Week 15: Final Touches

This is our final meet up as the assessment is due tomorrow.  On Friday the boys changed the orientation of the whole work, flipping it so that the paper came from a different corner.  They did this to try and fix the problem we have with the messiness the projector brings into the work by being on the floor, so they moved it to a wall to at least hide the power cords and put a sheet over the top.  The problem with this was that even though it helped with the projection issue, the table still looked very ugly and you could see the projector clearly under the table.  As well as this, the actual projection was right next to the table and so the audience couldn’t move around between the ‘book’ and the table.  We spoke to Jo and she agreed that it wasn’t as immersive orientated this way as it was before, so we decided to move it back.  Jo also suggested that we should try and make the window animate slightly to give the perception of time passing there.  We started with the setup while Sam and Sonny went to buy a few knickknacks to adorn the table with as well as white spray paint to colour them to match.  They found a few photo frames and small glasses which we painted white.  When we started to rearrange everything we decided that we would still have the projection issue, so we decided to try on of the electronic photo frames at the bottom of the paper.  It still had a power adapter, but it was much easier to disguise than the whole projector.  We decided that it actually looked quite good and related back the television that we used in the second week.

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We then spent a lot of time ironing the sheets to cover the furniture and making the paper trails while I tried to animate the photo.  I was going to try and change the sky and a few parts of the plant in the photo to look like they were moving.  I began by editing it in Photoshop and separating the layers.  I copied the section onto a new layer with each element and then opened it in After Effects, however because I had copied the element instead of cutting it, the background image remained the same so it didn’t work.  I went back into Photoshop, this time cutting the element onto a new layer, but I had further problems as the window had a very defining fly screen which made the selection process almost impossible.  It was very difficult to do and I wasn’t very optimistic as to how it would turn out when Chloe suggested that there was an app you could use on your phone that could add animated leaves, rain etcetera onto an image.  I looked it up and found a very basic application, which at first I declared useless as it cropped the photo into a square and watermarked the video and we were looking at falling leaves, but they were falling inside the window, not outside.  However, I realised that if I made the image very small in Photoshop and then opened it in the app we could still have it at the correct orientation and remove the watermark, which I did.  It still looked very ordinary so I decided to put a black image into the app and place the filter we liked – a light leak – over it and then I put the image and the video into Premiere and changed the opacity of the filter so that the effect overlaid the image.  I then had to play around with the cropping and mirror the image but it actually ended up looking quite good.  We put the video up and I had to play with the scale again after testing it, but eventually it looked quite good.

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We then set up the paper and the furniture, which went well and it looked good.  We had one left over cut-out sheet left so we decided to put it in one of the frames.  Steph then had the idea to put the cut out words into the other frame, which we did and they contrasted each other really well as we purposely used a black background.  We also installed another red light to brighten the scene.  Finally we just played around with the positioning of the furniture and decided what to do with the remaining words.  We eventually decided to drop the words on the floor as though they had been spilled, this caused us to think about smashing one of the glasses as though it had been knocked over in a hurry.  We broke the glass and arranged it on what would have been a coffee table next to a single lounge chair, it contained some of the works and the rest spilt down onto the floor.  I was worried that it just looked like a pile of paper, so we created another three miniature streams of paper that came out of the other slanted glass and went out to the wall.  The paper on the floor was then strewn out next to the table between the broken glass and the undamaged one, rather than being in the middle of the piece.  We decided that this was the final touch as we were all really happy with it!

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Week 14: Group Meet Up

This week we wanted to solidify as much as we could so we didn’t have a huge amount to do on Monday.  We began by setting everything up again, without the paper trail.  Sonny had created a poem from a story his grandfather told him about coming to Australia to use as our written story.  We came up with the concept of having the story on the paper to better showcase that the story was going from words to the actual physical room surrounding it.  We worked on this throughout the day, but eventually we came up with the concept of printing it on the stronger paper and then cutting out certain words from each sheet so that the paper was filled with missing words.  We wanted to use the cut-out words but we hadn’t deeded how to yet.  We also spoke to Glenn about how we should set up the projector for the typing video, he said that it couldn’t be mounted on the ceiling so we would have to have it on a tripod on the floor.  We put it to the left of the paper, hidden under a sheet-covered table, rather than in front or behind as we felt that it would disrupt the trail of paper or the position you should be in to read the projection.  The problem with this was that we had changed the orientation of the video, which turned out to be a very difficult problem to rectify as whenever I tried to change it, it would warp the footage and it wouldn’t look right.  I said I would work on it on the weekend and the boys were going to come in the following day to play around a bit more and finish the paper with the letters so they would ask Glen how he would fix it.

