Weeks 4/5: 19/08/13 – 30/08/13
TOPIC: Thinking Through Media
Aims of the class:
Why do we use certain media to represent ideas? In these two weeks we are thinking about why certain materials are used to represent ideas and concepts in art, design and media. How can we re-think these connections? Can we use an antithetical material to describe a concept?
• Why are certain materials used to represent concepts (describe certain things)? (eg a feather for lightness and an anvil for heaviness)
• What happens when we use the wrong material?
What happens when we use the wrong material? For the next two weeks (4 & 5) you will be given tasks that will challenge ingrained understandings about materials and what they represent. You will be asked to choose materials for their concepts and ideas NOT their literal connection to the object.
Class Learning Resource prepared by Clare Milledge and Sarah Newall
Introduction and Resources
When an alternative material is used to replace part of an image or to stand in for the thing itself that thing/object has a history.
In 1912 Pablo Picasso placed the first ‘real’ object as part of an image, Still-Life with Chair-caning, Paris (1912).
This shift in form and materials reflects the wider renegotiations between art and theory and the breakdown of the traditional art hierarchies in which an art form was defined by its materials.
This change was commented on by Clement Greenberg in this 1967 catalogue essay Recentness in Sculpture he wrote, ‘The borderline between art and non-art had to be sought in the three-dimensional, where sculpture was, and where everything material that was not art also was.’ This borderline has been continually stepped over and challenged by artists since 1912. What has remained consistent, however, is the use of low art and everyday materials, which are already imbued with a rich reference. What this means is that meaning can be added by the artist’s hand – in making the artwork and through choice of materials.
Artists that use low art materials in different ways
Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven
Dropbox for class
Lionel Richie’s Head | Bestival 2013
This will be a fully immersive, slightly surreal and very personal experience. As people enter one at a time, they will discover at the core of Lionel’s Head lies a telephone. When a person answers the phone, they hear ‘Hello, is it me you’re looking for?’
Claire Healy and Sean Cordeiro
With Life Span, Sean Cordeiro & Claire Healy have arranged 175, 218 VHS video cassettes to form a solid block in the Ludoteca, a deconsecrated chapel of a former nunnery in the Castello district in Venice. The combined running time of these cassettes, if watched one after the other, would be 60.1 years, the average human life span in 1976 – the year that the VHS was released.
Things come Apart.
exposes the inner working of 50 objects and 21,959 individual components as he reflects on the permanence of vintage machines built several decades ago—sturdy gadgets meant to be broken and repaired—versus today’s manufacturing trend of limited use followed by quick obsolescence. Captured in his photography are myriad parts laid flat and organized by function, creating recontextualized images of wagons, chainsaws, computers, and phones. He also shoots high-speed photos of carefully orchestrated drops where pieces are shot in midair as they come crashing down, creating impressive visual explosions.