I have now begun working on my performance the fog. There is something peaceful about being surrounded by it. Being outside again - unplugged from the internet. It's almost like the world gets blocked out and you are left with your own awareness of self.
Today I've continued figuring out how to animate the puppet. There is something really strange about doing this as I almost pity the thing and feel slightly guilty making it perform actions and movements according to my will. This attachment I feel to the puppet is something I want others to feel when viewing the work - so they too can experience the strange sensation of sympathising with a puppet. I also want to keep the context of this work deliberately vague as well as its cultural references as I like how the lack of information promotes new thoughts and discussions. An empty vessel floating around in void...
I’ve been thinking a lot about escapism recently. If it is right to escape from what is happening - escape from the reality of our situation. If it should be encouraged or if one should make work which is a reflection of what is happening in order to spread some sort of awareness. This is something I’m dealing with internally and I don’t think I will come to some form of conclusion until this situation has somewhat calmed down. Then I’ll be able to look back.
It was really nice to talk get to talk to others from my course today in the real impact workshop. It somewhat evidenced how talking to others and sharing ideas really does make a huge difference in your own thinking. The relationship between the human and the object has changed significantly over the past couple of weeks, and will probably continue do so in the near future. As artists we are going to need to rethink how we are going to make interactive art. The idea of information also came up in our discussion. In this time where we have an overload of it it becomes hard to determine truth from detritus.
Does the screen inhibit or assist?
Today discovered that we have a printer up here which prints photo paper. I've been thinking a lot recently about the imagery we see online. There probably exist millions of copies of every picture - of duplicates which have been warped and manipulated. Using imagery which had already retouched through the use of my computer I began playing with the scan function - how I could create interesting forms and mutations by moving around the photos I was using to create strange amalgamations. Some of these works become completely unrecognisable. I enjoy how the outcomes of the works are determined by my physical actions for a change instead of just written code. It allows for a lot more chance than if I were to make these works on a computer program.
A massage bench was what peaked my interest today. I liked its foldable and angular quality. Naturally I began experimenting with what shapes I could create when playing around with the structure. There is something quite human about the way in which the iron bars join with the more malleable, cushioned forms - bones with flesh. I also think there is something rather hospital-like about this foldable bench - made to sooth the effects of living. After documenting these shapes I began to manipulate them (internet is manipulative) - Put them in a setting which seems almost apocalyptic. We could all need massages.
Today I finally finished my perforative video piece. In it you begin by seeing a sort of blurry movement inside what seems like a colour changing box which then gradually becomes bigger and the forms clearer - a progressive realisation . I wanted to the movement to be somewhat erratic and so I chose to speed up the original footage of me dancing. To counteract the overly obvious stressful feel of the clip I made use of an ambient soundtrack in an attempt to give the work a somewhat cinematic quality without taking over the visuals while also muting the noise of myself moving - creating a distance between the figure and viewer. The audience thus becomes separate from what is going on in the box. You experience the piece from the perspective of an outsider. The colour change was intended to mark and evidence the passing of time experienced by the encased person. I guess it is rather obvious that I wanted them to be alienated - separate from the rest of the world.
I have come to the conclusion that the internet is an alienating place - promising fulfilment and acceptance, yet the truth remains inescapable. It is not a substitute for real physical human relation.
My life is now lived through conversions in data format. Particles being pushed as I speak into the microphone - converted into data only to mimic the frequencies of my voice once made physical again through speakers. I keep being torn between simply accepting that my only form of interaction is through/with digital means and being completely horrified by the reality of my loneliness. Why make physical works when the digital reality is currently playing a greater role in my life. And you who is reading this is viewing everything through pixels. Of course, digital interaction is not as rewarding as the 'real thing'.
I have decided that tomorrow I will isolate myself in my room without internet which seems to me more distracting to me than ever before. I can feel how my brain is turning to mush as I scroll endlessly through imagery which I'm noticeably becoming less and less sensitive to.
Walking around in the woods I'm starting to collect bits of dead organic matter. In someways they evidence our physical plane, which I feel as though I'm slowly but gradually losing contact with. I'm spending more time now in second life - seeing as how I feel freer there. Yet I cannot ignore the awkwardness of the interactions between avatars. They are undeniably unnatural. It could be really interesting to begin making some form of performative work with a friend through digital means - where one reacts to the other - one reacts to the code...
