Creative Arts Assessment 4

When it comes to refining a piece of work, one that regards a transdisciplinary self-portrait, an object that may seem so simple but isn’t used often, would be the mirror. The mirror has been used in movies and television shows to identify a psychological imbalance or a split identity. Although it can now be seen as a cliché, it does not take away the fact it is a way to show an internal crisis or different interpretation than the current physical form.

Creating a distortion to what is seen before your eyes, of your own body, has the opportunity to do multiple things: the ability to use mirrors and create an abstract visual take of yourself, but also there is an opportunity for people to attempt to externally convey their internal crises and feelings in a way that body language, facial expressions and demeanour simply cannot.

Mirrors are primarily used as a means to see ourselves and make adjustments to look as visually good to society or for vanities sake. However mirrors are the best theoretical objects to manifest your look into something that you may feel properly expresses your feelings or emotions. This isn’t to say there has not been pieces of art made with the use of distorting a person’s imagery through the use of mirrors, but these pieces have been digitally pieced or produced.

The gripe with mirrors is that it is sudden; reactionary. We are well aware of what we are about to look at when we are in front of a mirror – ourselves. However, layering different sized mirrors unevenly, across a large cupboard mirror for example, would change the image to a degree that may be unexpected, since different sized mirrors showcase variable angles and focuses (examples being convex and concave mirrors). Now examples of art being used with mirrors have included the use of cracked handheld mirrors, and in the case of showing reflection, M. C. Eschers lithographs, including Hand with Reflecting Sphere.

Mirrors are not just for a visual representation, but can also be used as a philosophical shift in people’s lives. Throughout the career of Marina Abramović, her performance art has shifted from the use and physicality of her own body at the behest of observes, to using the observers as the performance and observing or interacting minimally.

The use of mirrors and reflection has never been as abundant as it currently is, with the use of smartphones and mobile applications, and computers and tablets with cameras. The use and desire to record our visual selves and openly reveal it to the world in hopes of admiration or affection has stunted the way in which we prioritise our image, and the additional ability to change said image through applications with filters, effects and other visual tweaks has reduced the role of the mirror to a base function.

In a time where digital alterations and enhancements roam the minds of many people, the mirror has been an afterthought of imagination and illusion. In previous generations, mirrors could influence a child’s imagination or create ‘what if?’ ideas that may revolutionise their thoughts and dreams. It was the mirror that could make you look at yourself and find out who you really were or who you wanted to be. But now, the mirror is all but used so your photos don’t show your arm holding your phone, instead hiding your face from what’s in front of you – you.

Bibliography
Artobserved.com, (2015). AO On Site – New York: Marina Abramović “The Artist Is Present” at MoMA, March 14 through May 31, 2010. [online] Available at: http://artobserved.com/2010/03/ao-on-site-new-york-marina-abramovic-the-artist-is-present-at-moma-march-14-through-may-31-2010/ [Accessed 11 Mar. 2015].

Autographer Blog, (2013). The art of self-reflection – Autographer Blog. [online] Available at: http://blog.autographer.com/2013/07/the-art-of-self-reflection/ [Accessed 19 May 2015].

Mcescher.com, (n.d.). M.C. Escher – Still Life with Spherical Mirror. [online] Available at: http://www.mcescher.com/gallery/most-popular/still-life-with-spherical-mirror/ [Accessed 19 May 2015].

Nga.gov, (n.d.). Hand with Reflecting Sphere. [online] Available at: https://www.nga.gov/collection/gallery/ggescher/ggescher-47949.html [Accessed 22 May 2015].

Creative Arts Assessment 3

If there is anything that can be defined so close to being “self-sustainable”, the tree would be that thing. Tress can last for hundreds of years – in some cases, thousands – purely by the way nature and weather operates. For that, it may seem like we as humans under-appreciate just how valuable trees are. Yes, there are aspects that we’re aware of (such as oxygen, enrichment, contrasting looks…an embodiment of nature itself) but the stature of trees are overlooked. What’s worse is that we are the primary culprits for destroying trees: deforestation, logging, even when planting to seeds to grow new trees it has to be in the right location and have good soil. We don’t think about trees unless someone is talking about trees being destroyed at an exponential rate.

