At this early stage thoughts of the end product are vague but I am hoping to produce a mash up of different media including video performance, manipulated photography and sound and web. So far I have been inspired by these artworks –
Work which re-contextualizes readymade information material and re-enacts a social conflict as photographs of figures caught on Google Street View cameras are blown up to life size and pasted on walls in the exact location the image was taken. Signifying the lack of control over public data, presence on the Internet and the trail of information that remains that can find itself seeping into the physical.
Looks at the tribalism of consumer culture and the violence that it provokes by using a mixture of appropriated surveillance camera footage of Black Friday sales mixed with images of the London Riots lootings in an audio/visual live performance.
Making use of video archive footage of CNN news broadcasts which have been dissected and reassembled to construct a seemingly personal and emotive narrative delivered one word at a time from several news reporters. The work can be seen as comment on the way in which news programmes manipulate news reports and footage to generate contrived emotional reactions from viewers.
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The concept of self has been heavily influenced by consumer technology over the past decade or so. I have been interested in this blurry middle between the person we perceive ourself to be online and the person we are in the real and the undefined space between our multiple selves for while due to my continued personal investigation into alter ego and the common stereotype and assumption that comes with a character.
However, increasingly it has become the unquestioned norm to assume a version of yourself that exists solely online through means of social media/gamer profiles etc. Leading to a disconnection from reality in terms of the awareness of ourselves and the awareness and empathy of others. We seem to be living in times of ‘online disinhibition’ meaning the lack of restraint one feels when communicating online in comparison to communicating face-to-face, the Internet acting as a mask that makes it harder to perceive other users as people with feelings due to a lack of facial interaction.
The spectrum of human emotion has been simplified down to a set of emojis as a way of expressing ourselves, hashtags, memes and other internet devices are what is raising awareness and keeping us informed about what is going on in the world.
The proposed project hopes to take a critical look at the concepts of digital identity and personas and the culture of urgent self-expression on social media and comment threads, cynicisms in the public conscious. polarized opinion and disillusionment with media.
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I am no stranger to research, the importance of it has always been drummed into me. Perhaps not too familiar with the ins and outs at proper academic research but I do pride myself on doing some leg work around a subject before using it as part of my work. It probably comes from just being plan nosey too and having the need to just know what I don’t already or confirm what I think I do. The research I have done in the past I have do so by…well in simple terms just looking, listening, reading, making some creative work from my findings then going back doing those things again. I’d say that generally the work I make is a response to cultural observations I have made and by finding nuances in social ritual.
As a keen observer sometimes I can get a bit stuck in a passive role of just watching, listening and reading about the things I am researching. The guest lecturers that came to speak to us throughout module, introduced us to ways of gaining insight by having a more hands on approach.
Tess Denman-Cleaver an artist, researcher and director of theatre company Tender Buttons, spoke to us about to logistics and the real struggles and hurdles of setting up on your own, starting a business or your own company. Explaining the need for ‘strategic partnerships’ and drawing on the resources around you to get your venture off the ground. Whilst aspiring to set up her own theatre company she mentioned that the best advice she had was that “no one is going to ask you to do, so just do it.”
Tess’s lecture asked us to consider ourselves and they we work individually, noting that my own work pattern and flow, being aware that I have an all or nothing way of working with periods of contemplation followed intense periods of work and immersion where I can’t think of anything else. Thinking about what my work is already researching and what research I am already doing without being fully aware of it. Understanding that research doesn’t necessarily have to only exist within the constraints of academia.
At the end of our session with Tess we all took part in an exercise devised by Allan Kaprow, pioneer in establishing the concepts of performance art, where took two ice cubes placing one in our mouths and one in our hand. When the ice cube in our mouth had fully melted we were to say ‘now’, when the ice cube in or hand had fully melted we were to say ‘now’ and when our hand had fully dried naturally we were to say ‘now’. Tess explained that this exercise had been a real revelationary moment for her, open to the idea but sceptical that I would also have a revelation I shoved the ice cube in my gob…
For the first 10 minutes or so, i guess I was trying to figure what the task would reveal to me, stood still in the same spot I watch how the others handled to task. Some grounded themselves to the spot, some paced, some sat on chairs, some stayed close to their friends. Aware that I am comfortable with long periods of silence, observing that others busied themselves with their phones or intense fidgeting. It was only when the first person said ‘now’ did I start to understand what the task would mean to me. I felt a jolt of impatience when I heard the ‘now’ although my ice cube had only half melted I was starting to wonder when it would be my turn to move on to the next stage. I guess this is where the profound moment comes in. I started to understand that progression is sometimes at the mercy at things we can’t always control, having patience with the process and that only when the time is right is it time to move on.
