My name is Sara. I am a senior majoring in Geography and minoring in GIS (Geographic Information Systems). I work in Arlington in the urban planning field. I have very little artistic experience beyond cartography.

Bound by Law Comic Response

Over the last few years, my family has cleaned out the houses of my mother’s mother after her death and my father’s mother when she moved into a senior home. In both cases, my grandmothers had many videocassettes of television shows, films, and musicals that they had recorded over the past decades. They used them for private, non-commercial use in their homes to pass the time and view shows that no longer air on television. Page 37 of the comic Bound by Law describes the Sony v. Universal Studios (1984) case, which makes it clear that my grandmothers’ private recordings were legal fair use.
In today’s world, these recordings are not usually made on videocassettes. People can use TiVo, DVR, DVDs, video recordings of the screen, and other methods to record television programs. Based on my reading of the comic, these practices are legal fair use as long as they remain private and non-commercialized. It is fine to create these recordings if you are simply trying to view the show at a later time or want to see it again. However, it is not legal fair use if these recordings are commercialized without significant commentary, without being made into a parody, or without permission from the creators. For instance, people sometimes post these unaltered recordings on sites like YouTube, Vimeo, etc. Doing so violates copyright law because the recording is then public and YouTube as well as the person who posted it, not the creators of the material who own the copyright, have the opportunity to gain money from ad revenue. For this reason, I sometimes see messages that a certain video or YouTube user has been removed due to copyright violations.
However, not all public, commercialized versions of television programs on the Internet are illegal. Television networks that own the rights to their programs can post them. For instance, from personal experience, I know that Food Network posts episodes of Chopped and that NBC posts episodes of Law & Order: SVU. In addition, services such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, iTunes, and others can make these television programs available and earn money from them because they have negotiated contracts and usage permits with the programs’ creators and copyright holders. Content on these sites changes as contracts and permits expire or are re-negotiated.
As the comic explains, these usage permits can be very expensive. In order to pay for these permits, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, iTunes, etc. have the choice of charging viewers subscription or per-use fees and/or garnering advertisement revenue. Some of these companies are trying to reduce the money they spend on usage permits by creating their own content. Netflix, for example, has generated a variety of new shows and films. To me, it seems like this strategy has been effective for Netflix. My friends and I like their content and have shifted some of our Netflix time away from content that Netflix does not own. This might give Netflix more negotiating power with traditional content producers (i.e. television networks and Hollywood movie studios) because Netflix needs them less.
In summary, my grandmother’s videocassette recordings and today’s DVR recordings are considered legal fair use as long as they are created for private non-commercial purposes. These recordings are not used legally when they are posted publicly online without significant commentary, without being made into a parody, or without permission from the copyright holders. Many online services have negotiated usage contracts with copyright holders so that people can view television programs or films online in a legal way. These contracts are expensive, so these services have also begun to create their own content. In all of the cases I have described, I feel that the copyright laws have served both the content creators and viewers in positive ways. An appropriate balance exists between the desires of content creators to profit from their work and the desires of viewers to see content on their own timeframe via a medium that works for them.

Photoshop Retouch and Recolor

Original Image in Public Domain from New York Public Library WebsiteSaraR_Sphinx_Original_Resize.jpg

In Class Edits: Re-touching and re-coloring sand, sky, and SphinxSaraR_InClass_Sphinx_Edits.jpg
All masks and fill layers after at-home edits (background layer turned off)SaraR_Sphinx_Masks.jpg

Final ImageSaraR_Sphinx_Recolor.jpg

In Class Writing: January 26, 2016

Chosen Image
writing exercise 5.png

Original DescriptionThe image shown above takes the shape of square. The viewer of the image appears to be on a wooden bridge or dock with white railings on both sides. A young white girl, perhaps 10-15 years old, is standing directly in front of the viewer. She is wearing a dark blue knee-length dress with a flower pattern. The flowers on her dress fly into the air in a whimsical/fantastical way. A light pink hat sits on top of her head and does not have a brim. Her hair is dark brown and styled in pig tails with blue bows at the ends. The pig tails are curled upwards. One of her hands is down by her side and not holding anything. The other hand is raised and holds an oil or kerosene lamp. The dock extends behind the girl and two lamp posts can be seen on the dock. The lights on the lamp posts are turned on and the sky behind them is a dark blue color. This gives the impression that it is night. A bird, similar in size to a pigeon, flies in the image from the left hand side. Except for the lamp posts and the lamp in the girl's hand, the image is pretty dark and shadowy.
Additional Description after Vocabulary SheetIn the sky, there appears to be low-lying fog or mist, which gives the viewer the sense that it is a chilly, damp night. Given the dark blue color of the sky, it is the middle of the night and not near dusk or dawn. The girl's clothes and the presence of the oil/kerosene lamp show that the scene is older, perhaps from the early 1900's. The girl's fail expression is neutral. She does not appear to be frowning or smiling and is staring ahead. She does not notice or care that her pig tails have curled upwards or that the flower pattern is flying off her dress.

