Art & Activism...Make Work!
The Great East Texas Road Show.
(Exploring the concept of putting work into a space in the area known as East Texas.)
To recap, in my statement I mention that my work is a combined effort to do some deep introspective self-portraiture, and to talk about the complexities of contemporary America, focused on the divisive and fear-mongering nature of the two principal parties of our government. Today, I believe that everyone could and perhaps should be engaging in this conversation...for me, well,
let me be a bit more detailed, the work that I will make is meant to address at least a couple or more of my key issues, such as:
As I allow Art to move me FORWARD,, I want to learn to not specify a solution (my opinion of a solution) or seem like I am totally trying to tell people what to do. As in "Fight Hatred!" Yes...I'd want to present that message. However, I want to grow to be able to present that message in a way that a person might decide to do that for themselves based upon what I've presented to them.
Getting back to The Great East Texas Road Show, what would I do or make in the context of such a space, or how would I adapt any of my work to connect with that space?
I have not read anything, however, I imagine there are many wonderful and enlightening books on the subject of connecting art work with the space it will be presented in. Yet, even without having done any of that reading, I believe that it makes so much sense to consider the space when making work. I have made work that was inspired well before I had any idea about where it would be installed. As I began to move from concept to prototype I found myself naturally including the space as part of what defined how the work would possibly look.
As the year passed, and I got closer to deciding on some specific details in order to simply just have a conversation with someone (such as a gallery manager)...So I found myself more and more, including an imaginary space as part of the sketches and thinking about the pieces that would make up the installation. Finally, I got a space, and then was able to complete the thinking process, design, Art FORWARD, and install.
To be completely transparent, I sought every piece of input and feedback as I could, from professors, and gallery managers, that I had met during my BFA studies. Fortunately, they were, practically all, very supportive. And the ones that were not, well...I didn't let that diminish my wild dream that I could put something out there that would reflect my dream effectively, and honor the time and energy pored into me over the past 5 years by some very fine educators.
Well, here I am again, at the beginning of grad school and at the pre-prototyping stage for some new work. I have a few concepts, and here are some potential implementations as I see them in the context of The Great East Texas Road Show: (not in any particular order)
This piece is a video, projection mapped onto a silo type structure. It would also work on the side of a taller flat sided building, such as an abandoned warehouse (or not abandoned :). The video overrides the appearance of the silo, making it appear to be a cylindrical nondescript building (although I don't know how many of those there are in the world :). It starts with a man, simple and innocuous in appearance, walking to and fro, entering one side and leaving the other...and some other ideas I have about his behavior on screen. The video progresses in a way that will depict time and growth, and what it is like for me living with Mild Bipolar Disorder & Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. There are some symbolic appearances of the super-influencers in my life at various stages.
I would create the video backdrop (the virtual building) from local architecture. I think that using textures and colors from the local architecture localizes the virtual building. It will feel familiar or appear to be a natural part of the locale.
At the site of the exhibition, the video would require dusk to dawn (darkness, as it is a projection), a high lumen projector (possibly something that is specifically suitable for out-of-doors use), Out door portable self-powered speakers, and a power source (probably portable power).
I would print these portraits with a somewhat transparent background on a fabric that is very light and dynamic in response to being out of doors. Assuming I can access such a printing process. If not, I have a lightweight almost fabric feeling material that can be printed on with a normal inkjet printer. The prints would not move as freely as fabric would, however the movement would still be more fluid or organic than a stiff board mounted print.
Further, the concept is that 'Those People' are always present in a spiritual way. Their images are near the cemetery, with which some of the residents may have a spiritual or ancestral connection.
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Rob J Phillips