I hope you are all safe and well, and I am looking forward to welcoming you back to school at our first official virtual class which will be TUESDAY Sept. next week. Every week we will have synchronous – real time class HUDDLEs, on Tuesdays from 11:30 – 12:30, mark your calendars! See Course Link for links and details.
But before that – I would like to you tune in to a very special program this week Wed Sept. 9 and Thurs. Sept. 10th called Scholar Strike.
From the website:
Scholar Strike is a labour action/teach-in/social justice advocacy happening. Scholar Strike originated in the U.S from a tweet by Dr. Anthea Butler who, inspired by the striking WNBA and NBA players, put out a call for a similar labour action from academics. The Canadian action is aligned with the one in the U.S., in its call for racial justice, an end to anti-Black police violence and it adds a specific focus on anti-Indigenous, colonial violence.
I strongly encourage you to tune in, to learn more about the Black Lives Matter movement, and think about ways we can personally, and collectively acknowledge and eliminate racism, inequality and injustice in our society.
Listening to activists, artists, and other racialized authours like Ibram X. Kendi – have given me a lot to think about, especially about how we all have work to do to address our own racist biases, and to challenge racist ideas, and to actively work against racist policies and inequality in all aspects of public and personal life.
I strongly recommend you take the time to listen to this incredible podcast from CBC radio’s Out in the Open – Ibram X. Kendi’s conversation with Pia Chattopadhyay:
Sometimes I feel unproductive and feel pressured to finish a lot of my work in spam, such as 3 hours to complete an assignment. The 3 hours go by so fast, and it feels like I’ve been working for an hour. I’ve been using all semester, and I had to adapt to a new system of getting my work done.
Creating a series of audio of me saying every minute of every hour. Example: 7:01, 7:02, 7:03 etc. for about 3 hours. What I’m trying to achieve with this concept is to allow myself to focus on time. Being at home and studying makes my weeks go fast and slow. It seems like time isn’t real.
I wanted to create an overlap of time, which I wish could slow down, but instead, allow the listener to focus on each minute.
I overlapped these three audios to allow the listener to try and focus on each sound. It is hard, and sometimes the numbers overlap, but sometimes they don’t. I want to confuse yet draw attention to the specific numbers, which feels like my time during the semester. The time and day go by so fast. It is hard to keep track of what’s going on
I enjoyed On Kawara’s worked because it deals with a reparative motion spread out over a long time. The use of the artist working in the same method is exciting and inspiring.
All the Dead Stars is an exciting concept, which deals with the artist locating dead stars and records it in a map like structure.
I’m layering sounds of pen on paper. I wanted to capture movement with the use of patterns and lines.
ASMR inspires my audio piece. I limited myself to using items from my desk area. I’m inspired by Janet Cardiff and overlapped my sounds to create something new, rather than simple ASMR. I am also inspired by Pipes in “C,” Anna Ripmeester. She takes a sound and manipulates it by adding another tone. It almost sounds like music, which is what I am trying to represent in my audio.
Janet Cardiff’s ‘The Forty Part Motet’
This audio installation consisted of forty speakers, which has different sounds from different singers and compositors—Mainly from the choir and a piece of music from the 15th century. I’m interested in this work because it is a conventional piece of music, but they are all playing together to create brand-new audio. I enjoyed the part where the choir had their microphones on when they weren’t singing. It makes the experience seem real, and the listeners are there at the time. The audience engaged with the sounds by listening to each speaker and hearing coughing, breathing, and laughing. Etc. Janet incorporates old sounds and new sounds. Even choirs singing old songs give it a new meaning and make it enjoyable!
Justina M. Basement Bass
I enjoyed how simple it looks—a moving circle. When I understand what it was about, I thought it was interesting. Using the floor into a bass speaker allows a whole new experience than just simply listening to it. The person can feel the vibration of the noise when they sit, stand or lay down. The artist recorded her basement with humming air vents, gurgling and spurting water of the boiler system, and fans’ sounds. It sounds like a piece of composited music from a movie where something terrible is going to happen. Having it rotate makes it feel real, which creates a different atmosphere and allows an interesting interactive piece.
