Friday, December 11, 2015

Project 3 Reflection

Amanda Samuels
Project 3 Reflection

Whimsy Bloom

The creative process of this piece was a therapeutic and conscious one.  I achieved my goal of not creating any more waste or using any new materials.  I have now proved to myself that this is possible and intend to continue this method in my further work.  It felt liberating to detach from art I have made in the passed and give it new life.  The act of cutting up painted self portraits was symbolic in releasing parts of myself that no longer serve me.  The outcome of this piece and how it starts to create a space with an atmosphere and environment.  The feedback I received from my peers during critique was helpful in suggestions of how to move forward.  I plan to add to this installation, making more of these “plants” and making some larger ones that the viewer can explore and envelop in.  I plan to encompass entire spaces with this installation, adding more chimes activated through movement, and more trinkets and variation of scale.   

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Project 3 Reflection & Documentation

Blue Hole IV was born from a phrase in Richard Sennett’s The Craftsman, where he states “The fundamental fact of life is that nothing lasts—yet.. we need something to orient us, to lift us above the confusions of the moment.” I began thinking of the way in which we orient ourselves to the world. The spatial level that orients my experience is, for instance, a certain way that my body takes up the world, a “gearing of the subject into his world,” as Merlau-Ponty puts it. He argues that depth is the only dimension that belongs clearly to our perspective and not to things. Depth is the dimension of space (more than height and breadth) that requires us to suspend our assumptions. We experience depth at the ‘crossing’ or ‘collision’ of body and world. Accordingly, we do not construct space without an instrument for measuring it, and the instrument to which we refer everything, which we use instinctively, is our own body. In all the different ways of perceiving space, I am able to gain knowledge of others and myself in the world. The significance of everything that determines space (up, down, now, far) is based on here. Think of giving directions: you are here… you must move this way to reach “there,” or a new here. In order to orient yourself to a point, you must first have a point of orientation. In order to experience disorientation, you must have a loss or a slip of an existing point to be oriented from. The body consistently searches for an optimal way to gear itself, to orient itself within the world. In my blue hole series, I began searching for a way to create this slip, or search for orientation in the viewer. The blue hole in the floor acts as a precipice: an object which one must orient itself to, but also one that presents the danger of disorientation. The strobe lights and the fluorescent, glowing resin create a distance between immediately perceivable space and the dimension of depth within space that entirely disorients the viewer. Keeping a gearing of the body to space at bay, it disallows orientation and makes the experience one related keenly to the body.   

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Project 2 Reflection: Waste Date

People have always been my favorite medium for creativity. When I was younger, I would create fake lives with pictures of people from magazines. There would be fake love triangles, fake sexual tension (or whatever version a 7 year old has) and fake friendships. The quest for relationships has taken over my entire life. It’s been there with me for every single decision I make. It’s caused extreme heartache as well as adventures. I’ve hated myself for it, thinking I was pathetic for always seeking people. Ironically, this search for meaningful relationships has left me without many lasting ones. always hot and heavy  But as I grow older, I’ve relinquished the idea that I must fight it. It is neither bad nor good, it just is. People are my medium of choice, I’m going to rock that and this project was a direct reflection of that. 

As I start to write this reflection I find my head going in a trillion different places, of course,t his has to do with the fact that this project is very conceptually and emotionally loaded for me. So I’ve decided to try and break this down by each element of the project. 

So, naturally, this imagination for relationships has taken a new form. It’s no exposed in the form of interest in human interaction. More specifically, human interaction that is deeper than the surface. That is what I subconsciously set out to do in The Waste Date Project. I was searching for hot and heavy human connection. 
I only invited people I was interested in some way or another. Boys and girls, no difference. I started this project coming out of a damaging relationship. No, the other party wasn’t a bad guy at all but the circumstances our relationship was based on was damaging. I didn’t really feel free, through no fault but my own. 

