Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Cai Yuan Lecture - Cai Yuan and Jian Jun Xi (Mad for Real)

Cai Yuan's talk more than anything made me think about elements of my own practice, that initial thought process when it comes to my work; i always just assume that my work -unless Ive made a conscious decision otherwise, will end up in some form of white enclosed gallery space. and it was really interesting to see an artist who's work was so easily accessible, It was just that the two of them had just decided to take there work out of the gallery. 
During the Biennial the Tala Madani mural on the Gable end 24 Fleet Street had also started me off thinking about working in and out of the studio/gallery space. i think its because of the nature of my work at the minute, the insanely time consuming nature of the crosstitches and animations, that i really want to do something a little more disposable or ephemeral. Something thats outside of the usual white space. 
i think Cai Yuan and Jian Jun Xi's work has impressed a want on my behalf to move out of the studio, I'm not sure for how long the whim will take me, but i think there work has shown me that its not such an alien and difficult concept - the Tala Madani mural had started off that interest, but the sheer practicalities and logistics had phased me, it seemed a little out of my grasp. Cai Yuan and Jian Jun Xi's work however had shown me that its really not that imposing a concept.

Monday, 6 December 2010

My Work - Cross Stitiching

After looking at certain works by Hans Op De Beek and Ewan Gibbs, I became increasingly interested in the idea of vague familiarity and memory. The photos and postcards were so stereotypical in some ways that even though I didn’t know who these people are in the holiday photos, postcards and greetings cards. There is something integrally familiar that I can relate to, they trigger memories of my own, there was something fascinating in that idea of memory being something deeply personal and unique, but equally universal at the same time. The blurred photographs have a precarious value in the way that they have the ambiguity of being lost memories, belonging to no one, but at the same time, the ability of triggering off any number of people’s memories of their own.
I chose to deal with the physicality of this element of my project within the idea of cross stitch for several reasons, there was an initial simple word play on the idea of woolly images, and I loved that idea of blurred indistinct connections to the people and places. I also really like the ideas behind the process of converting an image into cross stitch; it’s like physically detaching myself from the original image, through the process of photocopying/enlarging the original to gridding it off and converting an image into writing, and converting the writing back into an image. That process of distancing the cross stitch from the original image reflected my feelings of being distanced from the people and places in the objects – I wanted the viewer to hopefully get the removed and blurred feeling and at the same time a level of curiosity of how the image has been constructed.
these are two of the images Ive managed to produce, the only down side with the concept of crosstitching is the ridiculous amount of time they take to produce. and honestly after doing these two I'm ready to go on to something a little less intensive.

A Foundation - My Work/Inital Animations

                                                  still from 'the encounter' by Agnieszka Kucharko

looking at the New Contemporaries one if the artist's who i found the most interesting and relevant to my own work was the video piece by Agnieszka Kucharko,  the piece was called 'the encounter' - the whole video is about 11 minutes long, if I'm  honest i didn't watch the whole video, i was just completely captured by a sequence that was only a couple of minutes long of foot steps down a dark corridor, it was the simplictity and rhythm of the foot steps that really interested me. it was just that really basic image, something that's not overly out if the ordinary, but just really captured my attention for those few minutes. its something that started me thinking about elements of my own work, and id love to be able to try and re-create that kind of image that will hold people's attention just for a few moments. that simplicity of moment that will keep your attention in a way that i suppose is quite superficial in that fact that your watching a very simple moving object - that doesn't demand too much thought process, but that's in its simplicity is completely compelling and mesmerising. hopefully i can try to recreate that in my own work.

as the project progressed i began to realise that the project for me had become much more about the process of the cross stitch, and really wanted to start exploring that idea. becoming more aware of what and why i was doing, and try to prevent me from just mechanically producing these bits of embroidery with no more thought input, almost more for my sanity more that anything.
and so with that in mind i began to experiment with animation, playing with the process process of the stitching, the way it was so time consuming, and the way it developed stitch by stitch, i had however never done anything like animation before, and as a result the little initial videos aren't really the best thing in the world;

the above animation is the first i attempted; there was a subsequent and very similar animation that had the stitches progressing from the bottom left hand corner - but looking at it afterwards, i decided that there needed to be more curiosity, to make people want to watch the animation in the first place. which resulted in the bellow (unfinished) animation; the animation is of pillow lace, an image i found in green book in the beginning of the animation.    

Sunday, 5 December 2010

My Work:

My work this academic year has its roots in one of the projects i was doing in my first year, not so much in a physical sense but being much more to do with the fact that the previous project centered around the subject of my paternal Grandmother. Towards the end of last year, in April, my 'Nana' passed away, and this current project really centers mainly around the physicality's of a death. the project initially pivoted around the process of emptying her house and sorting out 91 years worth of belongings and memorabilia.
One of the main ideas that surfaced was from all the things she left behind. all the objects she felt the need to keep, for example she had kept almost every birthday and Christmas card from my family, wedding anniversary cards, letters from when my father was born, looking through these objects I felt like I was learning new things about family members I never knew, fleshing out stories she had told me and reinforcing ideas I had. but at the same time I was coming across people I had never heard about, these strangers seemed to have been an important part of my Nana’s life but since her death had no relevance to anyone anymore, it was the relevance. The issue of their value, do they become worthless photos of strangers now that any link to them has been broken, now that they have no specific memories for me do they just become pieces of paper or are there any residual memory, does the fact that my nana chose to treasure them make them of some worth.

these are some of the initial photographs i took trying to deal with that issue;

The 2010 Liverpool Biennial and Biennials as a whole:


I'm not sure if my opinions of biennials as whole are as well rounded as they should be. Mainly because of the fact that the only biennial i have witnessed has been the recent 2010 Liverpool biennial. I'm not really able to make compassion's and judge on any other terms than what this particular event in the Liverpudlian calendar has impressed upon me.
when the biennial was first opened i was a little intimidated. i was anxious that there was so much going on, so much to experience and the idea of missing something was pretty worrying. the website didn't really help, it was so vast with so many links and different branches with all the different information. i very nearly concocted a calendar of all the different events, what times and where so i wouldn't miss anything. but honestly as i made my way back into the routine of university, and other normality's the issue of biennial obligations faded away.
i think in my naivety i was expecting something more, a more obvious change to the city center to alert me to the fact that there was a biennial going on, god knows what i was expecting - probably something more than the packaged gallery based exhibitions. i think i wanted something more public, more Carnivalesque. although to be honest there were some pretty big alterations to buildings and installations. the rapid building and Do Ho Suh's wedged house in the least. the advertising just seemed a little bit too static, and i suppose half the problem is when you do live in Liverpool after the first few times seeing something in your everyday environment i started to take it all for granted and stopped noticing anything anymore.
I personally haven't seen as much of the biennial as i would have liked to - I'm disappointed in myself for not really getting out there and seeing it all, but i think you need to feel like a tourist, and get all the excitement for it all which, when you live in the city and have other things to think of i was sometimes lacking. there were certain things i missed out on, and certain things we went to that didn't really seem all that impressive - mainly the long night, which I'm assuming was more of a nice afternoon; when we arrived at 8ish there wasn't much still doing. although a cheaper trip up the radio tower was good fun, albeit not really overly artistic.
i think on the whole for me the biennial was a positive thing to have happened. it was by no means detrimental, i possibly on some accounts haven't gained as much from it as i could, and in the end its my fault really. but on the other hand Ive certainly learned a lot from it, and its sparked some valuable and interesting experiences. and i think next time ill take the time to be a tourist for the day and experience it the way it is in my opinion really supposed to be. with a tourists curiosity and untainted view of it all.