Arts Encounter #1

 

Cooper Klares

Sung Sunday Evening Prayer with Hendricks Chapel Choir and Organ

 

Prior information:

This service was only introduced to Syracuse last semester. It is a non-denominational service that is meant to bring people together every week for half an hour. The service is entirely sung by the university’s own Hendricks Chapel Choir. Even though I don’t consider myself very religious, the service will be non-denominational, and I will go into it with an open mind, and just think about taking in the ceremony as an experience that will be peaceful and enjoyable.

 

During the event:

The organ started with an prelude to the entire performance. It was very interesting watching the organ player because I have never really gotten to see very many organ performers. I never really realized how involved one’s entire body is involved, because not only are here 2 separate keyboards (one on top of the other), but there are also knobs that you push and pull to change the timbre, as well as bass pedals which require you to use your foot to play, and they look like an keyboard for your feet. The ceremony took place in Hendricks chapel, which has a big rounded ceiling in which the organ resinated.

A view of the altar of Hendricks Chapel from down the aisle.

Then the organist stopped, and the choir proceeded into the chapel. They walked in 2 lines down the aisle, and then they made their way onto the altar. The way that they organized themselves on the stage was very cool, because when they reached the altar, they did not just line up, but they kind of weaved in and out of the lines and then got themselves organized and it had a cool effect. Then, they started reciting some prayers. Some of them were hymns, where they invited the rest of the audience to sing along using the chapel’s hymn books. Most of the time though, it was a sort of “call and response” type thing between one of the members of the choir, who recited the prayer in song, and then the rest of the choir, responding to the choir member’s instruction or statement.

The choir singing at the altar of Hendricks Chapel

I wish I had done a little bit more research on the songs that they would be singing, and the kinds of prayers that they would be doing that night, because some of the times, it was a little difficult to hear what they were saying and I did get a little bit lost during some of the prayers, but it was still a very cool experience. It was very peaceful to listen to, and there were only 3 or 4 other people present at the service, so it was kind of a time to personally reflect on what the prayers meant, and just listen to some really nice singing and organ playing.

 

Unit 1 Project

Music has had its way of raising the people’s voices in history. It is very important to society and should be a thing that everybody can use to express themselves and their beliefs. I have had many good experiences with live music. One of my favorites being the time that I saw Ed Sheeran live at Forest Hills Stadium in New York. I really enjoy listening to his style of pop music because he sings about real emotions that he has experienced, and ones that are easy to relate to. The emotions that he presents in his lyrics and his acoustic instrumentation were reflected greatly in the way that he gave his performance and I loved that. I remember how shocked I was at the fact that he was filling massive stadiums like Radio City Music Hall, and Madison Square Garden with just his voice and a guitar. This is a very special musical feat, considering there are millions of singer/songwriters who solely play with their guitar and their voices. What makes Sheeran’s music so special? There is a real underlying message to his music that is effectively delivered in this style. His music talks about the real, raw emotions that he has experienced throughout his past relationships, and for the most part they are very relatable. The correspondence between the simple, acoustic instrumentation along with his genuine emotion makes for the perfect recipe for popular music.

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Man proposes to his girlfriend with a little help from Ed Sheeran at one of his concerts.

That same emotion is very important all throughout pop music. It is important because those emotions need to be presented into things that are relevant in present times. A lot of Ed Sheeran’s music is about love, which is something that will most likely never go away. Because of his incorporation of relationships in his music, most people would associate his music with love, and other emotions linked to love. Music has a special quality, in that listeners can associate certain events and beliefs with certain music playing. But it is not only musical association that powerful, but the messages in the music itself. For example, the 1963 March on Washington was a very important time in history. It is where Martin Luther King Jr. gave his famous “I Have a Dream Speech.” According to an article from the New Yorker, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the march, this march brought “nearly 250,000 men, women, and children, mostly African-American, to the nation’s capital.” Not only were there speakers at this march, but there were also many musicians who were also pushing for jobs, and freedom. One of those singers was Bob Dylan. Bob Dylan, was a very popular singer, who started off as a folk rock singer, but overtime, his music got extremely popular and fell into the pop music category. At the march, Dylan sang his song “Only a Pawn in Their Game” which is a retelling of the death of American civil rights activist and NAACP field secretary, Medgar Evers. A song like this, in front of a large crowd of African American people looking for change, is very powerful and it can cause a spark of inspiration in a group of people who is looking for inspiration to make important changes in their lives. Sometimes, speeches and discussions can only be processed for so long in somebody’s mind, and then they just become regular thoughts and ideas. While on the other hand, music is a completely personal experience, and it can be processed by everybody differently, and it is often, much easier to feel and is more effective in delivering a message than anything else.

