Robin on 90 Minutes Plus Extra Time

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The piece was a response to the role of nothing in practice.

A starting point was Sugimoto’s long exposures of cinema theatres.  The large scale prints reversed ‘the spectators experience…the cinema is dissembled: the function of the building is reversed to show the illusion … of space itself.” 1

By applying the same treatment to a different realm a similar result ensued but with subtle differences. Again the spectators gaze was reversed from the action on the field to the space. But more than that it revealed the contradiction within itself by embodying everything (the full 90 minutes) and nothing (the empty pitch) simultaneously.

The writing of the match report and team details, including substitutions and yellow cards, was an attempt to see further into the nothingness of the picture and the depth behind the surface into the void of a game of football.

The piece was attempting to engage with Flusser’s idea that the apparatus of photography is all pervading and functions semi autonomously. Technical developments in the photographic process enabling fast exposure of moving subjects is regarded as progress. Such developments Flusser would argue are mere functions of the apparatus producing yet more surfaces mimicking the world. Sugimoto’s landscape pictures taken with the front standard moved past the point of infinity and out of or beyond focus, subverted the photographic apparatus and embraced the absurd.

The act of exposing a sensor to all 94 minutes of a game of football was similarly irrational and an attempted subversion of the pre programmed apparatus. The resulting picture of the deserted field with blurred crowd is perhaps a little eire, even ghostly,  but is nothing in comparison to the gesture of the empty frame.

1 Bate, D. (2015) Art Photography. Page 128.

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Robin on Derwent Water

The piece set our out to recreate a story or scene from the abandoned Derwent village sunk beneath Rutland Water.  Looking at the idea that water can be used as a metaphor for time, and how the village was in turn held frozen by the water but also time itself. The piece was mainly outside of the studio consisting of 3 large scale prints on the wall opposite of the surface of the reservoir containing the village, a postcard on the ground floor and a telescope placed in the studio trained at the postcard. An audio track of verbal histories from the original village was played though headphones attached to the telescope.

The 4 elements amounted to a body without organs that were intended to convey a sense of nostalgia, past histories and depth.

The telescope’s usual purpose was subverted. Normally used for star gazing, instead it was used to look into the past memories of the village.  It became a time gazing device, angled down not up, seeing beneath the surface and into the memories of the old and seemingly drowned villagers.

The positioning of the post card right at the bottom of the building was an attempt to incorporate the building itself into the piece and create a visceral feeling of depth and time elapsed.

The large scale prints immediately opposite the telescope, though not viewable through it, were there to complete the story element of the piece. They were also intended as a partial comment on the MA course’s structure and content, banishing the Dusseldorf Deadpan from our minds. They also were intended to turn the studio itself into a sort of light box or some kind of large scale viewing device.

The piece suffered from poor execution and insufficiently expressed its themes. On a practical level the telescope was difficult to look though and if knocked would have to be reset in order for the visual element to work. The explanatory audio track relied upon interaction which many chose not to make use of. The large prints on the wall opposite were insufficiently large to attract any interest on there own merit and didn’t act as the introducer to the rest of the elements as hoped.

It worked neither as a sculpture in its own right as its elements were too disparate, nor as an encapsulator of some kind of village scene and I felt the interactive element lacked any encouragement for the viewer to actually interact with it.

Robin on Abbas’s Me Myself and Ai

Abbas’s piece presents itself as a standard absurdist sculpture, surreal as a lobster telephone or fury teacup. A shopping trolley placed atop an ironing board embodies the Body Without Organs tying together disparate elements into a ‘plane of consistency’. But the title of the piece and the short film projected from the trolley portents to the nature of AI and the self. What would a ironing board or a dishwasher, a shopping trolley or Hoover make of its own identity?

The film element acts as kind of proxy for the ‘brain’ of the machine or in a Deleuzian sense an ‘affection-image”; the way a subject expresses itself from the inside. It brings the machine to life physically showing what ‘it’ has seen, what ‘it’ remembers and most intriguingly what ‘it’ thinks about ‘itself’. The film advances in fits and starts. It proceeds not through narrative but through breaks and interruptions, jumping between extremes of night clubs and living rooms, domestic items displayed as if idolatry. Its computer generated voice speaking in a confused stream of ‘consciousness’, unsure of its identity; a hipster or jihadi?

Taken as a whole this piece is real and not a representation. It is in the Deleuzian sense an abstract machine, nothing exists beyond it. Machines so say Deleuze eat, shit and fuck. Their internal flows autonomizing there existences. A new world has been created in Me, Myself and AI, an experimental feed back loop constructed from the commonplace into a new universe with an awareness of itself.  Cobbled together of ordinary household items it remains far from ordinary. Spotted later in the day outside of its studio confines, it appeared to have made its own way down to a lecture theatre, disassembled itself and hunkered down at the back of lecture on ART.

Quietly listening and remaining to the end, it appeared to be soaking up the experience, an autonomous crossbreed of shopping trolley and ironing board inquisitively in search of itself.

Robin on Federico’s Hand in a Box

Federico’s Hand in a box was first presented as some kind of a macabre Amazon delivery.

