During this class we were asking to go on a journey, stopping in at three different points around the university. We were told to draw whatever we liked using viewfinders and to take rubbings of these on our way using frottage. How we displayed our journey on a piece of paper was up to us entirely. This immediately made me think of Nao’s portrait or Miles from the tv program Work of Art: Next Great Artist. It was a great concept – the dots and lines represent a virtual map/guide of Miles’ actions in the workroom.
This is what I created:
Next we made a huge compositional and combined collage piece as a class. I huge piece of water was layed on the floor and we were all allowed to add what we liked to it, so long as it related to journeys. I stepped on the paper with my feet and ‘made my mark’ (I actually wrote ‘make your mark’ on the piece later on), I then worked into the footprints with a pen. One girl wrote a passage on it, about her journey, moving from an arabic country to come and live in Cardiff. Another student made his own journey across the paper by reeling out duct tape and pressing it to the paper with his feet.
One to One in One
Brief: Students will we work (individually, pairs or in small groups) to produce a 1 minute piece, that can incorporate video, live action, sound and/or an installation. The 1 minute piece will illustrate a process, a transformation, a journey from a starting point to an end point.
I was in a group with Emily Unsworth White and Ethan Dodd. Our film is about Ethan’s transformation from male to female and his experience on a night out in Cardiff. At the end of the film Emily asks Ethan how he feels and whether he feels graceful, he says, “Not really. I just feel… pretty.”
I edited the videos Emily had taken using Adobe After Effects and Adobe Premier Pro. I came across a few problems on the way. The first one being the quality of the footage, as it was filmed on Emily’s iPhone, and the second that it was very difficult to hear Ethan’s voice in the two speaking clips, as in the beginning one, there was music playing in the background, and in the last one there was a man shouting in the distance. After a struggle, I managed to finish it and I was happy with the results.
We presented it to the rest of our course on Monday afternoon. This was actually the first time Ethan and Emily had seen the finished product! Everyone was laughing and we even got a big clap at the end. I was disappointed with the sound quality but glad everyone liked it!
Although our video comes across as light hearted and houmourous, there was a message behind it. Ethan wrote a short paragraph about it:
What does it mean to be a woman? Something that’s captured the minds of half of the Human race since the dawn of Man, and I can rightfully say one thing; it’s vastly different to how we men are perceived. There is something very dangerous and exposing abut being a woman, from the clothes they wear, right down to how others look at them, everything leaves you feeling judged for less than you are. What staggered me the most however, was that I no longer felt at ease in my own skin.
The theme of one of our drawing classes was vision. We were told about Evan Walters, and how he would often paint things into as portraits which usually you would not have acknowledged was there. For example, you can see the your nose, your arm holding the pencil, possibly your hair/fringe and feet, your eye lashes and also images in the surrounding edge of your eyes.
We were asked to draw a life model, in the same style as Walters. The model would be in focus and everything else would be blurred or doubled. I found this process quite hard as I could see things at the edge of my vision, but couldn’t make out what they actually were or the shape so I had to sort of make up what I was seeing, or not seeing. The waved lines in the picture is my fringe, that I have been unable to notice as I have got used to it so much over the last few years.
Evan Walters was born in 1895 in Llangyfelach in West Wales and died in 1952. He is a painter whose life’s work involved a number of different styles and subject matter, including portraits and landscapes. He explored perception and its representation through a style which evokes ‘double vision’.
He became obsessed with the theory of ‘double vision’. He claimed that an object appeared ‘solid’ against the viewer only when his eyes were focussed on it, and so other objects should be shown in double image. He followed the Impressionists in trying to break down colours into their basic components. His ‘blurred’ pictures were fairly unpopular, and his reputation declined.
Stout Man with Jug
This is the playful video I created using iMovie on an iPad during my first Audio/Visual workshop.
It’s basically a documentation of what I did during my one hour lunch break.
I had never used iMovie before; I liked the possibility of adding sounds but the actual software has nothing on my usual editing programs Adobe After Effects and Premier Pro.
