Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Within Me (Dentro Di Me)
 - a short stop-motion video exploring the anxiety that stems from feeling constricted by one’s physical existence.

This project was an outlet. It relieved some of the stress I have been feeling for the past few months. It helped me realize how difficult life is for everyone and that in someway or another we must all (learn to) cope. In fact, this project was meant to make a statement about how we all may internally cope in very different ways, but when we turn our feelings outward, we tend to express them similarly (hair pulling, closing our eyes, taking deeper breaths). It makes me wonder about the manifestation of emotion and whether our expressions are innate or learned. To complement this thought, I chose to add the Tibetan singing bowl as accompanying music. The sound the bowl emits is a sound of everything-ness. It is a sound that heals, relieves stress, and gives a sense of well being.
Here is a link to the video: Within Us

Here are some of the stills I captured throughout the stop-motion.

I am so thankful for all of the people who helped me create this project. Thank you Alexcia, Makenzie, Amelia, Madison, Ryn, Raina, Kyle, Michelle, and Sabrina. You're all amazing and I could not have made this without you!

Monday, November 16, 2015


Because something is happening here
But you don't know what it is
Do you, Mister Jones?

This exhibition was a collective effort - everyone helped put it together in one way or another. By doing so, it really made the exhibit feel like a unified piece. Arranging everyone's independent works side by side - close to one another - created a lot of juxtapositions, while retaining to one continuous, fluid theme: "Something Is Happening". This theme allowed us to take our art in so many different directions. It also allowed viewers to make their own interpretations of the work, without knowing the artist's exact intention. My favorite part of the exhibit was definitely the books! I enjoyed flipping through them and getting to see all twenty of the photographs each student selected. I think it made the experience at the exhibit less formal, and more personal & interactive (which is not something I have experienced at a exhibit here on campus,yet - so that was cool!)

The sound of someone you love who's going away and it doesn't matter
by Penguin Cafe Orchestra

"I think I am the violin"
very relevant

Tuesday, November 10, 2015


Laozi was an ancient Chinese sage/philosopher from the 6th century B.C. who is known as the father of Taoism. The origin and life of Laozi is pretty ambiguous and even after years & years of research very little is known about his life. Nonetheless, his teachings have been passed down through time. Today he has many Taoist followers. Why did McLuhan choose the passage about immateriality and absence to describe the Western shift toward a more unified, fused society? First of all, it is necessary to understand what Laozi’s passage means. Taoism preaches that "nothingness" should be present everywhere. Without it, there would be chaos. In the Tao Te Ching, order is accomplished by including emptiness - thus, balancing something with nothing. Laozi believed emptiness to be a blessing, without which life would all be too much. McLuhan’s translation is a little different. 
I think McLuhan chose this passage in order to emphasize the apprehension he has about the advancement of technology in Western society. Our society “our western legacy” of separation and isolation has been eradicated by the constant flow of digital information. Like a room, a wheel, or a vase, the usefulness of technology must lie in its empty space. But what is its empty space? Does it have empty space? Media information is now multi-dimensional and comes to us so abundantly and with such speed that we no longer have the ability to categorize it all, and in that sense we are now fusing everything together. We are no longer able to remain isolated. We are constantly involved and no longer detached. While this may be viewed as positive, McLuhan emphasizes its uncertainty. Where is the usefulness in technology when there is no absence of it anymore?

Laozi Riding an Ox, Buhzi Chao, n.d., Ink on paper

Monday, October 26, 2015

McLuhan says "the ear favors no particular 'point of view.' We are enveloped by sound. It forms a seamless web around us. We say, 'music shall fill the air.' We hear sound from everywhere, without ever having to focus. Where a visual space is an organized continuum of a uniformed connected kind, the ear world is a world of simultaneous relationships."

I created this one minute sound montage by splicing twelve voice recordings taken over the past three years. I decided to focus on a sound that made me happy: laughter. It is a universal human expression that brings people together and cultivates happy and healthy environments. It symbolizes a state of freedom and loss of control. The release of laughter is raw and pure. It is liberating to let go and laugh without restrain. Hearing my friends laugh in unison is kind of overwhelming. The piece feels chaotic and untamed, but I still think the sound evokes happiness!
So, let laughter fill the air! 

