When I first signed up for “Literature and the Other Arts,” I assumed that the course would include something along the lines of doing analyses of movies, paintings, songs, and other mediums people use to convey ideas and emotions. I pictured the work in the class being very similar to other English classes, such as writing the typical 4-5 page essay, but instead of writing on poems, plays, and novels, I would be writing on these other forms of Art. I had no idea I would be challenged to produce my analyses not through written words, but by actively and directly working with these mediums. Creating a playlist to represent a character, recording a podcast on one of my favorite bands, and creating my own collage not only allowed me to exercise my analytical skills on different forms of art, but the in-depth experience allowed me to gain a better understanding of each of these art forms work in their own right. Below is an account of each of my projects thus far, including what I have learned from each project and how I plan to use this knowledge to revise them.
I believe that the playlist was the best project with which to start this class. Although I was a bit of a challenge in some respects, I feel that it was the closest to the type of analysis that I would be asked to do for other classes. As with other English classes, I had to analyze a character and pick certain qualities that I wanted to talk about. Also, the analysis of the music was also not too different from what I have done in the past. However, for the first, I had to combine both of these types of analysis in order to explain what I wanted to about my character. In my first version of the playlist, I feel like I had a good grasp of the character I was focusing on. The one area in which I really fell short was in analyzing the non-lyrical elements of the music. Although while casually listening to music I have of course thought about why a melody might emphasize or match the lyrics of sing, but it was always very brief and not too in-depth. This project really made have to think about how musical elements in songs (melodies, timbre, etc) create a mood, more so than just saying that the lyrics are “melancholy” and the music is also “melancholy.” Realizing this mistake in my project, I have briefly started and, of course, plan to revise my analysis for each to include more in-depth discussion of non-lyrical elements.
By far, the Podcast project was the hardest for me to approach. I had no previous experience with recording my voice for a project that would be presented to a class. Any voice recording I had done was for recreational purposes only and was very short in comparison the Podcast. Despite this inexperience, I was pleased with the way my voice carried in the first version of my Podcast. However, the first version of my Podcast was never completed because I realized (after having listened to some of the sample Podcast played in class as well as the Podcast of fellow classmates) that my style of speaking was for too formal and bland. Although it was somewhat irking to have to re-record, I learned an important lesson about how to make voice-recordings more interesting for the audience. I tried to make my voice as informal and friendly as I could in order to avoid the dry and, to put it bluntly, boring tone that is easy to slip into. Also, I learned about properly setting music under my voice to help my speech from sounding so stale and dry. I now know what the proper volume for such background music is and that it is best to not have any songs with lyrics playing while I am speaking. Of course, I recognize that there are still some areas that could se improvement, such as speaking a little too fast and perhaps trying to rush through too many point too quickly. Realizing that these are issues that need to be worked out, I now know how to revise my project further in order to make it even more pleasurable for the audience to listen to.
Despite the fact that I was able to analyze one of my favorite movies and some awesome songs in the first project and that I was able to analyze one of my favorite bands in the second, I think I had the most fun working on the collage. I didn’t expect that it would be my favorite project, but once I really got going with studying how to put images together and what techniques I could use to emphasis or de-emphasis certain aspects of the pictures, I really found the project to be quite stimulating and enjoyable. One of my earlier mistakes in the project was trying to fit too many images into the picture some of which were very hard to make flow with the collage as a whole. I was able to solve this problem by realizing how to use the natural motions and movements that the images created. The circular motion of the background clock was at first hard for me to work with; I tried putting other images in a circular pattern around the rings, but it ending up looking too forced and kind of cheesy. I found that putting a picture with upward motion to the side of the rings helps keep the motion of the clock without trying to put too many additional pictures in the collations and without making the motion seem so artificial. Also, by putting the pyramids at the bottom and fading one almost completely out of the picture, I was able to use the slope of one of the pyramids to follow the arch of the lower part of the circle. I found this technique of using the natural movements and motions of the objects to be very interesting and effective in creating a collage that flows together very nicely. Overall, I really enjoyed working with Gimp and plan to use it again (if not for a class than just for recreational purposes). I feel the techniques I learned in making this collage really gave me a better understanding of how to successfully use a collages to express an idea or emotion and hope to learn more techniques as I explore further into Gimp in the near future.