I was able to use the uni computers today although I was surprised to see that the lovely new macs would not accept my FireWire cable. Final cut has changed alot which threw me a bit setting off my techno anxiety. I love using video, however I struggle to keep up with the software changes. Technology can sometimes make you feel like it’s making your life easier but also very stupid at the same time. I needed to buy a new magic cable as everyone is working on the most up to date macs these days, although I love the graininess of DV tape. In a way I was pleased to sort this out now which means I can get straight into my work next visit. The good thing about the new final cut is that it already sections clips doing part of the rough cut in advance.
I am feeling like I need to start experimenting with some ideas in a blacked out space. It would be great to work with a photography student to try and re-create some of the performance images I have been collecting. I have got in a habit of making work for specific events and can find it difficult to make something for the sake of it. I need some context for a work to be or else it doesn't feel real. I saw this opportunity, which I am going to apply for called Dressage in Bristol. The event is set in a nightclub with performances happening on a one to one basis at the venue. This has got me thinking about creating performances based on the Penny Arcade images and creating a temporary frame from colourful lights. I love the idea of being dressed as Penny Arcade with a bag of props, lights slung on my shoulder, cruising for interactions in the dark corners of the nightclub. The university would be a great place to test this piece out.
Bought myself a Penny Arcade wig and I totally love it. It’s amazing how a simple prop and change of appearance can fill you with false confidence.
The first sculpture I have been making is a squiggle. This is an idea that that I have had for a while now and I thought it would be a good way to get back into using the workshops because it is something which I definitely wouldn't have been able to make without a proper metal workshop.
To give a bit more of an insight into the sculpture, the way that I characterised the piece previosuly was that it would be like a 'metal tumbleweed' about the size of a beach ball, roughly spherical and made of bent metal tube powder coated a pastelly minty turquoise kind of colour.
Here is an artist's impression of the squiggle:
I think the idea for wanting to make this was driven by wanting to make something which would be illogical in form. It would be really difficult to design something like this precisely, so its making has to be a trial and error kind of process, with the only aim really being that the tube has to join up at some point to become one completed squiggle. In this way the form of the piece is completely decided by the process of its making and the limitations of the processes used.
Here is an example of an object with an illogical design that I saw and took a picture of. It is an air vent (an object with a simple but important function) but it seems that whoever made it has drilled the holes in a completeley illogical fashion. At the top they are quite ordered but it looks as though when they got to the bottom they got bored and just drilled anywhere and used different size drill bits. Notice how I have characterised this object as being made by a person and the process of its making being inherently linked to human thought processes. In reading this object I assume that it could never have been made by a machine because it is too illogical. I am fascinated and baffled by these kinds of objects because they are a rupture in the normal built environment that we encounter outside.
Returning to the squiggle, I see it as a continuation of a piece that I made for my BA degree show which was a post. Here it is:
The idea of this piece was to make a post which would be the most postish post you had ever seen. I see a post as one of the simplest objects that we encounter outside, its function is usually as a barrier, but rather than a fence or other more complicated kind of barrier it is a singular unit. Another interesting thing about posts is that they come in alot of shapes and sizes and materials and finishes, but if you asked me to imagine a post this is the one I would imagine.
Similarly, the squiggle I want to make should be the epitome of squiggleishness. It needs to be illogical in a very precise way. The colour is also very important because it is one of a set of colours that I have been using in paintings over the past year, such as this one:
(colour looks a bit darker in this photograph than it really is)
This pallette of colours I would sort of refer to as 'municipal colours', meaning they are the kind of colours that are generally used in municipal environments, such as schools, hospitals, public toilets, public transport. Soothing, neutral colours which give an impression of order and logic. I like the idea of applying a logical colour to an illogical object and I am hoping that this will create a hiccup in the way that people read the scuplture, similar to the way that the vent with the randomly placed holes puzzled me.
For making the squiggle I spoke a bit with the metal technician and decided the best way to approach it would be to make alot of small curves and weld them together. I made the small curves using a hand bender to bend shorth lengths of steel pipe that is about 1/2" thickness.
