From the Studio

thoughts on art and process in action from a contemporary artist

Archive for the ‘sound’ Category

Hidden Processes

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display sketchMy sketches are always like this- rough, scribbly, and somehow they work the best for me- loose enough for me to imagine different details.  But until the other  even the loosest sketch of the physical part of my Endangered Languages piece weren’t jelling enough for any sketch to make me happy.

I had been hitting a major wall with the work and it was keeping me up at night for weeks as I tossed image after image and idea after idea in my head.  Two days ago I had a great conversation with a friend that helped me break through.  He has helped me document my work in video and photography but more importantly he is always  a great person to brainstorm with (there are two pieces we’ve thought out together that I think need to be made as collaborative works).

The thing is the process is so often in the mind.  I visualize and discard so much before I start making these days.  Now without having physically built anything, I suddenly have a pretty clear picture of the finished piece.  Now that it’s there I can sketch and mock up and I can start building like a maniac.  I’m going to build a mock-up for size and relationship to the body before I build the main object.  I want to get the height and tilt angle that way.  It should recall natural history museum displays… but with some unexpected twists in action.

Another thing hidden (besides things in my brain) is the thoughts and concepts behind the work.  You will notice I don’t tend to explain my concepts here.  I have them, usually intensely thought out (what some people would consider over-thought out), but I want the concept to be experienced and seen and heard, not just explained before people see the actual work.  I want them to walk up and discover it, not come in with a thesis on it.  There is also a sort of delicacy in certain stages of creation, where if you explain too much (especially to the wrong people at the wrong time) it leeches the life out of it in your mind, or it kills your drive to make it.

At the same time, I love revealing the physical process.  I like to show the beauty and madness of the actual objects-in-progress and the physical experience of making the thing rather than explain everything up front.

You’ll notice the Academy of Sciences sticker in my sketchbook.  I went with my daughter after school to get a look at the display cases, both old and new.  When I go into a museums or place with the intent to take notes I always put the ticket or sticker or write the place at the top.  Sometimes the page is otherwise blank.

 

Written by Mary Corey March

November 22, 2014 at 12:59 am

Because I can, and Open Studios

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Setting up a test version of “Write Me For Art”. Really, this was the perfect height for setting up on stilts, which is way easier and faster. Sadly I’ll be hanging much higher at the Mint in a few weeks.

Tomorrow I’ll be at Open Studios at SFAI’s graduate center.

There will be the usual nibbles and drinks, but in my case there will be an interactive sound piece “Pulse”, created from the stories of San Franciscans.  What story will your pulse tell?

Also I will be working on a new Participatory piece, so if you choose you can become a part of it!

Graduate Open Studios
Saturday, April 19, 2014 – 12:00pm5:00pm
Third Street Graduate Center
2565 Third Street (between 22nd and 23rd)
San Francisco, CA
We are on the second floor.  Every Orange door is SFAI.  I’m in C7 (C -bay is just right of the lounge, 7 is the back right-hand studio). I find it easiest to take the entrance on 22nd St.
I hope to see you there!
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If you want to see the finished “Write me for Art” you’ll just have to come to the show next month at the Mint.

Written by Mary Corey March

April 19, 2014 at 11:12 am

Pulse Project

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pulse

If you are wondering what you are looking at, it is my newest Interactive and Participatory piece and my first proper sound installation as shown at The LAB, SAn Francisco in the recent show Cubic (Sounds)2.

Visitors are invited to place a finger on the pulse sensor to have their pulse taken. This triggers the audio aspect of the piece: a story of a San Francisco Moment recorded from someone in San Francisco whose pulse matches theirs. The sound of the story is played by a the flask of Bay salt water using a vibrating piezo plate to convert it into a speaker.  The grey material is cotton cloth sculpted in a rough impression of San Francisco topography with a few major streets embroidered in red.

In the end the project worked and was well received.  I’m sorry to say that during most of the opening it was almost impossible to hear though.  Even when I made an exception for the opening and added a conventional speaker under the table to compete with the sound from the other sound installations in the echoing space it was too quiet once the room was full of talking people.  Still, for the rest of the show and at the beginning and end of the opening you could hear it and it ran beautifully.

This is a piece I would love to re-work and do again in a quieter space.  In a quiet space the flask of water speaks to you quietly, but audibly- intimately.

 

 

Written by Mary Corey March

December 8, 2013 at 10:31 am

Pulse Project

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I’m finishing up my sound installation.  componantsI can already see a richer, deeper version of this piece.

The base of this one was a very elegant instant hack.  I got one of my daughter’s clear play dough (not the brand, but the thing) containers where the dough had dried out utterly and cleaned it out and did some strategic trimming.  Perfect!  it looks like it was made for a base.  I was able to use some of the vellum from my other project as a diffuser for the base as well (which will also disguise the wires).  So fast, so perfectly neat.IMG_3778

The audio files are all converted and ready.  The pulse meter has been a bit on the evil side and we’re replacing it with a new one which should arrive today.  The air does not have a pulse of 220.

On the whole, so far so good.The show is open to the public Wednesday at the Lab with the actual opening on Thursday evening.

Written by Mary Corey March

December 4, 2013 at 12:19 am

Collecting Stories

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An interesting venture indeed.  So I’m determined to not just ask friends (easy), but it was clear early on that this was a much more difficult kind of participation than I’ve ever asked from people before.

I’ve been going around the city on my normal rounds- the yarn store, the playground with my daughter, the cafes, the hardware store, art supply store, etc. and collecting stories about “an SF moment” from people in and around those places for the sound piece City Pulse (San Francisco) going up in the LAB.  Thepiece involves collecting little San Francisco Moment stories from people in the city. I then take their pulse and

I left the story collection towards the end because I was more worried about the technical and sculptural aspects of the piece and I thought the participatory part would be easier.  No.

tools tools fabricThe microphone looked like a taser to some people- very threatening.  The pulse meter seems to be equally threatening- medical devices are just scary.  This is a huge barrier if handled badly.  I almost wan to crochet them little wooly jumpers to make them more approachable.  Something about fabric instantly tools fabricdisarms and comforts cold technical devices.  I started carrying both these and my extra batteries in a little transparent cloth bag and that actually seemed to help (transparent process, softer, easier to get to quickly, etc.).

In “Write Me for Art” it’s so approachable, so soft.  I generally give them to people after they’ve seen me embroidering for a few minutes.  Then I can explain the project to someone clearly interested already.  This one is so much less visual at this stage that it’s harder to get people to engage.  Getting participation becomes and art form in itself.

It’s funny, so far the stories seem to circle around the Haight, the Castro, and random naked men (even when I’m taking the stories in other places).  There is something about the Castro and the Haight that say SF more than anywhere else.

I’m excited about getting the piece all together and seeing it up and running.  This is so different from other work I’ve done in terms of materials, but very close to the heart of my work generally.

…and for tonight, more embroidering a landscape of San Francisco!

And for tonight… more

Written by Mary Corey March

November 30, 2013 at 8:23 am