Isabella’s Work

WEEK 1: presentation on Adam Chodzko

Adam Chodzko is an artist who is primarily interested in investigating human behaviours, social relationships, and shared ideas. He uses photography, video, text, as well as unconventional sculptural materials to both convey these inquires, and speculate on future representations of these behaviours.

 “Meetings of people with stammers to describe a fire” and “Better scenery” are both text pieces that upon first glance fit within our expectations for advertisements and signage. However after a closer look, they respectively describe an absurdly specific event, and instructions only relevant far away from the site of the piece. This use of text operates as an intervention of what is expected, and inserts nonsensical and overly complicated ideas.     

“Meetings of people with stammers to describe a fire” uses multiples to activate the text, with many of these posters being displayed close by to one another, as to ensure viewership and to convey an importance of this event. 

“Better scenery” uses a grand sign, not unlike those informative plaques which accompany significant sites, such as historical landmarks. This method presentation commands attention with a sense of importance, drawing in viewers that are maybe hoping to learn something new. 

I chose these pieces because of the underlying humour in commanding the attention of those passing by, only for these viewers to be left confused, and hopefully amused. The language allows us to imagine unlikely scenarios, such as a collective stammering discussion of fire, as well as an impromptu adventure to a faraway place. While language is a powerful tool that can be contemplative, expressive, and provacotive, it is also a means for fun, which I feel is an underappreciated function of language within an academic context.

“Meetings of people with stammers to describe a fire” (1999-)

Pen and spray paint on acid-free paper.

Ongoing series.

Meetings of people with stammers to describe a fire (1999-) - Adam Chodzko
Meetings of people with stammers to describe a fire (1999-) - Adam Chodzko

Better Scenery”   (2000 – )

Better Scenery (2000 - ) - Adam Chodzko
Better Scenery', Adam Chodzko, 1999 | Tate

3 pairs of installed signs: 2000, 2001, 2002

These signs are located in various places within the United States, England, and Italy.

The text on one of the signs: Specifically in an English parking lot:

“From Flagstaff, Arizona take route 89 northeast, then route 510 east, then 505 northeast for 7 miles until you reach a left turn soon after passing Maroon Crater. Follow this dirt track (the 244A ) for 6 miles northeast passing the volcanic formations of The Sproul and the Merriam Crater on your right. Half a mile beyond a small well take the track that heads north towards Little Roden Spring. After exactly 6.7 miles a rough, overgrown cinder track leads off to the left. Head west along this for a quarter of a mile until you reach a fence post. Then walk 100 yards 160° south SE. At this point stop and face due east (visible on the horizon are the Roden Crater and the glow of pink rocks in the Painted Desert ).
Situated here, in this place, is a sign which describes the location of this sign you have just finished reading.”

Notes and Brainstorm for text assignment:


Support Group Oversharing poster Brainstorm:

Free meet up for those who struggle with oversharing. Let’s gather and NOT share with others and gain valuable information and advice on how not to tell complete strangers about childhood trauma, personal issues, and family drama. 

Place: 1 PM  every Saturday @ The Mall

Group Leader Contact Info: email, Phone number, home address, social media username (and password) 

FEEDBACK: keep it as concise as possible, say as much as possible in as few words, more absurd to have a supprt group sit in complete silence



Week 2 & 3 notes + parents brainstorming:

I simplified the design and changed some phrasing slightly, plan to print on coloured paper and post over campus 🙂


For the text-based multiple project, I was very inspired by my mini-research project on Adam Chodzko. I love the idea of seemingly common-looking flyers posted evrywhere, advertising a completely ridiculous event. I thought about different types of clubs, and meetings and gatherings and concluded that they were all social events. Therefore, falsely and cheekily promoting a gathering to be anti-social – to not say a word – became my mission.

I posted MANY flyers all over campus. My favourite spots were next to mental health resources, such as actual support groups and counselling ads, encouraging people to share their problems. I attempted to hang some in the counselling centre, but they did not allow me. Ad real estate on campus is actually quite sparse. Most of the bulletin boards are monitored by the CSA, and my unapproved posters were put up without any permission. Very mischievous, but most likely the TMI flyers will be taken down sometime soon.


I posted my flyers all over campus!!!!

