Friday, April 27, 2012

I Am: Blog 2

"I Am": Process

I was originally inspired by the work of Candy Chang. Her work deals with the community. I love her "Before I Die" Project which was basically a large wall space that allowed for people to write their own responses to the prompt "Before I die I want to..." I thought this was such a fantastic way to get individualized and unique answers, while at the same time bringing together a community of people that wrote on the same board.

I remember being struck by the idea that I could do something similar with a very different type of prompt. I wanted to create something that also involved the community to interact with and to express themselves. The idea that I wanted to deal with is creating a positive space for a community.

When going through difficult times I often look down on myself and find it hard to look at myself in the mirror. However, one of the things I learned through therapy was to use positive affirmations. I would write "I am..." statements on sticky notes and stick them to my mirror. In this project I want to encourage other people to make their own positive affirmations and add them into a collective, positive statement about ourselves.

I had originally planned on making a large scale installation type piece, but as I felt strapped for time and was unsure of what kind of space to do it in I found myself looking for other options. I decided to turn the work into more of a performance piece and form it around a video.

The piece turned into a more personalized setting and meaning. There were thirteen participants, including myself. I asked each person who participated to write down a meaningful positive affirmation about themselves on a sticky note. They were then told to affix it to themselves and then put it on the mirror. After that, I would stand in front of the mirror, taking in each newly added positive statement.

I think that each person came away with a stronger sense of self and positive feeling about each other. I think that in that way, I achieved the main goal of this project and felt accomplished. I was especially proud of the way that the video turned out.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

I Am: Blog 1

I Am: Artist Statement

When going through difficult times I often look down on myself and find it hard to look at myself in the mirror. However, one of the things I learned through therapy was to use positive affirmations. I would write "I am..." statements on sticky notes and stick them to my mirror. In this project I encouraged other people to make their own positive affirmations and add them into a collective, positive statement about ourselves.

The project created a positive experience for all who were involved. The task allows each person to focus on an aspect of yourself that your are proud of and giving it a medium to share that with the world. By highlighting these parts of yourself the best of you shines through and reflects into the world. I think the importance of sharing this with the world around you is that other people can find positivity within themselves as they see you finding yours. While this project was small I believe that internally visualizing these positive affirmations, allows them to grow and spread into positivity in other people throughout the community.



Love: Blog 2

Love: Process

When I started thinking about this project I was mostly just excited to start working in a new medium (other than Braille). I had been previously caught up in the idea of using Braille and had difficulty even coming up with this project. First I had to look up how the short and long sounds can be made and also how the word "love" would be translated.

I spent a lot of time considering what objects would make the best sounds for this project. In working on the project I found that metal and hollow wooden object make the best resonating sounds. I also practiced tapping out the word several times before filming. I tried to integrate it into my every day life.

To complete the project, I enlisted the help of the fantastic filming skills of Liz Craige. We used her FlipCam to capture the video. When filming we used many different objects in various spaces to repeatedly have me tap the Morse Code. Each object was filmed of me tapping the word "love" twice.

Finally I had to learn more about how to film. I had to change file types of all the clips. Then I edited together a complete piece of video that exhibited the sound and visuals of me tapping out the same word multiple times. I found the act of tapping the specific pattern multiple times to be relaxing and meditative. It was a very fulfilling piece personally. I tried to capture this to the best of my abilities through the video aspect as well to share my performance with others.

Love: Blog 1

Love: Artist Statement

My work often deals with words and translation. Propelling myself from previous artworks that use Braille, I have used this performance art piece as a means to work in other methods of transmitting textual information. I wanted to use Morse Code, which can be transmitted through sounds of beats with long and short signals.

This is a recorded performance in which I beat out the word "Love" or  " . _ . . _ _ _ . . . _ . " on various objects and people. The video captures five minutes of tapping out the beating twice for each object. Tapping the Morse Code over and over again creates a repetitive pattern of sound. This piece uses everyday objects and combining their collective sound to make a meditative resonance of the word "love" and perpetuating its meaning into life.



