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I chose to deal with death, a sensitive subject because I think there is no subject like death to include all the things in this class, “Reality Check.” Death is reality itself. What a strong word that makes humans be keenly aware of reality.

To mention an ideal situation for my final project, I would like to install my work in a room of white; white wall, white ceiling, and white ground. And I would string 50-60 white paper dolls with red thread and hang each of them so it can be dangling from the ceiling. I want to emphasize contrast of colors– red an white. In addition to that, I will put lighters on a pedestol and have name tags on each. For the matter of light, I plan to buy christmas tree light and coil it around the pedestol or put it on the wall. I will let the audience burn each of hanging paper dolls to make them feel what an instance life fades away and turns into a pile of ashes.

1. A woman attacked by Chimpanzee

http://uktodaynews.com/4399/charla-nash-chimp-attacked-victim-released-from-hospital/

The first impression that I had when I read this news is human is the weakest presence in nature. In this case, is life better than death? If I were her family or friends, I would say life is much better so that such a rude and stupid question cannot be asked. However, if I were her, Charla Nash, would life be really better than death? After losing her previous beautiful face, living with that terribly ruined and distorted face is…just unimaginable. She is such a strong person so that she doesn’t seem to abandon her life that easily– what a relief. However, her news has shaken my belief that the worst life is better than the best death. Well…I don’t know.

2. The cardinal Stephen Soo Hwan Kim died

http://rbbadger.wordpress.com/2009/02/17/stephen-cardinal-kim-soo-hwan-dies/

He was one of people closest to God. His entire life was for others, he didn’t live life for his own. I bet there wouldn’t be a sacred man like him. He respected everything that has life and free from all greed and desire. When I heard the news he died, I felt that a great star has fallen. Before death, he said he was afraid of dying. At that moment, I thought the great cardinal looks like a normal, ordinary person. Even a person who lived at God’s side was afraid of dying… Humans eventually cannot know what God has in his mind. That is a human being.

3. Mine disaster

http://www.cnn.com/2010/US/04/10/west.virginia.mine/index.html

“We cannot bring back the men we lost. What we can do, in their memory, is thoroughly investigate this tragedy and demand accountability.”

This is the very reason why we have fear of death. Dead people cannot be brought back. We can’t see them anymore even though we miss them to death. People alive, left behind have not much to do for them. As stated in the article, investigating the tragedy and demanding accountability are a part of them. However, I personally think remembering and missing them as long as we can is the best thing for the dead.

This week I heard one of my cats seems to have tumor at his side. Well, again.

I could not think of anything and it was terrible to hear that during critique week. I decided not to be agitated by things and constently do what I have to do, however, I, again, could not defeat grief and fear that I will farewell my beloved one soon. Spending most of time lying on the bed during critique week, I wished what is happening now is all dream and I am one of characters in novels or cartoons. I thought I’m fed up enough and I don’t have time to mourn even my pet’s leaving. Ten years. It is time we spent together– he is as good as my sibling. I do not understand why things happen at once. There is nothing I can do for him now. How impotent. And I have to explain how this personal tragedy relates to my final project. All I feel is death. Death again, and I realize I am never able to overcome the fear of death itself, being left behind, and sepearation by death.

The fourth Tuesday: We Talk about Death

Morrie explains that his love relationships sustain his high spirits. He mentions a dear friend, Maurie Stein, who had sent Morrie’s aphorisms to a reporter from the Boston Globe newspaper. The men had both been at Brandeis University during the early 1960’s. Now, Maurie is deaf, and Morrie will soon be mute. Koppel asks how the two will communicate, and Morrie answers that they will hold hands; after thirty-five years of friendship, they do not need speech or hearing to communicate with one another.

The men talk about why facing the reality of death is so difficult for most people. Morrie says that realizing the imminence of death is realizing what is essential, thus you see your life in an entirely different light. Morrie also tells Mitch that if he accepts death, he may not be as ambitious as he is now, as he will see that he must spend time on what is meaningful to him, and not working to make money. Morrie urges Mitch to consider further “spiritual development,” and concedes that he is not exactly sure what that phrase means, though he is certain that people are too involved in material goods and their own egotism. Morrie notes that he appreciates what he sees from his window, though he is unable to go outside and enjoy it.

