website tests

After discussing various colour themes for the website we decided to use a black text on a yellow background theme. This would provide impact and ensure the text stood out, it would also, after prolonged looking, start to make your eyes "go funny" stressed etc, which plays into the idea of nerve (our title for the exhibition) our theme of the senses and sensory ideas.

From the start we decided, what ever we did, we would like to use a simple, uncluttered format for the site, over complicated transitions, confusing arrangements of image galleries, complicated menus would serve only to decrease interest in the site from viewers, leading to them to navigate away from the site.

After trying various ideas for the sites home page including landing pages, where you click to be taken to the main site, using just the name/logo for our exhibition, it wasn't working, and did not seem appealing. The Landing page idea, was quickly rejected as that would mean there would still be the need for a 'main home page'. The idea above which utalised the name in centre instead of at the top, look nice, but the empty space, above the menu was distracting.
for the rest which all used the logo design, they seemed to go against our original idea of clean and simple design.
Taking points from other gallery and exhibition sites such as the tate etc, I decided to use a central image of the empty exhibition space, as the main image for the home page.

The next issue which arose, and one which was not solved to, my satisfaction, was the url for the site. I started of using the free version of squarespace (my own web hosting service), to design the site, with the plan being that we would 'upgrade' and register a domain name later.
Unfortunately the rest of the group were not happy to do this, as the prices were too much, and they thought the money could have been better spent elsewhere. I then shifted the site to wix, which offer cheaper packages and pay monthly deals etc, despite this the group decided that, again money would be better spent else where. We discussed buying a domain name but we couldnt link this to our free wix account, which means we were left with the standard wix name in the address url

Michka Henner

In 2004 Henner produced a work entitled img_01. This work consisted of a printed image of no Mans Land during World War 2, and a book which contained the data code of the image

 

Henners work embraces, image appropriation, and modern technologies, such as google earth.
IMG01 fuses these two together, producing a work which questions the authorship and authenticity of imagery and the balance between the analogue image in the digital age.

As a companion piece to the microscope images I wanted to have an image which somehow pushed their argument of creator/creation further, by using the source code from the electron microscope image we are showing a new level of the creator, and even the building blocks on what we may perceive as being the image maker (the CMOS sensor) Again I want to create a sense of the viewer, not totally understanding what, they are looking at, whilst I am including the images as part of my main exhibit, unlike Henner I am not explicitly, showing the connection between the two, instead, allowing the viewer to make the connection between the two themselves, or to interperate this in their own way. With the advent of films such as the matrix and source code, this connection should be quite explicit, and it will be seen as something that they have in their collective consciousness, this along with the ambiguity of the prints, should set up subconscious links between the two.

keeping with the idea of scientific equipment I have only printed off a small section of the code, I intend to stick these together in a long strip, reminiscent of the old dot matrix print outs, this will be hung on the wall and allowed to drape down on to a stack of paper, giving the impression that there is more code than there actually is.
Due to limitations in this piece for including in the portfolio, a link to the PDF has been provided.
 

JG Ballard and Baudrillard

“Electronic aids, particularly domestic computers, will help the inner migration, the opting out of reality. Reality is no longer going to be the stuff out there, but the stuff inside your head. It's going to be commercial and nasty at the same time.”

This idea of an reality which is not the one we think it is, relates to the work of Baudrillard. an alternative to the real world. The images I am using for both pieces, have an alternative to reality, one which plays with the idea of the creator and the created. The microscopic image of the photographic sensor, it is a reproduction of the creator, its also a reality that we do not see, it has a place in the real word os a physical item, but the only way we see it at this scale is via its representation from the electron microscope, which because of its complexity, the way it sees the image and that because of its 'scientific nature' has an authority that perhaps the actual object wouldn't have?

"copies that depict things that either had no original to begin with or that no longer have an original”. Baudrilard

The companion piece to these images consists of the source code from one of the images. This again plays with the same themes of Art vs science and the real vs the unreal. In this case the sourcecode represents the data which creates the images we are looking at, but the data can also be said to be showing the creator itself (the actual image sensor (and possibly the photograph) but where does one start and the other end. Which is the reality? the sensor, the image or the code? 
could one exist without the other?or are they all part of a gestalt entity? 

Colour or Black and White

The next thing I want to decide is if I should 'colourise them...either purposefully selecting colours, or using gradient maps. I think this slightly detracts from the images when they are coloured, and they, to me look less professional, polished and maybe more consumer friendly?
I may consider printing some of these to sell as prints, but ultimately, I feel the black and white images are the stronger.

 

That is not to say these colour images aren't strong, I fell the fourth image above, works incredibly well in its own right. But I do feel their strengths are inconsistent, certain colours work and certain colours don't, it then becomes more about the colours selected instead of the image, and the discordance of the image and what it represents would be lost.

