I’ve been doing a lot of writing recently. I mean, I always write given how therapeutic it is for me, but recently I find myself writing all the time so I can get what’s inside my mind on paper. By putting it on paper, I am able to read it back and see that I’m not crazy but simply human. Sometimes when really surreal things happen to me, I feel like I am in the Twilight Zone, worrying that I am delusional and these things are not actually happening. The funny thing is, I honestly think I am more worried that these surreal things are actually happening and use writing as a coping mechanism. Anyways, a year ago today, I was raped. I can’t tell you how I expected this day to go a year ago because a year ago, I didn’t plan on living to see this day. The other night when my boyfriend and I broke up, I took the dress I wore on this day one year ago out of my closet and showed it to him in a haphazard attempt to get him to open himself up to me. Well he didn’t open up to me, and the dress has been hanging on the edge of my bed since. This morning when I woke up, I didn’t feel depressed. I considered wearing the dress today to be symbolic, but I am not the person I was a year ago today and decided not to be melodramatic. I decided not to look backwards. If that person woke up this morning, she would’ve cried. She would’ve skipped class. She might have even checked herself in to a hospital because she was so heartbroken and confused over her breakup. Who am I kidding, she probably wouldn’t even be here.
I have absolutely no regrets in regards to everything that has happened in the past year. I got rid of really crappy friends who convinced me that getting raped was my own fault. Friends who made me feel absolutely terrible about myself. Now, I surround myself with friends that make me feel nothing but love, happiness, and supported. This year, I have learned to take the higher road. For instance, this morning before my film class, I smiled and said hello to one of the people that I used to be friends with because we have a class together and I wanted to be courteous. She ignored me, but I felt good knowing I did the right thing. Anyways, this year I also got ghosted by 4 guys and had really subpar sex. I curbed my spending issues, relapsed twice, and don’t carelessly spend money anymore. I haphazardly attempted to kill myself and was forced to be my own hero for the first time in my life. I had to watch my father practically die, but he pushed through and is now better than ever before. I got the job I’ve wanted for 4 years, lowkey hated it, but I made it through and am extremely happy I did it because I met some of the most amazing people. I am now on good terms with my ex who I was convinced would hate me forever. And I fell head over heels in love with someone in a way I didn’t think was possible. Let me tell you something, I have turned into a mature, strong woman, and one year ago today I was a careless, naive girl. And I sit here in a class I failed last fall (courtesy of me letting what happened a year ago today control my life), with the biggest smile on my face. I have turned my life around when I had convinced myself I was a sinking ship. That being said, I obviously still have my bad days, but hey, that’s mental illness for you. I hold nothing in. I refuse to crash and burn.
My heart does sting a little bit today thinking about the fact that the man I love broke up with me out of the blue on Friday. My heart stings because I am realizing that this man may actually be a boy. A man I thought I knew so well, who is actually a stranger. But I am handling this so much better than I thought I would. The morning after it happened, I grieved, but I picked myself up and realized that I tried to do everything I possibly could to make our relationship work. He is the first romantic partner I have been 100% unapologetically myself with, and was so open and honest with him to make sure there was no miscommunication between us. But he was not ready to be 100% unapologetically himself with me. He hid behind the miscommunication. He lied to me about loving me and instead of being angry, I feel badly for him. All I want for him is inner peace and for him to stop talking down on himself. I hope he wants to be and is indeed happy someday. But no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t make him see how great he really is. Don’t get me wrong, I am extremely frustrated about how he handled everything and am so confused as to why he lied to me when I knew there was something wrong. Friday night I was pretty emotional and said some not so great things, but looking back, that shouldn’t of changed how he felt about me. What he said to me was much more impactful than anything I said to him. And if you truly love someone, you love all sides of them. Hence why I still love him. But I don’t have any regrets. Yes, part of me is hoping and praying he’ll have some sort of divine intervention and realize that he is actually in love with me, but I’m not being delusional. I am not going to beg of him to love me. I am not going to try to convince him why we should be together. If he loved me and wanted to be with me, we would be together. I am an adult now, I will not play silly mind games. I have my flaws, but I now know that I am worthy of being loved no matter what the distance, circumstances, or situation. Even if I have more flaws than a construction site, I am enough.
Given I tried to be 100% unapologetically the best version of myself with him, I owe it to myself to continue being that person. And I am. I am taking care of myself. I am not pitying myself or the things that have happened to me. And for that, I am so damn proud to be me. I am finally a person that I can look back at and pat on the back. A person that deserves to be cheered on from the sidelines. So yes, a year ago today, I was raped. But instead of seeing it as a day to be spent in memoriam of my innocence, I see it as a day to honor the beginning of my journey to find my best self. A journey that is only one year in, and a journey that I will not stop for anyone, or anything. So here we go, onwards and upwards. Behuet dich Gott.