Where should I start? The first time I read this book was when I was a 6th grader. I am surprised at how I feel different from the same book. I think I was too young to understand what the book says. What made me so different from those days? Well, I know the answer. A change came with breath of death. Nodding with every sentence in the book, I felt like I were with Morrie and listening to his quite and mild voice talking about death. Even more, when Morrie says that he and his friends do not need speech or hearing to communicate with one another after thirty-five years of friendship, I wish I could find a friend like his, and keep such deep and sticky friendship so that there would be one who understands me even if I go deaf. I began to think over relationship and death again, rpeating myself what Morrie mentions about death. I am still reluctant to face and accept death. It will take a long time for sure.

When I gradually came to realize even the greatest creature is powerless before death, I found a film of an artist’s work that effectively visualized it with power. Damien Hurst’s Preserved Shark, though so famous that it is needless to explain. Grandeur and power of Shark overwhelm the viewers. Damien Hurst is such a penetrating artist– he plays human emotions and exactly tabs into our fear of death, as the curator said. Sharks has been one of most powerful, strong, and mighty animals on the top of ecological pyramid. It is often depicted as a signal for danger even in cartoon. By placing it in a container and highlighting the physical impossibility of the dangerous and threatening animal, preserved shark penetrates into human mind and rise the emotion of fear toward death. It has helpful to concern how to visualize ‘how powerless humans are before death.’

Secret Sunshine (밀양Milyang) is a 2007 South Korean film directed by Special Director’s Prize and Asian Film Award winner Lee Chang-dong. The story centers around a lady that copes with the death of her husband and child. The Korean title, 밀양 (Milyang or Miryang) is given after the city that served as the film’s setting and filming location. Secret Sunshine is a literal translation of 밀양, 密陽. It won the award for Best Film at the Asian Film Awards and at the Asia Pacific Screen Awards.

plot: After losing her husband, a woman relocates to a small-town called Miryang with her only son for a new start. When her son is kidnapped and found dead, a local man stands by her through all of her struggles and tries to offer her hope. She finds relief in Christianity and decides to forgive and visits the kidnapper on the death row, but when he says he is already forgiven by God, she abandons her faith.

A woman wanted to start a new life in her husband’s hometown Miryang, after he died of car accident. However, her life completely twisted when her son kidnapped and murdered. Wrath, sorrow, desire…all she feels is her own business to care and overcome. She is relentlessly looking for something to soothe herself and pour all emotions that she burdens to somewhere– she goes to church, meet the kidnapper to try to forgive him, and mingle with other people… later she gives full vent to her feelings in a violent outburst to God. She has sexual relations with a pastor and violently smashes a chair in church. I saw things that a person left behind should stand and handle through this movie. And again, I felt how we humans are helpless before death. No matter what happens, what she does, how she feels, her dead son does not return. Dead. That is it.

A priest becomes a vampire…another man’s wife is coveted…a deadly seduction triggers murder.

Thirst is the new film from director Park Chan-wook (Old Boy, Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, Sympathy for Lady Vengeance). Already a boxoffice smash in Korea, Thirst was honored with the Prix du Jury [Jury Prize] at the 2009 Cannes International Film Festival.

While humans have fear of death in their mind, they also have obsession and attachment to life. Kidnapped and murdered by a pair of vampires, people scream and make frantic attempts to escape from them. The scene that made me choose this movie is that a going blind priest begs for a vampire’s blood to be near to immortal. His greed eventually pushes himself to death, however, I could see fear of death and desire to live. Yes, “desire to live”. This is what I felt from the movie until it ends and concern for my final project.

Biography
LaToya Ruby Frazier born in Pittsburgh PA in 1982 received her BFA in Photography and Graphic Design in 2004 at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. She received her MFA in Art Photography from the School of Visual Performing Arts in 2007 at Syracuse University. She has been an artist in resident at Art Omi in 2009, Center for Photography at Woodstock in 2008 and Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in 2007. She is currently an artist and resident at the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council and New York University in New York City.

