playing with pictures, managing metaphor, thinking visually

#edcmooc

This week we are encouraged to imagine things visually and come up with an image to share at the fair… I couldn’t quite contain myself to a single image, so I have a 3-part story happening here…. hope you enjoy this little bit of fluff in the air, and do favourite the image in flickr, if you care 🙂

vis art comp wk 3 EP

I enjoy thinking visually, and messing about in words…. I guess what prompted this little photo story is my musings this past week on ‘open’ education, and on the nature of representation, and human ‘identity’….

I’m just playing with the metaphor of the ‘digital cloud’, and the potential dystopia of the web’s presence and intervention in everything we do as we cloud gaze… and then with the idea that our humanity, our identity, is just the representations we make, mainly in language, that are reflected in the cloud where we make so much of our meaning these days… does the increasing visibility of language (because it’s online and written and everywhere to be noticed) actually help us see where ‘we’ are, as we stand on earth and spend our conscious lives in discourse? how grounded is our sense of self?

… these are all thoughts I was having in the past week or so, especially as I read the triffic text by Badmington… what I’m reading into it, and what we’ve been watching in the film festivals, is that the ‘post-humanist’ way of looking at things is an all-but-lost-cause… however hard we might try to understand ourselves in terms beyond the established but questionable and perhaps intellectually bankrupt and dead metaphor of human ‘essence’…. corporate sponsored popular culture just keeps bringing it back and dominating the discourse…. epitomised by the sorts of ads we’ve been watching in the mooc… the battle for the popular imagination of the self, the ‘real’ human, is always being re-won by the image of the fixed, unchanging essence…  and nobody pays much attention to the role of representation…. of storytelling… we just get seduced over and over again

I should note here the image sources…  the first is a photo I took last year, just outside my home, on a lovely summer’s day. The other two I found, as you do, in a cloud…. one via flickr (CC license of course) and the other via um i forget now, one of the other photo search places you see when you go to CC…. anyway, the second photos is called, brilliantly, “broken sky” and it’s by Lee Haywood, and the third is called “glass” and it’s by Jjb@nalog.

and, for those who take art criticism too seriously, here’s a spookily accurate assessment of my creative work, generated in next to no time with the wonderful bs text generating software 500 letters

E P (°1962, Sydney, Australia) is an artist who works in a variety of media. By applying a poetic and often metaphorical language, P seduces the viewer into a world of ongoing equilibrium and the interval that articulates the stream of daily events. Moments are depicted that only exist to punctuate the human drama in order to clarify our existence and to find poetic meaning in everyday life.

Her artworks sometimes radiate a cold and latent violence. At times, disconcerting beauty emerges. The inherent visual seductiveness, along with the conciseness of the exhibitions, further complicates the reception of their manifold layers of meaning. By manipulating the viewer to create confusion, she tries to create works in which the actual event still has to take place or just has ended: moments evocative of atmosphere and suspense that are not part of a narrative thread. The drama unfolds elsewhere while the build-up of tension is frozen to become the memory of an event that will never take place.

Her works are given improper functions: significations are inversed and form and content merge. Shapes are dissociated from their original meaning, by which the system in which they normally function is exposed. Initially unambiguous meanings are shattered and disseminate endlessly. By rejecting an objective truth and global cultural narratives, she presents everyday objects as well as references to texts, painting and architecture. Pompous writings and Utopian constructivist designs are juxtaposed with trivial objects. Categories are subtly reversed.

Her works appear as dreamlike images in which fiction and reality meet, well-known tropes merge, meanings shift, past and present fuse. Time and memory always play a key role. By putting the viewer on the wrong track, she tries to approach a wide scale of subjects in a multi-layered way, likes to involve the viewer in a way that is sometimes physical and believes in the idea of function following form in a work.

Her works are on the one hand touchingly beautiful, on the other hand painfully attractive. Again and again, the artist leaves us orphaned with a mix of conflicting feelings and thoughts. With a conceptual approach, she tries to grasp language. Transformed into art, language becomes an ornament. At that moment, lots of ambiguities and indistinctnesses, which are inherent to the phenomenon, come to the surface.

Her works directly respond to the surrounding environment and uses everyday experiences from the artist as a starting point. Often these are framed instances that would go unnoticed in their original context. By examining the ambiguity and origination via retakes and variations, she makes work that generates diverse meanings. Associations and meanings collide. Space becomes time and language becomes image.

Her works focus on the inability of communication which is used to visualise reality, the attempt of dialogue, the dissonance between form and content and the dysfunctions of language. In short, the lack of clear references are key elements in the work. By emphasising aesthetics, she creates intense personal moments masterfully created by means of rules and omissions, acceptance and refusal, luring the viewer round and round in circles.

