I have been trying to work with Google Maps API to develop an interactive map that allows one of my drawing to be tiled endlessly and for users to be able to pick a star and tag it with a name or any other textual information they may want, but I am having trouble figuring out the coding on my own. I have enlisted the assistance of my partner Jacob to help me in figuring out where the code needs to go, but this will be an ongoing project.
In the meantime I have bought a domain, worked out format of the website archive and have made a submission page and about description: https://www.stargazearchive.xyz/
I have also fleshed out the performance element of this project, made myself a costume of a blazer and will be silk screening patches for me and all participants of the logo onto felt.
At the actual event participants can draw a zenith view on the large form, or opt to draw three individual stars on the small form. These will then be cut out by me right there and added to a slide holder, which I have used a silhouette cutter to make 200 of and then they can view their negative in a slide viewer.
I had an amazing opportunity the past week to travel to Vancouver BC (the other side of the country) for the Museums and the Web Conference. This conference brings together institutions from all over the world, to feature advanced research and applications of digital practice in museums of all kinds, including cultural, natural and scientific. Over 100 papers are published through this organization, and are freely accessible online. It is an amazing resource for museum professionals, but also artists who want to work in new media.
In my new position as Curator of Digital Engagement this was an amazing opportunity to learn, network and generate ideas that will aid my institutions ability to connection with audiences, but also to aid the artists we support. More over, this also directly affected me as an artist, as many of the projects highlighted were implemented by digital teams, but are the ideas and research work of artists and curators.
I was able to experience Heiltsuk artist, Shawn Hunt’s Transformation Mask, a VR experience that really transcends the traditional and the new media. This work, made in collaboration with the Microsoft Garage studio, responds to the theme of transformation in indigenous art. This work is amazing technically, but also conceptually, allowing anyone to wear and perform the mask is in itself a uninformative experience.
During the conference I was also able to visit the Vancouver Art Gallery. There they had on the major retrospective Takashi Murakami: The Octopus Eats Its Own Leg. With many of his monumental sculptures and paintings the conference was really enthralled by the spectacle of this show, and the ridiculous amount of gift shop souvenirs. While I really appreciate how the show highlighted his dedication to craft, and included some of his more humble early works, I found the whole show a bit underwhelming. It was strangely laid out with tiny galleries that seemed detached from the rest of the large works in the exhibition and the was no flow between his early works and the large show stopper pieces. Over all the show did tie in well with the other exhibitions on view, and I am sure brought in a slightly different audience than usual, which is always a good thing in my opinion.
At the VAG I was more excited by the permanent collection, which had some great Joseph Beuys works and Munch. They also had another show on which drew upon archival objects and works from their collection: BOMBHEAD. This thematic exhibition explored the impact of the nuclear age on art and artists. These nuclear technologies have such a strong association with obliteration and destruction in the mid-20th century, still seemed a very timely exhibition. From the VAG website:
“Encompassing the pre- and postwar period from the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 to the triple meltdown at Fukushima Daiichi in 2011, BOMBHEAD brings together paintings, drawings, prints, sculpture, photographs, film and video that deal with this often dark subject matter. The exhibition will address some of the most pressing issues of the postwar era. What has been the role of art in producing an image of the bomb and nuclear energy? Have nuclear art and images heightened or lessened anxieties about the atomic threat, or have they done both simultaneously? How should different expressive approaches to nuclear risk be understood?
Artists in the exhibition include: Carl Beam, Henry Busse, Blaine Campbell, Bruce Conner, Gregory Coyes, Robert Del Tredici, Wang Du, Harold Edgerton, Gathie Falk, Robert Filliou, Richard Finnie, Betty Goodwin, Adolph Gottlieb, Richard Harrington, David Hockney, Jenny Holzer, Robert Keziere, Roy Kiyooka, Bob Light and John Houston, Ishiuchi Miyako, Carel Moiseiwitsch, Andrea Pinheiro, Robert Rauschenberg, Mark Ruwedel, John Scott, Erin Siddall, Nancy Spero and Barbara Todd.”
