Deconstruction

Deconstruction was conceived while I cleaned our kitchen to within a inch of its life.

Deconstruction is about waste, technology, built-in obsolesce, transformation, reconstruction and reuse.

I plan to take obsolete items, trash and other stuff and take it apart. I’ll then take the component pieces and arrange them into patterns — spirals, labyrinths, squares, etc. so that they create aesthetically interesting and colourful compositions. I can then take photographs of these parts and blow them up to obscene proportions.

I think my old iphone, ipod, USB stick, and other similarly complex items would work well. I may need a soldering iron. I could also do the same thing with small appliances; toasters, blenders, etc.

Other material that could work are household and personal consumables. Things like twin-blade cartridges for my razor. If I was to get access to a laser cutter I could maybe take a blade and slice it up like a loaf of bread then photograph those slices neatly arranged in a line with my macro lens and print. Some sort of crazy cutting implement would make almost anything fair game.

Both ideas revolve around thoughts of waste and the North American disinterest of big business to be environmentally conscience. It’s also a simple extension of my central thesis simply stated, “looking at things that others aren’t interested to look at.” There’s an added element of my brother Peter who was always interested in taking things apart and rebuildig them. For me though this is not about funtionality. It’s more like sculpture. It’s also found art that existed all the time. I’m just reconfiguring stuff.

The most important piece has solidified in my mind and it’s the razor blade sliced into 5 or 6 pieces then photographed.

More and more I think about sculpture.

Here’s a 15 minute version that illustrates one possible approach.

Deconstruction indirectly comments on the annoying digital vs analog debate in photography and film. Here, instead of using Photoshop to easily and accurately create the Deconstructed then Reconstructed images I desire, the process will be done manually.  Painstaking physical manipulation to create an effect that others could easily do with little or no effort via a digital process. These physically constructed shots will then be captured digitally which further obscures the process creating an ironic tension.

Related to this I’ve been thinking of a statement that reads something like; “Do you dislike digital because it’s the inferior to analog, or because you’re afraid now that with millions of image makers publishing on-line you’re mediocre talents will be discovered and you will be eclipsed?

This stance is not a denial of analog, but an annoyance at those individuals who take the elitist position that digital sucks. I find these folks annoying in their arrogance and denial of a new generation of image makers who will quickly eclipse them.

 

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Math & Science

Math & Science is based on my romantic idea about mystery, problem solving, higher learning, and creative thinking.

Do Mathematicians, Physicists, Chemists and other intellectuals of that ilk still use chalk and blackboard? I have a sneaking suspicion they’ve progressed. I originally thought of this as a project photographing different blackboards with complicated proofs scrawled on them. Specifically, blackboards in the middle of rooms with nobody around. In my head these blackboards are surrounded by utilitarian, institutional 1950s decor as well. As I write this however I figured out a more realistic way to achieve something aesthetically interesting and a but less romantic.

In University graduate faculties across the globe there are some pretty smart people working on some pretty amazingly interesting and groundbreaking things. I’d like to document –in a series a photographs –some of the “figuring” of those people.

There may very well still be someone –or some group of academics– that are still working on blackboards so the original spark of an idea could maybe be realized in an image or two. I imagine now though that more common classroom things are items like; easel and paper, white boards, overhead projections, projections of computer desktops, pencil and paper, and maybe ipad, iphone and other electronic devices.

I’d like to take photographs of people thinking about their work, or actually bent over, and document some part of their work. Maybe these are simple images of a person standing beside an illustration of their work. Sort of showing it off, “look what I’ve done”.

I think it will look interesting, get me into a form of documentation that borders more on journalism and allow me to work with interesting, different thinkers. In a way I want to see if they think like I do, or feel like I do when I get an idea or figure out a way to execute something better. I’m also trying to figure out if others are sort of like me. I’m not comparing myself to very smart people who are actually producing work, but the emotions that go behind it.

