Today's class started with an overall introduction to a structure of the course. We were given lots of technical information such as how to access moodle services and use workflow as well as information about creative thinking and the nature of fine art practice. We spent long time discussing two aspects of the course in particular and those were Research and Reflection.
Both are crucial and integral elements of the course and we are expected to carry them at every stage of our own practice. In terms of the value of research, I believe that the process of gathering data is useful in forming and developing new ideas. By conducting a research we learn about the culture we live in and consequently absorb knowledge that can inform our ideas and offer new perspectives/inspirations. A research can be seen as a way for an artist to explore the world and find out what is there that interests him/her.
On the other hand, reflection is more related to our own practice and it involves analysing our creative thinking with regards to ideas development and final outcomes. It gives you opportunity to go back and reconsider aspects of your decisions. It is simply a way of learning that helps you become a better artist. Most importantly this cognitive process allows artists to explore the full potential of their ideas and therefore lead to creation of well-understood and meaningful artwork.
In the second part of the class we were introduced to our first project: Ideas Factory Research Task. In groups of 6 we chose one practitioner (Sophie Calle), one material (leather) and one process (suspend). We spent the rest of the session brainstorming ideas and coming up with a proposal for work.
I found it difficult to communicate my thoughts to the rest of the group I must say. It was a nice task to do but I think I didn't open up enough to actually express my ideas. I would try to engage more with the group discussion next time and maybe work on my confidence so that I can easily present my ideas. Another challenging aspect of this activity was a consideration of alternative meanings of chosen key words. We examined mostly the basic definitions of each word without additional interpretation. Therefore, in the future I would try to "think outside the box" to encourage more creative thinking. Despite these difficulties, we have came up with a few proposals which seem to be quite unique and have a meaningful message within them.
Overall, I enjoyed the class and I think it was a nice start. I learnt about the importance of the research and reflection and the basic elements of the course. The only thing that surprised me was the amount of written work that we are expected to do. However, listening to our tutors made me understand the purpose and benefits of it and now I am keen to document my own reflections.
This afternoon I started researching our praticioner: Sophie Calle. I found so many useful websites and youtube videos which gave me a good outline of Calle's pratice as an artist. In particular, reading and listening to Calle's interviews helped me the most in understaning her works.
Looking at Calle's most famous projects such as "The Shadow" and "The Hotel" motivates me to explore the question of whether or not artistic idea itself is more valueable than the finished (physical) product. Like in "The Hotel" project the photographs of people's properties wouldn't be seen as interesting without the whole strory of them being taken in secret plus Calle's weird personal motives for doing it. In such case, the idea behind the work makes the product look more "attractive" and interesting. The photographs themesleves are quite boring and really have nothing special that would keep me interested if there was no story behind them. Does this mean that a piece of art has to have a meaning or a messsage to be seen as worthy? There are many artworks such as realistic paintings that were just created for a sake of it; no specific reasons or motives, just a painting of something that an artist saw one day. In this case, I think is the skill that is appreciated by an audience. If something is drawn so well, the audience perceives it as more valuable than a drawing that clearly shows lack of skills. Of course, these are just statements that cannot be generalised to everyone as we all like different things and some would love a realistic drawing and some would love an abstract drawing. In fact, both types of works are equally displayed in galleries. However, what makes a piece of art being seen as worthy is an important question in the area of contemporary art.
Calle's works also bring out a dicsussion about artists who don't make their own work. Often photographs appear in her work but she is not the photographer, sometimes she pays a professional to take the pitures.
"Start" Saatchi Gallery
Today we went to a library to complete our research task.
We found few books related to Sophie Calle (our praticioner) including "`Did you see me` by S.Calle" and some catalogues with leather samples. It was quite difficult to identify books with information about suspense/suspend (our process).
Working colectively as a group we achieved to collect some specific details about our artist. For example, we discovered Calle's personal motives behind her works and looked at her original notes taken during different projects.
Some of the informanion within the books made us reconsider our final proposal for work. This time we decided to create an exhibition with one set of high fashion photographs and few videos, all of which would present stages of leather making process with models as workers. I really enjoyed our discussion about this work. In comparison to our first group work, this time we accomplished to develop fully planned proposal.
Ideas Factory Project
This morning we continued working on the ideas facory project. Everyone had to come up with 30 proposals for an artwork based on specific set of words. For example, having paired rubber (material) with write (process) I thought of a giant rubber being covered with people's writing. Later we were asked to choose one doable idea and one crazy (unrealistic) idea and to present these to the rest of the group. Each idea was questioned and examined by the whole group.
Sharing ideas with others helps to explore them even further and hearing criticism encourages to examine them more precisely. I think that comments from others are really importnant to consider when developing a proposal. Someone's judgement can either gives new clues/inspirations or makes us realise the weaknesses of our plan. Both can be useful in creating a well-developed proposal for work.
In addition to group discussions, I learnt today that pairing abstract words stimulates more creative thinking compared to basic matched set of words such as "paper" and "fold". When combining something abstract like dream with the process of maximising we are able to create more interesting and unique ideas.
My set of words was "fear" and "collect". At first I could not think of any ways of collecting fear. Such idea seemed to be impposible. Then I realised that I don't necessarily need to think of collecting the actual emotion that is fear. Instead fear can be presented in a form of facial expression, language, symbols or sound.
The development of the idea depends on how you see "fear". What is fear for you? What aspects of fear speak to you? This stage of interpretation helped me in narrowing down the whole concept that is fear and made me actually see ways of collecting it. For example, I thought of visual representations of fear like illustration or drawing which I later collected from students in my group. I literally asked them to draw their fear on a piece of paper. This at the end of the class became my final proposal: series of drawings which represent people's fears.
