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Sunday, March 30, 2014

Project 3: My Little Runaway and reflection

video

Black-and-white makes everything darker, because all color falls into shadow.

Which is why I wanted to make it black-and-white. What I did in class was, I felt, not creepy enough. Also, because I used the camera on my computer, I was able to see my face while filming, so I had a better idea of what I was doing. Better placement of the glare from the screen, for example.

I decided to make the piece completely silent because sound -- any sound -- can affect the mood of a piece. Movies are well-known for using music to set a mood. I wanted the viewer to focus on the image.

I'm not going to explain the title.


Sunday, March 23, 2014

Sound Environments

The Sound of rain indoors: 2 AM Saturday, march 22
Tak. Tak. Tak. Tak. Tak tak tak tak tak.
I wake up to the sound of an old-fashioned keyboard, the one with tall keys that types loudly.
There's a ghost in the room!
Tak. Tak. Tak. Wait. That isn't a keyboard. That is the drip of water. It is the sound of water falling on soaked cloth. I extend my hand in the darkness. The pile of cloth I keep at the head of my bed is wet.
I step out of bed. SPLASH!
"Shit."
The clatter of objects, as I move them out of harm's way.
My roommate says to take care of the problem in the morning.
The tapping of water as it falls on sill, deal, and floor. Tap. Tap. Tap.
The sound of water as it drips into containers set out for it, on desk and floor.
A quiet pinging noise as water falls into a metal thermos.
The soft splash of toes in water as I try to keep the greater part of my feet dry.
 The dripping continues. Tap. Tap. Tap tap. Tap. Tap tap tap.
The rustle of cloth as I dry my feet.
Occasionally the water gushes out all at once, and for a few moments, the room is silent.
Then the tapping begins again.


Empty Classroom in McWethy: 10:11 AM, march 25
Above, there is the hum of one of the machines that pipes air through the building, so unceasing that it soon fades into unnoticed background noise.
Below, someone teaches a class, exhorting and discussing, pointing things out with great flourish.
From somewhere before me, someone is playing soft, soulful music.
The rustle of paper. Voices.
Someone coughs below.
The teacher's voice rises.
Paper rustles.


Morning after unexpected snowfall:
 8 AM, march 25
The hiss of snow blown over fields of snow, in the cold morning.
A rushing begins. The wind is picking up as a train comes by. The train is far away and down a hill, but I can hear it from here. Sounds carry farther in the silence of a winter morning.
The soft tramp of feet as students make their way to breakfast.
Wind rustles the branches of a cedar tree.

reflection on project 2 : Forgotten English

Ah, that didn't go as well as I expected.

I should have made the instructions clearer, but I chose experimentation and decided to see if people could pick up what to do just from a demonstration. And it worked! Except that the demonstration by itself offered no way for anyone in the audience to know that the definitions weren't supposed to be read.

Whoops.

I also felt that the way I was too imperious. Commands were an integral part of the last performance, but here such a style was superfluous. Maybe I didn't need to read over everyone's shoulder? I was just trying to make sure I knew when to take the notebook back and do the conclusion.

I'm not certain what I was doing with the opening monologue. Maybe that was unnecessary too. What I was going for was a fluxes-inspired music, the music of old English words, long forgotten -- in our practice earlier that morning, Haley said that the words we were working with sounded interesting. See, there's music in our lives every day.

The notebook is a found object in the stye of John Cage, because I rediscovered it after losing it for a few years. The words in it are also found objects, because I rediscovered them while looking for what was int he back. I forget why I added them in the first place.

As for the length, the piece went on so long because I had all the weird old words interspersed with more ordinary ones, and I wanted to include all my favorites and I couldn't alter the notebook or re-write it without changing its nature.


Foo.

I think I need to plan my pieces better.



Reflection on project 1: Striptease

I've never commanded like that before.

Not outright. Not in a way that actually had people listen and follow.

