Wednesday, June 30, 2010

You know you are obsessed with an art project when....

You are invited to participate in a world record breaking simultaneous skinny dipping event on the 10th of July and the first thing you think of is whether or not you can bring a fake cake.

"Little Great Lakes" visits Lake Erie at Evangola State Park, NY

Today's Lessons Learned:

1) The smallest cake has to contend with waves. That's unfortunate because all it wants to do is turn over. At least it's the proper scale to pick up with one hand and flip over while holding the camera in the other. I could never one hand a basketball but I can hold a cake that way.

2) Fishing line saved me especially since I was alone and it was tied to my wrist. At one point, I was nearly up to my knees in water and in the middle of taking photographs, I decided to answer my phone (what was I thinking?) and what do you know? I didn't have to chase the cake.

3) That water was warm and after immersing my feet in it, it was deemed "tempting."

4) I signed myself up for going to all the Great Lakes? Excellent news because if they all look like this, it's going to be a perfect grand finale to this project.

5) Shortly after the float (in which I realized that ALL the remaining cakes are glow in the dark WHITE on top which means exposures will be as difficult at Hamilton Pool in Texas), discussing this weekend's plan of attack with Li. Next up Niagara Falls and Lake Ontario.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Niagara Falls Enticing Water?

Well for many people, yes... though it may stretch my definition of "clear."

"On October 24, 1901, Annie Edson Taylor, a teacher of dance and physical culture in Bay City, Michigan, became the first person and the only woman to survive a ride over Canada's Niagara Falls in a barrel. Seeking a new career that would earn her fame and fortune, Taylor plunged over the falls in a specially designed barrel and suffered no injuries. She called herself “the Queen of the Mist” and toured around the nation with a replica of her original barrel."

Daredevil? Niagara Falls is proving to be last year's Roden Crater in terms of wondering whether or not I can pull this off.

Zoe Leonard's You See I am Here After All is one of the best artworks I've ever seen covering Niagara Falls (and one of my favorite in Leonard's oeuvre). Check out this link for full installation photographs (ever since I saw the exhibition in May 2009, I've been watching Amazon for the publication of the catalog. It is continually delayed and to this date I still don't have it to scan more photographs).

And so the drive begins... Bring on the water! Bring on the giraffes!

Monday, June 28, 2010

It's a three cake trip

The tools [just because the price tag says Walmart doesn't mean I bought it there - it's really old fishing line from my Dad so he probably acquired it at a yard sale]: Two different versions of the screw-eye system and last summer's pocket knife.

Three cakes packed in an easy to grab box. Now I just have to operate on the rest of the packing. Why is this always such a dilemma? Also, it's quite strange going on a solo road trip without Oatmeal. Alas, bodies of water and cats do not mix and she'll be staying home this time.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The last post led me to this:

The world's deepest swimming pool! Actually I was google searching "toy swimming pools" after admiring Faucon's Gulliver and it lead to the complete opposite.

From the Anvari website:
"The pool itself consists of a submerged structure with flat platforms at various depth levels. The pool has two large flat-bottomed areas at depth levels of 5m (16 ft) and 10m (32 ft), and a large circular pit descending to a depth of 33m (108 ft). It is filled with 2,500,000 litres of non-chlorinated, highly filtered spring water maintained at 30°C (86°F) and contains several simulated underwater caves at the 10m depth level. There are numerous underwater windows that allow outside visitors to look into the pools at various depths. The complex was designed by Belgian diving expert John Beernaerts as a multi-purpose diving instruction, recreational, and film production facility, and opened in 2004."

Somehow that's far less of an environmental abomination than the world's largest swimming pool in San Alfonso del Mar, Chile (though it's excessiveness belongs in Dubai).

Would I float a cake in either? No. I have to draw the line somewhere and believe it or not, the locations I've chosen are (gasp) meaningful!

More Bernard Faucon

I've always been interested in Bernard Faucon's portraits and his French monograph provides plenty of examples of incorporating the fake and the real with bodies of water. His images are fascinating and disturbing with the subjects depicted in circumstances that could very well occur if everyone was a genuine human being. It's the nonchalant behavior of the living adolescents amongst the dummies and the former's occasional exclusion that make me look twice, almost believing that there is just one boy in the photograph that could be real.

Le Bassin, 1977

La Piscine de St. Sat, 1977

Jeux de plage, 1977

Gulliver, 1979

Bleu d'ecume, 1976

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

It turns out that giraffes and floating fake cakes are going to have a lot in common

This image is from my friend Marni Shindelman's series "Souvenirs: From Human, My Mammal" She is going to play a big part in the next stage of this project and so will giraffes. Coming next week... stay tuned.

If there was one pool I would do just about anything to float a cake in...