Thursday, April 12, 2012

Final Projects

Project 1:
I am....
Inspired by Candy Chang's Before I Die Project.

I wanted to create something that also involved the community to interact with and to express themselves.

When going through difficult times I often look down on myself and find it hard to look at myself in the mirror. However, one of the things I learned through therapy was to use positive affirmations. I would write "I am..." statements on sticky notes and stick them to my mirror. In this project I want to encourage other people to make their own positive affirmations and add them into a collective, positive statement about ourselves.

I want to put up a mirror and paper that says "I am___" on a wall for about a week and see the responses that are written.

Project 2:
Propelling myself from working with Braille as a medium as difficulty for translation I wanted to try working in other methods of transmitting textual information.

I decided to try using Morse Code which can be transmitted through sounds of beats with long and short signals.

This work will be a performance art piece. I want to beat out the word "Love" or  " . _ . . _ _ _ . . . _ . " I will make these beat sounds by tapping on myself. I will do this in a public space.

Another idea that I thought of later was to maybe incorporate this into another therapy that I use called EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) or Tapping.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Project 2 Ideation

Initial Ideas:
I wanted to do a kind of installation piece of Braille writing.
I was inspired by...

...but.... it would take too long....

I was given the idea to have Braille written on my skin.

What I want to do... wear minimal white clothing, white blindfold, have Braille written all over my skin with paint and/or glue. I want to "see" people's reactions. I want to reach out to them and have them touch me. Bring awareness to being blind, not just in the sense that you can't see, but also what you purposefully ignore.

"Touch me. It's so easy to leave me all alone with the memory of my days in the sun.
If you touch me, you'll understand what happiness is." -Cats

Sunday, February 26, 2012

New Genres Post

Guillermo Gomez-Pena
 I was not super impressed by this artist. I don't know if I was expecting something even more crazy than Stephanie had worked him up to be, or if I just didn't connect enough to his work. I definitely understood where his work was coming from with his background as a Mexican American. I see how his work works with identity and misconceptions and culture. However, the only work that I really was interested in was the one where he and another artist acted as Native Americans that were presented in a cage. The reactions that were captured were interesting.

Alfredo Jaar
Of the works that we discussed in class by Alfredo Jaar, I liked the one with the flowers the best. I think the concept along with the exhibition space was really interesting. He used flowers as a symbol for intellectuals and gave the flowers water and light and soil. He also blew harsh fans towards the flowers symbolizing the governments control and how harmful that was towards letting the flowers grow. I thought it was cool that this installation piece was exhibited across the way from a government building and really brought the work to life.

Yinka Shonibare
 I loved this artist's work with mannequins. They are dressed in clothes made from beautiful fabric. The fabric is batik which originated in India but was adopted by Africans. I also like the concept of them being headless and implication that has. This particular piece show below is talking about when the different European countries were having heated discussions about who would have control over what parts of Africa for trade.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

New Genres: Fabulous Female Artists

Guerrilla Girls
This group of female activist artists are awesome for a couple reasons. First of all they got their start protesting injustice, because in the MOMA in New York and many other important galleries there was little artwork from female artists and even less from artists of non-white race. They started their group to try and bring attention to this prejudice in the system of curators, collectors, etc. Secondly, the Guerrilla Girls are awesome because they express their protest with humor (which is fantastic). They brought to light these disappointing truths of the art world by creating posters containing facts about the injustice. However, I don't think that these girls fully upheld the entirety of their aim. While I believe there were a lot of posters addressing lack of female art, I haven't really seen any really focusing also on lack of art from other races.

Sophie Calle
Now, I've done a post about Sophie Calle before, but I'll go over her again just because I did learn a little bit more about her through this class. Sophie Calle was a very lost person who traveled the world, but still had not found herself when she had returned to France. It wasn't until someone suggested that her work might be art that she started even playing with the idea that she even is an artist. In class we questioned whether that makes her previous works art if it wasn't intended to be, because much of what we deal with in this class is really trying to define what art is. I still don't honestly know the answer to this, but somehow I think its as much how we put our own intentions and ideas into the artwork as it is what the artist put into it. I think one of my favorites that we saw in class, that I hadn't seen before was "The Birthday Ceremony" in which she placed all of the birthday presents from each year in a glass display case. I think its just interesting to kind of put objects that have meaning on display in this way and how it kind of encases and exhibits the annual ritual.

