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5. July, 2010 / Idun

Fibonacci Numbers and the Golden Ratio

By definition, the first two Fibonacci numbers are 0 and 1, and each subsequent number is the sum of the previous two. This forms the sequence 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, etc.

The Fibonacci sequence is named after Leonardo of Pisa, who was known as Fibonacci (a contraction of filius Bonaccio, “son of Bonaccio”). Fibonacci’s 1202 book Liber Abaci introduced the sequence to Western European mathematics, although the sequence had been previously described in Indian mathematics.

It is important to mention the close relationship between the Fibonacci numbers and the Golden Ratio. Two quantities is in the golden ratio if the ratio of the sum of the two numbers to the larger quantity is equal to (=) the ratio of the larger quantity and the smaller quantity.

 \frac{a+b}{a} = \frac{a}{b} = \varphi\,.

This ratio is an irrational mathematical constant, approximately 1.618, and is often denoted by the Greek letter phi (φ). As we say in Norwegian; a loved child has many names. This also applies to the golden ratio. Other names frequently used are the golden section (Latin: sectio aurea) and golden mean. Other terms encountered include extreme and mean ratio, medial section, divine proportion, divine section (Latin: sectio divina), golden proportion, golden cut, golden number, and mean of Phidias.

When dividing any Fibonacci number with its preceding number in the sequence, you obtain very similar ratio numbers. These numbers become more and more similar the higher the Fibonacci numbers are, and after the 13th sequence number this ratio is fixed to 1.618, the approximate value of the golden ratio.

Particularly since the Renaissance, many artists and architects have proportioned their works close to the golden ratio. This has especially been in the form of the golden rectangle, in which the ratio of the longer side to the shorter is the golden ratio, believing this proportion to be aesthetically pleasing. I remember when learning about the golden ratio back in school we were asked to divide a stick into two parts, and that this divide should be what we found more aesthetically pleasing to the eye. Everyone would divide it so that the ratio would be close to the golden ratio. I always found that immensely interesting.

The golden ratio has been used (and is still used) by artist and architects. Some works and structures that are proportioned according to the golden ratio include The Great Pyramid of Giza, the Acropolis in Athens, including Parthenon, and many sculptures by the Greek sculptor Phidias (who gave name to the golden ratio, phi). Many works by Leonardo Da Vinci feature the golden ratio, including the Mona Lisa, and the classic violin design by the Masters of Cremona have proportions that relates to the the golden ratio.

In more recent time, the golden ratio has been used in Cubism by Juan Gris, and by Piet Mondrian in his neoplastic, geometrical paintings. The Swiss architect Le Corbusier centred his design philosophy on systems of harmony and proportion, extensively using the golden ratio and Fibonacci numbers.  Also in the Eden Project in the South-west of England they have used the golden ratio. The education centre The Core has been designed using Fibonacci numbers and plant spirals to reflect the nature of the site, which contains plants from all over the world. The logo of the centre shows the Fibonacci pattern that is the roof panels.


Fibonacci Sunflower

Fibonacci sequences often appear in the natural world, in two consecutive Fibonacci numbers, such as branching in trees, the flowering of artichoke, the uncurling of a fern, the arrangement of a pine cone, and the seeds in a sunflower. It is often said that sunflowers and similar arrangements have 55 spirals in one direction and 89 in the other (or some other pair of adjacent Fibonacci numbers), but this is true only of one range of radii, typically the outermost and thus most conspicuous.

What many find the most interesting is how the golden ratio appear in our own bodies, or atleast in the ideal human body. For example, the ratio between the whole height of the body and the height of the navel is approximately 1.618, the golden ratio. The same applies to several other distances all over the body, and in the internal structure of the body itself. Please have a look at the videos below for a more detailed explanation about the Fibonacci numbers, and the golden ratio, and how these appear in the human body and the world in general.

2. July, 2010 / Idun

The Beginning of the End

After a very successful second semester, I am now embarking on the final part of the journey towards my MA degree; the highly anticipated Master Project!

