During this week’s lesson, we spent a lot of time finishing up our professional profiles in preparation for the first assessment that is due next week. We had to think about the narrative that describes our practice and choose a series of works that might support this narrative. I have chosen a combination of works that I created from University and TAFE, although I’m not sure if they would create a narrative that is cohesive enough.
We also had to choose two members of the class to read and critique our statements. After reviewing my statement, David said that I should be a bit more specific when describing the details behind my practices while Ahn agreed with this. Mat had also looked at my statement and said that there were some lines that had seemed out of place with the rest of the statement, then stated that I should either edit those lines or delete them from the statement altogether.
Eventually, after playing around with these ideas for a while, I came up with this professional statement below:
“Kate Bennett is an Australian illustrator and creative writer with a passion for animation. She uses a vibrant aesthetic and elements of humour to create emotionally driven narratives that are based on both personal and social observations. In 2014, she created a series of cartoons focused on mental wellbeing and political satire that were featured at the Framed Exhibition at TAFE Illawarra and the Illawarra Mercury comic exhibition at Wollongong Art Gallery.
Kate has also recently graduated from the University of Wollongong with a Bachelor’s degree in Digital Media where she acquired skills of film editing, graphic design, storyboard creation and 3D visualisation.”
Emergence (2012) by Craig Walsh
In contribution to the Art & About festival, Australian artist Craig Walsh has projected a series of faces onto trees in Hyde Park at Sydney. The faces are lit up during the night as they tell personalised stories to viewers about the local area’s history of protests that have occurred. The artwork relates back to the theme of futures because it brings historical events to the present moment where they can be evaluated by viewers who were not there to witness them. These events can be given new interpretations that were not considered before, which can therefore determine how future occurrences of these events will be approached.
Throughout the lesson, I began to work on creating my cloud mobiles. The cotton seems to stick together on its own, but only for a certain amount of time before it begins to slowly fall apart. This especially happens when I try to manipulate the shape of the cloud or try to add more cotton to it.
To resolve this issue, I bought glue sticks and sticky tape with me to try and stick the cotton together so it wouldn’t break as easily. Yet I immediately discovered that the glue sticks were too sticky to work with as it kept getting itself stuck to my fingers and it was picking pieces of cotton off the clouds that I had already produced. Sticky tape works a little bit better, but it makes the clouds look less realistic because the sticky tape is visible.
To adopt an element from Emergence (2012), I decided to try and project some images onto the clouds that I had made. I wanted to incorporate eyes and mouths onto the clouds to personify them to the audience, and even shape these images around the clouds with the help of projection mapping in the future. Yet, after a few attempts, I realised that using projection was rather ineffective. The images were blurry and almost unrecognisable. I asked Jo about how I could resolve this, and she said that I should hang up my clouds in the black box to get a clearer image.
In week four, our class decided to travel up to Sydney to find some works that could be a source of inspiration for our own projects.
We first visited the Museum of Contemporary Arts to explore the exhibition Today, Tomorrow and Yesterday. The exhibition contained a series of postcolonial and avant-garde works that are dedicated to exploring how the cultural and political events of history impacts the production of contemporary art movements today.
One work that immediately caught my attention was an eleven-minute screen work titled tall man (2010). The work was produced by Vernon Ah Kee, and it accounts the Palm Island riots that took place in 2004 using footage from phones and video cameras. Although the content was alarming in nature, it successfully engaged its audience by encouraging them to piece together the sequence of events that are occurring and ask questions on the current state of race relations within Australia.
While this fast-paced urgency is unlikely to be present in my own project, it made me start to think about how I could ‘hook’ my own audience towards the concept of futures by simply using visual and auditory prompts.
Another work I was intrigued by was Number NineNumber Nine (2008) by Gordon Bennett. The piece is intended to display the disconnection between the postcolonial themes that Bennett would normally explore and the traditional artistic practices that Bennett enjoys using, as it displays a heavier focus on visuals rather than semiotics. I considered this work to be relevant to my current project because it showcased the importance of not assigning meaning to every single aspect of a work especially during the production phases where the aesthetics and concepts of a piece are still changing.
“I needed to change direction… At least for a while. Art about art seems appropriate for the time being. The stripe series of abstract paintings represents a kind of freedom for me as an artist.”
– Gordon Bennett (2008)
After we finished viewing the works displayed within this exhibition, we then traveled to the University of Technology Sydney gallery to view the exhibition Sounding the Future. It was significantly smaller than the Today, Tomorrow and Yesterday exhibition, but it still contained an excellent selection of works.
While exploring these works, I was drawn to Mettamatics 1 & 2 (2017) by George Poonkhin Khut due to its simple and effective way of interacting with audience members. It asks its listeners to clip their fingertip onto an electrocardiograph so it can slowly document the heart rate of the participant involved, and it allows listeners to meditate and understand the state of their emotions better as this recording is being played back to them.
As I was listening to this recording, I found myself feeling relaxed by the soft heartbeat sounds. This piece is light and minimalistic in nature, and the style of communication it uses is something I could experiment with in the future.
