Dreaming About A Bottle of Milk

The idea for this type of experimentation came through attempting to portray and question the cost of a bottle of milk in Haiti.

4-pint bottle of milk = $16

Average daily family income = $1

I have substantially enlarged images of a milk bottle from a supermarket in Petion Ville (expensive district just outside Port-au-Prince).  These enlargements were later manipulated and collaged to create an A1 size silk screen.

When photographing images on the surface of the screen, I was trying to capture their ghostly and ephemeral feel.  I experimented with back lighting in order to make them look very airy, distant and cloud like. My creative intention was to use these effects as a metaphor for the affordability of this basic product, which is totally out of reach for the typical family.

The dragging of the ink across the surface of the screen implies the brutality and harshness of existence.  The colours are distant and have non-physical properties.  They appear to be out there, far beyond being touchable and obtainable.

Furthermore, the process of screen printing is alternated with pressure hosing of newly developed images.  They are simply washed and blasted away, just before they are given a chance to dry, become permanent and materialise.

My intention was to replicate the process of repetition of slave- like labour – despite all efforts – there is no outcome, no change and no improvement.  Purely, a visual and non-descriptive example of Sisyphus works.  The work is abstract and the only recognisable element is the partially remaining milk label.

The white ink resembles the milk itself.  The blue creates a sense of distance.  The creases and textures visualise the hardship.  There is also a bizarre similarity to water marks on bank notes.  Finally, the use of bar-codes indicates accountability and commercialisation of our contemporary existence.

I would like to continue with this process of experimentation and sandwiching further layers of print and colour. I will also repeatedly wash them off the surface.  I am curious about the extent and stretching of this process.

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Pop-Up Show, Camberwell College of Art, 11.12.2018 at 4.30 p. m.

The show looks very diverse and exciting.  It is such a shame that I was not able to be there for the opening. I also wanted to help with the setting up of the display. However, I was able to see some work by other students.  I really like the opportunity to understand the creative practice of others. There was a good channel of communication via Instagram with regular updates on progress and development.  This gave me a general idea of what type of art is being produced by my peers on the course.

My submission was an animation; an integration of paintings and screen shots from What’s App messages with background sound.

I am really looking forward to the low residency course in February!

Four images of my work on display are below:

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Why Are You Coming Back So Soon…

I have just submitted the following video for a pop up exhibition.

This experimental video is of a series of recently created paintings. The inspiration comes from my experiences in Haiti. I gathered a wide range of primary sources and photographs evidencing my observations and responses to them. The essence of this work is to contradict the rhythm of the painterly process and disturb it with emotional drama inflicted by a long string of messages begging for help and financial assistance. The background narrative – a sexy female voice of a Haitian woman – totally contradicts the drama of the entire situation. She appears to be oblivious to poverty and human struggling. She makes references to her country and the pride of private people. Her vagueness is overwhelming.  The juxtapositioning of the image, the colour of WhatsApp messages and the commentary evokes a totally unreal opposition and clash. It simply etches the intrinsic drama, which is related to the experience of being there and seeing ‘things’.  This is so strange and surreal.

Subsequently, I have booked another trip to go back there at Christmas to revisit the places and refresh my contacts again.

Courful visuals, painterly landscapes, intriguing female voice contrasted with the seriousness of dramatic messages asking for help. I will continue to reflect on this video composition throughout both, the festive season and the forthcoming trip. I am so full of anxiety and fear.

I have also started to feel the impact of ‘reisefieber’ on my well being and my performance at work.

What does the future hold?

Nothing is certain and no one knows.

Waiting For Something To Happen.

I have made further progress with proposals for the last two seconds: 7 & 8.

While layering image transfers and varnishing surfaces in-between with watered down PVA glue, I have developed the idea of continuously applying 60 layers of related imagery onto the surface while thoroughly documenting each stage.  Some intervals are going to be, perhaps, developed further through the use of video and blending.

I have also recently received a bizarre and laconic sound message. The idea is to use this recording as audio track to support those experimentations.

Photographing the work below was not easy.  I had to experiment with several lighting techniques, while documenting the work in progress in the photographic studio.

There are some contact sheets below, which visualise the entire process.

60 seconds equals 60 layers – only 1 minute of waiting. Waiting is used as a metaphor here. The person who is waiting and trapped in the sphere of dreams and hopes is very predictable and safe. Action and response are much more dangerous. They both require bravery and facing failure and disappointment. They require ideas and energy.

Waiting is the new state of being. Waiting for something to happen and change life for better. Waiting, which is passive and effortless, withdrawn; dreaming about change.

On the other hand, waiting can be associated with emotional destress and boredom. This, in turn, can lead to a life of  crime and deviation. When one waits for too long, greed becomes the only option and the ultimate desire.

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Seconds 7 & 8.

I have tried to document the process of developing a set of recent painting ideas for seconds 7 and 8.  I have experimented with layering and using a large number of glazes, robbings and image transfers.  The main focus is on the revealing and distracting the surface in order to achieve an incredible depth to the hue of colours, which sound with harmonious melody.  I will continue to update this post as new developments take place in terms of making progress with the act of painting and discussing my concepts further, using video manipulations and editing.

Comparision of Abundant Spaces

When reviewing my research journey, I have noticed that the view from my lounge window has an astonishing resemblance to a slum outside Port-au-Prince.

It was raining quite badly and the entire valley was covered with a thick layer of condensation and trapped moisture in the air.

The image of Torquay is dark, gloomy, wet and almost monochromatic.

The photograph of Port-au-Prince is highlighted by the hot sun, which emphasises the colours of the environment.

Both were shot roughly at the same time of the day.

I find it very surprising that despite both destinations being densely populated, there is no sign of humans.

