Monday, March 26, 2012

Hyperbolic Cat Wig

Hyperbolic Cat Wig

This is about all I have the time to muster up for a post right now.  Looks kind of like Kitty (!) from That 70's Show...

Monday, March 12, 2012

A History of Hunger

A History of Hunger A History of Hunger A History of Hunger Finished

Here a is new-ish project I completed recently called A History of Hunger consisting of one dozen mini-scroll "books" made of a dozen white eggs.  Admittedly, this was a project for school.  Here's a statement about it...sorry if it comes across as a little clinical sounding.

A History of Hunger
Eggshells, Japanese paper, adhesive, egg carton
Edition of 12 unique objects

A History of Hunger is a series of 12 miniature objects inspired by books.  Using the phrase “break in case of emergency” as a starting point and combining creative writing with research and sculptural processes, I used broken, empty eggs to frame an exploration of hunger and famine across time and space.  Through online research, I learned about both contemporary and historical examples of famine and food insecurity such as the Irish potato famine as well as periods of hunger during communist rule in China, WWII and the Great Depression.  Each of the twelve book-objects represents a year when a famine or food shortage existed somewhere in the world, and contains a short poetic response to a condition or situation that I read about.  A guiding idea in the series is that in opening each egg and finding it empty aside from a short piece of text reflecting an experience of hunger or famine, one might learn not only how widespread hunger is, but how people have coped with food shortages, as well as how they come to exist.

This project is in keeping with the guiding principle of our class publication-- playing with time by imagining the present through the lens of the future, and guessing what aspects of our contemporary cultural/societal condition will carry over to become major issues in subsequent decades.  Food security is an issue worldwide that will likely only get worse with increasing climate change.  The series of multiples resists providing a linear narrative or definitive history of hunger, and the inclusion of a multiple marked with the year 2042 alludes to the fact that hunger will likely be a continuous problem in a rapidly growing and warming world.

Many of the material/formal decisions I made in the execution of A History of Hunger grew out of my initial decision to use a carton of broken eggs as a starting point.  While the content of the multiples is historical, the use of a contemporary carton of eggs marked with nutritional information at a recent date stamp root the work in the present.  The multiples play with the scroll-- a historical format that is echoed in word processing applications, web browsers and film credits.  Typing directly onto the narrow scrolls required the use of short words in my poetic responses to each historical example of hunger, making them resemble Haikus and giving them a quiet quality that softens the tragic imagery contained in some of the text.  The long scrolls made out of Japanese Kozo paper were designed to mimic the look of egg yolks and whites pouring out of their shells.  Finally, the fragility of the eggshells fits with the precariousness of food security across time, as well as the increasing instability of our environment.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Miscellaneous News

Shary Boyle

Promotional Image for Everything Under the Moon (2012)

I've have so, so, so much to catch up on here, seeing as I've been completely and utterly loaded down with school work for the past month at least.  Boy, am I looking forward to the summer, when I'll have the chance (hopefully) to blog more, make some new work, and have time to think about (or should I say linger on...) the things I see and do.

A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to see Everything Under the Moon at the Enwave Theatre performed by Shary Boyle and Christine Fellows.  A nostalgic combination of theatre, song, overhead projections and shadowplay, the performance was rooted in a playful yet melancholy story about a honeybee and a bat and their fight against extinction.  The music was perfect for the fable-- Christine Fellows' brand of rootsy-folk accompanied by cello and percussion was part Feist and part Fred Penner (well, that may be a stretch, actually...!).  While the narrative at the root of the performance was picked on a bit in a review or two terms of it being a little sketchy and underdeveloped, I liked the fact that it was quirky and had an oddball, almost surreal quality to it that at times contained a surprising mix of humor and sadness.  I feel like all of my favourite things in the world walk this fine line, come to think of it...

For me, the highlight of the performance was hands-down Boyle's magical use of the overhead projector.  During a part of the performance, Fellows sang a verse about the first encounter between the story's protagonists, Idared the honeybee and Limbertwig the bat while Boyle slowly peeled away about five layers of transparencies that featured head-on illustrations of the anthropomorphic little critters.  As the layers were peeled away, the two characters became more and more human-- hard to describe and do justice, but it was visually moving to the point that I was reduced to tears.  There were other points in the performance where the projections were particularly poignant, too-- I can't help but connect this poignancy to the use of a "lost" or obsolete technology animating a narrative about the loss of living things through extinction.  Pretty amazing.

Strange Notes

Lots of other news to report as well, but maybe I'll save it for other posts.  On the topic of obsolescence and old-ish technologies, I thought I'd post this poster (0% Photoshop, might I add...) I made for my new solo DJ night at The Embassy Bar in Kensington Market.  I usually try to compartmentalize my various lives and try not to talk about music geek stuff too much on this blog, but this poster is definitely inspired by the projected light shows of the hippie era that Boyle is referencing at least a wee bit in her work.  Part of this new night is that the music will be accompanied by new projections every month.  Last Wednesday, I projected the Monkees' movie, Head on the wall next to the DJ set up.  Next month, who knows.  Gothic horror?  Primitive, early animation?  I'm still thinking about it.