Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Susan Hiller @ Timothy Taylor

Went to see this at Timothy Taylor Gallery before it finished on 20th Dec. Good description courtesy of KultureFlash:

This unmissable show presents two recent works and several older pieces from the celebrated American artist whose practice has forged a singular path through the elusive phenomena of dreams, mysticism and the occult. Hiller's recent series of photographic works scrutinizes the occult legacies of modernist art, considered in light of their ongoing presence in popular culture. Aura: Homage To Marcel Duchamp, takes Duchamp's 1910 Portrait Of Dr R Dumouchel as the starting point for a series of portraits which use a special photography technique to create phantasmagoric auras around their subjects. In bringing attention to the "mystical" aspect within a work by a modern icon, Hiller offers an ironic play on Walter Benjamin's prediction of the modern artwork's loss of aura. Also showing is her celebrated 1987 work Magic Lantern, in which a slow-moving projection of coloured discs and a soundtrack of a scientist commenting on the phenomenon of the voices of the dead, along with the voices of deceased famous figures such as James Joyce, offers a skilful play on the boundary between the scientific and the irrational, illusion and reality. Our favourite is From Here To Eternity, 2008: three projected screens of geometric labyrinths within which coloured balls move slowly and hypnotically, the artwork casting its own curious spell.

The thing is - descriptions of her work sound so interesting and I was excited to see the exhibition and although I thought the aura photographs were clever and I did think the labyrinths were hypnotising, it didn't leave a big impression on me :( bit too much hype not enough 'wow' this really hits you as important work kind of thing. Made me think that I need to be careful to make good work not just lots of theories!!

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Wax Landscape (cont.)

Started placing the office furniture in the jungle - extended the scene and started to morph this dream into another one - idea for a long piece of work on a table top, maybe 3 or 4 metres with one scene after another joined together...

Monday, 15 December 2008


Here is todays work - feeling much better, I'm going to build this up and make a BIG scene - lots of capitals today!!!

That Obscure Object of Desire - Luis Bunuel

Amazing - complex surreal film. Great bit in the documentary about the choice of two actresses to play the same character - makes her even more ambiguous. Limits of improbability and impossibility, title - because when we desire we don't really know what we want in reality, its obscure and abstracted from it, and sometimes we want the desire itself - just that state which lifts us above the banality of life.

Famous dream sequence in The Discrete Charm of the Bourgeoisie must watch when the characters are trapped on stage - wandering round in a flat world, lacking depth and without an exit. Same artificial dimension in That Obscure Object of Desire - colours too bright, false, actors looking into camera - locked in a fake world.

Ideas for set-like work - abstracted scale - false - restricted viewpoints - no exit.

Friday, 12 December 2008

Visualising Dreams

Tried to access Neuron journal through Athens but don't think article has been published yet - show me the pictures!!!!

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Simone ten Hompel

Link to her profile at London Met

3D lecture this week by Simone ten Hompel. Very interesting and struck me as so craft based and having just been in the Mark Titchner lecture. To be honest it was difficult for me to engage with her as I felt so strongly that I agreed with the way Mark thought about his work to go straight into another lecture much more about love of materials did not inspire me - although I understand her passion for metal and her work certainly has plenty of intellectual content.

After lunch we had a group tutorial with her which was very challenging for all of us and really, probably just what we needed - i.e. need to be working much harder and sort out my proposal so my research question is absolutely clear and not just a vague ambiguous subject area.

Mark Titchner

Turner Prize 2006 link
Really liked his talk about his work. Some interesting points I could identify with.

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Peter Callesen - work description

Very eloquent critique of Peter Callesen's work


By Pontus Kyander

* * *

All narratives unfold in a space. Normally, both the unfolding aspect and the spatial are to be taken metaphorically: the space indicated is a mental one, one that has to be imagined, and the unfolding is a way of describing how the writer arranges the storyline to evolve in all those twists and turns we know from literature. The story has to be interpreted and re-narrated by the reader, in his mind. Sometimes, and sometimes not, the miracle of reading brings us to unforgettable moments, full of images brought out from our own mind and memories.

The space in visual narratives is mental as well as physical. Again, there is a story to be reconstructed, but the images are there instead of letters. It is an easy way to evade the cumbersome act of description (an image is not a description, it is a reality in itself), but places the viewer in the position to have to re-enact the narrative. Visual narratives are somewhat more open-ended than the stories told in books, in particular if we talk of singular images and singular objects.

Peter Callesen’s paper works are literally results of folding – and cutting. On top of a story that include various symbols that we recognise from fairy tales and other archetypical storytelling, and thus integrating all those narratives that we know from reading books and watching films about castles and princesses and monsters and darkness and a lot of other things, he also brings in the story of the work itself. This is not just a castle, it is a castle that tells you how it was made. All laid bare, the start, the process, and the final result. In that sense, the work is narrative, but also performative. Object and action at the same time. The act of viewing is a re-enactment, and an act of unfolding the folded, uncutting the cut.

The Contemporary Theory of Dreaming


What we call The Contemporary Theory of Dreaming involves several basic propositions, amenable to study:

1. Dreaming is hyper-connective. In dreams connections in the mind are made more readily and more broadly than in waking.

2. The connections are not random. They are guided by the dominant emotion or emotional concern of the dreamer.

3. The dream imagery, especially the CI (Central Image or Contextualizing Image) pictures the dreamer’s emotion or concern. The intensity of the CI is a measure of the power of the emotion.

4. Dreaming can be considered one end of a continuum of mental functioning, running from focused waking thought, through less focused thought, reverie, daydreaming and finally dreaming. The influence of emotion and picturing of emotion, above, occur throughout the continuum, but become most pronounced at the dreaming end of the continuum.

5. The emotion-guided making of connections probably has a function or several related functions. Dreaming “weaves in” or integrates new material, so that it becomes integrated and less disturbing. A new trauma for instance, will be less disturbing if a similar trauma has already been “woven in”. Aside from this basic function, the connection-making of dreaming can of course play a role in self-knowledge, in artistic and scientific creativity, and in therapy.

Monday, 8 December 2008

Joey Morgan

The Man Who Waits and Sleeps
While I Dream

(1997) multi media installation at the MacKenzie Art Gallery in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada.

essay by Jeanne Randolph

I became interested in exploring dreams as the primary material of all narrative structures -- the first awkward stories we tell our own selves before our conscious selves can censor them.

