All posts by mo09ji

Video Study of Color and Texture, by Michael Abraham

Here is a link to my video on youtube, as well my written statement. thanks

– michael

Video Study of Color and Texture, By Michael Abraham Orfus
Conducted between 10:24 pm on December 1st, and 1:12 pm on December 3, 2009

Concept:
We experience color and texture all the time. Are senses are constantly bombarded by an array of tactile and visual information, however our conscious experience represents only a small slice of sensory possibilities (take for example different types of light or radiation in the electromagnetic spectrum outside of direct human perception; infrared, ultraviolet, etc). Due to the sheer volume of what we can still perceive, we cannot give most of this information our direct attention, and it goes unnoticed . . . what I propose is that we do absorb a considerable amount of these stimuli and their effects on a sub-conscious level, and that the feelings and sensations associated with these encounters are imprinted in our sub-conscious memory. As a result, even the most minute or passing tactile or visual experience has the potential to trigger a feeling, sensation, or even evoke an emotional response based on ones own past experiences of similar phenomenon and the events surrounding them. My film aims to provide the raw materials (color and texture) to stimulate the subconscious memory/experience in the individual viewer. The film also records a selection of my own visual and tactile experiences from 10:24 pm on Tuesday December 1st to 1:12 pm on Thursday December 3rd; a period of approximately 39 hours. The information is mediated through the camera, which when used freely can reveal to us what we can’t see on our own.

Methods:
Produced with a combination of stop motion and frame by frame digital photography, the film is composed of approximately 865 individually shot digital photos, shown at 1/10th of a second each; hours of visual information are condensed into in just over 2 minutes. Shot with a Canon Powershot SD780 IS Digital Elph, the subject is a selection of my everyday, or chance visual and tactile encounters mixed with more deliberate, generalized imagery intended to produce an emotional or cerebral response in the viewer. My notes record and list all materials in the order they appear, as well as by the time the photographs were taken.

Influences:
I have always been interest in the psychological effects of color – the idea that certain warm or cool colors or shades are associated with specific emotional or psychological states. My only conscious film influence is Stan Brakhage (1933 – 2003), who I was introduced to in this class. I love the abstract quality of his films and seeing his work has somehow affected the way I want my films to look. Mostly I am interested in his idea of revealing the universal in the particular. I sort of relate it to my interest in the way the camera can mediate our experience of the world and also reveal aspects of nature that we cannot directly perceive with our own eyes.

Challenges  / Successes:
The biggest challenge probably was taking the number of photographs needed to achieve the desired effect. As mentioned, the film is composed of 865 individual frames, which is maybe 1/4th of what I shot attempting to capture the correct compositions. At first deciding what to shoot and what not to was somewhat challenging, but as i got more involved in the process this became more intuitive. For documentary purposes I wanted the film to have a level of real-time continuity so I decided to shoot it straight through, in order, and with for lack of a better term, a sense of urgency. Needless to say the production consumed me completely for several days. Due to time constraints and the necessity to work on other assignments, I did not get to experiment with an audio track to supplement the visual aspect of the film. This may have helped to create an atmosphere of free association for the viewer. I do feel however, that the piece has a strong enough visual element to work in silence, and in the end I don’t think the lack of audio hurts the film, which is based primarily on retinal evocations of subconscious sensory-memories and their psychological and emotional associations.

Michael’s Commentary – Zilvinas Kempinas’ Double O at the National Gallery

On a recent trip to Ottawa I had an opportunity to visit the National Gallery of Canada. Exploring the contemporary art collection, I was struck by one piece in particular by Lithuanian artist Zilvinas Kempinas. Double O is simple sculpture/installation consisting of two fans facing each other. Between them, suspended in the air currents created by the fans, are two loops of unspooled videotape. The tape flutters and jumps around but never touches the fans or ground. If you look closely you can see several strands of fishing line strung between the fans, presumably to keep the tape properly aligned should it stray too far in any direction. However they are hardly noticeable, and I rarely saw the tape touch the lines.

