Carsten Höller

Carsten Höller works often in metal and has an interest in agricultural science which comes into his playful, and hands-on, works and exhibitions. He finds that the current Western experience is based on a dull predictability and this fundamentalism should be taken away. He works with buildings, vehicles, toys and even VR to show that we should have and enjoy the unpredictable. There is also an inspiration from insects sense of smell, which is powerful and can help in the survival of the animals. All his pieces plead for interaction with the audience, breaking arts fourth wall which we have all become accustom to.

35mm Photography: Negatives to Positives

After developing the 35mm black and white film, the next process was to enlarge the image onto photographic paper to produce a final print. This used the same techniques previously used in photograms and invented negatives, whereupon test strips were produced to gain the right exposure for the image to have the correct amount of grey variations. Filters were used above the film carrier, within the enlarger head, to reduce the number of greys within the photograph and create a more monochrome image.

The film enters the film carrier with the correct negative inserted. Using a scrap piece of photographic paper, line up the easel and use the focus knob to ensure the image will not be fuzzy nor blurry. Additional tools can be used to completely focus the image. Once this is complete and you are happy with the set up, proceed with a test strip, normally testing every 5 seconds with an aperture of around f/8, but this can depend on the image. Find the correct settings for the image, but do not move your enlarger head, film nor easel as you place a full sheet of photographic paper in and complete a copy of the whole image. Develop this and repeat from here until a final image that you are happy with, appears.

Françoise Sullivan

Currently on display in Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, is a body of work that Sullivan has built through a broad range of activities, from dance to painting, sculpture, conceptual artwork and writing. Throughout this, she continued to to explore the sources of human nature and went through successive periods of aesthetic questioning. It was almost as if, once Sullivan masters a medium or particular artistic approach, there was a change in course in order to set off in a new direction.
When walking into the exhibition, it was not as though this was the work of one artist. There was a huge variety in the use of materials, mediums used and the ways in which these were all displayed in one space. There was a large juxtaposition between the mediums of film and sculpture or painting in particular as there seemed like no links between them due to the nature of the medium and the way in which they were used. However, there was one recurring theme throughout the work that could be seen; constant movement.
Performance pieces seem very free, and based on the internal and gut reaction to the music as it plays, creating very free and flowing movements that are devoid of thought. These performances have also been captured in different ways along with different performers, keeping the viewer interacted with individual headphones and images. If I were to go back to performance, or want a different way to display something, I feel like I would look back on this exhibition as inspiration.

Julian Rosefeldt

Walking into Manifesto is an assault on the senses. Twelve screens and audio tracks smack you round the face to bring you up to the forced referencing of architecture, film, theatre, performance and the visual arts. Rosefeldt reads around and from the foundational texts by artists who shaped the history of art of the twentieth century. These include Futurists, Dadaists, Fluxus, Suprematists, Situationists, Situationists and Dogme 95 and individual artists. But, by bringing these manifestos together, Rosefeldt creates his own manifesto – a “manifesto of manifestos”.
Each of the twelve films co-ordinates with one another to come together in one moment of eerie similarity, each speaking in a different pitched monotone. As you look around at this moment, you have several faces intensely staring at you, daring you to listen to all at once. Australian actress Cate Blanchett embodies each of the twelve characters bringing forward a call to action, where language and its preformative musicality are meant to be put into motion. The manifestos that are spoken in each of the ten and a half minute films are generally written by angry young men, and performed here by a woman.

“Rosefeldt’s work reveals both the preformative component and the political significance of manifestos. Exploring the powerful urgency of these declarations composed with passion and convictions by artists over the last century, Manifesto questions whether the words and sentiments have withstood the passage of time. Can they be applied universally? How have the dynamics between politics, art and life shifted over time?”

The exhibition is the last on display in Montreal’s Contemporary Art Gallery (Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal) before moving buildings after seventy years.

