Week 3: Warren Leung and Drafting Statements

Warren Leung

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.

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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.

Drafting Statements

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.

WordPress:

Pros:

  • 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.

Cons:

  • Blogging features are occasionally glitchy.
  • Storage space is limited for free users (3GB).

Square Space:

Pros:

  • Design templates are simple and aesthetically pleasing.
  • Websites can be customised using HTML, CSS and Javascript.
  • Ability to add widgets.

Cons:

  • Requires monthly and yearly payments, despite free trial being given upon sign-up.
  • Learning how to use site-building features takes time.

Weebly:

Pros:

  • Easy to use.
  • Flexible ‘drag-and-drop’ website building.
  • Wide variety of widgets and design features.

Cons:

  • 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

TBA

Week 2: Theories, Material Experimentation and Drafting Statements

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.

Material Experimentation

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.

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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:

  • Illustration/Animation
  • 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.

donut cafe 1-Outside Waiting Room

Research for Kade Blazic

TBA

Week 1: MEDA301 Reflection + Art, Craft, Research

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)

  1. What other materials can be used as a canvas for projection other than the wall?
  2. How can the visual aesthetic of the text be altered to communicate meaning in an interesting and dynamic way?
  3. What is the relationship between the space used to exhibit the work and the subject matter that is being explored?
  4. How can the chosen concepts and subject matters be developed further through creative research?
  5. In terms of creative progress, what kind of steps could have been taken to change the final result of the work?

Material Research/Thinking

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.

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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

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Art:

  • 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.

Craft:

  • 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.

Research:

  • 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

TBA

Week 15: Exam Week and Setting Up

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.

Setting Up

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.


References:

– 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/ >.

Week 14: Progress Report

Script:

During study week, I focused most of my energy on composing the script for the text that will appear in the final project. The original script was written using a Word document so I can freely change sections of dialogue before making any final decisions for when I save the text into image files. This script was also just over one thousand words long, and it allows the events to slowly progress so the viewer lacks suspicion of the relationship’s power dynamic for a certain amount of time.FireAlpaca

As I was writing this script, I used neutral language that did not specify the gender of the perpetrators or victims involved so that the storytelling could be applied to different scenarios of violence being perpetuated against victims that are female, male or transgender. This is so individuals are not alienated from the discussion that is being presented. I also described specific places and events, such as the unnamed arts academy located in Sydney or the victim being fired from an unspecified restaurant, so that the narrative is more believable to audience members viewing the work.

Once the script was completed, I composed the individual frames in FireAlpaca (an artwork creation program) in a procedure similar to how stop-motion animations are created. Every time I add a new word onto the screen, I will save the file into a specified folder that specifies which stage of the domestic violence cycle that the text is addressing.

Editing:

 Adobe Premiere Pro

Throughout this week, I also worked on finding alternative editing programs to use other than Adobe Premiere Elements 13 as I did not have access to the program at that time. I downloaded Blender, not only because I enjoy experimenting with 3D modelling and animation in general, but because the program also contained an editing feature. Yet, I discovered that PNG files cannot be imported into the editing feature of the program nor can they be exported as an MP4 file. I also downloaded Easy Movie Maker to work with in hopes that it would be a simple editing program, but I also discovered that the program would watermark the exported file as the editing software was only a trial version.

Eventually, I was able to track down the serial numbers that were needed to install Adobe Premiere Elements 13 and was able to import large set of PNG files I created into the program. I also began to spend a bit of time adjusting the time sequences of each frame so they would appear for 0.15, 1.15 or 2.00 seconds.

What Works and What Doesn’t Work:

Over the past weeks of experimentation and research, there has been an even balance between the strengths and weaknesses of the work I have been developing so far. After finishing a draft copy of my contribution to this project, I sent it to Josh for review. We both agreed that the thick text against the black background makes for a bold composition and the gradual warming of the text’s colours compliments the steady build-up of the narrative. This allows the composition to remain simple and effective unlike the cluttered and messy composition that occurred in week nine.

However, on a conceptual level, I am noticing a certain pattern in the work I create as it often centers around the theme of authoritarianism. While this theme contains a variety of subjects to talk about, I am concerned that the constant revisitation to this theme could cause my work to appear repetitive and uninteresting. So next week, I hope to make some further tweaks to my script so it strays away from this theme but still remains on-topic to the subject of domestic violence.

Week 13: Final Experimentation and Research on Domestic Violence

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Iteration

This week, I removed the leadership and dictatorship quotes gathered from my previous experiment and I instead decided to write a short dialogue-based narrative that personifies the projected video trying to catch the attention of the viewers reading the text. The tone was a lot more aggressive than I expected, and it reflected on my common choice of theme that is authoritarianism. Yet the aggressive nature that came from this experimentation opened up the potential for developing a story behind this personified character.

After a couple of weeks being away from classes, my group member Josh had turned up to discuss the technical collaboration that was going to take place with our work. He told me that he had been busy experimenting with projection mapping at home from tutorials he had been watching on YouTube. He wanted to create a piece based on the subject of communication within media, and how it has lost meaning overtime due to its duplication across many different platforms. He had also created a short animation to project randomized letters onto a small box to signify this sense of meaning being lost.

After we combined our ideas together into a singular project, Mat and Jo stated that the speed of the text on my projection was too fast while the text on Josh’s projection was too slow. They also believed that the dialogue could be extended further to incorporate a story that is based on a human rights issue including climate change or domestic violence. Upon receiving this advice, Josh and I decided to base this project around the subject of domestic violence.

