Author: Katherine Miranda

Irish Hunger Memorial (outside arts event)

On Thursday October 10th, I went to the Irish Hunger Memorial with Melissa, Abraham, Mark, Adam and Sandy. We had a great time together and it was interesting to see the design for the Irish Hunger Memorial. At first glance, it didn’t seem like much. It just seemed like a fake little artificial hill in the middle of buzzing Manhattan. But as I got closer to the memorial and started to walk around and explore, I saw something undeniably touching. The memorial is set up like a hill. It is full of grass, vines and small bushes. It is very interactive in which it allows people to walk through the hill up to the top where one can get a nice view of the city. It feels almost like being on a different world, on a little island isolated from the buzz of the city. It was surprisingly peaceful and relaxing.

As much as I loved the atmosphere of the memorial. I also loved the architecture. Below the artificial hill were quotes from individuals who went through and experienced the famine themselves. It was both tragic and somehow infinitely beautiful, enough to almost bring me to tears.

Macaulay Final Project: Constantine


“You’re handed this precious gift, right? Each one of you granted redemption from the Creator – murderers, rapists, and molesters – all of you, you just have to repent, and God takes you into His bosom. In all the worlds in all the universe, no other creature can make such a boast, save man. It’s not fair. If sweet, sweet God loves you so, then I will make you worthy of His love.”

~Gabriel (Constantine)

Dear Professor Ugoretz,

I love art. It is something that has always attracted me, that has always interested me. When I was younger, I used to dance, practice piano and play the clarinet. I was also actively part of my church’s choir as well as my elementary school’s extracurricular festivities filled with plays that would break out into song and dancing lessons from various cultures. I was for sure convinced that when I grew up I would be a famous singer or musician. After awhile, my interest in the arts manifested in new and exciting ways. It went from singing and dancing, to writing short stories and playing piano, to writing poems and drawing. Art has always seemed to be a big part of my life whether I realized it or not. This class and this project afforded me the opportunity to explore this interest further and it is for this reason that I loved this assignment.

When I was told that we had to connect a theme from one of the arts discussed in class to an outside art, I immediately knew I wanted to use movies. Movies have always been a huge aspect of my life, mostly because of my father and his obsession with them. I personally liked having to sit down and really think about how to connect a film I had seen and knew well enough to something we discussed in class. My idea for this project was inspired by a simple train ride home. I was sitting down and thinking about one of my favorite movies, Constantine. It suddenly hit me how everything could connect together. As I formed the connection, ideas for how to represent that connection in an artwork sprung to life. I instantly ripped my sketchbook from out of my bag and began forming drafts.

Constantine is a movie released in 2005 that revolves around two characters: John Constantine and Angela Dodson. In the film, John is a man who is blessed with the gift of sight, meaning that he can see things that are “otherworldly” including angels and demons. As a result of this gift, he becomes an exorcist of sorts, repelling and sending demons back to hell. Angela is a female police officer who also has the gift of sight that becomes awakened through her interaction with John. The two end up meeting and working together to stop Mammon, the son of Satan, from rising and gaining control of the Earth.

As the movie continues, the audience realizes that Mammon requires “divine” help in order to rise. We discover later on that Gabriel, one of God’s angels, had been secretly helping Mammon all along. When Constantine finally realizes this, he confronts Gabriel and demands to know why he decided to assist Mammon. He tells Constantine, “You’re handed this precious gift, right? Each one of you granted redemption from the Creator – murderers, rapists, and molesters – all of you, you just have to repent, and God takes you into His bosom. In all the worlds in all the universe, no other creature can make such a boast, save man. It’s not fair. If sweet, sweet God loves you so, then I will make you worthy of His love.” Gabriel is an essential angel. He is referred to consistently throughout the bible and has become a holy figure in some religions. In the film, the idea that it was this very Gabriel that tried to bring hell on Earth is a very powerful notion. Gabriel is supposed to be God’s faithful and humble servant. He is to be pure, decent and holy. In the end, however, we realize that he forsakes these ideals and gives in to his own cruelty and anger. He turns his back on everything simply because he believes “it’s not fair”. This is where I was able to make the connection between this film, the opera Tosca and the play Henry IV.

