Monday, June 8, 2015

An Exciting New Digital Video ! ! !

I created a 10-minute collection of clips from a larger, 15-hour video cataloging the entirety of my day with its routines and irregularities. I was much inspired by Bill Owens, particularly his photo series Suburbia and his movies like Eat This and Montana. I think this simple, unedited capturing of the world around the artist is very meaningful. Michel de Certeau, in his bible The Practice of Everyday Life, talks about artists' views of the world on page 92:
"Medieval or Renaissance painters represented the city as seen in a perspective that no eye had yet enjoyed. This fiction already made the medieval spectator into a celestial eye. It created gods."
This idea became evident to me during this project because as I worked, I became so familiar with the details of that one day to the point that I saw things that I didn't when it was happening. So, thanks to the iPhone and digital video, I have a stronger connection with the things around me. Another reason I think I was attracted to this project is my fear of losing moments or forgetting things that could be important. I keep a lot of things partly because I just like stuff but also because I worry that I will have a use for it in the future and then wait until that moment comes. Much like Thierry Guetta, featured in the documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop, who compulsively films everything due to a deep fear of missing important events (stemming from his mother's death), I want to hold on to funny things, good moments, and happy memories.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Stroszek: An Academy Award Recipient in My Heart ! ! !

Werner Herzog's film Stroszek really is an incredible feat of movie-making without failing to be a powerful critique of the American Dream. I was struck, the more I learned of its process, with the strong connection to real people and real life. By using non-actors and many unscripted scenes in the film, Herzog created a depiction of life so close to the real thing that his fictional plot blurred with reality. This is what made the characters and their interactions so meaningful– there's hardly a disconnect as there is with most other movies in which it is so aware of being a movie that it is less possible to produce real emotion in the viewer. A lot of the shots, too, are just so beautiful. I'm thinking particularly about one of the final scenes in which Bruno leaves his car to die driving in circles in the parking lot (depicted here in a poor quality frame, but the only one I could find).

The Death Of The American Dream

In Germany, Bruno and Eva have nothing going for them. Most of all, they are in danger and go to America with the hopes of a better life. At first, they are doing well– they're both working and they have a home. However, as time goes on, they become less and less happy with their situation. For Bruno, I think this moment is when he is in the car shop with the mechanics and they're grossly talking about Eva. Here, is a low point for Bruno in which it is clear that he does not enjoy America. For Eva, it is less about her unhappiness and more about her descent into the American Trap.

Snacks, Comic Books, And A Bath Robe

She spends too much money, is lazy, and takes advantage of her opportunity in a new country. It is those events that begin the downward spiral: Eva runs off with two truckers, Herr Scheitz and Bruno rob a barber and Herr Scheitz is arrested, Bruno steals a car and runs away. And finally he (most likely) kills himself in the true spirit of America– wearing a cowboy hat on a skilift next to a frozen turkey.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Bill Owens: A Master of the Mundane ! ! !

Bill Owens is really cool. He was a newspaper photographer for a while and used that job to get access to a lot of people that he photographed for his own personal use after taking the required one to be in the paper. De Certeau talks about "materializing today the utopia that yesterday was only painted" which I think Bill understood in his life in the suburbs. He made a series called "Suburbia" in which he took photos of his friends and neighbors in this utopian community.

We are really happy, 1972
from "Suburbia"
I think the series is conscious of "the strangeness that doesn't surface" in everyday life and the weird idea of having a perfect utopia. At the same time, it acts as a catalog of the intricate perfections of everyday life. His recent pictures though, I find more interesting. He has several slideshow-like videos of pictures he's taken with a really simple digital camera or his iPhone which he now exclusively uses.

This process of constant and overwhelming documentary photography is great. The images are unedited, [seemingly] unconsciously framed, and un-"your-idea-of-art"-ed. They are simply Bill's life as he lives and views it.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Lawton Hall: A True Artiste ! ! !

I was inspired by Lawton's tales of life in music and art after college graduation. He explained that he felt his time studying at Lawrence University provided him with a space to experiment and served as a time to interact with others and 'make connections' with people that have benefited him in his life now. Feeling down about academia lately, I found some optimism in his contentedness with what he learned here.

