Play Proposal

Building off of the Environments and Objects projects, I am proposing to add a “play” element to these previous iterations. In the previous iterations of Misinterpretation, the viewer had no control over anything in the room.  The room decided where the sculpture stood and where the light is placed. Not only that, but the room also had the ability to control what color light was shone on the sculptural object in the room. In creating Misinterpretation, we were trying to answer the question “how might we create a space that limits the information given to mislead viewers from what should be seen?”

In the Play iteration of this project, I have decided to change the power dynamic between the viewer and the room. The viewer now has the power to use the light as a tool to gather information from the object in the room. They can turn on or off the light source. They also have the ability to move the light around the object and to decide which filter to shine the light through. However, the viewer is still not in total control. When the viewer first enters the room, the room is in almost complete darkness. It is not until the viewer finds the light source that they start to gain control of the environment.

For this project, I was inspired by the Disney movie Atlantis, when Milo and Kida find the underwater cave and they have to use her light crystal to be able to read the information on the cave walls. Misinterpretation is also derived from the idea of sun dials in that depending on which direction the sunlight is coming from, you get different types of information. In creating this project, I hope to convey the idea that without being in control of the source, the viewer will be unable to gather all the information they decipher what is in front of them.

Instructions for Misinterpretation

  1. Viewer walks into a dimly lit room.
  2. Finds the free form light source in the corner of the room.
  3. Pick up the light from the handle
  4. Turn the light.
  5. Walk around the space until you find the object.
  6. Shine the light on the object.
  7. Rotate the light and move the light around the object.
  8. Explore the object using the light from all angles.
  9. When you feel satisfied that you’ve explored the whole piece place the light back to where you found it.
  10. Leave room.
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Misinterpretation

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In trying to answer the question “how might we create a space that limits the information given to mislead viewers from what should be seen?”, we have decided to combine certain aspects of our environments project with an object. Misinterpretation is a single room installation which houses a sculptural entity. The object we have created as an addition to the room is a light source that can produce a number of different types of lights. Depending on which light is shone on the sculpture and from what angle, the entity’s appearance may change in the eyes of the viewer. We believe that Misinterpretation answers our design question in that the room has full control of every aspect of the room. It decides where the sculpture is seated, as well as the light source at any given moment. Due to the lighting conditions in the room, the viewer will never fully see what the sculpture looks like.

In creating this room, we want viewers to understand that without having all of the information, they cannot come to an educated conclusion about what they see. Our primary audience is journalists because we want to show the them how harmful it can be to withhold information and to hide certain aspects of what is in front of you.

Our inspiration for this project comes largely from James Turrell. Turrell’s work often consists of using lights to change the viewer’s perception of a space. In looking at his work, we can figure out how we might utilize light as a tool to achieve our own goals. Another piece that is relevant to our work is the .. In this project, Art + Com installed an exploded disco ball in a nightclub in Paris. The disco ball is suspended in midair, constantly rotating. There are lights that shine on the ball, and depending on where the light is shone, there will be messages displayed on the walls.

We believe that using certain elements from the projects we are studying, we can combine and improve upon them to create an installation that answers our question of “how might we create a space that limits the information given to mislead viewers from what should be seen?”. By withholding information from viewers in a safe space, we hope that the same idea can be applied to their daily lives, and to remember to investigate all facets of what they see and hear to come to a sensible decision.

Project 1: The Paradox Room

Paradox Room Presentation

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When starting this project, Ren and I discussed heavily the topic of “power” and propaganda. However, we decided that we did not want to focus too much on the propaganda aspect, but more so on truth versus lies and the nuances in between. We had this idea that there is always a separation of “big system” and individual- big systems being anything that is outside of the individual’s control, and the one who holds the power over the individual.

Going off of there, we thought that it might be interesting if the environment was our big system. The Paradox Room is a room in which when the viewer walks into the room, they will see the walls filled with lines upon lines of texts. We started looking at anaglyph writings as a form of communication from the room to the viewer. Each line of text consists of two sentences and they are always contradictory from one another. Sometimes the lines are truths versus lies, and other times the lines are just opinions that contradict each other. When the viewer enters the room they are given either the blue glasses or red glasses (never both). Depending on which set of glasses you receive, you are fed one side of the information.

The idea of the Paradox Room is that the room is constantly feeding the viewer information. However, the viewer will never get the full spectrum of the information due to the glasses they are given and the color of the text displayed. In creating this room, we want to send the message that the room, being the big system, holds the power by getting to decide which information gets to be displayed in which color. In turn leaving the viewer, the individual, holding no power. Therefore creating a power struggle between the two characters.

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In our next iteration of prototyping, we a room that we imagined The Paradox Room to look like. It would be a tight space in which all the walls would be covered from ceiling to floor with the text. When the viewer walks into, the room will feel very intimate and somewhat uncomfortable. If we were to take this room to the next step, the lighting situation in the room will be more deliberate, and would be placed at the top of each wall. We also talked about perhaps bringing a 3D element into the room so that the contradictions would be more than just text on the wall. We also talked about maybe if the wall was able to generate new lines of texts itself, that could be another way of the room communicating with the viewer.

