Hannah

Week Twelve

Here are the cookies I made in class! here is the recipe if anyone wants some peanut butter chocolate chip cookies!

3/4 cup peanut butter

1 cup brown sugar

1 egg

1 tsp baking soda

1 cup chocolate chips

bake at 350 for 8-12 minutes!!! very easy and very good!!!

Thankyou to you all for a wonderful semester! It was so wonderful to be taught by you, Diane and to see all of the great works you all created at home. I hope we will be able to work together in person ASAP!!! wishing you all a fantastic summer!

Week Ten

Pisanki is a very important part of my life. It is my favourite tradition and it allows me to connect with my family and my background. I wanted to document the long process of pisanki, dying each colour, spreading out the wax, drawing your design and eventually coming to a fully filled egg. I wanted to document every part of the process so that the brunt of the photos was the process and the last few being the cooking of the egg – how something that takes so long to create can be destroyed in a second. I don’t think using photos as a medium to show this was the most successful choice but I am very interested in furthering this idea in the future.

Week Nine

Notes and proposal

Week Eight

Week Seven

Creating this video, I wanted to create something that made the audience feel unsettled, the way I do on zoom. I associate zoom class with closed spaces, anxiety and feeling like I am constantly in my head. Whereas on campus school, brings me happiness and i feel much more at ease. I brainstormed places where I feel the most comfortable and happy, the majority of which were outdoors. I wished to use these outdoor spaces and distort them in some way to show the disconnect between on campus and online learning. I used different pieces of plastics, red black and nude nylon tights and bounce sheets over top of my lens as filters, to create and layer discomfort, unease and distortion. I choose to keep the videos almost completely still because I often panic about how I am perceived over zoom, I try to stay completely still. I though a lot about layering different audios and tried a few things but ended up liking the mash up of all the original audios instead. It reminded me of class when a prof asks a question and no one really answers online, leaving long bouts of silence. There is some static and noise that reminded me of when some people have their mics on accidentally. I choose to pan away from the scenes and have different videos leave at different times to mimic the end of a zoom call, students leaving at their own paces.

Week Six

Notes and proposal

Week Five

One who destroys the land destroys oneself. This mantra shows the importance of responsibility and intentional cohabitation. The act of placing my hand on the snow is intentional. If I press for too long or too hard the heat from my hand will melt the snow too much and the cold of the snow will harm me. But if I achieve a balance by understanding our limits, there is beauty in our cohabitation. My print will disappear, it is fleeting and it is not about me and my mark on the land, it is about intentionally understanding I am responsible for my actions regarding the land. I can make the land better or I can scar. If I scar the land I scar myself.

Week Four notes

Proposal

Week three notes

When approaching this exercise, I took a similar route to Nina Katchadourian’s Book Stacks project. I read the article a few times, first picking out short phrases i enjoyed or that stuck out, then picking out words. I organized these all in a list and was able to pick my final selections from there. I was having so much fun with this exercise I couldn’t decide which phrase to use for my final, so I made a few banners.

While watching the interview with Hiba Abdallah, i was very intrigued by the way she viewed words as a material to make art. She stated “words can be so pointed yet so poetically vague”. This really resonates with me, as a big fan of text in art. I had this phrase in mind while creating my banners.

The first banner i created was the first phrase i connected using the article. It is a tad hard to read since my pea brain didn’t realize that banners should be readable both in photos and in person. If I were to explore banners as a mode of communication in the future I would definitely increase the size. It says “disinterested engagement, until our eyes bleed”. While creating this banner, I thought of the banner as a mode of communication itself. It is used for celebration in most forms. I wanted to create a phrase that you wouldn’t celebrate. First of all, you wouldn’t celebrate disinterested engagement, and never your eyes bleeding. This too is how i feel about online school in a way, I find it really difficult to fully engage and connect over the online format, and i feel like i am staring at screens until my eyes bleed. I laid out this banner just kind of sprawled out on the ground to show that the banner itself is disinterested in its only engagement, hanging in its traditional form.

This banner reads “Interpersonal Dissimulation”. This banner follows the theme of celebrating something that wouldn’t usually be celebrated. While putting these words together, i looked up both their definitions just to make sure i was understanding the words completely. Interpersonal refers to communication between people and dissimulation refers to concealment of ones thoughts, feelings or character. Together, i interpret the words as a poor form of communication. Communication with deceit, lies, hypocrisy and decay. I took this photo on a door that we keep in my backyard. the paint is chipping and the wood decaying so i saw it as a perfect location to enforce the idea of conversational decay.

The last banner I made reads “interrupted intellectual space”. When i think of intellectual space, I think of a peaceful environment where one can properly think or feel at ease. For me, my intellectual space is interrupted by technology and screens. I cut out my triangles from a magazine page that included some sort of technological motherboard to represent technology interrupting that space. I placed this banner on a tree to show that when my intellectual space is interrupted, i remedy that by going outside, taking a walk in the forest or just completely immersing myself with nature.

Week Two Notes

Week Two exercise

Week One Notes

While creating my own book stacks, I followed Katchadourians process. I am currently living at home so I have access to quite a few books. I started by going through my parents bookshelf and removing every title that seemed even a little bit interesting. I then compiled all those titles in a long list.

After making the list, I placed each book title on a post it note to be able to easily play around with the names and see what worked best.

My final step, just as Katchadourian’s was to finally place the books together. I first tried to place the books in bankers box’s. I filled the remaining area by upside down books. I found this to be an interesting way to display the books but U had a bit of trouble reading them. I remembered Katchadourian speaking about the importance of the physical qualities of the book and their readability. I decided to go a different route, similar to Katchadourian by stacking the books, and having a completely black background so the books have complete attention.

I really enjoyed this method of poetry of a sort, I am a big fan of making collages and creating these book stacks was like enacting a different way to collage. I am finding it tough to title these works since I naturally want to use one of the book titles, but I also want to allow the books to connect with the others and inform each other rather than focus on an individual book title.

Shannon

W1 – Book Stacking

Notes for week 1

I don’t Know the First Three Letters!

I created this book stack in response to my experience in being dyslexic. Dictionaries are only a helpful tool if you know the first 3 letters and yet that was every adult solution for me growing up. I purposely tried to make the book titles hard to read by covering some of them with other books pages.

All Lined Up

Growing up I was very obsessive with these pink books and making the castle be perfectly lined up. So I thought it would interesting to create a new system and line up the titles. This new system distorts the nostalgic illusion of the castle.

Practice

One of Katchadourian’s book stack ‘What Is Art?’ got me thinking about how artists go about learning from these books and how our sketch books are the peer review process for the art community. So, I added one of my sketch books along side my ‘How to draw’ books. I think this choice draws you to think about whats on the inside of the books not just the titles.

W2 – Notes

Reflection

W3 – Bannor

Notes

When I looked ahead (sorry I know we aren’t supposed to) I got really excited about this exercise and wrote down the idea “depression walk” as a banner and hang it on a commonly walked trail in my community. Obviously This idea doesn’t follow the prompt but, I really enjoyed this idea.
‘TIME RISKS BECOMING”
I did this before understanding the prompt. I thought we could put words together from the article to create the banner but we were supposed to take a phrase from the article. This misunderstanding resulted in an intense dissection of the article and the words it housed.
Above is an intense list of words and how I went about creating my first attempt at the banner.

Take Two

Above are my notes and sketches for my second attempt at this prompt.

I’m intrigued by the concept of time lately so, this phrase ‘ongoing temporality’ jumped out of the article for me. I think it speaks to this global pause we are all experiencing due to the pandemic and how the end feels like it’s being dangled just out of reach. In terms of instillation, I looked at an older piece of mine ‘Everything is Fine’ where I wrapped a very dead plant in green thread to make it appear like it was still alive even though it is dead inside. The plant represents what physically and mentally happens when living in the state of ongoing temporality. The string used to hang the banner is right from the thread used to wrap the plant and the ending to the word ‘temporality’ is leaving the potted plant to add a sense of hope.

