Category Archives: Activism

A Stage in Squalor by Caroline Keegan

As a young actor, I grew up hearing “all the world’s a stage.”  The quote comes from Shakespeare, but it gets thrown around pretty casually. Recently I’ve been thinking, if the world is the stage then what does that make me? One of its players? Or just a voyeur?

As I thought about this assignment over the last week, I paid careful attention to when I was a player, and when I was a voyeur. Often I would see things happening around me and not stop to change them– either because I was in a rush or I was scared I would be stepping out of line. Below are some examples.

Camera
iPhone 7
Focal Length
3.99mm
Aperture
f/1.8
Exposure
1/12s
ISO
100

 

 

 

 

Camera

 

iPhone 7

 

 

 

Focal Length

 

3.99mm

 

 

 

Aperture

 

f/1.8

 

 

 

Exposure

 

1/12s

 

 

 

ISO

 

100

 

 

 

Take Out Tragedy

Here is a take out bag I picked up on Sunday night. Not only was it filled with extraneous plastic cutlery and napkins, but it came with two, TWO sets up plastic bags.

 

 

 

 

Camera

 

iPhone 5s

 

 

 

Focal Length

 

4.15mm

 

 

 

Aperture

 

f/2.2

 

 

 

Exposure

 

1/30s

 

 

 

ISO

 

40

 

 

 

Big Bus Blues

The M57 and the M31 MTA stops are right outside my apartment, but recently I’ve noticed the M31 has been idling when traffic is good to stay on schedule.

Camera
iPhone 7
Focal Length
3.99mm
Aperture
f/1.8
Exposure
1/523s
ISO
20

 

 

 

 

Camera

 

iPhone 7

 

 

 

Focal Length

 

3.99mm

 

 

 

Aperture

 

f/1.8

 

 

 

Exposure

 

1/523s

 

 

 

ISO

 

20

 

 

 

Trash Tolerance

Displacement of recycled materials because there wasn’t a public recycling bin for FOUR BLOCKS. (Believe me, I looked.)

As you can see, there were a of issues I noticed in just one week, but I became frustrated with myself for not doing anything to change them, or at least educate my community about changing them. I got frustrated enough with this to work up some courage, and the payoff felt good.

This morning I was in midtown on 8th Ave between 34th and 35th streets. (Or what I like to call the armpit of Manhattan). The avenue is usually packed bumper to bumper on either side of buses, utility trucks, vans, and private cars idling. So I said something… to four cars! And they all turned off their engines!!! It was easy. Here is a picture of some of them.

 

 

 

 

Camera

 

iPhone 7

 

 

 

Focal Length

 

3.99mm

 

 

 

Aperture

 

f/1.8

 

 

 

Exposure

 

1/209s

 

 

 

ISO

 

20

 

 

 

Idle Idiots

I even recorded an audio clip of asking one of them to turn off their engine, which they did immediately without any protest.

It felt pretty empowering to use my rights as a citizen, and has encouraged me to remain as active a player as I can. We really do have the power to change things.

If the Earth is our stage, then we’ve got some major “playing” to do.

 

River Watch

GreenWorld’s first expedition to the River Project’s amazing Wet Lab on scenic Pier 40!

Thanks to Nina Hitchings (River Project’s Wetlab Manager and Head of Interns) we learned a little about the waters of the Hudson River and some of the surprising forms of life which it supports.   While we could have learned a lot more, this was a first visit for all of us but for some, not the last.  Knowing that the Billion Oyster Project is nearby, that world-famous Striped Bass have returned along with onerous-sounding, visually challenging Oyster Toadfish, delicate Pipefish (and their close relation, the seahorse), as part of the 200 different types of fish that make the Hudson River their home, gave us new appreciation and insight into the long-term positive effects afforded by the Clean Water Act of 1972.

The River Project
The River Project at pier 40, NYC

Koyaanisqatsi – Powaqqatsi – Naqoyqatsi

POWAQQATSI‘s overall focus is on natives of the Third World — the emerging, land-based cultures of Asia, India, Africa, the Middle East and South America — and how they express themselves through work and traditions. What it has to say about these cultures is an eyeful and then some, sculpted to allow for varied interpretations.

Where KOYAANISQATSI dealt with the imbalance between nature and modern society, POWAQQATSI is a celebration of the human-scale endeavor the craftsmanship, spiritual worship, labor and creativity that defines a particular culture. It’s also a celebration of rareness — the delicate beauty in the eyes of an Indian child, the richness of a tapestry woven in Kathmandu — and yet an observation of how these societies move to a universal drumbeat.

POWAQQATSI is also about contrasting ways of life, and in part how the lure of mechanization and technology and the growth of mega-cities are having a negative effect on small-scale cultures.

The title POWAQQATSI is a Hopi Indian conjunctive — the word Powaqa, I which refers to a negative sorcerer who lives at the expense of others, and Qatsi –i.e., life.

Several of “POWAQQATSI’s” images point to a certain lethargy affecting its city dwellers. They could be the same faces we saw in the smaller villages but they seem numbed; their eyes reflect caution, uncertainty.

