C/O Yoohyun Park

Technology is taking over creative fields and classic media is fading 

Newspapers are known as digital subscriptions, books are known as Kindles and art is all about graphic design and digital forums now. Instead of flipping a page, we swipe a screen. Instead of a flick of a brush or the drag of a pen, we are tapping and swiping. 

Everything is digital now and it does not sit well with me, especially as an english and communications major. I love the smell of a new book, the way your fingers slowly turn black due to the ink from flipping through the articles of the day and the excess paint left under your fingernails once finished painting. 

I love the smell of a new book, the way your fingers slowly turn black due to the ink from flipping through the articles of the day and the excess paint left under your fingernails once finished painting.

Although the digital world makes it a little easier when compared to the preparation of physical crafts such as lugging around materials, I still love the process of it all.  

And do not get me wrong, I am not undermining the energy and time it takes to write an article, book or create a drawing virtually. It just feels as though we have lost the true purpose of the craft. 

Obviously, things are destined to evolve and change, but to have these artistic expressions shift completely to another realm tends make certain pieces lose their meaning.  

Being a child of early generation Z, I still had the opportunity to live a childhood that wasn’t ruled by technology. I never have a phone and my only source of technology was my television.  

All I knew was how to use my creativity to do something or make something. Despite the freedom from technology in my early years, I’m still annoyed at the fact that we as a society were introduced to iPhones and iPads when I was in middle school. 

Despite that experience, I cannot even fathom being a young child with an iPhone or using Instagram so young. Even in my classes growing up, I had already started noticing the impact media had on our generation specifically.  

Presentations started turning into slideshows, photography became incorporated in art class and even music class came with a focus on creating and editing music videos.  

Don’t get me wrong, all of these new technologies have led to immense progress. Just look at the innovations in fields such as diagnostic radiology. But I still miss the craft

I miss the rawness. I miss picking up the thick rolled-up newspaper on my driveway. I miss the excitement that came with writing. I miss looking at a painting and hearing the stories behind them and studying the brush strokes.  

I say I miss it as if it is non-existent anymore and even though I know it isn’t, I feel it slowly fading. Who knows? Maybe physical books won’t be a thing soon, maybe paintings won’t either and Google and Photoshop will be the only avenues to follow. Perhaps it is only a matter of time before we live in an entirely digital world.  

Yoohyun Park/Production Coordinator

From 19th century paintings to contemporary animations, Middle Easterners are over-sexualized

By: Kimia Tahaei, Staff Writer

Have you ever thought about the roots of stereotypes? Why are Middle Eastern women continuously depicted as sexual? Why is the culture of Easterners so heavily fetishized and exoticized? 

Palestinian-American cultural critic Edward Saïd gives a thorough explanation of this phenomenon in his renowned book, Orientalism.

Saïd argues that European colonizers provided distorted information regarding the Middle East, which led to a false production of "knowledge" — "knowledge" that instilled the erroneous belief that the West (also known as the Occident) was superior to the East (also known as the Orient). 

To spread their fictitious "knowledge" far and wide, the West decided to use art as a means of propaganda. At this point in history, European artists created numerous artworks with the primary purpose of advancing their political ideologies — European superiority. 

At this point in history, European artists created numerous artworks with the primary purpose of advancing their political ideologies — European superiority. 

KIMIA TAHAEI, STAFF WRITER

Due to the West's misrepresentation of the Orient, Middle Easterners are paying a steep price, even today.

As Saïd repeatedly states throughout his book, Orientalism and whoever followed its principles did so with intentions of falsely exhibiting the East. To better understand how Middle Easterners are suffering the consequences of these former European paintings, we first have to understand the depths of this flawed misrepresentation. 

To begin, Middle Eastern women were persistently sexualized. Gérôme, a French pioneer of the Orientalism movement, fetishized Middle Eastern women and portrayed them as exotic in his paintings. He did so by frequently illustrating them as nude or semi-nude and often participating in provocative acts. 

Not only did he fetishize women, but he also managed to hypersexualize integral elements of Middle Eastern culture, like belly dancing. I find it particularly frustrating how Middle Eastern women have to suffer stigmatization daily because of a French painter's Occidental fantasies of the East. 

Due to his lack of knowledge on Middle Eastern culture, he fabricated a mass amount of false "knowledge" that led to fundamental components of the culture getting fetishized — this "knowledge" portrayed Middle Eastern women as exotic commodities and intrinsically sexual beings. 

This stereotyping has led to the hyper-sexualization of Middle Eastern women in books, films and even Disney movies.

Beyond Hollywood’s exotic depictions of “sexy belly dancers,” such stereotyping can even be seen in innocent children's movies. 

