Metamorphosis: Gender & Identity
My work is a multimedia installation consisting of paint, fabric, mirror fragments, lighting, text, and audio. This installation takes place in a closet, that when closed, is very nondescript. I chose to work in a closet space because it relates to the concept of gender and identity and how in most societies if an individual does not fit into the normative framework they can be forced into closet their identity in order to live safely. My work is a reflection piece about my personal gender and identity. I used the imagery of swirls in paint to symbolize the constant flow and growth of identity and self. I used the mirror fragments in swirl shapes to represent the reflection of my growth and change as an individual. Within this installation, there are pieces of text from the American philosopher and gender theorist Judith Butler, along with my own creative writing and reflection. This installation is an interactive piece that invites the viewer to enter the space and interact with the multisensory environment. Overall, this work is a reflection on my individual growth, change, and metamorphosis in regards to my journey of gender and identity.
Alfredo Jaar Reading Response “On the Being of Being an Artist”
I thought this reading was very interesting. I found it interesting that he called himself an optimist because he has a very somber way of writing. I agreed with a few points that he brought up throughout the reading. The first one that I agreed with was, “And that future is now. And the order of reality that you must change is now, all around you, all around us”. I feel like this can apply to art and life in general. I feel that this is very true because, although it is very important to acknowledge past events, the only way to change your future is to live in the present. I also feel that in order to evolve and grow as an artist you must take hold of the present time and place that you are in at that moment and work with it. If you want change to happen, whether it is in your artwork or just life in general, you just got to get up and make it happen. Another quote that he brought up that I found interesting was “We make art because we have to”. I can relate to this point. I feel that, for me, making art is that thing that makes me feel most present and helps me express myself within a certain moment and space in time. Relating to his other quote “Art is the place that offers us the last remaining space of freedom”, I find that making art helps me experience life from that special space of freedom that I create within my work. Overall, I thought this reading was very interesting and made me reflect on my own practices and viewpoints of art and art making.
Reading Response: Jerry Saltz “What Art Is and What Artists Do”
I thought this article was very interesting and there were a few quotes that I took away from it. The first quote that I found interesting was, “Art is an energy source that helps to make change possible”. I feel like this is a very true statement in regards to the artist and the viewer. For the artist, I feel that art can have the power to help the maker express change or help guide the artist through a change they may be facing in their life. I also believe that making art has the power to help change certain feelings or express them in a different way. For the viewer, I think art has the capability of, at least, changing the viewer in the slightest way from how they were before interacting with the piece. The viewer could completely hate the piece, meaning that the art gave enough energy to make the viewer gain the feeling of dislike towards the piece. It would then make the viewer further think about the piece as to why they disliked it so much. It can also go the other way, where the art gives off an energy that the viewer can relate to with their own life experiences in a way that makes them connect on a deeper level to the piece, therefore having the power to change the viewer’s experience in that space. Talking about how big this ‘change’ is really depends on the situation.
But I do believe that art has the power to provoke change.
Another quote that I found interesting was, “No thinking exists without feeling and no feeling exists without thinking”. I agree with this statement. I feel that this statement has a strong connection with how people experience art. I feel that good art is art that makes you think and feel. You can’t have one without the other. For example, looking at an art piece can make you think of certain memories which can be linked to certain feelings. Another example is that you may think that you cannot relate to a piece at all, but that means you are thinking that you have no connection to the piece while feeling distant from the piece. Overall, If you aren’t thinking or feeling then there is no possible way you can experience art.
From these two things I have discussed there is another quote that I find link these two ideas together. “You have to work in times of doubt, in good times, bad times — work. In a way, you don’t do your work. Can you pick your style? It partly picks you. There are certain things you decide, but certain things you don’t. In a way, art is working through you”. I feel that I have experienced this as a young artist. Sometimes thinking and planning can be too much and can get in the way of your artistic process. Sometimes you just have to dive into something and see where it takes you — let your art work through you. I feel that this statement is true because in an artistic process you can only plan so much before art takes over. I think that in order to really find your artistic style you have to accept the fact that you can control everything and let your art just run wild. I also think that the cure to hitting a ‘writers block’ in your art work is to just keep working. Obviously don’t run yourself into the ground, but to make sure (after taking a short break and drinking some water) to keep going and push through. When working on my personal work, I feel that I make my best work after hitting a ‘writers block’ or after pushing through difficult times.
The last quote about art that I found interesting was,“… that thing is like a dog because you just never know how it’s going to behave when there are people around”. Focusing on interactive installation projects, I found this quote to be very relatable. You don’t know how your art is going to interact with the viewer, and whether the viewer is even a ‘dog person’ to begin with. I guess that is what makes interactive pieces so interesting to work with for me, because when the viewer is a ‘dog person’ it is the best feeling ever.
Mid-Term Project: Fragmented Reflections
This interactive installation consists of shards of mirrors, a video projection, wire, wood, and black fabric. This installation represents self reflection in an abstract way. The mirrors interact with the short film being projected, throwing pieces of the projection around the constructed space. The silent film’s purpose is to evoke a sense of personal reflection, along with, comfort and tension. Working with mirrors I wanted to portray the sense of sharp, quick, and fragmented thoughts that I personally experience on a daily basis. I chose to work with mirrors because this material is linked prominently to how we view ourselves on a daily basis. Looking into these mirrors, the viewer may acknowledge the presence of themselves or the presence of a different perspective, as well as, the feelings and thoughts to come with it.
I think it is interesting to think of how much effort went into organizing this crafts gathering, and how just a few decades later the effort went from that to opening an app on your phone. Another point that I found interesting was “someone, somewhere, made everything you own”. That really reminded me how important makers are and how prominent but unseen they can be in our society.
