Well, this is a little embarrassing then isn't it. It seems that I REALLY need to update more here. Of course it's the choice of social media that I'm kinda of writing about today. See if you do read this... and there are probably at least 2 kind folks that do... then you will notice a strong absence. That's because a lot of the time I'm posting quips up on Twitter, Vine, and/or Instagram. You can look for HarmanGlass if you feel inclined, to follow along there.
Well, mostly because it's easier, faster, spontaneous, and (can be) a more visceral experience. Now I know that this type of communication is not a replacement for the these types of good old fashioned conversations we have here. To be honest, it never will be. It is like shouting at your friends as opposed to talking to them... "Look, over there!" There is a residual of the thought process that goes on here as a whole as well. My life has gotten to this point of small, easily digestible chunks of time, that are spread out across different apps. Which are in turn linked to several devices so connectivity is a constant. Now this isn't a debate, or even a discussion, about the virtues/sins of such connectivity. This is mostly an observation of how it's impacted my life lately and some of the ways it's changing my studio practice.
So. With the thesis work, it was about this high degree of craftsmanship being put up for judgement by the viewer. The video that spawned from it was mostly archival and I wasn't necessarily thinking that I was turning into some type of performance artist. I was just tired of having this debate of Art VS. Craft, and why it always seemed that one was held at lower regard than the other. I was angry, and frustrated. The "debate" is the same, it seems to never change.
After the show I noticed that I was taking more pictures with my phone. At the time it was a iPhone4 with a decent camera and an ease of use that most cameras lack. For a then 38 year old, ease of use is important, and this is precisely why I'm put off by most modern cameras... they're too damn fancy with a lot of buttons I don't need. Like CS6, a lot of buttons I don't need. So a very portable camera, both stills and video, that's easy to use and syncs to my devices over wifi for instant editing if need be. Good lord, I have become Apple's target audience.
I did notice a trend of these videos that kept clogging up my Photostream. Now after a relatively short time. I have just over 80 of these very short films. So now what do I do with them? Do I edit them together? Keep them as the snippets of life they are? Oh, oh! Edit them to loop as seamless as I can manage? Yes! So I have this stable of images that I will be working on to expand what I do as an artist. Images like worms crawling along the freshly rained on sidewalk to escape the water saturated soil, mating spiders, crows cawing in the Czech Republic, swirling paint water, the last time my dog rested his head on my leg to sleep before we had to put him down, these things of life that capture our interests, our sorrows, our vulnerability... which by being vulnerable makes us human. To take the risk, to go for the bigger pay off even though the failure comes with higher stakes. Will this work? I have no idea to be honest, but it has become this pressing need to try. So that's one thing.
I have continued to work on my glass. That won't ever stop as I simply enjoy the process of it too much, however I haven't felt inspired to make any "art" with it. At the very least trying to make art with glass lately has been down right bothersome. So, Im going to make some pieces to have some fun. I try to instill this ideal into my students. "Have fun." "If your not having fun then why are you doing it?" Seems I need to relax a bit and take my own advice. So I shall. Will these works be great? Probably not, but they will at least let me breath enough to maybe allow me to wander off to something that will be great. You know, living the dream... instead of just dreaming it.
The other thing I've been thinking about was killing the website and moving that content here. To be honest, I do like this type of format better... this conversational tone, even if no one answers any questions or interacts in anyway. It's also easier for me to upkeep everything I am into and be able to write on the road as well because, well, I DO use Blogger and haven't had any problems with posting across platforms. Again, ease of use without all the bells and whistles.
This particular insight has come from the recent death of my grandma, Marcella. She was a tough old bitch, lived to be 82, had survived many years of smoking and few open heart surgeries. As she was... fading is the only word I can think of... fading, I would go to the nursing home she was at and sit by her bedside. It was over an hour away, going slightly over the speed limit. One particularly bad weekend I was there, by her side, for about 35 hours in a 2 1/2 day period. I just wanted to be there when she woke up, so she knew she wasn't alone. That it was ok. Sometimes I fell asleep sitting there, and was more than a little amazed that I didn't fall over yanking her out of her bed because I was holding her hand. You have to understand that Marcella refused hospice, that she was feeling better and that's the cruel irony part. She wanted to live. A slight change in her medication made her feel wonderful... mentally alert & hungry (she hadn't really eaten anything for days and was barely taking enough fluids)... while her body was still breaking down. She even left her room to go play dominos with the girls down the hall the day she died, that's how good she felt.
