Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Critique 3. Consciousness Wrapped in Flesh

I've spent much time with the 21 square feet photographs since we last spoke. I have 3 sets of 21 square feet. 3 bodies. 3 portraits. I have put  a set into a 7x3 foot Photoshop file and made a giant print. As cool as it was to make a print that big, when I put it up on the wall it felt lifeless to me. Back to 12x12 inch squares, pinned in formations to make wholes. Lots of color correcting, then un-color correcting. Printing, comparing.

I had a studio visit with Byron Kim. We talked about skin and his piece "Synecdoche."

Thursday I will have a studio visit with Chris Hanson and Hendrika Sonnenberg. I have been looking at their work, especially "Bloody Fruit Bowls."

Last week I made a video in that vein.

In relation to the concept of The Flesh Suitcase, I've been thinking about the range of experience living in a body entails, especially extreme experience like a near-death sensation of leaving one's body. Perhaps it is experiences such as these that cause an awareness of sub specie aeternitatis, Latin for "under the aspect of eternity." Thomas Nagel wrote about this in his essay "The Absurd":

          Yet humans have the special capacity to step back and survey themselves,
          and the lives to which they are committed...Without developing the illusion 
          that they are able to escape from their highly specific and idiosyncratic position,
          they can view it sub specie aeternitatis - and the view is at once sobering and 
          comical...If sub specie aeternitatis there is no reason to believe that anything
          matters, then that does not matter either, and we can approach our absurd lives 
          with irony instead of heroism or despair.

To me its a philosopher's way of saying don't worry about the small stuff, because it's all small stuff. 

I am considering The Flesh Suitcase photograph prints as an exploration of body/matter, and the video as exploration of soul/mind. With happy absurdity throughout.

Addendum - other things of interest.
Shinichi Maruyama captures dancers in long exposure.

Clarisse Hahn using documentary film to focus on the body as a political weapon.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Take your ego out and throw it on the floor.

After last Digital Culture class I realized that I am doing a piss poor job of keeping this blog up to date with my process and progress. Perhaps it's because of my aversion to blogging.

I am continuing to photograph subjects for the 21 sq ft photo grids that I am now thinking of as portraits. Each one an opened flesh suitcase. Last week I shot someone in the studio at CCAD; today I traveled to Granville and was able to photograph a woman who is 9 months pregnant. While editing the photos this evening I began experimenting with getting closer.

I have not been using a macro lens, as I want to steer clear of the scientific and keep these images metaphysical. I will be making the next grid as a single 7x3 ft print, without text (I had previously been hiding idioms and puns about skin and flesh within the images).

I also continue to forge ahead with the ultrashort videos. It's been slow going and I've shot a ton of footage that I probably won't use. Having been trained in 16mm film, I think I've lost myself in the abundance of limitless video. I am considering imposing time limits and shot lists on myself to see if I can reign this video in. Here is an unedited experiment in humor for "makes my flesh crawl."

Friday, October 19, 2012

Critique 2. The Body Ensouled

I have a definite structure upon which I am hanging The Flesh Suitcase project. It will consist of a 21 square feet photo grid, representative of the 21 sq ft of skin in which the average human adult is jacketed. It will be an opening of the flesh suitcase. The grid will serve as conceptual map for the short film (video) "The Flesh Suitcase." The film will have 21 ultra-short chapters/segments. The episodic structuring (similar to A List of Things That Make the Heart Beat Faster) solves a big problem for me, because I have footage from various cameras that looks quite different.

Each photo in the grid has printed on it a body idiom in text. The fatalistic aspect of being tied to individual bodily experience will be explored through these cultural metaphors. Save your own skin. No skin off my nose. Only skin deep. Seen neither hide nor hair. In the flesh. And so on. During my research I found this photo grid by Jenny Holzer, where the text is written on flesh.

 Jenny Holzer "Lustmord"

 I have also been looking at Jenny Saville's paintings and am interested in her treatment of the body, especially bodies that mainstream culture doesn't want to see.

Jenny Saville "Trace"

While exploring the idea of extreme close-ups of skin  pressed against transparent surface I was introduced by Liz Trapp to Marilyn Minter.

Green Pink Caviar from Marilyn Minter on Vimeo.

