Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The End of the Journey

And so it all ends. Throughout today and yesterday, I completed the final task that lay before me: editing the audio tour files with the background music. The music sampling the musician recorded last week runs for only a minute and a half, so yesterday I uploaded the audio files onto editing software so that I could copy and paste the accompanying music. I had done this before, mostly in high school with more outdated software, I spent only about an hour getting reacquainted to the software and completing the task set before me.

Today, I completed the task by listening to the recording over again, tweaking the audio files slightly to account for any distortion heard by the listener while walking along the exhibition. And with that, I completed my internship project! For the past few months, I have spent countless hours researching Point''s life, cataloging the art, and organizing the twenty columns. I gained an appreciation for museum work, artistic analysis and audio recording. Before this semester, I never really thought about museum work as a possible career opportunity. But with my experience working with Professor Schloesser, I now know that museum work is a possible avenue for me after my academic career.

And with that, I hope you all had almost half as much fun reading my blogs as I had writing them and working on my internship. Till the next time!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

The Last of the Recordings

At the end of this week, I completed the last of the audio tour recordings. Given the similarities between these past few days and earlier this week, I'll spare you the details. For the majority of the columns, I simply read the script I had written a few weeks ago. I then uploaded the files onto my computer, and converted them into MP3 files.  However, a few things did arise that hindered my work.

For one, a few of the columns' scripts needed to be reedited to bring them down to under 40 seconds. While that may not seem long, you should remember that there are twenty columns in the exhibition. If each column is almost a minute long, then it will take visitors twenty minutes to get through only one part of the exhibition. Furthermore, a few of the columns were just a bit too long, and one was almost over an entire minute. Accordingly, I spent about half an hour rewriting the script, deleting a couple of useless sentences and trying to be as concise as possible. One column actually had four drawings of landscapes, and my script had originally called for almost an entire 50 seconds of information! Talk about too much information!

The last column, the most problematic of the columns due to a lack of remaining themes I could display, didn't even have a fourth drawing! So, before I could record an audio file, I had to find and write a script for the final column. After about fifteen minutes of searching, I was able to find a pretty good photograph of Native American delegates to Washington, D.C. which I think shows the lasting impact of the Jesuits. For better or worse, they helped incorporate that region into the United States, and I couldn't think of a better way to end the exhibition than with that message.

In the final concluding hours of Sunday, I compiled the majority of the audio files on an iTunes playlist to gauge the length and quality. Apart from a few instances of static, the audio files were of good quality! The only thing I have left to do before the end of the semester is to match the audio tour with a loop of the guitar riff I recorded with the local guitarist. Until then!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Recording the Audio Tour

This, the final week of the semester, is when I finally tackled the final task of my internship: the audio tour. During the last few weeks, I have been writing the script for the audio tour. Compared to that, this week was remarkably easy. On Monday, I rented a simple voice recorder from the Digital Media Lab at my University. I did this because I had tried to record a few entries with merely my computer, but when I listened to the recordings the audio files were rife with static. After I got the voice recorder, the task became essentially reading what I had written last week. To the right is my work space, now refitted for recording the audio tour.

However, as with other aspects of my internship, this task brought with it a few problems. First and foremost, after uploading the sixth audio file my computer "decided" to delete everything I had uploaded concerning the tour. As such, for a few hours on Wednesday I had to rerecord the first quarter of the the audio tour. However, after that the majority of recording was incredibly easy. Although some of my recordings were simply badly worded and I needed to reword some sections of the tour, recording the actual tour went by pretty quickly.

After completing about two thirds of the tour, I reached out to the local guitarist I talked about a few weeks ago. During the middle of November, I decided that the tour needed some background music. So on Thursday, we met at my apartment to record a small acoustic sample so I can test it with the audio recordings. Due to the relative length of the tour, I will most likely loop a longer sample over the tour. Till next time!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Finishing the Audio Tour

Midweek greetings! Due to my rather large workload, I've decided to post a couple of blog posts this week. Yesterday, I completed my biggest job since organizing the exhibition's columns: the audio tour script. After last week, I decided to dedicate more time and energy in writing the scripts for each column. As such, I spent collectively 6 hours Monday and Tuesday writing the script for the second half of the tour. One column was rather difficult, as the entire thing was just landscape after landscape. I had organized it to contextualize some of Point's surroundings, but talking about it was a bit harder. Instead of writing about the subject matter, I decided to write about Point's experiences in the region and how different it was compared to the Flathead territory.

This process was repeated about ten times the past few days, as each column provided a different challenge. But by Wednesday night, I had a strong paragraph written for each column. I am particularly proud of one column which tells the religious evolution of Ignace, the son of a Salish chief. Opening with his baptism, the column charts his eventual Christian burial and funeral. The audio tour reflects this, telling the story of Ignace's first interaction with the Jesuits, the context of his baptism and the weight of his funeral on the community.