The Date Setup 
It’s the energy between two people that draws me. That energy that exists in the space between two people. I didn’t tell anyone that these were dates because I didn’t want anyone to think that I wanted to go on a date with them. So what did I want them to think? That I thought that they were interesting people but they were still only 1 of 15. That was my safety blanket the whole time..that number. It’s like telling someone you love  that you love them in a sarcastic voice. In that case, the sarcasm is the safety blanket. 
  I kept a running list on the wall that listed every date and corresponding restaurant that took part in the project. The list was another barrier for me. Having this list gave me credibility. I got scared writing some names on the wall, afraid of showing them that I had even thought about them in the process of writing the name on the wall. The idea that they knew that I wanted to hang out with them left me extremely vulnerable. That’s why the restaurant and food waste was important. 

This project was not about the issue of food waste. Yes, that is something I’m very passionate about and I definently let some people think that but in my gut/heart/wherever the almighty one lives, I know that in the situation of this project, that was not the focus. The focus was the idea that there was a body across the table from me. They were there for me, that was completely transparent. So why go through the hassle of biking to over 15 restaurants in Gainesville and asking them for their food trash and cardboard? Why balance boxes of cardboard on your scooter, legs spread eagle and thighs flexing hard just to ensure that they don’t fly away as you make that turn? Why rush home every night to figure out how to make tubs of rejected food into a tasty, attractive meal? Why rush home every night to try and turn sometimes soggy boxes into an appropriate table and chair combination? 

Because by using items who’s primary use is complete, the only thing added into the world is the energy between my date and I during our time. 

 That energy is the only thing I created during this project. Everything else was borrowed for the purpose of setting up the classic date situation that is culturally recognized as a place to focus your attention on the person across from you.

That brings me to my next point, the date aspect. I was interested in this idea of sitting across from someone with all of this pre-conceived expectations and plans you may have for them. 

There also is something to be said for all the energy exchanged during the collection of these borrowed items. I crafted a new map of a memory of Gainesville for myself. I know this town better, I know the local business that make up this town’s economy better. 

Project 3 Reflection

I originally built this box as a space to invite people into but as time went on, it  became clear that the box was only for me. The zippers are small, making it hard to get in and out of the box. I’ve used this box as my personal heaven for late nights at school and have found an extreme comfort in staying in this small, secluded space. I would like to increase the amount of objects that live outside the box and enhance the interaction between the outside and inside of the box. I plan on bringing this box outside and setting it in random public places, living it it until I feel (or the law feels) it’s time for me to move on to a new space. I see this as a draw from Marina Abromic’s Rythym Zero and Yoko Ono’s Cut Piece. In my case, I am adding playful objects to the outside and I am in a crate. People won’t be able to see me unless they look closely. I’m interested in how the audience will interact with the boundary of an animal-like shipping crate.

Project 3

Project 2

Check out my website that presents the project!!
Website here

Project 1

Tuesday, December 8, 2015


Here is a link to a  my video for my redo of project 2....enjoy!

Project 3 reflection

Mercedes Ortiz
Project 3
The Craftsman

I call this piece Turpiggin, and honestly I was really worried about doing and starting this piece. From where the initial idea was going and how it turned out is dramatically different. Originally I was going to depict a story about this creature who had the ability to regenerate these ready to eat meat parts. What it became was a visual representation of how crude the meat production and consumption can be. I have to say that I am really proud of this piece, from the execution to the final product and to the displaying of the piece. This is my absolute favorite piece that I have made for this class, because I was able to produce what I really wanted to and it was successful on many levels. Plus for this critique I got a lot of wonderful feedback on this piece.
              The feedback that I received hit a bunch of levels. I love the idea that one person said they feel the need to kneel to these creatures, almost like they were Gods or something to be worshipped. Due to the way I stylized the mark making there was a sense of primordial artist. I also got the comparison that this banner had a remanence of medieval banner like those of the renaissance. I was told that maybe as a possible installation piece would be a Renaissance festival next to a turkey leg stand. I could help but feel a sudden urge to find a Renaissance festival and ask to install it right away.
 The way I treated the rope and braided the ends together it gave a more refined and looked like one continuous piece of rope. I felt that the piece needed to have a sense of symmetry. When I only attached the banner from the corners I felt that the front fell forward so I added the grommet in the center as well, thus adding one on the bottom to keep the symmetry. One important thing that I would like to change would be to use either rope, cloth, or even add wear to the metal “new” grommets that I have on the piece right now.  People definitely and easily read meat industry and that grotesqueness of consumption. Tying with the readings I was playing with the idea of adaptation and sustainability. I wanted to draw attention to the disgusting amount of meat we eat and display that. The fact that people read that and then some made me very happy and felt successful.

