Response Birgit II
Of all the different ‘actions’ you talk about, I am most intrigued by the ‘map’ element of your emotions during the day.
I would like to see that also visually . I am actually thinking of a real map you could create of all the different areas where you are during the day : home, studio, on the way /commute, work etc etc , so to create/draw/ or take a photo from google maps and then write down your different emotions.
I listened to your three recordings of your voice and also to the vimeo piece in the studio where you sing. Do you record that every day?
I listened to your tracks and I agree to what you say about your voice: it is beautiful. Is there a way you could bring in all those emotions during your day into those recordings? The recordings sound very happy to me…..(and there is nothing wrong with that!!!!). How would you perform these in front of an audience? Would we hear the voice from the off or would you perform in front of an audience?
I think actually, or at least that is my impression that your work is about your daily life and all the things you do again and again ……and again, emotions that come and go. In a way I am more biased to listen to your voice recording what is happening during those days or looking at a visual map that talks about that daily experience. That is probably a stronger experience than a performance, at least for me. As long it is recordings of your emotions of your daily life.
However, in your piece ‘there is someone else going to do it better’, I think this one would be so much stronger if you performed it live. Unfortunately, your recordings are not loud at all and I had a hard time understanding even I had the volume up.
As far as sound is concerned, I love the website Derek just posted and listened to Max Ernst and Satre, David Lynch, joseph Beuys and Bertold Brecht. It is so interesting. Some of them were describing emotions like in an interview setting, explaining the context. I feel I need to be a bit connected more to understand more the context of what emotions you are talking about.
I am not quite sure if I understand the word misdirected labour correctly. Are the photos you show of your workplace? Also I have one more questions as to your use of the word perform, does it mean do something, like sing or do you mean perform in the presence of people, like at the store. Do you sing to yourself when you are at the store? Another way you could record your emotions instead of a map could be a time line . So you write down the time and the emotion at that moment and then later you can create a visual statistics with it, so you could transform your emotions into a visual abstracted image.
Cheers and see you soon
yes, that's it!
ok, ok , I could not wait till the weekend and had some hours today and looked at your work.
OhMyGoodness, this is absolutely brilliant! I really really mean that and I don't think I ever said that in a critique during the past 5 years before. Maybe the piece speaks so much to me because I wonder so much about that 'creating of space' in my maps as well?
Anyways......lets go into detail:
I am happy that you now speak the text, your voice is brilliant
much better than it was before, when the written text was over the images.
I like that the breaks between the pieces are shorter, you images are very strong. The filming is excellent and the images work very very well with the text.
I listened to it and watched several parts several times and there are some little things I would like to mention :
just as possible ideas:
the piece might be even more interesting if there were two voices , two opinions, two ideas, more than one provenance of that knowledge.....what if there is - from time to time a whispering voice that says sentences like : the sky is a cylinder to the moon, the earth is falling into a well, art leaks and spills art, etc, etc the aim is to create space etc
not loud, just a whispering female voice.
It would add another layer of possible meanings to the piece and make it even stronger......
My favourite piece is hollow earth. We look into that hole and the reflection of the sky, the rain, the leaves. That is very strong work visual work and the spoken text goes so well with it, Derek!!!
If anyone tells you it is too long, do not listen please, I do not think it is one second too long.
your poem and text is just absolutely overwhelming and exquisit. I could listen to it for hours!
You obviously have looked at Pipilotti Rist ! I am glad you did, I find her works fits really really well to your imagery.
Some more little things:
at 15:35 all of a sudden the background noise disappears, which is a sudden interruption from that calming atmosphere. I would ask you to continue the background noise while you speak this sequence to the end. Even if you make the background noise less loud, but it needs to be continued, I think.
especially when you say : sounds of rushing water....it would be great if I could hear that sound at the same time. I just listened to it again, yes at about 15:35 the sound should be fixed.
Then at 16:45 you start with Coda and you start to speak but again there is not background noise as in the other pieces. i would recommend you add an outside sound here as well. I know a little bit further you have sound again, but I strongly think it would be great to have a slight notion of a background sound at the beginning of Coda as well.
When we look at the tree (approx. 18:20) I would like to know how it would sound if you used your outside voice for this piece. In the areas before I did not mind your inside voice at all but here I have a strong longing to hear either your voice when you record it outside or you add outside noises like wind etc. Just very slightly, but I feel the looking up into the tree and your inside voice need to be a bit more connected.
