6 BOXES, 1 STORY

19/11/2018 – 23/11/2018

CTS: WEEK 8

6 people per group, 6 sheets of paper each with 6 boxes on each sheet. You have two minutes to fill one box per sheet and then pass it to the person on your right. You then receive the sheet from the person sitting on your left and fill another box. the exercise is over when you get the your sheet back and full. Then you enjoy the micro stories made by you and your peers.

In the beginning it seemed a little awkward, you didn’t know what to draw, everyone is looking at the other person looking for inspiration. Then you start drawing the first thing that is comfortable for you. I decided to draw a man farting, because I thought it would be funny and cheap humour always lightens the mood. It worked. As soon as the person on my right saw what I drew, their first reaction was obviously: ‘that’s so childish’ or ‘really?’. However, they continued my story and made it weirder. So did I and the rest of the group, we just wanted to see how far we could push each story until  we couldn’t anymore. It was interesting to see the human spirit at work and how each person responds to different images differently.

First we can tell what people are like. Someone drew a cute deer, this person has a tendency to draw lighter and sweeter drawings. Someone else drew a 16 year old mother holding her newborn child, this person has a darker sense of humour. One person drew someone climbing up a ladder, maybe they’re not the most creative on the spot or the most outrageous, but it gives us a lot freedom to take their story in any direction. This exercise was part of a bigger subject: comics, particularly how the  images correspond to each other. We were studying the anatomy of the imagery. Do these two images flow? Do they make sense together? How does this image, affect that one? We understood how there are images that are completely different from each other and that our minds fill in a potential storyline between. We saw two images such as a man hitting a baseball and immediately our minds create all the action in between the empty space (or gutter) of the two images. Comic books are all about the interpersonal relationships you create between the book and you, the imagery and you, the dialogue and you, and your imagination and the story. How they marry one another and create this wave of storytelling. The comic tells you one bit, then you imagine the rest in between the next image and so on. The time you spend between image is completely non-linear as you may spend seconds to hours on an image or outside it.

 

image vs me.png

It’s quite a magical thing and it’s the reason so many of us who are hardcore fans or casual readers enjoy that personal aspect of comic books. In movies, it is kind of the same thing, it can be told in the same ways. Just like a director, the comic book artist makes you see what he wants you to see and lets you imagine the rest.

LE MONDE DE CHRISTINA

03/12/2018 – 07/12/2018

CTS: WEEK 10

 

What do we see when we look at a painting? Brushstrokes, marks, lines, curves, etc. We see an amalgamation of shapes to create an intended or unintended image. How that is created, is another story. Historians, critics, artists, curators and professionals of all sorts debate endlessly on the meanings behind paintings, sculptures, performances, etc.

During our session we examined the 5 things we need to consider when analysing artwork: style, formal elements, design, subject matter and  objective description. We used an example which I will not mention, because we learned the best way to have a unbiased opinion about a painting for example is to strip away all the information around it. No title, no date, no name of the artist and especially no explanations. Why do we do this? To reason without biases. If we were to read a critics interpretation of Mona Lisa for example, our minds have paved a path towards a specific type of thinking. A classic observation is her smile without a smile. When we read it, then look at the painting, we cannot help seeing it and therefore our judgment is biased. It is mentally more challenging to pretend not knowing any information about the painting and deliver the most accurate and authentic interpretation.

Secondary sources should come into play after to compliment and enrich. This way of addressing information can be applied in lots of different ways, obviously getting to the information without searching it on google or in a book can be challenging, but asking a friend to get to the information first then showing you is a good way of getting around this problem. The best option is to go to a museum, analyse a painting and then come back to it later.

This is the painting in question:

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  1. Style. It’s very realistic and representational, maybe naturalistic even.
  2. Formal elements. The light and the colours have a grey tone overall as well as earthy and muted, making the painting depressing or sad. The girl’s dress pops because it is the only colour that doesn’t blend in with the others, but even that is muted. Though the sun is coming from the right and there isn’t a harsh shadow, there is a contrast between the lighter and darker areas. Especially the creepy shadow on the far-right house. The vanishing points of the painting are outside and we have this view from above, exaggerating the hill and making everything a little more dramatic. The detailed horizon line accentuates that.
  3. Design. Everything is well spaced and nothing feels forced, the natural lines of the arcing field and the path add depth, the horizon adds space, so do the small homes. As empty as it is, the painting feels full
  4. Subject matter. The subject, or the girl, is laying down on the grass with a diagonal line pointing towards the house, our eyes naturally drift from her to the house and back. It may be she’s looking back at it, maybe she fell down while running away. We’re not sure as we don’t have any more information than from our reasoning mind. Her arm is very skinny, which is normal if you live on a farm and it isn’t doing well. The land looks quite abandoned and the grey hairs in her head indicate stress. Someone lives there as there are clothes on the washing line in the top right corner, or maybe they were forgotten and the house truly is deserted. Without the name, author and date of the painting we can’t do much except speculate.
  5. Objective description. Name: Christina’s World. Date: 1948. Author: Andrew Wyeth. Size: 82cm x 121cm. Gallery: MoMa. Media: tempera, levkas. Medium: Egg tempera on gessoed wood panel. Subject: Olson house, Christina Olson. Now that we have all this information, the painting becomes more understandable. Though it looks traditional, it was painted during the modernist period, so the concept behind is avant-garde making it a modernist painting. Though Christina and the house belong together, there is a sense of detachment. Could the painting as a whole, field and house, be her whole world, or her world is what’s going on inside her head? It was influenced by the depression era artists, that’s why her arm is so skinny from the lack of food caused by the stock crash. It could be in the 1920’s when mechanisation took over agriculture and her farm was left behind due to its old fashioned nature. There is some activity to the painting, her hand gripping the ground versus her passive foot, something is wrong but she’s too weak to do anything. Andrew only painted in two places and this being one and the girl, Christina Olson, was a woman he painted often throughout their lives.

