As I've been working towards publishing my first monograph as a part of my MFA thesis, I've been trying to get a sense of the whole conceptual terrain of my current body of work, and then make work to fill in any crucial, implicit subject matter that has yet to be addressed. One such topic is the role of artist as participant in meta-postmodern theology and the credibility of creator as spiritual guide.
Here's a sneak peak at a performance/installation piece I'll be showing on Monday in the MFA gallery for Mindbody, a two person show with Natasha Jozi:
Here's where I come in with a demonstration of a ritual of making. However, in a meta-postmodern turn, I wanted to retain the sublime without deifying the artist, and confound the notion of the ideal as graspable.
On the paper I draw a circle, completing one full lap in 20 seconds. Thus, by the time my hand reaches the top of the circle again, the digital image of that hand (20 seconds ago) starts to be projected onto the paper. On lap 2 I attempt to match my hand to the motion of the digital lap 1, forced to embrace and rehearse its eccentricities. Lap 3 synchs up with digital laps 2 and 1. Theres a constant struggle to unify the physical with the digital self, all while embracing the imperfections and calling into question the "ideal circle" as the pride of the artist. Here's my first test run (the two videos are of what would be projected alongside each other in the finished installation after the performance ends)
To throw in an apophatic twist, after a few such laps, I will begin to alternate drawing the circle with erasing it, so that at every moment, between the real hand and the digital one, the circle is simultaneously being created and destroyed.
As it turned out in my test runs, the hotspot of the projector, though subtle at first, gets compounded with every recorded lap and eventually overpowers all of the imagery, until even my hand is obliterated by the light. I'm looking forward to tinkering with it a bit more and working out some of the glitches (which aren't actually the worst thing, in light of the acceptance of the error as beautiful and valid process).
Here are some process shots of the construction of the table, which is itself quite a feat of marrying the digital with the analogue. With all the technology involved, I wanted a high quality yet definitively handmade feel to it.
|An MDF table top with a hand carved recess to set the plexi in flush with the table, and 4 clipboard pieces to hold the paper in place.|
|Underneath the table, a projector mount that holds the projector vertically|
|A custom box to house the webcam...|
|...which after being finished, was attached with plumber's putty to a bendable copper pipe fastened to the back of the table.|
|See that? Two projectors, one computer!|
When I'm not performing this, the installation will consist of the table with the finished drawing in the corner of the room flanked by either video (what was projected onto the paper as well as one documenting my actual performance of it all).
I have to say, its refreshing to have found a way to legitimize drawing a circle as worthy of an MFA. Beauty is often in simplicity. Then again, leave it to me to invent a piece of technological furniture and write a custom computer program in order to make that simplicity possible!