There is a connection between trees and the human mind, in that both can be sustainable for a long time, however they do slowly erode and deteriorate in time. And personally, a tree can look very similar to a brain (thanks due to the bizarre directions that branches can grow in). And as Andrew Carnie’s piece Dendritic Forms showed, there is a connection between nature, the human mind and art. What remains is the lack of importance shown by us in regards to trees and our minds.

A method to improve both the state of trees and the state of our minds, is through maintenance. For trees, it is through sunlight, water and soil; for brains, it is through utilisation. Without any of these, the degradation process for both can be swift. Even with the right care undertaken, however, there will be erosion and deterioration through old age.

This brings forward the term of sustainability, for trees nor the brain can be sustainable forever, only for the period that it is capable of surviving. This does not mean that attempts to sustain them are fruitless, for that would only accelerate the deterioration. It is only through care and nurturing that it is paramount to have trees and the brain in a healthy state. Making sure that trees are in healthy condition can go a long way in determining not just of the state of the environment, but of the location and also of the people encompassing that environment.

That brings me to the requiring of maintenance; of sustainability in regards to trees. If more people envisioned trees as a physical manifestation of their mind, what would it look like? Would it be healthy and bountiful in leaves? Would it be colourful, reminiscent of images recorded by the Human Connectome Project? Would it be breaking down in front of your very eyes because of neglect? To have a tree mirror the current state of ones mind would highlight the importance of not just the mind, but to connect more with the environment around us. Because if the tree is comparable to the mind, then would the environment around the tree not be thought of as the body?

Bibliography

Alejandro Durán, (2015). Home. [online] Available at: http://www.alejandroduran.com/#/washedupseries/ [Accessed 26 Apr. 2015].

DementiaToday, (2012). Spectral Imaging Reveals the Beauty of Neural Pathways in Your Brain. [online] Available at: http://www.dementiatoday.com/brain-researchers-start-mapping-the-human-connectome/ [Accessed 28 Apr. 2015].

Newscientist.com, (2015). CultureLab: One-eyed cats: Art wired for science. [online] Available at: http://www.newscientist.com/blogs/culturelab/2010/06/andrew-carnie-an-artist-wired-for-science.html [Accessed 12 May 2015].

Spontaneousinterventions.org, (2015). Participation Park | SpontaneousInterventions. [online] Available at: http://www.spontaneousinterventions.org/project/participation-park [Accessed 28 Apr. 2015].

Creative Arts Assessment 2

If there’s any aspect of art that is forgotten, it is the opinion of art from people. Even in a time where the concept and definition of art has changed and become so variable that anything could be perceived as art, there remains a lack of discourse by the general public.

Whenever art is critiqued, it is generally done so by a critic – someone who is knowledgeable regarding art, and compares pieces to others, the artist to similar artists, the style to other movements. However, this reveals two problems. Firstly, the number of art critics pales in comparison to the abundance of art these days, and secondly that critics are only required to art done by professionals: those that have a reputation over years of crafting their art.

These issues have rarely been brought attention to, as the influx of budding artists grows daily. As art – and the notion of art – has changed, there remains a void of something critical: opinion. For one to improve or evolve ones work, there must be creative feedback and ideally, it be unbiased.

This leads to the conclusion that, if you’re not a well known artist, you won’t receive the feedback to further along your style. The solution to these issues, then, must consider what’s required to fulfil those criteria.

