Unknown Landscapes

river project, Videos, Work in Progress

 

Shot with a macro lens on a DSLR camera, closeups of bones found along the river, using a moving light source to illuminate the bones. If anyone would like to create some sound to go with this video then please contact me! I have little experience in sound art and music, and would love to have some accompanying sound.

I am actually very pleased with how this work turned out, as it was only my second time using a macro lens, and I feel I captured the beauty and detail in the bones perfectly through this medium. For such a simple experiment I think I have created one of my favourite pieces of work, and I would like to explore this further in the future. My only regret is that currently the video has no sound, and I feel it could be greatly enhanced by it. I might go back to the spots where I found the bones along the river and record some of the sounds- I could then layer these sounds with the video and play around with it.

WIP- White: The Gallery Space, and the Classism and Racism of the Art World

Research for River Project (White), river project, Work in Progress
  • Discuss my own work- why I chose white, and how the audience’s perceptions would be different if I had presented the original objects in the gallery space (photos of my work in the gallery space
  • Rachel Whiteread’s use of white concrete and other white materials in her work (photos from the Tate Britain retrospective)
  • ‘The Whiteness of the Whale; Moby Dick’ discuss this chapter and quote how it describes white:
    -‘In many natural objects, whiteness refiningly enhances beauty, as if imparting some special virtue of its own’
    -‘This same hue is made the emblem of many touching, noble things- the innocence of brides, the benignity of age’
    -Native Americans are described as “Red Men of America” – this is an old work of fiction, and is impacted by the racism of the time
    -He also acknowledges that white has negative connotations- ‘Witness the white bear of the poles, and the white shark of the tropics; what but their smooth, flaky whiteness makes them the transcendent horrors they are? That ghastly whiteness it is which imparts such an abhorrent mildness, even more loathsome than terrific’
    -‘The common, hereditary experience of all mankind fail to bear witness to the supernaturalism of this hue. It cannot be well doubted, that the one visible quality in the aspect of the dead which most appals the gazer, is the marble pallor lingering there’ – white has a deep link to death
    -‘Or is it that as in essence whiteness is not so much a colour as the visible absence of colour, and at the same time the concrete of all colours’
  • Adolf Loos- ‘Ornament and Crime’
    -The racism- comparing Papua New Guinean tribes to children and criminals, and later ‘Are we alone, the people of the nineteenth century, supposed to be unable to do what any Negroe. All the races and periods before us have been able to do?’ (Speaking of the apparent realization that the people (meaning white people) of the nineteenth century found themselves unable to produce ornamental designs. (The lecture was originally given in 1908)
    -‘The evolution of culture is synonymous with the removal of ornament from utilitarian objects.’ The idea that plain things are better definitely arose during the industrial revolution- everyone needed things faster, and objects with no ornament could be produced even more quickly. But he also talks of ‘peasants’ ‘in the country’ as holding on to objects of past centuries, I would argue because they cannot afford new things- he shows disdain for lower classes as well as people of colour
    -‘We have art, which has taken the place of ornament. After the toils and troubles of the day we go to Beethoven or to Tristan. This my shoemaker cannot do. I mustn’t deprive him of his joy, since I have nothing else to put in its place.’ Here we see him discussing his shoemaker, and how the shoemakers’ only joy comes from ornamenting his shoes with decorative patterns- it is incredibly patronising to the working class, as he is stating that they cannot enjoy art, they can only derive enjoyment from the job they perform for the upper class
    -‘Absence of ornament has brought the other arts to unsuspected heights’
    -‘Freedom from ornament is a sign of spiritual strength. Modern man uses the ornaments of earlier or alien cultures as he sees fit. He concentrates his own inventiveness on other things’

EDIT- References looked at Summer 2018

‘Hybrid.’ Work in Progress Exhibition

Exhibitions, Photographs, river project

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‘Hybrid.’ was our first exhibition on the course, and it opened on Friday 1st December for one week at the Two Girls Cafe in Peckham, consisting of work from both first and second year of MA Fine Art Digital.

I worked very hard to get my work finished for the exhibition- it took a lot of testing to get the moulds exactly the way I wanted them, and there were still small things I couldn’t fix. For example, most of the plastic bottle is still trapped inside the mould, as the heat compressed it too much and although I tried to cut the bottle out of the mould I was only partly successful- this was something I had to live with as it was not visible from the side on display and any further cutting would have damaged the piece beyond repair. As it was both the brick and wood casts had a few small tears in the plastic, but I positioned the pieces on the wall so that they were not visible, and as the wall was white I think the tears went unnoticed. Plastic can be a very unforgiving medium, so overall I am pleased with how my moulds turned out- the rope mould in particular captured a lot of detail and was visually very pleasing. Also regarding the presentation I did not use a tape measure or a spirit level, which would have made my pieces look much more professional, so these are two pieces of equipment I plan on investing in for future exhibitions, to avoid my work looking amateurish. Due to the nature of how the hot plastic warped and bent it was very difficult to cut the pieces neatly and to the same size- I used the laser cutter, but also had to use a ruler and scalpel to cut some of the parts that were too curved. As a result each piece was a slightly different size and shape, as it was impossible to get them perfect which was frustrating, but something I had to live with. The pieces did for the most part sit well against the wall once nailed in place though, which I was pleased about.

