Sunday, April 22, 2007

Dream Catcher Practice Run

I went out and did a practice run of the dream catcher. It is hard to see in this picture though. You guys should go check it out and let me know what you think. :)

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Art Therapy

I already have all of my art events, but today I had a meeting with an art therapist (it is something I am interested in pursuing) and thought I would talk/write about it here. To begin with, I will explain what art therapy is- or at least the core of it. Art in therapy is used (1) as a means to express emotions, work through problems, etc and (2) to prompt discussion- kind of like a prop to refer to when discussing feelings and problems.

In this meeting we looked at art from several patients of a free clinic. These patients were diagnosed with things like depression, schizophrenia, and organic illnesses (e.g., alcoholism). We talked about what these pieces can reveal or how they can be helpful in a therapy setting. One of the best examples of this was a comparison of 2 pieces by a woman with schizophrenia. One while she was on medication and another when she was not taking her medication. The differences were astounding. The pictures were of similar things- a star shaped figure smiling. However the piece when she was on her medication was neatly composed and orderly. The second piece was everywhere on the page and used several colors and many boxes within the shape. It was chaotic and busy. This shows visually the mental state of the woman in these separate instances.

2 pieces by a depressed woman were also very interesting. Both were self-portraits done in the same day. The first was very faintly drawn with pencil. The woman was normal in appearance and rather non-descript with flat affect. The second was produced immediately afterwards. This drawing was done with markers and was very colorful. The figure here appeared very angry, with the mouth open as if screaming and the arms flung wide. The interesting thing here (and a good example of how art can be used as a prompt) is that people with depression often experience a great sense of anger that they keep pushed down and the effort it takes to keep it down can result in depressive symptoms.

This meeting was very interesting because we got to see multiple pieces of work by the same individuals with mental disorders.

Art and Activism-David LaMotte

I was not sure how art and activism went together and I think that David LaMotte did a good job of answering this. To start the lecture he asked the audience what each part (artist and activism) of this topic was. Iain said that an artist is someone who uses their ideas to evoke a reaction from the viewer, positive or negative. David simplified artist to be someone who makes art. Then he defined activism as: “a doctrine or practice that emphasizes direct vigorous action” (which he got and abbreviated from Merriam-Webster online). Both art and activism involve action.

Next he talked about how art, especially music for him, should impact the audience in a way that evokes an emotion from them. He then talked about the activism- specifically his work with the P.E.G. Partners. P.E.G. is a non-profit organization that focuses on improving education in Guatemala. This was very interesting and admirable work; we were shown a video about how it got started and what they are doing. The money for P.E.G. comes from donations and David plays his music to raise money.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Site Hunting

I went hunting for a site yesterday and decided on this cluster of tress at the crosswalk across from DPC. I took a picture of the site (and took measurements). Here is the picture:

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Site Installation Proposal

As I mentioned with my previous post, I am interested in using the dream catcher in my project to explore the psyche. To do this I have decided to make a large dream catcher that will be strung in the trees (using the living tree as the frame). The hole will be low and large
enough so people can step through it. Before they go through the dream catcher they will have paper that they can write or draw their negative thoughts and/or worries. They can then tie the paper to the webbing so it is "stuck" in the webbing and out of their minds. Then they step through and they are in a comfortable area. This area will have pillows and maybe a sleeping bag to prompt napping or just relaxing. There will also be music that is calming- I was thinking about possibly using Native American music. Also, I was thinking about putting a book inside to get feedback, or just for them to write what they thought or maybe even dreamed about while in the dream catcher.

Sketches coming momentarily....

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Site-Specific Art

I suppose first I would say that the main thing I got from this article is that site-specific art means certain things based on how different individuals define site. Although the particulars are different, they all deal with the basic concept that site specific art is based on "exchanges between the work of art and the places in which its meanings are defined." There were a few ideas that particularly struck me.

First, the idea that is represented by the anecdote of Richard Serra- that site-specific art is made dependent on the site. If the work is to be moved from the specific site it is no longer the same (the exchanges between the art and place would be fundamentally different). I think that this is an important distinction to be made in regard to site-specific art. When the artist is making the piece they are making it with a place, space, and/or position in mind. To change this would be to change the entire piece.

The second idea was that the object was not so much dependent on the space it occupied but how the viewer's attention was displaced by the room and the object. This reminded me of the idea (from "But is it Installation Art?") that installation art involved the viewer and was supposed to provoke an intense reaction from the viewer often using "antagonism toward its environment." In this idea, coming from minimalist sculpture the role of the viewer is particularly stressed. It also makes the connection with performance and viewer compared to audience.

Third, was the discussion of space as being mediated by personal images, states of mind, and movement. I think that this is an important point to make as well. Space seems to me to be something that is more dimensional than a place or site. To me a place or a site could be one dot, but a space is a series of dots that have some relationship with one another. This is also expressed by the statement: "Space, as frequentation of places rather than a place stems in effect from...movement." By using this definition or approach of space in regard to site-specific art, I think it prompts ideas about what is included in site-specific art- object, viewer, movement.

Monday, March 26, 2007


I finally borrowed someones digital camera, so I decided to document some of the skillshares that we have done. First is the paper I made from the paper making skillshare (lead by Kelly and myself).

Second is the two scraps of metal that I welded together for Joe and Jamie's skillshare.

Third is the piece we (Joe and I) made for the LED and soldering skillshare, lead by Matt, Iain, and Nick.

Here is something from Anita, Heather, and YaHaddy's skillshare about web portfolios (we learned about photoshop, dreamweaver, and what web porfolios look like).