Sunday, 17 March 2013

Heike Bollig - Errors In Production

Heiki collects a variety of products that have different manufacturer errors, theyre collected from all around the world but most of them are given to him. This idea i felt related to what im doing now, as im reusing the same cast over and over its a form of mass production obviously not on such a big scale but similar to these objects they have been replicated over and over.

Cellotape Leg Cast

So on friday i wanted to use my cast to make a mould from. I put soap on the insides of the cast so it would hopefully make it easier to pull it out, i layered scrim and plaster inside to make it strong. As i soon found out we had made the cast too thick which was making it hard to pull off, i had to chisel and carve down the plaster and pull up the scrim as i went along. It took us all morning and most of the afternoon to actually get it off! Next time I'll definitely make the cast thinner...
I was surprised how well it worked as i thought i wouldve ruined most of the detail by trying to get the cast off but it actually picked up my jeans and the tape wrapped around my legs. I like that if someone were to look at my cast without knowing what i used theyd be confused to what the smooth parts were. Jon said it reminded him of the bodies in Pompeii, it has a completely different feel to it if its left just as a cast.

When i was taking off the cast some parts came off more intact than others so i wanted to experiment with reusing these casts as theyd look more abstract and worn than the original. The cast from the foot had been pulled wider so the piece that came from it didnt look like a foot anymore, i liked the idea of it coming from a broken part of the cast but the outcome i didnt like.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Process Over Outcome

Today i wanted to focus on the process of me making the casts and the journey a cast can go through rather than the outcome of a finished piece. My idea before i started was to distort and deform the body using different materials and started with algenate to get a detailed cast. I then wanted to move onto plaster casting using my latex samples which are forms of casts, the raw and messy effect of plaster but also what i wear and the cling film will change and distort the body further, to then make a piece from the cast which has gone through a process of changes. From this i wanted it to relate to transformations people go through if its their physical image or their character as outside variables and events change the outcome of who they are.

The first cast i made i used fishing wire wrapped around the hand. I wanted to try this on myself as i knew id put up with it hurting and know my limits because its my own work. Also id experience first hand the process i go through.

The plaster didnt fill the mould properly and i ended up getting air trapped in it so my fingertips were missing but i think this only adds to the history and process the cast went through. Also some of the wire was left in the cast, after i took the wire off it left deep marks in my skin so next time i want to try casting from the marks without the wire.

After the algenate was taken off the cast a large part was still intact enough that i could produce another cast. I like the idea of repeating a cast as it deconstructs so its changing the body and abstracting it. Tomorrow i want to go back to this mould again and try something else with it.

After finding an artist called Veronika Bromova who looks at deforming the human body, in one piece she used cellotape wrapped around the body so from this i wanted to try it in a cast.
I wanted to try casting myself as much as i could so made sure everything was close by. I started by decided where to put my leg if i would stand, sit or lay down. I decided to sit and put my leg on a chair so i would be more comfortable. For my first cast to make it slightly easier i cast onto clothing and using cling film just as a practice. I then wrapped the cellotape over the cling film so it would be more prominent in the cast. I had to get others to mix the plaster for me so doing the whole process completely by myself would be impossible. It was a bit uncomfortable with my leg being in that position then when it set and was being taken off it almost felt as though it wasnt a part of me and felt a bit alien. The uncomfortableness and awkwardness of moving around it was part of the process.
Tomorrow im going to start working with the cast i made and see what i can do with it!

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Skin and Body

After making my latex samples i wanted to see how they worked as another material to cover the body leaving small parts visible or being opaque to see the body underneath. I liked the way the latex pulled and distorted the skin but also the colours and textures make it harder to see whats underneath. The texture of latex when stretched over the skin like tight clothing can sexualise something and make it body conscious like pvc clothing. The idea of someone being squeezed into tight latex like material and the way the skin has pulled in my pictures makes it awkward but in a funny way.

These are the ones i tried out today on arms and legs...

Today i did some further photographs of body parts and skin covered and changed with materials. My first idea came from Mari Iwaharas work using typography and language using the skin. I wanted to see what the outcomes were and the processes of concealing or obscuring body parts. Seeing parts of the skin and body isolated in one image can change your perception of where it is and
what it is. When i first saw Maris work it looked rude and made me unsure what parts of the body were used until you look closer, i think most people at first look of something thats obscure their mind jumps straight to something sinister or dirty. This instant judgement and perception when using skin and body parts i want to play on further.

