Thursday, 10 December 2009

Site: Corner of Elder Street and Commercial Road E1

Site video

Revealing the obscured 1

Revealing the obscured 2

Four Corners Videos

Four Corners #1

Four corners #2

Four corners #3

Four corners #4

I took videos of my four corner installations to relay the strange depth and perspective the pieces create. The videos show the disorientation the pieces create much better than photographs can. I also filmed them horizontally in reference to the original 2001: a space odyssey clip I chose and Bruce Nauman's Bouncing in the Corner, No. 1. The right angled view really affects and confuses how one reads the installations, even if you have seen them in situ already. When I view them I switch between understanding them in two and three dimensions.

Monday, 7 December 2009

Julia Dwyer - Door Ghost

Door Ghost 2004

Door Ghost sits in the shuttered, darkened spaces of Forty Hall, a reminder of the lives lived there. Like a fresco lift, or a monoprint, it is a full sized altered image of the back of the ground floor privy door, reproducing the traces of height marks and signatures which have accumulated on the door since 1800. This exceptional hidden artefact is destined never to be seen by visitors to Forty Hall, as its delicate pencil marks cannot be exposed to the deteriorating effects of natural light.

In making the hidden visible, we sought to transform it: here is a singular artefact whose surface patterning has been created by the direct touches of the people who lived in the Hall, which have not been erased by paint and cleaning: the new image seeks to make the door flesh, with a chalky notation marking it.

Also of interest to me was the ‘cultural mapping' approach undertaken in her ‘digitate’ commision, which was critically defined in the accompanying catalogue as ’being interested in analyzing and then re-presenting patterns - the intersecting relationships of human life, space, form and objects .’

Bruce Nauman - Bouncing in the corner

Bouncing in the Corner, No. 1
00:59:48 1968

Bouncing in the Corner, No. 2
00:59:58 1969

Nauman is seen standing and leaning back in a corner of his studio. Just as he bounces back to a standing position, his body falls again, momentarily collapsing, only to spring forward once more. This action places his body in an intermittent space, occupying a position halfway between standing and leaning, halfway between the wall and the room.

The horizontal orientation of the camera in No.1 relates to the horizontal view in my 2001: a space odyssey where the astronaut is defying gravity. It makes you have to adjust to how you read and imagine the space Nauman is in. The view almost from Nauman's own eyes in No.2 is the same as the view I began from in Corner photo sequence 02. I could explore how this disorientation of the camera may disturb how we perceive a space on film.

Ceal Floyer

Light Switch 1992

Ceal Floyer’s installations are often inconspicuous or unassuming, but make sophisticated use of a number of strategies from such art historical precedents as the readymades of Duchamp and conceptual and minimalist art of the 1960s. Light Switch, one of Floyer’s early works, is a colour photographic slide image of a light switch, projected to scale on a wall at the height one would expect to find a switch in a domestic setting.

Her work orientates around encouraging the viewer to consider something beyond what is presented to them.

The Corner - Common Feat. The Last Poets

“Corners leave souls opened & closed hoping for more

We underrated, we educated
The corner was our time when times stood still
And gators and snakes gangs and yellow and pink
And colored blue profiles glorifying that

The corner was our magic, our music, our politics
Fires raised as tribal dancers and
war cries that broke out on different corners
Power to the people, black power, black is beautiful

The corners

The corner was our Rock of Gibraltar, our Stonehenge
Our Taj Mahal, our monument,
Our testimonial to freedom, to peace and to love
Down on the corner...”

Jeff Koons

New Hoover Deluxe Shampoo Polishers, New Shelton Wet/Dry 10-gallon Displaced Tripledecker, 1981-1987.

