honoured

Keeping track of a lofty man enamoured with life

2014 running list

CINEMA

American Hustle

americanhustle

Blue Jasmine

Blue_Jasmine_poster

Gravity

gravity_ver3_xlg

Her

Her2013Poster

The Wolf of Wall Street

TheWolfofWallStreet_iTunesPre-sale_1400x2100

Philomena

PHILOMENA_M

Blue is the Warmest Colour

Blue-is-The-Warmest-Color-Poster-HD-Wallpaper

 

DVD

The Wolverine

338157

The Moonlight Mile

MV5BMTY5MTA1MTgyMV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwNzE5NDg3._V1_SY317_CR0,0,214,317_

Silver Linings Playbook

silver-linings-playbook

PHILLIP SEYMOUR HOFFMAN RETROSPECTIVE:

A Late Quartet
Almost Famous
Flawless
Jack Goes Boating
Love Liza

TV

Adventure Time (season 1)

adventure-time-2

Borgen (season 1 & 2)

Borgen-DVD

Sons of Anarchy (seasons 1, 2 & 3)

Sons-Of-Anarchy-sons-of-anarchy-32111948-1600-1200

Bron Broen

brdg

Rectify

rectify_lg

Cauliflower Fried Rice

A nice alternative to using grains. Alters the texture, which is a nice change. Also read earlier in the week that cauliflower is a super food. So that’s a plus.

Appropriated from:

http://www.familyfreshmeals.com/2013/03/cauliflower-fried-rice.html

Had all my ingredients chopped and blended before cooking (i.e. carrots, spring onions, shallots, cauliflower, cabbage).

Started with frying the shallots with olive oil until translucent. Added the chopped carrots and cabbage. Let these fry for a bit, constantly moving ingredients. Then added spring onion and cauliflower. Corn.

 

Reflecting on the Honours experience

Dear Ed,

From the beginning of Honours this year you were driven to create a product that would benefit others. Something that would unite communities and promote the education and compassion of others.

With realization of one’s own potential and self-confidence in one’s ability, one can build a better world. – Dalai Lama

By working upon your own skills and knowledge as a filmmaker you hoped to contribute to society in some shape or form. At first you thought that by setting yourself the goal to learn about new media and pedagogical practices you would be able to go about mending the divide between elders and younger Indigenous Australians. A colossal ambition for a one-year Honours program, which obviously had to be rethought and revised to compensate for the limited timeframe and resources available.

Being immersed within this ambition and concept blinded you from the reality of the situation Ed. It was only when you presented this research question to your coordinator that you were shot down from the clouds. Having your goals and aspirations stripped from you was no easy thing to accept, yet was important in the overall process of your research. It would prove to be a reoccurring challenge for you as every new research question or concept you endeavoured to tackle was torn apart or shown to be wrong in some way or another by your supervisor. You soon learned to hold your ambitions lightly, so each time they would be brushed aside you would not be brushed aside with them.

So began a tumultuous relationship with your supervisor, Adrian. It was clear you did not see eye to eye on how the supervisor-student relationship should transpire, as Adrian’s use of his position of superiority to manipulate you into performing to your full capacity pushed and pulled your emotions and research practice rather than encouraged it. The anxiety caused by feeling inadequate and misunderstood every time you would leave a meeting with Adrian proved to be the most challenging aspect in your Honours experience. You could not help thinking how having a supervisor who gave you the time and respect to communicate your interests would have made the experience all the more rewarding and enjoyable. However, you kept reminding yourself to see the benefits in your relationship with Adrian, to endeavour to take the positives from it.

However, at times the anxiety and pressure you felt from Adrian and the tight deadlines within Honours rippled there way into the research process to cause problems. Feeling anxious and rushed in trying to get your research approved by the Design and Social Context College Human Ethics Advisory Network (CHEAN) so that you would be able to achieve your research task in time proved to slow the process down further. Rushing through reading the criteria you presumed too much and therefore did not adequately fill out the templates supplied by the CHEAN. Drafting the Participant Information and Consent Forms with Adrian proved to be a futile effort as the CHEAN preferred abiding by their own template. This small hiccup proved to be a major inconvenience as your production timetable had to be pushed further into the second semester calendar. Letting the production slide meant letting the writing of the exegesis slide, which meant an intense last few weeks of semester to pull the exegesis and documentaries together in time for submission. You now understand how you were the one at fault in this situation, yet still feel as though the system let you down as you were not guided by Adrian through the process nor found any of the CHEAN approachable to help with the application process. It was not until the final hour that Neal came through as an invaluable advisor in amending the application and additional documents.