Painting Water Blue Video, Process, and Reflection

For this project, I created a happening. Facebook makes this pretty easy now (links to event page).
A couple friends and I went out to a creek and gathered garbage from about half a mile of it. We used that pollution to make a water channel. The water channel provided the power to 'paint the water blue' using blue clay from the creek banks.
I learned about the medium of happenings through this project. Allan Kapprow has an essay titled 'The Elimination of the Audience' that give advice as to how to make these happenings as life like as possible. A problem I had was trying to have too much control. I had an idea of what I wanted to happen, and even though we achieved it, I didn't handle the most interesting part properly: the interaction with life and people.
Flutist ideology on documentation also influenced me. Unfortunately, my understanding of fluxist ideas was shallow, and I sacrificed basic quality of presentation in the name of not trying to disguise the video as a piece of art. My remake of the video adds more information to the event and gives the viewer more time to take in what happened.

Semester Reflection | Presentation

Here is a link to the presentation I made for this end-of-semester artist talk and reflection.

Project 3 | Reflection

Writing in from notebook later today.

Arrangement of the wax into a chainmail/feather/armor is strong. 

Powerful yet delicate.
Gradient highlights the concept.

I am proud to have done a piece more experimental in nature. I didn’t obsess over how I would display it this time, I simply did many trials and experiments with the wax medium and then thought it would be best  in the center of a space hung from the ceiling, rather than my initial thoughts about it being on the wall. I like where this idea of feathering the wax strips into armor is going and I would love to do many more versions of this in the future. The wax was challenging to work with as it kept drying so I worked quickly and I would do it very slowly to improve craft. I would like to create this on hand-dyed and then hand-waxed silk and make the feather/chainmail pattern more apparent. I’m pleased with the overall stature of the piece, it takes on an unearthly presence and is dramatic. It comes to life with how it is lit and captures the spirits of the concepts I explored. I would love to add resin to the wax mixture and would love to paint the wax over silk and hang the silk so that it flows more freely and becomes an ethereal being. I want more life created by this overwhelmingly tall piece, towering with grace and strength. I'd love to continue the process of painting wax and take even more time so that the aesthetic of the layered wax looks natural but still very in control and not messy in any areas. 

Project 3 | Process

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Project 3 Reflection

Overall, the piece came across as visceral and upsetting. The following fluids, gurgling noises, and vile colors were noted as having a disgusting effect, triggering a primal repulsive urge. The air pump also produced a churning noise which bothered almost everyone in the room, both for its noise and its interval. The inflating and deflating oxygen bags registered as breath, reminiscent of the slight rising and falling of a breathing chest. The choice of materials made a clear reference to modern medicine, both in the way they were used and recognized. As well, the chaos of the material created a complexity that felt confusing to many classmates.

The piece also had unfulfilled aspects. Some classmates felt that, while the piece was disturbing, it could be to easily ignored. This could be changed by integrating the piece further into the setting, making it more difficult to avoid—for instance, a web of oxygen tubes and electrical chords that would need to be maneuvered around in order to navigate the gallery. And while the piece had a great aspect of anonymity, classmates were curious as to the "person's" personality, at least before the medical happening. Adding nostalgic items could help inform the viewer of this past personality and remind the audience that extreme medical happening also destroy parts of personality. It could help humanize the piece. I have a "Chicken Soup for the Women's Soul" book that would fit perfectly. It's pages are even dogeared as to indicate what stories have and haven't been read. I also have a wheel chair seat cushion that should've been added to the piece. It would express concern for the "person's"
comfort. As well, the piece was a bit one-note like in the way that it was an idiom made literal.

