VVP: Art 434 & Engl. 410

Website for Vision Voice and Practice: An Interdisciplinary Course in Art and Creative Writing

Friday, April 29, 2016

Cross-Genre Conversations, Roden & Borges


In this project students were introduced to the work of artist Steve Roden and writer Jorge Luis Borges and asked to look for ways the artifacts they made (short stories and art work, respectively) suggested similarities in theme or practice. The visual art students were then asked to create work that responded to Borges or was Borges-like in some way, and the writing students were to create work that responded to Roden or was Roden-like. Here are a few examples:

you needed to be there, Krystyny Vandernberg

Hannah Brown

 Annika Tuttle



Hope Daley

Jessica Dueker

Megan Van Vlear


Michael Hallman

 Melanie Kim


 Katie Tuttle








Hélène Cixous - How


How not to…
How not to replace the words from your lips by my words spoken in good will?
How not to replace your foreign language by our French language?
How do we keep your foreign language foreign without neglecting the politeness and hospitality due our audience, our host in the theater?
How, without understanding each other in words, do we still understand each others’ hearts?
How not to appropriate the anguish of others in order to create theater?
How not to sin by illusion of understanding or fear of misunderstanding?
How can you place your self as close as possible to the other without taking their space?
How not to translate?  That is to say: how to avoid translating?  We must translate.
How not to be seduced by good intentions?
How to not lay it on thick?  Not on one side or the other.
How to slip between good conscience and guilty conscience, those Siamese twins?
How to say everything without uttering a single word?
How to become human, that is, never enough or not too much?
How not to give up on reaching for the ideal that we may never attain?
How to be the actor of a person and not her master?
How to be a refuge for a stranger?
How not to play a role?
And what if we never arrive? That is the question of the refugee on her journey.
—Hélène Cixous

Visiting Artist - Alexandra Grant



This week our class had the pleasure of hosting artist, Alexandra Grant. Grant is a text-based artist who uses language and networks of words as the basis for her work in painting, drawing, and sculpture. She has explored ideas of translation, identity, and dis/location not only in drawings, painting, and sculpture, but also in conversation with other artists and writers, such as her long-term collaborator, hypertext author Michael Joyce, and the philosopher Hélène Cixous. Her  project with Cixous, Forêt Intérieure/Interior Forest, was a participatory exhibition at 18th Street Arts Center, in Santa Monica, California, and Mains d’Oeuvres, in Saint Ouen, France, in response to Cixous’s book Philippines.

Alexandra shared her practice, her work, and her wisdom. The class was very appreciative. 

Fourth Portal (tongue), 2008, Alexandra Grant

 

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Spot Collaboration, 4/5/16

For this collaboration, the students were asked to complete a number of steps in about 45 minutes:

1) Watch Billie Holiday sing "Sad & Lonely" and pay special attention to her face as the various horn players in the band take their solos. (We emphasized the importance of--and in Billie's case, delight in--"listening to the material," and to consider how that listening affects the shape your own art takes.)

2) Interview at least three other classmates from the "other side" of the class--that is, artists interview writers, and writers interview artists. They asked, What project are you working on this semester? How is it different from the other work you make? What are you learning from working on it?

3) Listen to Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here" and consider how the singer's feelings of isolation and malaise are expressed best through "concrete" details: "Can you tell a green field from a cold steel rail? / A smile from a veil?"

4) Look over what your interviewees told you about their projects, and "translate" them into something "concrete" you can share. Writers: Make a text construction of some sort, as short as you can make it. Artists: Produce an image. (One student made a video.)

When finished, the students e-mailed the work to us, and we put it together in a presentation we projected on the screen. We took turns reading the text as we scrolled through it. Below is a version of that presentation.



Spot Collaboration - Interview Abt Practice, Billie Holiday, Pink Floyd

Sunday, April 3, 2016

spot collaboration - book



Moore and Cornell shapes our class

In this project students were introduced to the work of poet Marianne Moore and artist Joseph Cornell and asked to look for ways the artifacts they made (poems and boxes, respectively) suggested similarities in theme or practice. The visual art students were then asked to create work that responded to Moore or was Moore-like in some way, and the writing students were to create work that responded to Cornell or was Cornell-like. Here are a few examples:

 Hannah Brown:


Jessica Dueker:


Danica Isaacs:



Katie Tuttle:


Krystyny Vandenberg:


Michael Hall:


Jared Sumners:



HOMETOWN SCHOOL

Taking his wife through old school grounds, the man points, explaining the importance of things.

That used to be a concrete bench whose grinding wax permanently stained both the man’s jeans, but he kept sitting there for lunch everyday because that’s where his friends met.

