Agent 003’s Bucket List

003 Bucket List

For this 3.5 point visual assignment, I was instructed to create a bucket list of at least four photos and describe the collage. To incorporate our secret agent theme, I decided to make Agent 003’s (Wren Wilder’s) bucket list!

Since 003 is at the SIA facility primarily, he’s never directly in action-packed missions like his colleagues. However, he’s enrolled himself in self-defense courses as a precaution, and has recently taken up Pilates to improve his coordination and flexibility. He secretly stays motivated to push himself harder during these various training sessions by imagining himself saving a co-worker from a mission adversary with a jump-kick dealt while within a split. That’s the only way stretching could become cool. With his gadgetry and technological expertise, 003 desperately wants to incorporate Google Glasses into his database operations for the facility’s weaponry. It’s just going to take some time to figure out how to secure any compromising system development decisions made by GG developers, before he can ever hope to securely incorporate it in his classified environment.

The various nations of Europe 003 traveled before his position at the SIA left him with a deeper craving to explore Asia, with the Ashikaga flower garden in Japan being his ideal first destination due to the majestic lavender greenery cloaking the region. Finally, his history as an archer and marksman make 003 itch to split an arrow, if he can ever make it out to an archery target range again in between his chaotic work schedule.

I found this assignment easy and enjoyable to complete, especially from the point of view of secret agent 003.

 

Blessing at a Bar

Love at First Shot

She’d been waiting for her boyfriend to show for over two hours, with no phone-call or text to settle her emotions. Long-distance puts strain on relationships almost universally, but the three months she’d been away at her new job seemed to promote an unsettling indifference in her boyfriend’s actions. Normally, she’d have fled the scene at the hour mark, but it was their first anniversary together, an event she was hoping to celebrate at the bar they first met at. Suddenly, just as she’s lifting her head from her phone, an immaculately-groomed stranger appears and sits across from her.

He begins asking her about her dress, whether she had purchased it from ‘Starlite’ (A high-end clothing retailer, though not with any locations in driving distance). After confusingly correcting the mistake, she watches him ramble on about the dress’s similarity to designs he’d helped select for the store’s new fall collection, and charmingly note that she wore it more appropriately than any of the model stock-photos with the piece that he’d seen. After signalling to a waiter and ordering a water with lemon, he flashes her a simple grin. Just as he was coxing out of her a description of her professional involvement as an overseas realtor, she hears a projected cough off to her side.

Wearing a hoodie and jeans, her boyfriend raises an eyebrow before stating that he must be interrupting. Just as she processes what the metallic tone of his voice implies, her boyfriend is already making his way out through the bar’s exit. She gives her stranger a panicked nod which he reciprocates, as she races after him. Outside, her eyes flicker toward a distant figure obscured by the evening rainstorm climbing into a black SUV. Running through the soaked lot, she reaches the driver’s window just as the car starts. Tapping the window adamantly, she thinks she sees him roll his eyes before driving off. Shocked still, she eventually makes her way back to the restaurant.

Hesitantly reentering and approaching the nearest restroom, she looks to her table to see the stranger signing a paper before giving it to a retreating waiter. Their eyes meet, and she waves him over before retreating momentarily to the restroom to dry herself off slightly. After reemerging, she politely thanks him before pulling up her purse, at which point the stranger gently stops his hand over top her wrist. He muses, “It was my treat… I just couldn’t watch two gloomy rain clouds in an evening if I didn’t have to.” After a pause, she attempts to give him a hug, but bangs their foreheads together in her rush of adrenaline. Looking up, she sees him let out an uncharacteristically high giggle and outstretch his arms – before she pulls herself into him assuredly.

This visual assignment instructed me to choose or take a photograph a photograph of two people clearly in love, then use it to describe a story with a point of view about the romance in some way. I decided to use the chemistry between the characters of the movie “Crazy, Stupid, Love” as my inspiration for a fictional story which ends with the photograph being shown above. I wanted a couple whose photograph had an interesting element to it, and immediately thought of how the female protagonist had searched out the male character in the film to embrace him sopping wet (Even as relatively unfamiliar strangers). This made me think of creating a strangers-meeting storyline, and I was excited to somehow figure out how to justify her appearance.

In creating the story, I also noted that the man was dressed quite fashionably. This made me think of his career being within the fashion industry. I also thought of having her get into a confrontation with someone, as rain is a symbol of rebirth/baptism often within literature, and is often correlated with emotionally volatile moments in life. From there, I simply wrote of a meeting between two strangers before introducing the conflict and then settling it and any loose ends between our two story’s leads.

