Illuminations Solos and Speak Up Contest - Winners (June 12)

Illuminations Solos Contest

Winners - June 12, 2020:

"Speak Up" Contest Winners:

USE YOUR VOICE 

Use Your Voice                                                         

Artist: Tiffany Dennis, Major: Undeclared (Freshman), Work created at home

Artist’s Words:

During this troubled time as we are stuck inside of our houses, I felt helpless and voiceless. I put together this song to touch on my frustrations on this quarantine as well as what has been happening over the past week. With this song, I urge others to use their voice to speak for those who are voiceless and trapped away. I hope to encourage others to spread love and empathy for one another

Reviewers’ Comment:

Tiffany’s beautiful voice accompanied with her heartfelt words create a very moving song. These are troubled times in our country and it is through art, creativity and music that we can empower ourselves and heal. Tiffany tells us: “You have a voice. Please use it.”

 

My Dream

My Dream

Artist: Cassandra Bridges, Major: Drama (Senior), Work created at home

Artist’s Words:

Wrote this short poem when someone asked me what my dreams were...I thought of this poem. My answer should have been quick but it wasn’t. My dream is every black person’s dream... to be accepted.

Reviewers’ Comment:

“What happens to a dream deferred?”  Langston Hughes asked in his famous poem “Harlem.” Cassandra ingeniously responds to the question with her own powerful words and a series of shots of plants. Her sadness, strength, and determination are wonderfully expressed in these simple words and images. Cassandra presents a very powerful video about her dream and every black person’s dream—to be accepted.

 

Won't Be Silenced

Won't Be Silenced

Artist: John Tolipani, Major: Drama (Senior), Film and Media Studies

Artist’s Words:

A peaceful protest in Irvine, California, met with riot police. Fingers on triggers, batons in hand. Peaceful protests like this are happening all across the country right now, many of which are being confronted by a militarized police force. Tear gas, rubber bullets, beatings, early curfews, unlawful arrests. This is what our citizens are enduring at the behest of a racist and oppressive political machine that has been targeting minorities for far too long. They pretend to care about our freedoms, but it is now obvious that they just want us to comply. Our voices are actively being suppressed. Don’t let them silence you. Don’t let this long list of names be forgotten. Is accountability too much to ask for? Is the right for people of color to be able to feel safe in the streets too much to ask for? Apparently.

Reviewers’ Comment:

Capturing a peaceful protest in Irvine, John demonstrates how people of all ages, backgrounds and skin colors have come together to ask for justice and speak up against racism. The video is a piece of history that shows the power of solidarity and activism, the power of showing up, standing up, and speaking up.

Illuminations Solos Challenge Winner (June 12)

 

I Miss You

I Mess You

Artist: Erica Shenoi, Major: Public Health Sciences (Sophomore), Work created at home

Artist’s Words:

I wrote this song for many friends but especially my friends from college. It was hard to write a song at first but then singing about them made it easier. I miss them so much and FaceTime is just not the same as in-person interactions and presence. I know I belong at UCI and will never regret my decision to go there because I met them and have grown so much. A part of our college experience has been taken away but I can’t wait to go back and hang out with them because the memories we make are priceless

Reviewers’ Comment:

In a heartfelt and touching voice, Erica performs the song she wrote to express her longing for close connections with her friends. The message “I miss you” is beautifully and clearly uttered, transcending the limits of the flat screen and reaching our hearts. We are all hopeful that we will be back and create beautiful memories with our friends.

 

At Home with TANYA

Tanya

Artist: Eric Ramos, Major: Drama (Junior), Work created at home

Artist’s Words:

Film production at my home, with me behind the camera, makeup, hair, and editing. I wanted to showcase the ability for an individual to explore the different sides of themselves, taking this time of solitude as a time to become more friendly with yourself, to get up, have photo shoots, get creative with who you are and the different versions of you.

Reviewers’ Comment:

Eric (and Tanya) have created this bright and charming piece about how they deal with living in isolation, boredom, uncertainty, and the need to express oneself. The pandemic gives everyone a chance to learn more about oneself, get along with oneself, explore and have peace with different sides of oneself.

Transient

Transient

Artist: Katherine Chang, Major: Psychological Science (Freshman), Work created at home

Artist’s Words:

Writing allows me to reflect and better organize my convoluted thoughts, which has especially rung true during this pandemic. This video presents a voice-over of a short segment from my journal, which attempts to make sense of my existential thoughts on the inherently transient nature of everything. The video footage shows clips of Aldrich Park during quarantine and views from my apartment, as well as some scenes with close friends from genuinely happy times in my life. I think that especially during this difficult time, it's easy to forget our purpose or wonder what the point of all this is. I made this video with the goal of hopefully inspiring people to feel a little bit more at peace and to remind them that at the end of the day, things will be okay.