Student Assaulted by School Police

I was very disgusted when we watched this video. I wanted to scream and the question “how?” kept running through my head. I could not comprehend the pure violence and hatred of his act. Maybe not even hatred, but definitely ignorance. The police officer seemed so sure of his actions, as he threw her from the desk and tackled her. My heart hurt so much as I watched this hurting teenager be thrown about by more ignorant adults. It’s said that she had been having trouble at home and was only refusing to get off her cell phone when her teacher phoned the resource officer. If that had been me I would have hollered and kicked with all of my might, I was amazed at her compliance after she was beaten. I just do not understand why such a hateful crime can be so overlooked. In the many months since this incident I have heard nothing of the girl or the police officer. How strange a world we live in when the daily lives of plastic celebrities are plastered all across our news rather than the dying voices of minorities. People must band together once again to see change in our society, for we have gotten so far from our source of being that we are driven to violence and blindness. I hope that I can one day make a difference for our generation, and our future generations, and help to unite our world as one, as we have always been and always will be.

Student Assaulted by School Police

Janet Cardiff: Her Long Black Hair

This was by far my favorite class trip. I have always tried to be aware of the sound in my surroundings, to listen to what is happening and hear the rhythm of life. While listening to the podcast and wandering through Central Park, I finally felt at peace with New York City. I had been struggling with her fast pace for a while in the beginning of my grand adventure, yet as I listened to Janet Cardiff explain the city in 2004 and recount the pictures of a young woman in the 60’s. I was suddenly aware of our webs of connection. We felt one with her as we walked in time with her, and listened to the same voices and yet be seeing different people. The twisted outlook became a mirror of reality. Our stories continuously overlap across our vast universe. We are so small and yet we have created such means as to house thousands of artists in one single city. At the end of our journey with Cardiff, you are at the edge of a green lake. The temperature was hot, and the skyline was glowing in the indian summer light. I felt peaceful among the boats and under the trance of Cardiff’s low tones. I appreciated the simplicity of her art, and her ability to make the past one with the present. She perfectly captures the essence of Central Park, and she shows the relativity of past influences.

Janet Cardiff: Her Long Black Hair

Nacerima and Couple in a Cage

I was raised very close to a reservation, my brother-law is actually a 1/4 Cheyenne, and I am some Pawnee and Cherokee. I’ve always been very interested with Native American culture and have always understood the monstrosities that befell their cultures at the hand of God seeking europeans. When I started to read Nacerima, I laughed. I immediately saw the irony of it’s story, and I was really glad that it was written. I saw that some of my classmates did not understand the text for a while, or the text made them mad because they were under the impression that the laugh was on any “savage” culture, when it is really on our own “civilized” culture. I have often questioned the motives behind our every day rituals, if they are truly beneficial or superstitious. The fact that the article managed to be published in a public anthropology magazine is quite hilarious. It just shows the gullible ignorance of some people. Unbeknownst to many city-folk, there are still beautiful traditions that are performed during solstices, there are still believers of magic, and there are still those with faith. In many third world countries, indigenous people are seen as different species, as we see in the performance Couple in a Cage. It’s interesting how ignorant people are to the irony of judgement. I appreciated the culture shock that both pieces of work brought, how they managed to make people reconsider their own judgements and thoughts.

