Rebecca Horn is sculptor and film maker who produced a series of works which were body sculptures.
” In 1968 she produced her first body sculptures, in which she attached objects and instruments to the human body, taking as her theme the contact between a person and his or her environment.” – Tate On-line.
“From 1970 Horn documented her work using video and film, establishing a connection between sculpture and action. She increasingly used feathers, for example in masks or constructions that enclose the entire body, closing off the wearer from the environment. The spectator’s occasional glimpses through the constructions produce a high level of intimacy.” – Tate On-Line.
“In the films Der Eintänzer (1978) and La Ferdinanda – Sonate für eine Medici-Villa (1981) Horn placed her individual actions and objects within a narrative sequence.” – Tate On-line.
In her work, objects and people morph, ready to tell how bodies change into other bodies.
In Rebecca Horn’s work a relationship between form and body or environment is a strong theme. Reading about her work has suggested ways in which I can think about giving my forms a context or a relationship to something.
Horn became aware not only of the fragility of her body, but also of the meaningless of its existence. Subsequently her work developed from site-specific installations into mostly body-modificating work
After exploring the work and life of Rebecca Horn I think some of her works my influence or inspire some of my future drawings and designs, particularly the wearable sculpture. Perhaps re-imagined as jewellery pieces?
La Perdrix is a wonderful, beautiful place. Time passed in a strange sort of way, I left with the feeling that I had been there for quite some time but was leaving too soon. The old buildings and their situ hold a fascinating and enchanting quality impossible to justify in description. It bestowed a sense of peacefulness and contentedness whilst all the while evoking a certain je ne se qua.
Ingrid gave instruction on throwing on the wheel and also gave us a project which entailed the making of our own instruments from upcycled materials and of putting on a performance with said instruments at the end of our week stay in La Perdrix.
I decided to make a cigar box guitar. After failing to find a cigar box I contemplated using a whiskey box or a singer sewing machine box/cover. I gathered a few more materials and ended up creating a Oud-ish type instrument with 3 strings that were impossible to keep in tune. It was constructed from a plank, a deep aluminium pan, some eyelet hooks and fishing line. The strings where made of fishing line, several strands wrapped together. Although the fishing line was strong enough under tension it kept stretching and once tuned the instrument would be out of tune a few hours later. I started off with what seemed initially to be a sophisticated tuning mechanism, however it soon turned out to not be as sophisticated as I thought as it was ineffective and did not work. So I adopted a simpler tuning method of tying the strings directly too eyelet screws (?) and then tightening them by screwing them tighter into the wood to tune. This worked much better but I still experienced the same tuning problems of pitch slipping over the course of an hour or so.
In our performance we performed the Muppet’s theme tune, I had a short solo, which I think I performed ok. The whole thing seemed to work rather well. After our performance a member of the audience wheeled out a barrel organ that he had made nearly 20 years previous as a young man. It was equally fantastical and enticing, it was basically made up of lots of whistles, hand pumped bellows and a roll of card or book that denoted the melody and the whole of the music by punch holes. The card was fed through by the winding handle operated by the singer who wound the handle and sung. It was a brilliant machine and I intend to find out more about it. It was interested to hear how he writes the music for it and experiments and of the limitations and plus points of the machine. For example it only has a certain range in terms of octave (2 or 3) but it can be played with a guitar and the barrel organ attached to a bicycle allowing the performer to operate both at the same time whilst singing! A brilliant machine!
Whilst we were at La Perdrix it was required that we take a day out of the weeks schedule as we were to cook for one day of the week. Me and Sophie decided to cook pasties for lunch with salad and cold meats and cheese and then paella for dinner, it all seemed to go down well. All the food during the week was excellent and plentiful, I had not eaten that well in a long time! It occurred to me at the end of the day whilst relaxing after a busy day in the kitchen, that cooking is a form of making itself. It is the making of flavours, experience and experiment and exploration. It made me feel I should pay more attention to food in the future, how it was constructed, the flavours, textures and overall experience that I am subjected too. Iv always been a fan f food but had never realised how interesting it was. Just before attending the La Perdirx trip I was introduced to Sushi at a restaurant in London by my girlfriend. She explained that in Japan sushi was prised for texture over flavour. I tried to think about the different textures as I ate the sushi. I didn’t like every dish and some I loved, but mostly it started me off on thinking about food in a different way.
Too conclude I had an excellent time at La Perdrix and learnt some invaluable things. I shall certainly be frequenting the throwing room from now on, I’m determined that I shall be at LEAST be able to throw simple forms by the end of my second year that are good enough to display or sell. In the meantime I shall certainly miss La Perdrix and its beautiful setting and am itching to return already!
After the 10 o’clock meeting deciding our agenda for the day, I set about finding things for making a cigar box guitar. It was trickier than I thought it might be. I gathered several different objects and tried out a few different wires and fishing lines for the strings. I settled on a strong slightly stretchy fishing line and set about making.
I had some trouble getting a whiskey box guitar together with complications concerning the neck. I soon turned to experimenting with a deep aluminium pot and ended up making an Ooud type instrument. I’m currently working on the tuning mechanism and am confidant that it’s going to work ( had to pack up for dinner). I’m cooking tomorrow but hopefully I’ll grab a couple of minutes too finish it off in at some point.
