This was a super exciting module for me. I wanted to go with this analysis thinking that the results of my work would be interesting to look at. I was right because after I finished I just kept staring at what I had put together. Taking photos every five seconds of a music video was definitely getting old, but it paid off in the end. I was really intrigue by what my results were and how it went along with the research I had looked into surrounding color before working. This wont be the last time I do something like this, as I plan on making more in my own time in the future.
For a couple of years now I have heard talk about our inherent desire for the color red. Many research studies have shown that humans are attracted to this color more than any other. When thinking about fast food signs and most business logos, it is a challenge to not spot the color red. Some researchers have noted that early humans associated the color with blood, which meant something had been killed, and in return food was provided. Through this, we have developed a natural attraction to the color overtime. this topic of conversation has interested me for some time now and I wanted to do some visual research to see if this is represented in popular media.
I decided to do this through studying a collection of frames taken from a number of music videos. When thinking about which industry in music uses the most amount of color, Korean Pop was the style of music that came to mind. Almost all of their videos make use of bright and saturated colors that carry throughout the entirety of the video. Wanting to stick with the most recent examples, I chose to analyze the most recent videos of one of the top male groups, female groups, and most recent video overall.
For each of the three videos, I downloaded a frame each five seconds throughout the entirety of the video. I wanted to make sure that I got a larger amount of photos in order to have a better average when it came to analyzing the colors that were used in the videos.
Starting off with the most recent video from the boy group EXO, is their song titled “Obsession.” The piece is a dance focused video that shows members being filmed within a dimly lit mansion and warehouse. It is clear that red was the most dominate color throughout the video. Blue seems to be another common color throughout the photo, but red is what definitely took the lead.
Once again, red becomes the most popular color. This is a video from that famous international female group, BLACKPINK. The “Kill This Love” placed its sights on a women empowerment theme about self healing through killing the desire towards a toxic love. The video is similar to the previous example as red and blue were used the most. Red however still came out on top for throughout the piece from beginning to end.
The final video I did research on came out a bit different than the other two. The “Oh My God” music video from the popular girl group (G)-IDLE came out the same morning I began my looking into the videos. As you can see, the color red is not the most used color throughout the video making it the only one that didn’t have red bleeding throughout the whole piece. It seems that blues and neutrals made their way to the front for this one as they were catering to a regal but stripped aesthetic.
Although it seems pretty clear that red won the popularity contest amongst the three, I wanted to combine them all into a color palette to see a final average result.
With the color palette set to show me the average color, it is now clear that red is what they decided to use most. I wanted to look deeper into it the reason why they were using this color. While watching the videos, I noticed that the most action-filled or symbolic scenes were done with the color red. As we are naturally attracted to the color red, it makes sense to use the color when wanting to bring attention to important parts of the videos.
Whether or not this was done on purpose, it is interesting to see that the color aligned with the research that I had looked into beforehand. It makes me wonder if the use of color helps bring in the huge view counts that majority of these videos receive.
Reading was something that I did not take seriously until recently. Over the last couple of years I have begun to appreciate it a lot more. A big part of this was just finding books that I found to be enjoyable. It’s hard to like reading when books like Macbeth and The Iliad have been shoved down your throat for years. Not saying those books are bad, but it’s different when you aren’t reading a book for a grade. That being said, I am going to share some of my favorite books at the moment and why I enjoyed reading them.
South of the Border West of the Sun
I am going to get straight to the point, this book messed me up. The story follows a man named Hajime who is middle aged with a perfect family and successful job, yet he feels incomplete. When a friend from childhood, now a beautiful woman, arrives with a secret from which she is unable to escape, everything in Hajime’s life turns upside down. Going into it, I expected it to be a typical story on the complications of love, but it was something much more. Murakami is a remarkable contemporary writer that puts words to feelings that I could never vocalize before reading his work. It took me on a profound journey that shows how much emotional power we have over others, even if we don’t realize it. It left me in a state of cloudiness that had me questioning each character for a number of days after finishing.
“By taking my hand, she showed me what these things were. That within the real world, a place like this existed. In the space of those ten seconds I became a tiny bird, fluttering into the air, the wind rushing by. From high in the sky I could see a scene far away. It was so far off I couldn’t make it out clearly, yet something was there, and I knew that someday I would travel to that place.”
“I hurt myself deeply, though at the time I had no idea how deeply. I should have learned many things from that experience, but when I look back on it, all I gained was one single, undeniable fact. That ultimately I am a person who can do evil. I never consciously tried to hurt anyone, yet good intentions notwithstanding, when necessity demanded, I could become completely self-centered, even cruel. I was the kind of person who could, using some plausible excuse, inflict on a person I cared for a wound that would never heal.”
