Project review development.
for my part 2 'painting beyond itself' project, I ended up making a 10in red velvet cake with a vagina cut into it - ultimately a comment on the male gaze, irony and how humour can be used as a subversive force.
For me the project was primarily a perforce piece, and what I gained from the completion of the project was that i want to carry performance through into more of my work...
So in conceptualising my part 3 proposal i kept this heavily in mind..
below are my notes when developing my concept.
sensational, playful, open, its not funny. Its safer to be ridulous then to be ridulued – if I’m ridiculous to you tyhen I’ll be ridulous. How humout can be a subversive force – comedy is a performance – what’s the joke hiding
Use conventional materials, collage drawing, performance
Also thinijng about using non conventional materials
Diciples not in the center of art practice
Find contemp tales
Deadpan – steve mcqueen
Come from slapstick but got a strong sense of deadpan – steamboat willy
Turend from innane and invisible into aggressive
Filminh self doing mundane things
Write a new cautionary tale
Bring it back to you – your life – your experience
Little shop of horrors ?? practical effects
What you want to have tried by the prog tut (2 weeks time)
Using horror to guide behaviour
Using art to encourage or guide behaviour
Sets of rules for boys and girls I nthese stries
Very different sets of messages
Decoding the meaning
LOGIC OF SENSATION – de leurs
Sensation nand affect
- - Collage
- - video
- - painting
- - sculpture
JIM and the LION - development in sketchbook
today I've been developing these concept in my sketchbook with my children's story 'Jim and the hungry lion'
the story is written as through for children however the language used and the illustrative tactics used are purposefully overly graphic and are decontextualised to be frightening for a child.
for this I've taken inspiration from Graham Rawle's reinterpretation of the wizard of Oz, where he's used stuffed toys to be the characters of the lion and a terrifying American girl doll to be a stand in for Dorothy
from this research I've developed this story - based on a children's nursery rhyme from the eighteenhundreds;
There was a boy whose name was Jim His friends were very good to him They gave him tea and cakes and jam And slices of delicious ham And chocolate with pink inside And little tricycles to ride They read him stories through and through And even took him to the zoo But there it was the awful fate Befell him, which I now relate You know (at least you ought to know For I have often told you so) That children never are allowed To leave their nurses in a crowd Now this was Jim's especial foible He ran away when he was able And on this inauspicious day He slipped his hand and ran away He hadn't gone a yard when BANG With open jaws a lion sprang And hungrily began to eat The boy, beginning at his feet Now just imagine how it feels When first your toes and then your heels And then by varying degrees Your shins and ankles, calves and knees Are slowly eaten bit by bit No wonder Jim detested it No wonder that he shouted "Ai" The honest keeper heard his cry Though very fat, he almost ran To help the little gentleman "Ponto," he ordered as he came For Ponto was the lion's name "Ponto," he said with angry frown "Down sir, let go, put it down!" The lion made a sudden stop He let the dainty morsel drop And slunk reluctant to his cage Snarling with disappointed rage But when he bent him over, Jim The honest keeper's eyes grew dim The lion having reached his head The miserable boy was dead When nurse informed his parents they Were more concerned than I can say His mother as she dried her eyes Said "It gives me no surprise He would not do as he was told." His father who was self-controlled Bade all the children round attend To James's miserable end. And always keep ahold of nurse For fear of finding something worse.
I began my research with a look into the 'changing perspectives' of objects and how i could adapt objects from one purpose to another, but as i've been reading i've discovered my interest in the male gazer and how the Dogma of our society isn't compatible with modern day feminism - (as explained by bertrand russell in his history of western philosophy)
In light of this research i've shifted my approach from objects to women - how the objectification of women is often looked over because its completive with how we've been raised - and by purposefully objectifying women in a semi ironic and comedic sense it could display the more toxic thought patterns associated with the objectification of women.
I'm particularly interested in the male gaze - so films about women (specifically women's sexuality) directed by men (eg - Blow up) are particularly integral to my research..