It was sitting there, between bouts of nodding off, that the new LTE function of my phone was refusing to work. I was far enough removed from civilization that cell service was spotty. Ok. So I started doing what any tech-addicted person does when they don't have their fix, fidget. Probably just safer to read as addict. But the strange part was that the fidgeting manifested in taking pictures and video of the spot I was sitting in, the bedside of a dying family member. This resulted in several photographs and more than a few, short, videos of Marcella trying to survive. So questions of the morality of mortality, and the moment, were a constant.
Yes I realize there is a certain morbidity to the situation, especially since it was family. I also realize that not everyone chooses that, to be there when someone they love dies. To see the breath leave, the chest stop, and realize you need to get the nurse to check her vitals... it's a formality, you already know the answer, but you have to do it anyway. As I'm sitting there (and here as I type this), the idea of how to get this situation into the gallery keeps... presenting itself. It won't go away. In fact it's gotten stronger. But how do you share that without becoming, or being perceived, as a monster? Or is that MY joke, that there is no way to escape that label fully.
There wouldn't be much from her room in the piece, most of that was all divvied up or donated to the community. I did take the hoses and masks for her breathing treatments, and oxygen supply, the last things to touch her breath. The things that would have been destroyed anyway. I have taken enough pictures to recreate the corner where her bed was. Finding the holiday decorations might prove difficult since her room was still decorated for Valentines Day.
To be honest, I don't really know how much of this post is therapy for me... or even necessary for you. I felt it important to get out but not advertise completely as my blog isn't super well known. Like most conversations this post will be buried with the newest offering of potential engagement and will fade into the bowels of this blog. Yes, I did just see what I typed as well.
The only thing I don't like is not being able to see the pictures in the post... can't have it all right? So a picture that is in this post of me holding my grandmother's hand is a precursor to some posting and thoughts about a project I would like to start soonish. Or at least run in the background from the next major glass project, which will be discussed soon.
So this is a test post using an app called Blogsy, it's in the AppStore and it looks promising so far. Like any new piece of technology there is a learning curve, however the upside is being able to use my iPad efficiently for blogging. The interface is clean, and the app as whole looks promising. It also has the option of setting up the publishing time and day, so a post could be worked on throughout the week and posted later.
A photo from my library
And another photo...
So not too bad and not too painful either, the real test will be tomorrow at 9am when this post is supposed to publish. Is it worth the $5 price tag? Maybe. This will definitely need more testing to see if it's worth it, but the only thing I wish this could do now is directly import pictures and videos from your local library instead of having to upload them to an online version such as Picasa or Flickr. I think this will be a good stop gap until Blogger decides to make an official iPad app like Facebook did(which for some reason... that took forever). They (Blogger) have an app for the phone, but I haven't been able to find the same app for the iPad and I have looked.
Breaking glass is fun. There is no denying it. In fact it can be quite addicting, I did breaking experiments earlier in the week and recorded the process. It was... exciting, dangerous, nerve wracking, and only with the barest hint of trauma.<--- This is what I'm after for the viewer, while trying to make them be very deliberate about what they are doing. Can they shake off their societal programming and complete the piece? I already want to try and make this piece again, away from an academic setting and see how more "normal" people deal with it.
So this helped to prove a few things... that I'm moving in the right direction for the overall wall thickness of the vessels. The teardrop shape in the last video will be the hardest to break due to it's egg like structure. An egg is really good at distributing any force that could potentially break it. Aiming for the lip of the piece is an, almost, guaranteed break. That it is addicting, after breaking about 6 pieces that morning I was looking around to see if I had any left to smash, so some type of limit will need to be in place. That everything is heightened, from the fight or flight response, when your that close to flying glass.
It has been suggested to throw the objects into a corner or a box. Meh. To me by making it so you have to pick up the piece, place it
Now, a few things have come up...
Is there anyway to prolong the breaking? No, not in this project, 10 seconds is an average time to line up the shot and take it... that is not saying it can't be done and I am looking into the opposite of this piece... larger, thicker vessels that would be very difficult to break at all. Other ways of breaking are being entertained as well, but so far nothing seems to be as satisfying as straight up smashing.
Do I have to be so responsible?
Considering the activity, and that this is all that happened with open air breaking, it was a good day.
Now I did have a slight problem, I forget to get business cards and my resumé out with my work. Bad self promotion on my part. However, I did remember a great thing from last year that seemed to be a perfect solution... QR codes.
The QR codes are linked to my blog to show process, and to my website for portfolios, resumé, and contact information. Since Startup Weekend was primarily a tech development venue... teams would work on developing the ideas they had voted for on the previous day, after that they had a chance to pitch the ideas to investors... just about everyone there had a smart phone and a lap top. This made the entire presentation super sleek, very clean, and paperless.
Thank you Charlotte!