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November 22, 2011
Photo

Since I finished studying in Italy nearly three years ago, I had longed to return. The landscape turned up in dreams, the food remained (sadly) unmatched, and the language lay in a forlorn, unused corner of my brain. So, when a good friend of mine moved to Rome for a year (fully-equipped with a free place to crash), I saved my money and jumped at the first opportunity for a two-week visit.

Rome

As my home base, I spent most of my time in Rome. It’s a city overflowing with history, architecture, and culture. Around seemingly every corner in the city center is a monument straight out of a textbook. Having a personal tour-guide with local connections, though, allowed me to see a side of the city outside of the tourist attractions: la Roma dei Romani (the Rome of the Romans, as one local described it). I visited centri sociali (social centers) with modern art and music, and unmarked restaurants free of the ever-present international tourist. I didn’t carry my camera with me nearly as much as I should have, but these are a few brief impressions from my time in Rome:

Streetcorner bus - Rome, Italy
  • Basilica di San Giovanni - Rome, Italy
  • Church candles - Rome, Italy
  • Piazza fountain at night - Rome, Italy
  • Piazza fountain at night - Rome, Italy
  • Villa Sciarra - Rome, Italy
  • Marketplace - Rome, Italy
  • Rome, Italy
  • Vatican Tiber River - Rome, Italy
  • Tiber River - Rome, Italy
  • Vatican - Rome, Italy
  • Vatican at night - Rome, Italy
  • St. Peter's Basilica at night - Rome, Italy
November 4, 2011
Drawing

Rome is a gorgeous, historic city. But, with grandeur also comes tourists. And traffic. And an incredible amount of noise. Which is why I was quite pleased when I stumbled upon this public park, overlooking the rest of the rest of the city from a lofty distance. It was quiet, serene, and a great place to do some drawing.

Rome villa sketch
August 10, 2011
Drawing

There’s nothing quite like summer in Chicago. For months, I hadn’t taken much initiative to do any drawings, but when I found myself walking across this downtown bridge, I decided to stop for a while and reacquaint myself with pen and paper. This sketch comes from the pages of my journal that August afternoon.

Chicago Train Sketch
July 25, 2011
Photo

This is a project that’s been on the backburner for quite some time… which means I’ve had quite some time to think about it. When I studied abroad in 2009, I was struck (as anyone who travels inevitably is) by the beauty of my new environment. Being in Italy, I was surrounded by some of the most well known works of art in the world, the most lauded architecture, and of course breathtaking landscapes.

But outside of the galleries and monuments, I felt a certain intangible charm in the experience. Perhaps it was because I was seeing the world with fresh eyes, untainted by prior conceptions, but I found beauty in the most unlikely places. Even traditionally mundane objects became works of art in their own right. As these small details began to catch my eye, I became fixated on doors.

Aside from the pure aesthetic variety and understated elegance of the doors themselves, they became something more. Each one was a passageway. A story. An entire history of all those that had passed through. A static, enduring monument to memories long since forgotten.

Those doors which interested me most were the ones that had fallen prey to the unrelenting forces of time. Weather-worn and decaying, these portals bear the bittersweet burden that ultimately afflicts us all.

Italian door photography
  • Italian door photography
  • Italian door photography
  • Italian door photography
  • Italian door photography
  • Italian door photography
  • Italian door photography
  • Italian door photography
  • Italian door photography
  • Italian door photography
  • Italian door photography
  • Italian door photography
  • Italian door photography
  • Italian door photography
  • Italian door photography
  • Italian door photography
  • Italian door photography
  • Italian door photography
  • Italian door photography
July 12, 2011
Film
Music

This 1-minute film is an exploration of the way in which light interacts with our world. The dreamy, streetlight-inspired piece was shot on black & white reversal film using a vintage Bolex camera. Some of the clarity and warmth of the original images got lost in digitization, but life goes on.

Music is original and added digitally along with the titles.

May 12, 2011
Writing

Originally written December 2010, published May 2011 in Concientización, The University of Wisconsin's journal on Chican@ and Latin@ Studies.

Glenn Back
Glenn Beck

Political pundit Glenn Beck, in many ways, has become the mouthpiece of an emerging rightist movement. As the father of the Tea Party Patriots, he has a unique bit of sway over a relatively powerful segment of American politics. But, just like the Tea Party movement itself, Beck has come under fire for his supposedly bigoted or insensitive commentary. And indeed, almost everything he says, in one way or another, works towards a very orthodox definition of what it is to be “American.” As Leo Chavez points out [1], this sort of rhetoric is not unprecedented—in times of internal instability, the American mass media often ostracizes immigrants (especially Latina/os), promoting images of their stark “otherness.” For Beck, any concept that falls outside of his strict ideological framework is treated as a fundamental threat to the “American Way.” Beck functions on fear. From his television rants to blog postings, almost every bit of content associated with him serves either to reinforce a hyperconservative definition of Americanism, or rally fears that traditional America is under attack. It is through this lens that Beck views Latina/os. Much of his content glorifies a segment of America from which Latina/os are simply absent, but when he does mention them, they are often regarded as a fundamental threat to American identity. By regarding Latina/os in this way, he is able to create an atmosphere of fear, which in turn makes his content more appealing to his top advertisers.

May 3, 2011
Film

Another smaller project, this edit spoofs Francis Ford Coppola's 1972 classic, The Godfather. Never before has a mafia film been this heartwarming...

March 26, 2011
Film

A small, fun project—mashing up of Bugs Bunny, Michael Jordan, The Beastie Boys, and one heck of a basketball game. Enjoy.

February 25, 2011
Photo

With Wisconsin Democratic senators still out of the state, a vote on Governor Walker’s budget repair bill has been postponed indefinitely. Union protesters have agreed to pension and budget cuts proposed by Walker, and are primarily opposing the bill’s provision to remove unions’ collective bargaining rights. Thus far, however, Republican lawmakers have refused to negotiate.

These photos photos are from Feb 17 & 19, and document both union protests and Tea Party counter-protesters:

Capitol rotunda protests - Madison, WI
  • Tea Party protests - Madison, WI
  • Tea Party vs. Unions - Madison, WI
  • Union buster capitol - Madison, WI
  • State Street protests - Madison, WI
  • Fox News will lie about this - Madison, WI
  • Union protest signs - Madison, WI
  • Capitol rotunda protests - Madison, WI
  • Capitol rotunda protests - Madison, WI
February 23, 2011
Film

Okay, so before you watch this video there are a couple things you should know about it. This is my completed project for an editing & post-production course. The assignment given to each of the 18 students in the class was to go out and collect about 20 different shots (defined by various framing/camera movement techniques). Once each of us captured our shots, we combined them into one large database.

From this collection of almost 400 seemingly unrelated shots, each of us students had to piece together a collage of video and audio to create a comprehensive piece. At first, I wanted to create just a rhythmical edit, but thematically it was a bit lacking. As I began to interact with the heap of files, though, an idea slowly began to come into form. Throughout the process, I felt like a bit of a sculptor—chipping away at a mass of footage and forming it into something concrete. This film is what I created.

The title of the original assignment does it justice, I thnk. This is “Scavenger Hunt.”

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