Thursday, December 15, 2011

Breakfast - Final Project

My final project is a sound and image compilation titled 'Breakfast'.  This is my first attempt at a stop motion, and it really made me challenge myself with how to make a stop motion work cohesively. The work shows the cooking of breakfast, except all the items have minds of their own and are cooking themselves. I was inspired to create Breakfast after watching Jan Svankmajer's 'Meat Love'. My own work mimics Svankmajer's in the way the inanimate objects are animated and take on personalities, and both can be viewed morbidly as the living food starts cooking itself. The sound to Breakfast includes natural sounds of cooking, and the musical tract is one that I created in Garageband.

Wafaa Bilal - Artist Lecture

Wafaa Bilal is a multimedia artist from Iraq who gave an artist lecture presented by the University’s Department of Art on October 27th.  Bilal creates pieces that are sometimes interactive, and his work is highly based on the political conflicts between Iraq and the United States.
The first project he discussed was called Domestic Tension, which he started in May of 2007.  The basis of this project is that people can go online to shoot paintballs at Bilal at any time of the day.  Bilal wanted to portray the dehumanizing effect on US citizens about war and combat zones.  He said he thought of this project as being a combat zone versus a comfort zone.  I think this project shows the willingness of people to shoot at someone they don’t know for entertainment value if not for political grudges.  Bilal discusses that he was terrified during the project, each time the gun would click meant that someone was on the other end about to shoot him.  For me, this project acted as a small-scale reenactment of what the people in Iraq face.  Bilal’s purpose is to bring awareness to people who live their day-to-day lives not knowing what is happening elsewhere in the world.
Another project I found interesting was the video game Bilal created that was essentially a hunt for George W. Bush.  There was a lot of controversy over Bilal showing his video game on college campuses, and many people called him a terrorist.  His rebuttal is that art is not terrorism, and he is creating work to evoke thought that is not linked to terrorism.
Bilal also made an artistic and political statement with a tattoo on his back.  He got a map of Iraq, with dots in certain places to represent the number of Iraqi deaths in that area.  The whole tattoo was done in invisible ink, which is a comment on how Iraqi deaths seem to go unnoticed.
Bilal’s last project, which is an ongoing project, is a camera in the back of his head that captures images everywhere he goes from the back of his head.  One audience member raised the question that he may have started this project because of a sense of paranoia, and that he wants to keep a visual of what is happening behind his back at all times.  I think Bilal is trying to make a statement that he is watching you, even when his back is turned to you.  You can see Bilal’s latest project at

Morgan McAuslan - Artist Lecture

Morgan McAuslan is a mixed media artist whose installation in the Sheppard Arts Gallery was on display for the month of October.  His exhibit included sculpture and sound.  There were two windmill sculptures that stood in the middle of the exhibit, and an entire wall sculpture equip with motors that spun small corked hammers around to hit various metal containers.
McAuslan was in attendance at the exhibit to offer some of his thoughts going into the process of creating his works.  He likes to use non-traditional item to create objects that are easily recognized.  He said that he found a broken windmill near his home in Oregon, and rebuilt it entirely out of paper.
The piece of work that I found most interesting was the sound making sculpture.  The motor spun around wires that created a chain reaction until the wire the cork on the end was slingshot back to hit the container.  There was an assortment of different sizes of the containers, which made the room fill with various tones coming from the containers.
I think of this piece as recycled music.  All the materials that McAuslan used were found materials that he recycled into art.  The sounds coming from the sculpture are not quite music, because all the “instruments” are played at random.  The sculpture makes out of rhythm tones, similar to that of wind chimes.  You can also start and stop the motors at anytime, making the possibilities infinite for how many sound patterns can be made.
The aesthetic of the sculpture is also eye catching.  It is very geometric, with colored glass squares concealing the motors, and the long constantly moving lines the circle the wall.  The setup of the installation is very intriguing, and there is something to look at on every part of the wall.  I like that every aspect of his project is something old that has been renewed, and he found a different use for these object other than what they were originally intended for.