We just have to install/recreate the paper on Monday and set up everything properly and we should be done!

Study Recess: Supplementary Workshop

We decided to come in during the Study Recess to further improve our work.  Our main objectives for this week were to rearrange the furniture to maximise the space and make it more interactive as well as making sure the concept behind our work was clear.

We didn’t re-do the paper this week as we had to dismantle everything at the end of the lesson, but to make it more interactive and easier to move around, we are going to move the trail of paper out.  To link the paper and the room, I suggested that we should have a book at the bottom of floating paper and it could be a representation of the book pages we are exploring coming to life.  Chloe had the images of the window so we began installing a projector and working out how to arrange the furniture around where the projection would be.  We placed the door in the corner, with furniture on either side and in front of it.  The window then sat to the left of the door.  We thought it looked great, but was very big so we had to scale down the image so it was in proportion to the rest of the space.  I then edited the image so that it was only the window and its frame (as it had the wall on some sides of the images).  We also tried projecting an image of Chloe’s dining table to see what it would look like but unfortunately it just looked like an image on the wall rather than a portion of the space like the window.  We played around with different kinds of furniture including a single and double lounge chairs, but when we put them all together it felt like a lounge room that just didn’t suit the space.  We also tired hanging a plastic chair from the ceiling (which was shown to us as inspiration), it looked okay, but it didn’t really suit the message we were trying to portray and just felt a bit unnecessary.  We decided to use the door, the coffee table and the single double chair – but we’re meeting next week to finalise this.  At this stage we don’t have any screens, this wasn’t a definitive decision, but with the two projections it might not be necessary, but we may include one static television to add to the feeling of a deserted place with no reception.

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Rough production shot as we didn’t have a final presentation. The blue projection is where the window is located.

We then received feedback, which was basically that the message was good, but we needed to reinforce it a bit further as it wasn’t really clear.  The biggest question was what book we were going to use – which we hadn’t decided.  Chloe suggested that we could project something onto the pages at the bottom, and for today we could practice with the video we made in the first week.  We started to work on this to see what it would look like, Sonny and David starting researching what we could put on the pages, while the rest of us started setting up the other projector.  We set up a Qumi Projector but we couldn’t get it to work, so we decided to go back to a big projector.  Glenn has a device that is basically a miniature computer that we plugged into the projector to play the video, but the device hadn’t been updated in months and it didn’t have a video playing program so we had to wait for it to download and update.  It took such a long time that we had to pack up and uninstall in the meantime as we had run overtime, so there was no point in us waiting as we didn’t have anything to project onto.  Glenn said he would have it all ready for us and we will test it next week when we meet up (after the second years have presented their assessments).  We also will work on the text this week so we didn’t pick it in a hurry and it is the right choice for us.

Week 13: Presenting Your Work

This is the final week for our classes.  Our plan this week is to settle on a work we are happy with and then jam with that until the assessment is ready/due.  We were much happier with the work we produced last week so we wanted to build on that.  We decided to break up into smaller groups to get everything done.  David and Sonny were going to put together better videos for us to install in the assessment and were going to experiment with the smaller/frame-like screens.  Chloe had an idea that we should have flying/hanging paper coming out from the floor with the furniture surrounding it so she started creating that.  Steph, Sam and I cleaned up the area we were working in and then started jamming with the space, with the idea of having Chloe’s paper trail in the middle.  Sam found a door that we could use, we put a cardboard box on top of a plinth to try and disguise it and we used a small coffee table.  Chloe started to set up the paper so we then started to set up the lightning.  We put a red light to the right of the paper so it would cast a shadow on the wall.  We decided that it needed to be more vibrant so we put another red light up.  Once all the paper was up we decided to grab a yellow-toned light and close the barn doors so that it formed a thin line that ran from the bottom of the paper up.  We decided that we were going to remove the keyboard this week as it really didn’t have a purpose anymore.  We then added the screens into the installation and jammed a little bit more with the location of all the furniture and we then asked for feedback.

