Friday, July 30, 2010

Ancient Earthworks at Mounds State Park, Anderson, IN

We went "mounding" today in Anderson and saw some Adena-Hopewell earthworks which has been on my list of things to do since... oh say about the time I moved here. There are ten earthworks in the park and we managed to see half of them with the intention of returning in the not so distant future to finish the list.

I was thoroughly amazed by the Great Mound (160 BC) which piqued my interest in seeing the Serpent Mound in Ohio. I always remember that Maya Lin was inspired by these locations especially evident in her "Storm King Wave Field" below.

It is impossible to photograph these locations well and the experience of walking around the entire mound takes the place of a still image. With something this old, I began to wonder about the ages of the trees around me which led to an entirely different topic... how appropriate is it to mow a mound?

It was a peaceful experience until my i-Phone made the sound of a glass pinging loudly. Hannah then reminded me that the silence button actually worked on this one (a fact that hasn't sunk in yet) and we were then able to visit the place without more technological interruptions.

100 Acres Encore: Indianapolis Museum of Art

Hannah, her nephew, and I drove to Indy and biked 15 miles RT to see the now open 100 Acres today. Previously, Amelia gave me a sneak peak in the spring before it was completely finished. I was still left with the impression that MORE ART needs to be installed but it is a good start. Jeppe Hein's Benches Around the Lake with Hannah and Jonas:

Nancy Holt's influence found it's way into the park. From the IMA's website, Type A's Team Building (Align): "is constructed of two 30 foot-wide metal rings suspended from telephones poles and trees, oriented so that their shadows become one during the annual summer solstice." This was the most impressive work because the poles are disguised so well when you initially walk toward the sculpture, it really does give the illusion that they are hovering.

Kendall Buster's Stratum Pier was an ideal viewpoint. We saw a tiny turtle attempting to avoid the two fishermen on the shore.

Andrea Zittel's igloo was afloat. We observed, as Hannah said, as if we were watching animals in a zoo, wondering if this summer island residents, Jessica Dunn and Michael Runge would make an appearance. They did, along with two others - they hopped into a row boat and circled the island and that was all we saw. The blog Give and Take documents their residence on the island for the summer and also explains a little of what Hannah, Jonas, and I saw them doing. Of most interest is their routine rowing around the lake to pick up messages floating in the water. I also enjoyed seeing what the interior space looks like as seen here.

Alfredo Jaar's Park of Laments is a square within a square once emerging on the other side of the tunnel. Jaar describes the work as "a place for lamentation and purging the global atrocities of the 20th and 21st centuries." That is a STRETCH as far as I am concerned. The weather was bordering on oppressive after a bike ride and standing, sitting, meditating in the grassy and shadeless interior, let alone of atrocities, was the last thing on my mind.

Hannah photographing Tea Mäkipää's Eden II (the penalties of an iphone camera = no zoom which also equates to wishing I could get a little closer to the sculpture than the environment provided).

Overall it was a great experience and I loved the fact that we just rode our bikes right into the middle of the park. I'm looking forward to seeing more additions in the future.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Sigmar Polke's "Photographes 1969-1974"

I recently checked out this book on interlibrary loan. First of all I cannot believe Boston College doesn't keep it in their Special Collections because it is an amazing book full of loose images. Secondly, I am enamored with this photograph labeled "Untitled (Die "Nachtwache" Im Petis Palais, Paris"), 1971. It predates Thomas Struth and gives the impression of a photograph fifty years older due to the faded quality. I have always loved his use of alternative processes, hallucinogens and all.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

More "34 Parking Lots" Inspiration

Charles Johnstone, Thirty-four Basketball Courts

Here is Travis Shaffer's Thirtyfour Parking Lots in Los Angeles... ...via Google Maps I most like his pricing philosophy: "$24.46 (the price of Ed Ruscha’s first artist book $3.50 in 1963, run through an inflation calculator)."

More with Google Maps... Joachim Schmidt's book = I might purchase this for myself (look through the book preview as it is more than worth it especially at the end).

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Evolution of the Postcard: Part 3

Final Round (Total Time = 4 hours):

The list... can't do anything without a list:

The materials (4 cards on 11x17 paper, giant Avery address labels for the back, 8x10 for work prints):

Mark Sawrie calls me "Rototrim Girl" because I spend most of the four hours trimming prints (three postcard backs to a page):

After the front of the postcards are made, I flip the paper over on a light table and adhere the Avery label/backs as close as I can to straight:

Back to the Rototrim:

Stamped and ready to travel in the same old envelope I've been using since I took the first batch to Tucson (will be sent in mid August):

The Evolution of the Postcard: Part 2

Rule #1: The postcard from the previous cake float must be sent from the next location. This posed a problem when I did two cake floats in a week without returning to Muncie to make the next round - it was remedied by sending two sets of cards from two very different locations near the next cake float.

Rule #2: The image on front of the card will not be posted on the blog until the very end of the project. For the most part these are final images though I have made one change already based on orientation - this rule deals with the element of surprise and the unveiling of the end product.