W4 – Video Proposal

Notes

Proposal – Ideas

How do I to prepare to go practice death? Why do I feel compelled to make myself feel ‘At home’ in this new environment? Maybe because death is uncomfortable for the living.

What dose practicing death from dead plants look like? Is it still in the pile of blankets and writing notes? or is practicing wilting?

W5 – Video Art with Nature

This is all the raw footage I shot. I had two ideas, the first was becoming apart of the garden by laying/burying myself in the garden along with the other plants. This footage has many clips of the community garden at different angles and different plants. My other idea was to learn a dead plants love language, and so I brought the plant a gift(a blanket to keep warm), act of service (soil), quality time (sharing water), touch, and words of affirmation. This idea was a lot of fun to film but, while editing I decided that I couldn’t pass up the beautiful shots of the garden.

Apart of the Garden

Screenshots from Dead Plants and Love Languages

W6 – Proposal for Video Art & Zoom

Notes

Proposal … Ideas

Finalized Concept

‘Friends’

Good Company

The pandemic has reconnected me to some old friends and since they can’t introduce themselves I will. First, we have Sprout, the only plant I have that has somehow survived me and is thriving. Next is Jimmy, a tiger I painted on my wall in high school, so I’d have someone to watch RuPaul’s Drag Race with. Then we have Sarah, an empty can of monster’s energy drink which is my only source of serotonin. (ME). Next is Trevor who was my whole support system in first year. Next is The Counsel, who all earned their spot. Thereafter is Monty, a mini deck of cards, who taught grade eight me how to count cards after ‘lights out’ so I could play at the adult table. Then we have Horton, who is very dedicated to his job of keeping the Boogeyman out while I sleep. Finally, there is Maxine who is the protector of my plants and grows whenever I have scrap wire.

I think a lot of people can relate to this crazy feeling you can get during a zoom meeting. Being alone in a room talking to a screen and half the time no-one answers and you just have to continue, is really exhausting. In my other work I’m very interested in the concept of mind palaces and I’ve unintentionally made a connection to this concept through this video in my object selection process. Everyone’s mind palace is unique and is filled with different things that represent their knowledge and memories. As silly as it is I’ve aways felt as if objects have their own emotions/energy/opinions and I would talk to them. I’ve always lived in my imagination, slightly disconnected from reality needing people to anchor me to the present and with the isolation from the pandemic I found myself sometimes talking to them trying to keep myself motivated even though they really are just extensions of myself.

W7 – Video Art

W8 – Bread!

Blog Post

As a picky eater and apart of a big family I could always rely on bread as something I could eat at our potlucks, holidays, camping, and travelling. Bread seeps into many different parts of my life like as a sobering and a hangover cure, the wheat fields at our family farm, bagels are a depressive episodes sustenance, and fuel for playing sports. One very specific memory I have with bread is when I was a kid and me and my family friend got are braces on and right after we where whisked away to our father’s baseball game and then to a cottage for a vacation. Our mouths hurt so much that we couldn’t eat any of the fun trip foods and his lovely Grandma Dora made us fresh bread everyday. It was definitely the best bread I’ve ever had because I was so hungry, mouth hurt, and the amount of care and comfort I felt from his grandma who went out of her way to make sure we had something to eat. I think this has everything to do with why people are making bread during the pandemic. We all are in search of comforting ourselves in this stressful time and everyone has a memory tie to bread. There definitely is an art in breaking bread with others, especially in these divided times, self care is important. When sharing a meal with others we tend to be nicer and listen to one another, even if it just the pause of swallowing. A new take on ‘breaking bread’ in the social media world is this YouTube channel called jubilee, that tries to start conversations and find the middle ground. Funnily enough, when ever there is a rise in tension/conflict they give the participants food and the discussion almost immediately calms down.

W9 – Food Art Proposal

W10 – Food Art

It’s Just Paint…

Growing up I was labelled as a picky eater. I would complain about most food’s smell, texture, and different food could not touch each other on my plate. When I would be given food I didn’t like, I automatically felt embarrassed because I was either going to fail at not making a face or I felt like a burden if I was given different food. As I got older this became less of an issue, like it dose for most children, but there is still some types of food that I have a lot of anxiety around where I can’t control my reactions completely. Way latter in life when doctor’s finally realized that women can have ADHD I learned that this sensitivity I have to food is a common trait. This piece is me trying to change my connection with these foods by pretending that they are paint; something I really love to do and have on occasion (not on purpose) eaten while hyper focusing on a painting. This piece also has a lot of self comforting elements to it that I didn’t foresee like my laboured breathing, turning away from the cameras, and talking/singing to myself. I choose to ‘paint’ an empty plate because I feel guilty that I feel as if a plate full of food I hate was worse then an empty plate.

This was my ‘Pallet’ which is comprised of celery, beans, broccoli, relish, cottage cheese, tomato guts, oatmeal, mustard, strawberry yogurt and, grape jam.

W11 – Pandemic Cake

I’m not really a sweet tooth kind of person but, on the rare occasion that I NEED something sweet to eat this is my go to. This recipe is great because you don’t really need much of any of the ingredients, it’s quick to make, and next to no clean up.

Recipe

  • 4tbsp – All Purpose Flour
  • 1/2tbsp – Baking Powder
  • 2tbsp – Sugar
  • 4tbsp – Milk
  • 1 1/2tbsp – Vegetable Oil
  • 1/4tsp – Vanilla extract
  • 1tbsp – Sprinkles

Mix dry ingredients and then mix in wet ingredients in a mug. Then Microwave for 45sec-1min

Eden

Book Stacks

Goodbye Berlin

This stack narrates the struggle of moving to a new place, being an outsider, and the challenge of assimilating with a new language, culture etc. I was inspired by my time spent in Germany to create a stack that tells a story. This collection includes some books I read while studying abroad, language guides and ones with a significant geographical locations.

Laws of Prosperity

This might be a recipe on how to be prosperous. Clean Gut is a guide to rebuilding your gut biome. Strange Visitors is a collection of documents and testimonies of indigenous-settler relations in Canada. Alchemy & Mysticism is a picture book of all things magical, mysterious and historical. Finally, The Dynamic Laws of Prosperity is a book gifted to me by my grandmother as some passed down wisdom. These books together juxtapose a sort of portrait of myself.

I Keep the Land Alive

What keeps art alive? This stack shows the play and power of art and time. Trees and Landscapes, Walden, The Greeks, The Art of Art History, The Lives of Artists. Revive, I Keep the Land Alive, When Then is Now

Week 1 Notes

Justin

Week’s work can be reached by the numbered buttons at the bottom of the page.


Week 1: Tues. Jan. 12

What are some of the strategies Katchadourin, Dyment and Park used to select and order books in their final works? What were their decisions based on? How do the final compositions expand the meaning of each individual book, or come together to have a new and surprising meaning about the library, the family, about language and books, or about anything else?
Nina Katchdourin:
  • Katchdourin’s work deals with personal archives and libraries.
  • decisions are based on what sounds good or what may be useful for representing the owner of the archive.
  • They use a clipboard to formulate an inventory of all the books, making note of book titles that stand out. the titles are then transcribes on to index cards that are moved around and rearranged in poem-like compositions. This stage is to decide what titles work together. A final stage of this process is using the the actually books to sculpt the poem.
  • Katchdourin’s work extends the meaning of the collection to be a portrait the owner.
Dave Dyment:

https://youtu.be/TIaM_ofQE30

  • Dyment’s work and decisions are based around isolated text, or questions, from an archive.
  • Their practice is centered around research.
  • He says that he is interested in culture, and how it’s made and changes over time. For instance, One Billon Years (Past and Future), reorganizing a collection of history books in a chronological order.
Ryan Park:
  • Park’s decision on Untitled are based on colour and the spine of books.
  • All books are stack on each others spine allowing the pages to be facing upward. This decision makes reading the titles and text harder, giving the impression that is not the focus of this project.
  • all books are hardcover
  • Larger, wider books are used to single out book’s colour which is close to pure, or represent a kind of local colour. This is exactly what expands the meaning of the collection, by focusing on the physical qualities of the books, their context is lost. They become more of a colourful sculpture. They might even represent a kind of spectrum of topics, or Queer texts (seeing that a rainbow can be linked to LGBTQ ).