I like the airplane sound at 8:50, and there at another point there is a siren or noise of a car, that is great, it pulls us out of those deep thoughts and reminds us of human existence and the horror of everyday life......but then we are allowed back into this reflection of life.
You are a poet , you are a storyteller. this piece puts me in a state of meditation and deep thinking.
You are like a prophet you will explain the apocalypse to us. Very very well done Derek, this is a masterpiece.
it is amazing to see how your work has evolved from the beginning of September. It has become a whole now. You have pulled it so well together! (and set that bar very very high again!!!, it is great how that goes).
I won't share that on your blog yet, but will do that on Monday, once everyone else has responded.
Well done Derek!
Best wishes from the stormy North West Coast
The idea I had this morning, if you ever wanted to commemorate those poets, that you might want to do a little side project, by creating a mind map with the provenance of all those writers and then you could write their quote into the map. I have looked up some examples for you. Those artists to look at are
Paula Scher and
Let me start at the end: I listened to your Berlin recording, yes the wind and background noises sound interesting and take me back to that memory and I would encourage you to record something similar in a park or the area where you live in New York. In your environment. Especially if you present your piece at the winter residency it would make sense to have those wind and street noises from the place where you life and work. I will come to your Klein bottle sculpture at the end…..
I am glad you saw the Josef Albers exhibition. His color theory is very interesting. During my art studies I studied Albers for two semesters and find it extremely fascinating in that a color is never the same, it lives up and depends on its surroundings and the context. It can never be seen by itself individually.
Your thoughts around Klein Bottle and your connection to nature are very interesting and I would like to hear more about it. Also are there other ways than to put a four dimensional space into two dimensions? I understand your thoughts about convenient, about portability, and instantaneous accessibility that dominate over the quality of things. However, since you were working with the shape, is it not almost better to let those shapes be the work instead of representing them in a different way and forcing them down to 2 dimensions?
The photos you are taking are exquisite. Is there a way you could take some of those photos without us seeing the wire? I think this wire or fishing line distracts from the images a bit which are very powerful otherwise. You want to inactivate the senses and a physical interaction for the viewer, ’shifting the construct of reality’, I think, it would be better if there was no distraction in the visual. Could you maybe, for example take some of those images with the shape lying on the ground ? Then it is only about that shape and what it means and nothing else.
To get your idea of internal space more across when you take the photos of the Klein bottle could you get closer in the image and have the entire photo full of that material. So you would have images of the whole piece but others with only fragments?
Your idea with trying to get the viewers back in touch with surroundings and the physical respect of the space works very very well in this context. This is what happens and in my view you reach that goal. Would you, if you ever showed the clay sculptures consider showing the photos of the Klein bottle simultaneously? I would recommend it or write about it or record your voice with you thoughts around this piece at the same time.
What I miss with all your thoughts and all the visual is a further layer, a further connection between the two. Sound? Or if you showed only the clay sculptures would you give the viewer a hint about where you want to lead him with a title of the work? The Chicken wire, btw was very familiar to me growing up in Germany , my grandmother had rabbits in the garden, we used it for fencing them off and we used it to do sculptures.
I find your skin sculptures extremely interesting and understand where your sense of shelter and protection and cosiness is coming from in connection to the cotton and the connection to the buko zukin. Could you create more of these cotton sculptures to have a series of ideas of possible ways to put those cotton balls together? I find the second image the most appealing and ambiguous .
Great that you will present your sculpture at the winder residency, I understand the problem you have with the headsets but I also think it is best to put them into the sculpture instead of listening to the sound as a room voice.
And one last thing to continue our conversation about how we deal with things that happen around us: please let me have your thoughts on this!!