I find this work to be really powerful and effective. Firstly I am struck by the simplicity of the piece. There is nothing particularly special about the actual materials or their manufacture, however their individual placement and subsequent interaction is really quite ingenious. Once the artist conceived the work, the physical installation would probably have been a matter of trial and error, aided by the artists familiarity with the behavior of the materials: fans and video-tape used to this effect are a reoccurring motif in Kempinas installations. I mention this simply to highlight the conceptual basis for the work and the idea that less is sometimes more.

The humming of the fans and seemingly random ebb and flow of the tape are really hypnotic. I like the fact that the installation is not the same from one moment to the next. It feels to me like some kind of eternal thing created by equal and opposing forces, achieving an extremely fragile sort of balancing act. . . precarious but somehow more satisfying then something more stable.

I also like his unconventional use of the material of videotape. Notably, it seems the artist is taking a material normally used to as a tool/medium for other entertaining or expressive information, and using it in a a way that allows it to act as expressive form in itself. Heather Anderson, an assistant curator in the contemporary collection of the gallery, illustrates this sentiment when she describes the piece as “a very playful experiment . . . it’s like a continually changing drawing in space.”

Here are some links to a short video of the piece on youtube, the artists website, and the national gallery, where I saw the piece.

– michael

Michael’s Final Project – A stop motion study of color, texture, and sound

For my final project i am planning on making another stop-motion video, this time focusing more on form, specifically color and texture supplemented by sound.

color and texture are something we experience everywhere, all the time. However these two aspects of form are often subtle or below the radar of our direct attention. we often see and feel these things but are not always aware of how they affect us: It is well known that color has inherant physcological affacts, and many textures have a tactile quality that we naturally associate with our positive or negative experience of the world.

The sequencial display of close up imagery of color and texture, supplemented by sound that will hopefully create an atmosphere of free association. related images will be shown for only a short increment of time, one after the other, almost too quickly for them to register, creating an ever changing flow of form and sound, aiming to evoke an emotional response in the viewer.

time line: at this point it is hard for me to specify a time line. i need to start working on this as soon as possible to make sure i get it done on time. but i have a lot of other work and catching up to do, most of those things are already late, and therefore may take presidence over starting this project.

– ideally i would like to have a good start on identifying my imagery, associated audio, and hopefully begun taking my shots by next class.

-firday is my day off, so if i can, i will do the majority of my shooting the day after next class. i shot around 825 photos for my last stop-motion video, and that was just under two mintutes. so i am aiming for between 800 – 1500 individual images for this project.

– i am aiming to shoot this over a period of 2 – 3 days, time permitting. there is still the issue of recording my audio, which i need to address.

– i should only need one day or night to edit, assuming i have my images and audio already compiled.

– try my best to hand it in on time!

Michael’s commentary on Zilvinas Kempinas’ Double O at the National Gallery

On a recent trip to Ottawa I had an opportunity to visit the National Gallery of Canada. Exploring the contemporary art collection, I was struck by one piece in particular by Lithuanian artist Zilvinas Kempinas. Double O is simple sculpture/installation consisting of two fans facing each other. Between them, suspended in the air currents created by the fans, are two loops of unspooled videotape. The tape flutters and jumps around but never touches the fans or ground. If you look closely you can see several strands of fishing line strung between the fans, presumably to keep the tape properly aligned should it stray too far in any direction. However they are hardly noticeable, and in the 15 or 20 minutes I observed the piece I rarely saw the tape touch the lines.

I find this work to be really very powerful and effective. Firstly I am struck by the simplicity of the piece. There is nothing particularly special about the actual materials or their manufacture, however their individual placement and subsequent interaction is really quite ingenious. Once the artist conceived the work, the physical installation would probably have been a matter of trial and error, aided by the artists familiarity with the behavior of the materials: fans and video-tape used to this effect are a reoccurring motif in Kempinas installations. I mention this simply to highlight the idea that less is sometimes more.

