Documentation: we are not alone

*Edited on Final Cut Pro X
Music by Sophia So Far – Goodnight Radio
Shot on iPhone 6s*

For my sequence video, I decided to give human elements to a non-living object that holds some resemblance to a human. The project is a mixture of video-cut motion and live video, allowing to create different aspects and emotions through the earphones. My decision to go with Apple EarPods was due to how the earphones themselves look like a fusion of Minions and Storm Troopers. All sequential shots are held by a tripod and do not shift along with the progression of the Apple EarPods.

Alternate Persona: Cigawet Smoker

For my alternate persona, I took on a very passive aggressive approach of being a cigarette smoker. In my nature, I am a polite person that likes to read body language to make sure no one in the room is disturbed in any way. For my project, decided to smoke through 2 cigarette boxes within the lapse of 48 hours. The brand I chose was Parliament as I randomly chose a politically appealing brand due to how I myself am a Political Science Major. My project involved smoking indoors, especially in my own home which serves as a transitioning spot where most of our friends drop by during the day before they head out to classes. The reactions recorded seemed to be much more disturbing in body language that was given off and in the anxieties that were set into motion within the room I was smoking. Most of these recordings involved me going through 2-3 cigarets at a time to extend the provocative window of smoking, creating a longer period of time to get reactions as oppose to making it a chronic smoking project with shorter windows.

May 23rd

10:00-10:30am Woke up to a shower and smoked a cigaret right after I exited the shower. Ended up leaving to class reeking like tobacco. This is very different from my persona as I have a habit of spraying cologne on myself prior to leaving the household.

12:00pm Smoked a Parliament outside our apartment porch. My neighbor Alex noticed and asked if I had started smoking cigarets on the daily basis. I said I was just trying them out for a class assignment. He then dove into the mythical history of how Russian and British soldiers favored Parliament cigarets during WWI warfare due to their extended cigaret filters. Alex ranted off to me on how gunners would bite down on the butts of the cigarets as they locked down on other soldiers during trench warfare. 

2:47pm I have been walking around campus with a cigaret on my ear. As I stand up to take extra handouts up to the TA, my cigarette falls in front of the class. 

5:45 pm Housemate Roberto Casas notices me smoking in the living room and invites me to go smoke with him outside. I invite him to go smoke on campus with me but he admits he can’t smoke past 2 cigarettes at a time. I end remaining in the living room while we discuss how many cigarets we usually smoke per spark.

6:00 pm Another housemate notices us walk out of the room and asks if we have an extra cigarette to join us. He doesn’t smoke on the regular basis, instead he uses the cigarette to Moche a bong rip (half cannabis, half tobacco).

7:00-7:45pm I enter to take the final. Offered some cigarets to several students and a couple of them took them.

8:30pm I arrive home to smoke a cigaret in the living room and another friend asks “wtf you’re smoking cigs now?” Though that was not the case, I was a little disturbed by the way in which the context was brought up. The lingo was definitely passive aggressive on his end. He kept complaining about the smell in the living room. I did a very provocative thing by remaining in the room. I was looking to be asked politely to leave the room but no one in the room approached me in such a way. 
May 24th

12:00-2:00pm I walk into section 7a class as my persona. As we discuss the sequence of several of our peers, I offer cigarettes off to read body language reactions off of people. One of our peers actually liked smoking as he had taken one the previous day during lecture and another during section the next morning. 

9:17pm I was watching a documentary about Liberia over at my friends apartment at Coronado apartments called “The Cannibal Warlords of Liberia”. One of my younger friends named walks in intoxicated and notices me smoking a cigaret. He then pushes for me to take a moche. This was not part of my whole intended project but I adapted the intake of my consumption of tobacco in this case to see what beneficial feelings my friend would get out of this. I ended up taking the moche in front of him. His reaction was filled with joy stating “Youuuu seeeeeee!! That’s how you take a moche!!” as he then followed by taking his own moche. I played along with this approach that he had initiated as he joined us to watch the documentary for a bit. I ended up taking another moche around 45 minutes later and he then stated, “ohhhh yeahhh we converted another one!” This is the sort of reaction I was digging for as I wanted to see if there was any sense of reaping fruit out of getting others to take mochas with him. 

