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