The Hare: Cute vs. Monsterous

My Reaktion book animal is the Hare. So far, I’ve read through chapter one and I’ve learned at least a few things about hares, as well as some of the differences between hares and rabbits. For instance, I’ve learned that rabbits and hares come from different genera – Hare comes the genus Lepus, while rabbits can come from one of eight (i.e., Pentalagus, Bunolagus, Nesolagus, Romerolagus, Brachylagus, Sylvilagus, Oryctolagus, Poelagus). One of the biggest evolutionary differences between hares and rabbits comes from the fact that hares do not burrow as rabbits do, which means that their primary defense is to run away rather than to run and hide. This means that they are over all larger and have more developed senses and physicality for escaping. The greyhound, a dog bred for speed, is still no match for the hare which has thigh muscles that have evolved not just for speed, but also evasion. Hares can change direction at the drop of a dime. You can surely find many videos of dogs sliding all over the place when they try to change direction too quickly.

Because of their evasiveness and the apparently difficulty in capturing them, as well as the reproductive qualities known to the Leporidae family hares have certain myths and fables surrounding them. They are seen as clever, though shy, animals because they spend most of their time alone. Hares are not as promiscuous, reproductively, as rabbits but females are known to have sexual relations while they’re already pregnant and to carry more than one fetus at more than one stage of development. Males are known to be quite aggressive during mating season, leading to the saying “mad as a March hare”.

Anyway, in fiction, I found 2 examples of hare characters that fit the monstrous and cute identifiers for this pin-up assignment. They are both from films. The first is Frank, the hare/rabbit from the film Donnie Darko, 2001. He is clearly the monster. I’m not exactly sure if he’s actually a hare, but he was mentioned in the Reaktion book so I figured it was OK. The quote is not actually something Frank says, it’s something Donnie says about rabbits, which seems relevant for the class.

The second character is the March Hare from Disney’s Alice in Wonderland, 1951. This hare is admittedly not the most cuddly version ever of the hare, (which is not exactly a cuddly animal in comparison to rabbits), but coming from Disney I figured it was safe. They are both hand drawn reproductions of the original characters.

For the Donnie Darko quote, I actually replaced it with something Frank actually says, but originally I had something that I thought was relevant to the class. This is the quote, this time in context. I highlighted the best part.

[from the Extended and Deleted Scenes. The class is discussing Watership Down]
Karen Pommeroy: This could be the death of an entire way of life, the end of an era…
Donnie: Why should we care?
Karen Pommeroy: Because the rabbits are us, Donnie.
Donnie: Why should I mourn for a rabbit like he was human?
Karen Pommeroy: Are you saying that the death of one species is less tragic than another?
Donnie: Of course. The rabbit’s not like us. It has no… keen look at something in the mirror, it has no history books, no photographs, no knowledge of sorrow or regret… I mean, I’m sorry, Miss Pommeroy, don’t get me wrong; y’know, I like rabbits and all. They’re cute and they’re horny. And if you’re cute and you’re horny, then you’re probably happy, in that you don’t know who you are and why you’re even alive. And you just wanna’ have sex, as many times as possible, before you die… I mean, I just don’t see the point in crying over a dead rabbit! Y’know, who… who never even feared death to begin with.

Article: Malaysian women redefine gender roles in technology

I recently started thinking about work opportunities for women in Southeast Asia – not necessarily Malaysia – because the topic of sex trafficking/prostitution came up for me again in the past few weeks or so. I would like to think more about how to provide better sources of work for women as a deterrent to sex work. And, I just happened to come across this article today. In no way am I suggesting that Malaysia has a problem with sex trafficking or prostitution. I’m just pointing out that IT is an industry that seems to be thriving in a SE. Asian culture amongst women and possibly would be a good avenue for me to look into, if I continue to further think about this issue.

Malaysian Women Redefine Gender Roles in Technology

Documentary: Broadway and Prince St.

For a Video for New Media project, I worked again with Lucas Werthein, and also Krystal Banzon, on a documentary featuring an intersection in New York City. Eventually we chose Broadway and Prince St., the home of Dean and Deluca and my hair salon. It’s a pretty hectic intersection in Soho that always seems to be busy.

Lucas, who was undeniably the most experienced person in our group, was inspired by a short film called “Latitude_Redux“:

Latitude_Redux is a condensed extract from D-Fuse’s live sonic cinema performance with the split screen representing the 2 screens used in the live show. It is inspired by the notion of drifting through the land + soundscapes of China and uses fragments of conversations, lights, + architectural forms to trace the multitudes of paths, identities + influences which make up the rapidly changing urban environments of Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chongqing.

It’s a really fast-paced short film and you get a sense of the selected urban environments in China, something that could easily be translated to New York’s urban scene. Due to serious schedule conflicts with our team, Lucas ended up doing most of the editing. One of my favorite parts of our video happens about 46 seconds in and last for just two to three seconds. What you see is a blur of many still images of people’s feet walking across the crosswalks in the intersection. We used a Panasonic Lumix and a Canon G10, both on tripods, to record those shots. We probably could’ve gotten many more, but it was really cold that day and the buildings kept blocking out the sunlight as time went on.

Pulse from Allison Walker on Vimeo.

Subjective/Objective Migration of the Caribou

Caribou from Allison Walker on Vimeo.

For an assignment intending to investigate our chosen animal, Caribou, from a subjective and objective perspective, Jenine Durland and I made a pseudo-documentary of the Porcupine Caribou. I dressed as our character, while Jenine provided the voice-over in the video. Video editing by her; voice editing by me.

The mask is the same mask I used in a previous assignment. (Check out this video I made for another class using those stills.) For the antlers, I just used a coil of wire I found on the junk shelf and made a headband out of it. The car adapter serves the purpose of not only looking interesting but also keeping the antlers on my head.

It was a fun time, but I can’t say I’ll do it again. The weirdest feeling I had was definitely on the train. You can’t imagine the stares I got when I started to put on my mask and antlers. The dog in the video was also pretty confused with me and didn’t really seem to know how to react.

My Life as a Deer (video!)

Yet again, I revisit my deer self, for this final video blog. In this video, I take a little liberty with the humor of the audience. I won’t go into this too much, and I’ll just let the beginning shot of the legs be the only enticement. Clearly however, the sensuality of the music (Sensual Woman, by The Herbaliser) is what convinces and carries this vlog to the end.

As for the editing, much of this was me experimenting with different filters in Final Cut. Eventually, I ended up using a lot of crossover fades, blur, scale and an interesting color correction filter.

My Life as a Deer from Allison Walker on Vimeo.

Samples from my apartment

In this second vlog, I strung together many video clips of different places from my apartment, which has an interesting character. My place is kind of dark, which made color correction difficult. It’s just something I need more practice with, I guess. The music is “Beat Was A Bumpin” by DJ Cue. It’s a bit lively, but also monotonously repetitive. The repetition fits with how ordinary each short video clip is, but the beat helps give the shots some animation and character that they wouldn’t have if the music was slower.

Samples from my apartment from Allison Walker on Vimeo.

Graffiti in the East Village

Here’s the first of 3 video blogs. This one features the wall I see every morning on my way to school. I don’t really think too much of it when I walk by, mostly because I’m looking at the ground to make sure I don’t walk in crap, but seeing it like this in one continuous shot gives me a new perspective.

Graffiti on 13th St from Allison Walker on Vimeo.