Tag: art

Metrics of Time, Circa 2015 – 2021

Metrics of Time, Circa 2015 – 2021

A Reflection from 3D to JPEG..

Ryan Seslow / 2021

(This post was originally published on my personal website on 11/29/21 but I believes that it serves as an example that can benefit our Digital Storytelling community here across CUNY. Im a big fan of using art and art objects as “tools” for creative and reflective writing. Forgive me for the typos, Im still editing as I add to it!)

 

I have always been attracted to working with 3-dimensional objects and materials. Since Im a small child, “making objects” was a great way to express myself and exercise the imagination. As I reflect back (and keep that word “reflect” in mind), I always loved the idea of making hybrid objects. Mostly stacking and assembling things that seemed like they did not belong together. I was simply exploring form and the potentials of form. I loved it so much that I never stopped. I especially enjoyed exploring the subjective, the nature of materials and how they related to my understanding of “life”. We are pre-disposed and domesticated by the many many “objects and things” that we grow up with around us. All of which already have a specific name, title and function. We learn to call this “the objective reality”, where almost all things are representational. Until we intervene, if we do, it may be tricky to expand beyond it. For example, when you purchase and drink a bottle of water or a coffee from the local coffee shop, you quickly dispose of the empty “object” that you drank out of. You rarely stop to contemplate that the bottle or cup was simply a “form” first, and that the form has potential beyond its intended usage. Well, do you?

There is context here with the art-works below..

In the two pieces below I am using and applying the word “reflection” as a medium and a utility. This blog post itself, right now, here in November 2021 is a part of the art-work. “Reflection” in and of itself is a duration based task and action. It takes and requires “time” to reflect. The act of reflection is vast and rich in psychology. We can reflect upon something or someone via our thoughts for 1-2 seconds or we can reflect upon those same things for our entire lifetime.. The individual context is so specific to each person of course. We can also reflect by writing, which usually means “typing” now a days.. But alas, do we ever schedule an appointment with ourselves ahead of time to “reflect” on something, someone, a situation or a circumstance? Have you ever thought to do this yourself? When we reflect, is it possible to even retain and accurately relive the events, people or circumstances? Well, well now.. you may say no because we can only reflect on something that has “passed” and is no longer in the actual “now”. Or do we wish to believe our reflections as a story, experience, person or memory? Of course this too has context, especially for the dichotomies ranging from our great achievements to serious personal traumas, memorable birthday presents and or seemingly banal objects.. like a wall clock.. yes, a wall clock..

The two sculptures below are titled: “Metrics of Time” Version #1 & #2. Both artworks were created and completed in 2015. The medium is plaster (or known in some areas as “pottery plaster”) – which is a powder-like synthetic dust that turns from dust to a solid form when mixed with water as its catalyst and left to cure. I fell in love with making casts and molds somewhere around 1990 when I was a kid in High School. Mold making became even more interesting when I entered college (due to the super fun projects that we did) and it always stuck with me. The idea of being able to reproduce an existing object true to its original form (with out labels, logos and packaging) and with a variety of different casting materials was so attractive. Clean, smooth surfaced solid forms are beautiful! I frequently used plaster, cement, acrylic resin and water (that I would freeze into ice molds). Even more so, the ability to make a rare single edition mold positive or an army of multiple replicas was also so much artistic power (and I certainly made my share of multiples over the years!) At the time though, in those early years of mold making, I didn’t connect the super important role of photography to the works that were being generated. Especially works created with inexpensive and ephemeral materials like plaster. I was connecting the value of the art with the value of the materials. A big mistake! Plaster is cheap. Both in price and in its quality as a material as it will deteriorate, discolor, flake, diminish, chip and age poorly over time. But then again, this is also very very much like us humans. We are equally ephemeral. Time is also equally ephemeral. Especially in context to the awareness level of the living person that contemplates it. These pieces below share both the conscious passing of time and the ephemerality of all things physical in this biological life. All of this information above was nestled into an “object” that communicates “time”..