Using the 2006 art space CITYtalking by Astra Howard as the initial influence, the idea was brought into focus. Thanks in part to the subtle nudges by Selin, and the continuous questioning in regards to relating the issue by Simon, the concept was able to bear fruition. Although the majority of the idea was formed by my erratic thinking, without the contributions of my fellow group the art space could possibly have been revolved around a failed attempt to use blindness as the art space, born partly due to the recent release of Netflix’s Daredevil. Thankfully, this was not the case

With the idea now agreed upon, the process then shifted to refinement: how could we achieve what we’re intending to do? With society having a relatively sound knowledge of art, how can one give raw feedback? This question was resolved through a minimalistic sense: remove any prior knowledge of the art and the artist. Having the only information being the knowledge of there being pieces of art to witness, there is a level of intrigue.

However this is only half of the problem. With the audience now unaware of what exactly will be shown, the next step is to introduce them to voice their opinion. This introduction adds a new layer towards the space – recorded feedback – that can be beneficial in multiple ways. With the recorded feedback, the artist is given an opportunity to be critiqued, and in turn use that knowledge to adapt and refine their style.

Using the current project headed by the John Cage Trust, ‘Reality Radio’ , the prospect of streaming the recently formed opinions from those observing the artwork and broadcasting them to the entrance expanded the idea and asked a new question: does hearing an opinion about something, intrigue you to want to know the origin of said opinion? Now, the concept has built up to a point of near self-sustainability through intrigue.

Concerning the area and resources required of the space itself, there is room for interpretation and expansion. With the contents of the space being minimal due to the need of clear recording, the initial proposal would involve a carpeted floor, microphones to be near the pieces, and a small amount of people inside the space at any time. Furthermore, the location of the space itself would be primarily situated in a urban area with a focus aimed towards busy laneways and streets. This would maximise the potential of observers, and increase the recorded feedback and also improve the awareness of the space itself.

With the costs and resources, the creators of the space would majorly fund the start up of the space, and the pieces used would be acquired from artists willing to showcase their work anonymously at first. This idea was ideal based on the submissions for the United Kingdom’s annual Summer Exhibition, where both professional and amateur artists submit their pieces, and the successful pieces are hung alongside one another, symbolising the shift of elitism once prevalent in previous decades.

With the meaning of the space revolving around mystery, the rotation of art pieces would be weekly, whereupon the connectivity of a made website and social networking, the artists would be revealed and the option to purchase their artwork would become available. The use of technology is detrimental, as 2 people would be required to edit, loop, and broadcast the feedback to the entrance of the art space.

The hours of the space itself would be accessible for two sessions, such as 10am-1pm and 2pm-5pm, and be open from Tuesday-Friday. The reason for this would be for the editors to assess the data recorded and clear up any audio problems, and Monday designated as to reset the art space for the new week.

The beauty of this space is the concept itself is organic. By overlooking what is currently happening with art and how it is reviewed and spoken about, this idea has the potential to expand across countries around the world, involving artists of different styles and movements. To make the audience wonder what art they will observe, and to instinctively verbalise their reaction, it creates a distinction between what is expected, what is witnessed, and what is said. This concerns not just the audience, but the artist as well.

So, what do you think?

Bibliography

Bordens, K. (2010). Contextual Information, Artistic Style and the Perception of Art. Empirical Studies of the Arts, [online] 28(1), pp.111-130. Available at: http://art.sagepub.com/content/28/1/111.full.pdf+html [Accessed 17 Apr. 2015].

Creative Spaces, (2015). CITYtalking | Case Studies | Creative Spaces. [online] Available at: http://www.creativespaces.net.au/case-studies/citytalking [Accessed 13 Apr. 2015].

Goldbard, A. (2002). When (Art) Worlds Collide: Institutionalizing the Alternatives. In: J. Ault, ed.,Alternative Art New York 1965-1985: A Cultural Politics Book for the Social Text Collective, 1st ed. [online] Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, pp.183-199. Available at: https://books.google.com.au/books?id=2ZzxqQqQk94C&pg=PA161&lpg=PA161&dq=Alternative+Art+New+York+1965-1985&source=bl&ots=CUEff_Cx4h&sig=1K2hm7a6Emglb5USlpXV8lcOlpM&hl=en&sa=X&ei=xBMzVan6L4a4mwXMtoGgDQ&ved=0CFMQ6AEwDA#v=onepage&q&f=false [Accessed 18 Apr. 2015].

