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).

Dream Catcher

While thinking about the next project, I decided to play around with making a dream catcher on a branch. This is what I made- the branch was lying on the ground...I didn't hurt any trees.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Dream Catchers and Art

Being a psychology major, I am interested in the portrayal of the psyche in art. From the viewpoint of psychologists such as Carl Jung, the psyche is both conscious and unconscious psychological processes. I want to explore the unconscious psychological processes with this next project- through dream.

While brainstorming about dreams and representation of dreams I came to the Native American legends of dream catchers. The legend states that bad dreams and thoughts have jagged edges and will get caught on the webbing. Good dreams and thoughts on the other hand are smooth and slip through. The dreams caught in the dream catcher will be cleansed away with the first light of day. Dream catchers originated from the Ojibwan (or Chippewa) Nation, although many other Native American tribes adopted the use of dream catchers and have come up with their own legends.

These are Ojibwan dream catchers.

In recent years the dream catcher has been popularized and used by New Age individuals. Here are some examples of this and other individuals using the dream catcher in art:

from: Beach Glass Dream Catchers

from: Voyle Graham
from:William Boney

One vein that my project may go in is to construct a large dream catcher than a person could crawl through. On the dream catcher would be visual manifestations of bad dreams and/or thoughts. Once through the dream catcher one would be confronted with the good dreams and/or thoughts. I really like the idea of having activation of other senses, so I am thinking about possibly having music/sounds as well.

Another path that I might take, which branches (no pun intended) away from the psyche in a way, would be to use a tree and make a dream catcher among the branches of the tree. Again I would like to express both the good and bad dreams and/or thoughts of a tree. This idea is not developed as well as the psyche idea. However, I do like the idea of using nature because nature is a large part of Native American culture.

Thinking more on the tree as the site for my dream catchers...
I was thinking that I would use the branches to construct the dream catcher (kind of like the dream catcher I made in the picture above). Then I would have the negative thoughts or dreams that a tree might have stuck in the webbing and then have the good thoughts hanging down from the center as if they fell through. These would be made of something that would lightly clink together like a wind chime. I thought that this would be a nice effect because wind chimes for the most part are happy sounds and is a auditory representation of something the trees might enjoy- wind.

Friday, March 23, 2007

In response to "But is it Installation Art?"

After our class discussion I felt slightly more confused on what installation art is, so reading this article helped to clarify that for me. Installation art can mean several things, and has been used to talk about many different types of works. One of the statements by Kabakov that seemed to address how I see installation art was the intention of installation art being for the viewer; that installation art is supposed to provide an intense reaction in the viewer. I think that this goes along with what we were discussing in class- that installation art involves the viewer using more than one sense. By using multiple senses the experience is more intense.

Another part of the article that particularly struck me was idea of interior design being installation art. I see how this could be seen as installation art- the surroundings come together to produce a response from the viewer. I know that I have entered a home and been struck by the design and really thought about the use of color or such things, but I had not thought of this as being a form of installation art. Perhaps it is because of the setting- it isn't in a gallery somewhere or a specific site for art. Anyway, although I understand how interior design can be portrayed as installation art, I don't think it can truly be considered installation art. Like the article says "When the experience of going into a museum increasingly rivals that of walking into restaurants, shops, or clubs, works of art may no longer need to take the form of immersive, interactive experiences. Rather, the best installation art is marked by a sense of antagonism towards its environment, a friction with its context that resists organisational pressure and instead exerts its own terms of engagement."

Monday, March 19, 2007

Artist talk- Chris Coleman

I went to this lecture not knowing much of anything about digital art/ animation and came away with an interest in learning more about the field. Chris Coleman is an animation professor at the University of Oregon. His focus is on animation and installation- where he uses his mechanical engineering background to make his pieces. One such piece was his Spatiodynamic piece- using computer fans to blow a tarp around the corner in relation to the people in the entrance hallway. I really enjoyed his animation pieces the most. For example, his piece Modern Times was really interesting to me. This piece was about the state of our society in regard to terrorism and the role the government plays in this. The idea that the government is supposed to be protecting us from this, yet they are instigating it by suggesting that terrorism is everywhere.

