Arteles Residency Outcomes

My stay at Arteles has been very rewarding; I have created many new ideas, the beginnings of new works and have made some fantastic friends from around the world. Among my new artist friends is a woman from the US, Ellery Royston, who works with sound. We have decided to collaborate on immersive sound and video installation, which is an exciting prospect.

Time moves slowly and silently out in the countryside in the middle of the Finnish winter. Long nights, short days and the sun low on the horizon create an environment very different to the one back home in NZ. I decided to explore time and duration in the context of a silent ordeal. I would invite my fellow artist’s to participate by enduring the slow melt of ice against their skin and to experience the thoughts and feelings this awakens.

I was informed by the old Finnish story of the Sielulintu, or soul bird, who visits the human body at birth and death. I gave the participants the chance to experience the cold of the bird melting into their skin on an area of their choice; perhaps where they felt they might experience the passage of their soul. The pain of the bird against their skin stretches time while it is being endured, but is a fleeting moment that quickly fades.

I discovered that the constraints of shooting the videos at Arteles actually created some unexpectedly interesting results. For example, I found it necessary to use natural light which created variations as the clouds shifted and the light changed. This gave an added dimension to the durational experience that I would not have discovered if I had been shooting in a studio with artificial light.

My intention is to continue working with the project to create a multi-channel video installation with accompanying soundtrack which, hopefully, I can show here in New Zealand.

ellery
Ice bird melt on Ellery’s neck
marissa
Ice bird melt on Marissa’s stomach
quartmeltline
Cast ice quartz crystal melting onto a mirror

Work in progress Jan 17

I’ve been working to create a durational video using small stylised bird objects that are informed by my research into Finnish bird mythologies. I have 2 benches set up in my studio; one for wax-working and the other for drawing and latex mould-making. I have a rather ad-hoc jewellers peg attached to the bench which is a bit wobbly but does the job! The below pictures show some of the process for making bird-shaped moulds for later casting.

Works for Art Ache event

Creating some work suitable for the Art Ache event has been useful and an interesting experiment in pitching the work specifically to an audience. The Art Ache events are aimed at the general public who enjoy art, aren’t part of the art-buying connoisseurs, but would like the opportunity to buy and enjoy contemporary art. I’ve usually been working with video and object but for this project I needed to have prints that could be purchased and put on people’s walls – not something I usually consider with my art-making! I also had to consider how these pieces would reflect on my wider practice, but I like the idea that the public can have access to work and be able to find an entry point into contemporary art.

The thinking behind these pieces is that I wanted to create something that is accessible and that people could feel a connection to without having too much contemporary art knowledge. I want to make something they would want to spend time with. As well as being related to the Albedo work I have been creating this year, each piece references a famous art historical work that has been of inspiration to me. I hope that they will lead viewers to search out the originals and to see the relationships between contemporary and art historical work where they might not have looked before. Connecting to my interest in human experience of the otherworldly, the works that I drew on for the images are all depictions of moments of mystic experience; the Virgin at the moment of Annunciation, the swooning saints of Bernini and Caravaggio. I also love the obviously earthly pleasure on the faces of Saint Teresa and Mary Magdalene; is it the ecstasy of mystic experience or, as my model put it, “the ultimate O face”! Perhaps they’ve just been stuffing themselves with heavenly honey.

When creating these images I was well aware that there are plenty of photos out there drawing inspiration from classical and pre-modernist artworks. I’ve seen a lot of these sorts of images done for fashion magazines and while they are ‘pretty’ they don’t do much but provide high-gloss decoration. I didn’t want my work to stray into that area if I could avoid it! These fashion images are usually very heavily retouched, very glamorous, use fashion models and have a focus on beauty and perfection. I deliberately stayed away from any retouching (apart from a few stray hairs that had escaped from the models headwear) and left her pores, uneven make-up etc plainly visible. I hope that using the stark tonal palette keeps the images sculptural and austere rather than decorative.

They are printed A3 size on archival matt 300gsm art stock (and will not have the titles printed at the bottom as in these pics, instead they’ll have my sig )

Prints-01 Prints-02 Print Prints-04

Art Ache

I’ve been creating some new images and video especially for a show called Art Ache that is happening this Thursday. They are in some respect companion pieces to Albedo, but a little different. The Art Ache show aims to allow people who are interested in contemporary art to be able to afford pieces they enjoy. These include a series of prints, one from each artist, that are part of an ongoing series
Art Ache event page
Art Ache website
Idealog article

Here is a my kitty helping with the shoot in my make-shift home studio. I can’t create large video pieces here, but smaller photoshoots are surprisingly effective.