 

Now with number 5 explaining the history and the background of the painting, it becomes harder to disassociate from the facts and come up with our own reasoning. When you work like this you are dependant completely on your intuitions and initiatives to get your own interpretation. When someone spoon feeds you the the facts and history and shows you key moments in the paintings, you immediately fall in to their logic and reasoning, making it harder on a conscious and subconscious level to  figure it out. You become dependant and distracted by everything happening around the painting instead of what’s inside it. I do admit you won’t find everything you’re looking for, but at least 80% of the information the artist wanted you to know is there for a reason. When the artwork is anonymous, it stays at the centre of your mind.

GRAPSTER

26/11/2018 – 30/11/2018

CTS: WEEK 9

 

Grandma. Sweet, old grandma baking cookies in the kitchen or waiting for her grandchildren to call her. Knitting sweaters and cooking delicious food. Rapper. Tough-as-nails, new age rockstars taking over international stages, drinking, smoking, having sex with the women of the world. Two very different stereotypes, opposites in many ways: gender, age, personality, attitude, etc. and because of stereotypes we expect them to act a certain way.

 

 

This is why Macklemore’s song GLORIOUS challenges our views on rappers and grandmothers.

 

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Macklemore shows us his caring and endearing side, he obviously cares about someone and this could make him vulnerable in some ways. Rappers spend their careers amassing street credibility and gaining respect either by making millions, going to jail, committing crimes and so forth. So to suddenly see a very successful rapper put that life aside and expose his softer side can make that credibility disappear into thin air. So for him this could be considered career suicide if we look at what most rappers do and new rappers aspire to be. But if we look at the history of rap, it came from spoken songs in the cotton fields of the deep south to the jazz clubs of the 30s. Then to Harlem in the 70s where disc jockeys were looping LPs to spread some positivity during one of NYC’s toughest time. Over to the 80s rappers speaking about being weird, expressing African pride, respecting women and loving one another. Today rappers like Schoolboy Q films himself spending time with his daughter on social media or Snoop Dogg started an American football team to help young African American boys escape gang violence. There are many more examples like this, but because of the stereotype we have engrained in us, we react differently when we see Macklemore act like this, because before seeing them as a human being, we see them as rappers.

If this was a song by Justin Timberlake for example, the video would not have the same impact, it might even have the opposite effect, it might look cheap then endearing. Macklemore himself breaks the rapper stereotype because in a genre where 90% of the top rappers are black, him being white counters this. To be of a different race and be in the top of the rap game is a feat in itself, because we unconsciously expect the next big names to be black.

Another big antagonizer for making rap what it is today is media. They made rap look like the bad guy, the same way they did to rock in the 50s, and that became the sales point for labels. The image stayed, the next generation of rappers aspired to be like the previous one, hence the image of having sex, drugs, money, luxury is becoming more and more important, because the new rappers want to outdo their predecessors. As this image grew, it permeated and become the base since the 90s for rappers up until today, the stereotype formed.

 

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This is why our hearts melt when we see the grandma do everything a rapper does. When she ‘vandalises’ a house with eggs and gets a strip tease, we find it funny because our stereotype of a sweet, old grandma is conflicted before our very eyes. This is why the video works so well and pulls the heartstrings in the right places, everything works in its favor and not against it. If grandmothers did this we wouldn’t think twice of what we were seeing, it would be a recording of a grandma’s normal day-to-day life, but because of how stereotypes makes us think, the video is successful. All of a sudden we see grandmas in a new light, it makes us think if our grandmothers do the same or have done in their younger days.

 

macklemore-glorious.jpg

 

Another example is M. Night Shymalalan’s 2015 movie The Visit. The reason why it was so scary is because we would never imagine our grandmother act this way. Erratic, evil behaviour, bouts of mania and just all-around scary. The whole stereotype of sweet granny was destroyed, but the movie only worked because of stereotypes as did Macklemore’s video.

 

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So stereotypes are useful, in terms of communication we can represent a certain demographic quickly and effectively. If an artist needed to represent a rapper in a split second, tattoos, money, guns, women, and a grandma: cookies, apron, knitting and slippers. The only problem with stereotypes is that it can be offensive, racist and derogatory. Since most rappers are black and from rough backgrounds, we associate black culture with drugs and violence. It can be a negative force to make us believe that a certain population are this way and we immediately presume their education, attitudes and personalities. Stereotypes don’t come from fantasy, they are based from truth, but before you make a joke or a remark reflect where the stereotype stems from: negativity or positivity. Were these stereotypes used to make denigrate people or was it casual banter, always think before you speak, because your life and career can disappear in a matter of seconds and words with one dumb remark. Just look at Hulk Hogan, WWE superstar one day, Wiped away the next. What he said is not just racist, it is ULTRA racist.

