St[Art] Residency Windup….

Animation aftermath 

So, as I’ve been working in the St[art] space at art central for the last two months, Thursday night was the final showing of the work I made while I was there.  It was an excellent opportunity to have space to work on something I wouldn’t be able to do at home (ex. animation), but I found it to be a much different experience than, say, the Gushul Residency, because, while I had work space, I was still in the same city as the rest of my life, so finding the time to use the space to it’s fullest was a bit of a challenge.  (Whereas, when we were at the Gushul, there was lots of time to work, less distractions, and sometimes I found myself working because I didn’t have anything else I *needed* to do.)

Anyway, here’s the animation I did.  It’s not quite finished, as it still needs sound.  It will fit into the documentary that I finished this summer.

New Video: News Clip

New video uploaded: Giant Pods Discovered in Fish Creek Park!

This is a short segment of Morphopodia: A Strange New World in Our Own Back Yard.

The Trains!

The trains are a-plenty here.  They don’t seem as loud as I remember last time I was in the Pass, even though they’re literally right outside my front window, but that may be because last time I was in the Pass, my dad and I were camping at Lundbreck, in a canvas tent.  House seems more quiet.

They go by quite often.  There were at least three that I noticed while I was in bed last night, and it wasn’t like I was in bed for 12 hours.  I’m going to start paying a little more attention to time and frequency…

The Film is FINISHED!

Morphopodia: A Strange New World in Our Own Back Yard is FINISHED!  There are only a couple of little things that need to be done (as in, getting and adding logos from funders from EMMEDIA) and it is completely done!  At 18 minutes and 24 seconds, the thing is huge!  It was definitely a major undertaking, and I have realized that there is, in fact, a medium that is slower than textiles.  (I love fibre, but sometimes I wish it was a little more efficient.) Film is even less efficient….. 4 months of work to get 18 minutes of film.

But, overall, it is what I wanted, and I think it looks good for my first film.  There are definitely areas where I know my skill is not up to where I’d like it to be, but, over all, a success.  See what I mean below…

Anyway, here’s a clip!  In the finished film, there’s clips on most of the Morphoids, poop, bones, and eggs, eye witness accounts, and an interview with myself.  There’s only a couple things I didn’t get to do that I wished I could have… a Morphoid Petting Zoo, and the “Eggs” clip would have been better with the easter egg hunt footage, because as we all know, the Morphoids lay their eggs around Easter, and depend on small children mistaking the eggs for Easter eggs in order to migrate.  Anyway, Foraminifera.

Just in time, too…. I leave for Gushul in less than a week! Lots to do, lots to do!

Scuttle, scuttle…. and the Providing Universe

This is one of the tiny animations I spent the day doing.  I don’t know what takes more time- animation or video work.  Notice that textile practices, while time consuming, are not included in this ‘contest’, because they, at least, usually produce a tangible result directly related to the amount of effort put in.  I feel like I can spend the day filming, or animating, and still end up with nothing, or at least nothing usable.


I spent the day taking care of a few things, and doing some photography and animation in Fish Creek Park!  I always feel a little self conscious out there with my camera, tripod, Morphoids, backpack full of tools (fishing line, scissors, giant bulldog clips, needles, and bug spray), and of course, wagon to haul everything in, and today was no different.  Although today WAS different.  A woman, out walking her dog, asked me what I was doing, so I explained.  “I’m actually making a short stop-motion animation…” and she looked confused, but I showed her some of the photos on my camera, and she understood, and we ended up having a little conversation about what I do, and the Morphoids, and I gave her a pamphlet. (This is why I carry them everywhere.  If a picture is worth a thousand words, a pamphlet is priceless, and it does the remembering for you!)  She seemed to enjoy it and was very pleasant to talk to.

It’s funny to me, because just the other day I was talking (complaining, is probably more accurate) about not having many chances to talk about my practice and what I do… and here, an opportunity walks right up and asks me about it!  The moral of the story: Ask and ye shall receive!  And that much stranger, because in the last couple of days, I’ve been reading Julia Cameron‘s Letters to a Young Artist, which I had bought a couple years ago, but never really read.