I definitely need to be more involved with the class moving forwards, as I did not have much input into the exhibition, beyond my own work, and I feel I let myself and the class down because of this. I hope to rectify this coming back for term 2 in January by being more proactive, and attending as many lectures and tutorials as I am able, so that I can fully engage with my peers and the topics we cover.

I think the work I put into Hybrid is the very definition of work in progress- it represents a turning point in my thinking, and is indicative of the struggles I have experienced in the last few months- it was not perfect or as polished as I would have liked, but I am very proud of myself for persevering and finishing the pieces in time for the exhibition. Going forwards I definitely want to try recreating more of my found objects in other mediums, such as ceramics, plaster, metal, and resin, to explore how the objects change and take on a new medium in other media and colours. I originally planned this project to be purely focused on making and processes, but seeing my work on the wall of the gallery space made me question why I chose the colour white, and why it is so overused in the art world. This has led me to a new topic for research- How and why is white used in the art world, and does it link to the inherent classism and racism that dominates the art world?

Vacuum Form Part 2

river project, Work in Progress

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Further vacuum form tests- the first one with the rope came out with less detail than I hoped, as the machine wasn’t hot enough, but the second one came out pretty much perfectly, so all I need to do to get my final cast is lay a sheet of wood or cardboard down so that I have a flat surface surrounding the rope. The brick and the drift wood are proving more difficult, however. as you can see, the undercuts on the brick make it impossible to get out of the cast without cutting, which ruins the piece, and the plastic gets sucked underneath the wood, sealing it in- meaning it also has to be cut free, ruining the cast. I spoke to the technicians and they suggested I fill the undercuts with clay or Plasticine so that the objects don’t get trapped in the plastic, so this will be the next thing I try.

Macro Lens Shooting Part 2

Photographs, river project

 

 

 

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Further experiments with the macro lens, using my phone torch again to see how lighting from different angles changes the photograph. I also took some videos of this, which I need to edit together and upload to Vimeo, so that I can upload them here. I felt a little more confident this time round using the macro lens, although I definitely need more practice. I need to find out when the next etching induction will be, as I feel these photographs would look really beautiful enlarged and etched- I envision a series of large scale prints of sections of these photographs, as these could potentially look really beautiful. I am particularly inspired by the work of Jo Love for this project, in particular her large scale drawings of microscopic views of various materials.

The first image shows the set up for the photographs and filming- a white sheet of paper taped to a chair, with the tripod and camera set up in front of it. This was the best set up I found, as the table was too high with the tripod on the floor, but the tripod was too high when placed on the the table. I played with the settings on the camera, changing the aperture, setting it to white fluorescent lighting, setting a 2 second timer to minimise shake from my hand pressing the button, and using the manual focus to get the look I wanted for the photos.

Test Shoot of Bones With Macro Lens

Photographs, Work in Progress

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These photos are from my first time shooting with a macro lens, borrowed from the CLS. My objective was to zoom in and get close up shots of all the textures of some of the bones I had found and cleaned from the river. Whilst these textures are visible to the naked eye you cannot see as much as when a macro lens is used. After about half an hour of trying with no clue to what I was doing I decided to ask the photography technicians for help- We messed around with the white balance and set a timer to minimise the shake on the camera, and this drastically improved the photos taken. I also used the torch from my camera phone at different angles to test how the lighting would change the images. I planned on taking more photographs, but unfortunately the camera battery ran out and I needed to return the camera, tripod and lens to the CLS. I am very happy with how the images turned out, as they are much better than I could have hoped from my first attempt with a macro lens, and I am definitely going to try photographing not just other bones from my collection, but also the plastic bottle, pieces of glass and ceramic, and pieces of wood and shell, to see how the macro lens will enhance and change what can be seen.

Vacuum Forming Process (First Attempt)

Photographs, Work in Progress

Vacuum Forming Rope from the River Thames from Katherine Outten on Vimeo.

 

The following photographs are from my first attempt at vacuum forming. The first photo shows the rope and brick after being coated in the white plastic, the second and third are the plastic casts once I had removed the rope and brick from underneath, and the final photo is of the second cast made of the rope. The link above is to a video of the process of using the vacuum form machine, taken whilst making the second rope cast.

As mentioned in a previous post, the vacuum form machine had a lack of suction, so the casts (especially the second rope cast) were not as detailed as I had hoped. Once the machine is fixed I intend to redo these casts, and some others, to try and get as accurate casts as possible of the objects in white plastic. I may also experiment with other colours, to see how that changes things.

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