Sol Lewitt – wall drawings as audio, test 2

I started looking at work by Ryoichi Kurokawa, an artist whose work I really like, and whom I feel mixes audio and visual worlds really well. His work flow is to story board his entire concept (sometimes just in his head), work out a rough video, make audio for that video, then edit the video and audio together precisely. This process can take months.

I made a quick animation with Sol Lewitt’s wall drawing patterns simulating Kurokawa’s work flow, but with very little (read none) story board or revision.

What would the world we see sound like, if we could hear it?

Two weekends ago I went to Dia:Beacon with my wife (a dancer) and a bunch of other dancers. Dia is a wonderful modern art museum just north of NYC in Beacon. The dancers had a performance planned in the museum, the intention being to “bend public space, but not break it.” This meant that they would interact with each other, the art, the space, etc., but if it became noticeable to general museum goers the dance would fade away, disappear, break apart. If a random museum goer stood still for 10 minutes they would probably notice something out of the ordinary was going on, but otherwise the movements would be too subtle to stand out. I participated in this some, but not being a dancer I didn’t dive in fully, though it really did provide a new way of experiencing a museum. This opened me up to experiencing the museum in other ways too, outside of the dancers’ parameters.

This manifested itself at the Sol Lewitt exhibit. The exhibit was comprised of many of his wall drawings, where he writes out directions, then teams of other people draw the actual drawings later on. When I first saw the pieces in the exhibit I was immediately struck by how computational they looked. It seemed to me that this guy was taking the world of generative computer art and recreating it by hand. This made sense since just like you give a computer step by step instructions of what to do, he was giving step by step instructions of what to draw.

One of the drawings consisted of 4×4 grids of lines; vertical, horizontal, diagonal up and diagonal down:

These patterns would alternate from square to square based on a numbering pattern:

Whole walls were filled up with these patterns:

Since I was in this mental space of experiencing things in new ways I wondered what would these drawings sound like if each of these numbers was a scale step of a major scale. I started singing the drawings in my head and was pleasantly surprised to find that many of them were actually nice melodies:

That is the first 4×4 grid played on piano (and drawn) from here:

I started wandering around the museum and whatever direction (straight, sideways, diagonal) I was going I would listen to my movements in my head as the corresponding pitches in Lewitt’s directions. I then started experiencing the other art work in the museum as music, and then the architecture. I even started seeing the nature outside and wondering what the trees would sound like, what about the infinite changes in angle of branches? It was quite wonderful. I decided then that this was what I wanted to research next… What would the world I can see sound like, if it could be audible?

Healthcare – Medicine Wheel

After lighting upon the medicine wheel I realized I had found my vessel for the final proposal. My mind immediately came up with a form for it. I thought of a large circle perpendicular to the ground that people could walk through. It would be covered with acrylic tiles showing peoples stories in health care. The acrylic was hard to see so I wanted something underneath of it. The visuals I had experimented with before were nice, but not logistically possible. I thought back to how I felt about going to see the doctor: that the industry thinks of me as blood work data, as statistics, as a bottom line really. How could I interweave this into the project? Maybe I could put the acrylic overtop of healthcare data, global, and personal?

I thought it would be great to have the data there as the base, since that’s the industry, that’s the story that the world tells. But healthcare is not about these numbers, its ultimately about us living and dying, getting sick and healing. These stories should lay overtop of that base. People could walk through the circle, and lights from within it would shine through the various layers, light being such a multi-faceted symbol: feeling lighter or heavier, shining light on a subject, healing light, etc.

I tried it out on top of my bloodwork report…. and unfortunately you can barely see the acrylic images at all:IMG_2580

My mind searched more, but I really liked this idea. I thought about trying out etching the images on black acrylic, and then perhaps trying the words on opaque acrylic. In this video I’ve taken an etching in black and put it on top of laser cut text from my blood work report. I then shine light through it.