Miss Representation - Exhibition Review

On Wednesday, November 16th, the Universiy’s Department of Art hosted a screening and panel discussion of the documentary, Miss Representation.  The documentary discusses how the media portrays the role of women, and one woman’s take on how this misrepresentation is affecting our society.
The filmmaker is actress Jennifer Siebel Newsom, and through interviews and examples, she explores how the media has misrepresented women in media, and how these misrepresentations will affect her unborn daughter.  There are big names in the film, such as Jane Fonda, Nancy Pelosi, Rachel Madow, and Katie Couric.
Being a journalism major, I found the section about the role of women as newscaster most interesting.  Women in news are more often than not beautiful and scantily dressed.  In contrast, male figures in the news are older men, dressed properly and mostly attractive.  This shows women in the news taking on the role of bimbos, who are not as credible a news source as the male figure.  Women like Katie Couric, Rachel Madow, and Barbara Walters.  Although these women do not take on the “bimbo” role, they are still discussed differently than a male news source is.  Things like Internet blogs discussing the length of Katie Couric’s skirt, or news articles of the top 10 most attractive women newscasters.  These standards are never seen with men newscasters.
The film discusses that women who are in positions of power and influence are often underrepresented, and the media doesn’t portray these women.  Women who are in power are often seen as “bitches” and more manly than those depicted as sex symbols.  The bottom line of the documentary is than change must start now with us, and that women need to be shown the same appreciation and same standard as men in the media.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