Page 63: “Once we begin looking for the universe to support our creative dreams, the universe is very inventive and even humorous in how it provides support.” And then she describes “needs” such as space, and increased visibility, and examples on how the universe provides- by “being asked to participate in an open mike event” or “getting asked to house-sit a loft.”  I verbalized wanting to talk more about my work, and along came the opportunity.  Not exactly what I was expecting, but…. fulfilling, all the same.  Funny how that works.

Sneak Preview/ Help me name the “Documentary”!

Here’s a sneak peek of a very tiny teensy weensy little part of the “documentary”….  this is a “big foot” video of one of the Morphoids.

I am also in dire need of a name for the “Documentary”!  I really can’t call it “Documentary,” because I don’t want the sarcasm to be so overt!  The name should be somewhat serious. I would definitely appreciate any ideas you have, even if you think they’re bad… you never know what it’ll spark!  So let’s hear ’em!

Here’s a little synopsis of the film, if that helps:

In (“The film formerly known as “Documentary”), the Institute of Morphoid Research profiles some of the creatures they work with (the Morphoids) and provides an insight into the work of the Institute. Narrated by the IMR’s Founder and Chief Researcher, Jennifer Akkermans, the film aims to share with the world the wonder of the Morphoid creatures, which Akkermans has been working with since 2010. The film shares more than solely the mandate of the IMR, featuring profiles on specific Morphoid species, footage of rare Morphoids, interviews with eye witnesses, and news clips of discoveries and public events, including a Morphoid petting zoo. The film aims to shed light on the phenomenon of the newly emerging Morphoids and the enthusiastic public interest surrounding them.

If you’d like more background info on the project, click here!

If you should so humour me as to send me suggestions, I may post a slightly bigger, slightly more interesting part of the “Documentary,” but I don’t want to give it all away, so…. suggestions please!

Nudibranchia/ A breakthrough

So this year, as in the last few months or so, I’ve felt like I was having a bit of an artistic crisis.  While I was enjoying my work, I didn’t really know what exactly I was trying to do, or why.  I was trying to make my work about a really heavy topic (genetic engineering and the meddling of man), but my work is more…. light and a little bit funny.  I was told my artist statement didn’t match my work, which, in hindsight, I agree with. 

So I felt a little lost.   I kept making work, and continued to play with work I had already made (in my Stride exhibition, as well as other places), and there was no slowing of the ideas there.  But how do I formulate it?  Talk about it?  What exactly was I trying to do?

I spent time with the Morphoids, studied them.  I photographed them in nature, in my house, had other people photograph them in their houses.  I was concerned about display (all on the floor?) and how to present my work to get what I wanted across.  Problem was, I wasn’t really sure what I wanted.

And then I started doing animation.  I did a really short stop-motion animation this semester, mostly because I felt like I had been talking about it for so long, I had to do it before I was finished ACAD.  Again, I wasn’t really sure exactly what the animation would be about. My narratives tend to be really subtle, because we relate to the Morphoids much differently than we relate to, say, other human beings, pets, or even puppets that are intended to resemble human beings.  So I approached the animation with an idea about trying to just observe what the Morphoid might possibly do if we weren’t there.  

While I feel the animation is successful, especially for a first animation, there are some major problems with it, mainly that I don’t really know how to use my mother’s camera.  I had to figure out how to address the problems without redoing the animation, as I didn’t have the time to do it. I had other work to do, and the animation was to try it before I graduated, because I’ve talked about wanting to do it for a year now. The biggest problems  were the jumpiness of the film, the background, and the coloring wasn’t quite right.  So, I decided to frame it like it was newfound old black and white footage of a creature we’ve never seen before.  I think it’s quite effective in this way, although I still want to redo the animation, or do a similar one a little differently.

The timing must have been right with doing this animation. It seems to have solved my context problem.  I needed to sort of explain what the “footage” was and where it came from, so I introduced it as “presented by the Institute of Morphoid Research,” not really thinking too hard about it.  So now I have a context to work in, and am working on developing the IMR and framing my practice by the parameters I am setting up for the IMR. (More on that later.)

A role model of mine, artist Suzen Green said, in one of her recent blog posts, “As a teacher, when I see students struggling with the conceptual side of their work I always tell them to ground themselves in process and the answer will come on its own terms. Making is its own form of meditation. … Answers will make themselves known when [you’re] ready to receive them.”  

Sometimes the answer to a problem you have comes out of something else all together.