I knew I had it. My proposal would be a large circle people could walk through and trigger light to shine through multiple layers of acrylic, telling multiple stories, called the Medicine Wheel. Part of the circle would be uncovered and unfinished, to signify that we can and are still writing this story. Our health, our societies, our places in the universe are in constant flux… perhaps the Medicine Wheel can once again help guide their direction.



Healthcare – lateral shift

I was pretty pleased with the acrylic on screen experiments and thought maybe my proposal was going to be making a big screen of these tiles that could be placed over top of a screen at times square. I slowly yet quickly came to my senses. At this point I was feeling like I had done some nice experiments but that I didn’t really know where it was all going. Something Marina said in class triggered an earlier direction that I had shrugged off. She said something about a shaman when someone was inquiring about how to make a lateral shift, which is a direction I almost took early on, and was drawn too because of this poem by Gary Snyder. It doesn’t have much to do with healthcare, but medicine man, medicine woman, was an avenue I could start pursuing.

I was trying to find some sort of image that I could use for the final proposal to work with that would tie everything together. I found this symbol for medicine man, but could not figure out something I wanted to make with it:

At some point something clicked and I shifted from medicine man to medicine wheel. This opened up a flood gate of interest for me. The medicine wheel is a native american symbol/stone sculpture. It’s hard to define what it means exactly, since every tribe prescribed slightly different meanings to it. Generally it was a symbol for healing, for growing, for finding one’s place in the universe. The stone sculptures themselves actually point to various astronomical points.

The medicine wheel also falls into Jung’s archetype of a circle, or self. He postulated that the circle symbolizes wholeness of self. The circle can be found symbolically in many cultures:

Jung had his own symbol for it. The dot in the center symbolizes the ego, our known world, what we are aware of. The outer circle represents everything else in our being, the totality of everything we are, though not aware of. Look familiar?

Healthcare – acrylic on screen

I next thought I’d like to see what it looked like if I put my acrylic etchings on top of a computer monitor and ‘map’ some visualizations underneath them. I decided to do the same thing I had done to the medical symbol with the Raspberry Pi at Starbucks to these images and then put that underneath the acrylic:

I also tried a more abstract visualization too:

Health Care – Stencils, Etchings

Continuing my thread of guerilla art, I decided graffiti was the most well known and expansive type of this art. Me not having any kind of drawing skills at all was a little bit of a set back, but I thought at least I could make stencils and then paint some of those. Continuing with my story thread as well, I started asking people to give me two images: the first thing that pops into their mind when they hear the word healthcare, and the first thing they imagine when they think of someone needing treatment, but didn’t have any insurance. The two my wife gave were a mother holding a baby, and a homeless person, respectively. I searched online and found these images:

silhouette-Mother-holding-baby_MKCF_141_Parry-Sound-Photographer homeless5

Using the laser cutter I then made stencils:IMG_2498

The paintings left something to be desired though, it wasn’t exactly want I was hoping for. stencils

In order to make the original images seen better I decided to try putting a laser etched version of the picture on top of the painting. I tried etching a few different ways. It was a little bit clearer.acrylicetch



Guerilla Pi – Broken Health Care

Working within the scope of my call of creating guerilla art I set out to create an art intervention between people and the internet. I turned a Raspberry Pi into a server and a wifi hotspot.

I named my hotspot starbucks free coffee and headed to Starbucks.

When people (wanting to get on the internet) selected my hotspot, no matter what link they typed in, the browser displayed content I created.

Screen Shot 2013-10-26 at 7.10.47 PM

I chose to create something that illustrated our broken health care system. I took a healthcare symbol and made it flicker like a broken TV. Each time the mouse is clicked the image is rendered in a different way.

Click here to try out the content I displayed:Screen Shot 2013-10-30 at 1.01.13 AM

I was only able to go do it once, but I’d like to do more. It was also hard to document. I did see someone throwing their hands up in the air when they were directed to that page.