Building up again?

Mouth House_Akkermans

Here are some photos of things I’ve been playing with in the studio, stuff I’ve been making.  I’m not really sure what it is yet.

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– Merry Go Round (Please excuse the bad photo.)

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– Windmill (in progress- will move hopefully, as I’m interested in making it kinetic.)

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And this barn I’ve built….

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… which I’ve been playing with projecting inside of, with a pico projector.

Since starting my MFA here at Waterloo, I’ve blown everything up, and am currently in the process of building things up again.   I’m not sure how things will come together, but that is the point of doing my MFA, to figure that out and hopefully come up with an interesting body of work.  These are just the first few steps in that direction (hopefully).  I think that the “trying to capture a real moment” that I’ve been doing as well might end up colliding with these, but at this point, I have no idea how.  We’ll see.  🙂

Narrative Clip

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220023I’ve been attempting to capture a real moment.  This is what the selfies have been, as well as a few other things I haven’t shared here.  The problem is, that by the act of capturing the moment (through taking a selfie, an audio recording, or video), I’m automatically influencing the moment, negating it’s ‘realness.’  It’s a catch 22.

So, introducing the next iteration, the Narrative Clip.  I ordered this camera from PhotoJoJo, and have been wearing it for a while now. It is a small wearable camera that takes a photograph every 30 seconds.  I have committed to wearing it for all of February, if not longer. I think the point is that I have to wear it long enough that it becomes second nature and I am not so painfully aware of it. It isn’t the perfect solution to my problem of negating the real moment, but it’s the next step in figuring it out.

I’m getting a lot of crappy pictures of my apartment and my studio, but also some interesting photos.  I’m not sure what I will do with these photos, if anything at all, but it’s an experiment I think I need to do, so I’ve committed.  Here’s a few examples of what I’ve captured so far.

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The bathroom photos are still the most interesting, because what I’m interested in is me, not necessarily the outside world. (Cleaning my teeth with a syringe because I got my wisdom teeth taken out recently.)

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Fridge shot. 144612

Studio wall.

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A few of us MFA’s went out dancing the other night- I was wearing a pair of ears that I had made and had clipped the camera to them- this photo was taken when I dropped my ears on the floor at our friend’s house.

052211A few photos from the club…

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I’ve been getting the odd enigma photo as well… who knows what this is?

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Or this?

Animatronics Update

A look inside the animatronic morphoids.

I’ve been hard at work working on the animatronics project.  HARD at work.  It is a huge challenge, but slowly but surely, I am making some progress.  I am having to rework my ideas and rework my solutions as I go, as sometimes what I think will work best does not work hardly at all.  I am learning a lot and am getting some serious experience in problem solving, especially as it relates to electronics, mechanics and building things.

Making things in electronics takes five times as long as any other process.  There is no doing things halfway, or fudging your skills.  Unlike many other making techniques, electronics either works or it doesn’t.  Unlike, say, sewing, where your skills will develop as you go, but if you want to make something specific as a beginner, you will manage to make something as a beginner.  Not perfectly, but if you had intended to make a shirt, you would have a shirt.  With electronics, you have to get things absolutely right.  For instance, if I’m intending to make a Morphoid move, I have to make a Morphoid move, or it’s just a collection of fabric, stuffing, and electronic parts.

I think that working with soft things (fabric sculpture, versus, say, something made of wood) presents a unique set of obstacles.  It is tough to get any kind of traction on things- the stuffing has too much give.  Sometimes, although it is moving on the inside, it is tough for the moving parts to be obvious on the outside.  This is interesting to me, as everything I’m working on with this comes out much more subtle than I intend, which is actually kind of interesting and strangely appropriate.  I have a couple of things that I almost can’t tell if they are on and working right away.

Anyway, I’m in the process of tweaking, or making version 2 for the Morphoids I’m animating…. hopefully there might be some video soon(ish).

The photo is of the insides of one of the Radiolaria.  I used plaster to cover a child’s ball to make a hollow form for the servos to move a weight around in, which gives it just a twitch of movement.  You can see the battery packs, circuit board that I soldered and the Arduino on the top, and the whole contraption will soon be going inside a ‘Radio’.

Animatronic Morphoids!

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I’ve been awarded a production grant from the Alberta Foundation of the Arts, to develop some of the Morphoids into ‘living’ creatures over the next few months.  To do this, I am using Arduinos, electronic circuitry, servo motors, sensors, and developing the mechanics for the inside of the Morphoids to make them move and interact with their environment.  As you can imagine, this is a little complicated, so I’ve been starting with a lot of reading, and a few experiments.

