Nina is an interdisciplinary artist, this includes video, performance, sound, sculpture, photography and much more. She was born in California in 1968 then ent on to graduate Brown University with a double Bachelors of Arts. Then she received her Masters of Fine Arts from the University of California.
The first piece I looked at which fascinated me was “Survive the Savage Sea” which was based on the story of Dougal Robertson. He was sailing with his family in 1972 when the boat was attacked by a pod of killer whales. The family only had 2 minutes to grab all of their belongings and jump into a lifeboat before their boat went down. They all survived 38 days on the ocean against 20ft waves, circling sharks, thirst and starvation. Nina came across the riveting story of “Survive the Savage Sea” at the age of 7 and has consistently read the novel throughout her life. To convey the story Nina starts with the whale and its full scale stretching across the gallery depicted in a painted cutout. She made sure that the size and everything was accurate, collaborating with marine biologists and even sent the whale cutout to Robertson. and then on the ground is an outline of the dinghy that is the approximate size of the one the Robertson’s survived on. She also provides drawings of how the family slept on the dinghy, essentially were like human sardines. Dougal Robertson recalls hunting sea creatures for sustenance and delves into further description of the experience. He remembers the fights with his parents, the hunger but also the beauty of the wide sky. This prompted Nina to create wire sculptures of the creatures they caught: sea turtles, dorado and flying fish. They float against the blue of the gallery and are reminiscent of a skeleton and a memory. She commits the show to knowledge teaching people how to survive at sea but the ultimate focus is on human empathy. When Nina was interviewed she states “The Robertson story bears resemblance to how we’ve all been living this year, isolated from each other in our own little shipwrecks. But it’s also about the incredible invention, resourcefulness and creativity they bring to their predicament. They have an optimism I find striking – they just keep at it.” I
Another piece I adored was Natural Cross Dressing. She was inspired by caterpillar eating a birch tree outside of her window and she thought that these wiggly creatures would make perfect moustaches. She discusses the difficulties of getting the bugs to remain in one spot on her face so she used honey on her upper lip to keep them from wandering. She wanted to get the point across that in society crossdressing is seen as unnatural so she uses completely natural materials to crossdress.
She has so many fascinating pieces and I thoroughly enjoyed looking more into the works that she does. Nina approaches art in such a creative and playful way that is inspiring.
Week 2, Walk in the Arboretum
The circular things that I found.
Some weedy photos and plants that I found interesting either in appearance or location
Here are my photos of the sky
And then finally here are photos of others taking their photos
Week 1, Book Stacking
Initially before the library trip I was thinking largely of creating maps and imagery through the spines of the books, however once arriving at the library I realized the large number of books necessary to produce the images I wanted. I really struggled coming up with ideas for this project so I thought I would turn to Nina Katchadourian’s artworks and I came to really appreciate the simplicity of her works as well as her quick quippy sentences. To incorporate weather, I did some research by watching one of the documentaries and learned of the consequences that climate change is having on the environment. In some ways this reminded me of the Icarus complex, it feels as though we are heading too close to the sun and as the saying goes “don’t fly too close to the sun or you’ll get burned.” My second photo was in similar spirit to the first. I always found it interesting how there are so many rich billionaires that are flying out into space and there has been so much research done on what other planets are inhabitable rather than putting more resources into saving our planet. So I wanted to attempt to create a short sentence surrounding space travel.
For the third photo I was inspired by art history. I am currently taking an art history course and as I was perusing the library I came across a huge section of William Turner books and I thought of looking through the art history section for other artists that had notable landscape paintings and then I organized them in order of movement. It was interesting looking at the selection of books that the library had and it was a test of memory for myself trying to remember the order of the art movements. I appreciated the process of this because the end result became a colourful artwork. I also opened to books and the spines laid out on each other created sculptural shapes.
I ended up doing one more experiment. As I was looking at my own bookshelf for inspiration I became very interested in how people organize their personal library. So I went around to my friends and family members and requested photos of any bookshelves around their house. I believe that it is telling of a person and their life as to where they put their books and what books that they own.
For the tattoo assignment I was interested in exploring the concept of highlighting blemishes, bruises and scars. I had initial interest in this because I have quite a few scars from a few accidents and I thought it would be fun to incorporate parts of my body that was already there. I created a set of band aids that would bring attention to the area while also covering the location. Since we were working with temporary tattoos I thought that it was an interesting juxtaposition between the permanence of scars and the temporal attributed of the tattoos we were working with. I also thought it was funny placing a tattoo band aid on injuries or scars as the usefulness of them was questionable. Below I have images of people utilizing the tattoos in different areas and I also have photos of the band aids.