11:59pm As the countdown to the 48 hours being done was coming to an end, I sparked a Parliament inside our living room for one last time and was joined by a housemate of mine. We talked about how my assignment was coming to an end and how I would have to document everything afterwards. He was not fully aware of how I was recording people’s reaction as he thought the project was meant to record my own natural feelings in terms of physical and psychological health.

May 25th

9:30am I decided to smoke a Parliament just to finish the box that I was left with. My lucky cigaret (the one facing upside-down), was a habit that was taught to me by my a fraternity brother before he left off to the bay after graduation 3 years ago. I was again approached another housemate and joined for a little conversation. I told him how I have never really liked smoking indoors due to how it leaves a pestilence and because of the bad looks that are given off by other people. He agreed with me on how he was exactly the same but then it troubled me on how he never told me this when I was being a provocative smoker the past days in the living room.

It was with this one interpretation that I found my Alternate Persona to be a slight mixture of my real persona through the context of being respected as a person. I noticed that the closer my friends they were, the more gullible they were with anything I did regardless if it was a ‘good or bad’ thing. The discovery kind of stunned because it showed me how some of my friends were following the actions I do without questioning them at times. This problem of being a ‘facilitator’ is what I was trying to hit or miss with the whole project itself as I posed a personal hypothesis on how much my presence influences an environment. In conclusion, I believe this to be a very strong personal project that anyone could replicate to figure out the context they hold within their own circle of friends. It thought me many things that could not be documented through language itself but rather read through the analysis of body language and context in an environment.

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Art Experience: Morgan McAllister, Eleuthromania

Morgan McAllister, Eleuthromania, 2016 paint on canvas Image 2

The emotions that this piece invokes in me is a rather peaceful but empty emotion. The painting colors for this canvas are not only warm and playful but the sharp black line that dominates the canvas helps give order to the canvas itself. The dark line, so simple and directional, is what allows the audience fill the painting with their own emotion. In my case, I feel a warm lonesome sensation yet this dark line helps invoke a sense of order within the canvas though there is no visual pattern whatsoever! The geometrical use of this dark line is what allows for its angles to dominate the canvas with an authoritative yet legitimate reason, causing a fluent visual with the other colors which are much more passive and warm acting as complementaries to the dominant dark line.

ImageThis painting reminds me a lot of my own childhood paintings in kindergarten simply because of the playful way of displaying a home through the simple shaping of a square and triangle. The building is not only a realistic image but an illusion through Morgan’s painting stroke as she helps create it with crooked lines.The fact that it is not linear and precise adds a sense of humanity and childlike connotation. On the bottom right of the painting is what can be seen as a distant cross being viewed from a bottom side angle. At sight I did not associate this with a any sort of religion but I did associate it with a sense of a past time on behalf of the painter. It looks more like an electrical light post but these assumptions could only be answered by the painter herself. The bleeding of the white paint on 3 edges while the red dominates the middle and bleeds on the right edge is an interesting approach that the artist really took into consideration since it dominates the whole canvas. The interest of using this 3-1 ratio adds a deeper meaning that I can’t grasp on just yet but also the black stroke to merge the white and red portions of the canvas near the right side of the edge adds to the ‘visual separation’ of this canvas that displays a red canvas being  layed over a white canvas.

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The emotion invoked through this painting is confusing and chaotic yet as the viewer, I get no sense of threat or insidious context from this painting. This is surprising since the dominant colors are red, black and white, with red and black being symbolic to symbols of power. I believe the white does indeed tone down the chaos and authority of the red and black on the canvas but it also create a ‘sense of wonder’ type of background where the white allows for the other colors to travel as if they’re on an infinite space. This gives the whole canvas a rhythmic visual from the light red squiggles on the top of the canvas, looking as if they would continue to move in the same pattern outside of the canvas. An interesting part to this painting is the offset doc of paint that is located in the lower middle of the canvas. This box serves as a base for the home residing above it but it also creates a whole different canvas within the 2×4 canvas. This is done by making the boxed painting a visually disturbing pattern that does not match the visual patterns around the rest of the canvas. Morgan’s play of visuals with the paintings allows me as the viewer to separate both sections of the painting in my head and attempt predicting what is left underneath the box that has been removed off the canvas.