Above, “Metrics of Time” Version #1, 2015 – (JPEG File) – 1/1 Digital Photograph of a Now Destroyed Cast Plaster Assemblage

I destroyed both of these “physical” sculptures shortly after I created them in 2015. My intention was to complete the sculptures, photo document them and show them publicly as printed images nicely framed and mounted. Much like one would expect to see with traditional photography in an art gallery. But that never happened. Each time that I mocked up the idea, it just did not sit right with me aesthetically or emotionally. My bodies energy instantly changed when I placed the “images” of the sculptures up and onto the wall. (I had printed them myself with my printer in my studio at the time.) Busy with otherness, I decided to put the project on the back burner.. Fast forward to November 2021, where inventions like the blockchain, crypto-currencies and the minting, selling, trading and collecting of digital goods have become a huge fast growing market for artists and rare art works. Single edition digital art works have become extremely desirable in a format that we all know so well as both artists and regular Internet users, the JPEG. The JPEG, yet another communicator of time.

Back to the context. The sculptures were intentionally mounted and hung on the wall. They are inspired by and mimic a standard wall clock. It is an object that has always captured my attention. Im talking about the old fashioned one’s from the 1970’s that lingered around all public buildings and space for many years longer than they should have. As a child I thought they had magic powers that only adults could access and understand. I waited with great patience to also access that sorcery! Most of us are introduced to a wall “clock” via our homes and elementary school experiences. We always looked up at the clock to see when our classes would begin and end, day in and day out. As a kid, I could not wait for the school day to end, and now as a professor for 19 years, Im holding tightly to every minute of class hoping the time flows slowly. I look up at the clock and frown! At home we always looked up at the clock to see when it was time for dinner, time for a bath, time for bed and time for … fill in the blank.. Regardless of all of this, the numbers on those old clocks stayed static as they hugged the circular contour line of the shapes form. The circle, a perfect metaphor for the cyclical aspect of this life. Round and round we go. The clock’s two arms, one short and one long, move in unison with their tireless friend, the non-static seconds arm. Even when things finally began to be produced, embraced and displayed digitally in the “time” telling gadget industry, I stayed fixed on the old clock as a metaphoric object of transcendence, evolution and self-transformation.

Above, “Metrics of Time” Version #2, 2015 – (JPEG File) – 1/1 Digital Photograph of a Now Destroyed Cast Plaster Assemblage

Wait a second, what am I looking at here above? Both of the original cast pieces above were made and assembled from cast plaster fragments. To achieve the form of the old wall clocks that I describe, I used a plastic bucket that resembled the same diameter of the clocks. I filled it up about 1.5 inches and watched the plaster expand another 1/2 inch as it normally does. I let it cure and released the mold. Plaster rejects plastic once it is dry, making the release easy and seamless. Have you recognized what the grid like forms are that rest securely on top of the circular base form? They are keys from an old keyboard that I used between the years 2004 – 2010. Yes. I made a full 1-part mold of the old keyboard using a silicone  / polyurethane rubber mold making kit. I made the mold’s layers very thick so that it would be durable enough to hold any kind of volume that was poured into it as it cured. Much like my old experimenting days in undergraduate college, I made several casts of that old keyboard in plaster, cement, acrylic resin and frozen ice molds that melted away as they should.. In this case, when I poured the plaster into the mold I left each of the key areas shallow enough so that each key would easily be released individually. Once they were dry I arranged them into the two compositions that you see above. They were mounted down with epoxy to hold them in place. We can see two slightly different patterns in the alignment of the keys suggesting to the viewer an intentional meaning or functionality of the object as a whole. Perhaps suggesting that this object is an old relic from the future or the past of a parallel world.. either way, the keys are now functionless..

The context of the keyboard as a metric of time is also a metaphor. The act and action of “typing” has several functions and purposes. It falls into yet another dichotomy that ranges from one’s super personal intentional uses to the mundane and banal tasks we do day in and day out, but it still equates to a “thought to touch form of communication.” Our entire lifetime here on this planet is co-dependent on how we use, give and receive communication. All forms of communication take time.. many of us take it for granted. Two static objects were created to express and communicate an understanding of “time.” The objects were destroyed by its creator only to discover that they transform their energy into another form of “how” it can continue to communicate and transcend itself. The creation began from formless thought energy and into the generating of a 3-dimensional tangible form, only to be destroyed and re-introduced as a 2-dimensional form in the format of an image, the image has been placed online and agreed to be converted into hypertext and placed onto a web server..

The 2-dimensional images are now asking to be minted on the blockchain and re-introduced in the meta-verse as yet another form.

Stay tuned.

