“The investigation of a specific site is a matter of exacting concepts out of existing sense -- data through direct perceptions…One does not impose, but rather exposes the site…The unknown areas of sites can best be explored by artists.” -Robert Smithson, as quoted in Lure of the Local, by Lucy Lippard
“The deeper the map [the “cognitive map” laid down in the brain the first time one sees a place] is engraved in our memory, the better it will resist the deterioration… My oldest cognitive map, that of the village of my childhood encoded over sixty years ago, is still more vivid and more detailed in my mind than my maps of places where I lived only twenty years ago. If you look back at your life, you will probably find that your own childhood cognitive maps have the same astonishing clarity, even after many years.” – Erik Johnsson, Inner Navigation, 2002
The Situationist drifted, challenging art’s materials and processes; the Dadaists and Surrealists toured the city, collecting and assembling found objects looking for new meanings and new realities; the Fluxists held events and happenings, re-examining the ‘everyday,’ collapsing ‘high’ and ‘low’ art. And each of these historical moments took us from the gallery into the street. For this cluster, we will further this dialogue, with the urban environment as our subject. Every site –landfill, cul-de-sac, street corner, bedroom-- has a story to tell. Mapping and site, as we practice these concepts here, run the gamut in contemporary art practices: sewn cloth cities that spill out of suitcases, bus tours through water treatment centers, performers climbing buildings, sound art that explores personal narratives through Central Park. In the hands of artists, mapping and site become riddles best solved through a variety of experiments and materials. We begin generally and end specifically: starting with mapping exercises and ending with a proposal for a specific location.
COMPONENTS OF THE CLUSTER
1. Map 1: Mapping a Conversation, Moment in Time: We begin by talking as a class about maps. Maps that organize, record, and navigate. Maps that collect, lose, then find. Maps that chart, survey, and catalog. Maps that are walks, performances, and public interventions. We talk about what is being mapped (a border, a memory, time), the methods used in mapping (GPS, Google Earth, a map of your bedroom, a map of your city) and the conditions, circumstances and environment that frame our mapping experience. Then, in groups of 3-4, you’ll decide on a theme (Your bodies? Your friendships? Your music collections? How you got to Cornish to study art?). As a group, you will have a conversation that maps your selected theme. Use large paper and a variety of materials to record this 2-dimensional map.
2. Site: Investigating Line For this two-part investigation, we begin in the Foundations studio, invoking a line in the classroom. Using everyday materials (tracing paper, acetate, tape, fabric, pencil, string, Sharpie) you will follow a line in the room, exploring possibilities through architecture inside and outside the building.
For part two, your investigation of line moves into the topography that is the Cornish’s neighborhood. Using South Lake Union as your petri dish, you’ll embark upon a deeper investigation of the urban environment, seeking then enhancing the lines that define it. Your search will start with a walk in which you identify a line or a space that interests you. Once you’ve found it, you’ll make three sketches of the site. With each sketch, add a contrasting color, value or material to enhance/interrupt the line. Then, based on your sketches, decide how to mitigate the physical line through a temporal installation. With the introduction of materials (salt, chalk stencils, turmeric, candy, bread crumbs, thread, shredded newspaper, etc.), how will you stress or accentuate the line? We will visit the installations and you will document your work through photography. A minimum of three photographs should be taken showing an overall view from two angles and one detail.
3. Map 2: Track a Site Over 7 Days: You will select a public space off-campus that will be the focus of your final proposal. You may stay with your last site or choose another, but be sure your chosen site provides opportunities to answer the following: what are the borders/boundaries/zones of your chosen location? How are they defined? Are these borders closed or permeable? Does a boundary need to be a physical object (a fence, a speedbump, a window, the checkout counter) or it more porous (your personal space when you talk publicly on the cell phone, your clothing, the distance you keep with strangers?) You will carefully monitor this site over seven days. How does a site change/stay the same over time? Determining your own process, you will use photo/video and/or audio documentation each day to track this specific site. Perhaps you leave something there each day. Perhaps you collect something there each day. As always, begin with research. Start by considering the history of the site, its former and current and future occupants. What is its intended use and actual use? Hold onto all of your research.
4. Artist Book: A Proposal for a Investigating Site, Shaping Meaning: Now that you know your site well, your final project will be a proposal for a site-specific installation. Your job is to propose a way to point out this site to the passer-by who may no longer see what is there, or to ask the viewer to consider the site in a new way. Your proposal must expand, modify, or challenge the meaning of the site. The materials and techniques you choose should should both respond to and reinforce your site and process (coffee cups in a café, leaves in a park, and so on). Consider altering, assembling, accumulating or re-contextualizing.
