4 Assignment 9    f       

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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 Assignment 9    f       

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.

4 Assignment 9    f       

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. 

4 Assignment 9    f       

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