Rule #3: The postcard back must be different on each card, commenting on either the process or the act of sending something in the mail.

Rule #4: I must send one to myself, scanning and documenting both the front and the back to see its altered condition.

*** **** ***** **** ***

The making of Postcard #7 (Ode to Ed Ruscha and the "35th Parking Lot"):

Ed Ruscha, Gilmore Drive-In Theatre, 6201 W. 3rd Street From Thirty-four Parking Lots in Los Angeles, 1967

All 34 parking lots were photographed on a Sunday morning hence the absence of cars. Art Alanis took the pictures though Ed Ruscha informed him which sites to photograph from the helicopter above. The book itself (which thanks to Ian Glennie at Texas Gallery I have managed to catalog and gaze extensively upon), contains 31 photos that show 34 parking lots in their entirety (not counting partial lots).

This is the example I am using in homage rather than the obvious "Nine Swimming Pools" which is overly apparent in the title of the series and the body of water on the front of each card. Hannah and I brainstormed the possibilities of sending a random note to everyone since I haven't focused on the most functional use of the postcard yet. I woke up the next morning thinking of who I can send it to, inventing names in my head (male? female? what would I talk about?). I ran through the list of people I knew, landing on my friend Ed Cooper which lead to Ed Ruscha. What would I write Ed Ruscha? What about the experience at the Sooke Potholes would lend itself to any of his works?

Parking was a big issue at the provincial park and so begins the hunt for visuals for the postcard back.

Surely that 237 count document I just typed will fit (handwritten) on half a postcard. It's a good thing I inherited by Grandfather's ability to write entire letters on post-its.

I was thinking about all the time I spent researching Ruscha's artist's books earlier this year and how I could incorporate what I learned from that. I decided to work with xylene markers and make a transfer from the Sooke Potholes map I gleaned from the internet.

Simplicity ultimately won over having part of the map included (too much text = too busy with more visual information). Ruscha was interested in low-tech reproduction and the quality of the transfer with ink running off the borders emphasizes that.

I also chose the font most closely associated with Ruscha's books for the heading. I had to rewrite the text three times but finally got it right with Photoshop fixing one spelling error (I wrote "in" instead of "it). Just to make this more time consuming and to ensure that I will never want to do a mail art project again, I think I will try typing each address rather than handwriting them.

The Evolution of the Postcard: Part 1

When I return from a cake float, the postcards take over my life (generally two full days per image). Since many people have asked how I print them, I thought I would spend a couple posts detailing their evolution.

As mentioned previously, I've always wanted to do a Mail Art project but never dedicated myself to it. I used to assign it to my classes at Oregon State and Washington State University Vancouver. One of the most unique projects I received was one student sent her boyfriend to my house collaged in letters as "male art." I also received plates of cookies, mailboxes, shovels, and ransom notes. The mailman's expression each day leading up to the due date of the assignment was priceless.

James Luckett's involvement in the Postcard Collective has been an impetus. Since moving to Indiana, he continually sends me cards whether or not they are found (below) or made. This one resided on my refrigerator for weeks (he is the only reason why the Twitter account is still functioning most likely due to this note):

Sara Shoemaker Lind
, a photographer I met during my residency at UCross in 2007, has sent me some unusual things over the past couple years that always inspire me to be a little more creative with snail mail. Here's a paper bag I received from her last September (little did she know that I have saved all the paper bags I've used for my lunches since 2002 and am formulating a series around them so it was especially meaningful):

When I was in Tucson, I wanted to meet Camden Hardy who is responsible for the Postcard Collective. He handed me the entries from the first round and I was able to see many variations on the handmade vs. commercial printing. Even though I had created my first card at that time (not too happy with the print quality and backing), it reaffirmed my belief that I had to print them myself. With each card, the backs become more important and I often incorporate photo shoots (underwater cameras, cake decorating ladies at Marsh, etc.) to acquire images just for this purpose.

I put a call out on the blog for anyone who wanted one to let me know and thus began my address list. Of course, I added some people that I thought might want to receive them and knowing that this was going to be expensive and time consuming, I kept my number to 35 though I make 40 each round.

All the responses I receive via text and email are documented. In fact, there is a separate part of this project that won't make an appearance until the very end involving the extensive "Documentation" - the objects, the commentary, the expenses, the postcards, what people start to send me in response, and so on.

I love the element of chance when sending them in the mail. So many are ripped but I've noticed that several people's are torn in the same place from the same mailing. Over half way through, I really wish there were more postcard stamp options because the polar bear is getting a little repetitive. I wanted to send one from Canada just for a visual change and oddly enough, when I received mine at the post office today, there wasn't one postmark to be found!