Select two pieces to discuss.

I would like to focus primarily on the works of Dave Dyment’s 2012 project, One Billion Years [Past and Future] (Left) and Ryan Park‘s Untitled (2009; Right). At a glance, the two of them share a common material to work with, that being books, and the similarities end there.

Dyment’s work is based on isolating texts, or questions, from an archive. These “Pull quotes” help Dyment to create a representative of the cultures that he likes to explore. Park’s book stack does not do this, instead it leans more into the sculptural quality of books, neglecting text of each of them. Which makes me think that the spines are ignored but actually Park has found another use for them other than displaying. In Untitled, Park uses the spine of hardcover books to support the stack and their aesthetic quality spatial quality to organize them. Larger, wider books are used to single out book’s colour which is close to pure, or represent a kind of local colour. This is exactly what expands the meaning of the collection, by focusing on the physical qualities of the books, their context is lost. They become more of a colourful sculpture. They might even represent a kind of spectrum of topics, or Queer texts (seeing that a rainbow can be linked to LGBTQ ).


Notes:


Three Sorted books:

Well Come
Shit and Piss
More Drawings
The Man Without Talent
Lose
Things You Carry
After Nothing Comes

For most of these I carried on with Katchdourin’s method of planning to the stack of books. This is one instance that came from writing down a couple lists of my library, at least, titles that seemed interesting. The titles in that make up this Stack-poem create this kind of self-deprecating humour about myself? I primary spend my spare time drawing, and I am mostly self taught, So I make a lot of rough and unfocused material.

New Comics
Making and Breaking the Grid
More Drawings
Flight
Landscapes
The White Deer

This one goes continues this activity of drawing but brings in ideas of structure and subjects, actions and places. I want this to have a gestalt feeling too.

They are stack on the side to reinforce the poem aspect of the titles, but I don’t exactly go all the way by lining the titles. Instead, I line the book themselves, in which was my way of acknowledging the material -I did not want to lose the idea that they are books organized and creating a signal shape. more than likely, I didn’t want to lose the straight edge that the books make when they are flushed left, as if there’s a presence pushing against them.

More Drawings
Landscapes
House of Chains
Three Dots & the Guilt Machine
The Stone Bird
Making and Breaking the Grid

For this final stack, I hadn’t the chance to make use of the title Three Dots & the Guilt Machine because of how it was designed ( No title on spine.) To me the title interesting for multiple meanings. For me, it is ironic because it’s title is specific and not at the same time. So, for me to allow this title to be part of the stack exercise I needed it to face forward. To do this, I thought of the books in a more sculptural sense then I would had with the previous two. It started with the base layer, making use of the design textbook about grids as a pun, then I would use these thick fantasy books as support, or columns, to make a second level that more stacked books could be added. Within this structure it allowed for that the Guilt Machine to enter the sculpture.

Again, I kept to the idea of drawing, revolving around places and things and structures.


These are all important books to me. More often than not, they reflect my interests and aspirations, which should not to be confused with what they display, but, I guess, what they accomplish and express. I think there is something admirable to these books that were chosen. It is ironic then that I would make stack-poems to poke fun at myself, and maybe because I hold the books to a high standard.

Tyler

Week#1 Notes:

When watching Nina Katchadourian explain how she is using book to describe someone personality is nothing less of genius. She uses the stagey of digging through the whole collection and then uses the que card to write the ones she plans on using. I really like when she used the book with a question as a title then follows up with a book to answer the previous book. This method could be used to convey ones thought in different way thus painting a portrait. One of the things that drew me to studio art and pursing it as a career was the passion to work with different hues and texture and mediums.

Ryan Park’s works speak to that by the stacking of coloured books and making a colour pallet. This shows a whole new mean while working with the same medium.

I decided to use to book from my friends’ library as I honestly don’t own many books. I found her collection very interesting. One thing that I found really interesting is that by looking at someone’s library there really is a connection and can tell you a substantial amount of what that person is about. For the first stack of books, I wanted to embody her journey as a woman and how she moves through spaces. I then break down her even further not only being a woman but a black woman.

For the second I decided to mess around with the form of the book. So, I showed the pages and then, flipped one book around that was read and I liked how the words “black” and “Canada” stood out, as most of my experience has been in Canada and many people always say when they see something crazy in the states “that’s the state, and that doesn’t happen in Canada”.

For my third stack, I display where I see think we are moving to, as opposed to where we had started. So, at the top of the stack, I used the book critique of black reasons then I put becoming human because that’s is still a battle that we are fighting today. And yes, it is crazy that we are still treated unfairly and almost feel insane asking to be treated like a human. I ended the stack with “silencing the past” because I feel like we are all started to really wake up as a human race and come together and fight this division we race and move forward as one.

Alia

Week #11: Pandemic Cake

Technically I ended up with two pandemic cakes. The cake from the previous video art I had created made an absolute mess, I could not even attempt to put it back together to be ‘edible’. Rather than tossing it out and letting it go to waste, I ended up making cake pop ‘balls’ out of it, since it was already a mess with icing. Although they turned out very soft, they were thoroughly enjoyed by my roommates 🙂

Week #10: Food in Art

I played around with a few ideas. Traditionally when I think of food in the art world, it is always used as symbolism to mean something else. The Arnolfini Wedding features some small oranges that represent fertility, The Madonna Child depicts apples and gourds to represent the triumph of salvation over damnation in its religious ties, the halved walnut in Virgin and Child represents the holy trinity, and the list continues. Food has always been utilized to convey subtle meanings within art.

In the modern day, advertising also utilizes fruit. It is often over-sexualized as a form of appealing to the public while playing on desire and sexuality to draw attention where food can be capitalized through the instilled state of desire, tapping into the consumers sexual appetite (literally). Certain foods have been gendered as well, where long thin foods represent male genitalia, and round, halved fruits represent the female genitalia. This can even be seen with the use of emojis, where the eggplant is representative of a penis, the peach alluding to an ass, and melons depicting breasts. Even general female figures are given shapes, either is an apple or pear depending on the woman’s bodily shape.

I wanted to play on this sexuality linkage between fruits and genitalia, editing images as if they were NSFW and contained nude content. Featuring the 12 foods, including a banana, ice cream cone, grapefruit, oyster, hotdog, carrot, popsicle, fig, cucumber, peach, and eggplant, the series is subtly blurred and boldly censored. The censoring came down to where I feel on the body the food would be if it were genitalia, and I went from there.

I kind of felt like the above piece was very mundane and did not challenge the boundaries much, so I developed one of my other ideas and created a video as well.

For this piece, I wanted to explore what was considered ‘wrong’ when it came to consuming foods. Immediately I thought of cutting things incorrectly, such as cutting the center slice out of a round pizza or a pie, or eating an ice cream cone with the cone first. These ideas actually made me laugh, because I just pondered who had collectively decided that these methods of eating foods were incorrect? After actually executing the following video, I then understood why.

This was a very challenging video for myself. First of all, it definitely makes a mess when cutting a cake horizontally. I began by making a very standard vanilla cake with buttercream frosting between each of the four layers. The top layer is also lined with strawberries. I found this funny since the person who would be assumed to get the top layer of the cake would get all of the top garnishes. This was a fun video to make, and if I were to recreate it I would have had a more stable film set-up, and I would have frozen the cake prior to cutting to make it more stable for a cross-sectional cutting through. Overall, I wanted to critique the way we eat food, typically to ‘westernized’ standards and methods, and I think this video achieves it. We do not take into consideration how other cultures may eat, if they practice differently or have different manners they follow. Along with a sense of humor, I think this video goes against the rightness of eating cake and critiques the westernized culture.

