composing digital media

My Experience of Composing Digital Media in a Nutshell

            Ahhh… Composing Digital Media. I took this course simply to fulfill a writing intensive credit. I have a talent for art that wasn’t being put into use in the medical field so now I had the opportunity to relinquish my pent up creativity onto new mediums. I figured I wouldn’t have to do as much writing as a more literature based writing course, so it would be a breeze. Ha! I remember walking in the first day and hearing the syllabus. We were told about the numerous projects and how we were going to have to spend countless hours outside of the classroom learning skills and doing most of our work on the projects. This is the point where I started to question what the heck I was doing here, but something was telling me I signed up for this class for a reason. I thought maybe she was joking and just trying to scare us away, but now as I’m sitting here trying to remix my last video project on the last week of class, I know this was no joke. I can honestly say after taking many difficult classes thus far a Pitt I have yet to put as much time into a single class as this.

While daunting, you get out of this class what you put into. The amount skills we have accomplished in this class in astounding in the short time we had together. I’ve heard of whole courses dedicated to single, simple programs such as Word and Excel, but we managed to utilize numerous. While I have had some previous experience in Photoshop, this class was a much needed refresher and only broadened my comfort with the program. I had always wanted to learn how to code websites but have never pursued it, because I deemed it too intimidating and complex to learn on my own. Through this course though I was able to rapidly learn and create my own website in less than a week. After learning multiple programs I feel a lot more confident in myself handling all sorts of media.

            Ultimately, I am glad I had chosen to tough it out in this class. Although I may not need all these abilities in my line of work, I feel accomplished to have diversified myself and picked up this vast skillset that may come in handy at some point or another. Beyond just the skills, I learned I could accomplish anything I put my mind too. Like I said earlier although I am proficient in art, which didn’t so much correlate as much as I had originally planned, this was a whole new realm for me out of my science based knowledge background. I feel that the readings from DJ Spooky and deep thought discussions of archiving methods, definitions, and how much our lives are immersed in the archive, I have become better rounded and I am grateful for it. I was opened up to perspectives I have never heard before and offered my own. As tedious as it was at times, Composing Digital Media was a very rewarding class.

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A post for the older, wiser, Edward Perenyi

Oh hey there future me. How’s it going? First of all I would like to congratulate you for reading this, that means you’re not dead or in jail, good for you.  Hopefully you’re living the good life in a city where wearing sweatpants in public is still socially acceptable. If you aren’t currently in sweatpants, you should go put them on because they are great, I’m actually writing this reflection in them and it is amazing. But you’re probably not here for talk on glorious sweatpants, because this is information you are already aware of. Rather, you’re in search of some important and interesting stuff we covered in this class because your concussion-ravaged brain can’t remember shit anymore. That’s cool, I got you covered.

First things first, remember that this class really helped you branch out creatively and really think about how to compose things that don’t suck. CBA killed your soul and made you really boring for a while. This was a class that enabled you to start thinking on a creative scale again, and not just about metrics and strategy. Although DJ Spooky’s writing was arguably some of the most frustrating work ever, it really helped you examine the underlying concepts of creativity and how everything is a derivative of something. This whole notion of the archive and everything coming from an archive made you pay closer attention to your life and figure out where your major influences come from. Also tangentially, don’t forget that thing by Judith “Jack” Halbertsam, that article was really good. You should reread it.

Probably the best way to help you get things from this post is to go over the work we did, and then give a little gloss about influences or something, I dunno, I have like four days left of college and I’m kind of zoning out writing this.

Photo Recovery Story:

coverpage web ready

You did a photo essay on your good friend Josh. It was called Home and it was pretty OK. Could have been better, but I mean, it wasn’t bad I think if you put more effort into it, it could have ended up something similar to this http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2010/01/08/nyregion/2010-hardware-ss_index.html or this http://jamesmollison.com/books/where-children-sleep/. These photo essays were amazing and at the time, gave you the inspiration for the project. The point of this recovery project was “to bring to life something that has been forgotten, undocumented, untold, or un-archived.” Keep that goal in mind for pretty much any fun projects you do going forward because it makes you decide what is important, and deserves to be archived.

