, Art Residency
, digital art
, ecf labs
, sound art
These last few weeks have been spent exploring all parts of Yerevan some intentionally and others purely by accident. One day this week even was comparably to my days on my snowboard. Using the bus like a chairlift to take me to a point in the city with a line back to house which I walked capturing many elements that I had over the weeks hope to experience.
These random wanderings and planned excursions have allowed me to interact with architecture and accidental sculptural objects. They have created conversations within my practice that I am now exploring and will continue post residency here. I spend time photography and field recording the sounds I encounter not always for later work but to use the process of recording as a way to explore the moments that I have experienced. Some of these elements naturally appear in the work but sometimes it is me focusing on something that i see a metaphor amongst or pausing just so the brain absorbs and allows the senses to filter completely. Though the sounds and visual elements are important it is all senses that inform my thoughts. If only to have a machine to record the smells both pleasant and not so. The aromas here are strong and really striking.
Certain themes are constant within my travels such as looking through but seeing behind in reflective moments or the attraction to controlled and protected spaces. Here especially where traffic cones are not so common the ways in which people mark space is intriguing. One thought that is common with my travels here though is to do with vacancy as a positive. The building of vacancy, i.e. in the sense of building glass and marble buildings that seems to be for something that only they know about. With these buildings not necessarily fitting into the landscape rather standing alone amongst the tower blocks of Soviet era. I see these new buildings a positive in one sense and nod to a new era or at least optimism. This in comparison in other cities that I have lived recently where new construction has stopped.
As for work I am currently working on a new digital work, a step on from the Athens Arrival work I made in Greece last year and also some new photo and sculptural works. These are all due to be exhibited in the Museum of Modern Art here in a couple of weeks. So for now the walks and excursions are more precise and studio time has increased. I will update from the studio in a few days prior to the show.
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.
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.
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.
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.