In semester one, I thought that I should follow what I had been doing throughout my academic life, which was to conceive of a strong idea and work my way towards it. Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to complete this idea as I began to dislike it and my project turned into something completely different than what I anticipated. In my other module, I endeavoured in creating auditory pieces and I think that is why I ended up making a recording of fictional content. Because of this rapid change of my project I don’t consider it to be successful and in retrospect should have realised this earlier in order to organise my time better.
This semester I want to try something different. I don’t have a final idea ready from the get-go so I am not restricted by any tethers. I want to explore myself during these 11 weeks and be vulnerable.
I thought about what I can do with the topic of ‘animal’. Not necessarily what outcomes I could pursue, but rather what came to mind when I thought about the subject. I thought about the notion of an animal and also cultures, religions and artists that come to mind. I made this little brainstorm during our first session and continued to add to it after it as well. After we discussed the assessment and what the module is about this semester I feel more clear as to what is being asked of me.
In order to take a different approach to my practice, I looked at music which makes me feel limitless, unbound and free. I think these are just a few tracks which incite a sense of liberation from the material world- a certain detachment. Through all this cutting of strings, tethers and restraints I did find one thing that connects all these pieces of music together; emotion.
I drew inspiration from Neon Trees’ Animal, an indie pop/rock song which has some sentimental value to me. I think I’ll do a few more of these and see where they take me…
This week we had a look into a film and other instances of animals in art. I kept very few notes as not many of the pieces spoke to me but for the ones that stood out to me I made a few comments. I found some if not most of the works of art during this week’s session to be very bizarre and some even made me feel uncomfortable; notably one where a performer was seemingly channeling the essence of animals or when a few artists played music that would reverberate inside a beehive. I felt that that was very invasive for the bees. The one piece that I did enjoy was one where a fox was running around in a museum. I thought it was interesting how it was traversing the halls after hours. A wild animal interacting with a fabricated environment was fascinating.
Following last week’s drawing, I chose Fools by Troye Sivan, an Australian artist who is very important to me.
I took some inspiration from Jean Michel Basquiat for the style. I enjoy his paintings as there is something almost juvenile about them but the detail and use of medium is highly intriguing to me.
Last week I had my individual tutorial and we discussed the what went wrong last semester which helped me put things into perspective. I should be focusing on getting things done during the week rather than on the weekend which hinders my performance across all my modules… I will most likely start looking at Goya as an influence soon but I did some digging this week and found some written work I had done which may potentially inspire this semester’s project.
New Beginnings: Developing My Ideas
Nature is the theme of this semester so I decided it would be a good idea to stray from the stereotypical topics such as flora and fauna, landscapes etc. and instead investigate what other avenues ‘nature’ can expand to.
Through brainstorming I reached ‘human nature’. I found this to be a quite profound area to explore, but one path stood out to me the most: War. Although I have yet to explore the depths of war I have decided to look into armour specifically. I will do some research on the designs of armours across the globe but also taking into consideration modern artists such as Nick Cave.
Looking into Cave’s work I began to question what I perceived as armour and began to consider materials other than metals in order to create a protective garment. There is something whimsical to the design of these ‘Sound Suits’ which I want to incorporate into my own designs for my project. The exaggerated proportions and varied designs are something I am interested in exploring.
This week I started gathering my influences for the design of my suit. Keeping the whimsical aspect of Cave’s work I found George Barbier and Léon Bakst. I am entranced by the idea of having a faun-like character speaking a monologue while using the armour as a prop; taking it on or off, something like that. I feel that the theme of nature can be used in a post-apocalyptic setting for this piece I intend to create. To be specific, I am thinking about the speech or script which my character will follow. I want to talk about the gradual destruction of Earth by human hands and have this faun character be a protector or warrior of nature.
I have considered having a specific period in time during the performance but I am drawn more towards visiting the warrior/protector at various points in the Earth’s life. From the moment life began to develop to its destruction by the ignorant actions of humans. I want the character to be round, showing development over the passage of time, and with each change in time a new more gloom mood and outlook each time.
I believe a faun would be a good character due to the fact that they are deeply associated with nature but with a mischievous to them. I would like to play around with that idea, having them be playful and quirky in the beginning and then having their personality change into something more serious and damaged.
As far as what the armour would look like, I have looked at armours from various regions of the world. I do not want to create a full suit of armour, rather I would like it to be mismatched, a pauldron here, a shinguard there. Perhaps the armour evolves over the piece along with the character.
I began to experiment with paper this week and came up with a vest shaped garment by sellotaping A4 pieces of paper and cutting a hole in the middle of the 5 sheets. I then added two extra pieces to either side and sellotaped them to the opposite side of the vest. Finally I added two triangles with curved hypotenuse sides to the front to make the vest look more seamless. Overall this experiment was easy to create but difficult to put on and remove. At one point the shoulder straps ripped and I used more sellotape to make the opening wider but keeping the garment in one piece as well.
In this week I start experimenting with a different material: foil.
At first I thought that this would be more successful than paper since foil is more malleable but I was wrong… Bigger pieces of armour are difficult to make without breaking them up into smaller pieces. I am not sure how I would connect them together without having the entire suit falling apart. So for the sake of simplicity and visual appeal I decided that I want to keep foil as a material but in small quantities so that it catches the eye but doesn’t dominate the costume. I liked the top part of the breastplate and the pauldrons I made. I think I will make more of these smaller pieces of armour because I feel that small pieces of foil look better than big ones. I will make more pauldron and upper chest plate pieces and maybe even expand towards arm and leg pieces to see how they will look. I have also considered adding colourful post-it notes onto some of the pieces, however I feel that they will not have the appeal and aesthetic I am aiming for. I shall try it and see.
This week I took a look at some images to inspire my costume for my piece.
In high school I took part in my school’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. I played the role of Oberon, King of the fairies and found that my costume and my portrayal of the character evoked a degree of mysticism and sorcery.
I would like to retain this sense of mysticism but include more plants in the costume’s design. My cloak in these images creates a loop which I thought was very interesting visually as when I moved on stage it wavered in a visually appealing way; making cloud-like structures at the bottom and gradually pulling the rest of the fabric out, making a curved ‘L’ shape.
Looking at William Blake’s work but also the Ballet de Russes gives me some ideas as to where to take my costume idea.