Introducing “The Ramaz Artist Project”

Above: Trailer for The Ramaz Artist Project, now available here and on YouTube.

Having not written for Mola Pola in several months, I believe I owe you an explanation. It is a simple, though perhaps lazy, one: all my creative energy during this span was poured into producing The Ramaz Artist Project, a twelve episode homage to the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Artist Project, which, as followers of this site will know, has long been a source of inspiration for my writing and art practice. The Ramaz Artist Project, like its forerunner, facilitates conversations in which contemporary artists explore and engage with the Met’s renowned collection. Except, in my version, the subjects are (slightly) younger and the discussions somewhat longer, rounding off at roughly three and a half minutes each (by comparison, episodes from the original finish at about two and a half minutes, maximum). In every video a student from Ramaz’s AP senior studio course encounters one or two pieces that have informed not just their work but how they see and think about art in general. These items were selected from several locations within the museum, including the American Wing, the Ancient Egyptian Wing, European Paintings, Greek and Roman Art, Modern and Contemporary Art (The Lila Acheson Wallace Wing), and the Period Rooms. While the results should speak for themselves, I’d like to emphasize my decision to capture the organic, sometimes rambling nature of youthful discovery in these interviews. Following the Artist Project model, they interpolate photographs of the objects and artists with corresponding voiceovers; none are composed of traditional “footage.” What this meant for me in constructing each person’s video, sampling key moments from our gallery talks, was that I needed to stay true to their voices and characters as emergent in the audio snippets while rendering the final content compellingly illustrative. An obvious filmmaker’s task, yes, but one with which I was not quite as familiar prior to embarking on this process, despite understanding the importance of visual parity in other design contexts. If my attempts at journalistic integrity have been successful, the playfulness and thoughtfulness of adolescent “artists” on the verge of major life changes can be authentically seen in the outcomes.

Because putting the Project together was such a huge (and arduous) experience for me, I will be expanding on some of the behind-the-scenes elements in a podcast, arrival date TBA.

For now, I’d like to thank fellow students Levi Altzman and Andrew Lorber for building our main sharing platform from scratch (linking it here, too), and faculty members Mr. Hatam Anvar, Ms. Rachel Rabhan, Ms. Adina Shafner, and Mr. Rami Yadid for their support in helping me realize The Ramaz Artist Project.

I encourage you to watch the series in its entirety, but I’ll selfishly provide my own episode here for those who would like to get a sense of the style (however, each video is unique, so if you’re not into mine, don’t give up either):

Please enjoy the mini-programs and feel free to comment with ideas and questions in the space below!

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