Michele Leigh & Lora Mjolsness: Event #3

Michele Leigh and Lora Mjolsness shared a few interesting and unique animated films during their presentation. The main topic of their lecture was the importance of learning about and respecting the work of female filmmakers from the Soviet Union and Russia.

They showed some very old animated short films that felt like a completely new genre to me. They basically felt like I was watching really old Disney cartoons, except they were made in Russia. The kind of animation felt nostalgic because it felt as if it were from the early sound period, but the 2D animation was really eye catching to me because I have barely watched any animated films of this kind, let alone from Russia and the Soviet Union.

I don’t remember if it was Michele or Lora who said this, but there was one thing that was my strongest take away from this lecture. They stressed the importance of remembering the female directors of this time period, and how they need to be acknowledged in the history of cinema. However, they can’t just be acknowledged as being in the same conversation as male directors from this period because that is disrespectful, and ignoring the gender of these important women is just as disrespectful as not talking about them at all.

These women need to be remembered for exactly who they are because there were not a lot of women doing what they were doing back then. And that they need to be remembered in their own conversation, outside of male directors because of their significant contributions that had nothing to do with men.

Keith Knight: Event #2

Listening to Keith Knight speak has been the most moving event I have been a part of so far this semester. Keith didn’t just speak about his Hulu series, “Woke” he also spoke a lot about racial injustice in America, and talked about it in a way I have never experienced before.

Keith is a very experienced and talented cartoonist who has been making comics for quite a long time. I don’t remember how long he has been making them, but he talked about having a massive book of all his comics and dropping it onto the table at the end of his pitch for “Woke”, which I thought was a badass way to conclude a pitch and set yourself apart from other people in the heads of the producers.

He shared a lot of his comics with us that displayed the massive problem of racial injustice in our country. He had countless examples that could all be applicable to the way that some people think in our country today. It was shocking to me how all of what he showed us is still applicable in today’s society, when a lot of the comics were made multiple years ago.

To me it really shows how little progress has been made, and how we have a lot further to go to reach racial equality in the United States.

Keith also shared that the main char5acter is based off of himself, and that some of the moments in the show were actually things that Keith experienced in his own life such as when he was putting up flyers for his band and the cops violently harassed him.

Jay Needham: Event #1

Listening to Jay Needham speak on Zoom was an incredibly interesting experience. I love when I get to hear about what work professors do outside of the classes they teach, because I know that those works are probably what the professor is most passionate about, because they chose to work on them in their free time.

Jay’s “Radio Piano” project was something that stood out to me the most during his presentation. Putting old radios around all the seats in the audience was a method of performance that I never would have thought to use like how Jay used it. I would think that the more contemporary strategy would be just placing more surround sound speakers around the auditorium. However, Jay’s strategy allowed for a more immersive experience, along with a different and older aesthetic because the radios being used were older than even a boombox would be right now.

Jay Needham displayed his work by showing us photos and playing audio tracks to provide us with a similar experience to what the audience would feel during the actual performance. Jay seemed really good about creating a unique experience for the audience member because of the unique body of work that he produces. As we listened to the “Radio Piano” track, the piano would sometimes play normal notes that would provide a soothing experience. And other times we would hear very jarring sounds coming from the speakers that didn’t even sound like they were coming from a piano.

I wish I could’ve been physically in the audience for this performance because it almost feels like an out of body experience with he radio speakers right next to the seats.

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