3rd Yr Journal – Week 8

Taking inspiration from the visual nature of the mono-prints and researching the work of artist Simon Callery, I worked with a piece of large canvas within the corner space. Simon Callery makes work by laying canvas over archaeological dig land, draws and cuts around the shapes of rocks and indents and markings found underneath, repeats this process and hangs the resulting fabric pieces over each other vertically, making a kind of palimpsest where you can see the layers of canvas from viewing the work from the side but also you can see deeper layers from looking face on at the canvas by looking through the holes cut out of it (see work of Callery below).

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I did a very similar process to Callery by working on the land in that way, mapping its texture on the canvas with chalk and cut away at the shapes I wanted to. I also collected some rusty pieces of metal from the site and using commercial descaler I tried to do some rust staining however I am not sure I did the process correctly as the rust from the metal didn’t bleed very well but I think I’ll try it again.

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I also didn’t do multiple layers of the onsite landscape mapping like Callery does but it does resemble the mono-prints quite a lot which wasn’t expected or intended.

Following the making of the sheet map of the corner space, I rediscovered my interest in the dough making I was doing right at the beginning. However I was thinking a lot about the idea of barriers and their presence in order to divide and segrate the landscape and people. Barriers whether physical or metaphoric are like in between spaces in themselves as they are in neither of the two or more places they are dividing. The barrier itself is no-mans-land making it everyone’s? Artist Trinh T. Minh-ha works with the notion of the barrier a lot in her work and I have been doing a lot of research into her thoughts as part of my dissertation. The video below is a very inspirational interview that helped to clarify and inspire more of my thinking about the wall and barrier and spaces between. Watching this video was one of those moments where I felt really good about the work I was making and positive to listen to someone of such intelligence and well respected in the art and literature world, speak about similar subjects and approaches.

Minh-ha see’s Twilight as an in-between space, as well as walls, passages, the act of walking and explains it so beautifully! I love her references to in between places being places of passage from one place to another, and being places of transformation as you go from one state of being to the next. I especially like the relation between Jacob’s Ladder as a place of physical passage and her ideas about walking being a spiritual act of transformation and how the act of walking allows one to perceive the world around you differently, re-evaluate and contemplate. The passageway like Jacob’s Ladder being an interval in the lay out of Falmouth and a place where people walk up steps (steps having their own ancient symbolism), transforming in the void of unimportance that passageways carry. It is a “proximity that keeps the possibilities open, keeps the interval alive” Minh-ha explains. She also talks of border lines and barriers in relation to world politics and their limiting characteristics. The addition of walls and barriers restricting flow and growth also the interesting concept of going over or under a wall or barrier.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this going over or between things so decided to start making ladders from dough. The ladder is an ancient universal tool that comes in many shapes and sizes and from many different materials for functional reasons. All over the world the ladder can’t really be improved and is still used everyday with the fundamental use of getting from one place to another. Ladders are also interesting as they are objects that can be transported and carried and have no fixed location. They have no fixed home and aren’t tied to a specific person or identity. They can be carried long distances but their function is always the same. Ladders are things we take for granted. I like the concept that the ladder as an object can be transported anywhere and will always be recognised as these characteristics are important to my work – the ladder has no home and is always in an in-between and indefinite state plus pretty much all humans will recognise its function. Instinctively knowing to use it to ascend or descend or cross between.

I placed the ladders up against the wall to the Corner Space, I didn’t leave them there but I want to make more and do this. Leaving them leading up the wall may cause people to look over it, think about going over something, over the barrier between the nothing space and their place of passage, defying the division. They might ignore them and not think at all and continue in their passing down the path, they might even steal one. All these potentials and more have their own connotations and could be read in many ways but in a public art piece like this, where art is in the public realm, there is no knowing what will happen to it or who will see it and what they will think. It feels cohesive to put art in public spaces considering my strong links to the overlapping of culture and overall importance of people.

Obviously the ladders are made from dough as well which may intrigue people, remind them of a moment from their childhood or spark an association to something. As I’ve mentioned before, bread is also universal and ancient, so as a sculptural material it automatically brings common understanding and knowledge together creating an overlapping in itself due to the overlapping of people’s recognition within the objects.

I also got my bisque fired step mold ceramics back. The lighter brown shapes are negatives of the indented part of the steps on Jacob’s Ladder and the darker shapes are positives from the lip of steps on Jacob’s Ladder. They fit together nicely.

Above is just one way I could display them using the cast of the Jacob’s Ladder step. I have swapped the placement of the molds. The ones on the top ridge were taken from the indented part of the step but the ones on the floor at the bottom of the step were taken from the step lip. They are interesting little objects as you can tell they have been pressed into a space from one side but the other just has the organic markings and prints from my hand. They are objects that present the connection my hand had with the steps.

 

 

 

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Human and Earth

This sculpture was something I created last term but it was mainly just to practise my wood-work skills. I took the shape of an abstract life drawing I did then recreated it using many layers of scrap wood, all individually sawn and sanded to mimic the curves of a human figure. At the time I became obsessed with this sculpture and it took me days to complete despite the corners I could have cut that would have been much less effort and time consuming.

Once finished and glued together I noticed my pleasure of holding it, there was something nice about gripping a heavy object around its thinnest part, it made me like the object regardless of its minimal relevance to my work.

I also became aware of its prominent layers of different colour and thickness, it reminded me of the layers of the planet, earth and sand. Simultaneously, since the evaluation of my last body of work and how interesting I found art relating to organic materials and the threat climate change has on our global, natural environment, I began realising the importance of this sculpture.