Nacerima and Couple in a Cage

Artist Statement

Cheyenne Garnick

Professor Steinmetz

Gender, Race, and Class

December 18th, 2015

Artist Statement: Love

I didn’t really know what to expect moving to the city. It was so far removed from anything I’m really used to, and to be honest I was more in awe of the city than scared. I was amazed at how everything connected, how small of a world it is and how everyone is affected by each other. A lot happened these past few months, although they passed by as if in a dream, and I feel like as a class we have grown a lot. I look around, and I love you all. You are all so talented and smart and inspirational. So far my faith in our generation has relatively been restored.

Alex and I chose to do this project because we felt very strongly about expressing the love that connects everyone, for we all have a beating heart and a thoughtful mind. We focused on the beauty that came from some of the movies we watched. We wanted to channel the drive, passion, love, and dreams of the people of New York City, and through art I believe history was made.

I loved how each class was so incredibly different. How we could speak our minds with out fear, and we would listen to each other. Now it’s time for others to listen, and we must bring awareness to the injustices that have befell our fellow humans.

Recently I wrote a poem about the eternal connection that we humans share with one another.

Are we not all connected?

What a lonely world would we

be if we were not all affected

by each other.

Yet I am.

I am lonely at times.

A spark of fire set a drift

in the desert.

Not cold enough that the

blaze goes out.

Not hot enough for the flame

to burn.

I wait, for the right time,

to burst

to burn

to shine

Then again…

why wait?

Artist Statement

Final Project

Working alone gave me the opportunity to do something quite personal and meaningful to me which I really enjoyed. I first started to think if i wanted to do something a little bit more personal what exactly meant a lot to me during this course. Of course the two things that stuck out to me the most was learning about performance art with Marina Abramovic and Ulay and learning about  the protests ACT-UP conducted. The themes that really spoke to me in these topics was the determination that these people had. They’d stop at nothing to get what they wanted despite some of the possible risks. Although they did what they did for different reasons they both can serve as great inspiration to anyone willing to do something courageous or very difficult. It was really great to read about Marina Abramovic again and read about what her work. She seemed almost fearless and at times insane. Its amazing to think she could keep her composure during rhythm 0. Also the great wall walk must’ve taken great patience and focus to walk the whole distance from opposite ends to meet in the middle and part ways to see each other again in The Artist is Present at the MoMA. I also looked at ACT-UP and the protests they did. Their fight is so inspiring to me. Many people apart of the protests were sick themselves begging for a cure. They knew they could get arrested or beaten by police but even with that in their minds they still chose to fight against the tide. I knew after thinking and reading about all this I knew it had to be my project. I wanted to write something and speak something that could hopefully serve to inspire others like these topics have inspired me. I wanted to point out the amazing qualities these people have and how courageous strong and determined they were. I hope my project and presentation did just that.

Thank you Professor Steinmetz for being such a great teacher and showing me such incredible, also thank you to the rest of the class for being so awesome continue to be inspired and fight for what you want to do in life and for what is right.

Abramovic, Marina, and Klaus Peter Biesenbach. Marina Abramović: The artist is present. The Museum of Modern Art, 2010.

Richards, Mary. Marina Abramovic. Routledge, 2009.

Saalfield, Catherine, and Ray Navarro. “Shocking pink praxis: Race and gender on the ACT UP frontlines.” Inside/out: Lesbian theories, gay theories (1991): 341-69.

Haldi, Abigail. “AIDS, anger, and activism: ACT UP as a social movement organization.” Waves of protest: Social movements since the sixties 101 (1999): 135.

Final Project

KERRY: December 10th, 1989. 7 AM

MONICA: December 10th, 2014. 7 AM

BOTH: I wake up.

