VVP: Art 434 & Engl. 410

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

Monday, February 23, 2015

Further gloss on constraint, from our theological tradition...

"Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death— even death on a cross." - Paul, in the letter to the Philipians, 2.6-10

Saturday, February 21, 2015

"The body is a formal constraint."

This poem, by Elizabeth Willis, from the February issue of Poetry, is dedicated to the actress Rose Hobart and the artist Joseph Cornell, who had something of an obsession with her. (From Wikipedia: "[Cornell] bought a print of the movie to screen at home, became smitten with the actress, and cut out nearly all the parts that did not include her.")

It's a really good poem that should be read patiently and out loud. I'm linking to it here, as it connects to this class, not just in our study of Joseph Cornell, but because we ask our students to conceive for themselves a number of formal constraints against which they make their weekly written or visual work. We contextualize this requirement by looking at Cornell's space-constrained boxes alongside Marianne Moore's syllabically constrained poems. Cornell & Moore help set the tone of the class, to help students see, as W.H. Auden says about meter, that "rules...forbid automatic responses, force us to have second thoughts, free from the fetters of Self." Of course, as Willis puts it, "The body is a formal constraint." One is never completely unfettered. Moore in "What Are Years?" suggests that submitting to this fact is the way to move beyond it:
sees deep and is glad, who
   accedes to mortality
and in his imprisonment rises
upon himself as
the sea in a chasm, struggling to be
free and unable to be,
   in its surrendering
   finds its continuing.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

New Semester, New Work to Come!

Tuesday was our first day of the semester, and we've already set the students to work, with two spot collaborations and restrictions for their own individual practices. Wonders to follow!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Final Image/Text Conversation

This was a final one-class session collaboration project where the student teams had one hour and a $10 budget to create a site-specific installation using image and text.

Final Cross-Genre Conversation, Goldsworthy and O'Hara

Monday, May 26, 2014

Class Salon

Once a semester we turn the class over to the students to present their individual practice. Each student shares a selection of their semesters work. Here are a few examples of the visual artists work.

Nate Fan
 Lisl Ruckert
Katelyn Seitz

Lit Odom
Josue Luna
Lauren Higgins
Nico Hernandez

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Monday, May 12, 2014

Text under the influence of Steve Roden

- Katherine Baker
- Jake Anderson
Hiding or Hidden?
     I sit and stare and start to see tiny black bugs stuck in a spider's web. The web hangs in a tree against a backdrop of flowers and the sky beyond. Sticky fibers catch and entangle. Soon the bugs will be mummified in a silky coffin. No movement to suggest a struggle. Halo of green glows boldly and flowers hang in leafy space. Border of gray. Flat and deep all at once. There will be only a moment of fear before the hugs get swallowed up.

     I shift positions. Wait. I'm not sure of what I saw before. Now there are odd shaped ladders forming something like an octagon. It's encircled by static. Parallel rungs move toward the center where there are small black diamonds hiding among other colorful gems of citrus and emerald and nightfall blue. What are the rough gray shapes? I don't remember what I thought they were before. I turn my head to the side. It looks like a spikey balloon trapped inside a cloud. What does it mean now?

- Liv Hays



Liberty can endure.
Created portion of this brave place,
Devotion struggled, living on full cause.
New world, what for those the years
Gave war.
We who dedicated the great cause remember all.
These men who fought on
Concecrated ground, our new continent,
Little can conceive in freedom.
People cannot all sense.
Living honored and civil,
For far over final fields altogether created
Birth of advanced fathers.

Process: Assigned numeral digits to colors, and used words from the Gettysburg address to rewrite the number pi.

- Victoria Van Vlear


- Michael Asmus


Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Frank O'Hara

Today, we heard part of an essay by Stephen Burt, which is about Frank O'Hara's manifesto, "Personism," and how its ideas can be traced in O'Hara's poetry. O'Hara writes, tongue somewhat in cheek,
[Personism] was founded by me after lunch with LeRoi Jones on August 27, 1959, a day in which I was in love with someone (not Roi, by the way, a blond). I went back to work and wrote a poem for this person. While I was writing it I was realizing that if I wanted to I could use the telephone instead of writing the poem, and so Personism was born. It’s a very exciting movement which will undoubtedly have lots of adherents. It puts the poem squarely between the poet and the person, Lucky Pierre style, and the poem is correspondingly gratified. The poem is at last between two persons instead of two pages.
Burt elucidates O'Hara's "point":
[Personism] consisted of the smitten O'Hara's realization that love poems might not differ in intention, nor in effect, from phone calls: "I realized that if I wanted to I could use the telephone instead of writing the poem, and so Personism was born." Poems, in other words, are only one kind of intimate communication, and ought to be at least as impressive, at least as personal perhaps, as the others (even if their forms differ). Every poem is or could be a "Personal Poem" (an O'Hara title), with an "I" and a "you," and a hope, not that Heaven will favor the poet, but that "one person out of the 8,000,000 is / thinking of me."
We considered these passages as we read aloud "Why I Am Not a Painter."

Another of the poems we read this week, "Having a Coke with You," has been illustrated by the artist Nathan Gelgud. You can check that out here.

And this reminds me of a video student Juliet San Nicolas made for this class. It's called "Dear Frank," and you can watch it here

Friday, April 18, 2014

Tina Linville & Annalie McKenzie

Several weeks ago we had visual artist and collaborators, Tina Linville (rt) and Annalie McKenzie (lt), visit our class and talk about there on going collaborative practice. The have been collaborating since 2011. They work together to create site responsive installations and artworks that blur the distinctions between painting and sculpture. They have exhibited their collaborative works across California in museums, galleries, and alternative art spaces such as the Torrance Art Museum, Den Contemporary, and 18th Street Art Center, and more recently in Paris, France. http://www.linvilleandmckenzie.com/home  
Both artists also have their individual studio practices as well. http://www.annelie.biz/ http://tinalinvillestudio.com/home.html