In hindsight, I have noticed that what I have really been working with has been some of the basic geometric shapes; cones and pyramids. At first I thought how strange it is that I would end up with these shapes when my starting point was mostly “organic” and seemingly chaotic forms; inspired by the changes of nature. Nature, however, is far from chaotic, and the term “organic” in the context of form is highly “misused”. The natural world is full of system and numbers, and a very good example are the Fibonacci numbers. By definition, the first two Fibonacci numbers are 0 and 1, and each subsequent number is the sum of the previous two, creating the sequence 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, etc. These numbers can be found in for example flower petals, and the branching of a tree, and the Fibonacci spirals can be found in pine cones, flower seeds, snail shells, and the flowering of artichoke, to name a few.

Using the basic geometric shapes in my work has made me think about cubism. Cubism (1907-1914) was one of the most influential art movements of the twentieth century. In cubism the subject matter is broken up, analysed, and reassembled in an abstract form. Cubism was highly influenced by African sculpture, by the painters Paul Cèzanne and Georges Seurat, and by Fauvism. The movement was initiated by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque after following the advice of Paul Cézanne, who in 1904 said that artist should treat nature in terms of the cylinder, the sphere, and the cone. This was exactly what characterised cubism; the reduction and fragmentation of nature and natural forms into abstract and often geometric structures.

I think it would be interesting to explore light and colour in form of geometrically shaped vessels, where the translucency and escape or containment of light is in the centre of focus. I am also considering working with wall decorations, and perhaps draw in the Fibonacci numbers as a link to my fascination of the natural world.

29. March, 2010 / Idun

What is design?

Or maybe that is not the right question to ask. I would have been sat here writing until the end of time. I believe the question I should ask is what design is to me.

For 3 years my head was swimming in a lake of design processes, methods, research, prototyping, and material testing. I did my BA degree in product design. I quite enjoyed the course, and I enjoyed the way of working (maybe not quite so much the deadlines and late nights, though). What I am not very fond of is the road from prototype to finished product, ready to go on a shelf in a shop. Although I live in a society that lives off mass-production and mass-consumption,  there are already so many products in production in this world, and I don’t want to contribute to it. In Norwegian there is a term called “bruk og kast”; use and discard. For a long time this is what our society has been about, and it’s not a healthy way to live, and I mean healthy for our planet as well as for ourselves. So much is wasted, and there is a limit to what our planet can take. Adding to it by making more and more products with additional pollution and production material waste doesn’t seem like the “sustainable” thing to do. We have come a long way in terms of making the life cycle of products more sustainable and environmentally friendly, but there is still much left to do.

I think my heart lies with the unique and short-travelled objects, smaller quantities and batches. During my BA I worked with Oslo Prison on two occasions, designing objects to be produced in workshops within the prison walls, and then to be sold in a small shop right outside the entrance. The setting for this kind of design and production is quite different than the ones we find in many design offices around the world. A very important aspect for these projects was a social one. These objects were to be produced by inmates in the prison, men of very variable knowledge and skills. There are some that are trained and skilled craftsmen who can easily make an object just by being given the measurements. Yet others have hardly had any education, and might not know basic skills that most would take for granted. I myself experienced meeting a man that did not know how to use a screwdriver.

Mastering is a key word in this context. It is making as therapy. The inmates are employed in these workshops to have something constructive to do while paying their debt to society. Many of them have lived lives full of disappointments, and have never mastered anything. Imagine how it then feels to create something, and hear that another person thought it was so well done that they bought it. Something YOU made! And hopefully that will be something that gives a boost for the inmates to become better and honest people.

Working with (and in) the prison made me think more about what design is to me, and what is important to me in my practice. In the past I always saw design as something related to f.ex. Ikea. When I first started my BA I thought about how incredible it would be to work for Ikea! I was taught to design objects for functionality, focusing on use and users, and that as a designer I am a problem solver. I don’t feel like a problem solver, and I don’t work with design briefs in the same way as I would have done as a product designer. I think that now my art side has come more into focus.

Product design is still very much a part of me, but the problem solving has backed into the shadows. What has become more important is the thoughts and story behind the objects, the inspiration and the aesthetic value. Design to me is a process, but not one of solving a problem. It is the road from idea to the finished object, and how to best convey that idea through my chosen material. I think functionality is important to me as well, but I see it more as a potential functionality. I would like there to be a functionality, for example making vessels that can hold liquid, but it is not what is most important. It is like a foundation; it has to be there, but it is not what is in the spot light.