Music is not only effective in delivering a powerful message to the people, but it is also used as a tool to relate to one another. Often when meeting somebody new, one of the first things we ask about each other is what kind of music the other likes. From there, we decide if we can choose to associate ourselves with each other (country, no thank you!) But music is used to appeal to certain audiences. For example, a store would not play heavy death metal in a children’s clothing store. That would only scare away the children, and their parents. Quite frankly, that might scare everybody away, but you get the idea. In the 2016 presidential election, music was a big tool amongst all candidates. According to The Guardian, each presidential candidate had their own mix of tunes to try to appeal to their voters. For example, trying to appeal to her demographic, Hillary Clinton created a playlist that was “mostly female-led pop ballad bangers – such as Perry’s Roar and Stronger by Kelly Clarkson” and it could be heard from far outside of the venues she was speaking at.

Pop singer Katy Perry and Hillary Clinton
Pop singer Katy Perry and Hillary Clinton

Donald Trump had chosen a rather eclectic selection of music, ranging “from the Rolling Stones’ Brown Sugar to the Phantom of the Opera to the Hulk Hogan theme song.” Ted Cruz, who was a candidate from Texas, as well as an evangelical, played country music and Christian pop. The music the candidates was carefully chosen. Dana Gorzelany-Mostak, an assistant professor in music at Georgia College says, “Music, as I see it, is the candidate’s attempt to constitute their identity in sound. To sonically construct themselves in a way that appeals to the voters but also offers insight to who they are and what they stand for.” That being said, the song choice of each candidate was not just what they had in their top 10 on their ipods, but it was carefully selected for many different strategical reasons.

 

Music is a universal tool for communication around the world. People use it to make themselves feel happy, or sometimes they need a song to cry to. Music is something that everybody has, and everybody can make. The use of music in expressing one’s self is such an important skill. People use it to quietly express how they are feeling to themselves, or sometimes it is used to express ideas and beliefs to entire crowds of people. No matter what it is being used for, it is a very viable, and effective tool in today’s world.

Sources Cited:

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2016/mar/01/rock-and-folk-tunes-on-the-campaign-trail

Jamieson, Amber. “Pop for Politics: How Candidates Brand Themselves with Music.” The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 01 Mar. 2016. Web. 13 Feb. 2017.

http://www.newyorker.com/culture/culture-desk/dream-songs-the-music-of-the-march-on-washington

“Dream Songs: The Music of the March on Washington.” The New Yorker. The New Yorker, 16 July 2014. Web. 13 Feb. 2017.

Blog for the A! (Digital Literacy)

I am very interested in the idea of digital literacy. I had never even really thought about it before this class, but now, whenever I go online it is a lot of what I think about. I think about it when I see the ads on the side of my screen, and think to myself, “Oh, I was just looking for something like that!” when in fact my computer knows exactly what I was looking for, because it remembered what I searched and it knew what to put in front of me. This is a very cool thing to me. Also, I view clickbait differently than I did before. Even though it is still riddled with sketchy ads and weird stories, the titles of the articles and stories are alway so attention grabbing, and even if the story is about something so stupid and irrelevant to anything, they still manage to get people to click on their material because they knew how to draw the reader, or the quick internet scroller, in for at least a little bit. I also didnt even think that these tactics that are used online can also be used in videos and TV commercials. I thought that the small amount of time we spent on political campaign ads and the literacy behind that was quite intriguing, especially since the election had not yet happened, so it was interesting to identify the techniques we discussed and read about in real life on the television. I did think about how when writing on different social media platforms, people write differently and for different reasons. Twitter is for short and concise writing to get a point across, while Facebook is for more casual, personal posts and writing. I was glad to be exposed to all of this during this class, because it gives me a new point of view on digital literacy.