This booklet brings the viewer on a journey of places that each page has been in contact with. Using colored pencil, I did a rubbing of different textures from certain locations that I visited on my journey from school, throughout Siena, and ending at home. During my process, things from the places I have visited interacted with the booklet, falling into the pages where I left them to be discovered by the viewer. Leaving the pages unlabeled, I want the viewer to connect these textures to places that they have been and may link them to, or if they are familiar with Siena, be able to recognize where I have gone throughout my journey. Overall, I wanted to create a journey that provokes thought and feeling through different textures that I have explored.
I personally believe that craft stands at the same level as art. My main reason for this is craftsmanship. In order to craft an object you must understand the medium. You can do this through experimentation and studies and seeing the responses of it. If the craftsmanship is delivered poorly it takes away from the piece as a whole and alters the meaning of the work. If the craft is delivered well it creates an overall strong and cohesive piece. Overall, I see craft as an art form itself because there is a meaning behind the method, process, and end form.
When Art Defines a Social System Reading Response
Throughout this reading there were two projects that caught my attention. The first project that caught my attention was the Baku project. I thought that is was so amazing to have an architectural art piece that helped the environment to aid with water shortages or to be put in place as a long-term development plan. Being extremely interested in art pieces that talk about environmental issues or pieces that use the environment in some aspect, I am really intrigued that this piece addresses present environmental issues and makes a positive impact. The second piece that really intrigued me was the project titled, Reverse. A quote from the reading that explains the project states, “Reverse is an architectural and urban project that aims to produce negative information and a negative information environment… The field of action is the same: electromagnetic space, but the direction is reversed. Our bodies change from being receivers to being transmitters”. Being a computer science and studio art double major this project was so fascinating in its use of technology and data. I find it so interesting how the art piece literally makes the viewers body react to it using electromagnetic space. Overall, I found these two architectural art pieces to be extremely fascinating in there interactive sense to the environment and the viewer.
Mapping the Intangible Reading Response
I thought it was interesting how they talked about mapping the intangible things including wellbeing and tranquility, acculturation and identity, and aesthetic feeling. I think it was interesting how they explained how spirit or feeling is what is essential to defining or accentuating a singular feature of a specific place. One quote that really stuck out to me in this reading was, “… making progress in knowledge of the intangible values of the landscape is really a trip to the centre of humankind, of our desires and emotions, of our reference, difference and identity”. I agree with that statement because I tend to personally map things in my mind based on where certain experiences happen or what specific vibes or feelings I get from certain places. For example, I can make a map in my mind based on places that I feel nostalgic towards or a sense of desire to return to. Overall, I thought that this reading was very interesting and made me think of my own experiences and thought processes.
Blue of Distance reflection:
I thought the idea of this reading was very intriguing when talking about their interpretation of the color blue. One quote I thought was interesting was, “‘Longing,’ says the poet Robert Hass, ‘because desire is full of endless distances.’” Another quote from the reading that I found interesting was, “Blue is the color of longing for the distances you never arrive in, for the blue world.” I found it relatable in a sense, when they were talking about always looking toward the horizon and always longing to be in that blue world. While reading this I came to realization that I sometimes find myself wondering about the blue horizon and longing to just jump across the distance into that blue world. Another question about longing and desire that was brought up that I found interesting was, “I wonder sometimes whether with a slight adjustment of perspective it could be cherished as a sensation on its own terms, since it is as inherent to the human condition as blue is to distance? If you can look across the distance without wanting to close it up, if you can own your longing in the same way that you own the beauty of that blue that can never be possessed?” I found this question interesting, for it really questions our human nature to desire and long for certain things and asks what would occur if we were to simply change our perspective. I feel if one were to do that and change their initial perspective, it might result in one being more content and satisfied where they are at in that current space and time. Another point that the reading states is, “… in this world we actually live in, distance ceases to be distance and to be blue when we arrive in it. The far becomes the near, and they are not the same place”. Therefore, from the reading I can conclude that in order to change our perspective about longing and desire of the unreachable blue distance, we must become content with where we are in our current space and time and accept the inevitable truth of the unreachable horizon. Overall, I thought this reading was very fascinating and brought up some interesting points about atmospheric perspective and the human nature of longing for the blue horizon.
Intro Unit Project: Walk of Destiny:
After reading the chapter (Shape of a Walk) by Rebecca Solnit I went about my “Walk of Destiny”. For my project I created sketches of points along the way that I experienced. In order to fully portray my experience I gave myself 5 minutes to complete my sketch. When finished I took a photo of the sketch I created in the location that it was created as well as the location itself. This experience and technique really pushed me to get down what I was experiencing in that particular moment as quickly as possible and to document my journey along this walk. Something that I experienced was starting the journey solely on my own. But at the final stop of my walk I happened to cross paths with a friend. This experience relates to the reading in which it states “walking as art calls attention to the simplest aspects of the act… the way urban walking elicits unpredictable social encounters”. Just following the simple act of walking and taking in the small things that the environment had to offer I really connected to the message of the reading.
Lauren Ferrara, USA
Student, Mount Holyoke College
My name is Lauren Ferrara. I am from New Jersey. I am a double majoring in Art Studio and Computer Science at Mount Holyoke College. I am currently focused on sculpture and interactive installation work. Some of my artistic interests include working with found or uncommon objects and experimenting with a variety of materials and their properties. Outside of my studies I enjoy spending my free time performing for the MHC Jazz Ensembles, where I play Baritone Saxophone (and occasionally Base Clarinet).