Last week our cohort (MA and MFA students of Transdisciplinary New Media at the Paris College of Art) were with one of our faculty professors and mentors in her city of Porto, Portugal. We spent the week eating, resting, visiting the university of fine arts and meeting other MFA students for collaboration. And it was great. One of the largest highlights of the week included a visit to the Museum of Contemporary Arts, the Serralves, to see the show “I’m Your Mirror” by Portuguese contemporary artist Joanna Vasconcelos. Also at the museum were shows of works by Joan Miro, Tacita Dean, and Susan Hiller. Basically it was awesome!! Plus the museum and its grounds are all spectacular so I think I want to live at this museum.
The buildings of the museum are spacious, with large windows framed like paintings and allowing in a lot of greenery and sunshine. The architect, Alvaro Siza Vieira, did a brilliant job, and won many awards for the design.
The exhibits were not too full or empty and most pieces were well spaced out and well lit.
I especially enjoyed the pieces integrated into the gardens because it is always wonderful to see art and nature come together. Most of those pieces were from the show of Joanna Vasconcelos.
Side note - I don’t know what it is about big rings and especially wedding ring sculptures, there seem to be a lot of those around these days.
I thoroughly enjoyed most of the works in the shows, however the piece that stood out for me most, which ended up being the work I sat in for over an hour was the one room installation work of Susan Hiller, Thoughts Are Free. 2012. Interactive installation. Upon entry to the room, it felt a little banal and basic. Lyrics in black covering white walls. A juke box down the stairs into the second crescent of a round room. Near the juke box, two benches on either side arranged with headphones and the same book over and over, spaced out. Seems basic right.
And then I read about the piece and began to actually look at the lyrics. The lyrics all came from protest songs around the world, in the standing up for rights and against wars and violence and inequality. Though languages and words differed song to song and era to era, from whichever country each song came from, the messages remained essentially the same, loud and clear and calling for peace, and equality. The jukebox played the songs into the headphones so that one could sit and listen to the songs. And the books, all had the lyrics of all the songs from the walls, and almost each song had below its lyrics, a short history of the song, its writer, and the songs origin. I must have sat there reading the book cover to cover and listening to twenty plus songs for over an hour. Together the lyrics and stories are overwhelming and thought provoking. Provoking because when one comes to understand that the majority of humanity from all over the world just want peace and freedom, at any given time generally; why so many songs? Why so many eras? Why so many countries? And especially what can be done? Can we do anything? And what more can we learn about humanity from this particular assemblage of information?
I wrote to graduate school at the end of 2017 knowing, at that time, that I wanted to merge digital technologies with art, and create new ways for museums and galleries to interact with viewers. I was still in counselling, and I was finally dealing with things I had boxed away. I met a girl from Lima who is also an artist, and together we began discussing the plight of women and minorities today. We conceived of, created, and curated a show called eNOugh. Basically I was getting to know myself again, and what I stood for; what I am passionate about. I came to know that I have a lot of energy, that I am willing to play long games, that I really should care more about money but care more about people and life, and art, and that I do not really care to much to get married, or have children. For me it is important that I help good stories emerge in the world, that I help women and minorities to help increase, overall, their opportunities, and that I write children's books that help children to think about certain things from an early age to help them in their lives. I believe that children are smarter than we generally give them credit for, and that by getting them to think more critically from an earlier age, that we can better aid them for the future.
Now that I am in graduate school, I am looking at the senses in depth and figuring out how art can utilize all 5 senses in a way that could truly grow and expand the perspectives of others. I am still interested in and creating books for children, and I still at the end of it all want to have helped women, children, and other minorities to have better chances in the world, through empathic and expanded perspectives for everyone. Slowly it feels like what seemed a jumble of experiences and educational pursuits (animation, media arts, education, aromatherapy, fashion, and history) are all coming together to make something happen.
I am currently researching in four areas; the senses in regard to neurology and psychology, the senses in regard to the art world, curation, and women's issues. I will post about certain things; books I am reading, things I am thinking, galleries I have visited, people I have spoken with, and experiments I am doing. I hope that you find it interesting, but I also hope that it helps me to figure things out, so that I help things to keep moving, and aid in the pursuit of a better world.
So the last two years have seen a lot happen. To put it briefly, I will simply list the great, the good, and the ugly.
knock knock... oh hey. Yeah it's me again - can you turn it down please... my floor is shaking. Yeah it's uh 10 am on Sunday. Un huh... thanks.
Hey. So it's been a time. Right now I am sitting in a lovely apartment in Paris, and realizing that comfort is relative, for example I love my apartment, my area, my street, but my neigh-boor is an inconsiderate fool who plays terrible music at all hours. I don't know what it is about people that listen to loud music but a lot of them just don't seem to care that other people might hate their taste in music and we.... (shaking my head no)... We don't want to listen to it. I may love wild blue colours but I am not going to shove blinding blue into my neighbour's eyes at 10 am on a Sunday morning, or really anytime. I enjoy curry but the smell can be offensive so I don't cook it that strongly that it would penetrate the hallways of the building or affect my neighbours. So because I am a good neighbour and expect courtesy back I really don't want them, my terrible neighbour, putting on floor shaking electro-rap base and old school beats anytime. It's called manners and consideration. Obviously this fool has none - I've spoken to her at least 10 times since September. And it's not just the terrible music, it's the fights with her girlfriend, the loud s#x noises, the banging doors. So yes I am adjusting to life in Paris and also life above a horrible neighbour. The worst part is that she is neither interesting nor eccentric so I can't even use her in the future for a book character or project. Anyhow....
Apart from the noise pollution I'm back, and I am actually going to start using this space to record my processes, thoughts, and investigations about my art and practice. I love the idea of an online blog that can be accessed by anyone, because who knows who it may inspire or hopefully affect for good. That thought brings me a little more feeling of usefulness in this world, because I am struggling with that right now.