This was another rewarding exercise for my New Media Studio grad program. I’ve never done a sustained series of self-portraits, and being challenged to do so caused me to ponder how to compose these perhaps in a critical and new way (at least for me).
We had been looking at a lot of “selfies” so I decided to take more “anti-selfie” approach: instead of up close, I would far away from the camera. Instead of relying on the gesture of a raised arm with a camera pointed back at me, I decided to use a remote shutter release with a cord. Instead of framing the environment to be about me and my dominance of it, I wanted my presence to instead be awkwardly inserted into environments where people were busy doing other things.
What I call “Intervention Selfies” was born.
I made an 11th meta-selfie with some of the other selfies I did not use. It’s pretty funny – can you find all the me’s? Do you really want to?
I forgot about this video! One of my first “art documentaries” – it gets funnier but not easier. Description below:
Two goofballs from Toronto decide to travel to Montreal and keep a video diary of their exploration of Nuit Blanche 2010, following the “Art Souterrain” route of contemporary art in the subway tunnels and public halls underneath Montreal.
My son and I fooled around with his new Windows phone and the “Symphony” photo app. This capture technology is a trend right now across many mobile platforms of producing a sort of half-photo, half-video looping clips. We ended up making a rather creepy series of carving and eating a mango.
I enjoyed the stresses and pushing, pulling of animating parts of the picture and leaving others static. Unfortunately, like most of Microsoft’s approach to apps, my control of the process is limited and the process plays out like a meek multiple choice that seemed more like a bad focus group result than a robust tool. Also, there was no way to export the result as a stand alone movie which is a troubling trend – these social app platforms are determined to keep the user and their content inside a “walled garden”. They want you to purchase their software to view your friends content.
So I filmed the sequences playing on the Windows Phone screen with my iPhone 4s and put it together with iMovie :) I like the degradated and shaky quality of this process and the audio I accidentally captured transferring the footage in this manner.
Update: my son has the original footage for the project, so it may appear again in a different presentation and in more pristine quality. I’d like to show them all in chronological order and simultaneously, both in a space and on a web page.
Continuum & Subtle Technologies are partnering and both have in common a keen interest in smart people doing smart but unexpected things resulting from cross-discipline collaborations. The resulting project is called “collide” and some of the most interesting people from across Canada are participating in it – and many of these individuals were in attendance at a fundraising party at Gallery 345 in my old haunt of Parkdale Village.
Being manned here in the art outpost of central Hamilton, I promised myself I would make it to more events in Toronto and I was glad to make it to this – especially since Subtle Technologies’ Jim Ruxton has moved into my neighbourhood and I am presenting hounding him for a podcast interview.
Finally, I managed to see inside the space at 345 Sorauren Avenue I was also very happy to run into Jack Butler, and Susana & Claire from Circuit Gallery, among others.
Below are some photos & a video clip of a performance that evening: Percussionist Ryan Scott performing Erik Griswold’s “Spill.
Look forward to seeing the results of this project!
*update: I’ve added a stand-alone montage version of the work. The instructions below are for viewing each slide individually.
1) Click on the first (top left) thumbnail below to enter fullscreen slideshow mode
2) Scroll (to the right) through the slideshow until you reach the end of the path. Get comfortable: there are 170 slides, including the entry and the eventual destination.
3) You can of course jump in and out anywhere along the path you choose, at any time, but then you might miss the journey inside the experience.
It is important to note that this work is entirely captured, rendered and output through a mobile device and on location during one session.
For me, there are several classical and contemporary themes in the work, such as: the supernatural; a formal approach to landscape; a questioning of political / social issues involving digital topographical mapping; a spiritual journey reflecting on death. There are many other contemplations that are evoked for me when I engage the work, and hopefully there will be for the viewer as well.
I enjoy the compositions of the shadows and the rocks, as well as the idea of a digital shadow cast on real objects through a challenging process of documentation for both the tools and the artist. The stresses of this effort on the image and the human traces archived in the process are a very important part of the production philosophy for me. I welcome comments and questions in the discussion field below where this conversation can continue.
Why exhibit online?
This series works well online I think through the intimacy of scrolling through the series of horizontal based documentation. I enjoy the ideas of creating a work while mobile and exhibiting almost immediately after production, without interference or influence – qualities in art which are actually rare to achieve and I believe warrants further practice.
Though much worthwhile art only works online, this particular show would translate well to a physical exhibition environment and I hope to mount multiple instances of Mountain Path around the world. Please contact me if you are interested in a hosting an edition/ installation of this work.
