Mary Lim

Friday, January 29, 2016

week 1: slow but exciting start

JANUARY 25–29

to sum it all up
This week has mostly been about narrowing down my idea and finding what I'm most excited about. As I have been stuck for the past few weeks, I needed to get excited about design again. After talking with JC Franco, a recent grad from KCAI, I began to consider doing my degree project for social good and starting a collaboration. After doing some research, and delving into Kotz' Words To Be Looked At: Language in 1960's Art, I decided on exploring the intertwining relationship of language, space, and sound.


glance into sketchbook
question holes
My original degree project question was: "How can I use design and technology to visualize the paradox of flat but dimensional in order to visualize the relationship between graphic design and architecture?" I knew I wanted to merge art history, space, and motion into the project because these are three things that have consistently come up in my work, but I did not know how or in what way I could do so. There were also a couple of things that were problematic about the question: it was too broad, there is not much of a tension between architecture and design because the differences are clear (apart from spatial design), and the paradox of flat and dimensional has been thoroughly explored and widely known.

a possible collaboration
With these things in mind, I researched about type and its relationship to space. Before going back home to Chicago, I talked with JC Franco (Tori Wheeler referred me to him because many of our design objectives align). He is in a group, which he and other people created, to bring together creatives with the intent of helping Kansas City using art and space. Some examples he cited was The Boston Big Dig and Klyde Warren Park. Both were simple solutions to a complex issue that could unify specific communities within the two cities. My degree project may turn into a possible collaboration later on.


JC Franco's work can be found here:
jcfranco.com

researching and experimenting
Over the break, I felt very stuck, as the pressure for a good idea was paramount. As I started out very general, I sought to narrow down my idea over the break. The problem was I did not feel excited about any of the ideas I was coming up with. I then remembered my Art of the 60's Seminar class where a reading briefly mentioned Dan Graham. Originally a poet and then a fine artist, Graham thought of the magazine page as a gallery space, or a piece of artwork in of itself. In describing the work, the author called the magazine spread a metaphorical "architectural container" for Graham.

Dan Graham's magazine spread from "Homes for America"

I realized, then, that the translation and relationship between language and space intrigued me. I began to read excerpts of Words To Be Looked At: Language in 1960s Art by Liz Kotz. She reveals how some artists unintentionally used text to inform their actual works, showing a clear relationship between the two. While language can be referential, it at the same time is limited as a mode of communication. Language “structurally entails certain gaps, between “word” and “thing,” between “meaning” and “intention,” that cannot be eliminated in even the most precise communicative act…” (188). Kotz points this out in her book, highlighting the ability of language to paradoxically both refer to something and yet remain objective, and how artists used this to their advantage. Particularly telling was Andre’s referral to words as particles and as poems in of themselves. The way Andre views his poems as the remains of what was removed, as “cuts,” undeniably points to his sculpture practice. Kotz clearly demonstrates too, how Acconci’s poems “performed actions resembling the quintessential procedures of postminimal sculpture: cutting, moving, removing, interrupting, joining, separating…” I realized that graphic design is directly related to this, since design often involves type. 


Acconci's This Word

Kotz wrote also about the relationship between language and sound. Fluxus artists would often hold "concerts," where the artist' instructions to the musicians acted as a musical score for the performers on stage. An example of this would be John Cage's 4'33". Musicians were instructed not to play their instruments, and simply let the sounds of the environment take over.


John Cage's 4'33" music score

more research–ING

This led me to edit my art history-space-motion triangle to language-space-sound. Martin Venezky was particularly excited about Ashton and my –ING platform project from MX, and suggested we explore how sound is and can be visualized. Taking this into consideration, I want to explore not only this relationship but also how sound can create space. Over break, I listened to a quick 3D Audiobook, and realized how the volume of the sound, and varying the sound from the left ear to the right ear can create a sense of space for the listener.



This led me to wonder about the language, space, and sound triad interaction, which leads me to my finalized question:


How can I create a new spatial experience where language, space and sound all intersect?
(I am currently thinking about doing this for social good for Kansas City.)

interesting spaces


steps forward
I need to rapidly start gathering information about the relationship between language, space and sound and start experimenting. This will involve interviewing professionals in all those fields: other designers, architects, and...a musician? Maybe a radio talkshow host. Knowledge about 3D Audio is also necessary.



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