 

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IMAGES

Winter, G. Hulk Hogan, Getty Images Available at: https://www.ranker.com/list/celebrities-who-were-caught-being-racist/celebrity-lists (Accessed: 7 January 2019)

Rappers. Available at: https://www.complex.com/music/2018/09/soundcloud-rappers-you-should-know/ (Accessed: 7 January 2019)

Grandma at the table. Available at: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt3567288/mediaviewer/rm1946490112 (Accessed: 7 January 2019)

scary grandma. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0B1NRC3WYEs (Accessed: 7 January 2019)

Macklemore and grandma. Available at: https://bgr.com/2017/07/07/macklemore-glorious-music-video-grandma/ (Accessed: 7 January 2019)

Materialism. Availiable at: https://www.emaze.com/@AOLZRORT (Accessed: 7 January 2019)

THE ENVELOPE: CONTENTS

19/11/2018 – 23/11/2018

STUDIO: WEEK 8

8 TASKS.

8 WAYS TO FIND INSPIRATION

8 WAYS TO MAKE YOUR CREATIVE BLOCKS MELT AWAY

 

Contents of the envelope:

  • 1 main instruction
  • 8 black envelopes with TASK instructions
  • 1 blue Spray can
  • 1 blue 7/8 coin
  • 1 surprise

 

MAIN INSTRUCTIONS:

 

READ ALL INSTRUCTIONS CAREFULLY BEFORE YOU START

FOR EVERY LETTER YOU OPEN YOU MUST MAKE A DRAWING DEPENDING ON THE TASK.

ALL 8 TASKS SHOULD BE DOCUMENTED ON THE SAME A3 PIECE OF PAPER.

YOU CAN USE WHATEVER MEDIUM YOU LIKE TO, BUT IT MUST BE IN COLOR.

YOUR A3 SHOULD BE FULL BY THE END OF THE 8 TASKS.

YOU MUST START BY SHUFFLING TASKS 1 TO 5 AND PICKING ONE AT RANDOM. DO NOT MOVE ON UNTIL ALL 5 ARE COMPLETE.

FLIP THE BLUE 6/7 COIN TO DETERMINE WHICH ONE YOU DO FIRST.

TAKE TASKS 6,7 & 8 WITH YOU IF YOU NEED TO GO SOMEWHERE.

ENJOY.

 

 

1:    FRESH HOUSE = FRESH IDEAS

WHAT: Clean something significant in your room/ house. Draw on the A3 what you cleaned.

WHY: Your mind concentrates better when there is order.

In Michael Atavar’s 12 Rules of Creativity he stresses the importance of a neat and tidy space, because he writes: “If you are connected with your creativity, this can be the only space you need to flourish” (Atavar, p.25). He uses the example of Carl Andre, an artist who does not have a studio or office. He has a pen, notepad and a yellow book. He thinks of the idea, calls for the supplies and assembles in the gallery he is exhibiting in. I can’t stress how important this is, your life CHANGES when everything is clean.

 

2.   SLUMBER WITH A KEY

WHAT: Place an overturned plate next to a comfortable chair (if you don’t have a chair, a bed is fine). Sit in a chair with your hands hanging over the edge. Hold your keys lightly between your thumb and index. When you fall asleep, your hand will drop the key and the sound will wake you up. Draw immediately on the A3 what you feel or saw.

WHY: Your subconscious mind is a pool of untapped sources of inspiration and just like meditation, this is another method of accessing it.

Dali used this technique to find new inspiration for his paintings, his paintings are so wacky and look like something out of a hallucinogenic trip. Sometimes we need to go completely over the edge and crash at the bottom of the cliff, look up and realise “thank God I jumped, that idea sucked”. You may also have a new perspective and have solutions to fix or enhance the initial idea. Our subconscious has all the answers, so why not find out what they are trying to tell us? In the spirit of crazy ideas, here is a very famous Dali quote to get you going: “I don’t do drugs, I am drugs”.

 

3:   MEDITATE

WHAT: Find an upright, comfortable position either in chair or a bed. If you chose the bed, place pillows against the wall for your back. Play this video on Youtube by Beyond Purpose: The Five Minute Miracle – Daily Guided Meditation. Go through with it. Draw what feeling you felt on the A3 during the meditation.

WHY: Total peace brings creativity. Less to stress about, more space to explore.

Some of the most successful people in the world meditate: Paul Maccartney, Oprah Winfrey, Hugh Jackman, etc. I chose two quotes from famous people that I think describes it pretty well. Steve Jobs said:

“If you just sit and observe, you will see how restless your mind is. If you try to calm it, it only makes it worse, but over time it does calm, and when it does, there’s room to hear more subtle things – that’s when your intuition starts to blossom and you start to see things more clearly and be in the present more. Your mind just slows down, and you see a tremendous expanse in the moment. You see so much more than you could see before. It’s a discipline; you have to practice it.”.

