I finished this project as I couldn’t carry on.
One day I just stopped doing it.
All the photos I took are put into a wee video.
All these moments have been connected and become a continuous movement.
I know it was a very short moment of each day, but I also know that continuing is very difficult.
I’ve been taking a photo with a stranger everyday since I started one month ago.
This is a long period project.
As I’m going to America next week for 6 months, I was thinking what sort of project I could do in the States. My work there won’t allow me to spend time and energy to make artwork as I will be working 24/7 in none art-related environment.
Taking one photograph a day sounded like a piece of cake.
But it is also a challenge.
What I have felt interesting so far and useful was that the process I have to go through by explaining to people what I’m doing and who I am.
OK, I have started to call myself ‘an artist’, and sometimes it’s assurance to me by saying it than I give to others.
After I told her about my project and she agreed, the girl at the cafe said ”Now we’re not strangers anymore.”
I found it very touching
It means I’ve taken 23 photos since I started this project.
I’ve finished working at the restaurant, so things might become more challenging.
The other day, I finished work at 3 pm, and I took a nap at home. I was so tired.
When I got up, I decided to go onto the street to find someone for the day.
I was wearing a pair of sandals, and when I was walking on Leith Walk a left sandal broke. I stopped in front of the doggiest pub in the area to try fixing it.
An old guy standing outside the pub was watching me and I started to talk to him.
I was so tired that I didn’t want to look hard for a person for the day, so I decided to ask him.
He looked cautious by my strange request and didn’t seem to get what I was trying to do, but agree anyway. So I took a photo of me and him, for the first time by myself as there was nobody around.
And that was not a good idea.
He asked me if I could take another one so he could kiss me!
He even tried to feel my bum.
I hurriedly thanked him and ran away.
My lesson from this is that I should listen to my inner voice…….
I knew that he was drunk, and possibly he wasn’t a good candidate.
Another story for the day anyway.
My Graded unit project, ‘Private + Public’ set off well with a great inspiration I received from a lecturer, Ray McKenzie, from Glasgow College of Art who gave a presentation about public space and Art at an art event called ‘How Not To Cook Book’.
For this project, I aimed to explore the knowledge we have in general about what ‘private’ and ‘public’ means, and how the connection created between the two affects our perception.
At my planning stage, I was not sure whether the work I was going to make was to form 2D or 3D. But I was quite determined to include a performance within. The reason I was certain to do a performance was because the first image I pictured in mind in response to my theme was myself being ‘private’ physically in ‘public’ space. And since I attended a 1-week performance workshop in Glasgow, February ’09 during my study, I was enthusiastic and keen to make a performance piece for my final project at Telford College, and I felt that the theme was very appropriate for me to take up such a contemporary art form.
As I stated in my brief, I carried out intensive research on artists, relevant artworks, current issues and articles regarding private and public. I found quite interesting artworks, which helped me develop my ideas, such as ‘Don’t Miss A Sec’ by Monica Bon Vicini, whose concept raised a wonder among viewers; “What’s private?”
David Shrigley’s simple, clear, and playful way of casting statements into public space helped me to consider that simplest things could create a bigger impact.
I also looked at performance artists such as Adel Abdessemed, John Baldessari, and Amanda Coogan, whose artworks demonstrated what it is to be living in this time and world, and by doing performances it seems to open up a new path to connect an artist and viewers in a different, often strongly, than traditional art forms.
It was right after the first mentoring session with Alan that I made the first short video documentation of my ‘nail-cutting-cover’. I can review this as a right start, but my only regret is that I could have taken the experimentation more extensively and operated at more places possible.
At the development stage, my view towards the final artwork was reasonably clear that it was going to be a documentation of experimentations and performances of my ideas. I did state in my brief that I was planning to document all the experimentations, but it was only at this stage that the documentation itself was to become a piece of artwork to be shown.
Among a few ideas I had, I carried out three experiments. One of them, letters, was time consuming and I wanted to focus on it as it was quite adventurous and unpredictable. I planned and spent some time to create a fine letter, which I aimed it to be returned to me. The whole process was documented, and a couple of letters successfully posted back to me.
If I were to carry the same experimentation again, I may say that I could have stated in the letter a more suggestive instruction so that a person who picked it up could leave some indication to my letter. Though the two letters were posted by someone as I planned, I think it would have been more interesting if some sign of, or about the person’s intention was left in my letters. However, in terms of making a connection between me, ‘private’, and people, whoever that is, in ‘public’ my point was successfully achieved right after I placed my letters at places in public space.
As for my ‘nail-cutting-cover’, I documented myself both by filming and photographing, and I chose to use photos. Photography was more easily manageable to perform than filming, and also the outcome was visually clear. Should I acted my time management more effectively, I would have carried it out more extensively to refine the documentation.