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This painting reminds me of a blurred recovery stage, almost like the recovery stage of an interior of a home when its paint or walls have been damaged. Through this visual, I feel the sense of internal recovery being conveyed through the white washed canvas. Almost like a blur phase in one’s mind, Morgan uses the simple combination of two colors with shading to convey the binary mixed emotions of the canvas. The shading in my opinion narrates the piece itself, providing a free roam like narrator that doesn’t exactly tell a story yet invites for the viewer to fill it with their own perception as the emptiness of the painting allows for the viewer to run off in their own imagination. The top edge of the piece, though the color is dominant, further adds to the emptiness of the piece as the white then becomes a spatial realm surrounded by brown bleeding edges.

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This picture attracted me the most of all because of how it gave me the effect of a visual pattern. As I observed the painting, I began to get comfortable with the black crayon/pastel squiggles that are associated across the whole painting. As I began to observe it more closely, these lines go underneath the layering of the pink paint. The effect that I like about this painting is that we as the viewers already know these lines are layered beneath the pink paint yet they vanish from sight as Morgan paints over these huge chaotic squiggles of the black pastel while leaving smaller section out in sight, some being surrounded by pink painting and others being left to wonder off the chaos of the rest of the painting. The use of spacing and contrast is applied in multiple contexts as Morgan plays with the audiences visuality of what is truthfully there beneath the blobs of pink or other dominant color blobs. The reaction that I get out of all this chaos is almost like an organized chaos, a chaos that is not exactly rhythmic but rather well balanced throughout the whole canvas. The whole perception that I read out of this painting is that realistically there are many more squiggles and painting blobs layered on the painting that we may not see and Morgan plays with our perception of viewing reality from illusion. As she allows the contrast and laying of paintings to dominate the whole canvas, she also leaves little hints of layering to display that there is much more complexity going on beneath all layers of paint. The painting to me is very symbolic of how we as people can view each other externally but are clueless on what others feel internally yet we are given hints through body language and direct verbal communication.

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I really liked how this piece invokes a comical realm with the use of thin black lines and grey shading. In addition, the dominant dark box hangs into this sequence, making me try to imagine how long this box hangs from its illusional ceiling. The use of grey shading is one of my favorite tactics used here by Morgan. The reason for this is because the gray shading overlays a ‘lamp head’ like figure with bright yellow looking like a light bulb. The irony of using grey shading to convey this is what I believe to be one of the most savvy tactics in this piece. This same effect can be applied with the left portion of the piece as shading is used below the dark box to possibly convey more streams of light.

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For this piece, i wasn’t really fully able to decide what I was exactly thinking while looking at it. It is almost as if Morgan wanted to give stigma to the piece by creating shading of white in the lower half that nearly looks like a mist surrounding a towering object. The green paint within the tower creates the emotion of empowerment internally within there towering object. Due to the shading of white over the green, the green looks as if it is traveling upwards with a stronger compression as it nears the top of the wearing object.

 

 

Art Experience: Jeffrey Page’s AIR Exhibition @ Red Barn

Jeffrey Page’s artwork was unique with how he placed objects on canvases’ and how he incorporated many personal events through his artwork pieces.

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When I enter the exhibition, this piece stole the light as it laid in the smack middle of all other pieces and dominated with its proportion. When I first saw it, it looked like a simple drop off of “a b o u t” words to hold down the plastic but later I saw this image up close and noticed how it was a huge bowtie

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His use of bowties is what caught my attention the most out of the whole exhibit. In this piece, he uses a quote from one of Rauschenberg’s readings. When asked why a bowtie, he referred to how a bowtie is symbolic of declaring something as a ‘finished piece’, almost like the documenting of a piece itself! I found this to be an interesting way of displaying his own artwork while also appreciating the influence others have had on him. The bowtie itself has a deeper connotation that just being a ‘finished product’ as can be seen in the following piece.

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This piece is very interesting and personal to Jeffrey. Throughout the whole exhibition, there are various art pieces that have a bowties in them. Jeffrey told us that the bowties are symbolic to showing when something is done, a finished product. Going back to the paperwork on the wall, Jeffrey mentioned to us that these are the analysis papers that were given to him after being diagnosed thyroid cancer. The symbolism of this piece is very personal and compliments the whole exhibition due to how a bow tie is placed right over the person’s thyroid. This piece has a double connotation that is unrecognizable until speaking with he artist himself. I found this to be the most interesting way of displaying art because it incorporated all other art pieces and explains why they’re so symbolic in their own ways.