This experience has taught you to seek help from other sources as well as to establish contingency plans from the beginning, as nothing is certain when dealing with institutional processes. It is difficult to generate more time for yourself yet is crucial when working towards tight turnaround times. Speaking with other lecturers (Linda Daley, Lucinda Strahan, Neal Haslem) and fellow students (Jason Tseng, Josh Nettheim, Simon Wood and Steve Rhall) has proved to be invaluable in your journey through Honours. The support and encouragement from these incredibly generous people has proved to be the precise element you required to motivate you in completing your Honours year.

The recommended reading from your peers also helped in providing a context and understanding of approaching project-lead research. Being in the World (2010), a documentary recommended by Jason, offered an introduction to continental philosophy that helped you find direction in your research and grapple post-structuralist views. Similarly, the ingenuity evident in the creative writing publications Ruby lent you also proved to inspire and enthuse your interest in project work.

Engaging in academic discourse through reading past exegeses and theses, as well as attending conferences and lectures proved to be important in adapting to tackling complex theories and project work. Hannah Brasier’s exegesis on ‘Noticing’ was particularly helpful in understanding how Korsakow works and how to marry complex theories to project-lead research. The ASPERA conference, talks on research strategies, ethnography and design all were highlights of your Honours journey, providing case examples of how useful project-lead research can be and how to translate acquired skills into the professional world.

By attending such events you soon learned how much of a small fish you were in a big pond. You could not shake the feeling of always being behind the eight-ball, as it seemed to be part and parcel of the research process. The anxiety it caused, propelling you to achieve greater and more extensive goals was not producing the results that you received in your undergraduate or advanced diploma programs. Instead, the pressure you placed upon yourself caused you to over-extend yourself and be continually unsatisfied with the work you were doing and thus manifest an unproductive and unhealthy lifestyle. Your aim was to cover all the bases and provide the most thoroughly researched works, yet all you came away with was a tip-toe approach across a wide range of loosely connected theories and topics. Adrian explained that you must research deeply as opposed to broadly; discuss the topics throughly, explaining how they relate to one another as opposed to jumping fleetingly from one to the next without context or justification. It became incredibly hard to reverse this habit of spending all of your time reading and finding yourself with little time to pull together a piece of quality writing.

This is what made project-lead research appeal to you the most. The chance to step away from the literature and create something. You knew that your approach to creativity needed to be worked on. Instead of taking everything so intensely seriously, you took your cue from Charlie Chaplin in the Unknown Chaplin (1983), approaching creativity with an element of fun and spontaneity in order to produce a result that you would be happy with. The project work became the antidote to the theory, allowing you a chance to engage your intuition in order to produce something that would resonate with you.

You began to understand that no matter what approach you took to research (whether project-lead or by reading and writing to concepts) it seemed to be about applying your own individual capabilities to understand something. The proactive engagement with a theoretical discourse or mode of expression opened up new associations between your own personal practice and the wider community, and in so doing broadened and deepened your knowledge and skills–base to benefit further practice and your overall approach to life.

Aside from learning more about interactive documentaries, what post-graduate research entails, and useful tools to manage your research practice, you now feel confident in your ability to learn and adapt to new experiences and accomplish a large project in a short period of time.

The 2013 Media and Communication Honours experience has been incredibly challenging and enriching due to the people who have helped shape it for you and the information and skills you have acquired from it. Now you are more the wiser to approach a career that you feel will contribute to the wider community.

 

Regards,

 

An Observer.

Writing tips that are worth periodically reading

http://www.mcsweeneys.net/articles/the-ultimate-guide-to-writing-better-than-you-normally-do

Interactive Documentary and Place: Portrait of a Bend of Islands

EdArmstrongPTBcover

EdArmstrongPTBcontent

The last 14 days

So the game plan didn’t really work out. Unfortunately it got to Wednesday and Adrian had not seen my conclusion and the project section was still very rough. I therefore applied for a week extension to buy me some time to polish off those last two sections, compile and format the exegesis so that it looks aesthetically pleasing.

