AND PHOTOGRAPHED BY CONRAD MAXWELL-GIROD
In this photo series, cancer is personified in my 51-year-old father, along with his personality and behavior following his diagnosis. I was 16 years old when my father was diagnosed with cancer — stage four, metastatic lung cancer. Within six months, his body and mind had completely deteriorated and in his sleep, he left this world as quietly as a thief in the night. I'd never experienced death before, and some say there's no way to prepare for that kind of loss. They're right. Even if you accept the truth before the time comes, you'll still find yourself blindsided. This photo collection, titled “The Loss of a Victor,” has been nearly three years in the making, and I feel that now is the appropriate time to bring it to light. This collection is a narrative, showcasing a bond broken, a life ended and a loved one lost. The opening is an obscured self-portrait that captures me in thought. The image wasn't initially meant for reflection, but the events that transpired after taking the photo changed my view of it entirely. It brought back feelings of nostalgia. I remembered a time when my father was alive and my house was full of laughter. The initial goal of this concept was to give myself something to hold on to from
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the experience and build up my emotional strength. To further incorporate a sense of timelessness and a feeling of nostalgia, I chose to add dust and scratches to emulate a film look. The focal image of myself was what I experimented with first, then I changed the other images for cohesiveness. I hate cancer, and cigarettes even more so. Because of them my father wasn't there to see me walk at graduation, to see me read my acceptance letter to SCAD or to see me off to college. He won't be there when I get married, or when my children see the light of day for the first time. Now I'll have to come up with a means to fill that void. I could keep going, but I think my photographs speak for themselves. If you are an individual who chooses to smoke cigarettes, I urge you to consider the lives and emotions of those around you. I know it may not seem like your choices involve them, but they do. Think before you light the next one.
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Recollections and Reason Thereâ€™s a science behind the feeling of nostalgia and a reason why we tend to idealize the past. WRITTEN BY TYLER SPINOSA ILLUSTRATED BY BEATRIZ ESPINOSA 23
Ever smell some old cologne or cigarettes burning outside in the summer air and get transported back to a comforting memory of the past? No matter how old you are, wanting to go back in time is a natural desire, especially for anyone who wants to escape an embarrassing moment or just doesn’t want to get up for class. Sometimes we just want to go back to a simpler time. But are we so concerned with re-creating the blissful warmth of the past that it interferes with our capacity to exist in the present?
Nostalgia is a concept that’s intertwined with the core of human consciousness, self-awareness and mortality. Nostalgia is a concept that’s intertwined with the core of human consciousness, self-awareness and mortality. It’s a shared experience across history that has deeply affected all levels of civilization and culture. Nostalgia is such a powerful sentiment that it can irrevocably change the course of a society for better or worse. Merriam-Webster defines nostalgia as “a wistful or excessively sentimental yearning for return to or of some past period or irrecoverable condition.” My childhood memories are a minefield of nostalgia. I remember staying up late to watch cartoons every Friday and eating Doritos while watching the entire original “Star Wars” trilogy. My cousins and I liked to make forts out of toy chests and furniture, then
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gather up all of our nerf guns and defend the base from imaginary enemies. We spent several summers planning sleepovers and excursions to the pool. My favorite memory though is from my first year in high school. I used to love staying home sick; sympathy and special treatment made it a bittersweet delight. Even if I was actually sick and not just feigning an illness, I could always enjoy myself. I remember one morning during my freshman year, I woke up at dawn and decided to take the day off. My mom came to wake me up, and I told her I was having stomach problems, so she went to work and left me alone to play video games, eat snacks and watch DVDs. The idea that other people were busy at work or school and I was at home relaxing was deeply satisfying, especially now that I have bills and deadlines and actual responsibilities. However, nostalgia often idealizes the past in an unrealistic way. We forget that going back to high school might be as miserable as it would be fun. As much as we idealize our childhoods, most children that grew up through the 1990s and early 2000s experienced an exponential shift in technology and political attitudes. We witnessed 9/11, a housing market crash and