Johnathan Monk, My Mother Cleaning My Father’s Piano
Johnathan Monk’s audio piece consists of a series of sounds of his mother cleaning his father piano. I enjoyed this work because it sounds like the viewer is in the space, listening to their conversation and the piano’s random sounds. I think it’s a successful audio piece because it’s unpredictable; the piano keys and audio are random. It is a home-made audio piece rather than a scoring piece of audio, making it more personal.
Want to do something similar to Janet Cardiff
Overlapping different sounds
Incorporating daily sounds/familiar sounds
Weird noises in my house (around 10)
Overlaping different noises
Car noises (everytime I drive around/What noises do I hear when driving)
In the article Steinke says: When I look at masked people my brain still feels like its malfunctioning, a skipping sensation, a tenuous connection is reached for and missed.” Describe a situation from your recent experience where not seeing faces has caused significant misunderstanding, confusion, or grief.
I dealt with a thief situation at my job where a woman was printing photos in the photo lab when her purse got snatched from the cart and didn’t notice until a few minutes later. She came up to me and asked me if I’ve seen someone grabbing her purse; I didn’t, and if I did, how would I recognize this person? Probably by their clothes, weight, height etc. If I saw this person, and the police asked me to describe them, I wouldn’t be able to.
Maurizio Cattelan Super Us, 1998, made me think how difficult it must be to identify someone. The police relied on specific information on Cattelan facial features to create an accurate sketch, but if we don’t have that anymore, how do they do it?
I don’t think wearing a mask changes us in any way. I can easily recognize friends and family; however, it would be difficult in a situation where it was crucial to see a person’s face. Fortunately, cameras caught a man at a nearby store purchasing items from the lady’s stolen debit card. His face masked.
Which of the faces discussed in the text were of particular interest to you and your experience? How do you think about these faces? Who are you without your face? How is your experience different without your face in public? Can you imagine new ways to face the world?
I enjoyed the text where they described different cultures, using masks to connect with the spirit world. For example, Inuit tribes wearing them to become unified with their ancestors and the animals they hunt, while West African tribes using masks to connect with spirits. I think it is interesting to associate themselves with a mask, rather than their face. People recognize others, mostly by their faces, especially loved ones, but I find it interesting that most cultures mask their features to contact their loved ones.
The text describes, “When they are barely forty years old they come to their last one… it is worn… has many holes in it, is in many places as thin as paper, and then little by little the lining shows through, the non-face and they walk around with that one.” What interests me is the obsession with looking good and being blamed for allowing natural ageing. Women are hiding their beauty to live up to society’s standards. Because of Covid, it’s easy to mask our identity, especially in public; I think it stops any form of judgement.
Super Us, 1998, amazes me because these police sketch artists work on a verbal description of someone’s features and end up looking like one person easily recognized by family and friends. He quotes, “The drawings really looked like me, but at the same time they were like cartoons.” The expectation is to create a realistic face to capture their human qualities; however, the cartoon drawings allow a different interpretation, but it’s the same person, confusing yet intriguing.
I’m interested in her work because she uses her body as a tool for her work, which tends to be unusual, but I find it fascinating. I like how she converts each parent in Mom and Dad, 1994, to almost portraying a new character. The features are so different; I didn’t recognize who they were.
I found her work to be exciting and can relate it to the article. It describes the process of women covering up their faces in a mask to allow them to be more desirable to men. This artist uses her face as a mask. Instead of hiding her features, she’s showing them.
I like this work because it challenges the standards of beauty in society.
Society expects women to look a certain way, and if they don’t, they become judged. Ana Mendieta’s work reminds me of the bearded lady, Annie Jones, who was identified as a “freak” and “not a real woman” because she naturally grew a beard.
His works are people posing as objects such as chairs and tables. He morphs the human body into still objects, which gives them life. It’s interesting when he adds items to the human face when it doesn’t belong. It transforms them into something new.
Her work focuses on distorting femininity. She states, “I like making images that from a distance seem king of seductive, colourful, luscious and engaging, and then you realize what you’re looking at is something totally opposite.” I like how she distorts her subject’s face to get a new interpretation of the human face.