Drawing on observation techniques from a 19th century sleep disorders clinic the work poses a charged but unexpressed intimacy between a professional observer and her sleeping charge.

In the main gallery space, a large video projection of an impossibly deep drain is surrounded by images, text, and sound. These elements tumble together in random sequences of narrative structure, and become source material for a kind of "conversation." The video excerpt is shown in an observation alcove, where the voice-over soundtrack can be heard through headphones.

This piece is built from a series of projections. Physically, the images are projected in different scales on all sides of the room; Psychologically, the projections are contained within the voice over as the observer projects her own thoughts and neuroses onto the sleeping subject. These projections can also be seen as metaphors for the exchange between artist and viewer; between separation and longing; between lovers; between the conscious and sub-conscious within ourselves. The viewer walks between the elements of the work, putting together a particular understanding based on the randomness of his own physical placement in the room. –– One has to be somewhere to be at all involved and so we bring to any story our own personal and cultural assumptions, interpreting not only the language of the narrative, but images and sensations as well.

A door knocker on the periphery serves as a hard physical presence into and away from the projected overlays in the rooms.


Thursday, 4 December 2008


Having real problems with ideas - i.e. NONE. Spoke briefly to Paul Tebbs at Wilson Rd - good. Real sticking point in my head since group crit - why is this interesting? Why are my dreams interesting to other people?!
Look at other people's work about dreams that I like - why to I like their work? Clues to why mine would interest other people. Need a faster way to make things - bronze too long at this stage - papier mache?

Nice thought about illusion/mirage/mirrors.....

Chelsea MA Lectures: Culture, Taste and Identity

MA Cluster lecture at Chelsea - *think* it was by Frank Cartledge but not sure.

Started with the 1980s Ferrero Rocher advert. Artifacts as signifiers. John Brewer - Consumer Society. Raymond Williams - Culture & Society (1958)
keywords - vocabulary of culture and society. historical semantics - meanings not fixed.
Culture has been defined as having the most complex meaning of any word in English!
Etymology - meaning of a word, route over time. Culture is derived from the latin word colere meaning to honour, to worship and to tend to natural growth, cultivate. In religious meaning, honour, special treatment.

Matthew Arnold -

"Social criticism

He was led on from literary criticism to a more general critique of the spirit of his age. Between 1867 and 1869 he wrote Culture and Anarchy, famous for the term he popularised for the middle class of the English Victorian era population: "Philistines", a word which derives its modern cultural meaning (in English - the German-language usage was well established) from him. Culture and Anarchy is also famous for its popularization of the phrase "sweetness and light," first coined by Jonathan Swift. [21]"

Think the point I was making here was that as the inspector of schools he developed the idea, special treatment, medium in which minds grow - primary way for this to happen was through education.

There are three contextual definitions of 'culture':

1. The 'IDEAL' pursuit of perfection, 'the best that has been thought in the world'. Matthew Arnold. Body of knowledge. 18th -19th century - colonialism, superiority of UK/Germany thinking. Snobs, the reason they have time for all this reading is because they are the bourgeoisie and have all the time in the world to read books and become intellectual as they don't have to work and do chores etc. Believed in the high points of human social evolution - Egyptians, Mesopotamia, Rome etc. Hierarchical structure largely responsible for the volume of Museums and Public Galleries now in the world, in major cities to expose people to the best that has become a better society. Critics would say whose taste is the best and who should decide? This filtering linked to institutions - mainstream acceptance etc.

2. DOCUMENTARY - the works and practices of intellectual and especially artistic activity. Most museums collect significant artefacts to culture - ignoring others. Mostly happening in the 19th C they were distinguishing between high culture and non culture.

3. SOCIAL - whole way of life, complex whole. Darwin, evolution - simple to complex (they used 'Darwin' but this is not what he was saying). Chauvinistic, Imperialism. E B Tylor - Primitive Culture - led the way for anthropology.

Social - small c
Ideal - big C

Pierre Bourdieu - Ideal Culture, elitist, imperialist is needed to bring back to everyday life social practices - to rejoin these ideas. He introduces new concept - Cultural Capital. What you acquire by being educated and born in a particular social class - culturally conditioned.

It is a myth that only naturally gifted individuals (bourgeoisie) can appreciate high culture. Pompous "I just have a feeling that this artist is good, I just know!"

Habitus - body manners, way in which we speak, walk, talk, formed by where you grow up.

Pyramid of Capitalist System. Adverts for commodities are perfect texts to show cultural object signs and as a viewer you have to know these. Kantian formulation of the aesthetic. Paradoxical ways in consumer societies fixed onto objects that aren't posh at all, short cuts to higher class. Raymond Williams - this magical system of advertising that you know the Sherry isn't high class but we are somehow still seduced by it! Subliminal?

Vulgar and Refined tastes

Ideology - ruling beliefs of the ruling classes.
Naturalisation - saying the rulers opinion should be everyone's.

By expressing your own view you are revealing your own background - taste.
In post-Kantian Europe there was the Ideal definition of Culture, sensations of the body are seen as the poor relation to sensations of the mind. This is a Western tradition. Body seen closer to animal, body, corporeal, taste (mouth) food. Kant (enjoy at a distance - not led by urges). Bourdieu - this appreciation distance puts you on a higher intellectual plane than the profane.

As mentioned above the Bourgeoisie developed the mystification of artistic appreciation - denying that their taste is acquired its just a natural thing - 'I just know its a Pollock!'

Formalism - Clive Bell

he claimed that nothing else about an object is in any way relevant to assessing whether it is a work of art, or aesthetically valuable. What a painting represents, for example, is completely irrelevant to evaluating it aesthetically. Consequently, he believed that knowledge of the historical context of a painting, or the intention of the painter is unnecessary for the appreciation of visual art. He wrote: "to appreciate a work of art we need bring with us nothing from life, no knowledge of its ideas and affairs, no familiarity with its emotions"

Member of the Bloomsbury Group. Which possibly led to abstraction in arts. Arguments against this by Herbert Marcuse in One Dimensional Man 50s.

Cultural Codes

Works of art are encoded products like a language. Communication vessels from sender (artist) to receiver (audience). Encoding/decoding 70s. Now Formalism would say that you just 'know', snobby and you would be vulgar if you don't 'get it'.