Chris' present work addresses similar issues using images from classic 1950 and 1960 sources (boy scout manuals, for example). He also is working on something about the socio-economic status of an area- shown by the number of trees and houses in that area. The idea for this is that a person can enter where they live into his piece and see quantitative data about their area.

Another point that I found interesting was something Chris said in response to a question from the audience. He was talking about how there has been a tension between the physical body and the virtual body (that is represented by our credit and other information about us in cyber space) and how that tension has become greater over the past years and continues to increase. He talked about how in airports, if you want to get through faster, you can give them your finger print and a scan of your iris. This shows how the virtual body is taking more from the physical body.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Installation Art- Really BIG Slide

Carsten Höller, Test Site, 2006
I just wanted to say that not only does this look like super fun, but I really like the idea that not only would the person on the slide be able to view their surroundings and others reactions, but others would be able to see the participant. I think that this is an interesting way to transform the space. Being a huge slide, it is bound to be noticed by viewers and modify the space. It modifies the space by making it interactive, instead of the art exhibit being stand-offish (stand back and don't touch) and almost passive. Also, while the experience one gets from merely viewing art in a museum can be great, I feel like the experience one would get from this would be vastly different in that there is a certain tactile/physical attribute that goes with this piece and does not apply to others.

Monday, March 5, 2007

Installation Art

I kind of know what installation art is, but I definitely needed a refresher, so I went to Wikipedia for a quick definition before searching the web for examples. According to Wikipedia, installation art uses sculptural materials to influence the way the viewer experiences the space, whether it is public or private space or a temporary or permanent modification.

Searching the web I came across the work of Dan Flavin. The bright colors and interesting shapes caught my eyes. Here is one of his pieces (http://www.nga.gov/exhibitions/2004/flavin/introduction/introduction.shtm).

I also came across the work of Ann Hamilton. There was a show called "At hand" where a large room became filled with white paper (printer-size). There were 6 machines that dropped the paper from the ceiling while a quiet voice spoke phrases (e.g., "a hand offers"). According to an article in the New York Times by Ken Johnson " the clicks, whirrs and sucking sounds of the machines, the pages fluttering to the floor and the voice interspersed with a low whistling sound all conspire to create an experience that is almost but not quite transporting" (http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C0DE3D8153AF930A15752C1A9679C8B63).

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Hope Chest Project- "Love Notes"

This piece, “Love Notes,” was created in response to the topic of gay marriage and other related issues of gay rights. I drew on my knowledge of the subject influenced by news and other forms of mass media as well as on a discussion of the artists Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg. These artists lived together for several years and it is thought that their relationship went beyond the realm of art and into that of romance. My piece represents the division of culture into mass media available to everyone, blogs that are more personal but also readily available, and personal love notes. The idea is that the box contains hidden an element of the personal, with some of that leaking out in the form of blogs, while there is also the public aspect on displayed on the outside. There are all these issues being discussed in the news, but this does not address the personal accounts. To get the personal accounts one has to lift the lid and search within the box.

Another idea that came to me while making the box was the realization that when the information became more personal, it was less about sexual orientation or the gender of the people in the relationships. They could all just be people who share love. I thought that this was a positive note (and something that I agree with) and felt that it was something to be emphasized- hence the title.

A problem with my piece was that I’m not sure people will pick up on the meanings of the piece and will just see it as a box with cut up stuff on it. Although I made decisions to help them with the distinction of differences (red target and different media), I don’t know if they are strong enough to let the viewer make the connections I discussed above. Another issue was that of the display space; ideally I would have liked my piece to be at eye level, but due to the limited space I understand the reasons it could not be this way.