Friday, April 20, 2007

Juggling With Light

Shari Hersh Lecture

on wednesday afternoon i attended the Shari Hersh lecture in the library. it was actually a very interesting experience for me. as Hersh's talk started, i found myself highly disliking her. the entire thing sounded like she was trying to sell this idea of mural painting to us. facts, numbers...nothing to do with the art itself, or her process in making it. she sounded completely self centered about the whole thing -- as though this was all a big "i do it because it makes me feel good" scheme.

however, as she started to talk more about her process, and less about the statistics, i started to enjoy the talk a lot more. it was clear that she cared immensely for the communities in which she was working, the kids that helped her on her projects. Hersh has a group of students from the college she teachers at, which help her do some of the mural work. along with them, she stresses including all of the people (normally mainly the kids) in the communities in which she is working to come out and help paint and design.

when the talk was completed, i asked her a question about communities dealing with mural projects. Fall of '06 was when the idea to paint the construction wall was initialized, and my drawing class had a huge debate on whether any student should be able to put art up there, or whether a committee should choose, or a mix. i asked Hersh how she would deal with it, and i was very satisfied with her answer. she talked about gathering the "stakeholders" -- anyone who had any interest at all: faculty, students, the construction firm -- and they all get even votes, and they can all vote on whichever idea they think is best. this way it is a true community forum in order to choose how we want to deal with the wall.

i was considering asking Hersh if she considered her art to be installation art, and then i realized what a silly question that was. of course it is. the mural painting fills every category that we require for installation pieces: it changes place into space, it is entirely dependent on where it is put. having a mural put in a run down community means something completely different than having it put in an affluent one. plus, the buildings arent exactly mobile by any means.

overall, i felt it was a valuable lecture to attend.

p.s. i believe this is my 5th cultural event post.
4: American University Gallery
3: Chris Coleman
2: Patrick Kelly
1: Lance Winn

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Monday, April 2, 2007

Long Overdue - Box Images

the rod is there because one of the girls working in the place ripped one of the sides off. . .

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Official Proposal big proposal. after spending some time talking to Fareshteh on Saturday evening, i feel comfortable balancing the work between juggling and being human. each sketch features a center piece that will be a video monitor. this will play clips of me attempting to perform juggling maneuvers. i have not yet decided whether they will all be done in a darkroom with glowing apparatus, since i believe as of right now i only have access to three glowing balls, or whether it will be a mix of the darkroom and of juggling with normal lighting. around the central piece are pictures.

as you can see in the first image, there is the monitor. surrounded by 8 images. there is also a display stand at the front, which will hold 3 balls, and hopefully will be inviting the viewers to juggle themselves with me. there might be a sign there suggesting such activity. (you can also see some notes about juggling).

on the topmost sketch in the second image, the design is based around both the monitor, and the four large pictures of successful attempts at certain juggling tricks. there are also smaller images that showcase the failures of said attempts.

i then said to myself "maybe the successes aren't so important..."

and sketched the central monitor surrounded by four large images of the failures and then four small images of the successes.

i don't always think success, at least perfect success isn't really the point. the point is trying in the first place. it is fighting the fear of failure, and getting up in front of people and trying to do something, hoping that they will appreciate the effort regardless of the outcome.

juggling is a ridiculously precise activity. when someone is trying to juggle 9 balls, 7 clubs, who-the-heck-knows how many rings, consistency and accuracy are imperative. i know that i am no where close to any of those things. i have to concentrate super hard simply to juggle 3 clubs. however to document myself trying to do tricks that i have not mastered, or even tried, yet will be a very interesting exercise. on top of that, to share these moments with other people invites them into my life. when Baldassari shared his attempts at forming shapes by throwing balls into the air, he invited the viewers into the activity. into the moments of his life that were spent throwing the balls, and photographing them.

i am still thinking over where exactly i want to put this. one thought is along the line of "street" from where jugglers during the Renaissance where forced to perform because of the stigmatism against them. but if i were to place this in a hallway...what would it do to the space of the hallway. would it becomes clogged with people watching the video?

the placement will continue to be thought about.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Installation Project

Part 1: the subject that i would like to explore in my installation is the flight of balls in the air, specifically related to juggling. this line of thought is extremely appealing to me both because juggling is a hobby close to my heart, and because of the fascination that animals have with things that are flying through the air. not many acts are as impressive as juggling. if you place a good juggler on the street, he or she will gain attention, it is guaranteed.