Blogging Benefits

One of the things that I have taken note of throughout this semester is that the blog posts that we have created after reading an article or watching a video have helped me understand and comprehend what we have just went over. Writing the blog posts helps me understand the material, because I then have to turn around and either summarize what we have observed, or answer a discussion question about it or analyze a certain technique in the writing or media. If I can keep myself organized, my thoughts become more coherent and organized as well and this helps me a lot, especially since writing has not always been my strongest subject.

Video Game Homework Cont.

When we got assigned to play the games One Chance and Everyday the Same Dream for homework, I was actually very interested to see what these games were like. You had to play them to understand what was going on. Both of the games had what seemed very dark twists to them, because of their simplistic nature on the surface. I thought both of these games were very intriguing. I wish that I was able to find out the game designer and creator’s process to come up with these games, and how they got their ideas to write and create them. I feel as though more people should be exposed to these games, and games like these, because they got my mind thinking in a very interesting way, and I think more people should be able to experience that.

We Can’t Wait for 2016 to be Over

A lot of the time when we reach this point in the year, people begin to reflect on the great things that have happened. The holiday season usually gets people in good spirits, and it helps them enjoy their memories from the year, and then they become ready to move into the new year. This year, it seems as though we were ready to end this year before Thanksgiving even rolled around. All over the news and social media, there are tragic stories, and we hear updates of new tragedies what seems like every week. I feel as though people want a massive change. We hear about these horrific events that seem like they never stop happening, and just as though we think they can’t get any worse, they seem to do just that. The world wants to get out of 2016 once and for all and is ready for a fresh start, and hopefully a lot of good change.

What does it mean to argue?

To argue, means to present information to a group of people. It is the way that this information is presented that makes it an argument, or presents an argument. A while ago as a homework assignment, we had to watch a Ted talk about arguments. It had given me a totally different point of view on what arguing is. The speaker in the video had said that arguing to win or lose has really no purpose. In those kinds of arguments, the winner would only be focused on triumphing in their victory, while the loser would just be where they had started in the argument, and possibly even in a state of denial with the results. The real reason for arguing should be to learn new information. Arguments should be presenting new information to each view point of the point of information. In a true argument, the point of information will be “solved,” and both sides of the argument end up gaining information. In another form of arguing that we also looked at for homework was through campaign ads. Another technique of argumentation that I had never really thought of was brought to light for me while doing this assignment. The cinematic techniques that were used in the ad that we watched were very interesting. For the person the ad was against, whenever they were on screen, the videos and photos of them were always dark, and low quality. On the other end of the argument, the candidate that the ad is for is always glorified, with bright light, and crips and clear images and photos. This is a very good argumentative tactic, because ads are shown everywhere on TV, and in places where the TVs are not using sound, the viewer can tell who in the ad is the good choice, and who is the bad candidate. In video games, it is a very different experience. You have to really get immersed into the game to experience what the game developer or writer is trying to say. The message is not always right in front of you, like it might be in an article, commercial, or even a verbal argument. You have to play the game a bit to get a deeper meaning of what the game is about, and what is good and bad in the game. The game can also present you with choices, like in the McDonald’s game, killing sick cows, or letting the customers eat bad beef. The different forms of arguments that I have been exposed to in class are very useful for when I am in these situations in the future, because now I have a new view point of how to tackle these kinds of situations.

“Campaign Video” – Montage

Before watching this video, I had known that campaign ads were meant to make the viewers of the ads to believe that the candidate who was putting out the ad is the one who is best fit to become president. They usually use information that hurts their opponent to make themselves look better, but I had never really put too much thought into the cinematic qualities of the ad that persuade the viewers to think of one candidate as good, and the other as bad. But the discussion of how the video clips and pictures placed in the background was very interesting. Even the way the photos and videos are edited, where the opponent’s images and videos are usually low quality, and have a darker feeling to them than the candidate’s photos and videos, which are usually crystal clear and contain bright lights. The technique is something quite subtle if you don’t pay much attention to the details of the ad, but it makes a big difference on how the audience views each person in the ad.