Later that day I asked firends and family to make such drawings and by the end of the day I had 12 (A5) drawings. It was really interesting to see how people drew their fears. For some it was a difficult task to do as they didn't know how to actually visualize their fears and others found it quite easy and make a drawing within one minute. I tried to encourage them to draw anything, even a shape and some did drew more abstract forms. For example, two people were affraid of loneliness and one of them drew human figures wheras the other person used only circles to express this particular fear.
This difference between drawings makes me think about the subjective versus objective experience of art. A drawing that can be easily understood by the audience and by that I mean that they can see what type of fear it represents, is objective. In contrast, an abstarct drawing like the one with circles is more subjective as there is more room for interpretation. Although both types of drawings would probably be interpreted differently by different people to an extent. I think it can be a fun activity for people to try to guess what fear each drawing represents. Some of the drawings I collected today are more obvious than others but having a combination of both adds to this idea a nice balanace so that the audience is not confused by a huge amount of abstract drawings. Instead they can see clearly different types of fears and also have a guess at others.
Ideas Factory Project
Fran Krause turned people's fears into witty comics.
I tried today to find artworks that are based around the idea of fear. Fran Krause's illustarions were the only relevant works that I discovered. I wasn't inspired by the illustrations themeselves but I read in the above article that anyone can submit their own personal fear to be illustrated by Krause and presented to the public. This is some ways relates to my process of collection and I asked myself how should I collect those drawings. I could just carry A5 sheets of paper and black pens whenever I go and ask those around me to draw their fears. Considering daily activities I wouldn't be able to gather soo many of them but this is an easy and quick way of doing it.
I would love to create an exhibition with thousands of those drwaings and in order to do so I would need to dedicate a few years to collect that many. The idea of collecting them over a long period of time is very intresting in a way that the exhibition then would present people's fears between this year and this. Such exhibition can be seen as a historical record of human's fears. Like in museums there are many things that have been preserved for years and now are on display and people come and watch them to understand how life looked like long time ago. In the same way they can come to this exhibition and see what people were most affraid of. I really love this idea and my plan is to start collecting those drawings now and have at least 10 00 in next five years? Maybe longer. If I have organised the drawings chronogically then the audience might be able to spot some differences between years. It could be also very interesting to see cultural differences in the types of fears but this can be more difficult to explore.
Ideas Factory Project (crit)
Today we did the crit session where everyone presented their final proposals. It was great to see other people's work and listen to their comments. My work received really good feedback from those who left their notes on my desk. Most comments referred to the participation bit as being quite fun, making the experience of my project enjoyable. Some people said that the overall idea was really unique and that it is fascinating how simple series of drawings can look so great and bring people together. One note said that collecting drawings from others is pretty easy without developing them and making them mine. Well it is easy to collect around 100 drawings but my aim is to have thousands of them which will require much more effort and time. I also understand the fact that these drawings are not mine. I have thought about drawing people's fears myself but I made a choice not to do it. I believe that this would be too subjective as each drawing would then be a representation of my own interpretation of people's fears. Whereas people's own drawings are true visualisations of their fears and are more likely to communicate personal emotions. Having drawings from different people also creates diversity so that different styles of drawing can be appriciated.
This project is about collective experience in which people's fears come together and are presented as one natural part of human life. Through this experience they come to understand that we wouldn't be humans without fear. Fear protect us and every single person on this planet have at some point in life experienced the emotion that is fear.
In this project people can draw and share their fears with others and this has healing qualities. Seeing the drawings can distance people from their fears. The childish style of some drawings also can make people laugh at their fears and so the project can be seen as an art therapy (to an extent).
The Language of Stuff: An Interview with Richard Wentworth
What I understand from Wentworth's answers is that we unconsciously ascribe meanings to objects without actually looking at them. Based on our mental symbol system we are naming everything as we go and don't think how the objects came to be there and how we might interpret them. Wentworth said that we read world materlially which I think means that we only consider the basic functions of stuff around us. He is interested in what it is that we do when we look at things. "The language of stuff" refers to a selective process of naming stuff? I'm not quite sure but I think that language stops us from seeing stuff differently. Having read a few books about neurosciene I know that our symbol and language systems can determine how we perceive things around us, sometimes changing the understanding of reality. What Wentworth does in his fine art pratice is subversion of orginal functions of everyday life objects. He helps us to look at the objects from different perspective and create alternative meanings.
Human Being / Being Human; tools, objects and artefacts
In the first part of today's class we did observation drawings of a tool that we brought with us. Through this task we examined the physicial properties of our tool and also thought about its functions and values. I chose to bring a key with me and half way through this exercise I realised that keys are very important people. This basic small object that we uses everyday has a value of keeping our personal belongings safe. It actually defines our territory and what we own. A key with its function to open or close any lock is really valuable to people but a key with no function has no values. Therefore, functionality of objects and their values are interconnected.
Later in the morning we disscused a theme of subversion; changing a function/perception of an object. It was interesting to see works of other artists who turned everyday life objects into useless artworks. We were also asked to do the same with our objects. Even a simple change can completly remove its function. I thought of increasing the size of my key to 6 feet long and presenting it as a sculpture. In that way the key is no longer useful but interestingly it becomes an artwork.
This process is also called defamiliarization;the artistic technique of presenting to audiences common things in an unfamiliar or strange way in order to enhance perception of the familiar. In other words, many artists use this technique to encourage us to rethink everyday world through art.
I learnt that even the use of language and the content you put the object in to present it can change people's perception of its value ad function as well as make people attach new meanings to it.
Human Being/ Being Human; magic, belief, ritual
Today we futher explored the theme of subversion by changing the appearance/function of our objects. We created new forms that suppose to communicate something meanignful, something that would make our objects become artefacts. This activity was based around two concepts: magic and belief. Magic is the transformative pratice and belief refers to what we believe to be art. An artist decides what is art for him/her and if the public trust the artist then the defenition of what is art can expand/change. The extent to which we accept this new form of art often depends on the artist's reputation. The more famous the artist, the more inlfuence he/she can have.