During these interesting times what really has struck me is the importance of the connection and communication the internet allows. Being in a completely different country from my parents, Skype and FaceTime are my primary modes of communication. Most of my conversations are now happening through digital means. Perhaps once all this is through - we might realise that we don't really need physical interaction after all? Pixels are now my new eyes. The digital now seems more important than the physical.
Using old knitted fabric I had made previously, I began drawing it around my metal structure in order to create interesting forms. Perhaps I should use waterproof fabric for the real thing? By talking with my tutor I know now that in order to create and maintain my work in the park I will need to create an extremely stable lower structure, which will take some time to make... It could be really interesting to use some from of battery-powered light which could sit inside the structure.
I am starting to begin thinking about how to realise my park project idea. Perhaps instead of using plaster (being too expensive and heavy) I could make use of fabric which can be wrapped around some form of metal wire structure in order to achieve the volume I want. It could also be fun if the sculpture was kinetic - wobbling slightly.
I guess my obsession of online avatars comes from my theory that they are the most truthful representations of ourselves - free from social expectations.
I think it could be extremely fun to make use of the water function in the fountain - changing the colour of the water into something extremely otherworldly. I have talked it over with my tutor and it seems unlikely that this will be possible. I'm starting to truly realise how much planning must be made beforehand when trying to realise a project like this. So many variables which must be taken into consideration. I'm feeling somewhat frustrated as I really want to get started with the making of my work however my process is halted by the fact that my sculpture proposal has still not been approved.
Today I completed my virtual experiment. I have made a sand pit inhabited by virtual avatars who are doomed to repeat endless, looped actions - performed without having any choice whatsoever. I wanted to create a really bizarre work, mirroring how bizarre of a place the internet truly is. One might even argue that the internet itself is a reflection of true humanity - unrestricted by social constructs.
To further my project I want to find a way of making this work interact with elements of the physical realm, or perhaps find some manner in which I could anchor it to reality... I feel as though I should start working more in the workshops where perhaps I might get inspired by a certain material with which to create my sculptures.
Today I was rewriting my PPP again - it’s still too much all over the place. I feel like I’m gradually getting somewhere though. Through the animations I’m creating I want to create some form of hectic chaos - mirroring my own annoyance with online absurdity. I feel like this could quite simply be translated physically into some form of sculpture...
Being back and talking with my tutor has made me realize how my PPP is still to broad. I need to focus on something specific in order set achievable goals for part 3. I’m struggling with finding a way of condensing all my ideas into single phrases. I don’t want to limit myself but at the same time I can acknowledge that some form of clear idea is needed in order for part 3 to be assessed properly.
I have now also begun playing around with certain animation software as a means of creating avatars which interact and move on a digital intangible plane. There is something absurd and seemingly wrong about manipulating humanoid figures like this - perverse almost...
Reading Week | Day 3
Christina Kubisch's work has really opened up my mind to the possibilities of sound - how it is cable of awakening a spacial awareness to the world around us as well as the constant constant energetically-charged whirlwind we find ourselves in. Through the use of electromagnetic waves she is evidencing the physical world as well as giving an insight into the mechanics behind the electrical equipment which shape the worlds of others. To explore my project, I think making use of sonorous mediums might be an effective way of communicating the tangibility of reality seeing as how sound is the direct effect of physical changes and actions.
Reading Week | Day 1
To begin this project I think I need to be more specific about what it is I am exploring. Energy is too broad a theme to investigate in a few months. I can't stop thinking about the movement and vibration of energy though. Why it's so interesting to me is the fact that we exist in this space which is constantly moving and yet we are so unaware of it. Everything revolves around our insignificant worries - mundane compared to the dance of the cosmos. I find it absurd how we are even trying to escape this reality by devolving into unphysical worlds of code and fantasy. Whats more, I myself partake in this sort of escapism.