"The New" was essentially a series of encased vacuum cleaners, which Koons first exhibited in the window of the New Museum in New York in 1980. These machines were displayed as if in a showroom, and orientated around a central red fluorescent lightbox with just the words "The New" written on it as if it were announcing some new concept or marketing brand. Encased in simple transparent cases and illuminated by an intense, strange and unearthly light, such was the reverence with which these immaculate but also innocuous machines were presented that they took on the appearance of holy relics or saintly apparitions. Enshrined in transparent temple-like cases as if they were strange anthropomorphic beings worthy of veneration, these mundane and familiar objects seemed to have been transformed into the bearers of some sacred message or mysterious level of meaning.

One of Koons' intentions with "The New" as it has been throughout his career, was to invoke, and by invoking also to re-awaken in the viewer, a sense of the simple aesthetic wonder and awe in the face of the world that we experience as children. To return us to that immaculate and pure state of openness and innocence, free and untainted by what Koons sees as the oppressive and narrowing constraints of the hierarchies of taste, prejudice and convention that we learn as adults. Koons attempts to achieve this liberation of the viewer through an art that openly attempts to seduce them back into a shared enjoyment of his rich and joyous celebrations of the banal, the mundane, the ordinary, and even the kitsch.

The Boyle Family

The Boyle Family is best known for the earth studies: three dimensional casts of the surface of the earth which record and document random sites with great accuracy. These works combine real material from the site (stones, dust, twigs etc) with paint and resins, preserving the form of the ground to make unique one-off pieces that suggest and offer new interpretations of the environment, combining a powerful conceptual framework with a strong and haunting physical and visual presence.

Addison Crescent Study (London Series), 1969

The Nyord (Denmark) World Series Study, installed at Galerie Paul Maenz, Koln 1971

For the World Series 1000 sites were chosen at random by visitors to the artists’ studio and the ICA
exhibition. Participants were blindfolded and either threw a dart or fired an air rifle at an unseen wall-sized map of the world, which now forms part of the work itself.

This random selection serves several purposes: nothing is excluded as a potential subject; the particular is chosen to serve as a representative of the whole; the subjective role of the artists and creators is re-designated to that of ‘presenters’. The Boyle Family seeks to present a version of reality as objectively and truthfully as possible, calling this process ‘motiveless appraisal’. Once the random selection of subject has been made, the artists recreate the site in a fixed and permanent form as a painted fibreglass relief.

Street 1964

In 1964 Joan Hills and Mark Boyle took a party of people down Pottery Lane, London, W11, on Sunday afternoon. The party arrived at a dirty back entrance marked "Theatre". They made their way along a dark corridor to a room where a row of kitchen chairs faced some blue plush curtains. Eventually the curtains opened and the audience found themselves looking through a shop window into the street. The view of the everyday became a spectacle.

Group seminar 13/11/2009

The feed back from the seminar was positive on the whole and the tutors were generally pleased with my presentation. It was suggested that to move forward I should present some of my photographs as stand alone images or installations. I wanted to recreate some of the corners I had photographed but now full size, installing the works in or around corners. I wanted the project to move from two-dimensional images to three-dimensional pieces and became corners themselves.

I also made a model to demonstrate this

My tutors thought this was a good idea but would have to be moved forward to a more refined stage with good image quality. It was suggested that I should have a sound reasoning for my coices of photograph ie. similar materiality or architecture in the sequence. I liked the idea of the pieces to be made to be celebrations of the mundane. Pete suggested I look into the work of the Boyle family and Ceal floyer.

Forgotten corners photo sequence - videos

Installation: Forgotten Corners sequence

To really understand where they were orientated and how all of these forgotten corners worked as a sequence they needed to be exhibited. I wanted people to view the sequence in its entirety, so I measured a space in the studio and printed the 80 photographs installing them. The sequence wrapped around 6 of the studios corners.

My own spatial sequence: Forgotten Corners

sequence  [see-kwuhns]

1. the following of one thing after another; succession.
2. order of succession: a list of books in alphabetical sequence.
3. a continuous or connected series: a sonnet sequence.
4. something that follows; a subsequent event; result; consequence.

