Archives for the 'Lindsey' Category
Well. It has been a long time since I posted any form of update. I haven’t done any work related to my thesis since I finished filming the body footage. However, I have been doing a lot of thinking and planning for next semester. Over the break, I plan to edit and finalize the body video, as well as rewrite my thesis statement.
Next semester, I intend to work on projects that deal more with the human form, and am actually leaving behind the core of this past semester’s work. In a way, I worry that this semester was a waste of time, but I know that I needed a period of uncertainty in order to better understand what it is that I want to work towards.
My plans for next semester involve costume creation, flexible sculpture, and adornment of the body. Though I may not show it, I am very interested in the world of fashion, particularly expressive, avant-garde fashion. I intend to create works of art and design that use the body as a vehicle for expression, works that require the human form in order to be complete.
Last year, I created this mask/hood. There are panels for the eyes, the nose and the mouth. My intention was to create an accessory for myself that would allow me to control how much of myself I expose to the outside world, and how much of the outside world I expose myself to. Ideally I would also create ear-flaps created from some kind of sound-proof material. This hood is meant to serve as a form of voluntary sensory deprivation. As a very private person, I sometimes find it overwhelming to be out in public. This hood is a sort of symbol for the ability I wish I had, the ability to hide/have ultimate control.
Next semester I plan to create more work like this. Not necessarily about privacy and protection, but work that specifically involves being worn on the body, work inspired by “fashion,” in an extremely loose sense.
Some artists that inspire me are Matthew Barney, Rebecca Horn, Philip Treacy and Alexander McQueen, among others.
Some work by Alexander McQueen.
Some work by Rebecca Horn.
So, today, John and I had a brief discussion about choreographed dance. This is related to my video project in a way, although my models will not be dancing in the literal sense.
I told John how I have always been interested in dance — particularly synchronized dance. This is probably why I enjoy using my own body in my work. There is nothing as pleasing to me as the physical experience of being alive, and of feeling your own muscles at work, your blood flow. When I watch synchronized dancing, I feel this primitive sensation well-up from within me. Which makes sense, as nothing is more primitive than using one’s body.
I sort of just wanted to update that I’ve been thinking along these lines, and also, share with you a few videos that are sources of inspiration for me.
Though my video project will look nothing like these videos, they speak volumes to me about the capabilities of the human body, the aforementioned primal behaviors and the importance of rhythm. I think that rhythm, along with the physical use of one’s body, is something ingrained in every living creature. After all, our own bodies contain a rhythm of their own (heartbeats, breathing, etc.) To me, rhythm is just another one of those magical, ever-present things that exist throughout the universe — the closest thing to a religious experience I’ll probably ever have.
Anyway, wow, this is turning into quite the rambling post. Here are those videos.
This first one is a music video directed by one of my all-time favorite directors, Michel Gondry, for one of my all-time favorite “bands,” Daft Punk. Pay close attention to the movement of the mummied figures, and also the skeleton figures. So beautiful.
This second video is pretty well known. It’s the music video for Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance,” directed by Francis Lawrence. Not a huge fan of the song, but those dance-like scenes of the white-clad creatures in the bath haus writhing and convulsing give me chills.
Well, I hope this post wasn’t too self indulgent. I am in the process of doing a lot of planning for the video shoot this weekend. I will post again after that happens.
As I said previously, after my discussion with John, I had a brief moment of inspiration/excitement (during which I created the grid of parts in my studio), which quickly led to paralysis and lack of motivation.
Instead of working on stuff for seminar, I continued cleaning out some ancient computer folders, a project I have been working on since the summer. I came across a poem I had saved years ago, I Sing the Body Electric by Walt Whitman. I re-read the poem and was struck with renewed inspiration. The poem is beautiful and speaks of the power of the human body, and celebrates the differences between male and female forms.
I intend to make two companion films. For the first of these, I am going to film a variety of almost-nude bodies, performing basic movements. I am using both men and women. The end result will be a film of abstracted human shapes, planes of skin and muscle, essentially a study of the human body. I have not yet decided if these bodies will be shown at a recognizable distance (an entire torso, for example), or cropped in such a way that they appear to be reminiscent of bodies. Perhaps I will use a mix of both.
One thing I struggle with — many of the models I am using have tattoos. Ideally I would like these bodies to be sort of archetypes of male and female, and I feel that the tattoos will infringe upon this ideal. I fear the ink will interfere with the body. I’d really like some input on this, on whether people feel this is something I should be concerned with. My hope is that, if I use hyper-zoomed-in shots, the tattoos will seem like abstracted colors, and not be representational. I could also just film the portions of the models that are not tattoo-ed. Either way, I plan to take an abundance of footage of each model, so that I can decide later what my approach will be.
The other film will be in the same vein, only focus on the beauty of actual machines. Letterpresses, sewing machines, and other such things which have visible and exposed mechanics.
For the films’ audio, I plan to use dialog of a reading of Whitman’s poem. Also, dialog of either excerpts from the book Machine Beauty (quoted in a previous blog post) or various machine manuals. Have not yet decided which dialog will correspond with which film.
