Final Outcome and presentation
When presenting my final piece the title was very important. I titled it 'Domestic Goddess' highlighting the almost ethereal qualities of the cleaners. 'Idolizing' them in this way places emphasis on unachievable perfection that is highlighted not only in beauty magazines with their unrealistic beauty standards but also in, possibly less noticeably so, in lifestyle magazines. People are constantly striving to achieve this unachievable perfection in every aspect of their lives, not only in their aesthetic image. Often what is forgotten when viewing these magazines is the work that goes into creating this idea of perfection and maintaining it. Placing emphasis on the normal people an the workers normalizes the whole scene and highlights the necessity for imperfection.
Whether the painting below the triptych is entirely necessary was something that was raised in the crit....
Altered Spaces, Day 1
After looking and considering the project brief I remembered a past project I had done in which I used collage to combine various aspects of interiors all taken from interior design magazines and then collaged together. This idea at the time had produced some aesthetically nice outcomes but I wanted to develop this further and really consider the images I was combining in the collages. I started by doing some simple drawings looking at key elements of the 'perfect' and sanitized interiors that I found in the interior design magazines. I then combined the drawings with the images themselves which created a few nice and simple pieces but I wanted to develop this further, like I said, considering the images I was combining and the meaning and concept behind the combinations. I began to think about what I found interesting about the magazines and how they were presented. What struck me was the sanitized and unrealistic living spaces that were presented, due to the fact that they were not really 'living' spaces, purely for show and even too delicate to be practically lived it. I began to think about the media is so frequently picked up on promoting unrealistic beauty standards but it is also the lifestyle that people see in the media that they covert and feel discontented and unsatisfied that they have not or cannot achieve this perfect lifestyle, their house is not like a perfect show house and they do not live a problem-free, perfect lifestyle etc. I wanted to bring in and highlight many of the imperfections and things that go into creating these so-called dreams that people often forget about when converting them. I finished the collage section of this project by combining images of dirty dishes, overflowing ashtrays, rubbish bags, cleaners etc with the perfect interiors to create a sense of 'realness' in the perfect world people so desire.
Re-edit , Final Outcome and presentation
I compleated my video ready to show to the class and was fairly happy with the outcome. I think the concept worked well and by combining it with audio of a bible passage/ sermon about the evil of coverting material goods it successfully conveyed the message that I was trying to get across. Had I developed this project more I think I would have selected the video clips more carefully and perhaps concentrated a little more in what they looked like aesthetically when all put together. When viewing others I realised that mine may have worked better and been more impactful had the video footage worked better together, more aesthetically. It seemed like the clips were almost unconnected due to changes in style, colour, age etc, which meant the video did not flow quite as well as I had hoped. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eICdS1sdkSU&feature=youtu.be
Re-edit Tues 3rd Oct
I began considering idea for my video. I wanted to work with the blurring tool on adobe premier as the programme was able to track objects through a moving video and blur them seamlessly. I then began to consider the idea of recurring themes or objects in film an came across the term 'MacGuffin' which was a term coined by Alfred Hitchcock used to describe an object in a film that played a very significant role as a plot device but held very little significance in itself. Famous examples included the money in 'Psycho', the briefcase in 'Pulp Fiction' and the ruby slippers in 'The Wizard of Oz'. I wanted to consider how removing these from the films would impact the way the films are viewed. With so much emphasis placed on material goods in this day and age, I thought that removing seemingly vital material goods was an interesting concept.
Re-Edit, Monday 2nd October
We began the project with a basic tutorial on how to use the adobe Premier video making software. It was interesting to learn the range of processes that could be done to found footage using this software. When applying the different processes, overlaying films, repeating clips, slowing them down, speeding them up, adjusting the audio etc I was able to change the effect that the video had on the viewer. By speeding things up and making the audio more repetitive, what was previously a fairly calm video to a frantic, fast paced, almost panic inducing video.
Group Crit on Material News final outcome
I recorded the audio my group crit so I could engage in discussion and then reflect and make notes on what people had said after to help me evaluate my work and think about how I would develop it. The notes I made from the audio were as follows:
See them as one piece… does the distance between the plaster and mental ones prevent this?