George Kubler - The Shape of Time
Adam Curtis - films for tv

Walter Benjamin & Marxism

BA Cluster lecture by Paul O'Kane

Important Philosopher/Writer 1892-1940. Jewish, Marxist, German. Most important essay - 'The work of art in the age of mechanical reproduction.'

Had fragmented interests and he was very interested in engaging in the world/history in a very immediate and personal way. (For example - instead of viewing Communism from afar and making unformed judgements - he went to Russia and walked around the streets to understand what it was like for the people). Active between the First and Second World Wars. Overarching questions he was dealing with - What is the Modern world? Where has it come from? and where will it lead?

His writing has influenced the artistic way of thinking. Imaginative ways to think about liberty and justice. Disrupting the immediate reality of the world (i.e. walking round Marseilles stoned!)

Obviously in the political climate in Germany between the World Wars, with the rise of Hitler, as a Jew he was occupied with the rejections of traditional religious values in Modernist society. God is dead? With this loss of direction in society, people became fearful and in this mind set they were more likely to follow a totalitarian leader.

He was also interested in Mysticism of experience - new technology of photography had been invented. Almost spiritual quality to walking around a city on your own - cities can be an intoxication. Allowing non rational forces, chance, surrealism. Only way to live our life through the artistic experience?
Admired Dada and Surrealism. Feared Fascism formed synthesis of Jewish religion and Marxist promise, Neo-Marxism. Just future through Modernity.

Underpinning his theory was the fact that the world is never exactly what you thought it would be, you have to be a child and re-learn through direct imperial experience.

Frankfurt School - beginning of the term Critical Theory, New Left, Max Weber

Cultural Studies - method of approaching imaginative critique - responsibility to history - where are we heading by looking at everyday life.

Under the influences of Photography, Film, Mass Production art has undergone a transformation of values - new paradigm. Art used to be purely for religious reasons, to serve god, esoteric (Esoteric knowledge, in the dictionary (non-scholarly) sense, is thus that which is available only to a narrow circle of "enlightened", "initiated", or specially educated people) role, elitist, aesthetic, beauty, the senses.

Now, art has a political value in the 20th C. Dada - anti-aesthetic - maximum political value. Duchamp - Beauty is dead. Photography has enabled the masses to share in art, whereas in the past only the privileged few could see the paintings, now through books and reproductions everyone can see say Sunflowers by Van Gogh. (Ways of Seeing - John Berger).

Now critical thinkers like Nicholas Bourriard are fashionable, that there are no aesethetics, art is to bring people together in galleries - one of the last places where strangers talk to each other to discuss the work? Interestingly went to Seizure room at E&C day after this talk and its true - had a big discussion with about eight people during looking round which would never happen in London normally!)
Paul even arguing that there is a complete reversal with art becoming completely political and politics having aesethetic values (for example Nazism - look at the films of political rallies with the uniforms and flags).

Coming back to Walter Benjamin - of course, Nazism is a complete antithesis of Benjamin. (Alone,walking, individual discovery, intoxication, letting go).

He became a fugitive in the 30s. A very shy, unassuming man. Went to Paris - Arcades Project. Surreal wanderings - important that kept as fragments - didn't try to pull it together. Exploring the avenues of possibility in everyday things - open your imaginative eyes.

1940 - so sad, refused entry to Spain so committed suicide at the border and then the following day they were going to let him through.

His popularity now is because of his antithesis to Nazism - philosophy of artists - individualism - an accomodation of the volidatity of Modernity.

Contemporary artists influenced by him? Jeff Wall, Warhol (possibly from mech. essay), Katerina Fritch. READ THIS ABOUT HER WORK AGAIN - ELEMENTS FROM DREAMS.

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

trAin lecture - Japanese Contemporary Art

Fragments of our time by Mami Kataoka.

Outstanding lecture by this international curator gave me a really good snapshot of Japanese contemporary art from 60s-70s to today. Its a common misconception that Japanese art is all about manga and animation (& sushi!). Partly because Takeshi Murakami's work has had such a big influence (see below). Its an interesting topic how ones culture is translated into another.

She started by showing that there are links between the major cities having the Olympics and then international expo's a few years after which is like a springboard and motivator, bringing international attention and economic growth to that country i.e.

JAPAN - 1964 Tokyo Olympics, 1970 Osaka Expo (64 million visitors)
SOUTH KOREA - 1988 Seoul Olympics, 1993 Taejon Expo
CHINA - 2007 Beijing Olympics, 2010 Shanghai Expo

There were some major postwar art movements:

Gutai (1954)
Bringing raw materials such as concrete to intimate relationships with the body. Performance, famous work by Saburo Murakami - breaking through paper gates. Introduced to the West by a French critic as being part of Art Informel (which wasn't quite right) they were encouraged as painters so performance and installation work declined. Major influence to the Fluxus movement.
Key artists:
Jiro Yoshihara
Saburo Murakami
Kazuo Shiraga

Fluxus (in late 50s early 60s some artists left Japan for New York)
Key artists:
Yoko Ono
Mieko Shiomi
Takeshia Kosugi
Kuniharu Aoyama
Toshi Khiyanagi

High Red Center (Tokyo) 1963-64
Named after the first Chinese characters this short movement had three core members:
Jiro Takamatsu
Genpei Akasegawa
Natsuyuki Nakanishi
and through performance, humour and teasing the attitude of the government their work explored political and economic issues within the social system.

Mono-Ha (late 60s to mid 70s)
Working with natural objects and/or materials they juxtaposed objects to create very subtle work - much of it very site specific.
Key artists:
Nobuo Sekine
Lee Ufan
Kishio Suga

All these movements are linked by their improvised and intuitive nature, using mostly natural materials.

In the 1990s the major economic crash in Japan had a huge effect. As children born in the 60s they were the first generation brought up with tv and had been exposed to popular culture from a young age. They were also much more well travelled than older generations and had a more international outlook. Before the 1990s it was generally only possible to exhibit work by hiring a gallery space which was usually quite expensive. From the 90s onwards the first gallery agents started appearing and offered emerging artists an alternative route to exhibit their work to a wider audience.

