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.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Andrea Zittel and Art and Design

Who would have compared chicken breeding with interior decorating? It was a obvious connection to Andrea Zittell who makes the point that both are artificial and fabricated by humans. Through her artworks, Zittell likes to point out habits and qualities of humans that are shaped by the things around them. The goal of many of her pieces is to allow humans to gain a sense of freedom and escape through imposed structure.

I admire Zittel for how involved in her work she is and for her first-hand connection to her audience or purchasers. Her art also encompasses her life experiments and she shares personal stories and projects in the making on her  blog that she updates consistently. She blogs about normal-people things too, like making art on the kitchen table and having mice problems. Judging from her blog post and products she seems to have a demographic of buyers that is upper-class, trendy and interested in the outdoors. This is where it is hard to distinguish between "art" and "products". I could find similar items as the ones she makes in a hip furniture store in San Francisco. These wouldn't be called art though. I aesthetically like what Zittel is doing and I appreciate a lot of her commentary but I think her art can only be affective for those who buy it. How is the work of Zittel different from this new IKEA collection focused on furniture for small, unconventional spaces?

Monday, May 5, 2014

the Sensationalism of Vivian Maier

The work of Vivian Maier is intriguing on many levels and has gained mass appeal over the span of several years. Besides the role of social media, I came up a number of reasons of why Vivian Meyers is so compelling to a contemporary audience.
  1. Her photography acts as a diary or visual case study. Her obsessive documentation acts as a lens of her life and of the world around her over the span of many years
  2. She is a working class woman photographer when knowledge of and access to film was not as accessible
  3. She was self-taught and had a strong eye of composition
  4. The nature of her work raises many questions about her the story and story and conditions of her life/ known facts about her life raise questions about her work (such as location and access to cameras)
  5. Her work has a historic quality, showing street life during the early 20th century
I am a fan of Vivian Maier's work but  my view of her work is also impacted by the "sensational" quality of her life. In my mind I compare her appeal to that of Henry Darger and Van Gogh. Henry Darger's work has an obsessive nature in it, he was a custodian, he was skilled and self taught and his work was discovered only after his death. Van Gogh is a classic example of the "suffering artist" that never sold a painting in his life and his work is a combination of self awareness and depictions of the country life surrounding him. These are just two examples of artists highly invested in their work that did not achieve fame during their lifetime but have a developed a posthumous type of cult appreciation.

I was very impressed by the research and connections made by Pamela Bannos, especially since she was not familiar with this kind of detective work before the Vivian Maier case. It amazed me how she was able to mark the date and location of photos by small clues and how she was able to draw on newspaper archives for evidence. The way that she tracked her movement of Vivian Maier on Google Maps, used her knowledge of culture and features of cameras of the period to understand Vivian Maier's use and access of them, how she was able to understand that by a subtle change in lighting  that a photo was taken from multiple angles and how a certain door occurring in several photos was the entrance to dark room--these all made me think of the kids of dots that are connected on shows like CSI.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Contemplating Life and Death in a "How to" Video

For my "How to" video I demonstrated the process of separating egg yolks from egg whites. I called this "Contemplating Life and Death" because of the inanimate/ life-like/ visceral quality of eggs have, the duality of the yolk and egg whites, and because moving the egg yolk back and forth between the egg shells seemed like a "contemplating" gesture. Separating eggs seemed fitting for the project since it is very banal, like a lot of "how to" videos. I liked the idea of having a set-up similar to a Martha Stewart cooking show but having a sardonic undertone to it, by commenting on death.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Public Communication

Technology and Media can blur boundaries of privacy. For my project, a friend and I improvised a conversation in the cafe about personal matters that many people would not want to receive attention for. In the conversation, we nonchalantly discussed suicide attempts, experiences with abortions, acting sexually online, having STDS, having a boyfriend in prison and a father that slept with a best friend. At many points during the conversation both of us intentionally become distracted by ourselves (hair or nails) or our cell phone and become less engaged, even though the other person is talking about a seemingly important subject.