It almost sounds like a dictionary explanation, but then put into human context. It is pragmatic and it does the job, however we can not relate to it. So I found what Ellen DeGeneres said:

“Because it feels good. Kinda like when you have to shut your computer down, just sometimes when it goes crazy, you just shut it down and when you turn it on, it’s okay again. That’s what meditation is for me,”.

It is something most can relate too, it just makes sense when we compare it to an object. We humanise our laptop, because we sympathise with how a computer functions.  They ‘behave’ like us. So if it is worth their time, it is surely worth your time.

 

4:   OFF THE AIR

WHAT: Choose the word you hate the most between liquid, colour and food. Now on Youtube, write OFF THE AIR followed by the word of your choice. Watch the whole show uninterrupted (turn your phone off) in complete darkness. After it is over, choose your favourite scene. Draw on the A3 an image inspired from that scene.

WHY: Something completely random that makes no sense is the best way to distract and relax you. It also allows for new ideas to grow.

In Michael Atavar’s 12 Rules of Creativity he asks: “How do we get through a brick wall?” (Atavar, p.142), to this he answers: “The easiest way is to drive right through. However, take a more intelligent route. Push each brick out, until a small space appears.” (Atavar, p.142). This is what this video does, by diverting your attention to something else, your subconscious is not hello back by the conscious because it is distracted. Giving it freedom to push out the bricks. The goal is not to take down each brick individually, because with just one hole the whole brick wall can collapse into a pile of dust. By watching it in complete darkness, you won’t be distracted by what is around you.

 

5.   6 WORDS, 1 STORY

WHAT: Write then illustrate a story in 6 words on the A3 sheet.

WHY: By making something fun and completely unrelated you disconnect with the pressure of creating your finished piece.

In Danielle Krysa’s book Creative Block all the artists can not stress enough the importance of doing something unrelated, completely different or comfortable. E.g. Holly Chastain on page 143 suggests asking a friend for an assignment, on page 53 Anthony Zinonos proposes going to a thrift store, buying old magazines and making 5 new collages or on page 267 Jen Altman tells you to “get on the road!”. From making sculptures to tearing up artwork, doing something else always helps and if it is artistic, even better because you are still creating more content.

 

6.   HUG A TREE

WHAT: Hug a tree, stay as long as you possibly can, don’t stop until you feel the tree hug you back. Take a picture of the tree and when you are home, draw the tree on your A3.

WHY: If it was not for trees you would not be reading this.

Gratitude is very important, thank those that make it possible for you to create art. All the middlemen that you do not see play a big part in your existence. Farmers, pilots, garbage men, they work so they keep the world spinning, and you make the art that keeps them from going crazy. Thank those everyday that make your life worth living, call your mother, call your father, call your best friend, tell your pet you love them. You are hugging a tree, but the hug is for everyone.

 

7:   THE BIGGER PICTURE

WHAT: Type legal-walls.net/city/london and find the nearest, legal, spray paintable wall to you. Spray paint your own face from imagination with your eyes closed. Sign your name + date. Take a picture and redraw it on your A3 when you are home. WARNING: DO NOT PAINT OVER ANYTHING THAT LOOKS REALLY GOOD.

WHY: Leaving your mark on something bigger than you that you can’t take home is an act of charity. Leaving your mark on the community.

This exercise does it all. Changes perspective, changes surroundings, pushes boundaries, challenges you, opens you up and changes medium and surface. I think, as an artist, we all have a deep desire to paint on walls. It is something innate and subconscious, a little fantasy we all dream of doing one day.

 

8:   THE SMALL DETAIL

WHAT: I give you this piece of chocolate as an act of thanks, now do the same for someone else, your mother, a friend or even a stranger. Give without expecting anything in return. Draw what you gave and how you felt on the A3.

WHY: Being nice goes a long way. What goes around, comes around.

In Danielle Krysa’s book Creative Block she interviewed 50 artists and asked them all what methods they use to unblock themselves. Warm-glow giving theory: The altruistic feeling of giving without expecting anything in return was a term coined by James Andreoni. I won’t go into the mathematics of this theory, but there are many reasons why to give and he calls it the warm-glow because that is what it feels like. One of the artists in the book called Amanda Happé uses altruism to fight creative blocks. She says:

“I challenge you to make and something and leave it somewhere public – somewhere it might be found. Something not too grand or careful, but honest and perhaps lovely. When you’re creating it, think about one person happening upon it. Make them a message. If you enjoy this feeling of caring about something without feeling precious about it, do it again.”

Going back to the warm-glow feeling from Andreoni, this is specifically what Happé wants to make you feel with this exercise. To make in order to please, it is as simple as a smile, because there is no pressure about what you are making and who is receiving it, by making something with love and releasing it freely in the world, you spread some more joy in the world.

Another method and little more direct is by Alyson Fox on page 273, although this can be purely altruist it works better when the recipient sends something back. She picks three random addresses and sends and scans personalised letters of a true story that happened to her. She adds a return address in hopes someone sends a letter back. This is such an amazing exercise I think one we should all do, it’s so intimate and secret, a letter is like meeting someone with meeting them. Because they’re holding a piece of you and you’re talking to them, you can tell the story over and over, until they are ready to answer you. Watch the animated movie Mary and Max if you want to see how one letter could change someone’s life.

