Political Ad

Incumbent Georgia Senator Johnny Isakson (Republican) debuted this ad in August of this year for his reelection campaign against challenges Jim Barksdale (Democrat) and Allen Buckley (Libertarian). The ad centers on testimony from a mother whose daughter was killed while working Africa whom Isakson contacted personally and worked closely with her mother. She even states that despite being a democrat, she is blessed to Isakson as her Senator, endorsing his reelection.

The ad targets two demographics that Republicans traditionally struggled with, especially in the year of Trump: women and democrats. As the Trump campaign has disgusted and turned off women throughout this election cycle, down-ballot candidates have scrambled to court them. In this ad, Isakson utilizes the sense of motherhood to demonstrate to women that they can trust him, much like the grieving mother in the video. Though simple, it is probably an effective ad because Isakson specifically targets white suburban women, a block that republicans rely on but has weakened due to Trump. Since few people closely scrutinize their Senators’ records, this ad likely reinforces notions of Isakson and protects the simple trust that should reelect him.

Local and State Ballots

I learned that on the state level, this year I can vote for, beyond the federal offices, my State Senator, State Representative, State Public Service Commissioner, and School District Board members. However, all of these offices except the commissioner have only one name on the ballot, which is exceptionally disappointing because I have several issues regarding the holders of these offices, yet they are my only options.

Gender Ad Remixer

What immediately stood out to me was the difference in audio use. The boys’ commercials featured lower, more gravelly voiceovers complimented by sharp sound effects like swords or guns while the girls’ commercials were often narrated by a soft-toned woman or very high and upbeat music and singing. The audio played into the stereotypes that the toys themselves reinforce. For the boys, the ads show off guns and battleships and other sorts of “manly” or “masculine” war-based toys, but the girls instead had dolls that encourage gender roles of motherhood or homemaking. Boys were soldiers, and girls cooks. I feel like I shouldn’t be surprised that these stereotypes are still forced on children, but I guess that I had hope that times were changing. Toys are a vital yet subtle mechanism of enforcing gender roles and leave huge impressions on children, and it feels absurd and wrong that we still practice genderized toys.

Website Organization Relfection

The first that I did to organize my website was that I created categories. Originally, my posts lacked any form of organization, so I could not find related posts. I created categories based off of the categories that Dr. Wharton put on her website and made subcategories that organized posts together that need to be together. For example, I created a category for Major Projects and put all of the individual projects in their own categories, making it easier for me to see, submit, and edit individual projects, and assignments in general.

Then, I added tags to every post to help my classmates navigate my website. If they wanted to see what artifacts that I had collected that featured sculpture, instead of searching through my projects or every artifact, they can just select the sculpture tag and easily find all of them. Once again, this makes searching through my website much easier and better aids my classmate.

Questions About Reading Annotations

On your website, it says that we can receive bonus points for doing more reading annotations, but it also says that the project can only be worth 600 points. So does it work that, if I have an aggregate score of 500 after all three are turned in, I can only receive 100 points for any extra annotations, to get to 600? Or, can I go above that number?

Also, when I do the annotations, it works better for me that I do not see others’ annotations because it distracts my reading and thinking, so can I start a group on Hypothesis for my notes and invite you into it so that you can read it? In order to keep the conversation aspect going, I can still go back and respond to other annotations.

Website Optimization

I had already liked how I had set up my website earlier, but through tags and categories, I was able to make the site better streamlined and searchable. I added tags to every post to describe what they were or what they were included in, so, for example, classmates can now easily look at specific types of art that I have archived along the Beltline. I then streamlined categories so that all artifacts could go under one category but be more individually found by subcategories by medium. I did a similar system from projects and created a third layer to organize the environmental descriptions by project number so that I could locate them more easily when working. The website remains mostly like how I initially had it, except better organized and optimized.

Built Environment Description 1: Art on the Eastside Beltline


Map of the Eastside Beltline

The Beltline started as a thesis by a Georgia Tech student, later turned into a grassroots political movement, and today serves as a cultural epicenter and a hallmark of civic pride. The first section of the Beltline, the Eastside, opened as recently as 2012, yet it already possesses a dazzling richness of art. In many ways, walking down the Beltline feels like walking through the world’s most unique art museum.

Atlanta BeltLine Art on the BeltLine September 16, 2015 photos by Christopher T Martin

One of many benches

Along the Beltline, you will see sculptures most often, and they take a beautiful myriad of forms, few of them the familiar classic form (you will find no Roman emperors here). The sculptures that you will see resemble structures, people, bicycles, and more. Some you will struggle to see because they barely rise above the unmolested grass, while others tower above you. Several sculptures have for backgrounds bright skies, yet many have gray walls. Interestingly, some pieces double as benches, beautiful to look at and comfortable to sit on. Some artists designed sculptures that act as gates and landmarks, notifying walkers of exits. Like the Beltline itself, the sculptures blend aesthetic and utility in remarkable ways.


Short statue on the Beltline

Atlanta BeltLine Art 2013 photos by Christopher T Martin www.christophertmartin.com

Beltline Mural

The environment creates less space for painting,but artists persist. Below bridges, painters have walled the tunnels with expansive murals, like a beautiful form of street art or graffiti. Again looking at the mix of practicality and beauty, stores along the trail have added paintings on the backs of their stores that symbolize and inform what services they provide.


Band performing on a sunnier day

Sadly, I cannot yet comment on the music on the Beltline because the rain drove musicians away. I found only one performer, a singer and guitarist, during my walk, using a bridge for protection. I passed by a piano covered in flowers from the Pianos for Peace project, but someone had covered it to shield from the rain.


Pianos for Peace

Of all the distinctions, perhaps the greatest difference from an ordinary museum was the clientele. Though undoubtedly less busy than a usual day (again, the rain’s fault), people still flocked to the path. The visitors included joggers and bikers exercising and gasping for breath, friends dressed in nice Sunday clothes strolling and chatting, and families walking and biking. Most striking to me, some folks only used the trail to walk from their homes to buy groceries. It is hard to imagine that another art museum covered in a plethora of sculptural forms, lined with grand canvases, capped off with trees and skylines, a place equally for families, runners, and church-goers, and usable as a route to daily errands exists anywhere else in the world.

(All pictures taken by me or the Atlanta Beltline official website)

Nature’s Way


Everything feels like art along the Beltline, and the art present does not limit itself to sculptures and murals, even the benches are something special. Pictured above is one of those benches. This bench, titled “Nature’s Way,” is situated in a small clearing, backdropped by trees and an apartment complex. Rather than being completely straight, the structure zig-zags several times, and the surfaces feature different patterns of yellow and black that symbolize scenes like flowers and farming fields. Of course, you can also sit on the bench, not just look at it.