I am not trying to poke fun of the topics in the conversation or say that these are things that people should be embarrassed about and I hope that is clear in the video. I chose these as examples of what many students would not to share with acquaintances online or want to discuss in front of or with others that they are not close to. I think that this would have been more of a "performance piece" if the camera were not visibly right next to us. I could have made this more performance-arty by having the camera not visibly next to us and by speaking a lot louder so that those around us could obviously hear what we were saying.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Carol Emmons

Fake flickering candles next to tarot cards, small cradles filled with large metallic pearls, dice and raffle tickets, and old gaudy clocks, text of ambiguous creation mythology. The room seemed like a collection of readymades of discarded spacecraft equipment and thrift store finds. Sun Ra might have approved.

According to Carol Emmons, creator of the work, "I am interested in the apparatuses and fallibilities of varied ways of knowing the universe, and these approaches as lenses through which to experience the world". Emmons is interested in creating "large-scale, site-specific, participatory installations" that challenges the viewer's relationship to their world.

I did not entirely understand the intention of what was in front of me in the gallery space. The objects were uncanny and interesting aesthetically and I appreciated the way that the architecture of the room was taken into consideration. I would like to hear more about Emmon's reasoning for choosing certain objects and grouping them together in the way that she did in order to relate them to the universe. Many objects seemed to be connected to concepts of fortune and chance while others while others suggested aspects of myths and cosmos, but I didn't see clear conceptual understandings of other pieces. 

specific objects relating to chance and fortune that she did. 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Media Interactions

For my interactive performative piece, I will experiment with boundaries of communication by staging a loud and obnoxious phone call in a public place. In the phone call I will talk about fake private and personal matters that do not present me in a favorable way. According to Nicolas Bourriaud, author of "Relational Aesthetics" the "Society of the Spectacle" is "a society where human relations are no longer "directly experienced", but start to become blurred in their "spectacular" representation." I am fascinated by the way that users of social network sites both filter and spew out information about themselves and how easy it has become to know about people by what they project online, without actually knowing them.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Something is Happening Exhibition

Arranging an exhibition, allows one to see a work or body of work in a new context. A photo that has become familiar by being observed on a screen countless times, and in conjunction with many similar photos appears very different when singled out, framed against a white wall and arranged next to the work of others. The title "Something is Happening" for the show is based on the Bob Dylan song Ballad of a Thin Man. As much as I love Dylan, I don't think that the phrase "Something is Happening" is a fitting description for the body of work. Our assignment for our photo set was to address the obliviousness of the general public to a significant change in our environment and to critique our surroundings. Dylan's understanding of change is way different than many of our critiques in the Lawrence environment and I don't think the title really gets the point of environmental critique across. 

Setting up the exhibition was a good experience because it allowed me to see my work in a professional setting and be in the position of showing my work to others I am not close to. There were moments that I felt slightly awkward at the opening when I was in the room with several other visitors and, feeling obligated to be present in the room, wasn’t sure if I should re-look at the work of my peers or “entertain” the visitors. Nothing surprised me about the process of setting up for the gallery show since I have done several small class shows like this before. The curation of the show inspired me to think about how whimsically I would set up a gallery room if I had it for my work alone. 
Rob Neilson examining my photo "Replacer"

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Spandex and Protein

For my book layout, I place photos of packaged health food products next to photos of questionable exercise conduct. On each two page spread I pair together photos based on composition, color, line, and shapes involved. The photos of the model are arranged so that there is variation in their order in the book. The photos of the food packaging bring text and force the reader to make connections between the images they are next to. There is no metaphorical intention to the pairings or relationship between the text on the labels but the viewer might think this.

Photos of vegan/ glutton-free/ organic/ free-range/ GMO-free/ 10-grain products was one of my original ideas for the photo project but I hadn't considered combining it with the "Gym Culture" photos until I began the layout of my photo book. It was challenging to create rhythm,  balance and variation with the same model in the same location in every photo.