While listening to the critiques, I couldn't help but notice that no one plugged the "person" back in. The class acted as if it would be a crime to the metaphor, that you could not resurrect the dead. But in reality, the piece was never alive. It's a Rube-Goldberg-esc contraption of medical supplies and motors that pump air and push fluids. Maybe pumping air and pushing fluids is a watered down description of our bodies, at least in a utilitarian sense. As un-alive as this piece was, it was fundamentally alive. This paradox would explain the slight hesitation I noticed in peoples speech when trying to refer to the object in the wheelchair. The class was torn on whether to call the object a thing or a person. This could be more indicative of a lacking in the English language, but regardless of the explication, the class felt for this thing like something in the uncanny valley. 

The most heartfelt reading was that the piece was "hard to look at." It describes my feelings toward my mom as she became debilitatingly sick, and it also describes an overwhelming attitude the general population has towards the sick. Like a mole or wart, no one wants to look at sickness. No one wants to understand the atrocity it creates. No one wants to have their empathic pathways overrun with pain. It's just too much and often causes people to look away, making it "hard to look at."

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Allan Kapprow, eliminating the audience (fluxus and happenings)
For anyone interested in social practices *cough cough Emily*
It has been pretty influential as to how I'm considering displaying my piece... or not displaying it

Monday, November 23, 2015


Sunday, November 22, 2015

Project 1 | Reflection

Project 1

Project one was a project that went through many phases, ideations, and allowed me to gain much knowledge and experience with materiality, new processes, and craftsmanship. It was stressful at times but extremely rewarding, not in the sense that my piece came out just as I had intended it to, but in that it was an extremely valuable learning process.

I experienced and learned about a material I had never worked with but always wanted to, wood. I was in the wood shop for many nights in a row, working meticulously with the nature of the material, not against it. I was ambitious in that I decided to not buy new wood, I was given old hardwood that was in terrible shape, and I took it upon myself to mill it to perfection. In an extension of the theme of space, I also wanted to put myself in a new environment, the wood shop, and work away for endless hours, gaining a new skill while being dedicated and honest to the craft. It became a ritual and a meditative act to mill the panels to perfection. I was meticulous and a perfectionist. 

In addition to wanting to learn how to use the machines in the wood shop and to work with such a beautiful material, also chose to do this tedious process instead of buying new wood, because I thought a piece so formalistic and minimal deserved high attention to the materiality and should make up for the simplicity of the aesthetic in the craft. Though it may not be apparent that the wood was dedicatedly transformed, I learned how to work with and try to honor the material, which reinforces the concept behind such a minimal piece.

I also challenged myself to work with even more unfamiliar materials, and when given the option to change them, I decided not to and stick it out. I worked with stainless steel and it was tough, with issues cutting, but I got the product I intended, and it worked out.

I also learned a lot about gaining resources and working with others for help. The guys in the wood shop were awesome in teaching me about each machine I used and also helped with production in the wooden frames. I reached out and made great connections with those at Boone Welding and took many trips there to get the stainless steel just right.

There were many successful aspects of the piece and notes on the experience are as such –

The scale is inviting and harmonious in its proportions
The craft is very well-done and shows attention to detail
A respect for the materials is apparent
There are a lot of shadows and reflective light play which makes the formal piece dynamic
There is a subtle dialogue and connection between the frames and also between the space
The frames look different in various settings based off of light

Ways to improve or considerations are as such –

Consider the color of the raw materials and think about a stain
What happens if these frames are placed in natural landscapes
Play up the lighting even more to create more reflections and shadows
Think about how the dialogue can be pushed more, perhaps more dramatic lighting will do this

I'm proud of my dedication to project one, despite it not turning out as cool as I had thought it would from my sketches, inspiration, and ambitions. It is intended to be in settings with various types of lighting and not in regular indoor lighting. It was rough in that it took so many hours, I had to go to the welding shop many times, there were issues with cutting the stainless steel, it was very costly, and I was going through a spell of my illness, but I pulled through.

In the future, I think I want to stain the wood to make it more rich and dark, but I don't know what stain color to choose. I would also like to play with light and environment. I would like to see how it is perceived in a landscape. I feel that if you came upon this in a forest, you would want to meditate on gazing through these spaces and see a lot of reflection and shadows with the light that comes through. I also would like to shine various lights on it in different ways to allow the light to reflect off of the stainless steel onto each frame in ways that allow the frames to have more of a dialogue and a dynamic interaction.