For instance, Princess Jasmine, a 16-year-old, was represented as erotic and was overly sexualized in the Disney movie Aladdin. In the movie, Jasmine and other young Arab women are shown in tops showing cleavage and midriff. Astonishingly, in one specific scene, Jasmine even overtly takes advantage of her sexuality to seduce an older male character — Jafar. 

This portrayal is particularly problematic for me because Jasmine is one of the only princesses who is so harshly sexualized. Almost every other princess wears modest dresses that cover their head to toe.

Not only is this problematic because cartoons intended for a young audience are including sexually suggestive imagery and themes, but it is also just blatantly disappointing to witness such poor cultural representation. It is incredibly disheartening that Orientalism has ruined one of the few occurrences in media where a young Middle Eastern girl can see herself represented in some way.

It is incredibly disheartening that Orientalism has ruined one of the few occurrences in media where a young Middle Eastern girl can see herself represented in some way.

KIMIA TAHAEI, STAFF WRITER

I often imagine the lasting and destructive impacts that this misrepresentation leaves on a young Middle Eastern child. I wonder if they question whether they have to be sexual in order to receive a speck of representation in the media.

Overall, it is interesting to think about the evolution of propaganda that served colonialism in the promotion of Western domination. What was started by 19th-century European painters is still alive thanks to 21st-century directors. Although the form of propaganda has changed, the message of Eastern inferiority remains the same.

The Hamilton’s Artists’ Inc. presents Geneviève Thauvette’s wall installation exploring modern news media

CW: mentions of abusive language and sexual assault

When Donald Trump was elected as the President of the United States in 2016, Geneviève Thauvette was so horrified that she smashed a vase. The multidisciplinary feminist Franco-Ontarian artist, who often explores the history of French-Canadian women in her work, was disgusted with the president’s abusive language and numerous sexual assault allegations.

Following that election, Thauvette watched as deepfakes and the term “fake news” rose to prominence. This prompted her to create a work that explores the ways in which the news media has changed over time.

The result is Breaking News, a series of hand-tinted self-portrait photographs manipulated by Photoshop. The colourful works depict Thauvette posing as a newscaster reporting on several serious subjects such as flood and dictatorship. First displayed in Ottawa in 2017, the work was put up as a set of billboards on the Hamilton Artists’ Inc.’s exterior Cannon Project Wall on Sept. 12, 2020.

The first thing one may notice when seeing the billboards is the use of bright colours and clown-like makeup. While the work employs Thauvette’s trademark of depicting herself as her characters, the use of lively colours is a slight departure from some of her earlier works. However, these elements were a way for her to highlight the idea of the media circus.

“So in the series, the characters are very kind of clown-esque and of course they're playing a role. They're there to entertain [which] represents the more contemporary or modern kind of newscaster in the sense that they're performers. They're not necessarily like your Tom Brokaw, talking head. They have to be a personality and that in itself, it's entertainment. It's not really meant to inform it's meant to sort of sway,” explained Thauvette.

"So in the series the characters are very kind of clown-esque and of course they're playing a role. They're there to entertain [which] represents the more contemporary or modern kind of newscaster in the sense that they're performers," explained Thauvette

By employing bright colours and comedic details like the spilled popcorn in Oh the Humanity, Thauvette invokes this idea of media as entertainment. However, the actual contents of the reports are far from funny.

The three billboards featured on the Cannon Project Wall depict the death and embalming of a dictator, a devastating flood and the abduction of a young girl. On the Hamilton Artists Inc. website, you can also find the parodic Batchild Weds Mystery Woman and Oh the Humanity, named after the famous exclamation Herbert Morrison made while reporting on the fire that destroyed the Hindenburg airship.

In many of these works the newscasters are more than just reporting on events, they are a part of them. A good example of this is in Oh the Humanity, where the newscaster herself pops the balloon representing the Hindenburg. This theme can also be seen in Chance of Rain, which depicts a flood.

“I wanted to touch on some key big events, like stereotypes almost of news reporters. So like the flood, the journalist knee-deep in water, you know, almost masquerading as a humanitarian or really . . .  putting themselves into the story whereas, are they really all that involved?” said Thauvette.

“I wanted to touch on some key big events, like stereotypes almost of news reporters. So like the flood, the journalist knee-deep in water, you know, almost masquerading as a humanitarian or really . . .  putting themselves into the story whereas are they really all that involved?” said Thauvette.

Adding to the power of the work is the fact that it is being presented on a billboard, making it reminiscent of outdoor digital and billboard advertising. Much like the news itself, it is a spectacle that confronts audiences when they are least expecting it.

Thauvette also expressed that having the work outdoors makes it more accessible. Especially during COVID-19 when art galleries have had to close their doors, this is a way for the audiences to safely interact with important work.