I decided to record my own sequence of spaces in photographs. I wanted to record all of the inward corners i encountered from my home to Chelsea College of art everyday.

This would be a way of exploring the forgotten spaces we pass by everyday and don't really take any notice of.

Map - showing location of every corner i encountered and recorded. Red dots show location of every photograph. (click to enlarge)

Forgotten Corners photographs
I found 80 instances of inward corners from My house to College.

Making my own spatial sequence

The next part of the brief was: "Using your five chosen sequences as inspiration, you will develop a spatial sequence of your own that is capable of materializing and communicating your research concerns. This can be in the form of architecture, object, furniture, installation or film – or hybrids between these outcomes. You are asked to combine two and/or three-dimensional ways of representing this sequence, such as by juxtaposing object/film, model/drawing, object/drawing, film/drawing, painting/object, painting/film. The idea is that these are small-scale proposals, which are not heavily workshop dependent, and can be constructed largely in the studio. We do not have space at this point for large-scale installations, so the issue of scale has to be thought of creatively, as part of the proposal. The idea is to inventively link your spatial and research concerns."

Inspired by the Perec 'Walls' text I wanted to create some way of re-looking at the everyday spaces around us. "The wall is no longer what delimits and defines the place where I live, that which separates it from the other places where other people live, it is nothing more than a support for the picture. But i also forget the picture, I no longer look at it, I no longer know how to look at it. I have put the picture on the wall so as to forget there was a wall, but in forgetting the wall, I forget the picture, too."

I thought about the changing of a place or a pictures context and whether this may make something new. Ie. if you take a picture out of a gallery does it mean its perceived in a new way. If you take a passage out of its context in a book it will be read in a new way as the other information has been removed. I decided try to remake Species of spaces but with nothing but my chosen passage in it. It was an attempt to make this one aspect stand out - making it less 'normal'.

At this point I began to read 'The poetics of space' by Gaston Bachelard. One of the chapters is specifically on corners and how they are threshold spaces that we seldom inhabit as adults. Being in a corner is often associated with being in trouble or feeling shame. We very rarely as adults inhabit corners and almost never in groups. He talked about corners being an end point if you're facing them - they finish a space, but also about them being doorways onto everything if you are facing out from them.

"The corner is a sort of half box,
part walls, part door."

Gaston Bachalard

He also talks about inhabiting spaces and how we can only fully understand architectural spaces once we have spent time in them.

"Jesuis l’espace ou je suis.

(Iam the space where i am)"

Noel Arnaud

"For to great dreamers of corners and holes nothing is ever empty,
the dialectics of full and empty only correspond to two dimensional
non-realities. The function of inhabiting constitutes the link between
empty and full."

Gaston Bachelard

I like the ideas of corners being forgotten and empty and like the idea of finding a way for them to be remembered.

Summary of sequences: moving forward with work

The 5 sequences I've chosen are quite varied but have brought up several new ideas I'd like to explore.

2001 brought up an idea that as human beings we take everyday spaces around us for granted - no matter the circumstances of our lives at the time. It also brought up ideas of playing with perspective and strange views through film, as a way of changing how the viewer sees the work that’s presented.

Species of spaces brought up ideas of looking beyond what we see everyday like the walls in the text. Perec asked the question: how can we not take the everyday spaces around us for granted? The text was also about the interplay between walls/rooms and pictures/artworks and was provoking new ways of thinking about these display relationships. It made me think about how we can go about remembering forgotten or non-places.

Blind light and Event Horizon made me think about the contrast between the experience of small intimate spaces and then moving around much larger scale parts of the city. They are very different architectural experiences. I liked the idea of repeatedly exploring individual spaces as part of a larger sequence across an area of the city. It also made me realise that we can perceive everyday things in a new way just by trying to ask questions about them.

The death of Actaeon X-ray made me think about how revealing the process of construction for a piece of work or even a building can be really interesting and can add more depth to the work. Also I like going through a process in my work and recording it in different ways as I go along.

