5 Assignment 9


% Sam completed

In reaction to Charlie Chaplin’s “Modern Times,” I created a drawing robot that represented the struggle between Charlie Chaplin’s erratic and unpredictable actions and the strict systematic way of living during the Great Depression. I did this by attaching two different “robots,” one that was moved through a repeated set of actions (the white robot) and the other which jumped around erratically. I documented their movements on a large sheet of white paper by attaching charcoal and graphite to the robot.

Movie on 12-6-12 at 4.03 AM from Making Meaning on Vimeo.

{ 7:30 pm


% Ye Won completed

http://Making Meaning Yewon Yoo from Making Meaning on Vimeo.

I was impressed by Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times mostly because it conveys such a strong narrative with minimum quantity of filmic effects. No one talks except the machines, and Chaplin sings a theme song at the end of the film. I thought this is an interesting part to experiment. Then I chose Transformers to work with, because it might contrast with the Modern Times in many aspects. Transformers also illustrates humans dominated by machines. Over 70 years had passed after Modern Times, and fabulous filmic technologies have developed impressively. Transformers is a series of films that integrates all these modern filmic technologies, especially CGs and effects. Since Transformers doesn’t really have strong themes and narratives, I thought it would be effective if I eliminate some of the effects like Modern Times and see how it changes. I chose one of the battle scenes that has overwhelming visual effects and sounds. Then, I divided scenes by either it has more visual or sound effects than other scenes. I eliminated colors from the scene that had more colors. I muted sounds from the scene that sound effects play major roles. Also, I added a music that sounds to go along with Modern Times to see how robots in Transformers become silly with music. I tried to random the eliminating procedure to avoid boringness and expecting what will happen next.


I first tried to upload 1280×720 movie via vimeo, but file uploading declined because the file was huge. I changed the size to 960×540 m4v file, please email me if there is any problem.

{ 5:20 pm


% Alina completed


Taking inspiration from the themes of mechanization and specifically, the very beginning of the movie as the stampede of sheep fade into a stampede of workers (and the lone black sheep), a poster examining these qualities.

{ 5:53 am


% tina completed

talk like squares, dance like circles

inspired by the visual connection
between circles and madness
in charlie chaplin’s ‘modern times’.

decided to create a composition
with thousands of tiny circles

to explore the idea of madness
through a process of putting down
thousands of little dots
by hand.

in making this composition i discovered that
a maddening process does not yield madness,

instead it

feels like a footprint
of something come and gone,
of something having lived and left

like madness is eerie
and we can’t touch it.

{ 4:18 pm


% Namita completed

Wipe off from Making Meaning on Vimeo.


The project above is inspired by the last scene in Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times, where Chaplin gestures to the Gamin to put on a smile and keep going. I felt that the physical act of putting on a smile is a means to set a state of mind. My first iteration was a performance where I began with a blank deadpan face and I wiped on a smile by using projection. However, I realized that the act of wiping is an act of removal. Therefore,  I modified my piece for it to show this ritualistic act of wiping off a tired face and replacing it with a smile. The modified video speaks more to an overarching idea dealt with in Modern Times. Even in tough times one should keep going. Never say die.
It should be viewed as a loop for it to demonstrate the ritualistic aspect of the concept.

{ 3:54 pm


% Aubrie completed

Having trouble deciding on an effective theme for this assignment, I first explored the concept of the time period of Modern Times and designed a perfume ad using the classic appeal of women in the 1930s, and Paulette Goddard herself. Wanting to focus more on clothes and being advised to explore a closer relationship to the movie, I took a screenshot from the movie during a solemn period and switched the outfits of Charlie and Paulette to create a comical situation, showing what a heavy weight we put on wearing the proper clothing for the proper situation, and turning a solemn situation into a comical one, as Charlie Chaplin did. When this was not effective either, I decided to re-explore different scenes from the movie and found that I was inspired by the food machine. Not only was it an interesting invention, it was something that truly spoke to “modern times.” It also however, showed the company owner’s greediness and borderline oppression that he was willing to do to employees by taking away their lunch break, in order to be more efficient. I decided to design “The Employer’s Remote Control” to represent another device that, who knows? Might be used in a future generations’ modern times when applied to some form of chip we may all have containing our current and past work experiences. It also represents the preposterousness of the food machine however, and how desperate Charlie would have been to keep a job no matter the conditions (Whether or not the boss pressed the benefits button or not, no matter the low pay amount entered under hourly wages). In creating this remote design, I hope I captured more greatly the essence of the movie and was able to relate the concept to our own modern times. 

{ 3:15 pm


% Michelle completed

In Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times, the factory scene where the Tramp transitions from his task of turning knobs to other activities interested me. After such repetitive, mechanical action the Tramp has a difficult time performing new actions. I was interested in the idea of how the Tramp had done one single action for so long that he becomes a single-action automaton. In regards to daily life, I wanted to express how humans have a tendency to repeat the same actions in the same way. Our hands become accustomed to moving in certain ways that we are not usually aware of. In my video, I wanted to expose the automaticity in our movements by removing the hand from its usual context. I also wanted to express the idea of neuroplasticity, or how our behaviors ‘wear grooves’ in our brains that form habits. Therefore I chose to perform these isolated movements on a blank piece of maleable clay. Beginning with a sort of tabula rasa, the end result are imprints on the clay that come from the repeated actions of the hand. The hand has a difficult time transitioning from one action to another, as the Tramp continues to twitch as though turning invisible knobs.

{ 10:03 pm