Reviewers’ Comment:

Through the montage of old videos and haunting shots of an empty campus, Kathie offers her deep thoughts on the world and life during the pandemic. Kathie shows that it is inevitable to ponder deeper on the meaning of our transient existence in these difficult times but reminds us that “our existence is undeniable and our energy of this time is undeniable.” It is a very powerful message.

Bliss

Bliss

Artist: Emily-Kate Saxon, Major: Drama (Senior), Work created at home

Artist’s Words:

My inspiration for this piece came from observing how my nephew was interacting with his surroundings during this time. That's when the thought dawned on me how they won't remember anything that is currently happening. All they will have are photos and videos.
I used iMovie to edit these photos and videos that were taken by either me or his parents.
I consider this video a gift from me to them so they will be able to look at this when they begin to wonder what their own perspective was during this Pandemic.

Reviewers’ Comment:

Have you ever wondered how little children feel about the quarantine? Emily answers this in her charming video about how her toddler nephew’s life has changed in past few months. This piece offers a fresh view of the difficult moment: many fortunate little kids get to have extra fun time with their parents at home. It is indeed a “bliss” to be able to enjoy the simple joy with our family during the pandemic. 

 

Ramadan in Quarantine

Ramadan in Quarantine

Artist: Leila Awad, Major: History (Senior), Work created at home

Artist’s Words:

Under normal circumstances, iftar is often celebrated with our family, friends, and community. This year, Muslims across the globe are observing the holiday quite differently. While social distancing has kept us from holding large gatherings, it has inspired us to find new ways to maintain our community. Therefore, I create this video to share a way in which we can still practice our traditions, safely at home. Whether you are fasting or looking to try something new, I suggest trying this Ramadan classic dessert called Namoura. Stay strong and Eid Mubarak!

Reviewers’ Comment:

Leila takes the opportunity of staying home to bake a delicious Middle Eastern pastry Namoura for Eid al-Fitr. Her video is more than a foody tutorial; it invites the UCI community to join in the celebration of this special Ramadan during the pandemic.  Celebrating a tradition with family doesn’t have to stop because of difficult times. The immense power of food connects us across ethnic, national, religious, and cultural boundaries. While this video is not exactly “solo,” we are happy to make an exception because of the timely subject.

 

The Three Phases of Quarantine

3 Stages of Quarantine

Artist: Danielle Delgado, Major: Business Administration (Junior), Work created at home

Artist’s Words:

I created this video in my backyard, reflecting on how the isolation of quarantine may affect us. This video shows three phases one may experience. The first phase is the "normal" phase where everything is fine and the effects of isolation are not noticeable. During the second phase, our character suffers from loneliness and copes by befriending the gnomes in her garden. In the third and final phase, our heroine has reached her breaking point and embraces the delusion that she is a pop star. Isolation affects our mental health in many different ways and I wanted to show that through this video 

Reviewers’ Comment:

Danielle portrays the mental and emotional progress in the “three stages of isolation” in a very creative, funny and genuine way. Using only what she has in her backyard, she successfully conveys the experience that many people can relate to during this difficult time.

 

Nostalgia

Nostalgia

Artist: Chas Hurst, Major: Public Health Sciences (Junior), Work created at home 

Artist’s Words:

In an attempt to convey the raw emotions of nostalgia I have felt during this pandemic, I decided with a film consisting of short videos that I have accumulated throughout the year. I believe my message exhibits reality in a bittersweet, yet hopeful light. My goal is for us to be reminded that while nostalgia helps us cope with the struggles of the present, it is equally important to remember that there is so much greatness that awaits us in the future. I send the UCI community wishes of good health and prosperity as we work through these difficult times.

Reviewers’ Comment:

Chas goes through his phone and reminisces about good times with his friends. He shows us the simple pleasure like going to the beach or having late night snacks during the “normal times.” He tells us that “life is beautiful,” with all the joy, melancholy, and sweetness in our memories. The video sends a hopeful message and tells us that we will be able to make new memories with our friends again.

 

DDR IRL: Learning to Dance over Zoom

Learning To Dance

Artist: Sophia Metcalf, Major: Acting (MFA), Work created at home

Artist’s Words:

I have never been a good dancer. I have always loved musical theatre, though, and so I’d been told from early on that I had to get better at it. I started ballet in college, but still struggled with learning choreography quickly. Thankfully I’ve had the opportunity to take dance every quarter here at UCI, and this quarter, I decided I wanted a record of what I’ve learned. So please, enjoy this silly short, and know that the person behind the footage is so proud of where they are, and looking forward to all they have still to learn.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B_zwcc6loUd/?igshid=mpc5pe1bfb0f

Reviewers’ Comment:

Learning to dance over Zoom in college was one of those things no one could have imagined! In this short, funny video Sophia shows us learning to work out and dance for musical theatre could be both challenging and rewarding. It puts a smile on our face as we appreciate her energy and dedication.

