Sunday, July 1, 2012

Thurston Woods Project Week in Review

This last past week, the pressure to produce something truly meaningful has weighed on my mind. This is not particularly scholarly pressure, but rather a pressure that comes when meeting really great people and the desire to please them and portray them fairly. I am confidant we are on the right path. We started the week off with UWM professor Jasmine Alinder who helped us understand and interpret the seemingly common place: photos. Vernacular photography, or photos snapped of quotidian life like birthdays, weddings, summer vacations and the like, represent something more than mere figuration. photographs act as relics or repositories of memory. The objects represented in them are symbols of time, place, and emotional attachment for the owner and as documentary evidence of time, place, and social and cultural construction for the historian. Applying this information to the wall of photos in Jean's home (first interviewee), the significance of photography becomes clear. Both the significance the photos hold for her and the contextual significance they hold as an historic document. Arrangement of these photos created further meaning. Photos of family members graced the walls of her bedroom creating an inner, private place, an inner sanctum of memory.  As an outsider, the photos told us what was important to Jean, where she's been, and who she'd been there with. the placement of these photos was also very interesting and represented physically the way that Jean thought or remembered spatially in our interviews. That being from early to later; photos were arranged in pairs representing an earlier (younger) image and a later (older) image. This thought process was repeated in the interview, revealing earlier places/spaces/businesses and later (or existing) places/spaces/businesses. However the pressure of putting together a project that Would highlight these personal nuances and by extension the nuances of the Thurston Woods community persisted. It wasn't  enough  to understand representation; we had to understand how to present the information we gathered. Enter Erin Dorbin, documentary expert. In the second portion of the week, we worked on placing our audio files into Reaper, an editing program, and seamlessly lacing together the finest portions of our interviews. Needless to say, my anxiety to construct something beautiful and meaningful for the Thurston Woods community, somewhat subsided With the help of both Jasmine and Erin. thank you. More to come next week : stay tuned!