Ancient Rome/ Pompeii?… engravings in walls… ‘carpe diem’ seize the day… inspirational/ ‘Cave Canem' - beware of the dog…. practical - almost modern adverts… yet preserved an permanent from thousands of years ago
reminded people yet again of the dog tags/ identification tags
business cards stripped down to the ‘identity’ of the company… reduced to the bare bones
stylish quality…? interesting in typography sense
Can’t have any individuality… every company is just the same
Not too precise… plaster ones have different thicknesses… makes them a little individual
casting out of soap… washing away individuality?
Meekyoung shin - builds everything from soap
Tom Friedman soap - arranges pubic hair in a spiral in soap… putting order and permanence in something that would not normally be seen in this way… something that would be tidied up/ washed away quickly
Tom Friedman self-portrait in soap… identity in a non-permanent form
Photographing on soap dishes?… about the distribution… public places… everyone uses soap… the messages and advertising would be spread
Tobaron Waxamn - Stacked soap… representing people of the holocaust
Rachel Whiteread soap sculptures.
I think the feedback focused mainly around the idea of the objects permanent yet temporary qualities and the associations made with the way the objects looked. The suggestions of experimentation with soap interested me… the fact that it became a very solid shape once moulded into the desired shape but that it could be dissolved just as easily and just as quickly was an interesting concept because to blurred the lines between permanence and temporariness for me. I would like to look into various artists that use soap as a medium for their work in order to consider the development of this projects. I would also like to further explore the scale of the project… making more metal ‘dog tag’ business cards, all with the same format but advertising completely different things.
Reflection on initial outcomes
The writing on the plaster business cards did not come out as clearly as I had hoped. On reflection, it was actually the metal business cards I made for the moulds which worked particularly well. The simple and very uniform text, that was almost the same on every card yet held different information seemed to work well with the idea of reducing them simply to functionality. They also reminded several people of identification tags on soldiers or dogs. It would be interesting to expand this into a large collection of uniform business cards, all with an almost identical format. In regards to the plaster cards, they reminded many people of hand soaps, which made me begin to consider the purpose of things being hand sized and the practicality of that. I also found it interesting how, in an attempt to make something more permanent I had, in fact, created something that was washed away in an instant and the information on it was completely lost. I would like to experiment with the idea of how these objects disintegrated and were lost completely, possibly how real business cards are.
25th + 26th, developing a physical sculpture
It was difficult to think how I would cast these plaster business cards, especially getting the detail of text on them. I needed to consider how to make the text on the plaster in a professional way. The best way to do this also made sure that I made full use of all the workshops available to me. I started by cutting aluminium foil into the shapes of business cards and used stamps to emboss the information into these metal cards. I then cut out wooden blocks in the same shape and used them to vacuum form moulds in the right shape. The metal cards were then placed in the bottom of these moulds and plaster was poured over them. At the beginning of day 2 of the project my idea what questioned, seeing as I planned to make the business cards out of stone/plaster, the question was about whether it really worked as a concept and was the ease of distribution that came with the nature of business cards something that should not be lost? However, this was something I wanted to remove and subvert in my idea. The idea of permanence was something that I wanted to capture in the piece and so setting the cards in stone so they were not circulated as easily and remained as a permanent fixture to someone was what I wanted to achieve.
25th, Material News
I selected The Observer newspaper to select a 'story' from as the project brief requested. I found it slightly difficult to find anything that evoked a particularly strong response, on the whole, the newspaper was fairly uncontroversial and reasonable. I, therefore, opted for an almost comical article about drug dealers handing out their business cards to Manchester 'freshers'. This made me consider the purpose of a business card. Yes, primarily they are designed for practicality, people can keep them and call the numbers, visit websites etc easily as a large amount of information can be put on the card. The cards however also give more of a sense of permanence and officiality, an underground, secretive and entirely not official business can be made to seem more official and trustworthy through the distribution of business cards. I began to think about how even through business cards made it more official and permanent, was there not a way to take this even further? Business cards are often lost, damaged and are generally not held onto for long. I wanted to make the business cards be something that people kept and almost displayed... reflected loyalty to an individual or brand/company. For example, business cards or leaflets for takeaway restaurants of often lost and replaced frequently. I wanted to put these sort of things on concrete or plaster and very permanent business cards, it was just the practicality of materialising this idea that I needed to consider.