With influences of documentary photography and direct cinema Frazier utilizes photography and video to produce work that intensely explores her family’s intergenerational lineage by defining the lines between private and public space, emotion, reality, memory and human complexity.

The Notion of Family, is a collaborative development between her grandmother, mother and herself. Through black and white photographs and an experimental documentary video series, A Mother to Hold, Frazier’s honest and relentless approach intensely explores their psychological intergenerational lineage through the 1930s, 1960s and 1980s.

A Mother to Hold was screened at the Black Maria Film Festival in Jersey City, NJ, San Diego Women’s Film Festival, Aurora Picture Show in Houston Texas, Brooklyn Underground Film Festival, the Black International Film Festival and the Women of Color Film Festival in New York City where she received the Producers Choice Award.

Frazier’s work has been written about in The New York Times, The New Yorker, ArtForum, Artnet, The Brooklyn Rail and The Village Voice. She received the 2007 Geraldine Dodge Fellowship Award as the 2006 College Art Association Professional development recipient. She is a member of En Foco and Society for Photographic Education. Her works have been exhibited in many exhibitions including, The New Museum, Bronx Museum, National Academy Museum, in New York City and internationally in Copenhagen Denmark. Her work is represented by Higher Pictures in New York City.

Frazier has worked as a photo editor for Newsweek and is currently the Associate Curator for the Mason Gross Galleries in the Department for Visual Arts where she also teaches photography in the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University, New Brunswick NJ.

Artist’s statement

The Notion of Family

The collaboration between my family and myself blurs the line between self-portraiture and social document. Utilizing photography and video to navigate dynamics of the roles we play complicates the usual classifications of functional and dysfunctional families. Our work defines the lines between private and public space, emotion, reality, memory and human complexity.

My work has a deep concern for the mother/ daughter relationship. Relentlessly
documenting encounters with Grandma Ruby (b.1925), Mom (b.1959) and myself (b.1982) enables me to break unspoken intergenerational cycles. We are wrestling with internalized life experiences and perceptions of our-selves and familial personas developed by sociopolitical baggage.

Grandma Ruby played the role of mother to me and JC, and caretaker to her father, Gramps. Being home consisted of routine checks on Gramps who screamed for help to be picked up off the floor or carried to the bathroom. If we were not tending to Gramps we sat in separate rooms. Family secrets, hidden history and constant silence defined our coexistence.

Mom is co-author, artist, photographer and subject. Our relationship primarily exists through a process of making images together. I see beauty in all her imperfections and abuse. Her drug addiction is secondary to our psychological connection. When we are photographing one another we meditate on our difference and sameness.

Holiday visits home rupture the silent familial gaze in our experimental documentary series “A Mother to Hold” Through the first person point of view, the camera becomes a magnet attracting and repelling; the viewer has the access to experience and acknowledge our relationship without judgment.

LaToya Ruby Frazier’s photography and her notion and statement shook me up. To be honest, I won’t write how her works relate to my final project– her statement and photos just enticed me to choose her as a part of my artist research. Nobody would not know how much I feel the same the way she concerns her mother. She wrote “my work has a deep concern for the mother/daughter relationship.” Frazier’s photo that captured the moment of her “mother and her boyfriend” was striking. How daring her approach to blurr the boundary of relationship between the mother and daughter is! Her eyes over the lens watching her mother seem objective and dry; she focuses the camera on the subject, not her mother. I have never considered my mother as a human being not different from me, myself as she does. My mother was my mother. I would never be able to take a scene of my mom,almost naked, lying on the bed with her boyfriend and even expose it to the world. I would not. Moreover, She did not put any private feeling or emotion into her photography. As I mentioned, she took photos of her subject. Seemingly it is normal, no more no less than everyday life. She demolished a wall between her mother and herself. Yes, a wall named blood relationship, mother and daughter. Frazier admitted her mother as a woman and individual. She confronted her mother’s presence itself. Does it seem easy? No, it is not. To see my mother as a woman is not easy because most daughters are not willing to do. Sons as well as daughters set an image of their mothers as they like and expect their mothers are like that image in their minds.They should recognize mother is a woman before a mother. Mothers are not that strong as they expect; they can be easily hurt, terrified, and depressed, like many othe people. Daughters must confront their mothers like Frazier does before they’d regret bitterly their immature behaviors toward mothers.