To me design is a process, a process from idea to finished object. It means functionality. It means telling the story behind an object, telling the story of the design process, and the thoughts and ideas behind it. It means something unique and true.

22. March, 2010 / Idun

Heidegger – The Thing

I have been reading “The Thing”.

“The Thing” by Martin Heidegger was originally delivered as a lecture to the Bayerischen Akademie der Schönen Kunste, shortly after the end of World War II. It was translated by Albert Hofstadter in “Poetry Language Thought” in 1971.

At first Heidegger discusses distances, how something being far or near does not necessarily depend on distance. Something remote might be near, while things near may be far away. The globalization enables us to travel vast distances. “Everything gets lumped together into uniform distancelessness”.

However, this talk about distances is not his main concern in his lecture. Heidegger goes on to ask the question about nearness. What is nearness? According to Heidegger it seems as if nearness can not be encountered directly. We reach nearness through what is near, namely things. This is where the real question of this lecture comes into focus; What is a thing?

Heidegger discusses this matter through the example of a handmade ceramic jug. What he want to know is what this thing is? What is a jug? The jug as we use it, as an object, is made of a specific material (ceramic material), and has a form and a function. But do these qualities define the jug as a thing? Heidegger argues that these are derived from a fundamental ‘thingness’, and that the jug’s ‘thingness’ is in fact the void inside it. The jug shapes the void, which in turn shapes the jug.

The jug as a vessel has a basic function; to hold. We become aware of that function when we fill the jug. It would appear that it is the bottom and sides that does the holding, the material that shapes the jug. Heidegger argues that this is actually not the case. If you fill the jug with water, do you then pour it into the bottom and walls, the material? What we are doing is to pour the water between the walls and over the bottom. It is the emptiness, the void, that is holding the water. “The empty space, this nothing of the jug, is what the jug is as a holding vessel”. What about the potter? If the holding is done by the void, then the potter is actually not making the jug. He shapes the clay. This shapes the void, which is where the vessel’s ‘thingness ‘ actually lies.

I found this read very interesting. I have never thought of it like this before. It’s like going backwards, turning all we know up-side down. We perceive the world through material, and forget about the negative spaces that lie in between. That the vessel is actually the void does in a way make sense to me. The function is that of the empty space,  so does that not mean that the vessel must be that space? This lecture/essay has simply just increased my interest in the vessel.

22. March, 2010 / Idun

A few thoughts after a London trip.

I went to London on the 17th of March. A trip with the university. It was a very long day, and by the end of it I was completely exhausted, but well worth it.

First stop was a shop called Few and Far. It’s an interesting shop, owned by a woman that only have things she herself enjoys in her shop. It is all based on her personal taste. I did find some pieces of interest, for example two pieces by Daniel Fisher.

We also went to another similar shop called Mint. Mint was established in 1998 by Lina Kanafani, who is constantly in search of new innovative objects to add to the collection. It is a wonderful mix of design furniture and objects, and one-off pieces.

I find both these shops quite fascinating. If galleries and design shops could have babies, this would be it! It has made me think about where my own work would be displayed and sold. I feel as if I am stuck in the middle; I am not quite on the fine art side of craft, but I do not quite belong on the design side either (at least not product/industrial design for mass production and consumption). So where would I exhibit? Do I belong in a gallery or a design shop? It is interesting that for a very long time there has been no “in the middle”. The galleries have been for fine art, for sculpture and paintings, and incomprehensible installations that display the inner turbulent life of the artist. The design shops for high-end product and industrial design, sleek and modern furniture, electronics  and tableware.

I do believe that the interest in the grey zone between fine art and design has increased. People seem to want unique design objects, something that can have a decorative and focal point function in addition to having a basic function, that being lighting, a vase or a bowl, or something else. We want something that has a deeper meaning and a story. We want the stories, we want to hear about the background, we want to hear about the artist or designer, we want to hear about their thoughts and ideas, and we want to hear how this object came to be. Lina Kanafani at Mint told eagerly about how customers demand this, and how much time is spent on creating ways of telling these stories to them.

