Thursday, June 20, 2013

John Cage's 4 minutes and 33 seconds of silence

My father loves to sing along with this piece:

I don't usually listen to Metal, but I do like this cover of Cage's piece--even though he really pushes the tempo:

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Head in the Clouds

For this envelope and postcard, I tried to explore the overlap between my dreams and my memories of the past. Many of my dreams feel like memories. I wake up fully believing I have had conversations and adventures that happened only in my dreams. Sometimes I also forget that favorite moments of my life have actually happened and believe they were merely dreams.

The psychedelic brain on the cover of the envelope reminds me of my subconscious. It emanates the waves of thoughts that make up both my everyday world and the altered world of my dreams. I found the picture in a newspaper article about hallucinations. Could a dream be considered a hallucination of memory?

The back of the envelope is cut out of a long-exposed photograph of the night sky. Night reminds me of sleep and dreams, but also of the time where I first got my interest in the sky, looking through a telescope in Pennsylvania. Around the edges of the cut-out photograph, I continued the design of the photograph with colored pencils.

The inside flap is a rubbing of the brain and sky. I like how they both became clouds (or perhaps thought bubbles) when the images were transferred through the paper.

The postcard inside is composed of three main images. The squirrel can be a symbol of home. Many of my earliest memories are of my home, the only home I have ever lived in. The squirrel could also be the small, energetic me of my youngest childhood. The central figure might be the more contemplative me. The music is an intentional reference to two things: how music triggers memory, and how it is one of the things that I remember best.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Arp Notes

After looking at Jean Arp’s "automatism" or "chance" work, I began to think about the randomness of different actions and what meaning is constructed out of random results. As a musician, I was interested in experimenting with the randomization of music. I thought about how musical improvisation is really a kind of composition on the fly. So what if I just threw notes onto a sheet of music paper?

I scattered each of my cut-out notes and other musical symbols randomly onto the music paper. While I did adjust the notes’ orientation, I tried to retain the essential randomness of the process. Because my goal was to create art rather than music, I used large blue notes.

Unfortunately, the result was just like that of trying to play totally random music. It is close to impossible to play random music; the musician’s instinct takes over and corrects for the “mistakes”. In the process of making my art, I experienced the same thing: it was very hard to put the blue notes down without thinking about the aesthetics of the result.

The result of fully random music isn’t typically audibly appealing (even though it may be an interesting concept). The same is true with a sheet of essentially random notes. While I like the idea of my artwork, I don’t enjoy the visual result.

The process of putting the notes on the page imbues the artwork with a sense of time. The visually static marks become organized in time when they are seen as notes placed on linear music paper. A page of sheet music is read left to right to create a dimension of time. This kind of artwork challenges the viewer to look at it as both a static picture and a developing piece of art through time.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Visiting the Hirshorn

Today I took my grandparents to one of my favorite museums, the Hirshorn in downtown DC. While I love their permanent exhibits, I really enjoyed the current showings as well.

One of the best parts:
Venus of the Rags by Michelangelo Pistoletto

I think Venus's closet was raided by this artist, whose installation made out of coat hangers is displayed on the same floor:

Hirshhorn_Coat hanger sculpture
Sculpture by Dan Steinhilber (and photo by Lia)