Candy Chang
This female graphic artist does many works of community art. I really love her work "Before I Die" and also "A Nice Place for a Tree" (probably because I'm a tree-hugger). I think what is awesome is that her use of bold designs and placement within urban areas that really allow real community collaboration and communication to take place. I really enjoyed looking through her website, here.

Sarah Kay
Okay, saved the best for last. I (as a poet) love Sarah Kay because she a poet, a spoken word poet. I know this might stretch the boundaries of what art is for some people. But its so much more than words. Its connecting to people on basic levels through experiences that start out just being your own, but that reach across into shared experience and connecting meaning and understanding. And I wish I could write more to explain what I mean but I'm honestly too tired of typing at this moment to continue. But I really connected to her and her explanation of her process of writing, which I think she explains really well in the video.

New Genres: Installation Art

Felix Gonzalez-Torres
I was really moved by was "Untitled" (Perfect Lovers). It was such a simple thing, but it really packed powerful meaning into it. I also found his work of portraits of people with candy that was meant to slowly be taken by those who came to the exhibition. I love that the work is not even truly actualized until people have interacted with it. This is an important part of Installation art that I really like, that the public needs to become a part of the art in a space.

Olafur Eliasson
I liked this artist for how intelligent and interesting his ideas were. His work usually focusing on people's perceptions.  worked with creating nature-like elements in a space, transforming the space. My favorite of the projects that we looked at by Eliasson was "The Weather Project". This project was at the Tate Modern in London and consisted of a hemisphere of lights with mirrors covering the ceiling and a mist. It just looks like it would be such a fantastic space to experience.

Yayoi Kusama
I am totally in love with Kusama's work. Not only is she a crazy awesome person, but she's also a fantastic artist and designer. Her work generally focuses on polka dots, which stems from a childhood hallucination of flowers multiplying from the tablecloth to the entire room. One of the coolest works that she did was an entire room filled with glowing dots and mirrors. I like her work for how visually interesting they are.

Ann Hamilton
I totally am in love with this artist! (Thanks Prof. Skees!) Not only does she work with sewing and thread, writing and words. I love the way that she explains her work and I felt really connected to what she was saying and the concepts she was working with. She talks about installation art being an animation of a space that people can experience when they enter the space. My favorite work that she did was something that involves Braille (which is super awesome because I use Braille in my own work) and is shown best in this video.

Tim Hawkinson
The work of Tim Hawkinson is most often including large installation in a space that involves music. I have seen these works before and always found them really fascinating in sculptural form and function. Though I can't really say I understand them much beyond that they're kinda cool. He seems to be very in the moment with most of his works and just kinda makes it up as he goes along.

Rural Studio
This is a group of architecture professors and students that constructs architecture for a community. I found the architecture itself to be nice. I think what they were doing is admirable to build homes and community projects. Their focus really being on including the community in the process and making poor communities a better place. I know that some people have trouble seeing this group as being artistic. I think that the biggest difference between Rural Studio and organizations like Habitat for Humanity is Rural Studio is about architecture that designed with specific intent for a specific group or family and their needs, not just popping up cookie-cutter houses.

Hans Haacke
I think that my favorite works by Haacke were from his earlier years that are very minimal and have a lot to do with systems and processes. I love works that are simple in itself, but complex in meaning. I like some of his later work as well that are more political, but not as much as the simplicity of his early work.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Artist Post: Erwin Wurm

This is an artist that I knew about previously and really like. Erwin Wurm is a "sculptor" of sorts. His works usually require participants to encounter and interact with objects. He makes it clear that the objects itself is not the sculpture (he isn't pulling a Duchamp), but a person who explores the object as a prop to become a temporary sculpture. Wurm says that in order to come up and experience his work you need a kind of openness and curiosity with a "willingness to become confused." Through his work those participating transforms into the sculpture itself. The performers are then given the feeling of having become a part of a realized vision. I think that the way that Edwin Wurm looks at his art is very playful but also very understandable.
His most famous work is of his One Minute Sculptures in which various objects are supposed to be performed with specific instructions and drawings on a pedestal.