In terms of my own work during this session, I decided to to cover heart-shaped small box with shiny tape and put coins inside. I painted over queen's head to remove the symbol of monarchy and called the box classless society. My message was to promote equality in social status. I didn't physically transform the box but through the use of language I put it in a sociological context which changed the object into artefact.
I think that what I have done with this box is a good illustartion of the artistic technique that we studied today. However it is not something that I would like to present to martians. This work doesn't say much about human being. It communicates a message about the sociaty we live in which can be considered to an extent as a part of being human and how it is like to be part of this sociaty. However, it is very complex aspect of our lives and I think the martians wouldn't understand it. Therefore, presenting something more simplistic and obvious about human beings would be a more accurate way of teaching martians about our lives.
I don't think my second work is appropriate for this project either. I tried to create something that would be about the concept of protection. In other words, the purpose of the work should be to protect something. I brought with me a plastic box and I spread acrylic paint all over its internal walls.
This piece is about a "colour" being preserved in the box. Again it is so difficult to relate this to the actual topic as this has nothing to do with the human being aspect of this project. Despite this I like the visual composition of my box and how the paint creates spacial illusion. It is a nice artistic (decorative) and unsuitable piece for this project. Also, my idea behind this object is really basic and something more meaningful maybe would add more value to it.
This exercise was quite challenging as it involved lots of analysis with regards to our ideas. It was hard coming up with a reason for why the objects were subverted in particular ways. The thing is that it is easy to create meaningless artworks. I could use this artistic technique of transformation on everything and produce lots of work. However, such work wouldn't have any value. It may look intresting and be visually appreciated but it will always be just a piece of work that doesn't matter.
Even thogh I am not happy with the work I've done today I did find this class useful. I learnt about the process of subversion which I think can be quite fun and easy depending on the material of the object and its properties. I realised that the thinking process behind the purpose of my subverted objects is much more difficult and in the future I will spend more time thinking about the reasons for my pratice before doing any work.
Today we also looked at rituals and how we could present our personal habits through art. This actually relates more to the actual project as it is literally about us and our subjective experience of being human. However at that time I couldn't think of any ways of presenting my daily activities so I made a video of me drawing small hearts in my notebook. This is something that I do quite often whilst engaging with different activity like watching tv or listening to a lecture.
I first thought of this video as being just about rituals but now I see those symbols of love and I want to create something for Thursday that will be based around a concept of humans love.
Human Being/ Being Human
Today I tried to find a way of presenting humans love through art. I definitely concluded that using heart symbols is too obvious and not very representative of the concept that is love. In fact love is a very complex issue and a basic heart can be misleading. Therefore, a holistic approach to this idea is more appropriate and I have decided to use lyrics from love songs as so many different aspects and experiences of love are portayed in such songs. In particular a famous band called the Beatles have used the world "love" 613 times in their songs. I took images of their lyrics and used photoshop to emphasise the world love.
I think that a collection of songs is representative of love and the lyrics could communicate a lot about love from human point of view. The first two edits clearly show the text which means that the viewer can read it and learn about love. The last edit presents around 7 overlapped lyrics and is more abstract than the other two making the message more difficult to understand. However, I find it visually exciting and I think it could be part of this collection.
Taking into consideration the aim of this project I don't think this idea would be accurate in communicating what is like to be human being. This collection of songs can be understood by human beings only due to the use of our own language. Martians on the other side are not familiar with our language and such piece of work will not make sense to them.
Therefore, I concluded that the use of words is not appropriate for this project. I also couldn't think of any other representative visualisations of love. Later I completly changed my idea and decided to create a video in which I would categorise everyday life objects into different groups based on their shape/appearance. I think that the process of categorisation in our world is very important and as human we tend to categorise everything. This idea is much better that my first one as it is more simplistic and definitely much easier to present. The viewer doesn't even has to know the objects. The only thing is to spot the similarities within each group of objects. Therefore, I believe that this video will make sense to a viewer who has no idea about human beings.
Human Being/ Being Human; Communication
We all created art pieces with specific messages about human beings for today's presentation. Every single one of us prepared something meaningful and hoped that the viewer would be able to understand the concept behind the work. This ,however, turned out to be much more difficult than we thought. As we looked at each others' works, I find it so hard to tell what particular works represents. Sometimes it seemed like one piece of work could represent everything. Although some pieces were more obvious than others, most were very difficult to understand. Just examining other's work made me realise how important is the communication in art. Many times we think that our work transmits what we want to say but in fact this is not always the case. The understanding of art depends on many different factors including personal experiences, values, views on the world ect. This personal interpretation of art makes it difficult for the artists to communicate the intended meaning of their works. I don't think it would be ever possible to clearly transmit our intensions behind art pieces but I believe that through careful consideration of the subject and viewer's behaviour we can make our messages more visible.
In terms of my own work, I can say that I successefully presented the concept of categorisation in my video. Few people described the video in similar way to my initial idea and therefore I consider my work as effective in communication.
The Exploded Field (Sculpture rotation project)
In the morning I created different arrangements of my objects. These were not exciting but making them helped me understand the difficult process of joining variety of materials together. It was quite nice to play with the composition and balance of our small sculptures. Even though I don't think my outcomes present well, they still can be seen as real life sculptures. Artists such as Marcel Duchamp suggested that anything can be art and in terms of the sculpture, he claimed that the perception of a form/object changes within the environment of an art gallery. For example, a bike on a street is seen as a form of transport but when presented in the art gallery it becomes something else, something that attracts more attention and have completly different value from a bike that we see on the street. Therefore, anything can be a sculpture and is up to the artists to decide what is art for them.