Beyond the VAG we visited the Museum of Anthropology which had an amazing permanent collection all on display which I sent hours going through the drawers of. This collection did seem to me to have some issues in terms of repatriation, and I was glad I didn’t actually have to pay the 16$ entrance fee.
The highlight of my trip was the Vancouver Contemporary Art gallery which was completely free admission to everyone, and had all free programming as well as many free publications. They had one exhibition on view The Blue Hour, which had great writeup on their website: https://www.contemporaryartgallery.ca/exhibitions
This exhibition explored the notion of photography as invention and as a tool as it relates to the future and present. It draws on the ideas of critical theorist Kaja Silverman who suggests in The Miracle of Analogy: The History of Photography, Part I, that photography is “an invitation to upend canonical readings of photographs, which emphasize their simultaneous demonstration of this-has-been and this-is-no-more.”. Suggesting that a photograph is not unalterable and that we should consider photography as “the world’s primary way of revealing itself to us – of demonstrating that it exists, and that it will forever exceed us.” Photography acts a more than just a tool to create memories.
The exhibition presents works by five artists; Joi T. Arcand, Kapwani Kiwanga, Colin Miner, Grace Ndiritu, and Kara Uzelman. These artists consider how the photographic image can be used in the future in relation to polotoc, geology, comology and philosophy.
Though this exhibition was not a part of the conference I was really glad to see it. Overall I feel so grateful to have had the opportunity to travel and see all these works, but in the context of the conference I have begun to wonder if it is the responsibility of the arts administrators and digital teams to put this technology in the hands of the artists, or if we need to be doing more ethical checks to see if we really need all this corporation supported tech, and how the tech is altering our understanding of the worlds we inhabit.
Calgary-born, Toronto based artist Kayla Polan gave a talk on her work and ongoing residency at Struts Gallery last night.
It was interesting to attend her talk, because although I did not find a lot to identify with in the thematic content of her work, it was great to see such an emerging artist give a talk so confidently. She graduated from OCAD University with a BFA major in Drawing & Painting just in 2016, a whole year after me, and is already really out there in the Canadian art world participating in group exhibitions and booking residencies.
She is a multidisciplinary artist working across many media including print, drawing painting, and new media. She self describes her practice as a melding of “feminism and popular culture to investigate contemporary ideas about sexuality, fetishism, domesticity, queer identity, autobiography, and consumer culture through the use of painting, sculpture, printmaking, video and performance.”
In her talk she went over the history of consumerist feminism, from the early 1900s today.Cover themes of how words like empowerment and certain products have become gendered, like yogurt and salad, Polan uses text from real advertisements in combination with her drawings of real products.She highlighted that these ads and the feminism that many celebrities embrace are based in personal choices and actions, rather than in causes that will affect the larger population.
Polan also briefly discussed the idea of queer utopias, space built out of necessity because there was not a space for these people in popular culture. In the context of this talk, this seemed a bit of a tangent, but I liked the idea she mentioned about noticing what is happening in the world as an artist, and being critical of it. A good thing to keep in mind, as I see hundreds of advertisements a day in my periphery online.
Nancy Fraser. Feminism, Capitalism, and the Cunning of History: An Introduction. FMSH-WP2012-17. 2012.
Building off the Mapping the Territory project, look back on what where my main areas of interest, and influences to push my practice to be more challenging, professional and effective at communicating my ideas.
I am curious about; fictional archives, how I can create analogue work that also exists on the internet to increase accessibility and venture into a new medium, newHive, graphs and mapping information, cosmology and mythology associated with the stars, how that applies to everyday life and ultimately how the cosmos relates to the body.
Employ museological techniques to create fabricated artifacts and documents to tell the story of a fictional archive. This includes labeling, display and archiving. Possibly creating a website for the works to be documented but also link to the internet work.
Create an online work that accompanies drawings and other ephemera to explore new media. Pre-exiting platforms like newHive/googlemaps maybe the way to go.
Risks and Anticipated Challenges
Like always, failure – conceptually and in execution.
I anticipate the challenges will be in research – not getting carried away, sticking to my timeline and technically in the creation of an online work. If coding is involved that will take some time to sort out and learn.
Leave time for trial and error.
