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Art Residency

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What is a starting point or how do I find an IN?  A week ago I arrived in Yerevan, Armenia and within this week I have to find my bearings as well as figure where to begin.  Though I have current and ongoing themes within my work I change, my location changes and especially the landscape I experience.

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Firstly my process is simple I go get lost.. Not in the moment per se but in a place.  Public transport is easy to do this in a new country.  Just get on and do not worry about the direction just travel.  This here in Yerevan is perfect as the whole experience is totally different from other countries I have experienced.  The majority of the transport system is run by small minibuses similar to Ford Transit vans.  I am 6’4″ so even getting into these at times is a challenge.  Especially in rush hour, oh yes just like elsewhere in the world the transport system still gets crowded and these minibuses are full.  Standing room only and you would be surprised at how many people these buses can carry.  Its an impressive feet in itself.  However the whole process is calm and collected considering the horns being used by other road users and taxis.  The public just get on with it without any complaint or quibble.

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Anyways back to process.  My approach is I guess similar to the Situationists – Guy Debords’ dérive.  I use my one and one approach with the city to experience the infrastructure and witness the makeup of the city.  I am not directed as to where I head and would rather each left and right decided when it is met.  By passing through districts, suburbs and communities you can get a feel for what atmosphere and people live in a space.  This interaction with the landscape creates a dialogue that builds the more I walk and the further days spent doing so.  I start to question or be drawn into errors, repetition, oddities, familiarities and characteristics.  Its certainly not just the physical or visible that appeals, though sometime its the sense of smell or piercing sound that leaves a lasting impression.  I find my experience of space similar to how I read people and their personalities.  The anthropomorphic nature is something allows me to form initial ideas.  What are these ideas, well I have no idea until I start to delve into these dérives.  How do I know when I am onto a idea or something that is worth investigating further I do not know at first.  However I could compare it to tennis.  If you think about tennis and the shots that win matches or serves that are aces.  These are not ideas that appeal to me as they are either one of, one liners or too literal in their representation of an idea.  The ideas that I am interested in I would compare to the rallies that build and sometimes keep on going.  These rallies I would compare to the discourse that the ideas created within my own research and investigations and those that I speak to regarding the work.

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So by using this kind of dérive or active losing oneself I create an instability that aided by the new location or country sparks my engagement.  I move and navigate the new spaces without plans though attentive to that which is around me.  Over time my mind starts to read that which is around me in new ways and dialogues start to happen and it is these that I use to form the basis for new work/projects.

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Here is a post by The Creators Project which outlines some of the techniques that I am employed to make my recent digital works.

Here’s What Happens When You Edit Photos Like Music

What’s known is that all digital files are made up of raw data: open any image, sound, application, or otherwise in a program like TextEdit, and you’ll see the Unicode alphabet representation of your chosen file. What’s unknown are the results of opening, say, a .txt file in a video program, a sound file in a word document, or playing an image file in a sound editor… More often than not, importing files into applications they’re foreign to will produce an error message and possibly crash your open application. Sometimes, however, using applications to manipulate non-native files results in beautiful art.

Masuma Ahuja and Denise Lu, of the Washington Post, put these ideas to the test by editing images in Audacity as if they were sound files. It’s called databending— the process, according to Ahuja and Lu, “of manipulating data in an editor traditionally used to edit media of another format,”— and the simple results are as colorful and sublime as they are inspiring.

Seen with an echo effect, the Eiffel Tower lives up to Paris’ name as “The City of Lights.” With fades and a reverse effect, the bleak southwest Iceland seaside becomes awash with cotton-candy waves. With a little reverb, the Brooklyn Bridge gets a throwback to the color stylings of Do The Right Thing. Below, Ahuja and Lu’s results are as mind-bending as they are data:

Ready to try databending your own image files? Check out Jamie Boulton’s tutorial on using effects in Audacity, andAntonio Roberts’ beginners tutorial on importing image files into the free sound editing software. Share your artworks with us in the comments section below! h/t FlowingData

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Just over a week ago I returned from Chile.  I was there teaching snowboarding which is my other profession which helps fund my art activities.  It has taken me a few days to come to terms with the last few days that I spent there as they were not like the rest of the season.  When I tried to leave the country I was denied, refused exit.  This is the first time in 16 years of travel that I have had an issue with a visa and it was a huge learning experience.  Add to this that I may have learnt some Spanish in my time there but I am no way near fluent and going through this process of being denied by the check in agent to then being asked to speak to immigration followed by the police was quite a traumatic experience.

It turned out the company I had been working for had cut a few corners and had decided to not actually pay for the correct visa and had only process a token one month work visa even though they knew I was working for them for three months.  So when I got to the airport and tried to explain that I had a visa, that I had paid tax and paid a visa fee.  It took a while for an official to explain what had actually happened.  The company I had been working for thought there would be no issue as most instructors left before their tourist visa was up.