William Wegman

Alli Williams
William Wegman
William Wegman is described as a pioneer video artist, photographer, painter, and writer. Wegman started his art career as a painter at the Massachusetts College of Art.  He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1965, and two years later received his Master of Fine Arts at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  While painting is what Wegman focused on in college, it is not the medium for which he is most famous for today.
After graduating from the University of Illinois, he began teaching.  He started at the University of Wisconsin, and in 1970 moved to Southern California to teach at California State College, Long Beach for a year.  Wegman’s work began appearing in galleries and museums worldwide in the early 1970s, including the Situation Gallery in London and the Sonnabend Gallery in Paris and New York (3).  Although he lived on food stamps for a year before people started to pay attention to his photographs and videos, by the mid-’70s Wegman’s work began receiving both critical and popular acclaim,” wrote Kevin Conley in his article on (5).
The most popularized work of Wegman’s are his photo series and video work of his Weimaraners.  While teaching in Long Beach, Wegman adopted his dog, Man Ray, who was the first of his many Weimaraners to become the subject of his photographs and videos.  “Our new puppy and my interest in photo and video as art mediums were practically coincidental,” said Wegman in an interview with Housepet Magazine (9).  Man Ray was the subject of Wegman’s first video titled Split Screen.  Man Ray died in 1981, and was named “Man of the Year” by a New York City newspaper publication, The Village Voice a year later (4).  Wegman didn’t get another dog until 1986, another Weimaraner named Fay Ray.  With Fay Ray, Wegman began using his Polaroid again.  The offspring of Fay Ray began the growth of Wegman’s subjects, and his portfolio of work expanded.  He took many pictures of his Weimaraner family, as well as video shorts and books (9).
Wegman began creating children’s books with his dogs, with stories like Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Mother Goose, and others (3).  Wegman has also published books for adults including Man’s Best Friend, Fashion Photographs and William Wegman, and Fay.  Many of Wegman’s video works have been featured on Saturday Night Live and Nickelodeon, and he has been creating work for Sesame Street since 1989 (3).  His videos like Alphabet Soup and Fay’s Twelve Days of Christmas feature his dog Fay Ray and other Weimaraners dressed up like people being put into human situations.  The dogs have a deadpan expression for the most part, and seem to be utterly disinterested in what is going on.  This adds to the humor of Wegman’s videos, which, in this case, cater mostly to children viewers.  These video works are very different from his earlier videos from the 1970s.
From 1970 to 1977, Wegman created short videos that were very dry in humor, and quick to get to the point.  His featured video on his website is Spelling Lesson which was created in 1973-74, and shows Wegman reading the results of a spelling test back to his dog.  The dog gives Wegman confused looks each time Wegman spells the word out.  The video works because Wegman is so serious in the situation, and his sarcastic nature makes this particular short funny.
Not all of Wegman’s work is focused on his Weimaraners.  Many of his video shorts from the 1970s are of just him, or of inanimate objects that he gives voices to.  The video, Randy’s Sick from 1970-71 shows lamps that are talking to each other, and one lamp is saying that ‘Randy’ is about to be sick.  Other early videos without his dogs are Stomach Song (1970-71), Massage Chair (1972 – 73) and Crooked Finger (1972-73) (3).  The video work without the dogs is the same type of dry humor that he uses with the dogs, and the quick comical pieces work together as a cohesive collection of work very well.
In an interview with Liz Béar, Wegman discussed the kind of artwork that he is interested in. “I tend not to like short things that are funny and quick, that are more like my own work.  The kind of art that I like and the books I like to read are usually long and involved,” said Wegman (10).  It is interesting that he tends to like work that is long and involved, and that he is indifferent in work similar to his own.  “In art school you’re required to study other art…Even if you didn’t want to.  I had always thought it was important not to have art references in my work, because it would limit the audience,” said Wegman in the book, Funney/Strange.  This shows that Wegman likes to branch out his interests so that he isn’t stuck in just one aspect of art, and also so that he can have a much broader audience with a variety of interests.
Wegman’s original artistic medium was in drawing and painting.  He has received many awards and grants for his work from some of the most impressive art institutions in the country (9).  His paintings and drawings are unlike any other work of his.  Some of his more notable paintings we created in the mid 1980s, and he is still creating paintings today in conjunction with his photographs and video.  His later paintings depict scenery, and tend to be surreal, such as Look at That, which was done in 2007.  His paintings are mostly oil paintings done on canvas.  Most of his paintings do not include his Weirmaraners, and are not seen to be outright comical like his video and most of his photographic work.  The paintings speak to his more serious side, and show his diversity in creating artwork.
While there are many parallels between Wegman’s video work and photographs, some things are different within the two mediums. “…The absence of that time element is what makes the photographs interesting for me to do which is why I do both,” said Wegman in his interview with Béar (10).  His photos are almost exclusively of his dogs, with the exception of some of his earlier photographs.  His videos include both his dogs and himself as the subject.  There are many videos unrelated to his dogs that Wegman has created, and these videos are all shorts either with inanimate object or Wegman himself.  There are several photos of Wegman’s dogs, most of which are juxtaposing them against human situations and dressing them up people.  In many of his videos, especially the early videos, the dogs are not human like.  However the video works he created for Sesame Street and other videos show his dogs with human limbs and acting in human situations.  Both his video and photography work share a common theme, and that is the comical deadpan humor seen both with his dogs, and with himself as the subject.
In a lot of Wegman’s work, he includes himself as a main or contributing subject.  Wegman included himself in his works simply as an extension of using domestic subject material. The effect of his using his own body is strong and is repeated later in his videotapes,” wrote Lavin in her Notes on William (12).  His choice to include himself in his art shows Wegman as a performance artist as well as a photographer and filmmaker.
            Today, Wegman is still creating art and showing in galleries.  His most recent solo exhibition was in Dusseldorf, Germany in 2011.  His prints can be bought in galleries and online, and prices range anywhere from $50 to $1000 for a framed photograph (7).  At the age of 68, Wegman is currently living in New York City, NY.  He continues growing his family of Weimaraners, and has a wife and children of his own.  Wegman’s work, old and new, has a vast audience.  His portfolio ranges from oil paintings, to video shorts, and black and white prints.  His work, which is not entirely cohesive, portrays who Wegman is as an artist and the vast recognition of all his artwork shows his importance in the art world.