Later I actually transformed my objects and materials into a sculpture. It was a long process and I wasn't completly sure what I was doing at that time but I did enjoy making it. The most difficult thing was to curve a metal wire which I did it anyway but in different way than I intented. This wire was later covered with masking tape (easy but very time-consuming) which gave my structure a more organic look. At that point I was quite happy with my work but somehow I decided to try adding other materials which for me have ruined the whole structure. The outcome is more of an abstarct nature. It is very chaotic and messy. It can be compared to a christams tree and overall I am not pleased with it. I think I spent too much time decorating the structure and not working on the actual form. I did want to create a "decorative" piece with lots of colour and shiny fragments but the materials I used to cover the wire were quite random and made the outcome look too busy. I feel like something more controlled like specific pattern of colourful paper would create more balanced composition. The structure itself has inregular shape and therefore the decorative materials should be applied in more standardised manner.
(potenial of objects,repetition, importance of the process)
The Exploded Field (Sculpture rotation project)
Today I had a opportunity to work with different materials including plaster, metal, wood and learn how to apply sculptural processes to each material. In small groups we looked at artists and their scupltural themes and developed works in accordance to the themes.
My group studied the process of contextualization which refers to an object, action ect. being put into a context. In art the context can change our percpetion of the object and give it different meaning. Many artists present everyday life objects in alternative surrounding which encourages us to examine the thing from different perspectives. For example, an apple presented next to a cheeseburger can give us an impression of the healthy/unheatlhy debate whereas the apple surrounded by religious illustrations can be see as a biblical symbol. Therefore, context defines the objects or actions and as a group we decided to categorise our personal belongings and then present them in different contexts from the ones we usually see them in. The categories included hygiene stuff, food, school accesorries and electronic devices. We created a composition of a traditional meal set using pens,cables, hair brushes, scissors and perfumes. In such context, original functions of these objects are inappropriate for the eating activity and this creates irony. Similarly, we made a video of the objects being used in opposite way to one another. In the video a hair brush was used to cut paper and scissors were used to brush the hair. Both the picture and film make no sense in terms of pratical aspects as it is impossible to complete such activities with these tools. However, our aim was to present the objects in alternative context and the inappropriate use of them in specific enviroments removed their functions and changed them into useless things.
The process of contextualization can be applied to any material and it is an interesting way of questioning the value, function, meaning and understanding of things around us.
In the afternoon, I was given a verb/process to use in the wood workshop which was "to join" something together. As I was working in this particular settings I used pieces of wood as my material. I cut few big sheets of wood into small oblong strips and then attempted to join them using nails and a hamer. I found it really difficult to drive nails through two different pieces of wood mailny because of my inability to hold wood and nails at once. I did join few pieces together but the nails were protruding from the wood. Consequently I stopped working with nails and instead I used hot glue to put the pieces together. It was much easier applying the glue onto the wood and this technique enabled me to create a solid structure. In this specific activity I was just explorying the process itself. I didn't have any reason for doing it or any message to communicate through this form. My outcome doesn't represent anything but it is about the repetitive process of joining wood together.
The repetition itself is one of the sculptural themes which many artists use in their work. I think that a huge quantity of one thing always makes the artwork look spectacular. For example, instalation of one candy is not fascinating but a thousand of candies in a gallery is visualy exciting and definitely attracts more attention than one candy. The repetition then can refers to a process of increasing amount of something as well as to the process of making stuff. Like in my case, I repeatedly was joining pieces of wood which is the artistic technique whereas a wall of candies is the actual artwork that has visualy repetitive effect.
I really enjoyed making this wooden piece and I would like to experiment with this technique more. I think it would be interesting to create a sculpture that is about the repetitive process and also the quantity. I could record the process but also include in the outcome huge number of something like buttons. In comparison to the theme of contextualization, this scupltural process does not involve lots of thinking with regards to the meaning, message or purpose. When putting objects into a specific context, the artist usually has something to say through it. The repetition on the other side is not so about the context and most of the time this artistic technique is appriciated based on the visuals. I looked at examples of works within the contextualization area and most present compositions of basic objects which forms are exactly the same as in real life. Such compositions are not visualy exciying but they have a meaningful purpose and in such case the overall message that was created through contextualization is more appriciated than the visual aspects of the composition. In contrast, thousand of candies on a wall is visualy exciting but has no meaningful reasons for being arranged in this way.
The Exploded Field (Sculpture rotation
Over the last two days I have explored different ways of working in the sculpture area. My favourite sculptural theme is the repetition. I love how through repetitive process we can create something spectacular. I worked with wood and one strip of wood is not very interesting but 50 pieces of mdf joined together look quite amazing. Having one material and using it over and over again can lead to creation of unsual artworks. The process, depending on the artictic idea, can be time consuming but often the outcome is about the process. Looking at my wooden structure from yesterday, you can clearly identify what technique I used to make it.
Overall, I really enjoyed making this work and I am interested in the "transformative" process that is repetition and would like to develop my wooden structure further tomorrow.
In the lecture on Monday, there was one artist Jim Lambie who was presented as a part of "covering" theme in sculpture. I looked at his works and Im particularly interested in the "Bed-head" installation. The fact that he covered the mattress with thousands of buttons himself is very much like my process of making the wooden structure. The huge amount of buttons sewn to the mattress draws attention to the repetitive process that the artist went through to make this work. However, in his case the work is not only about the process. The buttons actually decorate the mattress and the whole piece presents really nice in a way that is lovely to look at it. My work is purely about the process; pieces of wood joined together with a glue. I would like to add something to my structure so that it can be visually exciting and also become more of an "artwork" and less of a process. I want the process to be still visible when people look at it but covering the wood a little bit would add new qualities to it.