And yet POWAQQATSI, says Reggio, is not a film about what should or shouldn’t be. “It’s an impression, an examination of how life is changing”, he explains. “That’s all it is. There is good and there is bad. What we sought to capture is our unanimity as a global culture. Most of us tend to forget about this, caught up as we are in our separate trajectories. It was fascinating to blend these different existences together in one film.”

To be certain, POWAQQATSI is a record of diversity and transformation, of cultures dying and prospering, of industry for its own sake and the fruits of individual labor, presented as an integrated human symphony — and with Philip Glass’ score providing the counterpart, performed with native, classical and electronic instruments, its tribal rhythms fused by a single majesterial theme.”

QATSI trilogy at NYU Bobst

Not for the answers that might be given, but for the questions that can be raised is this website established. Indeed, the question is the mother of the answer. KOYAANISQATSI’s task is to raise questions that only its audience might answer. KOYAANISQATSI is the first part of the QATSI Trilogy. POWAQQATSI, the second film, was completed in 1988. NAQOYQATSI, as yet unfunded and in search of an angel/investor, will complete the Trilogy. As KOYAANISQATSI focuses on the north and POWAQQATSI on the south, NAQOYQATSI will project its gaze on the global world. With NAQOYQATSI’s completion, the QATSI Trilogy will stand as a cinematic utterance to an untellable event – the technological transformation of the planet. Also, found on this site is the film ANIMA MUNDI. While out-of-sequence of the Trilogy, ANIMA MUNDI has a place in the Trilogy’s progression. All of us who participated in its making bonded in our commitment to realize NAQOYQATSI. What we learned here could be taken there. The Trilogy represents a process, a long span of reflection and production. ANIMA MUNDI’s subject and cinematic treatment expanded the QATSI effort. Created in 1991 with a gift from the Bulgari family of Rome, ANIMA MUNDI was offered as a media voice to the WWF in support of their biological diversity campaign. As the general focus of the QATSI Trilogy is the technological milieu, it is the purpose of this site to foster a web-dialogue on this...

Final Post

I emailed the record label of the song I used in my project, they haven’t responded but I feel a little better knowing that I at least asked.

I am so thankful for this class. I am thankful for the knowledge of this new topic that I now have a connection to. My parents are still talking about moving to Florida, and that urges me to get the word out about what it is we need to be doing to help the Arctic from melting.

One fact that scared me the most about this, is when I read the statics about how during the Polar nights the Ice relies on the low temperature to stay strong, and this winter the temperature will be just at freezing. This doesn’t allow for the ice to grow. It may even continue to melt in the winter.

I showed my project to different people and they were all very intrigued. Even though they did not the the specifics to the dance before watching, it struck up a conversation as to what it was I was trying to portray. Once I told them the story of the dance they wanted to see it again.

I love how this class meshes environmental issues with art. It is nice to find another way in which art can speak to people. I mean that is what art is suppose to do. And I think that it is important to create more art about this topic. Art gets people to talk and once people are aware, only then they will be able to change. After the showing on saturday I am going to put this video up on youtube, and Facebook with a caption, and some facts about what the dance is about. I hope this sparks something in someone. I hope that I continue to create pieces about environmental issues. I am more aware of how I live day to day, and I hope I can spread that to others.

The End… Final Posting

As I am wrapping up my project, I can surely say that I have accumulated a deeper belief and point of view on the importance of keeping our environment healthy, especially our New York City environment. As you all know, my project was focused on green space within urban environments. I focused on why they are necessary for our personal health and for the overall health of the city. I have always loved the outdoors and nature. That is what initially pointed me in this direction, but after spending a lot of time creating and investigating this topic and coming up with a final piece, I have a different relationship with the parks in our city. I have discovered that they are more than just a place for wildlife and trees to thrive, they are also a place for us to exercise, play and essentially escape. They hold so much importance.

Initially my idea for the project, was to interview several people about our green space and create a video montage of their responses. As I was in that process, I realized that it was turning out to not be the most creative or effective way to get the point across.

SO I kept the footage I took but instead of filling the video with interviews, I filled it with a mix of my voice, breath and music that I placed over the video clips. I wanted to find the more creative edge, to really capture the audience and catch them off guard. The video leaves space for the audience’s interpretation, but requires them to think introspectively and openly about what our inner city environment is doing to us. We call ourselves the Big Apple, but our red delicious is in fact rotting at the core. I took this idea and translated it by relating it to the body’s breath patterns.

The music I chose for the piece is from a site called “Epidemic Sound.” This site is created for video makers to choose from the music library provided. The songs are all 100% royalty free and content ID safe and cleared for all multimedia projects. The song is called “Nonchalance and Fabulance 2” created by Marc Torch. It is under the film category and sub category beautiful.

This was an exciting and grueling experience for me, since I am new to working with Adobe Premiere Pro 2015 and took this as an opportunity to challenge myself and create an artistic piece in a medium that was somewhat foreign to me.

Here is the finished piece…