Takeshi Murakami began his career with an exhibition at Parco Gallery in 1999, his international career really took off when in 2001 he went to LA. From his book: the value of art should be raised by statement. The client for the art is glorious millionaires. You must know the structure of the art world for survival. You must know how to brand your own history and understand the context of international standards.

Tradition and Popular Culture
Contemporary artists are using traditional concepts like Sotatsu Tawaraya's work (17th century). Juxtaposing tradition and contemporary culture.

Mariko Mori - I had already referenced her in an earlier post!
Akira Yamaguchi

Hisashi Tenmyoya
Makota Aida
Seeking for their actuality in their everyday life
Tsuyoshi Ozawa - vegetable guns
Shimabuku - octopus tour

For children born in the 70s in the second baby boom - they went through a very competitive childhood and upon graduation met the economic crash. With jobs scarce some returned to school to gain more technical skills, to become specialists. The IT revolution also brought new jobs. (There are not many natural resources in Japan and the economy relies on technology. In 1984 there was a major shift and new ideology within government towards flexible, small and compact.)
New words like - Freeter, Parasite single and NEET entered the language to describe people who didn't have a job - stayed at home.

Teppei Kaneuji - person from hairpieces.

The advent of the internet allowed the re appropriation of images, with less sense of authorship more work composed of second hand materials and images started (collage).

Koki Tanaka - *think* these are the video art pieces, fragmenting the present tense by showing an installation of the aftermath of an event, then the event on video in the next room.

Ujino - all the objects that rotate. Is having exhibition next yr 09 at Hayward.

Labour/craft intensive works
Otaku (movement)
Manabu Ikeda
Akino Kondoh - animation with 3,000 drawings

Yoshino Masui - swirls with horses/birds
Konoike Tomoko
Mika Kato - doll portraits
Motohiko Odani - weird video at Venice Biennale
Chiharu Shiota

Ambiguous boundaries between fantasy & reality

Toru Kuwakubo - ships and holes, paintings
Ryuta Ohtake - big and small painting, pair
Hiraki Sawa - lives in London, Chisenhale Gallery - aeroplanes in flat - LOVE IT!

New relationship with society
Chim Pom (group 1 girl, 5 boys)

Monday, 1 December 2008

Jeremy Wood - GPS work

Just remembered about this - guy at Tenderpixel Gallery was telling me about his work. Finally looked it up - v. interesting would like to do this myself! Could track me getting lost all over London!

What is reality?

good old wikipedia!

Ceal Floyer

Door, 1995

Light projected onto the crack underneath the door, making you think that something interesting is happening on the other side but you can't see it, whereas the light is coming from the projector so its an illusion - saw it at Kettle's Yard - cool.

Staircase Ideas

Sunday, 30 November 2008

Geeky knitting

Crocheting the Lorenz manifold


MAO - Seth Price/Kelley Walker/Continuous Project

Seeing as I'm now obsessed with video! Keeping thinking about this exhibition which was on at Modern Art Oxford when I worked there. This super 8 film by - one of them can't remember of the tumbling like sea - something very imaginary about it thats stayed with me.

Riddle Me - Danielle Arnaud contemporary art

Went to see this exhibition today, attracted by the blurb:

‘Now we have machines to do our dreaming for us. But within that ‘video gadgetry’ might lie the source of a continuation, even a transformation, of storytelling and story performance. The human imagination is infinitely resilient…’ Angela Carter ,1990

The artists showing in this exhibition investigate different aspects of storytelling, fantasy, identity and the tragi-comic sensibility of materials. The work creates relationships between innocence and violence, light and darkness.

Particularly struck by video installation by Sophie Lascelles, and maps of the waking world by Oona Grimes.

Picked up the gallery's business card as I was interested in the image by Heather & Ivan Morison.

Friday, 28 November 2008

Roger Hiorns - The Magicial Crystal Room

Loved this - glad it was extended so I could see it. Bit smaller than expected but pretty breathtaking!

British artist Roger Hiorns makes exceptional use of unlikely materials: detergent, disinfectant, perfume, fire and copper sulphate crystals. Transforming steel poles, car engines and cardboard architectural models into crystalline forms, Hiorns effects surprising, physical and aesthetic transformations on found objects.

In SEIZURE, Hiorns' most ambitious work to date, the artist precipitates an unexpected sculptural form within the fabric of a housing estate near London Bridge. Architecture and modernist sculpture continue to be important touchstones for Hiorns' work, and both have strongly informed the development of this major new commission. For his first work within an urban site Hiorns' makes a radical shift of scale and context, and has developed an extraordinary chemical intervention in the heart of the city.

SEIZURE continues Artangel's long tradition of transforming urban housing into large-scale immersive works of art.

Bronze stairs

Blurb about Staircase piece - notes ONLY

So, this piece, which I am still working on, is composed and inspired by elements of a dream. I am particularly interested in the alternative reality of the subconscious, and attempting to create physical manifestations of these ethereal experiences and discover ways to transfer these emotive thoughts from my mind into objects.
I have been collecting dreams through sketches and voice recordings over the last few months and I have been focussing on a couple of the strongest ones that have incorporated some elements of landscape, like this staircase. Initially I was only building individual things from the dreams, say a staircase, particular chairs or objects that were represented but once I had built the staircase I realised that all my sketches were showing a narrative from the dream and I have been experimenting with ways to represent the story. Recently I went to a great talk at the BFI and a particular phrase stuck in my head that 80% of the emotion from a film is in the soundtrack so I have built a very basic video – taken from one image and then been building the narrative using the audio part of that. So the staircase has some large gaps between the treads and the audio is me walking down the steps – seeing that I’m walking down into a news studio and then running and struggling to climb back up the stairs.

Bronze – I started working in bronze, initially by chance but I soon loved the modelling possibilities with wax which lead to ideas involving melted scenes, then cast in bronze it is sealing and crystallising something so ethereal in the most solid and substantial material is both paradoxical and exciting to me.

Miniature – by creating this work on a small scale, it involves the viewer in an intense, focused attention. A single tiny work can appear at once assertive and humble, or intimate yet oddly remote. [...] Perhaps this is why Bachelard observed that "one must go beyond logic in order to experience what is large in what is small."

But miniatures also seem to exist in a state of haunted isolation, to occupy a permanently vacated scene. Physically, we stand outside their tiny domain, and when we imaginatively enter within it, we find ourselves its sole inhabitants.

