Thursday, 19 January 2012

Zee/Kurt Hentschläger/FACT

The most memorable exhibition is ‘Zee’ at FACT Gallery in Liverpool. Even though it was an amazingly immersive experience, it’s hard to describe everything that happened because of the numerous and overlappings of the whole work. There was a ‘prep’ talk before going into the room which made me anxious, and then the other participants went in, about 8 of us, holding on to the red rope to guide us in. The fog is very dense and then there lots of strobe lights, and then noises and patterns and colour which made it intense. At first I was trying to get comfortable but new things kept happening, and then as I was moving around the room was more ‘smiley’ because of it all, and the fact that it felt like an out of body experience and almost like it was entering the afterlife.

Whitworth Art Gallery/Dark Matters: Daniel Rozin, Peg Mirror.

Daniel Rozin’s Peg Mirror was by far my favourite piece in the Dark Matters exhibition. I like kinetic pieces, movement, mechanics, sculpture and responsive visualisation. Peg Mirror comprises 650 circular wooden pieces that are cut on an angle. Casting shadows by twisting and rotating, wooden pegs forming concentric circles surround a small central camera. The mirrored image produced in this work is activated by software authored by Rozin that processes video signals and breaks up imagery geometrically, seemingly pixel by pixel. The silently moving wood components in this piece flicker like jewels or coins in the spotlight, challenging our notions about what constitutes a “digital object”. My aim for this year is to create some kind of kinetic sculpture using motors, electronics and sculpture.

Rogue Art Studios: Owl Project

I went to Rogue Studios earlier in the year as I thought it’d give me a bit of an insight into what I could expect once I graduate and how graduates are working and networking and what their studio environment is like. There was a lot of variety of work, some occasional quirky interesting pieces; the artists were pleased when somebody entered their studio, and I spoke to some of them. I liked the diversity but didn’t feel like it’d be somewhere I could work, and there were a lot of depressed faces. However, there was a major stand out which I stayed for about 45 minutes at called Owl Project. I spoke to Simon Blackmore, one of the three artists in the collective, he told me he had a background in engineering (I wish I dabbled in engineering) and was zoning into everything in the room, the big clogs, the sounds, amplifiers, drips, electrics. It was amazing to see something like that and converse about how its come about and what’s happening next. One of the pieces I saw was ‘Flow’. Flow is a floating self powered structure based on a traditional ‘Shipmill’. A waterwheel will harness the power of the river Tyne and this energy will be used to power a number of electro-acoustic musical instruments that combine mechanical automation and digital technology to produce sounds that respond to the river.Owl Project is a collaborative group of artists consisting of Simon Blackmore, Antony Hall and Steve Symons. They work with wood and electronics to fuse sculpture and sound art, creating music making machines, interfaces and objects which intermix pre-steam and digital technologies. Drawing on influences such as 70’s synthesiser culture, DIY woodworking and current digital crafts, the resulting artwork is a quirky and intriguing critique of the allure and production of technology

The result is a distinctive range of musical and sculptural instruments that critique human interaction with computer interfaces and our increasing appetite for new and often disposable technologies. By choosing wood as the main material for the iLog, Owl Project have extracted modern design principles but deflected it back to a traditional sensibility. This immediately raises questions about modern desire for disposable technology and nostalgia surrounding traditional crafts.

Asia Trinniel

I wasn’t majorly impressed, nothing particularly inspiring, although Rashid Rana at the Cornerhouse was something that I didn’t expect. The subject matters, the ways displayed, particularly the Red Carpet, the paradoxes within his 2D and 3D work. I didn’t feel like it was something totally contemporary.

Northern Art Prize

I went to Leeds Art Gallery to look at the Northern Art Prize exhibition. The pieces of work that I was most interested in were by Richard Rigg. He ‘manipulates everyday objects, turning them into theoretical conundrums or playful propositions. He asks us to look at the everyday again from a simple wall hook to desks or chairs, interrogating the familiar and its surrounds’.

‘Some Rest on Six Occasions’ and ‘Two Writing Desks, False Drawer’ were the works that I was most intrigued by as the rearrangement of the chairs and tables and the different joints of the chairs were playful and add a different element to them.

‘Zee’ by Kurt Hentschalger at FACT

The most memorable exhibition is ‘Zee’ by Kurt Hentschalger at FCAT Gallery in Liverpool. Even though it was an amazingly immersive experience, it’s hard to describe everything that happened because of the numerous and overlappings of the whole work. There was a ‘prep’ talk before going into the room which made me anxious, and then the other participants went in, about 8 of us, holding on to the red rope to guide us in. The fog is very dense and then there lots of strobe lights, and then noises and patterns and colour which made it intense. At first I was trying to get comfortable but new things kept happening, and then as I was moving around the room was more ‘smiley’ because of it all, and the fact that it felt like an out of body experience and almost like it was entering the afterlife.

