first movement test before my computer crashed
Creation is a run on sentence the exact length of a life and each individual act of creation is simply another comma,
documentation is becoming its own source of creation
testing time lapse
this is one of the vines growing behind the sign. the next opportunity for sunlight will be just below the first panel and then again above it. interested to see what the plants choose.
changed the camera angle and testing time lapse overnight tonight. really interested in finding a way to bring the actual experience of taking the time to watch these plants with more people.
to this point people have most been interested in the sign. I see people taking pictures of it once in a while and the pictures are always framing the text only.
we’re reaching a point in the project where the plants are going to start taking centre stage and causing and evolution in the way the sign exists in and interacts with the world.
documentation of this project is something I spend a lot of time thinking about. I think it's always been my style to work things out as I go along but I find myself worried that one day it'll be too late to get good documentation of the process. Today I installed this camera so that I can record a few seconds of video from the same position each day to get a good sense of the progress of the project.
I also think about these plants and their growth almost constantly so it'll take some mental load off to be able to watch them remotely whenever I miss them too much.
my favourite part of this project so far is how easy it’s been to experience it “as the audience”.
this is something that I find especially difficult in the other mediums I’ve worked in (writing and especially film).
part of the design is that it’s always changing and nobody knows what it’ll look like the next time they see it. some elements of “randomness” are designed (like the sign being on a timer) but most are completely naturally occurring.
getting to see this project every day I find myself genuinely surprised by the differences I see. I really don’t know what to expect. I really don’t know what it’ll end up looking like.I don’t know how fast these plants grow.
There are so many variables I don’t know or understand. It is art for other people but this is maybe the first time I’ve made something that feels like it’s really appealing to
me as well. It feels like something worth chasing.
maybe the thing I enjoy is that instead of being the one with the answers I am the one with the questions for once.
this little one managed to find the fishing line overnight. put in a couple more lines and a few more seedlings I had growing just to make sure there’s enough coverage going up the trellis.
went in today to put some fishing line for the plants to start vining up. on the left you can see the tendril searching for something to climb up. they spin counter clockwise until they find something to grab on to.
an almost hilarious amount of work went into this. it feels like it's finally over but it's really just beginning. all I can say is that I really hope these seedlings grow.
the signs in the print shop. ricky decided to use black blockout vinyl so that there’s zero translucency on the text. so pumped with how it looks.
getting ready to install. once the LED signs come back from printing I'm going to pull down the wheat paste in the window, mount the LEDs on the rack, get the seedlings in a dirt mound and then turn it all on.
looking for opinions on which you prefer.
proof of concept v2
proof of concept v1
here's an idea of the way that the signs will hang in the space.
damn so much has happened since last I posted here. this is a very rough mockup of the newest concept. two hanging LED signs that will become overgrown as the summer (and likely the current moment we're living through) passes.
thinking of calling the piece self fulfilling prophecy. the yes/no binary is admittedly a much more novel and interesting idea but this didn't feel like the right incarnation of it.
have been digging into the research of what vine to use for the project. reached out to the gardening community on reddit looking for some answers on stuff that didn't come up elsewhere on the internet.
being able to get the answer to any question is probably the best part of the internet.
plans for the invisible trellis to create the architecture for the experiment and have it look like the plant is moving freely through open space.
a black version (w/ a black background) is also possible but would look better in photos than it would in real life.
really rough mockup of a new installation called "natural selection" where people allow a plant to make a decision for them by choosing one of two paths.
was thinking of a version like this (with a single plant choosing a path) or with two plants growing side by side (each one representing a choice) but this one seems more appealing and random to me.
planning to write more about this later. thanks to the futureland log feature for the push.
Woke up yesterday morning and started doing some stuff based on the UN's open creative brief for fighting COVID-19. I recently wrote an essay about the communication failure involved with the term social distancing so it's cool to see that people realize that creatives are the way to solve a problem like this.
Anyway, pulled out this evolution of an old style of mine that plays with meanings we associate with words (I don't believe words contain any inherent meaning) to create something that re-frames the conversation around social distancing.
The work plays with an idea that I've always believed to be true - that words are a way of pointing to information that already exists inside somebody's head. People inherently know that distance can't cure a virus. People need to stop fucking around and just stay inside. Time, not distance, is what heals all. Or, less pessimistically, time and distance heal all. The point, as it always is with this format, is to arrive at a meaning based on experimentation. If you try out all the possible combinations, you'll arrive at the truth - that "distance heals all" feels wrong. Because it is.
I started reading "how to be an artist" by Jerry Saltz and in it he said that a lot of artists have ideas come to them in a dream. I'd never had that experience before until this morning when I woke up with this idea in my head.
quarantine postcard series. this is the first in the series. I also made a bathroom and guest bedroom edition but ran out of good paper to print them on. stay tuned for the rest.
was supposed to be doing stuff for the flower project but ended up playing around with newsprint paper instead. typeface is a version of News Gothic that I scanned from a vintage book of typefaces. love how unpolished it ends up looking.
this feels like the aesthetic I've been working towards in a round about way for the last 6 months or so. happy to have landed on it. now to see how it informs the work.
A couple days worth of decay on the flower. learning over the past couple days probably aren't as super exciting for most people but still interesting to discover new things:
1) this flower is going to live a long time before petals start falling off. It is currently in a single vase without water and is only showing signs of drooping not of drying out.