recession, an exponential increase in mass shootings and years of conflict in the Middle East. Popular media also contributes to the over-idealization of the past. New formats provide an opportunity for remakes, revivals and refurbished releases of all sorts of old titles in movies, music, television, and video games every year. One explanation is that this trend is completely the fault of the media companies, but it isn’t that they have refused to dip into a well of original ideas. The audience continues to purchase the products they re-release out of a completely nostalgic impulse. As the capacity of media based technology expands, the market will continue to capitalize on the successes of past ideas to draw in a guaranteed customer base. The problem is that the media often sugarcoats problems of the past. “Stranger Things” might bring a wistful sentimentality for the 80s, but I’ve heard mixed things
about the Reagan administration. I also have a personal love for Vietnam-era music, but at the same time I’m aware that it might give other people a PTSD flashback. Although I love the music and art from the 60s and 70s, that era was juxtaposed with racial tension, assassinations and war. Even if there is recognition of the issues of the time, the glamour of the narratives tends to outshine everything else. The comforting memories that breed nostalgia remove a great deal of context and realism from the original situation. Only the fun parts survive the test of time. It is rare that a complete and unbiased account of events will be achieved solely through memory. This sentimentality for the past speaks to a realization of impermanence that’s part of the human condition. Impermanence is the feeling when you watch the final episode of your favorite TV show. It’s a knowledge that something you love will go away forever. You can always pinpoint it by the deep sinking feeling, like your chest is being crushed. Mostly, the feeling of impermanence deals heavily with mortality. Death makes time valuable, finite and fleeting. This realization is the source of the core existential dilemma that defines the human condition. Most people on some level are forced to think,“What makes my life so special that God will exempt me from a surprise appointment with the angel of death?” Contemplation of time and the inherent meaningless of life lends itself to a romanticization of preserving time gone by. As such, nostalgia is simply a reaction to the feeling of impermanence and essentially functions as a form of escapism. It’s not surprising then to learn the science behind nostalgia and the similarities between nostalgia and other forms of escapism, like recreational drugs. Research from the University of Southampton identified that the body’s reaction to nostalgia centers around the release of dopamine. Common sensory triggers for nostalgia are taste and smell. These triggers communicate with the brain through the amygdala, which is part of a larger subset of areas in the brain known as the limbic system. The limbic system houses the portions of the brain that are associated with emotion and memory. A 2006 study from the University of Southampton asked
participants to describe when they become nostalgic. The most frequently reported trigger was negative: in the study, participants said, ‘‘I think of nostalgic experiences when I am sad as they often make me feel better’’ and the study also reported “loneliness was the most frequently reported discrete affective state.” So in this case, if the source of nostalgia can be traced back to the limbic system, and the most common trigger is negative, then what does that mean in terms of human evolution? Is nostalgia a positive tool or a toxic hindrance
Is nostalgia a positive tool or a toxic hindrance to healthy psychological progression? to healthy psychological progression? For those with dopamine regulation problems, like myself, nostalgia can become a permanent problem. Conscious and unconscious decisions might cause a particularly nostalgic person to construct their lives in a way that facilitates the maximum amount of nostalgic triggers surrounding them at any given time. That obsession
with the past can also cause a disregard for the present and ultimately lead to a mishandling of the future due to an inability to adapt and move on. If anything, I’m a nostalgia addict. I structure the majority of what I do around nostalgia triggers. I wear a certain deodorant, listen to certain music, watch specific T.V. shows and movies and eat particular meals — all in conjunction with each other to recreate feelings from the past. The fact that something from the past was impermanent is part of what makes it so significant. The meaning of those memories is genuine, but a fixation on them can become a detriment to continued progress. Anand C. Paranjpe illustrated this in “Self and Identity in Modern Psychology and Indian Thought,” when Paranjpe said, “If one has recognized that material possessions and social selves are impermanent and is yet strongly emotionally attached to them, one is not truly self-realized.”