Phone Home was intriguing because it provoked people to interact and change a normal task into something new. The process of recording what viewers of art do when they enter a system (that is also an artwork) was something I hadn’t seen in that way before. A large part of the artwork was left open to the randomness of everyday people to complete the work. It also related to work I’ve done before on creativity and creative block.

5. Spatial Intervention - Phone Home by Elmgreen and Dragset

Phone Home 2003

This Elmgreen & Dragset installation looks at the loss of the right to privacy in communications. Five generic telephone cabins are lined up in the gallery. A note informs visitors that they can call anyone they want in the world for free. Of course there's a trick: the conversation you are planning to have will be broadcast in the gallery, recorded and a table with audio players and headphones will enable future visitors to listen to what you said.

I really liked the concept behind this work. Elmgreen and Dragset set up a system artwork that enabled the viewer to become part of the piece. The viewer could express their individuality and free will by contacting anyone and saying anything. However at the same time the viewer could observe other peoples creativity by listening to their conversations. The viewer had the option of being proactive or voyeuristic and the recording of that process was the most important aspect of the work.

4. Spatial Painting - X-radiograph of The death of Actaeon by Titian

The death of Actaeon
(begun 1559 but never completed)

I had seen this work in 'The Russian Linesman' an exhibition curated by Mark Wallinger. It is an X-ray of a famous Titian painting. Titian's paintings are renowned for their classical beauty and flawlessness but in the X-ray you see the work in a whole new dimension. The constant reworking and covering up of mistakes becomes apparent in a way that you would never see in the finished work. You can see the history of the picture and the process of its production below its finished surface veneer.

The X-ray establishes a relationship between the spectator, the virtual space the x-ray shows, and real space of the painting's surface. What you see isn't always what you get. The finished article may only show one aspect of all the work that has gone into it.

Mark Wallinger said of The Russian Linesman exhibition:

"I have always been interested in how we define and are defined by thresholds and boundaries, the events of history. The works in the exhibition use illusion, artifice and dislocating devices to look at our accidental time and place in the world afresh."

3. Architectural Sequence - Blind Light and Event Horizon

Blind Light by Antony Gormley 2007

Blind Light was an architectural sculpture exhibited in the Haywood Gallery. Gormley created a space that made me feel disoriented, excited and impaired all at the same time. Oscillating ultrasonic humidifiers created a dense vapour reducing the visibility inside the eight by 10 metre glass enclosure making it a room of fog.

The room was a spectacle from the outside. It felt to me like I was at a zoo, viewing people move around and experience a type of space that was so obviously alien to them. inside your senses were changed. You couldn't see more than two feet in front of you, your hearing became more sensitive because you were unnerved and you were touching wet air almost nervous of encountering anyone while you moved through. People didn't want to enter the middle of the space for fear of getting lost. So most had to touch the walls as a way of locating themselves. The room although only 8 x 10m felt huge. It made me realise I interpret spaces around me in everyday life in quite a regimented way.

Event Horizon by Antony Gormley 2007

Event Horizon was another part of the same exhibition but this time the work went out to explore the city around it. It was an ambitious urban artwork featuring around 30 sculptural casts of the artist’s body on rooftops and public always across central London, subtly punctuating the city skyline. Spanning outwards from The Hayward, all the figures faced towards the gallery’s three sculpture terraces, which formed the main viewing platforms for the project as a whole.

When I saw the work it made me view the buildings on the South Bank (which I've been around all my life) in a new way. The figures on rooftops, pavements and the bridge made me want to physically explore the architecture. It made spaces we walk by, ignore and take for granted seem exciting and made me want to interact with them, which I had only done in a very 'normal' way before.

