Wednesday, May 21, 2014

A zoo story - One scene play

A zoo story 

Adam: A man in his early forties, with a fit body, good looking face and short and a little messy hair. He wears a bright colored polo, khaki pants and shining leather shoes.
Eve: A woman in her late thirties, with a fit body, good looking face and straight blonde hair down to the middle of her back. She wears a white shirt tucked in a khaki skirt with black heels. 

The scene
The stage has medium light, focusing slightly off center, where a table and two chairs are placed. The rest of the stage is dark. 
[At the beginning, Adam is sitting on one of the chair by the table, hands holding the old news paper and drinking his coffee. Eve enters.] 

Eve: Good morning honey, how did you sleep?
Adam: Hey...pretty...fine.
Eve: You O.K? [Giggle] Did the bobcats next door bother you again?
Adam: Apparently. I guess it's the season. I heard they plan to have kids soon.
Eve: They're smart.
Adam: Want some “attention”, yeaa [still looking at the newspaper.]
Eve: Hey...hmm...
Eve: Hmmm...honey...never mind...
Adam: You O.K?
Eve: Yes, yes of course.
Adam: What's wrong? Tell me Eve!
Eve: No no no, it's nothing really, nothing much.
Adam: Well, O.K then.
Eve: Actually, did you hear about the family that just moved in last month?
Adam: The one from Australia. Yea, I talked to the dad a few weeks ago; he has the funniest accent. [Adam puts down the newspaper and copies the accent] 
Eve: Isn't he really nice?
Adam: Oh yea, Mr.Mussop he's really cool although he seems very into fish.
Eve: That's good. Well, his wife asked me to come over to see their new born baby. 
Adam: What a sweet woman. How was he?
Eve: Oh my god, he has got to be the most adorable thing on earth. His nose was peachy and always moving. He was so small that he couldn't open his eyes. And his skin was so soft that I just want to touch it all day.
Adam: Aww, how cute. Wait, they already had a baby? It has been only three weeks. Such a productive family.
Eve: Yes, and everyone is coming for them. They are receiving all kinds of attention. I was there for only half an hour and already joined in hundreds of pictures. And us...[start sobbing]     
Adam: No no no honey, not again [Adam comes behind her chair and put his arms around her]
Eve: What do you mean not again? You have no idea what I'm going through. I am a mother too. Remember how they used to come visit us every hour. Now I am worthless, absolutely worthless. (Eve shouted) Do you understand?
Adam: Honey, please calm down.
Eve: No, you don't understand.
Adam: Honey, think about John, Mary, Lisa, Nick, Jason, Lisa, Caro, Peter, Christ, Jessie and Mini, our wonderful children. Aren't they enough? 
Eve: I love them too
Adam: Yes honey, they're doing well all over the world.
[Eve sobs quietly and slowly wipes her tears.]
Adam: You see
Eve: I still feel like garbage since they started ignoring us. The only thing we receive is some milk, some beef, some bananas, some ipods and some gold - all garbage, to make us garbage too. Don't you realize that? 
[Adam pulls out a box of cigarettes from his polo pocket.]
Eve: Now, don't even think that will stop me from stating the facts here.
[Adam lights one cigarette and starts smoking.]
Eve: I'm sick of them, sick of you.
[Adam keeps smoking and Eve just stares at him for 2 minutes straight, in silence]
Eve: Honey, what do you want for dinner today?
Adam: Didn't you say they gave us some beef? Why don't you make steak tonight? And the left over salad, we can eat that too.
Eve: But we have beef everyday.
Adam: Well, I live with you everyday.
Eve: Are you saying you want to get out of here? You're saying you're sick of me already?
Adam: [Chuckles] Steaks sound good for tonight.
[Silence for a minute, Adam is back with his newspaper] 
Eve: Is there anything new in it, hun?
Adam: Obama won the election again, researchers did experiments on aliens, Russia invented bio-weapons, NASA is ready for migration... 
Eve: So yesterday.
Adam: Well, what do you expect?
Eve: Why do you even keep that piece of paper? It has been almost a decade.
Adam: Yeah...

[The stage starts to lighten, still ambiguous, but brighter than before. It reveals the background  which includes a short wall behind a table with a clock, a painting and a window. Behind the wall is outdoor scene with blue sky and trees. Far away in the background are some cages. A zoo scene.
A sequence of sound comes from a speaker. Both Adam and Eve looked up, a little confused as trying to understand what it is announcing.]

Eve: 86*F, 3,500 visitors. Hope we will get some today. 

[A bar with a label on it saying “Humans” is then slide onto the stage, right in front of Adam and Eve. The couple fixes their clothes.]


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

With love (project 5 reflection)

This is the project I will remember the most after this class.
To be clear, I have never been abused and do not think I will ever be because of my personality and my living environment. In fact, I have a really happy and easy life that I think sometimes it stops me from a being a great artist because all good art emphasizes personal struggles and pain. People don't remember art for being bright and happy. Is this true or is it just me?

