Week 3

Summary of work for Week 3:

1.Look at all the material and watch the videos.
2.Write 6 sentences (details below) and post on blog.

3. Make an image of your action and post the image on the blog.

Conceptual Video Art:

WATCH:
If conceptually informed artworks are ones in which an idea determines the work. You can think of some of the works below as a response to a simple, one sentence instruction.

Watch this video by Lee Walton below.  

If you had to sum up this action in one instructional sentence or formula it would be something like:

Use your hands to feel a diverse range of things in the city.

Notice he takes the common expression “Getting a Feel for Things” literally in this work, and feels things. See how he uses common expressions, and simple instructions as a formula for creating in the following videos.

If conceptually informed artworks are ones in which an idea determines the work, as opposed to the artist’s masterful technique, or the perfect handling of materials. In fact, when you follow directions, things might even turn out badly, things can break down, fail, fall apart. There is tremendous tension in this – when we really don’t know how things are going to go. Watch Jon Sasaki play with attempting to do something, and the possibility (and sometimes the reality) of failing, falling, or otherwise destroying everything.


WRITE: Watch the following videos by Lee Walton, Jon Sasaki, and Lenka Clayton and Yuula Benivolski. Sum up the actions in each work in one instructional sentence. See if you can determine the formula, or the task the artist assigned to themselves to guide the action of the video.

You have to watch the videos, and write one sentence for each . (Total writing, 6 sentences).  

Jon Sasaki:

Ladder Climb:

http://www.jonsasaki.com/index.php/work/ladder-climb/

Dead End, Eastern Market, Detroit:

http://www.jonsasaki.com/index.php/work/dead-end-eastern-market-detroit/

Lenka Clayton:

Yuula Benevolski:

LOOK:

Here are some John Baldessari instruction pieces – used as assignments for students at Cal Arts from 1970. Notice how they sometimes play with language, or satirize artistic tropes. They sometimes read like eccentric proposals for science experiments, and suggest game like systems for working.

Have a look at this John Baldessari image, where he assigns himself a task to complete the work. The titles often give you a sense of the instruction he used to start:

John Baldessari
Throwing Three Balls in the Air to Get a Straight Line (Best of Thirty-Six Attempts), 1973
Complete set of twelve offset lithographs in colours, on coated stock paper, with title and justification pages

MAKE: You will follow an instruction developed by John Baldessari (1970) – one of my favourites:

Defenestrate objects. Photo them in mid-air.

This means throw something out the window, and photograph it in the air. Post your image on the blog, with a short description.

YOU MUST BE SAFE – Do not throw something out of a high rise balcony – even a coin can be dangerous when it hits the ground – or risks hitting a passing person/animal/vehicle/property. Only do this in a situation where you are CERTAIN you can throw a benign object SAFELY out of a window with no danger to anyone or anything below. Make sure the scene is clear. Try to solve the health and safety constraints in the most creative way you can. If you don’t have access to a low window – throw something feather light. Or – simply throw something into the air from the ground, and photograph it. Solve the instruction SAFELY even if it isn’t exactly a real “defenstration”.

We will discuss a few good examples of your work in the next class huddle.

Week 2

SUMMARY OF WORK IN WEEK 2 (see details below):

  1. LOOK AT the work of Marina Abramovic

2. WATCH The Artist is Present film

3. POST A PHOTO of you doing a Abramovic style gesture, with a short description

———————————————————————————————-

  1. LOOK AT the work of Marina Abramovic here:

2. WATCH:

The Artist is Present, Full Video from the Library streamed here:

https://uoguelph.kanopy.com/video/marina-abramovic-artist-present-2

© 2010 Scott Rudd www.scottruddphotography.com scott.rudd@gmail.com

In an endeavor to transmit the presence of the artist and make her historical performances accessible to a larger audience, the exhibition includes the first live re-performances of Abramović’s works by other people ever to be undertaken in a museum setting. In addition, a new, original work performed by Abramović will mark the longest duration of time that she has performed a single solo piece.Source 

3. POST A PHOTO and SHORT DESCRIPTION:

Be still.

For one hour.

Set a timer and stick with the task, being as still and focused as possible. Have someone else take a few snapshots of you in your 1 hour performance of stillness. If you can’t get anyone to take the picture – set up a camera and re-perform your stillness later to show it with as much honest as possible.

Choose a location – indoors, or outdoors, in private or in public.* Push yourself to choose a surprising, or unusual location. Even if it’s a strange place to be in your house – like under the coffee table or pressed hard against the window looking out.