The general consensus was this was the most conceptual-filled work we had done thus far.  The main advice we received was that the furniture was very squished into the corner, so we should bring it out a bit more.  We were also told that it still didn’t really feel like a house, so we discussed projecting an environment onto the white sheets, but we quickly decided that that would be very difficult – particularly as everything has to line up perfectly, which takes a lot of time, and we have to uninstall the work so that the second years can install their assessment in before us.  We then discussed the idea of projecting a window in the empty space to the left of the exhibition.   Chloe said that she has an older-style home so she could photograph her window and we could use that.  We then asked if we could come in next week during the study recess and practice again, which we could, so we decided we would work on it next week.  Our plan is to include the window and concentrate on the placement of the furniture.  My biggest concern was that there wasn’t a huge connection between that pages and the installation, which I think was also reflected in the feedback we received.  Next week I think our main priority is to make sure that the link is clear between the two.

Week 12: Reviewing

This week we were told that we needed to spilt up and see what different outcomes each team could get from the same idea.  Before we did this, we sat down to work out our concept from fresh to find what we really wanted to do.  We had a long discussion before Sam came up with an idea, we could set up two projectors, one with an exploration on the treatment of refugees and one with an exploration of what can happen when refugees assimilate.  The treatment video would be attached to the ceiling, whilst the assimilation video would be playing from down below and when the audience entered the space, they would interrupt the video, blocking it.  Whilst this video wouldn’t be visible, the treatment video or ‘the past’ would continue to play as we cannot change the past.  We decided we could make these videos by remixing existing content.  To try and spilt up whilst still helping our overall goal, we broke up into teams – the treatment or ‘dystopian’ video, the assimilation or ‘utopian’ video and an audio track that would play over the two.

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We all began working separately on each section.  I was working on the ‘Utopian’ section, but after starting work, I realised that utopia isn’t really what we were trying to convey and we stripped it down a bit to just being more about acceptance, so I started looking at clips based on that.  I found a lot of clips that I thought Sam could use for the audio, but was having trouble actually finding clips that could portray what we were trying say.  We spoke to Jo and Nathan half way through and they were concerned that the projection idea might not be as effective as we thought so we decided, as we were running out of time, that we would go back into the gallery while we worked on the videos to see what we could come up with.

We pulled everything down from last week and started again.  Jo had been suggesting that we cover furniture with the sheets to imply that it was a home that had to be evacuated, but were hoping to return.  We started doing this and felt that with this new theme the presentation was finally complimenting the concept.  We then used televisions to play the treatment videos, as well as static, but we put them under a sheet too.  The effect created was quite interesting.  We placed the chair and table with the typewriter/television on top in front of the work.

We decided that moving forward, we needed to use more actual furniture rather that the plinths in the room.  The feedback we received was that potentially the videos could also include information about the family that lived there and that there should be longer pauses between the clips, so the televisions were flicking on and off.  We agreed with this and would like to build on it next week.

Week 11: On Jamming/Push and Pull

This week, we were told we should disagree with one another as this is an important part of collaboration.  After last week, we felt like we were overcomplicating the whole thing, so we tried to scrap the idea and try again from another angle – this was partially successful.

Chloe had the idea to make a ‘room’ out of sheets utilising the square framework of the ceiling.  We had issues at the beginning though, because the only available sheets we could find were too long or too short.  We compromised on the idea of 4 simple hanging sheets to use what we could find to see if our concept would work first.  We had the idea of using tulle to project onto/through because when you project on it, if it has been folded, it projects onto each layer.  We hung this diagonally from the top of the square.  Last week Jo told us that she thought we could make the space look like a home that had been abandoned, so I thought we could project a strobe light into the space and make the space feel like an empty building, being searched from above, by a helicopter.  We set up the strobe projection, added our original red light and then another.  We then inserted the television onto the floor in the space.   When we went inside after doing all this, it felt crowded, so we decided to strip it back.  We removed the red lights and inserted the typing letter from the previous weeks to give the television more of a purpose in the space – it was projected through the tulle and the television was placed beneath it.