Part 2: during my research at the library, i came across some of the work by John Baldessari. i was entranced by his attempts to create shapes with balls thrown in the air. the work to the right, from 1974, is entitled Throwing four balls in the air to get a square ( best of 36 tries ). during an interview, Baldessari explained a little bit about this type of artwork.

I would play games with myself just to see what would happen. And using the 35 mm camera with a 36 exposure, the idea – I would posit for myself and see what would happen if somebody threw up 3 balls and I was able to capture, you know, an image. What I would presumably get – an equilateral triangle. And then I would just juggle the one closest to that. And I tried all kinds of – I would try to get a straight line with 4 balls." (source)

the idea of "playing games" with ones artwork, for me, really just hits the nail on the head. artwork should be fun. not a thing that you must slave over (unless you enjoy that of course). if you are not enjoying the work you are doing, then whats the point?

Baldesarri's combination of the randomness of throwing objects in the air, along with the static permanence of gravity makes for quite the dichotomy. holding four balls, and throwing them upwards in an attempt to create a square, or three and going for a triangle...the chances are on in a million (probably higher, i didnt do the math).

Part 3: as i mentioned above, i am fascinated by the movement of objects in the air, the complex patterns that juggling involves. when someone is juggling 9 balls, or clubs, or rings (which i cannot do)...take your pick it requires an intense amount of concentration and practice not to have a mass collision.

Possibility 1
to create a video installation -- two monitors mounted on the wall -- and to have footage of myself on both screens. the two different myselves would be aware of each other, as though they were separate entities. one would start juggling, and then he would pass the balls "through" the monitor to the other me, who would then start juggling. eventually they would be juggling back and forth to each other.

Possibility 2
to use time lapse photography and glow-in-the-dark juggling equipment in a dark area to record the patterns that the balls make in the air as they are juggled. one considering i had was to have a series of fiberglass sheets that could be attached in layers, and each layer could have a different part of the photograph printed onto it, and together they would make the pattern that was being juggled.

Possibility 3
my third possibility comes through as a combination of the first two. a melding of the video installation with a series of photographs that clearly show the patterns that the balls are making as they are being juggled.

there is definitely a sense of similarity between what Baldesarri did, and what i would like to do. following the patterns of the balls in the air is a connecting theme. however, at the same time Baldesarri was relying on the randomness of balls thrown upwards with no attempt at control, while i am relying on very strict control to create specific patterns.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Response to Bishop

Like a joke that fails to be funny when repeated, you had to be there.


For me, this is one of the truest quotes concerning installation art that I have ever read. Everyone can relate to that joke…the joke that the teller thinks is so funny, but no one else really gets it. Installation art is the joke that you had to be there to get,

Bishop talks about the word installation, let’s think about the root – install. From “to establish in an office, position, or place.” So does this mean that any art that is established in a particular place is installation art? A set of paintings? A display of photographs? Or perhaps we are more specific and limit it only to items that are permanently installed somewhere, and that can not be easily moved, for example Maria’s Earth Room.

But Bishop then goes on to talk about interactivity between installation pieces and their viewers. If we start to consider interactivity as a requirement then either the viewer must influence the artwork as with Chris Coleman’s Spatiodynamic, in which the viewer is the input for the landscape that is formed, or the viewer must be changed by the piece interacting with him or her.

I feel that this is simply another discussion of “what is art to you?” To some, installation art is any semi-permanent, well, installation. To others, there needs to be some sort of interaction; perhaps between the art and the space its in, or the art and its viewers, and the viewers and the space.

Maybe the key, as Bishop suggests, is simply that you have to be there.

So who knows? I sure as heck don’t.