This show features images of a perfomance installation by local artist and sculptor Kaili Chun. My current mentor, Jaimey Hamilton Faris, and her UH students helped with the installation at Waimanolo Beach. While I did not see the performance live last year, I found the images documented by Erin Yuasa evocative and somewhat haunting.
A quote by Chun featured at the exhibition:
"...The tensions that persist between western and indigenous ways of knowing and understanding the world, serve as catalysts for demarcating sculptural forms of containment that serve not only as reminders of the many ways in which each person is shapad and constrained, but as negoitiable boundaries between inside and outside, between concealment, and reveleatin. Who occupies whom? How do we move between the two worlds in which we live? Are we subject to the boundaries defined by others or do we delineate the boundaries that explicate our situations? The lines are not always so clear-cut."
I've been thinking a lot about my interest in light. As a photographer, light is both a technical imperative and a creative tool. Over the last two years, I've spent a large chunk of time looking at and photographing sources of light in urban and natural settings, honing in on odd occurrences of light illuminating scenes in unusual ways. I became (& still am) interested in the visual effects of these light sources within long exposures and how their effects consequently render the air, ocean, and environment. This fall, I've started to considered how these abstract long exposures begin to point toward an integrated, non-dualistic relationship between human-kind and the environment. (See sky palette examples and influences of feminist environmental theory in previous paper.) In other words, the relationship between nature and humanity is not always divided by a clear specific line. I'm interested in discovering the spaces where the artificial and natural collide, making it difficult to distinguish where one begins and the other ends. In my investigations, especially in Hawaii, I have found many occurrences where the line between the artificial and natural is blurry. It is this blended, fused, interacting space that interests me both conceptually and creatively.
I've started to work on new variations of the grid formations. In thinking about my fascination with light, I started to overlap sections of the grid in varying opacities in Photoshop. I've chosen to repeat the artificial sun image as a background onto which I layered a selection of my "natural artifice" images. The idea is to confuse and layer these images but still maintain remnants of the grid formation. The grid provides structure yet the varying sizes and subjects disrupt its organization. Complicating the grid arrangement further blurs the lines between how images relate to each other and the whole. The idea of "blurring lines" is important in that it reiterates my initial interest in the collision of the artificial and the natural.
Here's a great quote from Rosalind Krauss's essay Grids first published in 1979 by The MIT Press:
In the spatial sense, the grid states the autonomy of the realm of art. Flattened, geometricized, ordered, it is antinatural, antimimetic, antireal. It is what art looks like when it turns its back on nature. In the flatness that results from the coordinates, the grid is the means of crowding out the dimensions of the real and replacing them with the lateral spread of single surface. In the overall regularity of its organization, it is the result not of imitation, but of aesthetic decree. Insofar as its order is that of a pure relationship, the grid is a way of abrogating the claims of natural objects to have an order particular to themselves; the relationships in the aesthetic field are shown by the grid to be in a world apart and, with respect to natural objects, to be both prior and final. The grid declares the space of art to be at once autonomous and autotelic.
This weekend, I also decided to return to "my friends" - the light buoys - that guide boats to harbor all along Oahu's coast. As I mentioned in my last paper, I'm exploring the possibility of working in a series and I've started to consider how different modes of working can speak to a common goal. A few weeks ago my buddy Mitchell sent me a small iPhone video of these blinking lights for fun. I was struck (again) by the simple beauty of these darn things! While I have witnessed their meditative quality countless times in person, I had not yet tried capturing this experience on film. Below is a test run. I'd like to retry this video capture with a real film camera and with slightly more ambient light so the movement of the waves is just visible. I think better sound of the wind and waves is important as well. I like the overall feeling of disorientation created by the darkness but feel this could be enhanced by having a tiny bit more of the environment visible. This video relates to my grid work in that it once again focuses on light as subject matter and speaks to how humans navigate/interact with/relate to environment.