21st Sept - Presenting the work
I decided to present the samples on a white wall in a very linear fashion. The overall effect is aesthetically quite pleasing however I think to make the outcome more effective I would ideally have many more samples, encouraging the viewer to take one, as well as having a larger number of sample types so as to cover a large wall space. There are several ways I could develop this project further, and some which I might explore in my own time once the project is finished. One idea being having more of a structure for where I collect the textures and colours from. i.e. would I collected a certain colour a week, or would I photograph the texture of everything I ate etc... this would be effective to allow the collection to grow further but not completely randomly. I would also like to photograph the samples in a DIY shop in amongst all the other samples. Also matching the colours and texture I had found to one of the paint colours in the shop and numbering the found textures to correspond with that, so that the textures followed a more well known category system, that people could even check themselves.
19th September -
Over the course of the day I worked on the presentation of my collection. I wanted to present them as paint samples would be presented in a shop. As a collection of samples, it was almost like a collection that people could take from, in a weird kind of world where people selected things they wanted to buy based on the texture they saw in the samples. The irony of this is that by selecting the most beautiful texture someone might select something quite unpleasant. The catalog of textures, assigning them with numbers, with a tick sheet that people can tick off what they want is a very industrial 'IKEA-like' style of cataloging. I placed the samples on the window sill, which was useful to highlight the colours, however, it did not capture the idea of a large, almost industrial selection of paint samples that i wanted to achieve.
Formatting the collection
I wanted next to think of a more interesting way of presenting this collection, how to file these textures with reference to where they came from. Because of the way I photographed the textures on very small squares, made up of mostly one colour, they reminded me of colour swatches often used as paint samples. Over the afternoon I organised the images into their similar colours and formatted them like paint sample sheets, categorising them with names of what they actually are and numbers.
We were then set the task of going out around archway and collecting something ourselves, whether that be through photography, sound or actual physical objects. I initially thought it would be interesting to photograph things that would be usually not noticed and ignored as people go about their day to day life. However this did not seem to mean anything to me and also I came to realize that these things were usually ignored for a reason, they are not particularly interesting. I began to think it was not physical objects that interested me but rather textures of objects. This lead me to think about how I would collect textures and how I could separate them from my form. I took a series of photographs of different objects very close up, even not in focus, so as to capture the surface of these things whilst eliminating the object itself. When returning with my photos and showing them to other members of my group they agreed with me that some of the textures were unrecognisable and even commented how some of the photographs were incredibly beautiful, looking almost like precious stones. These observations were ironic considering that the textures that were noticed for being the nicest images were often actually pieces of meat or food, something very rarely considered aesthetically pleasing.
September 18th - Futher collection and presentation
We then rearranged the objects in order of colour, this made it seem more coherent and a thought about and considered collection rather than just a random selection of objects, making me consider the importance of presentation even more:
September 18th, Collection Project
We began the day by looking at different types of collections and different ways of presenting collections. I found it particularly interesting how different collections can be, some are particularly organised and deliberately collected, as in someone goes out in search of things to add to their collection. Whereas some are more collections of things almost unintentionally accumulated over time which are then organised in a particular way. This made me consider my own collection and that what I was collecting was not the only thing that I needed to consider for this project, I also needed to think about how I was going to display/present my collection and how it needed to be an appropriate presentation.
As a group of four, we emptied our bags and organised the contents as a collection, firstly organising them in order of worth. This order made sense to us as we had put the objects in order of worth, however aethetically the collection did not look like anything more than a random pile of things:
September 14th, Project visualisation and group crit
Thursday 14th Sept
We began the day with the task of coming up with another 10 ideas for a piece based on the research we had done the night before. This was challenging due to the short amount of time we were given to do it. However, to my surprise, I was able to come up with a few more ideas that I would have liked to develop further in themselves. We then went back to developing the idea we had done prior research for, in preparation to the group crit. I struggled slightly to visualise the idea to present to other people in such a short amount of time and with limited resources. I gained some feedback which was positive……………… However I noticed that people did find in difficult to to respond to my visualisations. I did not put a description next to the images/ drawings I had created as I wanted to see peoples takes on it without me almost telling them what to think and what is was about. I think part of the reason it was difficult for people to respond to my work was because, I although I physically placed hair in a locket to portray the use of hair in the piece, it was difficult to tell from the drawings that the other objects were also to be made out of hair, which was quite a crucial part of the concept. I think, on reflection, when presenting work, in this way, if it os not at all clear what my intentions are in regards to how it will develop or exactly what it is/ what it is made out off, it might require some kind of description.