After completing the audio tour, my next task is one of particular difficulty: recording the tour. My script is concise, simple and informative, and in the coming days I plan to be recording either today or tomorrow. Furthermore, the musician I talked about a few posts ago will be recording his music most likely this weekend, so hopefully by Sunday the entire exhibition, columns and audio tour will be completed. Till then!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Audio Tour Script

This week I delved into the herculean task of writing the audio tour for the exhibition. Having never written anything like this before, it took me a quite a bit longer than I had originally believed. Before, I assumed I could get most of it done rather quickly. However, each column required essentially its own small story that needed to be told in a few sentences. The greatest problem that could arise during the exhibition is a lack of steady movement along the drawings. Quite simply, I need to make sure people are moving.

As such, each paragraph I wrote for the columns needed to be succinct yet clear, entertaining yet spartan. Instead of my original plan on writing separate sentences for each drawing, I decided to write paragraphs for each column. The first few were a little difficult to write a narrative for, primarily because they were landscapes that offered little in the way for storytelling. Therefore, I wrote the tour in the early columns to provide contextualization. The first two tell the story of Point's journey across the plains, and the third presents the overall geographic landscape of the area. After that, each column tells a short, semi-enclosed narrative that highlights both the subject matter, themes and chronological/geographic background if available. All told, I was able to get through about half of the total columns before the week was over, so this coming week I'm going to write the rest of the tour and record the audio tour for the exhibition.

Apart from that, this week was relatively stable. Apart from the time demands for the audio tour, I was able to get through most of what I wanted to accomplish. Now that I have some practice with writing audio tour scripts, I think that I can complete the entire audio tour by Monday or Tuesday. Afterwards, I'll record it by the end of the week. Until then!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Beginning the Audio Tour

During the last few weeks, I have been organizing and titling all of the pieces that are going to be exhibited next summer. After accomplishing that, I have started on my next task: the audio tour. After emailing with my adviser, I wanted to limit the overall scope of the tour. Simply said, I didn't want it to be too long or too short. Accordingly, I spent the majority of this week writing out a rough draft of the audio tour that I am going to be editing and then recording in the next week.

There is some question regarding the technical aspects of the tour itself. My adviser and I are not sure what format the tour will be, either uploaded to Youtube or merely an MP3 file to be accessed by the guests. As such, I didn't want to possibly waste time on formatting any files. I began the week laying out all of the drawings on my table and sketching some basic notes on general narrative themes that might appeal to audience members. Next, I recorded any and all notes I wrote on each piece that can be used to describe each drawing. Geographic and chronological information, the majority of which I researched in the middle weeks of this semester, are going to be the majority of what I'm including in the audio tour. After sketching down all of this information, I began weaving together what I believe will be an exciting and informative tour that guests can listen to. I also contacted a local guitarist I know of who can provide an original score for the tour that, in my mind, can express the somber tone of Point's experiences.

This next week will now be spent completing the writing section of the audio tour. I am near completion with the final section, and I think I can have it finished by Tuesday. After that, I plan on renting a microphone and recording the audio tour by the end of the week. Editing and developing the audio files will happen later, but by the end of the week I plan on having a rough cut of the audio tour that will be featured during the exhibition next summer. 

Till then!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Readjustment and Titling

This week began with a bit of an emergency. As it turns out, a percentage of the paintings were double sided, meaning that some of the drawings I had organized into the columns couldn't be exhibited. This caused a small panic among the interns, as I had organized all of the columns very meticulously according to their themes. But luckily, fate was on my side. For one, another intern/assistant for my adviser had looked over all of the double sided drawings and posted them online. And two, when I looked over said list a couple of days ago, I discovered that the majority of drawings that were double sided I had categorized as "miscellaneous." These were mostly random drawings of flowers, animals and foliage, and I generally discarded them whilst organizing the exhibition. As such, despite this small panic, I was able to maintain the integrity of the organization of the columns. Everything was ok!

The second main task for the week was a lot less exciting: titling all of the drawings for exhibition, Given the limited space at LUMA, each column can only feature the titles of the drawings. As such, for the rest of the week I spent simply giving titles to the drawings. This was a slow but steady process, and it didn't take me much time. I spent the majority of the semester with these drawings, and had learned much about their subject matter, themes and purpose. Each piece belonged to a specific part of the narrative, and their titles generally responded to their place in the story. In one column, one detailing the spiritual life of Ignace, I named each piece to encapsulate one part of his life. The first: Ignace's baptism; the fourth: Ignace's funeral. Other drawings, particularly landscapes, I had chosen for that column mostly for their contextualizing purposes. Two drawings depicted mountains, and I chose to name each one a different name depending on what they depicted.

Apart from these situations, this week was remarkably quiet compared to the past few. The most major task-organizing the columns-was behind me the next major one-writing the audio tour-lay before me, For this week, naming the various pieces took priority.