It would be interesting to take this series even further and think of different ways I can eat other foods ‘incorrectly’.

Week #9: Food in Art

Week #8: The Rise and Fall of Bread

Bread has always been a ‘treat’ to me. As a food that is very carbohydrate dense, and as a science student, the understanding of nutrition on such a detailed level has shaped the way and what I eat. My parents are traditionally very healthy, or ‘clean’ eaters, and bread was never a staple in my house. As a kid, I always wanted the nice white bread, and not the ‘brown bread with the seeds’, as I used to refer to it, whenever we did have bread in the house (I now have a very great appreciation for a classic grilled-cheese sandwich).

A comfort food now would be a nice stir fry over rice. My mom is a very great cook, but I think she gets that all from my grandparents who have owned multiple restaurants over their lifetime. Stir fry is very popular in Asian culture, and I always had it growing up. I believe it is also my mom’s comfort food so we ate it very regularly as kids, and now I am missing it when I am away from home.

After listening to the podcast, and the dive into deeper meanings that are upheld to certain people who eat and share bread, I found it very relatable. I saw eating bread as simply eating bread, but the social aspect makes much sense because that is often how I ate bread. It was typically a shareable portion at Italian restaurants put out on the table. Now, when I do have bread, it is often a shared plate at a restaurant, usually with a side dish of olive oil and balsamic vinegar concoction for dipping (and it is sooo good!) It is kind of sad, now with being in a pandemic and having restrictions when seeing other people, the joy of sharing bread with others is no longer present.

During the beginning of the pandemic, I remember scrolling through Facebook and being bombarded with bread post after bread post of homemade loaves by what seemed like every person on my timeline. With the time and effort and care it takes to make bread, and the abundance of time we had being stuck inside, it made sense.

The bread I made from class on the right. I followed some modified recipe from the internet, did not come out that great so I wanted to do another take using my neighbors grandma’s recipe. I was planning on making a cheese loaf for the second attempt but I first wanted to attempt getting this right – maybe I will post a successful cheese loaf in the future if I get to it 🙂

My one neighbor is Portuguese, and her grandmother makes THE best fresh sourdough bread EVER. When it’s still warm, my family will split the loaf and share some butter and devour it fairly quickly. After my first attempt of making the sourdough bread, I asked her for some guidance and attempted to make it again. I think it tasted much better with some expert guidance (left).

Week #7

Racism is being addressed now more than ever with countless movements, and the prevalence of social media that can spread awareness very quickly. Traditionally, I think Canada has been seen as a subjectively ‘good’ country, and many people believe that racism does not happen here, that it’s below those who live in Canada, and happens only in the neighboring American country below. But that has not been the case.

Michelle Pearson Clarke draws attention to the racism prevalent in Canada through her artwork. In Suck Teeth Compositions, she introduces the noise made by sucking air through the teeth and pushing the tongue against the backside of the teeth while doing so to make a noise. This noise is used to convey feelings and emotion, often negative, such as distaste, frustration, anger, irritation and disapproval.

Basil AlZeri’s Kitchen Lab is a performative piece that includes him cooking, and his mother played over a video call where she relays instructions for him to follow. In his work he aims to bring light to Palestinian roots through stories of culture incorporated into his recipes.

Both works have a cultural appreciation, although very different. Both pieces almost work towards praising their respective cultures and the traditional aspects about them and how they have changed through generations. By being able to share these experiences through new technology, it is an interesting didactic between new media outlets showing historically traditional cultural practices.

After bouncing my idea off of Diane, while still being able to convey repetition and playing on the slipping sanity I have as the semester slowly melts away, I developed the idea into a multiple video stitched screen of recordings of myself in lectures over the span of a few days. I thought it was interesting in the full version to have the different videos ending at different times, and leaving the screens to fade to black (they all end at the same tie in the shorter version uploaded above).

I think the idea of conveying the online zoom classroom of today speaks a lot about the mental health of students. Despite there being multiple versions of myself in the video, the individuality of each of the videos marked by the frames forces each version of me to feel isolated even within the screen. It reflects how many of us students would be feeling at home when they no longer receive the social interactions with their fellow classmates, now rarely not even seeing them from a computer screen.

Week #6: Zoom Video Art

Zoom meetings, and online meeting platforms in the age of online schooling have become the norm everyday. The strain on mental health and sanity is at stake when we have these faux social interactions without actually socially interacting in the sense we have grown up to know.

As a university student, 5 days a week are spent joining meetings for lectures. The repetition of having the online delivery of lectures for a year now has become the ‘norm’ in the student’s daily routine. Although it may not be the standard ‘trapped at your desk’ at work, this goes hand in hand.

I want to explore repetition in my work. I also want to convey shifting sanity, as well as routine, through the overlay of me ‘attending lectures’. I think this will turn out absolutely chaotic with a couple videos overlapping with different movements and narratives, even different sounds. I will experiment with audio as well as video to try and convey these emotions and feelings we often are unable to pick up through the screens we view every day.

Week #5: Video production

I really pondered the idea regarding what I would want to teach nature – that being trees or simply a houseplant. From the preliminary work of ideas I developed from Week 4, I wanted to boil down and emphasize the bigger message I wanted to convey. In this piece, my goal was to demonstrate and perform with trees how humans show affection. The major gesture was hugging, some light kisses and caresses as well, but in conclusion this work is a compilation of affectionate gestures to the trees.

I considered how I felt; when going on walks the trees provided a calming and gentle ambience where the presence of the trees was looming yet comforting. I wanted this piece to be about returning those affectionate gestures to comfort the trees this time around. I wanted to branch out further than my house plants, finding a more direct lifeline to mother nature herself. I wandered around this area in a small forest and was drawn to the trees that gave me a lonely energy, so I approached the ones who really felt like they needed a hug.

I wanted to have someone else film me during the gestures to distance myself from having overwhelming control of the manipulation of the videos. I did not have a say in how my friend filmed me, and I did not retake the clips; I didn’t even review them to see how they turned out after they were shot, I only saw them once I started editing. I wanted the clips to be raw and unedited, and fairly experimental.

The video is a compilation of clips edited together of myself giving back to the trees. The biggest inspiration for this piece was the guided audio walk Trees are Fags I found a greater connection to the trees I made contact with so I wanted to channel this energy into my work for this project. The idea of Machine Project’s Houseplant Vacation work in providing a space to take your houseplants for a vacation, they intended on giving back to the plants, and I wanted to develop this idea to incorporate into this project as well.


Week #4: Artists Commune with Nature

Notes for the project:

Video Draft – process

Week #3: More Text as Art

Final

This piece aimed to play on the words of the banner created. Typically a banner is a bold statement hung directly in a location with great visibility to make a statement to those who view it. I found it comedic to incorporate the word ambivalently into a banner that is defined as opposing. By pinning the banner to one side of the wall yet allowing the other side to fall and lay across the ground, I feel this choice reflects the ambivalence directly and exploits that. Rather than making a statement with the words presented, this banner makes a statement by oddness and very opposite method of display. The choice to make the words white to blend them slightly with the background also stems from the same idea to be opposing to the bold statements banners usually convey. The letters want to be seen, they are in all capitals, but they are not making an evident statement by being white letters and hung halfway.

Additional:

Additional: This piece I wanted to completely edit. By utilizing the word excerpt “Kiss of death”, I wanted to channel the energy that as developed from being amongst a pandemic for a year. By incorporating two masked figures appearing to be leaning in for a kiss, I wanted to separate them by the words. The idea that being close to someone today could mean risking your health and essentially your life was the message I wanted to strongly convey here.

This piece was edited and created in a photoshop app – I wanted to see what I could create on a strict digital platform rather than a physical banner or completely staged photograph to develop the skills I would be using for editing. I wanted the text to also be continuously one page as a cursive sentence but I did not have paper long enough so the digital option developed.