I am also a little disappointed that I chose this idea to pursue to the presentation stage. On the Thursday morning when quickly brainstorming another 10 ideas, I thought of another idea that [potentially would have been more interesting. When talking to another member of the group I found out that, even though I had made the link between fur and hair, the word for both hair and fur in Portuguese is actually the same. This made me again consider ideas about hair removal and why such as natural part of the human body is so frequently frowned upon, I was tempted to return to the idea about displacing human hair removal onto animals. Had I been developing this project further I would have explored the avenue more.
Drawing of planned installation
Demonstration of hair inspiration and would be like the first hanging item in peice
Hair in locket
13th Sept - Library Research
During the library research session, we began to explore the different ways to carry out research. Using the library system we were able to search for our chosen words and find books with relevant information. This was again useful for gaining ideas and concept that hadn't immediately sprung to mind but yet had obvious associations with the word. The books I found particularly useful looked at surveillance and CCTV, I found the book through looking at artists that include concepts of time and the capturing of time. This was a different way of 'capturing time' that I had not really considered.
When searching for books connecting with the word sensuality the search results gave almost all books with links to sexuality. This lead me to begin to think about attitudes to a hair/ 'human' fur and why something that of course is entirely natural and accepted for animals is frequently such a taboo for humans. Developing on this thought, I began to consider how to look at this idea in a piece of work. I wanted to combine the naturalness of 'hair' and 'fur' and contrast it with the societal taboos, almost to emphasize the ridiculousness of our societal expectations. This lead me to an idea about removing/ shaving the fur on animals in the same places that humans are often expected to shave and remove their hair. For example a dog with the absence of hair where a beard would be, or a bear with shaved legs etc etc.
11th September - Ideas Factory
The first project was assigned as the 'Ideas Factory'. After selecting three words consisting of an '-ism', a material and a process, the aim was to come up with as many ideas as possible, with a minimum of 10. We discussed ideas in groups of three. It was particularly interesting to note the differences in response to the words from different people. The three words selected by my group were 'Sensualism', 'Fur' and 'Suspend'. My immediate thought, in connection to the word 'Fur' was that of fur coats and fur clothing, I seemed to think of 'Fur' in a very detached way to the animal it came from. However, others more immediate thoughts surrounding this word were much more associated with its origin, and fur's links to the living things it comes from. This difference in immediate associations to the words from the different members of the group was particularly useful when it came to brainstorming ideas for the hypothetical piece of art. It allowed us to begin to think about the journey and processes that fur went through in order to become the coats and clothes that I most associated it with. I think, perhaps, the reason I seemed to, so immediately, think of fur in this was due to the '-ism' we selected - 'Sensualism'. Sensualism seemed to me to be often a word frequently used in an erotic sense, and 'fur', in clothing, is also frequently seen in lavish, sensual and sexual scenarios. This lead our group to come up with several ideas relating to the sexual connotations of fur, but also ideas about removing these connotations.
We began also to think about fur in a purely physical and analytical sense, questioning 'what actually is fur ?'. In a purely physical sense, we started to think about how 'hair' is the human equivalent to fur. We started at this point to begin to develop ideas using 'hair' or 'human fur' as a material in the peice. Drawing on the process 'suspend' we spoke about how locks of hair are suspended in lockets as keepsakes or memorials. This further discussion lead us onto several more ideas and the development of our favourite idea, which we presented to the group. This idea looked at the idea of using hair, the 'human fur' to suspend instances in time. The idea for the hypothetical piece involved a room with items made of human hair from multiple stages of a person's life. For example, the first item suspended was to be a keepsake locket with a lock of a baby's hair in it. This moment was a point of the baby's life that was now suspended in time, both physically and metaphorically. It was something for people to remember the person by. The next suspended item was to be something like a stuffed toy, made of the hair of the person, reflecting another stage in the person's life and remembered using the person's hair. This would continue in the same way with different items being made out of hair.
The benefit of working in a group for the initial stage of this project was being able to gain different interpretations from the same words. It's often easy to think of something only in the way that you immediately see it, rather than consider different approaches or interpretations. Working as a group and gaining the knowledge of others interpretations lead us to a much more interesting and thought provoking idea, rather than the more simple, obvious ones we initially brainstormed.
To further develop this project I would like to research the artist Nicole Wermer, who's installation which was nominated for the Turner Prize in 2015 involving fur coats immediately sprang to mind for multiple members of the group. As further secondary research, I would also like to explore artists who incorporate ideas about time and capturing moments of time in their work. On a more practical note, my action plan involves buying a sketchbook to begin my research in.