This is how the last 14 days panned out:

I went out to the Bend of Islands on the Sunday to get the last consent form signed and pick up some shots of Tserin to include in the third documentary Becoming the Bend. Didn’t take too long. Steve had generously loaned his car to me so I could get out and back in a short period of time. So I ended up dropping the car back to him in Footscray before heading into the Honours lab for some more writing. Turned out to be an epic day, waking at 6:30 and getting back from the lab by 10:30-11pm.

A couple of weeks before submission Neal Haslem ran us (the Honours 2013 cohort) through the InDesign template Miek Dunbar has constructed for a short cut design solution in order to make our exegesis/thesis look like they have been designed to a professional standard. I found the design not to my liking, and already had an idea of what would work for my exegesis layout. I was inspired by Adrian Lawson’s exegesis from the 2012 Honours cohort, that was set out with two columns of text. I liked this idea as it related to my list-making (my research methodology) and how Korsakow operates by contrasting/comparing one category of things with another. I decided to use Dunbar’s design as a starting point by utilising his font and paragraph styles. I created a separate master spread sheet in order to reposition the columns into a new margin and set a new uniform design aesthetic for the entire document. There would be thumbnail images listed down one side of the main body of text, and a list of things that are loosely related to the Bend of Islands or the project down the other side. Thankfully I had the help of Biccy and a family friend to help me set a system up that would make the process flow efficiently.

After successfully obtaining an extension, I spent my time over the 24th and 25th of October reshuffling my project discussion around. The section required a thorough re-working so I printed the section off, cut it into paragraph long strips, and shuffled it around into some loosely coherent structure. I colour-coded it into the major themes I needed to cover in each documentary (Interface, natural soundscape, interview soundtrack, clip content, clip duration, and the keywords used) and structured it into a loose essay format with a general introduction to the entire project Placing the Bend before discussing each documentary individually. I soon discovered where the holes were lying and scanning the entire collection found what colour/themes was lacking and what was in abundance. Stepping away from the computer on occasion is tremendously helpful to gain perspective about the flow of the piece and what it consists of.

Evernote Snapshot 20131031 105002

As you can also see in the above image, “to-do lists” were incredibly important during the last few weeks of exegetical work. Without my lists I would have been lost. It is a good way to communicate to yourself what needs to be done as well as to maintain sanity. The less reoccurring information going around in your head about what you need to do the better. Allows more energy and space to troubleshoot what is needing to be done in the present.

One of the major things I have learned throughout this intense year of study is to allow time to clock off and relax. Without doing so you’ll surely burn yourself out. I work obsessively, for I always have this feeling of being inadequate among my peers and believing I can do better (perfectionism – it’s a killer). Being among other high-achievers in Honours this year has made this feature of my personality especially obvious and in need of address. Balance is the key. Spending time with family and friends, catching up on chores around the house, reading the newspaper, taking a walk or going for a jog, are all useful distractions from study. These activities do not interfere with your study unless they begin to eat up all of your time. Then you are clearly procrastinating. In moderation they are incredibly helpful. They allow your brain to change gears for a bit, relax so that ideas can flow more freely. So I found I needed time away from study the closer the deadline became. In order to be a truly productive and efficient human being one must have enough sleep, food and exercise.

Some points that needed addressing in my conclusion:

Evernote Snapshot 20131031 105003

Bibliography check (read through to ensure all references/citations would be listed in the Bibliography):

Evernote Snapshot 20131031 105004

I was holding off from giving Adrian my conclusion until I could print the whole formatted exegesis off as a draft. I thought it would have saved him some time but it turned out that this lapse in judgement rushed the night before printing and the print morning as I had only given him a copy the afternoon before. A big ask to achieve a full reading before 11am, when I hoped to have had it at the printers. There were some hurried text messages in the morning, me trying to work out whether I was right to take it to the printers by 11am, whilst Adrian expressing that he was not happy with its quality and therefore would not sign off on my submission. I had no choice but to wait.

When Adrian turned up I quickly added his changes to the exegesis before speeding off to the printers. My bibliography was wrong, the images not flush with the margin, the appendices needed to be cut, and one paragraph was ambiguous. Plus, the conclusion needed a full work over. I didn’t get a chance to change the ambiguous paragraph, but everything else I was able to rush through.

Once I’d handed my USB over to the printers I found myself heading back to the lab in a haze. I felt a flutter of relief, but was mainly quite flat. I think I had flatlined from all of the adrenaline that had coursed through my system leading up to the deadline. I felt a similar sensation when I finally submitted the three copies of the exegesis to Adrian last Friday. I felt empty. Numb. Like the journey is still not over. And it isn’t still – until I get the marks back I guess.

