Monday, 22 June 2015

FMP Continued.

After finding out that I would be unable to use the TV I had bought to show my piece I decided to record the original film playing on the TV and show that at least. Whilst it would not have the original sense to it that I had originally wanted it to, at least having it shown on the TV would be good enough to convey some sense of it not wanting to be fully noticed as it would add another layer of distortion to it, from both the TV strobing coming through the recording and from having to be processed out again.

FMP Responding to Nothing and Empty Ambition

Being given a project where, for the first time I have to generate my own brief is initially a great struggle, as I'm looking for a way to respond to something that isn't there. I spent a great deal of time attempting to come up with some form of an original concept, something that both interests me, to my knowledge is relatively unique, and refrains from sliding into a cringe worthy cliché. Suffice to say I came up with no such astounding concept but that didn't stop me from continuing to do so for a longer than necessary amount of time.

 During my stage of attempting to develop an entirely original concept I began to consider the amount of ambition I often put into tasks, and it occurred to me that I was rarely this driven to accomplish something. I began to reflect on my past empty ambitions, and how easily dissuaded or distracted from them I was. One way of presenting such thoughts would be to collage paving slabs with desirable images (adverts, celebrities, objects, luxury goods etc.) with images the purvey my past ambitions amongst them also, then once all assembled to paint over them in almost opaque black paint that should hopefully still allow for faint likenesses to be drawn from behind the vail of paint.
After making the cement slab it looked unfinished and was not in the style I wanted and the paint looked to dark and thick so I decided not to continue with making any more.

Eventually I decided to re-examine my initial dilemma, a way to respond to nothing. The idea of such a notion began to fascinate me, exploring my own interpretation of the meaning of nothingness and the states I associate alongside it. One such interpretation was finding nothingness in objects or spaces void of use, as they become meaningless once there functions have stopped being utilised. These kinds of objects are prominently found at night when there are naturally fewer people around, then not only are people not occupying spaces or objects but even light has has abandoned some of them. I want to explore such places within my area and plan to go out one night and document places and objects that I find particularly evocative of such notions, through both film and still images.

I went out and took photos of these "nothing/empty" areas before I filmed them so I could gather a sense of how the piece would look when finished, and which areas to include in the film and which to exclude. After having filmed all the locations I had agonised over a lot of variables such as how long each film clip should last and whether each location should be interrupted by a section of black to break them up. After watching the video several different ways I concluded that same length clips and slowly progressively longer black slides intermittent between film clips looked best. The original film lasts around 5 minutes.

 I had recently seen a show at the white cube where the artist had used several old stereo TV sets and I really liked the aesthetic it achieved and decided that a similar aesthetic would suit my work also, so I purchased an old TV that Ideally my film would be played on when it was on show. The TV had a built in DVD player so it would look less messy than having to prop a DVD player on top of or next to an old television set, and the original video was repeated many times on the DVD to make a film lasting around 2 hours.

I wanted the location of the TV to echo the sentiment of my video, therefore it shouldn't be in a glaringly obvious position and drawing immediate attention to itself, but should instead be on the floor, repeating itself monotonously.

Context is Everything

This project was linked to the romance of the fragment project, meaning to spark thought off in a parallel direction to the previous one. I had recently attended an interview for a place at university and while explaining the subject matter of my "romance of the fragment" project she asked me if i was Catholic. I found this read on me to be very shocking as it had never occurred to me before that perhaps this apologetic mannerism stemmed from my Catholic upbringing. This proceeded to be my starting point for this project, looking into the idea of Catholic guilt and the theory behind why it existed, as well as recalling past memories to do with my sense of religion and the duties it demanded.

Initially I had thought of going back to the Machines for living project and exploring one of my previous brief studies on the symbolism of the letter "x" or a cross shape, as I was interested in what I had found originally. However it occurred to my that the symbolism of the cross very much tied into Catholicism and I began to search for a way to combine the two thoughts. What first started out as an activity to get my own thoughts going became for me an important part of my work, it was several pages of my notebook taken up with associations to do with either the letter "x" or associations to do with the x or cross shape. Initially I only wanted to jot down a few thoughts across one page but I kept going and other people began to contribute their own thoughts, so it evolved into this joint thought to do with my subject. I experimented with copying them down onto one large sheet of paper but it looked forced and not as engaging as the original layout.

Whilst looking into the theory on why Catholic guilt was supposed to exist and the demographic it existed in most as well as the effects it was most likely to have on those people, I found many interesting pieces of text that I began to amass. After reading through them all I extracted the pieces of information I found most relevant or surprising and presented them all alongside images of myself from when I was younger that had a religious air to them, whether literally being from my holy communion, or to do with the symbolism of a mother holding their child.

When presenting all my work I lay it all out on a table hoping for it to look engaging and encouraging for the viewer to interact and explore it than it perhaps it seemed. I was happy with the contents though as I knew I had invested a lot of time and effort into gathering it all and was happy with what I had found and shared.

Romance of the Fragment.

The title of this project I found to be far more thought invoking as off the bat I had a plethora of different ideas to sift through. Many of these ideas involved breaking fragile things and re-arranging them in a different manner that tells a story or pens across a point. Again however this felt generic and repetitive so I began looking for a more personal way to respond. I was attracted to the idea of an overwhelming amount of small things or parts being a part of my work, as the idea of many fragments that can perhaps be interacted with seem like they would develop a far more personal and charged response with a viewer than perhaps a singular object that was off limits or out of reach could.