Love & Space Dust
Although this is just a poem book, I needed to include it. After years of reading Jones’ work online, I finally got around to purchasing my own copy of his most recent collection. Over the last couple of months I have had a hard time understanding and verbalizing the way that I feel. While reading through each page, I began to see how another person is able to express their feelings and emotions through words. Going through topics of love and existence, he was able to write exactly how I was feeling at the time. As simple as the concept is, it can be jarring when you find out that others feel the same pain you do. The short poems are enjoyable to read through on your commute to work or when you’re trapped in bed. Although some of them are cheesy, I still find joy in celebrating love and acknowledging sadness.
How to House-Plant
This guidebook to growing house-plants is a must for anyone looking into buying a new plant. It goes through water care, replanting, and everything else that one needs in order to have a successful plant. At the back of the book, there is an indoor plant encyclopedia that goes through the specific care for each species, which is super helpful. Whenever I have a question surrounding my own plant babies, I always find what I am looking for.
Sapiens A Brief History of Humankind
Yuval Noah Harari
I feel like everyone should have to read this at some point in their life. Sapiens is a quick, non-stop rollercoaster ride that covers the first human appearance on the globe, the agricultural revolution, and the trials and tribulations of the modern age. Alongside this, he also included a projection for our future, and an examination of our roots surrounding evolution. Understanding where come from is vital when trying to understand where we are headed. Harari wrote a history novel that exists beyond the classroom and I couldn’t be more happy about it.
“How do you cause people to believe in an imagined order such as Christianity, democracy or capitalism? First, you never admit that the order is imagined.”
“Domesticated chickens and cattle may well be an evolutionary success story, but they are also among the most miserable creatures that ever lived. The domestication of animals was founded on a series of brutal practices that only became crueler with the passing of the centuries.”
The Reluctant Fundamentalist
If you are a sucker for symbolism, this is the book for you. I read this book for my Southeast Asian Literature class and I fell in love. It is a political thriller that follows the life of a Pakistani immigrant who is finding his place in New York City post 9/11. Details of his work and love life highlights the apparent and hidden racism inside the United States. This novel is one of those stories that make you question a lot of things that are around you, and probably for a good reason.
“It seems an obvious thing to say, but you should not imagine that we Pakistanis are all potential terrorists, just as we should not imagine that you Americans are all undercover assassins.”
“As a society, you were unwilling to reflect upon the shared pain that united you with those who attacked you. You retreated into myths of your own difference, assumptions of your own superiority. And you acted out these beliefs on the stage of the world, so that the entire planet was rocked by the repercussions of your tantrums, not least my family, now facing war thousands of miles away.”
If you ever pick up any of these books, I hope they mean as much to you as they do to me. If not, then go you for expanding your vocabulary…. we all need it.
In 2017, LA-based musical group MUNA released their debut album, About You. Their role as a queer punk band, focused on social change quickly fell into their grasp and they haven’t let go since.
The band consists of singer Katie Gavin, guitarist Josette Maskin, and producer/synth player/guitarist Naomi McPherson. They all met in class while studying at the University of Southern California. After becoming friends, they formed the band and turned their post-graduate lives into making synthpop and RnB music accompanied by politically-infused lyrics.
They are not afraid to write honestly when it comes to songs like “Winterbreak,” which talks about the battle between attraction and being rational, as well as “Grow,” from their most recent album, Saves the World, which focuses on the the desire to grow older and surpass the sometimes overwhelming moments of life. They show that they are not afraid to be genuine in their intent. Being honest about the realities of life is what makes gives them the edge that people have come to love.
When talking with Wonderland Magazine, Josette opened up about the importance of identity and how it is handled.
“Existing is extremely hard. And existing as someone who’s a queer person, or someone who is not white, or someone who is not the gender they were assigned biologically – that’s fucked up, and that sucks, and you will feel excluded by a lot of society, and I think because we all have sort of marginalized identities, we write from that perspective, and on top of that we try not to be exclusive.
Aside from creating music that we can all have a good cry to, they seem to have created an environment within their art to help remedy those same topics discussed before. “We’ve created a universe that we inhabit that’s very inclusive,” stated Katie Gavin. With songs “I Know A Place” and “Number One Fan,” it becomes clear what they are trying to provide for their listeners. Placing emphasis on the importance of friendship, growth, and standing up for yourself. They do this while integrating upbeat funk sounds that makes any listener want to make space and move.
Fans from all over adore the message and music that MUNA brings to the table, but it’s also their individuality that fans have come to love. With a heavy presence on social media, they have been able to give an inside look into the world of an alternative/pop band of all queer women who have made it. Disposable film photos cover their instagrams with ironic jokes and political activism sprinkled throughout. The laid-back cool girl who is not afraid to dance is written all over their images and posts.