Week #2: Text as Art

Notes as Text

Following the art as text lecture, I found I was very drawn to two of the works, more so than the others, for similar reasons – Jenny Holzier’s Truisms and Shelley Niro’s The Shirt

Jenny Holzier’s work is very bold and crass in the best ways. Her ‘one liners’ are comical and blunt and absolutely make a statement. The presentation through formats of billboard’s and large signs, as well as galleries and even clothing apparel, Truism’s acts to be right in your face through multiple means. Her goal was to garner a rise out of the audience, a reaction or a spark towards that start of conversation amongst the viewer’s. When present in such public places, the likelihood of this occurring increases greatly compared to the presentation in just a gallery or museum space. I think every aspect of this work is successful, and the format of the piece only operates to develop her bold content further. Shelley Niro’s The Shirt gave me a similar effect. Aside from both works being printed clothing, they also make very bold and political statements. Niro uses the stereotypical tourist shirt to display her message through dark irony and satire, making an almost too bold statement but does not stray from truth. Her work directly addresses the long-standing effects as a result of colonial settlement on First Nations peoples, creating discourse. In combination with the shirt making a statement, the woman who wears it, and the background, this piece was also very successful in making a statement to start conversation among the viewers.

Week #1: Book stacks

Process of my work

I relied heavily on Nina Katchadourian’s work as inspiration for my stacks. I found the narratives very entertaining and extremely creative, how she could convey and paint portraits of the libraries the books belonged. She enabled clever and I wanted to create short narratives in my work as well.

The number of books I was working with was very limited. Neither my roommates nor I brought enough of a collection to our student house that we would deem it a library, but I worked with the given resources.

It was, at first, difficult to separate the titles and view them not as books as a whole to reinvent them and utilize them for a different narrative purpose. The stacks I created do not explicitly convey me or the owners of the borrowed books, but rather interesting and somewhat ominous and distant narratives giving the viewer space to convey the meaning how they choose. By grouping like titles or meanings, I began to form the stacks below.

In the middle… (2021)
Fuel for fire (2021)
Life experiencing the human (2021)

Tessa

WEEK ELEVEN:

I had fun making the cake! I haven’t tried it yet, though. Hopefully it tastes good! The only ingredient that I did not have was chocolate chips.

WEEK TEN:

For my final product, I ended up with a video of me preparing the “soup” that is a bit over four minutes long. Initially, I thought I was going to do a voice over explaining what I was doing, but I preferred it without this. It almost seems like some sort of weird ASMR, except it is not very satisfying. The sound of me cutting into the wood is very squeaky and unpleasant, and there are a lot of cringe-inducing scraping noises as I stir the bowl. This year, I have focused a lot on making very absurd artworks. I really like the concept of making food with things that are not food. I like the sense of discomfort that I feel when watching this. The thought of someone eating this freaks me out a bit.

Another thing that I have been focusing on in my art is feelings of nostalgia and childhood memories. It is so interesting to recreate something as an adult that you used to do as a child.

I used

  • Grass
  • Flowers
  • Rocks
  • Burnt Piece of Wood
  • Pinecone
  • Water

WEEK NINE:

This may sound like it is completely unrelated, but what made me think of my idea was the bread podcast we listened to. It made me think about how bread means something to everyone, and everyone has at least one memory surrounding bread. For me, some of my fondest memories of bread come from my childhood. That made me start to think about what other food-related memories I had from my childhood. One thing that came to mind was this one Easter when I was probably around seven or eight years old, my grandparents gave me this huge chocolate bunny and I ate the whole thing when my Dad was busy giving my brother a bath. I thought about recreating that moment for a video, but I knew that would make me feel very sick and I wasn’t up for that. So then I thought of other memories of food I had when I was a child.

When I was a kid I used to make “soups” out of everything that I could find outside. My grandfather owned this nice little piece of land in the country that we called “Grandpa’s Garden.” There were two huge fields that were part of his garden that he grew many types of vegetables in. Because of how big the fields were, he had this bathtub in the middle of one of those fields that would collect rainwater that he would use to fill his watering can. One day, I was with a couple other kids and we decided to make a “soup” in that bathtub. We put in dirt, rocks, leaves, and some of the crops to really make it interesting. I really like the concept of nostalgia and reliving some entertaining childhood memories, so this memory really inspired my idea for this assignment.

I want to make a video of myself making a “soup” out of stuff that I find in my backyard. There’s branches, leaves, apples, walnuts, and many other interesting ingredients. I want to make a video of myself preparing, scooping, and presenting the “soup.” I also want to write down and post the recipe of what I make.

WEEK EIGHT:

Bread is something that is very important to me. It is a comfort and is something that I have probably a couple times every week.

Bread is something that was very important to me growing up. Some of my fondest memories of my childhood involved bread. I remember being very young and waking up on Saturday mornings to my dad baking a fresh loaf of bread for my brother and I to have for lunch for the next few days. We had a very small house, so the whole place would smell like freshly baked bread when he made it. I would always be so excited at school when it was time to eat and I would open my lunchbox to find some of my dad’s bread. So much has changed since I was a child. My dad’s bread maker broke and life became more complicated as I grew older, but to this day, baking bread reminds me of the point in my life when I was the happiest. Making bread as a class reminded me of that time.

Bread is a staple in my family. I am currently back home living in Barrie with my mom and my brother. We get local grocery deliveries every week, and recently, we have been getting a loaf of sourdough bread every week. In my house, there is nothing more exciting than having a loaf of bread. It creates more possibilities and options for meals, or you can just have it plain, but no matter what, it always tastes good.

I think that one reason why people started to bake bread during the pandemic was that we all collectively attempted to learn a new skill or become more resourceful when we were staying home. This might sound weird, but I felt so accomplished after making bread from scratch in our class. In my twenty years of being alive, I have accomplished many amazing things, but for some reason I was especially proud of myself for this. Bread is just such an important everyday food, so for me to finally make it by myself felt very impressive.

Something that I really liked about the podcast was an observation that it made close to the beginning. It talked about how bread is important in pretty much every culture in some way. Not only is bread consumed by so many different cultures, but the form and meaning behind bread differs between cultures. Bread is significant in christianity, for example. But ultimately, bread is the one food that brings us all together. What especially shocked me was how the term “companionship” comes from eating bread together. Bread has always been a big part of my life, but this podcast made me realize how many different conversations we can have related to bread. The podcast described bread as a foundation. It was easy to transport and easy to make throughout the years. Bread was a very significant part of human development. Although, it also claims how bread was the worst mistake that humans have ever made. Storing grain equaled storing wealth, which meant that some people had more power over others. Poorer people usually farmed for wealthier people in order to make bread. Bread was also used as a currency throughout time to pay workers. Bread can also be kind of controversial because it can be rather unhealthy for you if not eaten in moderation. I have encountered many people in my life who do not eat bread because they are trying to be healthy. The podcast stated that the idea of bread itself is political, which I find very interesting and true.

I forgot to take a picture of my bread, but I do have a photo of the dough.

The bread turned out so much better than I thought it would. I was just about to start another class so I was a bit distracted when I made the dough. I was worried that I might have done something wrong, but it turned out amazing and my mom and brother loved it.

WEEK SEVEN:

Suck Teeth Compositions:

I really enjoyed this piece. It describes how the act of sucking in your teeth is often done as an act of disapproval, disgust, or disappointment. This action is performed by a group of Black people. Additionally, each time a person is shown, it typically shows them three times on the screen, or shows them with two other people on the screen at the same time. The frame is relatively close to the person’s face, but we can still see enough of their body to see their corresponding body language. The audio is clean and crisp, and it is easy to understand what the noise they are making is. The use of media and visual technology creates a very interactive experience with this piece. The individuals in the video are responding to both global and personal issues that they have experienced with race. The understanding of racism by many white people is that they believe that they are not racist and that Canada does not have not have a racism issue because they say we are “not as bad as the United States.”  I have met racist people who get offended when they are called racist because they don’t want to be associated with that word, even though it perfectly describes them.