I view this assignment as a creative success. I was impressed with my own ability to flesh out the narrative and then complete the story-lines as quickly as I did, and I found that I justified the image details within the photo while layering additional emotional weight to it. It was also amusing to me that the story ends with the photo shown, and I felt proud in that creative choice. I’d view this assignment as average in difficulty, since the creation of a story took fairly long for me to tweak to my own satisfaction.

“Who Said What”: Well-Known Spy Misquoted

For this spy-genre visual assignment, I am particularly proud of my media product created. The instructions were to pick three similar secret agent characters, and layer a picture of one, a quote of the second, and the name of the third over each other into a ‘quote’ image. The point of the assignment is to confuse the viewer into possibly believing the origin of the quote, by choosing similarly well-known spies. View my product below!

Misquoted

I first searched for an inspiring quote from one of my favorite secret agents, Lana Kane from the TV show “Archer”. After finding one which was broad enough, but captured her personality, I noted that it seemed almost motherly in it’s critique. I then thought of layering it over a photo of the spy and mother Elizabeth from the TV show “The Americans”, which is on the same network as “Archer”. Since Elizabeth is of Russian KGB origins, I attributed the quote to the European spy villainness Rayna Boyanov from the film “Spy”. This name seemed believable when looking back at Elizabeth, and the quote fit with a photo which showed Elizabeth’s children in the background. All three are also from the same time-period of spy/secret agent storytelling (Modern day).

I found this assignment easy-to-average in difficulty. The difficult part was in choosing pieces of characters which could be blended believably to the unsure onlooker or the untrained eye of a genre-buff.

 

“Blackmail”: Blurred Image Challenge

Make a quick guess: what is normally recognizable, and is distorted through photography in the image below?

Blur

For this visual assignment, I was instructed to take a recognizable subject and distort an image of it to be unrecognizable. I primarily relied on image blurring during the photo-session, while using a large textbook to deepen the shadow on the left side of the distorted photograph. Additionally, I choose an odd angle for the photo to be taken at, in the hopes of confusing observers regarding the subject in question.

I found this 3.5 point challenge relatively easy, and believed I was fairly successful in distorting my subject material. I could have darkened the lighting more, but wanted to have some lighting present as a clue to observers (And I felt that darkness would have done too much of the work for me in distorting the subject, even before blurring the photo or shifting its angle). View the original subject below!

Real photo

 

Agent Swift, Cyber-Security Analyst

For this week’s mission itinerary, I decided to complete the Visual Assignment “Pop Star Out of Place” (http://assignments.ds106.us/assignments/pop-star-out-of-place/). In creating my concept, I attempted to juxtapose a pop star with a spy-themed setting to match our semester’s missions, and I thought a James Bond backdrop was a natural fit for this goal. However, I had some issues conceptualizing how to make any particular pop star stand out from the backdrop, as most could be cast as an atypical “Bond girl” due to their visual appearance. Instead of choosing an alternative-pop star like Lorde or Adele to be placed alongside Bond on one of his missions, I instead decided to try matching Taylor Swift with the tech team led by Q in the recent Bond films. I found this juxtaposition to work wonderfully, and calls to mind the wildly humorous InfoSec Expert Taylor Swift twitter account “SwiftOnSecurity” (shown below).

With a fleshed-out concept in mind, I used a photo of Q from the Bond films and searched for a business-professional photo of Taylor Swift which I could attempt to overlay onto the original photo. After finding an image of Taylor Swift which matched the “hipster-tech” styling of Q in an appropriate pose, I simply resized the photo to maintain pixilation quality, then I used MS Paint’s ‘transparent selection’ option to trace the outline of Taylor Swift before re-positioning it on the Bond film image. The assignment was of intermediate difficulty in my opinion, as creating an interesting concept and selecting appropriate photos took more time searching online than I had anticipated. The resulting image I created below matches a pop star with a spy-genre scene while creating contextual juxtaposition.

Agent Swift Visual Assignment

I find the subtle humor in a pop star with no known interest in cyber-security being portrayed as an analyst working through malware threats in a Bond film to be a successful attempt at this assignment. Having a pop star pasted into a similar situation with a less professional stage costume would indirectly disrespect female pop stars by redirecting the humor of the assignment towards potential intellectual shortcomings of a female in revealing clothing. Instead, by placing a pop star in a secret-agent scene in appropriate attire, the humor is refocused on the disparity between the situation presented and the public persona and personality displayed by a pop star like Taylor Swift. The contrast created is, in my opinion, both strikingly humorous and respectful of Taylor Swift asĀ  an intelligent, capable human being.