‘Live’ Performance

Using the video I made with found footage of TV presenters saying how they are going ‘live’ somewhere or on ‘live tv’, I did a piece of performance art. The ‘live’ video is being projected on a character dressed in a suit, representing the average male character of the Western world, mooching around a messy room aimlessly searching for some sort of meaning in objects or his surroundings but can never maintain interest in something for longer than a minute before looking for something better.The character looks tired and unhappy, the tights that have been used to hold a balloon above his head disfigure the face and give him droopy eyes and a misshapen nose adding a sense of synthetic disturbia to the character. Synthetic alterations. I included a battery powered flashing bow tie to the character’s outfit, a bow tie is often worn during middle class events or for special occasions, however, when flashing, there’s a sense of learnt humour about the look, like a clown or magician. Presenting the well recognised business man as a bit of a performer or joke.

The character searches for meaning and briefly examines objects before getting bored and moves onto other ones. Although not intended, this act illustrates a loss of meaning to the man’s life, he can’t find anything stimulating to hold onto, he has no interests, impatient, no reason for living outside of working, hence the empty alcohol bottle and temporarily finding joy in his car keys (his pride and joy). On the other hand, with the objects he finds, he sometimes attempts to pop the cyber bubble above his head but continuously fails – all the objects aren’t sharp enough to pop it, we have made our lives so comfortable and supposedly safe, and the cyber balloon is getting thicker and harder to pop the more we use it.

The video playing over the top of the scene is intense, potentially equating to how often he might go ‘live’ on social media or watches ‘live’ news or videos but counteractively depicts his lack of life and living in doing so.

The piece is a comment on how a large number of the West are beginning to live their lives. Living to work and for money, using and relying on social media for attention and information. Losing the ability to entertain themselves and enjoy their surroundings, increasing the thickness of their digital, cyber bubble and losing touch with reality and life.

Reflection: On reflection, I feel the piece is over crowded but has some strong elements to it. It needs simplifying as a video piece as there is a little too much going on, however, if I were to do it again, maybe I’d do the performance in a space that I’d stay in for 24 hours where people can come and watch me to strengthen the effect it has on people. I will take elements of the performance further; like the balloon and the video and use them in different pieces.

 

One Whole Blink – sand sculpture

This is a stock motion video made from oil sand, a brief exploration of the presence humans have had on the planet. In the life of the universe, our existence as a species is only here for a matter of seconds. We have come and will go. In the process we built cities and life but encouraged by our rapid use of the world’s resources, we will return to dirt and dust once again.

I made this piece from oil sand, as if remnants of oil and desert are all that our future holds and all that we are made from. The crumbling, dust like qualities of oil sand lends itself to this piece, the sculpture broke down quite naturally and fell into positions I would not have been able to create myself.

It’s interesting how quickly the ‘sand civilisation’ stopped looking like a civilisation as soon as I started breaking it and knocking it. Is this the same for our civilisation in reality? It’s breaking down a lot faster than it was created? Good things always take more time than the bad. However, I think that the buildings and materials we have used to create our civilisation on Earth will be around for thousands of years to come unless the heat on the planet rises to extraordinary levels as a result of some sort of asteroid collision or major solar flare.

Reflection: The skill and technicalities of the video are very poor. I did not have a tripod therefor each shot is slightly altered and not exact. I will use a tripod for sure in the future. Also, the image quality is poor and part of the reason I changed the colour so drastically. But, the orange and red colouring was also added to give the impression of heat like the magma core of Planet Earth, it could also arguable look like glitter which is interesting because glitter is such a cheap, kitsch, tacky material that has no depth to it, no structure and no purpose apart from its materialistic attractive value. Often used when depicting magic or things that aren’t real or things ‘out of this world’. Although, I find myself easily mesmerised by the changing synthetic colours. This could be metaphorically reflecting western life; we just get too distracted by the pretty colours to see what’s going on behind.

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.

 

Lost in fluid surroundings

I surround myself with water collected from the ocean after filming my ‘Under nothing but ocean’ video about the ocean surrounding you and how due to the nature of the sea and its mass connection all over the world, you are effectively always lost as the same water particles of your surrounding will probably never come in contact with your existence ever again. As of this, I can conclude that this particular ‘after performance’ using water from the ocean does surround you in a similar way as the ocean does. I have taken the water particles from a bigger source (the sea) to present them as separate objects around me, the difference here however is that the ‘taken pieces from the lost in between’ were once all interconnected and were a genuine ‘piece’ from the forces of my ‘lost’ surroundings. The water particles are very difficult to obtain once released, therefor, it’s hard to ‘do’ anything with the water once it has been poured around me, unlike the solid objects from the other lost experiment I did where i could manipulate and position them as I pleased. This formulates  questions about timelessness and supports the idea of the momentary feeling of being lost that can’t be reclaimed, you can only feel it again if you get lost in another different new place and in this case it would be to collect a new selection of water.

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.

Blindfolded art performance

I do explain a little bit about my project and concepts at the end of the video but I was slightly embarrassed and under pressure when I was speaking so I didn’t explain very well.

This performance was my first ever performance with an audience but a big part of the performance was the fact that the audience would be visually unaware of what the performance entailed, they had to rely on hearing as their best and automatic sense to help them process and guess what was happening behind the blindfolds. As of this, I feel I am addressing and creating a void or space between the function of seeing and action of ‘performing’ as the most obvious point of performing in general terms is for people to see it.

I also did this performance on a Saturday at 12:00 midday, I thought this added to the overall effect of the performance because some of my small audience travelled for 20 minutes on a bus to see it but found out there wasn’t even anything to see, only experience and hear for as little as a minute which they may have found a little irritating.

Reflection: I have noticed the need for humans to ‘work out’ when they are either lost or unsure of something, it is interesting how we instinctively do this thanks to our senses. But taking away the most relied on sense that is sight, forces working out in another way. What if I was to do another ‘getting lost experiment’ but I remained blindfolded the whole time so had no use of sight to help work out where I am. I like how my choice of camera angles adds and reinforces the non seeing aspect of the performance through the video so that no viewer of this video will ever know what happened when the blindfold went on. I am also intrigued by the unknown. It raises questions about whether you really know or have proof that there is someone performing behind the blindfold if you actually can not see the thing happening that you think is happening. There is a conceptual space within statement like “only be there when are there” which is something I wrote at the very beginning of this project. Also things like “only believe it when you see it”, do you believe things that you believe because you have been told them or because you have experienced them first hand?