Your final output will not be an installation, but rather a proposal. The proposal will be made in the form of an artist’s “book” (a book of your definition). Choose a book structure that expresses your site: use a structure we’ve made in class, modify one, or combine various attributes of a variety of books, boxes, bindings, etc. Any size is OK. Challenge the idea of what parts a book has, what books are/do, and how books appear. Think about the properties of the material you are using (wood, metal, plastic, paper, leaves, fabric, rubber, road maps, envelopes, bags, vellum, pencil, pen, string, etc.) and work with those limits/opportunities. Your artist’s book proposal shall include the following elements:
1. Narrative – Describe your proposal and installation plan. What do you intend to do to your site? At what scale? With what materials? 2. Artist Statement – Write a brief (one to two-paragraphs) statement that describes who you are and what kind of work you do. What is your background? Who are your influences? 3. Drawing/Painting – Create no less than three renderings of your proposal. Show us your plans from discrete angles, at different times of day. 4. Research Findings – include your findings from tracking your site over seven days. 5. Collage – Create a collage using found elements that relate to your site: digital images, nature, urban detritus, rubbings, sounds, video. 6. Digital sketch – using the skills you’ve acquired in your Digital Imaging class, you will create manufactured image that shows how you plan to alter your site. Look also at freeware such as Google’s Sketch-up (http://sketchup.google.com)
VOCABULARY: Site. In site-specific work, idea and environment are inextricably intertwined. If moved to another location, the work becomes meaningless.
Installation. Installations are an ensemble of images and objects that are presented within a 3D environment. Installation rejects a concentration on the object, focusing instead on the relationships between place, time, and the viewer. Because we occupy the actual time and space of the artwork, we become physically engaged in an installation, and the aesthetic experience becomes more heightened
Space. Space is a dialogue between a form and its surroundings (like a stone placed in a glass of water, the large, solid mass seems to displace the surrounding space, pushing it into the edges of the room). Space is never passive or meaningless. Space can be manipulated very deliberately – how does it compress or expand? Work can activate a space, making it contemplative, agitated, threatening, serene.
Time. Every object occupies a position in time AND space; Is the specific temporal location of major or minor importance?
Intervention. Interventions interact with an existing venue or space (or existing artwork, audience, building) to challenges and bring comment. With the introduction of art work, how do our expectations/beliefs about that space change?
TOOLS + MATERIALS: bookmaking supplies: bone folder, papers, needle + thread, chipboard, etc. digital camera drawing/painting implements papers (drawing paper, colored papers, japanese, tagboard, and more) adhesives (PVA, mod podge, white glue, spray adhesive) assorted paint brushes collage materials/found ephemera
SUGGESTED READING: Gaston Bachelard. The Poetics of Space. Beacon Press. 1969 Melissa Holbrook Pierson. The Place You Love is Gone. James Howard Kunstler. The Geography of Nowhere, 1993 Center for Land Use Interpretation, http://www.clui.org Robert Smithson, Collected Writings Katherine Harmon, You Are Here: Personal Geographies and Other Maps of the Imagination. 2003.
Week 1 – November 3-7 M 3/T 4 (ART + DESIGN COLLAB) Introduce Art + Design collaboration. Walk and document digitally. Introduce Cluster #3. Class discussion and chart of what mapping can be: what are its synonyms? Hand out moleskins. View slides. Introduction to in-class map #1: Mapping a Conversation, A Moment in Time.
W 5/Th 6 (ART + DESIGN COLLAB) Introduce book-making. Design time. Class discussion of process book assignment on cognitive mapping. Continue map #1. Introduce Site: Investigating Line. Issue map of South Lake Union. Discuss issues + influences in unsanctioned public interventions. Site: Investigating Line in-class exercise. F 7 Foundations scripted walk with moleskins.
Week 2 – November 10-14 M 10 (ART + DESIGN COLLAB) Continue work outside of class on book. Find a site on-campus for line intervention. Drawing. Prepare drawings/proposals for discussion W/Th.
T 11/11 Veteran’s Day Holiday – no class
W 12/Th 13 (ART + DESIGN COLLAB) Continue work outside of class on book. Class discussion of sites and sketches. F 14 Cooperative or Commercial? Visits to Crawl Space Gallery and Grey Gallery + Lounge
Week 3 – November 17-21 M 17/T 18 (ART + DESIGN COLLAB) Critique of Art + Design book project.
Discuss map 3: tracking a site over seven days. Submit plans W/Th for tracking (to be completed by M 12/1). Begin installation of site line intervention. Document all work.
