“Pretty Vacant: The Photographic Allure of Canada’s Abandoned Motels”
I post these photos on instagram.com/christopherjhealey
“Pretty Vacant: The Photographic Allure of Canada’s Abandoned Motels”
I post these photos on instagram.com/christopherjhealey
This is the second in new series of 11 artist interviews I conducted earlier this year I’ve titled “a new space; artists and social media”. You can learn more about this project at http://artistsandsocialmedia.tumblr.com/
Alison Snowball is an artist based in Toronto. I met Snowball in 2010 while we were both conducting gallery space projects in the Parkdale neighbourhood and had recently seen mention of her Chalk Form Census (http://alisonsnowball.com/art/chalk-form-census/) and TWEETHIS: An Art History Paper in 361 Tweets (http://alisonsnowball.com/art/tweethis-an-art-history-paper-in-361-tweets/) on Facebook. This was only one of two interviews in the project conducted in person.
This is the first in new series of 11 artist interviews I conducted earlier this year I’ve titled “a new space; artists and social media”. You can learn more about this project at http://artistsandsocialmedia.tumblr.com/
(there is some sound degradation in parts due to audio feedback. my apologies for this).
Oglander is an emerging artist who recently moved to Brooklyn, New York and in many ways represents the fulfilment of the promise of instant fame and recognition that social media holds for many artists. His project, Craigslist Mirrors (http://craigslistmirrors.com), was started in late 2013 and almost immediately found by renowned art critic Jerry Saltz (https://twitter.com/jerrysaltz) who posted links to it on his Twitter and Facebook accounts.
Ok I can’t find my projector power cord. My “pocket” projector that I ordered off amazon.
It’s the cheapest, weakest knock off plastic calculator of a mini projector ever but it’s priceless right now.
Performance tomorrow. This is what I got this portable doohickey – but I put off looking for the cord until today because I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to find it.
So I planned and gathered all other materials. Lights, attire, media, papers and people with a plan. The projector was sitting right in front of me – I just *assumed* the projector power cord was close by.
Gah. I spent four hours rumaging for it. House is under renovations because it’s a shitty house because I’m an artist who works in intervention performance art with multi-media components like a cheap hand held projector and things I bought at a dollar store.
Dust, Mystery cords that don’t fit. pulling papers and a flashlight in the attic full of pre-renovation stuff like the cord for this projector.
(Also pressing present pressure of having to finish reading 50 fucking pages of Nietzsche’s Use/Abuse of History for one my courses. How did it come to this?)
There is no one here I can enlist to for manual search help. Shoulders and temper both tweaked so I stop.
Research immediate replacements; closest is via kajiji at some guy’s house two hours through Toronto. I would have to rush out at 5pm, through the GTA, and buy this second hand and more expensive version. Then I would have to drive back into Hamilton and prepare everything.
The seller informed me it was already sold.
Why don’t the big box stores carry them? Some do but they are high end.
I see “universal adapters” for sale at these places, but my device
may be is probably propriety in it’s size.
I have to keep turning my system on and off to re-install drivers. The newest ones from the video card manufacturer’s site is literally crashing my system when I try to install that.
I need my system to edit the video footage central to the media element of this work.
Ok. I am now considering not doing the performance. I read the last 50 pages of Nietzsche’s epic 18th century blog post.
Feeling refreshed several hours later, I decide to install some special viewer software on my PC for another class assignment so I can interact with a special virtual world project. This will be a significant studio experience throughout my program.
It won’t install because my of my video card and window 8 and yadda yadda.
I might replace the projector element with another iphone and the same media element. To establish a logical relationship between the symbols and behaviour within the work.
I’ve re-downloaded various drivers and even another version of the software. I think I may actually need to get a new system if I don’t want to live in the program’s computer lab. There is going to be some epic virtual studio work and collaborations happening with this platform.
But not on my four year old computer.
Or a mirror. Maybe actually just a mirror instead of projection, but not clear to everyone around perhaps.
Upgrading to a new system right now is a terrible time and resource wise. My shit is packed or piled and there’s dust and damp smell everywhere here. We used to have a Mac which would of run this thing but it got stolen a few months ago.
But then again, the indifference in public is part of the performance practice, so that still works.
Knock on the door. Basement guy appointment I made three weeks ago. Ok.
One hour later I am alone and again feeling better about my performance work re-jig. I was also already going to have a camera recording of my POV, so it’s the media is the frame of this work, the performance is the content. I also remembered I was going to run the video through google’s face-blurring software so I’m excited again. The final cut might look on this thing.
We have to get another computer – we’re both working more than full time hours. I have to buy a mac so I can keep hitting the ground running, or something like that.
And it’s going to hurt because this whole production is way over budget already and hasn’t made a cent. My pride is about be cannibalized by my avarice for monumental art.
I’ll keep the audio raw though, as usual. People say the darnedest things when the consultant walks by, chasing after his own reflection.