The Exploded Field (Sculpture rotation)
Today I continued working on my sculpture. I started by adding more mdf pieces to increase its size. As I decided to somehow decorate the wood I tried to cover some parts of the structure with colourful fabric. However, a shape and complex arrangement of it made it difficult to paste the fabric. I was only able to cover some external parts which after all didn't look good. Also in the making I wasn't precise when applying the glue and almost each piece of mdf is covered with dried hot glue and because of that the fabric didn't stick well. I didn't have time to remove it so I thought that the glue can be turned into decoration and I spread more of it all over the structure. Later i painted the dried glue to create stronger contarst between the substance and the wood. The glue gets white and because of that it wasn't completely visible on the structure. Blue paint helped to emphasise it and made the whole piece visually interesting. Before my work was only about the process but now it has other new qualities that make it look much more like an artwork. The glue, however, is not covering the wood completly and therefore a viewer can sill capture the process that I went through to make this work. Although I think that the blue paint made the glue less obvious and people may think of it as something else which means that they may not know how the mdf pieces were joined. Despite this, Im happy with my sculpture and many students during the crit session said nice things about it.
In the crit session, we talked quite a lot about a display of our works and how particular arrangemnts affect how we see things. When we all gather around one table on which someone's work was presented, every one of us looked at it from different perspectives and therefore our understanding of the work varied. My work was displayed by the wall so that only the front and sides were visibe to the viewers. I should have tried placing the table away from the wall to allow people to walk around it. However, the important thing is that I realised that the space is also part of th sculpture and it needs to be considered before the presentation.
My work was described by others as looking very controlled but at the same time chaotic. Many commented on the repetitive process and how they felt that it took very long to make it and required lots of effort. Some reffered to it as being in transitional state, as if caught between growing and collapsing. The overall opinion was that my work is truthful in a way that it is clear how it was made. In contrast, my friend's work which was a wooden piece covered with thin layer of plaster and paint is completely the opposite to mine in terms of the process. She covered the whole thing and therefore we couldn't see how different parts were connected. When an artist cover a surface of his sculptural form with different medium, the viewers' understanding of the material changes and the raw process of experimentation is no longer apparent in the work. It was good to see and discuss this difference between our works.
We started morning class by discussing different types of spaces and looking at examples of artists' works that fall within each type. My favourite categories were: dreamscape and suspended narrative. I like these the most because the artists included in the presetation have created very balanaced compositions with great illusion of depth and interesting colour pallet. I love how some of them painted space within a space creating a fictional image of the world. Many have also considered perspectives and painted in accordance to them achiving this illusion of distance in space. I prefer looking at repoussoir paintings rather than flat paintings. Both can be fascinating depending on the subject but usually the illusion of depth keeps me more interested.
Later I transformed few of my found images into a collage. In this first collage I played with the perspctives to achieve something similar to the artists in the presentation. I created a room space and pasted different ladscape fragments onto each wall and also made two sets of opening doors.
The collage presents fantasy room with access to variety of places. I think it falls into the theme of dreamscape but im not quite sure. It is like a dreamy unrealistic space which does not exists in a real world. Although, the actual places are real,the general composition is fictional.
I think that the wall from the right together with the floor and and the wall in the middle were successfully arranged (the perspectives are correct). In terms of the left wall and ceiling, the perspectives within two pictures do not follow perspectives of the room composition. However, a combination of flat space and illusion space I think works well for this collage. The inaccuracy in some ways adds abstract qualities to it. However I wanted to see how it would look like without the inappropriate images and after class I used photoshop to remove them. The third image shows edited version. White space around the room led to even better special illusion and added more balance to the composition. This edit reminds me of Toba Khedoori's work "Stairs" which was also included in the presentation. Toba painted stairs without its usual spacial surroundings and placed them in the middle of a canvas. In a similar way, I edited my collage again and this time I removed the floor and placed the rest of the composition on a white background. Im not sure which edit I like the most. In fact both are equally interesting.
Later during class I did 4 more collages. I mostly worked with landscape images of nature and city. I find all of my collages very exciting and see lots of potential in them. I think they look good just as collages but it would be great to create some paintings too. Overall, it was a really creative task and I didn't expect to compose such nice collages.
I find the process of collaging very creative,fun and useful in designing unrealistic/fictional spaces. It is also a nice method of explorying new ideas. By just playing with the images I created quite facinating compositions which could possibly be presented under certain concepts or communicate certain messeges. When making them I didn't actually have a purpose or a concept to communicate but just looking at them after makes me think of lots of different ideas.
For example, "the room collage" could be about endless posibilities. Each fragment of the room presents different places and this could suggest that we are free to go to any place we want to. It seems like we need only one step to enter new environment.
Today I was transfering my collages onto a wooden surface. I have never used this technique before and it was really exciting trying it for the first time. I have transformed 4 of my collages and worked on others as well. The transfer process is very quick to make but it takes relatively long to dry and therfore I didn't have time to work on them during class.
I attempted to make a copy of one of my collages through painting but somehow I produced quite abstract work which reflects the original composition of my collage but doesn't exactly illustrates its potential. However, the painting itself is quite interesting. It is made of expressive brush marks and the paint has a nice connection with the wooden surface which can be still visible in some places. Without knowing what I intended to copy the painting can be seen as successful. The collage and the painting are two different pieces with different qulities and when presented seperately they can be both appriciated. Painting on real, organic surfaces like wood can bring something special to the work. It can add some textural qulities, create peaceful mood or make us look at the work as a part of natural world. I love how in my painting the wooden surface in not completly covered and how this creates nice balance with the expressive brush marks.
I decided to paint over my another collage. The collage itself was quite boring and gave me a feeling of something missing. It seemed not finished. Therefore, I applied some paint around the boats area to unite the boats with the rest of the picture. In the original collage they appeared too random. With the blue sea water the collage makes more sense. Also,there is this ironic difference in perspectives. The boats are going in different direction to the people who are walking down the beach. I think this difference is the most exciting element of this collage. It is not aa right arrangement but at the same time it doesn't look "wrong". The boats fit with the landscape as if they've become a part of this scenery. Maybe is because of the subjects that dominates both the original beach picture and the boats. They come from differrent sources but present similar theme. Both can be linked to summer time, sea, hot weather, tropical countries..The colour pallet of the things within the boats is pretty much the same as the beach surface and people's colourful clothes. This could be a reason for why there is a strong unity between these elemennts.