In Class Photoshop: January 26, 2016

Original Image

Edited Image 1 (Eye and Smile Warp/Hair Color Darker)
With this image, I used Puppet Warp and coloring to try to do the types of photo edits that are done in magazines. Although it is difficult to see in this context, you can see her eyes and smile change size when I turn the layers on and off in Photoshop. It is quite scary that I can make this sort of impact on a person's face after only a few Photoshop classes.

Edited Image 2 (Select Color)

Surreal Composite Photoshop Project

Surreal Composite Draft for February 2, 2016


The concept for this image is "Atlantis with Sphinx," as if Egypt were underwater. This image includes the Sphinx from historical image, a water layer, a sand layer, part of a coral image, coins, fish, and diver. For the final draft, I would like to add more sea creatures and coral, improve selection around the Sphinx, brighten the diver's face, and improve the relative scaling of the different elements.
Surreal Composite Draft for February 16, 2016


Cinemagraphs: Dreams of Endless Coffee

Coffee-Pour-Sara.gif Coffee-Pour-Sara-v2.gif

Written Response: Potential Uses of Augmented Reality

The November 2013 issue of AR(t) magazine includes several articles – “AR and Cultural Heritage” by Yolande Kolstee, “Museum op de Markt: history conserved” by Ferry Piekart, and “Talescape” by Hanna Schraffenberger – focused on using AR to visualize the past. AR could also be used to visualize future possibilities. In my field of work, urban/transportation planning, we are often tasked with informing members of the public about potential development and transit projects in order to garner feedback. During this process, we are usually trying to get participants to understand details such as the location and size of potential buildings, parking garages, transit centers, etc. I think augmented reality could be extremely helpful in increasing comprehension of these details. People could point their phones or tablets at the existing development in the area and see in-place 3D versions of the proposed development. This would communicate the size and location of potential future facilities much more quickly than verbal explanations and would allow participants to provide more meaningful feedback. In some cases, such as at public hearings, we are looking for feedback about a potential development, but we are not at the site. In this case, we generally rely heavily on maps and architectural or engineering renderings. In order for participants to understand one building or facility, we often have to print a map and series of 3D renderings from a few fixed angles. I am contemplating the idea of “augmented maps” to facilitate this process. Someone could point their phone or tablet at a map and see a 3D version of the development emerging from the page. By moving their phone around, they could see the development at various angles and scales
I have a few additional ideas about possible uses of AR in other areas outside of urban planning. For instance, AR might be beneficial to those with disabilities. A seeing eye dog “augments the reality” of a visually impaired person by converting visual reality to pulls on its harness or barking noises. Similarly, an application like Talescape that connects location to audio could augment the reality of a visually impaired person by providing useful information about their surroundings that others gather from visual cues. In the past, I have read articles about combat veterans, car accident survivors, or others with amputated limbs using mirrors to visualize their missing limbs and temporarily reduce the pain associated phantom limb syndrome. AR could be used in the same way if a person could point a technological device at the missing limb and see a realistic visualization of it. Compared to mirrors, this method would be more portable and discreet.

Video Storyboard


Aurasma Project

My Aurasma project is inspired by feminist and body positive ideas. The auras seek to co-opt, undermine, or place into perspective items women usually associate with weight loss or staying "in shape."
Aura #1: Perspective
Trigger Image -- nutrition labelsnr_nutrition_label.JPG

Overlay -- video of me turning the bag towards the front (converted to a .gif to upload here)snr_chocolate_vid_repeat.gif
Resulting Aura -- screenshot
Aura #2: "Equal"

Trigger Image -- Equal zero calorie sweetener packagesnr_equal.JPG
Overlay -- created as a .gif with transparency in Photoshop using the timeline windowequalv2.gif

Resulting Aura -- screenshots
snr_equal_aura2.PNG snr_equal_aura1.PNG snr_equal_rights.PNG

Aura #3: The Cost of Weight Loss

Trigger Image -- clothing size label

Overlay -- created as .gif with transparency using the Photoshop timeline window

Resulting Aura -- screenshots

Critique Day

I brought in the following items for critique day so that students would not be huddled around one item or computer screen.