I can very much relate to those images you posted of the public art and the response to the election of Donald Trump as the new US American president. It has hit us extremely hard as well. I find your mission to invite people to pause, to think, to reflect about everything very clear and important. You mention that love and peace is mightier than hate and war. I couldn’t agree more. I was actually in a state similar like mourning for several days. I need to walk through the forest to breath and to reconnect with essential things in order to get out of that state. I needed to gain some strength to think about what I could possibly do to help. When you critiqued my work recently you said something that surprised me a lot, but maybe that is because I am German. I find it important to mention this in our conversation about what happened in the US and our reaction to that election. You said you find it painful that I criticize my own German people even though I am German. I want to explain why I do this. I stand up and protest, especially because I am a mother, especially because I was born after WWII in Germany, because I am the grand daughter of a Nazi, especially because I have seen what CAN possibly happen. Now, in the regards to the US election, I feel the need to stand up in solidarity with Muslims, Latinos, Black people and the many many other minority groups under attack by the newly elected US government, often elected by people who think they are better than others. I do not want history to repeat itself. The US of America should be a safe place for people to live. It cannot be that there are countries in the Western industrial World where people have to fear for their lives. I actually plan to attend the march of the million women with my daughter Lara in Seattle on January 21. I tell you this to start a conversation with you, because you might think the way I am approaching the theme of right wing extremism in Germany is aggressive, but there have to be people in my country who stand up and say this is not ok. I understand your approach as very soothing and peaceful and wonderful and I am happy that you have decided on that very important mission of yours. I hope you understand where I am coming from. I am not aggressive or anything, I just come from a place where people were hurt and I want to help to avoid that anything like that could ever happen again. I agree, I could need some of the positive energy you have in you. This is very refreshing, inspiring and encouraging work you do. You remind me that healing is possible when we look at the positive things!
I find it a good idea that you collect all the different themes you found and put them on index cards, however, I agree, these should not be a list from a dictionary but rather a list of words you come up yourself through your own reflection. Like this , what you will collect will make much more sense to you. It is not about a list of words its about the meaning. (What did you think of my recent idea to work around themes to describe these invisible things? To create rooms dedicated to a theme? I still think this would be a good way to go…..). I would recommend you start and address one of the themes on your list of 1000 things and create art and work around that.
Under the current political circumstances the idea regarding invisibility of illegal immigrants, I think, this is a very very powerful and important theme. Discuss and contemplate possible artistic work you could create around this one single theme, invisibility of illegal immigrant workers in your country.
An idea I would have for you around that theme is that you go and find people in that situation of wanting to be invisible and you do interviews with them. So the viewer/ visitor only hears their voices and their story but the people are invisible. I think at this point you might want to push yourself to not only reflect on what is happening but to approach this theme not only from a research point of view but to transform the theme into an individual art piece. I would encourage you to talk to your neighbor and do an interview, talk to that black boy in the school and spread the word that you are interested in talking to those people who want to be invisible or even have to be invisible in order to survive. You can empower those people and give them a voice with that piece, and they can stay anonymous.
The walk unafraid Website is an amazing project and I am glad to see that you have revamped this project after the election. You are already very well prepared for our residency in NY and for what you will present. Good for you. Unfortunately I cannot bring my paintings and will only be able to show 3 min of my video…..so I will talk about my process but it is great to see how many different things you will be bringing or talking about.
I am excited about all your different posts and all the research work you are doing. Aby Warburg’s Atlas is very interesting but I also enjoyed going through all the other blogs you are posting. It’s a great idea to spread out as you do and to investigate into all kinds of different directions. The more I read about you and the more I learn about you, I feel that you feel really confident in the area of community work and community engagement and I would recommend you to direct your work there.
As far as your video is concerned it is very interesting. For me the only possible sound is actually your voice speaking a poem or text. Music or no sound at all do not work so well I think! Can you speak about invisibility? How about you read from the text by Saint Exupery? Record your voice on garageband reading a poem or text (you collected already on your other blogs) and read them. Then you can put that together with your film on imovie.
Your painting is beautiful. I like the composition and the rendering. It is important that you cherish that part when you say it is your way to think about peace, love, health, healing etc. As Dostoyevsky said: Beauty will save the world. I think it is true that we need that positive part, the things that make us strong to be ready to face the world.
Let me know please Gabrielle what you think about my comments and if I can help with anything else.
Have a wonderful week and see you in 5 weeks in NYC!!!
I hope you are well. For two days it has been pouring here in Victoria and I am sitting inside with my cat on my lap and a blanket and looking at your art.
First of all, I find the new images in part II extremely powerful. The bird in the oil tells a whole story of the sea. In the context of archive it would probably be a good idea to collect memory or information about those disasters and the environment.
Also the film you made, yes, it’s a cemetery of material that has spent many years on all the oceans of this world. Each ship would have a very interesting story to tell. What could the story of this ship be? And then the sheer amount of ships in the graveyard. This is Gadani Beach in Pakistan is that correct? Do you intent to provide any information with the video? In a way the images say it all…it might be interesting though to hear a poem or thoughts on the ephemerality of things.
