Alyssa Altamirano
Sophomore
Double Major in Economics and Interior Design with Mathematics Minor
Minor computer experience throughout high school multimedia classes
I haven't taken any studio courses here at GW, but throughout high school I took Contemporary Media, as well as Drawing and Painting. Additionally, in terms of all art classes, my high school also offered an array of shops classes. I have taken Wood Shop, Glass Shop, Electronics Shop, and Metal Shop. My greatest interests are in wood shop and metal shop and how I am able to relate that to furniture design and construction.

Art Demonstrating Absence

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Absence of Subject: Michael Somoroff, August Sander


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Ai Weiwei



Absence: Image Removals

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Absence 1


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Absence 2


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Absence 3


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Absence 4


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Absence 5


Mask Project

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Mask 1


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Mask 2


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Mask 3


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Mask 4


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Mask 5


Manovich After Affects Response
Throughout the piece, while I understood the author's reasoning in employing the “Velvet Revolution” as the transition and advancement in media technology, I had difficulty truly conceptualizing that change. These are multi-media advancements that occurred far before I used a computer or even know what these technologies could do. Being that I was not directly affected by these changes, I find it difficult to wrap my head around how truly profound they were. However, there was a quote in the article that did the best job of putting it into perspective for me. This was a quote from a 2004 interview with Mindi Lipschutlz, who has worked as an editor, producer and director in Los Angeles since 1979: “If you wanted to be more creative [in the 1980s], you couldn't just add more software to your system. You had to spend hundreds of
thousands of dollars and buy a Paintbox. If you wanted to do something graphic – an open to a TV show with a lot of layers – you had to go to an editing house, and spend over a thousand dollars an hour to do the exact same thing you do now by buying an inexpensive computer and several software programs. Now with Adobe After Effects and Photoshop, you can do everything in one sweep. You can edit, design, animate. You can do 3D or 2D all on your desktop computer at home or in a small office”. The ease with which we are able to create graphics and multi-media pieces is unparalleled and her explanation of the change helped me get a better grasp on how groundbreaking these changes were. Additionally, while the author did a great job explaining the different advancements that came along with After Affects, I find that with technologies that are so visually based that describing them verbally does not necessarily do them justice. While I understand that it isn't possible to go through each of the different aspects of the interface visually within an article, I think that a few images would've added another element to the article. Additionally, I believe it would've made it easier for those who are not really as technologically inclined as the author to understand the details that he discussed in depth. However, regardless of the additions I would've liked in the article, as stated above, his use of the phrase “Velvet Revolution” to describe the transition from one technological norm to the other did the best job of putting into perspective what these advancements meant for media and how profound they were.

Counter-monuments Article Response
One of the aspects of the article that I felt was most relevant was the theme of absent presence of monuments, which as the author states "shifts the burden of interpretation to the viewer". The notion of a monument being more an example of absence, rather than the conventional "monumentality" is a common theme in counter-monuments today. Such examples of this theme are the Vietnam War Memorial and the 9/11 Memorial, which employ voids rather than solids and elements that are sunken rather than elevated. I wholeheartedly believe that such monument can make just as big, if not a bigger, impact as a typical grandiose monument. It is the inversion of traditional monumental forms which makes the impact. One aspect or trait of counter-monuments that I greatly appreciate, is that, rather than being in obvious destination sites, these counter-monuments can be encountered by chance during everyday travels throughout a city. While most monuments, and counter-monuments, are located in the geographic area that the even occurred or that carries the most significance, the element of encountering a counter-monument "on accident" seems to fit within it going against typical aspects of monuments. Essentially, since conventional monuments are more obvious in their intent, the fact that one could encounter a counter-monument at any time adds to its unconventional nature. Additionally, the element of interaction with a counter-monument adds to its impact, I believe. While many traditional monuments are designed to be viewed from a distance, counter-monuments intend to facilitate certain sensory engagements and actions on the part of those visiting the monument. A common theme that I see throughout counter-monuments is that they rely heavily on the visitor. Many counter-monuments are ambiguous and resist any sort of unified interpretation, thus their meanings are reliant on the viewer. What I found interesting in the article was the contrasting theories that create counter-monumental strategies from dialogic ones. From what I understood, dialogic strategies aligned with the manner in which it critiqued the context it was portraying, where as counter-monumental strategies more had to do with the form that the monument took, which in most cases is minimalist in order to allow each viewer to have a different interpretation or reaction to the piece. After reading this article it becomes evident that there is an entire spectrum of practices in creating a counter-monument, or just a monument in general.