Part of their appeal is to transport us to a world that is more precise, and more meticulously elucidated, than our own; charmingly perfect, they constitute a refuge from the domain of gross physical data and corporeal failings. The halo of the ideal seems to hover overhead. [...] The stillness of miniature landscapes evinces the profound calm of a tiny parallel world forever cut off from the activity and ungainliness of our own surroundings.'

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Thursday Crit


Relational Aesthetics - Nicholas Bourriard
Francis A. Yates, The Art of Memory (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1966)
Francis A. Yates, Theatre of the World (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1969)

Guilio Camillo's Memory Theatre

Doreen Massey - Collapsing distances between spaces - Interview

Tony Oursler
William Blake
Susan Hiller - interesting interview with her at Tate.
Tim Noble & Sue Webster

Dreams are only the starting point and now I've done the initial objective of getting the process of dream to object its obviously not enough just to make some objects - miniature or not from the dreams. Need to take this forward:
What am I saying? Why are my dreams interesting to others? - Bengal tigers in Scottish zoo quote from Charles Avery - just pointers? archaeological finds/evidence brought back as proof of that reality. Is this a commentary about realities?
Got to get across my wonder about objects/structures/cities that are not real only imagined. exciting. (Paul Tebbs - problem with the word wonder). I need to do some brainstorms/words for the title - interesting first time I have thought about titles being an important part of the work.
So, what am I interested in saying? Think I know it has to do with science, is reality real? Hold that thought.....

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Presentation Prep

Ahhhh - here are some videos from my phone of a) more how I wanted the projection to work - initial ideas of projecting the video clip with sound through the staircase and b) in the second one just messing about with the projector and projecting the video clip on to my pillow.

3D Lecture - Junior Phipps

Designer Maker - talk about his work. Set up Conscious Forms in 2005. Interesting work in concrete - lights and speakers. Made notes about Finance.
  • Sponsorship -
  • Asking direct, get email of person with the budget i.e. Marketing Manager or Director. Be precise and clear about what you want and the PR benefit you can be to them, chance to be associated with innovation!
  • Or can use as a tool to get free or discounted materials.
  • Other
  • Part-time lecturing about his work
  • Talks/seminars for design support agencies
You can get help with writing funding and other applications from CIDA (if in catchment area), ECCA (Enterprise Centre for the Creative Arts) and Innovatory.

Think about all the different uses you can get from your product and collaborative projects.

Friday, 21 November 2008

Others dreams

Over 16,000 dreams!

First video test for stairs piece

no sound yet!

Sound test

yey it works - awesome!

Voice notes

Consider why am I making this staircase? Its not finished - something major missing from that.

Idea of me on the staircase? two actions in the dream: SOUND VERY IMPORTANT FOR NARRATIVE
Event jumping down from the top, holding onto the bannister swinging over the gaps. carefree. Photos of me doing this? model them? then seeing a broadcast going on, embarrassment, disturbing something - quickly try to run back up, can't get across gaps.
If its going to be me? what am I wearing? tights or clothes like I wear now? commentary on me living in Camberwell now? no this isn't right! shadow of me on the stairs?
Scale - detail, or person from architectural model but really has to be me.

Video projection underneath - what like? through a hatch, screen, curved? 2d good as couldn't get into the studio - looking down but not being able to penetrate through the 2d surface - in a box restricted view? bronze is tactile - bit harsh to put in installation where you can't touch it.

Biographical element - Melanie saying why is that an interesting topic? e.g. Tracey Emin - self indulgent but could argue that she is a character that people are interested in. Mine is just about me - boring. When wrote proposal didn't realise at the time but the MA is all about me, making me feel better hum........

Targets need to set, see audio file.

Notes on Flights of Reality

Picked up this exhibition catalogue from Kettle's Yard visit. If from the exhibition Flights of Reality which was there 12 January - 3 March 2002

Now I know I'm not doing any more on fourth dimensions! but had to blog these extracts:

Charles Avery, Matthew Ritchie, Keith Tyson, Grace Weir, Keith Wilson

Flights of Reality parallels science in uncovering new routes of thought. Drawing on myth, science, empirical observation, information theories, and philsosophy, the works oscillate between the familiar and the unknown, between revealed truths and imaginary worlds. The exhibition brings together new and recent work by five contemporary artists who pursue aberrant lines of thought to create competing versions of a world nudged from its everyday axis. The works could be described as thoughts in progress mapping out patterns of the possible, or the debris of ideas that remain in the collision between science and the everyday. In their creation of new or rvial cosmologies, these playful and speculative works are reminders of the ways in which we do not see the world.

"I had the sensation of suddenly awaking on a calendarless day at a place that appeared on no map. You are free to call this sufficiency flight, if you wish." - Kobo Abe

In the amorphous chaos of the everyday, and of the unquantifiable and indetermine nature of knowledge, physicists are now proposing the theory of 'many worlds' or 'parallel universes' (Multiverse). [In Avery's work] the familiarity of the scene emphasises the chasm that has opened up between our experience of the world and the narratives used to construct it which have no basis in any observable reality.

The scale of Keith Tyson's work is immense in both production and ambitiion, which strives for nothing less than to rethink every aspect of the universe from every conceivable point of view. (Inspiring!) The improvised nature of many of the works could be described as thoughts in progress mapping out patterns of the possible.

[Charles Avery] Artists are among the most privileged members of a privileged society. The greatest of their privileges is solitude; the opportunity to imagine - 'The Freedom of the Universe'.[...]An idea is a journey, however brief. A dream is an intrepid adventure, and artists are professional dreamers. Professional, because they must bring back souvenirs. The souvenirs of their dreams are artifacts that they sell to fund their dreaming, but when these artifacts are expatriated from their realm they lose their lustre, like Bengal tigers in a Scottish zoo.[...]The problem is evident; as soon as an idea is committed to reality and subjected to reality's empirical glare, it becomes a flawed article, a shadow of its ethereal self. [...] art belongs in the ether.

The status of the object would be as a portal, or a trigger, which would invoke the art in the mind's eye of the viewer. The artworks themselves would better be described as entities, rather than objects, but the term I favour most, is ghosts.