“[Since] it uses humor because it's so bright I think it will, I hope, give people pause to sort of think and reflect on kind of what's going on right now . . . [T]here is a certain crazed look to them so it's not quite exactly how the news is . . . but it's clearly representative of the news. So [I hope people reflect] on where things are going and how we interact with the news and be more careful [and] mindful with our interaction with the media,” said Thauvette.

Breaking News will be on the Cannon Project Wall until May 30, 2021.

By Nisha Gill, Contributor

Tucked away between bakeries and boutiques in Hamilton’s downtown core, Factory Media Centre (228 James St. North) is somewhat  isolated from the hustle and bustle. Housed within the artist-run centre, Hamilton-native Natalie Hunter merges photography, video projection and sculpture to create a space to reflect on questions  questions of memory, home, time and light.

A collection of photo-based works created over the last four years, “sensations of breathing at the sound of light” is different Hunter’s typical pieces. The artist’s work has been exhibited across Canada and the United States, almost always in well-lit, neutral-coloured spaces, contrary to the conditions that are present in the Factory Media Centre.

“Factory Media’s space is quite cinematic, and it’s a challenging space because it doesn’t have accurate lighting like most white cube gallery spaces. Working with [Factory Media Centre] coordinator Kristina Durka, we decided to work with the darkness of the space and curate works that create light, in addition to reacting with its kinetic qualities,” Hunter explained.

When viewers enter the Factory Media Centre, it is immediately apparent that the space is as much a part of Hunter’s exhibition as are her works. The visible cables and wires, the naturally limited and cinematic lighting and the openness of the space all compliment Hunter’s work. This interaction between the space and the work allows for the viewer to reflect on the work and the influence of memory and home, furthering the incredibly unique and immersive experience that comes with viewing it. 

“Allowing a photograph to become a physical encounter rather than a picture on a screen or in a frame. And I think “Sensations of breathing at the sound of light” really questions areas between screen space and physical space, and how they influence memory, the senses, and perceptions of time in the present moment. Stillness and motion can be experienced at the same time,” said Hunter.

Hunter’s pieces themselves are created using a combination of film, colour filters and lights that allow a moment in time to be captured not only as a photograph, but as something physical that interacts with the space around it.

“I think my work is different in terms of my consideration of materiality in image making and hybrid forms of sculpture and photography. Allowing a photograph to become a physical encounter rather than a picture on a screen or in a frame. And I think  ‘sensations of breathing at the sound of light’ really questions areas between screen space and physical space, and how they influence memory, the senses, and perceptions of time in the present moment,” said Hunter.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B3IPsBtHZtJ/

Hunter described the exhibition as a conversation between her and Durka, but also as a space for conversation between herself and the viewers of her exhibition.

“An artist’s job is to provide the conditions for an experience so that a dialogue or conversation can exist between artist and viewer. A conversation that a viewer may draw meaning from or pose further questions, perhaps not immediately, but eventually, through the work. I hope that a viewer is drawn into the work for its visceral and emotive qualities, but keeps them there long enough to contemplate the nature of time, memory, and our relationships to the spaces we create for ourselves,” said Hunter.

“Sensations of breathing at the sound of light” interacts with the space it is housed in to immerse the viewer in the works and encourage them to reflect on important questions about the nature and perceptions of the time, as well as the spaces that we interact with.

The closing reception for “Sensations of breathing at the sound of light” will be on Friday, October 4, 2019 at the Factory Media Centre (228 James St. North) from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Hunter will be in attendance.

 

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Photo by Cindy Cui / Photo Editor

THE STATE OF PRINT MEDIA

The constant drive of Hamilton print media is largely owed to the Hamilton Spectator, the city’s near-daily newspaper published since 1846. Sold to a parent company, TorStar, in 1999, the Spec may be owned across the lake, but it has been run, staffed, and read by Hamiltonians since it first began publication. 

 In August 2019, the Spec’s printing press stopped rolling. TorStar had decided to send the paper to a contracted plant. With the Spec’s final issue rolling out of the historic printing press this August, 73 full-time and 105 part-time staff will be out of work. The building itself might be sold off in an effort to cut costs. The Spec will still be in print, but printing will be outsourced to a plant outside of Hamilton. 

Despite the changes, John Boynton, TorStar’s chief executive, emphasized the company’s commitment to fully supporting the Hamilton community. If the Spec building is sold, Boynton anticipates keeping the head office of the Spec in Hamilton, but they are not required to do so. The headquarter’s future location will likely be based on TorStar’s financial interests, despite the importance of the Spec in the Hamilton community. With no promises from Boynton, the future of the Spec in Hamilton is not guaranteed. 

The Spec has been experiencing the same issues as other organizations in the news industry, with potential readers opting for digital media or bypassing reading altogether, where readers are being lost to the recent media ‘pivot to video’ and podcast boom. Sasha Dhesi, a Silhouette alumna and the Ontario representative for the Canadian University Press, said that the printing press’s closure is unfortunate as the city is losing an important part of the community. While she is not surprised by the move of media to a digital space, she acknowledges the downsides. 

