I had a mentor meeting with Helen Hoffelt on Monday, probably our second-to-last for the semester, and it was a really great meeting. We both are confident that I am where I need to be in the completion of the project to be ready for our end of semester show December 13. When I met with Tracy Longley-Cook last week, we talked about what my project was born out of, and how that experience influenced the work. This especially shows in the use of rectangles and the elongated rectangles of each piece, which mirror the experience of traveling long distances in a car through these vast landscapes. The whole landscape becomes this elongated rectangular blur, punctuated by individual clear rectangles, framed by the car window. Helen and I also talked about the fact that this project is largely about the disconnect between us and nature, illustrated by an exploration of the way we view landscape, and that car travel is really one of the most easily understood methods of disconnect. When you think about it, it’s very surreal to travel through these vast landscapes, which are often hot or cold, in the perfectly controlled temperature box that is the automobile. Bizarre.
We made a small list of things I should try to accomplish by my critique tomorrow, and then for the end of semester show. It was all very doable, but we agreed that I will be finishing right on time, not early. Still to come in the next day or two is a trip to the hardware store to get T pins and spacers of some sort (probably several sorts) so that I can work on figuring out the distance from the wall for my pieces. In the next few weeks, I will be doing a density test print on the transparency to determine the opacity needed for each section of image, so that I can print my final prints to look right in our gallery space. I am also supposed to talk to Molly and Michael about lighting options in the gallery so that I can give my pieces the most dimensionality possible. Very excited. As for next semester, I have already conceived an idea, discussed it with John Fergus-Jean, who I am asking to be my mentor for the project, and secured a teaching internship with Helen. I am very much looking forward to the teaching methods component of next semester and learning from classroom experience.
On Thursday, I had a studio visit (my first!) with Tracy Longley-Cook. Before our studio visit, she gave a great talk about her work, particularly focusing on the way it has evolved over time and her emphasis on the objectness of photography. Seeing as my theme this semester has really become landscape as object/photo as object, she couldn’t have been a more perfect person to meet with! I came in early that morning to get my studio in order and get some work set up for Tracy and I to talk about, and I ended up having a major breakthrough in my work, which was just a complete gift in its timing.
I have been struggling to figure out what goes behind each image, because they have seemed somehow incomplete to me. Too literal, perhaps, or not object-y enough? I have started playing with putting 2 of my constructed landscapes on transparency together, and spacing them a little way from the wall. I am very pleased with the result, but I have only been able to print one of my new or redone images, so I have been using the prints I already had. I think I will be even more pleased when I am using the finalized images, because I’ve ironed out some kinks. I meet with my mentor today, after getting to have a Q&A and lunch with Miranda July (!) and I look forward to hearing what Helen thinks. I am fairly certain she will be as excited as I am.
We have been tasked, in our Digital Culture class, to use a technology we have learned in class to implement some kind of project relating to our artwork or somehow furthering our art. While I don’t typically think of myself as a luddite, this class has made me view myself as an artistic luddite. Every technology presented to us makes me oooh and ahhhh and then say some variant on, “That’s so cool! I won’t ever use it, though.” While I do not think my attitude towards this has been the best, I do think that it is somewhat valid in relation to my current project. I cannot think of a valid way to attach any of these technologies to my work. I can think of ways to incorporate them, for sure, but none of them seem to further my message with the project… THEN IT STRUCK ME. Why not do something that I might use for next semester’s project?
The one thing we explored in class that I seem to keep looking up and interacting with in my downtime is gifs. Some people are making amazing art with gifs. AMAZING WORK. Photographers have spawned a new kind of gif called a Cinemagraph. Cinemagraphs are a still photo with subtle movement. For instance, a portrait might be completely still except for a bit of hair blowing in the wind, or an image of birthday candles being blown out might be still except for the flames moving/extinguishing. For my project, I would like to do a series of cinema graphs, maybe 5-7, as a jumping off point for next semester and a learning experience for this type of moving image.
We are also meant to suggest a project for one of our classmates. I think Dalong’s images could be really cool with the addition of augmented reality. We talked in his last critique about his project marrying fashion and traditional Chinese stories. I think it would be very interesting if he could somehow take “regular” high fashion images and transform them with Aurasma to show more of the story elements. That way he could merge commercial photography with fine art, reality with fantasy, and product with narrative.