Also incredibly important to look into for me is the concept of 'hiding ' - how it feels as though women are expected to hide their sexuality or femininity in order to avoid the male gaze... and as such i will be looking into fashion influences as well.
in the buff
development of emperor wears no clothes
to develop this concept further - I want to use my research into film references - and i am considering making an 'x-ray vision' film - although i'm still considering if i would like to animate or just attempt to sync the movements - my basic storyboard for the film though be be similar to this
here, being a man (or male presenting performer - probably myself because of covid-19) looking at a feminine body - with where his eye-line is being 'x-ray visioned' out to reveal the woman's nude body.
I think this concept perfectly alines itself with my 'ironic, and visually comedic' sentiment - the only thing i worry about is if the video will be overtly ironic enough to get across my anger and true message - although it's just an experiment and i am willing to give it a go
Xray animation experiment
editing the film
in order to get this campy 'eyesight' line I had to really experiment with the 'draw mask' tool on final cut - in the end i found it best to layer a compound clip of a selected colour - draw a mask from where i would like the red to appear and then feather the edges - this was the same for placing the 'naked version' of the body over the second position.
The main challenge i thought I'd face was syncing up the body with the background and the other model behind it - however this turned out to be incredibly simple editing wise as i hadn't moved my position all too much in between shots and so the position lined up pretty perfectly.
the font was something that shouldn't have concerned me - but it did... I chose to use a font comparable to the opening titles from 1928's Nosferatu because this was a campy horror feature that paved the way for practical effects (reference shown below)
fig 1. Nosferatu poster fig 2. my titles
clothing in relation to the body and the male gaze
looking in to the nature of how the body and clothing have adapted together over the course of history (in therms of conceptually - how the way a women is sexually viewed has changed the fashions of the era) - shown in the annotated text opposite
I've decided to look carefully into the styling and conception of both characters in my film - attempting to make them universal and archetypal to present very clearly as 'male' and 'female' to properly and acutely get across my themes of the male gaze and properly get across the irony and comedy of my pieces
I would like to perhaps develop further from this initial film - because i find the conception of the 'performance of gender' more impactful and interesting - inspired by the Alexander McQueen show 'highland rape' I've decide to develop my 'naked clothing' concept to it's obvious next step - i've begun to design a gown which appears almost like a naked body but not quite.
the conception of the dress is grotesque - and I'd like the top half of the dress to be almost moulded perfectly to a body, where the bottom half of the gown would be boned to move away from the figure - as shown in my sketch below
animation test write up
after getting feedback I was inclined to make some different versions of this edit to see if stylisation, filters, colour and lack of soundtrack has anything to do with it.
I think after testing out the 'xray light' in different colours i conclude that red is still the most successful - i think this is because red is very imposing, and clear as a line of eyesight. the other colours looked more campy but I think red works best.
the style tests - i liked the 50s test but the lack of colour proved ineffective and a bit too forced
the comic book style test was alright but again i think it took away something essential - the clarity of the image - and that helps with the ironic and comedic theme
the censored version i posted to my instagram for feedback - i was very fond of it - i liked the mix between the 'page 3 girl' tit stars eg - but this mixed with the camp-y-ness of the childhood stickers is so endearing and ironic - i love it
however i think this takes away from the message of the invasive gaze of the 'male figure'
Plates of meat - publication
I've been considering what I wanted to 'finish' this year off with. did I want to make a film, did I want to make a cake, did I want to cry in the bathtub?
so I've tried to reconcile with all these diverse and opposing narratives - all my work from part 2 onwards has a through-line of this constantly underlying sexual narrative... and Like i said when analysing Steven Universe, this is mainly because that's where my trauma's lie.
one of the first notes when i was conceptualising this project was;
plates of meat - first attempt
plates of meat reedit
Plates of meat - FINAL
history of western philosophy - Russell
History of western philosophy references and contextual review.
In A history of western philosophy, bertrand Russell evaluates the dogma of each society and how this leads to prominent periods of artistic genius - Russell postulates that each society begins with a strict set of dogma (rules) - over time these systems relax thus leading to a new artistic growth (this can be observed most prominently in the romantic period )
The 'good' of the old traditions is left, the 'good' in this case being anything that serves the society's lust to grow in both size and power - and 'evil' unfolds in terms of moral undoing.
