I love this!
It’s so bizarre, brilliant and wonderfully simple!
Yup, i did.
It was a bizzare experience.
So, as you know, i picked up the Ephemeral Practices module. This little trip into the world of darkness was a chance for us to experiment with the making of an ephemeral piece. Only we who were in the room, know exactly what happened (it was filmed… but it’s unlikely anyone will see that film).
We arrived back after our break at 1:30 and stood outside our usual meeting space, only to hear our experiment room being made up. One by one a black strip of cloth was wound around our heads and we sat waiting at the top of the stairs, waiting for our turn to be lead down.
For me, that was one of the strangest parts of the whole thing. Actually having to rely on somebody else to guide you through a familiar setting that had suddenly become so alien.
We were sat at a long stretch of table and waited with baited breath, wondering what was waiting for us upon the table.
Napkins to your right, water to your left, here have a fork, the plate is in the middle, okay you can start now.
My fingers scanned over the plate, feeling everything on it. Something hard here, something soft a squishy, a small round object, something silky.
The first thing i picked up was a grape. It felt so familiar. I knew i liked grapes and that this first mouthful would be fine, i was intrigued to see what a grape tasted like without seeing. Oddly like a tomato. Yup, it wasn’t a grape. Bitter dissapoint set in when i realised that this was being filmed and i openly spit it out. I gulped down this horrid little tomato and was tentaive to move on.
Next…. hmmm what shall i go for?
I skipped the olives.
The pita bread was nice, lovely when dipped into the squishy houmous.
Everyone loves a good Skip.
I’m not a massive fan of cream cheese sandwiches, but they weren’t as offensive as my first mouthfull.
We mostly sat and ate in silence. We were all so consumed by this new experience.
Next course. Something in a tub, something that was hard to take the lid of. Something we needed a microspoon for! What was this strange slimy substance they have put before me. My fingers ran over the surface. It felt like jelly and jelly it was. But jelly with a difference. It was from the Chinese supermarket and it was a strange melon flavour. I quite enjoyed it. However, jelly is ridiciously hard to eat when you can’t see it. It slides about and i think i ended up making quite a little mess!
Last course. Something hard, too hard to break with my finers, long and coated in something lumpy. One bite in and EUGH! what is that?! It had sesame seeds on it and was crumbly inside. Horrid. A strange delicacy from the Chinese supermarket. Nobody ate it. Yuks all around.
And suddenly we were back into the light. Laughing and the room was suddenly full of sound.
It was a bizzare experience.
One i would reccommend.
A blindfolded dinner party.
People always say this, but it’s true that you do appreciate your senses so much more when one is stripped away from you, everything else becomes heightened. It’s amazing how much we rely on our eyes and who little we can do without them.
A beautiful journey into the ephemeral. A performance for our eyes only…. or not!
First day back and we were offered a short couple of days ceramics lesson on how to make a jug. I signed right up. We had only had a little taste of ceramics before, and the things i had made were okay and i enjoyed making them, but i knew i could do better. Turns out i was wrong.
I am not a ceramicist.
I had such high hopes for myself.
I planned it all out and did research and everything.
Working with some shapes.
And then drew up a fancy ass jug that fitted in with what i was doing and could be used and was pretty. A basic shape, a complex handle, and intricate detailing.
I don’t have any progress shots. I was too into it, or too out of it.
I made a few wee samples with my letter stamps, and was feeling positive.
And then it came to my jug.
My rule is to always be positive when creating, well when making anyway, sometimes other emotions can be good for creativeness but when looking at something that requires pure technical skill i always try to remain positive.
And to start with i was.
It was going so well.
And somewhere in the middle i lost it. My jug became something i could have made in primary school. I tried to rescue it by adding lumps and going for the “organic” but controlled look. But i lost that too. Mistakes were made. Frustration levels rocketed and i had to leave.
I went back today to take some photos.
I had had some reflextion.
Last night i was cursing my flawed ceramics skill. I was cursing my wasted time.
With reflextion, my time was not wasted. I gave ceramics a go. I gave this jug a go. I tried it out. It didn’t work for me. But i haven’t scraped it. I’m going to get it fired. I’m going to work into the surface, write all over it, glaze it. Take it home and stick flower in it. This experience was valuable. At the time i just wanted to scream and through the sloppy clay against the wall. But i didn’t and i’m glad i have something that isn’t that bad to come out of it.
I am not a ceramicist.
p.s. i’m tentative to ask….. but what do you think of my jug?
As you know i’ve recently picked up the Taking Time: Exploring Ephemeral Practices module at uni, and in my last post i went on about how much i was loving it. Well, here is a lot more love for a lot more artworks and artists i have recently discovered in the field of ephemeral art.