The man only went to that cafeteria on Wednesday, for chilidog day.

He played guitar on that stage for some event.

That window was perpetually boarded up.

Those were science buildings, he thinks.

That smell that she smells comes from the ag. department, upper campus. Ag. kids mostly stayed up there, and the smell had not been appreciated, but the man always wanted to join them in their pins with the animals. Something social kept him.

Which reminds him, that’s the band room. The senior prank involved writing intimate secrets on the larger brass instruments. One baritone read: “look at me I’m in band, I like music, and Sarah Peterson.” Sarah Peterson was a girl who hung out with teachers. The man had loved playing trumpet, but stopped playing when it became weird to, which was early on.

The man shows his wife the door of the nurse’s office. Inside there’s yellow carpet and yellow wallpaper, multiple countries’ versions of dolls, and two semi-inspirational posters. Her desk had many photos of her family. Actually, he noted, after looking in the window, it’s different now, probably a different lady.

That field there was not usable. It was reserved for baseball. The other field was for everyone else.

The “Y” on the hill was incredibly hard to get to. We almost died trying to get to it. We hated the hills then, because they were for running not for looking. They’ll change colors next month.

At the end of the annex road there’s a store that sells soda exclusively. There’s enough root beer varieties to have a different kind every day of the school year, if he remembers. There was a carnival-prize sized bear inside, for seating.

Driving away, the man points to a Wendy’s that used to be a Taco Tia’s where that guy had tried to fight him.

He rolls down the window. Their a/c doesn’t work.

His wife reminds him she grew up there too.


Megan Van Vlear:


Hayley Langdon:


Olivia O'Brien:
A world of blue and white
holds curious creatures
that walk on water. 'Neath
a whitewashed wooden sky
they float,
aligned with
the same blue moon,
that with the flick of
a finger, move across
this world of water and sky.
"Navigaget in me, please,"
he asks, waiting for a
touch; a movement. Earth, space,
wait - God-made hand made God.


Alessi Debartolo:


Jill White:
 


 
Robert Heckert: 


Robert Brown:
Found Poems based on Color Key to North American Birds, by Frank M. Chapman and Chester A. Reed (Published in 1903). Inspired by the Art of Joseph Cornell (Born in 1903).

Owls: Pages 140-143
Cinnamon brown. Top of head streaked. Above
Bright rusty brown. Frequently repeated
Tremulous, wailing whistle. A slower
Refrain-like call. Castanet-like snapping 
Of the mandibles. Begins slow and ends
Rapidly. Cha-cha, cha-cha. Coo, coo, coo.
Rarely a hair-raising scream. Ear-tufts small.
Nape, tufts of scapulars, neck band rusty.  
Flanks, legs, and feet more rufescent. Paler
Ashy. I have seen only a grey phase. 

Herons: Pages 92-94
White, about fifty straight “aigrette” plumes grow
From the back between the wings. Legs blackish.
Lower back, wings and tail ashy. Outer
Webs of primaries, pale rufous. Rattling
Oc-oc-oc-oc-oc. An explosive quawk.
Range—Tropical and temperate. Very
Rare in eastern North America. What
Is supposed to be a gray-blue phase has
Been called Ardea wuerdmanni, a bird
Which resembles number one-ninety-four.


Jordan Wilson:


Sharayah Hooper:


Jenna Schmidt:


Destiny Gough:


Megan Brady:

Hope Daley:



Abby Blake:
Claddagh  Ring

When I was 15, I went to Ireland with my grandmother for the first time.  One of our outings took us to the Museum of Country Life in Castlebar, about an hour from where she lived in a village outside Westport in County Mayo.  I do not remember anything specific about the museum itself beside it being situated next to a manmade lake and containing the anticipated displays depicting things related to the countryside of west Ireland.  But I do remember the gift shop.  It was an austere white room full of shiny trinkets and decorations, a few guidebooks, and a number of accessories.  A spinning display rack to the left of the check-out counter hosted a collection of jewelry, including different styles of the claddagh symbol: banded hands holding a crowned heart.  My grandma had mentioned she would buy my mom and I each a claddagh ring, a tradition she had started with her daughters during their first trip to her native land.  My mom and I both picked silver ones, hers containing a bejeweled heart that made the ring look slightly large.  Mine lacked the large gem, being just a simple representation of the design.  I placed it on my left pointer finger, and sought to wear it consistently. 

