Since the invention of photography, there have been numerous hybrid experiments between photography and sculpture that testify to a continuous influence of sculpture on photography and vice versa. In my own visual work, I am researching the physical, sculptural and architectural aspects of photography. I am analysing a number of historical experiments, from the 16th century camera obscura pavilion to 21st century digital processes, which I apply to my artistic practice. A particularly important example is the photosculpture process of François Willème. In the late 1850s, he aimed at reproducing sculpture with the help of photography, creating a distinctive union between the two media. His method to extrude sculptures from photographs laid the ground principles for the 3D scanner and printer. In this exposition I bring to the fore how the work of Willème propelled its significant influence towards today, and how it inspired me to create new visual work. At the same time, this experience constitutes an exemplary case study on how theoretical research can steer the creation of visual research.
Kate McCallum, Kate Monson, Majed Al-Jefri
"FanFutures" is a project working with artificial (AI) automatic text generation in an exploration of fan fiction and speculation about possible futures. It is a collaboration between an artist, a computer scientist, and a social scientist — and, in an extended sense, also with the fan fiction community and an AI algorithm.
Using a data-set of short sci-fi-esque stories written by anonymous members of the fan fiction community, we taught a natural language processing program to produce its own, entirely new short sci-fi-esque stories. The program takes imagined futures written by amateur writers, rather than institutionally-sanctioned voices, and dreams algorithmically through those voices to produce its own re-imaginings of possible futures.
We then turned these stories into films, films that depict a computer’s dreams of the future drawn from a mass of unknown voices, using imagery selected by another algorithm. The outputs are feverish and confused, but, as with human dreams, we have embraced their incoherence, and allowed imagery and atmosphere to come to the fore.
The project is inspired by our collective interest in understanding how humans make meaning with and through others — and how others make meaning with and through us. In a moment when our rapidly changing world, with its mass communication, new technologies and changing environment, seems almost intractable, we take a creative and playful approach to representing this complex intra-acting assemblage of human and more-than-human elements, and the possibilities in our world through sensory experience.
Building Material Conversations
Scott Andrew Elliott, Chris Cottrell
An expanded notion of conversation is developed through a series of large-scale temporary installations, and used to articulate an approach to collaborative creative practice that furthers the discourse of new materialist philosophy. These collaboratively produced installations are introduced into different spaces of a singular building in an iterative engagement sustained over a period of five years. In order to engage "conversationally" with the building, the projects adopt and rephrase the architectural language of their environment. An expanded conversation occurs between materials, creative practitioners, and the architectural site.
This conversational approach is extended through an experimental writing project, where a “cut-up” writing technique functions as a third author that disrupts, complicates, and needs to be accounted for through the writing process. An iterative series of texts reflect on the ideas at play in the installations, raising new questions that are addressed in later installation projects. The built projects and the experimental writings raise larger questions about relationships between humans and surrounding environments, which unfold through our collaborative journey of creatively “getting to know” a building.
IN SITU: Sonic Greenhouse. Composing for the intersections between the sonic and the built
Otso Tapio Lähdeoja, Josué Moreno Prieto, Daniel Adrian Malpica Gomez
This exposition presents and discusses a large-scale audio-architectural installation entitled "IN SITU: Sonic Greenhouse," which took place at the Helsinki City Winter Garden — or Talvipuutarha — in September and October 2016. Structure-borne audio transducers were employed to drive sound into the glass structure of the greenhouse in order to create an immersive sound experience emanating from the materiality of the building, transforming the site into a macro-scale musical instrument. Compositional strategies were developed in response to the context, emphasising the spatial dimension of composition more than the temporal and narrative ones, exploring an aural metaphor of transparency, as well as pointing towards the concepts of "sonic weather" and "sonic acupuncture." This exposition offers a reflective look at the work one year after its completion, fusing visual, audio, and textual elements to understand the piece’s aesthetic, theoretical, and experiential contributions.
The Body + The Lens: Shrink, Wax, Purge, Bleach.
"The Body + the Lens: Shrink, Wax, Purge, Bleach" was a creative practice research project that investigated the relationship of (white) women’s embodiment to the lens of gendered advertising. To focus the research, a recently mainstreamed group of female cosmetic rituals were chosen — body-contour wear (SPANX), Brazilian waxing, salt-water cleansing, and fake tanning. The intent of the research was to interrogate the relationship between these body-correcting practices and the idealized image of the "Glossy Magazine Girl" — i.e. preternaturally thin, hairless, and unblemished by shades darker than pink — which now appear with more frequency in women’s everyday life, and have reconfigured the social construction of female gender. The (artistic-research) response to the subject matter was a series of video and photographic works in the genre of self-portraiture. These works attempted to critique the new norms of embodiment emerging through these practices through the researcher’s parodic undergoing of the cosmetic rituals themselves. This "carnal" methodology, following from the methodology of Louis Wacquant, is one that embodies the researcher in the social practices being researched, i.e. body-correcting practices. This method produced research results — embodied and affective — not available to purely observational research, which should interest the artistic research community and feminism generally. The images and videos de-fetishize and denaturalize the embodied product of the cosmetic rituals. My studio-led research reveals the intractable, comic "failures" in the face of the demands placed on the everyday performance of women’s gender. By doing so, it turns these failures to affirmation, as well as critique of the gender norm these practices construct.