Friday, 5 November 2010


Technology is the devil!

Considering the capabilities of the video editing software that we have been introduced to is allowing me to focus the direction of my ideas, with an informed vision of what is possible and realistic within the time scale.

  • Myself- the body, form and daily transformations
  • Possessions/collections/consumerism - my mirror/jewellery box
  • My Tea Cup - Communication, interaction and the every-day
From all of the artist research that I have carried out both independently and in studio, I have selected and considered the pieces that speak to me for whatever reason that may be.  I figure that art which provokes a reaction in me be it positive or negative is successfully applying creative strategies, and therefore establishing itself as art.  I feel a connection to the strategies that I subconsciously recognise when I view a piece for the first time, and through further consideration of these pieces I am coming to the conclusion that the connection is routed in my realisation of a link, between my own artistic thinking and that of the artist(s) responsible for the piece.  For example; the time lapse, transformation and still life composition of Sam Taylor Wood's 'A Little Death' lead me to question my body and mortality.  The idea of ageing and transformation but in more of an instant context.  I thought of the connection between 'A Little Death' and a film an old tutor of mine showed me where a man takes a photograph of his face every morning for 6 years and literally records himself ageing.
 I suppose that looking back at the direction of my work towards the end of first year, reassured me that this interest in transformation and natural decay has been a reoccurring direction in my practice for many years.  The idea of 'me' as a transforming object is...I suppose: a fairly obvious, inevitable response to the brief.  The raw idea when i was let loose with a video camera, instantly lead me to filming my vain, superficial every-day transformation.  I set up my camera to observe me as I observe myself, applying makeup and styling my hair.  The reality of the strategies and methodologies that I consciously apply to my everyday life was too close for comfort.  Vanity, masking, conforming and questioning my own self worth reminded me of my fragile mortality.  In terms of treading the path of identity-feminism-Tracy Emin etc, I think I'll leave that to Emin.  My interests lie much more in the language and behaviour of materials/surfaces and objects.  The physical, ritual and reality as opposed to statements and speculations.
  An idea of the visualisation of a reality of myself suddenly sprung to mind.  Emotionally tied up and caught up in the middle of a family tangle, the visual language of rope seems fitting as a material carrying tones of coding.  I thought of a scene where my family could stand in a circle around me and throw balls of rope at one another instead of fighting whilst i intervened getting caught up in the rope.  The scene could change tone with the force and expression of the throwing action.  With a little consideration, i decided that (ironic as it may be) the likelihood of getting them to participate without causing trouble is unlikely.  Maybe I'll save that idea for another time.
  Interestingly the idea of observing me (the subject) observing myself, connected in my mind to creative strategies of film which is an entirely new experience form me.  I thought of projection and the position of the viewer as the subject, and the possibility of interactive film rather than my preconception of motion picture on a screen.  Light creates movement through shadow which could be controlled or spontaneously altered by the surrounding conditions.  So many branches into the realised outcomes of sophisticated ideas stemming from a massive FAIL piece of experimental footage. 

Tim Noble & Sue Webster
(Ephemera positioned to cast the shadow of two men)

Idea:  Projected film where the viewer can obstruct the projection to be a part of the film.  The visual would never be the same, the film would be unique every time depending on how the projection is being obstructed?

Abstraction: The second piece of experimental footage that I recorded accidentally became about colour and the distortion of objects.  I used the video camera free hand recording in an attempt to create a sort of stop frame film using short pieces of footage rather than stills.  The lack of focus and stability in my free hand approach, began to blur the subject matter to the point of total distortion as I attempted to film the mirror jewellery box opening slightly to reveal its contents.  The beads and gems became light, colour and shape.  For this experiment i also attempted to control the lighting using lamps and overhead lights to direct and manipulate the atmosphere of the imagery.  I wanted the footage to show a sort of a treasure chest opening but the end result was something entirely different.  I filmed the approach and the key turning to unlock the box with overhead lighting, which would have been quite effective if i had used a moving tripod for detailed focus and accuracy.  However the close up shots of the jewellery inside would not have been so effective without the improvised strategy.  Other than the obvious visual attraction to these objects I did not feel inspired or connected to them.  The footage (although experimentally informative) was technically poor and i could not see a direction for further development of the idea.  I'm not too sure where the idea even came from in the first place (perhaps it was routed in the hierarchy of possessions seen in Barnaby Barford's 'Damaged Goods'?).   What i did learn from this though, was that the combination of stop frame stills and video footage could combine effects to directly manipulate the desired outcome.  I think that the jittery, higledy-pigledy quality of stop frame quaintly describes movement as a continuous entity throughout video footage.  Stop frame stills taken from a tripod work to create this effect with the added professionalism and focus for a realised image in every frame.

Human Connection to every-day objects: My Tea Cup

‘Dear Phone’ by Peter Greenaway and ‘Damaged Goods’ by Barnaby Barford are the two artist films that inspired me most.  Peter Greenaway uses humor and our shared understanding of objects and communication to connect with the viewer as he narrates the piece.  The repetition of the red telephone box throughout ‘Dear Phone’ initiated my consideration of functional every-day object that we all subconsciously or deliberately develop some sort of relationship with.  Certain connotations and understanding is applied to the phone box, or the phone for that matter simply because of its functionality, shared use and its position in the furniture of our environment.  Considering makeup and jewelry as the objects of everyday life would be accurate, however without any doubt I can say that my tea cup is the one object that is continuously used, held and shared throughout my day.  I like the idea that most of us have a tea cup regardless of who or where we are.  It is accepted in the world of business and education that we are entitled to our routine breaks where we drink tea and natter in social ritual.  Even those who do not enjoy the beverage seem to join the ritual and sit around the coffee table enjoying the pleasures of the interaction.  To offer someone a cup of tea can be an apology, and invitation or a warm welcome. 
  We all recognize the object as a symbol regardless of its functionality, and it is the ritual and communication that I find more enriching than the function and consumption.  I am interested in the coding of these mass produced objects and their use as a lifeline for communication as well as a comforting object that almost becomes and extension of its owner. 

The relevance of my referencing Janine Antoni is simply the purity of her use of materials.  The work both seen and described in the above article shows the beauty and powerful visual language that can be achieved through the coding of materials.  Could i make a rope from a collection of discarded tea bags?  Could this rope then be realised as part of a 'tea' cup and string telephone to reference the symbolism of communication through the social ritual of drinking tea?   

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