Sunday, January 19, 2014

phase 2 redux - observe the law of equivalent exchange
January is more than half over, and I'm still thinking about the change of year. I was saying last week how I'm not that good at imagining backwards, but after thinking about it some more, I realized that I'm not that good at imagining forwards either. A year ago, I couldn't have foreseen this art-present - the people who have come into my life over the past year, Feline Assistant Jr., giant sized collages, new places.

It seems like Alexander Pope might be talking about the tension between hope and the present in Essay on Man: "Hope springs eternal in the human breast; Man never is, but always to be blessed: The soul, uneasy and confined from home, Rests and expatiates in a life to come." It seems sad in some ways because, if hope is a willing exchange of reality for fantasy, what happens to the present? (??)

I stopped working on Spes (Hope) this week while I think about it. I may just be dragging my feet because I'm not quite ready to move on yet (Hope shows me beautiful things everyday - who would want to give up on Hope?) On the other hand, it's close to finished, and I only have the one almost-unbroken-up wall in the studio. I've been moving things around, trying to free up as much other wall space as possible, but I'll need to dis-assemble/erase it to use that wall pretty soon.  :(

I'm feeling a bit of time/space pressure because last week and the week before lots of work returned home at the closing of shows, and I've been scrambling to find homes for everything. And, because I can't help myself, I keep making new stuff too. I end up feeling like a goldfish in a baggie that's springing leaks, whose only fishy response is to swim faster and more energetically (which probably sloshes more water out...eep!)

So, I stuck with something small, repetitious, and consuming - I made another animation :). I think the black ink unifies the different elements in stills, but it was too dark on film; so first, I reprinted all the blocks (oy!)
Then, I decided it needed ants so the continuous motion of the ants could be in contrast with the more spastic motion of the hummingbird. It took me a whole day to carve the block for the ants, print them and cut them out, which was frustrating because I could have drawn something similar in about 10 minutes (er.)  But because I wanted to stay consistent with the idea of "repetition with variation," I stuck with printmaking. (I'm irritating to myself, but on the upside, now that I have a block, maybe there will be lots of printed ants in my future? ;)).
Then I shot the stills. This animation has 20X as many frames as Everybody (heart)'s Owls. Photographing this was not my cheeriest moment (drowning goldfish ;)), and I was envying the Quay Brothers their twin-ness as I struggled to work the camera and move the objects (I ended up duct-taping the camera to a chair.) Then, each frame was cropped, resized, edited (good thing I have a high tolerance for repetition ;)). There were some frustrating moments, but I enjoy seeing it move (magic!) Still haven't made it to NYC to see the Kentridge show, but my computer and I - we're "like this" [fingers crossed]).
During this time, I listened to Daniel Kahneman's Thinking, Fast and Slow - and finally finished it! I started it in March, but it's 19 discs, and I ran out of renewals from the library, so I had to bring it back. I re-checked it out, and this time - success!
I found it informative in identifying common cognitive illusions (like M.C. Escher drawings for the mind :)). One troubling quote: "one recipe for a dissatisfied adulthood is setting goals that are especially difficult to attain. Measured by life satisfaction 20 years later, the least promising goal that a young person could have was "becoming accomplished in a performing art." (Kahneman, Thinking, Fast and Slow, 402)
:o (Does Tempus Fugit count as "performance art"?!?) I kid (sort of) - but it did get me thinking - maybe the "art" isn't what/where I think it is? I like incredibly impractical stop-animated ants. When it comes to my work, I'm not unlike my feline assistants, (as soon as I'm sure it's stopped moving, I lose interest). But because there are lots of steps involved, I've been wondering if I couldn't expand some aspect(s) of the process? 

I made this from the same blocks I used for the animation. The idea is that it could be the first in a set of individual but sequential pieces (like a Muybridge, but with each frame being a collage.) They could be seen together, but each one can also stand alone. Making one might not be that interesting for me, but if I make them as a "set" (they aren't really an edition, since each one is different), they might hold my attention better (ah, repetition with variation - my heart goes pitter patter.)
I plan to paint the beams
"Hope blue" 
In para-art news, I made polka dot brownies! I hadn't made brownies since the summer when the last batch ended up in the trash ( sadness); but, it's a new year, so I gave it another shot (key - more dark chocolate and just a tiny pinch of ginger - thumbs up).

I also took out a drop ceiling and dismantled the metal grid by myself (mighty!) and read a textbook for work (necessary!)