Serena Korda introduced us to her work concerning ‘thin spaces’ and her research into abandoned histories, realising this research through large scale performances. Inviting us to get involved in her current work where using a radio telescope she has been listening to storm activity on Jupiter, we set up the radio on the university grounds in the hope of tuning into the sounds of the solar system. With a bit of old fashioned team work we erected the radio telescope and using a VLF receiver, which Serena had purchased from Nasa we listened for the sounds of Jupiter. I guess it was unlikely that we would be able to pick up the sounds of any celestial bodies given that we were smack bang it the middle of a city centre, the electromagnetic interference of traffic lights, mobile phone signals, cash points and the like got in the way of that. It was however interesting to listen first hand to the music of the city and invisible forces that keep a city ticking over and how each device has its own individual register. This way of field recording really appealed to me, mostly because I just loved the obscurity of it and I get the impression that the experience would be different every time.
A session with Tim Shaw involved an introduction to sound art and its history.
A couple of things of interest I noted where:
The discovery that Palaeolithic cave paintings could be evidence of mans first forays into sound visualisation as paintings of bison, horses and mammoths were positioned in places of natural resonant sound which amplified and transformed sound. Perhaps using primitive instruments in a particular part of the cave mimicked the sound of a stampeding herd?
Sound hallucination. The idea of sounds existing in the mind, a person having their own inner soundtrack. This also made me think of sounds not existing where they should be, our expection of sounds and how they can be our anchor to reality.
We also had a go at building a solar sound sensor circuit using a solar panel and piezo speaker which responded to light levels in the environment. Taking our little thingy’s for a walk around the building and around the campus it seemed to get the most excited about the lights in the corridors of Culture Lab, making sounds reminiscent of little analog crickets in the night.
Video creds to Jade Mallabone –
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As part of a John Bowers ethnography exercise we were asked to observe happenings in the town centre. As well as taking notes on the awkward avoidance of people running the chugger gauntlet we recorded some sounds on a H1 Zoom recorder I brought along with me.
Rolex Clock – Blackett St.
We (Alexei, Garry, Lewis and I) were interested in the reactions to the clock bell tower as it chimed 11am…expecting people to look up and confirm the time or maybe check their own devices or watches for accuracy. Most people didn’t react at all in fact…
Whilst checking out the Odeon demolition on Pilgrim Street we found a piano with its innards exposed. Garry and Alexei went about tinkling its ivories and plucking it strings with a student card..
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Next up we were asked document one of the outcomes of the practice swap group project. Focusing primarily on something created that was previously unfamiliar and create new work from it.
I chose to expand on the music I made for Ben’s task as for me that was the task that was the least familiar.
When I was putting the piece of music together I was thinking about big sounds and daunting, expansive landscapes.
My musings are often inspired by my experience of the gigantic, atmospheric and overwhelming. Difficult to describe sometimes but the feeling of insignificance when in big spaces/expansive landscapes and in what feels untouchable environments. An impending sensation or feelings of uncertainty and ideas of infinite space. I mean environment in all senses of the word, physical, mental, aural etc…
What I am trying to explain does actually scares the shit out of me a bit but I think thats what I like about it, a historical Ashley fact here… I used to have a recurring nightmare when I was a kid about what I can only describe as a huge black mass chasing me and there would be people surrounding having conversations that where overbearingly amplified. All very strange but those eerie, intimidating, overwhelming sensations are what captivate me today.
Anyway. I took a trip to Iceland not so long ago and I was really taken by the sounds and the drama of the landscape. Vast, void of human activity.
The sound of the rolling waves on a black volcanic beach was like nothing I had ever heard before, a deep, otherworldly rumble uninterrupted by any far off din of civilisation. I took a really crude recording on my phone which doesn’t do it justice at all obviously.
Getting back to creating new work from documenting where my inspirations came from for Ben’s tune. I decided to do a couple of things, firstly I wanted to create art from some of the photos I had taken of glaciers and volcanic rock in Iceland. I created abstract images by repeating photographs in various configurations in a attempt to produce alien, otherworldly environments.
Although photographs of huge landscapes, I feel the resulting images could be macro shots of alien organisms as they remind of cells and biological matter under the microscope, playing with scale in an interesting way…
Secondly, I was interested in making a music video for the piece of music I had made for Ben’s task. Keeping with the theme of vast spaces, this time I was keen on going cosmic.
Stanley Kubrick is one of my film hero’s (along with Alejandro Jodorowsky!!!) and his handmade visual effects for the Star Gate sequence in 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) which include and the slit scan camera technique as well as ink and oil in pans and trays of water have always mesmerised me. Creating a galactic environment in a meter squared of space is just dreamy!
I decided to conduct my own experiment with oil and ink on water, creating a visual for the track I had made.