Her work is eerie and often covers the face of her subjects. Her photographs are called ‘Field Test,’ where she believes humans impact the world around them and how their surroundings shape who they are. The figures seem isolated and almost trapped. I’m into creepy work so, this is something I enjoy!
I enjoy how she uses simple, ordinary objects, in this case, a toilet seat cover. The images are of low quality and wildly imaginative, and I like how its captured with a phone rather than a professional camera or proper lighting. The artist references 15th-century Flemish portraiture using a dark background to incorporate all the elements into her photos. She’s masking herself into this portraiture, which mimics other famous paintings. I like the creativity that went into this.
Jan Hakon Erichsen
These photographs that have the words on the actual image called “How-to survive a deadly global virus” use everyday objects to pose as a mask. Most of the photos are considered a joke, but I think it can relate to people who think wearing a mesh mask will protect you from the virus.
Exercise: Post 3 new faces with brief descriptions
I wanted to do something different with my photos and decided to move around while taking them.
For the photo above, I used a fake painted plant. I wanted to capture movement and beauty by waving it around the front of my camera to get an interesting effect.
I have these masks that I made last year on Halloween. I wanted to use it because it lights up different colours, and I wanted to experiment with the movement of myself and what effects I could make by incorporating the lights.
The last image incorporates a large flower. I had to move it around in a quick motion to capture these photos.
Handheld Case Study:
Illusion, performance, and movement are shown to the viewer by a pair of hands holding different colour balls. The article talks about the performance of motion through photographs, which is a challenging thing to accomplish. Adad can create endless compositions.
Adad Hannah: Social Distancing portraits 2020:
Adad Hannah’s shows a variety of people. It mostly focuses on people performing or getting ready to do something. For example, walking, sitting, dancing, acting, etc. He uses a similar composition of placing the person in the middle of the frame. There is no planning in Hannah’s photos, which makes the image more interesting. Usually, the artist plans their composition, lighting, etc., but Hannah is not focusing on that but instead captures a single moment in a person’s life. In the article, he goes up to random people and asks them to take their photo. He has no idea who will be in his pictures, and that is the exciting part.
I love it. It is a different concept. Most artists plan their work, but this is so simple yet effective because it captures 2020 in a simple image—people social distancing, participating in important events and protests.
I’m interested in the black lives matter movement photo. It captures a critical event that is happening during this time. It also brings awareness, and it creates a powerful message.
I decided to include a photo of my mom because she is an essential person in my life, and being stuck at home doing homework, and social distancing, makes me feel a lot better when she’s around. Family makes it more enjoyable.
Question: What were your thoughts while sitting there for 1 minute?
“This experience was enjoyable. Even though it was only a minute, I was able to focus on my thoughts.”
Lee Walton: Placing or moving objects where they do not belong.
He is invading people’s personal space by sitting directly beside them.
Jon Sasaki, Ladder Climb: Jon Sasaki is climbing up a ladder that is not supported by anything.
Dead end, Eastern Market, Detroit: A man is turning around a van in a narrow alleyway.
Lenka Clayton: A child is dressed in red and is walking along a path.
Yuula Benevolski: ASMR video of a woman opening up a package of a book, then flipping through it.
I decided to throw a Kleenex in the air because it resembles an unpredictable object that can move in any direction it wants. I’m interested in how it can almost be its living object in a way because of how it moves and alters its appearance, like a bird. I posted a few screenshots to show how a wide range of shapes it has.
Unfortunately, I could not open up the screen door, so I decided to throw it in the air.
Be still for one hour.
Thinking about this project allowed me to determine which areas in my home were strange and unusual. As soon as I looked into my closet, I know how odd it is to have a dresser in a closet and decided this was the perfect place to perform my 1 hour of stillness.
I held a position of crossing my legs for around 30 mins before deciding to better position myself in a comfier position, this resulted in my thinking about how uncomfortable I was for half the time. The top part of my dresser is narrow so, I decided to challenge myself to see how long I could keep my legs crossed. The door in my closet won’t stay open (It shuts by itself) so, it ended being very dark which altered my experience to become claustrophobic and eerie. I give Abramovic so much credit for being able to perform her work in 17 hours. It is hard to sit still for an hour and I was always focused on time. I’m wondering what she was thinking about during her performances. Overall, this was a fun and challenging experience.