In "Transforming Destiny into Awareness: The Americans", Greeough states "Frank's comments suggest that he had no preconceived ideas about what each section of the book should address and instead let their focus grow out of the act of linking the photos together" and that "the very subtlety of his sequencing, coupled with the opaque nature of many of the photographs themselves, leaves the book open to various interpretations". In both of these aspects, I was inspired by Frank's methodology in designing my book layout. I allowed ideas to grow out of my experimentation with placement of photos and I would like my vague visual commentary to be open to interpretation. 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Gym Culture

In my set of Gym Culture photos I explore gym mentality and acceptable ways to look and act while working out around others. For the photos I have constructed scenarios of conduct that would draw attention in exercise facilities. Gyms are typically sterile, quiet places with isolated individuals that are very focused on their machine of use and work out routine. In the photos, I bring up ideas of self-consciousness, physical appearance and multi-tasking while working out as well as the oddity of exercise methods and equipment. The exercise equipment in the photos are treated as machines and tools of excitement that offer the ability to not focus on being physical while in the act of it.

The message of my photos is self-evident through my use of satire. I work with McLuhan's idea of "Humor as a system of communications and as a probe of our environment--of what's really going on--affords us our most appealing anti-environment tool. It does not deal in theory, but in immediate experience, and is often the best guide to changing perceptions." Through my photos I am not asking for a major social change in the way that people work out--I watch the TV while on the treadmill also-- rather these photos are a reflection on the subtly odd ways that humans acts when in the act of becoming "fit". 

Lauren Semivan

The work of Lawrence graduate and professional photgrapher Lauren Semivan is a layering of contradictions. Her images create sensations of electricity and decay, hope and helplessness, elegance and chaos, illusion and candidness. Scribbled lines and tangled wires against billowing curtains and wispy, cloud-like surfaces. The woman (the artist) appearing in many of the photos is identity-less, windswept, deep in focus seemingly holding onto whatever is in her reach. The found objects arranged in her sculptural compositions are vintage, organic and rustic.

Semivan feels that she needs to live in location that is nurturing to her creative process and artistic endeavors. Neither the thoughts of working three jobs to rent a closet home in New York city or living in a suburban apartment with two cats, a TV and air conditioning are appealing to her. Both her and her  husband value self-sufficiency and living in flux rather than reclining to a comfortable boredom.

Her work is highly deliberate, personal and purist and execution. She creates all of her images using an early 20th century 8x10" view camera. All of the surrealist qualities of Semivan's work are created by manipulation of physical space rather than of photo, camera or other means of technology.

According to Semivan "Within each image, ghosts of previous drawings create a sense of time suspended, evoking gesture, atmosphere and memory. Photographs allow me to access the extraordinary, to keep a record of dreams, and to employ the unknown."

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Sandy Dyas

Sandy Dyas Photography

Sandy Dyas uses art to make sense of her life and to find truth. She does this by photo documentation and by creating her own visual language that she can share with others. Her photography is effective because of the way it portrays her familiarity to the identities and cultures that inhabit the Midwest and specifically Iowa. Her relationship to the Midwest reminded me David Foster Wallace’s speculations of the region in A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again: "Those from IN/WI/ Northern IL think of their own Midwest as agronomics and commodity futures and corn-detasseling and bean-walking and seed-company caps, apple-cheeked Nordic types, cider and slaughter and football games with white fogbanks of breath exiting helmets".
Themes of friendships, small town shops, vintage cars, hunting souvenirs, old-time folk artists and kooky advertisements bring sensations of vibrancy, curiosity and tenderness in Dyas’ work. Her most effective work is her portraits of musicians. She is able to capture their soul, vigor and authentic country charm.

Dyas’ work inspired me think about my connection to landscape and location. In recent years, my neighborhood, the Mission District in San Francisco, has been rapidly developing. Every time I come back home I find that new artisan organic bakeries, designer coffee shops and vintage bottled soda shops are replacing the dollar stores, kitchy wedding decoration shops and family-run taquerias that I grew up walking past. Watching this change take place saddens me. I feel my neighborhood, which was such an important part of my childhood, is growing up in this burst of popularity and loosing a lot of its quirky charm. Although some of the changes taking place are enticing it has felt slightly unsettling to come home not to experience familiarity here that I knew my whole life. I agree with Sandy that you never really know your true opinion about a place until you have left and come back. 

