1. On Managing Creative Content - Artists & the Archive
How do artists engage with the archive as a basis for making art, and as a means of keeping art?
Examine ways to create an online profile as an artist using methods & web technologies to both promote creative work and preserve it.
Artists & the Archive
This has become a "hot" topic in recent years, although it has always been something that artists have engaged with in different ways. How do artists engage with the archive as a basis for making art, and as a means of keeping art?
Over the next couple of weeks we will work on a project involving the documentation of your own work, and you will be considering the use of the archive in your own work.
Here's a brief intro to just a few of the many artists that have engaged with the archive over the past 100 years...
Duchamp's Boîtes en Valises
Joseph Cornell's assemblages & films
Ubuweb - http://www.ubu.com/film/cornell.html
Fluxus Artists' "fluxkits", scripts and scores for performances
Mike Parr et al. - Inhibodress - a sarcastic article with some history of Inhibodress can be found here:
Sophie Calle & Susan Hiller - installations in the Freud Museum
Ilya Kabokov's Russian apartment art & "ropes" installation
Lyndal Jones' The Prediction Pieces at MCA archive and the At Home series documented as part of my PhD project
Yann Le Guenec's destruction of the archive - Le Catalogue
The "New Aesthetic" - what is this?
Can anyone think of other contemporary examples? The show at MUMA - Liquid Archive for example...
Your second Assessment Task is a project that involves the documentation of your own work. Discuss the task brief available at this link - Assessment Task 2- Managing & Documenting Creative Content.
You are already undertaking part 1. Process by documenting your creative practice using your blog. If there is time today, you can begin working on part 2 - the Artist's Statement:
Write a brief artist statement about your self and your creative practice. Focus on who you are and what you do. Research is useful here to see how other artists present themselves. You will find many examples online, or at any exhibition you might attend. Tone and style of the statement also say something about you.
Here are some useful online articles about writing an artist statement:
You may complete the artist's statement as homework and either place it on your blog as a Post, or create a static Page (or use the default "About" page to place this content) - we will look at how to do this in class. I will also ask that you save the text in a document that you can them add the other parts of this task as we work through them.
2. Watch: Hashima by Carl Michael von Hausswolf & Thomas Nordanstad & Lunch Break by Sharon Lockhart
Carl Michael Von Hausswolff & Thomas Nordanstad - Hashima (2010) - http://vimeo.com/4557534
Carl Michael von Hausswolff is a composer, visual artist and curator based in Stockholm, Sweden. His main tools are recording devices (camera, tape deck, radar, sonar) used in an ongoing investigation of electricity, frequency, architectural space and paranormal electronic interference. He is an expert in the work of Friedrich Jürgenson, electronic voice phenomena (EVP) a researcher who claimed to have detected voices of the dead hidden in radio static.
Hausswolff is co-monarch (with Leif Elggren) of the conceptual art project The Kingdoms of Elgaland-Vargaland (KREV), all areas of no-man's land, territories between national boundaries on both land and sea, digital and mental spaces. This nation has its own national anthem, flag, coat of arms, currency, citizens and ministers.
Thomas Nordanstad is a Swedish filmmaker and artist. Nordanstad’s work has been shown at a wide range of museums and art institutions such as the 2nd Moscow Art Biennale and Musee d’art moderne de la ville de Paris, His documentary film work has also been featured and received awards in several International film festivals, and he has produced a range of documentaries for the Swedish National Broadcast Corp.
Hashima is an uninhabited Japanese island near Nagasaki (The island was populated from 1887 to 1974 as a coal mining facility). It is also known as Gunkanjima (battleship island) because it looks like a battleship floating on the sea. The island is increasingly gaining international attention not only generally for its modern regional heritage, but also for the undisturbed housing complex remnants representative of the period from the Taishō period to the Shōwa period. It has become the frequent subject of discussion among enthusiasts for ruins. Von Hausswolff's video is a "hauntology" of sorts. it shows
Documentary about the Island - http://www.myspace.com/video/thomas-nordanstad/hashima-island-of-grief-widescreen/4368126
Sharon Lockhart - Lunch Break (2009) - http://www.ubu.com/film/lockhart_lunch.html
As one of the very few contemporary artists equally talented and influential in both still photography and cinema, the work of Sharon Lockhart (b. 1964) has engaged a rich and fascinating dialogue between two media whose deep affinities are all too often misunderstood. Lockhart's early work drew frequent inspiration from the Seventies art cinema canon so central to her aesthetic, restaging key emotional moments into abstractly theatricalized tableaux, from the first kiss of French school children in Truffaut's Stolen Kisses (1968)-reimagined in Auditions (1994), her enigmatic serial portraits of Los Angeles youth-to the defamiliarization of late Cassavetes in her short film, Khalil, Shaun, A Woman Under the Influence (1994).