My Peace of Mind

Peace of Mind

Artist: Blessing Omolafe, Major: Biological Sciences, Work created in the garage

Artist’s Words:

I have always been the type of person to listen to music during stressful times so it only seemed right to me to make some music to help others that may be feeling a little stressed. I haven’t wrote music in a while so it was nice to be able to beatbox and write some lyrics that could have an impact on others. A lot of people have went through drastic changes since leaving school and I’ve noticed a lot people losing hope and optimism so I wrote this song in hopes of changing that. My hope is that whoever hears this song realizes it’s ok to be scared but knows that there is a horizon at the end of all this that will come maybe not today but definitely will soon.

 Reviewers’ Comment:

The words are simple, the beats uncomplicated, but Blessing’s song is powerful. It encourages us not to lose hope so we can get through the pandemic together safely, healthily and optimistically. Blessing reminds us that it’s okay to be scared, but just “keep your head held high” and “keep hope alive.”

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Week 4 Winners - May 8, 2020:

“Quarantining Solo”  Please note: this work contains foul language and may be offensive.

Quarantining Solo

Artist: Holland Davenport, Major: Drama, Home.

Artist’s Words:

I wrote this monologue by taking note of the thoughts racing through my mind last week. I have been seeing so many celebrities online paint a picture of quarantining as an opportunity for personal growth. I think for some of us dealing with toxic relationships, anxiety, depression, and self-hate, just getting through the day is all we can handle. I wanted anyone who sees this to know that they're less alone in that. I know I swear a lot in the film, but that's just my brain sometimes! It was more important to me to be real than to be appropriate.
https://youtu.be/JUcC7P7vfRc

Reviewers’ Comments:

Holland takes us on a journey into her busy mind dealing with relationship troubles, isolation, and an uncertain future. Her genuine and dynamic performance accompanied by her excellent editing skills show us being solo in quarantine is really challenging. Even though we are all socially isolated right now, the similar feelings and emotions we share make us feel connected.

"When Words Are At A Loss..."

When Words Are At A Loss

Artist: Kristina Marinca, Major: Biological Sciences, In my music room at home.

Artist’s Words:

Music has always been a part of my life, and I can define 'music' as being the language of the soul. It is my way of spreading joy out to others, but it is also a coping mechanism for myself. In a way, music is my escape from reality for a short moment of time. These days, I'm finding that I am expressing my emotions in a way that words cannot express. Sometimes we all need a moment to ourselves. I give myself this "self-care" by going to the piano and playing whatever is on my heart. I am nowhere near finished with composing the song. This portion of the song is a representation of our current world situation. I believe that the climax of the song symbolizes the chaos, drama, and heart-wrenching events that are currently happening. As the music becomes more peaceful towards the end, it hints at the calm after the storm; I pray that the world becomes more united after this ends. The piece is called "When Words Are At A Loss" because when words are at a loss, music takes over. When I first began composing this piece, I did not think of submitting it for Illuminations. After giving it some thought, I decided to publicly share it, so that anyone who needs comforting through music can listen to it. Don't lose sight of the light at the end of the tunnel. Trust me -- it's there!

https://www.instagram.com/p/B_72x-NnguO/

Reviewers’ Comments:
Kristina’s beautiful piece is very soothing. Creations like this have shown us the importance of art as a form of caring and healing. It has been over a month since the quarantine started. We have been through the days with anxiety, depression, and fear, feelings that are more than words can describe. When words fail, music becomes the art of caring for self and for other. Music shows that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

 

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Week 2 and 3 Winners - April 24 & May 1, 2020:

Bringing Words Alive

Caitlin Conklin

Artist: Caitlin Conklin - Major: Film and Media Studies and Drama (junior) - Work created from the artist’s apartment

Artist’s Words:

I loved pushing myself to create art using only things I had access to near me. I wanted to create something that displays all the different forms of art I’ve been engaging in to keep myself creative such as writing, acting, taking photos, and creating videos!

I got discouraged during the shoot and I was afraid that the whole project would be a failure. But I stuck with it and edited the photos and I ended up really liking them. It was really rewarding to stick with it and be able to get a final product that I really love.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B_oCiNBDve4/?igshid=1jxz2ih4375au&fbclid=IwAR2wOrz3hXz-nQWd2apat091fX9HIVtGOIK5Px5ZkY7tn66rif71xehkQTI

Reviewers’ Comments:

The idea of being creative and using simple ordinary objects to make arts is brilliant. The result of the final product is very impressive, but the creative process is even more fascinating and intriguing!

Breathe

Rhea Mae

Artist: Rhea Mae - Major: Mathematics - Work created at home.

