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"metamorphosis" Tag


Alien Matter


Monday, May 1, 2017


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Strandbeest‘ by Theo Jansen

Large sculptures made out of plastic PVC tubes, able to move on their own. An animal like mechanisms that does not need food, but just the power of wind.
Theo Jansen, a genius that fusions art and engineering, is busy since 1990 with his project called Strandbeests (Beach animals): a new life form on earth, yet unknown for humankind.

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A life form looking at another form of life : What it means to be alive.
I always wonder why is it so exciting for me to watch the Strandbeests moving? Perhaps because I can not define at what I am looking at, is it real?
How to define it?
When I look up the word alive in the dictionary, I came across the meaning existing.

But wait, everything has an existence in space and time, so how can you recognize a life form? People may think, the fact that something is not animating is a reason of a non-life form, somehow no definition feels right to me. There is much more to living than having a heartbeat. There is much more to life than breathing and the blood flowing through your veins. You might be living, but are you alive?
What if matter has a life on its own, able to learn, teach and to stretch its ‘lifespan’ beyond humankind? An alien matter that absorbs intelligence and reaches capacities that go far beyond our own.

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Inspired, I went to Delft at Theo J. exhibition with the hope I could come across his path and there we go: I was able to talk to him. Unfortunately our meeting was so spontaneous,  that I just got a few minutes. Nevertheless it felt like a miracle, he ended our conversation with the sentence man should get rid of its ego, then he will be able to see the real qualities in life.

I got fascinated by his way of being, how modest and grounded he was when we met. He is not an artist but rather a happy victim of his work which is pure functional. The tubes are the ones making the process beautiful.

As miraculous life is, I decided to adopt a Strandbeest myself, the Animarus Ordis Parvus. First It needed to be born so I assembled 117 plastic pieces together. About an hour, the evolution was finished and I had my own beast at home.

During the process something weird happened to me, something I can not explain. It was like a virus in my head : the beast’s rubber feet.

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I got inspired to work with Silicone. Why Silicone and not something else? Something that remains a mystery. What happened to me, at this moment? Perhaps it started to communicate with humans, perhaps it chose me.

Silicone is a synthetic polymer made up of silicon, oxygen and other elements.It is generally liquid or flexible and the rubber like plastic has useful proprieties. From medicine to personal care items.

Sometimes there is a confusion between Silicon and Silicone. Silicon is a naturally occurring chemical, a key element in bricks, cement or glass. It is the second most abundant element in our earth crust, after oxygen. Whereas Silicone is a chemical substance that derives from Silicon.

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Silicone often stands as a tool for the use of something else. Maybe it is living, maybe I should threat it as a oneself.

Exploring the matter

I started experimenting and researching on the structure, and I tried to find out some processing and proprieties of the material. I adapt myself to the matter, a constantly evolving process between human and material.

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There are different kinds of Silicone and they all have different proprieties from each other. From sticky to stinky.
The Silicone from the hardware shop has never a clear structure, it is really hard to manipulate while it’s liquid. Impossible to work without mask, it almost intoxicates you.

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The splintered structure could almost be found in nature.

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Birth of Silicone

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Silicone organ

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colour absorption
I experiment with different kinds of tools such as a pencil, a marker, watercolours , acrylic, ink.

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One ting that was completely new for me is that, Silicone can print.
This technique just works with Silicone from the hardware shop, because it is so sticky.
It absorbs the ink while drying and the text or image will appear reflected.

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 At the end, it is hard to discover something mind blowing in such a small period of time. Theo Jansen is still researching on the same material since 1990 and he thinks that there is a long path to be done.

In a constant flow of doing and learning, there were plenty of disappointments on the way. But on the few occasions that things worked out, being connected to matter is such an enriching experience.

 

Excuse me, can I analyse your personality?


Wednesday, April 20, 2016

 

Dealing with a personality, and making a mask out of it in order to feel it, was quite a task. I found myself both in the position of a psychologist analyzing a person’s mind and a physicist creating an object that should reproduce a feeling of a personality.

The topic we were given for this project was to find someone that fascinates us, try to understand their personality and make a mask out of it. Of course at first this immediately leads you to think of people you care about and admire. It feels a bit like putting your loved ones on a pedestal. But that wasn't the point, and in a way, analyzing their personalities didn’t give me the satisfaction and rush to work on it. I needed someone that I did not know or understand yet, I needed a challenge

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So,              then; a girl I met last year popped into my mind. a girl I barely knew, a friend of a friend. and the little that I knew about her, was so little that it completely confused me; each time I thought I finally understood her I learned something knew that made everything I knew before fall into water like it never existed. she was so confusing, it was exactly what I needed!

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HER BUT, WHO IS THIS GIRL?

IS SHE HAPPY? SAD? ANGRY?

DOES SHE SEE THE WORLD AS A RATIONAL PERSON DOES?
OR AS A DREAMER?

WHAT DOES SHE DO?
WHERE DOES SHE LIVE?
WHAT DOES SHE LOVE?

WHO ARE YOU???

This meant a lo-o-o-ot of thinking, struggling, rethinking, investigating (?)… I came across a problem. She was indeed perfect. Too perfect. Step by step I just got more and more fascinated by her. I put her on a 'pedestal' without wanting it. So, I had to do it all again. And again. With complete new questions, and complete different answers. After all this was just my interpretation of her. Until I finally thought of three main aspects/ideas that I thought could fit her personality and that I would use in the mask.

  • 1. She is perfect, but in a physical way. And she seems to strive to keep it that way at ALL times.

  • 2. She is ve-e-ery driven by her ambition.

  • 3. And seems to hide her feelings.

That last one got me most exited, finally something I could work with,
something NOT PERFECT. So I started:

FORM

(OR MAYBE, FIRST MATERIALS)

As I am a ‘devoted’ perfectionist, my projects often start with details which I then try to bring together and arrange, deprive, until I get to a purer and clearer idea. Like zooming out from a really zoomed in place on google maps. My ideas began forming a sphere.

I started with stones; minerals, the presentation of deep, complex, hidden feelings.

Longing for more art in an art project I decided to make my own.

Little pieces of fabrics and foils melted into liquidised glue sticks suddenly turned into mischievous stones.

I had great fun doing it. It made me continue.

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This time it would be foam, another material aching to be turned into stone.

Mineral.

Feeling.

Just a touch of aquarelle.  

Soon enough I had all the acquirements, the third step long done before the first two had even started.

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FRAME:

How do you make a frame of somebody’s personality?

Of someone you barely know,  a personality you imagined?

Should it be a hat?      Should it be compact?

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Or free,  and light?

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I had no answers to these questions, instead I turned to materials. Again.

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this was the result..

A metal construction instead of a hat, and of that kind of metal that would originally only be used for welding. Thinking back, this whole project was, at least for a little part, often based on 'giving materials another kind of life'. With the 'glue stick minerals', 'foam stones' and at last 'welding metal that turned into a construction for a crown/glasses/mask'. And at last, THE GREAT AMBITION, something I’ve subconsciously been thinking about since the beginning had to be added. It started as two plastic ‘glasses' put in between all the metal and feelings and that would only let you look RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU, not left, not right, not even up or down, in the end turned into real glass.

And maybe a part of the three ideas got lost in the making, with the attention turned more to the materials following the idea than the idea created with materials. And maybe my guess of her personality is completely mistaken. But it turned out to be an object that could speak for itself no matter how it is interpreted.

So here, let it be seen as anyone wishes to see it:

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