I had another tutorial with Fritha today which was useful as I got feedback on the work I have been making recently. I feel that both the fog and the puppet piece could be developed and are not quite finished yet. I also participated in the performance workshop today which was again great as I got an insight into how my works are perceived. I like showing my work without context. It promotes more discussions and ides which I myself might not have though of.
Recently there has been a lot of fog surrounding the house which has now become quite claustrophobic. I am constantly being surrounded by white walls of nothingness - I now feel more boxed in than ever. It could be fun to make a performance piece incorporating the mist. The half-unseen forms which emerge through smoke screens...
I recently found two puppets lying around the house which I thought could be fun to do something with - physical manifestations of the online avatars I have been creating. I control their every action, the way they are perceived.
Using the imagery above I have proceeded to bring the puppet into the digital sphere and I am currently trying to find a way of animating the character through digital means. I feel as though I have more freedom manipulating the puppet on my computer than in real life. I can give it personality through audio and visual effects...
Today we had a performance workshop with Fritha which was really exciting as we all got to share and talk about each others work. Seeing how others are responding to these strange times is interesting as we are all dealing with it in our own way. Everybody is being affected but to varying degrees. I was glad however that most of the people on the group call at least seemed well. Constraints lead to new things…
The feedback I got from one person was how much the slow zoom of my video piece affected his sense of time - when combined with the fast pace of the video as well as the eerie music. “Hypnotic”. Another talked about what a big role light plays in the perception of the piece - being able to change the space completely.
I had my tutorial with Fritha today. It was nice to talk to her again. It made me realise how I miss being in the studio - being around people. It was interesting to notice my video work was perceived and what ideas it induced. My tutor mentioned how they were thought that the movement or the forms were digital at first but as the share gradually enlarges they realised how it was “real” / physical. “flipping in and out of the digital”.
Over the break I began making use of the bits of organic matter I collected in the forest. Attaching swerving sticks together I began making forms with I thought were interesting. I decided to make a work which would stand on its own and remain unobtrusive with its surroundings. Using yarn I further strengthened my structure which now stands freely. I have been watching how it reacts to its surroundings for a couple of days now. It has been rather windy up here in the mountains and my structure remains standing. The wind promotes a sort of movement in my structure which I enjoy as it is seemingly organic - the way a tree or some other organic matter might move.
Today I was working with photos I have taken of the structure in photoshop - warping and mutating what was originally in complete harmony with the natural environment. I am fascinated by how technology allows us to do this - exaggerate visual information to the point of absurdity. However I also recognise the freedom that comes with the transformation of the physical to the digital.
I want to create a performance piece. I’m starting to feel stuck - concentrating only on what I am making digitally. I’m getting sick of having to find meaning in the code. What I’m noticing in these times is how truly fragile we are - how quickly our structures which uphold our sanity and normality can come crashing down. I had thought about locking myself in my room in order to provoke some sort of imaginative spark but why force myself to be more isolated than I already am.
It seems that I am now more interconnected with technology than I have ever been before. When starting this project I believe I at least had some form of outsider perspective which would allow me to explore and view the digital sphere with clarity. I am now however knee deep in that which I was trying to stay separate.
There is a room in this house which I have become drawn to. It has black walls and a sauna from which coloured lights fluctuate. When viewed with a camera in the right angle it almost looks like a box. I think this will be the setting for my piece. I enjoy the quiet of this room. The lack of the sensory overload I experience through my screen fades away in here. The shifting lights become hypnotic - a serene calm.
I want dance to be incorporated in this piece - the thing which connects me to everything else. The vibration. It’s fascinating to notice how you can numb yourself with internet overload.
As the days pass non-doing has become routine. Everyday I wake up at the same time, me and my friend repeat the same dialogue, eat the same food…
I have found a bunch of stuffed animals which I think could be fun to use in my video piece. The promise of the soft and cuddly - dogs and bear which are not really dogs and bears but bags of stuffing. I view stuffed animals the same way I view the digital worlds I have come to know. Empty promises of some sort of human fulfilment which is never never truly satisfied because, in the end, it’s not as real as the real thing.
The distance from the digital I though I needed might not be quite as useful or as crucial as being in the middle of it all. It seems to be a lot easier to respond instinctually instead of intellectualising the faintest hint feeling from afar.