A taste of power! Bwa ha ha ha!

Ahem.

That first performance was not actually thought of on the spot -- I brought the cloak thinking I might use it if I had the courage to perform despite having missed two days of class. Turns out it wasn't as difficult as I thought.

As for the performance itself --

I got the idea from the course description in the syllabus, the one about using our own bodies as a medium for performance. My immediate reaction was "well if it means wild movements that involve kicking up my legs, I don't want to do that because I don't like showing my legs, so ON WITH THE CLOAK.

I maintain that the "tease" part of "striptease" means it can go either way. I chose MY WAY because I don't like to subject anyone to the interstate.


It's only interesting if you use photoshop filters, unless you're driving through the Alleghenies, my God that place is beautiful.

Anyway, I didn't get to do everything I wanted to do, because I forgot. I could have commanded Haley to leave the gravel and I could have turned off the lights on the stage. But everything else went well. Except that when I got into the darkroom I had no idea how to end the performance. I couldn't see anyone because of the hood so I wasn't certain what people were doing. I fully meant to forbid use of the light, but I did so before somebody turned it on, so that went a bit different than expected.

But you all liked it, so.


Who is Eve as an Artist?

Who am I as an artist?
By Eve Schmitt


Not entirely certain. I read a story, in an 8th-grade art class, about a man who did (maybe invented) assemblage, and everyone who knew him said that his artwork eased the pain of his depression, so that he remained alive.

I'm not THAT melancholy, but I do feel more sane when I'm doing artwork. More driven. Focused. 
But that doesn't answer what I'm trying to do, does it? What kind of artwork I want to do?

Hm.

I went full experimental with digital and film photography. That was fun. I got good results. Maybe I do my best work when I'm experimenting with mediums, instead of trying to achieve high technical standards. When I'm trying to meet high technical standards I turn full perfectionist and I spend too much time and effort trying to get things just right and I throw away stuff that might have been good enough and it gets really frustrating and I forget wether I'm doing it for myself or the grade.



Most of the artwork I've done, most of the best artwork I've done, has been for a grade. 

The bit with the digital photography -- that was when I began to do serious artwork on my own terms and schedule. I went nuts with the editing filters on iPhoto. Got some good pics. Discovered a trick to get perfect black-and-white, no greys. Look.




That's me.

But now, with performance work?

With performance work there's no technical standards like there are with drawing or painting -- there is idea, effort, presence, and play, and experimentation.

I've heard it said that all creatures play, because play is free expression, and who wants to spend all day eating, working and fucking? 

and Gary Larson said, in There's a Hair in my Dirt, That play is vital for the mental growth of living beings, because play allows for experimentation, and without experimentation we learn nothing. Ask a scientist.

I'm going to have some fun. 





Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Rade

Rade

By Eve Schmitt

Which is what we call it when a parade of  Fairies comes by -- not that they all that often anymore, being diminished and all, but still, it's easy to get caught up with them. As it is with their dances. Never step into a fairy circle, they say, because you'll dance forever until someone pulls you out, or until you dance youself to death.

Say now, there's an idea for a performance piece. Have everybody dance in a circle and make music however they please. A Fluxus dance. There doesn't even have to be tones or organized sound. Who's to say that's not what the Fairies do already? Who said Fairy music had to have anything to do with how we think of music? They're alien enough as it is. Beings of fire and air, instead of earth and water like us dull mud people.

Presumably they know about definitions of "art" that us mud people are quick to dismiss as nonsense. Lord knows I've made fun of performance art enough times.
It seemed so strange, so incomprehensible, so impulsive, so...fey.

Or something like that.  

Sometimes it seems like there's no REASON for a performance piece -- no reason given, at least. the point is the performance and not what it means, the play and not the consequence, the action and not the result, the movement -- for some creatures what they live for is the freedom of movement. Maybe all of us.

The fair folk rarely tell you why they do what they do, and they probably don't know either.