At the end of today's class I did another transfer of this collage.
Today I worked mostly on my tranfers from yesterday. They all have dired up and so I spent most of my day removig the paper from the wood to reveal the prints. It was a pretty messy process and I repeated it several times for each print. Some of the collages still have bits of paper on them but I kept those for a reason. Overall, the transfers came up very well. I started working on my "summer" collage first. I definitealy wanted to add something to it but at first I wasn't sure what shoud it be. I looked at Manfredi Beniati's works and I love how there is this layer of dripping paint which creates blurry effect in most of his paintings. It is like I am looking through the streaks of paint to see what is behind them. I didn't think that this dripping paint effect would work for my collage as the colour pallet is much more richer in my work and there are definitely to many subjects. The collage would propbably look too chaotic and displeasing. I thought that I can add a layer of something that does not cover or blur the backround. Something that would look flat on the surface and make the scenery look as if it was behind it. My final decision was to spray black paint on the collage in a way that creates small black dots. The dots, however, didn't give a feel of something dropping down and I thought that horizontal marks would suggest it more than dots. I covered a piece of thread with black paint and use it to create thin interrupted lines. Now that I have done that I feel like this work is finished.
There is a significant difference between the original collage and final outcome. The transfer changed colours from cold to warm and flipped the image horiznotaly. The orginal image appears artificial and because of the glossy surface it is seen as a modern piece fo work. The wooden surface on the other side adds to the collage vitage qulities. It feels like it is an old print.
In terms of the unity, the transfer process brought all the elements within the collage together. Now the relationship between the beach and the boats is stronger and more balanced. I definitely prefer the new version of my collage. It is much more exciting and presents very well thanks to all the qulities that the transfer technique created.
The mood of the new collage is also different. Before there was something weird and uncomfortable about it. I think this was because of the confusing and fake composition. The new version is more dark (emotionally). Black marks on the top of the surface makes the collage unpeacful and maybe scary...something wrong is happening in this scene. It gives impression of rush and stress and escape.The changes that I make in a creation of this work led to a contexualisation. I feel like the outcome presents a actual scene where a bad thing is happening. I can see signs of movement based on boats' direction and dropping black marks. These marks are like falling burnt pieces and with the black space in top left corner both suggests explosion. In contrast, the original collage doesn't give me any signs of a scene taking place. The image looks still, there is no action or movement. This is probably because of the artificial style, the image is just about process of collaging; two boats were pasted onto a beach ladnscape.
ReEdit: Against Passive Reception
Today we were introduced to a new software: PremierePro CC. I haven't used any video programs before so this was very new to me. However, I found the process of editing videos interesting and I would definitely try to experiment more with the software. Like in the "altered spaces" project we worked with found (existing) videos and for me this is an unusual approach to creative pratice. I regulalry look at other artists' works and take inspiration from them but hardly ever use or manipulate a found image. I do collect images but I don't make any works out of them. Therefore, the nature of both projects makes me think whether using someone's elses creation is right or wrong and by that I don't mean the issues with copy rights. I'm interested in the extent to which the artwork that is based on someone elses' work can be considered as self-created piece. Last Thursday during crit session one of the student said that she loved a fragment of picture that was part of my collage. This picture is spectacular but I didn't take it myself. I have used it for my collage which is about imaginary spaces and endless possibilities but this theme of my work wasn't actually appriciated by my friend. The quality of the picture within the collage attracted her attention. I wonder whether this is a right thing as my collage received interest due to someone elses image. However, I don't want to be so serious about this, it is just a thought and something new to consider. In fact, I did enjoy creating my collages and editing found videos today. The idea of using existing image is very useful and encouraging in engaging with the artistic process. The image that we use/manipulate don't neccessary need to be display in a gallery. Instead it can be just a way of exploring the medium itself and experimenting with the process. Just by doing it we can get many inspirations and learn new skills. Therefore, using found images can be a starting point or a main medium for a project.
ReEdit: Against Passive Reception
I chose to work with motivational videos that I found on youtube. The message of such videos is to empower and encourage people to take control over their lives and improve their wellbeing. I mainly looked at a theme of failure and determination as well as self-belief. These topics are communicated through footage of daily difficulties or depressed behaviour and a powerful speech about overcoming these problems and manifasting a life we want. Despite the presence of negative emotions in some footage, the videos present very positive message and reinforce healthy behavioural change.
I decided to subvert the purpose of motivational videos and create something that only talks about the negative and doesn't give any solutions or encouragement for healtier change. I wanted the video to only present sad reality without any motivational messages.
I used the "Through Hell" video first but later worked with many different video clips.
In a similar way to Paul Pfeiffer's editing methods I erased from the audio all the positive parts of the speach leaving only gloomy phares like "it's too hard","I can't cope", "I'm talking about a problem", "fear", "they failed", ect. This small change to the audio made the whole motivational message disappear. At that point I was done with the subversion of the message that I planned to do. However, I didn't like the actual scenes in that footage as they preset mainly people's emotional behaviours focusing only on the individuals and their personal issues. Whereas I am more interested in bigger social problems such as bad media and technology influence, lost of identity, materialism, dominance of financial motives behind everything ect. and so I didn't feel like this video footage is appropriate for presenting these social concepts. Later I downloaded video clips, mainly documentaries about life in big cities, and selected scenes that visually reflect the "problematic" aspects of western society. The process of cutting the scenes from each video took very long as some footage had subtitles and I had to be very precise to cut the scene at right time to get rid of the words which kept appearing in the videos every few seconds.
