Experiments with Pedestrian Footage

24 04 2010

Inspired¬†by some of the ideas that came up from a recent tutorial, I’ve started playing around with cutting the screen in three fields. I like the plains of view this creates and will use this to better direct the eye. Further work is needed to the general visuals of the project to avoid things from becoming to busy. Next I will experiment with creating fixed points of focus.

Busy day at the V&A…

20 04 2010

The title of this post rhymes, I know. I’m exhausted so I am hoping that it can excuse for the corny start to this entry ūüėČ ¬†I regrettably missed the chat session with the onliners today and wished that I had the ability to be in two places at once, but alas I am only a mortal man… I’m digressing again, sorry.

I spent most of the day at the V&A with Carol Tulloch from the TrAIN department to participate in a post-graduate seminar/discussion with some of the TrAIN MA and PhD cohort. I was assigned to make a presentation and discuss the work of Wade D. Shaw. Below is one of the archived works that I talked about that was created at the Atlas Computer Labratory in Chiltern, Buckinghamshire. The Atlas Computer Lab (established 1961) is described by the V&A as ‘historically one of the most important computer labarotories in the world.’ The print was created by a spark-pen capable of inputting graphical information into a digital computer using shock energy waves.

Wade, Shaw (1972), White Horse

Having previously been in contact with Honor Beddard (curator of the Digital Pioneers Exhibit) about an unauthored plotter drawing with the words of Jose Rizal’s text ‘Noli Me Tangere’ on it, and having joined the V&A’s Computer Arts Society, I had gained some prior (albiet elementary) understanding of the V&A’s digital art collection. I brought this to the table of discussions which led to group revisiting around the role(s) of the museum in regards to the collection of art. ¬†Other issues of authorship, authenticity and circumventing institutional validation came up and I have filed these ideas away for later reflection when I have some time to better look at my art practice as a whole.

For now, I am very excited and stressed about the pending show. I am happy to see a few active members in the cohort are really picking up steam. Special thanks to Ina (http://inadorthea.wordpress.com/)¬†for all the work she’s has been doing so far regarding the Degree Show. ¬†After the gruelling seminar in South Kensington I used the opportunity to revist Earls Court to gather more fottage and take some shots. Carrying my tripod and full bulk of my photography kit with me I found myself setting up camp in certain spots outside leaving odds and ends strewn on the sidewalk as if it were my own personal studio. This led me to spend a lot of my time looking towards the ground, minding that pedestrians didn’t step on any of my equipment or notes. In this hectic situation I realized that the visual of people’s feet walking past a camera was sublimly perfect for showing movement. I dropped everything (except the cameras) and started filming foot traffic from foot level. ¬†I am now looking over the footage and will compose something for the symposium in May.

Jose Rizal’s ‘Noli me Tangere’

19 04 2010

“Fate presented itself to some like a chinese fan–one side black, the other side gilded with flowers.” (Jose Rizal from¬†Noli)

I’m still trying to work through my images and figure out how I’m going to visually and thematically represent the quintessential Philippines in London. In searching for Philippine nationalism I was reminded of an old book I came accross when visiting the Philippines in my late twenties ‘finding my roots’. ¬†Asking relatives, friends and aquaintances if there was something that I could hang my hat on as being distinctly Filipino, I received a slew of varied opinions many of which took on a humourous slant similar to the popular ‘You know your Filipino when…’ lists as seen on jeepneygang.com (http://www.jeepneygang.com/bola/pinoysgn.htm).

That said, one lasting and resounding opinion (heard from a few older pinoys) was that Jose Rizal (1861-1896) was for all extensive purposes the unabashed national hero of the Philippines. This was corroborated by the fact that Rizal is honoured with a national holiday, is found on the 1 peso coin and has monuments in the Philippines and around the world from Singapore to Seatte.

Rizal fought for reform in the Philippines, then a Spanish colonoy, and among other things was famed for his book Noli Me Tangere. ¬† Noli critiqued the hegemonic class structure maintained by the Spanish colonialism and Roman Catholocism. ‘When it was written (in Spanish) and published (in Berlin in 1887), the Filipinos were only beginning to think of themselves as Filipinos rather than as members of various tribes scattered among 7,000 islands between Borneo and Taiwan. Their segregation of their fellow Malays after the colonial wars of the East Indies were settled, and the consciousness that the Spanish oppression was suffered by all in common, had given rise to a feeling of separate nationhood..” (excerpt from the English translated Noli by Leon Guerrero, Capitol Publishing Inc: 2002). ¬†Referenced by post-colonial Bendict Anderson in his seminal text Imagined Communities, Noli is cited as an example of how a book had created a national idenity.

This is a copy of the original cover from 1887 taken from http://www.gutenberg.org

Soon after it’s publication, Noli was banned as ‘subersive’ and ‘heretical’ by the Royal and Pontifical (Domincan) University of Santo Tomas and recommended a prohibition of its import, reproduction and circulation in the Philippines. Rizal would later be excecuted by firing squad in 1896 and become the martyr that sparked the Philippine Revolution in the same year.

