FMP - Failures

I don’t know where to start really - there was a lot of failures…But are they really failures? Perhaps they are but it was necessary to let them happen to get where I am today so perhaps it is better to think about them as a byproducts of a journey. Very long and exciting journey with periods of extreme excitement and total despair. Five moths of looking for something unimaginable from the point of departure, which began to reveal itself slowly only month ago or so.

The biggest “failure” was to stick for too long to some methods which were not very promising or it was very unclear how they may be incorporated to the whole concept of the project. The most spectacular example is the wet transfer from the acetate sheet onto paper which I came across by accident and found very interesting conceptually and visually. I liked the way the printed photograph change the form when submerged in water and then pressed onto paper. The watercolour qualities of the photographic records printed onto the paper this way were really seducing and I spent weeks on trying to make it spectacular, beautiful, significant…But it was very tricky to make it work and the acceptable effects were consuming a lot of time, paper, ink and patience.

This image consist of two separate A4 images created using various techniquest (algorithmic shapes printed on the acetate sheet and wet transferred on the paper, the organic pattern as a result of pressing the paint, hand drawing). Those physical, unique images were then scanned, digitally merged and then placed as a background for the browser based algorithmic “shape generator' to capture the computational forms on top of the composition.

This image consist of two separate A4 images created using various techniquest (algorithmic shapes printed on the acetate sheet and wet transferred on the paper, the organic pattern as a result of pressing the paint, hand drawing). Those physical, unique images were then scanned, digitally merged and then placed as a background for the browser based algorithmic “shape generator' to capture the computational forms on top of the composition.

Planning photobook as one of the primary means of dissemination and in the end not making it is perhaps a bigger failure. I underestimated the effort involved in producing a printed publication. I don’t want it to look like a quick mockup printed with Blurb so its better to focus on the exhibition and make it right.

I didn’t manage to produce any moving images which I’d be happy with. I created a lot of screen recording videos based on the algorithmic animations. They’re very attractive visually but there isn’t enough thought and intention involved there…

FMP - Project developement

Galium and wolfram

It is a third series of the compositions of gallium and worlfram and the most succesful. The forms are intriguing and ambiguous. There is a clear indication that it is a physical substance being photographed but in the same time the shapes are abstract and unusual. I think I managed to convey the, so different, properties of those two metals, one very hard and durable and the other soft and weak.

Some earlier images:


All images by Rita Rodner

FMP - Penelope Umbrico

One of the recommended recently by Wendy McMurdo artists was Penelope Umbrico and her TV Screens project in particular. I know her very well known sunset series but never really looked at her other works.

Her seemingly simple and playful projects are in fact thoughtful and inspiring. Regarding the famous Suns (From sunsets) from Flickr) Joanna Zylinska points out:

“Umbrico’s principal interest is not in the banal visuality of the sunset but rather participation in the collective practice of sharing something you cannot claim authorship over.”

I went through her projects and I am seriously amazed with the conceptual layer in all of the projects which in one way or another comment on the contemporary consumptionism.

The ‘TVs from Craigslist’ is simply brilliant. It is a collection of magnified fragments of the images capturing the TV’s for sale. In this monotonous and unappealing visually typology there is a real hidden pearl - Umbrico is collecting the unintentional self-portraits of the owners of these TV’s reflected in the screens.

“Out of order” is also very interesting with the photobook as one of its outcomes.

“Penelope Umbrico’s Out of Order attempts to make sense of the crisis in an unexpected place—the sale of used office furniture. At once a portrait of the optimistic hope that fuelled the collapse, the mundane display of desks and plants is also a portrait of failure—the refuse of a crisis.”

“Printed using three different types of paper (matte, glossy and newsprint), a variety of different printing methods (offset, risograph, and photocopy), and various paper sizes, the book has a slightly disorienting quality. Unbound, the pages are loosely assembled in a black folder, which on closer inspection is actually a dark, pixelated close-up image of a desk, and held together by a red elastic band. The loose arrangement of pages not only allows their sequence to be changed, but also causes the book to literally fall apart when opened—a fitting design choice given the book’s subject. In sequencing the book, Umbrico nestled each folded signature allowing the images to be broken by the gutter and fold, creating disjointed geometric lines and new shapes. Paging through the book, the desks quickly become disarticulated, split apart along the folds, divided by the gutter, and reshuffled by collation.”