Each of these performances dealt with complex relationships and ideals. More importantly, each of these performances played with the idea of betrayal and how those who are in power, those who are supposed to represent what is good, right and fair are sometimes the most evil. Sometimes they are the ones who betray the very code they were responsible for up keeping. In Tosca, we see this with the character Scarpia. He, as the chief of police, is responsible for protecting the law. Instead, he abuses his power and tries to manipulate Tosca into sleeping with him.

The theme of betrayal is also evident in the play Henry IV. Specifically, it is seen in the character of the King Henry. In the play, the king was dealing with a political uprising. This uprising, however, was only caused because of the king’s failure to fulfill his promise and look out for the people who helped him to gain power in the first place. The king is not the only character in the play who represents the concept of betrayal however. By the end of the story, the audience witnesses Prince Harry make the same mistake his father made. He comes into power and decides to desert his friends who were there with him during the political uprising. He casts them aside and embraces his newfound power. A king is supposed to stand up for his people and do what is best for them. They are supposed to be representative of justice and what is right. We see, however, that both King Henry and Prince Harry forget these duties and responsibilities once they are in power.

I enjoyed this project very much. I was granted the opportunity to not only use one of my favorite movies, but also to put my art skills to the test and create something unique. It was a lot of work, but in the end, I was able to have fun with it. Thank you Professor Ugoretz, not only for a wonderful and fun project, but for an amazing semester.

-Your student,

Katherine Miranda

Macaulay Snapshot

The Macaulay Snapshot Exhibition was a very special event for me. Being a curator, I was both anxious and excited to see how people would react to the exhibition. I enjoyed how the final product turned out and I think that the theme was a perfect fit for what we wanted to capture. I definitely had a lot of fun working with Nadiah and all the other curators.
Truthfully, at first I was nervous about signing up to be a curator. When we were first told about the opportunity, I was instantly intrigued by it, but I didn’t sign up right away. I love photography, but I was nervous that maybe I wouldn’t be a right fit for this particular project. In the end, however, in the spirit of being a college freshman and trying new things, I decided to sign up. It took a few sessions for me to really be able to delve into the experience. The first few sessions were mainly just everyone getting to know each other and brainstorming ideas. Once we had the pictures and were able to all to agree on a theme, everything kind of fell into place.
It was an interesting experience to work on something that incorporated everyone’s artistic vision. I think that’s what I liked about working on the exhibition. Everyone got to express themselves through their own unique themes and vision. The exhibition was both a representative of New York City through the eyes of Macaulay students as well as our interpretation of their vision. I think that’s pretty awesome.

Opera: Tosca

Truthfully, I was not sure what I would think of this performance. I had never attended an opera before, so having the opportunity to see this production live was an entirely new experience for me. I was aware that operas are known for their extremely dramatic style and theatrics. As result, I was worried that perhaps its style would throw me off and taint the experience for me. I was wrong.
I remember walking into the Metropolitan Opera House and being instantly dazzled by it. As you walk in, there are lovely golden, snowflake-like chandeliers that dangle from the ceiling. The walls and steps are covered with red velvet that cushions every step you take. Everything is ornamented in colors of gold, silver and red. It was both elegant and striking. The concert area itself was just as striking. From the ceiling, hanged a beautiful sphere chandelier that glittered in the light. As much as I loved the elegance and style of the Opera House, I also fell in love with the opera itself.
Tosca, is a rather complex opera that deals with the concepts of betrayal, extreme passion and an infinite love. It is also one of the very few operas in which the storyline is tied to a specific time and place, Rome on June 17, 1800. I thought that it was interesting to see the opera set in this time period. Considering that the man who wrote the opera, Giacomo Puccini, was Italian, one would think that having a play with the main characters being supporters of Napoleon rule would be a distasteful topic. However, Puccini welcomed this storyline and concept.
I would have to say that my favorite thing about the opera was Mario’s aria that took place in the last act as he was contemplating his death. I felt that it was a very beautiful and touching performance. I also feel that it was this aria that made me love the opera. There was just so much raw emotion portrayed in that scene and I was actually able to feel that emotion. I don’t get emotionally when watching things like television shows or movies, but I did feel something during this performance that made my eyes water up. I think that the music had a lot to do with the pull on my emotions. In the beginning of the piece, Cavaradossi sings softly with a solo clarinet tune accompanying him. The sound of the single clarinet almost emphasizes the aria’s melancholy sound. As it continues, the single clarinet becomes accompanied by strings such as the violin, double bass and the harp. Cavaradossi’s voice also slowly rises to a louder dynamic becoming fuller and denser, matching the melody of the instrumentation. This gradual rise in dynamics almost mimics Cavaradossi’s oncoming wave of despair and his realization that he is about to die. His aria toys with the concept of life and the realization of the things that you took for granted while you were alive. It was very touching.
I hope that I will be awarded the opportunity to see another opera again.

