Option 1, Project 3, exercise 1.2.3 – physical translation

12/1/22 My next step here is to make a physical piece that draws on the digital work. I have chosen the drips because of the drama of the simplicity sitting either side of the ‘jungle’.

I have chosen black card as the support, cut it to A3 size, and applied a layer of gloss varnish to permit runs of fluid medium. While this is drying – and it may need another layer – I am printing out the central image at magnification by roughly quartering the original, saving each part as a separate image, and printing those. The results of this process so far suggest that Rebelle5’s capacity for detail at zoom is doing its job as the resolution looks pretty good.

Following the ‘glitch’ theme, I’m riffing here on old TVs that often lost the plot when it came to stability, resulting in massive pixelations and coloured blocks juddering across the screen. This last iteration of the day takes judders of colour from each drip, moving it across such that green may go all the way to the right, but orange will not travel in the other direction. I’ve used a pebble and a palette knife to make the sweeps and the scoring marks.

At the top are the five webcam screengrabs, cut from prints of the digital version and turned into eyes. On one of the livestreams (Namibia), people often ask if the animals can see us. They can’t, of course; all these cams are one-way which prompted the image of every webcam as an active eye, a proxy for all the watching eyes. Sometimes someone on the Porthcawl pier waves and I imagine all the watchers waving back, because who wouldn’t!

At one level, this is a commentary on the level of digital observation our world is under, often without our awareness and perhaps unwelcome; and on another it illustrates the phenomenal access we have now to live imagery from all over the world showing places we might never have an opportunity to visit and wildlife we would not otherwise see. I have been particularly glad of these the last two years.

I am tempted to mute the colours a little but I’ll wait till tomorrow. I can see it from where I’m sitting a few yards away and it looks like a group of strange, one-eyed spectres out there, half misted away by the shine of the gloss.

14th January. Looking again, I was feeling somewhat disheartened – the glitch was there but the colours were too bright, too ‘read-made’, too obvious. I had no idea what to do, or in fact, why, because I had no aim in mind. This isn’t unusual; it’s that tension between a vague idea and the materialisation of something that might amount to the same thing but often doesn’t that drives me. I’m not a plotter or planner, I have a ‘feel’ about an image and I let what happens in front of me take me to it.

This trip took a lot of layering, collaging, stripping of the collage, printing (a leaf here, a cut out of a cat there), gluing, drying, scrubbing and scratching. I may not be able to move my thumbs tomorrow!

The result is something much darker than the digital version, less glossy and neat, but based on the drips and the cameras. The glitch is still there, pulled left to right across the stems of the camera eyes, and the cat serves the population looking back at us all, peering at them from our bedrooms, dining room tables, offices, and bus seats.

Black, as ever, is difficult to photograph and so, after a few attempts trying to avoid the low-light adjustments made by my phone, I deployed the Dramatic filter which brought it nearer to the image I was looking at.

This is what happens when clever cameras do what they think you want. It does show the scratching and scrubbing though.
This is the result with the filter and it’s very close to my perception of the piece in situ. A2 black card.

I have turned the drip tails into poles so that the cameras look a little like speed cameras. The eyes are detailed with acrylic pen to bring them forward. There is a horizon to indicate a location in space, and indeterminate textures – made by sticking and ripping off masking tape, leaves, or pieces of collage – to hint at landscape materials.

The image now has a rusty, slightly apocalyptic look to it, and for some reason it’s bringing to mind Francis Bacon so I’ll have to search for whatever it is of his that’s implanted itself in my unconscious.

Eyeballs by MotionLeap for iOS. Filter applied.

____

Administratively, and regarding the unfamiliar structure of this module, I’ve found I am just one project from the end when the plan had been to complete half of this option and half of my other choice, option 4, as Assignment, 1 then the remainder for Assignment 2. Unfortunately, there’s no obvious halfway point and while this doesn’t matter to me so much, it may skew the focus of the assignment. There’s also the possibility that I am cracking through too quickly and not giving myself the time recommended for these elements so I need to crack open Excel and start keeping a record with guestimates for the preceding posts.

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