Use the time to meditate, to breathe, to rest, or enjoy some quiet. Or you may push yourself to hold a position that is challenging. In the description of your image, discuss how it felt to be still, and how the experience and your insights about the gesture may have developed over the course of an hour. Why did you choose the particular location and position? How did the gesture help you relate to any of the works of Abramovic? Write a paragraph or two to describe your action.

*Remember everything we do must be safe, for yourself and for others, and allowed within the public health guidelines.

Madiha’s Work


WEEK 4: EXERCISE

I figured that the prompt Adad Hannah gave to his subjects was: “how did the pandemic change your routine?” I decided to ask my mom to hold a pose for one minute while I filmed her. 

“The pandemic has changed things for my whole family. Everyone is at home, and a lot of our plans have been delayed. I’ve been spending lots of time in the backyard now…I started gardening. I’m hoping I can enjoy the outdoors for a few more weeks until it is winter and there is nowhere to go.


WEEK 3: EXERCISE

For this exercise, I decided to throw a bunch of nickels, dimes, and quarters into the air. I wasn’t able to take the screen off my window, and even then, I didn’t want to lose any coins in the grass and have an animal eat one! 

I was sitting by my window, and it had just rained, so there were still raindrops on the glass. The sun was setting, and the angle of its light made the raindrops sparkle strikingly. This is what initially made me want to throw something shiny in the air on a sunny day for this exercise. I wanted something very reflective, almost enough so that it would look bright white and the object would not be able to be made out. First, I thought of glass (broken glass), but that would have been much too dangerous, and I didn’t know where I would get any. That reminded me of these small crystals we had from an old chandelier, but I couldn’t find those.

In the end I picked out the shiniest coins I had and used those. I really liked the effect they had in the sunlight. I found it interesting that when I threw it the first time (I was using one hand), the coins clumped together, but they did have the reflective look that I was going for. The second time I threw them, I used both hands, and after a few takes, I managed to catch the coins in the air with my camera.

WEEK 3: NOTES

A lot of these video artworks are challenging societal norms to pique the interests of the viewer. They are interesting because, since the artist is interacting with the public, the end result is unpredictable. In a way they also ask the viewer what they would do in this situation. I found myself continuously wondering how I would react if someone around me did something like that without context, or how I would feel doing it.

While watching each video, I wrote down words the actions were making me think of, then I used them to ultimately create a simple instructional sentence to describe the overall message of the video.

Making Changes

  • Disrupt
  • Move any object from one position to another
  • Unusual position
Change the position or form of any object in an urban area.

I noticed how he made sure to be safe with most of his changes, such as the large cylinder; he made sure it wouldn’t go onto the road. I wouldn’t be able to do anything like this since I would be too worried about bothering somebody.

Sitting

  • Sit at an uncomfortable distance from another stranger
  • Sit close to a stranger who is sitting by themselves/alone
Sit at an uncomfortably close distance from a stranger who is sitting by themselves.

I find it really interesting how no one asked him to move, or moved themselves, or even said anything. The most people did was stare. I know I would have either moved or said something, but maybe that is because the video is older, and back then people may have been less concerned about safety.

Ladder Climb

  • Climb an unsupported ladder to the top
  • Repeatedly
Repeatedly climb an unsupported ladder.

I honestly never would have thought this would be possible. When I read the title, I didn’t expect Jon Sasaki to get so high on the ladder. I was thinking he would maybe reach a maximum of two steps. I feel like I would have lots of fun trying to do this! The entire time I was watching 

Dead End

  • Drive into a dead end, then try to get out 
  • Not in reverse, do a u-turn
  • A large white van
  • Turn the van without damage
Drive a large white van into a dead end, then do a multiple-point turn until the van is facing the opposite direction, then drive it out.

While watching Jon Sasaki do this, I was wondering whether he was trying to do it as fast as possible, because he’s going really close to the walls, but he’s not driving really fast to prevent damage. This video reminded me of how I had to do something like this once because I got myself stuck in a very small, full parking lot, except instead of walls, it was cars, and I had just started driving.

The Distance I can Be From My Son

  • Stay still as your son walks away from you
  • Until son is too far
  • Until you feel he is unsafe
  • Until you are uncomfortable with the physical distance between you and your son
Stay still as your son moves further away from you.

I decided to not include “until you are uncomfortable with the physical distance between you and your son” at the end of the sentence because I felt the instruction should not include the reaction of the person, as that is what the piece depends on (how far she will let her son go).

