Thursday, September 24, 2009

weekly post 9/25

Did: Reading, Empty Ocean (1/2 hr)
Word vomit about ocean plastic (15 min)
Checked out & watched 2 documentaries: Manufactured Landscapes & Rivers and Tides (3 hrs)
Searched, good resource :) (1/2 hr)
Worked on plastic quilt (4 hrs)

Discovered/Accomplished: Watching the documentaries this weekend was really beneficial for me. I love watching Andy Goldsworthy's process and it made me think a lot about how time is incorporated in his work. I thought Manufactured Landscapes was absolutely incredible. Ed Burtynsky photographs landscapes that have been transformed by man in some way and the documentary has a particular focus on China's industrialization. I love the eerie or surreal feeling I get from the still images and the video footage in the documentary. It is hard for me to believe that industrial processes exist in such a huge way, but they can because the world is so huge... now with globalization we don't actually have to look at where we are getting all of our resources because they are shipped in from somewhere else. In turn our garbage is taken away too... out of sight out of mind?

A few of Ed Burtynsky's photos:
We take resources from the earth:

We build things with these resources/we build ships which transport other products:

Once our products have served their purpose we dispose of them and they return to earth, but in an altered form. We may "scrap" our used products to reuse or recycle:

But ultimately we are a part of an incredibly complex cycle of gathering, producing, using, destroying, re-gathering:

Our end products become recycled and incorporated into our new environment. We produce plastic bags from petroleum products gleaned from the earth, we use these bags, we dispose of them in some way, they find their way to garbage dumps or recycling centers, or they end up in our water. They make their way to the ocean where they circle in gyres to form enormous dumping grounds of our waste. Slowly (it takes a plastic bag 1,000 years to biodegrade) they leach into the water supply and bioaccumulate up the food chain. They make their way into the foods we eat. So it seems that not only do we bring our groceries home in plastic bags, but we will eventually be consuming the chemicals of that plastic at some point. The cycles are just crazy and keep running circles in my brain.

I have also been doing a lot of thinking about how I would like my work to be perceived by my audience/what do I want my work to do? I am a little worried about becoming too activist minded because I am worried that my pieces will become a little too preachy. I don't want the end result of my project to be a message like: don't use plastic bags, use canvas instead. I think that is a little bit too simple and the environmental issues we are dealing with are much more complex than that. I took this quote from the Manufactured Landscapes documentary because I felt that it really spoke to a lot of the problems I have been thinking about.

Ed Burtynsky:
"We are changing the nature of this planet. We are changing the air, we are changing the water, we are changing the land. That's not just China, that's the world at large. There are times where I have thought about my work and putting it into a more politicized environment. If I said, 'this is a terrible thing that we are doing to the planet' then people will either agree or disagree. By not saying what you should see, that may allow them to look at something that they have never looked at and to see their world a little differently. I think many people today sit in that uncomfortable spot where we don't necessarily want to give up what we have, but we realize that what we are doing is creating problems that run deep. It's not a simple right or wrong. It needs a whole new way of thinking."

On a separate note, I have continued to work on my plastic quilt. It is continuing to grow in size and I think it has a lot of potential. For whatever reason I want to make it really large. I just think that it's movement gets more interesting as it grows.

Do: 1. Word mapping about cycles. What specific issues am I really interested in and how are they related?
2. Continue to work on the plastic quilt & photograph it in water. This weekend I probably won't be able to photograph it underwater, but I would like to put it in water (maybe the river?) so that I can observe it in a different way. I also want to make some images. I think the process will be beneficial for me, and I will be able to see what I might need to do in order to get a better aesthetic effect from the piece.
3. Contact pool people again. I haven't heard back from the contact I emailed, so I have a few other people in mind who may be able to help me get access.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