After bending a few of these sections, they were looking a bit too geometric, so I realised that one of the things to avoid if I wanted the squiggle to seem illogical was straight sections. so I cut those bits off:
I carried on this process till I had about 20 bent pieces of pipe. The next stage was to weld them together, so I basically worked from the inside of the squiggle outwards, alternating the ends of the piece that I welded the bends onto and spreading outwards, trying to guide the piece into having a roughly spherical shape.
As the piece grew there came a point where I needed to think about joining it up into one continous length, so the two ends of the squiggle had to work their way towards each other and meet up.
Once the pipe had met up it was a case of angle-grinding and filing the welds. The piece is now in the spray shop and should hopefully be sprayed by the end of the week. In all the piece has took about a month's work, going in to use the workshop once a week, I think this piece was probably the most ambitious of the ideas that I want to make for the residency so maybe it was a good idea getting it out of the way first! Hopefully after the christmas break I will be able to pick up the pace and churn out a few simpler pieces.
This opportunity would allow me to spend some time working in a vibrant creative environment again. I have spent 4 years since graduating running my practice from home and have found it to be rather insular. I thrived in a busy art school environment while at university and through the varied projects I have worked on to date I’ve come to find great value in sharing creative approaches, ideas, insights and experiences with different groups of people. I have also benefited from being exposed to new voices and different views. I would enjoy taking an active role within the art school environment and sharing ideas and advising students on professional practice, processes and techniques and the practicalities of running an arts practice.
Using the screen printing, metalwork workshop and dark room facilities would allow me to experiment with new processes and ideas which is not easily achieved when using suppliers. Working as a mixed media designer maker, I often find it an expensive, restricting and time consuming process experimenting with combining processes and so having access to the metalworking facilities/ the darkroom, sculpture facilities and the printmaking area would allow me to develop innovative ideas and combinations of processes and techniques which otherwise is near impossible for me.
In the time since graduating I have really come to miss attending lectures and often working on commissions it is hard to take a step back from project commitments and simply research for the pure enjoyment of it. This would allow me to be open to organic development of ideas and to reconnect with current arts practice in a different format. (These days most of the exposure I get of contemporary practice is through reading design journals or blogs.)
early version of interface idea in flash:
built last week - using data from cosm.com - testing sample API
nice, clean - interesting data-feed: - only updates every hour:
interesting show of exhibition talking about 'space' - studio space - and the ma students reflecting on what it means to them... I am redefining what it means to have a 'studio' - and increasingy my perception of that space that the various artists referred to - and the way they use it - to reflect, to paint, draw, meditate, create.. is out here - it is not location specicific..
I can, or could, have, created various spaces that satisfy some romantic artistic idea of what a 'space' should be - and I create an increasingly pleasant personal space - where I love to go and create.. But the actual space, the space I am working out via this course, has nothing to do with bricks and mortar, more to do with a space in my head...
And I wonder, as a collective, as a community group, wheather increasingly this might be the model we use to create stuff - 'pop-up' is a phrase I keep hearing - so groups of people, facilitated by instant communication, creating spaces to do stuff - and then moving on somewhere else...
of course this flies in the face of your traditional Auerbach/ Picasso/ artist - so attatched to space, in fact it could be argued that there spaces, their environments, are in some ways more interesting, more relevant than the art itself...
And then I think of Steve Berry's comment - about seeing a Leonardo drawing - and tears rolling down his face - the simple, incredible power encapsulated in a drawing...
And also Phil talking to me about the 'gift' - the offering - probably asks this of all the students, but it resonated with me - what am i offering and who am I offering it to, and the realisation that I don't know...
My brain and creative process is so hard-wired now to the end-user,; creating something sexy enough, and useable enough, that the punter will hit 'buy' - or come back to a web-site, or app...
But what of the story ? My story, the stuff I want to say? What I spend most of my time doing is working on structures, programs, data-sets, the machines, techniques of distribution and delivery - but what story am I telling - and to who...?
Which brings me onto another, memorable meeting - funny how these little nuggets of conversation stick in your sub-concious - Sarah - saying to me - 20 years ago - in response to my dialogue about masculinity, and its place in the world; "who cares?" - and I think in answering that question I've come up with some of my best work, best solutions to artistic and design problems...
