August 6, 2015

Final Project Summaries

This year's Summer Institute has come to a close. Here is a look at some of the final projects participants developed over the course of the month:
(photos courtesy of Alyssa Bornn)



The constructed project is an optical device that expands the limits of the eye and explores the use of light as creative agent. The device attempts to make plays of light, that otherwise cannot be perceived by our un-supplemented eye, visible through image. It uses mirrors and lenses to manipulate and project light-space-time onto a screen. This continuous play of visual motion detaches our eye, temporarily, from its immediate ability to associate the image with something ‘known’. Traces of the known appear in the image as distorted views of reality that occupy a different time than what the un-altered eye typically perceives. As a car moves left to right at a given rate through the window of the gallery, it appears reorientated and moving at a different rate within the device. These light-time manipulations are layered across the screen, allowing one to observe multiple timelines simultaneously.

The device generates both static and kinetic visual results. The kinetic compositions are experienced in real-time, allowing viewer participation as an observer of the phenomena. The static results generate reactions and understandings slowly, providing the opportunity to piece-together captured fragments of the device and its projection. These still images are documents of elapsed time, scattered with elements that exist in a static state of equilibrium.  



Spatial State:
The condition of a space accommodating a particular condition (program, event, desire etc..), as distinct from the same space accommodating a different condition.

Occurring at the same time, in the same space. Frictive, interposed, superposed, palpable.

I developed an apparatus that explores an idea of simultaneous spatial states. A series of spatial attributes, instantiated in metaphorical forms of tallness, fluidity, privateness etc…, are made coextensive, and as one moves around the viewing apparatus, one finds that the relationships between these metaphors is in constant flux. Scale is mercurial and boundaries are indeterminate. Viewing the stereoscopic vignettes, one also finds that other vignettes held by the apparatus fall in and out of existence, and new relationships between them are constantly suggested, a quality only discernable through movement and looking. 



I entered the summer institute with the goal of developing a new approach to my art practice and toward this effort I approached the summer institute as an artist residency rather than a workshop, in that I allowed myself freedom for both play and exploration without pressure of creating a finished work or project. In the past month I have gained experience with new materials, discovered new ways of looking, and perhaps most invaluably I have developed and refined concepts for upcoming exhibitions. 



I began the summer institute with the question of “What if Don Quixote built a guesthouse for Sancho Panza?” At the root of this question is a chronic fascination of subverting and displacing mundane expectations. 

With this in mind I began by studying The Hudson Bay shop front windows, particularly the mannequins. In spite of the wide range of mannequin species, each with particular scales of pose and attitude, the scenes that these mannequins inhabit are incredibly passive in terms of their engagement with the outside public. We have become so used to this passive engagement that the public does not even consider that the mannequins in The Bay shop front windows do not possess certain body parts (heads, fully articulated limbs etc.) and that each scene contains peculiar elements such as improperly scaled wildlife.

The first step in the project was obtaining mannequins. Many were considered but the two chosen possessed the most lifelike qualities with fully articulated bodies and highly detailed features. These mannequins were assembled within a constructed set. The dimensions and geometry of this set corresponded to the dimensions of the Bay Shop Front Windows, the geometry of the plugin and the slightly enlarged scale of the mannequins. The life like quality and nudity of the mannequins seemed to offer up a more active engagement with the public, with many stares and sly gestures, but the effect was exclusive to the PlugIn shop front window and did not correspond with The Bay shop front windows across the street.

A series of mechanical prosthetics were made and adapted to the mannequin’s at Plug In. These prosthetics pointed and waved to the mannequins across the street at The Bay as if to have a conversation with them. The overall intention of the piece was for the public to have a sense of displacement in which their understanding and consideration of The Bay mannequins were brought into question via engagement with the shop front window constructed at Plug In.



Provision Points is a series of vessels scattered throughout the city that provide me with domestic amenities that exist as oddities within the landscape. The project aims to blend some pleasures of home with some pleasures of the city while providing familiar emotional cues within environments that is generally public and shared.

These vessels are fastened to the city's infrastructure with bands that are similar to the ones already found on sign posts and street lights. 

The most developed vessel in this series is a 10 x 8 x 9 cm light pink silicone rubber vessel made to hold a dark red shade of lipstick in its shallow bowl. The object was first carved out of stone then replicated as a cast rubber piece. The rubber vessel takes on some of the unfinished stone and cracked plaster texture. This piece is also equipped with a small round mirror to apply the lipstick and to catch the light and reflect some of the object's 



The following work emerged out of a interest of how one comes to construct and spatialize knowledge that is gained from a desire to more fully understand the world around them. A series of 'traces' left by an invented species were constructed and then analyzed as a way to generate a dialogue for myself of how one might come to discover and simultaneously compose knowledge that could potentially forge novel possibilities. 



The research looks at using the Operating Room as an analog for the workspace in the gallery. Doctor Preference Cards are used in the OR to personalize the OR theatre for each particular surgeon. The rooms morph depending on which surgeon is operating next. For instance, it can range from an Orthopaedic surgeon that trained in the UK to a General surgeon that trained in Canada.
Artist Preference Cards were then used to customize the gallery space in the same way that Doctor Preference Cards were used in the OR. I used myself as a case study, analyzing the way I think and work within the existing gallery space; comparing my work space preferences with other artists in the space. The body being operated on in surgery is an analog for the model being “operated” on in the workspace.

I was working on a 1:20 model of the gallery space within the actual 1:1 gallery space, being able to have instant references within the gallery. This would allow direct comparisons of the space at different scales existing simultaneously, creating an ambiguous collection of scales within carefully framed photos. The coexistence and shifting back and forth between scales with precise sight lines shared amongst the model and the actual gallery space was an ongoing theme being studied throughout the research.



Attending the Plug In Summer Institute marked a series of returns for me: a return to Winnipeg after 10 years, a return to a time when I was in between places, a return to old friends and memories. These returns, which have since led me to relocate back to the city, prompted me to contemplate roads not taken, especially in past artistic projects.

In grad school I started tracing gestural strokes of paint in a period when my housing arrangements fell through and I was stuck living in between my studio and someone else's house for a month. In my current state of placelessness, I decided to go back to the same tracing methodology while also outlining and collaging together images of all the places I used to live. These buildings became a sort of hybrid memory growth drawn on a paper that is my height, 5'6”, and structured according to how many years I've lived here, 15. The result is a drawing that I have not yet finished but one that acted as a sort of autopsy not only of my memories here, but a body of work that might have been pushed in different directions before I moved on to connected, albeit aesthetically different, concerns. The process yielded new ideas in presentation, mark-making and potential sculptural possibilities.

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