“It's really sad to know that it's not in Hamilton anymore. I used to drive by the Hamilton Spectator printing building . . . every time I came into Hamilton when I was visiting my parents … knowing that the building isn’t going to be [printing] anymore is sad,” said Dhesi. 

Another blow to Hamilton print media came with the closure of Hamilton Magazine. Founded 40 years ago, the publication has focused on local news, community and arts. Hamilton Magazine ran independently for a number of years before being bought out by the Toronto-based media company PostMedia. With this summer’s issue being its last, two of Hamilton Magazine’s three employees will lose their jobs, while one will assume another PostMedia position. Marc Skulnick, Hamilton Magazine’s former editor, was unable to comment.

 

THE LEGISLATION 


Despite the precarity of print media, the federal government has committed to spending almost $600 million over a five year period, along with providing other incentives, for big media companies to stay afloat. It is unlikely that benefits from government media bailout would trickle down to Hamilton news publications such as the Spec.

An independent panel made up of media unions and associations across the country will dole out the government incentives. Panel members include the Canadian Association of Journalists, News Media Canada and the Association de la presse francophone, among others. Independent news organizations, small media outlets and individual journalists don’t have a seat on the panel. The panel gets to decide which companies received government bailouts while also representing the interests of their organizations. The very groups with a stake in the decision are the ones making it.

"I just don't think it's the right solution. I think it carries the potential to do more harm to news agencies' credibility than it does to actually do anything more than protect existing systems in the short term," said Russell Wangersky, a columnist at the St. John's Telegram, in an interview with CBC. 

While legislation at the federal level will affect large news corporations, the provincial Student Choice Initiative is likely to impact student publications across Ontario. 

Proposed last year, The SCI will come into effect this school year. The guidelines mandate that universities offer students the option to opt-out of ancillary fees for any services the Conservative government deemed non-essential. Essential services include athletics and recreation, student buildings, health services and academic support. Student news organizations are classified as non-essential under the SCI.

A survey by OneClass, a Toronto-based education-technology company, said that 57.4 per cent of students would opt-out of fees to support student newspapers. Jerry Zheng, a growth marketer at OneClass, administered the OneClass survey.

“I think it will definitely mean the end of print distribution for the student newspapers,” said Zheng in an interview with the Waterloo Chronicle. 

The fate of student news might not be as dire as Zheng suggests. However, the option to opt-out, if taken by a significant number of students, could effectively defund campus media. Student newspapers are responsible for holding institutions accountable, providing the student body with important information and act as training grounds for journalists. Defunding student media across the province effectively silences student voices. 

“If 80 per cent opt-in we’re a bit tight on cash but we’re not ruined. If only 20% opt-in then we’re destroyed. No one else is covering university content to the same degree,” said Dhesi, “Most newspapers, especially now … don’t have the resources in the same way that student news does. Student newsrooms are probably the only place where people can find stable work in news media.”

Dhesi also reflected on her own experience in a student newsroom and the diversity of voices she found there. 

“If you look at student newsrooms versus actual newsrooms, you’d be shocked at which ones are more diverse — but not really. I definitely think that losing student newsrooms and losing local media that have that effect reduce[s] the amount of people that [go on in the field] and diminish[es] the quality of journalism overall," said Dhesi.

 

LOOKING TO THE FUTURE

While the move to the digital sphere may be the product of old industry adapting to the times, it could mean negative impacts for journalists and the free press as a whole. 

“And I think when we think about what makes up the Canadian media landscape, more and more publications are dying off everyday, and we really need those … we rely on three major corporations to give us all our news, and that's just not a good thing,” said Dhesi. 

Perhaps the Spec, the Silhouette and Hamilton Magazine represent different stages of the same trends. All have encountered the monopolization of the media industry, reliance on casual labour and decreasing funding or revenue. Stifling student news could snuff out future journalists before they even learn the trade. Overall, this constrains the field that holds the powerful accountable and keeps the public informed. 

As for the future of student news, the Silhouette isn’t going anywhere yet. Hamilton print media has persisted despite challenges that come with over 100 years of publication. As print media in Hamilton moves toward a new era, journalists, publications and readerships must adapt with the changes. Still, news publications have always been more than just print. While the printing press may slow its roll, the voices of journalists will persist.

 

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Photos by Catherine Goce

This time last year, I was contemplating what my future in the sports industry would look like. I had just wrapped up my first year as the Silhouette’s sports reporter and though I gained a ton of valuable skills and experiences, I was really unsure if I wanted to continue as a sports writer.

Though despite my doubts, I saw the doors that opened for me through this job and I decided to give it another shot in my final year.