So once I had been declined I had my passport confiscated and told that I would have to go to the main Ministry building for immigration on the Monday to see what fines I would have to pay.  This is the first time in all my travels that I have been without my passport or been left in no mans land.  It was an odd sensation and I am not sure how I feel about the days I spent in Santiago waiting to find out what the Ministry would say.  It made me consider the issues and thoughts I examine within my art practice.  These liminal states, borderless zones and wastelands where nothing but everything happens.  This time where I was unable to go or do anything however I was there experiencing this quite unique process.  It was real, very real to me, however I was also in limbo and these were nothing days that to everyone else really did not matter.  This stasis I felt like I had little if no control of my fate or movement which compared to the fortunate life I have lead is quite the opposite.

I am not sure I have really come to terms or understood what or how this may affect or influence my work.  However I leave for Armenia where I will spend the next six weeks on residency.  I feel that some of the experiences I have undergone may start to filter into some of the investigations I make in the coming weeks.

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On the 1st of October I will be heading to Yerevan, Armenia for two months to partake in an art residency program operated by Art and Cultural Studies Laboratory.  This is an exciting opportunity especially after my experience in Athens previously I feel more than ready to make the most of my time there.  It is a place that I have not experienced before but sits in an important part of the world.  Its rich history and current economic state will provide many new thoughts and ways to reflective current thoughts and perceptions.

This year has seen me move quite a bit and most of that time I have been immersed in countries where I speak little of the language.  This isolation in my nomadic practice really plays on my current thoughts of what home means to me.  My projects tend to start from a personal response but then tend to be expanded to become works that others can reflect on and read in their own light.  However I feel also whilst in Armenia I need to document the daily emotional attachment I have to what I deem as home, the never studio or practice nomadic..

I am also grateful for the funding that has been provided for this time I will spend in Armenia.  The ECF Labs and their Step Beyond Bursary has made this time one which I can devoted solely to furthering my research and creating new works.

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Things have been fast paced in the last few weeks.  I would normally be writing this from Queenstown, New Zealand where I have been based for the past thirteen winters however a month ago a new opportunity arose in Chile, specifically in Portillo.  So since making the move and taking on the challenge of learning a language in no time at all I am here in Portillo, Chile.  I spent two weeks in Santiago at a language school which gave me the basics and now I am in the thick of it trying to teach English, Spanish and Brazilian guests to snowboard.  I have to admit the office is pretty inspiring.

Whilst in Santiago I made a day trip to a city a couple of hours away call Valparaiso.  This is an inspiring city with a bubbling creative scene.  The street walls are painted in vivid colours and in addition some of the best street art I have seen in a long time.

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I am starting to build some new works around the digital collage that I made last year in Athens, Greece.  I hope to have a new piece up and running sooner rather than later.  I am also putting together final plans for my time in Armenia in October at the ACSL artist residency.  My nomadic life will continue for now, however I am looking for a base to create some works that are ready to be fabricated.  I guess this will always be the balance with this lifestyle and trying to balance the two sides of my life.

 

An Excursion Into LA’s Mojave Hinterland at the CLUI Desert Research Station

Kim Stringfellow
Re-blogged from KCET
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The Center for Land Use Interpretation (CLUI) has always occupied a somewhat paradoxical space–one that is informatively neutral but at the same time also subtly provocative. This aspect allows its organizers to penetrate often, impenetrable places such as the Nevada Test Site. Indeed, the CLUI is as well known inside the art world as it is outside of it. It is in fact one of the more internationally well-known and respected interdisciplinary entities in contemporary art that often does not appear as an arts organization at all but instead as a highly creative interpretive center for some institutional-like agency.

Founded in 1994 by the Center’s director, Matthew Coolidge along with various CLUI associates as a research and educational organization whose mission is “dedicated to the increase and diffusion of information about how the nation’s lands are apportioned, utilized, and perceived.” The CLUI stipulate that “the manmade landscape is a cultural inscription, that can be read to better understand who we are, and what we are doing.” The Center is interested in multiple interpretations of landscape from a variety of perspectives and points of view.

The Center supports and presents a variety of exhibition programs at its main exhibition and office location in Culver City, CA adjacent to another SoCal gem of hard-to-classify arts practice–The Museum of Jurassic Technology. The Culver City location also features a bookstore where one may sign up for the Center’s newsletter, The Lay of the Land and purchase various Center produced publications. The CLUI also organizes highly popular bus tour trips. Its years of research have been organized into a publicly accessible online Land Use Database. On occasion, the Center hosts outside researchers though its Independent Interpreter Series.

The Center for Land Use Interpretation Desert Research Station. | Photo: Kim Stringfellow.

The Center for Land Use Interpretation Desert Research Station. | Photo: Kim Stringfellow.

