I have been conducting research the last few weeks, clarifying what the install will look like, completed my welding tests, and begun to build the towers.
An earlier sketch demonstrating a change from creating individual skins for each tower to using a large domed transparent fabric to diffuse the light. I’m still unsure how I will solve the light diffusion problem but have a number of weeks of welding ahead of me with time to think on this.
About the Site: The building in which I will initially display my piece is the Design Studios on Broad, part of CCAD’s campus and formerly an auto dealership. Because of this the space has high ceilings, large windows, and strange paths and ramps. I was hoping to install my piece at the top of stairs but blocking stairs is a fire code no-no. Placing The Magic Mountain at the top of a large ramp (see first sketch) can be viewed as a metaphor for the drive towards utopia as a space/experience.
Electronics: I met with Alex Bandar from the Columbus Idea Foundry to discuss microcontrollers and sensors. To summarize, The Magic Mountain will be emitting light and a mechanical humming noise. When viewers approach it, the thing will start malfunctioning. If the viewer gets too close it will shut off completely.
What currently interests me:
The Self Illusion: How the Social Brain Creates Identity by Bruce Hood
Groupe de Recherche d’Art Visual
my fellow earcatchers
Aspen Mays incredible photograph made from exposing photographic paper to analog television snow:
We nearly always live through screens–a screened existence. And I sometimes think, when people say my work looks violent, that perhaps I have from time to time been able to clear away one or two of the veils or screens. -Francis Bacon
I’m stuck on blue as the color of the piece/lighting but am considering other options. Another adjustment to my original plan: instead of creating a ‘skin’ covering the steel armature-which logistically I am having trouble with-I am thinking about creating a large transparent balloon that engulfs the whole piece. Remember the parachute game? Picture the steel towers as children and the parachute a whitish balloon skin around the towers. Sketch coming soon.
As part of a brief critique of The Magic Mountain proposal, someone asked where the shape of the towers came from (see previous entry for sketch). I am making a small field of these welded steel towers. In the moment I stumbled over my words, trying to connect disparate thoughts. But these are all possible answers to the question “Why this shape?”:
1) I drew it in a previous sketch (…but where did that come from?) To be more clear, I changed the design a bit. The original had a square-shaped top but I found that the triangle was easier to balance, being on a 3-rod structure vs. 4. This is the pragmatic answer.
2) It’s connected to childhood memories of staring out the window in car-rides at dusk through Stark County. The Ohio terrain is long and flat except for the tall transmission towers…This is the psychoanalytic answer.
3) Mountainous Banff, Alberta, Canada. This is a place I lived and a place I don’t go a day without thinking about. Despite personal hell I still remember it as ideal. The Banff Centre=fundamentally transformative. This is the nostalgic answer.
4) It reminds me of The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann. Modern in feel, a retreat in the mountains, time stretched out. All things that converge in my piece. This is the literary answer.
5) And the blue glow that these towers will emit? That comes from the enjoyment I get out of seeing a glowing tv screen through a living room window. This is the voyeuristic answer.
How far back do you go looking for an explanation (“why this shape”)? If you don’t believe in free will (which I don’t) you hit a wall. I did not will myself to like radio towers, mountains, and glowing tv’s. These things just happen to intersect in my brain. I cannot take credit for my success or failure with this project; it’s really luck in the end if this thing does work out.
If this sounds like a depressing, hopeless way of looking at things, it is. In his book Free Will, Sam Harris makes a strong case that free will is merely an illusion. This book has stuck in my craw (in a good way?) since August 2012. Unfortunately I don’t think the consolatory section at the end ameliorates the angst bound to emerge while reading it. Thank god for art!
I see a tiny sliver of positivity in our lack of free will on my teaching blog.
I’m almost done with the Happy Box. Here are some photos of light shining on the acoustic foam, the interior of the Happy Box. The light won’t be this saturated. Dim light encourages lingering. Recently I recorded an organist holding long tones and chords at First Congregational Church near CCAD. Next I’ll design the soundtrack based on these chords.
Information about the reception:
CCAD Master of Fine Arts First Year Student Exhibition Reception
Columbus College of Art & Design
Design Studios on Broad 3rd floor, 390 E. Broad St
Friday, December 14, 2012 – 6:00pm – 8:00pm
Please join us for a reception showcasing the work of first year MFA candidates at CCAD. Light refreshments will be provided. Free parking is available in the lot at the corner of Cleveland Ave. & Broad Street. For a map, please visit: http://www.ccad.edu/ccad-campus/campus-map