Recent films

Saw rare films by acclaimed Brazilian artists at Wilson Rd. Part of SLG programme to do with Rivane Neuenschwander.

Brazilian Avant-Garde Films from the 60s and 70s
7-9pm, Wilson Road Lecture Hall

Introduced by Michael Asbury and Moacir dos Anjos this screening event brings together rare films by acclaimed artists such as Artur Barrio, Paulo Bruscky, Antonio Dias, Nelson Leirner, Antonio Manuel, Anna Maria Maiolino and Leticia Parente. The screening is followed by an open discussion.

This event is organised in partnership with the Research Centre for Transnational Art, Identity and Nation (TrAIN), University of the Arts, London and takes place at Wilson Road Lecture Hall, Camberwell College of Arts

Danish documentary at Shunt
Max by Chance by Max Kestner, 2004, 30 Mins.

Belle de Jour
Diary of a Chambermaid

Ideas - 20th Nov

Record spoken words - dreams then play on a loop to myself whilst modelling in wax or clay the scenes created in my head. possibly in the dark? touch only without sight - feel the scene?

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Cold War Modern

Study visit with Maiko and Amanda Fielding at V&A

Sporadic - first bit, artists responses to war and then suddenly design objects - link hard for me to form? Seems money and technology developed for the war and design a byproduct of this relationship not as the intro states - "Art and design were not peripheral symptoms of politics during the Cold War: they played a central role in representing and sometimes challenging the dominant political and social ideas of the age." not so sure about this! Felt that architecture has a closer relationship with society i.e. living patterns but harder for me to relate chair and product designs directly to politics?

Learnt more about general history (I have shockingly little knowledge!) but Terrible Beauty book is helping - could relate stuff in the exhibition to this. Learnt that part of the reason for progress was USA/USSR trying to show off and out do each other. Easier for me to see why design etc now is how it is, so many designs for subterranean living spaces - nuclear bombs etc.

So much in the exhibition - vastly ambitious and would have been much better to have the timeline as on the website in the exhibition as it was very hard for me to identify the parallel developments across design, politics, world events etc. Liked the space section best as it relates to my interest in the universe at the moment.
Jiri Kolar - Mysterious Sea Tajemy More, 1965 (Collage of ripped up maps)
Francisco Infante-Arana
Hardly any information available online about these artists.

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Reflective Journal notes

Examine why you are doing things. Review objectives and join up all the things you are looking at. Carry on a personal tutorial with yourself as you are the worse critic of your work (so true). Write a letter to your strongest admirer describing your work. Ask why to anything you are thinking. Write your blog like a script - question and answer.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Glass globe

arrived today from Ebay - experiment with scene inside glass.

Saturday, 15 November 2008

Bronze Casting in the 20th Century

The World turned inside out - Symposium at Courtauld Institute

11 Speakers, 1 Day, a marathon!

Antoinette Le Normand-Romain - Authority on Rodin
Marble/Bronze - only two noble ways of traditionally producing sculpture. Saint John the Baptist, Age of Bronze - some of the most successful in his lifetime.
The Thinker - 1907, many (7) bronzes exist across the world in major cities. Meditation 1897 & 1914 - imperfections considered perfect by Rodin. Casts after his death worth less - as he could not of approved the casts. Showed that his decisions to use sand or lost wax casting depended on personal friendships with the foundries (people), frustration with producing Gates of Hell.

Sarah Wilson - Sexuality and the Sacred in the work of Germaine Richier - the Postwar French sculptor. Full Text. Monumentality, Fluidity of movement (wax), delicate - like the bat piece.

Amelie Simier - Jules Dalou
Contemporary of Rodin. Drinking fountain next to London Stock Exchange. Showed how after his death his will was to provide his disabled daughter with an income in the orphanage she was in and group of people went to his studio and selected works to reproduce - probably ones he hated! and then totally different selection made by different group in following year. Shows how they marketed him as a brand, even nice letterhead, signatures added after casting? Selling works to major galleries.

Derek Pullen - Head of Sculpture Conversation at Tate(s)
Medardo Rosso 1858 - 1928, Italian

Ecco Puer (Behold the Boy) 1906
Fixing ephemeral ideas in bronze. He found wax an appropriate medium, instant impressions of transitory moments. Fixed viewpoint - first impression he what he is interested in pursuing. In Paris late 19th c. only a couple of foundries doing lost wax, sand much more widespread but lost wax more available in Milan. (Degas - Little Dancer modelled in wax).Fantastic letter from Rosso to the foundry explaining in detail how to cast things without altering his vision! Created foundry performances in his studio. Survival in a durable form - legacy.

Jed Morse (Nasher Centre, Dallas)
Talking about plaster casts - as clay is usually destroyed they are the closest to the original work. Jacques Lipchitz - clay sketches but sometimes altered the work even at later stages after casting. In contrast Henry Matisse - far less plasters remain usually destroyed when the edition was finished. He considered not worth anything and a secondary part.
Explained how a 3d laser scanner up to 300 microns in detail can be used for conservation, custom packing foam and looking at the process of the artist.
Pablo Picasso - Head of a Woman (Fernande) 1909, photos of his studio by Brassai.

Juliet Haysom - just had a look at her website - some very interesting ideas
Talking about her most recent project, commission for Urban Splash in Bristol by Ginko Projects. In London public art everywhere! Hepworth on outside of John Lewis, Oxford Street and Henry Moore on Bond Street - must go and look at. Interested in sculpture being embedded in the architecture. Heating exchange system through the handrail. Trace of handling - polished continually, seductive qualities.

James Boaden - just completed phd at Courtauld Institute
Jeff Koons - Aqualung
Damien Hirst - Hymn
Tracey Emin - Baby Clothes
Gavin Turk - Nomad
Painted bronze - to surprise the viewer, material weight and endurance, monumental material - transient social problems (Emin). Mid century artists like Moore and Giacometti were using bronze - historic creditability. Artists after using welded steel etc so when Jasper Johns did the Beer Cans piece in the 60s, very unfashionable material and polychromatic stuff not fashionable in 'high' art. Following on from Duchamp's marble sugar cubes - 'Why not sneeze Rose Selavy?'
David Smith - Blackburn... - notes unclear what this work is in reference to!
Ultimate modernist painting - bronze support, both painting and sculpture. Seduction and repulsion - invite to life but also repellent. Meaning constantly shifting. Avant garde gambit - acknowledge current leaders then as in chess play a step forward to the front.