Summer Project: Survival Kit

The summer project was to create a survival kit for a situation. Mine was an ‘Emergency Key Cutter device’ which was a response to the countless times I’ve lost my keys for my Halls. The device was mainly an illustration within a box, a template of your key, and also an emergency tent with personal favourite things for shelter whilst the key is getting made. I’d have love to be some kind of engineer to actually create this!

Group Project: Student App

· The first group project of the year was to design and create a survival kit fir first years. Our group were stuck for ideas initially until I saw someone using an iPhone and decided that we should go for an ‘App’ idea, which the rest of the group members thought could be developed. Luckily there was a Photoshop Pro in the group who did the main designs, and we all brought our skills together. The purpose of the App was to show new students- first years, all around Manchester, the ‘hot spots’, maps, timetables and transport routes etc. I also contacted the Centre for Enterprise at Manchester Business School and spoke to somebody who was very positive about the App and spoke about developing it, and arranged a meeting.

Group Project: Success


The second set project of the year was the 8 week Success Project. The brief was to question, explore and create a concept for what we believed success is. The question that we picked for our group was ‘Can success be engineered?’. I initially chose to work with this question as I thought it would be a 3D heavy way of working, and liked the ‘engineered’ part of the question. We had a concept and a final piece idea right at the start, this wasn’t the best way to start as we hadn’t spoke about other possible ventures. However, the next couple of weeks we had meetings and individually had different ideas, some were more practical than the others, and the ideas were what the final piece – the opposite of what we actually did.

We decided to go along with the concept of what art work was deemed the most successful, so each of us in the group created quick projects that were displayed twice a week in the Link gallery. In our weekly meetings we set themes and responded to them, and decided that in the final 6th week we’d create the final piece. Our 5 themes were: clay, soap, black and white paint and human form – a mixture of materials and forms. When the works were displayed in the Link, we needed data which would collect the ‘points’ awarded by the public, to generate the most successful piece if work. There were small surveys next to the works with an accompanying ‘reason why’ box on the small piece of paper, so we wanted ‘why’ people liked the work as well as just the piece of work selected. There were generic answers to more detailed one which were appreciated.

The cross course crit allowed me to see what people thought of the project, a lot of positive feedback, mainly because of the fast paced projects we did and the public voting.

The final piece were like the ‘best bits’ merged together, a big ball of collective mess, I had envisaged something thrown together, leaking, for the final piece, which everybody else in the group was keen on too. The fragments of the weekly winning pieces of art work were put into the final piece, carved pieces of soap, glitter, black and white paint etc.

Apple Core

· My personal project developed from serendipity. I had an apple in my hand and tripped over a sealant gun, and thought I could do something with the two. I like how the sealant gun has a pushing mechanism, and thought it could core the apple somehow. I tried this and pushed the apple in the sealant gun, the apple wasn’t small enough to go in to the gun hole but still was ‘cored’. I tried this a couple of times, and with different fruit. I like the different stages of start to finish, from the push of the sealant gun to the broken apple, the nature and manmade, tools and food, changing the form of the object. This was unconsciously linked to my soap piece in the group project – the shaving of the soap with the fruit peeler, creating feminine shaped and changing the form completely by using a tool.

Site Project: Sky Capture

· After Christmas we started the Site Project. It was a short one week project, and to respond to the All Saints Campus. My group consisted of Roxana and Hannah; we each have different practices but found common ground whilst discussing ideas. Our idea was to capture the sky, mainly the clouds, as looking ‘up’ is a different way of looking, and the slow moving and different images found in Clouds has an interesting and almost calming effect. We used 52 pieces of sunography paper, shaped cotton wool into cloud shapes and used sun light and UV Light as the light is sensitive to these lights and leaves the shapes of the ‘clouds’. We used light from different locations: All Saints Park, Princess street and Piccadilly Gardens, so that we individually had our own work and seeing which areas were the best, the pieces of the paper had interesting effects with some more faded and some with a rich blue background. The artificial clouds were compiled together in a jigsaw manner on two A2 pieces of foam board, laminated, and then stuck under the Link Gallery. There was a struggle to stick the work up properly as the weather and the building wasn’t in the best condition. However, it was successfully stuck up with some minor flaws but had positive feedback. The space we used for it was chosen as it isn’t somewhere you’d normally see any pieces of work, and also somewhere for the smokers to look at ! The space is quite big too and a suggestion was made to cover it all, which would be ideal to do in the Summer.

Dust Project Continued

I was looking around my house for things to pulvarise and decided to add a 'daily routine' to my project and looking at meals so looked at fruit and colour started to play a role in my work. I decided to use orange skin since it's easy to grind because of its toughness once its left out in the sun and the colour is pretty vivid which could give the containers more variation

After discovering some old paint rollers and a dried glue tub i decided to carry on with the colour theme and the colour white gives everything a 'pure' look and this plays a role with the death theme. I found an old paint tray and the paint had flaked off and was easy to collect and i wanted to use the white paint flakes as part of my work because it broke off itself with not much force compared with the other products. I also scraped of paint from the old rollers which formed white dust which I'll use too

I've cut down this old table which has been in my friends house for the past 15 years, I wanted to change the form and decided to use it as art of my final piece maybe as a base for some display work but the history of it and the length of time its been at the house is important.