the fIxation on the past stems from an inability to reconcile with the impermanence of being. Although I’ve recognized my tendency to seek out nostalgia as a pattern of behavior, my aim is to try and regulate how heavily I indulge in my nostalgic impulses. There’s no sense in sacrificing who I could be for who I am now. Occasionally, I can let myself enjoy a daydream or two, but trying to live inside those thought bubbles is a guaranteed path to ruin. As with many things, moderation is the key to reaping the benefits. Small concentrated doses of nostalgia can be refreshing, enjoyable and even result in interesting improvements for the future. However, when nostalgia is abused like a drug, it can cause an unhealthy fixation with the past and foster a fundamental denial of the current situation. At its core, the fixation on the past stems from an inability to reconcile with the impermanence of being.
SCAN MAGAZINE // SPRING 2018
This is true whether you willingly seek out the feeling of nostalgia, or simply find yourself wearing a lot of 80s trends or watching old TV shows from your childhood. More than anything, nostalgia always remains bittersweet because of the juxtaposition of positive memories paired with the pain of lost time. This is why, both the idea of impermanence, and a sense of nostalgia have been present across human history and continue to influence the development of culture and the collective psychology of humankind. We can’t completely rid ourselves of the impulse to return to the past, if only because of how scary the future can be. Both the idea of impermanence and the feeling of nostalgia will continue to be present across human history and and continue to influence the development of culture and the collective psychology of humankind. We’ll always be looking for the answers to our future in the memories of our past, but if we can use nostalgia as a way to cope with lost time while still striving towards something more, then we won’t let the past hold us back.
UNPLUGGED WRITTEN AND ILLUSTRATED BY ARUNDHATI PRASAD
If checking your phone is the first and last thing you do every day, you are not alone. According to a recent study by Deloitte, young adults aged 18-24 look at their phones at least 75 times a day. People check their phones almost constantly: in their free time, during movies, while shopping — it is no revelation that our phones and gadgets are like secondary organs that are essential for our hourly survival. They do assist our everyday existence but add an enormous amount of mental pressure that most of us are unaware of. Imagine spending a whole day without your phone. Sound easy? It probably was about fifteen years ago. I got my first phone in high school, and life before that was about memorizing phone numbers and waiting by the home phone for your crush to call. It was about prank calling friends and coordinating group chats on the internet. But it surely isn’t as easy in today’s society. As an experiment to test our addiction to technology, I decided to go on a digital detox for 24 hours: no cell phone, no laptop, no TV. The day before, I told my friends and family that if they were dying or needed urgent attention they should call my roommate and she would let me know. I borrowed a table clock, and I put my phone on silent, zipping it away in the front pocket of my bag. I decided to keep track of my behavior and document my experiment in a journal. Here is a messy and restless record of a phone-less day. (Note that the 24 hours also include undisturbed sleeping time.)
SCAN MAGAZINE // SPRING 2018
a.m. I resist the urge to check my phone and start making a tally of how many times I want to check it over the course of the day. After making a quick list of things, I do my laundry, clean my apartment, make lunch, meal prep for the week, and arrange my closet, because why not? Time feels slower with no technology to distract me, so I start this book I’ve been meaning to read for a while. p.m.
I go out in the cold to get a hot chocolate, and while I wait I see a bird hiding from the rain. As if it had been rehearsed a million times before, my hand reaches out for my phone to take a picture—not realizing that my phone is not there. So instead, I am compelled to sketch the bird in my notebook, understanding the value of my phone’s camera only in its absence. p.m. . This hot chocolate would look so good on my Instagram story. That bird, too. p.m. I miss Google. p.m. I keep anticipating text messages and phone calls. Itching to reach out and check my phone, I go back to my book. p.m.
