Final Ideas

1. Building upon the idea of something coming from nothing, I’d like to illustrate concepts surrounding the illusion of free speech within the construct of how we digest information online and through other sources today in age. One idea would be to work with the ridiculous idea of “alternative facts” to see how people can literally create illusions of truth, basically something out of nothing.

2. Creating some sort of true mirror that builds upon the illusion of how we think we appear to others – which isn’t really what it seems when you look at a regular mirror. It would be interesting to create an interactive experience that would allow the viewer to see a side how other people perceive them. A different take on the true mirror possibly employing projection mapping.

3. Our memories can lead us to believe that something happened to us in a way in which it actually didn’t. These illusions that we believe based on our false memories can greatly influence the decisions we chose to make in the future. What if we subconsciously lie to ourselves in order to be able to make the decisions that seems more attractive as a way of bartering with ourselves. And who are we without our memories? Can we create different narratives of our lives based on these falsehoods, and what makes these false memories distinguishable from truths? I suppose what I’m getting at is the idea behind false conceptions of truth based in memories and whether that leads to an illusion of truth in our remembrances or just a known falsification we have swallowed so many times, we forget it was a fabrication.

MoMA response

Having grown up in NYC and lived here my whole life, this was not my first visit to MOMA. On our trip we reviewed many exhibits I’ve seen before but never with a guide so that was interesting. That being said, the ones that stand out are some classics that relate to the theme of illusions and nothingness.

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I can’t help but love the absurdity in Cubism and how random objects are tied together through paint to reveal subtleties in relation. Above is Chirico’s The Song of Love, 1914. It is very symbolic of the way people were feeling during WWI. A sense of loss (one glove), the absurdity and uncertainty of the war (the glove is as big as the stone head), the dramatization of the effects of war (the perspective of the street in relation to the objects). And yet, in the background, there is a single little glimpse of a beautiful cloud amidst a gorgeous blue sky that tricks us into comfort and leads us into feeling more insecure as we take in the objects in the foreground. I can’t help but wonder about the title of the piece, The Song of Love. The phrase also tricks us into thinking what we are seeing is merely beautiful and not necessarily tragic. In one moment you can see the joy in the image, but in another you can feel the absurdity, the sadness, and the passion in that dismay. Things don’t make sense in this world Chicero has commented upon and it certainly marks a time during humanity that was uncertain and doomed. Nothingness was certain.

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Something feels familiar about this Magritte. Something similar to The Song Of Love.  The perspective of this piece seems almost unnecessary. This assumed couple, heads draped in tightly formed sheets, are kissing so passionately but it is as random as a head of a statue bound to a wall with a glove next to it (I haven’t even mentioned the green ball yet). I could almost see this picture as a New Year’s Eve photo a friend took of his long time, married friends. In someone’s colorful but dull apartment or house. There’s actually nothing spectacular going on if you take away the sheets. It leaves you imagining what’s underneath but the perspective of the room keeps you from obsessing over that. Whatever the viewer assumes about the individuals in this painting are an illusion created by the lack of information we receive about them because of the sheets. And the perspective that almost looks flat and feels a bit off, only makes for an absurd narrative.

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This piece screams nothingness. It’s filthy, and makes me nauseous. It’s as though someone put out their huge cigarette in the middle of a canvas, and left it there for years. It looks like a disease and provokes memories of unease and foggy mistrust. I don’t especially like it and it’s not enjoyable to look at, but I can’t help but wonder how it’s made and what was on Girgorian’s mind when he made it. There’s so much texture it looks like ant’s piled stacks of ash into a city, a colony of clouds. There’s so much emptiness but so much happening all at once. Where you think you see nothing you actually see all these crevasses that looks like earth starved of water but boiling up underneath.  It almost feels like I’m in an airplane, looking straight down at a target, and I’ve just dropped a bomb, and this terrible fog is the aftermath.

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A tragic life led to this painful painting. Max Ernst, a WWI veteran, traumatized from the war and the death of his sister, hallucinated intimidating objects in wood grain of his bed post while infected with the measles as a child. A nightingale, a spinning top, an opened wooden fence were among these strange illusions. The title, Two Children are Threatened by a Nightingale suggest Max and his sister, traumatized by a threatening bird, exist in an abstract space together after her death. The objects chosen are strange put together and the perspective. And the physicality introduced by way of the fence, spinning top, and shed bring you into the scene and distract you from questioning the absurdity of the situation. There is nothing that really adheres every object in this scenario. Nothing depends on the other in order to exist. Nothing relies on something else in order to achieve relevance in this portrayal. Yet, everything has an order to it, which could be of my own implementation.

