Andrew Kiddie on Maria De La O Garrido

Maria Install

Maria presented an assemblage of items on a tabletop under the title “THERE.” Some of the items were present in the previous installation, either as they were or at different scales or in different versions, and there were new elements too, in particular a short looped video piece. In it, two images stood side by side. One a classical statue, and the other an image in negative of Maria the model, arm aloft holding the same pose. While looking at the negative image it started to move ever so slightly, and then what appeared to be a still image slid as Maria broke out of pose to switch off the camera.

The discussion afterwards centred on the necessity of the pieces laid out on the tabletop, and whether the video could have been developed on its own. For example, a printed photograph similar to the video was propped up just below it. Perhaps if these two were shown as a pair on their own it might bring out a dialogue between them. As it happened the printed photograph seemed a little lost in the mix.

Maria made the point that she is not addressing one idea but many, and that the items on the table were a kind of map of the different aspects of the experience she wants to explore. If it was presented in a large space, with more room for each piece to be developed, the narrative might become clearer. As it was, I felt the presentation as a whole tried to do too much and diverted attention from the strongest piece, the looped video.

The next stage has to be about making decisions. Are the elements on the table so necessary that they need to be incorporated into the final work (and if so, then which ones and how?), or does it need stripping down to bare essentials, developing the video on its own and presenting it at a larger scale perhaps?

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Aurelie Berry on Victoria Batt

Victoria presented a delicate white sleeveless dress made out of organdy (a sheer, crispy and slightly stiff cotton fabric) suspended against a white background. Although transparent, the dress had a full body. The impression was that of a white cloth floating in space with a slight movement due to the hanging nature of the installation.

Victoria is continuing her exploration of story telling and has 3 aims of the White Dress installation. Her first aim is to explore the ideas of perfection and purity in relation to the unattainable desire for perfection and purity. Although she fully understands the impossibility of the desire, she is unable to give it up. Her second aim is to let the dress be open to the interpretations of the audience. The audience did indeed present different interpretations: a ghostly/ spirit figure, a wedding dress, a birthing robe, a surgical gown and an invisible photographer. The images triggered referred to a wide range of concepts. Victoria’s third aim is to examine Aristotle’s peripateia (a reversal of circumstances or turning point – the term is primarily used with reference to works of literature) and the possibility to transform the dress, perhaps from white to colourful? The dress itself has already undergone a first transformation as Victoria had stripped it of the tissue paper that was covering it.

The installation was well received, the visual aspects were deemed effective, especially the white on white. David suggested Victoria explore the 3D aspects of the installation (does the original exist?), the idea of the Feminine Sublime (idealised feminine state) and moving forward, to create a dialogue between the object and the representation of the object.

Artists mentioned in relation to this project were Adam Fuss for his photograms of white gowns (My Ghost series) and Trish Morrissey’s video, Eighteen and Forty-Five, (2004) which revolves around a white dress.

Federico Redaelli on Mike Sung

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A thread line, hanging photographic prints on different paper quality, really enticing, albeit abstract images, leading the viewer to the “machine” from where everything spawns. A double pendulum, made of a small plank of wood and a cold, metal ruler.

Mike’s installation “Reflectonation” dwells the exhibition space, acting as a complement to the group’s other works, and at the same time attracting the audience who is pushed to enquire more about the installation itself.

I believe there is a noticeable change of direction, a conceptual development since the first installation, which was sensibly more similar to a “collection of symbols”.

Reflectonation investigates the influence of the development of technology on human beings and their lives, and the boundaries between technology and humanity itself. The danger of being able, through technological progress, to totally predict the future, gradually makes the more human, unpredictable side of life to fade out. The idea of the double pendulum is a great way to express the inevitable unpredictability of life, and the fact that the “randomised” part of the pendulum movement, otherwise predictable by nature, is in fact a measuring tool, conveys the strive of humanity to measure such unpredictability.

It is fascinating to point out how the thread, almost a “documenting” timeline of such tension between the cold predictability of technology and the intrinsic randomness of human life, could be extended further, as long as humanity and technology continue to coexist and influence each other.

Finally, the way the work was exhibited forced the viewer to “interact” with the installation, creating another layer of relationship between humanity (the audience) and technology (the installation itself).