I believe that this is one of the reason why shops like Few and Far and Mint have started to emerge; to satisfy this new interest. To me they seem like the place where all the objects in the grey zone can “fit in”. They have room for the uniqueness and the stories in design. Retail galleries. I think it’s absolutely brilliant. I also believe that this is where I could “fit in”, being a part of this vast grey zone myself. I think it is difficult to place yourself, to find your spot in the sunlight. I find it very difficult myself, however, this trip to London has opened my eyes to a new way of displaying that I quite honestly didn’t really know existed. In a way it gives me new hope that there is actually room for us grey-zoners, and that there is an arena for us to display our work.

12. March, 2010 / Idun

An exploration of space

Lately I have found an interest in the vessel, which is one of the oldest man made objects. I have always found the vessel interesting. It’s a simple object, yet vital in the way that it holds our food and keeps us alive. It has also been used as a metaphor for our own bodies, the vessel that holds the spirit.

Julian Stair’s latest project has an interesting approach to the idea of the vessel and the body, which I find very much inspiring. He relates the body to the vessel through the exploration of funerary ware.

“The pot no longer is reliant on the body to animate it through use but instead houses the remains of the body itself. Through this transformation the symbolic becomes re-invigorated and in the process becomes tangible again. Like pots sustaining the body in life through the containment of food and drink, this funerary ware contains the body in death and underlines the profoundly somatic characteristic of pottery.” (Julian Stair, 2004)

What is interesting about the vessel is the question of what the vessel really is. Is it the object itself, the material of which it is made, or the space that it contains and surrounds?

Martin Smith uses the formal limitations of the vessel to investigate different conditions of space. His work is developed in series where he gives himself  limitations to govern his selection and composition of form, and the material he uses. The basic forms are usually derived from the geometric set of circle, cylinder, cone, hemisphere or their respective sections. These are either thrown or press moulded in red earthenware and, after firing, machined and polished to precision. Different formulations of space are defined by complementary materials – with light radiating surfaces of metal leaf set against the contradictory influence of the dense red body of the vessel.

Below are some examples of Smith’s work.

Richard Serra is another artist I have had a closer look at. He is most famous for his large minimalist sculptures made of long sheets of metal, with emphasis on materiality, and engagement between the viewer, the site, and the work.

Serra’s work is site specific, and can therefore not be placed anywhere else than where it was originally intended. “To remove the work is to destroy it”.

What I find interesting about his work is the spaces that the large ribbons of metal create. With many of the works being over 4 metres high, what you really observe while walking between the metal walls is not the metal itself, but the space that is creates, the space that you move in. You engage in the work, you become a part of the space it occupies.

The images below picture some examples of Serra’s minimalist sculptures, also showing their massive size in relation to the human body.

8. March, 2010 / Idun

To glaze or not to glaze!

You would think that clay and glaze walk hand in hand, and I suppose that in many cases this is true. We glaze for beauty and functionality, but it is my opinion that we also glaze to mask. Why do we do that? Yes, I do realize there are many transparent glazes, but have you ever thought about how most of ceramic objects have coloured glazes? Next time you go to any shop that has ceramic objects, for example Ikea, have a look around. Look at the colours, you will understand what I mean. I do recognize the need for glazes on tableware for reasons of hygiene and easier cleaning, though as long as the clay has been vitrified, glazing for the function of holding water is not needed. I believe the natural colours of the clay can come into focus.

I have always found glazes quite tedious. You spend ages measuring and mixing, then after a test you realize it’s nothing like you thought it would be… and if it is, you will never be able to mix it that way again. Well, I presume it’s not like this for everyone, but that is my experience. Glazes can be irritating, and in many cases toxic to work with, which is why gloves and gas masks must be worn when mixing glazes. Glaze waste should not go into the sewer system, and must be disposed of by professionals. I think this is another reason why I don’t particularly like glazes. Even though most glazes are made of natural minerals, the fact that it can be bad for your body makes it feel unnatural to me, and makes me not want to work with it as long as I am not forced to do so. Clay on the other hand is not at all toxic. Clay is used in skin treatment, and some even say that eating clay is good for you. Especially in Africa pregnant women have apparently been known to eat dirt to fill the physiological needs for different nutrients like phosphorus, magnesium, iron and zinc. I find it a bit ironic that the natural clay should be covered in “toxic” glaze.