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I’ve been playing with the Arduino, and servos, and using sensors to control them.  It’s quite the learning curve (but I can handle it).  The mechanical part is going to be a challenge too, especially since the Morphoids are soft.  I ran into an unexpected roadblock when I was trying this stuff before, in that the stuffing provided enough resistance inside to interfere with the motor. I will need to be aware of that, and figure out ways to get around it.  I’m up for the challenge.

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This is a project I’ve wanted to do for some time, but haven’t been able to find the time or money for materials, so the grant is much appreciated, especially in that sense.  The other nice thing about this project is that I see these skills being useful in future work- it’s a great time to focus on this and expand my skills.

You might remember this animatronic Morphoid from the opening of The New Alberta Contemporaries.

And this shows the internal circuitry.

I’ll be posting updates as I go, but I don’t know how interesting it will be until I’ve got something more concrete to show.  The goal is 3-5 animatronic Morphoids by the end of July. Stay tuned.

New Work In Progress

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I’ve been working on some other things in the last few days, sculpture with some electronics. Part of my plan for this residency is to finish up some work I’d just started, and to make more. I’ve finished up a couple of things, and hope to get the documentation photos I took today edited and up soon. This is a work in progress shot, although the work depicted is finished now, and working as it should be! I feel like I accomplished something tangible today! 🙂

(Did I mention the light in here is amazing? I wish I could always use this space for documentation.)

Documenting / Morning Photographs

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I’ve been working on a few things, such as making these journal “paintings,” all of which are in varying stages of completion. I have realized that I am a documenter by nature, always keeping journals, photographing things, describing processes.  This residency is no different.  Every morning, when I get up, I grab the camera off of the dresser in the other bedroom, and take a photo of the studio down through the window.  Maybe when I’m finished, I will make a little gif movie.  I did miss a few days in the beginning, before the project occurred to me.

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You may notice that the March 7th and March 8th photos are really similar – I went to Red Deer on the 7th for my opening, and then returned on the 8th (and photographed when I returned), so there was not much work happening in between.

Now, back to work.

Gushul 2.0 – Back in the Pass!

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So I’m here!  Have been for a few days now, actually.  It’s pretty great.  Nice and quiet, I’ve just been doing my thing.  Such a contrast from Puppet Camp, the polar opposite, actually, but really lovely in another way.  I’m also surprised how much different this is than when I was here with Latifa– it’s a calm energy, as opposed to a slightly nervous dealing-with-another-(lovely)-person-I-just-met vibe.  The fact that it’s winter probably affects that too- so far, it’s been really cold, really snowy, really melty (as in, mini avalanches scaring the crap out of me as they slide off the roof/window), and really nice for about ten minutes.

After calling AMA to get my car started because of the cold on Saturday (what would I do without them?), I drove out to the Pass, unpacked most of the car, and got set up in the studio.  Since then, I’ve just been doing my thing, listening to music and making things.  The only time I’ve really left the studio was to get some basic groceries.  There are lots of things to do here (especially in the summer), and I really love the area, but it’s been cold, and since I’ve been here many times before, I don’t feel compelled to go exploring.  I’m happy just to get to work.

I’ve been getting up quite early – 7:30ish – to work, as I discovered on day one that the light is much different in March than it is in September, when I was here last.  During the day, the studio is absolutely wonderful with all the natural light.  When the sun goes down, however, it seems all the light from other sources gets sucked right out that giant window into the night.  You can probably see the studio from space, but I can’t choose colours after 7:00.

It is, however, setting me on a decent working schedule.  I’m feeling productive.

Gushul Residency 2.0

Anyway.  I am quite enjoying being by myself here, just doing my thing.  I have always been more than comfortable being on my own, and as long as I don’t see any signs of depression showing up (which I doubt I will), all is good.  I do have a couple of trips home planned – well, to Red Deer for commitments to my show at the Harris-Warke Gallery, but as Calgary is on the way, I will stop in to sleep – but I am more than happy to just hang out here.  A good friend of mine is coming to visit for the last weekend of the month, and while I am really looking forward to that, her arrival will mean my time here is coming to a close.  I am open to other visitors – should you happen to be in the area, just knock!

Also, if anyone is interested, my opening at Harris-Warke is this Friday, 6-8 PM.  Address is 4924 Ross Street, Red Deer, and the gallery is on the top floor of the Sunworks store.