Mike’s aim for the project brief “Desiring Machines” is to enquire about the boundaries between humanity and technology, and how the two, intrinsically related, continuously influence each other. In this sense, I think his research has really found the right path to follow, and made a great step forward since the descriptiveness of the first installation.

Stephanie Sant on Pearlie Frisch

You Weren’t Here  

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Pearlie’s pitch for her Desiring Machines proposal speaks of something we are all going through as a generation that is comforted by a perpetually-lit  screen marking full bars meaning-an internet connection in our solitary rooms. Of experiencing moments with other people be it family, loved ones, and strangers, through the internet medium. As I had told her previously, her pitch in itself reminds me of David Cronenberg’s  1983 film ‘Videodrome’, which, despite being 3 decades old, is still incredibly relevant for anyone living in the information age that is combining man and machine further and further to create new experiences.

Following her initial installation entitled I Wasn’t There – Memories of places I went with my loved ones without being there, Pearlie went on to investigate this cyber relationships with her friends’ rooms in moment when they leave their room, which is usually depicted as a 2-dimensional empty wall space, and her own face staring back at her. She filled a wall with screenshots of various backgrounds of her friends’ houses during a skype call, and then, using a separation of about  2cm, added a mildly translucent print of a screenshot of her face waiting either for the lag to end or her friends to reappear into the scene.

At first glance the physical assemblage of these prints shows signs where the execution could have been better. The prints of her face could have been printed on actual transparent paper to emphasise the scope of her layering them on top of the other image. This was both remarked by David, and by herself prior to the installation. David also remarked that her take on this reflects on the idea of a 21st century self-portrait- a very selective one at that, where the ‘print screen’ button (cmd+shift+3) is the new shutter, and where even more reproductions than a digital slr camera could be made on the computer.

When Pearlie explained an alternative execution to her idea, that being a desire to achieve a more-immersive, life size scale, I got more excited at such a prospect as that. I believe that her previous two installs served as good prototypes of her proposal, and that now she can take off and investigate it further by using a medium other than print that would complement her take on the digital world even more. David also suggested that she try explore the cyber realm and experience with strangers as part of her experimentation leading to her final install come January/February.

Mariya Bilyan on Mariya Bilyan

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Before I start to talk about my ex project, I would like to say a couple of words about my future projects. I may stay a bit longer with exploring the perception of time in a marginal state of long term social isolation. Since this subject is very complex I feel like trying to experiment with different medias in order to express this extraordinary state of mind. I plan to involve video in my future projects, and yet the main attempt is to try to adapt the vintage photo techniques to a new concept.

My exhibited work was about time as indivisible consequence of changing moments. In my opinion one can experience the fluidity and rigidity of time when enduring an extensive period of being by oneself in the same place. My attempt was to show the overlap of memories that are no longer connected to the past, present or future. The initial idea of presenting it was slightly changed from the first sketch. Nevertheless, I believe to have achieved the desired effect in this work. I tried to involve different techniques and materials while I was producing the photograph. Since I prefer to work with analog cameras it took me a couple of days to produce this image. I was really enjoying the process of production.

There were different opinions concerning my piece of creativity. Apparently, I was criticised for the attempt to illustrate something which is fantastic, to illustrate dreams, even though my attempt was not connected to any mythological ideas of dreams. Yet in this multiplicity of different descriptions there was something common – people were engaging with my work, their imagination was triggered. I believe it to be common for people to read artworks in different ways which may vary from the initial attempt of the artist. Nevertheless, the work must have a certain quality if people are involved into it – whether they criticize or praise it.