I have scheduled to begin filming the weekend of the 19th. In the meantime, I have a lot of planning to do.
I feel like there was more I was going to write, but my mind is suddenly blank… if I remember what I wanted to say, I will post again.
Feedback is greatly welcomed. I would like to have some conversations about this, so that I may refine my thoughts and perhaps realize things I did not realize before, as usually happens with crits.
This post is long overdue. I have no idea where the time went. I guess it was the irregular week that threw me off course.
After my panel review, I felt very happy and confident in the path I was pursuing. However, when I met one-on-one with John Colan last Monday, my confidence dwindled. I’m not sure why, but after that discussion, I no longer really knew what I should be doing with my time. I felt sort of paralyzed again. The goals I had spoken of during my review seemed irrelevant. Perhaps I was given too much advice before I’d had a chance to explore my ideas or to delve into advice given to me previously?
After that meeting, I set up this grid on the wall of my studio.
I also hung the “skin” of the sewing machine.
Though I think it is very interesting to look at, I’m not sure anymore why I did it or what the point was of doing it.
Still feeling pretty rattled after that one-on-one discussion, but over the weekend, an idea came to me that I am very excited about. I am probably going to talk about it tomorrow in class, and write an in-depth post with sketches included later on. So I feel okay again about where I’m at, I suppose. However, I think it is absolutely vital that I do not get side-tracked, and that I pursue this idea for a while. All this discussion has been filling my head with new ideas and has caused me to be constantly changing my methods. Now, I have a sort of assignment that I must pursue. I am writing this as a sort of reminder to myself… work on this project now. Do not worry about other projects in the mean time. There will be time for those later.
The other day, for the first time ever, I witnessed one of the school’s letterpress machines in motion. I was struck by the beauty of it, and reminded of a passage from David Gelernter’s book, Machine Beauty.
“… I have always wished to believe that the line of strength and the line of beauty are one. That wish was realized when I contemplated American machinery… The rise and fall of the steel rods… the symmetrical motion of great wheels is the most beautiful rhythmic thing I have ever seen.”
“You might experience something resembling machine beauty, even if you are no scientist or engineer, when you drive a nail into a board with one clean, graceful hammer stroke; you feel the beauty of ease and power mated, machine beauty, beautiful functioning… It must be graceful and look easy. It must be powerful, too—must accomplish something significant.”
Here is a video I took of this machine in motion. The quality is poor, but it still captures the fluidity and effortlessness that inspired me.
For a while now, I have also been thinking of creating some sort of animation that emulates this type of beautiful motion. It would be purely aesthetic, more like a study/tribute of the true power of machines.
Here is a quick grid I set up showcasing the photos of this project thus far. Not done yet, but here’s what I have.
And here is a quick video I put together of each of these images, sort of like a stop-motion/flip book thing? There seems to be some lag between certain frames, but maybe it’s just because those consecutive images are very similar.
I have had an incredibly productive weekend. I’ve begun a sort of project that has to do with process and the individual components of one specific sewing machine. I have started taking it apart, and also have been videotaping the entire process. As parts come off, I’ve been putting them in a specific bin. Everything, including the screws — anything that comes from that machine. I have also been setting an alarm clock to go off at five minute intervals. At these intervals, I am photographing the machine’s deconstruction. My plan is to take apart the machine entirely, and separate every individual piece.
I expect to do a few things with this project. I am going to display the progressively deconstructed photos in some form, perhaps a poster. I also want to spread out the parts and display them individually. Perhaps on my body? Perhaps in some kind of case, the way butterfly collections are displayed. I also have the machine’s manual, so I might also incorporate that text in some way. Here are the first four photos of the process. There are lots more, but I don’t feel like editing them just now.
And yes, yes, I do still plan to draw and to photograph my pre-existing parts as a sort of landscape. I have many ideas. I just need to organize myself a little bit and buy some more supplies.
I was able to photograph some more parts today. Here are my favorites.
The first two images are of the same part. Also, remember when I wrote this?
“A few of the parts, I’ve noticed, have a symmetry to them that reminds me of the symmetry of the human body. I like the idea of using these parts to adorn myself, to make metallic additions to my face.”
Well, I did a little bit of playing around.
I really enjoyed experimenting with the parts in this way. I have always been very interested in using my body in my work, and interacting with objects/art in a very physical way. I also love the visual contrast of flesh and metal. The metal felt cool on my skin, and its taste was pretty neutral — not unpleasant. I am excited to continue with this, among other ideas I have.
Last night, as I was thinking about my machine parts, I was suddenly reminded of another collection of beautiful objects I have.
These are a few specimens from my seashell collection. There is a definite correlation between these naturally occurring phenomena and the parts I’ve been harvesting. I just haven’t yet been able to put this correlation into words.
Well, I went to start photographing my collection, but my camera’s battery died. I failed to plan ahead. Anyway, I was able to take a few shots. This week has been kind of sleepy for me, so this weekend I hope to get some serious work done.