Saturday, 29 June 2013

#artmooc week 5: Inside the space: installation art

The task this week was to get out of the room, house, flat, cottage - and make an installation that interacted or communicated with the space in which we wanted to set it. Our instructions were:
This week’s content is quite different from the movements and styles that were addressed in the previous weeks. This week you will be working three-dimensionally and engaging space. Creating a site-specific environmental installation is a very unique experience (especially if you have never attempted it before). Your goal will be to find a meaningful outdoor site and produce an installation specifically for that area. Considering the site and its relationship to your installation will be one of your most important objectives.
# 10: Get out of that classroom - and really see your space
It has been a wonderful challenge - and a completely different way of enjoying a walk in the countryside... Though it could have been just as exciting to create an installation in an urban landscape. This week's lesson for practice would definitely be to get students out of the classroom - and into the spaces outside. I would set them the task of creating mini-installations - and reflecting on them the way we have been asked to reflect on ours. Here are some pictures of my installation - and my answers to those contextualising, reflective, creative questions.

1.  Explain your process (medium and technique).  How was it made?  Which art materials and approaches did you use and why?
This assignment was all about the process for me – the process of truly inhabiting the landscape near where I now live – and playing with it – photographing it – making small installations here and there – and of eventually choosing the installation that I liked the best.
I spent three hours slowly walking around the area – up hills, down tree-shaded paths, near large fields, beside trickling springs… I wound wool-like rope into trees, I placed my shoes in puddles, I placed shoes walking in to and out of various forms of greenery… I floated my shoes in water, I created caches of stones and leaves in bole holes in trees, I shaped wheat from broken wheat stems, I photographed a knotty root as if it were itself a tree – and added a twig with leaves… but in the end the installation that I loved the most was installing a strip of blue-plastic-covered wiring into the most beautiful bush/tree – where it complemented the green of the leaves, the white of the flowers and the yellow of the lichen. It was a false damsel fly in a verdant bush – and I loved it.
The point of this installation is the close up – and it is very much captured in the very first photograph – but I have uploaded a picture of me making the installation as the ‘long shot’ to give a sense of scale and place. 
2.  Describe the idea behind your artwork.  What story or message does it get across?  What does it mean to you?
This installation was about looking really closely and intensely at a very small piece of the countryside – and seeing the wealth of detail, colour, intrigue and beauty in that small piece. Juxtaposing a false damsel fly was designed to catch and draw the eye – to draw attention to the place that held the 'damsel fly'. The colours were held in harmony – the shapes also complement and frame each other. This was a small but perfect installation. The message was that the very small can be as breathtaking and beautiful as the very large.
3.  Why did you create it?  What are your reasons for creating that specific art piece?  What do you want your audience to feel and think while observing it?  
I wanted to capture something intensely beautiful – but small – and that epitomised where I now live. I moved to the countryside from London, England. When in my twenties I could never ever imagine NOT LIVING IN LONDON. It was everything to me – pulsing with energy and life and happening… It was impossible to not live in London. As Samuel Johnson (I think) said: ‘He who tires of London tires of life.’ I absolutely believed that… Now – I see the life and beauty of the countryside – not just in the breadth and depth and height of it – but in the very small spaces as well. I have changed. This installation reflects that the wonder and beauty of everything can be in that very small thing – if we take the time to pause, to look and to see. I hope this is a beautiful Zen moment for the onlooker.

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