What I would find interesting in that context if you could tell the story of material in an artistic way. The material (what and how much), how it is produced and collected, transported and put together in one place to build a ship and then, here in Pakistan, people need to take out what is still usable and the ships are just rotting away and contaminate the oceans, the water the people. That would be a good project to work on, an archive, a lot of information and knowledge collected. These ships and their story are an excellent example for sea and archive.
Boltanski in the context of archive is the best possible connection. He stands for me as someone who would reseach and gather all the information. The way it is presented is extraordinary and often draws the viewers’ thoughts to the Holocaust.
I remember there was an exhibition some years ago in NYC called archive fever exhibiting contemporary art. It was a huge exhibition including many contemporary artists and they interrogated the idea of the archive. Unfortunately, I had not seen the show but we discussed it at art school. Here is a link: https://www.icp.org/exhibitions/archive-fever-uses-of-the-document-in-contemporary-art
I can recommend to you to look at a Swiss artist, called Thomas Hirschhorn, he works with archives and I am sure his work could be helpful. Here is a link to his work: http://www.stephenfriedman.com/artists/thomas-hirschhorn/ but this is just one gallery and he has shown in museums internationally, so I am sure there is a lot of information about his work out there. Harun Farocki, yes he is an excellent example….
I like that you include all kind of possible connotations to the sea and that you, for example describe and mention Poseidon. So you are collecting and archiving different stories and information. What ways could there possibly be to archive all these stories about the sea in a better way than to write them all down?
So coming back to your wheels. I am happy that you eliminated the HOW (watercolor, photo etc) . I found it too limiting. It is better if you start with the idea, the medium, how you tell the story in art comes with working around the idea.
I am still reluctant with the two weeks. I find it limits you in the work you could do around one theme. I would recommend you rather work with one subject until you think it is finished. Alone your first theme sea/archive is so vast, you could probably work on it for a very long time.
As far as the choice of words is concerned now: I find this list much better now. The verbs too much implied on how you should create the artwork and directed you too much to the process. Now, this list is more about the idea, the conceptual part of the work and It indeed opens completely different doors of the mind. I don’t find the list too long though, you do only one project at a time and that gives you the possibility work in all kinds of directions and to challenge yourself.
Also, I think it is a good idea to not only collect images and text on computer (film, images etc) but that in addition to your collection of images and the film you present the watercolor paintings. I find them delicate and exquisite, so light and beautifully rendered. The more abstracted cut outs are even more intriguing.
Great work my dear Malvina. Can’t wait to see you and more of your work in 7 weeks in NYC. Please take your time to heal though, your work is solid and profound. I love the film images with the sound of the sea. How about you speak over those images in your beautiful (of course Portuguese) voice?
Hugs and all the best
abraços e beijos
I watched your film several times.
First of all, I love the visual, it is very very good. The close-up is very strong, also that we are sometimes not very sure what exactly we are seeing.
Ambiguity in art is very important. If we say and explain everything the viewer cannot engage with the work.
I also love the background sound. I think it works very well.
I also read the text to your piece, the one in which you explained how and why you made the piece and then the post of Oct 31 with the detailed description and texts for all individual pieces. I agree IMovie gives us some limitations and for my next film I will definitely want to try Premiere, which was highly recommended to me.
Instead of writing and writing long passages now, I want to ask you some questions:
- First of all, since English is not my first language, could you please explain to me the exact meaning of invocation. When I go in the dictionary there are several different possibilities for a meaning. Does it have a religious reference or is or more like an appeal. Thesaurus also suggests words like spell or prayer, that is why I want to make sure. What is the reference of this word to the work? Thank you for explaining that to me, this might only be necessary for ESL people who would see you work and might ask the same question.
- Do you need quotation marks? To be honest I think, (since you are using them for every single quote) it would make no difference if you left them out, the meaning that this is a quote would still come across.
- First I watched the film and the first thing I wrote down was: Derek needs to speak the text!
Then I read your text, so yes, ok I know now that you are planning to read some pieces of it or other passages that will come later. The reason why I would have recommended that you record your voice is that the text on top of the images does not work so well (that is why I decided against putting the translation of the Celan poem on top of the images of the destroyed city of Homs).
- If you want to stay with text on the images could it be smaller and maybe move (from the right to the left) over the image? I find the static text on top of your images takes away from the really really strong images.
