Author Archives: Emily Holt

Aesthetics – The Final Evaluation

The aesthetics of the 33 Minutes piece were incredibly important from the time that the concept of a sculpture was founded. After looking into artists such as Sharon Kelly and Helen Chadwick, the group decided that the sculpture needed to embody a natural and organic texture. After experimenting with many varying materials and ways of hanging such a thing, the group managed to creatively work around the practical issues such as, how to hang it, which materials to use to make it and also how to create it. The issue of hanging it was solved by using coat hangers, the final aesthetic of this had connotations of a baby’s mobile, which was very effective and linked with the textual side of the piece incredibly well. The use of toilet paper was also another breakthrough, the group needed a texture that was less rigid, less opaque and also an everyday object. For a while we experimented with bed sheets and tearing them into strips however the material was still not quite achieving the organic look that we were aiming for. When toilet role was mentioned we were all skeptical, however after experimenting with strips of it and lighting, decided that it was exactly the right aesthetic for the art work.  

The process of experimentation with the sculpture was endlessly interesting. Making sure that the vision that we held was not lost of compromised on was a challenge within itself due to certain limitations such as the time we had in the space and how to transport the sculpture. The use of everyday objects was an important factor in creating the sculpture and the overall effect was very pleasing, taking inspiration from other artists that have done the same such as “Tara Donovan [who]  creates large sculptures using common consumer products such as Styrofoam cups, fishing line and paper plates” (Brownell, (2009) p.13) The manipulation and subversion of these objects was effective in creating a transfixing aesthetic that was not only pleasing for the audience to behold, but also created an encompassing object in which to perform. The audience reacted well to the baby powder which, when lit, had such a texture to it that it almost looked like something was growing on the sculpture. The lighting successfully cast shadows on the walls when shone through the sculpture which made the space feel ominous and looming. Like an empty attic with a horrible secret lurking in the corner, the space was transformed into a bizarre world of art and text, interweaving into one organic performance.

 

Works Cited

Brownell, B (2009) ‘Assembling Light: PET Wall Installation’, Dimensions, 22, p. 13-19

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Spectacle and the Senses

 

Performance often appeals to only two of the five physical senses, these are sight and sound. However an interesting aspect of performance is the use of the other three senses, touch, taste and scent. As an audience member, you do not often have the opportunity to experience performance through these mediums; however, when the occasion arises it can make an incredibly interesting impact. The use of scent is particularly interesting to our group, as Helen Paris states “smell permeates the everyday, triggering memories, transporting us through space and time” (Paris, 2010, p.45) this ‘transportation’ could create an interesting array of emotions within the audience when two contradictory smells amalgamate together in a juxtaposing fashion. After considering this, the group decided to bleach the dog leads that will make up the sculpture; this would obviously create a pungent odour of a sterile and almost hostile nature.

To contrast with this scent, we decided to add to the sculptures texture and layers by using baby powder, this has such a recognisable smell that almost everybody will be familiar with. we experimented with the texture of the powder and what effect it would have on the spectacle of the sculpture. The way it moved and worked with movement and breath was so aesthetically pleasing that we decided it would add a depth of natural beauty to the sculpture and aid in the creation of an object that appears rooted and grown. We also considered what it would appear as through lighting, whether it would be seen and which kind of lighting would do the sculpture the most justice. After testing the powder and its appearance on a dim, almost sepia lamp, we decided that having the sculpture uplit with this hue of lighting would be effective.

DSCN0466

These two intermingling smells could stir up many emotions within the audience; some of them could be quite disturbing as bleach has been linked with ‘do-it-yourself’ abortions. The mixture of bleach with the baby powder may well make people think of this horrific act, and could cause some distress. These emotions will, however, be questioned and challenged by the text of the piece and the way in which it is presented. “The Art of Scent 1889-2012” is and exhibition by the Museum of Art and Design, led by Chandler Burr, it explores perfumery throughout the ages. By presenting the gallery as a clinical space with “dimples” in the walls with apertures within them, they invite the audience to smell the varying scents. This experience is completely about scent and no other visual or textual things. The importance of scent within performances is becoming more prevalent with time; there are more performances and exhibitions, such as the aforementioned, that do focus on scent. However, with regards to our performance, there will be other performances taking place within the scent, framed by the scent. Immersive performances often make use of scent to completely involve the audience in the atmosphere and world which the artists are trying to create, however 33 minutes is not attempting to create such a bubble of atmosphere, it is not a physically immersive set for the audience, however, for the performers the set is completely immersive and surrounds them wholly. The aim of the use of scent within 33 minutes is to conjure images within an audience’s mind, to add to the experience and create another level of art, the art of scent, into the piece.