I also found it very interesting how her son kept looking back at her, yet kept walking away. It shows how dependent he is on his mother, and how this much of a distance is not normal, but also that the son does not feel held back by the fact that his mother is so far away the same way she does.

Several Observations

  • Observe
  • Touch
  • Bend
  • Move
  • Interact with random objects
Interact with random objects by observing, touching, bending, and  moving them. 

I found this video differed from the others. It was not something that goes against societal norms, rather ASMR has become very popular. 


WEEK 2: EXERCISE

I decided to stand outside in the rain for an hour. I’ve always loved the rain, but never had the opportunity to actually stand outside and enjoy it. Near the beginning the rain was almost a mist, it was very light, and kind of annoying. I could barely keep my eyes open (not that there was much to see at night). I kept hearing quiet noises of things moving in the grass pretty close to me. We have so many animals in our backyard – especially at night — (including skunks, possums, toads, mice, rabbits, snakes, and cats!) that the noise could have been anything and it was too dark to see. After a while the rain got very heavy, and then I couldn’t hear anything either (except rain).

Marina Abramovic was able to put herself in much more uncomfortable, difficult and even painful positions. Me standing in the rain does not even compare to what she has trained herself to do, although I was pretty uncomfortable by the end of the hour. It was already cold outside, and the rain had made me even colder.

I spent a lot of time thinking about how privileged we are to be able to take rain for granted. So many countries don’t get enough rain, and some countries’ economies even depend on it. I thought of how many people collect rainwater because they don’t have any, or to save water for the environment. I somehow felt like I was wasting water by standing there, though it’s hard to explain why. It may have stemmed from thinking about people and animals suffering from annual droughts, and I was there with all the water I could ever want and wasn’t doing anything about it. All in all, it was an interesting experience and I would do it again for sure!

A few days later, there was a very foggy night, and I really wished I could’ve done another hour in it, just to see what it would’ve been like. I’ve heard fog muffles sounds, and I wouldn’t be able to see anything. It would’ve been very interesting, but unfortunately I wasn’t able to go out and do it.


WEEK 1: NOTES

WRITE: How does Sol Lewitt express the notion that “the idea is the machine that makes the art” in his work? What does the artist’s actual hand have to do with the final work in a conceptual art context?

Sol Lewitt comes up with a detailed and well thought out idea or plan and has other artists execute it. By this he expresses that without an idea there would be no art and that ideas are the basis of conceptual art. He provides the methods and diagrams of what he wants the artwork to look like, and trusts that it will be followed, and this process even adds to the artwork; all the experiences of the artists that have worked on it and the personal interpretations they contributed are now part of it. This gives other artists a way to participate in a large project and learn, and also lets Sol Lewitt execute such a large and detailed plan according to his exact wishes and without limitations of skill, age, or ability. 

WRITE: Where do you draw the boundaries around the artworks in this video? What are the artworks? What strategies and tools does Ono use to challenge the viewer? Do you like any of these concept-works? Discuss.

Yoko Ono begins each of her pieces with a related title; some have subsections which add onto the original. Many of the pieces are connected to each other and most seem to promote living in the moment and enjoying life as it is. She encourages using things that are already accessible to create happiness and intrigue, instead of pursuing something beyond reach. This lifestyle stimulates spontaneous actions and feelings, as well as nurtures the urge to explore without worrying about consequences.

I really liked Yoko Ono’s concept of choosing a spot and declaring ownership of it. I think with it she inspires the idea of being confident with your existence; as if she is saying “you belong on this planet and deserve what you want”. I also appreciate End Piece, her conclusion, where she tells her audience to watch other people enjoy their own lives too.

Yoko Ono’s Grapefruit pressures viewers to think of their lives and how they could be having positive influences on themselves and others with only ideas and concepts.

WRITE: Describe two works by Bruce Nauman (include images) where he frames every day actions (non-heroic, banal) as art. How are they “framed” as art, and what does the framing do to our understanding and experience of the actions?

Bruce Nauman’s Bouncing in the Corner is framed from unusual orientations, and his face isn’t shown. His body is still framed in the center of both walls, and the camera angle also changes in Bouncing in the Corner No.2: Upside Down.  Colours are plain and any unnecessary details are left out. It is said in the video that he would rather have his art speak for itself, instead of injecting his personality into it, which might be the reason for the ordinary colours and why he didn’t show his face.

 This framing causes the audience to study the piece for a little longer to try and make sense of the movements and proportions of the individual, especially Bouncing in the Corner No.2. I actually had to watch it very carefully to understand which direction he was moving in and how he was oriented. 