I am reading Skin: on the cultural border between self and the world by Claudia Benthien. She examines "skin as the symbolic surface between self and the world," via "the relationship among self-consciousness, subjectivity, and skin in literature, art, and science from the eighteenth century to the present." The notion of the body as house, skin as covering, enclosure, prison, or mask.

"Just as the bones, flesh, intestines and blood vessels are enclosed in a skin that makes the sight of man endurable, so the agitations and passions of the soul are enveloped in vanity: it is the skin of the soul." -Nietzsche

I will have the photo grid up for critique as well as a few of the ultra-short videos.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Eating Digital Broccoli

Wordcloud. I like how it compounds words, like greatflesh felthuman.

Also, my humble animation.

AND, the demon I made in Sculptris.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Critique 1. "And if the body were not the Soul, what is the Soul?"

I have abandoned the animated mud wrestling project. Well, not abandoned, but let go. I am still making some prints, thanks to Ric setting me up with assistance from Brian Kellet, and have learned how to effectively translate a film negative into a large digital print. The mud people are spirits from my past, the ones who were there when I came of age with a howl. They are always with me, animated or not.

 In its place, as my first semester project, I am making a short video called "The Flesh Suitcase." This title causes my mentor (among others) to shiver with thoughts of The Holocaust or Hannibal Lector. But by it I simply mean The Body. The shell or case we live in. Where I stop and you begin. The boundaries of human flesh. As Ric wisely suggested, I am reading "I Sing the Body Electric" by Walt Whitman. I don't think I had ever read it entirely and closely, as I am more of a "The Waste Land" kind of girl. Whitman's love song to the bodysoul, for he believes they are one, is quite beautiful and deftly creates the essence of what I want to explore. "To be surrounded by beautiful, curious, breathing, laughing flesh is enough." Ideally, yes, it is enough. But what of when it isn't? When the body feels like a prison; defining, torturing, screaming with need? I want to spend some time in the gray area between those extremes of bliss and misery. It's a day to day existence, sometimes joyful, sometimes a grind, and this flesh suitcase will carry me through it all. Until the mysterious expiration date.

Here is a short that I stumbled upon which is almost exactly what I have in mind. Hopefully, mine will have a different poetry.

J'aurai Ta Peau from JTP Team on Vimeo.

I am also interested in expanding my inquiry in a political direction. Specifically in regards to the emerging class of the “precariat” -- people who live a precarious existence at the periphery of society (Noam Chomsky definition) -- derived from the combination of proletariat and precarious. I am specifically concerned with precarians whose body is their product. "Soderbergh's Cinema of the Precariat," written by Claire Peters on this subject in relation to cinema states, "In contrast to the laborer of the past, who might have relied on his or her body to physically perform the task of producing the good to be sold, workers in the now prevalent (and rapidly growing) service economy must sell themselves. Their bodies and their personalities do not produce a product, they are the product." I am researching this direction by reading "The Managed Heart" by Arlie Russell Hochschild.

Did you know the average human adult is jacketed in 21 square feet of skin? It is the covering of our flesh suitcase. I have the desire to create a 3D sculptural object that can show us what 21 square feet of skin looks like, if we were to be unwrapped. This object will be in a form to be touched, hefted, and tried on. It will be called, "Flesh It Out." Liz Trapp has been helping me think about materials as well as artists who have worked in forms evoking skin, such as Eva Hesse.

 Contingent, 1969. cheesecloth, latex, fiber

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Today in Digital Culture class we made QR codes, after a well-rounded discussion about how elitist they are. I felt like a dirty smartphone owner, hiding in the corner chewing on my iPhone. But hey, it takes some great pictures. And I now know how to scan those newfangled bar codes. We were tasked with making a QR code that represents our style. So, voila.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Today I attended the Motion Graphics class I am auditing and my brain about melted all over the hard drive. Basically in order to do After Effects well I need to re-up my Photoshop skills as well as be proficient in Final Cut. I will no longer sleep at night. Instead I will be making out with my computer. But I will come out the other side of this with so many new skillz! Lots of virtual paper doll making in my near future.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Charles Bukowski. A dead white guy I admire. He taught me how to have a laughing heart.