Week 7: Storytelling and Narrative…
Time Capsule P1.
A 3 part assignment. Part one, Select 3-8 objects I own that have personal meaning to me, and create stories for each of them using different media formats.
I chose six meaningful objects I owned, and surprisingly, it was not very difficult. I felt confident in having chosen objects that represented aspects of my life, important relationships and moments in time that made me reflect deeply. Interestingly after creating the mind map, I noticed the objects I selected, I had only acquired in the last 10 years with one important exception. And more revealing and shocking… these objects I selected had an underlying thread in common. A thread I did not discover until after I created my mind map and let it sit for a bit. Tossed around possible stories for each object, and I can back to the mind map for a rethink adding several more notes to the object threads.
Then I decided to create an over-arching storyboard about the objects, their stories, and how they fit together. This is when reality planted its impassable roots on my path. And I realised, this was my path… this is why I am at IDM today. The reason was clear and unshakable.
I AM A RELUCTANT PRISONER TO TECHNOLOGY and I WILL NOT HAVE ANY MORE OF IT. THIS CAPTIVE WILL BREAK FREE AND FORM IT, TO MY DESIGN.
Come, hear me out… Let’s start with my parents 50th anniversary celebration. The object would be the mini Tabasco bottle party favor with their picture glued to it. I would have also included the gold and white M&M’s I had their wedding portrait printed on, but they didn’t do too well in storage.
Imagine the self-imposed pressure of putting together the “Perfect” 50th anniversary gathering for your parents. I mean you’d want everything to be exceptional… right?? Of course you would!!! Start with the planning of the 4 day event, then designing, printing and mailing out all the invites detailing the daily schedule, maps, and hotel info to finally sending out mass email invites several months in advance. The 4 day event welcomed early arrivals Friday night with dinner at the house. Saturday was the main event, an afternoon with catered lunch and entertainment at the local clubhouse for over 100 people, to capping off evening with a sit down Burmese dinner at my parents for about 70. Sunday events began with a relaxing brunch on the beach, leading to late afternoon appetizers and cocktails on a sunset cruise watching dolphins dance off the bow for about 70 family and friends. The evening ended at Japanese Habachi for those who made it that far. And finally, Monday with a band of about 25 strong an Everglades airboat ride.
I was obsessed… perhaps even a little mad. But thank goodness I had support and understanding of everyone involved to keep me relatively sane, because in my mind everything had to be near perfect, if not perfect: the 20 minute anniversary video compiled from a thorough dismantling of 30 or so photo albums and digital pictures, the custom anniversary cakes with four different flavors, the table and floral arrangements, the personalized decor for the banquet, prompt shuttling of guest from event to event, and the party favors which brings us back to the mini Tabasco bottles with my parents picture glued on each.
Now when I look at the Tabasco bottles I don’t think of all that prep above. I instead, remember the joy, love and laughter that filled the 4 days. The friends and family from across the globe we had a chance to see, hold , and hug in those moments who in some cases are no longer with us today. I look at those bottles and I am filled with both love and sadness… and grateful for that time together, and grateful for the technology that made the event possible and preserved digitally so it can be shared.
A picture frames a thousand words, but an object of sentimental value brings back a specific moment, an interaction, a sentiment, a mood, and sometimes they even carry with them a scent.
I remember the very moment I received each of these gifts… the expression in my aunties eyes, the tone of their voices and the warmth, love, and sincerity emanating from their hearts. They saw me as the child who left over 45 years ago and they realise that this just maybe the last time we see each other —->
My Aunties are from another generation, a generation that experienced World War II, hiding in the mountains, the hills, as the Japanese invaded Burma, then living through a Xenophobic military “socialist” dictatorship. They experienced both the best of times and the worst of times. The elation of Burmese independence from Great Britain in 1949, to the over throw of a democratic government in 1962, to the 8888 uprising in 1988. —->
And yet, during my brief visit there, they showed so much love and kindness and not once, complained about the past. When you live one day at a time, you don’t have the time for regrets. You have to move forward and make the best of what you have within reach. I have been incredibly fortunate to have grown up in the US, but also ludicrously spoiled. And when I hear myself start complaining about the inconveniences in my life? Pfft! I’m living in a reality that is not wholey connected to the planet or the 2 billion inhabitants that are food insecure.