Anyway, I made this video when I found out that April is Sexual Assault Awareness month and I would like to do something to support.

This project was hard since the beginning when I tried to find participants. You would find me constantly asking my friend the same question "Will you slap me? It's for my project?" and most said no. For the people that were in the video, they didn't really know what they signed up for until I made them say yes.

I was scared, honestly scared when making this video although I was surrounded by my friends and although I asked them to do all these to me. After the all the hands came inside the frame, I really felt trapped among these people and did everything I could with my head trying to get out but I couldn't. I hoped the audience could read it from my facial expression because it was a real experience.

About the sound. I put the raw video in silence at first. After that, I recorded myself tapping my finger on the computer while watching the video. Some said it's like a gradually rushing heartbeat and I thought nothing can describe it better than that.

Over-consumption (project 4 reflection)

For my ASB trip this year, I went to Colorado to volunteer after the flood last November. We did hard physical labor everyday but no matter what, a simple ham and cheese sandwich was always enough to last me through the day. It was the opposite to my usual self because at Cornell, I almost always stacked my food to top my plate. That was when I realized what over-consumption of food was.

My performance was inspired by that epiphany. When getting food to go from the dinning hall, I honestly feel very bad about what I was gonna do to it. I tried to get the most common things like cheese, hams, peanut butter, cereal, rice… The plan was to have Haley stand in the middle, acting happy when being thrown food. After that, I wrapped around her with the plastic wrap, make sure that she couldn't move her body anywhere before setting her down on the floor, grabbing onto her and roll around. Haley was on the passive role the whole time and she was happy about it, showing the ignorance of the consumers. Even when the food that she consumed or the condition that gave her all the food became her burden, she still not realized it.

My favorite part about the performance was the residue that was left on the white paper underneath Haley's feet after we rolled around. It reminded me a lot of Yves Klein's. However, I think the performance could have been more successful if it was simplified a little in term of the food and actions, more control over facial expression, maybe add some language when throwing food at her.

In the end, some audience felt the way they supposed to feel but not everybody. so overall, this performance has not reached its highest potential.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Laurie Anderson Show

I did not expect Laurie Anderson to be so casual and friendly like that at all.

In my opinion, great artists usually are eccentric and different from the crowd because they need to live in their own world to create their own visions like in their art. However, Laurie Anderson is like the connection between the art world and our real world. The only difference about her is her perspective and how she transfer that perspective that she has into something we call art.

Because I know her through Lucian's presentation, especially through the O Superman piece, I expected her new work to somewhat associate with new sound/music technologies. That's why I thought it was really interesting when she began to read to us some of her stories. They all started out with some humor and friendliness but ended up giving us a chill, like the story about her childhood when she had to stay at the hospital. That was when I found the serious Laurie Anderson that I observed from O Superman.

I also found it very interesting when Laurie told us stories about how came up with ideas for art. Her fantasy about the dog concert was HILARIOUS. I'm so glad we're using that name for our show.
She made me think about how simple art could be, how it can come from everywhere, even the weirdest things.

Thank you for letting us know about the show, Sandy.

Call it a chaos (project 3 in class)

Due to some technical difficulties, my camera only captured 3 seconds BEFORE my actual performance. But it's okay, I will explain my process.

My initial idea for this piece was actually an upgraded version of my first performance that would include my body as one of the items to pile/hang on each others. I also intended to include larger items like chairs, tables... However, figured that I wouldn't be able to prepare them in my "magic" bag myself, John Cage and Merce Cunningham's idea of indeterminacy came about. That's when I decided to set up 3 boxes where people can pick out random items that were placed in the first 2 boxes beforehand and the 3rd box gives them options to pick out larger items in the room. The plan was to have people from the audience come up one by one to put items on me. Another piece that I associated mine with was Yoko Ono's "Cut piece". She also had people come up and cut away a piece of her clothing.

However, the performance did not go as I planned due to my lack of instruction at the beginning. The audience rushed in all at once and pick out the items at the same time. The down side of this is
1. The audience cannot see the progress/the endurance building up.
2. It changed the odd of a number to be picked. For example, the 2nd person, instead of having 1/3 chance to pick a number of the box, she/he would have only 2 choices in the pool to pick out. It affects the process of CHANCE significantly.

Another factor of the performance that I got the most feedbacks about was the sound. The ideal sound I had in my mind was to have a speaker system that can cover the entire room with sound. Unfortunately, all I had was a little speaker chilling underneath my notebook so that wasn't the best. I really appreciate Sandy's comment about how I should make the sound a part of my piece instead of JUST being the background sound.

I like how people could interpret it as some reference to New York city base on the base on the chaotic city sound and my pose, although it was not my attention. I think that's also the purpose of chance, both the artist and the audience cannot predict the specific result of the piece.