Images Tests

one area that has always interested me is the images produced when looking at objects under a microscope. After studying A-Level biology, I loved the images of cells and other microscopic elements, when viewed under the microscope.

 

Whilst I liked the idea of using a microscope, and I liked the lack of scale they provided I decided to see if I could get images from under an electron microscope. 

this raised the question of what to put under. initially I considered using torn photographs or photographic paper, or even negatives/film. But since this is esentially now a digital process I decided to see what the sensor from a digital camera looked like.

whilst I like these, images I did want them in higher quality so I could print larger, and secondly since I intended to present these as a series of 3 images, in increasing magnification, the presence of the pins

starts to give some sense of scale/size to these images, I wasnt that worried about the text that shows the magnification, but since numbers in microns are almost impossible to visualise, but the pins, that hold electronic components in place is something that people can comprehend, and thus the idea of this unfathomable sense of scale is lost. My aim for this is to provide a slightly disorientating feeling in the viewer, allowing them to decide what the image is, I deliberately want to leave this ambiguous.    

 

Looking at these six images, I think they are all strong/striking images, but because of the ambiguity present I think I will go with the first 3 as my exhibition piece. Also staring at these images, my eyes started to cross their focus, similar to how Magic eye pictures (autostereograms) do, which I guess works quite well with our sensory theme.

Photography and Science

With the advent of modern technology, our view of the world is becoming wider. Science in particular offers new avenues for discovery. Photography seems the natural medium for capturing these advances, and providing illustrative representation of phenomena etc.

There is the idea of where does an image stop being, scientific and technical and become 'Art'?

Is this possible to even say?

What 20th Century art is not influenced by modern science?  - James Elkins

 title page of Aaron Scharf's Art and Photography

title page of Aaron Scharf's Art and Photography

 Susan Derges Vessel No. 3

Susan Derges Vessel No. 3

Many scientific techniques, lend themselves to artistic interpretation. These can be diagnostic, or illustrative, in the case of x rays, microscopes, soundwaves, and dna testing

or documentative, such as anthropological images, in the 'Family of Man', astronomy photographs and cataloguing of genus classifications. 

In these situations within the gray blurred area between art and science the artist is able to use the tecniques

But remember that I am controlling and using for my own purposes the means of reproduction needed for these programmes [...] with this programme as with all programmes, you receive images and meanings which are arranged. I hope you will consider what I arrange but please remain skeptical of it.

This describes perfectly the skills of any artist, the use of materials, media, and technologies, appropriating from them, what is needed in pursuit of their art. In this case John Burger is describing the editing process of the TV series, Ways of seeing. This order if changed would give a totally different point of view to the facts being presented. the same is true for any art, the photograph in colour vs Black and White, landscape vs Portrait, the painter depicting greens with certain hues that are similar vs the one who expands their pallet. All of this opens up the interpretation of the image to question, It starts to fuse the artists point of view with the work, then this is then decoded by the viewer, in to what may be a completely different interpretation, which may be completely at odds with the original intent (if such a thing exists)

To try to capture fleeting mirror images,” it said, “is not just an impossible undertaking, as has been established after thorough German investigation; the very wish to do such a thing is blasphemous. Man is made in the image of God, and God’s image cannot be captured by any machine of human devising. The utmost the artist may venture, borne on the wings of divine inspiration, is to reproduce man’s God-given features without the help of any machine, in the moment of highest dedication, at the higher bidding of his genius.”

Walter Benjimin.

This idea, brings to light the discordance between the digital and the analogue, between the machine created and the man created.

Venues

We looked at numerous venues, some of the group were adamant that a central Manchester/city centre location would be best, but this really doesn't take into account accessibility. Depending upon the times we choose to open the exhibition, traffic in the city centre would be a major issue, we also need to consider the distance between the location and carparks, and also the price of city centre carparks, may put visitors off, and reduce the numbers we get. Also we also have to consider disabilities etc, if people cant, get there by car then we would not be encouraging a inclusive environment for the arts. I was unable to get to some of these sites, so these images are from the group page.
 

The Castle Hotel  (Northern Quarter)

Nice 'rustic' appearance,  but the fact it has bar furniture in there and what looks like books, so it appears to be a room that is regularly used, but also it is a 'public house' and we need to consider if the work we are intending to produce, would work with that environment.