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Installation Strategies

Working with moving image produces it’s own specific range of display challenges. As well as thinking about the method of display you also have to consider the installation in the space and the experience of encounter. I have a number of moving images that I can include in my installation in January and I’m thinking around which ones to use, which ones to edit out, how they should be encountered, what size they should be. I’m working with an AV company to come up with the best method for the work, the best method for the space and the best method for my budget! I looked into technology that was way beyond what I can afford right now (like fog screen technology) but it’s good to have that in my arsenal for when I have works that might suit those display techniques and I have budget to make it happen.

I’ve spent some time researching methods of display using projection and LCD displays as these are the 2 most likely display methods I would use. I have also built a 1/20 scale model of the gallery space with removable internal walls so I can have a look at the size of LCD monitors in the space, positioning of projectors, which images could go where. This has been incredibly useful for me as well as for my collaboration with the AV hire company. Yolanda and I had a look at some of the images projected in the lecture room and I feel that the large-sized presentation is definitely right for 3 of the images at least. My challenge then is to create a darkened space for the projection by building a lightweight false ceiling over the back half of the gallery space. My thinking then would be to have 2 more moving images in the entry spaces on either side of the doorway and to display those slightly differently on large LCDs. I like that order of encounter and the size difference – the areas of moving image are related but different with speed, movement and composition.

16-01(152)Frecklier, D (2014) Littoral (single channel video installation, paper strip screen, electric fan)

I like this simple projection strategy that uses a paper strip screen and movement from a fan. It’s a god way to break away from the traditional screen and bring movement into the work. I thought about these sorts of unusual screen ideas for my work but I felt that the content and detail of the imagery was too integral to the work to be split apart and diffused in this way.
20141112_beijing_faurschou_foundation_bill_viola_00003_hi-resViola, B (2014) Inverted Birth (projection)

Martyrs_(Earth,_Air,_Fire,_Water)Viola, B (2014) Earth Martyr; Air Martyr; Fire Martyr, Water Martyr (Screens)

bill-viola2-600x399Viola, B (2008) Small Saints (Screens)

It’s useful for me to look at Bill Viola’s installation strategies as he is also using singular iconic figures, performing to camera against an amorphous background. The single, large projected image in Inverted Birth is impressive in it’s size and looming position of the viewer. The 4 martyrs are displayed like a modern altarpiece which is a nice conceit but I feel they are a bit small at this size and would benefit from being more imposing. The Small Saints series is a different approach, making the images more intimate and photographic, like something you might have on your mantelpiece at home. It’s a really different approach from what Viola usually takes and I’m keeping it in the back of my mind for future consideration when I have works that might suit a more intimate approach.

transmigrations1Alexopoulos, Y. (2012) Transmigrations (Screens)

I love Yorgo Alexopoulos’s use of multiple changing screens. The above work Transmigrations uses screens grouped into clusters. It made me think about using screens of differing sizes, orientations and placements.

Enrich, P. and Harper, B. (2008) Crude Carrier (3 channel video installation)

This is an interesting method of installation, creating an enveloping ‘room’ from the video. In Crude Carrier the video moves around the 3 screens so it can be viewed as a continuous movement. The images can be viewed from within and without of the ‘room’. The screens are moveable and can also be opened out or mounted flat onto a wall. There is a naturalistic soundtrack with the sounds of water, boats, seagulls and traffic. I’m looking into this sort of installation strategy for my current work although it may not be possible or right for the work.


conical_meri+ross_06Turnbull, M. (2009) From and Into the Light (double projection video installation)

Projecting onto sculptural objects or uneven surfaces (rather than the traditional screen) is another option I have considered. I think that for this series of works, much like with the moving paper screen, the content of the videos would be broken up and distorted too much with this method but it’s something I could consider for future work.

Chronogram_Malena_Szlam-03Szlam Salazar, M. (2014) Chronogram of Inexistent Time (Multi projector video/stills installation)

I was interested in the chaotic nature of this work, from the multitude of randomly hung screens and frames on the walls so the overlapping and changing projections. Obviously this isn’t a suitable strategy for my current work, but it’s so different to what I would usually think of doing myself that I got really drawn into it.

So here are some examples of the strategies I’m considering using my scale model. I have more videos than I need which gives me scope to change and edit the installation.

Option1

 

Option2

 

option3

 

Option4