 

 

Building the space took up the majority of the available time and by the time we presented, we realised we ended up focussing more on the space than the concept we were presenting again.  The main feedback we received was in line with this, whilst the space was interesting, it was lacking a real connection to the concept.  I suggested that we had had the thought that the space felt like a child’s safe haven and we were discussing placing everything at a child’s height, while the images of war would be placed higher up, however, this was a deviation from our original concept.  We also agreed that the sheets would be a very difficult medium to present on.  We decided that we need to go back to the beginning and work out what our concept really is at the heart of it all.  Jo suggested that our group was working so closely together that next week she thinks we should separate and present that same work, but from two smaller groups to see what variations we can find this way.  This is our aim for the following week.

Week 10: Presenting Your Work

With the feedback in mind from the previous week, we began making another iteration.  This week we started with the plan to include more stories into the work.  I had the idea to use the storybook, The Tin Pot General and the Old Iron Woman, which is a satirical take on the pointlessness of the Faulkland’s war.  This is another take on storytelling and I thought we could animate the cartoon characters and tell a story through animation.  Sam had the idea to take the projection off the paper, as there was feedback from the previous week that we weren’t using the true materiality of the paper, and instead we could write another story onto the paper.  Taking some of Mat’s feedback about using a completely different way of storytelling, like a Taylor Swift song, we decided to write the lyrics from Khe Sahn by Cold Chisel about returning home after the Vietnam War.  We then went to setting up, which took a little while to figure out.  On the back wall, we had a video of a narration of The Tin Pot General and the Old Iron Woman, which had images of the book and an effect that was of turning pages.  We wanted to put the projection on the corner of the wall, so it looked like there was a page on each wall, with the spine of the book in the middle, but the time constraints we had and sharing the ladder made it very difficult.  We decided to just get it up on the flat wall and see how it looked – and we liked it.  We put the typewriter/television in the centre facing the hanging paper, behind it was a plinth instead of a chair that had a projector underneath that was projecting onto the wall behind it.  The projection was the typing letter from the last iterations, which we had at a very small scale.

 

The feedback we received was that now there were too many stories and they didn’t work together well, so the space felt disjointed.  Jo suggested we play with the white sheets, that maybe the empty furniture could represent the home of a family who had fled and this is what they left behind – which I thought was similar to Don’t Follow The Wind, which was a work that explored the earthquake and tsunami that triggered the crisis at the nuclear power plant at Fukshima that cause residents to evacuate.  Mat suggested that we sit down and go through different letters with one another and see what concepts come out.

Week 9: Gemeinschart/Iterative Process

This week we were making another iteration of our project.  We wanted to start by trying to complete our original idea from the week before and experiment with other ways of presenting the work.  We started by playing with the presentation of the keyboard as it was well received last week.  We cut the image into four and put a quarter on each television so we were forming a much larger screen.

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We had all the stands in the middle and it was a bit distracting, so we moved them to the outside (meaning that we had to flip all the images).

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We decided that the borders around the televisions were too distracting and it lost the appeal that it had when it was a single screen.  We went back to the single television screen on the table with the chair behind it.  Sam had the idea to place a red light above the chair as another subtle element of war through communism.  Last week we had feedback suggesting that we put the projection onto a large piece of paper, so we wanted to incorporate that into the work.  We then extend the paper to go all the way to the television/typewriter as if the paper was coming out of the screen and the installation was a scaled-up typewriter.  With this idea in mind, we then tried to make the space feel more enclosed, like it was just the audience member ‘writing’.  We put projectors on either side of the television/paper to represent the paper fingers of a real typewriter.  We had issues getting the projector onto the roof, so we put it on a plinth and a table and it shone onto the paper, which did affect the presentation slightly.

The feedback we had was that generally it was too crowded and that we should explore other stories, which we agreed with, but we wanted to play with the presentation while we had the opportunity – which we did several times throughout the class and so, we didn’t get enough time to explore any other stories.  For the coming week, we would like to try and explore more stories as well as rearranging the presentation.

Assessment 2: Critical Analysis

When looking at an individual artwork in an exhibition, there are several defining elements that will combine the work with the artworks around it and to the exhibition as a whole.  The main linking element is usually its theme, but it can also be its medium or process.  The exhibition Out of Hand: Materialising the Digital is currently being displayed at the Museum of Applied Art and Science (Powerhouse Museum) in Sydney and it demonstrates these ideals.  It “explores the increasingly important role of digital manufacture in contemporary art, science, fashion, design and architecture.” (Museum of Applied Art and Science 2017) and displays the technologies disrupting traditional manufacturing practices.  This exhibition examines how media, materials and technologies define new possibilities, expectations and understandings of design practice and contemporary art.