Another element of my work to be progressed was when I went to my friend’s house and he was preparing to move out so I decided to collect and record objects from each room and his daily life and put them in my containers to capture the feeling of this house which added another element to my project.

Referencing the cremation process is something I wanted to add but in a subtle way so used the chalk like grid (not sure of the proper name) from a heater and broke it down, not to a proper powder because whilst reading about ashes there are still remnants in the cremation process hence some more bigger bits. I was experimenting whether I should add colour or not within this piece and have decided to stick to white because the orange colouring powder doesn't go with it and throws the theme a bit off. I also added some clock hands which references grinding time, time of death and how long my friend had left to move out.


My most recent project’s temporary name is ‘Dust’. This project started after I burnt toast and scraped the burn parts and saw the crumbs piled together and thought I could develop with this. Also, around this time I remembered how I used to go to a graveyard on a weekly basis and have always wanted to become an undertaker and have had a long interest in the corpse and forensics and began to look at cremation and I wanted to interlink how memories, molecules and lives can be intertwined as themes in my project. I’d started out by using what’s in my kitchen as it was where my inspiration came from and furthered this by collecting products and breaking them down to a dust consistency just like the crumbs. I’d also noticed how the crumbs resembles the contents of a teabag and exchanged them which lead me to looking at how id display what I’d done so used salt and pepper shakers as containers to keep it with the kitchen/breakfast starting point.

Michael Landy/ Mark Dion / Robert Smithson / Michael Craig Martin

With my most recent project dealing with breaking down, pulverising and displaying I have been looking at Michael Landy and Mark Dion. I have looked at Michael Landy’s Scrapheap Services and Breakdown because of objects and ‘people’ being destroyed by using a shredder and some kind of force which is a part of how I’m but not using the same mechanical tools. Mark Dion’s way of presenting in a scientific way for his installations is how I started to display my work and looking at the Thames Dig and Curiosity Cabinet and the archaeological way of collecting is something I’ve done but on a smaller scale. I also like the way he hasn’t labelled the objects so that viewers go and make their own assumptions about the collections. The museum aspect is appealing too and I like the merging of museum and artistic display in my work and this is something I need to work on. Whilst looking at Mark Dion and reading a book containing his work I came across Robert Smithson. I’ve crushed products and objects and displaying them in different ways and looked at his Mirror Displacement and the way the mirrors add a different perspective on the crushed chalk, shells and stone and reflect the surrounding and the way the mirrors are capturing what’s going on.

Whilst at Waterstones I came across the book No.1: First Works of 362 Artists which gave me a ‘buzz’ because of the content and the two artists who stood out were B.Wurtz and Michael Craig Martin. B.Wurtz adds a sense of humour to his found objects and his clever way of assembling them which I rarely come across. On the shelf by Michael Craig Martin interested me because of the way its assembled: Fifteen milk bottles containing water, on a metal shelf supported on brackets at an angle with the water being at the same level and this gave me further realisation in how to display my work in a conceptual way.

Tate Liverpool & FACT

The trip to FACT and Tate Liverpool was a worthwhile trip too. Nam June Paik’s laser cone was hypnotising, mesmerising and psychedelic whilst laying under it and watching different patterns of light transcend. After this I went to the Tate which always has work that I’m keen on, with the Sculpture room being the more interesting one for me which contained a lot of pieces that I liked with Tony Cragg's Axehead being a personal favourite. I like how its laid out and has a narrative plus it looks like a collection, something I use within my work.


I went to the Glossop trip and flew my home made kite. I found Ludwig Wittgensteinan interesting person and what he did throughout life and his path and the way Michael Howard spoke about him was enlightening. Glossop had a calming effect and even though my kite (which was made out of a bin bag, straws and string) didn’t fly too well, it was still an enjoyable experience to see everyone flying their kites and to watch the display.

Timeline Exhibition

I also put up an image for the Timeline exhibition in the Link Gallery and also invigilated for a day. The image I put up was from ten years ago when I went to Pakistan and was celebrating Eid-al-Adha which commemorates the willingness that Abraham would sacrifice his son Ishmael and animals are sacrificed. I put up a photo of a camel being sacrificed with its blood draining from its neck whilst surrounded by people. It has shock value to it was an amazing thing to see.

Anish Kapoor: Flashback

Flashback by Anish Kapoor at Manchester Art Gallery and was in awe of some of the work such as Void which was like peering into oblivion. Some of the pieces made me stare into them for a long amount of time and create an atmosphere which I haven’t experienced before. His use of coloured pigment is also interesting as it’s layered and looks very pure, and when put on top of sculptures is sensuous.

Oscar Muñoz Biografías