Rafael Lozano-Hemmer

Rafael Lozano-Hemmer is an electronic artist who develops and installs interactive artworks that blur the boundaries of architecture and performance art. Throughout his works, there is a strong interest in performance participation from the public. Lozano-Hemmer utilised technologies such as robotics, computerised surveillance and telematic networks to bridge the gap between technology and art, and the way we interact with both. Often working with light and shadow, his large-scale interactive installations create the platform for public-run performance art.

Sculpture: Plaster Assignment

Introduction to sculpture was a module that looked at the manipulation of new and found materials. This manipulation was to stretch both us and the material, stretching and growing both our knowledge of the material, and how comfortable we were with it. Within the plaster project, the consistency of material was played within the techniques of relief mould, two-part mould, alginate casts, and a basic flat cast. I wanted to create pieces that create both the senses of confusion, but also an element of comfort. This was inspired by the work of Tiffany April, whose installation and painting work provided calmness, but also confusion. My sketchbook designs were based around this, but were often drawn up after creating the plaster element. This prevented planning, so that I could completely be at one with the plaster, instead of following a plan.

Sticking My Pieces to You has introduced the manipulation and exploration of materials, developing ideas around bodily and world views. The ripped maps on the plaster head highlights the ‘unnatural’ contours of the face, ones that people may not see, adding a layer of movement that brings you around the head. The use of text within the piece was unique and added a strange juxtaposition between the torn up maps of the world, showing chaos and destruction, and the calm and orderly chocolate pot.

Overall, I was very pleased with the plaster head project. It allowed me to explore the use of plaster in a different environment, and stretched what I thought it was capable of doing. The balance of the piece, I believe to be successful, as the piece shows the delicacy of the world that we currently live in, while giving us some piece of mind with a hot chocolate.

35mm Photography

Regular format photography is also known as 35mm photography. The measurement of 35mm references the width of film and can also be found in other sizes. Many cameras that use 35mm film are SLRs, or Single Lens Reflex camera, meaning that there is a pentaprism from the viewfinder to the lens, allowing us to see through the lens. When the shutter is pressed, the mirror will raise and the shutter will activate, taking a photo.
Film is sensitive to all wavelengths of visible light, so you must be cautious when loading and unloading the film from the camera that it is completely wound into the canister. You cannot let the camera see the light until after the fix stage of development. If it is exposed, the film will turn black. Because of this, you have to take the film out of the canister in complete darkness. For this process, see Developing Film.
You have to be aware of the ISO/ASA as this measures the films’ sensitivity to light. If it is sensitive to light, it require less light in exposure. You tell the camera what sensitivity the film is inside the window on the shutter speed measure circle. The lower the ASA, the lower the sensitivity to light, meaning a higher exposure. 400 is normally a good, general purpose film.
Exposure is important in the photo, and you must use the exposure reading by pushing the shutter button half way down. This will show you a plus, green circle or minus as the camera assumes that everything will be middle grey. You want to alter the shutter speed and aperture so you have the green light showing. Ensure you focus before taking the photo. Moving the frame will alter the exposure, meaning you have to change the shutter speed and aperture again.
There is a direct relationship between shutter speed and aperture as when you increase the f-stop, you lower the shutter speed. The give or take, or reciprocity, between the two allows to to roughly gather what settings you may need to change. You shouldn’t shoot anything with a shutter speed longer than 1/60 of a second as it will pick up camera blur.

  • Shutter speed/TV: smaller number = bigger hole = more light. Bigger number = smaller hole = less light
  • Aperture/AV: smaller number = bigger aperture = smaller focus range. Bigger number = smaller aperture = bigger focus range

The consequence of changing aperture is changing the depth of field, or the range that will be in focus. If the aperture is wide open (smaller number), the depth of field will be small. Changing the aperture will re-position the focus of the depth of field and can change the context of the image. You can determine the depth of field with the preview button that is found on the side of the lens. This will determine how much of the image is in focus around the focal point, and will make it seem like the image goes darker.
The depth of field can be changed with aperture along with focal distance of the lens and the camera to subject the distance. The closer the subject to the lens the lower the depth of field (relative distance).
I used all of this theory while using the 35mm cameras to take images for the second photography assignment, Like Nothing You’ve Seen Before.
 