I think that many forget that different clays have different colours, and that the variation in colour is enormous depending on at what temperature you fire.  What I have started to discover as well, is that mixing clays together creates even more colours! There are some artists that work with unglazed clay, and working with different clays to create colour variations.

Julian Stair is one I have found interesting. His work consists of mostly vessel forms made of different unglazed clays. His work is characterized by ‘a subtle relationship between form and material and a subdued palette of grey, red, black basalt and white porcelain’. He is concerned with questions of functionality, and explores the nature of pottery and its ambiguous occupation of space. He does this by placing functional pottery on ceramic stands or  grounds,  exploring the ritual and ceremony of ceramics on our houses.

I especially find his latest work with funerary ware very interesting.

“Whereas much of my work is concerned with the manner of art’s engagement with human activity and pottery’s haptic qualities, the funerary ware that I am currently engaged in has a different relationship with the body. Using the anthropomorphism central to ceramics I extend the familiar identity of the pot as a metaphor for the body – complete with foot, neck, shoulder, lip, belly – and invert this relationship by making work which contains the actual body.

The pot no longer is reliant on the body to animate it through use but instead houses the remains of the body itself. Through this transformation the symbolic becomes re-invigorated and in the process becomes tangible again. Like pots sustaining the body in life through the containment of food and drink, this funerary ware contains the body in death and underlines the profoundly somatic characteristic of pottery.” (Julian Stair, 2004)

1. March, 2010 / Idun

Ceramic Art London 2010

Last Friday I visited Ceramic Art London 2010. This is the first time I have been to this annual exhibition, as travelling from Norway to London doesn’t exactly come cheap. The whole experience was quite overwhelming. I have never seen so much ceramics in one place at once, and I loved it! Obviously not everything was my preferred ceramic cup of tea, but I still enjoyed the wide spectre of craft. I also attended two demonstrations and a talk where three artists would talk about their work.

Elke Sada demonstrated her way of building with casted clay, painted using slip coloured with body stains as paint. She explained how the technique gave her freedom to express herself, and her work is truly expressive.

The second talk was by Natasha Daintry. Her focus was mainly the colour in her work, and how she achieves her palette.

The last speaker was Robert Cooper. He demonstrated his way of working with layers, patterns and transfers, and talking about his inspiration and firing cycles.

23. February, 2010 / Idun

A new beginning..?

or a continuation of my previous studio work.

I am now working on the next practical module in my MA; Developing Creative Practice. I intend to further explore the natural colours in the clay. When I first began my MA I thought to myself that working with ceramics I should learn more about glazes, and I was determined to do so. However, I have never found glazes all that interesting. I find making them tedious and far from something I would like to spend my time doing. I am far more interested in the colours in the clay itself. I find it fascinating how the clay changes its colour throughout the making process, and with varying the firing temperature. Another way of altering the colour of the clay is to mix different clays together to create a whole new palette. I chose to work with porcelain and red earthenware, mixing them to create the palette shown below. I find it quite interesting that mixing white and red together can create shades of grey!

Now I have started expanding my palette, and I will look further into how to match colour to form. What kind of form is a white form? What form does a dark colour need to underline the colour, or what colour does a form need to underline how we see it? I think it will be interesting to look into this, though I expect it might prove difficult. Nevertheless, interesting.

26. January, 2010 / Idun

It is Time to Make a Change

In the first trimester of my MA Ceramics I have been undertaking two separate modules; a practical studio module named Initiating Creative Practise, and the theoretical Research Methodologies for which this document is intended.

This document will have two parts. In one part I shall look at some of the main sources of research and inspiration I have used throughout these modules. In the second part I will explore the possibilities of where I can take my project next, including research and ideas of what I might find interesting to look into further for my current project, and eventually my MA project.

To understand the research for my practical studio project, it is important to know a little more about the project itself. In short it has been a project for exploration of the material ceramics, As the material in itself goes through some great changes before it is finally finished, I decided that exploring changes would be both interesting and fitting. To start with I had a broad theme of changes, seasonal changes, and metamorphosis, but the project slowly turned to become small series of a shape changing into something else through steps of metamorphosis. I have used several different research methods, including interviews, image searches, photography, and looking into the work of other artists, but in this document I will highlight the most important aspects of the research.

