Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Final Website


When I first created my website, my idea was to make a site that would function as an online resume. I wanted something that would have all the information that a resume would hold, but had more of an interactive feel. I accomplished this by putting my actual resume up (on the main page) but also by adding videos, pictures, and a slideshow.

My favorite part of my website is the mapping project assignment (under "Travels"). I love how it turned out because it is very similar to my original vision (which is sometimes hard to accomplish!) but also because it adds to the overall idea that this is a site to showcase the things I have accomplished in school and represent what I could bring to the table artistically or just through my study abroad experience.

While I was making this, I looked up other author websites to get an idea of how they were laid out, because I am an English major and wanted that to be a prominent feature of my website, too. I was surprised at how basic many of their websites were, and how much more I liked mine! I hope that isn't conceited to say, and I don't say that to brag on myself. The reason I bring it up, is just to say that through this class I feel like I have learned a lot about how to create different things with HTML, CSS, JS, and even Photoshop. I have gained the basic skills I needed to create a website that looks the way I want it to. I am able to accomplish what I designed in my head with the things I have learned. My website really represents me and all of my interests, which I love. I am very proud of how it turned out!

Monday, December 5, 2016

Review of an Interactive Project I Like, Due December 6th - LATE-ish Because It Wasn't Done Before Class

I wasn't quite sure where to look when I saw the assignment was to review an interactive work I liked. I google searched it, and I found a website that not only did I want to review, but that really appeals to me in general. 

Here is the link to the site: Neave Interactive 

One of the things I really thought about when we created our interactive projects in class was, "What is the point of what I am making?" Sure, there are artworks whose only function is to look cool. The museum is full of them. But interactive web designs are so common, that we have to weed through them to just keep the best of the best. On my iPhone, I have three pages of apps, but the only ones I really use are Snapchat, Facebook, and Instagram. What makes those apps stand apart for me and for the millions of other people who use them? They have a purpose, they are easy to use, they provide something unique. 

Interactive web projects are different because they are not necessarily something that is intended for a person to use every single day. But the concepts are similar. Why am I making what I am making? What is the purpose? 

When I found Neave Interactive, I was very excited. The main page has a list of different projects and games I could play, many of which remind me of the types of things we were working with in P5*Js. For example, some of the projects, such as "Swarm", "Veronoi", and "Wobble", respond to the movements of my mouse. A click changes the colors of the project. "Wobble" has tons of color palates; I clicked at leas ten times and a palate was never repeated. "Bouncy Balls" responds to sound from your computer microphone. "Imagination" sends flashes of color from your mouse onto the screen. 

There are games on the site; classics such as "Tetris" and "Tic Tac Toe". But there were also useful, yet entertaining elements such as the "Planetarium" which takes your location and shows you the constellations in your night sky! "Lonely Tweets" is a constant feed which searches Twitter for tweets being posted which contain the word, "lonely", and scroll them on the screen with the Twitter user's profile pictures as the background of their tweets. 

I found this site to be so fun and entertaining for a few reasons. (1)The colors the artist chose are so vibrant and modern, it's really fun to look at. I really liked the options on the "Bouncy Balls" to change the balls to eyeballs or emojis. (2)There are so many options and layers to each option, and each one is so well done and mesmerizing. (3)Going back to my first point, there are things on this site which have purpose: 

  • I spent at least ten minutes playing Tetris, so the purpose of that was is it's entertaining!
  • "Constellations" is educational and informative to look at, and it's original. I have never seen an online planetarium before!
  • There is a WebCam toy which claims to have eighty filters to use on webcam pictures. That could be useful for taking selfies, and would be a lot of fun to play around with! 

Those purposes may sound a little silly, but the fact is the projects on this site were a lot of fun and made me want to revisit the site and explore further. If this was an app, I might just download it because I found it so intriguing. 

(As a side note, the artist who made this site is named Paul Neave and he lives in England. I looked over his blog, and it actually turns out he is an app developer...called it!) 

As I go back and make last minute tweaks on my previous projects and website for the final, Neave Interactive has given me a lot to think about; how appealing aesthetically is what I'm making to the viewer? How useful it is to them? How original is it? Is my project something they have seen before that should just be weeded out?  

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

P5*JS Projects - Late

Here is the link to my projects : http://homepages.utoledo.edu/aprzesl/pagethree.html

The first project was simply created to test out various options and codes such as shapes, colors, positioning, and mouse response. If you move your mouse around on the screen, the colors flash based on the speed you move your mouse. I wanted to make the shapes look like four leaf clovers and incorporate it into my Ireland project, but I don't know how to do that yet! So they are circles and rectangles for now.