Sunday, October 18, 2015

(Portrait of Philip Glass by Chuck Close) 

One of the most beautiful pieces I have heard. Take a listen and read along, if you wish (poem below narrated @ 4:10).

Two Lovers on a Park Bench

The day with its cares and perplexities is ended and the night is now upon us. The night should be a time of peace and tranquility, a time to relax and be calm. We have need of a soothing story to banish the disturbing thoughts of the day, to set at rest our troubled minds, and put at ease our ruffled spirits.

And what sort of story shall we hear? Ah, it will be a familiar story, a story that is so very, very old, and yet it is so new. It is the old, old story of love.

Two lovers sat on a park bench, with their bodies touching each other, holding hands in the moonlight.

There was silence between them. So profound was their love for each other, they needed no words to express it. And so they sat in silence, on a park bench, with their bodies touching, holding hands in the moonlight.

Finally she spoke. “Do you love me, John?” she asked. “You know I love you, darling,” he replied. “I love you more than tongue can tell. You are the light of my life, my sun, moon and stars. You are my everything. Without you I have no reason for being.”

Again there was silence as the two lovers sat on a park bench, their bodies touching, holding hands in the moonlight. Once more she spoke. “How much do you love me, John?” she asked. He answered: “How much do I love you? Count the stars in the sky. Measure the waters of the oceans with a teaspoon. Number the grains of sand on the sea shore. Impossible, you say.”

“Yes and it is just as impossible for me to say how much I love you.”

“My love for you is higher than the heavens, deeper than Hades, and broader than the earth. It has no limits, no bounds. Everything must have an ending except my love for you.”

There was more of silence as the two lovers sat on a park bench with their bodies touching, holding hands in the moonlight.

Once more her voice was heard. “Kiss me, John,” she implored. And leaning over, he pressed his lips warmly to hers in fervent osculation.

- Samuel M. Johnson

Monday, October 12, 2015

Miriam Beerman. Expressing the Chaos. Colorist. Inspired by Goya - horror people feel in their lives and existences. Abstract/German Expressionism. Grotesqueness from own experiences. Terrors and disasters of life. Sociopolitical. Expressing pain. Digging into subconscious. Harboring thoughts of pain, anger, and survival. Bloody Heads - protest against Vietnam War.
"NOT interested in pretty pictures."
First woman to have solo show in NYC - 1971. The New Humanism. Makes art because it gives her meaning. Not for marketing. Art/painting is extension of her existence. We see messages in her work that she does not always intend. Work speaks for itself. "Interpret it however you want." 
Significant: Nazi Germany and Holocaust. Represented the horror and terror of the Holocaust. Constantly protesting history and dealing with torment.
"Artwork that is 'moving' makes you feel uncomfortable."
Collages represent chaotic themes. She gets ideas while making them. Through them she is expressing chaos within herself, while not trying to find order in it, either. 
These are my notes from the film screening. Fragmented sentences, little structure, but an understanding of the overarching themes of darkness, horrors, and evil in life.
Miriam Beerman's art is haunting and unapologetic. It's a dark expressionistic representation of her world. It is an extension of her thoughts. An extension of her being. One which is tormented by the terrors of injustice. Her paintings are not silent. They are overwhelmed by movement and sound. They scream the pain caused by injustice. Beerman's works are the realest you can get to visualizing fear. I so easily feel the heaviness and the pain she created with her brushstrokes, and I am paralyzed by the anguish they transmit. While I am easily moved by art, I have never felt this shaken. I am left in awe by Beerman's ability to create beauty from terror and to convey it with such intensity and authenticity.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Project No. 3: Something is Happening Photography Series