Hooper, M. (2008). The pleasure of art without context. [online] The Guardian. Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/artblog/2008/jun/09/thepleasureofartwithoutco [Accessed 17 Apr. 2015].

Howard, J. (2015). Interactive Media Art · Meanjin · Literacy in Australia · Melbourne University Publishing · Classic English Literature Books · Australian Literary Journals & Magazines. [online] Meanjin.com.au. Available at: http://meanjin.com.au/articles/post/interactive-media-art/ [Accessed 14 Apr. 2015].

Jacobs, T. (2010). Context May Diminish Art Appreciation. [online] Psmag.com. Available at: http://www.psmag.com/books-and-culture/for-contemporary-art-context-is-counterproductive-9220 [Accessed 17 Apr. 2015].

Johncage.org, (2015). John Cage :: Official Website. [online] Available at: http://johncage.org/ [Accessed 17 Apr. 2015].

Creative Arts Assessment

Disconnected

The way we interact with others in the past 20 years has changed dramatically. Whereas the only form of communication was physically being present or speaking through a telephone, the advances in technology have broadened our scope and changed the definition of what it means to ‘be with someone’ in today’s age. As the world has opened for everyone, we are all accessible to each other, creating new opportunities to interact with one another. This creates a form of artificial intimacy: having all the characteristics of a friendship/ relationship/acquaintanceship, bar the physical aspect. To have artificial intimacy is to amplify other aspects, such as seeing someone in real-time (skype, FaceTime), there’s heightened emotion – relief, joy, ecstasy – yet there is that subconscious admission that it’s not as real as it could be. No longer is the face of another person the most seen shape in our lives: it is the screen that encompasses the face, whether it be in front of us in similar proportion or it be in our pocket and vibrating to inform us we’re being spoken to. There is still a world around us, surrounded by people; we have made ourselves oblivious because of the world in our hands, with the people we care for, an arms width away.

Initially, the premise was to artificially interact with a group of strangers, showcasing a sense of isolation in a new atmosphere. However that shaded too close to other pieces, which left a sour taste in my mouth. Using that feeling, a conversation was had between a friend I’ve yet to physically meet and myself. In that discussion, there was a spark for an idea and a purpose why. To this end, the idea of strangers was removed, in favour of a more personal touch: friends and family. The reason for this was born from two questions: ‘Why is performance art done in front of or towards strangers?’ and ‘Is there any significance when the audience are loved ones?’

The instructions for this piece amplified a sense of trepidation: you were not interacting with a person: you were simulating it. They were invariably strict but with openness to interpretation: record yourself staring at a screen, almost as you normally would when checking on things (such as browsing the internet, switching between applications). There is very little emotion on our faces when doing these actions, although there can be at times a different reaction depending on what is in front of you. As it turned out, one of the submissions was an outlier: it is visually contrasting with the rest, showing a different interpretation while still following the instructions. As an example for this, Marina Abramović’s “The Artist is Present” installation at MoMA, – where the audience was a vital part of the piece – the second audience member to participate was none other than her former lover and artistic partner Ulay who, during his brief contribution, reached out and held Abramovićs hand in his, resulting in tears by the artist. Another exemplary participant not only spent an entire day – 7 hours – sitting across from Marina, actually re-contributed several other times to the piece, metamorphasising the piece into something more personal than anticipated.

However, this metamorphosis can only take place if the audience fully immerses themselves into taking either an emotional resonance or a personal visualisation. Therefore, the piece itself is defined by the experience of not just the audience, but by the participants. The risk in that is invariably similar to “Undertone”, where you are the audience, the viewer, sitting across from Acconci as he details what is happening, while pausing to speak to the viewer in the hopes that they are still there, still watching. There is either immersion, wherein you become a part of the piece with willingness, or it is seen as incoherent and uncomfortable.