 

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

 

Andreoni, J. (1990) Impure Altruism and Donations to Public Goods: A Theory of Warm-Glow Giving, The Economic Journal, Vol. 100, No. 401 (Jun., 1990), pp. 464-477. Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Royal Economic Society. Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2234133 . Available at: https://econ.ucsb.edu/~tedb/Courses/UCSBpf/warmglow.pdf (Accessed 20 November 2018)

 

Atavar, M. (2014) 12 Rules of Creativity, Kiosk Publishing

Krysa, D. (2014) Creative Block, Chronicle Books, LLC, San Fransisco, California

Dali, S. Available at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/salvador_dali_154013 (Accessed: 20 November 2018)

Ranker (2018) Famous people who meditate. Available at: https://www.ranker.com/list/celebrities-who-meditate/celebrity-lists (Accessed: 20 November 2018)

BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING

19/11/2018 – 23/11/2018

STUDIO: WEEK 8

 

This is the second part of Friday’s workshop where we had to make a video. Seeing as we as group enjoyed making the footage so much and not having time to edit it in class, I took it upon myself to assemble the video in my spare time. After my computer deleted my original version, I had to start from scratch and I am so happy my Adobe Premiere crashed, because the final result is amazing! If I do say so myself. I really enjoy the post production, you have full control of the film and you can manipulate it in any way. I excessively used filters and layers, because I wanted to learn all that Premiere has to offer. I also learned how to remove the green screen from videos and discover the world of free videos and sound.

This workshop has most likely oriented my choice towards the 3rd option: the guerilla poster plus video because I want to make a more polished version of this workshop. I’m not sure what I want to protest though…

ENJOY!

 

 

This video was filmed collaboratively and then edited by Marco-Antonio (yours truly).

It was made during a workshop to get our minds thinking on our last project of term 1, Year 1.

The assignment was to make a political video in our university’s surroundings using the posters we made in class.

 

CREDITS: Editor, Director, Special effects: Marco-Antonio

Camera wo/men and Cinematography: Bella, Marco-Antonio & Rebecca

Actors: Alex, Bella, Katie, Marco-Antonio, Suhail, Rebecca & Zixuan

 

SOURCES:

VIDEO:

personal footage

fire: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-sNaF… & https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zMoHZ…

SOUND:

Anti-Trump rally: https://freesound.org/people/mloveles…

Political rally in Izmir Turkey, 2011: https://freesound.org/people/xserra/s…

 

I RESTRICTED MYSELF TO FREE INTERNET CONTENT. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

 

A LIFE OF PAIN

19/11/2018 – 23/11/2018

STUDIO: WEEK 8

 

Act III: Crescendo is now upon us. 2 more weeks until big meals, family gatherings and wrapping paper start to invade our homes. Just before the glory of Christmas, for this last project we have to choose one between:

1. An A2 digitally printed and processed poster, to be placed in the world and photographed in this situation.

2. A 6 illustration narrative, in the form of an art book, zine or a set of images, when printing consider paper stock and quality.

3. A ‘global protest’ guerilla marketing campaign, might contain images and text and/or a 20 second piece of moving image for social media.

4. Another negotiated and realistic outcome, to be specified in group tutorials on 26th November (groups TLV) and 30th November (groups MK)

 

To get our minds jogging and our hands making, we tackled number 3. We made an A2 political poster and a ‘protest’ video (SEE BLOG: BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING) using the 10-100 word quote or set of words we needed to provide for today. My quote comes from Albert Camus’ letter to an Algerian militant Aziz Kessous in 1955. This is the original French quote:

 

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“Vous me croirez sans peine si je vous dis que j’ai mal à l’Algérie en ce moment, comme d’autres ont mal aux poumons.”

 

This is an alteration and translation I found on Harvard:

“[…] I have pain in Algeria, […] the way some have pain in their lungs”

 

I am not Algerian, I have never faced oppression, I have never fought in a war and I do not know anyone who was involved in that war, but from the moment I saw it, I felt the pain in my lungs. I felt an ache, a whine, a strong tension across my whole chest and my throat closed up. It feels like a giant is sitting on my chest. I cannot explain why this occurred, but writing holds such a power. The write words in the write place can make such a difference in someone’s life. I do not know how it could change mine, but something shifted inside of me. It reminded me that not everything is as developed and safe as London, there are many suffering today what Algeria suffered more than 60 years ago. This was one of histories most vicious wars and still to this day, Algeria is an extremely sensitive subject in both countries. Coming from the French-speaking part of Switzerland, we learned about the war. Even if we are a neutral country, my history teacher kept his opinions to himself and advised us to avoid the topic outside of the classroom, especially when speaking to French or Algerians.

 

Here are some important facts about the Franco-Algerian war to get a better overview of the situation and to get some historical depth to the quote. In 1954 the Algerian National Liberation Front launched a guerrilla attack on military and civilians after being inspired by Vietnam defeating the French. The fourth Republic fell and a stronger Fifth Republic led be De Gaulle stepped in. The war was not only France against Algeria, but Algerians against Algerians and the French settlers against France.

