This semester is off to a good start. I'm excited because I was invited to give two lectures next month at an AR/VR symposium event at University of New Haven's main campus. I'll be blogging more as I start collecting my thoughts. If you have questions or comments there's a message thread at the bottom of the post.
I first started doing rule based art in the Spring of 2016. I was interested in the major figures of conceptual art like Sol LeWitt, On Kawara, and Mierele Laderman Ukeles. I'll briefly introduce them.
Sol Lewitt's art was a testament to community and collaboration. He would write rules for generating artwork that a team of artists would interpret and implement. LeWitt's artwork was the idea, the physical artwork was only a manifestation of the idea, and could be reinterpreted by other artists (as long as the same rules were followed).
On Kawara was a Japanese artist living in NYC and well known for his Today series. For nearly 3,000 days, he carefully recorded each day by painting the date on canvas. Numeration and repetition are both essential parts of his work. On Kawara worked on numerous other time related projects, one where he sent out postcards to his contemporaries bearing daily facts like "I GOT UP AT..." or "I AM STILL ALIVE."
Mierle Laderman Ukeles
Mierle Laderman Ukeles is a NYC based artist who saw a division between what artists were trying to represent in their studios and their day-to-day tasks. Ukeles' saw every part of her daily routine as art and began documenting her tasks. In 1967 she wrote the Manifesto for Maintenance Art. She then went on to an ambitious project where she shook the hand of every sanitation worker in NYC, over 8,000 people, and performed a series of performance pieces. She has been a non-salaried worker at the sanitation department ever since.
I created a repetitive system where I create a similar drawing each day. I called these drawings Time Cards and they were made using the following rules:
Within each 24 hour cycle (local time) a ‘time card’ is drawn.
The card is prepared (torn from a larger sheet of paper) on the day it will be drawn on, using the previous day’s card as a template for size.
A drawing session proceeds without interruption.
Lines are drawn on to the card from top to bottom (in landscape orientation).
The card is filled with drawn lines from left to right.
The exact length of the drawing session is recorded in minutes and seconds (MM:SS).
The time of day (start time and end time) is recorded in local time (HH:MM-HH:MM).
After the conclusion of the session, the exact number of lines is counted.
The cards data (start time, stop time, length of session, number of lines, and date) is recorded (in this order) on the back of the card in the upper right hand corner
The project ran from July 2016 to July of 2017. As I was working on this, I experimented with scale and site-specific projects at three of my college's campuses. I painted three murals with the intention of 'syncing' the three locations in the same 48 hours.
The rules were very similar to the Time Cards, each drawing was done in a single session and the data was recorded. The two colors in the paintings are the same value so each rectangle has a dull vibration.
At this point (Fall 2016) my work consisted of 2D drawings with repetitive line and its corresponding time data. It wasn't until the Spring of 2017 that I pushed into new mediums.
I realized that I was more interested in collecting data from small bursts of activity than drawing, so (other than the Time Cards) I stopped drawing completely and made a series of videos where I perform different activities on camera. I thought of each scene as a virtual space, where antiquated forms of technology are destroyed or re-purposed. Brooms and dust-pans became my brush and palette. (blog post 05/29/17 goes into more detail)
Seeing these videos through the lens of social media was important to the content. At this point I started working with sound and virtual reality.
INTRO TO VIRTUAL REALITY (VR)
I make artwork in vr using two programs, Google Tilt Brush and Google Blocks. Tilt Brush a mix between painting and sculpting, where I create gestures in real space that translate into 3D paint gestures.
As you can see in the picture above with the spiral, the brushes create ribbon-like forms. This is important to remember when trying to create forms that have volume.
You really need to tilt your wrist to follow the form of whatever you're building to make it seem real. I guess that's why they call it Tilt Brush! Many people have asked me how to move in a drawing, it's similar to rowing in a wheel chair.
A collection of drawings are available for VR view in the online Tilt Brush gallery, you can see more examples under the VR section (under the Artwork tab of my website).
The other program I use is called Google Blocks. It's an easy way to create solid looking objects, and now, thanks to a recent update, it's possible to import objects made in Blocks to Tilt Brush.
I've consolidated 365 days worth of Time Card data into a spreadsheet. I added the total number of seconds, total number of Instagram likes (I also know the average lines/likes per day). I'm using all of this data to create a set of immersive installations titled TIME HOTEL. I've started by sculpting furniture in Blocks, each object correlating to one Time Card. I like the idea of putting furniture and utilities in VR because they don't have a functional value anymore.
After working with numbers and counting on such a regular basis, I started to discover that I'm probably on the spectrum of color/number synesthesia. I have a color association with each number, I don't physically see the colors but I still associate them. I've been incorporating this into my work. The colors of each number relate to my perceptions.
Each object is something that I interact with on somewhat of a regular basis. I'll be consolidating all of these objects into the same virtual space.
I'll be updating you as I develop further in this. Right now I'm creating as many objects as I can (365 is a lot!). Hopefully you have a sense of what I'm grappling with right now. I'll stay in touch.