1.    Wegman, William. William Wegman: Polaroids. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 2002. Print.
2.    Simon, Joan, and William Wegman. William Wegman: Funney/strange. Andover, MA: Addison Gallery of American Art, Phillips Academy, 2006. Print.
3.    William Wegman. Web. 07 Dec. 2011. <>.
4.    "William Wegman | Art21 | PBS." PBS: Public Broadcasting Service. Web. 07 Dec. 2011. <>.
5.    Conley, Kevin. "William Wegman." 08 Feb. 2000. Web. 07 Dec. 2011. <>.
6.    "William Wegman." Sperone Westwater. Web. 07 Dec. 2011. <>.
7.    "20x200 | Artists - William Wegman." 20x200 | Affordable Art Prints. Web. 07 Dec. 2011. <>.
8.    Ayata, Asli. "William Wegman's Weimaraners." House Pet Magazine. Nov. 2005. Web. 07 Dec. 2011. <>.
9.    Eason, Antonio. "William Wegman Biography." People.WCSU. Web. 07 Dec. 2011. <>.
10. Béar, Liza. "Man Ray." Vasulka. Web. 07 Dec. 2011. <,William/ManRay.pdf>.
11. Keller, Katie. "Featured Artist – William Wegman – December Daily #14." Katie Keller Photography. 14 Dec. 2010. Web. 07 Dec. 2011. <>.
12. Lavin, Mauv. Notes on William.  06 Dec 11.

Electric Straw Flute

The Electric Straw Flute is an instrument unlike any other.  The cut tip of the straw provides the reed for the straw to vibrate and make sound.  The funnel attached to the straw will amplify the sound, and the microphone attached to the funnel that is plugged in to the amp will cause the sound of the straw to be played through the amp, making the flute electric.  The electric flute omits a tone similar to a kazoo, and the  sound can be changed by varying the length of the straw.

Electric Straw Flute by aewilliams

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Feed the Dogs

When making my video, I tried to picture a story in my head that would go along with my compositions, and make the sound of my composition even better.  I had a story in my head of my mom calling me to go over and feed her dogs while she was gone.  The story developed from there as I started collecting and filming video, and my ideas really came to life as I started the editing process.  I drew my inspiration from the sound and context of my deliberate composition

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Video Proposal

Alli Williams
When I hear my composition play, I think of many jump cuts of scenes, because of all the clicks and skips in the record that plays throughout the whole song.  I’ve always wanted to create a stop motion film, and I think rather than doing a fluid video, a stop motion film would go well with the composition.  I think an ‘adventure’ to my parents’ house to feed their dogs would go well with the story line of my vocal parts of the composition, and the overall feel of the composition as well.  At the part where a motorcycle is revving, I would want to show me driving to the store to buy dog food, or just driving to my house to feed the dogs.  I know at the part where there is silence, then a loud screeching noise, there needs to be something big and exciting.  I was thinking of making the rest of the video more slowly paced, and almost dream-like, and then having that scene in the film be the defining part of the whole video, however I haven’t brainstormed a great defining moment yet.  After that scene is the big finish: the dogs get fed, and I leave my parents’ house with a sense of accomplishment.  I think a simple video for this assignment would be the best approach; however I don’t want to do something that will be visually boring.  Keeping the storyline a very simple, everyday activity can bring a sense of normality to the randomness of my composition, and it would also be visually appealing if it went along well with the music.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Mini Golf: A-hole

Our final project of the year was to create a miniature golf hole by using the paper folding program, Pepakura. I first created my design for the hole in Google Sketchup, then used Pepakura to print out the individual pieces that would later form the frame of the hole. I added turf and a ramp at the top of the hole in order to give it more of a mini golf feel, and to make it more functional. The concept for the hole is to create a pun, a hole that's in the shape of the letter A, an A hole. I like the simplicity of the hole and I'm hoping it adds to the appeal of the hole overall. And if the letter grade I receive has any resemblance to the hole, I will be thrilled =)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Leo Villareal - Art Exhibit