Something that truly angers me is how often I have heard people say something along the lines of “racism doesn’t exist in Canada.” I attended a primarily white elementary school, and the way that many of the non-white students were treated was disgusting, and I do not understand how people think that racism is not an issue in Canada. 

I think that this piece would not have as much as an impact if it was not shown as a video. This piece could have been done as a series of photos, but I do not think that photos alone can capture the emotion that is held in the video. I think that part of the instructions were likely something along the lines of “think of your experience living in Canada as a Black person,” or a response to someone saying “racism in Canada isn’t that big of an issue.” Everyone looks upset and like there is so much on their minds. I think that the use of technology in this video piece is perfectly used and I think that the style of the video is absolutely essential to portraying this message.

This is the only video that worked for me. The other two links did not work when I pressed them, but I did try to do some additional research on “The Mobile Kitchen Lab.” I think that this project shares a similar theme as the previous one.

http://basilalzeri.com/projects/the-mobile-kitchen-lab-presents-beit-suad/ 

I found some great information on this site. This piece is inspired by systemized violence, similar to the previous piece. Based on this website, it appears that this piece is the artist, Basil AlZeri, cooking meals that his mother would cook for him and then teaching his audience to make those meals.

What strikes me the most is the familiar and comforting use of video calls as a part of his art. In the photos I found, it shows him cooking while on a video call with his mother. I have family living in many places around North America, so video calls have been a big part of my life for the past decade or so. My aunt and cousin live in Mexico, so we video call them every few months to catch up. I think that video calls and technology are a great way to celebrate one’s culture or their relationship with other cultures in ways that are more easily accessible to do now. It is easier to communicate with your friends and family who live in another country than you do.

My cousin is half Mexican and has always lived in Mexico, so I’ve only been able to see him in person maybe three times. I think that the act of video calling a family member and sharing memories or information is so wonderful. When my family and I talk to each other, it is interesting to see how different our lives are because of where we live. In Canada we have snow and cold winters that my cousin doesn’t get to experience in Mexico. We share our very different experiences and stories over video calls.

This piece focuses on the importance of embracing your family and culture despite the violence against Palestinian people. After a call with his mother, he holds workshops to teach his audience how to make the food, which celebrates his culture and his relationship with his mother. I think that food is something that brings so many people together, and also creates a sense of comfort in this work. 

I think that the initial presence of his mother on a video call is essential to this piece. I don’t think that this work would have affected me so much if there was not this use of technology that I can relate to so much.

For my zoom video, it didn’t turn out how I thought it would. I asked about 40 people to help me but no one was available except for my brother so we just rolled with it. I was originally going to edit it and just make it a compilation of our animal noises, but I actually preferred the unedited version. It was really messy and we laughed a lot, and my brother kept coughing for some reason. It reminded me of how in our online classes, we cannot edit out our mistakes. I like how raw and cringeworthy it is. My idea is something that I think could have been so fun and interesting with a large amount of people, but since it was just the two of us I felt like it could be less formal and more like we’re trying to communicate and have a conversation.

WEEK SIX:

For my idea, I would like to make a “Zoom Zoo.” I want to have a large group of people together on a zoom call, and have everyone imitate an animal. I had a lot of fun when we made a video in class with all the different reactions at inappropriate times. I realized that I really love videos like that which are entertaining and often weird. I had a lot of initial ideas, with some being:

  • Everyone screaming together
  • A physical fight over a zoom call
  • A staring contest
  • Someone leaving their mic on, which records an awkward situation or conversation
  • Everyone breaking proper zoom etiquette
  • Having a conversation with myself on the different days of the week

Although I had many ideas, I became very interested in my concept of a Zoom Zoo.

Other than the video we made in class, my biggest inspiration was the video of the people singing Bob Marley songs. I like the idea of many people together on one screen, working as one, but also independently. Each person plays a significant part of the whole piece, and it’s so wonderful. I want to try and do this, but in a very different way.

When coming up with this idea, I was spending a lot of my time thinking about zoom calls and the new problems and situations that have surfaced because of them. I googled a couple words related to zoom calls to see what google would suggest for me to look up. 

A primary thing that often came up in these searches was that zoom calls make people uncomfortable, or they make people feel very bored. I have had a fair share of awkward zoom moments. A couple weeks ago in sculpture I accidentally unmuted my mic and I was aggressively shaking a bottle of vitamins to try and get one out and everyone heard that and had no idea what I was doing. I have also heard countless of my classmates speaking when they thought they were muted. These are all new issues to us, so of course there are some rather funny mishaps sometimes.

I am a very quiet person and more often than not I will be in zoom calls with my mic and camera turned off. With my idea of a Zoom Zoo, I wanted to acknowledge and tackle the idea that zoom calls can be boring, awkward, or even chaotic and overwhelming by creating a purposely intense and uncomfortable situation.

WEEK FIVE

Here is my finished video. I ended up only doing indoor plants because I couldn’t get footage that easily distinguished between the outdoor plants because they were all dead or bare because of the weather. There may be a few editing errors that I missed in this final video. Premiere kept crashing on me and I had to keep restarting everything so I might not have caught everything.

WEEK FOUR

Many of these artworks made me think about plants in ways that I usually would not. I found “Houseplant vacation,” to be especially interesting. Most of our houseplants stay put, and are not usually moved around too much. The idea of taking your plants from your home and taking them on a “vacation” is a very interesting concept that I really enjoy. Another concept I really like comes from “Trees are fags.” In this audio walk, it is discussed how trees have been around for so long and have had so many experiences.

My brother recently told me about a conversation girls in his class were having about plants. They were saying how there is something wrong with you if you do not regularly talk to your plants. I wouldn’t say that I often talk to my plants, but I do sometimes make comments about how they’re doing when I water them. This comment made by his classmates made me wonder something: if plants could talk, what would they say? 

Moving forward with this concept, I started thinking about what each one of plants would talk about. All of my houseplants came from somewhere, and they eventually ended up at the grocery store where I bought them. Some I bought in Barrie and others in Guelph. My small collection of plants have been in places that I probably haven’t been before. They have interacted with people before I got them. It is possible that someone else almost bought them before I did but decided against it. Then, I thought about outdoor plants. They have also seen many interesting things and people. The trees in my backyard have seen me grow up over the past eleven years. They have experienced harsh snow and rain storms that my indoor plants would have been inside for. Looking at these contrasting experiences, I thought: if indoor and outdoor plants could talk to each other, what would they say to each other? And how do their own memories differ from plant to plant? And most importantly, what would these plants say about myself. Throughout my whole life, I have been surrounded by plants. Each plant has a memory of me. Plants have seen me at my best and at my worst.

My idea for this assignment is to have each plant tell a memory of me. The memories of each plant will vary depending on when I got the plant and whether it is an indoor or outdoor plant. The following images are a few examples of plants and how they relate to me. An autobiography, but told through the perspective of significant plants.

Here’s a couple examples of plants and memories or moments that I associate them with.

WEEK THREE

 Some of the sentences that I was looking at:

meaningless way to describe art

the lone image of a glass of milk

Simplicity

anxieties about death

minimal aesthetic

deeply conflicted

While reading the article, I wrote down every sentence that stuck out to me. Some I thought sounded very deep and meaningful out of context, and others I found sounded quite strange. Then I kind of made it my goal to find the best sentence that could be looked at out of context and perplex the viewer. I ended up going in a weird direction for this assignment. The words I chose to isolate were “The lone image of a glass of milk.” I thought it was funny and kind of ominous. I made the banner out of blue paper and a blue marker. I was hoping to use a blank wall as the background and just have a glass of milk in front of it, but the banner was too big to be hung inside my house. I went outside in my backyard and chose our pergola to hang the banner. I put the glass of milk on the step and hung the banner above it. I like how it turned out. It’s very weird.

