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.