She creates situations in which everyday objects are altered or detached from their natural function. By applying specific combinations and certain manipulations, different functions and/or contexts are created. By investigating language on a meta-level, she creates with daily, recognizable elements, an unprecedented situation in which the viewer is confronted with the conditioning of his own perception and has to reconsider his biased position.

Her works doesn’t reference recognisable form. The results are deconstructed to the extent that meaning is shifted and possible interpretation becomes multifaceted. With the use of appropriated materials which are borrowed from a day-to-day context, she often creates several practically identical works, upon which thoughts that have apparently just been developed are manifested: notes are made and then crossed out again, ‘mistakes’ are repeated.

Her works never shows the complete structure. This results in the fact that the artist can easily imagine an own interpretation without being hindered by the historical reality. By applying abstraction, she wants to amplify the astonishment of the spectator by creating compositions or settings that generate tranquil poetic images that leave traces and balances on the edge of recognition and alienation.

Her works question the conditions of appearance of an image in the context of contemporary visual culture in which images, representations and ideas normally function. By studying sign processes, signification and communication, she tries to increase the dynamic between audience and author by objectifying emotions and investigating the duality that develops through different interpretations.

Her work urges us to renegotiate art as being part of a reactive or – at times – autistic medium, commenting on oppressing themes in our contemporary society. E P currently lives and works in Wollongong.

quite – couldn’t have said it better myself!

Advertisements

re-volution

back on deck again after a lovely, rejuvenating break at ‘Wordfordia‘ – that’s the ephemeral tent village which appears each year around a folk music festival, for a week just after Christmas at a rural place called Woodford, then disappears again as quickly as it came…. sort of Australia’s contemporary answer to the Woodstock of an earlier life in another country …

pulp_31jul11_sbooth-179-2

This was my first time at Woodford, and made me feel both very old and very young at once… I went because my 13 year old daughter has been at me for a few months about it, since she found out her ‘favourite singers in the whole world’ were to perform there… while I’m very glad she’s so passionate about music of a certain kind, reminding me of how I felt about Dylan, Baez, Mitchell, Guthrie, Melanie, Cohen etc, but it is a big ask to go there from where we live, it’s over 1,000 kms… I opted for a road trip rather than a flight, because they’re fun, and good for our relationship… lots of quality music to share in the car, lots of quality talk and good laughs… memory making stuff.

Well anyway to cut a long story short, it was a delightful trip and the festival was fabulous. What made me feel very young again, and included in the atmosphere at the festival is perhaps best summed up in a line from one of the songs on a Gregory Page cd I bought while hiding in the festival music shop tent from a random torrential downpour that ended the oppressive heat of the first part of the day and began the rather more pleasant cool of the late afternoon and evening… on the journey home a few days later I was being regularly reminded by him that “it’s never too late to be the person you’re meant to be” … and that just felt so right. After the main event for us – performance by Julia Stone (in which her brother Angus also appeared, yay) – we stayed for Kate Miller-Heidke, whose first number (politics in space, or space politics or something) includes the line “the 60s was 50 years ago, get over it” – which made me laugh out loud, and feel old…

Other flashbacks included an appearance by Bob Hawke (former prime minister from the 80s) who spoke (disappointingly lamely, but the guy is over 80 now so I’m a bit forgiving) about our relationship with China, and then a comedy debate with a very good Kevin Rudd impersonator…  then on Sunday the current pm actually appeared at the festival… it was all bit surreal – not because the festival was therefore a bit political, but because it was incorporating politicians rather than just slagging off about them. Somehow I can’t quite imagine a sitting president appearing at Woodstock in 1969… but it didn’t (surprisingly, to me) make the whole thing a conformist sell-out, it struck me as rather more intelligent, engaged, and just being part of critical public debate. It was rather good.

Also spent a day at GOMA exploring the Asia Pacific Triennial… Again making me feel old in that I’ve been to most of these and the first one was 20 years ago. Good grief, seems like yesterday. But more important – the show was fantastic and images are as alive in my mind now a week later as the day I saw them – perhaps more so, as they become more part of the daily re-woven patterning that constructs the coherent sense of narrative we call understanding, thought and identity…

wish we could have stayed away another week at least – but can’t leave the dog with neighbours for too long, and oh yeah, there is that thing called a job to be getting back to… but yay – there is also that emergent community online I have just started engaging with 🙂 Time to get back to cyberspace and meet up with all my new pals in edcmoocland! yay