I decided to revisit the week seven topic of digital art history and museum labels. I found that this assignment had many different choices of artifact to choose from and write a label about. I decided to find a new medium and create a label for it. I personally found this skill of seeing/analyzing primary artifacts interesting and important because such artifacts provide new intimate context into specific time periods throughout history. I choose a painting for this particular revision. This painting depicts escaped slaves and demonstrates the pressure and terror that came along with escaping slavery. The painting is rather disturbing as it shows slaves fending off angry dogs with a hatchet. This kind of visual history is incredibly important to preserve as it truly helps to show the horrors embedded within slavery in America. This particular oil painting comes from the Smithsonian Collection of African American History and Culture. This painting essentially tells a story to the viewer of a man and woman who are attempting to escape the evils of slavery. The dogs not only represent a physical barrier preventing such freedom but also may serve as a metaphor for the vicious actions of slave owners in 1800’s America. Within this particular oil painting there happens to be a lot of hidden details that I believe the original artist wanted to serve as metaphors for certain motifs/themes. One example of this could be the small snake in the corner of the painting. Snakes have long been used to portray evil, this dates back to the bible as such stories like Adam and Eve center around the devil posing as a snake. Given that Christianity was a predominant religion in America at this time I would conclude that the snake potentially represents a satanic/evil being within this painting. Not only do I find it interesting to look at past digital art and artifacts but, it is also a crucial part in understanding the truth of particular time periods and helps educate the public on the true unfiltered past.
Label: This Painting depicts a male and female slave attempting to fend off vicious dogs with a hatchet. The painting occurs in a marsh/wetlands setting in which there are snakes. The male slave yields the hatchet above his head in an attempt to scare off the mastiff dogs. The time of day portrayed in the painting is shown through the sunset skyline. This is an oil painting that was created onwood.
Throughout this course I was able to gain insight into digital history which I previously had not had much to any experience with. Through the variety of different mediums we explored in this class I was able to gain a new perspective and appreciation for the work that goes into digitally preserving the information of the past. One of my favorite parts of this class was the podcast week. As someone who listens to podcasts on a daily basis, I enjoyed attempting to create my own. Activities like this also made me think outside of the box in order to make the content informative while also remaining interesting. This activity will forever echo in my future life as I do not intend to stop listening to podcasts and now when I listen, I have a greater appreciation for this form of media. As someone specializing in studying film the technological side of this activity will also prove to be useful in my future career in media.
This course also gave insight into several different programs that I may find useful in the future for certain projects. Programs like Voyant are very useful for researching and I enjoyed the ease of use that the program offered. In the future if I have any large research projects I plan on using websites like Voyant in order to help with the overall process. Also websites such as Flourish may also prove to be useful in my future college career as there are several classes that require specific mapping needs. Overall these websites are useful to know and understand as a current student as, there is a good chance that I will utilize one or both of these sites.
In terms of the contextual side of this particular course, I feel that I have gained enhanced knowledge on the complex history of slavery in America. In my past history classes I hadn’t truly much outside of the general history of southern slavery. In this class I was able to use a variety of different mediums in order to better understand the true and in depth dark history of The United States. Although some of the material might have been somewhat disturbing, it is important to see the true side of history rather than the watered down version I received in high school. Through viewing artifacts and primary source documents I was able to attain a greater understanding of the past while also enhancing my digital history skills such as researching and mapping. Looking back through the variety of different blog posts, I feel that my overall knowledge in terms of digital mediums has expanded in a relatively short time period. Even though the course was around ten weeks I found it to be far more informative than classes that span far longer than ten weeks. This class was a perfect balance of information and application and I hope that I have classes in the future that follow a similar pattern.