Author Archives: tiffnkim

The Black Riders – v.1

First version of short film based on the poem “The Black Riders,” by Stephen Crane, for a dynamic movement/editing assignment. Directed by Tiffany Kim for the 2013 “Auteur 101” class in Film & Media Studies at Johns Hopkins Summer Programs.

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Taking it Personally

What annoys me in art, as with anything else in the world, is a very personal matter. It’s not just that what I find annoying is based on my personal taste, but also that somehow the art or artist is attacking or cheating me. In other words, I’m taking it personally.

I lean towards liking classically or conventionally attractive things. But everyone hates cliche. To add to that, I hate redundancy. I like flowers, pastels, and watercolor for their feminine, pretty qualities. But I will probably be annoyed by a painting of flowers in pastel watercolor. The medium, form (color) and content are too redundant. The painting is treating me like an idiot by subjecting me to such flatness. If a painting of flowers in pastel watercolor wants to be interesting, it will have to have another level of intrigue that creates tension in the painting. Things like loose contours or challenging composition can elevate redundancy in this case of the flowers. Similarly, as we discussed in class, literalness in film can be very patronizing. If a story is being told, the viewer does not also need to see an exact visual representation of that story. After all, I don’t know many people who are thrilled by voiceovers in movies.

On the other hand, extreme things created to spite convention annoy me. Especially when there is little thought involved in the actual product. Randomness piled together can’t be expected to represent complex meaning. So overwhelming statement art annoys me. I feel cheated by it because the motive behind it has swallowed the art.

But the thing that annoys me the most, is indulgent art. I’ll roll my eyes at it, that’s how personal I’ll take it. Art that is so self involved and important need not exist. Art exists because of a viewer, so it doesn’t need to belittle her/him by being so abstract it makes no sense or insists on a feeling of apathy as if the art is saying, “I’d rather not be here”. Luckily, I can’t think of an example of visual art off the top of my head, but movies like Melancholia I find very annoying.

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The Black Riders and Other Lines by Stephen Crane



Black riders came from the sea.

There was clang and clang of spear and shield,

And clash and clash of hoof and heel,

Wild shouts and the wave of hair

In the rush upon the wind:

Thus the ride of sin.


[This poem packs an epic feel into six lines.]



Three little birds in a row

Sat musing.

A man passed near that place

Then did the little birds nudge each other.


They said: “He thinks he can sing.”

They threw back their heads to laugh.

With quaint countenances

They regarded him.

They were very curious

Those three little birds in a row.


[I like the absurdity of this poem clashing with how self-important the birds consider themselves.  Crane’s treatment of the birds is as curious as the birds themselves.]

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