In preparing for my tutorial with Les, it was a great opportunity to reflect on what i have been actually doing, and what I hope to convey, ahead of discussing the Testing Boundaries project with him.
Reflecting on the work I found these questionable for myself and him:
Where doe the similarity between the name Phosphorous and the work phosphene, the scientific name for when you have stars in your vision, come from and how might it actually be an important connection for this project?
How can I connect this understanding of the cosmos, which as a time scale that is practically comprehensible, to something within a human scale and time scale? Should the projects actually last as long as an average human life?
What ethics are involved with using these images? Culturally, scientifically?
Changing domain name to HesperusisPhosphorus.space ?
Make form for submissions – online and physical?
I have been thinking about how work is put out to an audience in a meaning full way? Instagram? Mail exchange?
How to garner online audience? Post to other websites, self promotion, tie into irl events
In the actual tutorial we discussed the scale of the project and how the time based element is linked to my subject matter for the testing boundaries assignment, and how I might tighten this connection even more through the realization that Venus’s cycles are the same length as a human gestation period.
We are discussed how working with systems and archives/categorization strategies is a part of the work itself. I have recently realized I have always enjoyed working in this way, and that is ok. From these ways of working I am always finding etymological connections (from astrophysics, philosophy, poetry, lore, etc) , leading in to new ways of looking at the subject matter. Les through these connections could be a project in itself or a part of another, drawing out all the connections I am finding is worth exploring.
Most of the discussion revolved around the the actual means of delivery to the audience, arguably the most important part of this task, which I have hmm and hawed over extensively. There are so many possibilities within internet based work, that finding the most effective means of reaching an audience has taken me some trial an error. I started a social media aspect of it, and cut that, favoring the design freedom I have with a browser based work, but we also discussed how the project should reach the audience every day – maybe it should be an email subscription, where an audience could sign up to receive a star each dawn and dusk? I think so!, but how to make it happen?
Keep working, keep reading: work out logistics of creating an email list, and how it might be linked to the subscriber’s time zone
See if I know anyone with app development experience – this would be an ideal medium
Look up/ Read: about On Kawara’s systematic practice, use the archives HUB to discover similar projects or look at other formats, dark matter, more philosophy of perception in relation to astrophysics.
consider importance of the exchange, the gift in the project
during the live performance, consider how to track where the gifted drawings go, and potentially where the images given to the project are from
In ‘Mute Objects of Expression’ (2008) I think it is especially clear that Ponge is “the poet of things” from his ability to bring common place objects to life in his writing.
While not directly related I think there are so many artists doing interesting things along these same lines, including (the very approachable) the Everything Is Alive podcast, which at times has a twisted dark sense of humor, but genuinely makes you think about the objects we interact with and how we use them, something pretty uncommon in western cultures.
Creative Criticism: An Anthology and Guide’ by Stephen Benson and Clare Connors (2014)
I thought this reading really did show a range of guides to creative-critical writing, and demonstrated the range of ways there are to approach writing an essay, but especially near the end, I was starting to wonder how many of these guides to take into consideration, which ones were most important, and how to incorporate them into an efficient piece of writing.
I think in the reading I was struck with the idea that poetic form should align with poetic meaning (WK Wimsatt) through writing. To use language in a way that compliments the work makes sense to me, and worthwhile in assisting the reader to be in a frame of mind through words as well as ideas about what you want to get across.
I also was drawn to the idea that when you are really close to something you don’t see its whole (Benson, Connors 4) and how this can result in finding the space between what I thought I understood and what I can’t (S Wood). I think through our research we can know something so deeply, but once you step back and allow an open interpretation new ideas always come forth from the work. Knowing something in so many ways that it changes you, and your perception of if, makes you an nonobjective viewer, and you need the audience to step in to help, since you are not the same as when you first came to know the thing the way they will.
The authors used Virginia Wolfe’s idea that like all living things, the works’ present is more important than it’s past (Virginia Wolfe) and consider how creative criticism can be a used as a means to do justice to what can happen for the work – looking to its future through speculation, but I wonder about writing more as a means of interpretation through reflection, looking at what is truthfully rather than imagining what the work can do, something I think is more important at the beginning stages.
