Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Quick Statue Test

Madalina had the studio booked for a min test she was doing with her friend Bruno. When she was finished with her shoot she said we should make the most of the studio space and give it a go with me being statue.

I mainly wanted to look at ways to stand and where to look.

We tried a different angles so that I could look at it later and decide what I felt was best for the actual exhibition piece.

I then had a play with the images on photoshop to try and make myself look white but unfortunately I wasn't sure how to do it and instead I look like I've just made the image black and white. They're awful awful edits but it was just a test to see what it would possibly look like. Hopefully a lot better than these.

Friday, 25 March 2016

Artist Research - Kusama's Obliteration Room

I am not entirely sure how I came across this piece of work as I found it a while ago and have only just got around to writing about it unfortunately. But somehow I came across this art installation piece by Yayoi Kusama. The installation involves a large room entirely white, everything had been painted a pure white. Over a few weeks adults and children would go into the room armed with coloured stickers that they could place anywhere. 

The scene starts off as a very plain and basic surrounding and then it ends as a very bright and vibrant, colourful, happy scene. 

To me it is amazing how much colour can bring life to an image. The all white scene just looks very clinical and dull and almost as if all the fun has been sucked out of it. Then to add all the coloured dots it brings it to life. It looks more inviting and seeing the dots makes people want to get involved and doing so makes people happy. This is what I would like to achieve with my project. I feel that when I am just a plain white statue, whoever is first to arrive will possibly be hesitant, unsure of what to do, afraid if marking the perfectly white thing, but then once more and more handprints are added, it will become fun and inviting and people will want to get involved in creating something colourful and hopefully it will make people happy to do it and to be involved.

The photographs for this series is not the final art work, this is not a photography project, they are just documentations of a performance. This is kind of what I want to do for my project also, I want my main focus to be on the performance, but I will still have the imagery as part of it. I cannot do the live performance for my actual final piece so the documentation of the performance will be the finals.

Thursday, 24 March 2016

Last Shoot - Evaluation of the day.

On the day of the shoot myself and Madalina arrived at University at 9:30am so that we could go and get the stuff out of the stores. 
We had quite a bit of equipment to get out as we didn't have access to the lights provided on the dance floor. I booked out the Hasselblad and the pro-light kit with a tripod too. All really heavy so I was so grateful to Madalina for being there to help carry it all.

I hadn't had a chance to go around and put flyers up yet and I printed the flyers out purely to put up in the SU as that was the main target audience, people having their lunch.
So we went around and put some flyers up. Were not actually allowed to put flyers up in the SU and when we do they get taken down in the evening so it worked out well by putting them up on the day because we knew that they would stay up for the day and then be taken down.

After putting up the flyers it was time to start painting my body. Emma who works in the SU agreed to let us use the dressing room that leads onto the stage so we had privacy and no one was going to walk in on us. 

This time we just used the white acrylic and not the latex paint because that was so pointless the first time around. Painting my body takes around an hour because you have to do a couple of coats and sometimes it cracks so we had to go over some areas. Also doing my hair takes a long time and involves a lot of paint, both times now we have been unable to make my hair fully white, there are still bits of red left.

While I was having my body painted I had the help of Emily and Josie setting up the lights and the table for the paints which I was really grateful for because with this kind of project I cannot test shoot before we do it. I wanted to be able to just walk out and then become the statue instantly and begin the project. It also turned out that we needed two pro-light kits because the dance floor was so dark. So the girls sorted that for me and also got the Hasselblad set up so that it was ready for Madalina to start shooting.

I got a little bit worried when it hit 12:30 as I was still in the dressing room waiting for someone to come and tell me they had finished setting up but no one came and 12:30 is when I was supposed to be starting, after a few minutes, Madalina came and told me I was up. I felt so showbiz. I went down to the dance floor and took my position.

It was all a little hectic to start with, luckily no one was waiting because I needed to explain to the girls how to set up the livestream and then when it was set up we couldn't stand the phone up to record it so we had to make shift it and gaffer tape it to my laptop screen.

...and so it began, I stood there for and hour and it was great. It was a lot more spread out than the first one, the first one seemed to be a lot busier all the time but actually I had more people attend the second one but it was just all a lot more spread out in the hour time slot. The really great thing too was that people were seeing it on my livestream and then coming down because they'd seen me broadcasting, it was also surprising to me because a lot of the people that came were people that didn't know me and I had never met them which was fantastic and exactly what I wanted. Some people stood and watched while it was happening rather than coming down and putting a handprint on me which I also liked. I really did feel like the art piece.

It was incredibly hard to stand still for so long and there are a few slip ups where I move a bit. I also felt very rude whenever someone tried to speak to me which happened on a couple of occasions, I don't like being rude so that was so so difficult for me.