Out of Hand: Materialising the Digital is a very engaging exhibition that can challenge our perception of what contemporary art is and is an exploration of this, “in the light of ever-evolving technologies, processes and materials.  Such technological advances are changing the way we conceive of and work with materials, and blurring boundaries.” (Museum of Applied Art and Science 2017).  This means that the exhibition is exploring the possibilities of combining art, materiality, technology and technique.  These ideas can be executed in many different ways and this becomes very clear when you visit the exhibition.

The exhibition at the Museum of Applied Art and Science is organised in a circular or ’o’-shaped fashion; there are works lining the external walls, a wall like division down the centre, as well as in the centre of the isles.  There is a lot to take in when you first enter the exhibition space and as you walk around, you begin to understand that this isn’t just a ‘standard’ art exhibition; there is furniture, machinery, clothes, jewellery, artificial body parts, models, sculptures and more.  You begin to recognise things from an everyday environment – however most have some kind of modification from the norm.  For me, the piece that caught my attention was, given the nature of the exhibition, a more reserved and artistic piece, however, when we begin to look a little deeper it becomes evident that this work is, at its core, just as technologically based as every work in the exhibition.

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Figure 1: Powerhouse Museum / Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Sydney, Australia.  Out of Hand: Materialising the Digital, Originating from the Museum of Arts and Design, New York3 September – 25 June 2017.
Photography by Marinco Kojdanovski, courtesy of Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences, Sydney, Australia.

Perfect Forms (2010 – 16) by Barry X Ball is a digitally rendered sculpture inspired by Umberto Boccioni’s Futurist work, Unique Forms of Continuity in Space (1913).  The sculpture is situated in the centre of the isle, it is encased in a glass box and is placed atop a metre-high table, together it stood more than two metres high; for many, this meant that they would come face to face with the sculpture.  The sculpture itself is about 50 centimetres tall, it is bright gold to the point where it is literally shining and true to its intention, exactly replicates the familiar work of Boccioni.

Boccioni was a Futurist, which meant that he “rejected artistic and cultural tradition in favour of a technologically oriented future…celebrated war as a liberating force, freeing the present of the weight of the past, and admired speed, machines, youth and violence.”  (Buchanan 2010).  His work was, according to The Metropolitan Museum, an emphasis on the Futurists celebration of the innovative mechanical revolution in the modern world, “the figure’s marching silhouette appears deformed by wind and speed, while its sleek metal contours allude to machinery.” (The Metropolitan Museum 2017).

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Figure 2: Unique Forms of Continuity in Space, Umberto Boccioni, 1913, cast 1950, bronze, 121.3 x 88.9 x 40 cm, sculpture, Bequest of Lydia Winston Malbin, 1989.

Boccini’s work was created during a time of great technological change; the passing of time, fluidity of time and expression of time was paramount in art, particularly in photography.  The statue is a frozen moment in time that could be said to be striding into the future.  According to McKever (2017), Boccioni made several sculptures out of different mediums, with his original work being made out of plaster; the recognisable bronze casts were not made until after Boccioni was killed in action in 1916.

Barry X Ball wanted to complete the Futurist work that Boccioni never could.  “The rough, hand-hewn character of the Unique Forms bronzes stands in inelegant opposition to their advanced conceptual genesis.  Boccioni’s Modern Man has heretofore been realised with ancient methods in an antique material.” (Barry X Ball 2014).  Barry X Ball is therefore saying that the technologies available when the work was created were inadequate for producing Boccioni’s overall objective.  Therefore, he is not only carrying on the work Boccioni was unable to create before his death, but is also taking it to new heights with contemporary technologies.

The process required was a huge and extensive task that took several years to complete, but utilising the available and concurrent technologies, it was made possible.  “The challenge I set for myself was to transform Boccioni’s extremely familiar artwork, a Modernist icon, into something completely new – to bring together form, material, technique and concept.” (Barry X Ball 2014).  According to Strasnick (2013) and Barry X Ball (2014), the first step was to scan a bronze edition of the sculpture, he did this using a state-of-the-art Breuckmann 3D white-light scanner.  The artist and his team then altered and enhanced the 3D scan using a digital sculpting and painting program, ZBrush.  They removed any nicks and scratches, sharpened its angles and edges and smoothed the surface; the sculpting alone took almost three years.  “I believe the cumulative impact of those thousands of subtle changes yields a work simultaneously familiar and fresh.” (Barry X Ball 2014).  The final step was to digitally flip the model so that is matched Boccioni’s work exactly.