I don't want realism, I want magic!

Romolo Del Deo - artist
Come over from NY - the tactile memory of bronze intertwined with history - polished itself with use - reflection of time and history. Very passionate speaker about bronze. Frozen liquid in the shape of artists thoughts - must be able to touch it. Made me think of all the people who sit on the lions in Trafalgar Square. Love this piece by Marino Marini

Mignon Nixon - Erotics of Casting, Louise Bourgeois.
didn't really make any good notes. Bruce Nauman - space cast under his chair.

William Cobbing
Younger guy who made the manhole cover and citied it in Pompei. All about the Gradiva project. Physicality of burying an object in the mind - relation to rediscovery of the memory/dream - bronze process. I didn't know that the bodies in Pompei were actually negative spaces of air that were then filled up and cast to extract the shapes of the people.

Rungwe Kindon - Pangolin Editions
6,000 years ago first casts using arsenical copper (extremely poisonous), 500 year later bronze casting started. too much craft - slick, not enough - lazy, underdeveloped. Amazing range of work made by the foundry, enormous ambition! Was taught by Rob at Camberwell.

Proper abstracts about the speakers.

Friday, 14 November 2008

Rafael Lorazo-Hemmer

Saw this with Susana in Trafalgar Square. Was freezing and not that impressive as it sounded! Would like to see his work at Haunch of Venison though.

Under Scan

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Introduction to Psychoanalysis and Art

by Melanie Gilligan

Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) Father of Psychoanalysis. He was a conservative art collector. Liked primitive art, wrote a text about Leonardo Da Vinci. Huge impact on popular culture, before him no/less ideas about what our subjectivity is. Process of thought from life affecting behaviour.
Context, end of 19th century Vienna, decline of social structures in the Austrian empire. Beginning point - same time as Modern Art wanted to break open, breaking with tradition.

So, they share a historical beginning and artists were drawing directly on Freud's psychoanalytical theories - surrealism. origins/dreams/fantasies/sublimation. Also terms from psychoanalysis entered art theory language - Hal Foster.

Basic concepts
The unconscious - mental functioning that you are unaware of. Sending thoughts and feelings into the conscious mind.
Repression / neurosis (symptoms) - powerful emotional energy. Painful memories, damaging to the mind are buried. In the context of the time - strict adherence to social norms, keeping in check. Also valid today.
Clues are interpreted by analyst and pressure can by relieved by talking, free association, hypnosis.

Photos by Jean-Martin Charcot of hysterics. Josef Breuer - colleague, the case of Anna O.

Avant garde art was also happening at the time - Picasso, Matisse toying with Primitivism - as a way beyond Western social conventions, more pure - immediate, instinctual.

Art of the Insane
Hans Prinzhorn collection. Art Brut - Paul Klee, Max Ernst, Jean Dubuffet.

Dream Interpretation
The royal road to the unconscious. Dreams illustrate the logic of the unconscious - visual experience, symbols with emotional charge/metaphors/resembling poetic speech.
Visual images juxtaposed in poetic ways. Breakdown of meaning, logic links are lost. Maps of intimate connections significant for the dreamer.
Breton-outside aesthetic/moral interpretation.
Kant - Modernism - disinterested play of thought.
Giorgio de Chirico - pre surrealist.
Free play, unconscious/uncontrolled, intuition not rational thought.
Max Ernst - collages juxtaposing different realities - recombining in a surrealist way.

Maybe two 'uses' of psychoanalysis for artists:

1. Idea of the unconscious as a method for generating new images, biographical details of the artists life - is this interesting? e.g. Automatic writing - unlock areas of the psyche - Giselle Procenos - Femme infant - through her innocence untainted creativity, less logic bound.

2. Using it as a tool to critique the power structures that create identities. e.g. Feminist viewpoint might be that male dominated, women sublimated, objects of desire. Gender relationships of power.

After the war brought about a variety of influences into the collective unconscious e.g. Cobra, Art Informel, Jackson Pollock etc.

More politically/socially concerned. Feminism, process and performance art 60s and 70s was critiquing patriarchal (
Adj.1.patriarchal - characteristic of a form of social organization in which the male is the family head and title is traced through the male line

Jacques Lacan - moving Freud's idea forward.

Basic concepts
Mirror stage - experienced in childhood as the child sees him/herself in the mirror. Establishing their own identity/subjectivity - individual. Stable coherent version of ourself. This is the moment you enter the subjective order and you keep this in your imagination throughout your life.
The Gaze - concept - visual aspect of yourself. The uncanny feeling that your gaze is looking back at you. Anxiety, vulnerability. e.g The Ambassadors by Holbein.
Mary Kelly - Post-partum document 1973-79, lectures on Lacan.
Barbara Kruger - 'Your gaze hits the side of my face' 81-83.

Video - The Aesthetics of Narcissism by Rosalind Krauss - 1st issue of October.

Melanie Klein - Psychoanalysis of children - Object relations theory. D W Winnicott.

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Afternoon discussion

Discussion about an extract from ‘At the Threshold of the Visible’ - exhibition catalogue: '...:Minuscule and Small-Scale Art, 1964-1996' organised by Independent Curators Incorporated, New York. And my practical work, ideas to create a virtual inventory of dreamed objects and situate them afterwards. Concentrate on making well crafted objects and try experimenting with different scales. Put to one side the research about fourth dimensions and Quantum Mechanics as these ideas in the work are too big for the MA year at this stage. Complete my notes on The Poetics of Space.

Nicholas Bourriaud - Altermodern

'Alter' the other = change/diversity/multiplicity/alternative/modern.
'Modern Times' = a past period - second half of the 19th century, early 20th century style.
'Modernisation' = an economic levelling, more brutal term.

The hypothesis of the exhibition:
1. Finished with Post-modernism
2. Global new modernity - first time in history 'global' is possible. Post colonial studies important to this? The way the world has levelled - Western world not leading the progress any more. Not a one sided vision of time/space. Displacement ability to discover other cultures, most problems coming from problems with culture/origins.

If not an exhibition would be a debate a polyphony of voices - dialogue - way of exploring a notion.

