VACANT – by Emily Richards (Final Cut)

“Vacant” is an experimental video that explores the relationship between vicarious participation and altering state of mind. Using first-person perspective, the video inputs the viewer as the participant who enters the space without consent. Not knowing what will occur, the viewer immediately recognizes the auditory and visual cues that indicate a sinister presence lurking through the vacant spaces. In terms of developing the ideas, the horror movie genre served as inspiration for this project, especially director Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining.” Horror movies often use common tropes, such as jump scares, jarring music, and dilapidated locations, to evoke feelings of suspense and terror. When people vicariously enter this unknown and somewhat threatening space, they get defensive and search for the imagined presence of a person or creature despite the apparent emptiness of the space. The odd camera angles further distort the viewers’ reality and enhance their sense of unease. The seemingly abandoned hallways in conjunction with the eerie, startling noises are reminiscent of the horror genre, but there is a deliberate attempt to avoid the “cliché” tropes of horror movies.

The title appears over a still shot of a blurry light fixture that mirrors the light at the end of the video. The following scenes utilize various camera techniques, such as shallow depth of field, quick panning shots, slow tilts, and shaky camera movements, to create mixed pacing that makes the viewer feel on edge. In addition, the video utilizes a bleach filter to enhance the gritty detail of the peeling walls and scratched floors. With this filter, the scratched floors and long carpeted hallway give the appearance of spilled blood. Experimenting with jump scares, the audio includes loud, immediate sounds, such as a door shutting, as climactic points in the video.



VACANT – by Emily Richards

  • Unsettling experience
  • First-person point of view
  • Horror influences
  • Sublime
  • Odd angles and shaky cinematography
  • Replicate feelings of first encounter with the building
  • Jump scares
  • Questions for the viewers:
    • Does your heart drop at any point in the video?
    • Do you question the purpose of the inclusion of some scenes?
    • Is there any way to enhance the connection between the sound and the visuals?
    • Are there any sounds that seem ‘out of place’ or ‘cliche’?

“The Digital in Art”

Michael Rush wrote the article, “The Digital in Art,” to describe the relationship and meaning of digital media in the field of art. Traditional art was valued for many centuries, but the advent of technology has brought the creation of art to a more contemporary time and audience. It also brings into question whether digital art is a genre of art in itself, or if digital art could be another means of depicting art genres, such as “abstraction.” The author mentions that the validity of digital media does not always have to be dependent on “referencing artists already established in other media.” The author also notes that video and photographic art also changed its form when multi-screen and multi-image projections reached their “apotheosis with … cinematic installations.” The viewer is confronted by multiple channels, so there are various ways to interpret a video or photography piece. A work becomes more dynamic and interactive if a viewer can directly confront a cinematic installation, such as Doug Aitkin’s work. While this article considers photography and video as mediums for art, it is important to consider the most contemporary of digital media. In terms of a point for discussion, what role could virtual digital media play in the role of art?

Digital Appropriation and Post-Photography

For a digital media assignment, I have read the articles, “Digital Appropriation as Photographic Practice & Theory” by Helen Westgeest and excerpts from Post-Photography by Robert Shore. These articles pose interesting arguments about appropriation of photography and the role of photography in a world that is saturated with images. In the first article by Westgeest, the author mentions that an artist had used images from Google in a series of travel-related photographs. This series is interesting because the artist was accused, by Google, of illegally appropriating images from the search engine, but isn’t Google doing the same thing by presenting images of people in locations without their permission? In my opinion and to the author’s point, Google’s accusation appears to be quite hypocritical and cynical toward that artist.

The second article of excerpts proposes that in a “hyper-documented world,” it is difficult to avoid using another person’s images for one’s own photography. It makes me question what the role of the photographer is with his work when the work is not entirely his own. However, the relatively easy access to images allows for a quick production of work and alludes to the idea that the content and meaning of the work is more important than the subject matter in today’s age. In terms of discussion, what is defined as a purely original photograph, and does it change the viewer’s interpretation of the work if the images are appropriated from other sources?

The Digital Eye

“The Digital Eye: Photographic Art in the Digital Age” by Sylvia Woolf makes key points about the development of photography. In the beginning of the text, Woolf discusses the transition from analog to digital forms of media and art. This topic was interesting because our next assignment in digital media involves taking photographs with a Canon Rebel T5 DSLR camera. In terms of photography, the analog would involve taking pictures with a film camera that transfers light onto the film medium, providing a “likeness” of the subject. However, our digital camera transforms the light into “algorithms and codes” which removes the trace of the subject in the digital medium and is something to consider for our assignment.
Another intriguing point that Woolf mentions is the immediacy of digital imagery. As technology has advanced, the speed and accessibility of photography has expanded dramatically. Through this reading, I realized that photography has allowed the artist to instantly capture their world, manipulate it, and share it for the whole world to see. Thus, in our assignment, I will be taking pictures of landscapes and indoor spaces. These spaces will be manipulated using Photoshop in order to create a sense of a “real” area and a “fantastic” area.

Wangechi Mutu: Cultural Cutouts

Wangechi Mutu is a collage artist who works with physical materials, such as magazine clippings, to create a larger image with texture, pattern, and figures. She uses collage as a mode of conveying a central concept: a person of color who is navigating the world and finding representation of her people in media. Mutu cuts out images from magazines, such as pictures of people and patterns, and places them in specific ways to create colorful, complex collages about her ethnicity as a black woman.

As in Mutu’s work, our assignment for digital media involves pulling images from the Internet and creating a digital collage. While the analog and digital methods have major differences, they allow similar techniques to be used. Inspired by Mutu’s method of collecting and manipulating images, I will be searching for pictures from different genres, such as music and animation, and will digitally cut out pieces of those images in order to overlap them to create a collage.

Another interesting connection to make between Mutu’s work and my prospective digital work is the idea of using one culture as a lens to investigate another culture. While Mutu uses her black culture to evaluate American media, I will be using my American culture as a means of viewing Asian culture, specifically in terms of male beauty standards. Throughout time, there has been a focus on female objectification in Asian culture, but has only recently shifted focus onto male objectification, something that was previously “invisible” to the public; could there be a way to shed light on these “invisible” aspects of the media as Mutu has discussed in the video?

Eye see you *budum tss*

Another direction I would like to explore in my upcoming digital art is similar to the content of Saccstry’s works. She melds cute, innocent figures and portraits with disturbing imagery, such as disease and gore. This work in particular shows a young girl who has a diamond embedded in one of her eyes. The image makes the viewer feel uneasy yet intrigued as it touches on elements of the… SUBLIME [insert Josh’s maniacal laugh here]. While my digital art may not be as detailed or advanced as Saccstry’s, I would like to convey the same content and color scheme.


I Feel You Bro.

So…my interest in digital media is pretty much explained in this work by Cioccolatodorima. First, the color palette is light and PINK. The romantic aura that is reminiscent of shoujo manga provides a contrast to the bold, prominent quote, “I Feel You Bro.” While the characters’ intimate embrace portray sincere emotions, there is humor that almost mocks the meaning of the mainstream quote. The viewer also questions the gender of the characters because they do not have hair, but honestly, it should not matter whether they are male or female or other. Thus, my interest in digital media focuses on people as subject matter, along with “effeminate” style, with a sprinkle of humor.


i’m trash for anything kawaii