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Figure 3: Digital Model of Perfect Forms, Barry X Ball, 2010 – 16.

Once they had finished digitally modelling the work, according to Strasnick (2013), they printed a 3D plastic prototype from a Viper Pro SLA 3D-printing system.  This prints a cream-coloured object layer by layer which causes the model to be produced with thousands of vertical ridges.  These ridges need to be removed and they do this using sandpaper as a buffer; they occasionally spray water on the sandpaper as it helps to give the sculpture a matte finish.  There were many choices made throughout the process of creating prototypes that were adapted and improved, one was the use of different materials.  Initially, the sculptures were made of plastic, but they are not very sturdy and are sensitive to heat and light.  To combat these undesirable effects, they mounted the model upside-down, fitted it with a stainless-steel framework and filled the sculpture with resin to make it more durable and support the metal coatings.

Figure 4: Hand refinement of SLA rapid-prototype of Perfect Forms, Barry X Ball, 2010 – 16.
Figure 5: Resin filling of SLA rapid-prototype of Perfect Forms, Barry X Ball, 2010 – 16.

Strasnick (2013) and Barry X Ball (2014) describe the coating process; “the sculpture and its integral CNC-milled solid brass base plate were then plated with nickel” (Barry X Ball 2014) to create a completely smooth surface.  They then applied a heavy layer of copper, which they polished with vinegar.  At every stage in this intricate procedure, the sculpture was extensively hand refined.  Ball then sent the work to Michael Dunlap to finish the polishing and then perform the final step, coating the work in a perfect 24-karat gold.

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Figure 6: Perfect Forms, Barry X Ball, 2010 – 16, mirror-polished 24K gold on nickel on copper on SLA rapid prototype model and solid brass with stainless steel armature / fittings and resin filling, 53.4 x 41.7 x 17.8 cm.

The final step in the procedure was the presentation.  “The sculpture’s pedestal/vitrine displayed assembly was designed to be an integral, permanent accompaniment to the work.” (Barry X Ball 2014).  The sculpture sat within a glass box atop a metre-high table, meaning that the whole structure was about two metres tall.  The sculpture is very well lit, the light bounces off the sculpture, casting a gold glow on both the audience members and the white base beneath it.  “Perfect Forms’ painstakingly polished mirrored surfaces glow in the daylight and scintillate with the movement of viewers around it.  The dance of reflections across and around its surfaces renders it ethereal, melting its crisp contours.  Light reflected from the sculpture plays across walls, floor, and ceiling.” (Barry X Ball 2014).  The decisions made to create this presentation is just as important as the decisions used to create the work itself.

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Figure 7: Perfect Forms, Barry X Ball, 2010 – 16, walnut, ColorCore, aluminum, low-iron glass, 213.4 x 80.0 x 55.9 cm.

Process is a major component to Perfect Forms (2010 – 16), and this becomes very evident once the procedure is understood.  This idea is reflected in the exhibition as a whole, “In many respects, [it] is an exhibition about process…Prototyping has long been part of the designer’s methodology and now a number of scientists and artists are embracing it as part of their creative practice.  For some artists, the process plays a crucial role in the presentation of the final work.  Digital manufacturing technologies are transforming traditional processes and leading towards entirely new methods.” (Museum of Applied Art and Science 2017).  Every step taken in the hugely extensive and complicated procedure of creating Perfect Forms (2010 – 16) was integral to the overall outcome of the work, and the artist’s expectations of the final product.

Understanding how the artist came to make this incredibly complicated work helps us to understand about how important testing and experimenting is.  Every choice that is made is governed by some kind of reason, whether it is style, practicality or need.  Ball details his reasons behind his choices, such as the materials he chose; plastic was too susceptible to the elements so they filled the sculpture with a stainless-steel framework and resin, nickel was used as it creates a completely smooth surface, the final coating was chosen because it is “appropriately perfect” (Barry X Ball 2014) in nature; mirror-finished 24-karat gold.  The purity of the chosen material could be said to be another element of tribute to perfecting Boccioni’s original work.