Week 1 February 19-25
brainstorm ideas/create timeline
planning and research phase
source needed materials
Week 2 February 26-March 4
take out needed books from Library/build online bibliography
begin sketching/making the work
start test on newHive
February 27 – Maryse Goudreau artist talk at Owens Art Gallery – also works with archives
Week 3 March 5-11
begin drawings on carbon paper – experiment
March 8 – send work for tutorial & post outline and images on journal
March 10 – Cyanotype Workshop at Imago (lead by me)
group crit this week?
Week 4 March 12-16
continue research – consider specifically how text will be incorporated into this installation – a book? labels?
begin to build light boxes for carbon paper drawings
Mon 12 Mar: Tutorial AR
Week 5 March 17-25
continue research and exploration of new mediums
Mon 19 Mar: Tutorial with visiting lecturer
Week 6 March 26-April 1
March 26 – Exploratory Project Progress Review
take feedback and apply to work by making
Week 7 April 2-8
continue to make and research
focus on newHive component this week and how it will fit with analogue works, how will they all be presented together? how do they exit separately?
April 7: Making Day
Week 8 April 9-15
Reflection period — use comments from making day to assess the direction the work is going according to an audience, adjust as needed.
focus on making light box drawings – aim to have 6 completed
order LED lights
April 18-21 in Vancouver for Museums and the Web – use as time for reflection, as it may not be possible to do much making this week
Week 9 April 16-22
use feed back in work by making and editing
create small scultures
finish light boxes
Week 10 April 23-29
23 April – group crits (send images by April 20)
test light boxes and make adjustments
editing period: look at all the work together and consider how it functions as an archive of my narrative – consider making more work, or leaving some work out
begin to promote event at Struts
Week 11 April 30-May 6
continue making – finish lightboxes and have all work ready to install for monday
aim for a second small group discussion for this week
Mon 30 April: Tutorial AR
Install at Struts Gallery
prepare for participatory event
4 May opening/participatory event at Struts Gallery
Week 12 May 7-13
document — making adjustments as needed
11 May: upload images for group evaluation
Week 13 May 14-20
May 14th: Exploratory Project Seminar / evaluation
*Meet in a small group at least twice throughout the project.
In my on going research about artists who use representations of the cosmos in their work I have come across a selection who have used imagery of eclipses or specifically the moon.
Eclipses have been so widely studied, mythologised. An event that was at one time seemingly random and caused wonder and dread can now be calculated to the second but still accounts for wonder.
Many exhibitions were planned around the August 21, 2017 eclipse, including Eclipse Core and Transient Effects. Both took very different curatorial approaches to the event, the later commissioning all new works by contemporary artists and the former taking a historical look at the representation of eclipses in art. Both examine themes of the relation between art and science, the representation of time and the cosmology associated with Eclipses. Both also continue to exist online:
The other artists I have discovered working along the same themes of wonder, time and combinations of artistic and scientific modes of representation.
Niagra, ON artist Maggie Groat works in a series of ongoing research projects to explore possible futures, alternative and marginalised ways of knowking, re-connections to placefrom a hybrid Indigenous/Settler perspective. “Through re-configuring and re-contextualising found and salvaged materials, she assembles images, sculptures, tools and situations that enable moments of envisioning and the potential for action.”
These collages can present order, but at the same time seem chaotic to me. Clearly using a unique ordering system, and personal way of evaluating images the collages of very common but mysterious imagery seem completly unique to Groat, spotlighting the everyday.
Similarily the work of Roula Partheniou often engages in this ordering of objects and images. Her practice often creates a need for a double take, playing with the space between what your eyes actually see and what your mind thinks it knows – confusing and reconsiling themselves endlessly.
In her own words, her practice is about “finding a material and reacting to it.” By using familar objects that are familar to many viewers, and lightheartedly altering them in someway, sparks a bit of humor in her minimalist eastetic of subtle interventions. Questioning materials, optical illusions and persepective are all at play as she creates replicas of banal objects or scenes, but invigorates them through translation to new media. Putting a spotlight on the everyday in this way and encouraging a second look leads to a closer confounded understanding of the imagery.