- In between your sequences you put a long black. First I thought it is too long, but actually I think it works, only I would let the sound flow into the black and the next sound come out of the black a bit. Not that the sound would be overlaid, but maybe be dimmed down and then the new sounds starts very quietly in the black shortly after, to avoid that the black comes and there is a break in the sound.
- If you don’t want to speak over it the whole time, would a second voice maybe be a good solution?
- I know, I know here I come again with a possible presentation of the piece. What if you hear the background noises as a loud (I mean open) sound in the gallery and you hear the sound of your voice over the headsets.
An artist to study for you is definitely Pipilotti Rist, that goes exactly in that direction now. You would probably love her huge visual installations. She is a Swiss artist and exhibits internationally. I have seen her work in London and in Somerset @Hauser&Wirth. Great work and sound as well. I think to watch her films would be really inspirational and helpful.
Your piece sounds solid and well thought through. I am very much looking forward to your presentation. You have so much text and information to support your visual, that makes it really strong.
Thanks for putting pressure on me too now!!! (after what you said two weeks ago about that bar….).
Good good work Derek, really. Thank you also for your detailed and feedback to my video piece.
Also good for you that you were able to work this past week. I was only paralyzed!! Maybe it was a good timing or necessary to be by myself with the (Trump) flu. Again, an excellent way for you to react to all the things happening around you.
Have a good weekend
thank you for your post. It would be easier to critique your work if we could see or listen to what you have been doing. I think the crit group would be a perfect setting to show us what exactly you did and then we could respond to it more easily. Also it is a safe way to present the work to a small community. We could then give you feedback and you could do adequate changes if you like (that is what I am hoping for in response to my video piece).
I am saying this, coming from a totally different background and working with a completely different theme. But to make it clearer, for example I told Andrew when I talked to him last week that I would like to add 'structure' to my painting. He cannot really critique that idea unless he sees the result and sees what I have come up with exactly to work on in my painting work.
I find your idea very interesting, sound is definitely one of the best choices to create a body of work around your theme. But I would encourage you to support it also by text, photography and film.
How are you planing to present the piece in January?
My first reaction to the piece was that I think you need to read Freud and Jung. You are approaching two different lifes (live styles) from a psychological point of view. Is there a way you could analyze all of this in a kind of comparison you are creating? Could you set up the piece as seen from a psychological analyst? In which other ways than recording your voice could you compare the two lives? I think it is not so much about a list of what you did then and what you do now, but I mean an analyzation of your emotions. How do you feel differently and why? What do those emotions really mean, what causes them and can you manipulate them?
How about an installation? two different rooms in which you try and reflect on and express those different emotions? How do they translate into mediums, colour etc.
We are used to be exposed to emotions by thought or voice, so to make it visual might be very powerful. which elements of social psychology do you want to address?
At the moment the work seems closed and very private. Do you intend to open it and to expose this? Or if you want to keep it private then the work needs to be about that private belonging and privacy.
I would encourage you to put the work out, at least to us, so that we can have a clearer image of what exactly you are perusing. I would recommend that you put the work together as if you were presenting it in a public setting. Then it might be easier for you to decide what would need to be included, added and taken out.
Although sound is certainly the strongest part though to express emotions, visual fragments in that presentation, video, photo, even little papers with private note, photos with a note on the back might be very helpful. Just imagine you are inviting a friend to come into your room and see lots of little notes and images.
Please read Rebecca Solnit, I am just reading Faraway nearby, she has a way to see the little obvious things that we forget in our daily life and discuss her emotions and memories on a very interesting and intrigueing level.
So I guess I am asking more questions and give only some answers, but I hope that these questions might lead you in a direction to a possible manifestation of the work.
All the bestIra
Sorry for the slight delay, I am currently sitting in a coffee in Indio and have been thinking about your work for the past days. (The first thing that comes to my mind here thinking about invisible things is heat!!! J)
First question for you: How do you think you will present the work? There are so many invisible things, but as we discussed in Berlin, if it was my project I would probably focus/ bring the viewers attention to things that are important to be discussed and many people might not be aware of, such as the virus that was brought to indigenous people of North America.
The photos, to be honest, do not help me make a connection to the invisible things. Your project idea is fabulous!!! But for this project a lot of writing or information needs to be provided to the viewer, any ways to explain invisible things to the viewer. I think I would rather collect items that help tell the story. In the case of the virus I would exhibit a blanket and then write about the fact that blankets carrying the small pox virus were given to the different tribes and then write about the impact and how many people were killed etc.
