Collective Narrative Week 1

For the first week of Collective Narrative, we were asked to document every hour of one day, in any medium. I first recorded sound every hour at any random time, then at the end of every hour I listened to the sound and created a simple visual using P5.js. As more time passed by, various feelings became more entangled together. Therefore, I added one layer every hour to the same visual sketch. In the end it was a combination of my whole day’s recordings.

The visuals represented how I felt about that hour by choosing different colors, stroke weight, and moving speed. Colors represent my visual impression of the hour; different sizes (in this case it’s stroke weight of the lines) mean how much I was affected by the events of the hour; moving speed is related to the stress level.

Hour 1 Heater

Sound:

I woke up and turned the heater on in my room. Through the window I could see the sun rising after a few rainy days. The color was light orange. I was relaxed.

Visual:

Hour 2 BK Street

Sound:

The streets of Brooklyn were slowly getting busy.

Visual:

Hour 3 L Train

Sound:

The rush hour subway always stressed me out.

Visual:

Hour 4 Shiffman

Sound:

I was in my first Nature of Code class with Dan Shiffman. He always wears a purple jacket.

Visual:

Hour 5 Floor

Sound:

Working on the ITP floor after my class. My eyes were filled with the color yellow from the wooden floor. People were greeting each other after winter break. It was less crowded than usual.

Visual:

Hour 6 Chipotle

Sound:

I went to Chipotle to get lunch. It was always a slightly stressful situation for me, because I worry that I couldn’t pronounce the names of the food properly.

Visual:

Hour 7 Marina

Sound:

I began my class with Marina, Temporary Expert. It was a course about anthropocene, which I had been looking forward to. I was excited and imagining the colors of the sky and the oceans, hence the color.

Visual:

Hour 8 After Temp Ex

Sound:

The class turned out to be fascinating but extremely depressing for me (since we were talking about environmental justice). Around the same time I realized it was dark outside already.

Visual:

Hour 9 Street

Sound:

I went outside for some fresh air. It was a busy evening on Broadway. Cars were rushing by and red, yellow lights were blinking everywhere I looked.

Visual:

Hour 10 Floor Night

Sound:

I went back to the floor and kept working. I was reading from my computer screen with bright light.

Visual:

Hour 11 Train Back

Sound:

I went home by the again crowded L train. I was tired and felt the whole day’s weight on my shoulders.

Visual:

Response to the readings and the museum visit:

This week we read excerpts from the book Tell Me A Story, and paid a visit to the Posthumous Portraiture exhibition at American Folk Art Museum.

I was doing the readings while placing myself in the story-teller position, which confirmed me some essential techniques of storytelling, regardless of the medium. In chapter 2, the author talked about the 1) me-goal, 2) you-goal, and 3) conversation-goal of every story. What I drew from this was that 1) what is the story I want to tell? 2) what feelings I’d like my audience to have after experiencing my story? 3) what discussions I want to evoke from my stories?

Chapter 3, on the other hand, talked about the matter of the audience, and the subjectivity of it. Everyone reads stories differently. Even more so, readers respond to stories largely based on their own experiences. In this case, as the storyteller, I think: who is the audience of my story? Who am I trying to communicate to? Will they be able to RELATE to my story based on their experiences?

Meanwhile, from the perspective of collective storytelling, I try to imagine myself as the audience as well. If I were to tell a story that’s not only mine, but instead, a group of others’ who respectively had different understandings of the same subject, how will I read into their stories? Or will I only be able to relate to the ones I have had experiences with? How would all these affect the story itself?

Only by answering (or at least repetitively asking oneself) these questions can one begin to decide the methods of telling.

Carrying these questions, I went to see the Posthumous Portraiture exhibition. This poignant story about lost ones, particularly young lives, reminded me of the poetic nature of storytelling. The story told here was about memory and loss, however suitably accompanied by the tender metaphor of “shadows”. The metaphor was also shown in terms of the lighting, the installation environment, and other curatorial aspects of the exhibition. Walking away from the exhibition, I not only felt the expected sense of loss, but also a sense of mystery as if I had accidentally peeked into others’ hidden secrets. I give the credit to the methods of communication here, especially one portrait (“Young Bride”) which was carefully placed under a piece of cloth. When the audiences have to physically reveal the peaceful, yet lost female portrait themselves, the mystery and loss were emphasized.