I forgot to put this in my written notes, but most bulletins were monitored so I was technically vandalizing?? I’m not sure if that is the right word? ALSO I wanted to post them in the counselling office for some juxtaposition humour but they did not grant permission in time for the deadline, and it was overly complicated. I was put on hold 3 times, spoke with multiple supervisors and it was all a dead end because they told me to send out an email. I did, but they told me to speak with the receptionist again so I gave up because that’s who I talked to initially.


As someone who talks way too much, I am prone to oversharing, and often do not realize I am doing so. I find it difficult to read those social cues concerning what is appropriate or necessary information to share. I often enjoy being around people similar to me, who do not mind my babbling and contribute to the babbles myself. However, the majority of people are not like this, and will often point out my oversharing or react in a way where they are visibly uncomfortable, which in turn makes me feel bad. If only there was a safe space where I could practice not oversharing…..


Lots of thinking & problem solving this week + demo(s) :p

It’s my intention with this piece that viewers will be able to fill in the blanks with descriptors that appropriately reflect their OWN relationships with their mothers.

My full original essay (script) is below. You can read it. The reason I wanted to censor it in the final video was to not hurt my mom’s feelings. That’s how my final concept was born, but as a piece of speech/writing, I think it could theoretically stand alone with some editing…. but it’ll never leave this blog because I don’t want to be mean.

This is the edited-down, final script without redactions. It is significantly shorter for reasons explained in my notes.

Week 6

Parent Video: “My Mother Is”


Video Culture – Sylvanian Drama on TikTok

How is it shot, and framed? Where does the material come from? What is the quality of the footage? 

These videos are shot on a smartphone in portrait mode, to fit within the formatting of TikTok. The material is suggestive of childhood playtime with toys while dealing with more mature and darker themes through parodying and addressing tropes of popular culture such as soap operas. The quality of the footage is technically good; it is quite clear, steady and in focus.

How is it edited, and does it flow from clip to clip? 

The Sylvanian Drama videos are edited quite thoughtfully. Interesting camera angles and transitions are sometimes used, scenes flow into one another, and dialogue between characters is reinforced with back and forth clips. Certain clips use zoom-ins humorously and others are edited in slow-motion for added drama. The “dialogue” is conveyed through text captions that are often misspelled, abbreviated, and in current internet slang.

What does it sound like? How are sound or images manipulated and transformed from original footage?

These videos use popular music as the only audio, as if to further mock the themes that are being portrayed visually. For example, having a positive and upbeat song while the little dolls bully each other. The songs are not altered, but played as is to maintain their recognizability.  Some of these videos had their sounds removed by the site (possibly for copyright reasons) and the reception of the videos changes completely. Somehow, they feel less like a parody, even with the ridiculous visuals and plotlines maintained.

What are some of the key features that define this genre? What are some weird variations on it?

This IS the weird variation of soapy or trashy reality narratives! Key features of trashy reality TV are obnoxious edits, music, transitions, etc., and even more obnoxious subject matter and conflicts. 

What are some of the reasons these kinds of videos are compelling or useful in this historical moment? Use quotes from published sources to back up your arguments and analysis.

These videos are compelling because they are an amalgamation of music, visuals, and narratives derived from familiar and popular culture, to make something new. These videos poke fun at scripted conflict and allow viewers to find absurd humour within media that might have been previously considered serious. In a historical context, this is compelling because humour is a useful tool to cope with the experiences of the very significant crisis unfolding as a result of the pandemic; both on personal and broader scales. These difficult experiences beg the question of these cutesy yet dark videos would have ever been created without the confines and free time that multiple lockdowns have provided.

The creator of these videos stated:

“One Friday, I was bored,” Thea told us, “and I decided to take my old Sylvanian families out of the attic and set them up.”

As she did, she was inspired by the classically over-the-top American comedy-drama and mystery series from the early 2000s — “Desperate Housewives.

How do you relate to it?

On a surface level, it’s easy to relate to the process of opening up old boxes of childhood toys, feeling that warm sense of nostalgia, and playing with them as an adult. On a deeper level, everyone experiences physical or mental struggles in one way or another, at some point through life. In the age of social media, insecurities surrounding personal image (our appearances, our bodies, etc.) are especially widespread. These common issues are addressed humorously in the Sylvanian Drama TikTok videos – admittedly, alongside some less relatable issues like cold-blooded murder.