Also, the unsharp (sorry what’s the word for a photo that is not sharp) photos do not convey the idea to me of something invisible). As soon as you make something visible through a photo even if it is not sharp you still show something.
I think, you need to bring us to the void, the emptiness. Artists that come to my mind in that context would be Anselm Kiefer, who would paint an empty room of a (Nazi building) and call the painting Sulamith, thus bringing the attention to the missing Jewry of Europe. Something similar is done by Christian Boltanski’s “The Missing House’ in Berlin who also draws the attention to that void, the absence and draws a strong parallel to the missing Jewish Communities in Germany and Europe. You want to talk about the invisible, so something that is not there but missing. As you suggest, you could also talk about feelings, hate, faith etc that cannot be seen. But please also think about the things that are absent and should be there. (support for dying children in Aleppo, etc). Or, how is it talking about demagogues like Trump preaching hate and what the consequences are? Sorry, if you feel I always draw the attention to the horrible, but that is not the case……those were just examples that came to mind. Love is invisible too….:-)
How is the theme: humanity?? I am currently in the process of helping a Syrian refugee family come to Canada and that is a theme I think about a lot. Alone with this word there would be many stories you could tell……
There is an artist who recorded the word ‘love’ in all different kind of languages and only exhibited the digital sound image. So sound is invisible and I would definitely recommend you to work with sound…….
I would suggest you start and write an imaginary proposal of how you could present the piece. I don’t think it is necessary to ‘collect’ lists in folders. Yes, for now in your writing, but I would rather think of different themes. And yes, maybe it is correct to go away from the 1000, but to rather address several themes and then you would say maybe you dedicate 5 rooms to 5 different main themes. From my (unreligious) perspective faith might be a very difficult theme, you could probably fill a whole museum with that theme and still would find people who are not satisfied and think their religion did not get enough attention and was not represented in the correct way. I learn at the moment about all the different Muslim movements, it is an extremely complex theme…..
A list of 1000 invisible things is not enough. I would suggest to start with 5 to 10 themes. As I said, imagine rooms with themes in which you tell several stories around that theme.
Other themes that just randomly come to my mind:
dreams (only visible inside us),
A story is not visible but like a dream we imagine it visually in our minds. What I find interesting about humans is how we imagine a story in our mind. If you think of Scheherazade and the 1001 night stories, I think if you asked 1000 people to draw how they imagine the dream to look like not two would look the same…..
Then again think of diseases that are invisible. I know someone who has Alzheimer, all looks the same, you cannot see the illness…..
A piece that I would suggest: create an audio piece, do an interview with someone who describes his feelings. You could have an assemblage of audio pieces in which people talk about their feelings or experiences.
And then……of course……there is the amazing theme of MUSIC……..so you could also focus the whole ‘exhibition’ about senses, the things we do not see but hear, feel, etc.
Music is such a vast theme, but how is telling a story of the development of music over the centuries? Very vast theme, I know.
Another great theme is: time
Artists to compare: AiWeiWei, who talks about oppression but not in an obvious way or think of Robert Rauschenberg, his erased drawing of DeKooning, conceptual art, talking about absence, which brings me to a fabulous exhibition in London some years ago. Please look it up, you will find many artists you could write about. here I have some links for you: https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2012/may/18/hayward-gallery-invisible-show and
I think your theme is very good and there is a lot of potential for a great exhibition. You can go very deep with this theme, the deeper the more interesting it would be for a curator. It has to be more than a list of invisible things, as I said I would rather suggest themes and then go into detail around those themes. Gabrielle, please give me some feedback to this!!!
I have looked at your work and my first feedback is: very impressive! Your writing is amazing and wonderful, you are truly gifted. I will try to give you my honest feedback to the visual work. Let me know if you have any questions or issues with that.
