Saturday, May 27, 2017

Spring Room

This video is meant to be an early step towards the surreal in computer graphics -- towards the idea that, while we are tempted to use computer technology to recreate the world we know, it's much more interesting to create worlds we can only see in dreams. This video is meant to be relational in the sense that it takes advantage of our perceptions of everyday objects and distorts them in an attempt to encourage conversation.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Sophie Calle

  On page 30 of Nicolas Bourriaud’s Relational Aesthetics, he describes Sophie Calle’s work as “[consisting] largely in describing her meetings with strangers.” Although this is a very hurried summary of Calle’s work, it does capture the basic essence of what she does – repeatedly, Calle invites others into her life, or inserts herself into theirs, and documents the events that follow. Often she has some sort of framework in place, but what ultimately transpires is completely unscripted, and as simultaneously mundane and bizarre as any event in ordinary life. Calle documents and shares these experiences, often in the form of books or prints on gallery walls, featuring both textual and photographic accounts. The real art, though, is in the moments of life she shares with her subjects. This aspect of her work is also what makes it relational – the fact that her work consists entirely of sharing in a moment, or series of moments, with a stranger. The work, therefore, would not exist without the participation of the subject, even when they are unaware of their role in the piece.
      One of Calle’s earlier pieces, called "Sleepers," involved inviting strangers (around 40, total) to spend the night in her bed. She ran a newspaper ad inviting people to come – some of whom, like Patrick, who is described in the book about the events, came having misinterpreted the ad (in his case, thinking it was sexual) but nonetheless participated, in most cases for about eight hours. Calle would document them, photographically and through writing, almost as if she was journaling. This is arguably where Calle's work began to take on aspects of what critics would call "Surveillance."

Image result for sophie calle sleepers

    Calle’s next big project, called “Bronx,” took place in 1979 and involved her waiting at a gallery in NYC, where she would ask visitors to take her to one of their favorite places in the Bronx. Calle documented in a similar style to that of Sleepers. 

Image result for sophie calle bronx

    A later project, “The Shadow” (1981), involved a role reversal: Calle had her mother hire private detectives to shadow Calle and document her daily life. Calle then exhibited the detectives’ documentation of herself as the final product of the piece, in the same style as she would when she documented her work herself. 

Image result for sophie calle detective

    Further later work of Calle’s involved sharing personal stories, rather than making new ones – both the 1988“Autobiographical Stories” and a 2005 exhibit involved Calle telling her own stories, as well as those of others who wished to participate.
      Finally, the piece Calle is perhaps best known for – “Suite Venitienne,” 1996 – involved Calle following a man around Venice after meeting him at a party where he mentioned he would be travelling there. Again, Calle documented her observations of the man in both writing and photographs.

      Watching people as they go about their lives is the core element of Calle’s work, although it took different forms over the course of her career. The art, then, is not only relational, or related to people and how they interact, but is entirely based in people and their habits – what makes them similar, what makes them different, but moreover, the simple actions of a daily life.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Eating Cereal :: G-R-R-Relational Aesthetics

    I'm not sure this piece would have been relational, if people hadn't spoken back to me, but it felt good to tell everyone about the genuinely very boring life experience I have with cereal and various kinds of milk. I don't consider myself a political artist, but I found myself veering in that direction, in my discussion of milks and their means of production.
    What I felt worked well about this was the fact that I did it in a "gallery" type setting with cameras all over me but I successfully ate the cereal and had a conversation like I would have if I had eaten the cereal at lunch an hour earlier. I think everyone there could see that, and that's what made it work. What made it relational was the fact that two people said they had had similar experiences to mine with cereal and Raisin Bran!

Relational Documentation from 4.17.17








Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Tara Bogart: Immoderation, success, and material


    Reading Relational Aesthetics has increasingly made me wonder what art would not be considered relational, when it really came down to it -- it seems like most work that appears in a gallery forms the kind of immediate micro-community that Bourriaud calls relational when one interacts with it. Tara Bogart's work in particular made me consider the relational nature of work shown in a gallery -- in the photos above, for instance, there is a clear relationship between the three women whose rooms are represented, and there is a clear space for the viewer to inhabit. In terms of the viewer's role, these works remind me of YB Artist Tracey Emin, and how many of her works simultaneously invite the viewer into a private space and tell the viewer to leave, because of the private, uncomfortable nature of the work in the gallery setting. 
    The fact that these are photographs raises other questions, however: would these works be more or less relational if the objects represented actually appeared in the gallery?  Can a photograph ever be relational? Am I simply applying the label relational because I recently read about it, or is there really something relational about these three images?

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Facebook live Mood Ring :: NG :: 4.4.17

Images from test:

Screenshots during event:

Final count (last ten seconds): 

Full Video:

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Images and their context - Tyanna Buie artist lecture response - The frame is everything

Tyanna Buie's portraits were consistently striking, but the ones that held the most power, in my mind, were the side-of-face mug shots of her family members that she touched up and placed in ornate, gilded frames. The profile in the gold oblong frame, so consistently associated with the European bourgeoisie and royalty, lends a very direct and elevating power to these profiles that otherwise are associated strongly with their original context - the world of the prison industrial complex.

Buie has not, however, stripped these images of their original context, nor has she stripped the elite, wealthy associations from the frames she uses; instead, they become part of the same symbolic item that commemorates the lives of these black (mostly) men who are photographed carelessly in the same position the wealthy elites were painted in centuries ago, before they (the contemporary men) are locked up, part of the ongoing narrative of their lives that otherwise have little in common with those old European aristocrats.