For the second project, I took a photograph I had taken in Paris and added lights to it, since Paris is considered the City of Lights. However, I have the lights falling off of the tower to represent the lack of magic I felt at that point in my trip abroad. I would like to make another, similar image and possibly add it as an illustration to go with a writing piece I am adding to my Works page.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Website Link and Critique (LATE)

I finally got my website up and running! http://homepages.utoledo.edu/aprzesl/

For the first critique we had, the main critique I was given was that the white boxes around my link bar and my block for the text was not the same size. I ended up adjusting that and they now match. Interestingly enough, the size was consistent in the HTML (they were both set at 1000 pixels wide), but they were showing up as different widths. So, to fix the problem, I had to actually increase the width of the link bar.

The other critiques I was given were to consider changing the blue of the titles of the words I have on the page because they look like links, to left align text which is currently centered, and to make my blog open in a new tab. I have not adjusted those yet, but I plan to. I will most likely make the blue into more of a navy. As far as the centered text goes (which is on the music page), however, I may keep it centered because it is a title for the videos I have posted and I don't want to left align the videos. I will have to see how it looks to try and left align it, though.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Psychogeography Reflection

Our assignment over Fall Break was to read the Wikipedia page on Psychogeography and respond to it. I'll tell the truth; I read it, and didn't understand it. After doing some additional research, however, I think I'm beginning to understand more.

Pyschogeography is an approach to geography that is very different than the one most humans naturally take. The idea is from a man named Guy Debord and was first heard of in 1955.

When most people think about geography and maps, they think of the distance between point A and point B. They venture out into the city with a mission to start in one place and end up another specific place. They usually take the most direct route to get there (even our actual GPS' are programmed to give us the quickest, most direct routes) and getting lost is frowned upon.

However, Debord looked at it in a different way. His idea was to create a map with arrows leading behind fragments of the city. The arrows point in all sorts of directions, showing all the different possibilities that could occur depending which direction a traveler chooses. To Debord, it was not a bad thing to get lost; as a matter of fact, he looked at direction as if it were just a series of choices and invisible forces which compel from one location to the next.

One of my favorite things I read about this subject was an idea to take a cup and trace around its rim on a map, and then try to follow that circle as closely as possible in real life. You're going in a circle, so you are literally going nowhere. Yet what might you discover on the way that you never noticed before?

We are supposed to apply this idea to our second big website project. To tell the truth, I don't know how I'll do it. When I design websites I want them to be as clean and clearly laid out as possible. I don't want trails and pages that lead to a random place! But that is exactly why this project will be good for me; I will have to learn to design something that just leads with curiosity instead of always leading with information.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016


Made my own GIF's in class! I am so happy I know how to do this now because I've tried downloading GIF making apps, but there aren't many good ones, and they usually require you to pay for them! 

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Response to "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction" by Walter Benjamin | ART 2020

I realize this post is late, but I wanted to get my thoughts on the readings on my blog anyway. I also want to say that I am English Major, which means I read and reflect on a fair amount of difficult reading assignments, but I found this one to be especially in the article. 

In the article, the author is talking about a shift from art being experienced in person to a viewer being removed to the point of experiencing art through a screen. This article was written in 1936 when films were really starting to explode in popularity. If Mr. Benjamin were writing this today, I can only imagine what his reaction would be to the even further removal we experience from reality through our phones, televisions, computers, and tablets. Even when presented with an actual, original object or work of nature or piece of art, most people will take a picture instead of studying what is in front of them. We are now comfortable with and are used to experiencing things in a removed context. 

Walter Benjamin talked about how in the past, being in the presence of a piece of art had a certain sort of magic or energy to it. A lot of artwork and sculptures in the past were made to be religious pieces, so people saw them as powerful and had reverence towards them. Also, their uniqueness made them valuable and awe-inspiring. Even today, to see the original Mona Lisa or Venus de Milo is an awe-inspiring experience because you are in the presence of a one-of-a-kind, original piece of art. However, through the removal of the spectator through a screen and the mass production of digital mediums, that uniqueness may have been lost. It is certainly not the same experience to see a print of the Mona Lisa as it is to see the actual painting. 

This is due to something called "aura", Benjamin says. The aura is something which cannot be mass produced or communicated through a lens. One of my favorite examples of the aura is found in Section III when the author talked about seeing a mountain and feeling the aura of the mountain. Last year, I had the opportunity to go to Europe for three months and while I was there, I did a fair amount of touring. I took a few album's worth of pictures, though as I would upload them to my Facebook I realized how little they actually communicated of what I was seeing. As my trip continued, I took less and less photos (which I can't say that I am happy about, now), but it was largely due to my increasing awareness that I would not be able to capture the feeling--the aura--that escapes undetected by pixels. 

All that being said, I understand and agree with a lot of the points that Benjamin made, but I also feel there is a case which could be made for technology being an element of art and not just a destructive force in art. Technology certainly gets in the way of experiencing the beauty and reality of a lot of things for a lot of people, but at the same time I believe there is an art to moviemaking, photography, graphic design... It is just important to not live solely through them, but rather to make sure a healthy balance between experiencing art in real life rather than through a screen is maintained.