I took on this role because I knew that if I wanted to find a job in the sports industry, everything that I did outside the classroom would matter the most. Being a multimedia and communications student at McMaster has taught me a lot of the skills I need, but the practical aspects of the sports industry one can get at programs at Ryerson University or Brock University are not offered here.

So along with writing for The Silhouette I took on four major sports-related extracurriculars. From running women’s football on campus, to helping the men’s basketball team figure out their social media presence, I tried to get as much experience as I could.

This, along with my previous internship experience, allowed me to figure out what exactly I had a passion for. I knew that I could write, I had two articles every week for the last two years to prove it, but I also knew that it was not something I was passionate enough about.

Running women’s football gave me a chance to work out my organizational and operational skills. A major part of the sports industry is game operations. Although it is a bit different to what I am used to as a comms and media student, I have always had an interest in planning and carrying out projects.

This role had me overseeing over 150 students, both student-coaches and players, and organizing tournaments; it was no easy task. In my frustration I quickly came to realize although I once had an interest in sports operation, it was not something I envisioned myself doing long-term.

It was not until I was working with the McMaster men’s basketball team creating creative content that I discovered what I was truly passionate about. It combined the media skills I learned in class, my personal interests and my sports media knowledge.

Giving a team who struggled on the court an online presence that did not just reflect their losses was a fun challenge. We immediately saw the positive feedback in an increase in followers and activity.

Now that I figured out my passion, it all began to seem so simple. Apply to social media positions for different sport teams in organizations? I can do that no problem. Although it was not enough.

Part of looking for a job, especially in the sports industry, is through networking. This is something I have always struggled with, so it was something I challenged myself to do this year. I first met with Camille Wallace, digital media specialist for Team Canada, who reminded me how my job as sports reporter already helps me to build these networks.

As I had started the year before, I continued to interview alumni who work in the sports industry and found a mentor in Vanessa Matyas, Marketing and Media Manager at NFL Canada.

NFL Canada’s Marketing & Media Manager Vanessa Matyas on her journey from McMaster to her dream job, and how hard work and perseverance led her there. https://t.co/TiBu0xd8kq pic.twitter.com/Ln8gt6wVRd

— The Silhouette (@theSilhouette) March 11, 2019

 

Through her advice and help, I have been able to fix up the resume I used to see no flaws in, and even land myself my first dream job interview. Unfortunately for me, due to still being in school, I was unable to move forward in the interview process.

But with positive interview feedback under my belt, I am now ready to take on the job search by storm. I know it will not be easy, but I have been, and I am ready to work hard and use what I learned while at Mac in and out the classroom.

When I look back at the beginning of my journey four years ago, I never would have thought that I would be here today. Although I do not have it all completely figured out, leaving Mac with a sense of what my purpose is something I am grateful for.

As senior year comes to an end, I am extremely grateful that despite my doubts, I gave writing with the Sil another chance. Even though there were many times I felt like I was in over my head, I could not have imagined my senior year any other way.

 

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Photos by Kyle West

From April 6 to April 17, the Studio Art program’s 2019 graduates will present the annual SUMMA exhibition. Entitled Counterpoint, the show will be curated by Hamilton textile artist Hitoko Okada. For the first time in over 30 years, the McMaster Museum of Art will not house the show due to its ongoing updates. The exhibition will instead take place at the Cotton Factory.

McMaster Studio Arts is a small program, with the fourth year class consisting of only 19 artists. With instruction on a range of media and a focus on environmentally responsible practices, the program has produced diverse artists who care about the world around them. Counterpoint means “to combine elements” and is fitting considering the amalgamation of their various styles and the balance they try to strike within their individual works.

The graduates organized the exhibition themselves. While it gave them a chance to learn more about the lives of professional artists, it also taught them to work together. Coordinating among 19 people was not easy and after some bumps in the road to find the perfect venue, they are all relieved to see the show finally coming together.

 

Deeshani Fernando

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Fernando spends a fair amount of time in nature, drawing and photographing the landscape around her. Back in the studio, she takes the colours, textures and lines from the environment to create the emotional and abstract landscape paintings that she’ll be displaying at Counterpoint.

“For me, [Counterpoint is] about… this the balance between the organic and the artificialness in my work… [I]t's taking… different colors… , textures and mark making and creating harmony and balance between all those different things within one image and creating a sort of peacefulness in that work,” Fernando explained.

Throughout the process of organizing the SUMMA show, Fernando learned how to survive as an artist. She feels that she now has an art practice of her own and regards her peers as professional contacts. As she leaves McMaster to pursue teaching, she will take those skills and contacts with her.

 

Caroline (Eun-ae) Lee

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For Lee, Counterpoint refers to the way her class’s wildly different works complement each other. Having spent four years critiquing and supporting one another’s practice, the exhibition represents the harmony between their different themes and materials.

