Printed Figurine

Today I awoke to an exciting text message telling me my figurine was ready to be picked up from the basement in Graham Sutherland. I was very excited to see it and couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. It was presented to me and I was confused at first, the figurine was surrounded in a plastic waxy substance, the technicians put me at ease once they told me that is to be washed away. The figurine is also slightly smaller than I originally wanted but due to the Universities 3D printing facilities it is the biggest I could get it.

The next step was to soak the figurine in cold water, I did so for about an hour before starting to clean it.

On the technicians advice I used a tooth brush and scrubbed the figurine, this took just over an hour but was strangely therapeutic and relaxing. I took a video of myself cleaning the figurine for around 10 minutes, I found it really hard when doing research to see any videos on the post production of 3D printing i.e. cleaning, prepping and painting so I thought I would make a video which anyone could access and not have the problems I had.

The figurine still has a rough texture on the back half so I will leave it in soak over night and scrub it again tomorrow, then it will be ready for painting.

Magical Girl – Image Selection

I’ve been back from Japan for 4 days now, and have spent that time going through my images, choosing the final ones and attempting to edit them. I had a very clear image of what I wanted each photo to look like in my mind before I left so the images I came back with didn’t vary much, but thats a good thing, I knew what I wanted and I planned it so much that I didn’t need to shoot any other options. However the poses and slight angles make all the difference so I need to select my finals and start printing them.

All images have had a quick edit to hint more towards the colours desired.

Magical Girl

I had high hopes for the magical girl shoot, the location and outfit were my favourites out of all the shoots. Positioning was something I struggled with, finding a pose, I found that the best ones were faceless from behind, the magical girl over looking the city empowered almost ready to fly.

The 3 poses I like the most are…

This pose is quite reflective, it may not be as openly empowering as the two below but it appears as if she is overlooking Tokyo, protecting it.

The two poses above are nearly identical, it’s just a change in position of the arm. I am so used to staring at them both I have no idea which one work better, I will have to spread them around and get some opinions.

Another issue is wether I wanted other people in the shoot too? So I did both. Generally people stayed away if we were shooting so I stood back for a while and let people sit down and then went in their whilst they were sitting. I think the images with the public in add a greater sense of reality, it almost adds a weirdness to the images, asking questions about why the character is doing this in public. Taking the setting from a secluded platform to a tourist attraction.

There is an in between as well, in some images you can see reflections of people, so without being in your face it is obvious that this is a public space. Some of which you can see above.

Any of your thoughts would be very helpful, I have seen the images so much they have lost their initial impact.

An out take form the shoot, just love the colours
And a big thanks as well to my assistant AKA Mum who spend half her holiday in Japan shopping with me and on shoots 🙂

 

Spencer Murphey for Phonar – the 4th look

*Included in Symposium too because it may become relevant*

This is the lecture we had today with Spencer Murphey, visual culture & film lecturer at Coventry University, for Phonar.

And here are my notes…

The idea of the “4th gaze” is a really important thing to consider, the ability to use a media to make the spectator reflect upon themselves through your work is a skill which is key for any artist. The constant questioning of yourself and of others, and what we expect as normal.

After the lecture we also had a question and answer session with Spencer and a question came up about when does your work become self-indulgent and have no relationship to anyone else, its meaningless?

Spencer replied with Lazwel’s theory, when creating work think about…

Who?
Say’s What?
To Whom?
in what platform?
with what effect?

Obviously this isn’t a check list you should comply to in every project, but when you start to question your work it’s good to step back and use these methods to get back on track. There is no doubt I have been worried about this project, so I want to try and describe my project through these terms.

Who?
Myself
Says What?
The exploration of otaku culture through the insight into their “Sanctuaries”.
To Whom?
To the online geek culture, as well as a broader audience who might not understand this obsession.
In what platform?
Online, to access my target audience and provoke some sense of debate/opinion.
With what effect?
To break away from prejudice and the patronising work of most who look at sub cultures.

It seems I need more of a platform, how am I going to approach this? a blog, a series of stills, audio, video? I need to contextualise my idea more and look at some examples to see which would best fit my idea.

Symposium Proposal…

This is my proposal for our end of year symposium. Let me know what you think, and if you have any relevant practitioners I can look at, or if you can help me in any way 🙂


TITLE OF RESEARCH PROJECT
An examination into contemporary (1980-2012) Japanese photography that challenges Japan’s Post-WWII adolescent culture.