The Center’s American Land Museum is a group of associated satellite locations including the Wendover facility located deep within the Great Basin at the Nevada/Utah border adjacent to Utah’s Great Salt Lake–home of land speed records and Robert Smithson’sSpiral Jetty. Here resides the Center’s Wendover artist residency program at a former WWII training airbase whose claim to fame is its role supporting the first atomic bombing missions dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Wendover visitors may casually visit the Enola Gay hanger that housed the B-29 bomber that forever sealed Hiroshima’s nuclear fate, later immortalized in early Richard Misrach photographs.

Other field office locations and facilities include the Gulf States Field Office in Houston, TX; the Northeast Field Office in Troy, NY; the New Mexico Field Site outside of Albuquerque, NM; the Central States Exhibit Unit in Lebanon, KS and the Desert Research Station located in Hinkley, CA.

Opened in 2000 as part of the Museum of Contemporary Art’s exhibition Flight Patterns, the Desert Research Station (DRS) focuses on the California Desert region, specifically the Mojave Desert extending from Los Angeles outward fringes within the Antelope Valley eastward into Las Vegas, Death Valley, and the Mojave National Preserve–essentially “the desert beltway around the hinterlands of Los Angeles.” Exhibits are open year-round to the public and are accessible as self-guided gallery walk-throughs (visitors must access the facility through the combination keypad after phoning the CLUI during regular business hours for the access code; call-in information is located at the door). The DRS grounds include interpretive walking trails with signage exhibits. Additional facilities on site are available for researchers conducting operations with the CLUI.

Walking Trail. | Photo: Courtesy of CLUI.

Walking Trail. | Photo: Courtesy of CLUI.

Recent projects include several sound installations “related to spatial dynamics of the ground.” Steve Badgett and artist and interdisciplinary artist, Deborah Stratman produced the Desert Resonator, a 75-foot long aeolian harp which reacts and interprets the wind movement’s over the ground into sound, using a spherical acoustic resonator. This permanently installed sonic sculpture’s “six 75′ long strings pass over dual bridges and produce multi-harmonic drones contingent upon the force and consistency of the air currents”–effectively translating the wind.

Desert Resonator (Steve Badgett, Deborah Stratman). | Photo: Deborah Stratman.

Desert Resonator (Steve Badgett, Deborah Stratman). | Photo: Deborah Stratman.

CLUI associate, Steve Rowell explores the phenomenology of sonic booms linking sky, sound, and ground in unexpected ways. Due to the DRS’s proximity to Edwards Air Force Base and Naval Air Weapons China Lake Facility makes it a perfect location to research and collection of such sonic phenomena.

Wendover artist residency program participant William Lamson ended up staging his Line Describing the Sun project in the winter months of 2011 on nearby Harper Dry Lake when the originally intended site conditions at the Bonneville Salt Flats near Wendover proved inadequate. Using a Fresnel lens apparatus mounted onto a mobile unit Lamson inscribed a 366-foot burn arc other the course of one day onto the lakebed. The concentrated intensity of the 1,600-degree point of light melted the lakebed’s dry surface, “transforming it into a black glassy substance.” When the project was later exhibited in NYC the project prompted the NY Times to comment, “Mr. Lamson can’t go back in time, but he can still go to the desert.”

 

William Lawson executing 'Line Describing the Sun.' | Photo: Courtesy of CLUI.

William Lawson executing ‘Line Describing the Sun.’ | Photo: Courtesy of CLUI.

Other current projects include a collaboration with University of Southern California art curatorial graduate students that is studying and documenting experimental aircraft crash sites found throughout the region.

Future research projects include those supported by independent/autonomous solar power systems, an underground bunker space, additional sound/space projects, and one concerning DIY low altitude aerial photography. The walking trail is scheduled for completion by January 2013 with a combination gate to allow public access.

For more information visit the Center’s website.

The street address for the DRS is 40083 Hinkley Road, Hinkley, CA 92347.
Directions to CLUI’s Desert Research Station: From downtown Los Angeles, take I-10 east, to I-15 north towards Las Vegas/Barstow. Just before Barstow, take Highway 58 west. Proceed approximately 9 miles to Hinkley Road, which is sometimes indicated with a “Hinkley 1 Mile” sign. Turn right on Hinkley Road and drive north 4 miles to the DRS, located on the east side of the road. Phone the CLUI at (310) 839-5722 for combination access code during normal business hours.

Top Image: Using the horns at the DRS, acoustic “binoculars” on the walking trail. | Photo: Courtesy of CLUI

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Thanks to OZON online and magazine for featuring my work Concept Of Since : 24 Options, 2014 in their review of Art Athina 2014.

My work was part of the annual residents show for SNEHTA artist residency.  The group show titled: Things Are Different Now”  Included past residents who have participated in the SNEHTA artist residency.

Click here for the whole article.