 

L_armée_Française_terrorise_la_population_Algérienne

 

The most vital aspect of this war to comprehend is that Algeria was a colony since 1830 and to the French, Algeria belonged to them. It was not just a colony, but an extension of France. It was also one of the very few colonies in the world where there was a significant number of deep-rooted European settlers dating back generations. One in ten of the total population was French and they were called piers noirs or black feet. These are French citizens born on Algerian soil who they considered this their home. However they distinguished themselves superior to the rest, because they were descendants of Europeans. In Algeria the pieds-noirs lead great lives, they live in safe, tight-knit communities, they had access to education and they were the only ones who could vote. Camus was a pied-noir, but lead an extremely hard life, one that mirrored to that of a local Algerian  So when De Gaulle surprised the world that Algeria needed to become independent in 1959, the pieds-noirs retaliated viciously, the were not losing their home. Even the generals in the French army launched a putsch in an attempt to keep Algeria, this is how badly they wanted to keep the African nation.

 

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After an estimated one million deaths, a cease-fire, terrorist attacks and 6 million Algerians voting for independence, Algeria was finally Algerian. Once freed, the European settlers were no longer welcome, which resulted in one of the Europe’s largest exodus’ since the second world war: 900’000 pieds-noirs fled to the mainland. However they were not welcome there either, the metropolitan French considered them second class citizens and the Algerian Muslim community accused them of starting the war. This is one of the many reasons why the war did not just end in 1962 for both countries. For Algeria, the aftermath resulted in a violent civil war in the 90s and for France, it ripped and divided. Macron the first president born after the war, is the first to openly tackle the past and confirm that France tortured Algeria. It took France 60 years to admit what they did to Algeria, after all those years of suppressing it he’s allowing France to open up about it and face it. Now think back to the advice my history teacher gave me, as an outsider we understand why some topics are not meant to be touched.

 

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I believe that this artwork from Bob and Roberta Smith’s artwork has a direct correlation with the events that took place in Algeria. 75% of the Algerian and French population chose to vote, this issue was so big and so important it mobilised millions to make the right decision. We take voting for granted and we forget how many people would kill to have our power as citizens, how each and every vote can make a huge difference in someone’s lives. This is why I love how emotive and powerful this piece of work is, it reminds us from our great-grandparents generation all the way to ours why politics really matters.

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The pain Camus felt in 1955 still resonates today, especially at political levels. So taking all this information, I wanted to rewrite Camus’ quote into my own. I chose three countries I believe hurt like Algeria today: Haiti, Syria and Yemen. These three countries to this day still experience immense hardship. Haiti has face for centuries exploitative farming, terrible slavery, corrupted governments, destroyed lands, a devastating earthquake and racism every day from Santo Domingo, the nation that shares the island with them. To the point where the Dominican government is kicking all the Haitians out of the country. Next is Syria. They have a corrupt government and still face years of repression and interior conflict since their liberation from French authorities in 1946. Years of coups, failed presidents and treaties, wars, attacks and a dictator has left that country ruined. Not to mention the horrific war that started in 2011 which has left 7.6 million Syrians displaced internally, 5 million refugees and nearly half a million dead. Finally, Yemen. The poorest country in the Middle East and deemed a Kleptocracy which means: a government run by corrupt leaders who exploit their country and resources for personal gains. War, revolutions and international corruption has rendered the population helpless. The UN has stated that the 21.2 million people are in need of humanitarian aid since food routes have been blocked and the water distribution system destroyed. Now the people are drinking contaminated water. Nearly 1 million people are diagnosed with cholera and 2,226 people have died already, this is the worst outbreak in the world. 56’000 others died because of the conflict with Saudi Arabia who are trying to reinstall the old government since the recent coup d’état in 2017 when President Hadi was shot with a sniper rifle.

What is the one thing these countries all have in common on top of all the other horrible things: pain. This is my reimagined quote:

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I think it speaks for itself.

 

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Goldhammer. A 2013 “Algeria is What Pains Me”. Harvard. Available at: http://www.people.fas.harvard.edu/~agoldham/articles/Goldhammer-AlgeriaWhatPainsMeBC2013-11-25.pdf (Accessed: 7 Monday 2019)

Samuel, H. (2018) France may have apologised for atrocities in Algeria, but the war still casts a long shadow. Available at: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/09/15/france-may-have-apologied-atrocities-algeria-war-still-casts/ (Accessed: 23 November 2018)

Kehtani, S (2012) Incredible Photos Of The Brutal Franco-Algerian War, 50 Years Later. Available at: https://www.businessinsider.com/algerian-war-france-pictures-2012-3?IR=T#april-1961-a-few-prominent-generals-in-the-french-army-in-algeria-tried-to-overthrow-de-gaulle-in-an-unsuccessful-generals-putsch-10 (Accessed: 23 November 2018)

Henley, J. (2010) Haiti: a long descent to hell. Available at:https://www.theguardian.com/world/2010/jan/14/haiti-history-earthquake-disaster (23 November 2018)

Wikipedia (2018) Algerian War. Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Algerian_War (Accessed: 23 November 2018)

Wikipedia (2019) Haiti. Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haiti (Accessed: 7 January 2019)

Wikipedia (2019) Syria. Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Syria (Accessed: 7 January 2019)

Wikipedia (2019) Yemen. Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yemen (Accessed: 7 January 2019)

 

IMAGES

Albert Camus. Available at: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0133411/ (Accessed: 23 November 2018)

