Category: Digital Art

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Happy Deaf Awareness Month!

Hello Everyone!

Here are some things that you can do to help spread Deaf Awareness at your campus, in your department, in your school, classroom, community and beyond. This post has context. Im a Deaf and Hard of Hearing college professor teaching here in CUNY. This post is about representation, advocacy and awareness.

an animated GIF to promote deaf awareness month

This month you can help spread awareness about Deaf culture, what it means to be Deaf & Hard of Hearing (HofH) and experiencing the various spectrums of hearing loss. You can get involved and be proactive, here are a few ways to take-action, and by all means, SHARE THIS WIDELY!

What is it like to Deaf? Check out this video!

Understanding comes through Awareness, lets dig in: even awareness takes practice!

an animated GIF to promote deaf awareness month - finger-spelling the word: practice

1. Learning, Sharing and Informing your Family, Friends, Colleagues and Students:

First, spread the word by sharing this post! Simply talking about Deaf Awareness Month is a great start. Let other people know by reaching out. This can easily take place in a department meeting, in the classroom, via a group e-mail or by creating an event or meet up to discuss. In your department, reach out to the Human Resources office and ask about the resources your campus offers. This may mean connecting to a specific person in charge or the office of accessibility / disabilities on or off the premises. If there aren’t any current resources, (and sadly, there may not be) then it is time to create them! Let this post be a guide and a starting point. Again, awareness is everything!

 

an ASL GIF animation for the word "Inspired"
via – https://giphy.com/signwithrobert/

Obviously, the Internet is filled with tons of resources, here are a few to help get you started and inspired!:

NAD https://www.nad.org/

American Deaf Culture

Deaf Culture – Wiki

Sign Language – Wiki

What Does it Mean to Be Deaf/ Hard of Hearing?

 

Lets learn a bit of ASL Historyhere is a great short video to help introduce you:

 

A bit more on ASL history can be found here:

https://www.lifeprint.com/asl101/pages-layout/history1.htm

https://www.handspeak.com/culture/index.php?id=86

 

an animated GIF to promote deaf awareness month with a NYC subway train loop

(translation – the subway cars above read: “Deaf Awareness Month Graffiti”)

 

the american sign language alphabet - fingerspelling and hand shape chart

1. Learn A Sign Language: It’s time to learn a sign language! Here in the USA we use ASL, also known as American Sign Language. ASL is beautiful! It is an official foreign language. Even learning the basics of fingerspelling and the ASL alphabet goes a very long way. I’m a big fan of smartphone applications like: The ASL App

Dr. Bill Vicars has a great website and his YouTube channel is a great place to start learning ASL! I love Handspeak.com and Giphy also has a great search archive of various ASL teachers and personalities here

Gallaudet University also has a great free online course here.

There are a lot of options! Choose one and get started!

an animated GIF to promote deaf awareness month -finger spelling the word- brooklyn

Above: Now you know how to finger-spell ” BROOKLYN” in the American Sign Language Alphabet 🙂

 

For those of you here in NYC (and beyond as remote classes are now fully in place) I highly recommend taking classes at the Sign Language Center – they are so wonderful! I am a student there and cant say enough about how great they are!

Several CUNY colleges (and private colleges) also offer ASL classes at the beginner level (did you know that?) Take a peek at your college’s course catalog or do a search for ASL / the name of your college, online.

an animated GIF to promote deaf awareness month

3. Join or Create a Sign Language Group: All colleges and university campuses have an allotted “club-hours” time each week for clubs on campus (and now remotely as many of us work, teach and attend classes from home.) Does your campus already have a Sign Language group or club? Inquire! If not, perhaps you can use the club-hours time to form an ASL club and practice learning Sign Language together. Learning with a friend or a group of people is a great way to inspire, encourage and motivate each other.

 

an animated GIF to promote deaf awareness month

4. Support! Reach out to your local Deaf & Hard of Hearing Communities: This means, People, Businesses, Organizations and Groups! Once again, by reaching out to your campus HR dept. and or office of disabilities / accessibility and make an inquiry about how to get involved and who the contact names are for various groups, communities, events and businesses. Reach out!

an animated GIF to promote deaf awareness month

5. Creativity – Go on and Create Something to Express Yourself: I made most of the animations in this post specifically for Deaf Awareness Month. You can get creative too! This can be done individually or in your classroom, it can be done with your department and fellow faculty members, administrators and staff. Collaborate! Make a sign, make a flyer, make a poster or a digital illustration. Hang them up around your department offices and in your classrooms online and offline. Get creative! Im going to be launching a multi-campus wide project soon to bring further awareness, I will be reaching out to YOU!

