Amber// Response to MANIFESTO! by Ukeles

“Now, I will simply do these maintenance everyday things,  and flush them up to consciousness, exhibit them, as Art.”

What is art constituted of? Of intelligence? Of human sophisticated handwork? Of refined material? They could all be answers. But in Ukeles’s perspective, it is maintenance. Art is maintenance, and maintenance is art. She is challenging the separation of art and our daily life. Art should be originated from life, yet being in another dimension of within our life. It is not only about content, but also about presentation as well. When I go to museums or galleries, I feel a sense of sacred, like going to temple. The items exhibited in these locations have at least one feature in common, they are both intangible. The division is already created within the setting of the gallery system, making art distant.

It is far away, it is silent, it is not something we to maintain life. “Maintain” is the compromise, but art is liberation from the compromise. Which made thought about another Taiwanese artist Teching Hsieh: One Year Performance (1980-1981). He visualized time into an hourly activity, in which he continues to document himself with a picture wearing the same uniform and pressed a punched-card machine. It is related to Ukeles’s interpretation of the art of daily activity but goes to a more extreme way He emphasized the literal passing of time and punished himself to perform this every single hour. It is repetitions but still with differences. We are a lot of the times repeating ourselves to do things we are forced to do to “maintain,” but we don’t stay the same, we are constantly changing and growing. By bringing daily life practice into art, even the most simple and abstract form, artists like Ukeles and Hsieh are creating an access from intangible to tangible, making empathy interlinked by common experience.

 

 

Amber// Propose from 4-Dimension Design by Paul Thek

Some questions I wish to explore for my next project from 4-Dimension Design will be:

  • What happens after death?

I have dreamed about once I died and I was flying high in the sky looking down upon the world, my world was only in black and white. And I still saw people I love and people I care but I can’t reach them out. The question has been discussed and even answered in different religions. As a Buddhist, I believe in samsara and I think it might be more to interpret in the modern context, which the technology and desire are somehow replacing a sense of fear to the life after death, or even the life after death is different now because of technology.

Another interesting perspective could be, can a “thing” without life be considered “dead,” thus, has a state of “after death?” Can a toy die? Can a photo die? If they do, what happens to them? And what will be different from human or any other organic lives?

  • Design something to sell to the government.

In my interpretation, I consider it is a very political statement, often ironic. Thinking about what the government wants and what they are practicing in daily life? I am thinking about authority, violence, army, social security in relation to individual identity. Like ID card, which is literally identity card. So I might redesign identity card to have an AI duplication inside it, which the government can experiment, predict, investigate, and interrogate on without much expense…….

  • Redesign human genitals so that they might be more equitable. 

More easy to animate, I think the best genital is no genital, in an age of absolute equality and asexual reproduction.

 

Amber// Week3: Basic Interface (Switch Button)

My code can be found here.

Process: 

My first attempt was to write three buttons under Button.js

What is out of my expectation is that they actually function pretty well, but only in either vertical or horizontal line, not both. Then I realized <Button /> component inside App.js should be it.

But the second challenge was even though I use the similar logic to trigger the function buttonWasClicked() to update the state of myChoice, and make it display on the displayingBox. It refuses to work this time. So I was making the simple flowchart below to help me understand. I realized currentChoice and myChoice are not communicated in Button.js afterbuttonWasClicked(). I realized the reason my first version worked is because in Button.Js, the communication is linked by the action of “clicking,” but now there is differentiation of different clicking, but still using the same function App.js, so it should be revised in Button.js accordingly.  in  So I made another function to communicate between myChoice and currentChoice, to pass myChoice to currentChoice.

 

 

Reflection:

The complexity of CSS styling: it was pretty easy to “recreate” the interface by hard-coding the absolute pixel and position, but to create a dynamic user interface requires the designer to think about the long-term use of different division, subdivision, and how to put things in to what division, so on and so forth. It might look the same, but what is presented on the surface is not entirely the underneath. It is so important to keep that in mind.

 

 

Amber//#2 Assignment, Video as a Tool, Extension of the Body

https://vimeo.com/254526864

  • Title: Eating Keeps Me Alive
  • Duration: 00:01:25
  • Time: 7th, Feb 2018
  • Equipment: Canon 6D
  • Concept: I have been struggling with body image ever since I was in primary school. Even though I have already lost considerable weight now and looked like everyone else, I still have such a problem of seeing myself the way I want, which also relates to my relationship with diet, Bulimia, and even mental health issues. So I decided to talk about it and translate it into a video. In which I am eating my iPhone displaying a picture of a cute girl supposedly “idealized body of China” animated based on a huge database about beauty standard worldwide from different cultures. By eating something uneatable, I wish to visualize my struggle with dieting that I don’t have much autonomy of eating freely and happily, and my very internal urgency to look prettier and thinner within a short period of time. Background playing Chinese entertainment show about weight-loss advice and makes a lot of jokes about it, which I found quite the opposite of my experience. Speaking of the smartphone, one the other hand, it is also in complicity with constructing the shame and suffering of imperfect bodies, so I chose it deliberately to tell my story.

