Welcome!

Welcome to the blog for the CNDLS Integrative Arts Fellows who are collaborating with Joan Lederman this semester in conjunction with her exhibit Where the Seafloor Melts.

As part of their fellowship project, students are participating in what we’re calling “The Daily Melt” exercise. Explore this blog to learn more about the daily melt, and we welcome your participation! You can comment on the fellows’ work, or you can add your own responses to today’s prompt. If you’d like to be added to the blog as an author so that you can create your own posts, please email commons@georgetown.edu. You can also tweet your responses using the hashtag #mudmelt.

Enjoy!

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Ann Pendleton-Jullian Visiting CNDLS

We’re pleased to learn that Ann Pendleton-Jullian, director of the Austin E. Knowlton School of Architecture (KSA) at the Ohio State University, will present a seminar for CNDLS on March 27th from 10:30-12:00 in Car Barn 314.

Ann’s work explores the interchange between architecture, landscape, culture, science, and technology, and she has written extensively on design and design thinking, the social environment of practice of the studio, and how the architectural design studio and its methodologies have evolved over time to respond to evolving social environments and practices.

Her talk is titled, “Design in a New Terrain,” and offers an opportunity for CNDLS to consider the design dimensions of our work. From her seminar description:

To create new things that resonate in a ‘world that has just come together so quickly’ — one in which true diversity is now in play — and to think about designing for change in this world, we need a new tool set. I want to talk about a new tool set conceived out of design, nurtured through need, and poised to act in a context that we expect to be ever-changing and complex.

Ann’s visit will coincide with Joan Lederman’s return as their work shares many intersections, especially related to the conditions for innovation and experimentation. Her presentation will be part of Joan’s exhibition and larger ideas of innovation, integration, and design at the heart of all the elements of the Exhibition including the student Fellows.

You can view details of her seminar here, and read her paper on designing ecotones — a term to describe a zone between two ecostystems — here.

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Either/Or

After much deliberation over the break, I’ve finally decided what I’m going to! So here’s the pitch…

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Presentation: There will be two vertical panels of glass—which will be either freestanding or upright on a pedestal; the point here is for it to be at eye-level—that are located on opposite sides of the space, facing each other. They will both have a variety of paint, texture, mud, text, symbols, and anything else I come up with on them, varying in transparency and color. The basis for the “content” on the two panels is excerpts from Kierkegaard’s Either/Or, which is a philosophical dialogue (of sorts) arguing between the aesthetic and ethical ways of life. As such, one panel will convey the aesthetic argument, and the other panel will convey the ethical argument. The viewer will “experience” the artwork by navigating back and forth between the pieces, as the “content” of both panels engage in a dialogue that require a sequential reading.

 

Concept: I’ve been struggling so far with what I want to say about us, about humanity, about the nature of the world—these grand themes—through this project, and specifically with the mud and Joan’s framework and approach to her work. After watching Arena Stage’s production of “Red”—a play about Mark Rothko—I became so fascinated about issues of duality and the tension between opposing forces. This is also the focus of my theater thesis project, titled “Chiaroscuro”, which will be a solo performance contending with issues of dual identity and the “grey” zone between extremes and defined spaces.

 

So jumping off of that, I wanted to create an artwork that dealt with this tension in an interesting way. After reading a variety of philosophers (including Nietzsche’s The Birth of Tragedy), I landed upon Kierkegaard’s Either/Or, and after speed-reading through it, I found the conversation to be very exciting and interesting. As such, I wanted to present some of the ideas and thoughts inspired from the text through the panels of glass, and having the viewers “interact” with it in a very spatially-conscious way. By navigating back and forth between the opposing sides, the viewer is also navigating through 1) this philosophical inquiry into life, and 2) his/her existence in imbuing the panels with “life” as a meaningful and powerful artwork. The navigation also provides a challenge against the dichotomous logic way-of-life, as we humans are always navigating back and forth between the extremes, never sitting comfortably in one for very long.

 

As such, from the primordial, abstract, and translucent transmissions of thought and art resonating from these panels, I try to capture within the space between them the existential and intellectual pursuit of man.
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Not gonna lie—this is pretty heady stuff. But it is really where I want to go with this piece, and I’m really excited to make it come to life. I’m currently researching excerpts from Either/Or that I can rearrange so that it becomes a dialogue between the two panels, and we as viewers must read it as such.

 

Title (Working): A/B

 

Sketch:

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Sand is like mud, right?

Found sand, about 10-15 gallons of sand, that were just sitting unused in the scene shop of the theatre, and they said I could use as much as I want, so I really want to find a way to incorporate it.

 

 

 

I am still looking to have an area where people can paint with mud, using either their fingers or brushes, so I did some tests to see if one can “paint” with wet sand.

The answer seems to be: “kind of?”  There wasn’t anything binding the sand together, so when it dried…it became sand again, not retaining it’s shape at all.  Perhaps I will be looking into a binding element like Julia’s linseed oil for her mud paint.  The next step is trying to paint with Joan’s mud, to see how it looks to layer and layer and layer and layer more mud.

