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.
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.
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.
The initial consideration for the first six seconds:
Oil and encaustic on board, superimposed with photographs.
Transfers onto mirror card.
Man asleep in a chair on the beach. Burned bus.
Both photographs were taken outside Les Cayes in the South West of Haiti.
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
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
My obsession with measuring time space comes from the earlier discussed artist Roman Opałka and his ‘Counted Paintings’.
Carte de Voyage Detail (2875545 – 2878714),
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
Self-shredding image by Banksy, “Love Is in the Bin,” , 2018
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 :
Following the receipt of a chain of messages, I have started to manipulate and interweave my current painterly work with What’sApp text. The flushing of neon like message mimic the disturbance of my reflections.
Handful of Painterly Dust.
Everything will turn into dust, including my painterly desires and uncertainties.
This is especially true, when re evaluating the hierarchy of needs in reflection to my experiences in Haiti.
Hand gesture tries to stop a painterly process of expression and is gradually replaced by emptyness. The hole shaped as a silhouette of a wine glass, is marked with the anxieties of the past, which have turned into dust.
Map of Progress
I have created the above map of progress to try to find out, where my research journey has taken me so far. It should help me to get things in focus. It has also allowed me to write a list of activities, which I need to finish before moving on with additional lines of enquiry, as follows:
1. Explore references to the designs of Mr Jones watch – I need and I wantI
2. ‘I have time’ video needs to be completed and edited
3. ‘Paintings and Mirror’ video needs to be extended.
4. I have created a range of food videos and should include them in my records.
5. Check and complete a range of reflective accounts, which are currently in a note form.
6. Isolate the element of questioning, while considering the following :
What am I doing?
How can I develop it?
What is the next step?
7. Update references with research into:
I have designed the following Map of Time.
I have time for I have no time for
I have time to I have no time to
This video has just been updated. I am trying to deal with self-reflection in the mirror and the gradual replacement of focus from painting onto reflected image and vice versa.
Refinement 1. Please, observe the inside of the mirror.
Dreaming About A Kettle
Dreaming About Bread
While the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle (HUP) does not mean “there are some things you can never be sure of”, it does imply “you can never be sure of everything.” How can this be? If you can never be sure of everything, doesn’t that mean there are some things you can never be sure of? Surprisingly, no.”
Fundamental certainties of the past have become the greatest uncertainties of the future. The most significant uncertainties of the past have evolved to become almost certain today and definitive tomorrow.
In reflection to my experiences in Haiti, I am experimenting with removing my certainties from the certainly uncertain world there! Through these image manipulations, I am questioning what is uncertain? Can the removal of certainty create anxiety of unpredictability?
My certainties are their uncertainties! I am certain of having a meal and they are never sure of what will happen; what to expect – moment after moment, day after day, year after year.
The world of certainties is totally denied to some unfortunate people, both physically, emotionally and in the sphere of dreams, aspirations and ambitions. Their focus of poverty is completely different, placed on survival rather than luxuries and unnecessary commodities. This is in contrast to the superficial and trivial obsessions of the “Western World”!
I am watching their uncertain world through the “removed” certainty on my afternoon beer.
I am staring with uncertainty at the certainty of my luxury meal. The table is set up and ready, but the food has been
removed. What is on my plate, in the bowl? How am I going to satisfy my hunger for security and thirst for predictability?
Everett argues that we live in a Universe of multiple space-times and each spacetime is governed by Lorenz contraction of time (Barrett, 2011). Therefore time is perhaps the key factor, which forms our perception of certainty and uncertainty. Both feelings belong to parallel yet distinctly different worlds: prosperity and poverty; the arrogance of confidence and hesitant insecurity.
Heisenberg implies that uncertainty is often a result of a measurement (Wiseman, 2012). The act of measuring an object’s position changes its speed or vice versa. Perhaps the real origin is much deeper. The uncertainty principle exists, because everything in the Universe behaves as a particle and a wave at the same time. In quantum mechanics, the exact position and speed of an object have no meaning.
To explore this idea further and visualise this concept, I need to experiment with images by manipulating them into “behaving” simultaneously like a particle and a wave. Particles exist in a single place at any instance in time and waves are disturbances spread out in space.