I’ve always compared my process and the small moments of epiphany that I have every day with the feeling I had when I understood and could write down a proof in one of my high school math, biology, chemistry or physics classes. It’s the same feeling I have when I figure out a concept, or dream about an image, or take a picture that pleases me. It’s about moment of true understanding, and that moment is where one stage of the process stops and another begins. I realize as I write this that I love that feeling and the actual execution of something after that is difficult because the eureka moment was all I really wanted.

It’s why I like the idea of conceptual art, or at least the conceptualization part of conceptual art. It’s why I wonder sometimes if I’ll ever produce anything ever again, or just spend the rest of my life thinking of things to produce.

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Etching

Etching is about conversation, controversy, parlour games and thinking.

We have one piece of glassware that I never use. It would work nicely for this purpose. It’s a very simple, straight-laced highball glass.

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The plan is to get eight or ten glasess etched in a very plain and functional font –probably Helvetica  I’d use single words to facilitate conversation and thought. Then have a party and as the guests leave give them their glass. It’s kind of like a Martha Stewart Art Project.

This is inspired by a glass I remembered from my parents. When I was a kid we were never suppose to sue these glasses because we could break them. They were etched with ESL. I never really thought about those glasses but I imagine they were a gift to my parents for their wedding. Either that or they were handed down from my Grandmother or Great Aunt on my Father’s side.

I always liked this glass wear when I was a kid but now as an adult I prefer heavy, substantial larger glasses. That could be because I associate nice glassware with a discomfort that comes with being a child around nice things.

Possible Working List;
Truth
Pain
Solitude
Magic
Lost
Art
Imposter
Escape
Dream
Ennui
Original
Average

Alternate list of words relating to each other and my art practice;
Average
Mediocre
Pedestrian
Typical
Normal
Banal
Unassuming

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Coloured Tarps

Coloured Tarps was originally conceived as a winter project.

The coloured tarps I’m talking about are typically blue however I’ve seen black, green, silver, white and orange in use at different times around the city. Lately I discovered you can get them in a few other colours like red and yellow and that I can have them custom made out of different materials. I’d like to get six or seven tarps that cover a spectrum of secondary colours.

The genesis of the idea was to wrap myself up cocoon like in these tarps and to take self-portraits while laying swaddled on the ground, sitting on a rock or in some other such pose. I’d use a remote control with the camera on a tripods or some other support. This might be hard to do without help. Managing the camera in the snow could be tricky as well. The optimal situation would be a new snow some day in a local park, super early in the morning before anyone’s disturbed the snow cover. I think I could shoot looking down from a bridge or some other such structure, but again, I think I need help to do this. Wrapping myself up even would be hard, let alone executing everything else. The camera could be attached to a long pole that could then be hoisted in the air to get a vantage point which would reduce any distortion in the perspective.

Simpler than this would be to shoot 10 ft square tarps stretched over an area of snow or supported in the air to flap in the breeze in a snow field. The resultant image could be obtained by simply creating something in illustrator or Photoshop, but that’s not the point. I see a room with 7 or 8 large square photographs that are taken of coloured tarps on fields of fresh snow from above somehow without shadow. The same could be done with circular tarps.

The closest images on the web to describe what I’m attempting are for camping. These are typically protective set ups. You can see the clean lines of these structures and although these images are taken in typical camping situations, I think you can see what I’m trying to accomplish. These actually describe a derivative of the Coloured Tarp project that I’m now stoked on as well. I can create Photoshop like holes in landscape spaces using various tarp structures.  Again, this image depicts a complex physical manipulation of the visual space to create scenarios that could easily be accomplished in Photoshop.

Each corner of the tarp could be controlled by fishing line, so the snow doesn’t get disturbed. It could also be attached by white string to a white structure of poles and hoisted in the air. Images could be taken of the formalist square or even circular tarps. A derivative of this would be to support the coloured tarps from their upper corners and let them wave in the breeze like flags. The images could be taken either, intentionally out of focus or at slow shutter speeds to blur the final images. I could also do inanimate shapes. I could find existing man-made object/structures and cover them with the coloured tarps. This could create abstract, painterly like compositions. Playing with photography and sculpture to create a homage to minimalist, formalist painting.

