Digital Outputs, Third Mentor Critique

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I had my third in-person mentor critique on April 25, which went very well.

Les is excited about my progress, my range of experimentation–and the work I’ve done sorting through the massive Cascade archive , to narrow down specific branches of visual language. There are several distinct image constellations emerging, which form a larger whole. We went over these constellations in detail, viewing them in their original, digital format. Leslie noticed that some of the pieces resonate better when they’re viewed in their native digital environment–with a backlit LCD or LED computer screen, which is interesting. Others take on new life on paper.

The last leg of the semester is all about outward production–getting some of the works down on paper, some worked into final videos ready to project and coalescing forms of digital representation (digital-virtual output), which don’t require works to be printed on paper.

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I also showed Les several of the on-paper outputs I did (center), comparing them to the earlier laser documents. She was especially pleased with the output third from the left (blue station wagon). With some of my matte paper experiments with surface manipulation, the digitality got lost, submitting to the mark of the hand almost too completely. For these two, I did very light manipulation, so that the digital aesthetic remained. This approach was well received.

The one Leslie felt was a good blend of the hand and digital was this:

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One of the things Leslie talked about in depth this time was how the work invites a combination fast/slow read. You can scan it quickly and get a sense of it, then you get drawn in to wander through a slower read, noticing individual moments and transitions.

Leslie feels I’m on the right track–and that I naturally unravel troubling situations as I work my way through them. The sheer volume of work I produce allows me to explore most side-tracks, then return to the center with a resolution. It combines spontaneity with rigid calculation.

My budget is really tight this semester and I’ve been unable to afford most of the physical output I originally intended. Leslie and I talked about this as a positive curatorial situation. If I had a huge budget (or any budget!) I’d probably print most everything, then weed through it. She suggested that I look at my financial restrictions as a point of refinement. With a tiny budget to print, I’ll have to use an extra-sharp curatorial eye to choose exactly which stills are allowed to “live” in the physical world.

My selection process would include whether or not the stills work better as digital images, projections, or works on paper. This makes perfect sense, and in a way, helps me focus. It also makes me think of several articles I read this semester, including works by Annette Weintraub, where the breakdown between traditional art forms, new media and the white-box museum space presents a challenge to artists whose work can’t easily be pegged, hung, or pedestal-ed. Is it even necessary at all to output most of this on paper, or is that me, tied to more conventional training?

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Above – one of the mylar transparencies I’m working with. People at the last residency suggested i try printing some complete, or incomplete stills on mylar, then layer them, manipulate them, hang them, etc. I’ve done a couple now and I’m not sure what to think. Leslie really liked the way the pieces hung as individuals (not layered with other mylars)–casting both light and shadow through their ephemerality onto the wall. The piece above is too purple for my liking, but I agreed that there’s something worth pushing here–at least as far as single sheets floating off the wall are concerned.

When I layered only two mylars with complete images, the images turned to mud. I would probably have to print out the individual Photoshop layers, then re-create the digital layering with hanging mylar–but I’m not sure there’s a point to that. The digital images already do this. There would have to be a conceptual reason for separating the digital layers and hanging them as single, transparent sheet layers–something beyond just a group suggestion to make it physical for the sake of old museum models.

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Comparing a few Phase II drawings with surface-manipulated stills.

 

 

 

 

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