Wurm's work has also inspired many other artists. His work was referenced in the Red Hot Chili Peppers video of Can't Stop. Here is the actual music video and then the making of video as well as an interview with the artist.

New Genres: Earth Art

I was not in class the day this was presented, but I thought I'd look over the slide shows that were used in the presentations and post my thoughts on what I thought about it.

Robert Smithson
I really loved the first two works from his early period that were given. I think some of the shapes and forms of this period reflects into his later work. I thought the first clip we were give was kinda funny that he just seemed to randomly decides to become an artist. This kind of thinking about art is something that I think is shown in many different performance artists as well. They show a kind freedom and pure, emotional response to things and seem to try and get that same sort of response out of others. I really liked the Mirror Displacement work. I think that it really makes you redefine spaces around you and I like that it makes you look at the sky in the photographs as much as it is the earth. Smithson's Spiral Jetty was simply beautiful to me. It reminded me of Andy Goldsworthy in some respects that he used nature to make natural shapes in natural environments. I thought his final quote was interesting as well. There is something about going to a certain place in order to fully experience that thing. Just like seeing work online is never the same thing as being up close and in person to a work of art. Which I think leads me to the next artist.

Walter de Maria
This artist shares many similarities to Robert Smithson with his free-will mentality and total experience of art. Though it seems that Walter de Maria is much more adamant about this. He seems to value time spent around the art and in-the-moment experience. I think the Lightning Field had a really great video to it. The person taking the film was really great at explaining his experience and what the field was like to him (calming, expansive, with buffed 22ft steel rods). It looked like a beautiful place to go. I think the Earth Room wasn't so much interesting in itself (though now I really really want to go see it because I can't any other way), but more so because the man that works there seems fascinating. He, himself, seems very earthy and zen and seems to really understand Walter de Maria's work completely.

Cristo and Jeanne-Claude
I love this collaborative group... partially because they are a freaking adorable couple. (Plus Jeanne-Claude's red hair is fantastic.) I watched the entire interview with them that was given in the slide show. It really gave me a better idea of who they are and why they do what they do. I thought the next video was important because it talks about the large amounts of money needed and how they spend it and peoples reactions that are very volatile against the projects. This video also shows an interesting dynamic between the two. It is interesting that Cristo started out as the artist and Jeanne-Claude is the one that joined later because she seems to fight the hardest for their work. I think what makes them great as a team is that they believe in their work so much that they give everything they have into their art. They really push at boundaries and thoughts about art and what it should be. I think that the idea of covering things in fabric such as sculptures/monuments, and natural structures is really interesting. It kind of demonstrates the beauty of having art and nature there by showing them dressed up or covered in fabric (especially with the bright colored fabric). I also like that they recycle the materials and try to return the space to its original form after the art is done.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Individual Post

