quietest place (assignment)

The Art Assignment is a really rad weekly video series produced by PBS Digital Studios.  It's a sophisticated, playful, fun program hosted by curator Sarah Urist Green and author/vlogger John Green. The Art Assignment takes you around the U.S. to meet artists and solicit assignments from them that anyone can complete and then post on their website:  theartassignment.com

It's a genius series (and curiously happens to mirror the model of assignment making that I have in my own studio practice *grin*).  The newest episode really sings to me.


Jace Clayton, aka DJ /Rupture, challenges you to take a walk from where you live and find the quietest place. Once you're there, take it in for a moment and then make a short video or take some photos there.

(The Art) Assignment:  Quietest Place
EPISODE 5 INSTRUCTIONS


1. Go outside and talk a walk from where you live or are staying at the moment. 
2. Continue until you’ve found the quietest place possible.
3. Take a moment to absorb it. Then document the place through photography or video. Upload it to your social media platform of choice using #theartassignment.
4. Fame and glory. (Your work might be featured in an upcoming video.)

Artworks mentioned include John Cage’s 4’33” (1952/53) and Charles Baudelaire’s essay The Painter of Modern Life (1863). 

horizon: intimate distance

Between my body and the horizon stretches an indeterminate distance and infinite time. Simultaneously, I embody it.  My feet rest on earth.  My head, the sky.  I am within the horizon, yet it is unreachable.

The horizon (or skyline) is the apparent line that separates earth from sky, the line that divides all visible directions into two categories: those that intersect the Earth’s surface, and those that do not. At many locations, the true horizon is obscured by trees, buildings, mountains, etc., and the resulting intersection of earth and sky is called the visible horizon. When looking at a sea from a shore, the part of the sea closest to the horizon is called the offing.[1] The word horizon derives from the Greek “ὁρίζων κύκλος” horizōn kyklos, “separating circle”,[2] from the verb ὁρίζω horizō, “to divide”, “to separate”,[3] and that from “ὅρος” (oros), “boundary, landmark”.[4]
— Wikipedia

 

Three types of horizon (from Wikipedia). 

Poet Ann Lauterbach continues in her article "The Thing Seen":

Indeed, as the Internet continues to flatten time and space into a scan that erases the “horizon” (the classical metaphor of both spatial depth and temporal aspiration), young artists are faced with a deracinated landscape. How to steady this mobile map, in which one’s own presence-one’s personhood-is without discernible evidence or local? ....[Artists] need to find ways to claim a physical, embodied presence within the increasingly dematerialized modality of connection.
— Ann Lauterbach. Art School: Propositions for the 21st Century

research: organizations + collectives, models for new thinking (list)

Organizations and collectives that are (possibly) experimenting with new modes of learning and thinking.

BMW Guggenheim Lab
Site Sante Fe
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
Radio Lab
The Pedagogical Impulse
Room 13 International
The Art Assignment
No Longer Empty
The Laundromat Project
The Project Room (Seattle)
 

For continued research...

list started on March 5th, 2013
updated on April 17, 2014

repetition as a sense making mechanism

Published on www.brainpickings.org:  Gertrude Stein reads from her early novel The Making of Americans (UK; public library) — a pinnacle of her signature use of repetition as a sensemaking mechanism.  Written between 1902 and 1911 while Stein was in her late twenties and early thirties.  Recorded in 1934-1935.

research: worth further investigation, april 2014 (list)

Worth further investigation - Reading list, Spring 2014

Operative Design: A Catalogue of Spacial Verbs by Anthony Di Mari + Nora Yoo
Lines, A Brief History by Tim Ingold
Material Computation, Architectural Design.  March/Apr 2012. (Anisomatic Action)
The Prop Builders Molding and Casting Handbook by Thurston James.  (Capturing the Negative)
Thinking in Systems by Donella Meadows
Cornelia Parker by Iwona Blazwick.  (Definition of Gravity)
Object of Labor by Joan Livingstone and John Ploof
Nature and Workmanship by David Pye
 

For continued research...

list started on March 28, 2014

threshold

what is a threshold?

a fence
a diving board
a door sill.

a tideline
a url
an entry (gate).

a place or point of entering. a beginning.
the point at which a stimulus is of sufficient intensity to begin to produce an effect.

a door sill
a portal

a limen.
liminal.