At the end of the day I had footage of typical high street view, subway full of people, magazines, money, train and some nature. This clips all together suppose to illustrate a life in western society or the main aspects of this life. They should be about the bigger picture, the environment we live in and what drives our behaviour. Im interested whether other students would think the same about this collection of footage. Anyway, the visuals don't say that there is something wrong in living in western society. These are just images, objective representations of how we live. The Audio, however, makes them look problematic and sad. In fact, I chose to only play two phares throughout the video: "it's not easy" and "I'm talking about a problem". So I hope that these words would make the viewers see the life in this society as difficult and direct their attention towards the "problems" that create social instability.
I feel like this type of video could be displayed in an art gallery as an instalation. It is definitely about someone's subjective experience of western life and I see it just as a way of sharing particular perspective on the society. I don't actually agree with what the video presents but just the idea of creating a piece that is so negative, is quite unique for me and makes me interested in how the audience will react. It is possible that the viewers will get sad after wachting or start considering these social difficulties but they definitely won't feel empowered as when listening to motivational speach.
ReEdit: Against Passive Recepion
All the comments that I received from other students about my video reflected my intitial idea and the message that I wanted to communicate. The feedback made me confident about an effectiveness of my communication skills in that piece. I didn't get any opinions on the visual aspects of my video, only the the possible meanings behind my work were discussed. However, few commented on the song that was played in the background and how this made the video very sad in nature. I choose this particular song to create this sad and moody atmosphere and therefore emphasise the negative aspects of western society and so again these comments proved that it worked. Although, some students actually were familiar with the song and remembered a movie for which the song was significant, they didn't misunderstand the message. The movie itself is quite sad and the song scene includes two individuals driving a car in a very peacful manner which is similiar to the footage in my video. Therefore, the familiarity with the movie didn't have much effect on viewers' understanding of the video. However, I realised that this could have been an issue in other curicumstances and so next time I will be more careful when choosing the right soundtrack as viewers' recall of a source of such song could possibly change the perception of an artwork.
The importance of an audio,however, was not only siginificant in my work. All of us have attatched an audio to the videos and we all saw how different the videos were when they were played without a sound. Whether it is a song, melody, recorded voice or noise, the viewers' comprehension of the video will be often influenced by the audio as well as the visuals. The audio, like in my case, defines the mood and makes the images appear in negative, sad light. It is what actually creates the message, without it the images can represent any perspective on the western world. The sound directs the viewer to read the images in negative light and therefore it is so important in communicating the overall idea.
In addition to all the feedback, one person expanded on my theme by refering to some statictics and these were that on average, most Americans get about 14-15 days off a year (including christmas holidays). This made me concern about the work sector even more. When I was making the video, I though of the work as being highly repetitive and done just for the sake of money and not people's true passions. The statistics show that most people spend 3/4 of their life working. It is sad to think of those who actually don't like their jobs (70% of the population) and who waste their lives for meaningless actions. The value of money is what makes people do the jobs they don't enjoy. A need to survive in a capitalist society is what makes them go to work everyday. This life is work-saturated and as we enter the adulthood there is a lack of time for us to actually find our passions as we need to work to meet our financial needs. This is a wide generalisation and not everony go through life experiencing work in such way but sadly for a big proportion of western population this is the case. Because this issue is so siginificant in today's world, an artwork under this theme can receive lots of attention and possibly increase people's awareness of this problem. A socialisation process makes people to believe/accept that long working hours are inevitable and completly normal and therefore many go through life without questionning the system and how their potential is limited by the job they do.
(series of videos.. and maybe more representative footage which i will record myself...direct representation of the work life and other social problems)
It was interesting to discuss the difference between creation and transformative pratice applied to things that already exist. As artists we can either create something from nothing or transform/use objects/features of the physical world. I think that the the use of ready objects in art always raises question about whether such work can be considered an art piece. Sometimes we see in a gallery space an object presented in the exact same form as in real life and we start question artist's skills. People tend to appriciate art if they feel like they wouldn't be able to create it themeselves. If they see something that is beyond their abilities, they perceive as impressive and worthy. I am making statements that cannot be applied to everyone because of course there are others who look at art differently but there is a big proportion of those who expect a sign of skill in an artwork. However, in fine art an artistic idea is often more important than the physical work. I believe that the best artwork is one that presents a theme and show the artistic skill at the same time because if one of them is not appriciated by the viewer, the other can be. I find myself very often not able to identify wiith the topic or message of but the visual aspects still makes me interested in that work. Therefore, a balanced approach to creative pratice is one that focus equally on context and visuals.
I have read many articles about this work and most reffered to it as a symbolic reflection of instability in our society. Nicholas Serota's statement is one that attracted my attention as it is very vain and seems like it just based on Haacke's general interests. The Haacke, however, is not familiar with british state and his interviews suggest that that he didn't intend to portray any of britain's social inequalities specifically. I think that awaraness of Haacke's motives behind his previous works makes people think of these concpets when looking at the sculpture. In contrast, those who are not familiar with the artist and his interests are probably not going to read the work as indicator of power systems ect. I have been to Trafalgar Square many time this year and I've never seen it there. I wasn't probably paying attention but having seen it on pictures is pretty good. It is a interesting piece of work as it presents sceleton which we usually see only in musuems and associate with dinosaurs. I think that if I haven't known the title before seeing the work, I would think firstly of a dinosaur.
"It's clearly about the fragility of power systems and the state " - Nicholas Serota, Tate gallery director
"So, far from being a provocative criticism of capitalist excess that might split the public, Gift Horse is so non-controversial that even London's Conservative mayor, Boris Johnson, could give it his usual blustering, mock-moronic approval, claiming, inevitably, that it would ?get people talking". -
Here is another quote from an article about this work. I fully agree with the statement and believe that the "gift horse" is an artwork that is open to variety of interpretation and not a direct indicator of the economic situation.