MODE OF PRESENTATION SELECTED
Symposium Presentation

DESCRIPTION OF SUBJECT TO BE INVESTIGATED
The main subject I will be examining within my symposium is how Japan’s Kawaii (cute)/Otaku (geek) culture came about as a reaction to the events during and post WWII (including Hiroshima, Japan’s surrender and the peace constitution), and how contemporary photographers are trying to challenge this culture through their work. I define contemporary as being from 1980 as this was around the birth of Art influenced by Kawaii culture and mass consumerism in Japan, it’s also the time the term Otaku became synonymous with a particular group. Defining this time frame allows me to avoid discussing documentary photography post hiroshima and lets me focus on a specific 30 years of culture shift rather than the 70 years since Hiroshima which would be too broad and has been looked at before. 

The basis for this idea came from a quote by Takashi Murakami (founder of the superflat movement) “It would not be an exaggeration to say that the American-made constitution prevented the nation from taking an aggressive stance… it cast Japan in the role of a “child” obliged to follow America’s “adult” guidance, and the nation willingly complied.” Recent exhibitions such as ‘Bye Bye Kitty’ have directly opposed the assumption that Japanese art is commercial and cute, and Adrian Favell has given a lecture on the new art movements within Japan, one being a group of women photographers who challenge the role of japanese women in otaku culture and Murakami’s work. Obviously this offers a whole new research project so I intend to use these photographers within my research without focusing on the gender aspect.  My background study for this project will consist of analysing the Superflat manifest and it’s practitioners, questioning why photography was rarely involved unless advertising a product? researching more on Kawaii culture and the acceptance of child-like obsessions like figurines, cosplay, animation, comics etc. and presenting and interrogating contemporary photographers work who point out flaws in this culture and are aiming to change the Japanese art scene. I am approaching this debate in a way I didn’t intend, I am a lover of Japanese pop culture and artists such as Murakami and have been for years, my original intent was to explore this culture in reaction to Hiroshima through photography, but I quickly came to realise the only photography involved with the superflat movement is commercial, and that fine art photographers are trying to push through the dominating mass culture production of art and create more politically and socially challenging work. At the moment I consider myself worried that the culture I have so much admiration for holds no place for fine art photography, however this is just a reflection it may have on me personally rather than me as a practitioner, so is something I will avoid swaying my research, it’s just interesting to note it now and see how this changes.

SOURCES TO BE UTILISED
I expect that the main source for my work will be within book and articles. Finding photographers who have directly and purposely used their work to oppose Kawaii culture, rather than finding work and applying my personal reading onto it. I have also learnt that there is an English speaking J-Art expert called Adrian Favell, who has written books, given lectures and made videos on Murakami’s work as well as the anti-Kawaii art. I will interview him and any other people I find relevant to do so, including at least 1 photographer. At the moment exhibition catalogues seem to be providing me great quotes and insight, so I will continue using these, as well as Films, Newspapers, TV programmes. Any qualitative source I can find. The broader my method of research the greater knowledge i will gain.

METHODS TO BE USED IN ACQUISITION OF SOURCES
Using the Coventry University ‘locate’ system, I will broaden my resources from just photography but other applicable areas. In terms of interviews I wish to understand whether Murakami’s theory on Japan using the child state of mind as a reaction to WWII is something they have experienced and agree with, whether they believe that superflat has had it’s time and needs to let less commercial art forms like Fine Art photography have a say on cultural matters, also whether they agree with Kawaii cultures view on the world or if it’s just shallow. A difficulty will be the language barrier, as I am looking at Japanese practitioners and don’t speak any Japanese. Another difficulty might be that I find no one else agrees with Murakami and that they believe photographers had a big part of the superflat movement, It wouldn’t ruin my project, but it would mean some re-considering and researching would be in order.

METHODS/FORMS OF INTERPRETATION/ANALYSIS TO BE USED WITH THE INFORMATION AND SOURCES 
I will organise my data through categorising the areas I want to talk about and placing each practitioner’s, theory or interview into each area, I will then analyse how much information I have and how much more I need to get.

PLAN/ SCHEDULE OF WORK

November – Researching, create contact with people to interview, write interview layout for each individual. More background researching.