(un)Monument(al)
In their most traditional sense monuments are meant to be the cornerstones of any given culture. I believe that for the most part conventional monuments elicit a similar response from those individuals that encounter it. Additionally, traditional monuments are not necessarily meant to have a great deal of interaction with the visitor, beyond viewing the monument and whatever response is produced from seeing it. Here are some examples of monuments from around the world.
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Christ the Redeemer


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To the Struggle Against World Terrorism (also known as the Tear of Greif and the Tear Drop Memorial)


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Eiffel Tower


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Balmy Alley: San Francisco

This is an image of Balmy Alley, which is located in the Mission District in San Francisco. The premise behind Balmy Alley is that it is comprised entirely of local street art and murals, all of which reflect what the artists believe is important to show. It is forever changing. Each mural only lasts for a certain amount of time, until another mural takes over its place. These mural have been seen as reclaiming spaces that were previously denied to Chicano and Latino people. This would be seen as more unconventional monument if it were presented as such. Each mural has a different message, and each individual who views these murals has a different response. The level of interaction between the artists and the viewers, as well as the variety offered, is what makes this space so power and could be seen as a monument.

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Love Lock Bridge: Paris

This is the Lock Lock Bridge, located in Paris. Similar to Balmy Alley, I believe that this space could be a monument if represented as such because of the level of interactivity and the variety of response and opinions that this bridge elicits. Personally, I believe that monuments should have a certain level of interactivity between the artist and the viewer. In this case, the viewer and the artist can we seen as one in the same, and there are also many artists as many people have contributed to the collection of locks on this bridge. Each person has a different reason or purpose when adding to this space, and I think that it is that variety and that level of interactivity that make this bridge a monument.

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Palace of Fine Arts: San Francisco

While this space is more akin to a traditional monument, it was not built for the same purpose as a conventional monument. The Palace of Fine Arts was constructed in 1915 for the World's Fair. The Palace of Fine Arts is one of the city's iconic locations and its immense scale make it one of the cornerstones of the city. While it has no singular purpose, people continue to flock to it because of its intricate design and wide open spaces, allowing people to walk around and examine it entirely. Because of the cultural relevance, its immense character, and the level of interaction that others are able to have with it on a daily basis, I believe that this space could be viewed as a monument.

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This would be a monument dedicated to Jackie Robinson, who was the first African-American who played Major League Baseball. I found inspiration from the LACMA, so this monument would be a large scale light installation. From the aerial view one would be able to see the lights form the number 42, which was his number and has been retired. There would also be panels adjacent to the light fixtures discussing his role in changing baseball and the social climate at the time.

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This monument would be in honor of Harvey Milk. The base of the monument would be the shape of the San Francisco boundary. Each of the districts within San Francisco would be a different material in order to distinguish their borders. The materials would be either wood, stone, or grass. A commemorative statue of Milk would be located in the Castro district of San Francisco, as his presence which heavily recognized in all of San Francisco, had one of the greatest impacts in the Castro.

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This monument would be focused on the environmental impact of deforestation. The base of the monument would be a slab of stone with inverted circles sunken into each. Each circle would represent a certain number of trees cut down each year, so the size would be rather large scale. Additionally, there will be steel cutouts of trees around the slab which will be layered to create the 3D image of a tree.

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This monument would almost be an ode to childhood. It would include large scale legos of varying sizes, either standing alone or stacked. This monument is more geared toward an interactive use and can be relatable to both adults and kids.

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This monument would be a commentary on the environmental impact of the melting icebergs. The figures of the icebergs would be glass, but there is also be a mirror image sunken into the base of the monument to show both presence and growing absence. This monument is meant to be large enough that visitors would be able to walk through the monument rather than just look at it.

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This monument is meant to be satirical in that the focus is two large scale objects that tend to keep people inside, however in this instance they are placed outside in a parklike area so that visitors can interact with them or play on them. The has no screen so that rather than watching something artificial, one is able to see the outdoors and nature through it.

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This monument is focused on the cherry blossoms that DC is so known for. Although actual cherry blossoms bloom in the spring, these would be steel forms resembling cherry blossoms and would be installed in a wide spanning area. It pays homage to one of the smaller symbols that distinguishes DC from other locations.

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This would be a glass building whose ceiling and floor are the shape of DC. Although made entirely of glass, it would be large in scale to accomodate benches and table within it. Additionally, the light reflecting off it would bring attention to it in an understated way.

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This computer monument would consist of stone slabs in the shapes of keyboard keys. They would be large enough to accodate people sitting on them or waling through the,. They would be place in a grassy area so that the juxtaposition of the materials would make the keys more noticeable.