A Group Project
From the beginning my group had a fairly clear direction to go in. We wanted to do a pile of something and watch people react to it. Originally, we thought we would do a pile of bananas, but honestly that would be too expensive and might make a mess. Then, we thought we could do a pile of candy or something else, but that also didn't really seem to mean much. Finally, we came to the idea of a single item compared to a pile of items and decided to go with paper, which has both the visual disinterest of trash and the interest of a folded paper maybe having something inside it that you might want to read.
From there we began laying out the ground work after classes. We decided to have the event be a singular event, not so much of performance, but more of a short installation involving the CNU community for the interactions. It was to be staged in the DSU for both the best use of public space that people would be in and also because having a pile of paper in the outdoor elements was probably not the best thing to do. We staged the event on the first floor and setup cameras both on the ground level and from the third story.
In planning we decided we would start with a single sheet of paper, folded in fourths be on the floor for about an hour, and then have a pile of papers with different nice handwritten notes, rude typed notes, or blank paper  all folded in fourths. We imagined that the best reactions would come from the pile of paper. We each split up this process of creating the papers for this project equally. Each group member made 10 of each type of the papers for the pile, making 90 sheets of paper.
One of the issues we ran into while planning this project was that CNU staff is supposed to pick up and throw away any piece of trash that they see on the ground. So we made sure to let the staff know what was going to happen and what we were doing.
The Performance
The day of the happening, we all met in the DSU during regular scheduled class time. Whitney placed the first note on the ground and within a minute, CNU staff saw the paper, picked it up and read the note (which said "Please put me back"). They then remembered that they had been notified about the project and apologized. For the most part the entire student population that walked through the DSU completely ignored the single paper in this phase. Though we did have a couple more instances of staff noticing the note and throwing the paper away.
For the last phase, we collected together our contributed papers and placed it in a pile in the center of the DSU. These reactions were much more exciting to watch. There were some people that passed by the pile without actually picking up any paper, but most of them did at least look it over. A couple even walked hand in hand around the pile. The reactions to what people got in regards to what was on the paper were really interesting. Often, if a person got a good note, they would keep the note after reading it. If someone got a bad note, they would usually share it with others and then put it back in the pile. If people got a blank note they would generally look disappointed and often go back to the pile for another paper. The pile definitely attracted a lot of attention and seemed to bring groups of people together to experience the pile. Towards the end though, there was a group of frat guys that swarmed the pile and didn't let anyone else really get to react to it. Surprisingly there was not many people who really looked around for camera's or to see if anyone was watching them that might have set up the pile, though it did happen once or twice.
Each part was given about 1 hour each. We made sure to clean up the papers after each time.
Each reaction was unique I was glad we caught so many on tape. For my part I got about an hours worth of video from the third floor looking down at the pile. Ryan and Whitney stayed on the first floor and also got about an hours worth of video from the ground level. From this I worked on creating a short video from the two parts of our project. I tried to add the video from Ryan's camera, but couldn't find a way to combine the two. I spent a few hours trying my best learning how to work with Final Cut Pro and came up with about 7 minutes of film to serve as documentation as well as creating film stills for the photographs. I think the video turned out okay. I think it gives a pretty good idea of the project and shows how successful it was.

Group Project 1- The Notes: One vs Many

The Notes: One vs Many
A collaboration: Corinna Campbell, Ryan Gunderlach, and Whitney Walton

The Statement

The difference between one and many can be a powerful motivator to people. In this work we tried to break down this idea to the bare minimum. We explored the idea of human presence in an area of the DSU of CNU. Using the space as a container that people normally interact in, we set loose our idea in the form of notes.

The Process

Starting with a single sheet of paper, folded into fourths, with the words "Please put me back down" written on it, we recorded the interaction and lack thereof for about an hour. For this part of the performance/community art it was most interesting to see the difference between student and staff reactions to the single paper.

Next we collected a large group of papers together to create a pile to symbolize the many. The papers for this part of the project were divided into a third of them having handwritten, nice things written on it, a third of them being typed downbeat messages, and a third being completely blank. There were about 90 sheets of paper in total and all of them were again folded in fourths left in a pile for an hour. This part of the project best showed the way students interacted with the notes and how they reacted in groups together.

Video Documentation

I removed this because I found I couldn't post it publicly and the file was too large.

The Sequence of Events

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

New Genres: Artist Response

I have become increasingly excited for each class and a presentation on more performance artists. Starting with the first which gave a wonderful introduction to performance art and where the artists were coming from that would have spurred them on to do the work that they did. I think this is a very important thing to understand when it comes to understanding this kind of artwork. You have to see the influence of Dada, Futurism and Surrealism to come to terms that performance art was a continuation of pushing boundaries and developing the definition of art.

The first artist we looked at was Yves Klein. Klein is interesting to me not only for his use (almost to the point of overuse) with the color blue (which happens to be my favorite color), but also for his concept of "the void". Defining space by the lack of in a space. Creating by removal. Using emptiness as form and structure. My favorite work by Yves Klien was his "Leap into the Void" photograph. It was wonderful for both its visual interest and suspense and also for it pre-photoshop development.