By the end of the shoot I was in a lot of pain, standing still is hard enough as it is but with my spinal condition on top of this I was in a lot of pain at the end. Which I guess is all part of the project and the exploration of my disability. It was a lot warmer than the first shoot so that was good but I couldn't wait to get home and get the paint off of me.

When I did get the paint off I noticed that my body was extremely itchy and a lot of red bumps were coming up, and within the next hour I was covered and my whole body was burning and so itchy. Which meant I was allergic to the paint meaning that if I wanted to do this shoot again it would not be achievable. It was awful. The following day I woke up to a swollen face where I could barely see out of my eyes and swallow. I felt like I had to go to a&e but I gave it a little while and eventually the swelling went down, but the itching stayed. Luckily my housemate had some medical cream she used when she had shingles and that helped a lot, but it was not fun and I really do not want to put myself through that again.

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Artist Research - Carolina Mizrahi

While I was looking through Pinterest I came across this series of photographs by Carolina Mizrahi. The website isn't in English, so I am not entirely sure what the series is called, it is either called 'Pink Monochromatic Sceneries' or it's called 'Avatar'. 

The series was created for the magazine Old Tat Magazine. It is exploring the idea of the world online and how we create an identity that separates us from the real world, creating a disconnected feeling to everyday life.

I really like the colouring of this series. I do really like the use of all pink and if pink is not used the an off white is used which still fits in with the imagery. 

The composition of these images, although a little varied are still quite central. There is something in each photograph that is the main point of focus. Whether it a person or an object. The way the model is positioned is also very different to most photographs of people that we assume fashionable. They are portrayed as distant and not with us which is what the photographer intended. They wanted to show that the model is not connected to the real world, they are drained of life because they have become so aware of the social presence. Even just a simple task such as standing in a room seems to be difficult for the model. They are aimlessly standing with no life whats-so-ever. 

The images relate well to my work because they are all one colour and objects have been painted so that they all match the scenery which is exactly what I wish to achieve when it comes to me setting up the area around me when I become the statue.
I do not intend for my scenes to be as cluttered as some of the images from this series and will most likely only have a couple of things around me so that it is not too much of a distraction from myself as I am the piece I want people to focus on, not the objects around me. I worry actually that having objects around me may confuse the audience and they may think that they are to put their hand prints on these objects as well, this is something I need to think about when it comes to the shoot.

Moodboard for shoot

I have made this project very online based rather than a sketchbook so to fit in with it, I used Pinterest to create a moodboard for the shoot as well as some poster designs.

All I did when I was looking for something related was I typed in 'white' on the website and as I was scrolling through photos I came across the first image below. Then when I clicked on the image I came across more related images which are the ones following. The last image which is of a girl covered in paint I found by typing in 'white body paint'. I love Pinterest as it brings up such nice imagery where as google sometimes just brings up things that are not relevant at all.

More Shoot Preparation

I always carry a little notebook around with me to write anything and everything I need to at the time.

I wrote down a list of things that I needed for the shoot consisting of:

- Packets of wet wipes (I felt two would be enough)
- Primary coloured paints (can be mixed to make other colours)
- Paint brushes to paint my body and to paint peoples hands
- Razors (need to make sure my body is shaved before Madalina has to paint me)
- White underwear, I am in no way prepared to stand fully nude. So the next best solution is to wear white underwear so it blends.

The little drawing next to the list is the second little illustration Madalina did for the shoot. We realised that due to timing, I didn't have time to go out and buy objects to spray paint them white. So we came up with a little diagram to show how it would look instead. 

I had the large photography studios booked out fully so that I could use it as an exhibition space as well as having the lighting. It was decided that we'd use a spot light and a soft box either side to light me. We would also need somewhere to put the video camera and then somewhere to have a table with the paints on so that people can paint their hands behind the scenes rather than in the main exhibition area.

Shoot Preperation

For my shoot I am collaborating with Madalina, she is going to be my art director for the project.

An idea that she had was to make everything all white. So to really make it look clean. So I would be painted all white while standing on a plinth like a statue would in a museum or gallery, and then around me would be objects that were also all white, objects that might not always be white for example a plant would be spray painted white so that it is not green at all. 

This would all be placed in a white room with white walls to keep in with the theme.

Madalina did a doodle on a scrap piece of card I had in my back of the set up idea.

(I think I look just like the drawing haha)

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Sony Photography Competition

I decided to enter another competition. Now I don't actually remember when I applied for this one but I literally googled competitions and came across it and thought I would give it a go. I realised it was a very big competition but it didn't hurt to try.

I am trying not to limit myself, I am trying to stop putting my work down and going ahead with it. I am proud of what I have created and think my images can be powerful so maybe one day these images will be seen by someone.