The Korean-Canadian artist explores traditional Korean materials in her work. She portrays these traditional materials in a modern, digital format and then incorporates threading to unite the two ideas.

“I always get confused between Canadian and Korean aspects of myself… [T]his sense of detachment, trying to attach to something or being porous, kind of like a sponge, absorbing a lot of different cultures in order to make up my singular identity. And just like maintenance of this traditional and modern form of art,” Lee said.

Currently aiming to go into interactive design, Lee feels she learned the reality of being an artist. She has been exposed to the business side of the art world by learning to solve problems creatively and produce even without inspiration. The program’s push toward using materials to convey subtle themes has evolved Lee’s art practice.

Sean Cooper

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Cooper didn’t have a lot of purpose behind his art when he entered the studio arts program. Four years later, he feels he is a more deliberate artist and currently explores ideas around memory and coming of age. At Counterpoint, he will be presenting acrylic paintings of Westdale, where he grew up.

“[W]ith my work, I just try and talk about what that experience was like… [D]ifferent places… might not necessarily be important to other people but I guess I have certain memories there,” Cooper said.

The fact that this is the last art gathering of his university career saddens Cooper, but he knows the entire class is proud of the show. Despite the challenges they faced, they demonstrated that they could accomplish anything with collaboration. The different backgrounds and art practices of the class would not seem to mesh, but Cooper feels a nameless common thread unites their work.

 

Delaney McVeigh

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McVeigh believes process and environmentalism brings together her diverse class’ work. A self-identified environmental artist, she explores interactions between living things with one another and with inanimate objects. Having grown up in a small town near Point Pelee National Park, she spent a lot of time in nature growing up.

McVeigh’s work for Counterpoint is a series of photolithographic prints. This long and old process of creating images is meaningful to her. She tries to present her dystopian and nonsensical images in an aesthetically pleasing way with vintage elements.

“I use a lot of vintage imagery in my work… [A]fter World War II… there was the baby boom and they created a very unstable environment where it was a throwaway society. Nothing was fixed, it's all just thrown away… And then it wasn't until the ‘90s when the environment became a very serious topic,” McVeigh explained.

Her work is personal, but the program has made her more comfortable with speaking about her art. By sharing these narratives with her classmates and professors, they all grew close. She anticipates that this graduation show will be bittersweet, but there is a lot from her time at McMaster that she will be taking with her. She learned to critique her own work and reach out for help, which will help her as she pursues a career in sustainable architecture.

 

Jayda Conti

After graduating with her Bachelor of Fine Arts with minors in theatre and film studies and music, Conti will be going into teaching. Her teaching program will focus on educational art programming in the community, something that Conti is an advocate for. She is excited about the fact that Counterpoint will bring her program’s work off campus and into the Hamilton community.

Conti will be showing a five-piece installation consisting of floating boxes with deconstructed paintings in them. Her work revolves around her experiences with depression and anxiety to open a dialogue about mental health.

“[S]o for this body of work, there's five different stories to which I'm telling, one of which is the story about my mother's cancer. Normally… they're more negative experiences that I'm trying to understand in a more positive way. So my strokes are colors that are brighter in trying to… accept these experiences and… learn from them but also move forward,” Conti explained.

With her theatrical background, Conti sometimes feels as if she is performing herself. There is vulnerability in her portrayal of her life and she explores privacy versus vulnerability in her work. However, her time at McMaster gave her the confidence to tell her story through theatre, music and art.

 

The graduation show will open with a reception at the Cotton Factory from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on April 6. The graduating class looks forward to sharing their work with the Hamilton community.

 

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Photos C/O Yvonne Lu, James Ramlal

By: Andrew Mrozowski

Stop. Take a second and look up from this article. You’ll most likely see everyone around you on some form of technology, be it on their phones, tablets or computers. We now live in a world where we are so heavily dependent on technology. According to Yvonne Lu, people should be more conscious about how technology affects their identity.

Originally starting off her undergraduate career in commerce, Lu realized her passion laid in a different faculty. Lu began working in marketing and communications but felt like something was missing. She decided to take on a double major between multimedia and theatre and film.

Now in her final year at McMaster, Lu decided to combine her two disciplines into one overall thesis, taking the form of an interactive multimedia installation and a physical performance called interFACE, as part of the School of the Arts Honours Performance Series.

https://www.facebook.com/yvonne.lu.trinh/posts/10157497355097216

 

The concept for interFACE came to Lu over this past summer when she was employed by a music video company to be their social media coordinator. Although typically not very active on social media in her own life, Lu found herself getting jealous from the various platforms that she managed as there was an overall feeling that everyone was doing better than her.