Marc Sparfel

Marc Sparfel utilises abandoned furniture in the streets, which he first found in Barcelona, Spain, and incorporates them into sculptures. His works are often made of wood, but sometimes metal and other elements are added. Sparfel is in a continual series of masks, animals and mythological beings with these furnishings. Recently, he has explored more of the use of the materials that he had acquired and developed an abstract, geometric and somewhat lyrical work that raises a conversation with his animal works.

Abandoned furniture that has no purpose any more or simply isn’t fashionable. Chairs, wardrobes and hat stands, a truly urban forest growing out of the asphalt, climbing street lamps and walls… this is my forest, my world where I walk with pleasure, and I hand pick the best pieces. Once in my workshop, my sanctuary, my laboratory, I start the process of transformation, sometimes slow and painful but always intuitive, searching for a certain elegance and poetry made from wood. –  Marc Sparfel, Behance

Plaster heads


Above: the sketchbook pages outlining my ideas around plaster and the manipulation of the materials in a project where the concept was to have no concept.
As the main element of the plaster assignment, we were each individually given a Styrofoam head to transform using plaster. We also had to include a base that we had found the week before, and it was a difficult challenge to bring these together in harmony. I did not have any preconceptions of what I wanted the head to look like. Many of the drawings I did for planning, were completed after the main areas of plaster were already on. Cheesecloth as well as plaster was used to stick the plaster to the Styrofoam.
The first section completed was the hooped handles at the top and bottom of the head. I wanted to incorporate other materials from the get go, and building the handles with skewers and cotton wool balls allowed me to do so, and create a strong structure.

After adding these, I felt that something was missing, and I wanted to have more movement within the piece. I found some cardboard and started to rip it and bend it freely into shapes around the head. Once the first piece of cheesecloth was in the centre, holding the piece down, I then started to create the curvature from the centre of the face and around the left side.

However, something was still missing, and I felt that the neck was too bland and a balance of plaster needed to be copied on the right side. I replicated the random positioning of cardboard from mid to bottom head. This came with a break between this piece of cardboard, and the existing piece already on the head. The break in the curve was welcome as it showed an unexpected turn of events.

I was happy with the design of the head, and the movement that was created with each layer and addition of plaster. I decided to sand the head down in order to make it smooth, while still seeing the imperfections. Allowing the piece to continue to show the imperfections lets you view the rawness of the material.

But once again, there was something missing, until I found three giant maps while routing around in the skips out the back. These were in very good condition and grabbed my attention immediately – I felt like I had to use them in some way or another with the plaster head.

Then began the process of paper mache with the maps, to the head. I didn’t want large clumps of map to overwhelm the head, so I ripped the islands on the maps up into manageable sized chunks that allowed you to roughly see the country but not overwhelming you. The thick pieces of map had to be soaked in water first before applying to a dampened plaster with diluted white glue. I followed the ‘unnatural’ contours of the face that people may not see. This added an extra layer of movement.

To finalise the design, I used sandpaper over the maps to rough them up and to bring plaster through some holes. This made the maps look like they were a part of the process of the head, rather than added at last minute. I also added maps to the side of my base, a ceramic chocolate pot. This connected the two together even further. The use of text within the piece fascinated me, as it is not often that you openly see text within a sculpture. There is a strange juxtaposition between the torn up maps of the world, showing chaos and destruction, and the calm and orderly chocolate pot.
The final addition were three curved wires from the bottom of the maps that mimicked the curvatures found in the head.

Overall, I was very pleased with the plaster head project. It allowed me to explore the use of plaster in a different environment, and stretched what I thought it was capable of doing. The balance of the piece, I believe to be successful, as the piece shows the delicacy of the world that we currently live in, while giving us some piece of mind with a hot chocolate.
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Final display of plaster head and base