Okay, I know this weekly challenge has passed by, but I just had to share this very unusual find while we were on a family vacation last week in Atlanta, Georgia. This advertisement was hanging outside of “Legoland” at Phipps Plaza…
Summertime blues and boredom have gotten me surfing the web for ideas on how in the world we can get out of this house and explore something new and exciting. We live in this vibrant area – in one direction you have Washington, DC, then drive north and you run into Baltimore, Maryland! I grew up in Virginia, and there are still places I haven’t seen in this metropolitan mecca. So with a Saturday of rest under our belts, we decided to head to the museums in the city after church. It was a late start, but it was a tad spontaneous — I mean, we did go home and change out of our ‘Sunday’s best’ after all — yet it still qualified as an adventure!
A classmate had mentioned that the Smithsonian Museum of American Art was showing “The Art of Video Games” exhibit through September. It wasn’t a mind-numbing electronic device — no, no… it was a trip to the museum disguised as a video game! This was perfect! So the, “What? We have to go walk around in the heat to boring museums?” morphed into, “Cool!!! Are we there yet?” It was magical… I was even a little excited about it myself. One area of graphic art that I have been intrigued by is 3D gaming animation. I was able to get some introduction to creating a 3-dimensional space in my last summer course, but I would like to delve deeper into that virtual arena… especially with its dynamic rate of innovation! I feel like Marty McFly hanging onto the bumper of technology with sparks shooting out from under my skateboard! Well, if you think that last reference dates me, take a look at where the genesis of video gaming began with me… That’s right, “Era 1″… bring on your “Pac Man”, the “Space Invaders” and “Break Out!” Those were the days, alright… when the characters were subtle and the audio was muddled. Fast forward thirty years, and I am watching my children flailing their arms about while bringing their Miis to life in a virtual game space. I wonder what the next 30 years will bring… Will we be installing a Holodeck in our basement for our grandchildren? Fortunately, we’re not there yet, so I have time to savvy myself up to speed with the young-un’s and to jump into this genre of illustration.
While the exhibit was a fun stride down memory lane, it was much smaller than we anticipated. Three virtual stations were available to people who wanted to showcase their gaming skills in public, with a loOong line of hopeful players watching on. There were probably three small rooms with video interviews sporadically mounted throughout the exhibit — none of which I was able to hear well with the crowds. So the obvious lesson learned here was, don’t visit on the weekend unless absolutely necessary… and if it IS the only time you can go, try to get there when it first opens. For the homeschoolers & parents of younger children: WARNING… I will advise you to move along quickly past the huge hypnotic wall of multiple screens. As I was standing there trying to snap a visually interesting photograph, I was dismayed by the images of a topless women at the hub of this digital display that appeared rather suddenly (and then lingered) in the looped video sequence. I felt that was inappropriately projected considering the target audience for video games, but I will stay off my soapbox for the moment. At the end of the day, I would not recommend heading into DC specifically to see this exhibit, which we found to be somewhat underwhelming. We felt that the potential to show 40 years of technological gaming evolution was underachieved. On the upside, the kids enjoyed seeing all the different displays of games and listening to narratives through the phone tours. Additionally, there are other engaging exhibits in the museum, and blocks of attractions to enjoy all over the city.
As a child, I always marveled at the colors and designs that could be contrived by the simple rotation of a kaleidoscope. Olafur Eliasson brings all that childhood wonderment of color spectra into the adult cognition through his works. His studio has been in operation since 1995 in Berlin, Germany, however, his exhibits have traveled worldwide. His manipulation of light through prisms, reflective and refractive surfaces is combined with elaborate geometric constructs creating visually scintillating effects. Visitors are captivated by the play of light through his exhibits which seem to generate their own unique experience depending on the perception of each individual at any given moment or position. One such exhibit that ran in 2008 at the Museum of Modern Art in New York can still be viewed online by clicking the museum link.
Beyond his innovative style of art, I am equally impressed by his attention to the needs of under privileged communities. His efforts as a philanthropist have channeled his talent and resources to create a product called “Little Sun.” Five hours of natural sunlight charges this safe portable lantern to provide five hours of light that would otherwise be unavailable. We so frequently take for granted our use of electricity until we are temporarily forced to endure without it during storms and other sources of power outages. Heaven help our family when we lose power for one day… and you would think the apocalypse was nearing if BGE tarried beyond the 36 hour margin! Yet this is a lifestyle to so many countries that we can easily forget about in our daily to’s-and-fro’s. I remember once hearing about the conditions in a Haitian village where children were not able to get effective time in the classroom because the school did not have adequate light, even during the daytime hours. Then in the evenings they were only able to access a limited and rationed supply of electricity in one centralized building. Communities such as these would be so grateful to have something so simple yet so functional in their homes. Learning about this project, brought new meaning to a quote I heard in an earlier interview by Eliasson when he stated,
“I would like to make sense of the world by sensing the world.”
So here we go… it’s my first college course in (cough, cough) FIVE years! Better late than never, as they say… I am thrilled to be back in the virtual classroom studying the fundamentals of Digital Design! This is my debut as a blogger, and it will be my first time working in Photoshop, Illustrator and Premier Pro. Just in this week of class, I am experiencing new revelations in design concepts through our discussion of Wassily Kandinsky’s “Composition VII”, and I love to see how one artist’s vision can provoke such varying impressions of his work.
Yesterday, I ventured out on a field trip to celebrate 100 artists who were honored by the Maryland State Arts Council. The reception was held in Baltimore at the American Visionary Art Museum. I have passed this building on the way to other museums and always wondered what dwelled within, so this was a terrific opportunity! While I was only able to survey the works within the walls of the Jim Rouse Visionary Center, I peeked into the main building which started my planning for a day trip with my kids once the school year ends. I am posting some of the pictures I took last night for your viewing pleasure. They are just too much fun to keep to myself! This is my Fitztopia… Enjoy!!!