Not part of the assignment:
Looking back at my photos, I thought the concept was exciting, so I decided to edit the photo and create a new image representing how I felt during this exercise.
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 expresses the notion that “the idea is the machine that makes the art” through his artwork called “Paragraphs on Conceptual.” He maps out his work by using specific colours but does not produce the final piece. His map references paint by numbers, allowing people to create, rather than artistic decisions. Conceptual art does not always have to be done by the artist’s actual hand, and Sol Lewitt is an excellent example of the idea being the main focus rather than the final image.
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.
The boundaries that I draw around the artwork in this video are using materials that I do not have access to, such as putting wishes on the wish tree. The painting Ono describes are touching the earth with your bare feet, count all the words in the book without reading them, count all the objects in the room without classifying them, and arrange your space the way your mind would be. Ono mostly uses oneself as a tool rather than actual objects. She finds ways to connect the audience as the primary focus rather than materials. I think Ono has exciting ideas that I want to see completed. She describes the process of avoiding negativity for three days for 45 days and three months. It does not feel like a performance piece, but rather something everyone should do in their daily lives.
I think Ono uniquely approaches art by addressing simple instructions that anyone can complete.
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?
Two works by Bruce Nauman called “Playing a note on the violin while I walk” and “Coffee spilled because the cup was too hot,” are framed by allowing the viewer to become engaged in everyday activities like spilling coffee on the floor. He uses bold colours to draw attention to his images, rather than using real-life tons and values. Bruce Nauman expresses art through performance, bold colours and text to express everyday activities creatively, which challenges the viewer to think about what this artist is trying to achieve.
‘‘Playing a note on the violin while I walk” is an everyday activity. Nauman frames this by walking around while playing the instrument. Typically, people sit down while playing the violin, which alters how we view the subject.
Title: A kilometere in my shoes
I decided to create a kilometre by taking a video of me walking around and performing daily activities. I wanted to focus on this because I’ve been at my job (Walmart) for almost four years, and it feels like a receptive cycle that never changes. I decided to film this perspective because I wanted to show as little information as possible. The viewer can grasp only 5 to 10 seconds of the clip because it gets cut off and starts a new one. The video clips are in order from the start of my shift to the end, and the focus is me walking, allowing the viewer to guess what I’m doing and why I’m doing it.
It takes approximately 10 to 12 minutes for someone to walk a kilometre. I was able to calculate this by filming, which added up to about 10 minutes. I used a clip that was 3:14 to show all the places I went from the start to the end of my shift.
I’ve included some stills as well as the full video.
Homosexual sexuality and pleasure is a topic I personally enjoy exploring in my artwork. Not only because of my own sexuality, but also because I enjoy numbing my viewers mind to erotic imagery. I’ve worked with gay erotica images for so long now that I barely recognize it as porn anymore. For this conceptual portrait I took 81 screenshots of gay porn scenes and zoomed in so much on each until the image a completely lost and it becomes abstract. I placed all 81 images in a tile grid format and repeated it until I ended up with an image of 6561 squares of gay porn.
Yes, I did zoom in on some highly sexual areas such as the assholes and dicks, but I also zoom in on parts of the image that weren’t related to porn at all, such as the blankets, eyes and windows. I found it funny that some of the images that I avoided focusing on the sexual areas ended up looking like they were. who knew a shoulder could look so much like the head of a penis? I think this speaks to how our own minds choose to see what we have taught it to through our own biases and judgments.
Ariana: Just Keep Breathing
Singing is a beautiful ability that many people have. One of my favourite singers is Ariana Grande. I’ve listened to her so much and am so familiar with the way she sings that I can anticipate the breaths that she will take while listening to any of her songs. Breath control is very important when it comes to pushing out strong vocals and many people forget that. I wanted to put a spotlight on the breaths of Ariana by cutting out all the music and lyrics out of her songs and only leaving the strongest breaths of each. I used the songs ‘Raindrops’, ‘Breathin’, ‘POV’, ‘Ghostin’, ‘Side to side’, ‘Problem’, ‘Focus’, ‘Everytime’ and ‘No tears left to cry’. In their entirety, these songs together would ask for 25 minutes of listening. However, I can give you expressions of all these songs in only 55 seconds.
