A single man with a lot say

A-single-man

A week ago I saw the movie “A single man” by Tom Ford, it a was really interesting movie and I ended up thinking about three different scenes and one of them in particular has inspired me to do an experiment, that is why I’m going to publish this post in both my Influences and work sections.

The scenes:

The first and maybe the most relevant scene for me was the one in which George (Colin Firth) visits his friend Charlie (Juliane Moore), right when they meet on the front door, another scene fades in, it is a fragment from a previous scene where Charlie found out about the death of his lover. This this momentary overlapping made me thing about time compression not only in movies but also on images.

The second scene that captivated me was the one where George and his young student Kenny (Nicholas Hoult)  where talking inside a bar, at one moment,  the young guy replied: “we are born alone, we die alone, and while we are here we are absolutely, completely sealed in our own bodies”… “We can only experience the outside world through our own slanted perception of it. Who knows what youʼre really like. I just see what I think youʼre like.”

Finally, the third part of the movie that captured my attention was just before the end, when George experiences an epiphany and says: “A few times in my life I’ve had moments of absolute clarity when, for a few brief seconds, the silence drowns out the noise and I can feel rather than think and things seem so sharp and the world seems so fresh, it’s as though it had all just come into existence.  I can never make these moments last. I cling to them, but like everything, they fade. I have lived my life on these moments.  They pull me back to the present, and I realize that everything is exactly the way it was meant to be”.

When I saw this I felt something clicked in my head, I guess that we humans try to hold on to our most memorable moments just like a drunk guy clings to the railing while he awkwardly descends the staircase. They are like keyframes on a time line and on some rare moments, our immediate experience pulls them into the stage creating an ambiguous moment where past and present collide on to each other.

The experiment:

collision#1

Reality consumers

I was sitting in a restaurant in Barcelona, watching the layout of all the new things around me, thinking about the whys, the hows, and the subjective meanings of everything that was present in the scene. I noticed a shelf with a bunch of objects set in a specific order, I caught my self trying to make a reading about it, as it were a sentence my mind could read.

RealityConsumers1

I was particularly interested in a line of bills and a security camera, It was obvious to me that the owner wanted to make an statement to an specific audience.

RealityConsumers2

Then I started to look everything else in the room. At some point I felt that it was full of information that went beyond the mere visual data, and even though its interpretation may remain subjective, it was possible to recognize a kind of “grammatical layout” of the scene that was readable at a conscious level (If you were willing to make the effort), further more, I felt that all of us in the room shared a fair amount of similar interpretations about it.

RealityConsumers3

Is it possible to recreate a more appealing reality?

Is it possible to create different “flavors” for it?

There is no doubt that advertising has looked into this matter for decades, selling us goods an services in exchange for illusions that are only materialized in the posters and ads that depict them. In recent times social networks have democratized this phenomenon, creating an expanded market for reality consumption with more complex and dynamic rules.

But… what about art? It would be naive to think that art has behaved differently, if you take a look at art history you may instantly recognize the countless efforts to recreate a more appealing or even disrupting reality. Regardless of the intention or the transactions, indeed we have bought the products of art, regardless of the materiality exchanged.

 So the question is no longer about possibility, so what is it then?

I think there is a huge amount of unexplored terrain to cover so for me is just a matter of approaching this from a whole new perspective, however, I recognize that this problem involves a pretty particular challenge embodied in a quite interesting contradiction: it seems that as an artist-person I am conditioned by the same rules of a consumer-person, so in a way, I`m trap inside this sale-buy cycle. So maybe at the end, the real question is…

How to create something that people would like to buy but that wasn’t meant to be sold?

How to create something that people would want but at the same time, me just giving a shit about that?

RealityConsumers4

What a nice coffee break!

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Really great moment!

Mirror mirror on the… screen.

The last couple of weeks I have been thinking about mirrors and how they reflect reality, It came to my mind for two reasons: the first one is that my girlfriend is doing her MA research on mirrors in photography so I’ve been discussing this topic with her, the second reason is that on a trip to Barcelona I ended up having lunch in a special little restaurant with a really cool tiled wall and I took some interesting pictures of it.

MirrorMirrorOntheScreen

Thanks to this experiment, I’ve decided to simulate the same situation by creating a 3D object and using it to reflect a photograph, to be thankful, I decided to use my girlfriend as the model.

So far I’ve made 3 different prototypes:

-Simple object for reflection (to get familiar with the digital process).

MirrorMirrorOntheScreen1

Reflection #1:

In this piece I was trying to understand how to simulate the physical reflection, the end result was a bit unexpected put it gave me elements to plan something more interesting, I would like to add that at the moment I have little control over the layout of the image and I’m not yet able to add more than one image. One interesting thing I’ve found is that I can use 3D digital object to actively interact with the image, it does not have to be a one way process like I have done in the past.

-Complex object for reflection

MirrorMirrorOntheScreen2 MirrorMirrorOntheScreen3

Reflection #2:

Things got more interesting when i did this other piece, it reminded me of the work of Anne Spalter, an artist I saw on Lumen Price conference. At that time I was captivated by the possibilities of her video process. In this case, I think I found a different way to obtain the thing I found interesting in her work, but at the same time, I gained more perspective to move forward in my own direction.