MOUNTAIN PATH (2013)
Here’s a sneak peek at the 2 editions of 25. These are part of my generative optical series of group functions in public spaces. These two are “anon protest 1″ and “anon protest 2″, and feature a march as landscape and the police presence as another landscape. Confused yet?
There is precious little information on the back to identify me as the artist, but the title, date is there and I hand initialed and numbered them. I’ll be leaving them in various places along James Street N through out Friday and Saturday, hopefully without anyone seeing – you know, the anonymous reference in the title – and I truly don’t expect many if any to survive beyond a quick glance and then thrown out. But maybe, just maybe, someone will find one and search for info on the net and find this post … Please let me know if that is you. Bonus: finding one of each edition for a complete diptych.
P.s – yes, part of the text on the back is censored. I won’t explain any further but to say it acts as another layer adding statistical improbability to decoding this work entirely. Also looks kinda cool.
This past week I wrapped up a 10 day long project at the Visual Fringe (Festival) in Toronto. That was never in doubt. However, the evolvement of the space towards an eruption of collaborative work and the resulting potential for social / civic research was quite … unpredictable.
So, Dawn Buie and I decided to put up our own work in half the tent and that was that. I was super happy to be asked to participate and really had not been exhibiting much outside group shows and curating things.The price was right for the tent below, but then I learned a few months ago that we had to take down and pack away our stuff everynight – and to be prepared to have to move from tent to tent.
So that kinda nixed my idea to show some of my digital prints – not the right venue both practically and conceptually for this aspect of my studio work. But this was the Fringe Festival and, to my delight, I also learned that the “artist alley” was in the bar area and that lots of people come through.
These are fun – kinda a cross between a maquette and a Rorschach ink spot test. Fitting as these project is about the physiological impact of a certain image masquerading as science, which fits so much of the media imagery that bombards us everyday. Anyways, I really have no idea what to expect from this, other than there are many people who will pass by. It’s odd to be exhibiting again, but odder with work that is outside of what I have been working on for the last year – as always, I just don’t feel that ready. Even after 10 years. So I brought some prints in a portfolio just in case someone asks ….
My collective, socialMFA, is participating in the Visual Fringe Festival, Toronto, July 4-14th. Above is a preliminary research study for the project.
Please complete our survey so we can better develop a volcano that expresses your individualityhttp://tinyurl.com/82o696n
Future (Ozymandias), video still, 2010
A 43 minute unnarrated reality documentary of a performance art work at the annual art and music festival in Hamilton, Ontario. @ Supercrawl 2011
Last night was the opening for Andreanne Hudon‘s THE WALL OF SQUIRREL at culturshoc gallery – a terrific series of sculptures of 32 individually crafted squirrel heads on hunting plaques that references the myth of the big game Canadian wilderness.
As curator and social media and the arts guy, I was concerned that our new and small gallery on Queen Street West does not have the critical mass of members yet to provide satisfactory numbers of attendees to an opening of an emerging out-of-town artist. As any marketer worth their branded salt will tell you – this is not a problem but an opportunity.
So I decided to make a performance out of the evening, to attract new people and to create media to use in the promotion of Andreanne and my gallery in the future. After all – is media not the most valuable assets of exposure for an artist? It is if you are concerned with grants and applying for exhibits for a living.
Anyways, it has always been fun here to have sort of impromptu fashion shoots with friends and visitors, so I decided to offer “free photo portraits with art” – a takeaway value for participants. I even stood on the street corner with a camera beside our sandwich board sign and asked people walking to come in. Afterwards we offered them a drink and a snack and they hung out. A group of friends smoked in front of the gallery, adding to the interest and spectacle of the show and event.
I met some really interesting artists and people! I also frightened some people – maybe they thought I was a freelance porn producer. I learned that a technique to say “no” is to “yes, ok” but keep walking. But generally, I had little trouble in obtaining individuals, couples and groups to stop in. I set up an old projector to light the wall work strongly from one side and this contrasted nicely with the natural lighting from the front windows.
Some people hung out and bought stuff from our boutique in the back. I gave a card to each participant and told them they could download their portraits off of our facebook group – our page has resulted in spike of memberships and activity, and these photos are popular already. Which is good for Andreanne, and good for the gallery. Oh, and my ego.
This supports my assertion that the best method for social media marketing for arts and culture with local relevance is to meet people and shake hands. Please find some photos of strangers below.
This is like hypnotoad for artists.