Date of Defense
Dr. Steven Lipkin
Dr. Heather Addison
When I first began to put this project together, I wanted to touch on many issues that I concern myself with everyday. To most people, the events of the past few years have been surreal and unthinkable. I wasn't quite sure how to fit them all into this single project. In order to address as many issues as possible, I created characters that gave life to each one. These characters represent stereotypes, societal expectations and conflicted individuals. They represent the Beauty of Ugliness.
First, there is the "ex-marine." He has recently arrived back from fighting in Iraq and cannot seem to get the images of war and suffering out of his head. He is also a college student who must sift through the bullshit that is fed to him to find the wisdom he must hold true. He is angry at the world. He has conflicting attitudes towards his past and future. He attempts to hide his aggression through drinking and concentrating on reps rather than real life. He is running away from his reality.
Second, we have the "telemarketer." She can't make a sale, but just watch her make a purchase. She is the artificial queen of consumerism. Everything about her is artificial. She wakes herself up with caffeine, and puts herself to sleep with alcohol. She is mechanical, repetitive and caught up in a routine. She covers her depression with lipstick and a smile.
Third, is the "bum." He is an upstanding citizen. He spends his days self-educating at the public library and picking up other people's trash. He of course has his addictions, such as cigarettes and beer, but who can blame him after being forced onto the streets after defending his country in war. Life has treated him unkindly, but he makes the best of what he has.
Lastly, we have the "teacher." He is the voice of wisdom. His lecture touches on issues of the utmost importance. He not only educates, but inspires thought and action if really heard. However, his students are somewhat distracted. They have their own problems. His words are background noise to most of them, so listen hard.
With each shot, I was writing a visual essay about my feelings and concerns for the world I live in. For most people, the rest of the world's concerns are just background noise. Sure, you feel bad and want to make things right in the world, but what can you do? What can you really do to make a difference? Are you doing your part by fighting in the war; by risking your life for your country? Maybe you're doing your part by earning and spending; by consuming and selling your soul to keep up the economy. Or maybe, just maybe, you're doing your part by reading and recycling; by cleaning up your streets and learning from great minds.
Silberman, Mindy R., "The Beauty of Ugliness" (2004). Honors Theses. 1680.
Honors Thesis-Campus Only