Soldier with suspected rebels. Available at: http://www.memoria.dz/galerie/105 (Accessed: 23 November 2018)

Peace in Algeria. Available at: http://www.leparisien.fr/culture-loisirs/guerre-d-algerie-desaccords-d-evian-19-03-2017-6775245.php (Accessed: 23 November 2018)

Available at: http://www.mabeloctobre.net/expositions/guerre-dalgerie-propagande/ (Accessed: 23 November 2018)

Bob and Roberta Smith Dear Pissed Off Voter, 2014 oil on board, 61x61cm Available at: http://handelstreetprojects.com/bob-roberta-smith (Accessed: 23 November 2018)

GROUP TUTORIAL 1

12/11/2018 – 16/11/2018

STUDIO: WEEK 7

 

Part of my group and I explored how we could improve Act 2, the second project in our series of 3 projects. For this brief we need to create a list of instructions to help a creative, in this case a fellow peer, how to overcome a creative block. This is the equivalent to writers block that we all have heard of. We also need to add an object that will help with the instructions given, and put all of this in an envelope.

I had 2 ideas for this project. The one on the left was to motivate people to clean up their house/dorm deeply. I believe in fresh house = fresh ideas, so this would benefit them in many ways. Not only because repetitive and monotonous labor frees the creative part of the mind from the stress giving it space to reflect, but because your logical brain is focused on a task at hand and your new goal is to complete this. Secondly you benefit from a clean house and this is a great excuse because its for uni. My other idea involves a set of random tasks that must completed and documented. In this scenario, as you focus in completing alternative and weird tasks, you learn and try new things to help distract you. The crescendo of this idea: eureka moments happen at the weirdest times, so why not create those moments instead of waiting for them. Here are the ideas:

 

 

Thanks to my peers, they helped me realise what I can improve and just to hear support is always great, because it invigorates confidence and it shows you that you are on the right track.

The best advice given to me by my classmates was:

  • The recipient should make an outcome
  • Create a specific order for the list of tasks
  • Write a rationale as to why they are doing these tasks
  • Mix both ideas in one
  • Surprise them!

Using this I managed to enhance and I think nearly perfected my idea, if you would like to see the final outcome of this project read THE ENVELOPE: CONTENTS

With peer help and group tutorials, we enhance our creative possibilities and reach our highest potential. Why is this? Others see things you don’t. They give you insight from a different perspective on the same subject, they redirect you, keep you on track or make you start from scratch. Honest, genuine and constructive opinions and critique is like chocolate: amazing. It is bitter and sweet and good for you. Don’t get offended when someone says that your art, your speech or idea can be better. Think of it as a treat, it is always gift when someone shows you how to live, work and do better. Like the African proverb goes: if you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go together. If there is anything you should take from this, find the people who will help you go far, one day they pull you closer to your dream, the next you pull them. No one is alone, especially when it comes to success, no one makes it alone.

 

VICTORIA & ALBERT

05/11/2018 – 09/11/2018

STUDIO: WEEK 6

 

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The V&A is a wonderful museum situated in Knightsbridge opposite the Natural History Museum and Imperial College. Boasting stunning grounds and surroundings. The trip to the museum is a visit in itself.

During our visit we were tackling the idea of taxonomy. This word is used in the world of science in order to successfully classify anything that has been discovered. I took this word and five others from my Automatic Writing Task (read my blogpost ANIMATRONIC WRITING for more information). Using my brain, I needed to find an interesting way to correlate these words and an item I was interested in the galleries that related to that word with taxonomy. It sounds abstract, but it is rather quite simple. One of my words was light and I found a Japanese deity called Fudo, also referred as ‘the Immovable King of Light’. Now you can easily piece together the task I had to undertake. The next part is the most fun, make an illustration from what I gathered, but this time a careful one not like the ones my class made in our mark-making workshop (read MARCO MAKING MARKS to see what I mean).

Redrawing the statue would be too easy, what I am going to represent is the state all Buddhists want to attain: enlightenment. This mythical character is very important to the Japanese Shigon school of Tantric Buddhists, because their elaborate rituals were designed to help followers attain enlightenment and who better to pray to than ‘the Immovable King of Light’.

 

 

With one simple visit, I discovered something completely unknown to me. The power of museums are very much underrated, because of the silent nature of their exhibitions hold a lot of power to those who dig closer. Passing by a ‘pretty painting’ will not change your life, unless it is the one, but most of the time the things that capture our eye do not get the attention they deserve. We observe, admire, move on and the picture we took of that piece we enjoyed fades away between memes and selfies. Take the time to understand the origin, the history, the story behind a culture or an artist or a movement. Too much food kills you, too much sleep kills you, but too much knowledge will never kill you, only enhance you. What kills millions of us daily is not enough knowledge. You are reading my blog from a computer or a phone which means you have access to knowledge, so do not take it for granted. You have it in the palm of your hand, many need to walk to the next village just to find a book. This is why I value museums so much, because they are undoubtedly one of the most authentic sources of information in the world.