I was not shortlisted but that is okay.

Working with Digitisation Unit

I was sat in Starbucks with a friend when a lady and her children walked past me. The lady looked at me and smiled and I had the instant internal reaction of 'oh my god I know her but why do I know her' and I felt awful because as soon as she said hello to me, I realised it was Lisa who was my boss when I worked for the Digitisation Unit at University for my work experience. 

We were speaking and she asked if I was still interested in doing some paid work with them and I said that I'd love that! She told me how they had a big task coming up and would be grateful for the help so I was definitely up for it.

I emailed Lisa a few days later and asked for more details, I also asked how long it would be for as I was running for campus officer and if I won it, I could only work until July.

We spoke and agreed that we would discuss it more once I knew the results of the elections. I won so I emailed and told her that I would still be willing to work but I would only be until July and luckily Lisa was totally fine with this which was fantastic!

I met up with Lisa again to discuss it a bit more and I would need to apply like a normal applicant but she said the job is mine, which is absolutely fantastic, I really enjoyed my time there so I am looking forward to starting.

The brilliant thing is, its one day a week, so I now officially have 3 jobs at one day a weeks so its not too intense but I am earning so it's really good! 

I think I have an attachment to this University, I cant let it go.
I start in April.

Working with the University regarding accommodation

As I am already Disability Support Officer at University, I have been working with students to try and make the University a more accepting and diverse place for students.

One case I had recently was a girl that was being denied accommodation due to the fact she is a part time student, and part time students are required to pay council tax and the buildings for accommodation are not registered for students like this.

The student came to me and was extremely upset and struggling to even cope to stay at University. So I took her case to the head of accommodation and wrote a very long letter with snippets of the law in to back up my case and to my surprise, the response I got was a very nice one, she thanked me for challenging them and agreed to meet with me about the issue.

I met with accommodation and we discussed the case and went over some things and it was a success, we agreed that accommodation would do whatever they could to house the student, no matter the implications which was great! I was so happy and the student was so thrilled.

It is honestly the most amazing feeling helping someone especially when you see them really low. I hope that this continues with accommodation and they are a bit more accepting when it comes to students in need.

The second thing I worked on with Accommodation was the allowance of support dogs in the university halls. A student came to me with her case which was that she has Aspergers and her dog is her support dog. Support dogs are a very new thing to the UK but they are a growing thing so I really wanted to take on the case and hope that accommodation will adapt because it will be something the encounter more and more.

The student was already in halls and then requested to have her dog but was denied. When I questioned accommodation about this, they admitted that it was purely down to the fact that they had never had a case like this before and wasn't sure how to handle it. Also a couple of the housemates had said that they didn't want to live with a dog and it was too far into term for people to be rehoused.

When I spoke to the student, they were very good and agreed that it was too late for her now, but she was okay with that, and she also was more than happy to just be an advocate for this case and hope that because she has brought it to the attention of UCA that she can help other students. And thank goodness she did.

When I met with Alice I explained the situation and also explained how support dogs were becoming a very common thing and I could almost guarantee that more students applying will be asking to have pets with them. I asked what they would do if a student applied that was blind and needed a guide dog and she told me she had actually never had a student with a dog apply before so they hadn't fully set up a plan. But they agreed that they needed one and that it would be the same set up for support animals. We also suggested that they change their UCA Accommodation FAQ questions on the website because under 'Can I bring a pet' It just said 'No. Only guide dogs'. This has now been changed:

The accommodation team have also said that they are willing to work with me on changing the terms and agreements to accommodation so that new students can read and see if they are eligible for a support animal on campus.
I also suggested that they should give an option on the application forms that students can tick a box that says "would you be willing to live with an animal" this way, students can be housed appropriately and there should be no complaints. As well as giving information on the correct training that the animals need to have before they come to university so that if a student has an animal they want to bring, they have the right amount of time to have their animal trained before they come to university. 

Monday, 21 March 2016

Paralympics Advert

Something I looked into recently was how the media portrays disabled people and something that I discovered is that a lot of the time in films and on tv, the disabled person is the bad guy. I mean a common one that no one things about that EVERYONE has heard of, is Captain Hook in popular children's novel/film Peter Pan, a film I can safely say is my all time favourite childhood film. Some may say we are reading into things too much but Captain Hook does not have a hand, giving him a disability and he is a villain.

A while ago I saw an advert on tv for the relaunch of the Paralympics and I loved the advert. 
When I first started watching it having no idea what it was for, I thought to myself 'wow this is awful!! All disabled people and all villains' I then continued to watch and realised that it was actually telling people that not all disabled people are villains and that we can actually do good in the world. It then shows some empowering footage of athletes from the Paralympics.

I really like this advert and honestly believe it will raise some awareness.