MONICA: It’s too early for school. I pour myself a cup of coffee and wait for the bus.

KERRY: I can feel my body protesting as I get out of bed but it’s easy to ignore. The protester in my mind speaks louder, and she’s telling me to get up and fight. It’s a long day ahead of me.

BOTH: I’m already tired,

MONICA: In English Class we read A Tale of Two Cities. Our teacher says it’s one of the most important pieces of literature we will ever read. I’m not sure what I’m supposed to be learning from it. It was the best of times-

KERRY: It was the worst of times. The pills aren’t working, my friends are dying. We’re gathered in a big room and solidifying the plan. There are over four thousand of us and most of us are very weak. Keith Haring’s artwork hangs on the walls and reminds us that together, we are strong.

MONICA: There are over four thousand of us at this high school and none of us have taken an art class. They stopped offering them when the budget was cut- again. The first time it was music classes.

KERRY: Music helps. We blare it while walking down the street and we see graffiti lining the buildings in the name of our cause. Hopelessness doesn’t stand a chance against this kind of empowerment. Art is the “Antidote to Despair.”

MONICA: I’m in History class now. We’re up to the late 20th century in the textbook. The Watergate Scandal-

KERRY: We’re almost to the church now. Some of us are apprehensive about what we’re about to do. It’s Sunday. Is it too much, is this the wrong way to go about things? We’re reminded of our dead friends, siblings, partners. We’re reminded of our own weak, failing bodies. We’re reminded of the looks in the streets, the refusal of service, the rejection from society we receive day after day. Next year, in 1990, Bill Struzenburg will protest alongside many of us for the drugs that are crucial to our survival and he will utter the quote “I’d rather be tainted and alive than politically correct and dead.” This is the only way to go about things.

MONICA: 1974. Nixon resigns.

KERRY: We stand in front of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City.

MONICA: 1980. We’re in a standoff with the Soviet Union.

KERRY: It’s a die-in. We’re piled up on top of each other’s bodies, seemingly lifeless. It’s almost too accurate a depiction of how most of us will end up. We’re angry-

MONICA: 1981. Reagan is elected. He creates a defense strategy against missiles from the communists and calls it Star Wars. My professor laughs when he tells us about it.

MONICA: There’s a stock market crash in 1987.


MONICA: We spend a whole class on Reaganomics. The Berlin Wall crumbles.


MONICA: George H.W. Bush Approves the Savings and Loans Bailout. In 1991, there’s bank fraud in New York.

MONICA: I meet up with some friends after school. One of them is telling me about how a girl from our class had sex with one of the guys on the football team. I told her I thought he was gay.

KERRY: I’m being dragged away in handcuffs but I’m still yelling. The Church-goers look horrified and that’s strangely satisfying. I know we’re making a change.

MONICA: My friend said:
KERRY: “Gross, I bet he gave her his AIDS”

MONICA: and someone else chimed in:

KERRY: “She’s such a slut she probably already has it”

MONICA: I laughed, and they went home. My homework is an essay on the 1980’s, the “Age of the Personal Computer.” We made so much progress with technology in that decade.

KERRY: I’m in a holding cell and it’s too cold in here.

BOTH: I am so tired.

KERRY: I’m shivering and I know I have a fever. I asked them for a blanket but they spit in my face and called me a dyke. I try to stay awake but my body is weak and protesting. I don’t want to fight anymore.

MONICA: I finish the essay and get in bed. I don’t want to go to school again tomorrow.

KERRY: I’m resting my head on a concrete floor and thinking about my friends.

BOTH: I fall asleep.

MONICA: December 11th, 2014. I wake up.

KERRY: *Silence*


Works Cited

Christiansen, Adreienne E., and Jeremy J. Hanson. “Comedy As Cure For Tradegy: Act Up And The Rhetotic Of AIDS.” Quarterly Journal Of Speech 82.2 (1996): 157. Communication & Mass Media Complete. Web. 17 Dec. 2015.


