Monday, 25 October 2010

Exploring Paper in 3-Dimensions.

'Vu d'optique' or more simply; three dimensional papercraft, is the method of cutting and layering several flat prints/papers to create an image of realism and depth. The first information I looked at on the subject was the book Three Dimensional Art by Hilary Cairns who discovered the craft living in Canada. After moving back to Britain she made children's educational kits and wrote this book. She gives talks and lectures on the subject, and also has an interest in d├ęcoupage. The book introduces the technique, how to start as a beginner and it contains a selection of artist's examples. Suggested subjects are birds and animals, people/figures, cartoons, flowers and landscapes or scenes.

Green Bottom Farm, Embsay. Alan Ingham

Potentilla and Butterflies. Eleanor Ludgate.

Christmas Robin. Chris Shields.

Tawny Talk. Trevor Parkin.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Where The Wild Things Are - Set Design.

As I thought about the theme of nature and shelter, the 2009 film 'Where The Wild Things Are' sprung to mind. Based on the book by Maurice Sendak, Spike Jonez adapted the children's book and made it into a visually captivating piece of cinema.

The idea which connected the film and my project are the homes which the 'wild things' live inside of. Made of twigs and branches, the stick work shelters are like nests or cocoons. K. K. Barrett describes them as "simple yet complex". In contrast to the stark surroundings of nature, the wild things built simple looking homes which are structurally complex due to their circular form. Something to think about would be nests and how they compare to man-made items like baskets.

A talk with the set designer, K. K. Barrett:

Previously a musician, K. K. Barrett worked on commercials before getting into film sets, and has worked on 'Marie Antoinette', 'Lost In Translation' and 'Being John Malkovich'.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Wu Chi-Tsung.

Artist Talk at The Whitworth Art Gallery - Wu Chi-Tsung.

Wu Chi-Tsung is a Taiwanese artist who still lives and works in Taiwan. His main interests are photography, painting and installation and is currently the artist in residence at Manchester's Chinese Arts Centre.

Being raised in Taiwan, his first experiences of art were the traditional Eastern methods of calligraphy, watercolour and pencil when he was very young. When Wu Chi-Tsung attended art college, he moved onto video and film work yet the traditional cultural influence was always present.

His videos often involve the camera's features, for example one of his most simple videos is the view from his studio in Taiwan, this was filmed using a slow shutter speed in order to catch the raindrops on film.

Wu Chi-Tsung's first major installation was 'Wire'. Playing with light, this projection of a piece of wire mesh is simple but effective. As the projector focuses and the lens changes, it resonates a peaceful yet slightly eerie mood. The light and shadows look like clouds and the moon or mountains and hills with mist creeping through them. An open projector allows the audience to view the process, yet the projection appears to be an illusion; how the mesh is presented allows the viewer to see the object as something it isn't. After the success of 'Wire', Wu Chi-Tsung created 'Wire II', 'Wire III' and 'Wire IV'. 'Wire II' differs as the wire mesh is positioned on a slowly rotating wheel, similar to a film projector. 'Wire II' particularly resembles a mountainous landscape. 'Wire III', created in 2007, is a projection in a large circular space and the speed of the projector increases. The viewer can feel this speed throughout their body, the mood of the installation is violent and dangerous. This projection in a circular space is possible due to the lamp-like projector fixed to the floor. 'Wire IV' is based on the first installation; 'Wire'. The lens in the projector is wide and narrow, this allows for the image to start off small and gradually increase in size so the wire mesh is visible.

'Self-Portrait' is a photography project and Wu Chi-Tsung's first solo show. Using a long exposure and a flash-light in a dark room, he 'draws' a self-portrait. This experimentation in photography led to an interest in capturing landscapes, factories and historic buildings. He produced a few photographs from a 24 hour long exposure from 12 am to the following 12 am. On the opening night of this exhibition, Wu Chi-Tsung burnt the slides and films used.

'Dust' is an installation similar to his 'Wire' series with the use of a projector. Created in 2006, 'Dust' is simply a room with a projector and lights. As people enter the room, their movements causes any dust to lift and swirl in front of the lights. The faster people move, the faster the dust moves in this interactive piece of work. Personally, I think the dust looks like sequins and glitter or even stars. Therefore, this work explores scale as this green-tinted starry dust can represent thousands of stars in a galaxy or even the universe.

In 2008, Wu Chi-Tsung elaborated upon his photographic work with a photo/video series called 'Perspective'. These images are modern cityscapes of Taiwan and remain close to his own culture. The space condenses and bends the image, viewers are unable to find the vanishing point and the image appears flat. Any moving people or vehicles in the videos turn very thin as the feeling of space entirely changes. Many of the works in this series are of roads and pavements in the Taiwanese city he lives in, the work seems to give the viewer a different viewpoint; slight changes provide new viewpoints to observe the world.

'Still Life' holds even more cultural influence as he captures bonsai plants. He extended this further with 'Pine' and made videos of bonsai plants seemingly coming into focus through a white mist, which was in fact a mixture of milk and water. I found these to be peaceful works. 'Relife' however is of burning bamboo. Wu Chi-Tsung states; "the energy of flames and plants are very traditional". He made these works as many people believe that videos cannot be bought as a piece of artwork to display in the home, yet Wu Chi-Tsung presents his videos as paintings to appeal to art buyers.

Returning back to installations, 'Crystal City' is created from perspex boxes and lights. Shadows are cast through the transparent boxes; the light is quite digital and the shadows are very sharp. This produces a view across the city, which has one messy side and one ordered side, inspired by Beijing. Continuing from 'Crystal City' and his most recent piece of work; 'Float' doesn't cast shadows but gives the impression of flying or falling around the city buildings.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

More Shelter Images - Conkers.