With performance art, there is generally a personal or emotional indifference between the artist and the audience. With this, there remains a form of intimacy that cannot be created or emotionally replicated: personal intimacy. And yet this piece shows a distorted connection: intimacy that isn’t there, it is the connections that have been temporarily severed and then those moments that are connected, resulting in emotionless intimacy within personal connections. At the end, however, the sight of seeing those closest to you after a lengthy period of time can result in an expected physical reaction.

References:

Forrest, N. 2015, ‘Marina Abramović Explains Landmark Australian Project’, February 19, 2015, viewed 12 March, 2015, < http://au.blouinartinfo.com/news/story/1104127/marina-abramovic-explains-landmark-australia-project>.

Observed, A 2010, ‘AO-On site – New York: Marina Abramović “The Artist is Present’ at MoMA, March 14 through May 31, 2010”, March 31, 2010, viewed 11 March 2015, <http://artobserved.com/2010/03/ao-on-site-new-york-marina-abramovic-the-artist-is-present-at-moma-march-14-through-may-31-2010/>.

MoMA 2010, ‘Marina Abramović: What is Performance Art?’, March 31, 2010, viewed 11 March, 2015, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FcyYynulogY>.

MoMa 2010, ‘The Artist is Present – Marina Abramovic’, 2010, viewed 11 March, 2015, <http://www.moma.org/interactives/exhibitions/2010/marinaabramovic/&gt;.

Verghis, S. 2014, ‘Vito Acconci, the godfather, heads to Hobart’, 22 February, 2014, viewed 12 March, 2015, <http://www.theaustralian.com.au/arts/review/vito-acconci-the-godfather-heads-to-hobart/story-fn9n8gph-1226833409196>.

Wolf, K. 2009, ‘Vito Acconci “Undertone” (Excerpt) 1972’, December 15, 2009, viewed 22 March 2015, <http://kristawolff1985.blogspot.com.au/2009/12/vito-acconci-undertone-excerpt-1972.html>.

Additional Bibliography

 

Eai.org, (n.d.). Electronic Arts Intermix : Undertone, Vito Acconci. [online] Available at: http://www.eai.org/title.htm?id=1677 [Accessed 12 Mar. 2015].

Forrest, N. (2015). Marina Abramovic Explains Landmark Australia Project | Artinfo. [online] Artinfo. Available at: http://au.blouinartinfo.com/news/story/1104127/marina-abramovic-explains-landmark-australia-project [Accessed 12 Mar. 2015].

Gonzalez, R. (2010). Vito Acconci’s Undertone. [online] Examiner.com. Available at: http://www.examiner.com/article/vito-acconci-s-undertone [Accessed 22 Mar. 2015].

Moma.org, (2010). MoMA | Marina Abramović: The Artist Is Present. [online] Available at: http://www.moma.org/visit/calendar/exhibitions/965 [Accessed 11 Mar. 2015].

Moma.org, (2010). MoMA.org | Interactives | Exhibitions | 2010 | Marina Abramović: The Artist Is Present | Portraits. [online] Available at: http://www.moma.org/interactives/exhibitions/2010/marinaabramovic/ [Accessed 11 Mar. 2015].

Observed, A. (2010). AO On Site – New York: Marina Abramović “The Artist Is Present” at MoMA, March 14 through May 31, 2010. [online] Artobserved.com. Available at: http://artobserved.com/2010/03/ao-on-site-new-york-marina-abramovic-the-artist-is-present-at-moma-march-14-through-may-31-2010/ [Accessed 11 Mar. 2015].

Serpentinegalleries.org, (2014). Marina Abramović: 512 Hours | Serpentine Galleries. [online] Available at: http://www.serpentinegalleries.org/exhibitions-events/marina-abramovic-512-hours [Accessed 12 Mar. 2015].