... it would be the Neptune Pool at Hearst Castle. It is 104 feet long, 58 feet wide and 95 feet wide and would certainly feature the 5-tier wedding cake for the sake of grandiosity. The one and only time I visited it, I tried so hard to think of a way to "fall in" as if it was an accident. I was recently talking with my friend Jessica about it and her opportunity to visit Hearst Castle featured the pool DRAINED! They should advertise that on the website before visiting. How horrible!

Legal ways to swim in the pool:

1) In 2008, Friends of Hearst Castle auctioned a one night stay and chance to swim in the pool on ebay. Every once in awhile they auction two hour swims for ten of your best friends to enjoy the pool. Yet another reason why I need to win the lottery that I have never played.

2) There is an annual employee day swim for family and friends. I have often wondered if those employees found ulterior methods to go swimming any other day of the year.

So with this in mind... I think our best option (Nancy you have to participate in this) is...

The Not So Legal Option:

Follow Sophie Calle's method of getting a job as a housekeeper in her series Suite VĂ©nitienne at Hearst Castle just long enough to participate in the annual swim. Something tells me that we would find "other" ways as well.

The interior Roman Pool is also quite spectacular but not exactly "outdoors" enough for this project. Images via this funny Luxury Pool website which incidentally features a good selection of "weird pools" and one that Nancy and I were caught swimming in by the clean up crew in our underwear well after the pool had closed...

The Joule in Dallas! One of the best swimming pools in Texas! Image credit.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Underwater Photographs from Hartford City, IN

Oh yes... the fine reproductive quality of a Kodak underwater camera strikes this evening. These images function somewhere between terrible and hilarious. I never said I was a purist as far as camera quality is concerned and certainly this proves that point.

Just a portrait of a girl and her Big Spiral styrofoam cake.

Right side up:

Upside down:

Room Service:

Cake "down under" AKA "superhuman strength":

Cake with Toenail Polish (blurry but I like it anyway due to it's "holga" quality):

Natalie's little cakes I wish I had more film for:

Saturday, June 19, 2010

The smallest cake has the largest task

OR Why on earth do I do this to myself!!!!!!????????

While sitting at Vecinos all afternoon perusing a stack of 13 library books, Hannah and I came to the conclusion that OH NO! {insert Jacinda has no capability of toning down this obsession}, I'm going to be very near every single Great Lake this summer. Since the little green cake has already floated in Lake Michigan, I think it is now destined to float in all five. Yes, I know I'm crazy - no need to remind me. Also, this cake has a new nickname... "Little Great Lakes" considering of course, if I can complete these mammoth tasks that I keep assigning myself (it belongs in the category of trying all things from every conceivable perspective so no one can accuse me of not practicing what I preach!).

In my additional afternoon research, I also discovered this AMAZING location which needs to be investigated (no it's not in the Midwest and I will maintain some element of surprise without revealing all the remaining sites).

Friday, June 18, 2010

Fake Cake Float: The Conclusion of the Failure Tour (Hartford City, IN)

I tried to see many of these pools on the list above, but after careful research, some were not what I was initially searching for (too much like a water park, copious amounts of people, etc.) and the weather was certainly not on my side. Today was the most relaxing, fun day of the entire summer (and that's saying a lot since I've been on vacation since Cinco de Mayo). Muncie produced a few failures but thirty minutes north in Scott and Kim Anderson's inflatable pool in Hartford City was a success!

There were a lot of experiments of things that had potential on previous photo shoots and of course, Hannah and I answered the question on how much arm power it would take to submerge one of the largest cakes (standing on it proved impossible). I love how it looks like real glaze the moment the "chocolate" is wet.

I have also been thinking about having a person holding the cake while under water and this is the better one of those images.

Here is one way to photograph Natalie's little cakes (though the best way will be posted on this blog at the completion of the ninth cake float). Kim and Hannah are in the background.

Hannah, by the way, is using the best pool toy ever, the crab!

Strawberries delivered straight to the pool via Kim.

The calm before the storm (which blew all the inflatable pool toys in the yard) and the ladder that I used to take most of today's photographs.

After spending seven hours in and out of the pool, eating a three course meal plus dessert, we spent some time with the chickens (Hannah is holding Buffy):

Hannah and Scott spent some quality time with the guitar.

We examined the new "moss boulder" which looked to me like a well manicured bush growing in the fish tank.

Feeding time!

Needless to say, Hannah and I are contemplating a trip to that heinous store Rural King just to look at inflatable pools because this one defined "paradise" if not for one day.

... and FINALLY... In celebration of many things... the last day Hannah has to wake up at 6:30 AM, it's nearly the longest day of the year, and the very last of all the swimming pool photo shoots, I bought a waterproof camera (to be developed this weekend). We'll see if anything comes from that but in the meantime...

I am over half way done with the cakes! Three more trips to go! The slice was shipped to the NW today and I'm gearing up for the next, most impossible float yet. Forewarning: Yikes!