My Covid Journal.
I’ve been journaling off and on since I was about 15, and in recents years I had become quite lax about writing daily, if even monthly. Until… ‘THE LOCKDOWN’, March 16, 2020, at which point I started the daily scribes and what I called my occasional Art Therapy Doodles. Stuck at home, experiencing my personal ‘Ground Hog’s Day’, art therapy doodles and journaling were a way to express my agnst, anger , fear and frustrations.
This leads me to the last item that would be in my time capsule, though it was the very first item I thought to include. My iPhone – My miniMe. In the palm of my hand the last 12 years of my life in pictures, videos, emails, texts, social feeds, documents, and personal notes stored in gigabytes. Each phone upgrade continues to store more of me and my experiences in it or, downloadable via the ‘CLOUD’. A holy place where all my devices meet , co- mingle and get some of the info a little confused.
This device has revolutionized the way I work, socialize, read, play, exercise, eat, sleep, wake and purchase. I have the world at my fingertips as long as I can afford it.
During the lockdown, it was my only reliable source of communication. I remember back to my IDM scheduled Zoom interview. Spectrum Cable was coming in intermittently all Fall. During the interview I lost connection four times, and in the end I had to use the iPhone to finish the interview.
I’ve only had this particular model for a year, but the thought of turning it in for an upgrade has me feeling a bit sentimental. Personification. I’m feeling guilty that I have to give up this phone that kept me connected with the world during the pandemic, because of an upgrade plan. But of course I will… I want that LIDAR.
Technology, especially the smart phone, is the underlying thread that links all these objects I have selected for the time capsule.
- Tabasco Bottles : I arranged the entire Anniversary Party remotely. Without my mobile phone, it would have been much more difficult.
- Brooch, Scarf and Purse : I am able to stay in contact with distant friends and family as long as they have an internet connection, and I have memories of them on my phone.
- Covid Journal : I was able to express my thoughts and fears on paper, and not only share them, but also have a discussion with feedback. I wasn’t alone.
- iPhone : Has become my most reliable and consistent form of communication with the world.
Week 8: Time Capsule P2…
What does a time capsule need to have?
- It should house all the contents
- It should protect the contents
- And it should display the contents
- It should be made of material that will last the test of time.
- It should also float.
My initial idea was to create a shape that resembled the iPhone, so I sketch that out. The next shape I sketch out was a sphere that had clear shelves to place my 6 items on. Even then, I knew that the central focus would always be the iPhone. It would be set up in away that it could harness solar energy to turn itself on when exposed to light. An oval top with a transparent window would show the contents of the capsule and the base of the capsule would be made of a weather resistant translucent polycarbonate. Underneath the base that supported the objects, there would also be a light source that emitted a blue/violet glow.
The sphere seemed too cumbersome and big, so I morphed it into an oval, or egg shape. And this was feeling a little sleeker, but it still seemed too bulky and big for the items it would hold. My final shape was an oval unit 18″ long x 12″ wide x 3″ deep. Each element would be secured to the base of the capsule and clearly visible through the transparent window of the top portion of the capsule. The top would come off once the iPhone initiated the release of the magnetic lock.
Design Process. Started with quick pen sketches on paper. When I knew what shape I wanted to use, I went into Vectorworks to create the capsule, the textures and all the objects I would put in it. I had hope that I could just render out the final product from Vectorworks, but the results were not what I wanted. So I imported the 3d elements and textures into C4D where I added lighting, sky, and an environment. The final product is a short animation that took over 4 hours to render. Unfortunately, I noticed two hours into the rendering that one of my objects did not render its texture, but I had no time to redo this.
Next time, I’m going to do import the 3D mesh and textures into either Unity or Unreal which renders much faster than C4D.