This pair create wonderful sculptural forms out of fabrics and pre-existing structures; their work is all about wrapping things, buildings, trees, landscapes, etc. in fabric to alter the shapes of these things (as well as other huge scale installation pieces). They investigate the environments around them and pick out characteristics that are emphasized in their work.”The work of the artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude transcends borders, resists categorizing, and embraces contradiction.” The main thing that strikes me when i’m browsing through their website is the documentation of their work. You see it from their first inital sketches, to more in-depth drawings, to construction of pieces and then finally to beautifully photographed final works. The progress in creating their art is in effect their art.
This quote from Jeanne-Claude is beautiful, and not only sums up their own work but the nature of ephemeral artworks: “The fact that the work does not remain creates an urgency to see it. For instance, if someone were to tell you, “Oh, look on the right, there is a rainbow.” You will never answer, “I will look at it tomorrow.”
These three images show the stages and progress of the artistic process the pair utilises (the first two are drawings, the third is the piece in action).
The wrapped trees are my favourite. I studied them in school when working on my Discarded project (which i will post about soon, because it was very ephemeral!) and have had a little art crush on their work ever since.
I love that Christo’s studio is wrapped. Something about that makes me smile :)
“Surfer, chef and renowned beach sand artist, Jim Denevan brings an appreciation for the outdoors and the ephemeral passage of time to his large-scale beach drawings. Jim Denevan makes temporary drawings on sand earth and ice that are eventually erased by waves and weather. Using a simple driftwood stick found on-site, Denevan begins by tracing outward from a central point on the beach. Improvised on the spot and gracefully rendered with his stick and a selection of rakes, his large scale spirals, circles and geometric forms which take up most of the beach. “When I’m doing a drawing, I’m personifying the place that is empty. A place that is unmarked.” These ephemeral sand drawings are performances. They emerge like a dance and become interactive public spaces when he’s done. Surfers walk over and through the elegant patterns he leaves behind. Delighted beachgoers follow the curling spiral work like it’s a labyrinth, pacing inwards and then retracing their steps. The incoming tide participates as well, and always has the last word as it erases the temporary artworks with the sweep of each passing wave. “People always ask how it feels to have them wash away,” adds Denevan, “but who would want it not to wash away?” I love that he is in tune of the ephemerality of his work. I think is work is a little reminiscent of crop-circles… I would love to see these works in real life, just the pictures look mindblowing!
Nele Azevedo – Melting Men
“Melting Men is a series of art installations from the Minimum Monument project created by Brazilian artist Nele Azevedo. Since 2005, Azevedo has been setting up her Melting Men in various countries around the world. Although originally intended as a critic of the role of monuments in cities, environmentalists around the world are adopting her work as climate change art.” In an interview she expresses her happiness that the ideas behind her work are altered and percieved in so many different ways by the viewer. I love this series of work, and to me it does suggest an opinion on climate change and the effects the weather/the world is having on us, and our environments. It is a great example of ephemeral art that has a topical theme.
All these artists are rather installationy! I think that’s what i’m gonna end up doing…. maybe! I’m torn between something like this, something sculptural, something physical that i can create (that is the maker in me) and something that is more performance based, something that features humanity, and something that features the body (sorry mum…. i might end up getting naked for this project!). Hrmmm…. we shall see. It’s early yet. I still have the time to change my mind a million more times. I maybe even have the time to do performancem, nakedness and installation………. i may even combine them all and make SUPER ART!
I can’t help but look at this piece called “Information Leak” by Richard Evans and think of Johnathan Boyd’s work., it’s like a larger scale replica!
2009, Laser-cut wooden letters
“My aim was to visually represent the way information is accessed in todays society -through the internet and television- an endless torrent of media is accessible as easy as turning on a tap.” – Richard Evans
Isn’t it pretty?
Today i started my new module – Taking Time: Exploring Ephemeral Practices.
What on earth is that all about you may ask? Well i asked the same thing and basically ephemeral art is art that has a transitory nature, it exists only briefly, in only moment in time. So, for instance things like sound, performance art, street art, installations, etc. are some of the things that are featured in ephemeral art.
If you know me you will know how this just sounds like my kinda thing and you would be right, i am so so so excited to start this module! I can bring the artsy side of myself into my jewellery, not purely the design aspect that i have been focusing on. Not only that, but i can create really interesting pieces, pieces that affect people and that people can interactive with; which is something i am so interested in.
As an introduction to the course we went over some examples of artists working within the field of ephemeral art, so i thought i’d take this wee blog post to collect some of my favourites together and share them with you.
Anya uses natural materials, in this case beautiful flowers, and takes them out of their environments and into a gallery space. The work is then left to decompose.
The change in the artwork over time:
Something about this idea ^ is completely brilliant. I love everything about it, the ideas behind it, the form of pshycological observations that can be made, the interaction with people that is unexpected, the responses of the public, and in itself the art of the naked human form. It’s beautiful.
This one ^ just made me giggle. There is something very primal and strange about it.