“Although there definitely were positive and negative experiences, always being on social media and seeing that people younger than me were doing cooler things than I was, working with huge producers, big companies and getting more responsibility than I was… a lot of the times I felt jealous. It’s why I felt I was a step back, I understood why others were successful and a lot of it was trying to catch up with people,” explained Lu.

interFACE examines how young women interact with technology and how this oversaturation impacts their identity as they grow up. Stemming from a vignette of experiences, the multi-disciplinary art experience allows attendees to delve into the development of identity to look at similarities and differences between how we portray ourselves online versus in person.

[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id="264" gal_title="interFACE"]

“The question to consider is whether or not social media and digital technology enables us to do more things, or if it consumes us and we are at the whim of the mass media,” explained Lu.

This form of installation is experimental as it features two parts. Viewers will first embark through an audio-visual capsule, which is an audio-sensory experience that saturates the audience in a world that Lu and her team have designed to convey the importance of why we should pay more attention to our own identities. Next viewers will be seated to enjoy the physical portion which expands on what they have observed in the audio-visual capsule.

“This is not something that you would see in traditional theatre. It’s not a narrative or linear piece. We are creating a visceral experience for both our collaborators and audience. We want them to feel that they are in the belly of the beast,” said Lu.

For the thesis student, what the audience takes away from the experience is the primary objective of this piece.

“There isn’t a specific message I want people to walk away with. It’s live theatre and it’s all about interpretation. For us, that’s kind of what I want audiences to walk away with. Questions of what they felt. It’s an emotional journey rather than a narrative,” said Lu.

Show times for interFACE will run on March 28 at 12:30 and 8 p.m. and on March 29 and March 30 at 12:30 and 7 p.m. at the Black Box Theatre in L.R. Wilson Hall. Admission is free.

 

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Photo by Kyle West

In Canada there are no National Football League teams, so the way fans choose who they will support is by following in the footsteps of their family or friends, or by becoming in awe of a certain player that leads them to a team.

For Vanessa Matyas, marketing & media manager for NFL Canada, the former is how her journey with the NFL began. Growing up Canadian, Toronto teams like the Toronto Raptors and the Maple Leafs were all she really knew.

That is until she got older and became a student at McMaster University, where football became a part of her social life. But it was not just the social aspect of football that caught her attention, the New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees did too.

C/O Kyle West

“I started falling in love with Drew Brees as a person because he just seemed so nice and personable, and that really got me more interested in the New Orleans Saints,” said Matyas. “The year that the devastation that was Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans was the same year they won a Super Bowl, and it really brought back so much joy to that city. That is when I started really to see the magic behind football and really get into the battles in the on-field action and the whole story around everything.”

Though Matyas knew that she had a new-found love for football, she was not entirely sure what she wanted after her undergrad in communication studies at Mac. This uncertainty led her to apply for her Master of Arts in communications and new media at McMaster.

“Part of the reason I decided to do my master’s was because I wasn't sure what my next step was going to be,” Matyas said. “So I thought getting a master’s would help set me apart from other job candidates.”

Following her master’s, Matyas got the opportunity to move to Geneva, Switzerland to work for a non-governmental organization. Although it was an amazing opportunity and everything she thought she would love, her mind kept going back to how much she loved sports and how amazing it would be to work in media or sports. When she returned to Canada, she applied and was lucky enough to land a digital marketing job with Rogers Media.

“While I was there, I was very vocal with my boss about how I wanted to take on other brands if I had the opportunity,” said Matyas. “So just from being partially in the right place and the right time and also being my own personal advocate, I got to expand to other brands which were two sports brands.”

C/O Vanessa Matyas

In Matyas’ three years with Rogers, she focused on working on the skills that would help her do a great job in the sports world. Instead of worrying about not having that dream job of working in sports, she focused on getting the skill set that she needed to apply that to her passion later on.

This ability to focus on the big picture is something she credits McMaster for giving her. Along with education, connections, lifelong best friends and memories, she left with a valuable lesson that ultimately got her where she is today.

“Looking at the big picture of things is what Mac really showed me. I think when you're here, you're so focused on looking at the task at hand, but you don't really see what it is leading towards or what you're working towards,” said Matyas. “I think Mac really showed me the value of the big picture and not sweating the small stuff along the way.”

When she applied for the role with NFL Canada, she had not only the passion for the role, but the actual skills the job required. Now she wakes up every day working for a company that not only she loves, but one where she deserves to be. Matyas works with NFL Canada’s media partners to further promote the NFL in Canada and marketing initiatives such as influencer and public relations programs, player marketing and social and digital campaigns.

