You don’t have to look very hard to find media art these days. From seven second Snapchat videos to massive multiplayer online role-playing videogames that have accrued literally billions of hours of gameplay, the 21st century world is inescapably drenched in it. Like our advances in science, our media is constantly evolving due to new technological discoveries and artists breaking fresh ground. And perhaps, like science, it is helping us understand our world a little better.

As we explore this vast canon of art with open eyes, an open heart, and an engaged intellect, we hope that the narratives we engage with will not only entertain, but that they may inform and edify as well.

We present for you Aperture’s blog. This blog will be dedicated to supplying you with weekly explorations into the world of Media Arts. Without further ado, strap in tight, prime the hyper-drive, and prepare to see the, good, the bad, and the transcendent in your everyday media.

Painting With Light

By Isaac Mumford

Artist’s Statement
I have always loved blues music. Three chords, a rough beat, the steady rhythm and a scratchy amplifier are all you need to create compelling music. Simplicity and repetition does not equate to boredom. When a chord progression is simple, there is room for experimentation and
exploration. As you add in instruments to create tonal layering and allow each instrument to riff off of the same basic structure, the result is a compilation of complex solos, soaring horns, growling base, and wailing guitar all anchored in the same notes. This method of layering and riffing on a single theme is what I hoped to capture in “Painting with Light.” The ingredients for each piece are basically the same: neon lights, long exposure, and improvisation. However, each composition differs because of the experimentation and exploration between the bounds of camera and subject. Each photograph is unique while sharing the same composite parts with the others. I have been drawn to experimentation with neon lights because they seem to mirror the role of the blues instrument with which I am most familiar—the guitar. Both the guitar and the lights have an electric, vibrant hum. The guitar, much like the smeared light, is the first thing to jump out at the audience. Just as the guitar often creates a catchy, repetitive hook that is bright, disjointed, and loud, the neon lights jump out boldly to catch the viewer’s attention, jumbling together within the frame. As the other instruments fill in the melody, the guitar is free to leave the main progression in sweeping, painterly riffs. Similarly, bending and spinning from the main structure, the twirls and spins of the camera create a painterly effect that moves beyond the basic structure of the physical subject. The various colors in the photographs complement each other in a cohesive whole, much like the guitar, bass, horns, and keyboard come together under the same tonal progression while still maintaining their individual voices. The loss of any one part of the whole, both in tone of music and color of light, would degrade the image or song. The layering of instruments and riffs can also be compared to the word ‘OPEN’ in the compositions. The word appears often within the photo series, but always in a different form from the one before. This mirrors the musical textures and melodies of my photographs, as if they were all based in the same three chords but still maintain their own unique grooves. Painting with Light is dedicated to the local businesses and entertainment establishments that were able to overcome the effects of the Covid-19 Pandemic. Although my own images only encompass a single street in Provo Utah, I hope that the repeating motif of ‘OPEN’ and the accompaniment of Joe Jackson’s “Steppin’ Out’” will encourage people to return to their evening activities and patronize their local small businesses.

Editor-in-Chief
Jenna Woolley

Project Manager
Sophie Graham

How The Project Works

Step 1: Download the Actionbound App from the App Store or Google Play Store and create an account
Step 2: Select the ‘SCAN CODE’ option in the start menu. Scan the provided QR code with your camera to start the mission.
Step 3: Follow the Actionbound instructions and have fun! Be sure to put on the song that inspired this project!
Step 4: Upload your own photos of yourself at a local business. 

Leading Editor

Cheyanna Elton

Supporting Editors

Anna Lo Russo

Calvin Cummings

Mammie Tonnies

Copyeditor

Fleur Van Woerkom

Indigenous Women: Finding Sovereignty in Cinema in Kuessipan

By Emily Thomas

Indigenous film is an up-and-coming genre, and indigenous women are making important contributions to it. This essay analyzes the 2019 film Kuessipan by Canadian filmmaker Myriam Verreault and Innu co-writer Naomi Fontaine and discusses the history of indigenous female representation in film. This essay also explains the concept of representation through polyphony (multivocality), which encourages viewers of this film to feel empathy for Native women. Using a humanist lens, this essay explores the depth of Kuessipan’s female protagonists and explains how the film could serve as a catalyst for change in the real world.

Continue reading Indigenous Women: Finding Sovereignty in Cinema in Kuessipan

I’ll Be Back: The Return of Movie Icons and the Disappearance of Original Films

By Bridger Nebeker

When you think of new movie releases, you likely think of the latest additions to large movie franchises. It seems that the only pictures getting attention are sequels, adaptations, or remakes—and to the average moviegoer, it may appear that original films not based on preexisting content have disappeared from the box office. While some suggest that Hollywood’s well of creativity has dried up, it is more likely that this phenomenon is economically motivated.

Continue reading I’ll Be Back: The Return of Movie Icons and the Disappearance of Original Films

Film and Civil Rights: Race Relations and Film

By Jinhee Nelson

Though a slow and painful road, Black integration into Hollywood has improved film portrayals of the Black community as well as interracial relations within the United States and other parts of the world. By explaining how film as a medium of communication has a special influence on viewers’ comprehension—via cultural transmission—and by summarizing some landmark events in Black film history, this essay aims to show that Black integration in the film industry has played an integral role in the civil rights movement by altering how Blacks are perceived and increasing the roles they are given to better reflect the community and their contributions at large.

*“The 12th Academy Awards: 1940.” Oscars.org | Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, https://www.oscars.org/oscars/ceremonies/1940.

Continue reading Film and Civil Rights: Race Relations and Film

BYU’s Journal of Media Arts