During one of our university drawing classes we were examining the theme of vision. Edvard Munch was a relevant artist as he had produced many paintings after a medical problem began to affect his vision.
Edvard Munch, born December 12th 1863, and died January 23rd 1944 (aged 80) was a Norwegian painter and printmaker whose intensely evocative psychological themes. His work greatly influenced German Expressionism in the early 20th century. One of his most well-known works is The Scream of 1893.
In 1930, when Munch was 66 years old, an intraocular haemorrhage in his right eye affected his sight. For several months, with methodical precision, he attempted to show on paper what he saw through his affected eye as his condition changed. Inside the eye, the blood had compacted into shapes, spots and smudges which were superimposed upon his normal vision. To him, some looked like birds, others like coordinated circles.
He drew several types of images during his ill health. A recurrent one is a set of circles, often vividly coloured; which resemble the aura that you can see around bright lights on a foggy night. It is possible that these represent a view through his haemorrhage as he looked towards an electric light or the sun. He actually annotated many of his drawings with ‘electric light’, ‘sunshine’, etc, to indicate the conditions he was in when they were created.
Other sketches showed the presence of a dense blind spot near the centre of his visual field. In one he even drew an arrow to show his point of fixation near the top of the dark shadow.
Munch recovered from his ocular haemorrhage and produced some touching portraits of himself as an old man, which show the same style and surprising colours of his earlier work. His eye disease in 1930 was only a brief interruption of his long career.
Munch was unique because he gave us scenes from within the eye itself. We can recognise in his sketches not only the characteristics of floaters and ocular haemorrhage, but his efforts to document and measure the impact of his disease.
In relation to this themed drawing lesson, I decided to start experimenting with some software on my laptop. I used Adobe After Effects to create some short clips (from random videos I had taken previously). I edited one by taking four of the same video, one on top of the other, but slightly off centre; all the images would be played at the same time and would create a blurred effect.
My video I created:
Stephen Michael Reich was born October 3rd, 1936 and is an American composer. He is a pioneer of minimalism. His innovations include using tape loops to create phasing patterns ( for example “It’s Gonna Rain” and “Come Out”), and the use of processes to create and explore musical concepts (eg. “Pendulum music” and “Four Organs”).
Pendulum Music (For Microphones, Amplifiers Speakers and Performers)
This is a piece of work by Steve Reich. Its involves suspended microphones and speakers, creating phasing feedback tones. The piece was composed in August 1968 and revised in May 1973.
Three or more microphones are suspended above the speakers by means of a cable and stand. The microphones are pulled back, switched on, and released over the speaker. Gravity causes them to swing back and forth as pendulums. As the microphone crosses above the speaker, a feedback tone is created. There is a variation in lengths of cable so that they will swing at different speeds, creating an overlapping series of feedback squeals.
The piece only ends when the microphones come to a standstill above the speakers (and the sound becomes constant). The performers then unplug the amplifiers. This precise operation of acoustical process has become something of a symbol of minimalism.
The concept of a ‘gradual process’ is clear here and I like how it is related to our theme of Time. Its not time in a way of a start and a finish; its like a journey. The music/sound created is the focus. The differences in time and speed of the microphones affect the product. Its like a machine in a way. An instrument!
I am sitting in a room(1969)
This piece is of Alvin Lucier’s and is several sentences of recorded speech that are simultaneously played back into a room and re-recorded many times.
Since all rooms have their own characteristics; special sensations and formant frequencies (all of which are different depending on size); the effect is that certain frequencies are highlighted as they reverberate around the room and respond to its own frequencies. Eventually, the words become ambiguous and are replaced by the pure harmonies and tones of the room itself.
The space acts as a filter; the speech is transformed into pure sound.
The speech is repeated 32 times. The effect is hypnotic, airy, and extremely intimate in the way Lucier interacts with his environment.
I was completely astounded by how clever yet how simple this piece was. Coming from a science background, I did not realise how four walls could create such a sound. This world continues to fascinate me, but much more the people living on it; generating such ingenius concepts, and thinking outside the box (or four walls).