I am extremely unsure of how to proceed with my project seeing as the park project will most likely not be happening. I could continue to delve into the exploration of digital worlds. I think that is my best option for now. After talking with my tutor during my progress tutorial last week I now need to figure out some way in which tonsuring my characters in the ‘real’ dimension. Find some program which would let me play with augmented realty.
Having left London I am now in the countryside and so perhaps I could make use of the materials available here. Rethinking my approach to this project is harder than expected. Perhaps I should just get on with making and playing with physical material? It could be interesting to do some form in performance piece in which one sees both me and my created creatures existing on the same plane - interacting…
Today I began playing with sound - how music and frequency greatly effects how my digital works are perceived. There is a certain intensity and movement one can achieve by using techo music. The endless repetition of arguably dystopian waves. Whats the attraction? A willingness to lose control - escape the enforced sanity of social structure?
I still have yet to make anything physical. I feel stuck. I am only now truly starting to appreciate how useful dialogue with my peers and tutors in my practice. Being in quarantine has made aware of how much we need social interaction to function normally. Something really interesting has happened now though where people are socialising though FaceTime and Skype. Perhaps the virtual worlds play an even greater importance in these times where physical interaction is not possible.
Today I began working in the metal workshop - talking with the technician to try and begin explaining my idea. I am starting to realise how expensive this project might be. I then began making a small model of my sculpture - welding rods together and twisting in order to achieve their swirling movement I want my work to communicate. I need to find some way to make sure my sculpture stays grounded.
The real impact workshop today was all about Anthropocene and the impact we artists can make. The discussions which began happening were thought-provoking. They really got me thinking about the impact my work could have (whether positive or negative...). I guess there exists a danger when a single artist communicates their vision/ message as apposed to a collective of artists. I have realised that it could be extremely helpful and exciting to work with people from different fields - such as scientists. You get more opinions and voices which, in turn, evolves your projects for the better.
There is something really alluring about the idea of making work which is only going to be viewed in the distant future....
Working in the library - I have begun exploring the notion of cybernetic kinetic sculptures. I would be extremely exciting to make such a sculpture for the park project, however I know that presently I lack the technical skill to do so.
I have begun making quick visualisations of various ideas for sculptures for the park and it seems that colour might play a key role. There is something attractive about the notion of merging the organic with the digital. Representative of new life through digital means - how we have come to a point where the two are inseparable.
My PPP is finally finished.
I’m creating a virtual loop. A space which in some ways could be classified as non existent. You see what’s happening - an absurd scene of nonsensical doing. In many ways it represents my annoyance with the zombie-like manner in which we live our lives. Passively looping and repeating. Stuck on our endless routines. Living in our own bubbles. Each character is doing something different - different aspects of reality. We are looking in on their world as we live our own. Not in a virtual world but a physical one.
I need to find a way to tie this to physical existence. Some manner in which I could represent this physically. Some structure which converts the energy of our world into theirs. (Way in which you can physically see the conversion).
It’s a saddening scene - I want people to reflect on their own lives. Find a way to break the patterns. The longer you look at it the more bored you get. You start to realize how the whole thing is hopelessly looped.
Reading Week | Day 4
I keep coming back to this notion of dancing. It's a participatory action which has no other purpose than pure enjoyment. If vibration and movement is at the core of existence then this form of expression is a means of feeling a connection to that. Feeling a connection to the sensory universe. The video below frustrates me as it is obviously extremely staged - people forced to dance and smile. The exact opposite of the freedom dancing is supposed to represent... The uncomfortable absurdity becomes humorous. I think I could use this absurdity in my own work as a means of achieving a more evocative response.
The manner in which sculptures exist in the physical space could in itself evidence the tangible reality. How am I going to express the notion of a dual reality? Perhaps through subversion, and manipulation?
Reading Week | Day 2
I have now begun to refine my project proposal. I intent to explore the tangibility of reality - which after all is what anchors us to what we perceive the true reality to be. Virtual worlds aren't "real" because they are not physical (in most people's opinion). What about those people whose lives are lived mainly in these digital worlds? The more I research the less I find the said statement to be true. Perhaps, in order to connect with a bigger audience and community, the use of digital mediums might be more impactful...