Category: Project Abstracts

This Old Thing: Souvenirs and the Aesthetics of Possession and Loss

The focus of my exhibition considers how souvenirs mediate past experience. Souvenirs in this context include found items invested with significance by the collector, or items deliberately manufactured to be distributed as souvenirs. The hope is that by unpacking the complex social relationships between souvenirs, their possessors, and the circumstances of their collection, the project will provide insight into the intersections of materiality, embodiment, memory and self-identity across space and time.
The exhibition will consist of three interrelated sections. The first will be dedicated to telling the stories of specific souvenirs, and will incorporate a map with each plotted to its site of acquisition. The second will consider the cultural significance of the souvenir discursively, from the perspective of media archaeology, material culture studies, and thing theory, with an emphasis on conceptions of nostalgia, reification, and commodity fetishism. The third section will reflexively document my own process of “collecting” as the project’s curator.

Restart Slideshow

My exhibit will examine the evolution of the use of slide projectors and slides by artists.

Kodak ceased production of slide projectors in 2004 and stopped making Kodachrome in 2009. The company announced that they were also discontinuing other kinds of slide film at the beginning of March due to the fall in demand. Kodak’s iconic products, romanticized by Don Draper on “Mad Men,” are now found in attics and on eBay.

Despite the decline in commercial use, 35mm slides have been used in the art world again and again. Museums still store art images on slides and universities still use them to teach (although most are in the process of moving to completely digitized versions of their slide collections). After the announcement that Kodak would stop manufacturing projectors, artists starting using the material of projectors and slides to create their artworks. And now as the materials are becoming more scarce, other artists are mimicking the qualities of slides.

My questions: Are artists just using slides for kitsch factor? Or is there something about how we see the world through the material of the slide that is significant?

I plan to make a slideshow-like exhibit that follows the life-cycle of slides and projectors:

1. Birth: How they are made
2. Life: How they were used commercially and educationally
3. Death: Kodak ending manufacturing
4. Autopsy: Artists taking them apart to make something new
5. Rebirth: Artists using their material qualities

Project Abstract: Cyclical Materiality

I am planning to build an indexical exhibition of the most common elements found on earth, investigating their structural makeup through text, images (archival and self produced), the different ways these elements are composed to form larger compound elements and the arrangements of these compounds that are the building block for the material platforms of productivity mentioned above.  Aside from an obvious reference to materiality and immateriality in the sense that everything we can touch, is at it’s base, made of things that we can’t touch, or even see, I also want to explore the notion of what “is” and “is not” a thing as defined by our sensory interactions with a small set of chemical elements. In a sense, materiality and immateriality are one in the same, only perceptible to us as different from one another based on our relationship to these basic elements and their embodied forms.

I worry that this may be a bit overly abstract. I will give a basic example of what I hope to explore further through this exhibition.

These are the 10 most common elements in the Milky Way…
 Aside from the clear understanding that all mammals require Oxygen for survival, and that Hydrogen and Oxygen combine to form water, which is the primary component of human life, and these sort of, basic scientific notions (which are phenomenal in their own right), one can also explore the material relationships between these elements which are equally mundane and profound.

Cellulose for example is composed of Carbon, Hydrogen and Oxygen…
 In turn Cellulose as a compound is instrumental in the makeup of wood, paper, film and magnetic tape. Which are some of the productivity platforms that I originally wanted to investigate, and which will remain, in a sense, the focus of the exhibition.

What strikes me as of particular interest from an artistic, or aesthetic standpoint, is the visually recognizable similarities between the structural makeup of these compounds and their material manifestations on earth. Through self produced photography and referential archived images, I will explore some of these visual and aesthetic similarities to visualize the relationships found therein. The graphic representation of H,C and O that allows us to visualize cellulose, is strikingly similar to paper pulp and the texture of the top layer of magnetic tape, when viewed closely. Both of which exist only as a result of our understanding of cellulose in the first place.
Through this cyclical deconstructive, and reconstructive exploration I want to interpret the notion of the “thing” as a composition of elements that are not in the traditional sense “things” at all, yet through our visual representations allow us to develop theories, tools and mechanisms that have defined modern history.