 

 

 

 

PRET-A-PORTATERMS

05/11/2018 – 09/11/2018

CTS: WEEK 7

 

Theory. We tend to think of theory as something that belongs to academics and people of a certain intelligence who drone on about vast and difficult subjects and come to no real conclusions. But you are all wrong! Theory may be the most underrated thing ever, even Scientific American (Ghose, 2013) has listed it as one of their top 10 most misused words, because what people who misunderstand it believe this word to be something that doesn’t live, it is just a though in someone’s head. Think of theory as advice, and like advice, you either understand it, do not accept it, push the boundaries further etc. It is information that advises you on how to think in a specific way about a specific subject, a common theory is:  climate change. We have evidence and information, we see cause and consequences and with all of this we deliberate what we believe to be true. If you think that climate change doesn’t exist, please take your bags and kindly exit through the red cross on the top left corner of your browser. In this case, we can clearly feel climate change and we see the damage it is doing. Places that are dry are getting dryer or wet places getting more rain, the sea levels rising, etc.

Theory is an endless highway with more exits than you can imagine, it is personal, it makes you grow, you travel to places in your mind you didn’t think you could reach. I like to think of myself as the cat in the expression “A cat may look at a king”, because my theories, unless proven wrong, are at the same level as Theory with a capital T. Your thoughts are just as worthy as someone else’s. The best part, is when you are proven wrong you want to know why and keep bringing it to the next level.

In this CTS session we had to pair the correct word to the correct definition, we learned new words or portaterms that will elevate our essays to the next level. Like the word existentialist: a branch of philosophy that focuses on what it means to be a human being, or the word hegemony: leadership or dominance, especially by one social group over another.

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Using what we learned here, we had to create imagery with a word were given. My group got the word canon, and according to Oxford Dictionaries (Oxford Dicitonaries, 2018) it means:

“A general law, rule, principle, or criterion by which something is judged.”.

So using the paper and pens and magazines available I questioned beauty. Flipping through the magazine, I just saw beautiful white men of a certain age and all were either actors or models. Where were the women? Except for a beer and beauty advertisement, they were nowhere to be found.

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We judge beauty based on the media’s perception of it, the canon is tall, straight, muscular/thin, white men. Though times are changing, we need to improve and diversify the canon to all skins, genders, sexualities and conditions. Beauty is for everybody, and everybody should be represented.

Here is some art of my peers, enjoy:

 

 

 

Bibliography

 

Ghose, T (2013)'”Just a Theory”: 7 Misused Science Words’. Available at: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/just-a-theory-7-misused-science-words/ (Accessed: 17 November 2018)

Oxford Dictionnaries (2018) Canon. Available at: https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/canon (Accessed: 17 November 2018)

CURATION AND CREATION

05/11/2019 – 09/11/2018

CTS : WEEK 6

 

When we walk through a gallery or a museum, we just kind of expect paintings and sculptures to be there. we don’t put much thought as to where things are placed, because they are placed so well. The best curators know where things fit together, it must look like the object is home, where it looks the most natural in the space it is being exhibited in alone or among other pieces of art. It is very complicated and much thought and attention goes into preparing shows.

 

During this session we got to explore curation, each group was given a box from the public archives in LCC and the floorplans of the  London College of Fashion. My group had a collection of feminist zines. We only could use 6 to 8 items and do whatever we wanted with the space. In the end we settled on the following 9 zines:

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The hardest part was: how do we make 8 small books create the biggest impact in a big space? In our opinion, the zines were not grandiose enough to stand alone. We are not saying that the content is worthless on the contrary it is fantastic, but the whole point of DIY culture, and especially zines, is that it is tactile, most of the time cheap and on the same level as the spectator. The only way you get the most out of a zine is engaging with it, thus all the originals will be protected and copies will be available to read the contents. The main room where the zines will be presented is dark and only has one entrance, 2 zines per corner and one centre piece all illuminated with a spotlight. What women face when it comes to sexual harassment is a lot of disbelief and scrutiny. When you stand in the room you can see each spotlight, though the problem is seen, many women feel alone in their struggles. The darkness in the room represents non-action from the law and all the other voices that are silenced. The zines in the corners are black and white, these are all the stories that weren’t taken seriously and didn’t have an impact on the news. The centre-piece is in colour, this one symbolises the catalyst, breaking-news story that grabs everyone’s attention and brings into the light all the other black and white stories that should not be forgotten.

 

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Our targeted audience is sexually-active women (but not exclusively) and most our socio-politically engaged. The exhibit will be 16+ as some of the events will be expressing very dark, mature themes. The title of our exhibition is Born Captive also the name from one of our zines, because it has so many meanings such as being born captive to a sexist/misogynistic culture and I think many women can identify with it. We went through many alterations and finally settled on the idea of creating a feminist fair to make the biggest impact. We divided the space in several zones: (1) the zines are the main exhibit , (2) a zine-making workshop, (3) a small screening room that would air documentaries, (4) a platform for guest speakers and anyone who wants to share their stories, past experiences, ideas etc. and (5) stalls for female artists and feminist/charity/social work associations.

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The main point of our exhibition is to raise awareness and create a safe-space for women to express themselves using art as a medium. We want women to leave feeling more confident and safe knowing that there are people that can help if something may occur or has occurred. We also hope that someone will get inspired and continue making zines at home or develop that into something bigger. If enough small spotlights come together, they can shine an enormous bright light on a problem infecting societies everywhere, thankfully that is already happening.

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