The Producer’s Log: MFA Exhibition Reportback

[Introducing Regina Ortanez who has been working as a producer on the Secret History project for the entire academic year.  This is an excerpt from her production journal. For more about the production team, check out our About Us page. – Wes]

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April 22, 2015: Spring(ing Into Action) 2015

It’s been awhile since I last updated y’all on what’s been happening with the Secret History group and forewarning, A lot has happened.  From the end of last quarter to the beginning of this quarter, the group has been working hard at finally creating the interactive documentary chapters. I’m proud to say that my chapter on water quality was up and ready for viewing at the MFA exhibition in May.  Kyle and Jake each have a chapter up, too and of course, “the Unicorn” [the production team’s name for Wes wearing his programmer hat] has, like, 3 up. I never imagined that it would have been as easy as it was to create the chapters. And while it was a lot of work at times, with the web content management backend that Wes created, it seems to be a pretty intuitive process.

Monica Yap [member of the production team since September] left the project group to concentrate on her studies.  Everyone is super bummed about it, but I understand that she is graduating in a couple of months and needs to buckle down on finishing her senior seminars and projects.  She will be missed, nonetheless.

As for this week, things have started to slow down on the production end as we’re all preparing for the MFA exhibition this weekend, but I’m sure Wes has his hands full with the actual shantyboat preparation. Kyle, Jake, and I have docent training tonight, which I will attend even if it kills me because I am sick.  I have been sick for over 3 days now, but hopefully all the ginger peach green tea and vitamin C I’ve been taking will kick in by this weekend. [Despite being sick, Regina went to docent training and served as docent and Secret History contributing artist every day of the four day exhibition.]

April 27, 2015: Mid-Quarter Madness

The Digital Arts and New Media MFA exhibition 2015 was a success! I was lucky enough to be one of the youngest contributing artists at the show since I’m part of the Secret History production team. My name was on the plaque and everything! Proof:

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Otherwise, it was about 48 hours of schmoozing and rubbing shoulders with accomplished grad students and alumni of the Digital Arts and New Media program and being asked about my contribution to the show. This is almost always followed by questions about my personal work… to which I always reply “conceptual pieces” because even I do not know what it is that I do/make/create.  [This does indeed describe Regina’s outstanding conceptional film work.]

Here I am at the end of the exhibition having an existential crisis as a result of those questions. Wes is playing the role of the Wise Man in the background.

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The identity crisis was resolved (or maybe just ignored) by the time Monica dropped by for a visit. We took a nice little photo of the old team being reunited.  A pretty good way to end an exciting, but long weekend.

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Secret History Production Team: (left to right) Monica Yap, Kyle Doria, Wes Modes, Regina Ortanez (not pictured Jake Simowitz)

 

New River Life Trailer!

The new Secret History River Life Trailer is out. We are weeks away from our initial release of the Secret History web documentary. The trailer draws from a series of chapters that focus on people living on the river.

Thanks to the talented Monica Yap on our production team who produced this video.

Jessica Bierbrauer and the Future River

This is an excerpt of an interview I did with Jessica Bierbrauer, director of the Great River Road Visitor & Learning Center in Prescott WI. Here she talks about the future of the river and invasive species.

The long form of this interview will be part of the Secret History archive.