Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Random Access Memory

          I was literally excited when I had the opportunity to integrate the negatives I have been working on all term for another project into a digitally uploaded book. I selected three images from each photo shoot I produced to include in the book. I am very pleased with the visual flow it created. I uploaded the book to blurb, utilizing their Booksmart software. The software is surprisingly easy and foolproof, a welcome relief after learning how to produce images on the computer that are similar to those I produce in the darkroom. I spent the most time scanning each negative into the computer and using photoshop to correct each speck of dust that appeared on the scanned image. This was tedious, but it further expanded my archival abilities gleaned from photoshop. I chose not to order my book until after the critique tomorrow, as I would truly value the feedback from everyone who will be at the critique. As of yet, I have not presented the finished product to anyone, and I feel it would be foolish to order the book without first at least getting one other person's opinion. As it stands, the book has fine image quality and the test prints performed on campus have rendered excellent results. I look forward to ordering a copy after the critique and potentially including it in my works show at the Senior Exhibition.  


Monday, March 5, 2012


          After several weeks and several revisions, my video collaboration with Alyssa Herman is finally finished! I have included the video below. I created the video, while Alyssa created the soundscape. We worked very independently, but always kept contact throughout our processes, which I found very helpful. I enjoyed the collaboration experience greatly.

          After seeing all the finished collaborative videos, Bourriaud’s chapter on screen relations in Relational Aesthetics really came full circle. The videos themselves are about relational aesthetics, utilizing found text as the subject. Then, another layer of relational aesthetics becomes apparent when considering how the sound changes and interacts with the images. As mentioned during the introduction at the showing, the soundscapes often referenced subtleties of the video that were not necessarily on screen at any given time. I have a better grasp, after working collaboratively, on how important and utterly transforming sound can be for a video.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Henry Bond

          YBA artist Henry Bond began his artistic life creating photographs in London that quickly came to be noticed by Nicholas Bourriaud. His work was lumped into the concept of relational aesthetics, because his photography and video work was accessible and highly interactive with the public. In my research, I was able to see how Bond's artistic career morphed from a social critique on Londoners to that of an almost-psychoanalyst who heavily researched crime scene photographs. His series The Cult of the Street in 1998 was his first look at how London society was overly obsessed by consumerism and fashion. He took the photos in such a way that they could have easily been mistaken for snapshots, but were ultimately too well composed and structured. I found his photographs to be visually compelling for the most part, although some of them are very plain. I had a large struggle with the fact that very few of his images are unavailable online, even with heavy digging. Such is the way with modern artists at times.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

"The Keeper of Retinal Memory"

          I was, very excited to hear Nick Olson's lecture earlier tonight. A young photographer practicing outdated photographic techniques? Yes, I would love to hear about that. I know I'm already a bit in this vein, preferring to stay away from digital photography and focus on black and white film, but I did not even think about tintypes being a legitimate option for regular photographic practices. Olson discussed his world views, which related directly to his photographic practice. He used the phrases "slow down" and "do things deliberately" multiple times through his presentation, which shows how important these ideas are, both in his life and in his art. He focused a large portion of his presentation on his choice to live in a self-sustained environment, very close to nature, both as an apprentice and an artist in residency. I appreciate the idea of taking a step closer to your work and slowing down to truly understand the machinations of things, though I do not believe everyone needs to go live in the woods to do it. That is not to say Nick Olson was suggesting everyone go to the woods. He did, however, raise a valid point for any artist.
          Nick Olson discussed several of his bodies of work, two of which involved a sort of re-photographing of tourist locations to show how people inhabiting them have changed the landscape. In this way, he is able to take a 19th century art practice and bring it to light in the modern age. By using the same technology as those who made the original images his concept is drawn from, he meshes the past with the present. Old technology in a modern digital world.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

A Look Into Collaboration

          After hearing suggestions in class and meeting with my sound collaborator, we chose a German handwritten letter from an unknown person to my paternal Grandmother. It is thin tissue paper and is four pages long, dated 1955. So far, the plan for the images is to consider the objectness of the letter and contrast it with the immediacy and immaterial properties of email. I plan to be careful to avoid imagery in the video that could be too literal. I want to pair email and letter writing without simply showing video footage of one medium and then the other. I want to stick with the minimal settings and imagery style I used in my 30 second video. I enjoyed how I was able to successfully convey my message in that video with minimal objects and images. I have not entirely decided if someone should read some of the German as part of the soundtrack. That is something to consider as I progress in this project. A letter could at first be seen as just another piece of paper in the family, but through my video, I want to emphasize how this document will last, while an email will not. I may also address the language barrier in the video as well. I may emphasize the few words that may be recognized by English speakers.
          The sound coordinator and I discussed some sounds that could be associated with paper and technology to include. We agreed to let time make the final decision on what the soundtrack will truly be like. For now, we focused on diagetic-like sounds.  

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Adventures In Design

© Adobe
          While completing the final portion of the food desert project, I used Adobe's InDesign for the first time. After a quick tutorial, I was left to my own devices. I had a little trouble understanding how the final PDF would appear, causing me to export it a few times before I was finally satisfied with image placements. Going over the PDF in class showed me what needed to be fixed, changed, and moved around. While I was generally pleased with my "final" product, I am now actually happy with the overall appearance after applying feedback suggestions. Nicolas Bourriaud's The Radicant mentions journey forms. This collaborative book will act as the final leg of the journey into the food desert, chronically each artist's individual experience in the world.
          In my previous blog post, I discussed the aesthetics of Joel Greenberg's book Urban Wilderness. While considering the design for the six pages I had to work with in InDesign for the collaborative class book, I kept in mind the clean layout and formatting that Joel Greenberg used. I chose to not clutter my pages with several images, placing at most two images on a page. I do enjoy a nicely configured grid of photographs, but for the photographs I had for this project I felt their aesthetics benefited from only two images per page. After trying several different types of text, I chose to nearly omit text from the pages, allowing the photographs to speak for themselves. I used the same photograph and text of canned goods that I used in the video I created for this project as my cover image. I felt it was a powerful way to draw attention to the issues in the food desert without using an abundance of text throughout the layout. I feel that when every artist's images are placed in the book, it will read in a way similar to Ed Ruscha's instructional art work Twentysix Gasoline Stations. There won't be step by step instructions, but the photographs may present themselves as a narrative that shows the journey form. Perhaps, if someone picks this book up in the library, they will be compelled to go out and photograph in a food desert.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

What Do You Find in a Food Desert?

          Before embarking on this project, I was not familiar whatsoever with the term "food desert." Once I researched the definition, I realized I did know of the concept, just not the correct term. How shocking it was to realize my location bordered right along a food desert. I have realized over the past three years living on the Lawrence campus that we were not near a grocery store, but having friends with cars allowed me to ignore this fact. It was an enlightening and troubling experience to walk along Wisconsin Avenue in search of anything that could be considered affordable and nutritious. I encountered a bakery, a specialty chocolate shop, a KFC, two asian stores, and a pasty shop. I performed a preliminary internet search and discovered a food pantry, which turned out to be a Citgo with a few food items. The video I made focuses on the issues of finding food in the food desert and being overcharged, while the residents are already at a disadvantage when it comes to acquiring food. I was disheartened to discover that the supposed grocery store was really a gas station. I purchased the majority of the food with my $10 stipend at the gas station, but in order to create a complete meal, I purchased the noodles at one of the asian stores. I felt successful in my meal planning, purchasing noodles, sauce, canned beans, and canned peaches. I did  not, however, feel as successful about the fact that my meal did not include any fresh foods. My video shows a few perspectives on the food desert, as well as some of the products I was able to purchase.