 

The second photo essay you did was hella better, or at least had better images. It wasn’t for class, but the stuff we talked about for the course really helped out in taking the photos around Oakland. Also remember Oakland with the sort of photo essay you did on it.

The Oakland Collection

Hopefully you’re still doing photography, if not, why did you stop. That’s stupid. Go find your camera and document some shit. You’re failing as a Citizen Archivist;  moron.

Sound Project:

Forget this project ever happened.

 

Screen Shot 2014-04-15 at 10.22.50 PM

 

Citizen Portrait:

So what the project didn’t turn out the way you wanted it to. It got a few chuckles, and really in the end that’s all that matters. Right? Sure, whatever. This project was actually awesome, and hopefully you’ve gotten off your lazy ass and are making movies again because it makes you happy. This was by far the best section of the class, and always go to http://www.shortoftheweek.com/. This is pretty much the greatest site you’ve ever been exposed to, and it helped rekindle your love of movies and documentaries. You should probably watch a Brief History of John Baldessari if you want to laugh at a great documentary, or re-watch Amar if you want all of the feels.

Website:

Remember how you couldn’t do anything for you website, and then by the end you had a relatively well function page? That was pretty great. Hopefully you’ve gotten better and can actually add fonts and center things without losing your mind every time it doesn’t work. Check out http://www.w3schools.com/html/default.asp because it’s free and probably the most helpful thing out there for learning (or relearning) website stuff.

Just in case you forgot our webpage is http://edwardperenyi.x10.mx/ hopefully it’s still there. Also hopefully you don’t have to be reminded that god awful sound project, because it’s getting taken down right after this class is over.

Remixing and creativity:

The biggest takeaway from this class is exploring creativity as a result of the archive. Without the archive there is no creativity or progress. Everything is built off of something, so remember where your influences come from, and always be on the lookout for new ones, even if at first they are confusing and don’t make sense. So, in conclusion, get off your lazy sweatpants-wearing ass and go contribute to the ever expanding archive. Go be the citizen archivist this class prepared you to be. Be a part of the future by documenting the present before it becomes the past. Do all of this NOW. Unless you’re currently on Ambien, which is a distinct possibility. In that case, go to bed, I don’t need you running around on Ambien, that’s how you end up dead or in jail.

 

 

 

Taking a look back

This class has be an adventure for me to say the least.  Coming in with no CSS or HTML experience was not the norm; however, I learned a lot throughout the process.  Looking back on the semester I am very pleased with the progress that I made- I not only learned how to work with a variety of different programs, I learned to not give up on a project (as cliche as that sounds).  There are many times throughout this semester where I just wanted to give up on something when it was not going the way I wanted (i’m sure Instructor Campbell will back me up on the fact that many things in these programs were not going my way!) but I learned to keep putting effort into the project.  

Trying to remember all of the different readings and projects we reflected on this semester, there was one that popped into my mind.  For some reason, I was very drawn in by the photo essay: Children and Their Bedrooms (I even showed it to all of my roommates bragging about how cool it was). **Side note on this: I looked it up recently and think I found pictures that we didn’t look at before (or I just don’t remember them).  Either way, this one is my new favorite: 

ImageImage

This project was the most helpful for me personally in retrospect to the photo essay we had to do because it really showed me the power of photographs and how they can tell an entire story.

Where do I see this website going in the future is something I ask myself a lot.  In the beginning of the year I was almost certain that I was going to get rid of dreamweaver and creative cloud right after the class was over, but, recently I have been wrestling with this.  I am contemplating keeping this for next year when I travel abroad to keep journals and blog posts on (this is all dependent on my parents willingness to pay of course).  

Overall, this class and the projects included in it opened my eyes to a whole new skill.  I never thought of myself of being some tech-savvy or someone that was good with computers, this class helped me gain way on this a little bit.  Although it was a lot of work I am very happy with my progress and I can almost say that I have survived composing digital media!