I feel the piece was overall successful and it gave way to a lot more than meets the eye for me. The formal qualities reinforced the theme of space by showcasing wooden frames whose scale and familiar materials invite the viewer to crouch and meditate, gazing through open window-like frames. Space is shown through these comfortable units that come together to reflect light between them and communicate an intimacy of space and connection. The ways that the light hits and shadows form translate a sense of dialogue between each frame.

The concept of the piece that is reinforced is an intimate and subtle, yet almost impossible connections between separate forms through a dialogue facilitated by light, line, form, and space. The negative space is in the soul of each form and gives way for passaged between them, though not entirely explicit.

This piece actually came about from heart break and studies of Orion's belt. It also conjures my thought process behind this piece that involved relationships and trust between individuals. So close and so identical, yet so disconnected, and wary of the invitation because it looks too perfect.

News | Winnebago Workshop

Alec Soth
Winnebago Workshop
Knight Foundation Grants


Li Hongbo

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Project 3 | Ideation

Project 3


Idea 1

My first idea was about my concern with food waste and I wanted to create products that used composted or old food and turned them into reusable goods, like creating fruit leather and use sheets of that to create goods, but I couldn't think of how to further this idea at the moment.


Idea 2

I have been interested in working with wax castings and paper.

I was thinking a lot about using two materials together, one of which can be molded and is pliable, and one that has a set structure and shape. Their interaction is what interests me.

I have been thinking about death and ideas of the afterlife, and I wanted to create organic, ghost-like, and ephemeral structures that are very light, airy, and delicate. I'm not sure of what shapes I will use, but I was thinking about having them suspended to be spirits and energy.

I also want to disassociate the piece with material culture and create it out of recyclable materials, to further convey the themes of renewal and regeneration, and that are not very expensive. I may not be able to use wax for these reasons, but I have been and will be doing research on the implications of the used materials and what connotations are associated with each. 

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Jimmie Durham Talks

News on DiMoDa Museum

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Shia LaBeouf is watching all of his movies right now

Shia LaBeoufis doing a performance where he is watching all of his movies straight for 3 days right now.



Working Title: Provide a title for your project.

Project Abstract: Briefly describe in 2-3 paragraphs the concept, inspiration, motivation, and idea behind the project.

Process/Method: Describe how you will fabricate your project, including materials and methods.

Location/Presentation: How do you envision presenting this work? How will the audience encounter it?

Material List: List all materials required for the creation of this project.

Time-Line: Break down the project into tasks to be completed at a certain date; be realistic. It is good to work backward from your due date.


Images: Include conceptual drawing, sketches, collages, etc. of the project to be completed. Have multiple views if necessary. Include images of similar past work if relevant.
Include 5 images total added within your proposal document.

Resources for research: What has influenced the conceptualization and implementation of this project?

Why is this project important at this time and place?  What role does this project play within the genre and the larger community?

News for today

University of California, Berkeley, launches new website featuring their archive of over 10,000 cylinder recordings. Cylinder recordings were used before the invention of vinyl records, tapes, cds, etc. I think this article can start a conversation in relation to the craftsman: how we make things to archive sound. Digital recordings in comparison to vinyl, cylinders, tapes. People have been reinventing ways to store information (the spotify era), but what is lost? Also, this is a good example of archiving and preserving old ways of doing things. Cool stuff. Here's a link to the actual website:

Monday, November 9, 2015

Ted Talk | Why We Make

Here is that great TED talk about the intent behind our work and getting to the 'why' we do or make something rather than just the 'what.'

Friday, November 6, 2015

Tea-go Trip. Process statement. Documentation. Reflection.