A great source of inspiration has been the work of the artists Andy Goldsworthy and Richard Long, who have been good helpers in defining my own work. They both use natural materials, and arrange chaos into order and system. Andy Goldsworthy’s work is often very large and site specific, situated in both natural and urban settings. The materials he uses include leaves, flower petals, icicles, various kinds of stone and rock, mud, branches, and twigs. What I find most interesting about his work is the use of natural materials, and the system and repetition of his work.

“I find some of my new works disturbing, just as I find nature as a whole disturbing. The landscape is often perceived as pastoral, pretty, beautiful – something to be enjoyed as a backdrop to your weekend before going back to the nitty-gritty of urban life. But anybody who works the land knows it’s not like that. Nature can be harsh – difficult and brutal, as well as beautiful. You couldn’t walk five minutes from here without coming across something that is dead or decaying.”
(Andy Goldsworthy, 2007)

The natural world is full of changes and contrasts, both wonderfully beautiful, and decaying and deteriorating. It is something I find very fascinating. It is also important to my work. My series are based on changes, and the contrasts between the end points of the series.

Much of Richard Long’s work is based on various walks he has made around the world. His work is his walk recordings, and include deliberately altering the landscape and creating sculptures from stones, branches, and the like found on site. The work havs several aspects that I find interesting. Like Andy Goldsworthy, Long also have system and repetition in his work, arranging natural materials such as stones and twigs into often geometrical shapes. There is also the aspect of time. A good example is the work that made his name; “A Line Made by Walking” (1967), which is exactly what it describes. To me it represents how time and change work together, and links directly to my choice of material; clay. It is a material that requires time, waiting for stages, drying and firing. I believe both Goldsworthy and Long will continue to be sources of inspiration.

Another artist I particularly find interesting is Martin Creed. While not all of his work appeals to me, his different series of objects is a real help and inspiration for me. I can draw lines between some of his work and my own, though the materials he uses are varied compared to my own ceramic work. The work that I have found most interesting has been of a quite late date. Work no. 928 and 925 are pyramids of chairs and tables respectively, the items changing from a large object to smaller objects as the pyramids grows taller. Earlier work I have found interesting, no. 180 and 223, are both a series of metronomes that do not change in shape, but that have a change in pace. The latter two made my mind spin towards questions such as why ceramics has to be something static. Ceramics is after all a material that changes constantly through the making process, so why should it not be changing when it is finished? What will for example animation do to my series? The idea of animation also originates in my initial source of inspiration; seasonal changes. The seasons seamlessly morph into each other in an endless loop. Having images of the series merge into each other creates another dimension to the changes that happens in the work. While the linear series of change in themselves seem very static, the animated film clips give a sense of movement, underlining the changes happening.

This change from static to movement is something I would like to continue with in my next project, and also possibly in my MA project. It would be very interesting to explore the possibilities when ceramics becomes a time based medium. When working from a static piece to the movement in a film clip, there will be new elements to consider. This would include arranging the time and space in which the work is set, the narrative. Time in itself is interesting in the way that it is constantly moving. As Paul Ricoeur (1984) claims “we try to hold on to time, but it is impossible”. We do, however, use photographs as a medium for trying to capture time, and set these into sequence to capture movement through time. This is what I am doing to my series of change, setting each moment into a sequence and thus creating a movement. This would be an example of classic narrative. Classic narrative, or realism, has its emphasis on the present. It moves through time towards the future. It drives forward sequentially and chronologically, and it has a beginning, a middle, and an end. But what happens if the narrative revolves around one particular moment in time? This is something that is unique to the comic.

According to Scott McCloud (1993), comics are unique in a way that they are both sequential and has a all-at-onceness in them. They are composed of static images, all being frozen moments in time where something has happened, is happening, and where something is also about to happen. What could be interesting to do is to have one of my objects in a frozen moment, and add movement to it by time slice. Time slice is probably best known through “bullet time” in the film “The Matrix” from 1999, with cameras swiftly moving around the action in a frozen moment in time. Time Slice films Ltd have also several interesting film clips showing time slice. In my sequential series, time is in my opinion the most important, as the change happens over time. However, with a time slice, the space would play a greater role in the narrative. It is the viewpoint that changes, and it changes by moving around the object through space. I believe this would be interesting to explore alongside the sequential and chronological film clips in my studio practise.