WEEK TWO

Both artists use text in very interesting ways. In the first example, Myre uses an existing text: The Indian Act, and beads over the writing. In Niro’s work, she writes her own text on the shirt. To begin, I’m going to talk about both pieces and how the medium is relevant to each message. 

Nadia Myre, Indian Act, 2002
I learned about this piece in an Indigenous art history course that I took last semester. In this class, I learned about how significant beading is. To take the Indian Act and cover it with beads is very powerful. It is a message of holding onto one’s culture even when it was trying to be destroyed. The materials used in this piece are especially significant, because of how important the art of beadwork is in Indigenous communities throughout time. The Indian Act has caused so many horrible things to happen. 
Shelley Niro, The Shirt (detail), 2003

Just like the previous piece, Shelley Niro’s “The Shirt” is also very powerful and the materials in combination with the text are very strong. Indigenous people have been treated in horrible ways for so long. They have been looked at as some sort of rare object to be observed by Europeans, almost like some sort of tourist attraction, which I can see portrayed in Niro’s piece. I also learned in my art history class last semester that countless precious artworks and ceremonial masks or other objects were stolen and displayed in museums by Europeans, which is an example of my previous point.

I think the main message is that Indigenous people have been through so many terrible things, and nothing has been done to resolve it, shown in the “and all’s I get is this shirt.” As I’m sure you know, getting a t-shirt as a gift from someone who travelled somewhere exciting is considered very underwhelming and disappointing. So to say that her ancestors went through all that trauma that continues to affect people to this day and then say that all she gets out of this all is a shirt says a lot about how Indigenous people feel about the lack of compassion and continuing mistreatment that exists to this day. I think that using a shirt with this text is a perfect way to portray her message.

The medium is very important in this piece because it creates a commentary on the issues that I have mentioned, like treating Indigenous people and objects as tourist attractions throughout the years, and also, shows how Indigenous people are left with nothing. 

In both examples, the viewers are supposed to use their historical understanding of Indigenous issues and connect the text to that. The first example shows a feeling of overpowering the horrible contents of the Indian Act with beadwork. The second shows the frustration and disappointment experienced by Indigenous people. I think that both of these artworks create an emotional response in the viewers. I found both pieces very powerful.

WEEK ONE NOTES

I had a lot of fun creating book stacks. I was most inspired by Nina Katchadourian’s narrative compositions. I made it my goal to make really absurd stacks that tell weird stories or say strange points. My house has so many books in it, so I had a lot to work with. I went through every bookshelf in my house, trying to find titles that I thought sounded interesting. At first, I used books with similar themes or genres. I grouped books for children together, and textbooks together, but nothing sounded good to me. I went through my mom’s bookshelves, and I found books with more interesting titles. I combined different types of books and ended up with some pretty interesting narratives.

To me, my examples feel like they’re trying to make a point, but that point is unclear and you’re not too sure what to take away from it. They feel kind of ominous and overall very odd, and I really enjoy that.

Sierra

Week 11: Cake

My cake. Single-layer chocolate with icing
Eating it during class

My “pandemic” cake is basically the same cake I always make. It’s my go-to chocolate cake recipe:

  • 1 ¼ cup flour 
  • 1 cup sugar 
  • ⅓ cup cocoa powder 
  • 1 tsp baking soda 
  • ½ tsp salt 
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract 
  • ⅓ cup vegetable oil 
  • 1 tsp vinegar 

Bake at 350 degrees F for approx. 30 mins. Check with toothpick.

For icing I just mix icing sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla extract, vegan margarine, and either water or soy milk together.

For actual occasions I make two batches of this recipe and layer them with icing in-between.

Week 10: Food Art

Patience (excerpt)

The original video is 13 minutes long, but I could only upload this 2-minute version unfortunately.

The original begins with me looking into the camera and then picking up my chopsticks before beginning to eat the rice one grain at a time. It ends with me placing the back down and looking into the camera again.

Week 8: Bread

My family doesn’t have a particularly close relationship to bread. However, growing up, I would eat papo secos (a Portuguese bread) with food when we would go to my Açorean Vovo’s (grandmother’s) house for special occasions and knäckebröd (Swedish rye crispbread) when I visited my grandma and grandpa (my grandma’s heritage is Swedish Finn; the Swedish-speaking population in Finland).

The podcast infuriated me. The claim that bread has resulted in the epidemic of chronic disease racking the industrialized world is scientifically inaccurate. It doesn’t even make common sense. Even Canada’s Food Guide, which has been historically atrocious, is finally seeing the light. People who eat increasing amounts of animal products are at greater risk of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, strokes, obesity, and many other diseases. The science shows this in droves, but the meat, dairy, and egg industries are multi-billion dollar industries with a lot of influence and corruption. On top of that, people don’t like to be told to stop eating animal products for any reason, wether that be their health, the environment, or animals. People living in areas of the world where they eat mainly plant foods have next to no chronic disease, but those living in places that are becoming more industrialized and wealthy are starting to eat more meat, etc. and are increasingly approaching the levels of chronic disease we see in the West. The podcast also presented the idea that insulin resistance is caused by carbohydrates being converted to sugar in our bodies, which is a blatant inaccuracy by omission. By this logic, every single food causes insulin resistance. Insulin resistance and diabetes are when our muscles cannot take in the sugar from food (which they need for energy) from our bloodstream, resulting in a buildup in the blood. Excess sugar in the blood is not caused by sugar; it is caused by saturated fat, which prevents our muscles from taking in the sugar and using it. This podcast is perpetuating a dangerous myth that demonized carbohydrates (which are no more that 1 of 3 macronutrients that all food is made up of and which we need for survival: fat, protein, and carbohydrates). It also ignores the true cause of the “diseases of civilization”, which is animal products, that, unlike plants, contain cholesterol and trans fats, in addition to far more saturated fat. This might seem like an overreaction, but I don’t think people realize how serious the state of human health is in the world. We’re living in an age where children in the US are expected to have shorter lifespans than their parents. If you have influence, you have the moral obligation to do your research and accurately portray science, not spread and perpetuate dangerous misinformation that literally costs millions of lives (not including trillions of animal lives) every year. I know this is already over 500 words, but it really made me upset. For the record, the whole grains in whole grain bread protect against chronic disease and white bread isn’t great, but it also isn’t a killer. If you have to choose between eating the bun or the burger, please eat the bun. But yes, of course, eat the lettuce, tomato, and onion too, and order a whole wheat bun if you can- with a veggie burger! If anyone’s reading this, please get your dietary and health info from sources that use multiple sources, site all sources, and check studies for conflicts of interest. Not the news, random blogs, or sites that look reputable, yet only site one or two studies. NutritionFacts.org is amazing.

The critique of bread and grains from an environmental standpoint was also pointless. ~70-90% of all grains go to feeding animals for food, depending on the type of grain. So, if you’re going to critique agriculture in any practical manner, you need to first look at animal agriculture. It makes no sense to even suggest that bread is bad when vegans literally consume less plants than meat eaters and vegetarians (due to the amount of plants needed to produce the same amount of meat, dairy, or eggs). If you ate only bread, you’d have a vastly smaller environmental footprint than the average Canadian.

As an anthropology major, my final critique of the podcast is that the talk of “civilization” and “bread is life” was a bit ethnocentric, as they didn’t mean humanity so much as agricultural societies. It neglected to make clear that not all cultures have bread, or even grains for that matter. I just think the way they went about discussing bread was a bit too all-encompassing and seemed to suggest a universality where there isn’t.

What I was excited to hear from the podcast was the owner of Banjara, because I grew up going to that restaurant near Christie Pits and it’s the best Indian food I’ve ever had. Very nostalgic, warm memories.