-tia kramer

what is (not there)

scissors (finger holes), drain (water holes), bobbin (gap around the barrel, center of the hub), needle (eye), door latch (inner hole of hub for door handle axis), wheel (center hole of the hub), button (eyes/corresponding button hole), dust pan (flat or curved scoop), pipe cleaner (gaps between bristles), sponge (pores), spirit level (bubble), trowel (flat or curved scoop), spade (slightly angled scoop), rotary blade (hub), bicycle chain (cutouts between links), cone wrench (u shaped cutout), crank spanner (hex bolt shaped cutout), tire lever (c shaped cutout), spoke wrench (spoke nipple indentation), bike pump (hand operated piston), pipette (inner cylinder), vise-grip (space between the jaws, hub, inner space around spring, space within grips), pliers (space between jays, hub, inner space within grips), baster (inner cylinder), bottle opener (space around the lever), bowl (inner), spoon (dish), sieve (small holes for particles), fork (gaps between tines), cake server (area above the flat face), garlic press (inner scoop and holes on the face), potato peeler (oval or rectangular shaped slot in the face), colander (inner bowl and holes), funnel (inner pipe and conical dish), corkscrew (space around the twisted screw), chinoise (conical inner area and small holes), cheesecloth (gaps in weave), cherry pitter (gap for lever and inner void the size of a spherical nickel), egg poacher (inner dish and holes), egg separator (slots between the spiral cone shaped head), egg slicer (slotted dish and area around individual wires/blades), fish scaler (slots and grooves), flour sifter (gaps in wire mesh and handle lever), slotted spoon (slots), grater (holes and divots), ladle (dish), lemon reamer (grooves), juicer (donuts shaped dish and grooves), mandolin (rectangular slots), pick ( gaps between tines), measuring cup (dish), measuring spoon (smaller dishes) , meat tenderizer (grooves), mortar (dish and miniscule granular divots in base), nutcracker (grooves in head and gap for nut), oven mitt (inner space generally shape of a hand), pastry bag (conical tip), pastry blender (area around each individual blade, ricer (inner scoop and holes on the face), poultry shears (area between blades), roller docker (space around prickly heads), rolling pin (inner hub), salt shaker (holes in face), spider (holes in mesh basket), whisk (area around wire loops), wooden spoon (shallow inner dish), zester (spaces around perforated head)

initially posted February 18, 2014
updated March 22 + March 24, 2014
still in construction

re-visiting TAB

Control "t"
06. 2006


Q: Why do you think she just moved her left arm into a slump? 

A:  Art allows me to reconfigure and re-contextualize information,
to draw awareness to the inherent meaning we accumulate in everyday life.

Q:  What circumstances allow openness?
A:  If you press down on the ‘control’ key and the letter ‘t’, the transition function
will appear.

Q:  How should one respond to ambiguity?
A:   I am rather engaged with experience, time.  Watching time pass and un-pass, watching my history unfold and fold upon itself.  I am  interested in impermanence and making tangible my relational  experiences.

Q:  How do I relate to my shoes?
A:  I draw upon  my experiences studying music in Ghana, West Africa, and with the  Macalester College African Music Ensemble in Minnesota.  Sowah Mensah,  my primary mentor, repeatedly instructed our ensemble, “Do not think.   Do not try to understand this music.  Simply follow my movements  [exactly].”

Q:  What does it mean to bridge a gap in understanding?
A:  There are two ways to cross the river.  One is to take the bridge, the other is to row or swim.  I prefer rowing.

Q:  Is there a word that means, “to embody with the intention of growing intimately familiar?”
A:   Through the processes of mimicry and repetition, I accumulated musical  knowledge through the conscientious practice of intimation rather than  note reading or intellectual comprehension. I am captivated by how this  approach challenges Western epistemology.  Such an approach favors  intimate knowledge gained through experience over publicly verifiable  knowledge understood through the mind.

Q:  How do we integrate seemingly unrelated, or conflicting information into our lives?
A:   The variegated thrush, a bird found in the rainy regions of the  Western United States, makes a call that simultaneously sounds like both   a whistle and a hum in dissonant harmonics.

Q:  How do I create meaning in my life?
A:  It’s under that down pillow.

Q:  Who ate the last of the black berries?
A:   Habituating re-enlivens objects that are disempowered or silenced by  their loss of function as well as by our own lack of awareness. The silencing of these objects correlates to the systematic silencing of  communities of people, such as many Ghanaian women who have found  themselves financially paralyzed since the onset of colonialism.  Some  women from the Adaklu Region have begun using their traditional textile skills, particularly spinning, to tap the tourism industry to gain  financial independence.  The re-enliving of these silenced containers  references this emancipatory act.

 

 

motion drawing (assignment)

Assignment: motion drawing

Identify and label actions/motions observed in day to day life that are interesting, notable, curious, satisfying, or disturbing.

With an open sketch book/ blank piece of paper/ electronic tablet and a writing device attempt to attentively record the motions.  Look closely and record only what actually happens.  Avoid looking at the canvass whenever possible.  Let marks accumulate.  Keep mind empty of judgement.  