Week 1 Reading Response

In Madeline Schwartzman’s “Reframers”, I was really interested by the concept of “mirror neurons”. Schwartzman states that people, as individuals, are able to experience sensations through other people, prosthetics, and “virtual other”. A study was conducted to prove this point in which the participant was asked to watch someone else’s hand being poked while their own hand was under anesthesia and out of sight. However, this is not the case for everyone, mostly individuals who have suffered damage to their right parietal lobe can experience themselves having a doppelgänger or “phantom twin”

Schwartzman continues on, giving examples of artists whom have created artworks that have attempted to emulate these sensations in their viewers. Marcel-lí Antúnez Roca’s work, Epizoo, included himself in this piece as part of the artwork. “In Epizoo Roca stands alone, his nearly naked body draped in wires fixed to pneumatic mechanisms that connect to his nose, mouth, buttocks and pectorals.” The exoskeleton that holds the artist is controlled by the touching on a computer by the viewers. Roca states that he felt victimized throughout the exhibition.

This reminds of a piece I read about where a female artist stood alone in a gallery in the nude, and visitors were allowed to do whatever they wanted to her without her protest. The show was said to have started innocent, where viewers were making her hold objects that were placed in rooms. However, as the show went on, it escalated to a point where viewers were actually harming her with weapons in the room.

I think I am drawn to this reading the most because I often think about why we, human beings, are not more empathetic. It seems as though when people are put in vulnerable positions, others cannot help themselves to victimize them.

This is a Chair

As a response to Dictionary of the Possible edited by Sreshta Rit Premnath and Avi Alpert, I have created a first iteration prototype for a project yet to be conceived called “This is a Chair”.  In the Dictionary of the Possible, artists are asked to submit words with as they would define it. This  dictionary was created based on the idea of post structuralism, in which it rejects the absolute truths about the world and the words are defined by the relationships each author had with their word.

 

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D4TC Analysis

The reading that resonated most with me from our Design for this Century class was the Dictionary of the Possible edited by Sreshta Rit Premnath and Avi Alpert. The Dictionary of the Possible is a compilation of words and definitions given to them written by a group of artists. The definitions in the dictionary are not true definitions of the word, however the words are defined by the relationships each artists have with said word. This  dictionary was created based on the idea of post structuralism, in which it rejects the absolute truths about the world and the words are defined by the relationships each author had with their word.

There are a few words in the Dictionary of the Possible that stood out to me, the first being “desire”. The Dictionary of the Possible definition of “desire” by Dominic Pettman is “[i]f love is blind, then sex is Braille”. Although this is how Pettman defines his word, his definition is a pretty literal definition of “desire”. The significance of the word in this case is that the word “desire” feels very personal here. Pettman’s definition makes the word feel very raw, and tangible almost bringing the word itself to life.

Many words in the english language possess multiple definitions, one for example is “account”. The definition of “account” written by Mari Cruz Alarcón and Margarita Sánchez is: “How do certain artists act both witness and executioner?” “What is the relationship between giving an account and being accountable?” “As a documentarian, do I hide behind the accounts of my interviewees and excuse myself from any accountability?…”. I liked this definition because Alarcón and Sánchez are not simply defining the word, the word becomes a discussion topic. As a reader, I can feel their struggles as artists, but it almost makes me think about myself and my responsibilities as I continue down my artistic path.

Lastly the word “amnesia”, defined by Mira Schor:

“is a trope of film noir. the result of trauma, it sets up a condition of horror and mystery… Waves crashing against the bottom of a rocky cliff during a stormy night…Feminism is described as coming in waves, the first, the second, the third, now the fourth. It is a fluid periodic pulse, what comes in must go out. A wave comes back in because a wave went out.”

“Amnesia” stands out for me because there are many levels to Schor’s definition. On the surface, she is simply talking about how someone might experience amnesia, and how scary it can be to lose one’s memory. However, Schor ties into her definition feminism, and how easily forgotten feminism can. Feminism, in Schor’s definition, is just a minute piece of patriarchy, the ocean; a series of crashing waves in the ocean that is patriarchy and once it passes, it is forgotten.

Personally, this piece stuck with me because I found myself thinking beyond the words and even the definitions given when I read it. I am a big believer that there is more beyond every surface and that things do not always have to be as they appear to be, and this piece really conveyed these ideas for me. While reading this, I also found myself doing a lot of self reflection about how I relate to these words and how to think about how these words relate to me the way they relate to the authors. Based off of this reading, I would say that I am thinking about making something along the lines of an optical illusion. Or perhaps something that somehow plays with what is and is not in front of the viewer, and engages the viewer in a way that will encourage them to look beyond the surface of what is in front of them, and think about the inconspicuous.