Another interesting concept is spatial montage. Spatial montage basically means multi-frame application, several images or events going on at once on a screen. The idea of spatial montage seemed confusing to me at first. How am I, or anyone else, supposed to process all these events? I have come to realise that we are surrounded by spatial montage on a daily basis. Every day there are multiple events going on around us, some have our full attention, some we notice subconsciously, and others we hardly notice at all. Even the world of television has picked up on this idea. A good example is the series called 24. While most series have multiple narratives going on at once, they only show one at a time. 24, however, gives us an update on all the different narratives in a spatial montage. I find this very interesting, and I think I will continue researching spatial montage, and how it can be applied to my own work.

I would like to conclude with that everything I have been doing the last few months has been about changes. My studio project is based on changes, and I am using a material that changes. My research is about changes, and my future work will be about changes. Also there has been changes within myself. I know that I am better equipped to take on new research challenges, and I believe that Research Methodologies has given me a more reflected view of my own work .

Bibliography and references

Ricoeur, Paul, 1984, Time and Narrative, The University of Chicago

McCloud, Scott, 1993, Understanding Comics, Tundra Publishing

Manovich, Lev, 2001, The Language of New Media, Cambridge: MIT Press

Sooke, Alastair, 2007. He’s got the whole World in his Hands. The Daily Telegraph, 24. March. Available at: www.telegraph.co.uk, He’s got the whole World in his Hands. [Accessed December 2009]

Gayford, Martin, 2006. In the studio: Richard Long. The Daily Telegraph, 4. April. Available at www.telegraph.co.uk, In the studio, Richard Long. [Accessed December 2009]

Martin Creed, The official and unofficial Martin Creed website.
Available at: www.martincreed.com [Accessed November 2009]

Wikipedia, Andy Goldsworthy. (Updated 27. December 2009)
Available at: www.wikipedia.org, Andy Goldsworthy [Accessed November 2009]

Wikipedia, Richard Long. (Updated 15. December 2009)
Available at: www.wikipedia.org, Richard Long [Accessed November 2009]

Wikipedia, The Matrix. (Updated 15.January 2010)
Available at: www.wikipedia.org, The Matrix [Accessed December 2009]

Time Slice Films, Time Slice Films – enhancing the story.
Available at: www.timeslicefilms.com [Accessed December 2009]

21. January, 2010 / Idun

The inspiration Richard Long

Richard Long was born in 1945, and is an English sculptor, photographer and painter. Read more about Richard Long on Wikipedia. He is the only artist that has been nominated for the Tuner Prize 4 times, and in 1989 he was named the winner. His works are based on walks he has made, for example deliberately altering the landscape in some way, and often creating sculptures made of stones, branches and the like found on site which were then photographed. He has also recorded his walks in other ways, including photographs or maps of unaltered landscapes that were accompanied by texts detailing the time and place of the walk. My interest, however, lies with his on-site sculptures and alterations of the landscapes in which the walks have taken place, and the sense of time these represent.

What first gave Richard Long a name was his work “A Line Made by Walking” (1967), which is exactly what it describes; a line or a path in the grass made by Long himself by walking back and forth. I enjoy the work because of its sense of time, and I feel it represents the many walks required to make a path and the changes that happen over time.

Time is also an important factor in my own work. Ceramics is a material that requires time. You have to wait for the different stages, wait for the clay to dry, and wait for the firing. It is a long process that includes many changes. Changes and repetition is important in my work, an aspect I enjoy very much. I am a systematic person, and system is something that shows in my work. I believe that is why I enjoy Long’s sculptures; chaotic natural materials put into order and system, for example “Delabole Slate Circle” (1997)

“For one thing, mud from the Avon is the best in the world. It’s classic tidal mud, which is different from mud that you might dig up in a field or muddy earth you get on your boots. It’s very, very fine; it’s silt, not soil. The molecular structure is completely different. It’s very robust. It lasts well. A mud work on a wall could last for hundreds of years.” (Richard Long, The Daily Telepgraph, 2006)

Enjoy the images, I certainly do!