This 'evil' leads to a new sense of anarchy (for instance in Sparta, before colonised by Athens - the dogma of the society was almost non existent with certain rules like 'don't steal' kept in place for the civilisation's own survival )
After this anarchy there is a new tyranny that must come into power to protect the society from completely unravelling.
In terms of my art, I've found this reading very insightful especially in the context of how the rights and liberties of women have developed.
In the eighteenth century, a cult of 'sensibility' was heavily admired throughout Italy - from this attitude developed the cult of the 'hero' - and this is where we can historically pinpoint the most toxic viewpoints of our society - the romantic period (in art, politics, philosophy) is bound up with this subjective way of judging men - not as members of a community, but as aesthetically delightful objects of contemplation
Tigers are more beautiful than sheep - but we prefer them behind bars. the typical romantic 'removes the bars' and enjoys the magnificent leaps at which the tiger inhales the sheep - exhorting men to imagine themselves tigers for centuries helps to develop this hot pot of mysogony and masculinity.
Wittgenstein does not limit the application of his concept of language games to word-meaning. He also applies it to sentence-meaning. For example, the sentence "Moses did not exist" (§79) can mean various things. Wittgenstein argues that independently of use the sentence does not yet 'say' anything. It is 'meaningless' in the sense of not being significant for a particular purpose. It only acquires significance if we fix it within some context of use. Thus, it fails to say anything because the sentence as such does not yet determine some particular use. The sentence is only meaningful when it is used to say something. For instance, it can be used so as to say that no person or historical figure fits the set of descriptions attributed to the person that goes by the name of "Moses". But it can also mean that the leader of the Israelites was not called Moses. Or that there cannot have been anyone who accomplished all that the Bible relates of Moses, etc. What the sentence means thus depends on its context of use.
The term ‘language-game’ is used to refer to:
- Fictional examples of language use that are simpler than our own everyday language. (e.g. PI 2)
- Simple uses of language with which children are first taught language (training in language).
- Specific regions of our language with their own grammars and relations to other language-games.
In terms of my work, this concept has been internal to the conception of my work... decontextualising something in a new context (or placing an object within a new language game)
The effect of this research has made me look into more ironic or incidental artworks in the context of serious artworks
Experiments with illustration - painting concepts ?
I've tried out pencil sketches to develop this 'language game' concept based heavily on the ironic subversive style of john currin - in particular i've experimented using [pop culture icons (eg snowwhite and IT) as well as referencing artists like Andy warhol to try to develop a new and intriguing illustrative style.
I want to do this for a purpose beyond 'it looms pretty' - I feel as though the inherent value of a painted piece especially one with particularly feminine themes enhances the homemade and wholesome quality of these images
Pissoire - feminine irony
reading deeper into the history of toxic masculinity, i've changed my course of my project from childhood to felinity and the ironic portrayal of the female form in an attempt to desexualise the female form in new contexts.
I've decided to go for a 'filth glamour' vibe, similar to John Waters films.
The performance of gender
Gender performance is the idea that gender is something inscribed in daily practices, learned and performed based on cultural norms of femininity and masculinity. The idea of gender as performance was popularized by American poststructuralist philosopher Judith Butler. Such a concept goes against the predominant philosophical framework established since the 1970s which assumes a sex/gender divide, where gender would be a cultural construct built upon a biological sex. The main point of gender performance is that neither gender nor sex is completely natural, and both are performed and become naturalized over time: we act and walk and talk in ways that consolidate the idea of “being a man” or “being a woman.”
based on this concept, I am experimenting with painting and collage to create complex diagrams of the male gaze. perhaps using ironic storytelling tools like superpowers (eg X-ray vision)
The emperor wears no clothes - concept
to develop my semi ironic, comedic take on femininity, I've decided to look into a more direct way of observing the male gaze. my first experiment is looking into 'x-ray vision' - which in contention with my research explores 'invisibility' and existing within a space purely objectively (as in, as an object)
I've done this collage in my sketchbook to explore this concept
development of 'emporer wears no clothes concept
in essence i am incredibly happy with the animation i managed to make from home.