The next artist we discussed was Tony Orrico, who is by far my favorite artist thusfar. His work creating spherical shapes on huge sheets of paper with graphite are fantastic. As someone who loves to dance I really appreciated the way he totally encompasses his body into the creation of the work. He keeps his arms movements in sync and his rolling and shifting movements are carefully measured. I also love the meditative quality, endurance, and mandala-like quality of his work. Watching the video of him working was totally mesmerizing. For me, I think that doing something of this nature would truly be a kind of spiritual experience. I would love to do something similar to Orrico's work at some point (as soon as I have obtained an extremely large sheet of paper).

Chris Burden is one of the most interestingly bizarre people we have studied so far. He has lived in a locker for five days, gotten shot in the arm, laid in the street rolled in a tarp, stuck live wires to his chest, and crucified himself to a car. I think that he has a lot of intriguing thoughts about different things, however I think what makes Burden so hard to really appreciate is that he doesn't really seem to make plans and follow through to express an exact thing to a specific audience. His works are often spontaneous and seem to lack real need to show meaning or structure. I think what can be taken from performance artists like Chris Burden is that they live fully immersed in their art which is directly integrated into their life. I would say that my favorite would have to be Urban Lights for its aesthetic quality.

Lastly, the New Genres class was introduced to Marina Abramovic. I thoroughly enjoyed all of the works that we saw by her in class (The Artist is Present, Rhythm 10, Relation in Time, AAA_AAA, and Imponderabilia). Abramovic's work has a lot to do with ritual, endurance, the body, human nature, relationships between people and interactions. I think she totally integrates herself into her art, bringing her experiences and trials through endurance rituals to each work that she does (and I think that is why I love her performance art). I liked her quote on the difference between theater and performance art and I think it is very telling about how she approaches her performances. I also enjoyed seeing the Marina "Boot Camp" video where she instructs others in focusing their mind and bodies in the way that she does for her performance works. If I had the chance to do something like that, I would definitely do it.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

New Genres: Response to History of Conceptual Art

In the previous class we had a fantastic lecture that covered a wide range of artists and their work. The slide show started with Marcel Duchamp and ended in the 70s. I was glad to recognize many of these artists or works from taking Contemporary Art History last year, but I think that this overview gave me a much more complete sense of what Conceptual Art really is and how it came to be.
In many ways I see how irritating Conceptual Art is. Most people can immediately come to the conclusion that "I could do that," or "Well, that's just dumb and doesn't make any sense" or question its purpose or right to be housed in any museum. And while I think these are perfectly valid and common responses to much of Conceptual Art, I think it is equally valid to accept each work as acceptable expressions that can be described as works of art.
Personally, I like Conceptual Art a little more than I am inclined to dislike it. After seeing galleries and galleries of beautiful renditions of landscape, portraits and bowels of fruit, I must admit to a certain questioning hope that there might be something that makes me really think about what the artist is doing and why. There is something truly wonderful about really experiencing something creative in conception and construction. I think that the main purpose for this genre of art is to really push the boundaries of definition and what had been previously understood as art and making these things stretch into something new to work with.
I generally lean towards conceptual works of art that are more of installation or land art. I think this because it makes you question the world around you as being beautiful and interesting. I think in many ways just by being well thought out in concept and created with purpose and success in imparting that concept automatically makes it art.
One of my favorite pieces of Conceptual Art that we saw during class was the 4' 33" by John Cage. The score was preformed by an entire orchestra that is instructed to not play during the piece which lasts four minutes and thirty three seconds. The purpose of this piece is to listen to all of the environmental sounds the audience would hear while it is preformed. It really made me consider surroundings and place not only of those in the recorded audience, but also that of which I was actually in as a student in a classroom and the sounds that were in that space. It was a very interesting work for its meditative quality and the idea of getting an entire orchestra together to do the work was fantastic. While 4'33" is by no means traditional art, I still appreciate it for its concept and creation and therefore can still deem it as being art.