I thought pretty long and hard about how to execute this project, and it wasn't getting me anywhere. After realizing that my thoughts were impeding me from actually doing the project, I chose to stop overthinking so damn much and just start photographing (this always happens). I chose to use the simplest and easiest device to capture my pictures: my iPhone 4S - not very high-quality/resolution and pretty "amateur", but it worked really well for my point-and-shoot technique. 
McLuhan says the way space is perceived shapes our culture. Since the Renaissance, the Western world has perceived the environment in terms of the visual (p.57). It is not to any surprise then that our environments affect our mood and well-being so much (Ed Vessel kind-of-thinking). Broadly, this is what I focused on: understanding how our environments look and how that affects us.
As I began observing the spaces around me, I wondered what they'd look like in a square frame. How would my own compositions change what these natural arrangements meant? How would it constrict their existence, but also put emphasis on their meaning and purpose in life? Did they have a purpose? My little square photographs try to make sense of the arrangements in and of the space around us, while also asking the question "why?". Why are things positioned/arranged/decorated as they are? What does that do to and for us? How does it make us feel?  

I wanted to highlight the different appearances of environments according to their purpose. While some environments are simply created to attract the eye, others are made with a specific and sometimes not-very-aesthetic purpose (mostly efficient and economical). So I chose to juxtapose the different man-made environments and their "beauty" within the structure of my album (and hopefully in someway, emphasize their beauty).  

Here is a link to my Flickr album Arrangements

Monday, October 5, 2015

Neuroaesthetics dribbble

While I am bummed out that I missed Ed Vessel's visit to our class on Thursday, I feel that I was able to learn some pretty informative stuff about his area of study (neuroaesthetics) at his lecture on Wednesday. I am interested in both of these fields separately (art/aesthetics and neuroscience/psychology), so seeing how they function together was very new and intriguing. The very basis of Vessel's lecture focused on understanding how we perceive art, what goes on in our brain when we observe art, and what are the psychological and neural aspects that cause our aesthetic responses to art (and other things that surround us like architecture, landscapes, regular everyday objects, etc.). Now, I don't know if I would consider myself an "aestheticist" but I do find myself appreciating and being attracted to "nice looking" forms around me. That sounds a little weird, but what I really mean is that I find that the way things are built/setup/constructed/or just exist around me really affect my mood. Vessel pretty much stated that this feeling is normal and that aesthetic considerations actually affect our well-being! So, surround yourself with things and places and people that you find aesthetically pleasing because, well, it will make you feel better than if you do not. Vessel also explained how environments that are isolating, confining, and extreme can cause potential risks for someone's psychological well-being. He then very quickly mentioned that this kind of setting is unlike the one of today's internet culture, in which we are never isolated and are constantly being fed information from all directions. This point, while short and not his main point, made me ponder on whether McLuhan is accurate in saying that "the medium is the massage." 
While this constant influx of new/improved technology and flow of information can be at times unnerving, it also soothes our worries about being alone or isolated by keeping us constantly connected. Is this benefiting us? Is it helping our well-being? Or is it numbing us? I think we have become desensitized to some of the anxiety we feel about technological innovation because of the aesthetic appeal of the medium itself. Every year there is some new iPhone out that's a little slimmer, a little shinier, and a whole lot of everything else that people like to see and then buy. And at the end of every year that piece of technology is deemed as old, slow, or "so last year" because we know that right around the corner a new and improved version of the same thing will be available! This hedonistic cycle is vicious, but technology keeps feeding into our aesthetic pleasures which makes us all feel good... temporarily. 
The above was a little tangential and I don't even know if it makes much sense. However, I will close this reflection off by saying that Vessel's lecture made me stop and really think about how some things can please the eyes and the senses (and even "move" us). I think that in some ways, the aestheticism that Vessel speaks of is the medium McLuhan writes about. They both massage our minds, numbing us and pleasing us, simultaneously. 