These are my attempts with Chloe which were much more difficult than i thought they would be. A large part of the time we spent was actually figuring out where on the body and how, we then moved onto looking at natural shapes the body makes without using wire on them such as a C in the ear and a B in the nose. I felt this excercise helped me with my work, it made me be aware of communication with the body and how it can be changed.

Natural body forms:

Altered body forms:










 I first looked at body sculptures that could be worn or have the effect of being worn when they are static and cant be moved. I mostly worked with covering the face as it created anonymity of the person and gave them their own space. From having their own space they would then experience whether it had a positive or negative effect, if they felt claustrophobic and uncomfortable about others around them or (similar to when we all sat in our boxes) that it became comfortable having their own personal space that felt secluded and safe.

This then lead me onto proxemics and our own personal spaces. I made sketches similar to these but with a hole cut out for the person inside to see out of. This in turn allowed others to test the personal space of the participant and stand as close as they like with sole communication with their eyes which many people feel uncomfortable with eye contact. This also lead me onto making sketches of sculpture that could be worn as a way of keeping people at a certain distance that was comfortable or uncomfortable. Tomorrow I'm going to be making some prototypes of these and recording what i find.

This made me think about how we communicate and use our bodies to tell others about our social distances. Its within our culture in Britain to avoid human contact, someone sitting next to you on an empty train, standing too close when talking to someone and even shaking hands although its body contact there is still a fair distance between the two people. This is called haptics, non verbal communication involving touch for example when greeting someone. When someone is too close its also in our culture to be polite and move away or be quietly angry and annoyed by huffing or tutting in the hope they'll take the hint and move. Even in close situations like on a train or confined area everyone moves around awkwardly to get into a more closed off position that they feel slightly more comfortable in.

Tomorrow i want to make some body casts in closed and open positions wearing boiler suits which will change the body shape into a more unisex form that most people could fit into. From this i want to photograph and record other people trying to fit into the casts mimicking the body language. 

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Manchester Trip

On this trip i was looking for artists that would assist me with my current project so mainly artists with interactive work or ones that look at the body conveying a message. In The Manchester Art Gallery there were quite a few that were interactive although a some of them seemed like they were for children. I saw the work of Rafael Lozano-Hemmer who gets the audience to participate and create their own image by putting their finger into a  hole that has a digital microscope inside and creates an image of your fingerprint repeated on a large screen. It syncronizes with your pulse and repeats images of other peoples fingerprints.

'Rafael Lozano-Hemmer was born in Mexico City in 1967. He studied chemistry, before moving into the realm of visual art and now lives and works in Montreal.
Lozano-Hemmer creates artworks that depend on your participation to exist. This exhibition records your pulse, fingerprints, voice and image, and these recordings form the actual content of the works. The content is entirely "crowdsourced", to use internet terminology. In this sense the works are playful, open and inclusive.
However, there is also a more ominous or predatory nature at play. The works use biometric and surveillance technology employed by governments and corporations to profile, control and predict our behaviours in the name of efficiency or safety. These tools have built-in prejudices, as when they are used for ethnic profiling.
In an age of reality TV, mobile computing, virtual economies, Google street view and credit databases, Lozano-Hemmer sees technology as an inevitable part of our culture. His approach is to "misuse" the technology to create experiences of connection and complicity by using ambiguity, irony, repetition, performance and self-representation.
In creating poetic, critical forms of interaction, the works encourage the public to be an integral part of the art and reflect on our inescapable, playful and ominous, technological experience.
“In Recorders artworks hear, see or feel the public; they exhibit awareness and record and replay memories entirely obtained during the show. These works emphasize that absence and presence are not opposites, and that several realities co-exist at any given time."
Rafael Lozano-Hemmer

Pulse Index, 2010

Digital microscope, pulsimeter, plasma display, computer, custom-made software.
Insert your finger into the sensor and wait for it to detect your heart rate,
this may take up to ten seconds. When it is done, the system will display your fingerprint, pulsating to the rhythm of your heart beat, together with the recordings from the 508 previous participants. As more people try the piece your own recording travels upwards until it disappears altogether.'