Eerily (and unknowingly) repeating the past

31 Oct

*I’m at a serious writing block and a block in general for academic stuff right now, so I decided to take the time and finish this blog entry….* I started writing this on Halloween, and am finishing it up now.

It’s funny how elementary some of our thesis topics can sound. Alex and I were at Dr. Fox’s tonight after the Park Slope Halloween Parade, and we were sitting around chatting, when the topic of our theses came up. The conversation went something like this:

Alex: I’m doing my thesis on Hulu!
Cynthia: I’m looking at Classical Music on YouTube!
Alex: Man, it’s we’re in 2nd grade, how simple we can make our thesis sound!

Anyway, the funny thing is, it never occurred to me how eerily similar my “journey” to find my Master’s thesis topic echoes my senior thesis project at Northwestern, until this morning (in the shower, where most of my epiphanies happen, I suppose).

For those of you who don’t remember (I mean, why would you?), my senior thesis was a 25-minute film called “The Ship Game”, based on three childhood friends who ended up going to the same college – a music composition major (Sarah), a violinist (Audrey), and the third character (I actually can’t even remember the character’s name – I just remember Henry Martone played him) – but he was the violinist’s brother, and the music composer’s boyfriend). The story focused mostly on the violinist, having something to do with getting into Juilliard and getting accepted into some violin competition (you know how I found it? I googled “international violin competition” and picked one that sounded good and foreign – hey, I never said this movie was well-researched)

Oh wait, I think I remember. The competition was called Hanover. I think. Maybe I just think it’s Hanover because that’s where my brother goes to school.

Anyway. Before settling on this particular narrative, I shot a film the previous year that was completely cast Asian American, and echoed some of the soap operatic story lines of Korean dramas. It was natural to think about doing something involving the community again for my senior thesis, but, for some reason, I wasn’t excited about it. I don’t think I even got as far as any sort of outline or storyline before I settled on a story that was based on a childhood game I played, then took it further to explore themes of drug dependency and suicide. Hmm. Ok, anyway. The point is, I went back to my roots in classical music. Strangely. And, on top of that, no one in my cast was Asian American (which I got a little bit of flack for).

Ok, so this pattern is repeating in grad school now. My original thesis topic was looking at Asian American artists in the digital realm, and this whole idea of “making space” because on the Internet, we can “publish, then filter” rather than in the real world, where we must be filtered first before publishing. I just wasn’t excited about it though. I came to this realization when I found myself talking more about Alex’s Hulu’s project more than my own…and more excitedly.

After much soul-searching (and many a late night watching too many YouTube videos), and Hahn-Bin’s concert at Carnegie, which I couldn’t seem to stop talking about for the next two weeks, I decided to tackle questions I had about how we perceive and consume classical music, and how that changes on the Internet (because I just love the Internet), or in general, when the venue changes.

So, interestingly, I’m back to this whole classical music thing. Who says history doesn’t repeat?

I apologize for the discombobulation of this blog. They started banging and clanging and doing construction on my apartment complex very VERY early this morning, which kept waking me up over the next four hours. I tried putting earbuds in and turning up a lullaby very loud, but that only seemed to help marginally. Grrrr.

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Posted by on October 31, 2009 in Uncategorized


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