I had this in a separate mail, but am including my recommendation for artists to look at here:
Phyllida Barlow, (the book: sculpture 1963-2015, look at the gallery section), this is a fantastic book I would recommend you to get,
the piece 'suspended playtime' by Wangechi Mutu,
light boxes by Rebecca Warren (if you ever create an installation inside; it might work for your assemblage of material) and, of course,
In regards to the installation, where you say it doesn’t really make sense without the writing. A piece of visual art should be able to be perceived, just with what the viewer sees, without giving an explanation. I have a similar issue in my work and I always feel the need to explain why I do this and what it means. Through many critiques I had in my life in art school in Canada and University in England and also the mentor program in Berlin, where I met with three contemporary artists, I have understood and learned that it is important to create that ambiguity in your work. If we explain exactly what we do and why we do it, then there is no space for the viewer to engage with the work. It took me 10 years of working in the arts to really understand and I agree, it is wonderful to be open when I go to an art show and just think about my own interpretation of the work. Remember our experience in Berlin on the first day?
So your titles should not necessarily explain what we see, but maybe ‘comprise’ (summarize/sum up?) (zusammenfassen) what you are saying in your writings about the piece. You can also refer to another artist’s writings or visual pieces (btw I like your piece about Walter Benjamin) with your title and add another thought or reference to the piece.
So the question is: if this was to be installed in an art space, would you present it differently? How would you present it? If you did not have a chance to present it with a lot of writing, which titles would you give to the pieces? If you had to chose one of the pieces which one do you think is the strongest and why?
That said, you can think about a title for the different pieces that adds an additional layer and meaning to the work. That said, I find that the pieces are all very strong, I can engage with all of them and they make me think.
A part in the wrinting I find very strong is where you go into depth with : Yet now, at the risk of putting too much of a melodramatic spin on it, I’m beginning to see that the State I needed to get out from under was my own nurturing of discontent–my continued harping on being detached and disconnected from my immediate environment and longing for somewhere else.
Is it the vulnerability that makes the writing so strong?
Also your title : ‘1:1 map of itself’ is a very good title.
To read about your thought process and working process is very interesting
I am happy to see you enter new terrain, you going away (not abandoning) from your previous collages and experimenting with sculpture and installation.
The piece that speaks most to me is Hollow Earth, yes, I read your text after I thought about the piece. I can say, all kinds of thoughts come up, environment and vulnerability. Not only can I engage with the piece, I also find it ‘works’ very well visually.
I ‘understand’ your petrified forest, the thought about loss, extinction etc. But here I agree, the piece is much stronger once I read your text, hear your story how this is coming about. Your love for rocks, the story of the trees in your yard etc. however I think that it could be installed maybe differently. Pieces of the petrified wood and rocks together with one piece of the newly cut wood might engage the viewer more…..The question is what better title you could give the viewer, if you were not able to give us the explanation where it is coming from. The title of a famous poem by someone who talks about loss?
Almost the same goes for the compost piece, which I find, however, visually more compelling. Is it because I expect the petrified pieces more in the Natural history museum, not sure, anyways, the compost piece is much stronger visually. It is nice to get all that background information you are providing me with, but I do not necessarily need this to enjoy the piece. Title Derek?
Telescope Bridge, you mentioning Home Depot takes the viewer in a direction, I would suggest you don’t mention where it is coming from. Anyways, it looks interesting, but can the viewer look through the telescope? Can you provide us with a photo of what one sees. It is interesting and yes makes me think of this reaching out to the outer world and it is a nice contrast to the other pieces, and responds especially well to the hollow earth piece where we look into the abyss.
Harmonial spheres : it is a bit overloaded. Visually it is a bit too much with all the wires and cords is there a way you could install it with transparent fishing wire? This is the piece I find the least compelling, not because of the content, what you describe is very interesting, visually though it is hard to get the piece, at least on a photo. Maybe if it was spread out more or the individual pieces could be seen better…..
Erth bath: visually compelling, very interesting. Many earths, nice that the racoons enjoy it too.
So long story short, I really enjoyed looking at your work and going through your reading (I won’t be able to do that more in the future, spending most of my day in the studio writing this), very complex piece, but the installation all sums up and the pieces work well together. The strongest for me is the first piece and I can imagine this standing alone with the telescope, without the other pieces.