Verghis, S. (2014). Vito Acconci, the godfather, heads to Hobart. The Australian. [online] Available at: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/arts/review/vito-acconci-the-godfather-heads-to-hobart/story-fn9n8gph-1226833409196 [Accessed 12 Mar. 2015].

Wolff, K. (2009). Vito Acconci “Undertone” (excerpt) 1972. [Blog] Endurance. Available at: http://kristawolff1985.blogspot.com.au/2009/12/vito-acconci-undertone-excerpt-1972.html [Accessed 22 Mar. 2015].

YouTube, (2008). Vito Acconci – Undertone 1972 (extract). [online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dZaD9CHZecE [Accessed 12 Mar. 2015].

YouTube, (2010). Marina Abramović: What is Performance Art?. [online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FcyYynulogY [Accessed 11 Mar. 2015].

YouTube, (2012). Marina Abramovic vs. obnoxious art critic/ journalist. [online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IFNU9WoEK9g [Accessed 11 Mar. 2015].

My Day

Excluding O-Week, today is my 3rd day of university, and the 1st day I have no lectures or tutorials. Today I planned on going into the city and grabbing a couple of things to help me lay out everything for future reference and to unscramble some thoughts in my head.

At least I got the former done.

As it turns out, this morning revealed something I couldn’t have imagined, nor expected: a phone call with my mother. Now admittedly, it would be reasonable to have a parent ring a child and remind them they miss them and hope everything is going well. Heck, it is not out of the realm of possibility that someone would cry during this conversation.

Unfortunately, this conversation was about one tragic topic: our dog Jax. And while listening to my mother explain what had happened through a shaky voice, told me that Jax had been euthanised due to a incident on the weekend, in where he bit a neighbour’s child. That sounds unnerving already, as you contemplate what exactly happened and how it happened and the damage, but the damage has already been done.

Now, as someone who is doing units concerning journalism and media, in time I will come to understand certain angles and how a story can be told. But one thing I’ve quickly come to realise is the confusion and anger of the embellishment of facts. Now I am somewhat biased as it concerns my family being seen in a negative light, yet I am just as perplexed at the vilification they have faced. From what can be observed in the two articles written (here and here), the family are absolutely distraught as their child has lost half of his ear to a vicious attack by a dangerous dog.

Wait no, his ear was ripped off […Kellen’s ear was already ripped off], even though “My neighbour has saved my son’s life…but this could have been avoided with better kept management” but I digress.

Using the principles from Mediacollege.com, this is news based on these factors:

  • Timing – as it happened over the weekend;
  • Significance – as it concerns families and dog owners;
  • Proximity – as it was in a quaint neighbourhood in a large city (Gold Coast);
  • Human Interest – as it was a child who was celebrating his birthday

From those things, I can understand it being news-worthy. However, I cannot see it being ethical in composing an article (alongside a follow-up) where one side has been viewed at, and yet even admitting the other side was not necessarily in the wrong remarkably makes the dog owners looking worse off.

And again, being the son of that family that now has no animal, to have read such a poorly formed and investigate piece infuriates me to no end.

To their credit, my parents have chosen to keep quiet. I can understand both not saying anything and defending yourself. However, the damage is already done. Even though the facts show negligence by the child’s parents, and that the child’s life was actually saved and suffered relatively minor injuries, there is nothing that can be said that changes the fact that it is already out there. The story is horrible, the articles are in poor taste, and no one wins. Except the neighbours, who wanted the dog to be euthanised (“The dog was surrendered to council and euthanised this afternoon. That was our agreement with the owners.“)

***

How I managed to get myself out of my room and into the city, thinking only of that, astounds me. But now I have to move on, somehow let the fact I no longer have a goofy dog to see when I visit my parents during the break, sink in.

Tomorrow needs to be better.