It was only when I actually performed it in public that I felt quite vulnerable when doing it, and that feeling became a crucial element in order for me to make my performance piece.
The short documentation film I made came from an experimentation of a game I knew from my childhood. By using my personal information, its aim was to reveal my private matters and personal events in a unique way by others, but I review it now that the game not only exposed my privacy but also I felt that perception of people’s own private matters was revealed.
My original idea of a performance piece for the opening event involved audience’s interaction, and required a through plan and control over possible occurrences could incur during the performance. Should I to make only a performance piece from the very beginning and develop it throughout the project, I would probably manage to do such a complicated performance. However, I had only a couple of weeks to develop and practice so that a modification of the original was necessary, and it was a right decision.
In response to the theme, I felt that it was important that the performance was to make me feel exposed, and looked vulnerable to viewers. In order to cast my statement to the viewers in a way I wanted, I needed to grab their gaze so that it may make them feel vulnerable too.
I think that physical expose during the performance worked effectively along with the verbal confession of my private matters. I practiced considerable number of times myself, and once in front of my peers, hence I felt quite confident at the actual performance.
I took many factors into consideration; what to wear, tone of voice, speed of speech, how to begin and end, distance to audience, items to use, my position, and how to document. I feel that the simplicity of the performance interpreted my idea well, and I was pleased to receive many positive responses from people.
As an overall evaluation for this project, I managed to explore an art form, documentation, which was new to me, and developed it effectively in order for me to link it to an idea to create a strong performance piece. I acted well by trying out ideas at every processing stage and managed to form a final outcome. However, I must say that more productive time management could have allowed more possibilities in experimentation and further successful outcomes to be achieved. Taking some difficulties happened in my personal life during the project; a long-term relationship break-up and redundancy threat from my work, into consideration I must say that lack of quality of time management was hardly avoidable. And I hope that the outcome of the project and presentation at the exhibition can prove that I did put as much efforts as I could to produce it all.
I take a photo with a stranger everyday.
It’s only been less than 3 weeks since it started, but it feels like it’s been going on longer than that. I guess it’s because every day I have to do it. Everyday I have this wee task, and I don’t spend a day without thinking of it.
I noticed something a few days ago.
It was when I was a bit stressed with my personal matters.
I was probably preoccupied with other stuff than my project that day. But I had to ask someone to take a photo for the day.
Well, it could just be a coincidence, but the person whom I asked agreed to do it for me after all, but with a little bit of hesitation. Afterwards I thought, maybe when I’m feeling negative I would get a negative response.
This project seems to teach me something everyday, and it’s great.
I’ve been taking one photo a day with a stranger.
Yesterday I was working all day and couldn’t get a chance to find anyone, it was an awfully quiet day at my work. After work, I finally decided that it was a day for me to ask someone on the street.
On Sunday night in Edinburgh central town, the night was still young and I saw many people walking. But I just couldn’t do it! For a while I was walking on the street, looking at faces walking pass. I was feeling nervous. What sort of reaction will I get?
And I realized that I was actually, really carefully selecting THE person.
This idea liberated me. So I can pick a person I like.
It might sound strange, but when you are walking on the street and seeing lots of people, you’d get this greedy idea that; ‘I want someone a bit special.’
I was at a half way home when I spotted a couple at a bus stop. I could tell they were Polish by their conversation. I approached the girl and explained my project.
She instantly agreed to my request without much surprise. She was very pleasant.
I don’t know how this project will be produced as artwork at the end, but the process is really interesting to me and challenging, and I like a challenge.
It’ll be good for improving my social skill too!
I’ve been successfully taking a photo everyday.
So far, I didn’t have to ask someone on a street. I managed to meet someone new at work, or via friends.
Once I’ll get to US, this will change.
But one thing I realized was that there’s no excuse that I cannot find anyone everyday to take a photo with me. This is a notion I’ve felt since I started this project. It is hard not to be around people, unless I put myself in a lonely island or top of a mountain.
Everyday we meet, pass, ignore people.
And a person who was a stranger a minute ago becomes a visual memory of mine in a photograph as he/she stands next to me like a friend. Many smiles when I explain my project.
OK, I’m not really an outgoing person after all. So this project teaches me a lot.
But living in this world today, I have to admit that it’s easy to dismiss opportunities to communicate one another without our technology.
I was interested in parks and paths in Edinburgh, which suddenly appear in the midst of urban environment.
I came across to a band playing music in a park, but it was well hidden(well, ticketed).
The cycle paths are so hidden that they give me a feeling that as if I’m lost like Alice.
It’s a little touch of fairy tale in this experiment.
I’ve launched on a new project called ‘A stranger a day’.
I’ve been having this idea for a while as I’m going to US after the summer.
This project is very very simple.