Kraak (Northern Quarter)
 

Ply (Northern Quarter)

 

Wonder Inn (City Centre/Shudehill Interchange)

 

Caustic Coastal (Salford)

 

Group Meeting 8th March

Group Meeting . Discussion of ideas around roles and places to host the exhibit. I volunteered to do posters/website and catalogue, for various reasons,

  1.  I enjoyed technical sides such as this
  2. I do feel I have good skills in these areas.
  3. due to problems wit M.E and C.F.S.  and this would probably impinge more active ideas, such as meeting and liaising with venues etc.
  4. Having one person working on these areas would ensure a unified design an theame was present throughout everything we produce.
 diagram showing tentative roles within the group.

diagram showing tentative roles within the group.

In addition to this I did suggest it may be better to have a second person for finance, along with Warren, not to be involved, but to be there as a second pair of eyes, to check figures if needed, as Im sure if someone made a simple error (which is incredibly easy to do) they would probably feel terrible, not to mention confusion it would cause for the accounts etc.

We briefly discussed venus etc, but was just briefly mentioning places.
Other ideas discussed were
setting up of a facebook page (private and public) twitter, instagram, and perhapse youtube.

Eadweard Muybridge

Photography, as a science has always been used to capture and record, from microscopic images, invisible to the naked eye, or reactions or events which move so fast only the shutter of the camera can capture them.
Muybridge utalised this most famously, in a series of images produced to determine if a horse, when galloping lifted all 4 hoofs of the ground at the same time, as the human eye can not break down the action of trots and gallops, due to the phenomenon of persistence of vision.
The process which Muybridge used allowed him to photograph, the hidden ephemeral nature of the horse's gait. This idea of photographing the unseen, is an interesting idea, especially if we move it into a more artistic field, where we can use it to pose questions around, touch, trace memory, durability and lasting impact of an image.

The two images above show the meticulous detail Muybridge went to in order to obtain his images, such as the setting up of 24 cameras, each one triggering the next to record 24 different stages of motion, in much the way a video camera, or an animated film would today. 
Images of this nature have a scientific and technical interest for many people, but can we consider them art. This is a difficult question to answer as it really depends upon the viewer, to make that judgement. The images above, which I took myself, were located in the natural history section of the Manchester Museum, in this context, it is hard to view them as anything but scientific data. ( though, this could still be the case in an artistic presentation, and maybe this could be an aspect which the creator wants to exploit).
These same images along with many similar images are published in book format, by Taschen, as part of their art books series. The books in this series tend to cross over between disciplines, usually with Art and another subject such as Science, politics or Propaganda. This blurring between subject areas is one I would like to investigate further, for this project.
 

Cornellia Parker

Cornelia Parker is an English, sculptor and instillation artist, though her work does branch out into other areas, including photography. The majority of her work revolves, to some degree, around the idea of deconstruction, in her installation piece "30 pieces of Silver" for example, Parker explained:

Silver is commemorative, the objects are landmarks in people’s lives. I wanted to change their meaning, their visibility, their worth, that is why I flattened them, consigning them all to the same fate

In this she is challenging, examining, and breaking down views on the worth of the object. Now the silver (plated) objects have been crushed, do they retain value? or are they now merely, only fit to be consigned to the rubbish? The material is still there, the amount of it is and its 'scrap value' is still the same, but its aesthetic value has gone, raising questions on is our definition of value, purely monetary, or does something else come into play, something more ephemeral, or intangible. Something that connects with our own feelings, wishes, or memories? Parker emphasises this when discussing this work:

As a child I used to crush coins on a railway track – you couldn’t spend the money afterwards but you kept the metal slivers for their own sake

In the gallery the ruined objects are ghostly levitating just above the floor, waiting to be reassessed in the light of their transformation.

Some of her work that I have been looking at involves, for want of a better word, the unseen. this maybe through images such as, ,which uses dust from the Whispering gallery at St Pauls,  

cornela-parker-negative-of-whispers-1997.jpg

to more scientific pieces, based around microscopy.

What Photography is

brainstorming session
 

Thinking about the question "what photography is?" I started to notice that it isnt just a cut and dry answer, in fact many things will influence how we view the question and our interpretation of it. The dictionary definition is nothing if not very basic, and probably the least helpful definition.