Today we went to Trafalgar Square and examined the "gift horse" from there. I think that this particular location is what emphasies the concepts of money, power and economics. Seeing the work on the picture didn't make me think of these issues and I don't think the eletronic bow itself is representative of these conept as well. However, the environemnt around makes me associate this sculpture with sociological and political concepts. Central London and especially Trafalgar Square are areas of wealth occupied by goverment's buildings and luxury apartaments. So there is a siginificant contrast between the deadly looking sculpture and rich instituations around it. A consideration of this work's location brought thoughts about a value of money. The sceleton for me represents death and the electronic bow together with wealthy areas indicates money. So it is like the value that we place on money has killed the horse. In other words, financial motives behind everything distroy us humans.
I was inspired by Thomas Demand to create a small size model of the bandstand in battersea park that I examined in my research week. I though that the idea of photographing something unreal in a real way was very smart as it plays with people's perception of real and question their tendency to trust the visuals.
I have been working on my model of the bandstand since yesterday and its actual state doesn't look accurate in relation to the real one. I tried to create exactly the same version but working small turned out to be very difficult and I wasn't quite able to include all the details. The main problems were due to solidity of styrofoam which I used for most elements. This material wasn't solid enough to shape all parts acuratelly and as a result many inperfections appear on its surface which makes the model look far from the realistic version that I inteneded to create.
Overall, I didn't achieve to produce a copy of the bandstand but I did created quite nice, far more simpler structure that I can still use for this project. I think that experimenting with size and examining this model in relation to real life settings could be an exciting direction for this project.
I find Slinkachu's miniature street art very significant to my project. His works bring thoughts of fictional worlds and life that takes place just above the ground. It is interesting how his tiny figures occupy the ground. The ground became like a whole new world. It makes me think of space being divided into section. The space near the ground is a home for many small animals and we don't really think about it. As people we tend to pay most attention to the space at level of our eyes. This is our focus. So I find it interesting how the space near the ground is ignored by most of us (to an extent).
Inspired by the artist, I am going to explore the concept of spacial occupation and see how my model presents in relation to the real life size environment around it.
Today I carried the model to many different locations and photographed it. Like the artist I placed my model on the ground in each place that I went to. I played with spacial perspectives by constantly changing angles.
I found photos that were taken from the lowest angle the most exciting as as a viewer I couldn't tell if the bandstand was real life size or not. This is what I initially wanted: the question of what is real? . The presence of my miniature strcture
transformed the space making it looks like a fictional world. So it presents the concept of unreal. However, the way everything was photographed (from the lowest angle) created illusion of realism where the model appears as real life size structure. So it is a interesting relationship between the space and the model. I want the viewer to question this relationship and decide on what is real or what is not.
From many photos that I taken yesterday I had chosen 3 favourite shoots which I believe reflect visually my initial ideas of realism,fiction and occupation of space.
Each photo was taken from different angle and the spacial perspective within each is what makes them effective. However. I am not going to display them all because a series of photos could offer a different reading of my work. Presenting a serie of photos could swipe viewer's attention from the space and direct it towards the subject that connect all photos. I don't want that so I have decided to display only one and therefore effectively present my ideas.
I have printed my photograph on a A3 paper and I wonder whether such size is going to work well in the exhibition space. Presenting small can encourage viewer to examine the work from short distance and enable to capture the whole picture at once. In contrast, bigger sizes like A1 could be more appealing and more visible in the exhibition space. It is difficult to decide as other students' work could affect the presentation of my photograph. I don't have clue about a scale of students' works and I cann't say if A3 size would get lost around other works. On the other side, my photograph looks very fresh and the colours stand out from a white backround so the visuals will probably attract viewers' attention from long distance.
I received variety of comments about my work today,.Most reflected my initial idea and showed effective understanding of my piece. Viewers were able to notice the features of the picture that made them realise that the bandstand was really tiny but at first they got impression of real life size structure. This showed me that they did examined the photograph and decided what is real for them. They also reffered to the bandstand as "holly destination", "target" and " destiny". These are words that I used to describe the actual bandstand in battersea park in my reserach week. I believe that the object itself carry these concepts and therefore my model of it also brought similar ideas to viewers' minds.
I find it interesting that some viewers thought that I have photoshoped the whole thing. I took the photograph in a specific way to make the model appear as real life size structure but I didn't expect to hear comments about digital processes. I don't think this was a bad thing because it means that the scenery didn't look real to some viwers at all which is what I wanted to an extent. My aim was to invite the viewers to consider the relationship between the object and the environment and decide what is real and what is not. Therefore, this particular comment reflect decisions about realism of my photograph.
Similarly, some viewers thought that I took the picture in a studio and created myself the whole environment. The blurred grass appeared to them as fake and as being carefully placed in rows around the bandstand. I think that by removing blurred area at the bottom of my picture I could have achieved greater spacial illusion so that more people would see it as big size structure. I wanted viewers to make the decison about the realism but at the same time expected that they will get confused and consequently think about both "miniature", "real life size" as possible compositions. Therefore, the fact that some viewers instantly got impression of fictional space doesn't meet my intensions. I believe that by increasing the depth of field and making all features within the picture sharper I would be able to fully achieve my aims. So in order to address this issue I need to take another photograph and makes sure that every elemant is sharp and detailed.
I also found that those who saw my work from a long distance weren't interested in it at all. From far away my work appeared to them as basic picture of a landscape. Only those who walk along the wall and observe my work from there found it exciting. So maybe the small size wasn't as right as I thought. Although, I did wanted people to make a close contact with my work and I think that if the picture had been bigger then it would be difficult for them to capture all elements at once. However, it all depends on where the viewers tend to stand and observe.
Overall, I think I should have print the photograph on a larger scale. A1 size would probbaly attarct more attention and shrank the viewer into the miniature world.