-Complex object animated reflection

Thanks to the previous result, I wanted to take thing forward to see how this image reflection my work on a moving object, I was particularly interested in seeing the way transitions occur. This was a very simple animation to understand the process.

Reflection #3:

This was an interesting result, I would like to take some time to think about the out come, at the end I’m able to control the reflecting object but still not able to have a lot of control on the reflected image.
I will also like to think about how to explore video pieces because at the moment I am centered on 3D printing, eider way, I’m really happy about this experiment, I know that in the near future I will make more of this.

Final reflection:

Lately I have been looking at some of the work of Francis Bacon; the way he treats space, the way he molds the figures, the colors, the expressions on the brush… in a way, I feel I am dealing with some of the same questions he had in his mind.

Right now I’m focused on how to approach the boundaries between visual realism and abstraction and I feel that the mirrored image is an interesting asset in order to obtain some kind of appealing image that blends abstraction and visual realism in a flexible and captivating way.

Francis Bacon

He was an Iris born British painter, he has been a huge influence for my work and now I am beginning to understand why.

This are some particularly interesting quotes I found in this video:

…”When you go into a butcher’s shop you see the beauty of meat”…” when you think about it, also you can think of the whole horror of life, of one thing living of another”.

…”How do I feel”…”How can I make this image more immediately real to my self”.

…”people like to get a meaning for everything”

…”But it is truth to say that off course, that when you paint anything”…”you are also painting not only the subject but you are painting yourself as well”…”painting is a double…it is a dual performance”.

“I want a very order image but I want it to come about by chance”…”one wants a thing to be as factual as possible, and at the same time, as deeply suggestive, or deeply unlocking of areas of sensation other than simple illustration of the object that you set out to do”.

“The subject of meat is such a marvellous subject matter”…”If you go into some of these great stores where you just go through this great holes of death, you can see meat and fish and birds and everything else, all lying dead there”.

On a recent trip to Barcelona I visited La Boquería market, there I found a huge contrast between different subjects, I couldn’t help to see this place as a “Baconian” place, full of strong scenes with bright colors, I was also attracted by the mix of scenes. A fruit shop with beautiful fruits on display, a butchery with dead animals and a bakery stuffed with delicious pastry and biscuits.

FrancisBaconReference-1

Reality as a material – Object #1

This is my first model using some photos I took while Philip was posing, In this case I wanted to do a simple approach to 3D modeling by using a simplified mesh with the combination of 3 photos, The lack of care is intentional as I was looking for a non-realistic representation.

Refection:

It is interesting for me to observe an increase of the “weigh” of the representation by the use of 3D modeling, maybe it has to do with the fact that subject and environment are joined together, I am also aware that the previous knowledge of this scene may interfere with the way I see it, but anyway, I feel that I can suppress more parts of the visual references in order to achieve new and interesting outcomes.

An other interesting thing, is that when I rotate the model I find more information to complete the interpretation of the “scene” (It sound obvious) but I feel that this new information doesn’t need to be presented in a specific order or even more, doesn’t have to be presented as a physical extension of the previous images, It feels that the brain is capable of accepting the changes of directions and even gets excited if presented new and challenging information, I think this is a really good opportunity to start playing with ambiguity!

Lost Highway

M-LostHighway

My interest:

This is a interesting movie, it was really cool to watch the way Lynch substituted roles an characters, I also was very interested by the way he defined some characters and left some of them completely undefined. The reality of the story broke several times without explanations and it ended right at the beginning. This film was full of ambiguity. I specially liked a part of the dialog:

Ed: Do you own a video camera?
Renee Madison: No. Fred hates them.
Fred Madison: I like to remember things my own way.
Ed: What do you mean by that?
Fred Madison: How I remembered them. Not necessarily the way they happened.

Ideas to explore:

  • Everybody has a version of reality.
  • Ambiguity awakes the mind.

eXistenZ

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My interest:

This is a very weird movie, it involves the concept of virtual reality gaming, at the end you find that there are more layers in to the drama. At some point I suspected that the bad acting was actually due to the bad acting inside video games (am not sure). At some points the fantasy was broken due to lacks in the “realism” but at the same time, this fractures on credibility opened the path for surprise.

Ideas to explore:

  • Some lacks in “realism” can lead to new dimensions.
  • Breaking the credibility can set the mind of the spectator onto a different and exploitable mood.

 

Some quotes about reaity

“Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”
― Albert Einstein

“Reality exists in the human mind, and nowhere else.”
― George Orwell1984

“The eye sees only what the mind is prepared to comprehend.”
― Robertson DaviesTempest-Tost

“Humankind cannot bear very much reality.”
― T.S. EliotFour Quartets

“Are you really sure that a floor can’t also be a ceiling?”
― M.C. Escher

Mulholland Drive

M-MulhollandDrive

My interest:

This is an interesting movie, it mixes fantasy and reality without warning, the main character really amazing, at the end I was really surprised.

Ideas to explore:

  • Going back and forth from fantasy to reality can be a powerful way to create ambiguity.
  • The representation of experience doesn’t have to follow a straight line in time.