The humming of the fans and seemingly random ebb and flow of the tape are really hypnotic. I like the fact that the installation is not the same from one moment to the next. It feels to me like some kind of eternal thing created by equal and opposing forces, achieving an extremely fragile sort of balancing act. . . precarious but somehow more satisfying then something more stable.

I also like his unconventional use of the material of videotape. Notably, it seems the artist is taking a material normally used to as a tool/medium for other entertaining or expressive information, and using it in a a way that allows it to act as expressive form in itself. Heather Anderson, an assistant curator in the contemporary collection of the gallery, illustrates this sentiment when she describes the piece as “a very playful experiment . . . it’s like a continually changing drawing in space.”

Here are some links to a short video of the piece on youtube. Also here is a link to the artists website, and the national gallery, where I saw the piece.

thanks,

Michael

Electronics Project Proposal : Light jars

I had a couple of different ideas for this project and am still not completely decided on which to undertake. I have acquired most of the materials I need to get started in any case and I have a pretty good idea of some of the themes I am going to work with. I really like the work of kinetic sculptor Arther Ganson, here are some links of his work on youtube. Be sure to read his discriptions on the right . . .

Machine with Artichoke Petal #1

Machine with Abandoned Doll

Machine with Grease

I by no means intend to undertake anything as complex as his work! But the thing I like most about it is his use of simple found objects and that is something I would like to incorporate into my piece, as well as the use of more organic feeling materials. I would also like to continue with the use of light as a focal point for this project, as I have already begun to experiment with it in my work for this class (video project) and would like to continue exploring light as a subject / material.

Originally I wanted to make some kind of kinetic sculpture, but keeping my new goals and the project criteria in mind, I have decided to produce a more conceptual piece. What I am leaning towards is the creation of a set of “Light Jars”. . . Trying to think of creative ways to incorporate everyday objects that I have found or acquired it into my project it occurred to me I might be able to make a switch by co-opting the twisting motion of the lid of a glass jar. The actuators, in this case different arrangements of lights inside the jars, are only active when the lid is twisted closed, lining up the connection with the power source contained in the lid, and effectively “trapping” the light inside the jar.

I hope to create a piece that is somewhere between conceptual artwork and design, and I imagine it functioning as a minimal source of light, that can be manipulated and arranged by the user to suit their needs or taste. I intend to construct (possibly from found or re-claimed wood) an old or worn looking display rack / shelf to hold the jars, which will number in half a dozen or so and vary in shape, size, and internally, light source. The jars are only active when the lids are closed tight, sealing the light inside. As soon as one attempts to get at or acquire the light by opening the jar, the circuit is broken and the contents become intangible. This serves to highlight the ephemeral nature of different phenomenon of light and can also be seen as a metaphor for our difficulty as human beings in attaining a positive ideal (thinking of light in typically symbolic terms).

– Michael Abraham

Michael’s Video Project – a Stop Motion Study of Light & Shadow

I really enjoyed making my video. I choose to work in stop motion and basically shot it straight through with very little after editing other than audio. My project is a mostly spontaneous study of the effects of light and shadow in one corner of my room. The lighting is created by different sources I collected from around the house, and manipulated in different ways. The play of light and shadow in the space, and not the physical contents of the room, or space itself, is the subject of the piece. I improvised many of the sequences as i went along and this sort of opened up more possibilities in terms of unexpected things happening . . . which is an important part of the process for me when i am learning how to use a new medium. That being said, observation of unexpected results often leads to new ideas and more deliberate manipulation of the tools and materials. i found this to be the case as I moved forward with this piece . . . and i really lost all track of time! i found the physical process of making the film to be sort of meditative: i mean moving back in forth, slightly adjusting things, keeping track of all of the motion in your mind, back to the camera, and over again. I also attempted at certain points to simulate more common effects of light which occur around us all the time; such as the passing headlights of a car outside your window. The audio, which i downloaded off the internet and edited track by track (there are a few dozen different audio effects) serves to reinforce these simulations and other, more abstract, effects. One more thing i would like to mention is that when at times the screen fades to dark or light, what you are seeing is not a fade done through editing, but the actual absence or presence of light in the space.