I am distilling a few ideas to use images of this book in my installation of which I will post shortly but for now I thought it useful to post this historical background…

The 10 week work plan

17 04 2010

With the degree show build scheduled for June 28, 2010, this academic year is careening to a finish. The time has slipped from ten months to ten weeks! So far I am very happy with how things are going so far but I have refined my work plan to A) ensure the quality in my final piece and b) that I will make the deadline. Below is a rough work plan of what I intend to do. Fingers crossed, touch wood and break a leg…

After Effects

14 04 2010

I must confess that in the open sharing spirit of Web 2.0 I have infringed on copyrights from time to time. I make it a point to use open source software when I can, but to date I have not yet found an equivalent for Adobe’s After Effects. As a result I have had two choices. The first was to actually purchase the product (upwards of $1000 of which I cannot currently afford) or to download a pirated version from a trusted torrent site. I went for option two, and have been labouring over the last few weeks trying to find a properly cracked version. Happily I have just successfully installed ¬†a working version and have spent the last hour trying to figure out the basics. Below is an example of one of the silly things I learned from online tutorials posted on youtube by twelve-year-olds who have enough knowledge of the software to mimic a Steven Spielberg movie!

I just can’t resist… below is a ‘portfolio’ video from a one such pre-pubecsent AE virtuoso -Kevin Lin. I often think about how society will change dramatically once the generation who grew up with computers gets in the driver’s seat. I am excited to see the future of digital art once kids like Kevin grow up. ¬†At the age that I was watching Transformers cartoons and playing on my Atari (I’m dating myself here as one of Douglas Coupland’s Gen Xers), take a peak at what this next generation of computer literate creatives is doing:

Brainwave on the heath

12 04 2010

I just spent this lovely sunny Sunday hanging out on Blackheath with my wife and baby and came upon an idea for another visual element/theme in the project. Generally I don’t do any work on Sunday as this is the designated ‘family’ day. ¬†As my wife is also a creative and academic, our poor 1 year old son faces a life dealing with over obssessive parents who bring their ‘jobs’ with them everywhere they go. The problem with doing somehting that doesn’t really feel like work is that it leaks into all that you do. ¬†Rewarding and damning, the fact is there is no punching the clock in the vocation of artist or academic ūüėČ

As our son was snoozing the afternoon away, we sat on a bench in front of a pond in Blackheath (my wife reading while I was sketching) and I thought of how if one is to stay in any given location for an extended period of time it becomes almost inevitable that one starts to set roots. In front of me was an old tree, rooted near the pond. It had it’s top cut off probably because it’s size didn’t fit the busy roundabout near the local pub. In someways it had taken root in an environment that it was not meant for. It’s top branches severed spoke to a profound dislocation of being. Soon after I saw a Canada Goose land in the pond and thought of how in England the locals I have talked to only refer to these regal birds as geese. In Canada the black and white geese reprent the country and are illegal to kill. I felt a strange kinship with this beast that I imagined flew over the vast ocean to find itself near the same pond as me (of course it most likely didn’t and had been in Europe for generations but I liked where this idea was going).

Visually ¬†I thought it would be interesting to play with this concept of roots and rootedness with the image of a tree. Using a silhouette of branches could easily be morphed into roots when flipped upside down. The symmetry between branches that spread towards the sky and roots that burrow into the earth is remakable. I also like the idea of turning things around. Growing up in Canada, Asia was often described to me as being on the other side of the globe. As a child, I would often imagine people in the Philippines, at that very moment, living their life completely upside down. It was as far away as one could possibly imagine in Canada (both physically and culturally) yet in many ways my lived reality as a Filipino-Canadian had Asia close to my thoughts and identity. As a result what I’m working through is a visual of a tree that is going through it seasonal cycle of growth and bloom in spring and summer and shedding of leaves in autumn and winter. As the tree becomes bare the whole point of view revolves so that the branches become roots… there is something of interest in this metaphor but I still have to work it through.


8 04 2010

In the title of this blog post, I am not actually refering to the very nationalist website found on http://www.asianamerican.net/index.html, I am refering to the 2003 ¬†text edited by Rachel C. Lee and Sau-ling Cynthia Wong. ‘AsiaAmerica.net: ¬†Ethnicity, Nationalism and Cyberspace’ has very ambitiously collected writings that cover both digital culture and nationalism in the Asian diaspora context! It is refreshing to find a community of researchers with such similar research interests.

Specific articles which I have found to be of particular relevance to this project are:

‘Filipina.com: Wives, Workers and Whores on the Cyberfronteir’ by Vernadette V. Gonsalves and Robyn Magalit Rodriguez

‘Laughter in the Rain: Jokes as Membership and Resistance’ by Emily Noelle Igancio

‘Cyber-Race’ by Jerry Kang

‘Orienting Orientalism, or How to Map Cyberspace’ by Wendy Hui Kyong Chun