East Street Arts is proud to present ‘Common Bodies’, an immersive exhibition of new and existing video works by over 30 artists drawn from an international open call.
Dates & Times: Friday 19th – Thursday 25th June 2015 Tue – Thu (10am – 5pm) Sat (1pm – 5pm)
Venue: East Street Arts Project Space Patrick Studios, St Mary’s Lane, Leeds, LS9 7EH
Curated and produced by artist Tom McGinn, the exhibition examines the tensions and (dis-) continuities between video and sculpture, and the varying demands they make of their audiences.
Drawing comparisons to our daily, collective engagement with both the virtual and the physical, many of the works in the show foreground the material importance of the screen, as a device for communicating lived, bodily experience, and as a site for the sharing of knowledge via the ‘common’ language of images.
The fifth edition of the Festival will take place at the Schusev State Museum of Architecture, Moscow, Russia, April 21 – June 21, 2015. Space is a philisophical category as well as our everyday routhine and the basic concept of architecture. Artists turn to the architecture of the present, projects of the future and runins of the past. They explore a space that exists in the relationship with time and a space as an expansion and dimension; personal space and the space of the ‘other’.
This year the festival has received 1046 applications from 67 countries.
Here is a selection of test A4 printouts of images from Kinetic Collage project via my desktop printer plus 1 x A3 archival on Somerset paper. I’m testing out how large the images can go as each image has varying resolution.
Sandra Crisp: Inkjet prints of various sizes upto approx 80 x 80 cm
kinetic_array3: Printing in progress with A3 archival desktop printer
Tales From the City (1 minute) will now be travelling to Ickle Film Festival – Dundee’s own independent film festival taking placein various venues across the city, 18 – 21 October
ICKLE will be taking over the city’s alternative screening and arts spaces including Roseangle Café Arts and Tin Roof, bringing together films and filmmakers of all flavours across an exciting weekend programme of screenings and events.
Helen Schell – Bloodsmock Barbara Monteiro – Walking Anton Hecht – Tango Master Rua Acorn – Sharing Spaces Liam Rogers – This is Not a Test Trish McRae – What do We See Michael Davies – Unsettled Rebecca Fairman – i-phone Madness Rebecca Fairman – Telling Tales Sandra Crisp – Tales from the City ( 1 minute)| Bada Song – SEND-IT Richard Miller – Scratch
Art Trail Details: 11am – 5pm Saturday 12th July (free) Saturday 12 July Meeting point : The Horse Shoe Inn 26 Melior Street, SE1 3QP (4 mins walk from London Bridge Station)
Tour 1 @ 11.00 am Tour 2 @ 12.30 am
Pick up a free large scale map at London Bridge Customer Service desk next to
the Rail ticket office or from the guides at the meeting point. Or HERE
Delighted to be invited to contribute, alongside many other other artists to two of Sumi Perera‘s great collaborative print-based installation projects including ‘Collaborative Universal Artist Book Scroll’.
Universal Artist Book Scroll A tribute to James Joyce & his collaborators by Sumi Perera & Company SuperPress Editions
I had fun creating my contribution or ‘block’ for the project which had to completed quite rapidly by return of post to be included in a forthcoming exhibition in Cyprus…
The project will be installed at:
Hadjigeorgakis Kornesios Mansion, Nicosia, Cyprus 16th May-28th June 2014.
My mini-contribution can be seen in the photos below surrounded by various research sketches and scribblings in the form of digital drawings:
In 2013, I was deighted to receive the Printmaking Today award at Print International exhibition, Oriel Wrecsam, N Wales.
The award included an editorial on my large format digital prints entitled Manipulating the Media, as part of the Artist’s Eye feature of the magazine which was published in Spring 2014 issue of Printmaking Today.
This following post attempts to reveal the multiple layers of research embedded within a particular artwork – A 2013 Video work entitledTales From the City (1 minute)
Tales From the City (1 minute) is made up from many different visuals and interconnected strands used to layer, collage and filter memories of the contemporary city both through reality and the imagination.
Underlying themes embedded within the final work and notes about experimental digital processes are recorded here in the form of a digital sketchbook. However, the purpose is to illuminate my practice rather than explain the work as this must function as a self-contained artwork alongside the briefest synopsis.
Whilst work is in progress each visual graphic, photo, audio-clip or map fragment holds personal significance leading me through the process of making. But once the work is complete, only glimpses of these fragments and their origins remain. This post is an attempt to rewind and unravel some of the concepts and processes behind the work.