W 18/Th 20 Critique site line interventions (w/ Seniors visiting from Sr studios?). Discuss final project – Artist’s Book Proposal. Begin work on artist’s book. 7-days of tracking should be happening outside of class. F 21 bookmaking workshop with Dan Shafer and others
Week 4 – November 24-28 M 24/T 25 Workshop on writing artist’s statement and narrative for final proposal. Research and writing. Further discussion of artists’ books. Begin preliminary sketches on your book form. Build dummies. W 26/Th 27 no class – Happy Thanksgiving F 28 no class – Happy Thanksgiving
Week 5 – December 1-5 M 1/T 2 Work day – Artist’s Book Proposal. Work on drawing/painting and collage. Begin work on book form. W 3/Th 4 Work day – Artist’s Book Proposal. Continue drawing/painting and book construction. F 5 Gallery visit: Western Bridge
Week 6 – December 8-12 M 8/T 9 Work day – Artist’s Book Proposal W 10/Th 11 Final critique F 12 1st Annual Cornfounded Drawing Smackdown
Mr. (Jeff) Koon’s theme is transformation, enacted literally with familiar restated objects in uncharacteristic material or scale. It is a basic Pop Art strategy….Ever since Jasper John’s flags and targets pointedly addressed the viewer with “things the mind already knows” much , maybe most art has set out one way or another to reach a broader audience more directly. The welter of strategies began simply enough with the elimination of the sculpture’s pedestal and the siphoning of images from pop culture….. Roberta Smith NYTimes 8.24.2008
Overview: Drawing on past explorations in art practice, this cluster looks at the transformations of everyday objects into something more. The Dada artists brought urban debris into their work, co-opting the “real world” into art making. Pop Art celebrated the everyday object in an attempt to collapse a division between “high” and “low” art. Cubism introduced the element of time making way for film, animation and eventually the suggestion of a captured moment in a series of moments that is evidenced in Cinematic Space stills.
Considerations of the Cinematic Space cluster are the transformations of an object from ready-made, to 2D (drawing/ writing/ photography), to small scale reproduction, to large scale reproduction, and finally as an element in the construct of narrative suggested by cinematic space. The cluster explores transitions of materials, dimensions (2D/3D), scale, and context.
Our primary process question will be how the transitions affect an ordinary object. Formal elements that will have barring on this cluster are: mass, both how it is constructed from planes and how it is affected by the space around it; weight and its visual engagement with gravity; scale and its affect on space relationships and context. Components of the cluster: 2x2x2 small - Select an object from the Cornish environment to reproduce. Draw the form from many angles, looking for an understanding of the planes that make up the shape. Continue to make notes and drawings throughout this process. Recreate the shape in oak tag (file folder paper) on a small scale. (roughly 2x2x2 inches)
2x2x2 large - Reproduce your form in a large scale (minimum dimensions of 2x2x2 feet). This reproduction utilizes found recyclable planar material. Cardboard and other paper materials are ideal. Consider various surfaces (plain or printed) various textures (smooth, corrugated, etc.), and various weights.
Cinematic Space Option I: image sequencing, action narrative, constructed cinematic space Cinematic Space Option II: contextual sequencing, action narrative, found cinematic space
Each option requires that you make sequence drawings placing your object in a place (fabricated or found) and employ movement of your object as a suggestion of time. Generally, if you are utilizing 2x2x2small, your space will be fabricated. If you use 2x2x2large, the object will move around from location to location. Each option develops a narrative (something happens...time passes…things change). Documentation: The moments in time developed in cinematic space are documented photographically and presented as finished work. How many images you require to convey your narrative is up to you. Printing of images will be covered in a Friday session. Tools: paper and instruments for drawing, rulers, triangles, xacto knives, box knives, scissors, oak tag, tape of all kinds, glue, fasteners, found materials (cardboard / paper), digital camera, and other materials as needed. Think about using the materials “at hand” in your everyday life. Materially this cluster focuses on “reuse and recycle.” These are restrictions that can push your creative thinking. Remember to be inventive with your process and trust what you know. Artists for discussion: Anish Kapoor, Claes Oldenburg, Antony Gromley Ron Mueck, Tom Sachs, Andy Warhol Jeff Koons, Jasper Johns, Marcel Duchamp Louise Nevelson, Tara Donovan, Charles LeDray Do Ho Suh, Tobias Putrih, William Kentridge Gerry Judah, Carlos Bunga, Nathalie Djurburg Lori Nix, Eve Sussman, James Cassebare Lucy McKenzie, Paul Pheiffer, Robert Therrien Guides to structure: Folding Architecture: Spatial, Structural and Organizational Diagrams (Sophia Vyzoviti) Supersurfaces (Sophia Vyzoviti) Vocabulary: plane – 2dimensional surface mass – 3dimensional from having physical bulk space – what lies between, around, above, below or within things. It can be actual or illusory. scale – the size or apparent size of an object seen in relation to other objects, people, or its environment. cinematic space – the relationship between time, space and narrative framed by a camera or other devise context – physical, historical, cultural circumstances etc. narrative – construct created to describe a sequence of events framing - a technique used to bring focus to the context and subject construct – reality as invented by the maker of an image, a narrative, or theory
Timeline: Approx. 3 weeks—Tuesday, September 2 - Friday, September 19 Project specifications:
"The world is complex, dynamic, multidimensional; the paper is static, flat. How are we to represent the rich visual world of experiences and measurement on mere flatland?" (Tufte, 9) Do we all read compositions in the same way? Are there common approaches in your drawings that you do now, and that you've done all your life?
