Wednesday, February 24, 2016

bye bye kitty

Professor Christina Spiker gave a teaching demo on February 19th titled "Bye Bye Kitty: Issues in Cntemporary Japanese Art" where she discussed the direction that Japanese art has been taking over the past five years. This was an exciting topic for me to learn about since I had a lot of associations regarding Japanese visual culture but knew few contemporary artists other than Takashi Murakami.

Takashi Murakami at Miami Art Basel, 2008

Spiker explained that the art world has taken a dramatic shift with the last five years, and that current trends are steering away from the *kawaii* optimism common in Japanese visual culture, observable in Takashi's smiling flowers. Artists that Spiker presented, such as Ikeda Manabu and Aida Makoto are combining past and present visual trends to make social and political statements. The Tohoku earthquake and tsumnami played a role in this mental shift as well as the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. Spiker described the show  "Bye Bye Kitty: Between Heaven and Hell in Contemporary Japanese Art" that took place in 2011, the year of these catastrophes, and encouraged us to look into the upcoming exhibition "In the Wake: Japanese photographers respond to 3/11" which will take place March of this year.  

detail of Foretoken, Ikeda Manabu, 2013

Ash Colour Mountains, Aida Makoto

During an interactive point in her lecture, Spiker had students compare images of well-known Japanese prints to the works of Contemporary artists. Aida Makoto and Ikeda Manadu create works in such incredible detail that are are very conceptually compelling. Ash Colour Mountains utilizes the form of Mount Fuji, a common symbol in Japanese prints, and Foretoken takes the form of the Wave of Kaganawa (1829-1832) (a classic dorm room poster). Looking closely at Ash Colour Mountains one can see that the mountain is made out of what seems like infinite disposable work men, in khaki pants and white t-shirts. Foretoken is made up of elements of a cosmopolitan Japanese city and can be understood as a commentary on garbage. I think that both of these works are provocative in the way that they are able to present bleak themes in such an aesthetically pleasing and tasteful way. Both of these works are massive (Ash Colour Mountains in 10 meters wide) and they would be quite an experience to see in person, compared to on a computer screen. 

detail of Ash Colour Mountains

Monday, February 22, 2016

Project Projection!

For my final project, I am planning to create an experimental video to project onto the installation piece I am submitting in the Studio Art Senior Show. I am continuing to thinking about ideas of layering with multimedia. My goal is to create a projection that will enhance and compliment the shapes and ideas that I am already thinking about in the installation (pattern, movement, fluidity physical space, maybe hinting at whimsicality or grotesqueness without being overt about it).

I would like to continue experimenting with stop motion and to try out the software Dragonframe. I spoke to Anne Haydock about my ideas and she suggested that I look at Dada videos as well as videos by artists Man Ray and Anthony McCall, since they deal with high abstraction and have simple high contrast forms.  I will continue to think about negative space and two-dimensionality in this project since I think that superimposing this on the installation could have a cool effect. I really like the idea of looking into film, however this is medium I have not worked with before and approaching this now may be biting off more than I can chew.

Yayoi Kusama and Kara Walker are on my mind in the way they create multi-media interactive, sensory-overload spaces within white-cube environments (I haven’t actually experienced rooms by these artists in person, although I saw a sculpture by Kusama at the exit of the SFO airport). I’m also thinking about the forms used by artists like Eva Hesse, Louise Bourgeois, Kiki Smith. I need to look into artists that work specifically with projection (I will scope out books on the library third floor). I also plan on looking through the archives of the Mattress Factory.

The lovely Eva Hesse

I will need to think about the set-up and effect of the projection within the Wriston Galleries and should discuss this with Beth Zinsli sooner rather than later. Things to consider are: where will the projector be mounted (obvious or not/ can viewers interact with it). I will need to be hyper-alert of technical difficulties and losing data with software crashes (especially since this is a new type of project for me). I will also need to think about how much of the installation this will project 

week 8: look into analogue projector and Dragon Frame, create pieces for animation
week 9: create footage and editing

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

burden and baudrillard and the realness of being shot

Chris Burden (1946-2015)

"Doomed" (1975)

The performances of Chris Burden are intentionally shocking and disturbing and have the capacity to affect "viewers" encountering them through their documentation and retelling. Burden creates an immediately real experience for his audience members; their life-threatening quality transforms their experience from an a viewer into that of participant and witness. I think this connects to the confusion of illusion and reality in the "fake hold-up" scenario that Baudrillard describes. In the same way "Of the same order as the impossibility of rediscovering an absolute level of the real, is the impossibility of staging an illusion. Illusion is no longer possible, because the real is no longer possible” (Baudrillard, 38).

Many of Burden's pieces draw attention to real-world stuff such as person-to-person contracts and the brutality of war. Although his performances are meant to be ephemeral, their residue such as "relics" (nails, jackets) and documentation (photography and sound recording) are important factors in historicizing his work. Burden also raises the question of authorship-- why isn't the shooter in "Shoot Piece" (link contains footage Burden being shot in performance) or any other helper referenced besides him? Legal reasons or interest in anonymity? In my research I was surprised to learn how corporate this guy is—I had encountered him a number of times in reading but only with works like “Shoot Piece”. I didn’t know that he was the first artist to be represented at Gagosian Gallery and that he completely changed his work to large-scale sculptures mid-career (which evoke the “real” in a different, more subdued kind of way). It's challenging for me to articulate an opinion on Burden's work...I feel like it's bothersome but in a very boring way. I think I like the work Marina and Ulay much more because of the emotion and passion connected to them, whereas Burden is entirely monotone and robot-like about his pursuits. 