Artist’s Words:

"breathe" is a song accompanied by an ukulele depicting how in times of isolation people are battling internal and external struggles that may have emerged or been enhanced from the conditions we live in. It's a hopeful reminder to breathe and not forget to let the light back in our lives even though it seems like we're living in darkness. I hope that this reaches to the people who may need it most. You are not alone and whatever you feel and think is validated during these times and always. The world is strong and even in these uncertain times, light still remains. Thank you and stay safe.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B_oqP_xnEhu/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

Reviewers’ Comments:

Rhea’s voice is beautiful and the song “Breathe” is indeed very healing and heartfelt. The simple melody and sincere lyrics embrace the light in our heart in times of isolation, struggles and darkness.

UCI Anteaters in Spring 2020

Atria Pirouzman

Artist: Atria Pirouzman - Major: Drama/Film and Media Studies (junior)

 Artist’s Words:

I wanted to show the UCI students' situation in this quarter with just a drawing. So, I drew the UCI anteater with its nose bent inside and towards the ground to show its sadness. And, used small dots to create shadings in my drawing, which for me each dot represents Covid 19 virus, and after the dots where scattered throughout the body, which refers to the spread of the virus, we see the anteater completed with the sad eye. In the end, the anteater wears a mask, which shows our situation right now.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VNRXVuTS5yg

Reviewers’ Comments:

With Sharpies Atria brings to life our beloved Peter The Anteater whom we miss dearly. Her ability to create the illustration is very impressive and it is very soothing to watch our school’s mascot take shape on a white piece of paper. Peter has a mask on, just like us. We are all in this together!

Split (All I Want to do is Sleep vs. A Perfect Time to be Productive)

Melissa Ongko

Artist: Melissa Ongko - Major: Art (junior) - Work created at Home

Artist’s Words:

I created a 2D animation to tell a story about my feelings during the Pandemic. A part of me just wants to sleep and ignore everything that's going on, and another part of me thinks that this would be the perfect time to become ultra productive and do all the previous hobbies I didn't have time for. I've been thinking that I could use said hobbies as a way to combat the suffocating feeling of being stuck inside with horrible news playing on the TV every day, but sometimes I need to remind myself that it's okay to feel overwhelmed and take some time to just lay in bed and do nothing. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bHKtaQExB2k

Reviewers’ Comments:

We can all relate to the feelings of split during the pandemic: the split between the desire of being productive and the lack of motivation (or even feeling drowned). Melissa tells us it is okay to have these feelings. Making art is indeed a really nice way to take a break from those worries! This silent animation also brings healing power to others! 

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Week 1 Winners - April 22, 2020.  These solo works are original and imaginative; they perfectly reflect what we are going through in this challenging time. Art connects us even though we cannot be physically together.   

“Reflections”

Artist: Daniel Quiñonez

Major: Biology (junior) 

Work created in Middle Earth Towers 

Artist’s Words:

In these past few weeks, I've found a lot of time to sit and reflect on a lot of different things. Quiet time is something that I feel is hard to come by for most of us, but due to the circumstances, it seems like there is a surplus of it. I created this video in an effort to share my perspective. My creative process began with recording my reflections on paper. In the evening, I would take my camera around the campus without any expectations, simply to capture. Using my reflections and video, I found some music and pieced it together in a creative way. I hope that as a community, we can focus on the hope for a better tomorrow and that this experience would shape us into stronger individuals.

https://youtu.be/GNEuAL9YOc4

Reviewers’ Comments:

“Reflections” manages to grasp the pandemic experience.  We all miss walking on campus and his images beautifully sync with his honest thoughts. 

“Covid Killahz”

Artist: Jason Goldman (preferred name: Ace Gold)

Major: Computer Science & Engineering (junior)

Work created from the artist’s apartment in Irvine

Artist’s Words:

I made this song in attempt to convince people to take covid-19 as seriously as possible so we can finally put an end to it. By chronicling the struggles we are all facing due to this pandemic, I hope that our communities will understand how important it is that we all do our part to flatten the curve. The damage this virus has done truly breaks my heart, but we will get through this together. I just want everyone to stay safe and healthy.

https://youtu.be/iIRsQyfbLpA

Reviewers’ Comments:

Jason's honest and bold words illustrate his hopes and fears about what we are all going through 

“Watching Paint Dry” 

Artist: Martin Murata

Major: Computer Science (senior)

Work Created in the author’s room

Artist’s Words:

This is a 4'x4' acrylic painting. This is my visual depiction of boredom, restlessness, and rumination. "Watching Paint Dry" is my verbal depiction of boredom, something about watching paint dry is mesmerizing even though you're not doing anything, I could sit there for hours. 

https://www.instagram.com/p/B_HHDRaA2WI/?igshid=u3bffak3nzkp

Reviewers’ Comments:

Martin’s mural is his way of coping with boredom and uncertainty. It is mesmerizing to watch his painting come alive.

 

 

 

 

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