But I guess that is what writing is about too, knowing your audience, weather they are looking for reflection or speculation and making those ideas accessible through language.
Questions from Karl
Where are you?
Sackville, New Brunswick, Canada. Currently house sitting in an old, bright yellow farm house, the cats I am taking care of are named Rosie and Ruby. Sometimes I am in Amherst Nova Scotia, Canada where I ride and visit my black Canadian horse named JC. You need to cross the tantramar marsh and the bay of Fundy to get there, but its only 10 mins away.
Other places I am is in a professional position as Curator of Digital Engagement at a university art gallery, and a member at the local Artist-Run-Centre.
Practice-based issues that have raised their heads in recent months:
Accessing audiences, taking on projects that are reasonable within the time frame of the course, finding the time for making and reading, I always want to have more than I currently do.
Where are the writing troubles?
Being succinct, and writing about my own work objectively. I think last year, and throughout my journal I had spent too long writing about other artists, but way meant to focus on myself more? A difficult thing for me to do.
Where are the pleasures associated with writing through, about, or within practice?
I thoroughly enjoy reading about contemporary practices, and am very happy to go down rabbit hole after rabbit hole of articles, trying to find interesting way that my work could be link to/informed by other artists, astronomy, feminism, philosophy…
How does writing help with practice?
I think writing in practice helps clarify what you are actually doing, not just what I imagine I am accomplishing. I find my self thinking of it as separate time for making – dedicated to reflection. When writing is a part of my practice, integrated into the work, I think it helps serves as another entry point for audiences into the work.
How does practice help with writing?
I find the longer I am making, the more straightforward the writing has become (for better or worse I don’t quite know) but that the more strategic my practice becomes towards a defined end goal, the writing becomes more convoluted and pointed.
I have been feeling like I needed to do something physical in the studio so have been working on collages to break up the digital monotony. I could see these becoming a little series in a zine, maybe with some writing? TBD
“Two things fill the mind with ever new and increasing admiration and awe the more often and more enduringly reflection is occupied with them: the starry heavens above me and the moral law within me.” — Immanuel Kant
Focusing on myths of counting the stars as means of understanding the cosmos, and ourselves, Hesperus is Phosphorus began posting two images daily, at dawn and dusk of the morning and evening stars.
Running indefinitely, this project has set out on the hopeless and endless task of counting and identifying all the stars. In about 12 years, the 9000 stars we can see with the naked eye will be accounted for.
Questioning how proprioception (internal perception which tells us what is going on in our bodies) is related to exteroception (external or sensory perception, everything outside of our bodies), leads to new interpretations of how the knowledge of something could be empirical (a posterioi, or verifiable by observation and experience) rather than knowable (a proiri, or independent of experience like mathematics, and deduction from pure reason). Debating the validity of both scientific and personal interpretations as valid means for knowing.
Everything above, and everything within provides us with the desire and the means to learn more.
All together the work becomes an ever growing digital collage, counting all the stars in the sky, personifying them, the way early cultures did to make the night sky knowable.
One entire year’s worth of morning and evening stars (730) have been edited and programmed to go out until next January. Now that there seems to be a substantial project running, I think I can focus on gaining access to more iris photographs from scientific databases and the social practice component – soliciting photographs of irises and submissions from the public.
I have been thinking about what form the performance in Fredericton will take, and have secured a venue to set up an installation. I image I will hang the physical archive, have postcards from drawn submissions, a camera set up for photographic contributions and an assistant, all under the projected image of the site.
In the coming weeks I will focus on the promotion of the site and public project by:
buy/apply domain and remove watermark
researching iris photography (what cameras to use?)
This week two artists visited Sackville to mount new exhibitions and also gave talks.
Dave Dyment is a Toronto based multi media artist with a keen fascination for collecting, artist multiples, and pop culture. Much of his work investigates the grammar of music, cinema and television, through elaborate reconstructions (super cuts) to examine the taxonomy of popular culture.
In Sackville he is showing, Pop Quiz, a collection of every question posed in the lyrics of every song in the artist’s music collection. I was really interested in how each time the work is exhibited it is updated to include new questions from more recent additions to his music collection. At first the video work was just twelve minutes long and now he says he could easily get it up to over 4 hours in length.