I very much admire this man’s dedication to his art. He takes out whole years of his life and dedicates them to some form of performance art. One year he punched a time clock every hour on the hour for a whole year. Part of me wonders if this is art. Part of me wonders if his effort was worth it. But the other part of me is telling me to be quiet and remeber that anything can be art and everything is art and it is always worth it. Anyway here is a clip of his clock punching (a photo was also taken to document each punch of the clock):
“We will stay together for one year and never be alone. We will be in the same room at the same time, when we are inside. We will be tied together at the waist with an 8 foot rope. We will never touch each other during the year.” ironically they discovered after a short period of time that they didn’t actually like each other all that much.
“In May 1974 Beuys flew to New York and was taken by ambulance to the site of the performance, a room in the René Block Gallery on East Broadway. Beuys lay on the ambulance stretcher swathed in felt. He shared this room with a wild coyote, for eight hours over three days. At times he stood, wrapped in a thick, grey blanket of felt, leaning on a large shepherd’s staff. At times he lay on the straw, at times he watched the coyote as the coyote watched him and cautiously circled the man, or shredded the blanket to pieces, and at times he engaged in symbolic gestures, such as striking a large triangle or tossing his leather gloves to the animal; the performance continuously shifted between elements that were required by the realities of the situation, and elements that had purely symbolic character. At the end of the three days, Beuys hugged the coyote that had grown quite tolerant of him, and was taken to the airport. Again he rode in a veiled ambulance, leaving America without having set foot on its ground. As Beuys later explained: ‘I wanted to isolate myself, insulate myself, see nothing of America other than the coyote.’” The main beauty,ignoring the symbolism and metaphors, i see in this piece is the relationship between human and wild animal.
I don’t know that much about him but i liked this little video he did about the nature of ephemeral art:
Kiss Exam “In Kiss Exam I perform kissing against a wall with a volunteer while attempting to write my consequent sensations on a pad mounted on the wall next to me.” I love the idea of a documentation of something like a kiss.
Crying Glasses (An Aid to Melancholia) “Over a year I wore the crying glasses while travelling on public transport in all the cities I visited. The glasses functioned using a pump system which, hidden inside my jacket allowed me to pump water up out of the glasses and produced a trickle of tears down my cheeks. The glasses were conceived as a tool to enable the representation of feelings in public spaces. Over the months of wearing the glasses they became an external mechanism which enabled the manifestation of internal and unidentifiable emotions.” I think i need a pair of these. Something about this piece really speaks to me. I often find it hard to express my true emotions. I can identify with her need to use an external source to express her inner unhappiness.
Human Resources “Over a 9 – 5 working period I sat in the offices of Obero and captured my breath in over 3,000 plastic sandwich bags. During the period, breaks totalling one and half-hours were taken for lunch and tea. The work was an attempt to quantify and produce a visual record of the amount of breath breathed out during a working day.” There is something really beautiful about this one. If you take away the ideas of work, you can quantify the results of the plastic bags as the life of a single human being during the course of a single day.
Stealth “Over 3 hours I jumped up and down on a trampoline in complete darkness. A small flashing red light attached to my body and the sound of my movements were the only two things indicative of any activity. Prior to the event I had instructed its organiser to enter at any point during the three-hour performance and take a single photograph with a flash to document the work. This is the only image of the work as no other photography was allowed.” This piece is so suggestive, it in itself has very little to it, the artwork is the idea of what is going on and what the imagination invents within the darkness.
Marie Cool and Fabio Balducci
I like what this pair are trying to achieve. Documentation of the effects of really simple actions.
One piece of his work i found quite interesting was Guitar Drag where he hooked up an electric guitar to an amp in the back of a truck and threw the guitar out the back so it dragged along the road as the truck drove, and he recorded the sound coming from the amp as the road “played” the guitar (in this clip you can hear the original recording but it is not the original footage):
Another piece of his that is astounding is The Clock (he is another artist whose dedication to his work i can very much admire), which this BBC video talks about:
Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller
This pair of artists have created a beautiful creative concept around the world of audio/visual guides. Instead of the usual dry descriptions of history and explanations of the various objects and places around you as you walk with a guided tour, these walks take you into a new world. Through audio Janet Cardiff describes little happenings within the area you are walking through but on the day she was there, so everything is different but also the same. You can hear the recordings from that day as well as the sounds that are coming through the headphones. I can imagine it being a very surreal experience. It’s like being inside a narrative story, you as the main character but also separate from the story. I’d love to do one. Visit Walks for more info.
There was many more and are many more but i’m running out of energy! In my next post i’ll have done a wee bit more research and will have a look at more ephemeral artists that i personally really like.
Well that post was quite long. But i did tell you i was excited! If you read all of that you deserve a cookie, go on go grab one and make yourself a cup of tea and then come back and drop me a comment and tell me your thoughts on all of this? Need a prompt? Answer me this: what is art? or what do you consider art to be? tough question huh?
A twenty-something trying to figure it all out
Royal Concert Hall, Saturday July 1st.
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