The following day, the 31st of October, I indulged in an hour sleep in before heading back into the lab to tackle my documentaries/K-films. With the new footage of Tserin and the confirmation in spelling Rodrigo’s surname in the credits (a JPEG super of the credits that pops up at the head of Assembling the Bend and Round the Bend, and throughout Becoming the Bend), some work needed to happen to mainly Becoming the Bend (the third iteration).

The monthly Korsakow Group meeting had occurred on the 28th of October, allowing me the opportunity to show each doco to the group to see whether I needed to make some corrections. Overall, the feedback was positive. Although, Adrian suggested changing the lives of the clips in Becoming the Bend so that the far shots of things would die out, leaving the near shots of the natural landscape to directly correspond with the near shots of the interviewees. This made sense, but unfortunately required an overhaul of the K-films design. I needed to change the far clips with the near human clips to act as the connector between all clips. I then needed to increase the lives of each near clip, weight the far clips to show up first, before petering out to exhibit just the near clips. During this development I noticed that some of the sequenced clips (the clips with variable durations, sometimes offering a montage of several vids in the one clip) were still synced with audio. So I needed to remove the individual audio from each of the sequenced clips as well. The entire process took much longer than I intended.

This change of connector made sense though. Having the near human clips as the central connector reflected the phenomenological research investigation I was conducting much more than the far clips. Becoming the Bend is much more about the human connection with place than Assembling the Bend or Round the Bend areThe interviewees are featured sonically as well as visually throughout the K-film, drawing upon the similarities and contrasts between each “part” of the Bend of Islands as a place.

Evernote Snapshot 20131031 105005

Thankfully the printers produced mine and fellow Honours compatriot Jess‘ exegeses by 12pm on Friday so we could have the afternoon free to touch up our K-films. It was interesting to see each others K-films in the Korsakow Group meet, as we have approached documentary filmmaking in such vastly different ways. Her K-film is a collection of auto-ethnographic works, detailing particular aspects of her life by visually recording it and narrating it in voice over in a series of 30secs-1min clips. The doco has a great tone to it, as it reflects Jess’ sense of humour and curiosity. Placing the Bend, on the other hand, is observational in a different way. It is much more “artistic” in the composition of each shot and the nonlinear structure of the interview soundtrack.

Anyway, there were some last minute dramas before submitting the exegeses to Adrian as the OS X 10.9 Mavericks operating system had unsandboxed Flash player, so Safari and Chrome would not play the exported Korsakow Index files. It would only play the audio without the video clips. It took Adrian some troubleshooting to find a solution for Safari by:

Going into the web browser settings/preferences>into the security tab>manage website settings>adobe flash player>local documents>run in unsafe mode>trust.

I had to whip up a last minute erratum to explain how to step through this process to watch the documentaries locally, or view them online with this link:

http://vogmae.net.au/works/2013/ptb/

After submission I tidied up the remaining copies of my exegesis so that I can give them to key contributors to the project. Then Steve, Jess and I decided to debrief over a couple of lagers in the sunshine.

I have one final assessment to hand in before completely finishing Honours in Media and Communication at RMIT University. This is a reflective essay, answering some questions about the Honours experience and what I have gained from it. I almost feel like it is cruel and unusual punishment to have an assessment after submitting my exegesis. You would hope to have completely finished the program of study upon submitting your major research project. But alas, one assessment still hangs over your head. Sigh. Perhaps it will be a therapeutic exercise, a cathartic way to debrief on how intense this year of study has been.

 

 

Game plan

Saturday

Structure Conclusion

Work out structure

Sunday

Head out to the Bend:

video Tserin

get a signature off Rodrigo to be able to use his voice and image

Head into the lab:

work on InDesign formatting

Send rough formatted exegesis to be checked by bro

Monday

Fill in holes of exegesis

Compile images within one folder to be used in exegesis

Tuesday

Continue crafting exegesis

Get help with formatting InDesign

Wednesday

Finalise exegesis

Hand over exegesis PDF to printers

Refine k-films

Thursday

Purchase:

Envelopes to send exegesis off to examiners in

2 x USB thumb drives to load project on for examiners to experience on local browser

Refine k-films

Upload k-films

Friday

Pick up exegesis copies from printers

Get signature from Adrian

Submit exegesis

Fragmentation

What a surreal feeling. I have just finished breaking my exegesis into paragraphs in Scrivener (using the command+K short key when you select where you want to break the document) and exported (or “compiled”, using Scrivener speak) it as a PDF that I have now sent to Adrian to have a go at reassembling into a thematic order. We will reconvene tomorrow to see what holes need filling in and where new connections need to be woven in.

