Monday, June 9, 2014

igne natura renovatur integra

igne natura renovatur integra = through fire, nature is reborn whole

it's okay if you don't understand the video at first. If it weirds you, that's even better! In one way, this video falls under Bourriaud's concept of critical materialism. As reality is filled with chance encounters, art is made of chance meetings of signs and chaotic forms. One does not automatically associate paper cranes with wildlife, much less paper cranes, wildlife, AND fire.

The video is based on a general concept: life and death. Creation is symbolized by the actual making of the cranes. Destruction is symbolized by burning the cranes. Scenes of animal strife and violence are juxtaposed with the cranes to make the point that this a process that can be observed in nature, and is, in fact, crucial in creating a stable ecosystem.

The response to the artwork is crucial. I want to hear the feelings and impressions of my audience, as their shared ideas will manipulate the reality of the art itself. In true relational art form, the participation of the viewers is crucial to the art itself.

I would like to thank Rose Broll for helping me film, and Jade for lending me a lighter (that inevitably ran out of lighter fluid). The song used is Ghostwriter Remix by RJD2. All of the video clips were appropriated from youtube, and depict scenes from the BBC series Planet Earth. Every single crane was harmed in the making of this video. I cannot speak on behalf of the animals, though I think it's pretty clear that a few suffered incredibly gruesome fates...

Monday, May 12, 2014

Rebirth of An Artist

I had a bizarre dream a couple of days ago. It began by me talking with my Digital Processes professor about how I missed the deadline for submitting artwork. It ended with two of us being chased by a monster made entirely of fire. Though I don't usually believe in dream analysis, I used this dream as inspiration for my project.

In a couple weeks I'll be graduating from college. Then I will have to discard everything that I was in order to build a new life for myself. I've been having a lot of anxiety about this, which has caused me to have a lot of vivid dreams. I have found that I adopted origami as a habit that I do to procrastinate thinking about the future. Having had terrible issues with anxiety already, I've been experiencing a lot of self doubt and fear that has hindered my ability to prepare for the future.

This project in a way will be therapeutic for me. My idea is to film the formation and destruction of a paper crane, or another kind of origami bird. The destruction will be by fire. The destruction by fire will be representative of me overcoming my fears, as well as the rebirth of my identity. Obviously incorporating fire into my project will be difficult, since, well, fire. Hopefully I'll be able to minimize the risk involved. I'll leave you with a quote that I find pertinent to this idea:

"Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will." -Karim Seddiki

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

How to Be Incredibly Awkward on Camera

The objective of this project, on a purely superficial level, was to create a how-to video. In regards to that, this project was a complete and utter failure. Though I am fairly accomplished with origami, I went a little overboard by trying to do a how to of an origami design that I myself had only learned that day. Therefore, something that should have only taken 2 minutes ended up taking 7, because I forgot the design halfway through. Though I edited the video to be amusing for the viewer, the actual experience was painful and frustrating for me. From my perspective at the time, I had completely ruined the project and I was angry at myself. I had failed to execute my concept perfectly.

However, when thinking about this project in the frame of relational aesthetics, there is no way one could really fail at this project. In essence, this project was less about making a how to video and more about creating a work of art that depicts a state of social encounter. In that case, I could not possibly have been more successful. This video perfectly encapsulates my fears of failure and embarassment. I have found throughout my life that the more preoccupied I am with doing something perfectly or not being awkward in front of people, the more likely I am to end up making a mistake. My experience in making this video is similar to other experiences I have on a daily basis. Fortunately, I have a pretty solid sense of humor, which allows me to look at the events of my past in a more forgiving manner. If it generates a laugh or a feeling of sympathy from the audience, then my video is successful.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Building a Meme Community around Dysthymia

As I near the end of my senior year of college, I've found that I am most concerned with the presence of unnecessary suffering in the world. One of the ways this manifests is through mental illness, which  is what I chose to focus on for my relational aesthetics piece.

My own experiences with depression has led me to be interested in the experiences of others, and conveying that experience in an accurate, poignant, and artistic way. For this project, I snooped around the clinical depression forum of, which is a useful online resource for anyone looking for support. I read through topics and picked quotes from anonymous users that I felt that I, and other people suffering from depression, could resonate with. All of the users were anonymous, and the comments were all made in a public forum, making them free for public use. Specifically, I looked in the topics related to dysthymia, which is also known as chronic depression. Though the symptoms of dysthymia are less severe than those of major depression, the symptoms often last for a greater length of time and the effects that it has on a person's life can be equally devastating. 

