this is donna and i’s explanation of our final project. Thanks!
Absence is a thing that touches us all.
For this project I was interested in exploring the notion of absence, while combing the shape of change archive there were some responses that really struck me. . In trying to find ways to articulate their feelings in relation to these large questions about freedom, change, national identity, etc the respondents begin to express an inadequacy in language.
What does it mean when language is not enough? Or better, is language ever enough?
For me language has limits. For this project I wanted to explore those limits in relation to emotions and trauma. How does one communication an experience when the words don’t seem to exist to describe it.
However it is not only in language that absence exist. It was my intent to initiate conversations regarding these complexities of absence, and the dominant role it plays in the articulation of trauma, in emotion.
Muhammad , my iraqi collaborator and i begin conversations, sharing our lives and experiences with each other, searched out the proper words with which the other could feel our lived experiences…tried to locate these experiences in the body of the other…..how could i understand the meaning of his words beyond the words themselves , and him mine? This was our only task and method.
the resulting project is a transcript of those conversations, translated into some language, some cartology of emotion, residue, and the lingering reverberations of an after thought. There exist two transcripts as of now one book and one video
the images you have been viewing are both present in the book and video so that even these transcripts are in dialogue with each other
the book is contextualized as a shipping parcel…to speak to exchange and distance…it is a dialogue between two spaces as well as bodies
the hinged box is to suggest the book form but also the orientation of reading is right to left to hint at the arabic language or rather its absence
the contents are printed on transparency and vellum and there is a play with opacity.. so that absence becomes a factor in the readers relationship with the material itself the pages are layer one on top of the other creating a palimpsest
In conceptualizing the form of this project i began looking at a lot of conceptual “book” “catalogue works. Rikrit for example and the compartmentalized rendering of his larger relational aesthetic works in Back of Postcard reads Memories.I was very interested in the landscape that a form like this creates and how that effects the viewers “reading” and experience ….especially this piece from an artist whose work rooted in relational aesthetics….how does he translate an experience into a book this project is heavily hinged on the experience of the conversation.
of course other conceptual works like the various fluxus boxes…the form is very much the content…i think not only are we asking the audience to read the “content” of the book, we are asking them to read the form of it as well and gain just as much.
Also I gathered inspiration from Apsen 5+6, which we examined closely in class. The mix of media was really important to me and also an alternative approach to “writing”, ie the Sol Lewitt serial drawings included here and of course all the mixed media which is something I intend to push upon further development of this project. It was really the minimalism and the conceptual nature of the work that I drew upon, however we are articulating minimal in a very different fashion of course but there is strength in the framing of an object:: 1 box 1 book 4 films 5 records 8 boards 10 printed data(The contents of Aspen 5+6)
This website represents a collaboration between students at Parsons the New School for Design and Baghdad University. Questions regarding the state of Iraq and the US since the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq were asked to students in both universities. The answers provided are represented geographically. We hope this project helps to shed light on how the wars in Iraq have affected student’s political ideologies. We would like to continue build out the website, adding content, questions, and images from both New York and Iraq. We would also like to improve the interface functionality so that it is easier for the user to navigate the site and find the answers. We would like to make more dynamic. We think this project was a good starting point to what could potentially be a very substantial project.
The following are some screenshots and to go to the map: http://mayaweinstein.com/change.html
This project was a great eye opener. It allowed me to get an introspective on my partners (Ruaa) views, visions and beliefs. It also allowed for a great juxtaposition of how an American student see’s the world, to how an Iraqi student does. Ruaa was far more intense than I was, which allowed for a very interesting negotiation throughout the project. I personally have struggled with collaboration throughout my time at Parsons (as my thesis project can attest), yet this final collaboration is undoubtedly the most successful one. Finally, it was also extremely insightful to see how we can really create something significant and bridge a cultural gap with everyday technologies we essentially take for granted. I found myself using google docs and facebook to facilitate an art project with a student on the other side of the world. I still find that mind blowing, and totally cool. Over the next few days, Ruaa and I will address the feedback that was given during the final critique in order to make the blog as good and as usable as it can possibly be.
Thanks for everything guys, and take care!
Sampling of the text:
When I read your subject, I had glimpses of my own personality
It is something that leaves a deep heartache in me,
it is something universal too. I have a motto in life,
do you think it has anything to do with a persons toughness
there is a funny saying of George Bernard Shaw I guess..
I have lived in many different circumstances
we must try hard to channel the past
Life here in Iraq is very cruel to deal with.
making only positive thoughts go through
but we must also equip them, to go through is a type of death
to go through is to address death
do you consider yourself very religious
sorry the electricity was off
this concept is suffering negligence through time
sometimes when man intervenes
i sympathize i’ll awake for work at 4 am
by the way i’m going to record my voice when i’m out in a certain place
and then relate it to our subject…i don’t think ill be able to record videos
i’m looking forward to that
how about the photo i sent you
a photo is complicated
it is the absence of spiritual peace i guess
sometimes i feel…
meaning its hard to get peace from memories
To whom it may, well, the concerns are all of ours,
but whoever’s reading has walked into something.
What is the name for this space you are now uneasily hovering about in….
This is simply a transcript, two voices moving
under the skin of worlds different and alike.
It is all here to sift—these conversations,
these disembodied voices ….
Sable Elyse Smith
This is the video piece:
The video is a transcript of or conversations. A translation of sorts. It is the processing of the words into the emphemeral emotional language of what may find its way closer to their actual meaning…This is a dialogue about something not easily named. There is a voice over at the end. It is broken up into two parts: One voice and second voice. One voice is a text Muhammad sent me. Second voice is myself responding to those lines….
The video still needs some tweaking, and I received a sound file from Muhammad the other day and am working out if to embed it into the video or present it as sound alone…
If you could fill out this survey for donna and I we would appreciate it a lot.
Thanks in advance!
Each of the 6 project will have 20 minutes for their total presentation, which will include presentation (hopefully around 10 minutes) and critique / discussion (the remainder, hopefully around 10 minutes).
Your presentation should be visual. Though it does not necessarily have to use presentation software like PowerPoint, you should absolutely incorporate images and documentation, whether they be digital or physical.
You should make sure to clearly articulate:
- Summary: Begin with an overall summary of the project in 2 or three sentences: what you wanted to do, who you were working with and what form the piece actually took.
- Concept: You should then clearly articulate the concept of the project: What did you set out to do? What were your goals? Why did you want to do this?
- Research: What was the historical, cultural, and aesthetic background of the project? Please mention two or three precedents from the fields of art / design / technology and explain how their design informed your overall context for the piece.
- Method: How did you work? How did you set up the parameters of your collaboration? How did you engage a wider public? How did you create dialog though the work?
- Tech: how the piece functioned
- Prototypes: what did you learn through the process of creating the work, and how did early tests alter your goals for the project?
- conclusions: how did it go? what went wrong and right? What would you have changed? If you chose to further develop this project, what would you do?