A Reflection on a Term of DIVA

13 04 2008

I found the start of my digital imaging class so amazing. Digital imaging was something new to me. As the term went on, a lot of fun things were introduced. I liked my digital imaging subject because I learned so many new techniques and methods to present my artistic thoughts while enjoying it at the same time. Of course in the beginning of the term I had a difficult time as anything new is challenging for me. But eventually I got used to the ideas and methods of digital imaging as another artistic methodology. Now that I have been introduced to digital imaging, I know I will pursue this field and see how it fits in my artistic style. I look forward to learning more about digital imaging/digital art.


The Tag Movie

7 04 2008

DIVA: Critical Review

5 04 2008

On going until May 19 in the Vancouver Art Gallery are two video installations by Turkish artist, Kutlug Ataman who won the Carnegie Prize for “Kuba”. The other video installation is “Paradise”. Both “Kuba” and “Paradise” are about life in two different places. “Kuba” features a poor neighborhood in the outskirts of Turkey and “Paradise” features the wealthy community of Orange County in California. The works are installed in two different sides of the third floor of the VAG. Coming up the escalator, one hears a cacophony of noise. The noise comes from television sets of different shapes and sizes on different tables with different chairs in front of it. All featured people are speaking Turkish. You don’t understand what is being said until you sit down in front of the TV which are arranged in no particular order.

For example, a guy in red talks about watching two films with a friend. He said that they were in a cinema until nightfall.

The man in blue polo says that Kuba is a bad place. During childhood, the scene affects everyone; like lying in the streets, people cutting their throats, etc. He was in Kuba for thirty-five years. But in the end, he still says Kuba is a happy place.

The man in red polo says that the people of Kuba stand up to policemen who plan to demolish the neighborhood with their armies. It was a dreadful thought for all. Most of the stories speak of a hard life.

Across the rotunda, on the other side of these 40 TVs is Ataman’s “Paradise”. Here all the TVs are the same flat screen model. They are supported by shiny chrome and black stands arranged in two semi circles. As seats, there are matching white plastic modular cubes. Unlike Kuba, there is only one TV whose audio is heard in the room. The rest of them have to be listened to by using earphones provided – again they are the same model of earphones. Each TV shows a different Californian talking about their idea of paradise. These stories are varied and following are some examples:

A girl wants to be a singer and actress. She says that if you’re nervous, shaken or anxious, singing and acting can help you through your feelings. It’s a part of life; you feel nervous; make new friends and so on.

A clown says that people walk by him. He congratulates them for remembering him. He talks about what he does in Orange County. Mostly, he performs at birthday parties every Sunday.

A woman says that she is lucky to live in Los Angeles. People think she’s open-minded as she believes in starting new things. Her daughter will be free to go to Israel. The woman’s native language is Hebrew but she speaks English during the interview.

The videos seem to give the viewer a bird’s eye view of what life is like in Kuba and Orange County. It is like tourists visiting a country and seeing only a part of it. But like a tourist, one comes out of the exhibit feeling like he has learned something about the place – Kuba and Orange County.

Personally, I liked the installation “Paradise” because people were speaking English. Also, it was not as noisy. It also seemed to be more orderly. But the installations were good ways of showing the power of video – the ability of bringing the viewer to different places as he remains seated in one place. However, one visit to this exhibit is not enough – one must go back more than once and view it for short periods of time so as not to be overwhelmed. Sitting in front of so many TVs and listening to a lot of people can just be too much for one to take in at one time. Otherwise, this was an interesting video installation/exhibit.

One Weird Weather I will never Forget

30 03 2008


            Yesterday, at night, I felt so tense because even if it was springtime, it got cold again and it was hailing outside and the road from across our place had a small flood.  Because of this there was traffic on Granville bridge which I could see from our window.  I was terribly upset about this situation. It was really bad news to me. But eventually, the flood on the street disappeared.

Hopefully the weather gets much better soon and the wonderful Vancouver spring weather appears.  I will definitely enjoy that.  Meantime the thick jackets and gloves stay out of storage.

How I felt About Tag

23 03 2008


         Last Friday, March 21, 2008, my family and I enjoyed the sunny weather by walking around Stanley Park.  We also decided to go to the Vnacouver Aquarium – one of the places I enjoyed visiting during my first year here.  I liked going to the Aquarium because I found it so relaxing to watch “Tag” the sea lion swim around his pool and come up to entertain the people with his antics.  As we had just moved to Vancouver from the Philippines, this was my way of relaxing my nerves and the stresses of a new school and a new country.

However, this Friday I was surprised to see a different Tag.  Instead of the active sea lion gracefully swimming around the pool and making people laugh, I saw a very sick Tag, lying in one corner with his eyes closed and breathing heavily.  He also looked like he had lost a lot of weight and had lost almost all of his brown fur.  I found out that he was sick of cancer of the mouth and had to be given cancer treatment.  His cancer was the reason why he was just lying in one corner of the pool.  He was a pitiful sight and I was very sad for what happened to him.

So today I decided to paint my feelings about Tag.  I have always used my art as a way of expressing what I feel and as a way of relieving me of whatever stress I had.  Obviously my painting was done in dark colors as that is what I felt when I saw Tag last Friday.  But I included a tinge of orange colors in my painting to represent my hope that he will get better and will be able to once again gracefully swim around his pool and entertain people like me who have learned to enjoy spending some time with him.

My Friends in Manila have Graduated

16 03 2008


            A few days ago I checked on my friends – my former classmates are groupmates in Manila – on friendster. I was glad I did so because they had posted new photos of themselves in their graduation caps and gowns.  Today, March 16, they would be having their graduation ceremony at the St. Scholastica’s College – the school I attended just before I came here to Vancouver.

I felt so excited looking at their photos. I was also happy for them.  Looking at these pictures made me feel nostalgic for my friends who kept in touch with me these last two years, even if we were separated by many thousands of miles. Our friendship continues in spite of this distance.

As they graduate, some of them felt bad leaving the school and friends – just like I felt 2 years ago.  Some of them also are anxious as they begin to look for jobs.  They said that it was hard to bid farewell to school and friends as they go their separate ways.  I also felt bad about this…but, it’s part of life.

Autism Spectrum Disorders

9 03 2008


            On Monday, March 3, my family and I went to a talk about autism treatments sponsored by SFU.  The speaker is a well known researcher on autism, Dr. Susan Bryson.  It interested me to listen to what autism is all about and how people like me cope with the demands of society.  I learned about the history of autism. It was first documented formally in 1943 by Karner who described 11 children characterized by social affectness” and “insistence or sameness.” I learned a lot about this mystery that is called autism, in this talk by Dr. Bryson.


            Talks like this really help me a lot as it helps me understand the disorder that I have.  It also helps me know what to do to adapt to things like exams and social relationships. This talk further enhanced my confidence in myself and my capabilities.


After the talk I introduced myself to Dr. Bryson as a person with autism.  I gave her my calling card.  She was so impressed especially with my self portrait which is part of my calling card.  My portrait was made from a rubber etching I did of myself showed the different moods I have.  I felt good hearing her say that I have indeed achieved a lot in spite of the challenge of my autism.