Drawings and Notes
I currently now work almost exclusively as an on-screen digital artist and no longer keep a ‘proper’ sketchbook in order to work through ideas.
However, occasionally I do make sketches
However, most of the time I don’t create pencil drawings towards video projects instead preferring the spontaneity and risk involved in drawing and evolving new forms, and ideas directly on the screen.
More often than not, my visual ramblings appear more like these two pages below
Below, another pencil drawing for Tales From the city (1 minute)
Collage & Texture Mapping
Tales from the City (1 minute) continues my interest in how collage may be reconsidered in terms of new digital media’. With this video and several previous works such as Oceanics I’m using 3D modelling to reinterpet previous layering/ collage approaches used in my large format digital prints such as Memory Surface series, for example. Creating 3D sculptural assemblages that are rotate-able in the space behind the monitor screen.
As in previous videos, models within this video have many different facets and use a technique called ‘texture mapping’ where surfaces may have visuals pinned to them. For texture mapping, I use a vast array of visual material culled from many diverse sources including on-the-fly camera-phone photos rapidly shot whilst walking through the city or borrowed online maps, such as Google Earth and Street View. I also download online visuals that are the results of specific searches connected to work-in-progress ideas and concepts. I often use alpha transparency to evoke a sense of memory in these structures, as if the visuals have attached themselves to surfaces over time.
Although I’d been experimenting with texture mapping for some time in previous works, for this work I reconsidered the different facets and transparent image-surfaces as memory-membranes: Forming a kaleidoscope of continually altering visuals that recall the city in a tumbling time-based stream-of-consciousness.
Opening Sequence – The City
The video begins with the camera rapidly descending into a cluster of multi-coloured models depicting a futuristic and anonymous looking city space. This could be any 21st Century city site but the models are actually based upon Canary Wharf, London, UK.
I used Google Street View map elevations of the area to construct the models. The flattened perspective of the aerial maps acting as a guide to trace out and then elevate the various rectangular structures. The tower block surfaces are textured mapped with visuals of nearby and much older residential Poplar housing estate that exists in the shadow of these wind-swept, glass and steel towering structures. I was thinking about the shift between old and new buildings existing cheek-by-jowl in the city.
Then, as the sequence proceeds, a small rectangular graphic in rapid motion beginning at the bottom left corner of the video frame pops-up and sweeps the viewer into the next contrasting subterranean-like scene – This flickering mini-video thumbnail depicts Street View captured in the moment when the viewer pushes through the virtual streets using a mouse within the browser window.
I am fascinated by Street View’s illusion of reality which is seductive and convincing until a glitch or error in the the seamless panoptical view occurs by way of a blurred-out road, gap between structures or a mis-matched building reminds us that this is really a kind of virtual collage put together by code and algorithms seeming to portray real- World reality.
The Heygate Estate Sequence
Work on Tales from the City (1 minute) originally began after a visit to the soon-to- be-demolished Heygate housing estate in Elephant and Castle, Wandsworth, London. The estate was home to more than 3,000 people but only a few of the residents now remain. I spent a sunny afternoon in October 2012 meandering around the estate with it’s striking Brutalist buildings, furniture discarded outdoors, boarded up windows and barricaded elevated walkways all pointing towards the Heygate’s imminent demise.
I expected to find a foreboding place but discovered activities taking place such as Parkour in a clearing beneath a dense canopy of old trees and a lush community garden with it’s own irrigation supply, endless wall paintings saturated the walls.
I was fascinated by the cycle of decay accelerated due to the relocation of many of the previous tenants. The photos taken on that day were eventually used in the 2nd subterranean sequence to texture map the labyrinthine 3D model.
At the time of my visit in October 2012, the Elephest festival was also in full flow and various artist’s site-specific installations added an extra layer of interest to the estate. These artworks were also incorporated into the video
Shortly after my visit I discovered Anna Minton’s book and great page-turner Ground Control ‘Fear and Control In The Twenty First Century’which is an illuminating and impassioned account of contemporary urban gentrification and loss of personal, and psychological space in 21st Century UK cities – A critique of heavily surveilled, squeaky clean and ordered new city spaces such as Canary Wharf, and Liverpool One.
