Archive for September, 2008

Presentation: Projection on to slate

Sunday, September 28th, 2008

I’ve had an idea in my head for the past few weeks, since the house gallery show, really. It’s of projecting my final site/questionnaire onto a big sheet of slate. It’s inspired by the grey I used for those canvases reminded me of slate. I think the image of slate is a really nice one. I like the feel and the weight of it. I’m considering trying to get a massive piece of slate and projecting my finished website on to it. I think that would help give it a bit of a presence. However, I’m wondering about the wisdom of privileging one showing of the piece over another. One thing I like about digital art is the fact that it’s such a level playing field viewing wise. Showing it projected on to slate in a gallery context would be a privileged viewing situation, I think. The version with the slate would be more privileged than the one you see online. It also changes the status of the work in a participatory context.

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Reconstruction

Saturday, September 20th, 2008

I’m still interested by this reconstruction thing. I’m interested by the idea of there having been an event, a moment, something, and someone taking whatever traces of that which there may be and assembling them in a manner offering us a fresh (also dead?) angle on it. I’m reminded, funnily enough, of Damien Hirst saying we have to kill something and put it in a tank in order to look at it. By that point, of course, it’s long since ceased to be the thing that really interested us.

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Things of old and also of yore

Sunday, September 14th, 2008

I went to the British Museum a while back and took some pictures. I was looking for Anglo-Saxon and Old Norse artifacts to give me a feel for the way people were living

old norse prow

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Void #13 by Anish Kapoor

Saturday, September 13th, 2008

I was going to put this picture in the big bang post I wrote earlier but it looked weird and out of place so I’m giving it its own post. The picture below is of Void #13 by Anish Kapoor. Here’s a link explaining a thing or two about it: Queensland Art Gallery

void13 by anish kapoor

I’m very fond of Anish Kapoor. I love the way he uses materials to create a sense of either weight or lightness. He also manages to make things look like light is being sucked in to them. That’s a bit of an achievement in my book. His work makes me look again, and inexplicably. It’s very meditative. This is a good way of representing that void I’ve been on about. As good as any other I’ve seen anyway.

Hmm, I Wonder if there are any zen koans or poems about the void.
A quick web search throws up the old tradition of death poems, when a zen master would express his insights into the process of dying to his disciple. I just remembered this one, which I’ve loved for years:

Magnificent! Magnificent!
The Ocean bed’s aflame,
Out of the void leap wooden lambs

I may well end up buying this very interesting looking book about zen poetry: Triumph of the Sparrow.

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Ginnungagap and Audhumla

Saturday, September 13th, 2008

Part of the reason for writing the blog below regarding the big bang is the comparison with the Old Norse version of the creation and their subsequent view of existence. At the beginning of the Prose Edda, one of the first things we read the following account of the universe’s beginnings.
(By the way, I’ve cut and pasted most of this from here: www.sacred-texts.com For those parts of the text which come from older poetic sources (The Sibyl’s Prophecy) I’ve added the newer Penguin version as an alternative. This is because the newer text is more readable and the meaning feels slightly different. The older one has a poetic power, though. This distinction in use of language is significant in itself, with regard to my project, I think. The bits from the Penguin edition are in italics.
The older translation is from 1916 and is by Arthur Gilchrist Brodeur
The newer one is from 2005 and is by Jesse L. Byock)

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The big bang and what came after

Saturday, September 13th, 2008

One thing about this project that I’m really pleased about is the fact that I read ‘A Briefer History of Time’ by Stephen Hawking and thoroughly enjoyed it. It made my head go a bit funny. It had never really occurred to me but apparently space and time began with the big bang. They’re both entirely relative. That fact in itself is pretty mad. Time moves more slowly when closer to a strong gravitational force. This is part of how a hypothetical astronaut who travelled through the universe at light speed would be younger than their twin on their return to earth.