Now, to the art. My favorite of the projects he shared with us today (although they all struck me in a good place) was his installation, This Place is No Place, 2013.

I thought that his use of visual and auditory randomness were most effective. He said that a poetry emerged from these unplanned combinations (spanning 12 hours) which I have been thinking about a lot lately. Especially when using someone else's images, any real concrete connection with the artist is removed, save their hand in assembly. This project is an example of a situation in which the artist is an 'everyday' person (just like non-artists!) who experiments with ideas that they are currently most interested in but still figuring out and expressing thoughts and their own ideas through art.
from Postcards from the Anthropocene, 2014-15  

from Postcards from the Anthropocene, 2014-15

Similarly, his series Postcards from the Anthropocene, 2014-15 connects unrelated images and forces them to be taken in new light as if they were always meant to be together. In this way, I think he shows his interest in shaping a place–that is, forming an ideological object that exists just out of reach through the process of altering physical objects.

Lastly, his compositions with Holy Sheboygan! and other pieces of music he's written were refreshing and interesting. He comes from a world of music with a formal background, but importantly, he builds upon what he has learned and innovates his own techniques of art.

This blog post was bad and I will mull it over some more and probably post a better one.

Lawton: Vimeo | bandcamp | Sensorium

Monday, April 20, 2015

An Exciting New World ! ! !

I transformed pieces of my basement into an oddly navigable path using entirely digital means.

I think the definition between a 'space' and a 'place' is one that is not always well-defined, but I wanted to question their meaning (not necessarily provide an answer). Michel de Certeau, in his bible The Practice of Everyday Life, expresses places as "fragmentary and inward-turning histories, pasts that others are not allowed to read, accumulated times that can be unfolded but like stories held in reserve, remaining in an enigmatic state, symbolizations encysted in the pain or pleasure of the body." Now what the hell does that mean. I think what I took from it is the idea of a place separate from the space it takes up; where a space is worldly and physical and

a place = space + association/meaning

This image fragments the space (namely, a crummy basement) and reassembles them into an imaginary place in which the visual aspects originally associated with the space now are removed from that reality and transferred to the idea of the place. Right?

Check out a weirder version on my newhive page.

Don't go away! Stay tuned for more – I like this project.

Monday, April 13, 2015

An Exciting New Social Media Experiment ! ! !

Last week I continued with and took more seriously (sort of) a photography (sort of) project centered around ideas of consumerism, social media culture, waste, self-awareness, and THE INTERNET. I was toying with several different things, clearly, but mostly I wanted it to be an examination of my own wastefulness and privilege. At my school, we have an incredible buffet-style dining service with great food but I don't always eat everything I ask for. Without thinking about the project, I get my food and eat normally and then photograph it for Instagram as it is when I'm finished. Sometimes I eat it all, sometimes I leave mass quantities of food to be thrown away. Michel de Certeau, in his book, The Practice of Everyday Life, highlights the impact of the individual. This project has forced me to think more about how I eat and be proactive about steering it in a healthier direction (for all).

But the really fun stuff is the social media. Look at how many people I'm connected with.

I wanted to try to be like one of the awesome spam accounts you see on Instagram. 

At one point, the app wouldn't let me follow anymore people because I followed so many so quickly. If you want to get noticed on THE WEB, you need to bombard the world with your content. And that's what I did! With the help of hashtags (social media symbols that allow users to find similar content at once) I reached a larger audience than just those already following me. 

Hopefully it will grow over time. Exponentially.

Also, you know those super annoying people that post pictures of their food or coffee with a ton of hashtags? That's another, more satirical aspect of the project in which I tried to emulate that same enthusiasm for sharing your plate and presenting it as art, but making sure the art is completely disgusting (there are exceptions). Sometimes it even unintentionally looked beautiful.

Ridley Tankersley
04/07/15 #plate1 #dinner #tacos
#tacotuesday #food #plate #art
, 2015

Jackson Pollock
Red, 1950

Ridley Tankersley
04/11/15 @sjrennick's #beets #noodles
#peas #alfredo #food #plate #art
, 2015
Kimberly Conrad
Pinkogram II, 2010

I will keep all you loyal fans updated as the project continues!

Unrelated, this FIDLAR album is very well mixed.

Friday, April 10, 2015