Generating New Forms with Household Items & Multiples

Generating New Forms with Household Items & Multiples

New forms are always awaiting entry here onto our planet! Its your job to participate in the process. Lets investigate a few news ways to see, create and explore forms using a common household item like transparent tape. The works in this tutorial are simply one way of executing the project. Im using transparent tape as a medium because it happens to be handy in my immediate space. Other types of tape can work just as well, but the idea with this project is to discover and leverage the application of multiple units. Im going to unify my forms by their material, shape and their size. From there I will create a few different compositions. Some will be applied to a wall in relief form. Some will be on a table top place and others will free stand 360 degrees in the round. My examples are below, and yes, I had a ton of fun applying a light source when it got darker outside. I suggest that you do the same!

Materials needed:

1. A roll of household tape, this could be clear scotch tape, or blue painters tape, or any kind of tape adhesive that will “stick” to itself and other surfaces.

2. A surface to place and build your experiments on. A wall, a table top or an existing object that may have context or contradiction to the form and material, sky is the limit so lets get busy, jump down to the image below.

The technique I applied:

What you see in each image below is a 2 inch piece of transparent tape curled into a loop. I simply repeated this same form at the same size over and over. I built up each arrangement piece by piece. The more pieces (loops) that you have, the more opportunities you have to experiment. Plus, you will need to do some trouble shooting.

Artistic References / Influences: 

Tom Friedman, El Anatsui, Antony Gormley, Tara Donovan, Ai Wei Wei, Tony Cragg & Andy Goldsworthy to name a few.

 

The image above was applied to a piece of white paper and arranged on the surface of the wall. I used a flashlight to add the shadow effects coming from under the piece.

 

The image above was simply turned 180 degrees and rephotographed. I used a flashlight to add the shadow effects coming from the opposite side of the piece and pointing downwards. Even the slightest alteration of the artworks position can add a dramatic change in its visual interpretation. I really love how this came out!

 

Here is an alternate camera angle for the same piece as above (ok, but with an additional few pieces that I added). This visual perspective shows the actual height and stacking of the individual pieces (loops of tape). 

 

I applied a light source directly to the image above to capture variations of the lights glare effect. The glare effect almost makes it look like the piece is in motion. This discovery played a role in how I went about the next few attempts at this project. The next few images below are also subtle variations of the same image. What will you do to create some filters and effects using light or the placement of your pieces?

 

OK, so the image below.. I changed it up. We no longer need to use the table top plane to position our pieces stacked flat on top of one another. In the next series of examples I worked with my piece vertically. Again, light and the perspective of my photos play a big role in the capture of the artwork.

I really love this image! It makes me want to use the image itself as a reference for drawing with pencil. The image below is also a variation but I dont think it is as powerful as the image above, do you?

 

Im excited to see your results and experiments! Will you work with transparent tape or try another material that may produce a similar result? Either way, please share your work!

MISSED COMMUNICATION CONTINUED

“The Attempted Recomposition of a Synthetic Auditory Miscommunication” is an Illustration and Animated GIF series of new work examining my identity as a Deaf and Hard of Hearing person. In a previous post two days ago I began a long over due process of sharing and expressing who I have always been. The response has blown me away. The support and compassion has been incredible, and for the first time I felt at home and welcomed into a community I have always been a part of. As we know, the human ego is a tough nut to crack. It is a process, and certainly takes time to realize when oneself is acting from the perspective of it. I did, for 30 plus years! Im really grateful for the response, support and the new friends I am quickly making! I walk a fine line between the hearing world and the non-hearing world. With hearing aids I can synthetically “hear” about 50% -ish of what a person with “normal” hearing, hears. However, this statement does not translate well into noisy environments when and where multiple conversations are going on, the regular sounds of life, cars and planes, construction and sirens. Ooof. When these factors join the conversation, that 50% dwindles down to much less and I become co-dependent on lip reading, facial expressions, body language and my own overcompensated intuitive energy reading abilities. Im thankfully learning ASL now, which is also long overdue. I would say that I have avoided learning ASL for over 30 years because my perception was that if I did, there would be no turning back and I would have to forever face my biggest fear of being of being deaf and hard of hearing in the world. Even though in my heart, I knew that it would become my greatest asset. There is much more to this long story and I will share through my art works and posts here forward.