Anastasia and I worked on this assignment together and we were interested in ripping off of the Vogue 73 questions concept. We wanted to create a disorienting interview where there is no substance being said. We both filmed different videos in each others houses and we toured the others house. We then took the videos and edited them with our own interpretation of disorientation. I originally attempted to shift the audio by reversing it or messing around with reverb settings. I found it difficult to apply this throughout the video so instead I chose to cut different sections of the video so there is no context as to where we are or what is being said. I also left out any transition of walking between rooms so there is no understanding of where we are around the house. I also made another version that is the opposite where it is only the travelling areas leaving out the majority of the interview and the content.
Sketch Comedy on Youtube
The definition of sketch comedy are a series of short scenes or vignettes and they are commonly between one and ten minutes long. Sketches are typically performed by a group of comedians or comic actors, the presentation can be shown on a variety of media platforms such as on a stage or through television or internet. Often sketches start out as improvised scenes and then fleshed out later on but this process is not necessary. Sketches are a comedic exploration of a concept, character or situation.
A specific Youtube channel that I watched a lot as a child is Smosh. It can be categorized under the term of sketch comedy. The channel was initially started by Anthony Padilla in 2002, later on his friend Ian Hecox joined and in 2005 they began producing videos together. They began their channel through lipsync videos to theme songs like Mortal Kombat, Power Rangers and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The example above where they are lipsyncing to Pokemon shows what Youtube looked like initially during the beginning stages of the platform. The quality of the video is bad because they were just using one of their parent’s cameras and the clips are incredibly random and strange. This launched their channel into starting comedy sketches and their channel began to grow rapidly.
This video is the first of a series known as What if (Blank) was real. In this scenario Ian and Anthony explore the concept of what would happen if certain movies were real and play out the situation in the form of quick videos.
In their earlier videos, there is a home made quality to their shots. You can tell that there is a person holding a camera during shots due to the shakiness of many of the scenes. It appears that there is an attempt at imitating cinematic scenes from popular culture during the time with a mix of home videos as well as comedic angles. Like in the scenario with A Hotel For Dogs and the camera shot is straight on and Anthony yells at the camera the punch line. The editing in the video remains consistent as it is a cycle where a scene happens and then there is the title of the next scenario then another scene plays out. The transition from title page to scene is very sudden rather than a slow transition in and out which adds to the comedy element.
During the early era of Youtube there was not a lot of monitoring about what people were saying or making content about. This allowed creators to make somewhat “edgier” less politically correct videos that might not pass in the same way today as it did back then. During this era there was also a large amount of overacting almost to the point where it was really cringey but it is a staple of the time. It is also interesting because during this era Comedy Channels audiences were generally young teens so many comedy channels attempted to be PG but still pushed their subject matter where they could. Initially these videos were compelling because it was something that wasn’t seen before. Youtube was originally created as a way for people to share whatever they want, it was developed in 2005 and this was around the time that the internet was really taking off and this was an exciting concept to many people. Channels like Smosh, where they have been around since essentially the beginning of Youtube shows the history behind this major platform that is incredibly prevalent in today’s media. It is also a major example of what the internet and Youtube were like in the early days before filters were really set in place so it is interesting to look at the time line and see how Youtube progressed.
My idea evolved from dressing up as my parents to becoming my “other” self and interviewing myself. This project became a lot about identity as I continued to explore my ideas. Initially I had a lot of questions about what I would look like or be like if I was raised in a Chinese household. Before this project I didn’t know that much about my birth place in the Hunan Province but it was enjoyable being able to take time and learn more about the area as well as the culture. For this project I attempted to explore more into my identity through an interview format. I filmed my “Canadian” self first and then my “Chinese” self and placed them side by side. I ended up posting the finished video on youtube.
Week 4 Parent Assignment Ideas
For my idea I was inspired by Janine Antoni’s work Mom and Dad as well as Gillian Wearing’s work. I was adopted and I have always been curious what my birth parents look like and what I would look like when I am older. For this project I would like to dress up as what I think my mom would look like and I would record my Mom’s voice describing what I was like as a baby, describing what I looked like and my characteristics. Then I would film myself lip-syncing to what she is saying dressed as my birth mom. I am unsure as to whether or not I would also dress up as my dad. I think it would be interesting mixing my Mom with my birth mom because it brings in some truth to my fictional recreation of a person.