Experimenting with Experimental Video

"Time" has ceased, "space" has vanished. We now live in a global village...a simultaneous happening...Information pours upon us, instantaneously and continuously. As soon as information is acquired, it is rapidly replaced with still newer information"-Marshall McLuhan

In creating with my video, I became interested in the relationships I could form between unconnected sound and imagery. I did not have an end-goal in mind while capturing footage for the video but rather decided to film what was in front of me on several different occasions. In my video I juxtapose different interpretive dances next to each other and combined this with audio that I filmed. The different dance clips act as a response to the narration/ music and to each other. I played with the idea of time and space by overlapping dancing footage to create a multiple exposure effect, by speeding up parts of the video and by having the majority of video clips be action packed and a disorienting less than 10 seconds. 

A week ago, I initiated a “Performance Art Night” in my house where there was interpretive dancing, story telling (with the narrator acting out all the characters), a collective singing of the National Anthem and Bad Poetry reading among other things. Most of the footage was taken from here. Since my house is filled with a number of experimental souls it made sense to me to find inspiration in their activity and merry-making.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

A Brief History of My Visual Ideas

Since a young age I have been inclined to express myself through visual means. My relationship with art has been inconsistent over the years but has been generally consuming when I have a project that I want to accomplish. The following is a chopped history of my art since age 4.

I express the desire to be an artist in this self portrait I drew in preschool. Below it is another drawing from that time of a girl that has no feet.

Self Portrait of an Artist, 1998
Girl who Lost her Feet, 1998

This is my first website as a visual artist circa 2001 My dad made this for me and I forgot about it until a year ago. At the time, at age 7, I was very inspired by young women and their idealized roles as mermaids and cheerleaders. I also started taking my first art lessons at this time, where I learned to draw and paint still lifes.

In 5th grade history class (which I think was 2006) I started making model replicas for extra credit on research projects. This is a  replica I made of the Trojan Horse. It had toy soldiers that came out of its torso on a string and moved on wheels.

Trojan Horse, 2006
In 2010 I took my first oil painting class at my high school and learned the method of glazing. This is my first oil painting and it is drawn from a vulture photo that my art teacher had in his office. He was really into safari animals and I really liked this bird for how distorted its body seemed.

Vulture, 2010

This is a collage I started to make in 2011 out of the Camel cigarettes packaging. The figure is from a Lucky Strike ad that was in a 1920s Vogue Magazine. I never finished it but was planning on incorporating a cut out of the obituary section.  Around this time I became very interested in expressing more conceptual and societal ideas in my art such as the measures that women go to beautify themselves, a growing reliance on technology, and the psychology behind consumerism.  

Unfinished Collage, 2011

These are some of my first figure drawings from the summer of 2011. 
Figure Drawing, 2011
Figure Drawings on the Floor, 2011

In the Fall of 2013 I took my first sculpture class. Using power tools was a new and exhilarating experience for me because it gave me more power and abilities yet gave me less physical control while creating. I started to think a lot about materials and their physical qualities. For the piece below I was interested in creating fluidity and motion in a material as stiff and dull as wood.

Anemone, 2013

Below it is a snail pattern that I drew around the same time. I'm really fascinated by reoccurring patterns in nature such as fractals and spirals, and wanted to create a pattern containing this type of pattern. 

Hail the Snail, 2013

This term I'm excited to be further pursuing sculpture as well as developing skills and methodology as a film maker and photographer. Interests in absurdism, mundanity, human potential, natural beauty and decay, subcultures and anthropology might be themes in my future work but I have little insight about where unfamiliar tools and materials will take me. For a while now I have had a large interest in the effect that digital media, especially social networking has on individuality, relationships, loneliness, creativity, attention span and culture and I hope to explore these concepts through digital media and through my blog. 

"All media are extensions of some human faculty--psychic or physical"-Marchall McLuhan (The Medium is the Massage)
"the ultimate goal of technology, the telos of techne, is to replace a natural world that is indifferent to our wishes--a world of hurricanes and hardships and breakable hearts; a world of resistance--with a world so responsive to our wishes as to be, effectively, a mere extension of the self"-Jonathan Franzen (Further Away)