This is a further exploration of the painting thing. Humorous in way.  The idea of re-enacted scenarios via awkward and complicated logistics to create simple compositions that the viewer could mistake for paintings rather than photographs . It also has the obvious association with Christo’s work, but I think this is more about photography rather than sculpture.

This could be done anywhere and at anytime of day or night, in any season. The square or round tarps will look very cool wherever I can stretch them to their uniform shapes, let them flap in the breeze, shoot up at them against a white or blue sky, shoot them suspended above the surface of a lake, against a field of snow, against a wall of greenery, etc. The more I think about this the more limitless this project could be. Exciting.

 

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White Pictures

White Pictures is exactly that. Photographs of white objects. I keep imagining these on a white background and then maybe overexposed in processing. These would be printed large and the subjects would be very pedestrian, very commonplace.

There are two objects that have stuck in my head; the white little table that comes in take-out pizza packaging to keep the roof of the box from screwing up the cheesy goodness, and a set of old school 1960s style white metal extendable curtain rods.  Today I was thinking that maybe white Styrofoam take-out food containers could work as well. Thinking about it further, there are tons of other things that would work and are typically white like;  a ream of paper or crumpled up paper, cotton balls, t-shirt, underwear, string or thread, salt, flour, milk, bowls and plates, bar of soap, etc. I could even try –miracle of all miracles–using a different lens. I very, very rarely take the 16-35 off my camera, however I’m thinking I could do some macro stuff out of focus for this series.

As for the exhibition I’d like to cover the floor in white material, use white floating frames and mount the work on Stonehenge gator-board that will be white.

I’m not quite sure what this about but the thought of having these pictures of things you can barely see hung in a room that’s blindingly white would be cool.

I think these are indirectly about Tom Friedman. I’ve always liked his work, but only ever seen it in a book. In the Taschen book about him it explains that one of his very early pieces –for art school I think– involved painting his studio all white and removing perspective and depth in an actual space. I’m probably mangeling the description of his work. I looked at that book about 20 years ago, although in hindsight it has a lot to do with what I’m interested in now.

 

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Reflection

Reflections is an idea that came to me this morning in that limbo between sleep and the day.

The strangest thing about this was the vivid and casual nature of the images. It was as if I was consciously planning it in my sleep and I was aware this was happening. I’m sort of shocked that I remember it. The other strange thing is that when I was relaxing with my coffee at the computer this morning I opened a Tweet link that took me to a project that related to some of my newly realized concept.

Reflections is a studio shoot. The plan is to create a central sculptural piece and shoot it from several different angles. The central form would be an angular construction resembling a flower vase. I would create the piece from chunks of mirrored glass. These would be polygons with different sizes and configurations. I see the final structure as being a drug induced and uncomfortable disco ball where the pieces of the surface are rough and abrupt instead of uniform and organized. In general all the pieces of the sculpture would be apparently haphazard.

This sculpture would be suspended or somehow isolated in the air and small coloured sheets or pieces of material would be positioned so that that each is reflected in one of the facets of the crystallized sculpture. This would create a weird 3 dimensional colour mosaic which I would subsequently shoot.

The colours could be all slightly different shades of one particular colour. Yellow comes to mind first and foremost. White would be good and so would black but there are endless possibilities.

Shoot with a very large aperture and short depth of field with no flash to render the background reflected colours in a visible and more understate light.

Alternate idea is to get a hunk of tree branch chromed and use it and other similar natural substrates as the reflective surface but only use a white background so the shapes can be detected but the effect is the objects would appear “invisible” when photographed. To do this I might have to make a metal cast of a branch then have that cast chromed.

Both concepts seem to be exploring photography and sculpture.

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