How wonderful it would be, thought I, to have tea with strangers at bus stops and stuff. I haven't made it to a bus stop yet, but I distributed many little cups of tea to people through this project in various situations.
My aim was to make 100 tea cups. I did it all in one weekend, hitting about 85 cups. I built them all in a kind of industrial wabi-sabi kinda way. I spent 25 hours pinching clay in 3 days, getting myself sick in the process. It would be no surprise if my project-induced sickness was the first domino to fall in this last months epidemic.
All the cups were relatively small but varied in size. They have a lava rock type of glaze on them which, combined with their organic shape, makes them very tactile and intimate objects.
I gave cups to some people so they could become part of their daily matters. One person wrote, "This cup said gotchu and caught a scalding drop in its rough bottom skin. Yet it cradled my lips ergonomically with its ultimately smooth upper skin. Its scale exactly fit my rounded palm, radiating comfortable life-like warmth, and my nose to mouth distance, reminding me of its I-gotchu-ness by tapping me on the nose as I sipped my last sips. Its shape was stout, reassuring, steady, and strong. Quality over quantity, it said, what you do, do well."
Another set of cups stayed in my home and was used in various situations; conversations over tea, breakfast outside, an excuse to hang out longer, and tea parties around a bon fire to name a few. The cups were actively fused with daily life.
A third group was used in UF's pop-up culture event. I set up a table with two other ceramicists, Bridget Fairbanks and Eddie Dominguez, and we served people tea in my cups using Bridget's pitchers.
After these teacups were used in these situations, I fired s¥mbols onto them. The symbols are words with all the letters stacked on top of each other. Over time, they will build up on the cups and become as much a part of the piece as the stamps on asian scroll paintings.
Critique was just as much a part of this process. It was a performance to add to the list of where the teacups have interacted and a chance to learn about social interaction with tea as the hook to make a certain type of intimate experience happen.

I began this project with zen intentions, but found myself to be like a mad hatter who's trying to figure out how being peaceful works. I was inspired by the tea ceremony and all its life reverie. Why not revere the simplicity of life all the time? This escalated into just another complexity in the seriocomic drama of life. A spiritual tea-go.
I learned a little bit about being social. I learned a little bit about how people interact with these little intimate forms. I learned a little more about my own ridiculous tendencies. But it all felt somehow forced... nothing was real to me. Stuff happened. Life happened. I'm uninterested though. I have expectations as to how things should be, how I want them. I habitually see myself as separate from the world, a Thing with expectations, even the expectation of nonexpectation. Oh circular thought, my love for you will be my own doom.
I find it interesting how far removed from original intentions things can become, especially when it comes to the pursuit of Truth. The more we try to understand it or experience it, the more it baffles us and the more separate we become from it. It has turned into an idea we have to fit ourselves and our experience into.
This was the essence of what happened in my final performance, a maniacal and uncomfortable presence of what not to do in the pursuit of Truth.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Final Documentation & Reflection For Process Project

The Art of the Project: Reflection 

The audience kneels or bends. The room is silent as they pay respect to the objects, contemplating their contents as they try to puzzle together what they all might mean. Each person has a story they want to tell about the person they feel is represented. The small vials are medical, but also memorial; they present as both a scientific sample and as part of a memory. Some vials are filled to the brim while others have only an iota of substance in them. This variation in the fill lines implies that what exists in the vial is all that could be preserved. A few of the audience members read it as a chronological narrative- from left to right; others read it as non-sequential and see this as amplifying the investigation required on part of the viewer. The gold leaf and marble shelf, reminiscent of a mausoleum, merge with the repetition of the vials and small black caps to blend science and religion. Audience members mentioned that the vials seemed to appear in categories: grief (tears, funeral brochure, memorial flowers), belongings/ the body (perfume, hair, blood, fuzz from a relic), and actions (burnt brillo, motor oil, melted coke bag). This being said, it didn’t appear that a discernible statement was being made although the process was evident. This rings true with where I stand on the process/ sculpture. Some of the strengths that were mentioned were the sculptures ability to relay memory, the placement on the wall, the presentation, and the the labeling of the vials. In the future, though I like the pencil on the wall, I would like to present the sculpture with toe tags as labels instead. An interesting moment in critique, for me, was the discussion of the term “candy coating.” As it is both an idiom and an object, it becomes both metaphor and reality. I like this because I had applied the phrase “not candy coating it” to the materials I chose to present (i.e. melted coke bag, medical paraphernalia, etc.). Altogether, I feel that the sculpture turned out to be a successful material manifestation of both my sister and the process of my particular form of grief. Death is something that I carry with me; though it may not be at the forefront of my thoughts, it is always lurking closely nearby. That being said, finally getting a chance to make a sculpture dealing directly with my sister’s death feels exactly as her death has been: bittersweet.