Week 8

Video Culture: notes/brainstorm/proposal

  • Selling our souls and bodies to the internet willingly
  • descent to madness after constant subjection to internet media
  • element of entertainment/parody (is this good, bad, both, neither?)
  • testing the limits of our relationship to the internet
  • constance consumption
  • the essence of online video culture

Clips to potentially rip from Youtube:

  • Day in the life
  • Torture style montage (the grinch scene)
  • Strapped down being fed tide pods
  • Cinnamon being thrown on face
  • Tik tok dancing while sobbing
  • Condom challenge
  • Organs in an etsy box
  • Selling toothpaste liquid
  • Feet pics behind the scenes
  • Parkour
  • Chain mail
  • Prank video style clip
  • Vlogging style at times
  • Documenting food 
  • Slime videos
  • Clip of face in the dark on computer – eyes being held open by someone else’s hands
  • Mental health activism
  • Everything is cake
  • Mukbang
  • ASMR
  • Weird fanfic
  • stan/fan cams
  • Singing videos
  • Tied to train track 
  • No privacy/ mental breakdowns
  • No eyebrows
  • Nods to porn
  • Strip tease
  • furries/yiff porn

Elements we could include in editing:

  • Flashback to contract signing – hysterically (“dont do it” Audio)
  • Unsubscribe (IM FREE…. Not really) 
  • Fast forward? little timmy feet pics first job weird dystopia
  • Flashbacks and fast forwards pre and post internet soul selling
  • ghosts/ delusions, reality breaking down in front of the viewer
  • loop

Week 9

editing and filming lots this week!


Week 10

Internet Culture Video Assignment:

Kira and I’s internet culture video titled “dis/connected” is an exploration of the de-sensitization internet users possess towards problematic, violent, and out-of-touch content. The character I play passively consumes increasingly absurd video and audio clips, descending into a fugue state. The viewer’s senses are overwhelmed by the visuals and audio of Internet trends, viral videos and social media “influencers”. To emphasize that this hypnotized state is very much cyclical and a routine difficult to break, this video should be watched in a loop (right click on the video – loop option should appear).

notes this week:

Altered Videos Post-Critique:

disconnected i
disconnected ii





+ some other tattoo placements and workspace documentation, left to right: WORM PLUG, CACA CULT, SLUT, FUCK DADS, RIPE PUKE




3 thoughts on “Isabella’s Work

  1. Hi Isabella! Please scan and put your work in the blog as an image – it’s easier to see for all!
    And there are three really promising ideas here – the absurd foreign language multiple, the Oversharing meeting, and the alternative recipes – I think you could develop any of them -unless a language might be your own, the oversharing meeting might be fun to advertise, especially if it is both convincing, and totally over the top and inappropriate – it becomes a satire of a culture where this is a given… but the way you solve this – maybe with recipe cards in the last one (use the card stock) and the quality of the writing and design – will determine the success of any of these ideas. Avoid decoration – include only what is absolutely necessary, the minimum – to express a clear and concise idea at the centre of the world. I look forward to how you solve it!

  2. Hi Isabella! I appreciate your projects so much so far – and real evidence you get the conceptual modes of thinking, and strategies of conceptual art- I see how many interations you try of things, and find your Redacted parents video to be really compelling. But don;t be shy to say things you are “not supposed to” – even in a video with erasures! I appreciate all of your investment and research in your TMI group piece too – sometimes it takes a lot of work to make something simple. Great effort and sensibility for how things can look and be finished technically too – do continue making the most of the professional tools and Nathan’s help with advancing your technical skill. Comprehensive thinking and notes, and wonderful participation in class, always – Cheers!

  3. Hi Isabella! What a spectacular span of works on this page, congratulations on all of your efforts – especially the multiple iterations of the Internet video – it seems like these two could even be shown together, or across from each other in an installation. I absolutely love the documentation of your clever, original Tattoo projects – and I think that giant grid should be printed in high resolution as a photograph work as well. It was a simple idea, but worked at such an obsessively huge scale. And instant, social 4-letter word poetry! So wonderful to see all of these documents, references, prep work and notes about your finished projects. Wonderful to have you in the class, cheers and I hope you have a great spring!
    And thank you too for an awesome semester!!!

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