About the works:

Version 1 – The animated GIF: Animated GIFs are soundless. The GIF file format itself is a soundless entity. This is an objective and specific reason for WHY I create so many GIFs. (you can see more on my profile over at Giphy.com – ryanseslow) With GIFs you are dependent on your vision and visual literacy to follow, connect and interpret the moving image. The background image is an inner ear medical diagram taken from a public domain image resource on the Internet. The public domain represents creative commons fair use access to various types of content that can be re-used, shared and depending on your intention, repurposed for contextual forms of communication. I used the inner ear diagram and altered it to visually look jumbled, manipulated and no longer completely understandable. Perhaps there is just enough information in the image to follow along, but ultimately the image becomes confusing and difficult to fully understand. This is a visual metaphor for the loss and missing of words and sound. Two tired hearing aids appear representing the ongoing exhaustive process of trying to follow words and sounds, make sense of them and direct a response. Often my responses are wrong to questions that I am asked. I have to witness the reactions and perplexed looks of the person or persons also trying to process if they misunderstood my misunderstanding. The hearing aid batteries rise like a mountain. The endless sea of batteries. The #10 battery size. Four per week, 16-18 per month, 220 – ish per year (yes, I drop them easily and cant see them when I do, haha! They are so small) 28-ish years of this process exceeding over 6,000 batteries placed in and out of my skull. (Whoa, never did this calculation before outside of my own head) The constant awareness of “time” as a result of “when that battery will run out of power”. The psychology and physiological effect of this overall awareness itself is a lot of information. This is me. I LOVE every bit of me, but often, I am missing a lot. The GIF is simply one iteration to help express it. 

Version 2 – The static illustration (static image) – The image follows the same description as read above. The exception is in the “concealed identity” of the hearing aids. This represents who I was a short time ago, the years of trying to blend in as a hearing person with the “secret” and “small” hearing aids that I pretended no one could see. I wish I could have taken a photo of each person who over time begins to notice that I wear hearing aids. the reaction on their faces, the moment of perplexed stillness and quick attempt to also pretend they did not notice when we lock eyes. This reaction is my responsibility. It is a direct reflection of the situation itself. This experience has happened hundreds of times, and only once or twice in 30 years did someone actually ask, Ryan, are you deaf or hard of hearing?

Thankfully, this will never have to happen again because SHARING NOW! :)))

With gratitude and openness I am asking myself a lot of questions as this process and body of work evolves. How may I be of service to help bridge the world between those who also have or have had a similar experience? How can I help bridge the gap between the deaf, hard of hearing and hearing world through art and one’s creative potential to do so? How can I apply my experiences to be a positive instrument of deeper understanding and communication?

More to come. Feel free to reach out.

Screen Cindy Sherman’s short film: “Doll Clothes” from 1975.

Screen Cindy Sherman’s short film: “Doll Clothes” from 1975. Click here.

Via the Ubu.Web Film & Video Archive – (An Amazing Resource!)

“When I was in college, I made this book of doll clothes for my photography course. I was documenting a piece that I had already made for a film course, but I wanted to bring the doll to life so I shot myself doing all the poses, and it became this goofy little film. It completely ties in to everything I’m doing now because I decided that I liked the cut-out figures more than the film.” -Cindy Sherman

“One of the First Cindy Sherman’s super-8 film,”Doll Clothes” has not been viewed since 1975, the year it was made. It comically crosses Duchamp’s Nude Descending a Staircase with animated paper dolls in a sly, funny and clever precursor to the concerns that became signature elements in Sherman’s remarkable body of photographic work.” – UBU.com

“Sherman’s 1975 animated short Doll Clothes, is among the pieces that bring Sherman’s early exploration of gender and identity into focus.” – Paul Ha and Catherine Morris

React & Respond in the comments sections below.

Questions to consider:

  1. After screening the film (is it really a film?) share your first impressions in contrast to the artist’s current work on the popular platform Instagram <– go here.
  2. What similarities do you see? What contrasts are obvious and why?
  3. How did you experience the works shared in this post? Your mobile device? Tablet? Laptop? I would like to know. How did you make this choice?
  4. What other artists do know of that share a connection with the genre of Identity exploration?

Are Internet Memes ART? Please Advise.

Are Internet Memes ART?

Screen the video above first and read the articles below. Do an internet search for “Are memes ART?” See what you discover. No matter how you cut it, memes are here to stay…is this good or bad for Art? Is this good or bad for Education? Is there context for memes and appropriate application in your course? I would like to know what you think. And by all means, share you favorites via URLs, and or create your own as a reaction..

Are Memes the Pop Culture Art of our Era? Kate Knibbs – https://www.digitaltrends.com/social-media/when-does-a-meme-become-art/

Another piece with some good insights – http://www.dazeddigital.com/artsandculture/article/34645/1/is-2017-the-year-that-memes-are-recognised-as-art

Please leave your reactions in the comments section below.