I really wish I just found the stupid cord.
I hope I find the cord. There’s no equivalent in the school’s A/V inventory.
It’s 2 a.m. now and I’m no farther ahead except for fifty pages. They were actually a really great 50 pages though.
Got to be at a paying gig at 9am.
I have to attach two iphones to the wire frame of a catcher’s mask tomorrow after work. I plan to use string and need to remember to clear media memory on it.
I hope this works.
Everything is equal weight right now and it’s all on my shoulders.
When I get my shoulder’s fixed, I am going to throw out half of the crap in the basement and attic.
And I’m going to do a performance with the portable projector cause that fucking cord is here somewhere.
I’ve been doing text in paintings for several years now. It’s changed a lot over that time but I’ve always like the freedom of working in this area between representational and abstract, as many do. It was a chance to slip into formalism and automatic painting without losing the conscious context, the connection of the subject matter. For me, the act and object of the painting is inseperable from the meaning and narrative of the text itself. They are but more personal than Truisms, more stories about me and the painting process. Kinda like tweets as paintings before Twitter existed! Haha.
This series was not exactly well received by all, but maybe those people failed to read between the lines. Those who liked these tended to like them a lot. and when I realized these paintings kept people’s attention at least as long as it took to read them. Hmmm… so I started to make very large, dense text narratives (will post when I find an image) and that challenged some and quickly discouraged others. Ah, I’ve always loved audience analytics…
I’ve got a new series of text paintings (on hold like all my other studio work) that I am really excited about. In the meantime, here’a few of my early favourites of these series. Sorry about the quality of the images, but often for artists poor documentation is all we are left with.
From Feb 13, 2013 in Ajijic, Jalisco, Mexico.
This is a work I am experimenting with by presenting it as an “Online Exhibit”. Though there is nothing new or experimental by having an exhibit of digital works on the web, I wanted to show the work in many different forms (i.e. photos, slideshow, collage, movie) on many different platforms (Blog, YouTube, physical gallery space) throughout 2013.
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.
You can see the original posting with the work as a series of photos and a collage at:
Please join me during Art Crawl night on James Street North for my new show of photo based prints based on local skyscapes. These are selected works from my Hamilton series focusing on industrial emissions in the city – but pretends what we are seeing is actually Greek Mythology. Below is part of the exhibit statement: ~ Chris
“According to the poet Alcman, Aether was the father of Ouranos, the god of the sky. While Aether was the personification of the upper air, Ouranos was literally the sky itself, composed of a solid dome of brass.”
“After Cronus was born, Gaia and Uranus decreed no more Titans were to be born. They were followed by the one-eyed Cyclopes and the Hecatonchires or Hundred-Handed Ones, who were both thrown into Tartarus by Uranus. This made Gaia furious. Cronus (“the wily, youngest and most terrible of Gaia’s children”), was convinced by Gaia to castrate his father. He did this, and became the ruler of the Titans with his sister-wife Rhea as his consort, and the other Titans became his court.”
As an industrial city and port, Hamilton has a particular relationship with the sky, earth, fire and water. It’s an elemental dynamic that is always at play, and that makes for a sweeping and majestic landscape. This primal yet manufactured visual is reminiscent of Greek mythology, and prompted me to dissociate elements of what I was seeing, and to re-frame them as scenes from classical stories. The hubris, struggle and morality lessons of creation mythology are an apt commentary of a Hamilton in a state of identity crisis: The titans borne of industry and their older world status are being challenged by a younger, cleverer community. It’s a grand philosophical battle that is reflected in the devastated areas of the urban core and in the physical manifestation of our relationship with the sky.
Formally, since moving to Hamilton late in 2010 my process has been greatly influenced by the built heritage, community relationships / history with industry and the perceptions of Hamilton from both inside the community and outside of it. This series of work, outside of my usual practice of drawing and painting, is my first exploration of digital print based media.
Through digital photography and layering techniques, these prints are a perspective of landscape as environment of cloud, air and emissions. A familiar and often documented fixture in the Hamilton community, as well as many other communities, smoke stacks are universally symbolic of industry, environment and politics.
In this series, I am attempting to focus past these common discourses and formally examine the ephemeral and displaced characteristics emissions of steam / vapour / smoke without it’s architectural source or other visual clutter. It can be argued this moment of shape and process is a valid, important and beautiful part of our visual community landscape as any building or geological feature – especially if we remove it entirely of our own bias and associative meanings of it’s practical function and effects.
Can the shapes and movements of emissions transcend preconceived notions of industry and be accepted as a natural part of our immediate environment?
These careful studies ask this absurd question by de-contextualizing the natural and the manufactured as a process of artificially homogenizing multiple images. The result is series of very soft, subtle fields that are both familiar and strange, encouraging study and contemplation.
173 James Street North
Media Contact: Christopher Healey