In 2009, I put together a group of digital images for a series titled “10 Interests.” Seeing as how I’m using one of the pieces from this series for my blog’s layout (see above), as well as on my website and business card, I figured it was about time to explain the story behind the project.
The series came from a digital media course I took during my sophomore year of college. The first assignment of the class was to write down, in a word document, your “universe.” The professor was met with a collective skepticism: what could this possibly have to do with digital media? Though I was much a part of this sentiment, I carried on with the assignment. I did so with such involvement, in fact, that it practically consumed my following two weeks. After every class—if I wasn’t already skipping them to work on the assignment—I jetted to the Mac lab to type. I spent several nights there working into the twilight hours, eating Domino’s ordered straight to the lab to make up for the meal I skipped earlier in the night. Needless to say, I was obsessed.
My process: I started with the present and worked backwards, writing, in detail, everything I knew about my life to my birth date: April 22, 1990. Take that, Facebook timeline.
Think I’m exaggerating? Here’s what I came up with:
I arranged it in a seasonal color code (fall, summer, spring, and winter and then summer, school year, and uncertain when my memory became less precise) and used different fonts for different types of memories. I figured, though it was words, it had become a stylistic, digital image. At least it looked so once printed on a 6’5’’ by 3’6’’ sheet of paper:
But it turned out that that wasn’t the point. The point was to learn and extract, from your universe, your ten most prominent interests in life and then portray them through digital media.
I discovered that, throughout my life, I love the following things:
Drawing. Been at it since age five! Or whatever. The selfie on the right is from 2008.
Family. Love ‘em. Here my father is stopping & shopping at a tag sale held by my mother and stepfather—just a glimpse into the perplexing web. Does my family’s junk strewn out on the ground symbolize disorder and calamity in our structure? Well, let’s not get too carried away.
Filmmaking. Depicted here is the set for my short film Inhalers and a still from the product. As you can see, I like to get into it—no matter how big or small the project is.
Friendship. I love my friends so much that I took a picture of them, printed it out, framed it, and then hung it on my wall.
Literature. I love it so much I sacrificed my education to major in English and be broke for the rest of my life.
Music. This one requires a bit of an explanation, but, you know, it can’t all be straightforward. The photograph on the left shows my friend Jake at six in the morning preparing for a six-hour drive. The photograph on the right shows him at our destination: Darien Lake, NY to see the newly reunited Phish for our first time ever. Music = Love, duh!
Nostalgia. I figured this less by the actual contents of the universe assignment and more so by my obsession with the project itself. Of course, though, I love the simple aspects of nostalgia, such as childhood trends.
Partying. I can’t say this was a consistent hobby throughout my life, but I certainly lived it in high school and college. And who am I kidding, I still love a good party. Shout out to Alyssa Forstmann for taking the pictures in this composition.
Skateboarding. I’ve always had trouble pinpointing my “passion,” but if I had to pick something as the closest thing to one, it would be skateboarding. If it was truly a full-fledged passion, I’d probably be much better than I am (though I am pretty good), but when I am into it, it is as if I am extracted from the world and in my own tranquil element. Think focus mode, those of you who are familiar with the THPS franchise. Anyway, here my friends and I are building and later skating the mini ramp in my backyard.
Writing. Well…? Oh, and the outlet is intentional.
So there you have it—uncovered once and for all. Big shout out to my Intro to Digital Media professor Murray McMillan for the remarkable assignment behind these works. Be sure to check out his website; his own projects are even more brilliant than his assignments.