As far as the writing, the left over in ‘protected: the short version’ is concerned, it is very strong! It really gets me thinking, it is engaging that your thoughts jump from here to there, very vulnerable and poetic! I would like you to read the poem, can you record it? I would like to include it in my collection of sound recorded poems in which I included the voice of the Syrian refugee, my voice, so far also Louis and Malvina, the voice of the Turkish lady were I had coffee in the morning on the way to residency in Berlin. Your poem would fit in really well……
Anyways, well done Derek, you are off to a really strong start!!!
hugs to you and please let me know if you think this was any helpful or not, so that I can make it better next time. Xxx
As you suggested I watched your video Blackout 1 first before I read your description. It is very engaging and brings up thoughts such as absence of human existence, presence and power of other energies, the universe, the human scale in all of this, endlessness,
Then I read the text about this project. Actually, I find a strong part is the fact that it is not perfect. It brings us back to ‘humanness’ in all of this vastness. Perfection would probably not work at all, but I think this piece is very powerful. It leaves it also to the viewer to engage with the piece and to create his/her own thoughts about it. How long is the piece altogether? I agree, it has to be seen as a big projection in a totally black room. The title works very well too.
It is interesting to read about the process and what you used and how you shot it, but this information is actually not necessary for the piece to work. The work can stand by itself and can speak for itself.
Is there sound with the piece? You said it is quiet. But I would actually suggest you would add sound to the piece. I am thinking for example of Ry Cooder (soundtrack of Paris Texas for example, there are some great pieces that would work with the piece) or Pink Floyd’s (shine on you crazy diamond and many others)
would add another layer of meaning to the piece (like probably 1000 other possibilities for music pieces…..there is also a Liszt piece called Solitude, that might work.
here are some other pieces : https://www.youtube.com/watch?
Anyways, I would suggest you experiment with sound, just sound not necessarily any text/singing,
Inner Memory, again the title is a very good connection to engage the viewer and explain in which direction you are leading the works. However, I wonder how you would present the piece? As photos mounted on the wall? Is sound of the performance included? Again, it is interesting to read about the process, but that would not work when you present the piece, how would you think about a writing about your feelings/emotions of your inner memory?
How do the drawings and the installation relate to the abstract photos of dancing? Please explain a bit about those pieces, also please address the image of the window, how it relates to the images of dance. Would you present them in the same piece? Here I feel I would need another layer of meaning in addition to the photos. But as you said, it is a process piece. I can imagine that you perform simultaneously while these images are projected in the room. Onto a wall? Onto your body maybe!
Space is an important element of the images, which I find are distilled to the essence and bring your thought of inner memory very well across to the viewer. I would suggest also, you record your voice and talk about your thoughts about inner memory and play it simultaneously while you perform.
I enjoyed the experimental element in your work. An artist that comes to mind is Mona Hatoum I remember have seen a video piece with her body and x-rays that kind of striped the image down to going inside the body. The issues Mona talked about I think were more involved with the idea of surveillance and observation but I think it would still be good to look at her video pieces.
Hugs from Canada, be well and looking forward to seeing you soon in NYC
Sorry it took so long to look at your work. I only discovered Gabrielle’s e-mail with the link a couple of days ago…..anyways…..
I find the choice of the artists you compare in your written element very good. There is lots of written material about all of them and I have seen their work here and there over time and of course discussed them during my art studies at University. Anyways, great choice.
Your piece: the selection of words is detailed/complex enough to work in many many different directions. I would suggest that you also determine how much time you will take for one piece. 2 weeks for each piece seems a bit too even to me. Sometimes we create the most amazing things in just two days and then for another piece we take four weeks. I would not put any constraints on yourself time wise. Sometimes a piece just takes 6 weeks ……
What I miss in the 1st circle is also the option for installation or sculpture, sometimes, to work on an idea it is important to have other means than drawing and painting and photography. I would suggest that you also add sculpture to your piece…..or that if you have two other words on circle 2 or 3 that you leave it open for you if you want to convey and discuss that idea maybe with sculpture/collage/installation.
As we discussed in Berlin, I find the idea to this piece absolutely awesome. The project is about chance and randomness and then goes into a very specific direction. I think the choice of words is good and you will probably see after the first 10 or so projects if you want to add or substract some words. The only thing that I could mention is the following. You define in the two outer circles HOW you do the work (mapping, archives, listing etc) and WHERE (urban, outdoors, river, room etc) it would be situated. You do not add so far any emotional connotation. Would that maybe help if it said angst, frustration, hope, relieved etc (plus 20 others) Or words that have to do with politics : oppression, guilt, power, etc. or would that constrain you too much if you added this layer to the work? Just an idea…..
How will you work the wheel? Blindfolded? How do you decide which overlays to choose? Will you like someone else to turn the wheel for you and give you three words?
Cannot wait to see the first pieces in NYC.
Take your time now Malvina, all the best to you. Get better soon.