The execution of the presentation of the work is another important component that governs how the work will be received.  As an audience member, despite the large volume of works in the exhibition space, this work stood out for me.  This is due to intense planning and testing, but it comes together to create a specific atmosphere, “the work both affects and is affected by its environment.” (Barry X Ball).  This construction is very specific and, again, it is to form an extension of Boccioni’s work, “Boccioni strove to depict a striding figure, at one with its surroundings and the forces released by its movement.” (Barry X Ball 2014).  The way that Barry X Ball executed the presentation through the use of a glass box –  which enforces the idea that we can look but not touch, the height at which the statue stood, the use of light and the location of the work in the exhibition all help reinforce his overall message and the message of Boccioni.

One of the most interesting aspects of this work is the process, it raises thoughts such as: Imagine if Boccioni were here today, would he be building sculptures out of 3D printing machines?  This entire exhibition and Perfect Forms (2010 – 16) is showcasing how contemporary art will always be influenced by the technologies available at the time.  Realistically, Ball could have created a sculpture in the same way that Boccioni did, but the level of accuracy and perfection that has been created utilising new technology has created the immaculate version that Ball strived to make.  “The gleaming form towers above me, yet cascades around itself.  Its gleaming curves and angles form a modern masterpiece – the handwork far exceeds what even Bernini and Borromini devoted to their masterworks.” (Castro 2015).

The cumulative result of process, prototype, medium and materiality come together to create an incredibly well executed work.  “My intention is that Perfect Forms radically expand and complete the unification of form, space, and action my Futurist forebear initiated almost exactly a century ago.” (Barry X Ball 2014).  Ball’s inspiration is twofold, he is trying to complete the work that Boccioni never could, due to his untimely death and the lack of technical resources from his time, “I did what Boccioni would have done in his dreams.” (McKever 2017).  The sculpture has moved from plaster, to the millennia-old process of bronze casting, to a digitally scanned 3D printed sculpture that has been coated in perfect twenty-four karat gold.  Through an incredibly judicious procedure, Barry X Ball has been able to bring Boccioni’s Futurist dream of to life through the technological gains that have occurred through the passing of time and by literally bringing the work a century into the future; the figure really has moved through time.

References:

Ball, B X 2010 – 16, Figure 1: Perfect Forms, photographed by M. Kojdanovski, image, Barry X Ball, viewed 26 April 2017, http://www.barryxball.com/about_exh.php?type=gallery&exh=112

Ball, B X 2010 – 16, Figure 3: Perfect Forms, image, Barry X Ball, viewed 26 April 2017, http://www.barryxball.com/process_cat.php?cat=1&process=41

Ball, B X 2010 – 16, Figure 4: Perfect Forms, image, Barry X Ball, viewed 26 April 2017, http://www.barryxball.com/process_cat.php?cat=1&process=41

Ball, B X 2010 – 16, Figure 5: Perfect Forms, image, Barry X Ball, viewed 26 April 2017, http://www.barryxball.com/process_cat.php?cat=1&process=41

Ball, B X 2010 – 16, Figure 6: Perfect Forms, image, Barry X Ball, viewed 19 April 2017, http://www.barryxball.com/works_cat.php?cat=1&work=224

Ball, B X 2010 – 16, Figure 7: Perfect Forms, image, Barry X Ball, viewed 19 April 2017, http://www.barryxball.com/works_cat.php?cat=1&work=224

Boccioni, U 1913 (cast 1950), Figure 2: Unique Forms of Continuity in Space, image, The Metropolitian Museum, viewed 19 April 2017, http://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/485540

Buchanan, I 2010, “Futurism”, Oxford Dictionary of Critical Theory, vol. 1, Oxford University Press, New York.