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My favorite painting at MoMA, Persistance of Memory, was not there when I went but it’s very relevant. Melting clocks on a serene beach with ants eating away at a decaying time piece and a figure loosely resembling a man’s face lying dead on the ground with his tongue coming out of his nose and his eyelash, giant, carving into his cheek bone — it’s unsettling. There’s no location where this painting takes place. Other than a beach landscape with cliffs in the background, you can’t make out what planet you’re on. The water turns into a shelf which drives this point home. It’s some kind of acid fantasy where you’ve lost your ego and you seem to empathetic to exist in the world. Time doesn’t exist and you cease to enter the world of causality. Dali wants us to be confused, but he also wants to show us what it is to be in the human condition. He plays only with the illusions that life give to us — of time, of place, of security. But he shows it and displays it as a nightmare. Something nauseous that we don’t want to admit or talk about.

Einstein’s Dreams

This happens to be one of my favorite books, so I read the entire thing all over again, happily. Alan Lightman takes notes from Einstein’s journals and weaves them into neat little stories about time and human existence. It’s a beautiful way to learn about metaphysical theories through the context of a novel. Each entry begins with a different conceptual concept of the passage of time, some even beginning with the common knowledge of the world ending very soon and so money slowly loses its value but people end up paying for their last drinks anyway.

The idea of time being a sense similar to that of touch, taste, sight, etc. is very interesting to me. Lightman talks about the “time-deaf” in the June 5th entry. This has always enlightened me, as I studied Philosophy during undergrad. He talks about how philosophers sit around at cafe’s, pondering about whether time could exist outside the realms of human perception. I’ve had many of these conversations myself. “Some few people are born without any sense of time. As a concequence, thier sense of place becomes heightened to excruciating degree” (p. 90) I agree, some people do have a better “sense” of time, and we do, in fact, use the terminology “sense of time” which implies the notion of time being something that is inherently felt by the subject. The time deaf can only “tell time” through clear observable changes. I happen to be a person who doesn’t have a good grasp on the passage of time throughout my life. Often, I forget when things happened in time unless there is a clear indicator, an image in my mind’s eye of my surroundings, or even more so, smells that identify that point in time.

At times, the book can be very melancholy. The narrative Lightman creates of lovers missing chances they could have had if only they met one minute later or of loves lost forever in death or an estranged child knocking on the door of his mothers house who does not answer — all hints at Einstein’s notion of separate universes existing all at once but one millisecond of time apart in time. The theory of events happening one after the other but also preceding one another speaks to a world in which free will is an illusion. Actions that occur in time exist in a world where the current event has already happened in another dimension but hasn’t happened yet in another. This is where the idea of a deja vu comes from according to Einstein. It is a glitch in the universe where two events happen at once that we’re supposed to happen either milliseconds before or after in another dimension.

In a way, each entry could represent the way one person feels in their body about time and space. The illusion of time could be different for all of us in the same way we can never truly know if the green I see is the green you see. This novel definitely leaves its reader thinking about the way time is stored in their own body and what it means to exist in a world where people understand time as a reality that exists around but also, possibly, because of them.

Dreamscape Lockers

(Video courtesy of Carrie Wang)

Using a Pepper’s Ghost Illusion, my team of four created dream inspired installations of ourselves using our locker’s as a space. We started by filming each other doing an activity related to a dream we had using a green screen. I chose to run because I often have nightmares of running away from something or someone.

Screen Shot 2018-03-02 at 1.06.55 PMAfter deleting the background in After Effects and making it black, I found two images online that corresponded with the dreamscape I wanted to portray.

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To create an illusion of running through a brick wall, I measured out about an inch and keyed myself out in After Effects. I was lucky because the brick wall I created was exactly the right size for the video loop.

I lined my locker with black paper and posted an image of a sign in the middle of a field on the main stage.

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Then I positioned the clear acrylic (used to create the Pepper’s Ghost illusion) on an angle in my locker and put the brick wall in front of it. I quickly learned this wasn’t the right approach!

I needed the brick wall in the background so I rearranged some things and ended up with what you see below:

Eventually, I decided that the best way to view this was not through a tiny peephole but through a blocked out space through black foam board that would allow the viewer to see only the landscape where I was running back and forth on the picture I had printed out.