I was absorbed into this project, and it allowed me to reflect on my own experience with dysthymia. It also revealed to me that many aspects of my experience were similar to those of other people, which helped to validate some of my thoughts as well as make me feel less isolated. This project was a great way for me to express my interest in hand lettering as well. I hope in the future to do more art projects related to mental illness since it is one of the biggest inspirations behind my art. You can see the rest of my works here.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

My Proposed Arena of Exchange

The internet is a place where tons of micro communities are formed through social media outlets. These forums allow a private space for people to share their thoughts anonymously. Though these forums can be negative and result in cyberbullying or a general reduction in the collective IQ, there are many forums that are formed with the intention of helping one another. One of the most touching example of these that I have found  are forums that are built to support people with anxiety and depression. These mental illnesses can be extremely isolating, but one has to only look around the internet to know that they are not suffering alone. For example, the depression comic of Hyperbole and a Half has resonated with a shocking amount of people. Because I'm also a comic artist, I also appreciate the way illustrations can bring people together. For my project, I will attempt to extract some of the common thoughts of loneliness and pain that people express on the Internet and illustrate them in a way that makes them relatable through a small cartoon. This cartoon figure will be someone that anyone suffering from anxiety or depression can relate to, like the narrator of Hyperbole and a Half. I intend to do about 25 of these, and then post them on Flickr.

Monday, March 17, 2014

The Growth of a Global Village

"Electric circuitry is Orientalizing the West. The contained, the distinct, the separate--our Western legacy--are being replaced by the flowing, the unified, the fused."
The Medium is the Massage

This project was created in the vein of my previous stop motion project, because I was intrigued as to how much further I could take the idea of stop motion and origami. The emphasis of Eastern culture in modern art and modern technology made it easy for my to create a visual analogy for the digital revolution through the construction an origami icosahedron from sonobe units. If you are interested, below is a diagram of the individual unit. 

I'd be lying if I said this project wasn't a pain in the ass. I spent about 7 hours taking pictures in the studio. However, I am fairly content with how my project turned out, and I've certainly enjoyed my time in Digital Processes.

Friday, March 7, 2014

J. Robert Oppenheimer: The American Prometheus

Oppenheimer at age 40.

"There are children who are playing in the street who could solve some of my top problems in physics, because they have modes of sensory perception." The Medium is the Massage

J. Robert Oppenheimer was an enigmatic genius that led a tragic life that has inspired an opera, Doctor Atomic, and that continues to beguile historians. For better or worse, Oppenheimer will forever be remembered as the mind that birthed the atomic bomb. The creator of weaponized death on a massive scale. As he said after the successful trinity test at Los Alamos, "Now I am become death, the destroyer of worlds."

The Manhattan Project was a research and developmental project that was convened during World War II due to the fear that Germany might gain access to nuclear weaponry before the Allies, securing their victory in the war. Oppenheimer was named director of The Manhattan Project, and under his leadership America successfully acquired the atomic bomb before the Germans. Oppenheimer knew the destructive force that he had created, and he feared its use in military strategy. He proposed that there be strict international regulation of atomic weaponry and favored the idea of diplomacy over combat. Ultimately, Oppenheimer was ignored, and President Truman dropped bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in response to Pearl Harbor. The military necessity of this move was questioned by many and Oppenheimer was burdened with guilt as a result. As payment for his contributions to America, Oppenheimer was ultimately accused of communism and died an early death from throat cancer, a broken and discredited man.

Hiroshima after the bomb.

In McLuhan, the use of technology is greatly debated, and some great ethical and societal implications are made. One of those being that the technology that we use shapes the way we use and process information as a society. For example, linear science caused us to think and progress in a linear fashion.  Formal education and societal influence, in turn, results in restrictions upon our technology, causing it to be used in a non ideal fashion, or, at the very least, not to it's full potential. Men and women who often seek to innovate technology or a way of thinking are then met with obstacles imposed by society, education, and the law. Oppenheimer represents an innovator whose technology was ultimately abused to fulfill a desire for revenge rather than to facilitate progress. His story serves as a cautionary tale as to the consequences of technology. It pays for society to open their eyes and think with a mind of their own.