Leo Villareal is a digital artist who has a three-month long lightshow exhibit at the Nevada Museum of Art. The exhibit features many different animated light shows that include fluorescent light, strobe light, etc. My favorite piece of Villareal’s at the exhibit was a piece called Diamond Sea. Diamond Sea is a large rectangular pane of mirror finished stainless steel with white lights that travel across the entire grid in a specific pattern. The grid moves between dim and fully lit light to project a sense of depth in the piece, and while you’re watching the lights move you are also watching yourself in the reflection of the back drop.
Some of Villareal’s other showcased works were Lightscape, Big Bang, Chasing Rainbows, and Star. There was also a separate room on the second floor apart from the rest of Villareal’s light shows that shows a ceiling of lights. The lights were constantly flashing strobe lights, and the room provided chairs for viewers to sit and look up at the flashing ceiling above.
The installation titled Star was the main piece shown as you walk into the art museum. It was unlike many of Villareal’s other works, because it featured a steel web with lights attached in a star-like form.
The exhibit overall was very different from the rest of the art in the museum, and other exhibits I’ve seen. The way he expresses his art through light and computer software is a digital media idea that not only takes artistic aesthetic, but also knowledge of computer programs. Leo Villareal’s exhibit can be seen through May 22nd at the Nevada Museum of Art. For more information visit

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Pete Froslie - Artist Lecture

Digital media artist Pete Froslie is a graduate from Nevada who went on to study at the Studio for Interrelated Media in Boston.  Froslie has had multiple shows in Reno and Boston, and has been featured at Comicon in San Diego. He sparked an interest in digital media that first began with cracking open toys and figuring out the mechanics of the toys. He has since created many installations involving the use of mechanical toys.
Froslie’s latest ongoing project is all about the story of John Wilks Booth. Froslie is creating a new persona and a whole different character, and using Booth as the physical representation of the character. The idea of this project is very interesting, in that Froslie is acting as a novelist, creating a story around his Booth character. My favorite aspect of his Booth project was his idea to create an image for a penny stretching machine that was the Booth character. The irony of the project is pretty funny; I like the idea of taking a penny with Lincoln’s image and printing an image of Booth over that.
Froslie’s artworks overall were very engaging, I enjoyed his installations that made use of robotics. His aesthetic seems to be a very ironic type of viewpoint, and his artworks are generally based on complex ideas. To see more of Pete Froslie’s work, visit

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Golf Hole idea - A-hole

My idea for the design of my golf hole is basically creating the layout of the course in the shape of an 'A', thus creating an A-hole.

Pepakura - Gift Box

For my first experience with Pepakura, I made a gift box. While the shape itself was not entirely complex, creating the box took some trial and error to figure out the actual Pepakura program. I hope to excell even more with my next paper folding project.

Monday, March 21, 2011

3D Model - Art Museum

For our second 3D model project, we were to create something completely from scratch. Since I love photography, I decided to create an art museum in my name that contains some of my favorite photos. I found a regular triangular roof to be too boring, and decided to go with a more geometric roof. There was a lot of trial and error involved in creating the museum.

3D Model Collage - iRobot

Our first 3D modelling project was to create something out of items that are already on the web. I decided to create a robot. My 3D model, titled iRobot, is made out of a boombox, a microwave, a spring, metal claws, tank wheels, and a piece of pizza. The robot represents the ultimate iMachine, with music and food all in one place.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Experimental Machinima

My first ever taste of machinima came from this project. Once the group thing didn't really work out, I decided to try my own thing to figure out all the ins and outs of making a machinima. I chose to base my short film off of the poem, "The Road Not Taken" writted by Robert Frost. I was playing around in Second Life one day, trying to find inspiration for my machinima, and I came across the place where I ended up shooting the machinima. Right as I arrived there, I instantly thought of the poem. My biggest problems in creating the film was working out the kinks with the video capture software. For being my first experience with machinima, I'm just glad that I was able to work my way through the whole process. I had fun with exprimenting with machinima, and I feel more confident in working in that medium than I did before.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Digital Nation - Response

Video Link -

Digital Nation is a video about the effects of the mass amounts of technology on our society today. The video revolves a lot around multi-tasking, such as texting while walking or studying while being online. Technology is being shown as a big distraction in the way that people are constanty multi-tasking and aren't focusing on the things they should be focusing on. I think that multi-tasking is a big part of our society, with technology being so prominent. I never give it a second thought that I'm multi-tasking with digital media while doing other things, because it seems so natural to my lifestyle. However, technology may also be dumbing us down. Many things we do with technology may seem so mind-numbing, like sending an aimless text or constantly refreshing your facebook page. Many of the things we do with technology take little to no critical thought, and our generation may, in a way, be becoming dumber than the non-technology age before us.