Here is a link to my video of youtube.

– Michael Abraham

My video project – A study in light and shadow

For my video project I have decided to use the technique of stop-motion. I would like to learn more about this type of filmmaking and my video will be more of a study or experimental piece, as apposed to a film with some kind of narrative, dialogue or sequence of events. This format will allow me to experiment more freely, as I don’t have a lot of experience making films of any kind, and am primarily interested in the developing an understanding of the possibilities and limitations of the technique itself, not necessarily using it to tell a story. My project will use stop-motion to execute a study of light and shadow.

The digital capture of light is fundamental to the technologies we are using in class to produce our films. In fact, Willard Boyle, a Canadian scientist who helped to develop the technology that makes this possible, was awarded the 2009 Nobel Prize for physics in recognition of the pervasiveness and importance of his invention, the charge-coupled device, or CCD. The phenomenon of light and use of lighting is arguably the most important element in video and photography, as light itself is what allows us to experience the world in a visual way, and is a pre-requisite for the capture or representation of visual information. My experiments in stop-motion will be mainly concerned with studies in light and shadow, created through the manipulation of multiple and varied sources of light. The final product will likely depict the motion of light, shadow and the objects associated with their sources, in a single space from a static perspective. The visual aspect will be supplemented by minimal audio related to and reinforcing the visual effect. My finished project will represent my attempt to create an audio/visual experience for the viewer, and hopefully elicit some kind of emotional response, through the use of basic and fundamental elements of film.

Looking forward to getting started,

michael
P.S. if you’d like to read a little more about Willard Boyle, or his being awarded the Nobel Prize for his part in the invention of the CCD, here a link to a decent article.

Michael’s webspace

Here is a link to my webspace.

I designed my OCAD webspace to serve as a temporary online portfolio where i can display and share my work, as well as related links and useful resources. In the process of creating the webspace i did have a few setbacks at the start, but they were mostly basic things i had overlooked. after a whle i felt relatively comfortable with the basics of HTML and didn’t have much more difficulty. I intend to continue the development of the general layout of the page and add more images of my work over time.

hello my name is michael

hi, my name is michael. i am 24 years old and am originally from toronto, although i have not always lived here. when i was seventeen i left the city and traveled to vancouver, which was kind of my home base on and off for a few years. i spent most of my time there snowboarding at mt. seymour, where i was working as an instructor, and skateboarding in vancouvers many concrete skateparks, which some might say are works of art in their own right! i really love the outdoors and spent as much time as i could just hiking, camping, or canoeing. vancouver exists right on the edge of a pristine wilderness, so it’s pretty easy to leave the city and get right out in the middle of nowhere!

i was also lucky enough to have the opportunity to travel around british columbia and other parts of canada, the united states, and overseas in asia. probably the craziest place i’v been is bagladesh. what i mean by ‘craziest’ is that my decision to go there did not demonstrate a lot foresight. but it was alot of fun . . . for the most part.

so yeah, i like to travel . . . i am interested in all kinds of visual art. most of my experience lies in painting, drawing and mixed-media collage, but recently i have become more interested in creating three dimensional objects. some of my favorite artists are hans hofmann, robert rauschenberg, david hockney, andy goldsworthy, shary boyle, betty goodwin, joseph beuys, pierre cabanne, to name a few. i am also into all types of music and play the drums in an electro/dance/rock band called ‘henrietta lacks’ . . . if your wondering about the name it’s after a historical figure. google her, it’s pretty interesting stuff. anyways, our myspace music page should come up as well . . .

ummm, what else . . . my favorite color is green? that’s all i got.

michael,