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Robert Longoria III (R:/)

Colin Charlton (C:/)

THINKPIECE IN PROGRESS ∞ I hated my work this semester—from the overall re-hauling of my personal life to the general output in school and professional middle school teaching—it has felt like a half-baked experiment gone awry. Crawling through the sewer pipeline, my nostrils have flared up from the wretched stench of shit. Unfortunately I have no idea whether it is my own. Likewise, I am at that moment, reddened and full of rage at the bottom of my crawlspace, furious at my own ignorant/arrogant stupidity, wondering where the money is: where my future is headed.

Full of ignorance, I decided to experiment in my own methodology of my acquisition of knowledge, its absorption through my filter, and its eventual remixing. The seed of my own destruction. Ouroboros has remained a visual motif that best represents that continual knowledge acquisition. Since starting my full-time position as a teacher at a middle school and finishing up my alternative certification to teach, juggling the multiple responsibilities of


providing for a family, it has been a more challenging semester. Foolishly, I ignored the warning signs of taking on more responsibilities, as I continue to do. It is a continual pattern.

As a visual multimedia enthusiast, I have become obsessed with the techniques of cinema, television, and multimodal projects. Whenever I can, I’m online absorbing Facebook feeds, Pop Culture websites (Vulture, Grantland, Wired, GQ, AV Club, TheDissolve.com, etc.)—my systematic, deconstructive-reconstructionist thought process that has been rendered and re-rendered through the digestion of multiple modes of criticism and multimedia forms would allow me to be able to at least develop the seedling of a well-executed concept. It didn’t. Time flew by. It always does. I hate it. That is my weakness. Despite my great aspirations, ambitions, and conversation threading during class time is the most crucial factor. The best and worst thing is saddling yourself with a job out of necessity, but it is what I have to do in order to provide for my own institution of family, a moral obligation. If I were to make a living of having meaningful conversation and conversation threading, I would. Utilizing a free-form knowledge acquisition of learning through osmosis and not necessarily targeting any specific form of content, but through a quasi-Socratic method of investigation and subsequent analysis, my Viz-Rhet experience has had my thought process finding a groove, re-mixing ideas and experimenting with the form than the actual content.

For my end-of-class project, my vision was to simulate a website detailing my experience journal and how the process has informed methods of communication and its intrinsic relation to drafting and generating rhetorical analysis. The grandiose project would be a self-ethnographic virtual construct that would serve as a multimodal platform for sight, sound, and the mixture of them for a visual-auditory remix. The main page of the website would


feature my own portrait that would visually incorporate interactive aspects of sight, sound, and speech that would direct to those allotted modes of communication. Within the constructed auto-ethnography video that I would embed within the site, it would direct videos in a Walt Disney/Alfred Hitchcockian introduction to my embedded conscious reconstruction of my unconscious mind that would overlap with synapses of precise film clips that integrated interview remix reconstructions that I have had with interviewees over the course of a pre-determined time. Across the canvas of the multimedia presentation, interactants would have the ability to listen to recorded audio sessions I have listed there and remix them with their own questions, leaving behind an artifact of their own construction. Frequent commentaries and scanned pages of my personal journals would be online for display through a Flashpowered animation that would be clickable to flip through, with the textures of a physical journal added to provide a more detailed reconstruction and re-appropriation of a physical object into digital space where an interactant utilizing an iPad would be able to download a specific texture through an app and experience as though they are flipping through a tactile journal but with supplemental multimodal features.

Admittedly, my ambitious plans for the auto-ethnography also feel short of reaching its full potential as due to time, software, and hardware constraints I was unable to accurately construct a viable production that would capture what I was going for. Instead, I developed a preliminary beta version of a 2013 video tribute incorporating films produced within 2013 to reflect a mini-narrative of my experiences within the year. I hate it because it was made utilizing the limited program, Windows Movie Maker, which provided error crashes, limited flexibility, and dated transitions that rendered the final project a failure. In the future, I plan on utilizing Adobe Premiere to better manage my workflow and match the other multimedia components of the project so they can be in sync with the flexibility (i.e. Adobe Illustrator, After Effects, Photoshop, and InDesign, etc.) when I am able to get the computer hardware and software to support it at home for faster accessibility, due to the limited time to incorporate and produce effective footage on-campus within the Multimedia Lab. As a partial contextual background of the film-year tribute, the mini-narrative reflects my year as a person exploring my own potential, making bad and good choices (i.e. experimenting in modes of information/knowledge acquisition, social behaviors i.e. drinking, and mental processing, etc.). Each of the transitions are extremely rough with a multilayering feature unavailable for greater manipulation of the soundtrack, I was forced to utilize an old record scratching beat to change the mood of the video, from happy-go-lucky to dark and depressing. As I was progressing


through various trailers from 2013, it became increasingly difficult to sustain a collective unity as far as overlapping themes, arguably I could engage with the various tropes and narrative clichés that as a whole reflect trends and continuous storytelling techniques, however I was limited by my means of technology sheer volume of processing each trailer’s score and re-editing of dialogue and technical hassles. The mini-narrative continues past turbulent trials and eschews that established darker tone by again shifting a record scratch and flipping the metaphorical disc to a broader stroke of inspirational madness, delving into a more rebellious, egocentric exploration of the self as suggested by Kanye West’s ‘Power.’

Though the semester-long work-in-progress is by my own standards a failure, nevertheless it has been instrumental in helping me realign my overall focus. This semester’s focus has been on looking at the broader canvas as a foundation for future work, leaving the finer details to be filled at a later time. Through this continuous thoughtexperiment of process-osmosis and delayed threaded conversation, the immediate gratification suffers, but viewing this semester as the main piece of a triptych instead of a single snapshot. A film has multiple lives—writing, filming, and editing—during each cycle, the beast transforms and evolves from the ashes of its death and resurrection. Likewise, my own life reflects that vicious Cartesian Circle: round and round. Let’s see where it goes. ∞

Re-Thinking Reality  

Limited scope of evaluation for VIZ-RHET Semester Project.

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