I recently had the chance to see them perform live at a smaller festival in Washington DC. Before the show I was anxious for them as I had high hopes for their set. In a quick moment, I had been swept up and carried to a state of happiness. I never knew if I should be jumping up and down, or being still and crying.
While I tried to figure out those emotions throughout the concert, I never stopped experiencing a specific feeling of comfort. I never felt like I didn’t belong there or that I couldn’t express myself in a way that I wanted to. I guess this is the whole point of MUNA. You listen and try to figure out life alongside them, but never have to question if that is okay or not, because they always make it feel like it is.
When introduced to the term “new aesthetic,” coined by James Bridle who describes it as a way to refer to the growing appearance of the visual Internet in the physical world, emphasizing the blending of the two. In simple form, it is a way of merging internet “stuff” with existing reality.
At first I did not fully understand what the term meant, so decided to look up a couple visual examples and it quickly began to make sense. For example, a popular social media artist MLMA, or better known as @melovemealot, uses digital art to transform her regular videos into pieces of art. Below you can see a couple examples of her work, where she used platforms like photoshop and video editing to add her own spin onto what was once just a “regular photo.”
Now that you and I both have a better grasp as to what this all means, I want to dive further into how people are profiting off of their “New Aesthetic” creations. For some time now I have been following an influencer on Instagram that goes by the name Lilmiquela (@lilmiquela) She has an already large following of two million, and it continues to increase. Aside from her trendy posts and urban style, it is her physical make-up that draws in the growing number of viewers, and not in the way you may be thinking.
Again, she seems like she is just another trendy teen from Los Angeles. However, if you happened to take a closer look at these photos, you might have noticed what is different about her. In fact, there is a lot. At the forefront of it all, she is completely computer generated… an avatar of sorts. She was created in 2016 and since then has been pushing relatable, aspiring, and popular content. With fuller lips and ideal body type, she fits right into what instagram has come to show as an ideal influencer. Not only this, but the added details of her existence puts the cherry on top. She has fly aways in her hair, produces shadows, and of course has a relatable or “real” personality.
What makes this interesting though is the impact that Miquela has been able to make. Outside of being the first computer generated social influencer, she has also worked with a number of famous clothing brands including Chanel, Burberry, and Fendi. She has also been photographed with a number of notable celebrities throughout her time on and off Instagrams platform.
Above is a campaign video for the well-known clothing brand, Calvin Klein. I am sure that many of you, myself included, have some questions surrounding this. Yeah, posing in photos wearing some of fashions biggest brands, and even interviewing J Balvin are some big things, but sharing a kiss in full CK with Bella Hadid? This is at the top of the list of things that are blowing my mind when talking about this.
More importantly, what is all of this saying about us and the growing world of technology?
We are integrating. We are, whether we realize it or not, welcoming them into mainstream. When thinking about it, the video was likely made to be a spectacle and draw attention to the new season of clothing, rather than just a casual inclusion of a virtual influencer. That being said, this does not take away from the fact that reality is crossing over with digital beings or things. With the increasing number of technological devices and growing number of social media platforms, it can in some way seem reasonable.
Here is Miquela getting comfortable in a photo with her two creators Trevor Mcfredries and Sara Dacau. They are co-founders of the company Brud who have pioneered the integration of computer generated people into mainstream media. Although we don’t have a definite purpose as to why she was created, it is evident that advertisement has a huge role in its success.
After Miquela showed a significant amount of success, Brud received six million in venture capital funds. Alongside this, they have made quite a bit of money off of brand deals, interviews, and even Spotify music where she hit a top 10 on the platform. McFredries and Dacau have been vocal about their donations they have been able to make through their creation. Giving aid to the California Wildfire relief fund as well as the Black Girls Code NGO.
They have even gone as far to create friends for Miquela, Blawko22 and Bermuda. All of which have different personalities who have had conflicts surrounding things like politics from time to time. This further pushes the idea that with a certain amount of thought and detailed work, we have the ability to welcome them into a world that was made for humans only. It’s up to the rest of us to decide if we should be concerned or impressed at the thought of digital mimicry.
Hello, my name is Matthew Simmons and this is my newly made domain. It is called mattsimm, which is a shorter and better sounding version of my actual name. Something small enough to role on the tongue, but can still be associated with my identity. My plan with this domain is to be able to use the blog aspect and eventually develop it into something that I find myself doing on a regular basis. In order to do this I created a subdomain and downloaded WordPress. I want it to be something that is just as refreshing to look at as it is to read.