Archive | November, 2011

Multi-Frame Wide Photos Via GigaPan!

21 Nov

In our most recent Pittsburgh session, we brought out the GigaPan! A GigaPan robot mounts onto a regular camera tripod, where it then holds the actual camera into place for the photo taking. Because of this technology, we can create seamless 360 degree photos and large scale prints of beautiful views and large scenes. It started as a project out of Carnegie Mellon‘s CREATE Lab. Its success, just like Carnegie Mellon’s overall achievement in robotics, has turned it into a successful business and educational program. They created “School Dialogues“, which provides access to GigaPans across the world. Through this initiative, school children in South Africa can connect with school children in Pittsburgh.

and so, Somali-Dutch children in Nijmegen can connect with Somali refugees and American children in Pittsburgh. During my trip to the Netherlands, I was able to meet up with Het Interlokaal, who provides programming for African immigrants to help them acquaint to Dutch culture and jobs. I met with the lovely Keen who helps to run the Dutch-Language Project and brings University students in to tutor young Somali students in Dutch. One of the head tutors, Anne, who has volunteered with Het Interlokaal for many years helped to arranged this exchange project. I trained her in how to use the GigaPan camera and left the equipment with her and Het Interlokaal.

The Pittsburgh group decided to take photos outside of Arsenal Middle School, at the beautiful park behind it. We took two trial photos. Unfortunately, I was having trouble setting up the automatic button shooter, so I had to take each photo manually. This meant I could not join our students in jumping into multiple frames of the photo, but we had a guest help us that day. Mr. Tuffy, from MGR Foundation, came to help us take photos and direct the photoshoot. Hopefully I can get the automatic button shooter to work for next time, or contact the very helpful folks at GigaPan to assist me!

For the first one, Cheron helped me to position the boundaries of the photo, and then jumped into the frames, while I clicked:

This photo, as you can tell is somewhat inside out, but it has a cool effect. It is taken at Arsenal Park, showing our students playing in the Autumn park before Sunset!,hidetitle/iframe/flash.html

We hope to bring additional GigaPans to you in the future. Thanks to GigaPan for your support!


Clothing and Fashion

15 Nov

This past week we created our own paper dolls. Inspired by a website  promoting fashion through paper doll models, we took their example and created our own.

Here are some of the questions we discussed and answered:

“Why do you wear what you wear? Do you like to? Do you wish you could wear something different? If you could wear anything, what would you wear?”

The following question got some very unexpected answers:

“What is your favorite thing to wear?” Answers ranged from “all clothes” to “dresses” to “Polo brand” and even to wearing a “phone”, by clipping your cellphone onto your pants. Why not include technology, if after all, you wear it?

Trayvon poses with his paper fashion creation!

Close up of Trayvon's paper fashion creation!

Trayvon modeled his paper fashion based off the outfit he was already wearing. He included his favorite colors and explained that he loves all of the clothes in his drawers and closet and wears the first thing he pulls out. He has a lot of options, because he gets clothing from his siblings. He modeled the hair after popular tv-show Dragon Ball Z. Although, he doesn’t have this hairstyle in real life, he got to “try it on” with his paper creation and show what he might like to have instead, even if that hairstyle is somewhat impossible.

Mariah shows off her fashion creation!

Mariah posed with the outfit she created for her paper doll. She chose to create a “fashionable T, with a long skirt and hat”. Mariah happened to be sporting her purple finger accessory for the photo, which matches her purple shirt. The purple finger represents Mariah’s sillier side. She chose to design her drawing based on fashion she likes and would wear.

Binti and Hamiso model their fashion of the day

Binti and Hamiso decided for their picture, they would show us the “Binti and Hamiso: Original Dress Ware” as they titled it. They both like to wear skirts and dresses. Binti explained, “we wear this, because of our religion”. They posed with Malachi’s paper doll in the right corner. His doll sported a t-shirt and pants, just like him.

Binti's paper fashion creation

Binti expressed in her drawing things that her clothes do not normally express. It brings the phrase, “wearing your heart on your sleeve” to a whole new level. She said she would never wear this in real life, but her doll doesn’t have to follow the same rules as she. Just like Trayvon, her doll wore things that she could not.

Hamiso's paper fashion creation

Similarly, Hamiso designed an outfit that she would never wear either. Her paper doll sported her ideas about fashion in manifestations that she does not wear. Just like Binti and Trayvon, she decided to design an idea from her imagination, rather than represent her true clothing style and choices.

What is your favorite thing to wear? Why do you wear it? If you could wear anything, what would it be? Show us what you wear, and what it means to you!

Food Talks

4 Nov

Today the Pittsburgh group shared their favorite foods with each other. Not literally, that is. Before drawing, painting and sculpting different foods, we brainstormed:

1. List your favorite foods. When do you eat them? Who do you eat them with?

2. I used to eat _____, but I do not eat it anymore. Now I eat ______, but I did not used to before. (Explain why)

3. Who cooks the food you eat? Where do you get the ingredients or meals from?

Asia paints her favorite foods!

Asia’s favorite food was rice with some sort of green leaf. She could not remember the name of the leaf, because she used to eat it in Africa but can not remember the name anymore. Instead, she decided to write rice with halal beef, something she eats in America. Below is the painting she was working on of some of her favorite foods:

Chicken Leg, Pizza, Rice

Binti and I worked on a Pizza. We rolled the clay like dough, kneading it, throwing it, tossing it and preparing the base! Then I cut out mushrooms and we created chicken for it. We both usually eat cheese pizza, but twice she ordered chicken, so we made mushroom chicken pizza for fun!

Binti's Special Mushroom Chicken Pizza

Journey To A Notherland

4 Nov

Journey To A Notherland is a project that connects students in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with students in Nijmegen, Netherlands. We will exchange ideas, artwork and creativity with one another. Although the two groups of students live across the world, many of the students come from very similar backgrounds. We will talk about community, food, clothing, and music as the main sources of our work. The students in the Pittsburgh group come from various backgrounds: Some are 100% Pittsburgh, and have lived here their entire life. Others have moved from other places. Many of our students come from Africa, with a large population of Somali refugees now living in Pittsburgh. The parallel group of students in Nijmegen consist primarily of Somali refugee students now living in the Netherlands.

Why Pittsburgh? Why Nijmegen? Why Not? These two cities actually have a lot in common, other than becoming home to large populations of refugees. Both are college towns (atleast in some neighborhoods), encourage and promote biking, have bridges, boats, and bodies of water. These progressive towns are lucky to be home to diverse groups and work hard to create a healthy and safe community.

Who am I?I am a senior at Carnegie Mellon University, studying Art and Anthropology. I enjoy incorporating creativity and art into everything, from Ethnographic studies, to teaching in a classroom. Journey To A Notherland will employ both. This past summer, I was generously funded by the GigaPan Youth Exchange Project, the Tartans Abroad Scholarship Fund, and Carnegie Mellon’s Undergraduate Research Office to conduct fieldwork and research in the Netherlands. (These results represent the views of the author and not those of Carnegie Mellon University.) This project is the aftermath of my summer’s fieldwork. I hope to share with you, the public, and the students in Pittsburgh and Nijmegen artwork about who we are, where we come from and how we adapt to a new home.

Pittsburgh to Nijmegen Creative Exchange Journey