Castro, J G 2015, Barry X Ball: Technical Aspects of Crafting “Perfect Forms.”, International Sculpture Center, weblog post, 2 December, viewed 21 April 2017, https://blog.sculpture.org/2015/12/02/barry-x-ball/

McKever, R 2017, Umberto Boccioni, Unique Forms of Continuity in Space, Khan Academy, viewed 20 April 2017, https://www.khanacademy.org/humanities/art-1010/wwi-dada/art-great-war/a/umberto-boccioni-unique-forms-of-continuity-in-space

The Metropolitan Museum 2017, All Collection Records: Unique Forms of Continuity in Space, The Metropolitan Museum, viewed 19 April 2017, http://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/485540

Museum of Applied Art and Science 2017, Out of Hand: Materialising the Digital, Museum of Applied Art and Science, viewed 19 April 2017, https://maas.museum/event/out-of-hand-materialising-the-digital/

Museum of Applied Art and Science 2017, Store: Out of Hand: Materialising the Digital, Museum of Applied Art and Science, viewed 19 April 2017, https://maas.museum/product/out-of-hand-materialising-the-digital/

Strasnick, S 2013, ‘Barry X Ball Makes a 3D-Printed, Digitally Altered, Gold-Plated Sculpture’, ArtNews, 19 November, viewed 19 April, http://www.artnews.com/2013/11/19/barry-ball-makes-a-3d-printed-sculpture/

Week 8: Redefining Storytelling

This week, we were in the same groups and continuing to build on the objectives we were exploring from the previous week.  As we didn’t have a set recreation this week and we had a new member added to our group, we spent the first portion of the lesson going through our pitches.  We then went through, pulling out elements that we thought we could bring together and intertwine, this produced itself in many different ways such as theme, medium, cross-medium, materiality and process.  We took a slice out of everyone’s work; Chloe’s was scale, Steph’s was retelling a story through editing, David’s was utilising the medium of clay, Sam’s was utilising the medium of broken technologies, Sonny’s was utilising installation to explore the Vietnam War and mine was using projection on an installation.  We also reflected on one of Sam’s previous MEDA assessments, where he projected a colour image onto a white setting.  We went into the gallery space to see how we could execute these ideas.

Our plan began with pulling these elements together into one work; we decided to use the Vietnam War and explore the stories of the two opposing sides, we would do this by using the corner space of the room and projecting each story on the wall next to one another, but separated by the join in the wall.  On the floor we decided to place an image of a keyboard/typewriter with the idea that through development, we could make the keyboard interactive, however, the stories on the wall were already written as they were in the past and couldn’t be changed.  With our limited time, we decided to start with just one story and the typewriter.  We had a few teething issues trying to get the projectors mounted but eventually we got them sorted and had them up and ready.  Unfortunately, our issues with the projectors became much bigger, when we tried to place the image and video onto the projectors using a thumb drive, but we weren’t able to locate the files.  Glenn informed us that it was because our drives were formatted incorrectly and not to MS-DOS (FAT 32), (not windows orientated), however, when we tried to re-format them, they were already in this format.  Without time to work it out, we tried several different drives until we found two that worked.  We then put the files on the drives and tried again, the image still couldn’t be found and the video’s format was incorrect so it wouldn’t play.  I then converted the video into a format (.WMV) that the QUMI Projector website would play in the drive, but it also didn’t work.  With very limited time remaining, we decided to think on our feet and change the presentation for this week.

We used two televisions instead, I plugged my computer using a HDMI cord and played the video Sonny made of a quote being typed out of Ho Chi Minh.  We then plugged a drive into the back of another television, laid it flat on a table and placed a chair behind the table so the viewer would sit above the typewriter and look directly at the television.  We covered the table and chair in a white sheet, so that, for the viewer, it was just the two screens.  We discovered quite quickly that we really liked the materiality of the typewriter on the television screen – I instantly wanted to engage with it, which was our original idea, just executed differently.

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When it came to presenting the work and receiving feedback, we received a lot of interest in the typewriter on the television, with most people not even realising it was a television.  Our tutors in particular said it was a very engaging element that we should cling onto and explore.  They also spoke about how we didn’t have to just use recounts of the war, we could also, for example, integrate lover letters written at the time that reflect the societal impacts the war had.  With this accidental accomplishment, we would obviously like to integrate this idea into our work moving forward.  Ideally, with prototyping, I thought we could still project the stories on the walls, but have the table/chair/television/typewriter set up facing the corner.  I also thought that if we wanted to take it further, we could utilise Steph’s idea of recounting stories through remix, but instead of overtaking the simplistic storytelling element we already have, we could do this through sound instead – which is similar to what we did last week.  We would like to iron out the kinks we had with the projectors, and also play with the other aspects we wanted to explore that we couldn’t get done in time.