Michelle Stuart is an american artist who has created earthworks, multi media istallations, paintings sculptures but most recently has been working in drawings and prints. Most of her work deals with the interpretation of photopgraphic images, from a wide range of themes including history, astronomy, acheological sites and botany.
I had first seen here large paper works in the Dia Beacon, but have just recently come across her more recent work of photopgraphic ensemblages. Coming from a background of minimalism she challenged the hard edge of abstraction by creating works by hand that clearly showed process. The use earth as drawing and she also brought drawing to her earthworks. The large paper works evoke ideas of physical connections to place, but also memories of place. These same ideas of memories and their enherent messyness continues to come through in her recent representational works.
Cleat T Waite and Lauren Fenton created an cinema installtion, best seen through video here: MetaBook: The Book of Luna . This work depicts many sides of wonder represented by the moon as a typographical site, but also as a poetic theme. They write an excellent description of the work so I will just leave it here from their Vimeo page:
“MetaBook: The Book of Luna is an expanded cinema installation, an electronic cabinet of curiosities that formally examines how structural and dynamic montage can be employed in counterpoint to create experimental narratives and immersive experiences. A participatory artwork combining the experiential qualities of text, sculpture, interactive media, and cinema within the enclosed architecture of a tabletop object, The Book of Luna narrates a poetic essay about the Moon’s place in the historical imagination. The nature of love, madness, the unknown, and our capacity for the sublime are amongst the intellectual passions that have crystallized around our only satellite. Unfolding across a series of projections and nested spaces, this artwork treats the Moon both as a poetic concept and as a concrete, navigable place. The reader is invited to fly in orbit between texts written and inspired by some of the Moon’s great philosophers and scientists and the lunar craters that have been named after them.
As a hybrid artifact that brings together illusion and science, aesthetics and apparatus, this work specifically explores how the topographical architecture that a film occupies can be used as an external signifier of the film’s internal logic. In doing so, the MetaBook re-invents expanded cinema according to a neo-baroque logic of serial miniaturization that unlocks proportionally vast sensorial and imaginary realms, conjuring an experience that Deleuze describes as “matter…offer(ing) an infinitely porous, spongy, or cavernous texture without emptiness, caverns endlessly contained in other caverns: no matter how small, each body contains a world pierced with irregular passages.” clea-t.de/Book_of_Luna/Book_of_Luna.html”
The moon as a place and object that has been so widely mythologozed and worshiped presents such diverse opportunities for interpreation. More contemporary artists could easily be added to this growing list.
Filippone, C. 2011, “Cosmology and Transformation in the Work of Michelle Stuart”, Woman’s Art Journal, vol. 32, no. 1, pp. 3-12.
Swirski, P. (2000). Between Literature and Science: Poe, Lem and Explorations in Aesthetics, Cognitive Science, and Literary Knowledge. Montreal; Kingston; London; Ithaca: McGill-Queen’s University Press. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt80p90
Huang, S. (2012). Picturing the True Form: Daoist Visual Culture in Traditional China. Cambridge (Massachusetts); London: Harvard University Asia Center. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt1x07w1q
I found the making day to be a really productive time. I really appreciate the constraint of having to set aside time to sit down and work, and to try to do work that is not research or planning necessarily is always invigorating.
I started by working on some carbon paper drawings that will be placed in light boxes so you can see where the carbon has been rubbed away. This process is pretty finicky and requires little movement once my set up is in place, making it great for the making day.
By Layering paper strategically to limit how much pressure I apply to the back of the carbon paper using pencils and other tools like a sewing needle, Japanese punch, and pattern tracing tool, I can get different marks. It also results in a positive of my negative drawings being produced. By layering different projects I find these are becoming interesting drawings in themselves, showing the process, while the carbon paper shows it too but also the materiality.
The three large drawings above combine imagery of star fields with diagrammatic representations of other information overlaid. These depict radiation patterns of other stars and the colour versus magnitude of deep space stars.
I think when they are in light boxes they will have some similarities to xrays, which I think works well in relation to the overall project of relating the cosmos to the body and conflating scale through interpretation of objective and subjective information.
Will be setting aside more time to just sit down and make.