This was the final version, but I’m a bit unhappy that you weren’t able to see the background image very well. The critics who came to view our installations were also right about the lost use of the door being open as extra space that could have been utilized. Other than that I’m pretty happy about how it turned out!

Midterm Ideas & Notes

Things I may want to try:

1. Using mirrors — multiple me’s running into each other.

2. Using fake walls inside of the locker (for projection proportion purposes).

3. Still image as background and something to look at that will effect that background on the front of the locker.

4. Running up a physical ramp into the distance (After Effects to key myself smaller while running away).

5. Box inside of a box, inside of a box…etc.

6. LED lights from Arduino.

I think I want the background image to be a picture of a tsunami because the theme of our illusion is dream based and one dream I remember very well was an end of the world nightmare.

Another idea is to have a physical wall inside of the locker and have a pepper’s ghost illusion version of me running through a wall.



Nothing Midterm Progress

For the midterm our team of four decided upon an illusion that will take place inside each of our lockers. The other day we filmed each other in front of a green screen doing the activity we want to project. This was the first time I’ve ever gotten rid of a background in After Effects and replaced it with something else. The background I chose for the video as practice isn’t what I’m going to use. I also need to consider the amount of green screen space needed in order to run. The idea is to have myself running back and forth between the two metal walls of my locker as though I’m trapped inside but disappearing in and out of the walls.

I realized through this editing process that I want to change almost everything!

Green Screen Test from Marco Wylie on Vimeo.


Irwin Response

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Some of Robert Irwin’s work sort of reminds me of Lichtenstein in the way he plays with dots. When the viewer is very close up the painting seems almost nonsensical, but then once you step back and view the piece as a whole, it all comes together to create a whole, compact structure. The similarity is further enunciated because both artists require the viewer to take a closer look at what is going on. You can focus in on the dots or you can take the whole image in as a whole. Perhaps the only difference here is that Irwin doesn’t want to create hyper-realistic images of people when stepping back and viewing his work, whereas Lichtenstein does.

In a way, Lichtenstein and Irwin both thought of the canvas as a constraint. They discovered an abstract way of portraying what they wanted to demonstrate by thinking about ways to expand their technique outside the realm of a constricted space. I think they both achieved this in the sense that you can view and experience their work differently when up close and far away.

Playing with dimensions and alteration of physical space in relation to what the human eye can understand is crucial to Irwin’s experimental work. How light and space play with each other is evident in the illusions he creates.

Then there’s the Whitney exhibit of 1977 – the empty room. You could walk into that room and say that there’s nothing it in. That there is nothing going on and nothing to be seen and no physical objects and so what is there if anything at all other than a room? But I think Irwin would argue that there are elements that are crucial to the experience of being in an “empty” space that exist beyond what we can impose on that area. What I’m trying to say is that, a room isn’t empty at all if there is light and space and a person who is able to experience it, after all, a person being in that space has the opportunity to alter it and see it from a certain perspective. One this is for sure, I think the only way to experience Irwin’s art is in person. Having read about it and seen pictures online I’m intrigued by the illusionist nature of his work and can only imagine what it would be like in person.


Notes on “F is for Fake”

Watching this film today makes for an interesting dialogue… I suppose there are times where being “fake” can be considered more dangerous than others. For example, the accusation of being fake news is far more egregious than being accused of forging a painting but that depends on who you’re speaking to!

Orson Welles is absolutely an interesting person. I couldn’t help but notice that he looked as though he was reading from a script like the actors of Saturday Night Live are at some points in the film which made for some very bizarre on-screen interactions…

Elmyr de Hory is undoubtedly someone with incredible talent that has spent most of his life artistically pretending to be someone who he’s not but absolved himself through this documentary…I guess it goes without saying that someone who ruthlessly “copies” someone elses work is not to be regarded as an “artist” but if someone is capable of such deceptive copywrite, can you really be disregarded if the quality is to par?

A little bit into the film I’m not so sure how genuine a “fake” artist Elmyr knows he is. What does he do this for? Market and demand? It’s pretty interesting,  he burns the painting he just made to clearly make a point. What is the difference between Hory and the natural subject — who is the real artist here?? Is it the forger or is it the original artist?! Does it only matter if you find out what you’re looking at is a fake?

Orson Welles, a seemingly self absorbed person, is intrigued by someone equally as ego-centric, and that makes for a very interesting perspective in the film. I enjoyed watching this movie even though at times the pretentiousness of the subjects were a little gross.