An obscene purchase from the world wide shop that sells everything even and including fresh body parts. Or perhaps its the product of a psychopathic employee schizophrenically manning the distribution centre whilst sending murderous gifts at random to unsuspecting consumers. Either way the bringing together of the severed hand and everyday packaging presents to us a new way of seeing the modern retail experience and beyond that into the wider world and our ourselves within it.

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The work engages directly with Deleuze’s Body Without Organs alluding to the self perpetuating retail system feeding upon itself. The idea that the system is existing independently on its own, divorced from human control. Whether its self mutilation or next day torture delivery the point is that no sane rational operator would do such a thing. The system is displaying a level of autonomous control devoid of any human morality.

But more than laying it bare the piece goes further and subverts the endless flows of  Deleuze’s desiring machine of the global retail system. The hand itself was not formed into that of a life giving creator of even the limp innocent receiver. But instead the thumb was angled into the position of the universal shopper about to strike buy on their mobile phone. Severed prone in that purchasing position the dismembered body part is itself a subversion of the flows of desire. A visceral illustration of the interruption of the ever continuing wheel of production, desire and distribution. The hand it appears has been severed prone at the  point of ejaculation, then packaged and shipped to the eternally unfulfilled.

ORLANDO: FLOWING UNDER (2017) Install #1

As the debate around gender identity is becoming more and more frequent not only in queer circles or among theoreticians but also in popular culture, I’m trying to explore related issues through my art practice. In particular I’m focusing on the gender transition process, trying to assume a new and different perspective. While the most common approach is to look at gender as an exterior phenomenon, I’d rather draw the attention to the inner psychological manifestations of gender identity.

In doing so I’ve found great inspiration in the works of artists who focus on the body, such as Pierre Molinier, Jurgen Klauke, Urs Luthi and, more recently, Heather Cassils, in whose performances the body becomes a symbolic force. Performing for the camera has thus become the way to position my body as the symbolic vehicle of transmutation, allowing the invisible forces operating in a transition process to be rendered visible.

As part of an auto-biographical long-term project unfolding alongside my own gender transition process, Flowing Under specifically refers to the experience of going on hormones therapy. It investigates how hormones are at the same time an object of desire and a cause of anxiety. The work try to suggest the idea of a body that demands to be explored and understood in a new way, as it undergoes main changes that affect body shape, body hair, voice and sex drive. At the same time the work investigates how hormones therapy can also cause anxiety, especially in the beginning, as no one can really know in advance what the real transformations of their body will be and because it takes time for changes to become effective, so that the transitioning person is left in an uncomfortable in-between-genders area.

Flowing Under is a video and sound installation, in which I perform both with my body and my voice.The work was installed by creating a contained space, where the video was projected on one of the walls and the sound came out loudly from the speakers. Even though the disposition of the walls allowed some openings to the surrounding environment, I wanted to create a disconnection from the outside and suggest the idea of entering into a private room, where I could share my own intimate experience with the audience.

 

 

Still from video
Still from video
Still from video
Installation view
Installation view

BALINT: INSTALL #2

At my second install I pursuit to follow my main idea, but this time I wanted to make a physical object while still sticking to the first medium I used on my first install, which was moving image. As a photographer I also wanted to include photographs to the installation as well. Sticking to the exploration of duration, I was interested in how human beings perceive time under influence of drugs, such as alcohol. I took closeup portrait photographs of a man as he was getting drunk. The process took around 3-4 hours, while he drunk vodka and champagne at the end. It was really interesting to see how his attitude and his face expressions changed picture by picture and he he was loosing his self consciousness, also the sense of time. I took around 250 images in 25 sections. To present the state of mind of an unconscious lost person, my very first idea was to layer the portraits on top of each other in Photoshop to achieve a completely distorted and blurred face and exhibit a large print, but this seemed too simple.

Photoshop layered view
Grid view

As I continued my thought process, I made a decision to make an actual 3D Photoshop layered installation and project it instead of printing it to the wall based on a mechanism of a cinema projector. I wanted to mix mediums at this installation. Exhibiting still images, that moves, to present the mindset of a completely dizzy and unconscious person.

Inkjet film prints

So rather just one print on paper, I made a decision to make an actual 3D Photoshop layered installation and project it instead of printing it to the wall based on a mechanism of a cinema projector. I printed the photographs to inkjet film and hanged them next to each other from the celling.

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Installation view 1
Installation view 2

My main intention was, to engage the audience to the install without letting them now. As the prints were hanging from the celling and as they did not have any significant weight, the airflow created by the audience simple their movement around the installation made the prints moving, so as the projection on the wall by creating a moving image from still images.

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BALINT: INSTALL #1

At my first install I tried to explore how human beings perceive time under different circumstances. When we are happy it feels that time just flies and we wish to stop to clock forever. On the other hand if something bad happens to us, time slows down and we wish to skip these periods from our lives. For the first time I choose video to express myself. The video was playing in loop and was divided to two sections, showing two types of feeling that we all experience trough our lifetime. Two feelings that makes us experience the time differently.