The work is shown in the gallery but has also been projected in the one window int he gallery, so that is plays on a near continuous loop 24/7. During the day in the gallery and then from dusk until dawn it plays in the window. In terms of the pushing boundaries assignment I have been very interested in this idea of temporary public art. This work has the flexibility to be shown almost anywhere, and can have an audience at 3am the way few other works can.
the other public art component to Dave’s exhibition, which is a part of my work was the implimentation of a special online project titled On This Day as a “takeover” of the Owens’ Instagram account (@owensartgallery).
This project is the first to start off a new initiative that approaches social media channels and online spaces as venues for the presentation of new work. Dyment’s project was the perfect fit, and also acted as an experient for a larger social media based work he will be working on.
In his description of the work, Dyment writes, “On This Day consists of stills culled from cinema and television that feature images of dates as found in calendars, correspondence, newspapers, and other documents. Excerpted from an ongoing archive, the work aims to piece together a calendar year made up of fragmented time from fictional pasts and futures.”
The project took form a series of daily posts from 1-10 janaury, which pulled on ideas of the filters intagram became popular for and questions the way we use the platform a more than just a site of self promotion.
I have been really fascinated by Dyment’s work for so long, and it was really incredible to hear him give a talk on all of these obsessive collecting projects he has set out on.
Juan Ortiz-Apuy (B. Costa Rica, now based in Montreal) also opened an exhibition entitled Fountain Mist which “uses stock images and objects to explore ideas of animism, commodity fetishism, and sympathetic magic. Borrowing from the visual language of advertising and product display, Ortiz-Apuy orchestrates a fascinating mise en scène in which clichés of freshness, naturalness, exoticism, and purity join empty bottles and dispensers, stock photographs, 3D models, and components from IKEA’s BESTÅ storage system series.”.
In his talk he often spoke about the influence of design and advertising on his works, which in turn heavily influenced the material choices. He uses found objects, digital collages made from stock photography, 3d vinyl printed objects made from found designs online which he has collages together, and found images printed in adhesive vinyl for wrapping cars with advertisements.
With a completely different ascetic, he is also looking at collecting and using found information to depict pop culture, although maybe a more fantastical version.
So many of these ideas have come up in my own practice, and especially related to the testing boundaries.
I have been thinking about how work is put out to an audience in a meaning full way? How can the message be tied to the medium of the work, but also the medium of the delivery?
Many viewer’s online habits are so deeply ingrained already that their daily routine of pages to look at it very seldom deviated from. And how do the demographics of these online users very their interactions.
I think the success or failure of online art is unique in that it considers how the work includes the experience of its audience as a part of the work?
This is definitely not the case with painting or other traditional media that also have many venues of cultural backing to provide ‘validity’ to the work beyond the number of people who see it, because I don’t know that seeing necessarily makes someone an audience. Ideally there is another level of interaction (i.e. sparking a thought or reaction no matter how small).
In the Analysis of Digital Art Audiences: Literature Review and Methodology, it was determined “that a statistically-defensible demographic description for the audiences for digital art does not exist in a practical manner.” making it a pretty hard to define a particular audience and target their viewership. All the research on digital art still seems very scattered, and is very much still open for debates.
I have been finding it had to not get too bogged down in all the short comings of internet based work, when I really do think it is such an accessible medium. With that in mind I have decided to also run the project on Instagram, and see how that may impact the way the digital collage is formed and how audiences are involved.
The Seven Sisters project I have been working on finally feels complete (well the book and embroideries feel complete anyways…)
Scientific reasoning has deduced answers for so much uncertainty previously felt in the world, but there is still a large gap in the human understanding of our own universe. The far-reaching expanse of space is still filled with mystery; which many people mythologize, but few have the chance to physically explore. Investigating how notions of magic and lore are connected to and represented along side scientific hypotheses through myths about how the cosmos works, this project aims to overlap subjective information (stories, myths, personal connections to the stars) with scientific, fact based reasoning and documentation, questioning the value of each of these dichotomous ways of thinking.
For this project, I created a series of seven approximately 3 foot by 5 to 7 foot embrouidered cyanotypes and an accompanying small cyanotype and embroidery artist book, which explore embodied connections to the cosmos highlighted in the myth of the Pleiades. Seven of the stars in the cluster are visible to the naked eye, but the total brightness is actually made up of the luminosity of 528 stars.
