Literary Artist Statement:
IMG_0744.JPGThe box I created was called "The Addiction" (however after some contemplation I do regret not calling it "The Obsession" for reasons I will discuss). It is an all-black box with the main focus being a contorted human figure, brought to his knees in some sort of agony. He has just written a note, displayed below him and reading "Day four of my imprisonment. My captor has allowed me a pen and this paper. Ironic because of this obsession with control...". In the corner is a pill bottle filled with batteries, also scatted about him and attached to the bottom if his feet.
The original idea behind this was obsession, or really an obsession that turns to addiction. The pill bottle was perfect for this, as the knowledge of addictive drugs is something we are taught about at an extremely young age. The batteries in the bottle were not meant to suggest a specific addiction, but were there to be the symbol of an obsession-addiction mirrored throughout the piece, which is why the batteries attached to the feet are important, because the character's addiction is the basis of his existence. The note was important and adds a new layer of meaning to the piece (when actually read!). It sounds very literal in that the figure is being held captive by a physical enemy. However, the character is really dealing with an internal enemy - his addiction - that will not loosen its hold on him, thus "controlling".
The overall meaning was a criticism on the obsession humans have over worldly objects that only provide temporary benefits. For example, one that the Magnet community is highly aware of is an obsession over grades - such an obsession that it has become almost an addiction that many students heavily rely upon. This is not the only example, though. Obsession-addictions can range anywhere from drugs to sex to money to power - anything that holds us back from reaching self-actualization.
IMG_0747.JPGThe idea that I was going for when collecting my items was actually to collect simple items. A calligraphy pen, a wooden doll, a blank pill bottle, paper, a mug and paper crane (seen in my second box), etc. The simplicity of these objects intrigued me, and this idea of addiction did not have a real grasp on me as I was collecting. While playing with the boxes in class, I came across the idea, but it did not take set until Helen (yay Helen!) asked to write on my paper. The result was amazing, because it brought the entire project together!
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Many students, when assessing the finished boxes, understood that my box had to do with addictions. However, most took it as an addiction to power, probably because of the prevalence of the batteries. I think that, had they read the paper more closely, this may not have been the case, but one person did call it to be an obsession in general versus the specific obsession over power. As prominent as this idea was in the feedback, it was not the intention (because the paper changes the meaning), and I preferred to stick with the idea of inner conflict hindering self-actualization.

THE ADDICTION SOUNDTRACK

Music Statement:The music is original (as far as I know. I wrote it but perhaps unconsciously emulated another artist?). It is a piece on the guitar played using a series of four 2-sting chords, one high and one low to create contrast but harmony. The same idea (the same four chords) are repeated throughout the song with little variation, save for the occasional step up on the fourth chord versus step down.
The overall idea of the music is that it's subtle and somewhat calming, but a little ominous. It was something for me that was thought-provoking, or encouraged me to think about . . . anything. This is possible because the piece is relatively predictable and steady, there is not much to focus on and it is easy to process, so that the attention can be focused on the box.
The other important thing with the steadiness of the music is the sense that there is nothing to really break it up (besides the change in pattern at 1:11 to avoid stagnancy and boredom in sound, while still keeping it "stagnant" in the sense that it is constant. This is achieved by picking the same strings 1-2-1-2 (1 at a time) instead of both at the same time, but they're still the same chords and therefore the same idea). I feel like this is a piece that can melt in to the background and play in a loop without really being noticed, because there is not change in idea so no definite beginning or end draws the attention of the listener to stop it. Thus, it gives a sense of constancy or endlessness, much like the desperation and captivity of the character in the box. He sees no real end to his conflict - his addiction - like there is no change in the music; things will simply continue as are.
The constancy is also reinforced with the beginning and end note. This is the root note, repeated throughout the entire song. The root note resolves the chord progression and makes the song solid, or final, like the character's fate. It is repeated on its own at the beginning/end of the song to add to the continuity and provide foundation.
The sad, rhythmic chords also give a depressing sound. again like there is no end or no hope, and it allows the listener-viewer to connect with the pain of the character.
Or at least, that's what I think. But it's difficult to tell when you write your own piece. It could sound completely different to everyone else, so . . . let me know! Because I like it!