Post-modernism began in the 1970s to define the period after Modernism - Charles Jencks (Architect). Following the petrol shortage in 1973 which came as a huge shock that natural resources shown to be fallible - crisis, different frame of mind and the idea that energy is not infinite - text about this by Peter Sloterdijk? Core ideas of Post-modernism being a spreading out - explosion. The form of the explosion - predominant feature of 20th century art e.g. Dada. Not natural things - a quick liberation of energy - frightening. So at this point the Western world considered how to stop relying on natural resources. Japan began technology revolution.

Ideas about where are we coming from? - loops back to the past. 'Radial' eliminating all the branches to get back to the root, purist expression of the idea radiality in art purifying Clement Greenberg. Pure expression.

Huge link - 1973 to Now, world economic crisis. Culture getting rid of history - considered irrelevant. In 1973 no screenplays no scenarios - what is left? Reacting to context - short pieces.
Used to being in the suburbs of history - after everything - feminism, sexual liberation etc.
'Alter' is a liberation - its not After anything whereas 'Modernity' has a past/future, before/after.
Uprooting from history - cut off from blind following of tradition, uprooting from identity. People from all over the world abandoning their nationality and coming together. Only carrying what they can carry - as in the first modern moment? exodus from Egypt.
Reducing complex thought into a single box. Travelling/migrating is a theme in recent art, one of the main issue of 'Altermodern' - how to define it - dream catching.

Possible start of Post-Colonial Post-Modernism - 1989, Berlin wall after cold war - 75-80s a world which is unmoving melancholy, immobilised. Key show 'Magicians of the Earth' at Pompidou centre in Paris.
'Radicant' e.g. ivy, growing roots all the times. You can cut the original root but it still grows, not energy from the soil - coming from the direction. Not depending on one origin. A more dynamic presentation of energy/identity. Breaking pattern of thought. Artists from the exhibition - starting point is global culture not countries, exploring very highly specific situations/thoughts. Globalisation is a fact, not a one dimensional phenomenon. Theoretical/practical starting point. Positive vision of working/wondering - in the streets. Iconography of the urban drift. Wandering in different realities.

Analogy - Modernism like a train - straightforward. Post-modernism train stops, its bad to go straight, many other ways discovered. Now we are going down the smaller tracks - forget oneself a bit.

Gustav Metzger - one of the artists in the exhibition. Auto destructive art. Liquid crystal environment. Sustainable debate, apply to the ecology of the mind. Today its not possible to think about art only as sensationalist or shocking - like a quick blast of post-modernist energy. Art has to be based on a sustainable relationship - have to live with it - have a debate with it - cultural development. Cannot live with art that is only in a movie - should be anchored.

Using history now as a toolbox, using exisiting material to produce works not just as a well picking quotes out. Exploring reality - adjusting it to another reality.

Books by Nicholas Bourriaud:

Relational Aesthetics

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Tiny clay river scene

First go's with porcelain - difficult beast! Had to build the palm tree in wax - hum. Bit sick of the clay being so difficult to work with and breaking all the time.

Sketches following Poetics of Space

Friday, 7 November 2008

Shirazeh Houshiary

Extracted from 'The Path and the Gate' bu John Hutchinson about Shirazeh's work:

'Poised between a need to discern the sacred and a wish to make art. Shirazeh Houshiary proceeds with the conviction that these challenges can be met and overcome. In her view, art is an activity that is located in an intermediary realm between body and spirit, a realm that is connected with the true self. This work as much as anything else, is about intercurrence.'

A passing or running between; occurrence.

Old brainstorm

Just discovered this on my desk at Wilson Rd - still worth blogging although my ideas now seem more askew!

Thursday, 6 November 2008

At the Threshold of the Visible

Notes on exhibition catalogue: '...:Minuscule and Small-Scale Art, 1964-1996' organised by Independent Curators Incorporated, New York.

'Minute artworks involve us, sometimes quite literally, in acts of discovery; some pieces are so insubstantial that they must be hunted for as if in a game of hide-and-seek. When first exhibited in the late 1960s and early 1970s, micro-paintings by Gene Davis and tiny sculptures by Joel Shapiro baffled viewers: small enough not to be noticed at first glance, their work sometimes went unseen by gallery visitors, who walked in and out of an exhibition without ever realising that a show was up.

With mischievous absurdity, art of this size wreaks havoc on our accustomed notions of scale. Its diminutive stature seems to mock the grand spaces in which it is displayed, appealing to our sense of humor and play. [...] Tiny artworks force us to draw closer, this forward movement parallels a mental process [...] the focused attention we give tiny art is almost voyeuristic in intensity. This charges our experience of the object, imbuing it with an almost hallucinatory acuity. [...] A single tiny work can appear at once assertive and humble, or intimate yet oddly remote. [...] Perhaps this is why Bachelard observed that "one must go beyond logic in order to experience what is large in what is small."

But miniatures also seem to exist in a state of haunted isolation, to occupy a permanently vacated scene. Physically, we stand outside their tiny domain, and when we imaginatively enter within it, we find ourselves its sole inhabitants.

Part of their appeal is to transport us to a world that is more precise, and more meticulously elucidated, than our own; charmingly perfect, they constitute a refuge from the domain of gross physical data and corporeal failings. The halo of the ideal seems to hover overhead. [...] The stillness of miniature landscapes evinces the profound calm of a tiny parallel world forever cut off from the activity and ungainliness of our own surroundings.'

Guy Limone - we cannot simultaneously comprehend the domain of the individual and that of the statistical mass.

Hiroshi Sugimoto's 1994 work Day Seascape, English Channel, Weston Cliff, 1994.

'Potentially engage us in a dialogue of revelation. As it alters our perception of the world around us, the minuscule object also arouses our sense of wonder - a creeping vein of curiosity is set loose in our imaginationm wandering and winding around far-flung mental points, and we are reminded as viewers that meaning can only be constructed through our active participation.
The barely visible calls our attention to a threshold, and such boundaries are resonant with meaning. Indirectly they invoke our own limited place in a potentially endless spectrum of scale, our inconsequential presence in the larger scheme of things. By leading us to reflect on its precariousness, the diminutive object conjures the threshold of mortality that defines our short-lived existence. And it is only in the light of such reflections that we may find a reliable measure of proportion, as well as a certainty that the most trivial fact can reinvent the margins of our world.'