I recently spent time reading and analyzing the graphic novel of Coraline, written by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by P. Craig Russell through the understanding of both semiotics and comic theory. The graphic novel is an adaption of Gaiman’s national bestseller that introduces us to a curious young girl named Coraline who discovers a secret, hidden door that takes her into an alternate world that is unlike anything she has ever experienced. In this world, she has a mother and father who are eager to spend time with her (unlike her distracted, “real world” parents), but with considerable strings attached. While I enjoyed the story, I was interested in how I was going to understand this graphic novel, which I will admit is a genre I do not usually read.
I walked past the radio station at Rowan University about a month ago and there was this sign about a cardboard box asking me to “Please take a free CD”. Of course, I took a bit more than one, but as I was doing do I thought about how I had now knowledge of the bands. A man past me an asked me if there was anything good within it. How could I have known? Half of the albums were from outside the States. Some of them told me what the artists sounded like, but that isn’t always a good communicator. So obviously, I judged the music by their CD case. Below is what I picked up.
I should note that I thought about our mashup storyboards when I placed these on my desk. (They are lined up in a long line) Immediately I thought they told a story, a narrative of sorts.
The story goes like this.
A beautiful land full of animals gets attacked by something terrible. The land turns into a hot dessert for many suns, until a group of people come across it and “get busy living”. In order to begin saving the land they need to indulge in some burgers and begin lathering the land up with some heavy waves of water, until little by little the land grows. Animals return, green plants flourish, and blooms blossom.
It’s a little strange I know, but these were just random CDs I picked up. Some I choose because they had animals or pretty landscapes. The hamburger case was funny and the deep red cases were interesting and eye catching. As a child, my grandmother told me to never judge a book by its cover, but that is how I have been picking up books in Barnes and Noble, it is how I choose these CDs. I didn’t read into the synopsis or care for who the banded sounded like. It was all in the image. Each cover was a signifier that signified something in me. They knew what I liked. They somehow knew that love animals and landscapes and silly stuff, but they also knew that I am curious. I have the urge to know why that hand is in a wave. Connecting images to the unknown an innovative concept, one that demands exploring.
I’ve decided that I am going to listen to the albums in the summer on while driving, and hopefully the CD albums with match with their songs, or, if they are daring, with be unorthodox.
If you’re looking for a movie that captures the essence of celebrity-obsession, Sofia Coppola’s (daughter of famed director Francis Ford Coppola) led The Bling Ring certainty tops that list. The movie, released last summer, is based on the real life crimes of a group of Los Angeles teenagers who broke into the homes of a slew of A-list celebrities including Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton, Rachel Bilson and Megan Fox. While the real buglers are spending time behind bars and still in the midst of a lengthy probation, the movie became not only fodder for the actual crime, but allowed for a satirical look—while not violent in nature, still an invasion of privacy, but planned (by these teenagers) for the purposes of obtaining expensive clothing and jewelry. As movie critic Richard Roeper called Emma Watson’s portrayal of Alexis Neiers “comedic gold”, while on the surface, Watson isn’t playing the role of a cartoon character leaping over fences, skinning knees, cracking jokes and misleading officers about her identity when confronted at the home she shares with her mother and father and her two sisters, her character is simply oblivious to reality, as she truly thinks she means what she says.
Emma Watson in The Bling Ring (Source: NextMovie)
I thought the dichotomy of this movie allowed for a bit more interpretation on my end.
I set out on my local community college campus, Rowan College at Gloucester County formally known as Gloucester County College. Looking around for objects, which turned into mapping different paths on campus. At first I thought that I had known my work. I have been here for five years, but after mapping, I realized that the campus I spend hours on each weekday was as strange, foreign land.
The maps I created on Mapping Untold Stories show people paths and the objects that control not only some paths but create an unspoken life on the campus.
This project gave me insight to others who worked on campus as well. Their wealth of information enabled the success of proper mapping. By talking to those who were more familiar with specific buildings I was able to gather information I was not entirely sure of. Each encounter gave me more knowledge about the campus’ environment than the next. It appeared that the seemingly meaningless knowledge of some, made for the best stories in maps.