I ordered her photobook available on Amazon as I want to produce the simple one for my project too and I am gathering the interesting and unique examples. Umbrico’s works are definitelly a great example of such a publications


FMP - Project developement

There was a really minimal progress during the last weeks. Partially because I was focusing on the proposal but also because it feels like it is time for thinking and perhaps looking at the project from a slightly different perspective. I feel a mixture of the excitement and fear which keeps me engaged with the subject almost all the time but in the same time doesn't allow me to focus on one thing at a time and produce something meaningful. Everything is so far rather chaotic. I am doing what I can to move forward and patiently waiting for the "right" time when some sort of concept will start to emerge. I am hoping it will happen when I'll go to Falmouth for a week and have the unlimited time to focus, experiment, think, read, etc. 

I got a couple of thoughts today about how to approach the subject from the different perspective. I could visualise some dualities by printing the image on different materials/textures. Using the popular in the book cover design glossy overlay on some part of the image could work well, and also the print on various fabrics and metal.

I work with the photographs of the decaying bee which I observe and photograph for a couple of weeks now. I find those images beautiful and touching for some reason. Perhaps it is the contrast between the disquieting feeling triggered by the shape of the decomposing insect and the irreversability and inevitability of its death, the another stage in the constant flow of matter. I am interested in that disintegration happening in front of my eyes in a visually attractive form. The dead bee is floating in a glass container together with other small insects, pieces of plants and dust. It all slowly melts and mix together being an amazing example of the transciency in nature.

The body of insect is decomposing and blending with water but it is hardly a fluid of a dead particles. I took a sample of that water and looked at it under microscope. There is a lively world of simple organisms there, the seemingly dead matter is in fact full of live only in a different scale which is visible to us through the macroscopic lens. 

FMP - Experiments/Visual research

Really quick "sketches" using basic 3D forms and landscape photograps.

I almost completely forgot how to use zBrush - the only 3D application I had a patience to learn about eight years ago. Today I see it from the different perspective and perhaps its good I had to start from scratch as it is that basic, raw algorithmic pattern I am interested in now. The forms feel so organic - that's the beauty and uniqueness of this application. The organic geometry. Duality and unity.

It is so easy to get lost in the trivial attractiveness of some forms. One side of me is protesting agains even saving them on my hard drive but the other side is fascinated with that effortlessly generated places which I wish were real.

Algoritmic island


FMP - Noemie Goudal

I researched the work of Noemie Goudal's recommended by my tutor Wendy McMurdo during the last 1:2:1.

Gaudal works are indeed very relevant to my current practice and the Dichotomies project I am working on. In her experimental and conceptual works the nature is confronted with constructed references to cultural objects. The works challange the perception of reality and expose the ‘world-making’ ability of the photographic medium.

"Noémie Goudal’s practice is an investigation into photographs and films as dialectical images, wherein close proximities of truth and fiction, real and imagined offer new perspectives into the photographic canvas. The artist questions the potential of the image as a whole, reconstructing its layers and possibilities of extension, through landscapes’ installations."

In some of her projects (Observatoires, Towers) Gaudal creates an illusion of the real place by setting up the two-dimentional, printed representations of the existing three-dimentional architectural object in the neutral, serene landscapes. There is an surreal feel and otherwordly beauty emanating from those constructions. The illusion of the real situation is very strong and it provoke the reflections on the perception. 

Screenshot from the  Naomi Gaudal website

Screenshot from the Naomi Gaudal website



FMP - List of Dichotomies

I put together the list of dichotomies I find important/interesting. I don’t know how I will approach this project so this is really something to start with:

  • Virtual / Physical

  • Light / Darkness

  • End / beginning

  • On/off

  • Abstract / Representational

  • Past/Future

  • Full/Empty

  • Tangled/Straight (complicated /simple)

  • Relative/Absolute

  • Motion / Stilness

  • Theory / Practice

  • Presence / Absence

  • Transciency / Permanence

  • Individual / Universal

  • Condensation / Evaporation

  • Hard / Soft

  • Reflection / Absorbtion

  • Entropy / Growth

  • Chaos / Order

  • Organic / Geometric (print - screen display)

  • animate / inanimate

  • Painted / Photographed

  • Precious / Ordinary

  • Unique / Common

  • Simple / Complex

  • Here / There (Antipodes)

  • Inside / Outside

  • Intentional / involuntary

  • Small / big

  • Regular / irregular

  • Vertical / horizontal

  • colour / b/w

  • Clean / dirty

  • Spiritual / physical (spirit/body)