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In this piece, we see Jeffrey applying his personal life to the artwork himself by literally shredding his art thesis and placing it as a back layer that fills the gaps of his artwork in between the wall. This is an interesting approach to displaying his piece because one side of the piece mounts on the wall without the thesis while the other is enforced by his shredded thesis behind it. This may have been symbolic to how his post-graduate work has involved in comparison to a simulated prior-graduate work on the left. I personally forgot to ask this question to Jeff but he did mention that many of his pieces devote appreciation to Robert Rauschenberg’s influence over Jeff’s own artwork.

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What interested me most out of this picture is how the elements on the canvas are overrated in a 3 dimensional fashion. Jeffrey Page plays around with our conception of canvas paintings due to how paintings are complex layers of colors to create an image. Though the image is not tangible it is visually appealing if a natural form is created. In this case of the painting, our perception of canvas paintings is brought to life by using elements that are actually tangible to narrate the whole canvas. The use of another hinge lock over the blue shirt on the canvas tells us a lot of what Jeffrey was trying to convey as he attempts keeping the elements close to the canvas rather than letting them swing over it. In contrast to this, Jeffrey also applies another dress shirt on the bottom of the canvas which violates the whole pattern of this canvas by hanging off its bottom edge. The use of the blue painting underneath the lower edge dress shirt also creates another effect that is nearly symmetrical to the blue shirt on top. The use of shapes is also applied onto this painting with triangles being the dominant shape of the piece.

Documentation: The Flash

For my personal space project, I collaborated with Noah and Fernando, creating the provocative paparazzi personal space project known as The Flash.

The Flash project involved us being a provocative paparazzi that would throw off students walking out of the UCSB UCen.

The manner in which we created the personal space was by approaching students that were distracted with electronics while walking and getting in their face to report on their new role in the film “Chalupas & Beer” co-starred by Seth Rogan and James Franco. As I asked this, Fernando would be unrolling the red carpet in front of our upcoming star while Noah would be bombarding us with flash form the pictures.

The results were rewarding! With some students fully complying and smiling throughout the whole enactment while others curbed around the red carpet (not to mention a girl that came back furious to ask what the pictures would be used for).

The majority of these enactments would begin with a complete confusion from students but as we facilitated the conversation, these students gained the confidence to remain in the enactment as they smiled walking over the red carpet themselves!

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Documentation: Truth or Fiction

Both of the stories below were inspired by my childhood. Though many kids liked T-Ball, i found myself frustrated having to stand out in the outfield for an hour without being able to touch the ball. T-Ball was a slight window in my childhood but it encompassed my sentiment as a young child and drove me away from baseball as I grew older. On the other hand, Christmas was a special time not just because of the gifts but because of the materialistic perception that my father lives by. As a child I appreciated gifts but ignored the materialistic ideas that my father held too. It wasn’t until he left the household that Christmas shifted from a materialistic celebration to a communal and family oriented celebration.

 

 

T-Ball, Under the Sun

Growing up, our parents always scolded us for watching tv and tried limiting our eating of chips. I remember being sent off to t-ball practice against my own will at age 7, dragged away from Rocket Power on a sunny afternoon. I ended up going to practice that day, and again the next day, and again. I hated practice, I hated it so much. I always missed Rocket Power because of it, I wouldn’t have minded missing CatDog but Rocket Power? Really? But on the contrary,  it only took me one baseball game to like the sport! I remember being sent off to the outfield and man was this boring! I stared out to the t-ball with so much focus, I don’t think I was supposed to be so focused but it worked. I felt athletic and ready to spring wherever that ball went. “Butts down low” Coach Joe would always say. So I ended up crouching a bit in the outfield and found a ladybug near my foot. I liked naming insects that I find for some odd reason just how my brother liked naming his toys Phil. I ended up naming the ladybug Carlos. I didn’t pick it up because the ball had just been swung, 5 feet across home plate. The batter ran like not other towards 3rd base! NOOO NOOOO, shouted the parents, THE OTHER WAY, THE OTHER WAY!! Poor boy ended up crying and ran straight towards the playground to hide beneath the play structure. I then stared over to the t-ball, waiting for the next hit to come my way. My boredom continued throughout the game, counting the number of clouds in sight, looking for anymore ladybugs nearby, waving at all of my other outfield companions (Juan, Pollo, and Ivan). Luckily, the game ended and I was ready to go home but Pollo’s mom pulled out a Frito-Lay variety pack of 30 bags of chips and two cases of Kool-Aid Bursts. You bet I was the first in line! It was then that I realized, if t-ball means standing around for an hour and getting drinks and snacks after the game, then this might be my type of sport.