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Final assessment of House gallery show

Friday, September 12th, 2008

I’m pretty much always disappointed with everything I do so I’m not surprised that I’m a bit disappointed with the House gallery show as a whole. That’s only because I didn’t do anything there that I thought was really good. To be fair, though, it was always presented as a step in a process. In that regard it’s been a success.

wide shot of house gallery exhibition at the end of the process

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Particle tracks

Friday, September 12th, 2008

I drew some particle tracks of bubbles in a container. I did it because wanted a miniscule contrast to the universe/solar system on the other wall. I had a vague plan to look at the way these small things are connected to create a bigger whole. This didn’t really happen though. I did all sorts of other things but no idea really leapt out at me for how to take that idea forward. In the end, I put a box with arrows pointing outwards all around it to emphasise the fact that it’s one part of something larger. I don’t think this worked though. In a way, I’d also been looking at this in the pixel zoom pictures. I think they were a bit more successful. They had a much more graspable context. They had a point of comparison. Maybe this was what was missing from the particle tracks drawing. Maybe I needed a drawing of the same thing at a different scale.

particle tracks drawn on the back wall of the house gallery

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I like Hugin and Munin

Tuesday, September 9th, 2008

I drew Hugin and Munin on the walls as I wanted them looking over everything that was going on in the gallery. I quite like the idea of them making a similar appearance in the final piece. They could hover round the edges of the action.

hugin

munin

The scratchiness of the drawings appeals to me too. I think I’m going to start out with a similarly scratchy approach when I work on making the finished thing.

Layered alls

Tuesday, September 9th, 2008

With half of the show gone I decided I wanted to change the space quite substantially. I did this by pinning lots of sheets of newsprint to the wall and drawing ‘ealle’ on the wall in an old font that looks like handwritten calligraphy. ‘Ealle’ is one dialect of the Old English word for all. In some places it was spelt ‘eall’. It comes from the Old Frisian (pronounced Free-Zhun) language. The Old Frisians came from where Northern Germany and the Netherlands are now. Ealle was in use in England in the Fifth and Sixth Centuries or thereabouts. It is part of the earliest incarnation of English as English.

me drawing the first layer of the layered all

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Phone Photos

Tuesday, September 9th, 2008

I also showed my phone photos. This is a web page consisting, at the moment, of about 1300 photographs taken on my phone. It’s something I’ve been doing for a couple of years but I’ve only just gotten round to getting it all online. Here’s the link:

Phone Photos page

There’s no specific theme to the pictures, but there are things that develop, as you look at all of them together, mainly because of the kind of things I usually take pictures of. I’m interested in urbanisation; the way people have changed the world and how we’ve chosen to adapt it for own ends. So there are a lot of shots of odd details in bits of cities. Hand dryers, scrawled signs or warnings, details from the textile pattern of a chair on a bus. All of these things end up getting photographed. The main reason why this is relevant to my project is that I wanted to know how effective the mode of presentation was and whether I wanted to explore it any further. There’s something overwhelming about it, after all. There’s so much there to look at. I like the fact that there’s so much to take in at one sitting.

I guess the page is also looking at the way having cameras on phones is changing the way people think about cameras generally. A photograph simultaneously has more and less value now. We cam take literally hundreds of pictures in a day and many of them will be very throwaway. And yet there seems to be more of an obsession with pictures now, if in a poorer quality format. Funny that.

Questionnaire

Tuesday, September 9th, 2008

Probably the most important thing I did in this show was get people to fill out a questionnaire about the word all. It starts off fairly innocently and then goes off the deep end a bit. I think my final piece is most likely to be a honed down version of this questionnaire. A few people said they really enjoyed filling it out and a couple even said they’d been thinking about it in the week after doing it. That has to be a good thing. It’s a good way of engaging people with a thought process.

After questionnaires were completed, I hung them on the wall so people could read other people's answers

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This or that

Tuesday, September 9th, 2008

In the west, everything has a name and is set into groups. It’s all classified. I gather this is set into the history of western thought. Some people would probably trace this back to Aristotle. Some people think Descartes was behind the development.

various ideas, drawings and bits of writing hanging by bulldog clips and pegs. The intended effect is of a messy, live sketchbook

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More pixels

Monday, September 1st, 2008

I wanted to develop the pixelised motorway pictures I did a few months ago. I zoomed in on three pictures by 3200% and screen grabbed small sections of them. The end result is that they look like compositions of squares. Well, that’s what they are, effectively. I think they’re quite beautiful. Some of them are anyway. I zoomed out steadily and took grabs of bits of each picture on each zoom. Over the course of a minute or two the subject of the picture becomes clear.

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A circle in a circle

Monday, September 1st, 2008

While pondering things in a meandering fashion one day I realised that, to many people, the word all represents wholeness in some respects. A circle also represents wholeness. I was wondering what it would look like if a circle was placed inside a circle, being a wholeness inside of a wholeness. Is that possible? Does that make sense? I quite like this idea as there’s a simplicity about it.

drawing of a circle inside a circle

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