Research

As showcased in flowcharts found on domestic violence awareness websites such as the White Ribbon movement and Domestic Violence Roundtable, there are different interpretations as to how the cycle of abuse is perpetuated over the course of time. Yet, the aspect that each chart had in common was that it showcased the build-up of events taking place that lead to the incident of domestic violence taking place. The ordinary day-to-day phase of the relationship, the tension building stage, and then the explosion of anger that results in the act of violence being done.

cycle-of-violence-1

Websites such as ReachOut Australia, Voices Against Violence and SpeakOutLoud also acknowledge the varying tactics of violence perpetrators use to control a victim which includes physical abuse, psychological abuse, financial abuse and sexual abuse. Different contexts in which these methods of violence occur, such as intimate partner violence or family violence, are also acknowledged on these websites as well.

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Personal accounts of domestic violence given by public speakers, such as Leslie Morgan Steiner (Author of Crazy Love: A Memoir) and Luke Fox (Advocate for Child Rights), are also shown below:

Based on all of these notes, the goal that perpetrators of domestic violence hold is to have complete control over a victim and inflict abuse upon them while preventing the abuse from being acknowledged as the act of violence it is. This lack of acknowledgement involves hiding under falsified narratives that the victim ‘deserved’ it or the perpetrator committed the abuse out of ‘love’, which is something I will explore when working on my final project.


References:

Cycle of Violence 2011, online image, White Ribbon Campaign, viewed 2 June 2017, < https://www.whiteribbon.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/cycle-of-violence-1.jpg >.

Domestic Violence 2013, Voices Against Violence, viewed 1 June 2017, < http://www.voicesagainstviolence.net/?page_id=539 >.

– Fox, L 2017, A “Normal” Life: When Child Abuse Is Normal, online video, 17 January, YouTube, viewed 30 May 2017, < https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vSTUSxdGaMo >.

– Layton, J & Sluser, R & Kaufman, M 2011, Cycle of Violence, White Ribbon Campaign, viewed 2 June 2017, < https://www.whiteribbon.org.au/understand-domestic-violence/what-is-domestic-violence/cycle-of-violence/ >.

– Murphy, C 2017, Homepage, SpeakOutLoud, viewed 4 June 2017, < https://speakoutloud.net/ >.

Power and Control Wheel 2013, online image, Voices Against Violence, viewed 1 June 2017, < http://www.voicesagainstviolence.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Power-and-Ctrl-Wheel-485×480.jpg >.

– Steiner, LM 2013, Why Domestic Violence Victims Don’t Leave, online video, 25 January, YouTube, viewed on 30 May 2017, < https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V1yW5IsnSjo&t=1s >.

The Cycle of Domestic Violence 2016, Domestic Violence Roundtable, viewed 5 June 2017, < http://www.domesticviolenceroundtable.org/dvcycle >.

What Is Domestic Violence 2016, ReachOut Australia, viewed 5 June 2017, < http://au.reachout.com/what-is-domestic-violence >.

 

Week 12: Barbara Kruger and Young Haes Chang Heavy Industries

During this week’s lecture, Jo had recommended that our group check out a video created by Tate that discusses artworks produced by Barbara Kruger:

The video discusses how the use of commercial media allows Kruger to interact with the target audience of advertising and subvert previous messages given from larger corporations, and this dialogue between contradicting meanings is something I could consider when doing future experiments on the project I am working on.

Because Mat was away for this lesson, Jo also told us that there was going to be a substitute teacher named Nathan who would review our works instead.

I set up my work as I did last week and presented it for critique, even though I felt it was necessary to make minor changes beforehand. I still needed to edit parts of my video so that my selected quotes would only display single words. But at least the quotes being displayed would be readable at this point in time. While I was adjusting the angle and position of the data projector, Jo and I had another disagreement as to where the text should be projected onto the wall. Jo felt that projecting the text onto the corner of the wall would allow the work to be more dynamic similar to how Jenny Holzer projects her text onto the edge of buildings, yet I felt that projecting the text onto that particular crease of the wall would make the text blurry and difficult to read.

Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries-Video Still-9- Temple-webready

After Nathan analyzed the current state of my work, he recommended that I check out Young Hae Chang Heavy Industries, which is a website that produces animated typography works using Adobe Flash that explore political and social themes such as the surveillance from North Korea or the use of online communication. The composition of the work keeps viewers engaged with the flow of text that has a seemingly never-ending dialogue with an audience, and is rhythmically synchronized to background music. Serious declarations that address the topic in question are mixed with bizarre statements that make little sense in order to balance out the tone of the narrative.

After Nathan had concluded his review on the current state of my project, I experimented with writing down a combination of bizarre and serious statements in the back of my workbook. Some of the statements I had written down included:

  •   “I can see everything you’re doing.”
  •   “You know what will cure blue eyes? Poison.”
  •   “Your eyes are trailing away from me again.”
  •   “Taking deep breaths is not a normal thing to do, you know?”

In terms of composition and audience interaction, these statements are designed to create an uncomfortable feeling that the viewer is being watched and judged by an unknown character that is communicating to the individual through dialogue that is projected onto the wall.

Some of these statements are also made in relation to Freudian Theory, particularly the notion in which dreams are interpreted as being symbols of unconscious thoughts and desires of the individual. For instance, while interpretations made from Freudian Theory typically lead back to sexual desires, the bizarre statement of curing blue eyes with poison could signify the self-conscious feelings one has of ordinary character traits that are considered to be undesirable based on the subjective interpretation one has of themselves.


References:

– Chang, YH & Voge, M 2000, Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries, weblog, viewed 22 May 2017, < http://www.yhchang.com/ >.

– Freud, S 1899, The Interpretation of Dreams, Franz Deuticke, Austria.

– Tate 2016, Barbara Kruger – Consumerism, Power and the Everyday | Fresh Perspectives, online video, 25 December, YouTube, viewed 22 May 2017, < https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bVxtKcDOHYc >.