Working initially through drawing and paper cutting, you will design multiple experiments (Rocks and Water, Expanding the Square, and Letterform Transformations) by taking apart forms and reconfiguring them to explore an array of organizational strategies. Following these series, each class member will design a spread, or two-page layout (utilizing works you've just made) that will then be assembled into a zine; a print collaboration across the class, traded through Foundations. Then, switching scale (moving to a sheet as tall as your body, or taller perhaps), you will extract a selection from the previous works and expand it, responding to the composition in this new, enlarged format.
The propositions (or exercises) here are designed to be cumulative; each component will inform the next, producing a layered, fluid introduction to some of the language we will be utilizing throughout this course. In our observational discussions, we will be questioning the complex relationships between these different studies and proposing ways they may influence one another. How do you translate your ideas about a work from one medium to another, and what may that translation suggest for your viewer?
Components of the cluster: *Rocks and Water, description in class
*Letterform Transformations: Using either stencil or a letterform of your choosing, design a composition that is 75% positive, and moves through four (4) stages to become 75% negative. Each stage will be run in an edition of three (3); four stages, three prints each equals twelve (12) prints total (4 x 3 = 12).
*Zine or, a collection of prints and related writings (the link to Zine World has a good overview in pdf, titled "Zine 101: A Quick Guide to Zines"): We will be designing a collaborative print project--a zine--that will include works from every class member. These pages will be duplicated, assembled, bound, and disseminated throughout the classes. As a designer in this collective process, you will be responsible for making a spread (or layout) of two pages--one is a print taken from the Letterform Transformation, the other a text-based *response* to that image. This visual response will extend from your process book writings; you may choose to include a copy of your own writings, further develop a piece you've already written, or perhaps the process of partnering an image with text may lead you to assembling new, found writings in the form of a text-collage. Final size is 8.5" (height) x 11" (width), with each page 8.5" x 5.5". The final work will be staple-bound in the middle of your spread, orientation will be horizontal.
*Painting to Scale, further description in class.
Tools: Instruments for drawing, black construction paper, scissors, Xerox machine, vellum, ruler, Bristol board or heavy weight white paper (as mounting), adhesives (Mod podge/glue stick/masking tape), acrylic paint, brushes, gesso. Other materials as needed.
Artists for discussion: Guillaume Appollinaire, Jean Arp, Lee Krasner, Sol LeWitt, Frank Stella, Donald Sultan, Joel Shapiro, Miranda July, John Baldessari, Mel Bochner, Agnes Martin, Hanne Darboven, Robert Motherwell, Franz Kline, Henri Matisse, Angus Fairhurst, M/M Paris, Sarah Morris, Michael Spafford, Christopher Wool, Jasper Johns, John Cage, and Glenn Ligon, among others.
Week 1, September 2-5 Tues/Wed: Introduction to syllabus. Introduction to Foundations facilities, lab hours, studio policies, safety procedures (facilitated by Jessica Bender), and materials. Introduce Process Book. Notan exercises (rocks/water, expanded square), as described above. Thurs: Continue Notan exercises Fri, 9/7: Artist lectures: Ruthie Tomlinson, Kristen Ramirez, Marc Dombrosky, Jessica Bender
Week 2, September 8-12 Mon/Tues: Drawing letterform compositions as preliminary studies for printing. Wed/Thurs: Reduction printing (using 4" x 6" EZ cut). Fri: Field trip to Olympic Sculpture Park or Suyama Space (TBA). Drawing intensive, focusing on sculptural works and their context (their relationship to their environment).
Week 3, September 15-19 Mon/Tues: Zine layout: students bring their spread to class for meeting and assembly. Wed/Thurs: Tall painting: scaling,cropping letterform compositions, exploring composition. Fri: Interclass observational discussions on painting projects and zines, zine trade