The book confirmed my own negative perception of over-large oppressive and depersonalised shopping malls that lack the lively/ human cacophony of noise and activity present in the irregular networks of open-air, ground-level city streets. Such ideas eventually permeated the video by way of the contrasting upper and lower-level structures/ spaces and the juxtaposition of organic/ geometric forms and austere/ bustling spaces.
Making the Models| SketchUp experiments| Process| Low-tech
Tales from the City (1 minute) is also a result of experimenting with a free 3D modelling program called SketchUp for the first time. This software is designed so that anyone who is not an expert or CAD trained designer may make detailed models of real-world building or objects.
SketchUp Make (The free version that I use) is not able to render high resolution video frames as Autodesk’s Maya which I used for Oceanics, for example. The animated output option is not really designed for artist’s video, more as a quick and dirty visual tool for architects and planners so the result is thinner colour and less dense contrasting tone. However, I do really enjoy the challenge of co-opting free software such as this and adapting it for my own practice. My approach is to avoid using the software in the more prescriptive ways and pre-set tools in favour of finding and exploring small corners of the software in which to work. Using a rather go-against-the-grain approach in relation to what the software is supposed to do. Using SU to create intuitive, abstract and organic models texture-mapped with collage-based visuals.
Unfamiliarity with new digital process at the start of a project is an advantage as I then avoid the repetitive pitfalls of becoming a technical expert in specific software packages, therefore my practice remains stubbornly low-tech to keep the focus on experimentation and serendipity.
I have always taken the approach of being consistently perfection-adverse in all chosen media including previous printmaking where I exploited the unpredictability of chemical lithography or etching to alter and layer found photographic imagery.
Of course, the drawback to taking such a fly- into-the-unknown software approach is that it can take a long time to find that relevant small corner and many rejected test pieces occur that remain unused! Also, ideas tend to arise as projects progress via ‘thinking through process’ rather than starting at any precise starting point, although I do frequently revisit themes such as the urban environment or today’s media saturation.
SU, originally owned by Google then Trimble, encouraged 3D model production by the public in order to populate Google maps in the form of crowd sourcing – Indeed a pretty clever way for Google to populate their online map apps for free.
Google held a yearly “Model Your Town” competition. These promotions certainly have added to the amount of 3D data in Google Earth, but the world is a big place and it would likely take centuries of such projects before the data was collected in one country, let alone the world.
As a result of the past connection to Google, the current version of SU still has a very useful tool via a pop-up window that can connect with and download images directly from Street View without leaving the actual program window. A feature that I happily used to directly grab Earth visuals and attach them to the surfaces of models.
Creating a Model
SU is really quite user-friendly even for beginners to make basic geometric models onscreen, facets can be grabbed and extruded using a ‘push/pull’ tool (See diagram below)
Eventually I found a way to sketch out more fluid line drawings and forms, still using a mouse to draw with but this time using a freehand draw tool in the software’s menu. This allowed for 3D models that are much more intuitive, unpredictable and organic such as the subterranean sequence in the video.
When I first started wroking with SU and experiments progressed with model making, and texture-mapping I discovered that a camera could be ‘taken for a walk’ around these virtual models to form an animated sequence viewable in SU. Then, I eventually figuring out a way to export these sequences to Quick Time or TARGA image-sequence files and reassemble them in video editing software, such as After Effects to produce the final video.
I always start new work in the same position of anxiety thinking that I should know exactly where I am going. However, aside from vague starting points and intentions on the peripheries of mind, I never do – Work has to evolve gradually through process resulting in a convergence of many different elements over time.
By shifting visuals from physical reality ‘out there’ (in the form of the Heygate photos for example) into digital space and transforming online Street View maps, and drawings of Google Earth into digital models – I am interested in exploring how digital tools may be used to filter reality through memory and the imagination, and how these new online spaces are continually forming new realities.
Very pleased to be included in The Mirrored Edge screening featuring work exploring ideas around utopia/dystopia by a range of artists and film makers. Hosted by Sharon Howard.
Venue: Electro Studios Project Space (ESP)
Seaside Road, St.Leonards on Sea TN38 0AL
Sat 26th April 2014 (6-9pm)
‘The Mirrored Edge’ is an event of artists’ moving image & sound work curated by Sharon Howard which reflects artists’ impressions & ideas about the tensions between utopia, a place where and instinctive harmony between humanity, nature & the environment exists, and dystopia, where a dehumanised society exists under the thumb of corporate uniformity, environmental disaster & a decline in society.’