Unit 2

Cooper Klares

 

Anybody can find almost anything they are looking for on the internet. One thing that the internet has completely revolutionized is the way that the world receives news. People want to get the latest information as fast as they can, so they don’t feel like they are being left behind. Unfortunately, many people today are always expecting instant gratification to their need for information and facts, which would mean that reading long news articles is something they’re not willing to do. This is where Twitter comes in. The social media platform allows users to get news and information in 140 characters or less. To make it even easier for the eager news seeker, Twitter puts its top 10 most trending topics on its home page, so users can see what people are talking about the most at any given moment. Topics on the trending list are the things that are popular or important at that time. They are sometimes serious and even pressing issues, and sometimes they are merely the announcement of a new Apple product. More often than not, the trending topics are what people want to see, and not necessarily what needs to be seen.

Twitter users use hashtags which let everybody who searches for something under that hashtag see all posts with that hashtag. People use hashtags to gain popularity, and one of the most recent uses of hashtags has been online activism. People create hashtags for events and tragedies to bring awareness to them on the internet. One of the first major online activism movements was during the Egyptian revolution of 2011. #Egypt was one of the most used hashtags of 2011, and eventually, through all of the awareness to the issue brought up by Twitter, the revolution was successful, and the leader of Egypt at the time was taken out of power. Another example of successful online activism was for the battle against ALS. According to splashcore.com, there are over 4.4 million tweets that contain #icebucketchallenge, and through all of these tweets and even more online outreach, over $88 million was donated to ALS research.

There are a lot of movements that have been successful on social media, but there has also been a lot of talk about why those movements have gotten so much attention on platforms like twitter. According to an article by NPR, Twitter’s trending sidebar is such a hot place to be, that television networks have hired people to figure out how to get their shows on the list in time for advertising a new episode or season. As stated in the NPR article, what’s trending is more “in the now,” and things that have been going on for a while will not show up in what’s trending, even if it is a pressing issue. An example of this would be the black lives matter movement. There have sadly been many times where this hashtag has been trending, but even though that events surrounding this movement occur everyday, #blacklivesmatter is not constantly trending on Twitter.

This is very important to observe, because of the way that online culture is. The idea of “slacktivism,” which is talked about in an article by The Huffington Post is very relevant on twitter. People posting talking about problems in the world, and slapping a hashtag on their post having to do with a current issue. People believe that doing this is helping a cause, or they believe they are doing their part to help change the problem, when in reality, all they are doing is feeding into a trending algorithm. It also has to do with what people want to believe is important in the world. Sometimes when people want to escape from the “real” problems of the world, they go on the internet to just relax and be entertained, so the tendency to push away pressing problems is very high. That is why, such as in another article by The Huffington Post, at one point, it was a very big deal when the internet was interested more in registering to vote, than the Kardashian family. Sadly, this did not last very long, and that has something to say about what people want to see on the internet.

Online activism can be very effective on the internet, and it can help a lot of people be informed with news, and current problems in the world. Before things like Twitter, news on the internet was just a little bit harder to get directly, but with Twitter, news is in your face, in a clear and short way. This tiny section of information can say a lot, and it can say something really interesting and sometimes alarming, or it can be something used for just a good laugh. Either way, Twitter is a tool used by many people around the world, and a lot of the time, unfortunately, it is filled with what the people of the world want to see, and not necessarily what they should be seeing.

Do we consider knowledge of algorithms part of digital literacy? Why or why not?

I would consider the knowledge of algorithms a part of digital literacy. The reason why I would say this is because algorithms are a big part of what gets our information out to us. For instance, twitter uses algorithms to calculate what is “trending” at the moment, and those things that are trending are what most people who visit twitter will be looking at when they go on the website. The trending topics have a lot of potential to spread quickly and make a big impact on the public. The ability to know what is being “spoon fed” to you through algorithms, and knowing that you are looking for your own information is a very important thing to be able to distinguish when going online, and that is why I think that knowing about online algorithms an important part of digital literacy.