Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Preparing for the studio performance was fairly simple for me, just deciding what I wanted to do and gathering the basic supplies I needed. Once it was time to perform, however, I felt a bit differently. I was much more nervous about my performance than I had expected, although once I'd begun I felt calmer. The more unexpected reaction was how uncomfortable I felt documenting other people's performances. The feeling was intensely voyeuristic to the point of feeling manipulative, even through most of the performances were just every day activities. At a certain point I felt more comfortable filming other people doing their documentation than I did documenting myself.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Tara Bogart's talk on April 11th was both interesting an informative. One of the ideas I found most intriguing was that of what different parts of a whole person express about those people. This concept is featured heavily in Bogart's work, such in her photo series of different women from behind, shot from the waist up, showing only back, shoulders, and hair. Bogart later took this a step further, photographing only locks of individuals hair. This idea was also transferred to objects owned by people, in Bogart's photo series highlighting important objects in her life that she was sad to leave behind when she moved to Paris, and the series of 'portraits' of herself, her mother, and her aunt that she created through displays of objects most important to those people. I find this idea fascinating, especially from an artistic perspective, because it oftentimes works so well. On the surface, these parts and objects may lead us to conclusions based on stereotype, but looking deeper each thing has a voice of it's own that tells part the person's story in a way that nothing else could.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

View Full Set Here
In his book Relational Aesthetics, Nicolas Bourriaud writes that, "Artistic activity is a game, whose forms, patterns and function develop according to people and social contexts..." (page 3) Although it was not my original intention, my word art piece ended up becoming a sort of game with my audience. It's literal, physical forms and patterns changed according to the people who interacted with it, as different people rearranged my letters to make new meaning. In this sense, the function of the work also changed with people as those people changed it's form, and the various interpretations of said forms change with time as the social contexts in which they existed changed. It is also possible, even if it was unconcious on the part of the people who did so, that changing social contexts effected the decision to change the letters, as well as what they were changed to. As the artist, it was also a game in the sense of the attitude of casual enjoyment it involved. It was a game of discovery to go out and say "I wonder what my piece says today?"

Sunday, April 2, 2017

On March 31st I attended Tyanna Buie's artist talk for the opening of her show in the Wriston Gallery. The thing that struck me the most was the personal nature of her work, and how it had become more personal over time. She spoke of being told that her art was too personal, and how she saw that as a challenge to make it even more personal still. There is something powerful in an artist expressing their personal story and emotions through their work, especially in the context of art as a means to connect people. Many people who dislike artist's making personal work seem to think that the personal nature distances the audience from the work and from the artist, but oftentimes it can have the opposite effect. In the same way in which people relate to each other through emotions and experiences, people can relate to art through the emotions and experiences that it represents. Art that is of a personal nature is compelling because it gives us a feeling of genuine connection to the artist, and oftentimes a sense of trust as well. The arts trusts the audience enough to be honest about who they are, what they have been through, and how they feel. In a world where most people are taught to hide the true extent of their thoughts and emotions, this makes a powerful statement, as well as an impact on both audience and artist.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

For my final project winter term of 2016, I put up a series of colorful letters spelling out different statements around campus, and tracked their reception on social media. I also documented how some of the letters were removed or changed by others to make statements of their own. During spring term of 2016, even more changes in the letters began to appear, but I did not get a chance to respond to them because I had already presented on the project at the end of the previous term. For my Arena of Experience project this term, I wanted to continue my previous project by presenting a more full picture of how people on campus interacted with my art piece and made it their own through altering the letters I put up.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

For my final project for the term, I created a series of colorful words and phrases to be placed in real space around campus in an imitation of the paintings of Wayne White. The idea behind this series was to see how people would react to the presence of words in space rather than simply as representations of an idea. To help chronicle this, I made a blog recording what I could gather of people's reactions to the project on social media, as well as what occurred in real life related to the project. One important part of this that I did not anticipate was not only the effect of the art on it's environment but the effect of the environment on the art. For example, some of my letters were re-arranged by people, before being blown away completely by the wind. However, I found this lack of control contributed to the piece rather than took away from it. I believe that art does not have to be rational to be meaningful, and that the irrationality can often contribute to the meaning. As Baudrillard states, "[The real] no longer has to be rational, since it is no longer measured against some ideal or negative instance."

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Jennifer Angus's unique work combines beautiful, breathtaking images with something that we as a society are taught to fear; insects. This creates the fascinating juxtoposition of something society teaches us to admire created using something it teaches us to hate. One of the most interesting parts of Angus' talk focused on why we hate bugs. Many of us love them as children, so what changes? When and why does the transition from fascination to disgust occur? Angus mentioned that it may have something to do with losing a sense of wonder at the world as we grow older. As we become adults, we slowly learn to see many of the things we once loved as unpleasant, boring, or simple a nuisance. Another thing in this category which comes to mind, besides insects, is snow. As children snow is beautiful and fascinating, transforming the world into a magical land in which we are content to spend hours playing. But as we grow older we learn to view it as an inconvenient obstacle. This is exactly what makes Angus' work so incredible. Through her art she is able to take us back to that place of childlike wonder, where insects were mysterious and fascinating, rather than disgusting and annoying.