Research for Sam Cavanagh
At the start of the day, we were introduced to the Hong-Kong based artist Warren Leung whose work incorporates installation techniques with photography, video and everyday materials to explore the connection between unresolved conflicts within history and how they are perceived by the average person today.
While exploring his website in my own time, I found that the body of work titled We Must Construct As Well As Destroy (2010-2012) had particularly fascinated me as its subtle use of light and typography creates an intriguing aesthetic that draws an audience in to investigate the meaning of the work further.
It blends different mediums together into one body of work in order to carefully investigate the historical events that took place near the Legislative Council building in Hong Kong within a contemporary setting. It is an interesting technique that I’m considering experimenting with in my own upcoming project, particularly because there is a lack of concrete predictions on how the futures ahead of us may play out.
During the workshop, we continued to draft our artist statements for our artist portfolios. Mat had challenged the class to write the first 150 words of our statement and suggested that we avoid using terms such as ‘emerging’ and ‘aspiring’ as it didn’t accurately describe the current state of our practice we were at now. Throughout the time we were given, I began to draft this statement below:
“Kate Bennett is an Australian illustrator and creative writer with a passion for animation. She uses a vibrant aesthetic and elements of humour to create emotionally driven narratives that are based on both personal and social observations.”
While this is a decent start, I could extend this statement further by including the software skills and personal achievements that I have acquired overtime. I could also briefly include my interests that influence my work, and describe the examples of the illustrated and 3D works I have chosen to feature in my portfolio.
We also had to consider the type of web domain we would use when creating our portfolio. So I’ve decided to browse through the features that these domains had offered, and I weighed up the pros and cons of using each website as a platform to create my portfolio on.
- No payment required upon sign-up.
- Reliable storage space for images and videos.
- Familiarity with the site’s features due to personal use.
- Variety of themes and plugins that can be utilised.
- Blogging features are occasionally glitchy.
- Storage space is limited for free users (3GB).
- Design templates are simple and aesthetically pleasing.
- Ability to add widgets.
- Requires monthly and yearly payments, despite free trial being given upon sign-up.
- Learning how to use site-building features takes time.
- Easy to use.
- Flexible ‘drag-and-drop’ website building.
- Wide variety of widgets and design features.
- Monthly and yearly payments are required to improve the professionalism of the website.
- Limited storage for free users (500MB).
In the end, I’ve decided to use WordPress simply because it’s an easier domain to use than the other options that are listed. I considered using Weebly because of the design flexibility it has, yet I consider the learning curve to be too steep for the time being.
Research for Shaun Carpenter
The Use of Theory
This week’s workshop was centered around discussing the definitions of research and theories, and comparing the differences that exist between the two of them.
To me, a theory is a set of abstract assumptions that are separate from evidence. It is based on imaginative thought and it helps artists construct ideas as a starting point for their work.
Meanwhile, research involves gathering information to support this hypothesis. It fleshes out the conceptual themes that make an artistic work meaningful, and it also allows artists to learn effective techniques associated with an artistic practice that is used to create this work.
Below, I have compiled together theoretical and researched notes on futures that can help support the current project that I’m working on:
– Precognitive Dreams: The assumption that dreams can predict events that will occur in the real world. While this belief is strictly based on theory, it creates opportunities to experiment with dream-like imagery and predictions on what will happen after we graduate from university.
– “Human beings are works in progress that mistakenly think they’re finished” – Dan Gilbert
This TED talk explores how the personal values of individuals change as they get older using studies that examine the theory titled “the end of history illusion”. This theme of growth and change can be beneficial to exploring how one has changed since the start of university or any other major life journey one has taken.
Right now, I have only begun to experiment with the basic elements of my materials. I need to get myself adjusted to the sense of repetition that comes with ripping cotton apart and stringing pieces of it together, and I have done this through following the instructions found on the video that I posted in last week’s entry.
All of this was simple enough. However, one problem that I encountered was that parts of the cloud mobile kept falling apart as I was trying to hang it up from the roof. I assumed that the wire would help keep the cotton together once I screwed it into the cloud, but I’ve decided it’s better to use glue or tape as well when I experiment with this material next time.
Drafting a Statement
In preparation for the first assessment, I have listed five skills that will help me get started on figuring out what my personal statement is going to be:
- Film Editing
- Storyboard Creation
- 3D Visualization
- Creative Writing
These skills all relate back to the field of storytelling, and can be adapted into the narrative in which this is the central concept of the practices I work with.
I have also begun to consider the type of artworks that I will include in my portfolio as well. The works chosen will most likely be stills from the animation projects that I completed for TAFE in 2016, including my 3D Logo and my 3D Amusement Park ride.
Research for Kade Blazic
Reflecting on my Work from MEDA301
Overall, my finished work only employed basic media art techniques. The projectors were predominantly used to communicate the dialogue behind the theme of domestic violence while sharing a loose interaction with Josh’s work.
The dialogue contained within the text was perhaps the only element of my work that could be considered successful, yet everything else was underdeveloped.
Because of this, I plan to have a heavier focus on experimenting with craft this semester so I can exhibit an improved piece within the gallery space that communicates my concepts much more clearly using an advanced and innovative structure of planning.