Latin Jazz Performance

If I am to remember anything about my childhood, I am to remember the holidays at my grandparent’s house. My grandmother, famous for her delicious cooking prowess, would spend hours in the kitchen. I would sit at her fire engine red counter and watch her as she diced peppers, tomatoes, cilantro, you name it. I loved sitting there, taking in the smells of the spices, listening to her stories, and hearing the faint sounds of Tito Puente playing in the background. After my grandmother’s delicious dinner, my grandfather would crank up the music and we would dance. With these memories in mind, listening to the Latin jazz performance was a wonderful experience for me. It reminded me of my childhood. Those times where my grandfather would play the guiro and sing along to the Spanish tunes that spoke of passion, love and heartbreak.

Besides the recollection of these memories, I think what I loved most about this performance was the interaction between each of the musicians. In my family, we play around with each other. We have fun, eat good food and crack jokes. It’s about having a good time. To me, the music seemed to encompass this very concept. Each of the musicians worked cohesively together to complete each musical piece. They bounced ideas of each other with the improv and felt each melody as it was being played. I grinned whenever a soloist got into their own unique world. The other plays around would smile and nod their heads both in enjoyment and respect. I definitely had a lot of fun at this concert. Vaughn if you’re reading this, you did an amazing job!

Henry IV

Donmar’s production of Henry IV by Shakespeare was nothing less than incredible. I absolutely fell in love with the ambience, the concept and the actors. The play starts off in a woman’s prison. We sat in our seats as the gates around us closed with no intention of opening until after the play. I thought that this concept was quite clever and realistic. It gave us the sense of being entrapped in the prison with the females; of being placed in their world.
As the play continued, we saw that the female prisoners used mediocre child toys in order to act out the various scenes of Henry IV. Although some may, understandably,
find that degrading to Shakespeare’s name and his reputation, I found it both hilarious and realistic. What else would women in prison have access to?
I am a huge fan of the famous Netflix show, “Orange is the New Black”. And to me, this play was a perfect blend of both this show and Shakespeare. This is one thing I find creative and impressive about this production. Instead of regurgitating what has already been done and simply trying to act out the play, the company put its own spin on it that makes it both unique and innovative.
Innovation and creativity; those were the two words that stuck with me throughout the production. From the prison concept, to the music, to (my favorite) the spray painted map, I found that Donmar found clever little ways to modernize this ancient literature. I enjoyed every moment of it and it will definitely not be forgotten.

Ballet Experience

I have never in my life experienced or witnessed a real ballet performance. I used to watch ballet performances when I was a child on TV, mostly when my grandmother wanted to watch the christmas specials. I used to be amazed at how elegant, delicate and graceful the dancers always used to look. They were so feathery, like a wind could come by at any moment and sweep them off their feet.  I loved every twirl, every spin, every jump. So to be able to see these performers live was definitely an amazing experience for me. My eyes were fixated upon the dancers throughout the entire show.

One thing I noticed right away was that the ballerinas were so precise with their movements. Their styles and timing were all affected by the music that was being played. The music and the dancers coincided with each other, complementing each other throughout each of the separate performances. I also noticed that there was usually always a sense of symmetry between each of the dancers. If there was a couple on the left side, there was a couple on the right and vice versa. This symmetry gave the performance a sense of completeness; of balance.

Although I thoroughly enjoyed all three shows, I have to say that “The Green Table” performance was my absolute favorite. I loved everything about it. I loved the symbolism behind each of the various dances as well as the piano music that accompanied each of the scenes. I loved the costumes, especially the costume of the dancer that represented death. I loved how the performance wasn’t simply a dance, but instead was an intricate story. Somehow without even saying a word, these ballerinas (both male and female) were able to convey such a strong, emotional and overwhelming message. From the delicate movements and sways of the despairing wife, to the rigid, forceful movements of “death”; each scene was able to efficiently stir emotions from the audience. Their eyes were consistently fixated upon the dancers.

I hope that one of these days I will be able to see another live ballet show. This experience was extremely memorable and enjoyable and is not one I will soon forget.