What am I doing?

I took a semester off school, and I feel displaced. It’s difficult to set my own deadlines and make work for myself when I’m used to the structure. I haven’t picked up my camera in months.

I took a summer course in screenprinting, which was really great. I enjoyed it a lot and learned a lot about working under tight time constraints. Those of you who follow my instagram have seen some of the work from that time.

I made my first sale on society6 with this print. I’m working on getting some more work up there.

Right now I’m importing 67 gigs of files into lightroom and looking for work.

BPD

In Marsha Linehan’s view, the sensitivity, intensity, and duration with which people with BPD feel emotions have both positive and negative effects. People with BPD are often exceptionally idealistic, joyful, and loving. However, they can feel overwhelmed by negative emotions, experiencing intense grief instead of sadness, shame and humiliation instead of mild embarrassment, rage instead of annoyance, and panic instead of nervousness. People with BPD are especially sensitive to feelings of rejection, isolation, and perceived failure. Before learning other coping mechanisms, their efforts to manage or escape from their intense negative emotions can lead to self-injury or suicidal behavior. They are often aware of the intensity of their negative emotional reactions and, since they cannot regulate them, shut them down entirely. This can be harmful to people with BPD, as negative emotions alert people to the presence of a problematic situation and move them to address it.

While people with BPD feel joy intensely, they are especially prone to dysphoria, or feelings of mental and emotional distress. Zanarini et al. recognize four categories of dysphoria that are typical of this condition: extreme emotions; destructiveness or self-destructiveness; feeling fragmented or lacking identity; and feelings of victimization. Within these categories, a BPD diagnosis is strongly associated with a combination of three specific states: 1) feeling betrayed, 2) “feeling like hurting myself”, and 3) feeling out of control. Since there is great variety in the types of dysphoria experienced by people with BPD, the amplitude of the distress is a helpful indicator of borderline personality disorder. (Wikipedia)

Initial Proposal I: identity and body (un)recognition

I intend to photograph myself using long exposure blurring, in masks and possibly costumes to talk about how I don’t connect to my own face and body. I am also considering building composite images out of several photographs layered together in photoshop. We’ll see how it goes as I continue to shoot and evaluate the photographs. The work will discuss my identity and self recognition, with particular attention to my dissociation from my body as being representative of my self and my identity.

I’ve been investigating various other photographers during my look into this work and their work with identity. One of them I brought in for Theory Tuesday (February 4th) – Justin Myer Staller’s work with individual plates in printmaking that combined to create one image. Although I don’t think I’ll be using that particular process for this project, I may use it in a future body of work that also deals with fragmented identity and body history.

Matt Molloy works with photo stacking and his approach to distortion via time lapse is something I’m considering working with, as well. Several photos are taken (30-100) from the same angle, while one subject in the photograph (me) moves. Then those images are stacked and a composite image is produced. I came across Molloy’s work while trying to recall the work of Idris Khan and his stacking of Bernd and Hilla Becher’s typologies. I have examples in my blog of all of these bodies of work.

https://sylladex.wordpress.com/2014/02/03/photoshop-image-stacking/
https://sylladex.wordpress.com/2014/01/26/reassembled/

I have tutorials posted there, as well. I’ve tried image stacking before and wasn’t able to get a look that I liked or really figure it out technically. I didn’t look up ways that other people were doing it before, so I’ve done that now so that I can work more solidly on a final composite image if I decide to go that route.

Throw them in the air, paste them back together.

I was going through old notepad notes on my phone and I found this note of random things from last semester:

Accuwire
Naked lunch
Throw them in the air paste them back together
Hennessy
Millenials

I don’t know what some of these were about, but the bolded one stands out to me as an interesting way to work on presenting the idea of dissociating from the body.

Print the work, then cut it into strips, paste those strips back together. Potentially, it could be scanned and reprinted as one image but I might need a really big scanner for that. There are digital alternatives, as well. Some glitching does the digital version of tossing something into the air and then pasting the sections back together. This is something to consider when working – something more than just the photography to capture the meaning since I’m struggling with ways to show that visually in a photograph.

Never not broken.

I was reading this article: Why Lying Broken in a Pile on Your Bedroom Floor is a Good Idea that talks about Akhilandeshvari – the Always Broken Goddess from Hindu mythology.

t’s the kind of broken that tears apart all the stuff that gets us stuck in toxic routines, repeating the same relationships and habits over and over, rather than diving into the scary process of trying something new and unfathomable.

Akhilanda derives her power from being broken: in flux, pulling herself apart, living in different, constant selves at the same time, from never becoming a whole that has limitations.

But look, Akhilanda says, now you get to make a choice. In pieces, in a pile on the floor, with no idea how to go forward, your expectations of the future are meaningless. Your stories about the past do not apply. You are in flux, you are changing, you are flowing in a new way, and this is an incredibly powerful opportunity to become new again: to choose how you want to put yourself back together. Confusion can be an incredible teacher—how could you ever learn if you already had it all figured out?