I am interested in the myths related to the Pleiades or Seven Sister cluster of stars in the Taurus constellation (RA 3h 47m 24s | Dec +24° 7′ 0″), which almost all revolve around a story sisters of a group suicide resulting in a transformation into stars to flee a male god. This idea of escapism by transformation is repeated in many cosmological stories. This formation of stars that has been documented as early as 1600 BC and provides a rich history of lore from many different cultures, all referencing connections between the body, astronomy and mythological cosmology; beliefs based on early cosmological theories of scientific and non-scientific propositions.
The way in which scientific reasoning is sometimes more highly respected leads to questioning other relationships between society and science, such as women’s historical role and representation in scientific study, how they are represented in the stories, but still have issues being recognized academically. Drawing attention to the violent acts mythological women were victims of, this project also aims to analyze how and why magic is often demonized and associated with women.
Exploring how notions of magic are connected to and represented alongside scientific hypotheses about how the world works, this project will overlay subjective information (stories, myths, personal connections to the stars) alongside scientific, fact based reasoning about the cosmos to suggest new ways of rationalizing the world around us.
Testing Boundaries Week 4
Thinking about sustainable my initial ideas for this project were, I decided to step back and consider how I might slow down the project, but still test boundaries in terms of the longevity of the project. What would it mean to initiate a project that would continue on even after I have died? And how can i connect this understanding of the cosmos, which as a time scale that is practically comprehensible, to something within a human scale and time scale?
I have been starting to think about how these are not just questions about perception, but how they also tie into larger philosophical ideologies, and how understanding is tied to the philosophy of perception.
From this thinking I began to consider how the drawings I have been making for this task, which I firmly see as a representation of stars, have often been interpreted a irises. From there I began experimenting with what happens when you invert the colours of an image of an isis. The while of the eye turn to the black of the night sky, the brown and blues of the irises become the blues and oranges of the light leaving a star, and the black of the pupil becomes the white light of the core of the star. This seems to perfect of a coincidence to not explore more.
I have been collecting all the irises I can find online through open source databases most often used for creating iris recognition software, though I would also like to solicit submissions from any public.
These images lead me to question how is proprioception (internal perception which tells us what is going on in our bodies) related to and exteroception (external or sensory perception, everything outside of our bodies) related/inseparable for the other.
From these philosophical ideas I came across the saying “Hesperus is Phosphorus” which means the evening star is the morning star. This comes from Immanuel Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason, 1781 (PDF available online here: http://strangebeautiful.com/other-texts/kant-first-critique-cambridge.pdf) where he debates the semantics of proper names, sense and reference in relation to how the knowledge of something could be empirical (a posterioi, or verifiable by observation and experience) rather than knowable (a proiri, or independent of experience like mathematics, and deduction from pure reason). Ultimately I think he is debating the validity of both scientific and personal interpretations as valid means for knowing.
In terms of perception he examines how the same ‘star’ (Venus) we see as both the morning and evening star comes to have two different names. How does context change a thing, and does it matter? I thought of this in relation to how all matter is cycle, and how everything is made of the same elemental material, meaning the morning and evening stars can be the same, but I could also be that morning star, tying it back to the physical experience.
I have schedule a star (or inverted eye photograph) to be post each day just before dawn, and just before sunset. The times will change slightly each day, or jump during daylight savings. I like how this becomes a pair of eyes each day, and eventually, in about 12 years, the 9000 stars we can see with the naked eye will be accounted for.
All together the work becomes an ever growing digital collage, counting all the stars in the sky, personifying them, the way early cultures did to make the night sky knowable.
This concluding quote from Kant, sums up the reasoning for doing all this : “Two things fill the mind with ever new and increasing admiration and awe the more often and more enduringly reflection is occupied with them: the starry heavens above me and the moral law within me.”
Everything above, and Everything within
I was also intrigues by the similarity between the name Phosphorous and the work phosphene, the scientific name for when you have stars in your vision…
I have decided to text my boundaries in terms of media but also scale, time scale anyways.