It doesnt take into account anything, other than an extremely blinkered and descriptive view. It would be more appropriate as an answer to the question What is Photography? But that is not what we are looking at, and grammar aside, What photography is? is a completely different question giving rise to a wider, more encompassing range of answers. A more detailed definition is found in 

Whilst this is a much wider definition, taking into account many of the ideas, noted down during the brainstorming session, it again is extremely descriptive, and does not take into consideration the more ephemeral ideas, or artistic considerations of photography. 
For example is photography, the process of taking images, or is it the art of processing those images?, and when processing them making the choice on how long to expose the negative for, or to leave some images out, is that photography or is it an artistic decision, similar to a painter deciding to use green paint instead of blue. Or when you see a selection of images in a book or in a box hidden away for years in the attic. Is that photography? They are certainly the byproduct of the dictionary definition, but are they in themselves a definition of  'photography'

end of response review, supporting evidence, and developmental ideas

The Photographic Object

The first project of this semester which was The Photographic Object, really inspired me, though I enjoyed all the briefs I selected, I think this may be the one I enjoyed the most, It allowed me to play with more abstract ideas and concepts. This is an area I'd quite like to explore further. The idea of using 3D printing with in my work. I have been experimenting using the images that I have presented for my portfolio to create a displacement map, which I then used to distort a poly-mesh sphere in the 3D modelling program, Blender (www.blender.org)

view port shading of distorted polymesh

full render of sculpt

I then took the file I had produced to the 3D printing facilities, and printed out a 3D model of my sculpt. I intend at some point to rephotograph this in the studio. I was going to include the, model as supporting evidence, but due to the delicate nature of the piece I have decided against this. (though it can be seen on request) below is a photograph of the object.

I also experimented with scale during this project, by creating prints large enough that the objects photographed were life size. This can be found as supporting evidence, also included are the original prints, with their cut outs, used in creating my final piece

This can be found as supporting evidence, also included are the original prints, with their cut outs, used in creating my final piece

Instillation and Space

I did enjoy this response project, though probably not as much as the others mainly due to the fact, I did struggle with the craft side in creating my boxes, and making them look neat, though I think this may have helped in the final piece.
If I could do this again I would look at trying to make the boxes more stable and maybe screen printing directly on to the boxes.
If I had more time I did have a number of other pieces in mind which I would have liked to followed up.

1.  due to the recent news about tallow being found in the new polymer £5 notes I considered creating a piece, based on the shape of a cow and filling it with printouts of £5 notes. 

2. A piece regarding how we communicate, and how it is becoming more automated, with messaging programs etc.
For this I would have set up two computers ( I would love to have 2 of the old 90s ibm office computers). each one would have a connection to the internet and an email client. each email client would be set to out of office, and then 1 email would be sent from one compute to the other, this would generate an out of office email, which when received by the first computer would do the same, resulting in a loop, until it was disabled. Then if possible have this connected in some way to a counter which displays the number of emails sent.

Book Project

I enjoyed this project, though in retrospect, I am still slightly unsure of my choice of subject matter/images used in the book. I feel they may have been better suited to large scale printing or gallery display.

The creation of the book was also another problem, as I found the making more difficult than I thought, hence why it may not be the neatest. On the choice of papers I selected the best quality paper I could for the prints and used cheeper paper for the text pages (to simulate the pulp novels of the 1950s) to have a big contrast between the two, this may not have been the best choice. I do want to improve at book making so aim to set myself a personal project of creating a book to go along side Exhibit in the city, as supporting evidence

Book Making

After many considerations I decided to create a book with my images that linked into this film noir nature of the images, by including text which sounds similar to the cheesy lines one would find in the potboiler detective novels of the 40s and 50s. To further show this idea I printed the text onto news print, using a book font. The tone of the text was designed to follow the tone of the images, starting with a neutral/semi dark tone, slowly getting darker and darker as it carried on before becoming brighter and more hopeful at the end. This was mirrored by the images starting of semi dark, in a brightly lit street, moving on to darker more sombre images, and finishing with a sun rise.

Final image selection

The images I've selected, could be viewed as a continuing narrative in so much that it appears to be someone walking through the streets over night, finishing with the sun rise,
It also reflects the idea of film Noir in their style, also the images start bright, continue into very very dark and sombre, then finishing becoming brighter again. This also represents the scale of white to black, as a gradient that Film Noir is known for

Artist Book Exhibition images

As part of my research for this project I visited The Manchester Art Galler and looked at the Martin Parr curated exhibit, which included a small section on artists books

After viewing some of the books on display and the examples in the Martin Parr authored book series, The Photobook: A History, I decided I'd like to try a more simple looking book, in that the images are presented as nice clean prints.

Shoot 3

After reading about Film Noir and watching some of the Movies again, I decided that I may be able to create a series based around this idea of film Noir and the play of light and dark to create a mood and tell a story, by playing this idea alongside the kind of images that Gregory Crewdson takes, that seem to suggest you are in the middle of an unknown narrative. Included here are my original contacts and my edits, which include, converting to black and white and cropping ideas.

Fernell Franco

Franco's images display a very film Noir aesthetic, low key images with strong blacks and white. angles that include low shots,  POV shots,  dutch angles etc. They like the work previously mentioned a strong sense of  a story being told, and that we are seeing it, but we are not privy to the full narative