I think my costuming needs to be more developed and a stronger boarder-lining concept needs to found - the way i edited the film using final cut is something i am incredibly proud of - as i will show below the way i filmed the video was by setting up my phone in a particular spot and just changed positions and removed my clothes
for my next test of this concept - in order to strengthen it - i think i need to seriously consider costuming and the stylisation of the film - especially if i am going to be parodying this 'damsel in distress' masculine energy
As a simple test i find it incredibly effective and i think it articulates exactly what i was seeking to - this ironic semi comedic but ultimately sort of gross male gaze
in order to make these themes more clear however - i must style my 'male' archetype as immediately recognisable as a man through both clothing a performance and style my female in a perhaps less objectifying way so that the reveal of the x-ray vision is more shocking and less expected - I think that a form of narration could also aid this picture.
I might start working on a story board of chapters that could be accompanied by narration in this satirical gross way to better articulate my point.
dress concept development
costuming for film
because of Covid -19 in the last few days i've been unable to properly progress my concepts - especially in regards to making a leather garment - so I've decided to shift my approach back toward film - although i'm upset i am not able to experiment with this particular new way of working - ie sewing a garment for performance, i'm going to use the dress i found from portobello market (shown here) because i think it presents a storybook, timeless femininity - and multiply realises my wishes to include fashion in the performance of gender
instagram response to censored version
In a new twist of events, during this quarantine, I've rediscovered something very old and dear to me.
When i was a kid i used to Love this show, Steven Universe. It was about a kid who had three moms who were interstellar beings each named after a gemstone that made up their physical form. the show was about this kid learning who he was and ultimately, at first glance, a cutsey kid show abut growing up.
(pictured above - still from Steven Universe - with his three maternal figures)
But looking back - the show tackled and brought to light the emotional trauma and adversity each of the characters had overcome or was still going through. I think the most ponient was the protagonist, Steven who had a struggle throughout the show with his identity, if he was in-fact his mother or if he was himself.
Recently the show came to a close - the hour long finale reconciled with the trauma Steven had faced throughout his childhood looking back as a young adult, his inability to come to terms with the hundreds of life altering and threatening experiences he'd faced by being to subjected to an adult, scary and unprotected world from very early ages. The amalgamation of these events leading Steven to be an almost permanent state of fight or flight. This coming to a close with Steven in a place where he must seek help and stop using his codependence, helping other people with their problems and their trauma, checking other people's temperature to see how he feels, as a distraction for his own issues.
Saw its beauty and its worth
Mom made an army and she fought herself
Did that even end up mattering when she faked her own shattering?
Mom lived in hiding by the name of Rose
But the friends she'd made, and the form she chose
Now all that's left of her exists in me
And I think that we can all agree
That is a little bit upsetting
I'd rather think about... a wedding!
Let's think about flowers
Let's think about dressing up and dancing around for hours
(above - a visualisation of the minor inconveniences that have manifested as life and death situations in Steven's mind)
If you're reading this you might be wondering, 'Silva, that's nice that you like this kid's cartoon show, but how does it relate your project, it's a bit perverse to bring sexual voyerisom into kid's shows isn't it?' And If that's your thought, I fully agree ! however, I'm not suggesting i'd strip these characters to their knickers and paint them.
I think my key interest in sex as an artist concept to look into came after several traumatising sexual experiences as an attempt to liberate myself from my trauma. Looking into the beauty and interpretation of sexual liberation has been really empowering, so sharing this semi comedic approach to sex and fetish is close to me.
So bringing it back to Steven Universe, this beautiful and sensitive kids show spoke to me still after all this time - how your trauma doesn't just go away just because you're not in danger anymore - even if you reconcile with your abuser - if you put their feelings before your own - if you can give reason for their actions it doesn't magically make it all better.
I know that that's never the expectation - but in context with my project - re watching this show has really made me think what the voyeur and masculinity and femininity and sex and gender and love and sensuality means to me, and not what it means objectively.