Possible additional parameters:
1. Set a timer and work continuously on one drawing until timer goes off.
2. Only record very fast gestures.
3. Only record very very slow gestures.
4. Do not lift drawing device off drawing surface.
5. Work very quickly.
6. Work very slowly.

Motion locale:
1. Sink
2. Front stoop
3. Computer screen
4. Plant life (bushes/trees)
5. Traffic
6. Beyond windows

10 minutes everyday (assignment)

Assignment: 10 minutes everyday

Everyday for one week, use your body to create small actions. Consider these actions gifts. Who or what might they be for?  Would your intention be visible to the receiver?  Should it be?  How long might each action take? 

Set a timer for 10 minutes.  

Begin.

10 minutes everyday (unperformed events)

Sit in a chair with legs crossed and
lightly tap the foot that is hinged (suspended) in the air.

for: Unknown man in his mid-twenties waiting on the blue line.
duration: 1-20 minutes

………………………………………………………………………

Stand next to (a living) tree. Take deep breaths
into sections of the tree beginning at the
tips of the leading most branches
and moving all the way down to the trunk
Extend into the roots.

for: My shoes.
duration: 1-5 minutes.

………………………………………………………………………

Slowly break apart, strip, and tear a wooden coffee stir stick
until it becomes a small pile of 1 cm x 30 mm sized pieces.
Place the little heaping pile at the
bottom of the stairs, just outside the entryway.

for: The philodendron plant my friend and I unintentionally killed.
It was a gift to him from my mom.
duration: 1-5 minutes.

………………………………………………………………………

Rub right eye lid for one minute.

for: The childhood blanket my sister rubbed to pieces.
duration: 1 minute

………………………………………………………………………

Stand intimately close to a standing lamp.
Rub hands against one another until palms are hot.

for: My trusty bedside lamp.
duration: 1 minute.

………………………………………………………………………

Lay on your bedroom floor with half your body
under your bed. Focus on the ceiling.

for: A well used ceramic mug.
duration: 4 minutes.

………………………………………………………………………

With your right hand, press the dull end of a pen
into the palm of your left hand.
Increase force over time.

for: Over worn boots.
duration: 1 minute

………………………………………………………………………

Rub the skin on your right ear lob. Listen closely.

for: Warm wind.
duration: 1 minute

………………………………………………………………………

Bend both ends of a q-tip so that they are facing one another.

for: Inner ear drum.
duration: Until task is complete.

………………………………………………………………………

Sit completely still on a chair for one minute.
Remove yourself from the chair.  Slowly,
touch every inch of the chair and
the area of the floor on which the chair is sitting. 
Again, sit on the chair for one minute.

for:  The walnut desk my dad built.
duration:  3-10 minutes.

………………………………………………………………………

Sit in a train seat, slouch, and roll thumbs.

for: Middle aged woman on train run 239.
duration: The distance between two stops.

………………………………………………………………………

Pick up something that has been discarded on the street.
Closely examine it.  Return it to a home that suits it well.

for: Roxy, the golden lab that lived with me.
duration: 1-5 minutes.

………………………………………………………………………

Place a glass half filled with water next to a pepper shaker
so that they are touching. Leave them there for 15 seconds.
Move them away from one another.
Repeat.

for:  A dear friend that now lives far away.
duration:  2 minutes

………………………………………………………………………

Set a well loved hat on your kitchen floor
while you cook a good wholesome meal.

for: The last item I lost.
duration:  The length of dinner preparation

………………………………………………………………………

Stand in a corner with your back against one wall
and your arm against another. Lean your shoulder
into the remaining empty space in the corner.

for:  A Latino business man in a downtown elevator.
duration:  15 minutes

………………………………………………………………………

Sit, while hungry, on a cement floor

for: Dreadlocked man who lives on the corner of Monroe
and the Michigan Ave. alley.
duration:  15 minutes.

………………………………………………………………………

Put your left thumb between your pointer finger
and middle finger (on your left hand). Pull your fingers
closer to your wrist. Relax your palm.
Release your thumb.
Begin again.

for:  An anxious, articulate speaker.
duration:  4 minutes.

………………………………………………………………………

Sit on the floor of your kitchen
with your back against the refrigerator.
Feel the motor vibrate through your back.

for:  Wilted spinach.
duration:  1-5 minutes.

………………………………………………………………………

Press your cheek up against a cold window pane.
Move your tongue to touch the inside skin of your
mouth cavity on the side of your face that contacts
the cold glass.
Apply pressure to your cheek with your tongue.

for:  The incoming spring.
duration:  3-6 minutes.

………………………………………………………………………

Shrug your shoulders in exaggeration.
Repeat while sighing deeply.

for:  A lonely colleague.
duration:  60 long sighs.