Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Visual Project 02: "SMCM Ambient Noise"

My project reacts to the reading from John Cage, specifically his ideas about all sound being equal, and relates thematically most closely to the artwork of Christian Marclay, though I ultimately decided to approach Marclay's same ideas about sound from the opposite direction. 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Visual Project 02: Progress

Ideas for sound-based response to John Cage: “Sounds of St. Mary’s”

-          Collect audio from the everyday around campus (i.e., naturally occurring, though overlooked sounds from around campus)
-          Elevating the everyday "noise"
-          Particularly effective because St. Mary’s tends to be thought of as a very “quiet” campus
-          Current plan is to cut into a “song,” loop sounds to create a beat; nothing so mixed that it masks the origins of the sounds, but if I could create a melody that might be interesting  
-          Possible sources for sound:
o   Bell
o   Water (waves lapping on shore and/or fountains
o   Wind
o   Footsteps (on path or stairs)
o   Doors slamming à drum?
o   Sail slapping
o   Door swipe (*beep*)
o   Projector’s powering on/off
o   Birds
o   Indistinct voices (like passing conversations under way)
o   Etc.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Response to Carr's "A Great Wall":

Car made several key points to connect Marina Abramovic and Ulay’s acts, particularly “The Lovers,” to an artistic context. He conveys one memorably encompassing belief of Abramovic’s which states that “Art should be done from that extraordinary state of mind one could only get to physically, through exhaustion or pain or repetition.” This is reminiscent to me of artists who actively pursue and engage in the absurd in order to tap into something new and different. Making that absurdity physical would only heighten the experience, that “circumstance where all my defense is broken and my habits don’t exist.” But Carr is careful to contrast the Abramovic and Ulay’s walk with others who followed them in pursuit of a Guinness World Record title. This was never just a stunt or a physical feat to be conquered and made into a trophy. The value was in finding something transcendent in the experience, in having shared it (at least symbolically) with each other. Carr quoted Ulay in saying “Walking is the easy part.” This is related to the second aesthetic quality about this piece, which is the symbolic aspect woven throughout. The artists had a conceptual intent in constructing and arranging the logistics, such as wanting Abramovic to walk the “male half” while Ulay would start on the “female half” for symbolic harmony and balance (as well as to symbolize the symbiotic nature of the artists’ relationship), but other prepared arrangements caused problems, changing the piece along the way. Ulay found difficulty adjusting to bureaucratic and political roadblocks which forced detours or adjustments. He said that he felt as though the piece had been changed; the ideas could not manifest exactly the way he had intended. Abramovic, on the other hand, did not resist whatever changes presented themselves; she opened herself entirely to whatever became of the experience. Carr observed that the entire nature of the piece had already changed for her when she and Ulay had broken up. She had to find new motivation before she could begin. In that sense, there seemed to be something expressive, rather than merely receptive or reactive, about the artists’ roles. The third aesthetic quality about the project is the original idea behind its conception, which they described as mimicking two people, connected somehow, moving towards one another across great distance and time until an eventual meeting. This idea, like that of many conceptual and expressive artists, calls attention to something deeply rooted in the human experience by removing it from the everyday and elevating it. By changing the context, attempting to isolate and highlight whatever came out of the experience, these artists’ created something deeply meaningful in terms totally separate from the time spent or the distance traveled. One might say that they captured something inherently human, but also uniquely and personally them in this piece, and that in doing so they achieved, albeit through unconventional means, in capturing artistic ideals as well.