The rest of the evening is challenging. I hum songs as my roommate probably bandages her ears in annoyance, because, hello! No Spotify. I spend some time talking to a friend, go grocery shopping without my phone and write postcards to my cousins. p.m. This digital detox would look so great on my story. I should’ve gotten someone to document me secretly. p.m. The day has finally ended. I am restless, yet somewhat pleased. The next few hours are going to be much easier to survive. I lay in bed, proudly looking at the book I finished and the desk I cleaned. I don’t remember the last time I went to bed without looking at a screen.
The next morning when I finally reconnected, I had 250 notifications between texts and social media, a few missed calls and a total tally of 69 times I wanted to check my phone. There was also a message from a friend welcoming me back to the world. Unplugging truly felt like getting over a drug addiction. I wouldn’t be surprised if they came up with digital detox patches to help people get rid of their obsession with gadgetry. I was caught between the luxury of enjoying a moment alone but constantly wanting to share it.
My experiment helped me realize a few things about our relationship with technology. First, checking your phone is a buffer habit. When we don’t know what to say or do or where to look, we check our phones. It is the break between a break, a constant escape from reality. Second, we love to keep up with other people’s lives. During the detox, I missed my social media the most. Knowing what other people are up to is not only great entertainment but a source of information. Third, it’s all about gratification. Our generation is wired to receive instant feedback on everything, whether it is an outfit, a piece of art, a song recommendation or a person we’re attracted to. You may like, share, re-post or swipe right. And last, FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) is real. Being disconnected with the world makes you feel like you’re losing out on information, ideas and stories. You don’t want to be the only one who missed out on a viral meme, a trending hashtag or the next ice bucket challenge.
connected. However, a conscious effort in filtering out unwanted information is important, too. The secret lies in learning how to balance these two isolated concepts and not lose our minds trying to do so. Quite ironically, there are some apps that might help you limit your phone usage and manage your time better. Moment, Offtime and Flippd are a few options that help you track your phone usage and behavior, set goals to limit use of the device or send notifications to unplug for studying or work. We tend to fill every vacant moment in our lives with a screen for company. And don’t get me wrong — that screen is important (and so expensive to replace, honestly) but time off-screen and off social media allows our hyperactive brains a moment of rest. A digital detox makes us more aware of people around us. Rather than stalking them on Instagram you can ask them how they are, in person. It reduces the inescapable habit of multitasking, improves focus and makes you value your time off-screen. Take the time to unplug every now and then. You’ll find it makes you a brighter and more attentive versions of yourself.
We wonder how people did it in the past. They wrote letters, sent postcards and waited for trunk calls. Life was simpler, and I am sure we were losing fewer brain cells. It is impractical to completely switch off in a fastpaced society where people are breaking the internet every other second — technology is essential to stay
What cartoon character are you? Answer the questions to discover which classic character you’re most like. WRITTEN BY EMMA DAKIN AND ANYA HABER GRAPHIC CREATED BY ASHLEY STEWART
What do you like least? A
SCAN MAGAZINE // SPRING SPRING 2018 2018
You’re bright and bubbly, but you’re also strong. You’re close with your family and you always do the right thing.
You’re a loyal friend with a good sense of humor. You always have a great joke up your sleeve.
What was your favorite class in high school?
How would your friends describe you?
All of them
What Hogwarts House would you be in?
How do you spend your weekends?
Favorite music genre?
Time w/ family
Time w/ friends
Going on adventures
(Magic School Bus)
You’re intelligent and clever. You like to work through things by yourself and you enjoy coming up with new ideas.
You’re brave and adventurous. You’re a good leader and great at thinking on your feet.
You always keep it real and say what you think. You might come across as tough but you’ve got a soft side.
ComicS Corner: PAST AND PRESENT
HELEN CHOI, B.F.A. ILLUSTRATION
EMILY LARRABEE, B.F.A. ILLUSTRATION
KIRE TORRES, B.F.A. ILLUSTRATION
EMILY KENISTON, B.F.A. ILLUSTRATION SCAN MAGAZINE // SPRING 2018
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SCAN MAGAZINE // SPRING 2018
The student magazine of SCAD Atlanta.