Is there something on my face?
I’m used to taking selfies but I think these ones will stand out in my camera roll. It was a very new experience looking for materials around my house and asking myself, “What can fit on my head?” My personal favourite is the glasses photo. I don’t know why I have so many glasses, but I was fun to stick them in my hair and make it elongate my face. I also think it fools you a bit because it makes you question where my eyes actually are.
Adad Hannah piece
Asked my roommate Mikayla as she was coming back from her walk, what surprises her the most about Covid times currently?
Mikayla – “How dumb people are. Things could’ve been so much better for everyone if we had all gotten over our own needs and thought of the bigger picture. Even now the only time I leave the house is to walk the dog. I don’t even grocery shop really because of all the pasta I have. That’s my little rant. Can I go inside now?”
Pumpkin toss at Snyders Farm
Have you ever seen a pumpkin floating through the clouds? Well you have now. This photo wasn’t planned. I went to Snyders pumpkin farm with my roommates and we were just having a good day running through the pumpkin patch and eating pie. Like most people I wanted photos of myself to let everyone only know that I’m trendy and all. As my friend was taking photos of me, my other friend threw this pumpkin at me to get my scared reaction and this moment was captured. This photo is very visually pleasing to me. It could just be the complimentary colours of orange against the blue sky, but on it’s own it’s funny to see an object that we’re used to seeing growing out of the ground, sitting in the air.
Go to bed Button
For my hour of sitting still I chose to follow in our dog Button’s footsteps and lay in her bed for an hour. “Go to bed” is one of the few commands that she understands and it can be heard in my apartment several times a day. We use it to get her off the couch if company is over, if she’s being too needy while we’re trying to work or if she’s being bad. Since we tell her this so often during the day and she sleeps here, she spends many hours laying in this dog bed. So I figured me being in there for an hour couldn’t be too hard.
It was very comfy because we spoil her but I will say my legs have never been so sore. Throughout the hour I found that seeing things from her level was very strange. Being so low I couldn’t see the tops of high surfaces such as the stove or kitchen table. I also got to notice all the sounds that our apartment makes that I haven’t had the time to notice before. For example, our heater sounds like a jet engine. Button also didn’t seem impressed that I was in her bed and she’s not allowed on mine.
A Fishes Kilometer
I have a betta fish named Smirnoff. I’ve always had a soft spot for pet fish because I wanted to give them a better life than sitting in a small plastic jar in a pet store. As soon as I saw the pure white and blood red colours on this little guy I had to scoop him up and name him after a brand of vodka. When I bought this tank I really thought he was living the best life with all this space to himself. Though I couldn’t help but wonder how much space he really had and if he could walk out of this tank, how far could his water take him.
Now how does one figure out the relationship between distance and water? Maybe I’m the only one crazy enough to ask, but this is how I attempted to figure it out.
I filled up several water bottles and found a location exactly 1km away from Smirnoffs home. As I walked to that location I let the water pour out of the water bottle at a steady rate, replacing it with another when the one i was using ran out. Once I reached the location 1km away I had a measurement of the amount of water I poured out in the process. I then followed the trail of water that I had created home.
After calculating the amount of water that I poured out I discovered that I used 3.5L of water in the process, which is the exact amount of water in the tank that I have Smirnoff in. Therefore, Smirnoff lives in 1 kilometers worth of water.
The concept of the idea of an artwork being a machine is shown in LeWitts work through his instructions for these wall drawings being the head of the body of creation. He has created a system of providing those who install the work with the guide, taking away the need for those whose hands are a part of the installation of the work. The hand of the artist is not present, all that is present from the artist is the initial idea. Much like forming a document on a computer and printing it. You didn’t physically create the document, the printer did, but the printer is not the artist, you are.