Multiple text assignment
For this assignment I was originally interested in spacer sounds used like “um” or “uh” but this evolved into looking more into sounds that people make like “aaah” or “gugh”. I wanted to apply these sounds to well known brands because I thought it was an interesting juxtaposition since brands are always making a statement about what they represent while the sounds mean nothing. I attempted to recreate the font in Indesign and then traced the logo so it would not be pixelated when I printed it. I made five different designs: Adidas, Puma, Christian Dior, Gucci and Lulu Lemon. I used iron on patches to place my home made brands onto tee shirts that I purchased from the thrift store. I chose to leave the Goodwill tags on the tee shirts because I thought that it would blend into the store a bit better. Then to get the tee shirts out into the world I went to stores around a mall and hung them up with the other shirts. It was interesting because no one really cared that I was doing it, I got some weird looks but no one really said anything about it. I left them for a bit while walking around the mall and when I returned to retrieve them they were still there. In the future with this project I would love to properly print my designs on to shirts and learn how to embroider so I could apply it to hats. Below I have photos that I took from the store as well as other designs that I made on tee shirts.
Week 2 brainstorming
One of my ideas was to create multiple zines or a book of common words that I hear throughout my day. I would keep a small book with me and just write every time I hear the word. I would like to start with words that are used for spacers like um or uh or the word like. I am unsure if I would write the dates and have a page per day or if I would just have a constant stream of words. Along these lines I was curious about tracking my conversations or the things that I say throughout my day. I think it would be an interesting thing to track. For presenting this out in public I would love to place the finished product out in random areas like in newspaper stands or pin it to a board.
For my second Idea, my basement apartment has a walking path that connects to the backyard. I would like to leave up a sign that is like a COVID check in asking people walking by “how are you?” I would set up a station with a large poster and have a small book people could write in and I would have a cup of pens to try to be as safe as possible. Or I would like to put out a poster that has small talk on it at the back asking about the weather or common phrases used.
After critiques I would like to use phrases like ‘Um’ and ‘uh’ and apply it to commonly used brands and create t-shirts and posters from this. I plan on using the colour pallet used so there will hopefully be an association. I think it is an interesting relationship as brands are always trying to make a statement and to be known for something. So to replace their main logo with meaningless phrases and place it on t-shirts and posters would be interesting to explore. Below I have photos of a few examples of what I would hope to put on items.
Week 1 Assignment
Fiona Banner was born in 1966 in Merseyside, North West England. She studied at Kingston University. Her work encompasses sculpture, drawing, installation, and text. Throughout her work she has shown a fascination with the emblem of fighter aircrafts and their role within culture. She is also well known for her early works in the form of ‘wordscapes’ or ‘still films’ written transcriptions of the frame by frame action in Hollywood war films. Her work has been exhibited in prominent international locations such as the Museum of Modern art, New York and London.
This is an example of one of her text base works describing everything that happens in the film Top Gun, like a transcript. Top Gun is a movie about a weapons school where people train to refine their flying skills. This artwork is a part of a collection of personal transcripts which highlight the way in which actual or imagined events are fictionalized and mythologised. In an interview she mentions why she uses text and how she is able to utilize it as a way of expression different to pictorial imagery. She became fascinated by the act of writing this pictorial space, translating it into black and white space and the translation of that a male to female viewpoint. She states that she employs a female slyness with how she approaches the material. She is able to create a landscape of words describing the events of the film. I chose this piece because I thought that it was amazing how she was able to create the imagery of the film onto paper. It is an interesting juxtaposition where a film’s visual aspect is extremely important while this piece takes apart the movie and transforms it into a string of words. Due to the size of the print it becomes incredibly difficult to read the words but it creates almost an abstracted image. Also the font that she chose is a typewriter-like font which is consistent with written scripts. It creates a repetition from the words across the page. I really enjoy taking a movie and creating a transcript of the movie from your own perspective.
The piece Wpwpwp is a part of a show that she did in 2014-2015 and is onomatopoeia for the sound that is made by helicopter blades as they rotate. The piece was installed as a wallscape in the hall leading towards the rear of the gallery. It became a literal wall of sound and a visual reflection of the sound made by the Chinook blades that spun in slow circles (the type of helicopter blades hung in the gallery). Banner was able to portray motion of sound through animated text as the font whirls up and down the wall in loose writing. I chose this artwork because I thought that the installation and text had an interesting connection where they create a sculptural landscape together.