an animated GIF to promote deaf awareness month

6. Closed Captions, Accessibility & Inclusion –  (THIS MEANS YOU!) – It is time to caption your videos and video meetings, yes, all of them! Its long overdue, its time to be inclusive and to provide accessibility for all. From now on, use ONLY a video conferencing application that has live and real time captions. Record your videos with captioning and make transcriptions available.There are so many platforms available today that work really well, they all provide transcripts and or the ability to record the video with captions. Zoom & REV, Google Meet, Skype, & MS Teams are just a few to name. This is the perfect month to take action and make the necessary changes, updates and adaptations so that all communication is inclusive and accessible. As a college professor teaching all of my courses remotely this semester, I have been using Zoom with the REV add-on for live and real time captions (I am 100% dependent on captions). I find that these two tools together work best for me and my disability. The captioning is fast and consistent while Zoom gives me the ability to see all of my students and select how I want to see the speaker/speakers in a full composite meeting. Yes, I lip and speech read! When I record my classes, I automatically record the captions and also produce an audio and text transcription.

an animated GIF to promote deaf awareness month

Contact me! Want to learn more, chat, connect and create some kind of an awareness based creative project with your students, class or faculty members? I’m here to help! e-mail here – rseslow@york.cuny.edu

The Trickery of a Memories Memory

a digital image of a sculpture of a hard drive

(Read the description here first as it is the assignment’s example)

The Trickery of a Memories Memory..

“The Elusive Memory of Memories from a project about how we think we process Memory” 2020, Digital Ink Jet Print.

(adhered to a brick wall with a temporary adhesive , 1/1 edition)

Context – the digital ink jet print is a photograph of a sculpture. Sculpture origins display the human need to “attempt to make things last forever”, however, this sculpture has melted. Its a reminder. As a Deaf person, I constantly think that I remember the way that certain things used to sound. There is stored memory of those memories. Its a series of fragments and what I choose to tell myself. The image was printed – which is another metaphor of a reproduction to access the past. The past was “cut to its contour” taken from its original digital photograph of the outdated hard-drive mold that was cast in red colorize water. The color red was used to imply visual heat and the passion of emotion, but the nature of temperature applies its earthly laws.. The water was frozen and a cast positive replica was released and composed onto a table. (As I “recall” the capturing process) The cast object was photographed and taken as a metaphor to preserve the ephemerality and the array of lifetime stories that we tell ourselves.

We can always rewrite the story… right?

This is the original digital photograph of the actual cast / frozen mold of the hard drive, can you tell the difference? This cast weighs 2 pounds – the digital one above is as light as a feather..

 

Assignment:

Title: The Digital Displacement of an Object displayed as a Metaphor

In this assignment you will need:

Access to a printer and the ability to print an image. An image that you would like to work with (think a digital photo that you will take with your phone) and the ability to crop, trim and manipulate the image once it has been printed. A scissor or an        x-acto knife will help. Oh, and some form of temporary adhesive like tape will come in handy!

Concept: Connect an object with a metaphor and then place or displace the object “someplace” to display its context. Take a photo of the “piece” as a whole and create a blog post about it. (Yes, you can take take more than 1 image or work with video). Please take a photo of the object before and after / process of the final result. (see my example above).

Inspirational links for more insight: Examples –

Public Intervention

Subway Intervention

Hallway Intervention

Considerations: Connect to a object. Most objects and things that we use each and everyday have intentional and specific purposes. Think about recyclable containers. For example, a water bottle. We usually don’t think much about it, we drink the water and then dispose of the empty water bottle. We rarely think that the bootle has a specific form, it was designed on purpose to be held by our hands. What happens if we strip the empty bottle of its logos and labels and paint the object one solid color? The context changes, we “see” the objects for its shape and form. If we extend this to a metaphor, an object like an empty water bottle asserts itself as a vessel. A container that can hold volume and fluids. Those fluids can be effected by temperature.. get it? Have fun!

(yes, you can always complete this assignment purely digitally if you do not have access to a printer, but seek applied art & design alternatives first – think drawing or collage)

Publishing: After you have crafted your art work and photographed all of the elements, generate a compelling blog post about the process and the meaning of the art. Your approach may be in a narrative “how-to” format much like this assignment description (haha). Or, perhaps your approach is fictional in the form of a short story. 

 

*A gallery of completed artwork will be gathered from all students and participants and later exhibited here on this website.

 

Reach out with questions here: rseslow@york.cuny.edu

Applied Art Resistance Hybridization

an abstract digital image of a painting converted to a vector graphic

“Applied Art Resistance Hybridization”

Hmm, this is probably just a working title above, or perhaps just another bout of my applied art making resistance? Or wait, maybe it is not resistance, it is the creative desire to always things more. To always expand and push it beyond what was learned and practiced..

Yesterday, I posted the first image in this gallery below to my Instagram feed, and I wrote this:

“Another new painting – #wip – acrylic & oil on canvas, well 97% of it is… I spent many weeks looking at it and thinking about it. Is it still a #painting once it has been digitally photographed 100 times? Im struggling as you can tell. I have also now placed several digital forms directly onto this digital photograph of a painting, that you may never see in person. I wont be able to stop this you know.. All I can do now is make more paintings that will become digital images that I can use as props to make more digital things. And that is bliss!”