Freeman, Jo, and Victoria L. Johnson. Waves of Protest: Social Movements Since the Sixties. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 1999. Print.

Gould, Deborah B. Moving Politics: Emotion and Act Up’s Fight against Aids. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2009. Print.

Shilts, Randy. And the Band Played On: Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1987.


Wall Street Orchestra

You can check out the coinciding film here.

John Cage once said, “There is no such thing as silence.” And with the maniacal tones of everyday reality flooding the streets from Battery to Holy Bronx, we are overwhelmed by the fusion of sirens, subways, and howls from the mad. The idea of a city symphony, or anything pertaining to the ‘soundtrack’ of a city, can be expressed through a multitude of ways. There are beautiful symphonies such as those heard in A Bronx Morning by one of the first experimental filmmakers, Jay Leyda, and Manhatta, a short film also featuring the “city symphony” soundtrack, shot by Paul Strand. Each film presented to the viewer an idea of ambiguity in the sense that a city can be viewed in multiple ways solely by method of sound; this sound being what we call “city symphony.” Jay Leyda’s film features an optimistic piano soundtrack as in-motion shots of streets in the Bronx are captured. Whereas, in Manhatta, the city is portrayed in a dark, serious ambience with an eerie, machine-like manner. But what would happen if we, as both viewers and filmmakers, let the city decide for itself its own instrumental? But how could a city choose a soundtrack to encompass its undivided essence? The answer is very simple but with a slight accent of complexity. We let the city be.

The way a city can be viewed or even imagined is based off of many different ideas, such as experiencing in person, music, images, etc. But when the music, for sure one of the most influential and quintessential forces amongst everybody of any age, is removed from a film—we are left with what is real, being influenced by what actually is, not what it is imagined to be under the intoxication of a love song or a punk, avant-garde jazz album. At the bottom of anything, meaning to its slightest, most pure degree, is where the truth is bestowed. When you have nothing, anything means everything; but when you have everything, anything is almost nothing. Surely this quote comes off as being definitely more complex than the topic, but really try to understand and think of ways in which it is applicable. When there is a lack of sound or music, whether it be in a film or on the very streets of our regular routines, there is almost some kind of chamber of reflection that you are involuntarily swiveled into. You develop a higher sense of awareness as though one were under the influence of some hallucinogenic drug. You hear calls, voices, sirens, horns, subways—you are listening to the life of the city. If you walked the streets in a city of silence, what would that entail? Communication, understanding, experience—all of these things which lie in the same basket of those of sound and music would be damaged, if not destroyed. The music of Manhattan does not need to be heard from Terminal 5 or Madison Square Garden, but on the corner of Broadway, from the humble and worn benches of Straus Park where Aciman sat reminiscing of conversation, from the Hare Krishnas in the southeast corner of Union Square. The city symphony is solely the symphony that the city composes in a single orchestra, playing through night and day as though it was a never ending performance.

The lack of music in a certain setting provides clarity through the simplicity of being raw. Just as the audience sat and waited in silence as John Cage performed his experimental 4’33” in 1952, I sat on the humble ledge below the statue of George Washington himself and, for four minutes, thirty-three seconds, sat in silence and felt the composition that was not only Wall Street, but the central vein of Manhattan. The ambient bass riff of the Wall Street Orchestra rings below your feet and drops your heart through its steaming manhole covers as it drags you into the wave of vibration that halos the island.

Through the eyes of silence, you see more. It aids in providing to you a heightened sense of union with not only people; but with your God, your world, and your city. Hopping onto the wave of the beautiful untouched reality oxygenizing the city, you will realize what is real and what is useless. It was the roar and tremor of running subways below City Hall Park and the cracked begging calls from the homeless. It was the sirens and the shoutings on 42nd Street, the classic laughs and conversations on dope and dollar bills that made the city its own. “There is no such thing as silence.”

Ryan Cohen

Wall Street Orchestra