Overall, I think this piece was not a success. There were too many elements to the piece and I think it created more room for mistakes than structure the performance itself.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Double bubbles (project 2)

When Corissa proposed her idea about sound of water using in a in class, I was really excited and asked to collaborate with her without any hesitation because I'm simply in love with water, and it sounds like a lot of fun. Although we has briefly discussed idea for project 2 before, we both have different expectation walking into the actual performance. Our plan was to play with the creation of sound from the contact of water with a variety of items that we picked out from our daily life like straws, cups, bubbles and invisible rubber duckies.

About the setting, we decided to light up the room to the max to keep the scene clear and bright for everyone to see. Also, we asked the audience to surround our table instead of sitting on the stools so they can see it from different angles or walk around if they wish to experience it better. It was evidently a good choice even from the beginning when the dish soap beautifully sink itself in the water, create cool visual effect for the audience to see from all angles. After that we began to use different objects to make sound with water separately from each others before combining and overlapping the sounds. And when I realized I had not much to do anymore, I grabbed my straw to join blowing bubbles with my partner. That's when we spontaneously decided to synchronize our breath and try to blow the bubble as long as we can to test our duration. 

I really love the audience's comment about how it could symbolize a conversation between two individuals and how in the end, we came into an agreement with synchronized blowing rhythm. I believe we did not plan that but it's totally makes sense when I thought about the "speech bubbles". 

To make the performance better next time, I would like to use a bigger, deeper and clearer tub with combination with different colored dish soap to create a more dynamic visual effect. Also, adding more items to vary the different sounds we have during the "conversation", including silence would be something worth trying. 

Overall, I think the performance was successful, even with the little incident at the end. 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

To hear is to listen

    - Oil sizzling
    - Fridge opening
    - Machine humming
    - Paper wrap crumbling
    - TV advertisement
    - People chatting
    - Car skitting
    - Door opening
    - Chair dragging
    - Feet stepping

    - Paper flipping
    - Machine humming
    - Elevator elevating
    - Pen writing on paper
    - Furniture squeaking
    - Hand rubbing on clothes
    - Mouse pad clicking
    - Sighing

    - Squirrel chittering
    - Wind whoosing
    - Car engine running
    - Dead leaves crumbling
    - Dog barking
    - People chatting

A thought

Art could be a social statement but not all social statement is art.

Trial and Error (project 1)

My inspiration for this project is, indeed, very personal. After this year, I'm going to leave Cornell to a different school, meaning I'm going to leave behind everything I have built in the last two years. All the relationships I made and all the contribution I gave will be smudged by time and distance either I want it or not. There are points in life you just feel like things will fall apart. But they fall be be rebuilt. That is the reason behind my idea. Plus, I enjoy seeing the audience startled by the sound of glass hitting the floor.

I walked into the performance not knowing what I would put on the base first. Items were chosen randomly from the bag so the tower collapse pretty quickly on the first few times. It was "Trial and Error", merely experimenting. I love Sandy's analogy between the concept of the performance and chaos. We all try to organize chaos, trying to simplify life. But we're not supposed to. Chaos is beautiful. Chaos makes life.

The biggest challenge, or question I had during the process of coming up with idea and performing was either to practice beforehand or not. I decided not to to maintain the freshness and spontaneity.

To make the performance better next time, I would like to do everything in a larger scale with larger items, with added items from the audience, possible have several bags of items prepared and have the audience pick the bag.

I like the concept of randomness, maybe I will revisit it in my next project.

About me and my art

Despite my love for art at a very young age, it wasn't until high school that I started to embrace my gifted art skills and nurture them. Up until this point, I have experienced with different mediums of traditional 2D art varying in drawing and painting.

The most common theme in my art is water. I admire the characteristics of water in term of texture, colors, transparency, fluidity... The more I think about different qualities of water, the more I can connect it to aspects of life in many ways.

Water is the source of life for plants, animal and human beings.
Water nurture life.
Sometimes we wish everything is as transparent as water.
Sometimes we wish you can change the atmosphere as easy as a drop of paint change the color of water.
Water washes things.
Water cleans things.
Water destroys things.
Water is consistent.
Water is patient
Water is adaptive; it takes forms and shapes of its container.
Water fills the gap.
Water complete things
Water is never the same.
Water is always the same.
Water makes things lighter.
Things feel lighter in water
Water reflects.
A drop of water is small.
Lots of water is large.
The list goes on and on and on.

Link to my art here

I have always had problems accepting the concept of contemporary art. The absurdity and the fact that some seems to have taken no effort to create makes the art itself is hard to judge. I do not like how some people state that everything is art. If everything is art, nothing is art. Also in art, there are good art and bad art and hard-to-tell-if-it-is-good art. I believe to be considered art, the piece has to intentionally intrigue the audience in someway. But in the world that we live in, the blur line between art and not art confuses me in a very disturbing way. I'm aware that a lot of the materials we look in this class lie on that line.

I hope this class can somewhat answer my question about the concept of art.
Or maybe enlighten me in some way.
Or maybe change everything I have believed in.
Or ...

Tuesday, March 18, 2014