When my cousin Greg married his wife Stacy, I learned something about my claddagh ring.  I had never sought out information of what wearing one meant beyond a tradition within my family.  After the ceremony, when my female relatives and I were all fawning over one another's outfits, my cousin's new wife Stacy noticed my ring and showed me her own, which she kept on her right thumb.  Teasingly, she asked who my special somebody was since I wore the ring with the heart upright, meaning the tip of the heart pointed toward my knuckle.  I told her no one, and she then informed me that wearing it in that direction means you are taken, while sporting it upside-down means you are single.  A little embarrassed, I digested her information and switched the direction of my ring around when no one was looking.

When I first came to college, I embarked on a consistent spree of losing my ring to the bowels of my dorm-issued dresser.  Not once, but three times did I look down to realize it was missing and start to despair over losing something that had become significant to me.  The first time I misplaced it, I forgot I had put it inside the pocket of a pair of shorts along with a few other pieces of jewelry.  I had searched everywhere I could think of for it until I had given up and started looking online for a replacement.  Then one day I happened to pull out that pair of shorts and put them on, noticing the pocket felt odd as I slid them on.  I peaked inside to find my missing ring and quickly canceled my order for a new one.  The second time I "lost" it, I found it again while putting away laundry.  The bottom drawer of my dresser overflowed with sweats and other warm clothes, and I determined to take them all out and put them back in a more organized way as well as add the clean clothes to the space.  While removing them, I heard a soft ping against wood, and saw my ring spinning to stop in the bottom of the drawer.  I again put it back on.  The third time I noticed my ring missing, I was once again in the process of putting away laundry.  I had just shoved my clothes into the once more overflowing bottom drawer and saw that my ring was no longer on its finger.  This time I checked said drawer first, and found it in the space my hand had previously forced some sweats in to.  Since then, I removed my ring when dealing with clothing. 

When I overcame my fear of the always-crowded caf, it too became a place my ring loved to wander off my finger.  The first time, I felt it fly off my hand as I enthusiastically gestured about something to a friend.  My conversation stopped, and I instigated an investigation of our immediate surroundings.  We were seated at the first long table near the salad bar, where a wall divides the food area from the tables. After looking under and on top of our sitting area (as well as the begging other diners to look below their feet for just a sec), I ventured to the other side of the dividing wall, not expecting anything positive.  However, here I found my ring, having flown about seven feet from where I originally sat, over a wall, to rest on the tiled floor beneath the salad bar.  I was relieved.  The next time I did not distinctly notice the moment it slipped off my finger, but remembered the last place I recalled wearing it, which happened to be the caf, where someone had asked about it at breakfast.  Upon returning for lunch, I asked the front kiosk and, to my surprise, a worker had found it and placed it in a small black box reserved for ID cards.  Here I realized I probably could not permanently lose this ring if I tried.

When an opportunity for midnight ice-skating came around, I decided to forgo sleep and enjoy myself.  A friend of mine from Oregon showed me and some others how to skate towards a person, link arms with them, and spin around.  I was successful in performing this trick, at first, until my friend Megan and I attempted it.  We had gained a little too much confidence in our newfound skill and skated toward one another too fast.  Instead of spinning, we whipped around each other, the side of her skate landing on my fingers.  We laughed it off, but the next morning claddaghed-finger was slightly swollen and purple.  I took off the ring to examine my finger and noticed the band had bent from its circular shape to have a straighter right side, perfectly fit to the actual shape of my finger.  I only maintained an annoyance for its imperfect shape for a short time, as I soon realized it no longer slid around or off my finger whenever it pleased.  It has since preferred to stay on my finger, and taking it off takes more effort than putting it on.

Saturday, February 27, 2016; 2:40 p.m. to 3:42 p.m.


Thursday, March 24, 2016

In the future

“Eventually, you’ll have an implant,” Google’s Larry Page has promised, “where if you think about a fact it will just tell you the answer.”

This quotation comes from this article, and it came up today as we talked about Steve Roden's paintings, and the systems--largely unavailable to the viewers--that generate them. Does knowing the way his paintings are made free us to enjoy them more, or does such factual knowledge just get in the way of experiencing them as made objects?

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Visiting Artist, Steve Scott

Steve Scott; poet, musician, and film maker shared snippets of his 30 year collaboration practice with our class. Scott, who started his visual art and poetry career in London moved to Northern California where he established an expansive practice that extends from production and performance to publications of critical text.  His work has taken him to Cambodia, Bali, India, and China.



Friday, February 26, 2016

Text/Image Collaboration

We did our first extended collaboration project. Broke the class up into small collaborative teams of visual artist and writers. The project was to create a new thing using text and image privileging the text and text site. Really strong work with the groups exploring the text sites of books, menus, medication labels and greeting cards.

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