Author: mweller

Freedom From

The concept of ‘freedom to’ versus ‘freedom from’ is one that comes up in Handmaid’s Tale, and is seen as a vital part of the “good” that the Republic of Gilead does. The handmaids have freedom from being catcalled, from being assaulted if they go out alone at night. While those things are certainly positives, they do not make up for everything else that goes on. These little freedoms from are dangled like jewels in front of the women, as if they are worth the other freedoms that have been lost. In modern times, we have freedom to. Freedom to vote, to choose, to go out and make our own choices. We may have to deal with what other people do, as we do not have ‘freedom from’ but to me at least, it is worth it. The freedom to make a choice is more powerful any day, at least in my opinion.

Already Won

One thing that intrigued me about the last story was the fact that Rainie was turned into Element Girl to fight a battle that was already won. Death mentioned that Ra creates the metamorphoes to fight Apep, the serpent who never dies. However, the serpent had been dead for three thousand years at that point in time, meaning that Rainie’s suffering wasn’t even for anything actually important. She likely did good work as a hero, although I’m not familiar with her comics, but that does not dismiss the inherent futility in her initial creation. The idea of gods hanging on to life, trying to fulfill a purpose that has already come to pass is an interesting contrast with the Endless as well. Although they are more forces of nature than deities, they will remain until life itself ends, with Death herself being the last one to go. Although they are just as old, if not older, than the gods, the Endless are still relevant, and still have tasks to preform, as long as there are living things to dream, to desire, and ultimately, to die. Only then will the Endless be finished with their tasks, which is a much longer time scale than any of the deities work on.

Perceptions of Cats

One thing that I found very interesting was the fact that the cat main character in the second story of the anthology looks different when shown from its perspective and the human perspective. On the first and last page, when the humans are present and speaking, the kitten looks whiter and fluffier. When the cats are all together, the cat has more detail and shading in the fur, and is shown as almost more real. The cat is taken more seriously by those around it, and the art reflects that. Comparatively, when in the presence of humans, the kitten is shown as cute, since its appearance is its defining factor to the humans. Although this change is subtle, it ties in to a sense of community and seriousness that is only present with the other cats.

Photoshop

In The Invention of Morel, the narrator did something quite similar to photoshopping himself into a picture. In my opinion, there are two main ways to view this in comparison to what people do in real life. The first would be something like photoshopping yourself into a picture with a celebrity. While this is kind of odd, the resulting picture is something to show your friends and brag about, even if you have never actually met the celebrity in question. This is similar to photoshopping yourself in a different place, like to pretend you visited Paris or some such. Overall, while these photos are manipulated to obscure the truth, there is not much harm in them. Additionally, they are primarily shown to others.

The other type of photoshopping is much more creepy, at least in my mind. This would be photoshopping yourself into a picture with someone you like, but who does not like you back, or who does not know you. While this can be applied to celebrates, it becomes much creepier if you are around this person frequently, such as a classmate. This seems to be a form of fantasazation, where the person in question has no knowledge of the act. I would imagine that these pictures are kept to the one who made them, as they are not intended to be shared. To me, this is much closer to what the narrator did in inserting himself into the hologram, and although the whole week was captured without the consent of those in it, the narrator’s implication that he was there by adding himself to the scene, specifically in context to Fontine, seems incredibly creepy.

Moving in VR

One of the main things that I enjoyed throughout the workshops were the different ways of interacting with your environment in virtual realities. There is walking and running that you can do by moving your arms to simulate movement, and climbing that works the same way with that mechanic. There is also short-range teleportation, which I have seen more often in Vive programs than in Rift ones, although that might be because of the controllers, I’m not sure. These different ways of moving about are created to combat motion sickness and give a viewer a more immersive virtual experience. If someone uses a toggle stick to move, like people usually do in traditional video games, in VR, it makes the person motion sick most of the time. I find it great that different technologies are being developed that immerse the user further in the scene, and that they are being created because of a limit it current technology. If using a toggle stick didn’t make people motion sick, I doubt the different ways of moving would have come up, and the VR world would have been lacking because of it.

Colors and Power

In the wizard of oz, something that stood out to me was the emerald city. Or, more importantly, the glasses that people have to wear in it. They make a city, which is not actually green, look green. The reason this stood out to me so much was because of the colorful nature of the rest of the land. The other places were brightly colored, but did not require glasses, as they were truly colorful. In my opinion, this is the tie-in to the power that the witches and wizard have. Most of the places are actually the color they say they are, and while it may not be as bright as the emerald city supposedly is, they are honest about it. This is like the witches. They do not claim extra power for themselves, they display what power they have, and it is impressive in its own right. The wizard, on the other hand, has tricks instead of power. Just as his city is not actually green, he uses tricks to make it seem like he has power, when in reality he is just an ordinary man. While the city may look brilliantly green, and it may seem like he is incredibly powerful, in reality, both are just tricks.

Alice and Chess

The idea that Alice’s experience is a metaphor for chess is hardly novel. Something that I did find curious, however, was the idea of Alice knowing as much about chess as she did in the beginning of the story. As she goes through the looking glass world, the different pieces are explained to her, which seems to imply that she knows little to nothing about the game. However, before she goes through the looking glass, she is talking to her kitten about the game, which seems to imply that she had been playing it. There was no opponent in sight, so it could simply have been her moving pieces around on the board by herself, but the fact that she said that the slippery knight got past her pieces seemed to imply some sort of opponent. So does Alice actually know how to play chess or not? And is she old enough to understand the game? Or does none of this matter, regardless of the answer?

VR Crafting

The different forms of crafting objects in virtual reality that we learned in class on Monday are truly an astonishing array of techniques. I was aware of a program used to creature 3D objects strictly using a computer before this class, but it is significantly less accessible than tikercad, which we learned, in that it takes a great deal more work to even begin to learn to use it. In comparison, once you go through twenty or thirty minutes worth of tutorials and playing around with the program, it is easy to create all manor of things.

Medium was a program that impressed me, but I feel like it is not quite ready for fully creating digital objects in, unless you have a strong aptitude for 3D modeling and a lot of time on your hands. While it is very fun to play around with, I did not feel like you get enough ability to change objects that you make in small ways that will make them appropriate for a model. It reminds me of an application called Tiltbrush, which is essentially the same thing, but with lines and a much heavier emphasis on drawing instead of sculpting in 3D space. While Medium was fun, I think that you would have to do just as much work in tikercad to make the object viable.

3D scanning was incredibly interesting to me, especially the accessibility of it. The fact that you can get something that plugs into an ipad that lets you 3D scan objects is amazing. While there are of course issues with the final product, I still find the whole thing pretty amazing, although it would have to be fairly heavily edited for this project.

Overall, the amount of easily accessible tools for 3D creation that we have are amazing to me, and I will likely be proven wrong about the viability of some options like Medium. I look forward to seeing that, however!