In fact, getting to that question, is often what I find myself doing as a designer, as a commercial creative, or as I increasingly find myself - a creative facilitator...
well, thats it - for now - gonna spend an hour trying make blobs fly accross the screen of my iPad - then eat something, go back to my Totnes space, and go to bed - the money and work anxieties I have had suddenly not so important as my artistic self is galloping wildly in this expansive landscape of possibilities..
I have always been captivated by the ever-changing nature of the sea, especially those strange, reinvented objects one finds scattered along the tide line that Nature has handed back to us.
Just like the gnarled piece of driftwood, or smoothed bead of sea glass, I am in awe of the journey that these objects have taken and the mysterious underwater forces that have acted on them.
These unfamiliar fragments have been decoupled from their intended context, washed clean of their original significance to be deposited, handed back to us as detritus, tell tale fragments of our daily lives.
The power of the tides, a force that will continue long after we have gone is an age old rhythm, governed by the gravitational forces of our own solar system. At the opposite end of the spectrum, we have our insignificant items that are lost to the sea, to be transported, changed and deposited, never to speak of their violent journey beneath the waves, which are no more than tattered signifiers of a previous life on land.
It is this age old natural process that I will be experimenting with in my residency at North Hertfordshire College. By securing ceramic objects in the cosastal zone to experience the humbling force of the ever changing tides, they will draw attention to our own insignificance as a race when faced with such power. It is those remnants that lie transformed, littered along the shoreline that I take inspiration from.
Objects will be made from a variety of clays with contrasting textures and shapes – some forms functional, others more abstract.
I keep returning to the following quote by Heraclitus which seems to stand at the heart of this work:
‘Everything flows and nothing abides, everything gives way and nothing stays fixed.’
The AA2A at Chelsea has gotten off to a slow start, awaiting inductions etc. But I feel I have all I need now. The access to the library and archive, equipment and edit suite is pretty much all I need, with the addition of booking out spaces for filming and performance.
Much of this will come in the new year, considering the term is now over.
There are some great spaces I'd like to put forward proposals for using, and I'm crossing my fingers for some results.
The sound piece is coming together slowly (juggling a job and a group project at the same time as this residency is proving challenging). I have edited down 1.5 hours out of the 4 so far, collecting the bits that are of interest.
- Giving people a Lapyan (sp) in business. An incentive.
- Positive atmosphere without necessarily giving a reward vs. Negative atmosphere but giving a reward (bonus, etc)
- People prefer ego strokes to pay increases
And many other big topics. I will elaborate and show examples as the edit becomes more solid. I will be combining with other sound works, and potentially my own recordings when it begins to take shape.
RIght, well I am just getting the hang of my profile so time for my first blog! There was a great talk conducted by Beth Bramich a couple of weeks ago, who explained to us about The Wasteland Sculpture Park that she is part of. This project is all about placing something within, or using a wasteland space in different ways. Beth is currently working in our screen printing studio, making prints of proposal ideas. She is currently asking for proposals for her 'Wasteland Sculpture Park Publication', from students and others so anyone who is interested should get in touch!
She helped organise 'The Games' through The Wasteland Sculpture Park, which was a day of activities taking place simultaneously in Nottingham and Berlin. In Nottingham they were playing a rounders tournament and in Berlin they had an obstacle course! For more information visit:
Overall, a fascinating talk about utilising space and organising public events.
Been a little while since I last blogged however it has been very hectic (as I'm sure it has been for most Fine Art students) as I have been getting work ready for the assessment deadline which was last Friday! I will put up some photos of the work I submitted soon.
Over the last week Sandra and myself also hosted a couple of informal AA2A Q&A sessions, hopefully the links below will make the sessions available for download. Unfortunately they are a little quiet and best listened to through head phones. There wasn't an overwhelming turn out from students however I think that hopefully people will listen to the recording.
Very generally we discussed work, art work and life. Please feel free to have a listen (just copy and paste the link into your address bar) and let me know if the links don't work!