At the time I had been talking to old friends on Facebook, and reminiscing about our time at secondary school which brought up a lot of memories I had neglected to recall upon. In retrospect I felt like I had been a bad person to allow some things to happen, including just not talking to many people I had previously been good friends with. This sparked the idea to go back through my friends list and write down something I felt bad or guilty about, towards or associated with each individual. I wanted too keep it anonymous, associating no names with each note, but I could associate most notes with the person I had in mind afterwards.

When I showed these notes to my group I received a very positive response with people commenting with how they could relate to many of them. I found this encouraging and proceeded to create more until I ended up with a pile of around 250 apologies. After seeing them purely from material stand point I thought it would create an interesting contrast to experiment with putting a similar string of text onto a metal surface. I experimented with what to put on the metal and decided on the phrase I'm not sorry any more as it continues to contrast the content of the paper notes. The process of making them was quite repetitive not only because the message is repeated but because it's a repetition of the same motion bringing a hammer down on top of a letter press over and over again to imprint the message, and then spending time filing down all the edges so they were smooth and safe to hold.

People responded to the metal notes saying they felt more like dog tags due to their shape and size. the phrase written on them at first was not intended to be repeated across all of them, but after writing it once it looked strong enough to keep repeating. The outcome for me never felt as charged as the paper notes yet was still engaging enough when presented alongside the original paper apologies.

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Object and Anti-matter.

This project presented an initial struggle for me as I was unable to respond in my normal way to this title and despite my best efforts I was unable too. Eventually I was able to shift myself to thinking about what the phrase "anti-matter" actually meant. Wether it was something simply being of no matter to someone, something that doesn't exist, being the polar opposite of an already existing object. At the time in the news there was a lot of controversy over freedom of speech, and when it stops being the use of one's rights and become's instead the abuse of rights to inflict verbal damage upon people.

I found this subject quite intriguing as when I was younger I played a lot of online video games where it seemed the norm was to push boundaries when attempting to verbally abuse someone. I always found this to be quite hilariously grotesque as the mixture of abhorrent slurs became almost comical in the end. However when I took a step back and saw people actually writing out these insults on formats of social media such as twitter it hit me as being much more real tan it had before, as if when written down these words were so much more impactful than previously. 

This thought appealed to me and I examined why I found words written on the internet were so much more impactful than speech was. I concluded that what it boiled down to for me was that when something is said and goes unrecorded through speech it's a lot more fleeting and seems more detached from the person that it came from, whilst when something is written down in a format such as twitter, which, to an extent allows some degree of anonymity but never completely, a person seems to be standing by what they have said to a greater extent, as it is much easy to document what someone has put down on twitter. Initially I started to compile a list of tweets from all sorts of different people where I felt they were acting as if their hate filled messages would never bring back any consequences to them. However I concluded this seemed too flimsy in any way to present and that the means of presenting them would always looked forced or fake and never truly what I felt was represented in this subject. 

I decided instead to look at thought as it's own form of anti-matter, as a persons complete thoughts are never fully presented, what goes on within their head whilst perhaps creating clear cut images and speech to them is just a series of synapses opening and closing. This progressed to being amused by the notion that people always think in their own language (French, Spanish, English Swedish etc), and really only when you start to learn another language do you become aware of this. I noticed this when I had learnt french for a while in my secondary school as I found myself starting to think certain words in French when I was mulling things over. I decided then to try and create a piece of work presenting the language barrier created by text in general, how a book for one person can create an entirely new world, whilst for others it's just a series of meaningless symbols all jumbled together. I decided to gather all the books I owned and to turn them spine down and photograph them together to have this interlinking body of knowledge and imagination rendered blank and vacant and ultimately unknown.

I was happy with the concept for this project but never gave it the full bodied form that I felt it deserved. The photos of the books on the floor  seemed messy so i wanted to experiment with taking smaller closeups of the books and piecing them together in photoshop, which was interesting but seemingly just creating another form of the work for the sake of it. I put all my books back into their shelf and took photos of them again which did seem a cleaner and more natural habitat for them. I concluded that if I were to revisit this thought process i would like to explore an installation piece, inviting the audience to fill in blank books with whatever they liked and to place them back in a bookshelf when they had finished, to create a collection of documented thought, hopefully spanning many different formats so almost everyone would be able to understand something in it somewhere.

Time project part 4.

As a conclusion for the project I decided to make a book(let?) that contained the most striking photos of places I thought I was going to die. I included a small bit of text of what I could recall from the events, each differing between how it had happened, what the consequences may have been, and how I had felt at the time. I had decided to only include the actual image with no post manipulation done to it, as, whilst I very much liked the photo's I had worked on top of it seemed cleaner and more poignant to include solely the original image along side some abstract text drawn from the memory attached to the image.  

The overall finish of the book a lot but felt if it hand been printed on higher quality photographic paper and properly bound it could have had more finesse to it but the content itself was strong enough that it's presentation not being absolutely perfect was of no great hinderance or consequence.

Time Project Part 3

I thought back to the idea of being half dead and decided I would explore that theme by photographing objects that are either dead (inanimate but perhaps once lived) or that are literally in half. The idea of being half dead and what that would actually entail fascinated me, perhaps you only have half as many years left as you had before, half your brain and/or body parts would stop working making you behave in a dysfunctional way.

Whilst I found the significance of each image to be quite charged and strong in there own right I decided not to include them alongside the other photos i had taken as they were starting to delve down a different, but nonetheless interesting path. I particularly took pride in the photo of a deer's antler, as it was an object I had found 13 years ago when I  lived in Utah, and it's point could be interpreted in many different ways as it belonged to a now dead creature and is only half of a set of antlers.