 

Up Close:

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The Making of the Mud-Paint

What can I do to the mud to make paint? What would be the binder? How would the paint be mixed? How would I store the paint? While there were many questions that popped in my head, after taking Materials and Methods of Painting last semester, the process of making paint had become demystified and I was confident that I would be able to make usable paint with my mud.

I’m glad that I get to decide what I share as this week’s Daily Melt, because I’ve been waiting for an opportunity to share my mud-paint making process. You should know it’s really not that impressive – what it took, on my part, was mainly some elbow grease!

 

I thank Joan for giving me her precious mud and inspirations & Professor Moody for sharing her knowledge on paint and lending me the proper tools that made this possible!

 

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Up Late

It’s 3:30am but I can’t get to sleep yet. I recently got back from the digital lab, clocking 8 hours today. How do I do that? ask my roommates. I answer: I dunno, class and then I just lose track of time. But really I know the answer, and it’s not that I forget what time it is, at least my body reminds me when I am hungry, thirsty or have to pee. I’ll usually ignore it for a while though, which leads me to feel weak and grumpy, so I definitely need to work on that. Smoothie camel-pak? with a built in blender….

The actual reason I get lost in that room, is because I have so many sources of inspiration, motivation and distraction all within reach at once.  Believe it or not, I’m rarely even on the lab computers, but it doesn’t matter because the energy of people working, thinking and sharing is enough to create a powerful circuit of connections in my head. Everything seems to be separate and elemental at first, but bit by bit it gets sucked up into a tornado of plans, notes and actions with me swirling around in midst of it. For someone with ADD, its the best and most frustrating time. However everything will work out because I learned these things today:

1. Hands are personal. I need to choose the method that suits my own hands, and trust my instinctual process.

2. There are so many amazing mentors and supporters in our community, all we need to do is ask. Seriously, ask. Because if you don’t, you’ll deprive somebody else of the joy of helping you re-locate yourself.

3. Color-coded message/responses are awesome.

4. I should always vent through art and drawing.

5. I finally have a community of peers, and though small, we are a force to be reckoned with. But we really need more hours in the day if you want us to accomplish all of the dreams we can imagine.

[Am I truly co-directing a music video? I don’t even know how to do that stuff yet. It’s okay, neither does my classmate Lauren Bassam.]

6. My friend Jed feels close enough to me to mock me / experiment on me with his Improv Troupe. (I love you too, Jed).

7. I am the kind of person who can’t stop reaching even though I already have enough on my plate. Therefore I need something like tupperware containers to seal and save all these ideas and transport them for later when I can really get into them.

Crap. it’s almost 4. Tomorrow is an art-less day… which is why I’m reluctant to give up this one.

 

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Reflection Week 4

It’s taken me a lot of trial and error to decide on what kind of mixed-media work I want to make for the show. There’s something about the 3Dimensionality of 2D rendered surfaces that I love to create, but it’s the process of enlivening those drawings that really makes me curious and excited. At least once before leaving DC for spring break in nature (sans internet access) I hope to have the opportunity to devote some time to this process of activating my 2D drawings and sketches into something more substantial; what I mean by that is: larger, heavier, and all at once, more fragile.

I have at least two perspectives to consider: one more vicerally engaging (for me), and the other more complicated and confusing (but also longstanding). I’ll probably continue to try to see my work in both ways, because it’s hard to let one go. I keep drawing every day, but I’m not sure which plan should deserve most of my time to make art. At least I know I need to keep making attempts and errors, because that’s really the only way to figure these things out.

In other news, I might want to be a video DJ. (Just kidding, Mom and Dad!)

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Putting it all together.

I have a lot of bits and pieces right now. Ziploc bags full of rocks and sand and dirt from around campus. Glass bottles. Scraps of paper. Still waiting for the supplies for my last piece.

The rest of my time is going to be spent putting it all together. The greatest challenge I foresee is changing me mind.

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Reflection, Week 4

Once I made my mud-paint, I was able to dive right into painting. Substantial progress has been made during the past two weeks. I’ve been building up my painting by adding layers of brushstrokes and marks.

I am planning to make variety of marks, add darker colors, and increase the contrast to create a bit more depth and definition throughout the whole painting. I feel that I’m getting closer to where I want my painting to be, but I’ll have to keep painting and let the painting to evolve.

In a way, it has been getting more and more challenging to paint because the number of elements I need to consider continues to increase as I progress. I will try to not only be really present and conscious when I make the rest of my creative decisions, but also not be too careful and timid when I need to make drastic changes.

 

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Daily Melt #16 – Located beneath

My mud is from the Pacific Ocean. To be exact, it was cored off the coast of Santa Barbara, California. Currently it resides on my bedside table in Washington, DC, over 2,757 miles from where it originated deep underneath the big blue Pacific sea.

Located beneath your flippered feet

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Daily Melt #15 – Walls

You can tell a lot about a person based on what they hang on their walls. I wanted to respond to Julia’s DM13 “Open-minded” by sharing a few sections from my room, too. Not only do I find these images and textures inspiring, but they are also comforting as the last view I see before falling asleep and the first sight upon waking.

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