After the last edit the draft is still very much in fragments. I am not certain as to there being much quality within the document any more. I feel the sense has been blasted out of it. There is much work ahead of me over the weekend. I would like to have my exegesis at the printers on Tuesday but it is now looking like Wednesday.

I doubt I will have time to source images from Dylan, who produced the Bend of Islands Land Management Plan (which has some great lists and images of flora and fauna), or take more footage from around the Bend before sending it to the printers. Formatting it into InDesign will take a while – and I do not even know what i will be formatting into InDesign!

So much uncertainty plagues the nerves at what seems to be the final hour before submission.

This last week I have felt like Adrian’s lab rat, desperately running in a wheel of drafting, editing and redrafting. I have gotten to the stage of being on autopilot when I meet up with Adrian as it is easier to agree than it is to argue my point. There is no time to argue my point. I need to get my writing to a standard that he is happy with in order to be submitted. So why argue with the gatekeeper? At this stage, all I want is to be let in so I can get on with the rest of my life.

 

Here are some research diary scribblings:

Evernote Snapshot 20131018 163718

Starting to think about the design of my exegesis. A cover that resembles the Placing the Bend interface is what I am aiming for.

Evernote Snapshot 20131018 163719

Naming the three versions of Placing the Bend and brainstorming some of the pros and cons of each to trigger some writing to the project.

I have not started on my conclusion yet, and still feel each version of Placing the Bend needs some polishing. So I am not without work this afternoon. Feeling like I require a night off though. Feeling exhausted after a week of early starts and late finishes. It has been relentless and my body is feeling the ramifications of such determination; lethargy, hot flushes, pimples, aching bones, fatigued muscles, and a fuzzy head. If doing a doctorate is ten times harder than Honours, count me out! (for the time being. Perhaps, over time I will have forgotten the effort needed for Honours and think I am up for the challenge of post-grad study).

I have been reflecting upon how I would have commenced this year differently in order to make for a smoother journey. I was not aware of how theoretical Honours would be. Coming from a tech background (having studied filmmaking at TAFE), I did not have the prior experience of working with theory as many of my peers have seemed to have had. I also did not fully realise how much course work would distract me from my major research project in first semester. It could be argued that these assessments helped hone my field of research, but I feel it was more of a distraction than a benefit.

Anyway, I’ll get into the nitty gritties after submission, with the final assessment, which happens to be a reflective essay!

Draft K-films online

Adrian has just uploaded the draft versions of my Placing the Bend interactive documentary series onto his domain to see how they function.

http://vogmae.net.au/works/2013/ed/

Either the network or the site takes a long time to load the each documentary up, which is slightly concerning. I’ll definitely be including a thumb drive with my exegesis for my examiners to watch each documentary on their local drive instead of letting them experience a delayed, glitchy version of the project.

This means more money to spend towards the project, purchasing usb drives as well as costs for printing my exegesis. I figure it is the least I can do to honour the work I have put into this project.

Yesterday I brainstormed with Simon and Steve about naming each interactive documentary in order to specifically discuss how I have developed and refined the research. I am still a little dissatisfied with the second name, but we’ll see whether it grows on me.

Here are some screen grabs of the three main interfaces I have decided to stick to:

Round the Bend

Screen Shot 2013-10-16 at 4.43.08 PM

 

Assembling the Bend

Screen Shot 2013-10-16 at 5.39.17 PM

 

Becoming the Bend

Screen Shot 2013-10-17 at 11.20.26 AM

Living life creatively, with awareness

I feel this relates to the underlying premise of my research. Placing the Bend is about gaining a more holistic awareness of our surroundings and how we create and build attachments to places in an ever becoming flow of experience.

http://www.wildmind.org/blogs/quote-of-the-month/to-be-creative?fb_action_ids=708064029222355&fb_action_types=og.likes&fb_source=other_multiline&action_object_map=%5B509376269139679%5D&action_type_map=%5B%22og.likes%22%5D&action_ref_map=%5B%5D

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