#SuperBowlLlll was definitely a weekend to remember! #SBLIII #NFLCanada pic.twitter.com/rKgJqp3dbA

— Vanessa Matyas (@vmats14) February 5, 2019

But one of her most rewarding tasks is that she gets to bring little pieces of the NFL to Canada, so people can bond with the players and ultimately start following teams. One of her most memorable moments so far has been the 2019 Super Bowl in Atlanta. Not only was being in ‘NFL-land’ surreal for her, being able to bring Canadians to experience the joy of football was something that will stick with her forever.

“The experience and bringing [fans] down is very special for them, but it will always be such a big memory for me too,” said Matyas. “To see what the passion of sports does, helps us to remember why we do what we do.”

When the game becomes more than just a game! 🙌

Tell us your stories Canada, let us know why you love the @NFL! 🇨🇦🏈 #SuperBowlSurprise pic.twitter.com/MhPvZ7bcng

— NFL Canada (@NFLCanada) March 3, 2019

To those who look at Matyas’ journey, it may seem like she had it all figured out, but she constantly reminds those who are just starting out that there are always going to be challenges along the way, and to not let them discourage you from your goal.

“My career wasn't a clear path of sports, so getting back into what I wanted was hard when I was ready to leave Rogers. I was looking for other jobs which was very discouraging because there were many nos before there was a yes,” said Matyas. “That can be really hard to take in especially when you feel like you're prepared for the role and you have a skill set that you need, but you can’t let it get you off your path. Just know that you're working towards something better and all of those nos and let downs are going in a direction that you're supposed to be.”

Matyas’ journey to the NFL is an example for all of us, those who want to work in the sports industry and those who do not. If you work hard, even when it is not what you love, eventually you will see the return on your investment and find the way to be rewarded for your passion.

 

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Photo by Kyle West

By: Ashlynn Labinaz

The results of the recent McMaster Students Union presidential election were released on Jan. 24, with Josh Marando becoming president-elect. Jeffrey Campana came second in the polls, with Madison Wesley and Justin Lee placing third and fourth respectively.

Given our current state of affairs, these results beg the question: did social media impact the outcome of the MSU election?

The simple answer? Yes. When investigating the social media accounts of the candidates, all four individuals created Facebook and Instagram campaign accounts, posting platform content to build a larger following and campaign support.

When comparing the Instagram accounts of all four candidates, the winning Marando had 618 followers, Campana had 512 followers and Lee had 15 followers. Wesley’s deactivated account could not be used in this comparison.

Overall, there appears to be a clear association between the candidates’ social media presence and their election success.

I believe this correlation is attributed to the candidates’ engagement with their followers on social media. Marando, for example, created a new Instagram account dedicated to running his campaign. He posted ten different times over the course of the election, highlighting different events he attended and campaign promises he intended to fulfill.

Conversely, some of Marando’s opponents did not rely as heavily on their social media presence, posting only a handful of times on Instagram.

The MSU Elections Department also acknowledged the importance and presence of social media in the presidential election. On the elections page, there were two appendices: one with candidacy rules and another six-page Appendix A, containing social media regulations that candidates were required to follow.

This appendix was tediously written and included an explanation of how to post on every major social media platform to ensure that no candidate had an unfair advantage.

Clearly, the MSU Elections Department understood the importance of regulating social media during elections in order to avoid potential problems related to digital campaigns.

One increasing problem on the world stage, for example, is the propagation of “fake news” — that is, disseminating information that is intentionally wrong with the goal of swaying thought and opinion. Clearly established social media regulations for candidates is therefore an important step towards addressing election misinformation.

Despite any potential negative consequences, social media platforms have important benefits during elections. Specifically, social media allows voters to make more informed decisions.

In a digital age where information can be retrieved in a matter of seconds, many have become apathetic towards researching electoral candidates. Social media then provides a fast and easy way for voters to learn about candidates’ platforms.

For example, Marando featured an Instagram post highlighting the key points of his campaign. This post took less than a minute to read and provided a basic understanding of his platform, allowing students to easily inform themselves.

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bs0tWePBOU6/?utm_source=ig_web_button_share_sheet

The easy access to this information also facilitates one’s ability to compare different candidates and their platforms.  

Social media in elections also provides a platform for direct dialogue between candidates and voters. Throughout each campaign, the MSU presidential candidates were posting, tweeting and sharing. Every social media platform allowed candidates to receive messages from the public, which ultimately encouraged political discourse.

Overall, I strongly believe that social media acts as a useful campaign tool in elections that future MSU presidential candidates should definitely take seriously.

Although some may argue that his popularity won him the election, I attribute Marando’s success to his effective social media strategies. By consistently posting succinct summaries of his campaign goals, Marando was able to spread his message to students in a simple and accessible manner.

In addition, with the increasingly influential nature of social media in elections, students should become more informed and equipped users of these platforms.

Marando used social media to his advantage to help him win a presidential election. Similarly, students should recognize social media’s extensive and far-reaching value as a necessary election tool in this new digital age.

 

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