The first video, just as the second one, was built up by short clips. It was about love and being in love in general. I choose scenes from romantic movies, that showed the harmony and true happiness between a man and a women. I also put a ticking clock sound effect under the moving images. In this section, the ticking was quick representing the time as we experience it.

Still from video (Love)
Still from video (Love)


The second video was about fear. I chose different videos from YouTube, when people risk their life just to gain views. Riding Segways at the edge of skyscrapers or jumping on sides of hundreds of meter high buildings. Seeing these videos has always been making me feel nervous and fear. Probably more then anything else that I could see on TV or in movies. In this section, the ticking sound was slow.

Still from video (Fear)
Still from video (Fear)

Both the sections of the video meant to make the viewer feel these feelings that were in the video. The main goal was to make the audience feel happy or anxious and so experiencing the duration of the two sections differently, even though that both of them were 16 second long.

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Hanna: Qi’s Install #2

Qi’s work was an exploration on the way the internet shapes language. She placed her phone over her physical mouth which played a video of her mouth reciting terms that were popularised through and/or affected by social media such as “Arab Spring”. By placing the phone on her mouth, she visually articulated how voices and language increasingly exist more dominantly in virtual spaces than physical ones, but also how humans are still behind their production. Covering her actual mouth also suggested an element of censorship of the voice in physical reality and perhaps more freedom to express oneself in virtual spaces.

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Qi also placed her body in front of a projection of herself sitting on a stool and anxiously tucking her hair behind her ear. Placing her body in the piece, both physically in the classroom and virtually via a projected image, suggested that it’s not only the voice that increasingly exists in a virtual realm but also the body. The way the hair was tucked behind the ear quite obsessively also translated a sense of anxiety; perhaps about the pressures of upholding virtual identities. However, the mismatch between her seated in the projection and her standing in real life perhaps overcrowded the piece with too many elements. If she had projected an image of herself in the same clothing and stance as in real life and translated the feeling of anxiety perhaps through fidgeting with her hands the themes explored could remain and produce a more cohesive piece.

Overall, I really enjoyed this piece because I thought it picked up on two interesting contemporary issues that highlight how the lines between physical and virtual existence are increasingly blurred; firstly, how language is constructed and disseminated on the internet, and secondly the anxieties of existing in a virtual realm. 

Anatolii on Terry – Install #1

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I find it interesting how Terry has decided to place this piece between two walls. By creating this corridor, and manipulating the natural light that comes in, it has become possible to create a sense of intimacy for the objects that are presented. Apart from placement of the work, there is symbolism present that is of importance. Symbolism of the knots is striking especially when given background story and Terry’s thinking behind this piece. The Hangman Knots that are presented in this piece have universally mutual symbolic connotations that hint at tragedy which plays a big role in the story behind this work. Referring back to the placement of this piece and it’s relationship with natural light, there is a suggestion that events that lead to this tragedy were hidden. The portable wardrobe is a domestic object that hints at the fact that this work deals with a personal experience. Apart from this I want to notice how much this wardrobe reminds me of a white collar which is also symbolic. 

At first my attention was drawn to the hangman knot which to some extend I believe gives away the idea too quickly. Instead of stopping on the wardrobe you selected, you might look into traditional or hospital folding screens which also have a domestic aesthetic. You might use the side that faces the audience to create a sense of intrigue and invite the audience to the other side of the folding screen where you uncover the hangman ropes. I think the rope is symbolically very strong and giving it away at first sight may not be the best decision, especially if we refer to your explanation of the work.

Gabrielle: Ana’s install #2

After water, tea is the most widely consumed drink in the world. The act of drinking tea itself is ritualistic – everyone has a set way of preparing and consuming tea. Often thought of as a quintessentially British drink, the history goes back, according to legend, to 2737bc in China.

Links can be drawn between Ana’s works and that of Rachel Whiteread’s practice – where everyday objects are rendered in industrial materials such as plaster, concrete, resin, rubber and metal. Unlike Whiteread, the tea bags included in this install have been outsized – the same distorts the relativity between us and the object. These are no longer items which you can relate to with familiarity, instead they become sculptural. The size relationship between an object and the human body is significant and in changing this, the tea bags displayed becomes less familiar with the objects they are created from and the rituals associated with the drinking of tea.

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Rachel Whiteread, Air Bed ii. Image courtesy Tate
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‘Untitled (Pink Torso)’, 1995, is made out of pink dental plaster © Rachel Whiteread Photo: © Tate (Seraphina Neville and Mark Heathcote)
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Ana’s tea bags – 3d prints in various materials

It is key that Ana’s tea bags are also pyramid shape as these are easily recognisable as being of the PG Tips brand (The pyramid tea bag itself was invented in 1997 by Brooke Bond, the then parent company of PG Tips, and has been championed by PG Tips since). This further evokes feelings of the everyday, and reinforces that these are not typically precious objects to be preserved.

By capturing the tea bags using 3d scanning technology and producing these using a range of materials, Ana has created something that, to me, resembles specimens collected in a museum. There is something reminiscent of entomology in Ana’s works, despite them being of man-made materials and with links to something manufactured that we consume on a daily basis.

How do you drink yours?