I thought about how I was going to have the fire overnight (before the assessment day) and decided I wanted to use the fire in the concrete boxes because it was more natural and fitted in with the theme more. The theme is all about the stability of the 5 elements which have an effect on us. It is a very spiritual topic but I feel with current stress of uni, dissertations and our lives, it is very important to keep these elements stable.
I asked a few of the students who came to see the work to dance around it as though it was a ritual. This added to the spiritual effect and created a happy relaxed atmosphere to the work which meant the elements remained stable and peaceful. The dancing also give a light sense to the work considering it could be perceived as quite a deep heavy concept.
I thoroughly enjoyed this project because it told me way out of my comfort zone and made me stay to think about some performance art. The project didn’t require us to do any but the way it took me and my thinking was down a performance route. I am going to continue this project through the holidays and take the fire element of the piece to a more nature source of water. I want to try out videoing it at sunset and in the dark by the sea so you have the rolling waves in the background along with the sound it them and the crackling of the wood burning. It could also work by a flowing stream. I think this could be an interesting piece and could be taken further.
After the suggestion of an open fire or tea lights in the work instead of using lighter fluid – its unnatural and wouldn’t fit into a natural piece of art – I needed to try out both methods in order to decide which was best for my work. I was conflicted by each method I should use because the tea lights would give a very peaceful, calm feel but the open fire it more natural. The tea lights would however, give a feeling of a cult or witchcraft (definitely not the feeling I want). The open fire could be an issue due to safety reasons. The day of the assessment was also extremely windy and the tea lights didn’t hold the flame at all so I decided to scrap the idea all together and went with the open fires in the concrete boxes. When I placed the tea lights around the circle, straight away I realised it looked awful. It looked tacky and ‘crafty’ which is NOT the vibe I wanted for the work. The open fire also means I am needed to tend the fires which acts as a symbol of me keeping the elements of my own life alive and stable. The elements are not able to sustain themselves on their own so my presence is needed and so this acts as a performance piece as well as an installation.
I decided to try the two out (images below):
When I originally tried to create the plane crash scene, I found myself staring at the ground for a while and not really getting any work done, so I decided to scrap the idea completely and start something new.
As I has looking at the nature materials I had in front of me I started to think about the 5 elements of nature: water, earth, wood, fire and metal. I found this quite peaceful and harmonious so, I decided to explore this idea. As I collected the different materials and place them in a formation I could see Childs-play and it reminded of when I was young and would created circles and towers using rocks and logs. The circle formation is fascinating because it shows unity and gives a sense of belonging. You’re probably thinking ‘what on earth is this girl talking about?’ but when looking at the creations I had made, I could really see this and got a strong feeling of connection and harmony.
I was able to incorporate all of the elements (except fire at the time) by using what was around me. At the time I didn’t incorporate fire due to safety reasons and didn’t have any water to put it out. My tutor suggested creating small fires in the concrete boxes or my idea was to have tea lights on top of the other elements in the circle. By having the open fires it would mean I would need to be there tending to the fire which would be the performance part of the work because it could be see as me keeping the elements stable and strong. I found a quote which stated “if the elements are stable then so is your life and you will be peaceful and feel lucky”. By maintaining the ‘health’ and stability of the elements I will be keeping my own balance at peace. I think the tea lights will look ‘prettier’ but I will experiment with both to see which method gives the right atmosphere.
I was a little on when it came to developing my ideas in this project because I have never done a site specific piece of art before. I was struggling to come up with ideas so my tutor told us we had three hours to create something. This was quite a scary thing to do because I haven’t done any research or planning for it.
I struggled at first with the idea but I decided to explore outside behind the CSAD building to get the ball rolling. I found a few old kilns which were overgrown with nature. I found this fascinating and started to make me think about the historical event we were asked to find earlier in the project. The overgrown concrete left on the side of the path reminded me of a plane crash because it represented the aftermath and leftovers of an accident.
I decided to create my own wreckage because I wanted to create a piece which acted as a memory. I have noticed when a plane crashes it is in the news for a few days and then that’s it however, for the families of the victims it goes on for a long time. I wanted to create something which meant the rest off the world would be reminded of it more. I decided to have the work in the hedge away from the path because it is not necessarily very obvious when you walk past it. However, a friend recommended to me to have it more in the open and closer to the path so people would notice it and Mayne question what happened here. This gives little more mystery to the work means the audience are able to interact with the work in this way.
After an hour or so of looking into this idea, I decided to scrap it and start with something new.
Wodiczko is a Polish artist renown for his large-scale slide and video projections. Some of the main themes include war, conflict, trauma, memory and communication in the public sphere.
‘Homeless Vehicles’ of 1987-89 is a piece that he redirected “attention from the work of art as dissent to the work of art as social action”. The project is both useful and symbolic: the artist’s first work to use a collective process to legitimise the problems of a marginal community without legitimating the crisis of homelessness. I am fascinated by his work because it creates a reaction from the audience. I like the way he has form the vehicles using scrap material to directing represent that which a homeless victim would have to do in order to survive. I do however, find it a little controversial that all of the pushers of the vehicles are black….maybe it was acceptable at the time? Maybe this is the reaction Wodiczko is trying to create…he definitely got it from me!
We were tasked with taking a daily routine and changing it. This could be everything from having breakfast as dinner, walking blindfolded or changing the way you sleep. It seemed like a very simple task but when it came to decided what I wanted to do it came a little more difficult. Having missed the first week I was not unable to complete the work in time so was a week behind. We looked at other students ideas and pieces which were similar to the ones I had. In order to not feel like I was coping them, I decided to discard any thought of doing similar pieces and spoke to students in other groups for discussions on what I could do. Having spoken to a friend who gave me a few ideas I have decided to spend the day with my shoes on the wrong feet. It will be a weird sensation but interesting to see how it affects my daily activities and whether people around me notice. The want to document my journey through video and document any reactions from others through writing and photography.
I decided to carry this activity out. It was a vey weird sensation because I felt slightly unbalanced and felt the centre of balance in my feet changed. I didn’t found it uncomfortable but it did mean I need to concentration more on where I was going and where I placed my foot. I did feel quite self-conscious during this experience because I thought people where looking at me and judging me. I find I look at people’s feet when passing just out of habit and I find shoes tell a lot about a person – where they have been, what kind of people they are.
This experiment was to get me out of my comfort zone and start to think about how I can change and manipulate the environment to have an effect on my art.
Walking in the wrong shoes
As part of the first session in the new project we were tasked with finding an object from a charity shop. There was instruction of what the object needed to be only what caught our eye. This gave us freedom to explore and rummage through the shops to find exciting things. As a student I use charity shops a lot for art equipment and clothing because you can always stumble across great deals and finds. The shop we visited had a massive clear out sale (even more reason to go in) where everything was £1. I cam across a white mug which had figurative drawings on it in red and black. The mug itself was an unconventional shape because it dipped in adjacent to the handle which gives the holder’s hand more room. I found this interesting because I’ve never seen it before and thought it made it more comfortable to hold the mug. It is pretty practical however, the dips means less tea or coffee!! Why you willing to give up that space or do you think a massive mug of tea?
After choosing the object we were tasked with responding to it. I decided to respond to the image of the mug rather than the physical mug. I found the images fascinating and very expressive. I started to look into life drawings and figurative drawing on the internet and in books in the library. I really enjoyed this exercise because it allowed me to create a lot of quick sketches of the human body in interesting poses using charcoal. During my degree I have completed a lot of interesting projects however, I haven’t really had the chance to use charcoal so I have taken advantage of this time to use it as much as I can. I really enjoy life drawing and attend many classes at home and at university.