Term paper, Folded books and a gigapixel conference

Yes, Mage, it was a very busy week. While I was in New York last summer, I heard about an exhibition of artist books to be held at MOMA's PS1 on November 5 and 6. I planned to go, but finally decided I didn't have the time. Instead, I signed up for two book-making workshops here. One of them took place on the past two Wednesday evenings and was about folding and  embellishing books. Here is my folded book, not yet embellished. I work slowly.

This book was particularly satisfying to fold. It was a text from a class I took while I was working on that master's degree on corporate communication. I wanted to sell the book back to the school bookstore, but they would only give me $1 so I kept it.

I began the week working on my term paper. We were each supposed to give a ten minute talk about our projects. I spent Sunday, Monday and Tuesday morning trying to figure out exactly what I would say. I wasn't even sure I would be called on, but I wanted to be prepared. Being an auditor is an uncertain life. We only got through about half of the class last week and I will be called on Tuesday. I'll append my notes at the bottom of this post.

I alternated work on the term paper with work on the poster for the gigapan conference. David kept finding typos and adjustments; I kept making the changes. The conference took place Thursday evening, Friday and Saturday. I am amazed at all the uses for gigapixel imagery–showing detail in microscopic images and detail in huge panoramas. You can see the papers here and some of the gigapans from the conference here. I think they will also post the talks. Tomorrow I am supposed to begin work on the new gigapan we shot last month (along with the term paper and Thanksgiving preparations). Here are David and Simram, another member of our team, in front of our poster.

I continued going to my Osher classes, along with all of this, and on Thursday, managed to get in another quick walk in Frick Park.

The weather has been cooler, but still sunny and most of the trees still have their leaves.

Needless to say, my house looks like it's been trashed. So I'm off to the club to exercise, then back here to clean.

Notes for term paper presentation

In fall, 2008, I was in Japan looking at gardens for more than a month. Most of the gardens were in Kyoto, but I traveled to Tokyo, Nikko, Kanazawa, Nagoya, and Okayama. Most Japanese gardens use the same elements, yet each one is unique; each one has its own design and arrangement of space; most have great appeal for me, a few left me wondering why I had bothered to come to them. Allowing for some days of fatigue and the fact that winter was nearing, I still did not understand why some of those gardens had little appeal for me. This paper is an attempt to examine the elements of a Japanese garden to determine what made the difference.

I will look at two types of gardens: those viewed from within a room or a veranda, and scroll gardens, which promote interactive viewing, each few steps presenting a different view, much like walking through a museum and stopping to examine and appreciate each picture.

The elements of a Japanese garden are greenery, water, rocks, stone lanterns and bridges. Design of a garden is governed by use of space, illusion/shakkei or captured scenery, management of vegetation and growth, and an invocation of famous places, usually in spirit or in some abstract fashion.

I will consider how each of the elements is used in a garden and some of the history of that use, beginning with rocks, which are considered the most important element by the Sakutei, the eleventh century gardening manual. Further, I will show how the use of space and illusion intensify the experience of the connection with nature for the occupants of the house.

Painters, particularly emaki painters, designed many early gardens, creating a “conceived” work of art that combines a gardener’s sense of composition with the idea of scenery “borrowed” from nature. To view the garden from within a house is very much like viewing a scroll painting. To walk through a stroll garden each new view could be another part of the scroll. I did my best to frame each of these views within the viewfinder of my camera.

In addition to a general consideration of the Japanese garden, I propose to examine Kenroku-en in Kanazawa, Koraku-en in Okayama, Sankien in Yokohama and Shirotori in Nagoya and two gardens meant to be viewed from within a building, Chishakuin and  Nanzen-in, in Kyoto, using maps and my own photographs for reference.

In conclusion, I propose to illustrate how the use of space in each garden made a difference to my feelings about it.


Working on my term paper

I struggled for two weeks to restate the goal of my project, following the  professor's comments. I sort of knew what I wanted, but I didn't know where I was going with it. Finally turned in this statement:

Japanese Gardens are the subject of poetry; poems are created and read in gardens. They appear as backgrounds in scroll paintings, and emaki painters designed many of the earliest gardens. Japanese gardens grew out of reverence for nature, but trees and plantings are shaped to conform to a Japanese ideal of nature, making gardens a true art form. In some, the viewer can appreciate the scene from a special place, a frame, in others the viewer can be more interactive, he or she can enter and stroll along, each few steps presenting a different view, much like walking through a museum and stopping to examine and appreciate each picture.

 Rocks, water, stone lanterns and decorative bridges, sometimes a tea house, and plants are the elements of a Japanese garden. In addition, the two concepts: illusion/shakkei or captured scenery, and replication of famous places, are often used to organize the garden space. I will explore the use of those elements and ideas to create aesthetically pleasing spaces. Then, using maps and photographs I propose to examine Kenroku-en in Kanazawa, Koraku-en in Okayama, and Shirotori in Nagoya and two gardens meant to be viewed from within a building, Chishakuin and  Nanzen-in, to determine what constitutes an aesthetically pleasing space for me.

Now I have to begin writing the paper. I have several free hours after my Osher music class this morning, then lunch, then just missed the bus so walked a mile or so instead of just waiting for the next one. Of course, a cup of tea was necessary as soon as I got home. Listened to phone messages. The Republicans have the wrong number for someone. Opened Word. Did you know National Geographic has jigsaw puzzles you can play with on line? Last night was a reception for a Gigapan exhibit David arranged in the US Steel lobby. If you zoom in on the right side you can see Ivetta's head, my back and Qing, one of my ESL students. Because the camera keeps moving, if the person moves, only part of her will show up.

Only an hour before I have to leave. Guess I better start writing.