Term One of constellation involved a series of lectures and study skills sessions designed to broaden and encourage my interests in and around my subject. The aim was also to gain a perspective of where we sit in the grand scope of all things art and design, how my subject relates to others and to encourage me to develop a deeper academic understanding of art an design. I enjoyed most of the lectures and a few I did not enjoy so much. I enjoyed learning about William Morris and the Arts and Crafts movement, it gave me a better idea of contemporary craft and its relation to art and design. This along with the lecture on Sonic Art has led to an interest in the differences between science and art and whether they should be thought of as polar opposites. This is an ongoing interest and I hope to base some work on it in the future with the skills I am currently building in my creative practises and also 3D modelling, electronics and micro-controllers. Most lectures I attended were good and thought provoking and perhaps influenced my subject work in some ways. A few lectures were not so good unfortunately, some I found difficult to be inspired by, some lectures perhaps would speak in convoluted ways and quietly. But mostly I have enjoyed them, perhaps more than I thought I would initially as I am a very practical hands on person more concerned with making than academia, but I understand that the academic and and art history can and does inform the work of an artist or maker and so I can see that it is important and worthwhile.
Constellation also inspired me to read around my subject and also to read some classic texts like 1984 by George Orwell. I have also been reading on Political Ideologies and the Democratic Ideal, Dynamic Anatomy by Hogarth and Makers by Chris Anderson. All these could help to inspire, form and shape ideas in the future.
Study skills was very useful, although my attendance to most was perhaps a little lacking. Of particular help was the Image Analysis session by Cath Davies, I thoroughly enjoyed this session and found her to be a fantastic teacher as she was clear and engaging. From this session I learnt a much better critical approach (that I had never used before) to looking at an image and have tried to utilise this skill since. Other study skills including the presentation building and presenting one were also extremely useful.
I attended most lectures but my attendance could have been better, this is something that I must try and keep in mind for the future so that I can get the most out of constellation.
In Term Two I chose my option constellation lecture series. I chose Energy, Ecology and Modernity. I have a deep interest in sustainable living and art and design as well as in science. This is why I chose to study this option. The option was different than how I expected it to be, also the texts we started reading where quite heavy going and difficult to get to grips with. However I enjoyed the option choice and found it to be extremely interesting. I soon acclimatised to the type of reading that was required. I was particularly interested in the ideas of energy, entropy and chaos which I read around a fair amount. For my essay I decided to write about movement in modern art starting with Rodin. Movement was being used as an interpretation of energy. The notion of energy and movement is also coming across to my subject work as I am creating interactive forms and will be investigating how they move and react to movement.
Areas in which I could improve on to benefit my learning and make more of my constellation experience includes better time management, better note taking, blogging – I need to get into the habit of blogging straight after lectures. I generally need better discipline towards my work and in ensuring I attend every lecture.
Overall I have enjoyed constellation It has taught me much and has encouraged me to read more around my subject the benefits of which I am enjoying. Constellation has given me a deeper and broader understanding of the world of art and design. I have a greater understanding and knowledge of modernity and where I fit with my subject in contemporary art and design.
Off and on I have been slowly learning to use the free (opensource?) modelling/animation software. I am mostly interested in its modelling facilities. I am not properly to grips with the software yet and have only been following simple tutorials which tend to be in long bursts with long gaps between busts. So far I have only rendered and completely finished two simple models.
The interface is pretty intimidating and hard to get around – I don’t know what most of the terms and labels mean yet but hopefully Ill get there. I think it will take quite a long time and plenty of practise until I’m confident and accomplished at modelling sufficiently well in Blender, but when I am I think the practical implications of converting bits to atoms, digital to 3-D physicality will make it tremendously useful. As well as rapid prototyping I’m sure there will be many other uses for the blender skills in terms of using other software, prototyping and sharing ideas across the internet and much more besides.
These are the two tutorial projects I have completed so far, most of the time I will only get part way through the tutorial and mess around with functions and settings just to gain more of a scope of what different things do. I may complete a few more tutorials before I start modelling from my imagination….
Browsing on the YouTube Make channel
I came across the De-Vocaliser, I thought it would be an interesting mini project and be good practise for my electronics skills as I intended to delve deeper into electronics. I bought a few parts and had fun building it, reading schematics, soldering and figering out what Id done wrong the first time around. Once Id completed it I gave it a try, I tried it with about 12 – 13 different songs from different decades of music and different genres. I wasn’t really that impressed with the outcome while on a few tracks the vocals disappeared completely, on most they were still audible just very quiet, and some vocal notes were not stopped at all.
It was fun though, and I learnt a few things mostly small soldering techniques to keep work tidy and to prepare well before going for it as well as to always remember to double check what your doing. I shall be sure to post about other electronics projects and how my skills are developing!
The resin mould I attempted failed, the mould had to be broken open and this revealed very thin resin …lining to the mould that just about stayed together. My mistakes were that I used a plaster mould, I should have used silicone but ran out of time. I could have sealed the plaster mould better and maybe it would not have stuck to the plaster so much, I suspect the resin perhaps sunk in a little through the Elemer’s glue. So a better sealer and release agent would have maybe yielded better results. Lastly next time I would use a different resin, one that cures in minutes rather than hours with which you can achieve a more even coating of resin with the hollow cast ‘sloshing’ method. And a resin that sets stiff, this one was very flexible and felt rip-able.