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Waiting For A Bit of Colour

The initial consideration for the first six seconds:

Second Refinement.

Oil and encaustic on board, superimposed with photographs.

First Refinement.

Transfers onto mirror card.

Primary Sources.

Man asleep in a chair on the beach.               Burned bus.

Both photographs were taken outside Les Cayes in the South West of Haiti.

Silent Uncertainties

Total silence is perhaps the most appropriate environment for contemplation of uncertainties and a deep reflection on my research question.  Waiting in silence is of significance.  It has also a metaphorical meaning. The absence of sound, as a stimulus, creates a unique atmosphere, expectation and inspires imagination.  I would like to reconsider my previous ideas, which incorporate spoken text with my paintings. My references come from the following thoughts regarding a silent piano concerto titled 4’33”.

John Cage’s 4’33’’, 1952,

 

“Originally we had in mind what you might call an imaginary beauty, a process of basic emptiness with just a few things arising in it. . . . And then when we actually set to work, a kind of avalanche came about which corresponded not at all with that beauty which had seemed to appear to us as an objective.

Where do we go then?  . . . Well what we do is go straight on; that way lies, no doubt, a revelation.  I had no idea this was going to happen.  I did have an idea something else would happen.  Ideas are one thing and what happens another.”

— John Cage, “Where are we going?  And what are we doing?”

(John Cage, 1961 p. 220 – 222)

 

More No Than Yes

I am trying to embrace the true meaning of messages in the voice recordings below, while looking at still images; staring at them, staring, staring…

Why Are You Coming Back So Soon

I Am Thinking About It

I Know It Is A Very Good Project

More No Than Yes

Just The Usual Stuff

It Is A Cultural Thing

I Am Really Confused

60 Seconds of Waiting For Something To Happen.

Following  a considerable amount of research and critical analysis of my own experimentation, I have slowly started to develop a deeper understanding of my creative intentions. My focus is firmly placed on uncertainties of tomorrow in the context of waiting for change. Time is a very important factor in the proposed intervention. My thinking has been extended by Samuel Beckett’s ‘Waiting for Godot’, supported by considerations of several scientific and philosophical theories of being and perception of time space. I am interested in visualising a period of 60 seconds of waiting for something to happen and change.

60 Seconds are insignificant yet, simultaneously they are also a metaphorical milestone in the context of measuring time: 60 seconds becomes one minute, 60 minutes create one hour.

The plan is to create a series of 60 painting explorations inspired by research from my travels and observations of what people are waiting for, their cravings, dreams and desires. I plan to superimpose my painterly interpretations with photographic and, perhaps video pieces, before transferring them onto mirror card.  This process creates a very important element to my project. It evokes the feeling of ambiguity and unreality. The reflective surface forces the viewer to see his own reflection in the context of the broader work. It provokes a deeper reflection on the nature of uncertainties, their meaning, importance and hierarchy.  It proposes the question of what is important and what is insignificant?  It also reinforces what cannot be ignored as you see your own reflection in the problem.

Reflective surface has been widely investigated by a British artist Anish Kapoor through his ‘Blood Mirror’ series.

Stainless steel and lacquer
198.5×198.5×46 cm

My obsession with measuring time space comes from the earlier discussed artist Roman Opałka and his ‘Counted Paintings’.

Carte de Voyage Detail (2875545 - 2878714), 1965

Roman Opalka

Carte de Voyage Detail (2875545 – 2878714),

1965, Medium:Works on paper, Ink on paper

Size:33 x 24 cm. (13 x 9.4 in.)

 

I am also looking at Marc Quinn and his piece titled

No Visible Means of Escape IV, 1996

 

Justine Khamara – Orbital Spin Trick #2, 2103

Justine KHAMARA. 'Looping #3' 2014 (detail)

 

Self-shredding image by Banksy, “Love Is in the Bin,” , 2018

Rehearsal for shredding Girl with Balloon

Finally, I have recently read a novel titled “Hunger” by a Norvegian writer called Knut Hamsun.  Throughout the book, there is an overwehelming sense of total isolation accompanied by craving for food and stomach pains.  THe experience is vivid and almost real.

The project aims to interpret 60 Seconds of waiting in anticipation of a change in the context of broad ranging uncertainties of the future.

Can the presence last forever

Will anything ever change?

Will this process have a positive impact on life?

Will my perception of existence continue to deteriorate, while making reality more and more miserable and unsustainable?

My work will be continuously updated and adjusted in the light of new discoveries and research findings until it becomes a comprehensive and holistic appraisal of human uncertainties of the future in the context of my observations and responses.

The initial experimentations are below :

First Second:

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Second Second

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Third Second

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Fourth Second

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Revisiting And Extending Existing Ideas

Dreaming About Light.  A piece of video experimentation titled ‘Lights coming on and off’, has references to general problems with electricity supply in the provinces and constant, long term power cuts in the capital of Port au Prince.  This idea has been inspired by the Turner Prize winning piece by Martin Creed “The lights going on and off 2000”.

    Martin Creed The lights going on and off

The use of black and white in the piece echoes racial issues in Haiti and its history of slavery, colonialisation and abuse. What remains is the patchines and unpredictablity of power and light

Time has always been of essence in my investigation.  Therefore, I have decided to revisit some of my previous experimentations.  These contradictory statements have been inspired by the thinking of Bruce Nauman.

The narrator simultaneously reads that she has time and has no time.  This has been refined in the following two videos in order to develop my creative intentions further.  The avoidance of direct eye contact is also of significance.  It implies that the narrator is looking up to something, searching for for help from above, perhaps from the sky.  This has also references to long days, which are wasted while waiting for help; for something to happen and change in their lives.