The Receipt

As a child, Christmas was always my favorite time of the year. Though when I was 8 I was a little disappointed from the previous year having been given a Tamagotchi instead of a real dog. I guess we can say it was a good call because Rex didn’t last a week. This time around, I was determined to get an Optimus Prime Transformer. I looked over the Toys R’ Us magazine, flipping anxiously to find my requests and circled what gifts I wanted because our parents were able to give this message to Santa, pretty cool of them right? It then crossed my mind to create the most secure method of communicating with Santa what I wanted. I cut out the circled toys that I chose and glued them into a Christmas card. Christmas came around and I was stoked to play with my new Optimus Prime. A few weeks passed and while helping my dad clean his car, I came across a Toy’s R Us receipt that had Optimus Prime under as a purchase. It was like a dagger to a young child’s imagination. It took me a few hours to fully absorb what I had seen but at the end of the day, whether it be my dad or Santa, thank you for bringing me my favorite transformer, Optimus Prime.

 

Documentation: Allegory of the Cave

For my spoken word project, I decided to reenact a conversation my roommate Oscar and I had. The philosophical conversation in which we had was dense in symbolism and allegories of life, allowing for the viewers to interpret the piece to their own personal values. The whole intention for this project was to spark a pondering audience by the time the piece was over. Leaving the audience to wonder on what was discussed in the spoken word and sparking conversations that may enter the realm of opening pandora’s box for straightforward thinkers.

 

“Hey Oscar, so what do you think about capitalism? Do you think it’s natural for us to be competitive?” – me  🤔

“Capitalism is natural. Well not capitalism but the part of competing is natural to try and provide more for your family and yourself.

I mean have you seen animal planet, all animals live for the same reason and that is to replicate and try to pass their genes on to the next generation.” – Oscar 😌

“Wait what? Ahhhh I see where you’re going with this! So you’re saying capitalism is not natural yet due to our competitive nature, we have inevitably created this ideal of capitalism?” – me 😯

“Yeah that’s what I’ve been trying to say! Capitalism is just an ideal created out of our competitive nature. It’s not a natural form of competition but it does have the core trait which is to compete and that could be seen in all of life” – Oscar 🙃

“Hmmmmm, damnnnnn. That’s a pretty rough way to see things. I mean you’re heavily relying on the assumption that we all live to pass our genes on and survive, that that is the whole reason why we all live for” – me 🤔

“Haha what do you mean? No I’m not saying that! I’m just saying that it’s natural to have this competitive mentality. Like for example a tree! If one tree begins to grow quicker than the others around it, then it will automatically take up more space and consume the sunlight that others would need to survive! The fact that that tree was born with a natural advantage allows it to survive over others, which can be translated into capitalism” – Oscar 😆

“Wait wait… I want you to stop and think about this. Why is it that that tree grew quicker than the others? You answered it yourself, it was born with a natural advantage. But I want us to pause for a bit and think of the situation that you have just created. This tree that you are using as an example, already has an upper hand to survive over others because of its natural advantage. But why associate its survival with it’s own natural advantage? How do you know this tree grew to be so big because of it’s own traits? Because the way I see this tree, is that it grew to be so big and tall because of its proper place and time of water and soil. Not that it’s natural advantage doesn’t matter but that there are other factors to why that tree grew so big and tall. I honestly see this tree so big and tall not because of it’s own natural advantage, but because it was able to absorb the things around it which allowed it to grow.” – me 🤔

“Nooooo yeahhhhh definitely that tree is going to need proper water and soil for it to grow bigger! Like you can’t have a tree without those things you know. But once a tree begins to consume more space over others, it’s going to continue to naturally grow at that rate because of it’s natural advantage and it’s going to reap over the sunlight that other trees would need to grow.” – oscar 🤓