weekly post

Did: researched plastics online (~1 hr), plastic quilt construction (~3 hrs), added 3 artists to my link list & viewed their sites (Subhankar Banerjee, Patrick Winfield, Scott Hocking, ~1 hr), Time in library finding books, reading & doing research (~2 hrs), began emailing contacts who could help me get into the pool & I looked up schedules for teams who regularly use the pool (~1/2 hour)
Discovered/accomplished: Beginning to make my plastic "quilt" was, in my opinion, a good first step for me. Working with the
plastic bags was really interesting... cutting it turned out to be the trickiest part of the process, but I love how it looks when I sew it together. I like the way light looks through it and the way it moves. I think it has a lot of potential, now I just have to figure out what I am going to do to make it an installation/how to take it further. Here are 2 pictures of the quilt after I hung it in my studio:
It is pretty hard to take a good close-up of it, I will have to experiment with that...
When I was researching plastics, I found a Spanish art group called Luz Interruptus who created an installation using plastic bags:I love the way the bags glow, and I also like that they really didn't alter them in any way (they didn't cut them or sew them), but just by adding the lights & letting the wind blow them they become very sculptural. Someone also suggested when looking at my piece that I try to recreate the "plastic soup" in the ocean, by just photographing tons of plastic material in a pool. That is definitely something I think I should consider.
I am starting to think more about the work I will be doing as installation/temporary installation that I will photograph. In that way I will be a photographer and a sculptor and the two mediums influence each other. I was very inspired by Scott Hocking's work and the way he explained his process and the idea that his installations are temporary and subject to the environment. They also only exist today in his photographs, as many have been destroyed. It kind of reminds me of ghost sculptures, especially when you view the before & after shots. After spending time in the library looking at books, I am finding that I absolutely love the aesthetics of land art/earthworks. ( I checked out four books: "Water Library", "Land Art", "Earthworks & Beyond", and "Great Lakes Water Wars")

I want to create something that responds to human interaction with water and makes the audience think more deeply about the subject.

Do: I am realizing that I need to define my main water issues... i.e. How much can I tackle? What is the most important thing for me to take on?...etc. I would also like to continue working on the plastic quilt and expand on it. If I hear back from the pool managers I am hoping that I could try to set up dates to use the facility for an installation. I am also going to see if I can check out Andy Goldsworthy videos from the library, because Hannah and Chelsea both suggested that I look at more of his work.

Friday, September 11, 2009

first week adventures

Hello :) Welcome to my IP blog. This blog should follow the crazy process of a year-long art making adventure.

This is a picture of me diving in Belize where I spent 5 months beginning last January.

This week I created this blog, which I will be posting to every week... I spent some time in the Art & Architecture library. I found a magazine article on James Balog who helped start the Extreme Ice Survey, which is an amazing photo-documentation project based on shrinking ice caps & glaciers around the world (I linked his website in the list on the right side of the blog). I also began to work on my studio space :) I painted the walls and have begun to put up images (some are mine, some aren't), fabrics, & other scraps of things. I have also started to gather contact information for pool directors and members of u of m's synchro team, so that I will hopefully be able to access a few pools this year for projects :)

Discovered: I decided that I would create a list of links on the blog that will lead to people that are inspiring to me, or may influence my own work during this process. I had been making a list of interesting subjects/people on paper, but I think it will be really nice to have them all in a specific place online where I will quickly be able to link to images of their work. I also feel that my conversation with Claire about my project for Tuesday was really valuable and I have been thinking a lot about my next steps.

Do: Next week I want to contact the director of Canham Natatorium. I photographed the synchronized swimming team before in the dive well there and I think it would be a great place for my installation ideas. I think I will also need to expand on the plastic sculptural piece that I am planning for Tuesday. It may be a jumping point for me to create an installation for the dive well. I want to really begin setting the steps in motion that will make it possible for me to complete an underwater installation some time in the near future. I really think I need to get in the water soon so that I will be able to judge what is working and what isn't.

My studio space!!!(
I want a bright space so in the middle of the winter my studio will be a nice place for me to be):

Close up of the yellow wall (I would like to continue to add images to this wall that interest me and create new ideas):