The post itself seemed to trigger the next series of digital enhancements and then degenerating and desecration.. it is good visual sketch of how my process seems to work. Do the digital works hold up alone as individual works? Should I print the vector versions at the same size of the actual painting (36″ X 48″ inches) and hang them next to each other. Good questions to have I feel.

The final result is a sequence of the individual images set as a motion graphic, or simply put, a GIF. I suppose my ambition is to create a metaphor that shows how the process is not ever static. Nothing is static, no matter how much we think we can make something permanent and forever, we cant, well not while we are operating from our earthly bodies, but thats a whole other conversation.

woodside train station, vector illustration

Passing Through Woodside

I hope that this post will serve as both inspiration and an example to create your own variations this fall 2020.

“Passing Through Woodside” 2018 – 2020, is a series of digital art works that built a narrative from a single image. This series is a perfect example of how a moment in time can turn into a series of art works that tell a story. And I do mean a creative narrative that is full of metaphors and the opportunity to express one’s self. Im working on this blog post retroactively because it all actually happened that way. Its a good example of how my mind works and always sees the potential of a single moment. We all do this with our memories and I find it so much fun to retell the stories in a process format (which will turn into an assignment for a class for sure). Well, you will have to scroll down and follow along if you want to get to the point, and the context, and the “how-to” aspect of things. As always, Im happy and grateful to share my work and process. Blogging, AKA “digital storytelling” has been the most effective tool and road mapping exercise to show myself how I see and try to understand the world..

Above, behold, the seamless loop! I know that this animation is probably the least interesting thing in this post but its a big accomplishment for me. Its was the first time I was able to create a seamless looping animation using adobe after effects and applying a snippet of code </>  into the interface’s animation timeline. The short code is – loopOut[“cycle”] –  and when this snippet of code is added to the position of the keyframe of the movement of that particular image, it will seamlessly loop onward, forever… ok, there is a bit more to it that that but this is the “jist” and it has led me to push this whole story further. This animated GIF above is an abstracted version of the Woodside train station in Woodside, Queens, NYC.

The looping animation from above this one (the first GIF)… well, it became the background for this. After a while of watching it loop I saw that it was not really that compelling on it own. Am I wrong? Plus, no one would really recognize the Woodside station, would they? Do you? I placed a similar visual aesthetic and sequence of images over the background to begin to tell a deeper story. Perhaps this all looks seemingly fictional, but its not! Here, I can add some context based on real world events at the time of this images creation. I wore a mask for the 1st time on the last day that I took the train to work before the NYC lock-down. It was a weird experience for sure. The train was actually empty.. Above, we see a person wearing a mask (its me). Im all about keeping myself and others safe as this incredible Coronavirus continues to spread and baffle me. However, once the rest of the world started wearing masks, I realized quickly that I no longer had access to read lips, speech read, follow facial expressions and most other forms of visual communication.. Im deaf and hard of hearing, so do the math. This sequence above became an expression of that. “How am I going to communicate now with people talking to me through a mask?” This was not easy at first. I applied an outdated endlessly ringing phone into the sequence, its a symbol, a phone that no one will ever answer.. remember that I mentioned metaphors?

This was the initial vector portrait of myself placed against the “mirrored” version of the station image. I still like the image very much as a “picture / portrait / illustration” but I quickly got the idea to add more context and motion to help tell a story.

Is the story as interesting with out the ringing phone as we saw two images above? Notice the “glitch effect” used in that version to help the viewer see that the phone was not answered, and even if it was, all I would “hear” is a subtle yet crackling distorted garble…

More context! Here is the 1st vector image of the Woodside station that I redrew using the Assembly app for iPhone, I started working on this in 2018 at some point. I used my train time to work on it a little bit at a time every other day or so. I then later transferred the illustration to adobe illustrator to help tighten it up a bit. I made a lot of improvisations but really love how this turned out. The original image that started all of this is below..

Yes. This is where it all started. A single snap shot. It was a dark dreary day, rain was on the way as I waited for my 8:39am train to Jamaica. I live for this stuff! It was a perfect composition right in front of me. I switched the iPhone over to black and white mode and snapped a whole series of this moment in images. I love this structure and it transports me back to being a kid. The station is long over due for an overhaul and update, and Im sure it will happen soon, so having this series of images makes me happy as I hold onto old NYC!

ImAg-IN-a-TioN-ing

an imaginary future based city scape looms in the distance over the ocean..
Click the Image to enlarge and expand

“ImAg-IN-a-TioN”, 2020, Animated GIF & Digital Image 

Im trying to re-image how to apply the imagination. Do you say “my imagination” or “the imagination”?

It’s the most intangible thing, is it not?

But so necessary, so needed and powerful. (forgive me for starting this sentence with the word “but”).. or should I reimagine this too?

It’s hard to imagine a world not being physically face to face in the classroom again, but maybe the whole point is to reimagine everything from the “once default state” we discover it in? Perhaps contrasts are already in place and awaiting our intervention. The endless array of potential new outcomes, they are awaiting our creative potential and new friends we can meet at the same intersection.

Oh, the continuous metaphors, evidence and reminders of the non-static!