Monday, September 28, 2015

Happy Hour
This is my take on an experimental video - whether it actually is "experimental" is another question. As I have stated before, I've always enjoyed documenting things that go on around me, so I chose to integrate this aspect into my video. I decided to focus on the idea of "Happy Hour" because I think it symbolizes a break from this "age of anxiety" that McLuhan speaks of. It is a moment that allows us to interrupt our schedules and abandon our worries. More or less we join others for a good time and forget about our homework due the next day. Shooting this video reminded me of McLuhan's thoughts on our new world of technology, "Ours is a brand-new world of all-at-once-ness. 'Time' has ceased, 'space' has vanished. We now live in a global village...a simultaneous happening. We are back in acoustic space. [...] We have had to shift our stress of attention from action to reaction."  While I am documenting the actions and decisions of others around me, I am also partaking in them by choosing what to shoot/focus on, and thus I am really just reacting to it all. Through media (video) everyday movements and actions are turned into forms of art - and simply just reactions.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

(The blog is an extension of the _________ )

How cool are these!? I've always loved imagining the artist making his artwork. Now I don't even have to use my imagination! Here are a couple snippets of artists at work (not sure how real or staged these are, but still pretty cool).


I originally found these videos here.  
Thisiscolossal is a popular website where you can discover art & other fun stuff!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015


I tend to stumble on what to say about myself in these sort of assignments. I don't think I have grown enough as an artist to really know who I am or what I would want to say as one. But I will try.
Colosseum, Rome, Italy, 2014
My name is Chloe. I am currently a senior studying psychology and studio art at Lawrence University. I am half Italian, half American. 
I grew up in Rome and speak the language fluently; however, since moving to the States for college I have felt a great detachment from my Italian identity. I think, at times, I portray this loss in my artwork (especially in photography).
I take a lot of pictures of these two:
I have a fascination with documenting life around me. I take what some may consider way too many photographs with my iPhone. I want to be able to have a physical record of everything, basically. If I don't have my phone on me I will immediately regret it, not because I can't text or call or facebook, but because I can't photograph things. (*side note: my phone is currently in a ziplock bag of rice because it's waterlogged, so you can probably imagine how I am feeling rn.) I feel like many of you can probably relate to this, since we live in a time when documenting our daily (mostly mundane) routine and then posting it all over social media is pretty normal. On the other hand, some of you may really not agree with this kind of documentation because it can take away from the actual moments you're in. I don't know. Anyway, what may be different from some others is that I really, really value these tiny photographs. I don't delete them easily because keeping memories with me makes me feel a little more whole. All in all, I think that partly losing this chunk of who I am has really urged me to try my best to keep hold of what I still do have. Does that sound corny? It probably does.
Cardinal perched on a snowy tree, 2013

 So, I really enjoy photographing (both digital slr and darkroom) and I feel like it's a meditative form of expression. Sometimes I take photographs to remember, sometimes I take them to express a feeling, but most of the time I stumble upon things I see beauty in and want to capture them. As someone who tends to be hyper-aware of (and easily distracted by) everything, photographing really focuses me in on things occurring around me and makes me feel a little less scattered and a little more connected.
 I could probably say a lot more about what art means to me, but I find it difficult to formulate what I want to say through it. Mostly, I photograph to convey what I see and hope to elicit a certain feel. I think/hope that the photographs can do the rest of the talking. Another corny ending to a paragraph!
Dall'Alto, Winter Light, January 2015

Tuesday, September 15, 2015


I think writing a blog is pretty much like keeping a diary, and I must admit that I've never been quite good at that. I don't always find it easy to express myself through written or spoken word. It isn't because I don't think I can write well, no. It mostly has to do with the fact that I incessantly edit my sentence structure and word choice. I re-read every word until it loses its meaning, and then I'm stuck trying to find a better word that can more accurately capture the "actual" sentiment I am trying to convey. I mean, let's take this post as an example. I think I've written about 8 drafts of it now. But I keep erasing, changing things around, and then getting sick of it all and starting over again. THUS, I HAVE DECIDED TO WRITE IN A STREAM OF CONSCIOUSNESS, just as dear Virginia Woolf once did. If you see a grammatical error, too bad. This is my brain rambling and my fingers aren't going to stop and my eyes will not look back at previous sentences, otherwise there will be no project 1 posting!
I'll end this with a photograph I took a couple years ago of the most important beings in my life.