"Relation in Time" (1977)

Monday, January 25, 2016

documentation vs. transformation

Baudrillard's statement "We all become living specimens under the spectral light of ethnology, or of anti-ethnology which is the only pure form of triumphal ethnology, under the sign of dead differences, and of the resurrection of difference" made me think of the importance the West (generally) places on archiving, documenting and understanding artworks. Artists and makers in the present day are especially encouraged to create online presences for their work and arts experience in order to publicize themselves. In this project I was thinking about the possibilities of obscuring my work, that is originally intended to be three dimensional, by taking photos of it which I then photoshopped. To create these images I played around with lighting equipment and Photoshop layering. All of the lines in the images are made out of cut paper and I think that this is challenging to tell by looking at the photos. 

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

pattern & beauty

I had a bit of an "insider perspective" of Tony Orrico's work and the show "An Unnamed Need: Pattern and Beauty in Contemporary Art" since I am a Wriston Gallery intern and Tony visited my Studio Art Seminar class. As an intern, I helped out with some of the small details for the exhibition set-up such as hammering the plaques onto the walls with tiny gold nails, checking the screen that displayed one of Tony's past performances, and adjusting the insects, of Jeniifer Angus, that had tilted in the first room. In Tony's visit to my Senior Sem class, he discussed his practice and experiences as an artist and led an interactive activity with us. I engaged with him the next day over lunch and a critique session and got to take photos of his performance as a "photographer".

Since I am in a performance art tutorial with Professor Carlson, I have been thinking about Tony's work as they could be applied to different understandings of"performance art". I find it interesting that documentation/ the resulting "art object" and physical performance are both so crucial to his work, and also that he performs drawings in rotations--some drawings he has only done several times, and he does not practice them when not in front of an audience.

I really loved the show as a whole--especially with my interest in pattern and installation art. I thought the work was dynamic and worked really well cohesively. It is also so cool that we have work by Michelle Grabner, (one of the three curators at the 2015 Whitney Biennial and involved and numerous other cool-looking projects such as Poor Farm). I think I was most captivated by the first room--the colors of the insects are so vibrant and raw. Their ready-made/ assembled "wallpaper" nature of the insects made me think of Baudrillard's idea of the "museumized" and that "for ethnology to live, it's object must die" (13). I think Angus's work is effective because of the "real" color and the engulfing nature of the installation, and duality between beauty (design) and what is typically considered more grotesque (insects). I would like to learn more about her ethics for collecting.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

the Hyperreal

This jacket is the Real deal. 

I'm glad that we are reading "Simulations" because I have actually been wanting to read more post-modernism/ post-structuralism theory/ philosophy. I really like thinking about hyperreal places and scenarios like Disneyland,  Las Vegas or other tourist attractions. I'm a fan of Borjes and Cindy Sherman, who both use these ideas in their work. I like the movie "Synecdoche, New York" which is a great example of the hyppereal.

This article on SF Senior Chinatown Fashion seemed like a good example of the hyperreal. It sort of reminded me Kenneth Anger's "Scorpio Rising" in the way it documents a culture from an outsider's perspective. The article is about a photo project of two young girls called "Chinatown pretty", where they showcase the eccentric and colorful fashions of local senior residents. It seems like the girls are trying to make more of a story-telling project rather than poke fun at the style of the participants. I think this ties into "It is thus extremely naive to look for ethnology among Savages or in some Third World--it is here, everywhere, in the metropolis, among the whites, in a world completely catalogued and analyzed and then artificially revived as though real, in a world of simulation..." (Baudrillard, 16).

For my project, I made a short animation out of paper scraps. This could be thought of with "Whereas representation tries to absorb simulation by interpreting it as false representation, simulation envelopes the whole edifice of representation as itself a simulacrum" (Baudrillard, 11). The animation is very simple and geometric in form. It isn't based off of a concrete image or idea but I was interested in creating a sense of movement, similar to movement that might be found in nature. For future projects in this class I would like to experiment with making projections that incorporate stop-motion as well as real elements.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Final project Akrasis video

For my final project I will collaborate with Max and Mark, the members of Akrasis, to make a video for a song on their upcoming album. I am not sure whether to call this an experimental video with soundtrack or a music video. The general concept of the music video will be "existential garbage". The song "Glad Tidings" that it will be for is a slower song on the album with lyrics like "I'm a liver filtering out poison so the greater organism stays intoxicated". Mark is helping me visually interpret the beats and I will use the lyrics in the song for visual references like "crash test dummies", "prosthetic blemish", "brain's all runny". The video will be about encountering mass amounts of decay and garbage with an accepting, unresponsive kind of attitude. Currently, the plan is to do a combination of experimental stop-motion animation and video. For the video part, I will film Max and mark walking around the nearby junk yard and in another more sterile location eating brightly colored ice cream with lots of sprinkles. I might use one of the rooms in the Hurvis building for photography.