Reflection text posted to your word press, assessing the efficacy of your project contextualised by what else you have learnt in the course.
On the whole I was really surprised and happy with how well our group worked together. Each group member pulled their own weight evenly and had equal ideas and skills to contribute to the project. We all planned our individual tasks early on and were efficient in combining together to complete the assignment. Each week we researched necessary components of the task such as materials to consider, location scouting, artists who had engaged with suspension works before us. It was important to consider works, which had previously been done to determine appropriate scale, location, materiality and subject matter of our work, which we proposed to do.
Our next phase was experimenting; we tested string, locations, filming and logistics of how we were actually going to go about completing the task. We ended up shifting our focus after the initial screening of our work, to a more artistic montage inspired by the earlier film we watched in class La Jetee. We received constructive feedback from our peers, which suggested altering the colour of the string, using a script and a microphone, which wouldn’t muffle the voice, tying the string in different locations and perhaps mixing up film techniques.
Our group decided as a whole that it would be best to draw out our concept and develop it further using brighter colored string, strung in different locations. We came up with a stop motion montage of strings suspended between fences, old train lights, wired windows and railings (otherwise boring and overlooked objects) to bring light and meaning to what would otherwise be an empty space devoid of life and meaning. We were taken by the shadows and patterns a milk crate created when suspended and spun in space as well as the intricate overlapping patterns its reflection created, which we layered over our montage to explore our research question, “What does it mean to suspend in space?” Our film answers with footage of every day items- string and a milk crate suspended in everyday locations. In doing so, emphasis and purpose is given to the materials to creating an artistic instillation in the space so that it is no longer empty and devoid of life.
Throughout the course I have learnt how to take negative feedback and collaborate with my group members and turn it into something constructive for an overall improved outcome. We also learnt to edit what was important and cull unnecessary clips. I learnt basic final cut pro editing and watched the process of how to undertake projection mapping.
‘Lowlands’ by Susan Phillipz (2010)
Lowlands is a sound instillation work by a sculpture artist Susan Phillipz. She is a Glasgow born artist originally trained in the field of sculpture. She studied sculpture at Duncan of Jordanstone Collage of Art in Dundee which she continually draws influence from to inform her work today which she references as “Sound Sculptures”. Susan’s works involve recordings of herself singing folk songs as the primary medium. She projects her voice over a public speaker system to interact with the natural surroundings.
The work ‘Lowlands’ was initially performed in a walkway space underneath the bridges on top of the Ricer Clyde in Glasgow. Susan is not musically trained thus on entry level, the instillation can sound rather ordinary. As you move around the space, three large black speakers infiltrate the surrounding air with Susan’s voice performing a cover of a 16th century Scottish ballad known as ‘Lowlands’. It is installed under the bridges so that the viewer experiences echoing and the refraction of sound bouncing off the water which resonates noise and tone around the viewer thus making the audience experience the same work in multiple different ways by hearing sounds differently as they move around the work.
A critically important fact to note is that the artist cannot read nor does she write any of her own music. She even admits that her own voice is distinctly average. She has quoted that she even hates the sound of her own voice, “I partially hate my speaking voice”. (Corner, 2010)Yet she uses her untrained and unaccompanied singing voice as her sole medium, which interacts with the cityscape and nature surrounding her, which changes the viewers perspective. She quotes, “It’s all about how the emotive and psychological effects of sound can heighten your awareness of the space you are in,” she says. “It felt like a very natural progression to go from sculpture to sound.” (Corner, 2010) It is also interesting to note that this work is quite controversial. Some viewers believe that due to the lack of musical training it is quite uncomfortable to listen to Susan’s work and that they cant appreciate its value, especially when it was nominated and won the Turner Prize worth 25,000 euros. Some speculate that because she is an untrained musician and also the first sound artist ever to be shortlisted for the most prestigious prize in British art, that she isn’t worthy of such a prestigious nomination let alone wonning the award.
Corner, L. 2010, ‘The art of noise: ‘sculptor in sound’ Susan Philipsz’, The guardian, 14 November, pp.5-6
An update on research and planning for project 2 (B) including changes, surprises, challenges and explicit steps you will make to reach your completion of this task
After our initial experimentation of dropping string out of the housing building and the opposing car park we found it difficult to hold foot traffic back with just one of us on the ground whilst we tied the string together. Moving forward we plan to have as many people as possible on ground level so that two people can halt the foot traffic whilst the third attaches the two strings. The final person will pull the string from the housing side as quick as possible so that the foot traffic on ground level can continue to pass through the space- hopefully observing and engaging in our work.