Pearlie Frisch on Federico Redaelli

Bound
Desiring Machine

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Federico is part of his performance piece Bound. A camera connected to his eye by a cord wrapped in red wire. Where the cord meets his eye a white plaster covers what seems to be a bloody wound. The symmetry and the black and red colours are striking. Yet for me as a viewer I feel uncomfortable looking at this piece, the eye patch suggests an element of pain and involved violence. The text that goes along with the piece refers to a she, which can be assumed in this case to be the camera. There is no evidence of why the camera has been feminised. Federico later explains that he gendered the camera to underline the attraction towards the machine (the camera). He aims to express the sexual and somehow dirty attraction towards this piece of technology. But I fail to see the element of unhealthy sexual desire in Federico’s performance. Without his oral explanation I would not have been able to see that aspect, which Federico makes clear is an important element of his piece. The image Federico created suggests there is a connection between the human (Federico) and the machine (camera) through the eye (or brain perhaps). Federico’s intention to communicate that she, the camera, has enslaved the human through desire is not clearly evident and understood by the audience. Perhaps referring to the camera as she rather than it can be perceived problematic some viewers may have negative assimilations towards feminised words, such as warfare. It is not clear to the viewers where the boundaries lie– is the piece interactive, is one allowed to touch it? More consideration and thought is applicable for future work to interpret the notion of sexual desire towards the machine (camera) and communicate the notion of the user being a slave of technology. The image Federico has produced however is powerful through its appearance.

Mike Sung on Stephanie Sant

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The fusion of the 2 briefs of duration can be seen in the installation of Stephanie, TCTA and FGE In D Minor, as the name of the piece goes. Without introduction given beforehand, it provides stronger sense of disorientation for the viewer with its abstract but rich in the process of the sensory  experience provided to the audience. It plays well as a poison just like a specific sentence in a improvisation in a classical music: you want keep it in your mind, and to be played repeatedly as you listen to it, while you are heading for the next moments filled with new notes. Such experience finds the audience as a lure or temptation. Isn’t it like a poison in the name of technology? Thus it acts as a desiring machine.

In the installation, the speed of a specific sequence in a classic song is rearranged into 3 rates by Stephanie, just like the lost of focus in a photograph, but the disoriented experience is given to the viewers in a very rich and strong way as you fall into the dark room the does with intimacy surrounding you in a cinema as you take a seat. It is corresponding to the beauty of  her last piece of work, Spirtu Pront: S&I, but this time in a much more abstract way, partly in order to make the time of observation to lat longer. As well as the audio part, the cells presented works as a part of its disorientation for the audience, scattered in the screen on 2 surfaces.

When you want it to last forever in your mind while you want to go for the next period, duration of sound, you are lost in there the piece of work, but it is suggested to be less abstract in the next stage to strike a balance in the process of viewing this work. It is strongly anticipated the leap of the next time, to see what those micro organisms is going to be.

Sara Boscioni on Sara Boscioni

“THE WOMB”

I focus my practice on the concept of “simulacra” related to sexuality. The plan was to make an installation using dolls, barbies or broken mannequins and then replace their missing pieces with parts of human bodies (using digital medias such as photoshop) to create the illusion of a perfect untouchable robot/fetish machine. Marx used the term fetish in its pre-Freudian sense of idol worship. The idea here is that the worshipper’s eyes are blinded by the falsity of the idol. This is the same process that especially in fashion and advertising transformed the real identity of sex (its gender and essence) into a fetish, a “simulacra”, something that loses the truth of its sexual gender and just claims to appear as the object of desire. In a regime of simulation, representation comes before reality and the “model” anticipates the real. The body becomes a “piece of fetish”, it appears as as a perfect full smooth thing, with the stunning complexity of a robot, unreachable, untouchable; something with the strenght but at the same time the vulnerability of “perfection”. Sometimes we even fear to touch it, we have the irrational concern that our touch could change or destroy that artificial balance.

“The model turns ideology into a self-fulfilling prophecy, people and things become what they are imagined to be…” (Jean Baudrillard)

This work has been developed on more levels : ready made art, photography and photomontage/postproduction. It’s a mash up of these techniques. The basic idea was to put a doll in the aquarium next to a dildo to create the metaphore of the “womb” (seen as a desiring machine which produces “the object of desire”). The installation itself is a metaphore of the process of the simulacra in which the aquarium/womb symbolizes the production, the doll is the reproduction/fake, and the dildo is the simulation (it simulates the act of sex and desire but at the same time it traps it into a fetish, a plastic object which kills it, and that is according to me the best example of the term “simulacra”. The second step was to create that strange game of lights and take a picture ready to be finally transformed on photoshop : applying human parts do the doll and sex organ to create this strange illusion and juxtaposition of science fiction/ reality where even the shade of the baby suggests us an innate natural sex call.

