Film Project – Reaching the Dream

For our film project, we decided to create a documentary video around the life of a ballet dancer, Alexandra Avrami, who grew up in a small town in Greece and always dreamed to become a ballet dancer in New York. In our film, we are creating Alexandra’s portrait and we are showcasing her journey from Greece to New York through dance.

What we wanted to convey through our film is Alexandra’s unique personality as well as her thoughts around ballet and her hopes in life. We also wanted to oppose ourselves from other documentaries around ballet like “First Position”(2012) by Bess Kargman that focuses more on the physical hardships that ballet dancers have to go through to reach their dream whereas we focused more on creating a more positive image around ballet and self-expression.

This project was a great learning experience we had a lot of footage that we needed to edit and it was very challenging especially connecting the dance sequences and coordinating the voice overs with the song on the background.

Reaching the Dream from ALEXIA KYRIAKOPOULOU on Vimeo.

Sound Piece

Inspired by Octavia Buttler’s “Bloodchild,” our group created a sound piece designed for an art installation. The part of the story that we chose to narrate through our sound piece begins from the part of the story where Lomas, the external character who is separated from his Tlic, enters the story and drives the dramatic action of the plot. Our piece ends when Gan who is daunted from the horrendous process that Lomas had to go through to give birth, threatens to kill himself rather than be impregnated. For our sound piece we experimented with kitchen tools, creating sounds from breaking eggs, cutting oranges, flickering lights, blenders, running water, vent, percussions on pots, wind sounds and others. We wanted to create eerie sounds that would match the unsettling atmosphere of the installation and would reminiscent the grotesque images communicated with the reversal of the male and female roles. On a later thought, we though about creating three different rooms where in each room the base of the sound would be the same ( e.g that alien/drone sound which is prominent in the majority of our sound piece) but it would change according to which room the visitors will be in.

 

East Village Poetry Walk

The East Village poetry walk, “Passing Stranger,” is an audio interactive experience tour that guides listeners through the neighborhood’s rich history and includes interviews and commentary as well as recitations of poems and archived recordings of key figures that lived in the East Village from the 1950’s to the present.

What I loved about the tour is that it was not a linear story,  and it didn’t  have the same “formal” feel that one hears in museum audio tours. It really felt like going on a walk with Ron Padgett, Anne Waldman or Allen Ginsberg and listening to their entertaining stories. It felt like an anecdote.

But overall, it was an adventure – like stepping into a time machine. Of course, many literary hangouts are now restaurants, boutiques, even tattoo parlors but they still carry worn out signs and the culture of those times gone by. The sounds, the music, the stories, the poems the clear narration along with the streets, the walls, the park, the houses created an immersive experience. There were moments where I was standing in front of an apartment building and I could imagine seeing Jack Kerouac on the fire escape or Ginsberg sending down his keys in a sock to come up. It was a world of its own, and I loved it!

People walked past me as I passed by St. Mark’s on Bowery, W.H. Auden’s old apartment building, Tompkins Square Park, Allen Ginsberg’s old building, the Bowery poetry club and I though how those people probably had no idea of what had happened right at these spots 60 years earlier. I believe it is important for all of the neighborhoods to be celebrated, especially when they carry such real history and culture. It is a way to give back to the neighborhood and people should be more aware of it.3150cf2a1d3da252384b709355594067

Finally, this experience made me think about my own sound piece that I am creating with my group. I had never thought of combining so many different aspects (narration, music, sounds and interviews) to a sound piece. I believe that adding some kind of narration or even words could really contribute to the story we want to tell with “Bloodchild.”

Plagiarism

In in the “Ecstasy of Influence” and “Everything is a Remix” Lethem and Ferguson discuss artists, authors, singers, songwriters, cartoonists, technologists and more, who have adopted their work from others. They both argue that even though we live in a world where plagiarism and copyright are considered “evil,” these works are a massive part of our cultural identity. Well, if you think about it, where would we be without Bob Dylan, Shakespeare, Walt Disney or Martin Luther King’s speech “I have a dream?”
This essay made me think about what are an artist’s goals. For an artist, influence is everything. Therefore, why do artists and writers rarely talk about how much of their work is borrowed from other artists? If you think about it, what would a piece of art be worth if it was not built on the ideas and movements that came before?  We constantly build on something that existed before, in art, fashion, music, technology; Everything is just an evolution of something else. After all, this is how culture evolves.
In his discussion of the commons, Lethem made me view art in a different perspective, he talks about art adding to the public domain as “expanding the world.” This is an interesting idea- It makes me think about how everything grows when people connect and how every interaction and every little piece of information and experience contributes to your knowledge. It’s who you are, and, sometimes, we are not even conscious of all our influences.
So why have we imposed these legal and ethical cages around this level of sharing if influence is part of our everyday lives? These cages only result in limiting our creativity. In today’s post-modern, virtual, globalized world where most people have access to so much information, the term “original” seems outdated and pretty implausible. However, that doesn’t mean that someone is not creative or brilliant.

Ferguson explains perfectly his thoughts on creativity:

“Our creativity comes from without, not from within. We are not self made, we are dependent on one another. Admitting this to ourselves isn’t an embrace of mediocrity and derivativeness — it’s a liberation from our misconceptions, and it’s an incentive to not expect so much from ourselves, and to simply begin.”