Digital media can't all be bad, though. Many teachers are now incorporating digital media into their classes, which can benefit students who are growing up into a world where the internet and other kinds of technology are only going to continue to expand as they grow older.Virtual worlds are also an uplifting part of new media, in which people can do things and create things that would never be possible in the real world. People can escape the real world into the virtual world, and become someone completely new. One person in the video said that if you don't jump on board with the new technology, you'll get left behind. I think this is true, and that we need to embrace today's technology in order to succeed in our society.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Second Life Performance Proposals

My proposal for a performance in Second Life is to create a headless avatar, then build versions of our own head to carry along with us. I think this performance may give us a big reaction from other players in Second Life, as I myself have gotten reaction from multiple people. What I did to achieve this look was go into my inventory and find the 'headless avatar' skin. I then 'built' my head out of a sphere block, and attached hair to it. for my facial features, I used the photoshop file of my face that we used in the previous project to create our self portrait avatars.

Self Portrait Avatar

In this project, I created an avatar in Second Life that was a self portrait of myself. I gave the avatar the same body shape, clothes style, and facial features that I have, and imported a template of my face that I created in Photoshop for the avatar's skin. Looking back at the avatar now, I know there are some things that I definately could have altered to make the avatar appear to look more like me. The most trouble I had was in uploading the skin to the avatar, which was a long process that took many tries in order to make the skin appear as normal as possible in the digital world. I had a lot of fun in making the avatar, and she represents me very well in Second Life.

Create Object in Second Life


The object that I created in Second Life is my snowboard. I created this by first building the basic shape of my snowboard, and then I took pictures of my actual snowboard and uploaded them into Second Life to use as the texture. I had a hard time with the basic shape of the snowboard, and I had to add on the rounded edges at either end. I think I could have imprved on this by figuring out how to round the edges of the rectangle shape I already had. Overall, it's a good representation of what my snowboard actually looks like.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Discussion Questions 2/2/2011

These questions are in response to the following blog post --

The article says that "art is the mirror image of a person's identity." That being said, is an avatar an accurate representation of a person, whether that avatar resembles its creator or not?

What are the pros and cons of having your art gallery in the virtual space of SecondLife? What are the benefits to this and what are the downfalls?

Monday, January 31, 2011

Jim Andrews - Arteroids

Jim Andrews is a computer gaming artist who works in the medium of creating a mimicking game. Andrews created the game, Arteroids, which is a spin off of the old Atari game, Asteroids. The game Andrews created is essencially the same concept, except instead of asteroids you shoot at and destroy different words. You're spacecraft is also a word, which changes each time you play. I started out as the word "poetry" then when back and played as the word "desire". When the 'asteroid' words are hit, they explode into a different word, a random jumble of letters, symbols, or numbers. This game is a participatory art piece, and depends on audience interaction in order to be shown in its entirety. The audience also has the opportunity to put together poetry as they go along and shoot the 'asteriods', collecting a different word or phrase each time they fire. The game is simple and quite addicting, try it for yourself! --

Friday, January 21, 2011

Self Portrait HUD

My self portrait HUD is a depiction of my everyday life. The backdrop is the entryway to my house, showing that I can either go outside and to class, or upstairs to my room. My supplies are shown in my backpack, which was everything I was carrying in my backpack within the first few weeks of school. I chose to creat my HUD in a first person shooter format, but instead of a gun I'm holding my iPod. You can see from the top that I had 3 lives, but I have already lost one of them due to a broken heart when my grandma passed away last year. My health isn't 100% because I think I might be catching a cold, and I have 2 new text messages on my phone that I have yet to read.