Focusing on myths of counting and owning stars, on January 1st I set up a site that posts a new star every hour, 24 hours a day. It will run for 365 days and in the span of one year all 9000 visible stars in the northern and southern hemisphere with the naked eye will be visible.
The total image changes hourly, always ebbing and flowing. As you scroll down new stars appear.
Now that there is something to look at, the next step is to promote and solicit these exchanges to actually happen. There will be a submission tab for participation, and for every submission I receive I will mail out a physical star.
I have been accepted to do a project at Flourish Festival in April of 2019, and this may be a good place/audience to test out the merging of the url and irl project.
kinesthesia as a trace of a gesture, as one minute, one minute as a word, a word as a line, a line as a unit of time, a unit of time as sentence whispered to us, a whisper as a text translated by optical characteristic recognition, a text as one minute, one minute as a line.
This has been a response to Tim Ingold Making.
Using line as a means of communication, multiple levels of translation occur through its interpretation leading to multiple conclusions?
Holiday break for me meant a bit of extra procrastinating caused by family visits and the usual Canadian amount of long travel times to get from one place to another. What I did manage to fit in, I have tried to reflect on:
National Gallery Visit
While visiting my family over the holiday break I was only really able to fit in a visit to the National Gallery of Canada. The major exhibition was Anthropocene, the hugely advertised exhibition of new work by Edward Burtynsky, Jennifer Baichwal and Nicholas de Pencier. The exhibition was part of The Anthropocene Project, which included the accompanying documentary being shown across Canada, a book and an online interactive component. All components explores humanity’s impact on the environment.
The exhibition had huge financial backers, with a very noble message, but the amount of stuff in the gift shop branded Anthropocene was a bit troubling to me. What does it mean for a gallery to take on an exhibition like this, but still use single use plastics in its cafe, and sell tons of plastic goods in its gift shop? Consumerism seems to be places on the bad side of the exhibitions moral message, but it still very much operated within the means of capitalism.
I did think the exhibition was beautiful, filled with really aesthetically incredible videos and photographs, (though are these any different than the images they have been making for years? And what effect ha it had?) but the last component, the interactive with ipads, seemed a bit sensationalist to me. The ideas was to hold a tablet up to photographs of ivory and rhino skin, and then a 3D rendering would appear. From the media I read before hand it was supposed to be shocking, but I noticed very few visitors actually interacting with the images, and instead more excited to just try the next image for the effect. Though thousands probably saw these works over the holiday week, what true engagement does it reach?
In the other galleries were Paul Klee, with a children play room at the end of the exhibition (?), a retrospective of Oscar G. Rejlander’s photographs, mostly those artists used for painting and the permanent collection. I was most excited by the PhotoLab exhibition: Althea Thauberger and the Sobey Art Award.
PhotoLab5: Althea Thauberger presented a new two channel video L’arbre est dans ses feuilles (The Tree Is in Its Leaves), heavily using the archival collection of the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) Still Photography Division. The video used these images to create moving collages that explored a Canadian history and identity. I loved the way she activated this archive, and presented the images she used along side the video. It seemed like a true collaboration between an artist and an archive – while she undoubtedly turned traditional ordering systems on their head to question the roles of power within thee archives.
The Sobey Art Award was an eclectic exhibition as always, but Jordan Bennet’s insatalltion was truly magical. It incorporated video, sculpture and mechanics to recreate the physical and emotional experience of ice fishing. “His ongoing practice utilizes painting, sculpture, video, installation and sound to explore land, language, the act of visiting and familial histories. His work challenges colonial perceptions of indigenous histories, stereotypes and presence with a focus on exploring Mi’kmaq and Beothuk visual culture of Ktaqamkuk.” (https://www.nfb.ca/interactive/ice_fishing_en/)
All my aspirations of a full week of reading and research are always crushed over the holidays, and instead the only thing I was able to take in were radio/podcasts. My listening highlights included: The Kitchen Sisters Present, The Keepers Series which spoke to the Harvard Observatory Archive I presented on last year, and other incredibly diverse collections, that just make me want to work with archives all the time!
I also relistened to some of Nate DiMeo’ The Memory Palace, a podcast I love for the way it brings the past to life, often through focusing on a single object or person. I thought his met residency was particularly beautiful, especially M8: Two Small Sculptures.