My research into the future of the planet increased and after watching the most recent series of Planet Earth with David Attenborough, I learnt that the “deserts are drying up and constantly expanding” meaning the polar ice caps as well. I had personally not given much thought to the sandy deserts of the world in terms of global warming and I found it quite scary to think that they are constantly expanding. It is a powerful and frightening concept that ‘the desert is coming’, and after watching a short film with the title ‘The Future Was Desert’ by artist Sophia Ann Maria, I really started giving the idea of sand a thought. In her film, she portrays the future as a hostile, sublime, lifeless place and draws inspiration from apocalyptic movies and ideas, using found footage and an eery commentary along with portraying our existence as something that has come from nothing and will soon return there.

I was highly influenced by Maria’s work especially due to the videos sometimes poor quality and production, it is raw and amature giving me confidence of my own to simple experiment with what little technical knowledge I have.

So, I got my hands on some oil sand which is what is used in the workshop for casting and combined my figurative wooden sculpture with a pile of it:

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Although very simple, thanks to the combination of the human presence from the sculpture and the organic earthy presence of the sand, it then gave me a platform to start thinking about the relationship humans have with the planet and there my project began.

 

Surrounding Inbetweens

This was my final piece of work from term 1 at Falmouth:

It was a piece aiming to summarise the ideas about repeatedly going within a moment of inbetween and then within it again where the materials I used (wood branch slices) are involved with many circular representations of being surrounded and within a moment of nothing or in between.

Alone, lost ocean photos

I photographer a friend whilst swimming to try to capture the essence of the aloneness and lost reality of the sea but with the addition of a the conscious human experiencing it.

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I have found that the flecks of cold white skin and absence of the face share a vulnerability and mystery in the collection of photographs. The face of the person is the way we read and confirm the reality of them but by not seeing the face creates a mood of separation linking to my ideas of being lost and addressing the unknown of your surroundings. Also, feet and hands are at the very end of our limbs, the furthest body parts away from our hearts, most distant from the self and having these stand out being so white and so unprotected against the dark background of the ocean and black wetsuit evokes the same feeling of lost and obscurance of moment and place.

Under nothing but ocean

 

This beautiful video I’ve made is so simple yet captivating, the constant dynamic movement of the sea effectively leaves a person continuously lost when within its surrounding waters. Because of the oceans constant movement, the same particle is very unlikely to ever come in contact with your body again there for every moment is essentially a moment of lost because your surroundings are forever brand new and you would never have experienced them in the past and never will in the future.

In the video I swim far out to sea then tread water whilst spinning around raising the camera above the water level and below at random moments. As the weather changed and the sun began to set, the water change colour and streams of light lit up the surrounding water. Due to the poor quality of my underwater camera, these light beams became pixelated and unexpectedly beautiful. You can find these about 11 minutes in. The white gap you see appear above and below the water when facing the light ties nicely into my ideas about ‘spaces in between’. The harsh whiteness is like a void of nothing or glitch without explanation. It looks like a gateway that leads into the abyss of nothing.

Although this was difficult, I purposely swam far out in order to capture no other people or land in my footage. The shots of just the endless out to sea and nothingness of the perspective under the water are cooling and a bit frightening, the complete essence of lostness and being alone. You may find this peaceful or scary depending on your perspective and experiences but there is no doubt the video comes across beautifully eerie along with the slowed soundtrack which could sound like someone slowly drowning or a conversation stolen from cyberspace.

The visuals of the video are supporting my theories of the sea, they are obviously fluid and ever changing but because of the nature of the ocean, the first shot it literally directly connected to the end shot and every shot in between! Continuous brand new surroundings and pure fluidity.

Swimmers in Nothing

In this video, the water represents the space in between and the swimmers representing our experience within it. Within water, your body is experiencing new surroundings every single second; in the sea especially. The ocean is all connected and is constantly involved in fluid movement, therefore the particles in contact and around our bodies are always completely new, challenging the notion that in the sea you are always lost.

Reflection: Visually I wish I’d have held the camera much more still and maybe removed the sound from it. To improve this video and develop it I could arrange to shoot multiple shots at different angles all videoing the same swimmers but display say 4 shots all at once on loop, maybe on monitors in a cube shape so that all the monitor screens are facing inwards and the viewer would stand in the centre essentially being surrounded as well.

In between objects body sculpture

Another exploration of surrounding and location. These objects attached to me with wool were also picked up during my time in the lost in between. I challenge whether being surrounded by objects located from somewhere else could mean that you are back in the place that they were originally found. If they are attached to you, have you become part of their location – you are now one with the objects or are the objects still completely different pieces of matter? If they are attached to you then they are with you until you remove them there for arguing that the possible space in between that you are recreating, moves with you and isn’t just a circle to step in and out of.

I also recorded the incredible noise that was created from walking around with it all attached to me, I don’t know what I will do with the sound memo yet but it will be supporting ideas around comparison to the original more calm noise recorded during the time I picked all the objects up.

Reflection: what if all the objects in a space were attached to me and released of their potential sound and noise, could I argue that this is the true sound of your surroundings? – when everything is experienced to it’s full potential? What is the potential of collecting many objects all from a new moment or space (location) in between and bringing them all into a new space and exploiting them of their inner sounds to create a new sense of in between. This could even support popular current issues about equal rights and freedom of speech, or even how we need to listen to and consider our surrounding more as our natural environment is in need of extreme attention as soon as possible, as if the surrounding environment is crying out for help.

Notice my walking in circles. I strengthen the idea of being surrounded and within something, or a place or contained by something. The objects I found in the lost in between are surrounding me and attached to me, but in addition to this, I walk in circles and surround another place of land, space and time with the objects from before. How does this sit within my concept in terms of where this new place sits within time and space.