When I went for a walk to take my first set of photographs for this project, I collected lots of conkers as an example of natural shelter. It took me a few days before I documented my finds, hence the mould and dryness, however I now like the difference between the protective weathered outer-shell and the shiny clean conker hiding inside.

Friday, 15 October 2010

Sarah Illengerger.

German artist Sarah Illenberger is also known as an illustrator, set designer and art director. Her work is diverse in terms of subjects and materials. Born in Munich, she attended Chelsea College and Central Saint Martins. Since 2007 she has worked from her Berlin studio. Her work varies from set design to photography but the image which grabbed my attention was 'Chilli Con Carne'; all the ingredients for the recipe made entirely from coloured paper. Using paper in my own work interests me for its potential for manipulation and the sheer amount of different papers that are available to find or make.

Chilli Con Carne.

Detail - Cheese.

Detail - Chilli.

Guten Morgen!

30 Jahre Vogue.

Monday, 11 October 2010

Shelter Project

This year's first project we assigned is a Research Theme and Collaborative Project. The theme is 'shelter'.

'It can be treated as openly as you wish whilst reflecting your artistic practice.
It can be a critical statement, an evaluation, a celebration, a contradiction or manifesto...
It can be explored through any medium it may be an object, image, performance, or event, analogue, digital real or virtual.
It will help you to define your practice and professionalize your methods.
You will test your creative ability in stretching a brief, finding an inroad for your curiosity.
You will learn to develop a contextual question and objective.
You will be inspired by undertaking comparative research.
You will make unusual findings transparent to others and work in a team towards a shared goal.'

Project management:

-Project Introduction and definition
-Discussion and work in small groups
-Development of initial individual project ideas and research  question
-Individual research
-Plenary discussions

In our small group, we discussed all possible ideas about what shelter could be. We came up with; buildings and architecture, wildlife and nature, an attachment to technology, emotional and psychological support, and homeless people and charities.

My immediate idea to work with is the nature and wildlife route. Natural shelters may include: caves, snail shells, hermit crabs, tortoise/turtle shells, trees, nests, burrows, rabbit warrens, mole tunnels, beehives, birdhouses, any animal shelter, woodlands and forests, acorns and conkers, flower buds, rocks and stone, dry stone walls, grass and water.
Possibilities of this could be; the landscape, exploring minute proportions of scale, natural textures, animal characteristics, found items in the landscape, man-made shelters found in a natural environment.

As a starting point, I went out on a walk and took several photographs with shelter/landscape/nature in mind.

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Rafael Lozano-Hemmer.

Recorders Exhibition.

From Saturday 18th September 2010-Sunday 30th January 2011, Manchester City Art Gallery is showing an exhibition by Rafael Lozano-Hemmer called 'Recorders'.

Born in Mexico City 1967, Lozano-Hemmer studied chemistry before exploring the world of visual art. He now lives and works in Montreal, Canada and has won numerous awards in interactive and media arts.

Recorders is an interactive exhibition which solely depends on the interaction and participation of the general viewing public for a successful existence. Some of the installations records pulse, fingerprints, voice and images, all of the content is "crowdsourced". At first glance the work can be seen as open, an opportunity to get involved and play, yet on a deeper level it emits the predatory nature of modern society's surveillance technology.

'Pulse Index' built in 2010, records fingerprints and heart rates. A fingerprint sensor takes the fingerprint and pulsates it to the beat of their heart rate. In a HD plasma screen display, it shows the last 509 participants, the most recent being the largest image.

'Pulse Index'

'Microphones' created in 2008 is made from several modified 1939-vintage microphones and loud speakers. The microphones records someones voice then playbacks the previous voice from a tiny loud speaker inside each of the microphones. The microphones combined with the loud speakers create an illusion of the microphones 'speaking back or replying' to the participant. The immediate previous voice may be played back or it could be one of 600,000 previous voices which Lozano-Hemmer intends to 'creates memories from these past echoes'.


'33 Questions Per Minute', originally created for the 2000 Havana Biennial, is made up of a computer, 21 LCD screens and a program which generates 55 billion questions at a rate of 33 per minute. This impressive installation avoids repetition of the same question resulting in a lengthy 3000 years to get through all possible questions. Lozano-Hemmer's reasoning behind this piece is a criticism of state censoring. The amount of questions generated makes it difficult for authorities to censor critical content because they have no idea of the source, it could be human or it could be computer-generated.

'33 Questions Per Minute'

'Pusle Room' 2006, is an entire room filled with rows of incandescent light bulbs, and heart rate sensors on a metal stand. Viewers of this work hold onto the heart rate sensors until their pulse has been read. The first light bulb flashes to the pulse of their heart rate, pushing the last pulse read down the queue of bulbs so each bulb represents one person's heart rate.

'Pulse Room'

I found this electronic-based exhibition more enjoyable than other similar exhibitions I have seen. This is because of the viewers ability to 'change the works of art' through their involvement. This becomes more accessible to audiences, for example, science or sociology students may enjoy this exhibition as well as artists. I thought the written information about each piece of work was important, it provided facts and figures which made the work seem a lot stronger, it also gave the viewer contemporary themes to consider, such as questions about the relevance of technology in the 21st century.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

More Photos from Chatsworth House.

'Le Diabolo'


'Gurutzeak I'

A silly attention-seeking pheasant.

A statue in Chatsworth Gardens.

A statue in Chatsworth Gardens.

A statue in Chatsworth Gardens.

A statue in Chatsworth Gardens.

A statue in the Rockery.