For some cards, I have a specific idea right away but for others, I agonize over the process. The one I am making today belongs in the latter category. After a brainstorming with Hannah last night, she gave me an idea which will be the focus for the back of the next card. Again, I am using James as an example. This is his entry for the first Postcard Collective exchange:

The postcard backs so far have commented on the method of cake decoration (Barton Springs), the statistics to make that particular photograph happen (Tucson, AZ), maps outlining the exact locale (Louisville, KY), the style of some postcards that incorporate a low opacity image as background (Niagara Falls), and a vintage card back with the number of the cake float and the discrepancy in today's cost of mailing a card vs. way back when this one was printed (Lake George, NY). The next card will incorporate a universal note in ode to one of the artists that inspired this project... (much like James's discussion of seeing Marcel Duchamp's Etant Donné in his card above).

Friday, July 23, 2010

Oh doughnuts...

I haven't separated myself from my new phone yet today. The new camera is quite adequate although this is a slightly pixelated representation. Thank you Li for the early birthday present! These are my new salt and pepper shakers to replace the kitten decapitated Martian women that I've had for far too long. Fake desserts and Jacinda are officially synonymous.

Working on the next round of postcards this weekend. Only two more fake cake floats to go!

Tired of all those crappy iPhone photos JR takes for this blog?

After two hours of standing in line at the Apple store, the problem is solved! (it even has a flash**)! Thanks to Hannah for taking the photograph and patiently waiting for me and missing our first choice movie (second choice = Inception).

Monday, July 19, 2010

Fake Cake Float: Long Beach, Pacific Rim National Park, Vancouver Island, BC

See that guy in the background? The one nearly up to his knees in the ocean? I thought he would be the ideal stranger to ask for help because he was already in the water. He could have cared less and hardly asked any questions besides "What do you want me to do?" and "What are you going for?"

He held the slice just fine but with waves, the two parts were far more difficult to navigate.

Behind the scenes #815. I couldn't have done this one without help. Thanks Donna and complete stranger for wrangling and chasing cakes for me today!

My styrofoam sees surfboard styrofoam in the distance. It wouldn't be the NW without clouds obscuring the sky on the day at the beach! At least you can see that the top of the cake isn't bright white.

My cousin Donna taking a bite out of the slice.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

MacKenzie Beach, Tofino, Vancouver Island, BC

The next cake float will take place here tomorrow (and also on the Pacific Ocean hopefully with surfers in the background). The first image is the view from the hotel window.

The wedding arbor from the party across the way whose DJ can't stop playing the Rolling Stones. This is the jacket you will see in every photo hereafter. It's only 45 degrees cooler than IN and I only packed two long sleeved shirts!

We also saw some trees today in Cathedral Grove. Here is JR channeling her inner Richard Misrach:

and a still from a B-Horror movie. Where were these plants in the Butchart Gardens?!?

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Fake Cake Float: Sooke Potholes Provincial Park, Vancouver Island, BC

Oh la la! The Sooke Potholes! I read about this location a month ago and it did not disappoint. One would think that after driving around Indiana for half the summer, I would tire of these "formations" but that wasn't the case. From the website:

"Sooke Potholes Provincial Park provides access to the series of deep, polished rock pools and potholes carved naturally into the bedrock of the Sooke River... Glacial action during the last ice age 15,000 years ago is responsible for the formations, as the moving, melting ice packs stripped the surface area and carved a path deep into the natural bedrock. Huge boulders carried along by the rushing river became lodged, were swirled against the canyon walls and consequently carved out the potholes that can be seen today."

The website also emphasized how "beautifully clean and clear" the water is and it beat Lake George in this category. Donna and I walked 15 minutes down into the gorge and scrambled over a few rocks to get to the Sooke River. The first area was a complete failure due to the direction of the wind blowing, pushing the cake up river toward me. It was impossible to get the right angle but here's a photograph of that clean and clear water that I am enamored with.

The second location was perfect: a swirling pool just before the water shot down a small gorge. The cakes didn't move that much (and to complicate matters this featured two parts).

Also... leave it to me to use a nearly white top cake with the darkest background. All of this has become a lesson in averaging exposures.

The set-up from above:

We ended the day by inadvertently driving all the way to Port Renfrew trying to discover where the Pacific Ocean begins and the Strait of Juan de Fuca ends. Although this is the inlet, it is the "end of the road" - a very windy, curvy, carsick inducing road at that. Next up... Tofino and the Pacific Ocean.

Victoria = Little England in the Rockies: Vacation Photos Day 1 in BC

Views from windows (Port Angeles, Washington waiting for the ferry to Victoria, BC):

View from the ferry arriving in Victoria Harbour (a little seasick to move):

From the Executive Suites Hotel of Victoria Harbour, Parliament Buildings, and a cruise ship in the distance:

Views of "water, color" (Port Angeles - JR and the ferry churning):

Ten Mile Point and the Haro Strait (Victoria's neighborhoods have many "parks" which are the size of a property lot but are available for the general public to see the views):

Views of flowers (and tourists) with irony at The Butchart Gardens. Photographing the hole:

More views of windows:

Las Vegas waterfall on the Butchart estate:

Succulents on trashcans:

One of my new favorite flowers... Astilbe (realizing I like atypical shapes and angles):