2) learning a lot about how to photograph the process. as the petals droop away from the centre I've had to adjust the camera settings to allow the entire flower to remain in focus. this is going to become increasingly important as petals start falling as I want the whole image to be in focus. mostly just working with F-stop and some ISO as the lighting environment is very controlled and consistent.
going to start the other flowers and come up with some concepts for the printed matter piece over the next couple days.
pretty happy with how these photos are turning out. the flowers decay pretty quickly so hoping that there's interesting visual changes at regular intervals.
next going to work on the cover for the project. not sharing too many details on what the final form will be but I can say that it's going to be printed matter.
for the record I also tried white background but it wasn't as exciting visually.
okay here's the first prototype. it actually looks very beautiful in person. I'm going to set up the backdrop tomorrow morning I can start documenting for the actual piece.
luckily my partner has incredible taste so we have a few of these single flower vases around the house from Nalata Nalata that are going to come in handy. she also said she loves the project so that's the first piece of really exciting feedback.
alright so new plan
1) don't actually use the "punch" function of the stamp. set up and ink the stamp upside down. (this also allows me to put two messages on the same stamp at the same time. I've used "yes" and "no" here for simplicity)
2) take the flower, turn it upside down, and push an individual petal against the message you're trying to imprint on it. (hard to show this one but basically just apply pressure on the back of the petal)
3) the result. the issue is it's ugly and messy and feels further from the end product I'm hoping for than the first test did. but I think that's just a matter of inexperience with the stamp and hastiness with the process. right now I'm waiting to see how long the ink takes to dry and will apply messages on at a time in the next test. If I have to apply a single message an hour then so be it.
the good news:
I think I've worked out what I want the final form of the project to be. I was thinking about the way that I could make this the most accessible and the most personal to the person using it while at the same time making it impossible to know what the answer will be before actually getting to the end. sometimes the lowest tech answer is the best one. but more on that later…
1st attempt at stamping directly onto petals. Both techniques I tried up to this point were unsatisfactory. The one to the right of the flower was the most clear but caused damage to the centre of the flower, causing it to fall apart.
Applying the stamp to the ink pad manually and then imprinting in the flower also didn't work. Next attempt will likely involve creating a manual hand stamp using the existing letters to try and provide a bit more control over the application.
Worth noting: the idea of putting the stem through a hole in a piece of cardboard did work but it turns out that's not really a huge problem in comparison to some of the other issues to be overcome with this project.
First test of getting the print onto the petals of the flowers.
a) obviously getting the "loves me not" on the petals is going to be more difficult. I assumed that much would be true. As you can see on the right column I was able to print with more accuracy by adjusting the position of the text on the stamp itself to accommodate for the text spanning two lines instead of one.
b) the ink doesn't bond well to the petals. there's going to have to be an incubation period between petals while I wait for the ink to dry. Another solve might be to use organic ink but the foraged ink (from the Toronto Ink Company) that I tried didn't bond well to the rubber of the stamp itself. Might be a trade off worth exploring though.
c) there are a lot of petals on the actual flower. I'm not sure how many I was imagining (maybe 10 or so) but there are at least 16 and they are in two overlapping rows. Was thinking about maybe removing the second row of petals but don't like the idea of intervening too much with the natural form of the flower itself.
d) the amount of pressure necessary is going to make it difficult to do individual petals that are still attached to flowers but I don't think there's really a way around this.
e) might be worth looking in to ways to convey the same information in a smaller surface area. For example using "<3" and "x" to represent the two options. I'll give this a shot and see if it feels like it communicates the same message. If I end up going with this route I'll likely have to order red ink for the stamp in order to create some visual variety between negative and positive outcomes.
He loves me, he loves me not or She loves me, she loves me not (originally effeuiller la marguerite in French) is a game of French origin, in which one person seeks to determine whether the object of their affection returns that affection.
I saw a version of this on @stoppingoffplace's instagram and it reminded me of the times I'd actually done this as a kid. I don't remember where I learned it from or when I did it, only that I was fairly sure that intentionally cheating (starting on loves me or loves me not based on whether there was an even or odd number of petals on the flower) was part of the game.
The issue, in terms of being a tool for prophecy, is that it doesn't replicate the natural course of answering the question. There isn't a real sense of finding out something that you didn't know before. No reward. No joy or suffering. Only longing in place of anxiety and mystery.
Wouldn't it be more interesting, poetic, and perhaps more authentic, to create a more capricious, adult version of the game that makes the answer more satisfying by making it more accurately approximate prophecy?
The idea is to create a real version of the game based on a natural occurrence rather than a manufactured one. What would happen if you used the natural falling (death) of the petals to dictate the answer to your question?
I intend to use a stamp to stamp individual petals with "loves me" or "loves me not" (because any pronoun would take up too much space) and see what the result is after allowing the flower to naturally dry out and die.
I am thinking about how to make this a piece of art that other people can interact with, or that can answer questions for them in a more interesting way. So I'm thinking about perhaps live streaming (or at least doing a series of photos) and allowing people to choose a flower (maybe of multiple) in real time and allow them to follow along.
Photos seem easier than livestream but maybe not as interesting.