For a certain duration of time, originally for 6 months while I’ll be in US, I’ll take a photograph with a stranger everyday.
This sounds so easy.
I decided to start this project now.
I tell you, it’s not really easy to ask someone you have never met to take a photograph with you.
And I realize, after 3 days I started, that I have been missing out so many opportunities to speak to people. When this project in mind all the time, I look for an opportunity when I can talk to someone so that the strange request can take place a little smoothly.
I also tend to look for a person who I kind of like. (Obviously selecting is important)
So far so good, and people responded so kindly.
It’s 19:26 and I still haven’t taken one today……
It makes difficult when I’m at work all day.
I went to a life-drawing class at WASPS today.
I model there usually, but today went there to draw for a change.
I absolutely enjoyed it although it did bore me a little after 1 hour of concentration.
The model was quite creative with poses.
A couple weeks ago I went to Glasgow.
At Tramway I saw the performance of WAYN TRAUB, ”Maria Magdalene”.
The performance started with a huge screen with the moon projected over a woman’s shadow. There was immense eerie sound playing together.
I sat looking at the big screen and wondered what this performance was going to be. I read some description of this show beforehand, but it didn’t really tell me anything except it interested me and confused me.
The artist Wayn Traub makes performances using music, theatre style sets, digital images, dance, and digital equipments. He calls his such works ‘Cinema-Opera’.
Wayn Traub disguised himself as something like a devil, painted his face blue ,and wore fake, long nails. He appeared to the stage by being carried on a sliding stage. There was a loud singing voice in background, and I didn’t realize for a while that he was actually singing. Great voice, that’s for sure.
During the performance, many videos were shown on the screen. The main was the dance of beautiful Chinese nuns, and they appear many times.
It’s very difficult to explain this performance as there were so many going on. The quality was very high in many sense.
It was strange, funny, sad, and beautiful.
Last week my flatmate came to my room to show two letters. He was totally puzzled with two identical letters sent to ‘M’. He even opened one and got confused more.
I was overjoyed!
I WAS waiting for them although my expectation was not so big.
I imagined a person who saw an envelop, picked it up, opened it, read my letter, decided to follow the instruction, looked for a mailbox and post it!
He or she?
Did he/she smile?
Did he/she imagine how I was going to feel?
Somewhere in this town, unless the person was a tourist and left the country, there are two people whom I don’t know the names or faces replied to my letter.
<<3 months in Berlin>> is an exciting opportunity for a London-based visual arts or crafts practitioner at any stage of their career to live and make new work in one of Europe’s most dynamic and exciting cities, providing a free live/work studio for 3 months, return air fare, a £600 bursary and £100 towards artists materials.
Application Deadline: Monday 22 June 2009, 9am
Residency Dates: 15 September – 19 December 2009
All details are on Artquest website: http://www.artquest.org.uk/projects/three-months-in-berlin.htm
Deadline for submissions is 31 August 2009.
The Elephant Trust was created in 1975 by Roland
Penrose and Lee Miller with a view to develop and
improve the knowledge, understanding and appreciation
of the fine arts in the United Kingdom.
Next application deadline
19 June 2009
The Trust was set up to make it possible for artists and
those presenting their work to undertake and complete
projects when frustrated by lack of funds. It is
committed to helping artists and institutions that
depart from the routine and signal new, distinct and
imaginative sets of possibilities.
Applicants are asked to consider the above carefully
to be sure their project falls within the remit of
The Elephant Trust.
Given the Trust’s modest resources, grants have
usually been limited to £2,000 but larger grants
may be considered. Funding priority is given to artists and to small organisations and galleries.
No grants are available for educational or
other study purposes.
No grants are available for residencies or research.
No grants are available for projects taking place outside the UK.
Recipients of grants have included Rachel Whiteread,
Vong Phaophanit, Gillian Wearing, Steve McQueen,
Mona Hatoum, Richard Deacon, David Shrigley and
I’ve made 32 letters to someone I don’t know.
I’m going to leave these letters at places all over Edinburgh in a hope someone would pick it up and read.
The envelope has a 2nd stamp enclosed and my address typed so it’s ready to post if a person decides to follow the instruction. The instruction is written in the letter saying
1. Leave any indication possible to tell me that you’ve read this letter I wrote to you.
2. Stick a stamp enclosed on the envelope and post. (Address is already typed)
3. Enjoy a connection you’ve made with me.
So I’m doing this because letters could be very personal. I leave them somewhere in public and I imagine someone would pick it up and start to read. I like thinking about it. It’s fun. It’s like I make connection to someone I don’t know a name of. I don’t know who the person is, but as soon as he/she reads my letter(attention to the person) a connection is made.
Hopefully he/she will send it back to me.
But I don’t mind if it doesn’t happen.