“No yeah. I understand that Oscar, there are multiple factors that make a tree grow. But you see, you’re assuming this tree is going to be bigger and better simply because of this natural advantage. You’re saying that if all were to stay still, this tree would be rightfully obligated to continue growing bigger and taller over others because of its natural advantage that allows it to absorb more. But you see, you’re being blind to something else. You’re forgetting how essential the water and soil is to all of these trees in this given moment. You’re forgetting to recognize that yes though this tree has the natural advantage to grow quicker, this is not be the reason why it is alive in the first place, it is the fundamentals of water and soil that allow for you’re whole example to work! And to raise the question further, if we were to look at this big tree in a hypothetical forest with the other trees, what would be the purpose of this tree to grow bigger than the others if the others are all growing with this big tree? Does this tree truly need to prove itself to others to achieve happiness?” – me 🙇🏻

“Yeah that tree would continue to grow and eventually pass its genes on to its other generations because of its natural advantage! That tree would continue to survive because of this trait that it has! And it does suck you know because we do live in a zero-sum game, a cost and benefit will always have a chain reaction” – Oscar 👊🏻

“No yeah I understand this whole zero-sum game, but I mean what I’m trying to say is that, we don’t all live for the purpose of making sure our genes continue later on once we’re gone. It does indeed have an influence over our actions but to say that this is the reason why we all live is a pretty heavy assumption. We may never know what we all live for until near death but we all do know is what we don’t want to live for we all live for our on own means and ends”

“So how does this relate to capitalism then?” 😴

“Have youuu reeaaad the allegory of the cave beforeee?” 🤔

Documentation: Sleep Paralysis

*Shot on iPhone 6s
Edited on Final Cut Pro X
Sounds recorded on iPhone 6s Voice Memo application*

Confessions Project:

The purpose to Sleep Paralysis confession video is to reveal how though sleep paralysis holds the insidious connotation of a dark presence, my personal issues with sleep paralysis have extended to the realm of being able to find comfortability while in darkness. Sleep paralysis has a complex context that is very difficult to explain unless the person themselves’ have experienced it. Sleep Paralysis video is meant to juxtapose these dark anxieties with the uses of darkness to set the audience in the narrating position and sound to create an anxious yet rhythmic approach to sleep paralysis.

 

 

Art Experience: Colloquium – Maya Gurantz 4/18

UCSB Department of Art

Magick

In this short film, Maya Gurantz performed a ritual that is similar to what pregnant women would perform on Jack Parson’s Lawn. The film shows Maya nude in the center of loops that are on fire as she then passes through them and returns to her stationary position. By placing herself in the artwork that is very identical to a ritual, Maya empowers herself as the center piece of the film unlike any other rituals that are meant to empower an outer deity. The pregnancy adds to this connotation because the womb is seen as a foresight of life. This makes the ritual be a little more focused towards her own centric womb as oppose to her own self.

I find the whole ritual to be centric towards her pregnancy with the beginning and end of the film focusing on her pregnancy the most. Both her postures at start and finish give exert power and confidence on behalf of her self, revealing how a strong mother will soon bring life to a new born child.

 

Poem of Elisa Lam

This is probably my favorite of Maya’s pieces due to how broad it can be interpreted from Elisa Lam’s body language. In the short film, Maya replicates most of Elisa Lam’s body movement in the elevator and accompanies it with her own version to replicate the body movements. Maya does a great job of replicating these movements yet what I find most interesting about this piece is how she incorporates a grasshopper with the sounds of a telegram receiving a morse code. This threw me off at first because it did exactly what Maya intended to do which is create the environment of ‘unknown meaning”, since Elisa Lam’s body language is not of norm.

This is a rather creative approach to something that not even the artist Maya herself could not understand from Elisa Lam’s own body language. I believe this adds more depth to this specific piece because unlike other artwork pieces where the artist is able to explain reasons to why certain things are happening in a way, Maya in this case joins the audience through interpretation as she herself can’t answer why Elisa is doing those specific movements. All she can explain is why she decided to replicate the movements and the beauty of the artwork which stems back to the core of this piece is that there is no ‘known meaning’.

Poem of Elisa Lam