Favouring a static camera, and dynamic mise-en-scène that plays with depth and surface and renders ambiguous the distance between theatrical and natural gesture, Lockhart's subsequent film work balances its polished, high art aesthetic and formal rigor with a keen and politically astute ethnographic attention to its arresting and markedly "foreign" subjects-the Japanese small town girls basketball team in Goshogaoka (1998) and the largely indigenous population of a tropical Brazilian hamlet in Teatro Amazonas (1999). Using nonprofessional actors these two films make bold, unexpected use of the overtly theatrical space of the basketball court and the lavish titular opera house to discover cinematographic majesty and mystery within the everyday.
With her latest work, Lunch Break (2009), and its companion piece, Exit (2009), Lockhart's cameraturns upon her native New England, using an iron works in Maine to offer an arrestingly tactile vision of the rhythm and space of labor in the 21st century. The Harvard Film Archive is pleased to welcome back Sharon Lockhart for the opportunity to discuss her latest work and two seminal early films. (text from Ubuweb - http://www.ubu.com/film/lockhart.html).
Questions/concepts to respond to in your blogs
Consider the way these video pieces have been filmed - the time and the space are important factors in both videos. What are your impressions?
Watching these works from online sources is not really the way they were intended to be viewed. Think about how these pieces would look in a gallery space.
3. Wordpress Blog - Customising the Interface: adding a Blogroll (Links), custom Menu and static Pages
Today we will continue setting up the Wordpress.com blog. Remember to refer to the Wordpress user guide at:
Handy notes to help you remember how to get around your blog:
To Log In
Go to http://wordpress.com to log in to your blog or go directly to http://yourblogname.wordpress.com and find the Meta/Admin Login link on your blog homepage. Hopefully you have remembered your username and password. If you forget, you can get a password reset sent to your email address.
To Find the Dashboard (Admin Area)
If you don't go directly to your blog Dashboard - which is the place where you manage your blog (add/edit/delete content), go to your username at the top-right corner of the black Wordpress menu bar at the very top of your browser window. Roll over your username and you should see a list of your blogs appear in a drop-down list. Roll over the blog and another drop-down menu should appear with a link to the "Dashboard". Select this link and you should be there.
To View your Blog
If you want to view how your blog will look to other users visiting your site, then you can just click on the name of your blog at the top-left corner of the black Wordpress menu bar at the very top of your browser window.
These options should always be accessible to you if you are logged into Wordpress. Sometimes it can happen that you lose where you are and need to go back to the Dashboard or the Blog public view.
To Add a New Post
There are many ways to reach the Add New Post interface:
- Roll over the blog name at the top-left corner and select New -> Post
- Roll over your username at the top-right corner and select yourblogname -> New Post
- If you are in the dashboard area, just select Posts / New Post from the menu at the left-hand side of the page
To Add Images to your Blog Post
When you are at the interface to add a new post, you will see a small button under the "Add Title" field which is labelled "Add Media". This button will open a new overlayed interface that will allow you to upload one or more images at once. You may also select one as the "Featured Image" which appears in the summary view of blogs. If you have trouble adding media, get some help from me, and try the step-by-step guide on this page:
Ignore the first part of this page about a widget called Zemanta (unless you want to try it), and scroll down to the part titled Add your own images. This section will show you how to do it. The interface in their guide is the old interface - they obviously haven't updated the images yet, but the principal is the same. You need to have your images ready on a USB stick, hard disk or on the computer itself. You then select the ones you want to add and Wordpress will upload them.
Once uploaded, you can add titles, captions etc, and tweak how they will appear in your blog post. This is often one of the trickiest parts of Wordpress, so you may need to practice doing it a few times to really feel comfortable with it. Just ask for assistance with anything that's not working for you.
Don't be afraid to experiment!
if something doesn't work you can always edit it or delete it and try again.
In your Dashboard, you will see a menu item titled Links. This is where you add the URLs for your classmate's blogs (and any others you might want to add too). When your links are a list of other blogs, it is known as a Blogroll.
You also need to make sure you have the Links Widget in your sidebar somewhere otherwise the links won't appear in your blog. You can customise the title for your Links Widget in the Widget area.
Static Pages & Custom Menu
In your Dashboard, you will see a menu item titled Pages. Remember I have discussed the difference between Posts and Pages in previous weeks. Pages allow you to develop static content that is not part of the chronological Posts feature. You will probably have a default Page titled "About". you can edit this or delete it and create as many static pages as you like.
However, depending on your Theme, your Pages may not appear on your blog automatically unless you place them there. A common way to do this is via creating a Custom Menu.
In your Dashboard, find the Appearances menu item, and select Menu to create a custom menu. The interface here may differ depending on your Theme, but the main steps you need to do to make a custom menu are:
1. Add a new custom Menu and give it a name.
2. Make sure your custom menu is selected in the Theme Locations area.
3. Add relevant Pages to your Menu & organise your Menu so that everything is in the right order.
4. Save the Menu and see how it appears in your blog. You may have to tweak this widget a lot to get it to appear in the way you want.
You may also note you can add external links and categories to your menu. You may also have multiple menus which may be displayed in more than one theme location depending on your theme layout.
4. Show me your blog
I will come around and review everyone's blogs towards the end of class today. I want to see your interface layout, and the content you have started to enter such as responses to the videos shown in class, and examples of your own work.