I love making art, cooking, and baking. I often think about how it makes sense that I like all these things, because at the core of it, I enjoy creating things. I love making things myself and often get inspired to try making food stuffs that I’d never thought to make myself before. It gets me excited when I realize that I can make (or at least try to make) something I’d previously taken for granted as something to get at the store. For me, art and cooking are almost one and the same and, indeed, I sometimes mix the two. I love the feeling of creating something myself, wether it be a painting, a gift for someone, a cake, or a dinner I’m proud of. I love the satisfaction of completing a project and am often motivated by creating for others, be it any of the things I mentioned previously. I also enjoy experimenting in both areas. I can see why a bunch more people might be making bread during the pandemic, as many people have had more time on their hands and more time at home. More people are trying new things they previously hadn’t had time for (or weren’t bored enough to try haha).

My in-class white bread
It was fluffy and I was pleased to discover it tasted like a baguette. Next time I want to try a baguette shape or otherwise pan-less loaves or buns
Subsequent loaves I made (whole wheat and 1/2 whole wheat)

Week 7: Zoom Video Art

Notes

I ended up using all 12 of the ideas I came up with originally and luckily they fit into a perfect arrangement. I wish I had done a video using a cell phone. I thought of that idea after-the-fact.

I had intended for the video to cut in the “Zoom call”, with everything still going on, but when I watched through the video for the first time after throwing all the clips together in the editor, I liked how they all ended at different times and how this emulated people leaving a Zoom call. It was unintentional, but because many of my clips were different lengths, it happened that way. I then edited the lengths more to fit better, as originally the longest ones were way to long and undermined the effectiveness of the piece.

Final Video

Rude

Week 4: Nature Video Art

I enjoyed the Tree are Fags walk, found it relaxing, and felt that it did bring me closer to the trees. I went to the little forest near my house (we’d had deep snow the last couple days and it was beautiful, peaceful, and bright). At the end, once I’d found “my tree” and after asking it if I could touch it (as instructed) in Korean (my choice), I ended up standing there with it for a little while longer, appreciating the bark. Then I took a photo of it and went home feeling refreshed.

The forest near my house
“my” tree

I thought to do a sort of reverse of the Trees are Fags concept. Whereas the the walk has you follow the directions of a person, I wanted to follow the trees’ directions.

I decided to go back to forest and walk for 5 minutes. I would start walking in a straight line until I met a tree. Then, I would look at the tree and interpret the direction it seemed to be leaning. I would then follow the tree’s direction and walk again in a straight line until I met another tree, repeating the process.

I did four attempts to get the final video. The first take was good except for the fact that I accidentally filmed it in portrait orientation (to be fair, I think this fits the trees’ perspective better). The next two takes were failures terminated part way through, but the last one ended up being the final. The first and last takes (the ones I completed) were perfect walks. By the end of 5 minutes, the trees had had fun messing with me, sending me through messes of branches, across a little valley, and through bushes, but both times the trees directed me back onto the path I had started on by the 5 minute mark.

Final Video

Directions

Week 3: Banner

Notes

I began by putting the article into a document and highlighting phrases of interest as I read.

The phrases I liked most:

Narrowing it down further…

I drew the letters free-hand on paper and cut them out, leaving tabs on the tops so that I could hang them from a string.

Final Banner

Awkward (Self-conscious Banner)

Week 2: Text Art

I chose to compare Shelly Niro’s piece, The Shirt (2003) and Nadia Myre’s Indian Act (2002) (I will only be commenting on the two photos from The Shirt on the Week 2 page, though I’m aware that the full piece includes more images as I’ve seen it in person).

Although both pieces are comments on colonization by Indigenous Artists in North America, they make use of text very differently. The Shirt consists of photos of the artist wearing a white shirt with text saying different things in each photo. In the first photo, the shirt says, “My ancestors were annihilated, exterminated, murdered and massacred” and in the second photo says, “And all’s I get is this shirt”. Indian Act consists of the printed Indian Act with red and while glass beads sewn overtop so that white beads replace the words and red beads take up the space surrounding the words.

The Shirt evokes the idea of the banal, mass-produced souvenir shirt which tells the reader that someone the wearer knows visited a particular country, but all the wearer got was the shirt. The Shirt contrasts this image with the meaning of the words on the other shirt, which are painful and highly distressing, but make the viewer uncomfortable in the context of what is typically a humorous shirt.

The Indian Act appropriates and uses beading to replace the words of a document which enshrines colonization and serves as a reminder of it’s effects. In this way, the artist erases the Indian Act with a traditional craft which has survived colonization.

Week 1: Book Stacks

Notes

Book titles 1
Book titles 2
Experimenting with combinations 1
Experimenting with combinations 2

Artist Nina Katchadourian often makes book stacks from private and public collections, constructing a kind of portrait of the owner or place using sequences of titles. She begins by looking through the books and writing down titles of interest. She then transfers the titles onto cue cards and experiments with arranging them into different sequences. Her final step is to collect the books and arrange them into the final stacks.

Katchadourian often creates narratives out of the book title sequences. They may be abstract, humorous, or thought-provoking. My personal favourites are A Day at the Beach and Primitive Art:

A Day at the Beach, 2001
Primitive Art, 2001

These two stacks perfectly capture the humorous aspect to Katchadourian’s work which I love. The narratives are well constructed for easy reading and comprehension and the book tiles create such a deadpan humour when read. In my own stacks, I attempted to bring some of Katchadourian’s narrative style to my own stacks.

Final Stacks

I Like You
Men, Beasts, and Gods
America, but Better

Week 11

Summary of work due next week:

Complete Food and Art assignment and post your final work/images/videos on the blog with a title and description of the work.

We will discuss your finished projects in our final class, Tuesday April 6, 2021. And we will celebrate making it through the term together by sharing and discussing our final exercise, a PANDEMIC CAKE.

Final Exercise:

  • Complete a version of this recipe before our class meeting (you can do it the night before, or the same day):

An image promoting the rationing of food from the second world war in Canada, that accompanies a recipe for War Cake, or Poor Man’s Cake. See the article describing this historical moment, when things like butter, eggs and milk were rationed and hard to come by – but people still needed the comfort, pleasure and calories from cake. See the article here:http://activehistory.ca/2019/08/eating-history-canada-war-cake/

From Sophie Hicks:

“The lack of eggs, milk, and butter in this recipe is indicative of a conservational period that spanned from the early 1910s to the mid-1940s. World War I, the Great Depression, and World War II all put a similar strain on food, but had varying degrees of effect. Unlike the Depression years, the World Wars cast a shadow over Canada that affected every economic class. During the 1930s, middle and upper class that retained employment and cash flow were not required to make the drastic lifestyle changes necessary for the lower class. However, when Canada became involved in World War II, food conservation was no longer a result of financial means, but patriotic motives.

The prevalence of similarly conservational recipes conveys a broader importance than the cake alone.  It’s representative of a national sentiment in an era of uncertainty. As Ian Mosby said in “We are what we ate: Canada’s history in cuisines,” Canada War Cake was a “potent, if not slightly chewy, symbol of the mobilization of the entire home front for total war.”

See the recipe for War Cake from “This Week’s Best War-Time Recipes,” Windsor Daily Star, 14 March, 1942.

PANDEMIC CAKE:

Everyone will make a quick cake – WITH WHATEVER YOU HAPPEN TO HAVE ON HAND IN YOUR KITCHEN. Use substitutions liberally or intentionally – make do – even if all you have are olives and relish, sugar and water. It might be something accidentally delicious, or awful, or something in between – but it will be a portrait of a moment, in this world, in this country, in your home, in your life. If you hate this assignment for whatever reason, solve it conceptually – and talk about it.

Post a snapshot and a description of your cake too – for the record. You may even include the recipe for others.

I will also be baking a pandemic cake for the occasion – a super easy one pot recipe. You mix all the ingredients right in the pan and stick it in the oven! Start it up at lunch time and eat cake together with us!

Use this recipe, or the original War Cake recipe above as a starting point to make your own PANDEMIC CAKE:

https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1020063-made-in-the-pan-chocolate-cake