Also the sculpture made me engage with multiple buildings as a group. Rather than them being singular separate things of all different ages, they worked together and the buildings became part of the sculpture and thus the exhibition as well.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

2. Written extract - Species and spaces, by Georges Perec


‘Granted there is a wall, what’s going on behind it?’
Jean Tardieu

I put a picture up on a wall. Then I forget there is a wall. I no
longer know what there is behind this wall, I no longer know
there is a wall, I no longer know this wall is a wall, I no longer
know what a wall is. I no longer know that in my apartment there
are walls, and that if there weren’t any walls, there would be no
apartment. The wall is no longer what delimits and defines the
place where I live, that which seperates it from the other places
where other people live, it is nothing more than a support for the
picture. But i also forget the picture, I no longer look at it, I no
longer know how to look at it. I have put the picture on the wall
so as to forget there was a wall, but in forgetting the wall, I forget
the picture, too. There are pictures because there are walls. We
have to be able to forget there are walls, and have found no better
way to do that than pictures. Pictures efface walls. But walls kill
pictures. So we need continually to be changing, either the wall
or the picture, to be forever putting other pictures up on the walls,
or else constantly moving the picture from one wall to another.

We could write on walls (as we sometimes write on the fronts
of houses, on fences round building sites and on the walls of
prisons) but we do it only very rarely

(From the chapter my apartment, page 39)

I think what Perec is saying is that we take for granted most of the ordinary architecture around us. We almost stop realising it's there. We try and adorn walls with pictures to make our homes spaces more appealing but we can even take those for granted. Walls and buildings can obviously be places of expression too but I like the idea of these ignored spaces being explored. Finding out what is behind these ignored walls could lead on to further inspiration.

1. Film sequence - 2001: A space odyssey

Directed by Stanley Kubrick, 1968.
55 minutes into the film

I chose the scene showing one of the astronauts going about his daily routine, exercising and then eating. It is an extraordinary camera shot for its time showing the astronaut running around the cylindrical fuselage of his spaceship defying gravity on a mission to Jupiter, this seems to be man at his peak of evolution.

View the video from 8minutes 30 seconds until the end...

then watch the first couple of minutes of this...

I think what is actually being shown beneath the surface is a commentary that whatever the extraordinary or privileged circumstances we find our selves in, we as human beings have a natural inclination to take them for granted. This hyper-intelligent human flying across space in super-advanced technology is just reminiscent of a hamster running in his wheel in a cage. We have a natural tendency to be boring and mundane. At this point of the movie the ships computer, HAL, seems to be more human and have more character than the astronauts!

Initial ideas

I am interested in several areas to explore to inspire my work:

Identity - both of the individual, of groups of people and also the identity of architectural space (does this exist?).
The mundane and the normal - everyday spaces and built forms we take for granted, that can be explored and looked at in new ways.
Intimate and personal spaces - how do we behave in them? How does space effect the individual.
Obsession - obsessive process and restriction in making art.
Change and subversion - how do buildings change over time with their use? How can we manipulate and subvert existing architecture to experience it in new ways?

Hopefully I can find examples of sequences that relate to, or explore these themes.

First Project brief: Spaces, Narrations and Representations

This opening exercise is a means to help you evolve your research concerns through the making of a spatial proposal. The exercise will investigate the relationship between space and its representation, and is to be presented in a way that juxtaposes two and three-dimensional means of representation.

You will begin the exercise by making a relationship between your research concerns and a series of spatial sequences by other artists, architects, designers and filmmakers. You will need to articulate how the sequences have particular relevance to your research concerns; the sequences need to be carefully selected and argued for. The sequences should comprise of:

1. A short (4 minutes maximum) spatial sequence taken from a film of your choice, presented either in dvd format or as a series of film stills.

2. An extract describing a spatial sequence from a novel or other book of your choice, 500 words maximum.

3. An architectural sequence from a building you have visited, presented in image and/or drawn form.

4. A painting, abstract or figurative, that you feel establishes a relationship between the spectator and the virtual space of the painting.

5. A spatial sequence from a piece of sculpture or installation art.