Counter-Monument Article Response

After reading the March 2013 article published in The Journal of Architecture, I gained insight into elements of counter-monuments: subject, form, site, visitor experience, and meaning. With these elements in mind, I began to think about other pieces I have seen or studied that could be considered “counter-monuments.”
The potential counter-monument I considered is the new memorial at the site of Ground Zero in New York City. Over the last week, my urban planning course has been reading about and discussing the development of the property after the 9/11 attacks. In regards to subject, the memorials definitely fit into the counter-monument category. They consider a darker event, not a glorious one, and warn of the evils of terrorism and religious extremism. The form of the memorials is also inverted and represents absence; the fountains extend into the ground instead of into the sky, like traditional monuments or the surrounding buildings. Given the erection of the Freedom Tower on the same property, the memorials employ a dialogic approach. The Freedom Tower was constructed to a symbolic 1776 feet and designed to represent strength, economic power, security, and resilience. The memorial pools are in dialogue with this tower, asking us to remember the tragedy and to consider that some things are more important than extracting every possible square foot out of an urban property.
However, the 9/11 Memorial’s site and visitor experience are similar to those of traditional monuments. The site is an important location in our nation’s history, likely to be visited by tourists regardless of what was developed on the property. The visitor experience is primarily visual and does not offer much engagement beyond touching the small fraction of the memorial pool structure around the outer rim. There is some auditory aspect when visitors hear the sound of water falling, but water features are common to traditional monuments and statues. The monument offers only one view (from above).
Whether or not the 9/11 Memorial Pools at Ground Zero are counter-monuments is up to interpretation. Some aspects of the pools, such as subject, form, and meaning, are counter-monumental, whereas other aspects, such as site and visitor experience, are similar to traditional monuments.

Counter-Monument Design
My original ideas involved figures. For instance, I wanted to add more women figures to the National Mall or add a gay couple kissing on a park bench. However, once I realized the limitations of the SketchUp software in regards to creating realistic figures, I had to re-think my ideas.
First Draftcountermonument_1stdraf_ripples.png
My first draft was inspired by a scene I encountered walking along the National Mall one hot day. A man was apparently not holding onto his dog's leash very well and the medium-sized dog got away and jumped into the reflecting pool. The man started yelling "No!" and calling the dog to come back, but the dog couldn't care less. He was having the time of his life jumping around in the water. The man eventually took off his shoes, got in the pool, chased his dog, and carried the soaking wet, still happy dog back out. Throughout this, there were many ripples and splashes occurring and the reflection of the Washington Monument was obscured. While I liked the story behind it, the ripples did not portray enough of a story by themselves.

Second Draft/ Final Designentire_piece_above.png
The professor had the idea of adding a dead figure to the pool that you would see when you looked down. I decided that I would like to add figures, but I would go with the concept of "figureheads." In the design shown above, there are three different "figure heads." The two "figureheads" closest to the Washington Monument are designed to represent the likes of Jefferson, Washington, Franklin, etc. and the "figurehead" closest to the Lincoln Memorial is Lincoln. Each head is caricature-like with hair, eyes, skin, mouth, pupils, hat, nose, and eyebrows on different planes. This is meant to be a contrast to the "perfect" nature of the monuments.
franklin_face.pngjefferson_head.png lincoln_face.png
Between these figures (and the monuments that represent them), I included a deconstructed US flag. There are 7 red stripes, 6 white stripes, and a blue rectangle with stars, but they are all distorted and disconnected.
middle_bridge_2.png lincoln_bridge_stripes.png
I knew that (an) elevated viewing point(s) would need to be included as part of the design in order for the figures and deconstructed flag to be seen when the design was imported into Unity. I considered either adding bridges (shown) or an elevated trail alongside the pool. In the end, I decided that bridges would be better because the Unity user could see the art from different angles as they walked over the bridge. This would give a better view of the 3D multi-plane nature of each "figurehead." Moreover, the bridges could be incorporated as part of the pool's "reflection." Though it is hard to tell in SketchUp, the texture I chose for the bridges was glass. Glass would still reflect the Washington Monument, but bridge users would also be included in the reflections.