 

 

THE WOMB

Ilayda Bilgin on Ilayda Bilgin

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To begin with, when I started my project I felt that I am losing myself. I didn’t know where I should start. I had the feeling that I don’t really know what I am doing. I was completely stuck. There is a beautiful saying which is ‘The obstacle is the path’ and that is a Zen Proverb. Thinking a lot didn’t help me to be perfectly honest. Afterwards, I just stopped thinking and I gave a chance to myself to let go, feel free and don’t think about it. While I was sleeping ‘duration’ was still coming around in my head and troubling me. A week before my installation, I woke up and started walking a bit around my home. In my home there are many traffic lights, I was crossing the street and looking around for the traffic lights. That’s when I came up with an idea. No one knows how inspiration comes and goes. There is no switch button in our brain. People cannot say where, when and how it comes. This is the beauty of inspiration.

After all this progress, I found that I am always interested in lights. A light can put a spell on me in many ways and that is why I wanted to produce something magical, interesting, fun and interactive at the same time. When I go out with my camera, most of the time I take night pictures. I really wanted to do my installation based on my pictures. Then I realized something, which is very important. I was looking for the answer but having an answer doesn’t mean anything. Thus, to have the right question means a lot. I felt lucky having asked the correct question to myself. How can I benefit from my night pictures, how can I connect night pictures to my ‘duration’ project?

I began with looking for a material which I can use and how can I use it. My installation has to have lights and fun. Then I discovered neon lights, which are amazingly fun. Neon lights have got a switch button and that button helps you to change the frequency of the neon lights. I was searching for ‘a thing’ to complete my project. I have found a transparent vase that people can see through, into the neon lights.

Firstly, I tried my installation at home and I invited my flat mate to see my installation. When she came to my room, she lied down to my room floor and I asked her:

– What do you think this is about?

– She said: I don’t know actually, but this is so much fun and I can’t help myself about wanting to play more with this thing.

On the 17th of November, I installed my work. What I saw was that people were playing with my installation and they said: the vase is like the body of a camera, the button is like the shutter. However, the vase was capturing the lights. I have made my camera in my own style. It was interactive because when people pressed the button they were taking a picture with my ‘own style camera’. I liked the reaction of people, how they had approached my installation and the fun they had with it.

Last but not least, my next installation will be connected to lights and the way of understanding how they have an effect on people and in which way.

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David J.Klinkert on David J.KLinkert

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Duration is an inner experience, a stream of consciousness where past and future converge in a dense instant of multiple layers, in simultaneous coexistence with other multiple instants. For this installation in particular, I wanted to express connections and disrupted connections; random association and logical associations; and doing so, to create multiple layers of times.

I named the installation “chaosmos” – a word from James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake – intending to convey the unity of opposites. But with hindsight I think my choice of title lead the audience to believe it was about chaos, ” a hurricane”, but actually I wanted to express both Chaos and Cosmos (from the Greek, meaning order). In time there is a binary opposition that I wanted to unify in a continuous assemblage, with overlapping images and isolated images. Time is fugitive but it endures; opaque and crystalline; actual or potential; a mirror or a glass. It can reflect but it can let light through: a labyrinth where you can get lost once you try to comprehend it, or a web that entangles our minds, a web of times.

I wanted to reflect these different possibilities, so I laid out the images in a way that is personal but also shared. Some images I grouped together were simply illustrative of different representations of time – as a scientific measure. But there were collective memory icons too, of mythical time, time as an experience, time as transition: so I tried to use images as symbols, metaphors and analogies.

Some of the audience thought it too complicated and the relation between images was unclear, so they found it hard to find the meanings. In a sense I had intended this, wanting the installation to look a little chaotic at first sight, but to contain a secret order which the discerning viewer might discover. The photographs were of different sizes, because time comes in different durations, depending on the context of our encounter with it. I used different cameras, (ipod, analogue and digital). I used black and white and colour images. The whole was related to each part: cyclical, where the beginning is also the end.

I had intended to overlay the installation with a video which would play both onto the images and onto the audiences examining them. But I was not satisfied with the quality or narrative of my edit, so I want to work on that for the next iteration.