I was quite impressed by how she clearly defines and states it, and I toally agree with it– “We are wrestling with internalized life experiences and perceptions of our-selves and familial personas developed by sociopolitical baggage.”

Claire Harvey

Born in the United Kingdom in 1976

Claire Harvey was born in 1976. She studied at Reading University, Chelsea College of Art in London, and recently completed a residency at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam. Recent exhibitions include- Easily Removable, Member’s room, Tate Modern, London; Biennial of Contemporary Art, Le Havre, France; Unisono 18: Claire Harvey, Stedelijk Museum Schiedam, Netherlands; Prix de Rome 2007, Witte de With, Rotterdam, The Netherlands; Politics, Maisterra Valbuena, Madrid, Spain.

Artist Claire Harvey is not only amazingly talented but amazingly versatile. Spanning work rendered in oil on canvas, pencil on post-it notes, and images drawn on tape (yes, tape), her practice is just as conceptual as it is emotionally evocative. Claire’s work focuses on the small, seemingly insignificant moments that happen in life, but she re-frames these moments and presents them in a way that infuses the resulting image with a potent longing and deep meaning.

Claire Harvey presents a series of delicate, figurative oil paintings on glass, canvas and transparency which make clever puns on material and scale while portraying the most quotidian acts and circumstances. With images reminiscent of film noir stills, Harvey forms a fleeting, melancholic universe of existential isolation.

The main gallery features an installation created by employing an assemblage of pre-determined elements and relationships improvised on site. Using overhead projectors and spotlights to stage narrative scenes composed of light and shadow, the installation becomes a cinematic exploration – at once a screening of a silent movie and the set itself. The viewer is implicated, as his passage through the gallery space forms shadows that reveal or conceal parts of the installation.

Harvey’s nostalgic, gray-toned universe is one in which illusions and objects come together in a magic network of elusive perceptions, associations and impossibilities. While always retaining an unspecified nature, the solitary figures and moments captured are images culled from newspapers, films, magazines and photographs (some taken by the artist). They are fragments of scenes and visual manifestations of the meeting point of disparate realities. Incomplete acts and subtle gestures create unexpected, accidental exchanges and interactions between characters. While one person tugs on a loose thread, another uses it to balance on like a tightrope walker. A man stands on a large ball made of sticky tack, the very same adhesive material used to fix the transparency to the wall. This double use of material as a practical agent and a compositional element is characteristic of Harvey’s work. She draws you into the fantasy while revealing the mechanism of the illusion at the same time.

Claire Harvey’s works recalled feelings that I had in the past. There was nothing special in my life, compared to my peers’ lives. But I had slightly different and distinctive experiences that I needed to go through by myself, for it was not only from outside but also from inside my mind. I had to get through some difficulties that made me seriously consider about relationship and why people should socialize. Every time I encountered death, I felt doubt not only about life and death but also about love that I literally poured. That thought about death and other complicated things submerged in spite of myself because I was too young to have those headachy thoughts so long in my mind. However, when I again encountered death after growing much older, those feelings and thoughts popped out of Pandora’s box that sank deep inside my heart. I became scared to have deep relationship with other people. Love I poured to something or someone backfired with the name of death or leaving. Why, should we keep relationship with all those mortal beings? I declared to myself, “Now I am sick of being left behind…! I won’t love anymore. And I will keep such shallow relationship, if I have to.”

Harvey draws an individual on each paper. Individuals on her works seems to be seculded and lonely. No matter what they are doing– walking, working, studying, socializing, and meditating, they do by  alone. I believe her works precisely point that we are eventually alone. Of course we have families, friends, and many other ties. However, I is I and individuals are individuals. Blood could make unbreakable relationship among people but even one’s parents cannot replace one and live one’s life instead. It could be solitude for some, while it is loneliness for others. What I want to say is that although individuals live their own lives by alone, we also get together with others, like the fourth picture posted above. Mingling with people such as schoolmates, neighbors, companions, and even families, they carefully let people in their lives making various intersections with a variety of people. It is never ignorable. Relationship is the factor that deepens and thickens our lives.