This goddess has another interesting attribute, which is, of course, her ride: a crocodile.

Crocodiles are interesting in two ways: Firstly, Stoneberg explains that the crocodile represents our reptilian brain, which is where we feel fear. Secondly, the predatory power of a crocodile is not located in their huge jaws, but rather that they pluck their prey from the banks of the river, take it into the water, and spin it until it is disoriented. They whirl that prey like a dervish seeking God, they use the power of spin rather than brute force to feed themselves.

By riding on this spinning, predatory, fearsome creature, Akhilanda refuses to reject her fear, nor does she let it control her. She rides on it. She gets on this animal that lives inside the river, inside the flow. She takes her fear down to the river and uses its power to navigate the waves, and spins in the never not broken water. Akhilanda shows us that this is beautiful. Stoneberg writes:

Akhilanda is also sometimes described in our lineage like a spinning, multi-faceted prism. Imagine the Hope Diamond twirling in a bright, clear light. The light pouring through the beveled cuts of the diamond would create a whirling rainbow of color. The diamond is whole and complete and BECAUSE it’s fractured, it creates more diverse beauty. Its form is a spectrum of whirling color.

That means that this feeling of confusion and brokenness that every human has felt at some time or another in our lives is a source of beauty and colour and new reflections and possibilities.

If everything remained the same, if we walked along the same path down to the river every day until there was a groove there (as we do; in Sanskrit this is called Samskara, habits or even “some scars”), this routine would become so limited, so toxic to us that, well, the crocs would catch on, and we’d get plucked from the banks, spun and eaten.

So now is the time, this time of confusion and brokenness and fear and sadness, to get up on that fear, ride it down to the river, dip into the waves, and let yourself break. Become a prism.

All the places where you’ve shattered can now reflect light and colour where there was none. Now is the time to become something new, to choose a new whole.

But remember Akhilanda’s lesson: even that new whole, that new, colourful, amazing groove that we create is an illusion. It means nothing unless we can keep on breaking apart and putting ourselves together again as many times as we need to.

We are already “never not broken.” We were never a consistent, limited whole. In our brokenness, we are unlimited.

It’s only after you’ve lost everything that you’re free to do anything. (Fight Club)

This kind of broken freedom, total destruction, rock bottom – things can’t go any further down, so they can only go up mentality really fascinates me. I’ve spent a lot of time in my life at rock bottom, a lot of time with paralyzing, crippling anxiety. Sometimes making a breakthrough to positivity is scary because you are healing, less broken, and you can fall again. You can get hurt again. Being broken has a certain kind of freedom that allows you to learn and grow.

Gender Swap – Experiment with The Machine to Be Another

“interdisciplinary art collective beanotherlab asks ‘what would it be like to see through the eyes of the opposite sex?’, answered through their open source art investigation ‘the machine to be another‘. using two immersive head mounted displays — the oculus rift — the user partakes in a brain illusion, seeing a 3-dimensional video through the eyes’ of the person they face, who follows the former’s movements. designed as an interactive performance installation, the participants engage in an embodiment experience, seeing the other’s body as if it was their own. ‘the performer is someone interested in sharing a story about his/her existence. this role can be assumed by an actor interpreting a real situation, or rather it may be taken by any person who is interested in sharing some episode about his or her life.’, the team say of the project. although this example is an experiment in identity and self-realization, beanotherlab is looking towards using ‘the machine to be another’ the device in the treatment and rehabilitation of people with disabilities”

When you’re never comfortable as yourself, in your body, what would it be like to be able to see through the eyes of another person, to experience a momentary idea of living in a body different than the one you live in every day.

There’s a state of mind that some people experience where they look too long, spend too long watching something, reading something, and connect so solidly with those characters, with that face that they see that they begin to forget where that character ends and they begin. It is a divorced state of reality that some people experience very intensely. This reminds me also of that. How jarring it would be, how heartbreaking it might be to take the visor off and have to look in the mirror again at that face, at that body that you don’t identify with after being able to have seen the thing you could have been and maybe should have been. Is it better or worse afterward, knowing what you’ll never be?

Assignment: Kinetic Type Animation

Description: Create an expressive typographic animation containing verse/lyrics (10-12 lines) of your own writing. the 20 second animation will be exectued using After Effects.

So I went through some old poetry and lyrics looking for something I didn’t hate. I didn’t find much, to be honest. Most of it is either really bad, overly long, or far too short to meet the requirements and I’m not feeling particularly lyrical or poetic lately, so I don’t know what I’m going to do.

