Thursday, May 7, 2015

Artist Talk: Teching Hsieh

Teching Hsieh

            Teching Hsieh is a performance artist known for his one-year works that take an extreme amount of dedication and perseverance to complete.  During his artist talk he mentioned, “One year is just a small dent compared to the whole lifetime.”  This quote by him essentially becomes the justification for his works as a whole. 
            For starters, his work, “Cage”, was the most intriguing piece that has been completed by him in my opinion.  During the duration of his talk, I could not imagine having to sit in a cage for an entire year deliberately without being an actual prisoner.  This makes me wonder whether or not he is consciously “othering” him from actual prisoners which is another reason why this piece stood out to me the most.  He had little to no human contact for the duration of this piece, and he scratched a tally mark for every single day that passed until he reached one year. 

            The second piece that stood out to me was his “Outdoor Piece”.  Going back to the statement made earlier, I am still wondering whether or not he intended to other himself from homeless people.  He deliberately lived outdoors in the city for an entire year without stepping inside once.  During his talk he mentioned that he did not trust or the homeless people that he encountered and thus never tried to associate with them.  I found this ironic considering his was actually homeless, on his very own accord for the sake of art, and had no intentions of having any sort of relations with any actual homeless people. 

Artist Exhibition: Pink Elephants on Parade

Pink Elephants on Parade Review
            The exhibition created by Nick van Woert, Pink Elephants on Parade; located in Church of Fine Arts made use of the concept of how humans interact and make use of various resources because it is a compelling subject that grabs the viewers’ eye.  Throughout the exhibition there are eight sculptures and installations that have been placed at various parts of the room.  At first glance, there appeared to be no correlating theme between any of the pieces in the gallery, however after proper scrutiny I could conclude the theme between the pieces was about resources, and the human interaction with the resources.
            As you walk into the gallery, there is a sculpture that immediately greets your eyes at the door.  From the backside which faces the viewer as the viewer walks into the gallery, it just looks like a messy black splatter, which intrigued me to figure out what the rest of the sculpture looked like around the side.  After finding a different view, this piece appears to represent an unhealthy shift of power between man and nature.  It seems as though the character in this sculpture is Poseidon, “Greek god of the sea”, that is covered in oil and is struggling to escape from this oil entrapment.  Now the shift in power is that the artist is trying to tell the viewers that not even a god can escape the disastrous effects of human consumption of resources such as oil.  I believe this piece could even be a reference to the most recent oil disaster that occurred that, four years later, is still having an effect and killing wildlife within the Mexican Gulf. 
            After moving further into the gallery, on the immediate right hand side of the room there seemed to be some sort of throne-like sculpture that was made out of various resources trapped in glass.  In relation to the first piece involving oil and Poseidon, this sculpture appears to be taking on this idea that humans are in charge to a new level.  This idea that if this sculpture is in fact representing a throne, this entails that the person imagined to be sitting on the throne is literally sitting atop of various resources.  A throne, in other words, implies a monarchy or some sort of representation of power.  That being said, have a throne made out of those various resources implies that the person that sits on this throne is representing the power humans have over using these resources. 
            While there is the use of resource consumption, this also implies the gravity of human development and industrial technology.  There is a piece that is created out of stainless steel that lies on the ground as is in the middle of the gallery space.  It looks as though this piece was created to represent the use of resources that has brought us so far as to create automobiles and other forms of heavy machinery, which as it exists, consumes resources to function as well.  In this case, this looks to be an exhaust skeleton or frame that represents a car.  That being said, a car use a notorious piece of machinery that is one of the main reasons as to why we produce and consume so much oil.  Which, of course, makes a connection to that very first sculpture referencing an oil spill, which was due to our high demand for the consumption of oil. 
            The only piece that was actually hung up on the wall was a piece that was set in two separate but identical parts.  This is one of the few pieces in the gallery that actually has a name, America Pine Bark.  The dimensions of the frame are 84x58 inches and 3 inches thick.  Inside of the frame of this piece, there is bark from a tree seamlessly placed within to create a flat surface.  What I personally could not wrap my head around with this piece, was the idea of knowing that trees are round, and therefore bark is also rounded, but how could the artist possibly have flattened out the bark in such a way that made it seem like it was stuck on a flat canvas.  Let alone, the fact that the bark seems to be just one big, unhindered piece that was placed there.  There seems to be no such cracks or any marks or any visual signs whatsoever that implies that he simply patched a piece up with stray pieces of bark.  Now in addition to that though, this piece took a while for me to make a connection with the rest of the work viewed in the gallery.  There was no oil representation, no metal, no human-like interaction that appeared to be involved, simply all I saw was flattened bark in a frame on the wall.  However, I began to realize that in the most literal sense possible, trees are in fact a resource.  In this particular case, a tree was used as a resource to create art in a gallery to be viewed.  Although, I do not think that this was the idea of representation that Nick van Woert had in mind when creating this piece, but I feel that it cleverly does symbolize and connect with the rest of the gallery.
            In terms of how the gallery works were presented throughout, I believed some of the pieces to be presented effectively, however, other pieces I believed were presented very poorly.  I thought it was great for that very first piece to be placed right near the doorway because that gives the viewer an immediate sense of what is going on.  I also thought the American Pine Bark was installed very effectively as well.  However, there were a few pieces in the gallery that it seemed like there was not much thought in terms of how or where they wanted to place them.  Although, Nick van Woerts’ work was definitely effective regardless of placement and presentation, because it forced me, as a viewer, to think about each individual piece, and want to see more in the future.

Artist Talk: Joel Swanson

Joel Swanson is an artist that primarily practices with digital media, sculptures, and interactive design projects.  His main focus throughout his work was implementing linguistic and literary theory.  His work practices the linguistic materials and thematics of various parts of written language.  However, some works are better than others, and although I respect his attempts at practicing one continuous theme throughout his work, I find a lot of his work to be somewhat bland.
His piece, "Lady Gaga's Twitter Feed, Translated into Morse Code", is an exceptional use of digital media and quite an interesting idea comparing and contrasting two completely different styles of communication.  While Twitter is referencing our use of modern day communication, he correlates it with morse which has been around for many years.  However, in my opinion, once you look past the surface meaning of the comparing new communications versus old communications, I find this work to lack any real meaning.  A lot of his work is extremely heavy handed towards his obvious theme toward language, and there's no way around it.  Maybe that's the beauty of his work that some people might love and desire, however, considering most all of his work only has a surface level meaning, I don't necessarily find it intriguing.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

ART 350 Final Project

This project is a response to technology and our society’s reliance and attentiveness towards it. I created a 3D model and placed it in front of a TV that has Google street view on the screen.  I then used a camera to take pictures of the model being placed in front of the TV in order to create a stop motion video.  Finally, I have the video being projected by a pocket projector device while the actual 3D model is seen in front of the projected image.  This process is a very heavy handed and redundant response toward technology use within our society.

In addition to that, in terms of context, I painted the car model red because that is intended to be an “attention grabber” while driving through some of the most popular streets in the world as a portrayal of how technology captures our eyes everywhere we go. These streets, for reference, are: The Las Vegas Strip, Abbey Road in London, Hollywood Boulevard in LA, La Rambla in Barcelona, 7th Street/ Times Square in NY, and Bourbon Street in New Orleans. The shift of focus between the car model and the background images is a nauseating attempt at portraying our shift of attention with technology.