After the initial experiment we also noticed that wind plays a huge part in how successfully we can lower the string without it getting caught on the building walls or different car park levels. Having a weight of some sort to lower the string down will be beneficial moving forward so that the string doesn’t get caught on every level of the car park which was challenging in our initial experiment. We also need to take into consideration a narration script for our documentary so that the language isn’t too colloquial (um’s and yeahs). The use of a good microphone is also imperative so that the voice isn’t muffled and scratchy. We found that most of our favorite footage was artistic shots of the smaller details like the string pooling on the ground when dropped off the building and the cutting of the string which made the string flurry in the breeze. These were all beautiful shots placing emphasis on the process as well as the finished product.
WHAT WE NEED TO DO NEXT
- Film the final ordeal
- Document the entire process
- Write a narrative script
- Voice recording of narration
A post planning project 2 (B), make explicit which aspect you are in charge of, what your methods are, and how you will mesh these with the tasks and methods undertaken by your other group members.
For project 2B we are planning of making a documentary style film to capture ‘what is means to suspend in space’. For us, this means drawing connections between two structures and filling an empty and boring void of air with purpose and art.
We plan to do this by dropping two strings off two buildings facing each other about 25m away from each other. We then plan to tie the strings in the middle of the void at ground level before pulling the string tight to hoist the string into the air thus making a connection between the two structures. My job will be to go into the student housing building and take care of tying the string to the building and dropping the excess over the edge to the girls on the ground. Madi will do the same from the car park and then Monica will tie them together whilst Lynn captures and documents the process from ground level. Once the string is joined I will pull the excess slack of the string as fast as I can to make the string taut across the void. Once our individual tasks are completed and in any spare moment we get we will each film the process to document the event from our respective locations to get varying point of views. We then need to edit all of our footage together. Monica is a wiz on the editing program however we will all edit the footage together so that it is a cohesive and polished documentary.
Location shot of the carpark from UTS Housing
Paragraph using KEY words from group task
What is a voids value when a gap exists? Is there a loss of connection or interaction and tension between an open space? Can attachment become obsolete? When does open space become the outer space? Can experiments become lost or do they form a connection when a function is valued more than its aesthetic? When there is an intervention with an experiment does the function connect the features of the void? Remember to mind the gap.
I think it would be interesting to explore an early idea by our group of suspending a material between two structures to connect an unfilled space. Attaching materials over a void to fill the space itself is a process and product of which we can explore and document for task B. We could do this potentially between two UTS buildings by dropping a ball of yarn out a high window of two buildings facing each other and connecting them on ground level before pulling them upward to suspend the yarn in the air subsequently connecting the structures and placing the subject matter across the void to somewhat fill the space. The film could be documentary inspired to record our process as well as the simplistic poetic nature of the finished product.
To place validity on this idea I looked into Janet Echelman’s work. She plays with fisherman’s netting in public spaces between buildings to create large-scale instillations. “Her work is at the intersection of fine art, ancient craft, cutting-edge technology, architecture, and public art.” (Tucker, D. 2015) Once installed and the structure is firmly connected onto buildings, the structures become “apart of the fabric of the city and limitless sky” (Taking imagination seriously, 2011) providing purpose to the unfilled open space.
She gained influence from a Fishing village in India where she lived for many years. She worked with local artisans during her early works where they hand tied 1.5million knots to create mass scale fishing net lace for an instillation work suspended above the ground. She was then approached for large-scale permanent structures where she replicated her handcraft with specialty machinery. She experimented for three years to devise durable engineered fibers, which would survive out in the elements, and not break down after prolonged exposure to UV radiation, salt, rain and hurricane winds yet still flowing freely in the breeze. These large laced fishnet structures have no steel elements, which allowed it to be light and soft revealing the ripples of the wind. This also allowed the voluminous structures to scale hard edge buildings anywhere around the world at skyscraper heights to fill voids beautiful structures and purpose.
(Echelman, J. 2016)
Echelman, J. 2016 Janet Echelman Biography, viewed 12 April 17, <http://www.echelman.com/about/ >.
Janet Echelman: Taking imagination seriously, 2011, TED Talks, viewed 12 April 2017 < https://www.ted.com/talks/janet_echelman#t-546522>.
Tucker, D. 2015 DISCOVERING THE UNKNOWN AN INTERVIEW WITH JANET ECHELMAN, (Public Art Review) viewed 12 April 2017 < http://www.echelman.com/dev-site/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/PAR_52_Echelman.pdf>.
I thought it was really interesting how we each had our own kinetic chain of events, which needed to tessellate with each other, but also needed to flow on from a previous group and simultaneously link with the group which followed. Our chain began with dominos which linked into large scale dominos made out of paddle pop sticks and bull dog clips which hit a pin pushing a balloon. This hit a smaller ball which ran into the next groups chain of events.