Here are the old poems I found that I considered using either parts of or expanding on:

Untitled 1:

Drowning
Abstract lonliness
“Why did you call?”
You’re right. 
I shouldn’t have

Passing
Heartsick emptiness
“In the purely physical sense of things…”
Maybe you’re right…
But I can’t walk away.

Darkening
Mournful Hatred
“I had hopes and dreams before I had you.”
It’s not like I asked to be born.
I’ve tried my hardest…

Disconnected
Endless isolation
“I only want to be around him.”
Maybe that’s how it should be.
I’m part of the rest of the world…

Aren’t I?
(May 1, 2003)

Tanka: Butterfly
(Adding to this would change the format – it was written as a tanka, so I’m not really thrilled about changing it since it was so painstakingly arranged to begin with, but whatever)

Your hands released me
And I flew inside of you
I nested in your heart
Waiting to be reborn
Longing to feel your touch again
(September 23, 2009)

Haiku: Revelations: still reeling

Revelations on
a red-tinted horizon
Halo round a ball
of burning gas. I admit
it, you had me fooled.
(Oct 4, 2009)

Freeverse: Derelict, Distracted

Lazily licking corners of perception
Feline-esque in presentation, and brilliant like the sunrise
It begins,
Drifting in and out of this conscious state of self-awareness

Served up, preformed ideals
and I’m wishing the limits weren’t so tight.
Violent thrashing in heavy pulsation
Beat, pause. beat, pause.
But faster, rushing, strobing frenzy

Volume increase and
left with a stalking feeling.

Receding prey and washed out post-high exhaustion.
October 2009

Unfinished lyrical snippets of various lengths:

1:
More in face, than in name
Take this pride away and let me fall
A gift for one so weary
I surrender
To take the blame
Of this parade
And may the waves just pull me under

These scars so deep that none can see
The truth that lies between you and me.

—-

2:
And all this time spinning round
In circles of my own design
Streamlined screaming of your name
Nothing will ever feel the same

What do I do when the music inside me dies?
When you rip my feet out from under me?

—-

Atroquinine, My Love

Drowning in blue
Drowning in you
Atroquinine poison
Telltale color of your eyes.

15 minutes to love
This bitter taste of you.

I played the fool for you.
Blindly I would fall
Into blue

Never felt the rapture.
Never the release.
These chains in which you hold my heart
Are cutting way too deep

A letter, a name
Nothing ties me to you like the blood in my veins

These chains
Binding my heart
A whisper of release

Your name

Darkness, descent
My words lost
Black on empty white
Illegible by the sun’s light.

Then I have maybe this one piece of prose writing that I could use:

Don’t Ask

“That blood! How did it get there?”
No one asks. No one tells.
“That bruise! Was it from training drills? Did you get into a fight?
No one asks. No one tells.
“Where were you last night?”
“Don’t ask.”

And this that I wrote today, some unfleshed out prose I was working on that I’ll probably never finish. Also under the “lines” requirement and probably won’t work:

“I am a delicate flower.”
“You are strong.”
“I am a perennial.”
“We are coming out of winter now; spring is coming.”

I really have no idea what I’m going to do for this. I’m so frustrated. I used to write so much and now that I need writing, I can’t find anything I’ve done that I want to use.

Urban (dropbox link)

So this is the curatorial project I spent six hours today working on. Ugh.
The assignment was to “curate” an exhibit with four artists including yourself large enough to fill a gallery about the size of our student gallery. I have to present it Monday.

 

4×5 Photography

Assignment: Please research and find 3 photos by 3 different photographers done in large format. Do some outside research about the photograph/er, and write a few sentences as to why you picked these photos. Be creative and try to avoid “traditional landscape” photos or older/more famous photographs – find something somewhat contemporary.

I didn’t exactly follow directions – I tend to go beyond the basic perimeters, especially when looking through a single artists’ work. I have trouble limiting myself to one image if I find three. So here, I have 7 photographs – 3 by Gordon Osmundson (in black and white), one by Matus Kalisky (in color), and three photos that are a sort of triptych by Tommy Oshima (in black and white).

Each has its own reason and although they are all shot with large format cameras, they really do not have much in common other than the sheer detail visible in the works. The black and white pieces play off each other because of the way they play with light, as black and white is wont to do, however the color one is starkly different from the others, if only because it is in color.

All of them call to mind a feeling of abandonment, of being left behind, of a story untold, unknown, or waiting to be discovered.

Gordon Osmundson

Form in Sands


Corta Madera Wye, Larkspur, California, 1973



Light Falls #3, East Ely, Nevada, 1996

  • “n 1996 I made a couple of trips to Colorado, I stopped in Ely both times. On the second trip I went into the machine shop and spent some time inspecting the work being done on the #93 which was being repaired after a head on collision with a runaway flat car on the grade up to Keystone. After doing some photographs in the machine shop, I went through the door into the engine house.