Using a Panasonic AF101 film camera and a fixed zoom Voightlander lens, I messed about with food colouring, oil in some oven dishes and tried to create some expansive landscapes of my own, particularly enjoying the lo-tech aspect of the exercise. Using Premier Pro for the first time I edited the scenes together to create the little vid below. I’d say it’s a little crude and could do with refining at some point.
So at the start of semester 1 we were asked in groups of 4 to identify our individual practices and create 4 separate works by exchanging our practices with the others in the group. In essence in my mind to become familiar with the unfamiliar.
During my undergraduate I started to work with design fiction. As part of a project I designed a card game based on a concept from the Situation Lab called ‘A Thing From The Future’. The scenario generating game uses extrapolation theory to conjure up fictional objects for the future, whilst the game I designed, ‘Future Fictions’ is tailored toward future sport and physical endeavour.
My task for the other 3 asked to describe a near future scenario using the cards they picked and create an artefact that contextualises that future in some way our gives insight into a day in the life of an individual, society or culture from that fictional future.
This stemmed from an interest in objects and the way they can reveal the collective conscience of a society or the evolution of a culture.
Jade’s task was concerned with artistic process. It began with Jade presenting me with piece of her work which I was tasked with responding to. The idea was to the pass whatever I created on to the next person so they could respond to my work, leaving out Jade’s original and so on until the circle was complete…a kind of art based Chinese whispers.
Jade handed over her work (image below) with no description leaving me to decipher it and draw inspiration from my understanding of it alone.
The aim was to work quickly so I wrote down a few observations and decided to create an image from the list.
Her work drew me to thoughts of restriction, constriction, bondage and sadism…
The image was then passed on to Garry to respond to.
Ben task involved making a piece of music around a minute long using a range of simple samples and Garageband. Any tempo, any style and not all samples had to be used.
I had never used Garageband and I had no experience with creating music so I was excited about this task! The program performed a little like some film editing software I had used before so I applied what I knew there.
In real life, I am generally attracted to dark, drone-y, heavy, big bassy but ethereal sounds…doom sounds I call em…so I used that as the basis of my creation by starting with the bass samples.
I have a slight fixation with lining everything up so when it came to putting to track together, in my complete lack of music production knowledge I couldn’t help just stacking things together so they looked really neat…soon realising that that didn’t make for a very interesting sound so I had to break that habit and offset things a bit.
The outcome sounds like this >>>
Garry was interested in swapping photography as his practice so he passed around his Nishika N8000 3D camera which uses 4 lenses to take a shot from 4 slightly different angles and when layered produce 3D gifs (see above) which Garry created with the images we took.
I am interested in storytelling through imagery and the day I planned on taking the photo was the eve of American presidential election so I used this as a starting point.
The goal was to create a speculative story of a day in the life of Trump’s future dictatorship…polluted water, deformed food. I also mocked up a cereal box, keeping Kim Jong Un style propaganda in mind to show a world where Trump is consumed on every level.
In presenting the work we decided to put together an exhibition reserving any explanations allowing the viewers to interpret the process themselves. Making use of a modular shelving unit in the studio that conveniently had 16 compartments to display 16 pieces of work.
The initial unveiling of work was planned to take place in the seminar room, we set our work up upstairs in the Space 8 studio in order remove the viewer from the predetermined space and in the hope of increasing anticipation on the the journey to the work.
We let the viewers guide themselves around, purposefully putting screens showing short films in awkward places close to the ground to order to have viewers more actively observing the work.
So here it is, I have a website. I’ve put together a blog for my alter egos art-work, somewhere to catalogue AAZZBB’s poignant, thought provoking, engaging work. A place to display my art to prospective buyers and attract more Post Truth art fans.
I feel like this project is ongoing. I’ve really enjoyed the freedom it has given me to just do stuff regardless of whether it is any good I really think I can keep that up as a past time, it is ridiculous fun!!
Initially I intended on exhibiting the tat I have been creating of the course of the project. Mainly as a means to distract and confuse you about what the project is really about whilst I talk my way through it.
It seems that setting up an exhibition may logistically difficult, given that we are presenting in a different building from usual and also I feel presenting bits n bobs of crappy art may be underwhelming and I don’t want to let you get too close to my art-work, I feel you will see my lack of effort too easily. Best for work to be seen from the perspective I choose.
My new plan is to distract and confuse you at the start of the presentation with something unrelated and mundane…I’m thinking of cutting my toenails whilst talking you through my project. We will see how that goes down..
As well as that I intend to lie. Lie through my teeth. About everything. My name, my background, everything. Can I lure you into my false world for 20 minutes? I will reveal all the ‘successes’ I have had over the last couple of weeks in my new career as an artist. My art sales, my blog of the week shortlisting…so many successes