Five Question my MEDA301 Work Raised (Mostly to Myself)
- What other materials can be used as a canvas for projection other than the wall?
- How can the visual aesthetic of the text be altered to communicate meaning in an interesting and dynamic way?
- What is the relationship between the space used to exhibit the work and the subject matter that is being explored?
- How can the chosen concepts and subject matters be developed further through creative research?
- In terms of creative progress, what kind of steps could have been taken to change the final result of the work?
In the next couple of weeks, I am considering experimenting with cotton to produce a set of cloud mobiles to project a series of experimental and/or narrative films upon that explore the theme of futures.
I was inspired to engage with this material after seeing the digital piece Let It Fall by Soaring Anchor Designs.
The blend between darkened and lightened shades creates a beautiful contrast that composes a glittery aesthetic. However, the light bulbs shown in the artwork could potentially create a fire hazard if I were to bring them into a three-dimensional space.
The ‘Art, Craft, Research’ For This Experiment
- Final presentation of work.
- Reviewing experiments and making improvements on areas that are needed.
- Choosing a space to exhibit the work in. Positioning the projectors and cloud mobiles from the roof. Tweaking the work to make sure it stays in place and has a clean presentation.
- Creating crafted models of varying shapes and sizes depending on the amount of cotton that is used.
- Stabilizing the crafted model to be certain that it won’t fall apart during the setup process and the exhibition period.
- Creating structure of film by illustrating a set of storyboards establishing locations and subjects that will be shot.
- Reading and watching tutorials on creating cloud mobiles and projection mapping.
- Watching experimental/narrative films with the theme of futures to understand how the concept has been represented in the past. Take notes on common tropes and clichés that appear within these films.
- Critically analyzing installation artworks containing similar themes, symbols and aesthetics.
Piece of Writing
The following quote is from the introduction of the book Don’t Get A Job… Make A Job: How To Make It As A Creative Graduate by Gem Barton:
“First things first – the days of trading in your degree certificate for a nice safe job offer are gone, and who knows if they will ever return? It is simply not enough to graduate anymore; the world demands more from you – you are the future, you are the next generation of entrepreneurs, design-thinkers, hyper-specialists, and cultural agitators. You have a role, you have a responsibility. It is no longer just about the world of the design… it is about the design of your world!”
I found this to be an intriguing perspective on the futures that are present for creative arts students as it is becoming increasingly difficult to find paid work as an artist, especially within the competitive market that is currently present. But at the same time, there are also new opportunities for artists to shape their own futures with the rise of globalization and new technologies that open up vacancies for creative jobs as a result.
Research for Joseph Bird
As I continued to edit the frames together on Adobe Premiere Elements 13, I was under the assumption that this procedure was only going to take a day or two because of the little amount of time I have had to work on previous editing projects that were completed in the past. Yet due to the large quantity of frames that I had to import into the program, the editing process was extended to being a few days longer than expected. But in the end, the final video was a combination between the bold aesthetic of Jenny Holzer’s work and the rhythmic editing as Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries.
Further Conceptual and Composition Developments
Earlier on in the week, Josh and I also had a quick online discussion to exchange ideas on the content we had created so far. Josh suggested that my current script should be slightly shorter than what I had originally written earlier, so I decided to cut out sections of dialogue in Adobe Premiere Elements 13 that I felt were unnecessary tangents from the narrative and were too extensive in general.
Josh was also interested in including statistics on domestic violence against men in our project, such as the diagrams shown on the OneInThree website, as he felt that men’s voices are often left unheard when this subject is being discussed. He was also considering collecting personal stories from male survivors of domestic violence on an online support group that he found on social media, yet he didn’t want to use this information for public exhibition without permission of the authors who wrote these accounts.
He also wrote his own section of dialogue that represented the voices of people who wish to assist the victim to recovery. This creates a contrast in tone of voice against the dialogue I had written based on the aggressor’s demands of the victim and provides examined evidence to support the storytelling aspects of my contribution too. This overall setup allows the viewer to experience the work within the role of the victim caught between two varying perspectives on an unsettling and dangerous situation, with the aggressor’s voice being the dominating voice the victim hears and the helpers being the unknown voice that exist outside of the isolating circumstances the victim is in.
One major issue I encountered was that the editing of the text was not properly synced against the wall corner it was being projected against. This problem could easily be resolved by mapping the individual frames apart so that there was a slight gap within the center, and Josh offered to transfer video projection mapping software to the laptop I had been working on so I could accomplish this. Yet, as I inspected this issue further, I noticed that the positioning of my work had stood way too close behind the advertising project my previous group members were working on and this posed the risk for the unintentional interaction in meanings. So in the end, I settled for the simplistic composition of projecting the video against the flat surface of the wall to allow more focus on the written expression the work holds.
– Chang, YH & Voge, M 2000, Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries, weblog, viewed 22 May 2017, < http://www.yhchang.com/ >.
– Family Violence – Australia Says No! 2009-2017, OneInThree, viewed 16 June 2017, < http://www.oneinthree.com.au/ >.
– Holzer, J 2009, Projections, weblog, viewed 10 April 2017, < http://projects.jennyholzer.com/ >.