    I was greeted by a stunning sight. It was Friday and the #40 was being steamed up for the next days run. Although the engines smoke stack was under one of the buildings smoke jacks, smoke still curled through the room. In the ceiling of this large dark room were clerestory lites (vertical skylights) running the length of the room. The sun was at such an elevation in the sky that it cast a broad narrow beam down from the clerestory lites. This beam lit up the smoke creating a gossamer curtain of light running the length of the room.

    I looked at this curtain of light and I said to myself “If I can see it, I can photograph it.” The challenge was to work it into a composition. I got my camera and set it up. Next I used a card with a 4×5 hole cut in it to isolate scenes and frame compositions. I worked out a composition looking up into the lites with the curtain of light streaming down toward the camera. Visible through the curtain, the ends of rail cars lurked in the shadows. I did several exposures using both of the Grandagon lenses. In each exposure the curtain was different as the smoke drifted through the room.

    I expected the sun to move and the curtain of light to vanish, but the path the sun took through the sky was mostly parallel to the clerestory and the light held for some time. I had something that seemed, and later proved, to be satisfactory, so now I could take my time in exploring the room and seeing what else could be done. I did several more images from the open isle under the clerestory down the center of the room then walked down between the rotary snowplow and the wrecker with its tender.

    The boom of the wrecker, with its hook hanging down, loomed up on my left. Behind it was another curtain of light from a second clerestory. Space was very tight and the only way to work was with the Grandagons. The whole thing was so overwhelming I had to suspend critical judgement and I shut off my internal dialog. But I didn’t stop working. I have noticed this happen before, if I’m working alone with a productive subject, I find that I just don’t have to think about what I’m doing. I just know what to do and do it instinctively. My awareness of what I’m doing is very acute. I made two compositions one aimed at the body of the wrecker with the boom on the left, the other is the one you see here. It doesn’t have the kind of balanced symmetry I usually strive for, suspended judgement, but the forms are very dynamic. I titled this image “Hook and Boom.”

    With the deep shadows and bright sunlit areas there was a lot of contrast. N-2 development was indicated and this was accomplished in a two solution D-23/Borax developer. I have printed this negative a number of times. At first it was printed medium on #2 Galerie, 1 1/4 minutes Selctol Soft and 1-3/4 minutes Dektol. Then, sometime around early 1997, Ilford made a change in Galerie, a change they will not acknowledge, and it lost about a half to 2/3 of a grade of contrast. I now print this image with two minutes Dektol and no Selctol. The prints get quite a bit of edge and corner burning and the curtain of light above the boom gets burned in slightly.

I chose this work because of the light. I love the way Osmundson works with light, particularly in the second piece. The heavy directional curtain of light is just stunning. I am a fan of industrial and abandoned imagery and there’s something so striking about these three pieces. There is a very nice formal quality to the first piece – the repetition and rhythm in the concrete poles and the detail in the way the light reflects in the water is just incredible.

Matus Kalisky


Sidlisko
Slovakia, Spisska Nova Ves – (west settlement) – photographed from 7th floor.

The aerial perspective on this piece is very unique and fascinating. I always found myself wanting to photograph from my balcony, the simple lives of others as documented in the things I saw below – courtyards, parking structures, bicycles, garbage. The way people leave their environments is fascinating to me and is an evidence of a life. Formally, this piece is quite nicely arranged – the buildings have a nice variation of color and surround the courtyard in a triangular shape which is then crisscrossed with lines in the grass. This is somewhere between a courtyard and a ruin – a playground and a disaster. It seems somewhat unsafe, perhaps, but it reminds me of a memory – a childhood lost through time. It is incredibly striking.

Tommy Oshima



Graffoto (January 2007, Tokyo)
Graflex Speed Graphics+Ektar 127mm f4.7+Polaroid type 55 film

graffoto I:
photographing of a work by an anonymous street photographer

graffoto II:
photographing of a work by an anonymous street photographer

graffoto III:

  • ….I had a chance to come across the “street exhibition” (by the unknown photographer) spot a week later, and found out that it’s still there. Just that there are only 5 shots left on the wall. Nobody knows where the rest has gone.

Random installation art is so fascinating. This simple 4×5 grid of photos – why would an artist choose to place these here? What is the artist saying in these photos? This documentation of this art installation tells us nothing about the installation except that it exists and documents what happens to it over time. Did people take the photographs? What moved them to do so? Did the wind or elements removed them? Where did they go? Did anyone ever find them and wonder why they were there or what they meant or place a personal significance to them? This kind of found item inspires a sort of melancholy in me that I have a sort of guilty pleasure for – the old, the found, the things with histories we will never know. These things drive me and make me wonder and dream. The documentation of such a thing is intriguing. It bears mentioning that this is a 4×5 grid of prints shot with a 4×5 camera – is that a statement, too? How interesting.