 

Amber// #1 Field Trip Note – Lettres Du Voyant, HOW Museum

  • Exhibition: Lettres Du Voyant
  • Featured Artist: Nam June Paik & Joseph Beuys
  • Location: HOW Museum
  • Time: Friday, 2nd, February. 2018

I really enjoyed and appreciated the exhibition, which is such a chance to bring Nam June Paik and Joseph Beuys into dialogue. They provide supplementary materials for each other’s works during the time period (60s-70s) as Fluxus artists who had considerable cooperation works and are close friends. The exhibition had been prepared for two years before publicizing. Therefore, It has featured many their influential works, however, it still fails me with some lack of the masterpieces I wish to see. For example, the TV Buddha from Nam June Paik. But overall, I consider this exhibition is well-arranged to present a great variety of their representative works that contrast while communicate to one another, forming a more clear image to me about the political circumstances, art movement, Fluxus Weave during that period of time, especially regarding the birth and democratization of art with the development of technology and the art movements including Neo-Dada, Postmodernism….so on and so forth. I realized there exists huge historical context to be able to get to know the message and purpose of the artist, without time-history specificity, a lot of the meaning is lost in the void. 

Nam June Paik emphasizes the sense of ritual in a lot of his works, he favors the “randomness,” which reminds me of Verticle Roll, Joan Jonas (1972), using distorted images as a mean of art. From the reading History of Video Art, the author analyzes, “He provoked the creation of a new aesthetics of the distorted picture by transforming the normal process of recorded images, the aim of which was to be distortion free.” The random images on the screens are familiar while distant at the same time, brings a competing energy of cynicism between seriousness and joke, as a weapon to “attack TV that attacks us all lives.” Paik’s name is established by his installations as well. And I think the installations sometimes over-write the meaning of the visual images themselves because the similarity of the images. The installations carry cultural and social significance sometimes I consider more powerful than the actual information on screen. For example, Blue Buddha (1992-1996):

 

I recall from class when we discussed how Video Art should be an instrument that challenges the notions of what is comfortable and appropriate to watch, questions the nature of the visual information that projects and being projected, roams on the edge of subjectivity and objectivity. Paik uses a lot of the eastern figures and cultural icons in his works, it is interesting to see his translation of the ancient philosophy into a modern context. But beyond the superficial discourse on his emphasis on his own identity being a Korean or Asian American artist, I feel a sense of melancholy and loneliness in the process of staring yet found limited value but at the heart of the statue positioned void of randomness. Isn’t it a metaphor for seeking meanings in religions, socialization, or life in general Paik seeks a mythology within digital age as the initial point and creates new icons and symbols layered past and now, is what I admire most.

Something might be irrelevant but I found quite interesting is that how we now see exhibitions through the eyes of our phones and cameras even though we are in the physical museum. For school field trip like this, we are required to take pictures and videos for our writing reference, therefore, taking pictures and video becomes a huge purpose of our visit. How does that differ from visiting without purpose, and is the sense of sanctification being lifted or not? I found it quite appealing to me to think about the spectator-object relationship.

I absorbed food for thoughts from this exhibition and looking forward to utilizing them in my own practice as inspiration.

 

Amber//#Assignment 1, Recreate NYtimes

The full code can be found here.

original website:  https://www.nytimes.com/section/business

I use an array to arrange the three pieces by date, text, and picture, and subdivide the text into title, abstract and author to easily manipulate them.

The main challenge I have is the position of the pictures. I realized every time I resize it under the <p> tag, I was resizing the columns instead of the pictures. So I add another className inside the <img> tag, and resized the pictures accordingly. However, I am wondering if there will be a better solution without using a more className and resize the pictures directly.

Amber//#1, the Single Shot: Labor In Disguise

  • Time: 13:25, 28th Jan 2018
  • Duration: 00:01:28
  • Location:Yong’an Leisure Street (永安百货), Nanjing Road, Huangpu District, Shanghai, China
  • Equipment: iPhone
  • Description: An intense and repetitive voice calling for people’s attention of a Big Sale for sports clothes surrounded by other similar salespersons. Costumers and visitors were coming in and out with bags of the commodities. The very hard-working and responsible promoter is doing her best to sell.
  • Reflection: Labor is a very abstract idea. However, a laborer is rather a more tangible term. In my interpretation, the most obvious laborers are people who are directly using their bodies and bodily strength as a mean to exchange, like manual workers or Blue-collar workers. For example, the construction workers, the cleaners, or the security guards are the very explicit laborers who are more visible to me. However, what I attempted to do in this assignment is to locate the less visible forms of labor which I usually don’t consider as labor, even now when I am posting this blog I am still debating about if it is labor or not. The absence of a human body transforms the promotion work into a simple repetition, no energy and enthusiasm are wasted, no disappointment in being rejected, but at a very low cost. Is it a ideal labor? Is it efficient in promoting? Is it being ignored and devalued because of the replaceable nature of it? Is it a metaphor for the low-paid labor now? However, on the other hand, the voice amplifier itself, is a labor product for sure, containing high-technology and manufacture.
  • Process: In the weekend, I took a trip to Nanjing Road, which is one of the oldest and biggest commercial centers, I have witnessed, observed, and documented a lot of forms of labor. I have documented construction workers who are performing very intense and dangerous weld works, who are just in between the skyscrapers, whom I too often not paying attention to, as if they are invisible. I also encountered a lobby girl of a hotpot restaurant, who dressed up in Dai ethnic minority costume from tropical China in such a freezing weather, who is supposed to attract more people by her outstanding dress, yet being covered by coat and cap. It was really interesting to observe the awkwardness between the layers of the clothes and dresses opposing to the tropical, passionate and exotic characteristics that the restaurant trying to appropriate as its brand. People in various positions are positioned to create orders in the commercial society. Also, my little trip reminds me of the topic of how to represent the subjects in my frame with respect, even just with my phone, I still got questioned by myself if it is right to film people without their consent. So I finally include this clip without pointing my camera at any specific person.

#Reference:

  • Labor in a Single Shot Project by Antje Ehmann and Harun Farock:

http://www.labour-in-a-single-shot.net/en/project/concept/