20. January, 2010 / Idun

The inspiration Andy Goldsworthy

I always get this “wow” feeling when I look at the work of Andy Goldsworthy. Such precision and dedication! When I first started working with changes and seasonal changes, I turned to Goldsworthy straight away. Read more about Andy Goldsworthy on wikipedia. He works with natural materials. Materials used in his works include leaves, flower petals, icicles, various kinds of stones, branches, twigs… the list goes on. His work is site specific, situated in both natural and urban settings.

What I enjoy about his work is the use of natural materials, and the system and repetition, as I myself enjoy working with. I admire the way he arranges seemingly chaotic elements into order and system. I enjoy the repetition in the stones and petals placed together to form beautiful shapes. There is also a sense of bravery about working with materials which cannot be edited, and which will wither away. He has been quoted as saying, “I think it’s incredibly brave to be working with flowers and leaves and petals. But I have to: I can’t edit the materials I work with. My remit is to work with nature as a whole.” (The Daily Telegraph, 2007)

Enjoy the images. I certainly do.

“I find some of my new works disturbing, just as I find nature as a whole disturbing. The landscape is often perceived as pastoral, pretty, beautiful – something to be enjoyed as a backdrop to your weekend before going back to the nitty-gritty of urban life. But anybody who works the land knows it’s not like that. Nature can be harsh – difficult and brutal, as well as beautiful. You couldn’t walk five minutes from here without coming across something that is dead or decaying.” (Andy Goldsworthy, The Daily Telegraph, 2007)

11. January, 2010 / Idun

Time slice, spatial montage, movement.

I have been looking into non-sequential ways of adding movement to my work. Two i have found rather interesting are time slices and spatial montage.

Time slice is probably better known as bullet time, I suppose. Especially through the film “The Matrix” from 1999. Using multiple cameras around an event, they could capture it, resulting in action frozen in a moment in time with the view revolving around it, as shown in the video below.

Time slice is interesting in the way that it is not the image or object that change, but the view itself. Time Slice Films makes various films using time slice effects (which their name implies). I think a visit to their website is worth the time. Some of the films are quite spectacular. Below is a video where time slice is explained, and perhaps it is easier to understand how it works by seeing the equipment that is used, and examples of how a finished clip might look.

Spatial montage basically means multiframe application, several images or events going on at once on a screen. At first the thoughts in my mind were sceptical. How am I supposed to process multiple images? But I have come to realise that we are already processing multiple images and events daily. Now, while I am writing this, I also have my messenger going in the background, I have folders open, I have the telly on in front of me, and several other browser tabs that I often check the status of. Every day there are multiple events going on around us. Some get our full attention, some we notice subconsciously, and others we don’t notice at all. The same applies for spatial montages. We see and interpret the way we ourselves decide. there’s no right or wrong way to do it. This I think makes it all the more interesting.

Even in the world of television series they have adopted this concept of spatial montage. The series called 24 uses this effect frequently to display several events taking place at the same time. Most series might have several narratives going on at once, but only one image is shown at a time. 24 gives us a quick overview, and I suppose that we are drawn and bring our attention to the event that interests us the most. How this could be applied to my own work I am not yet quite certain of, but I do find it rather interesting.

This video is not a real 24 episode, but a parody. However, it shows the general idea of how 24 uses spatial montage in the episodes.

11. January, 2010 / Idun

Liquid magnetic sculpture.

I can hardly believe this is even possible. It appears to be some sort of oil mixed with a metal with magnetic qualities. A liquid that when in a magnetic field turns into something that looks solid, almost like rubber. It just fascinates me. Have a look for yourselves and be amazed!

11. January, 2010 / Idun

The inspiration Martin Creed

I have very much enjoyed some of the works of Martin Creed. I feel it applies to my own work of sequence and system.

Work no. 223

Work No. 223: Three metronomes beating time, one quickly, one slowly, and one neither quickly nor slowly.

Work no. 180

Work No. 180: Largo, larghetto, adagio, andante, moderato, allegro, presto, prestissimo.

Both these works show sequence and system, which is very important to my own work. What I also find interesting is that even though the object themselves are quite static, they are brought to life through metronomic movement. There is movement traveling from one side to the other, a change of pace.

More interesting works can be viewed at Martin Creed’s official and unofficial website.