I felt like she soothes my wrath against natural rules.

“Being alone is fine. Nothing to lose because you had nothing from the first. Don’t need to be left behind by anyone, for you were alone from the beginning.”

I partially admit relationship is relationship, and death is separate. And her works might be significant influence on how my project would be displayed.

“ I approach the conception of a piece like a script that would require its own soundtrack, but more precisely a creative process with a given time of elaboration, a team, a working site and tensions. For me this is where one can find the legacy of cinema which is not just a reference point, but a true zone of influence.” – Loris Gréaud

Louis Greaud – Born in Eaubonne, France in 1979

Louis Greaud represents a young generation of French artists, which has emerged in recent years. He produces large scale works, which are his numerous and ambitious collaborations with scientists, geo-biologists, engineers, filmmakers, writers, and sound and graphic designers. His interweaving interest in art, architecture, and music is easily seen in his project. He mainly concentrates on a large-scale installation project, such as “Cellar Door.”

His resulting sculptures and installations playfully and disconcertingly subvert even the most jaded or worldly expectations of artistic practice. Gréaud has created invisible architectures constructed using air currents (The Residents (2) 2005), light blubs that flicker in time to an EEG recording of his own brainwaves (Image (M46 EDIT) 2007), sub-visible nano-sculptures (Why is a Raven Like a Writing Desk? 2006), and a futuristic habitat for a live duck inspired by a quote about the creative process by filmmaker David Lynch (Eye of the Duck 2005). Greaud’s piece in this show, Nothing is True Everything is Permitted, Stairway Edit (2007), takes its title from the most famous utterance of Hassan-i-Sabbah, the Master of an 11th century Nizari Ismaili mystical sect called the Order of the Assassins or “Hashshashin.” The phrase was popularized in the nineteen sixties by beat poet and pyschonaut Brion Gysin who used it as an inspiration for his writings, artworks and performances. Gréaud transforms the phrase’s anarchic dictum into its architectural equivalent: a rotating helical stairway that seems to have been pulled from an Escher drawing, which, even though it is constantly in motion, will never take you anywhere.  – New G.Class Museum

Gréaud’s practice is characterized by a desire to fuse different fields of knowledge and activity, in a manner which is both futuristic and utopian. His modus operandi is comparable to that of cinematic production (involving collaboration and co-authorship), and he often works with experts from diverse disciplines (including architects and scientists). Gréaud’s work is orientated to ideas and processes rather than finished form, and his projects are liable to manifest themselves in different ways over time, and to move between rumor and fact.

Cellar Door is an ambitious artistic experiment that has a range of manifestations. The notion of an artist’s studio is fundamental to Cellar Door: operating as a symbol of imagination and potential, and as the starting point of a perpetual cycle of activity.

“When people tell me that I don’t know how I am going to finish this story, I usually tell them: wait till the end and you will see for yourself’.” – words on the wall of the gallery

Tremos Were Forever (2005)

Silence Goes More Quickly When Played Backwards

Nothing is True, Everything is Permitted, Stairway Edit (2007)

Modelstation Study (2006) – shows his interest in architecture

Cellar Door

When I first saw images on his works, I was surprised at scale of his ongoing project. Although his works always require a large amount of space and time, he seems to make it near to perfection. I appreciate the conception of futuristic and utopian works, however, more than that, I was personally attracted by how he perfectly visualized the scene– he is definitely conveying his message to audience. He makes works in a way audience can feel the same as the artist intended, when they enter the room and see his work. His modern and clear artworks are enough to captivate the viewers’ eyes at the first time. The first photo posted on above made me feel like being striked by something strong. Dangling lumps look like heads and black liquid running down from the top creates a grotesque atmosphere. I thought the imagery of death I have been thinking of. That is the main reason I chose this artist. It helped me to visualize ‘death.’