Shreya Babel

Caught in Oblivion

Class of: 2027

Major: Communication Design BFA

Medium: Photography

Faculty: Juanli Carrion

Prompt: Create an alternative publication about one lesser-known New York City neighborhood that makes visible multiple hidden perspectives of this community for your peers at The New School. Compare propaganda or other “fake news” that has been published about this neighborhood, to your own on-the-ground research. The publication should have a title and information based on reporting of a local event attended with members of the community: e.g: a community board meeting, a local festival, a school board meeting, a performance, etc. You will create an alternative publication incorporating writing to be developed in seminar, documentation, research, conceptual mapping of the neighborhood, graphic/digital design, and editorial processes. Formats can include fanzine, blogs, website, apps, podcasts, TikTok/reels series, YouTube videos, etc. Seminar lectures will introduce research tools by investigating various media outlets and their bias, intended audience, and tone. You will use this knowledge to assess sources gathered to support the development of your alternative publication.

The Muppets Take Manhattan depicts New York as a vibrant yet mysterious city, focusing on the most scenic views of central park, the empire State building, and many other places we associate with New York as a whole. However, upon our visit to the Pulitzer fountain, we found a much more grim reality. While there was no doubt beauty in the sculpted fountain and beautiful architecture surrounding it, there was also a sense of sadness and grime that is represented in our chosen media.

In an era dominated by social media, it has become a commonplace to showcase one’s seemingly happiest moments. As a lifeless pigeon with its feathers scattered, lays on the ground, ignored by a flock of pigeons nearby, almost symbolic of the dying of the memory and people around not paying heed to it. There was even an injured pigeon, yet no one seemed inclined to offer assistance. A similar lack of awareness was exhibited by a woman engrossed in her phone, her surroundings fading as she scrolled through recently taken pictures. This stark contrast highlights how both individuals were unaware of their environment. However, while the lady made a deliberate choice to disconnect herself, the injured pigeon had no such option due to its injury. It’s a conscious decision- the choice to document a moment rather than fully experience its purity and authenticity. People are aware of this choice, but they still lean towards capturing the moment rather than living in it.

The colour blocks in the centre exhibit emotions that are happiness, sadness, jealousy, anger, love, loneliness and confusion. Human figures using their mobile phones have been taken out of the pictures representing how they’re physically there but are mentally absent from their surroundings.