Each of the ten elements listed will be explored in this manner (Element, compound, raw form, refined/commodified) as they relate to the development of the productivity platforms that I have mentioned above.

Digitally Reconstructing a Celluloid Age

As digital video rapidly claims functions previously assigned to celluloid film(ex. movie projection, motion picture filming) the debate rages on as to whether digital has fundamentally changed the medium or is merely a step in a progression of technological innovation that occurred since film’s beginnings. Will the institution of “film” outlast the celluloid material that has defined it for the past century? Is the institution of film defined more by cultural construct than the technology that underpins it?

As critics engage one another, the digital image has also worked to disguise itself as analogue technology(ex. Instagram or digital restoration of classic films.) In these instances, digital technology is utilized not to pioneer a new aesthetic but to comfort a culture attached to the celluloid film image.

I will curate an exhibition of artist who use both image types-digital and celluloid film-to address these issues. I will highlight works of Michael Haneke, Jean-Luc Godard and others who use the digital image to confront the celluloid and vice versa in order to understand questions surrounding the cultural construct of film.

Michael Haneke- Lumiere and Company

Punk Fanzines and Records (12″ & 7″) Explored Through A Digital Zine

My project is going to use a digital medium (a digital zine I’ve created titled ‘Some Direxion’ published through to explore the art and design of punk fanzines and records.  While punk music is traditionally simple sonically, it does not render to be adolescent or unintelligent.  The sub-culture or culture, depending on how you view it, has morphed into an enormous web over the past 40 years.  However, one thing that has stayed constant is the importance of the art and design of D.I.Y. fanzines and records.  Zine pages and record covers/sleeve inserts are often meticulously thought out to carry the ideas most commonly associated with the genre.  For example, ideas associated with progressive politics, an alternative community to the mainstream, and self-definition.  I will critically examine how physical representations of these things carry over to a digital format.  Ultimately I will try to understand if any impact is lost by reading or viewing off a computer screen as opposed to holding it in your hands.

‘Thing-Power’ of the Pawned Object

The object in a pawnshop is different than the object that is sold on craigslist or put in a tag sale for quick cash.  The pawned object is usually one of higher monetary and/or personal value, acting as a commodity with the possibility of new ownership and the reality of temporary ownership (as it sits in the pawnshop).  It is an object in purgatory – waiting for its previous owner to decide its fate.  This exhibit will explore questions such as:  (1) What are the relationships that a pawnbroker develops with their collection of temporary items and (2) How do these items shift identities within the pawnshop structure?

The shifting nature of the thing at a pawnshop provides perfect illustration of thing theories that give agency to matter.  The relationships between people and things at the pawnshop are based on the object in its roles as a business transaction, a temporary sacrifice and a personal connection.  As the object is handed over, it acquires a new meaning and forms a new relationship.

This project seeks to explore the transient identity of the pawned items that are on hiatus in the pawnshop; between their previous owners and their potential future owners.  In this online exhibition, audio-based artifact biographies will convey object meaning and agency in the pawnshop.  The pawnbroker as mediator between two spaces of object ownership will be used as a narrator describing the things and telling their stories.

Deconstructing Technology Through Glitch

My online exhibit will explore the historical range of the materiality and conceptual works by artists who identify themselves as glitch artists, and as well as artists before them who solely used analog formats to create proto-glitch works. The project will mainly focus on digital glitch artists/projects, but there are historical works done by the cubists, avant-garde filmmakers and sound artists which I will connect to glitch art. The online exhibit will contain sections on artworks from: historical connections, databending, circuit-bending, and datamoshing. There will also be a section on how-to tutorials (example – youtube videos on how to datamosh, databending and circuit bending tutorials). Although it will be easy to navigate the site through these categorized sections, I feel that it is important to present these sections in a non-linear way. The online exhibition should reflect and implement the glitch. The purpose of this online exhibition is for viewers to use the site as a tool to not only to research glitch art, but also to feel encouraged to create glitch art and understand technology through deconstructive means.