 

Works Cited

Gleason- Allured, J (2013) “The Other Sense: Fragrance as Art Form” Perfumer & Flavorist, 38 (2) p.3

Paris, H (2010) ‘ The Smell of It.’ In Freeman, J. Blood, Sweat & Theory: Research through Practice and Performance. London: Middlesex University, p.45

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Surrealism and Subversion

In the process of developing the script for 33 minutes, the group were strongly influenced by French surrealist writers such as Breton and Eluard, and dadaists such as Tristen Tzara. These writers, who were strongly influenced by fruedianist theory and the world of dreams, created performances and literature which were bizzarre and “extraordinarily difficult to read” (Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia) due to the way that they were “interested in the  associations and implications of words, rather than their literal meanings” (Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia) this definition of what surrealist writers were interested in, explains exactly what 33 Minutes was looking at portraying, the meaning and connotations of individual words and phrases and not the literal meaning. By taking fragmented text and subverting its meaning by exploring how it is said or even sung, will hopefully have this effect. Another influence on the use of language within the piece is Beckett. By borrowing fragments of the script and playing with the way language is presented and broken down, the piece could be compared to Beckett’s work, as “Beckett may have recognised the possibilities of a delirious use of language, which by playing with conventions of sense and meaning, could subvert and challenge established literary techniques” (Keatinge, (2008), p.88) The subversion of language is an important factor within our process, looking at how to portray an emotional sentence, for example, with no emotion in the voice, or an opposite emotion to what an audience would be expecting is a crucial part of the piece.

Another style of writing which has influenced our scripting process is ‘verbatim’, “Albert Einstein once observed that ‘The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources.’…Verbatim does the opposite.” (Hammond, (2008), p.1)  the group took the phone conversation that Amanda Berry had with the police when she escaped confinement and created a transcript which would be used in the final script as an ending to the piece. The word for word presentation of the phone call caused some issues however. As we had already decided to create a subverted version of this verbatim script, we needed to decide how to subvert it. We eventually decided to give the conversation a different situation, we decided on presenting it as a game show, in which the meaning of each line was completely changed by tone of voice and the semiotics of language, that are learnt through the medium of intonation and sound, when one experiences such things as game shows.

Phone Call Gameshow Transcript

 

Works Cited

Hammond, W (2008) Verbatim, Verbatim: Contemporary Documentary Theatre, London: Oberon Books

“Verbatim.” Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. 2013.

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Sculptural Textures and the work of Sharon Kelly

The sculpture that 33 Minutes aspired to create was imagined as one of a natural and raw look. Taking everyday objects and textures and amalgamating them into something that is peculiar but beautiful. Looking into ways of creating a sculpture that resembled a cocoon, the group experimented with many different materials. Beginning with black, red and blue dog leads with wire running throughout them to enable an angular aesthetic to the sculpture, the group made a prototype sculpture but ran into difficulty when trying to determine how to make the wire less obvious aesthetically. After deciding that wire was not the right material to use, the group also realised that the colours were taking away from something that was originally intended to be an organic looking mass of dog leads and therefore, decided that bleaching or painting them was the obvious answer, as this decision aided the scent of the piece which added another level of intrigue and meaning. When we had decided to have the sculpture completely white, we looked into ways of layering and texturizing the materials to create the organic look that we wanted. Sharon Kelly’s art work portrays cloth and garments in varying ways, Sverakova states that “the aesthetic function [of the cloth] isolates the object from the everyday use and fastens our attention powerfully to it” Kelly did this with garments and cloth; however, we would be using dog leads, coat hangers, toilet paper and baby powder. Although this creates an entirely different outcome to Kelly’s work, it has a similar goal. Kelly’s installations also encompass drawings of body parts, people appear to be trapped within the sculpture, this visual relates strongly with the vision that we have as a group of the sculpture. The difference being that we as performers would be ‘trapped’ inside the sculpture instead of it being pictures of people and body parts. 

Confirmation and Denial 1989

Confirmation and Denial 1989 (1) by Sharon Kelly

confirmation and denial 1989 (3)

Confirmation and Denial 1989 (2) by Sharon Kelly

Confirmation and Denial 1989 (2)

Confirmation and Denial 1989 (3) by Sharon Kelly

(Photo’s: www.sharonkellyartist.com – Confirmation and Denial by Sharon Kelly. Accessed 22nd November 2013)

The varying mediums within Kelly’s work provide an interesting feel, and the suspension of the piece is incredibly fascinating. The clinical environment in which they are presented is also a stimulating factor for the 33 minutes performance as it gives an unnerving and sterile feeling to the artwork, contradicting the feeling of the actual piece of art completely and subverting emotion. Kelly’s website states that the “ephemeral nature of the work, imagery and choice of materials were a contemplation on the nature of the relationship between art and life” (Kelly, 2013)This comment is completely relevant to the 33 Minutes sculpture as it is a contemplation of nature, rebirth and also an attempt at creating something that combines living people with an art work.

 

Works Cited

Sverakova, S (2009) ‘ The Aesthetic Function of Cloth in Drawings by Sharon Kelly’, Textile: The Journal of Cloth and Culture. 7 (2) 204-215.

Kelly, S (2013) Drawing Installation [Online] Belfast. Available from: http://www.sharonkellyartist.com/galleries/drawing-installation-1989/ [Accessed 21 November 2013]

 

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Waiting at the lights

An everyday occurance, but what goes on in all of these stationary cars? The thoughts that occur, the music that plays.

An everyday occurance, but what goes on in all of these stationary cars? The thoughts that occur, the music that plays.

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