In Raw Materials, Bruce Nauman uses normal speech repeated over and over so many times that its sounds distorted and unfamiliar. He also uses longer recordings of himself speaking. He then arranges these phrases in corridors, and although we are used to hearing sounds from all directions, the combination of noises and phrases that Nauman uses and the way they are arranged sounds unnatural; sounds are arranged so that when the audience walks through the corridor, they walk through noise, then silence, then noise again. The specific order and distances between the sounds all contribute to how the artwork is perceived and interpreted.

WEEK 1: EXERCISE

I was watching a TED talk by Rodney Mullen, a renowned street skater:

He is so passionate about his work that he started doing tricks on the stage! The noises from the skateboard as it was hitting the floor echoed nicely and reminded me of how much I like the sound of the wheels on a skateboard. I’ve always noticed that the noise it makes is really loud, and sounds almost like thunder, so I thought it would be an interesting way to document a kilometer. 

I skated down the street that I live on for a kilometer and recorded it. My phone was in my pocket recording, since I only wanted the audio. I decided to do it at night so there would be fewer cars and the noise of the skateboard wouldn’t be drowned out.

When I played back the video, it wasn’t pitch black like I expected; sometimes the street lights would shine through, and this tempted me to keep the video. In the end I decided to get rid of it since originally wanted no visuals in the video, and the lights weren’t necessary.

The video includes the sounds of skateboard wheels on asphalt, cars passing me, and me stopping at stop signs for cars (and for a cat!).

Week 1

Welcome back to school everyone, I’m very happy to have a way to come together to learn about contemporary experimental art practices. During the pandemic, we will engage in weekly exercises, demos, readings and videos to learn some of the historic, theoretical, and technical aspects of working in experimental media forms.

Our virtual course will emphasize ideas, research, regular exercises and practices, as opposed to more developed and resolved artworks.

Students will perform and create studio exercises at home and in the world – within strict adherence to public health guidelines at all times – using materials and situations at hand. Together we will practice being resourceful and creative within the limits of any given situation. We will explore how to be an artist now – using aspects of performance, snapshot photography, video, audio, and artist multiples – in this unique and challenging historical moment.

Every week on Tuesday morning, I will post a list of things to watch, and/or read, listen to, reflect on, and create. You will need approximately 4-6 hours to complete your work for this course every week.

Your work is due by the next week, Monday 10am. Schedule your work during class time and you will be able to keep up with your assignments! All your notes, images and videos must be on the class BLOG – under your name. ONLY edit your own page – do not edit anything else on the blog. I will periodically read and evaluate your work on the BLOG and we will occasionally look at examples of works by students together in our class HUDDLE.

See course information, and evaluation for details.

WEEK 1 ASSIGNMENTS:

To be posted on your blog page by Tuesday Sept. 22.

WATCH:

In conceptual art the idea or concept is the most important aspect of the work.  When an artist uses a conceptual form of art, it means that all of the planning and decisions are made beforehand and the execution is a perfunctory affair. The idea becomes a machine that makes the art. This kind of art is not theoretical or illustrative of theories; it is intuitive, it is involved with all types of mental processes and it is purposeless. It is usually free from the dependence on the skill of the artist as a craftsman.” SL from Paragraphs on Conceptual Art

WRITE: How does Sol Lewitt express the notion that “the idea is the machine that makes the art” in his work? What does the artist’s actual hand have to do with the final work in a conceptual art context?

WATCH:

WRITE: Where do you draw the boundaries around the artworks in this video? What are the artworks? What strategies and tools does Ono use to challenge the viewer? Do you like any of these concept-works? Discuss.

WATCH:

WRITE: Describe two works by Bruce Nauman (include images) where he frames every day actions (non-heroic, banal) as art. How are they “framed” as art, and what does the framing do to our understanding and experience of the actions?

DO THIS EXERCISE:

A kilometre is a concept. Make a kilometre in any medium – photo, video, object, text etc. Post documentation and description of your kilometre on your blog page.

It could be a walk down the street, a path down an intestine, a line going up into the air, a kilometre’s worth of rocks. It can be a kilometre made of chewing gum. Made of telephone conversations. Made of complaints. Made of a walk with a cat.  Made with light. It can be a distance between two points. It can be imagined, traced, documented, listed, performed, evidenced on the bottom of your shoe, rolled up into a ball.

Make sure to measure your kilometre in some way. Discuss your process in your description of your kilometre, and how you know it is precisely a kilometre. Don’t decorate your kilometre or make it “artistic” and masterful. Use only the necessary materials to be what it must be.