December – Conduct Interviews, Continue  background research, provide an overall analysis, trying to break it into categories, work out from that what’s missing, research missing areas. Filter down research to key points and artists to go in symposium. Start writing Symposium.

January – Finish writing first draft symposium early on, proof read and re-write at least twice. Write final symposium & make power point, work out how I will best remember it, full text, notes, symbols. Rehearse Symposium over and over.

February – Rehearse Symposium. Do symposium.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Emag:

Adrian Favell, 2011. Bye Bye Little Boy.[online magazine] Art in America: Brant Publications. Available at: http://www.artinamericamagazine.com/features/bye-bye-kitty/ [Accessed on: 5/11/2012]

Jill Connar, 2011. Japan’s New Breed: Bye Bye Kitty. [online magazine] Art in America: Brant Publications. Available at: http://www.artinamericamagazine.com/news-opinion/news/2011-03-29/bye-bye-kitty-japan-society/ [Accessed on 5/11/2012]

Lucy Birmingham, 2011. Bye Bye Kitty: The Dark side of Art in Japan. [online magazine] Time entertainment: Time inc. Available at: http://www.time.com/time/arts/article/0,8599,2069261,00.html#ixzz2BMS825iw [Accessed on 5/11/2012]

Adam Millar, 2011.  An Editorial: The bomb in popular culture. [online magazine] axiom magazine. Available at: http://www.axiommagazine.jp/2011/08/06/an-editorial-the-bomb-in-popular-culture/ [Accessed on: 2/11/2012]

E-Book/PDF’s:

RoyalTevent, 2008. Tokyo Tremors. [PDF] UCLA. Available at: http://www.sscnet.ucla.edu/soc/faculty/favell/RoyalTevent.pdf [Accessed on: 5/11/2012]

Books:

Murakami, Takashi., 2005. Little Boy. London : Yale University Press.

Holborn, Mark., 1991. Beyond Japan: A photo theatre. London : Barbican Art Gallery, in association with Jonathan Cape.

Murakami, Takashi., 2000. Superflat. S.l. : MADRA

Blog:

Admin, 2011. NYAB The event – “Bye bye Kitty!!! Between heaven and hell in contemporary Japanese art” Exhibition. Gaia Gallery. [blog] 7th April 2011. Available at: http://www.gaiagallery.com/artists-self-representing/prints/contemporary-prints/nyab-event-bye-bye-kitty-between-heaven-and-hell-in-contemporary-japanese-art-exhibition/ [Accessed on: 5/11/2012]

The Kawaii project, 2012. The kawaii project.[blog] Available at: http://kawaiiproject.tumblr.com/ [Accessed on: 3/11/2012]

Lawrence Eng, 2012. The Politics of Otaku. Digital Melodies of Dispair. [Blog] October 28th 2012. Avialable at: http://digimero.blogspot.co.uk/2012/10/the-politics-of-otaku.html [Accessed on 3/11/2012]

ARIELAMAZING, 2010. Britney Spears and Takashi Murakami collaborate for Pop magazine. The Vine. [Blog] 25/8/2010. Available at: http://www.thevine.com.au/fashion/news/britney-spears-and-takashi-murakami-collaborate-for-pop-magazine/ [Accessed on: 3/11/2012]

Mark Stevens, 2005. Toxic Cuteness. New York Art. [Blog] 21/5/2005. Available at: http://nymag.com/nymetro/arts/art/reviews/11707/ Accessed on 3/11/2012

rwpick, 2010. Pop Psychosis: the Influence of the Bomb on Superflat Art. Post Bubble culture. [Blog] 19/4/2010. Available at: http://postbubbleculture.blogs.wm.edu/2010/04/19/pop-psychosis-the-influence-of-the-bomb-on-superflat-art/ Accessed on: 2/11/2012

Website:

Ryoko Suzuki, 2012. Ryoko Suzuki Website. [website] Available at: http://www.ryokobo.com/ [Accessed on 3/11/2012]

James hamilton Butler, 2012. JHB. [website] Available at: http://www.jameshamiltonbutler.com/jhb-gi [Accessed on 3/11/201]

Number 1 Gallery, 2012. Number 1 Gallery. [website] Available at: http://www.number1gallery.com/exhibition-item/otaku/ [Acceseed on: 3/11/2012]

Publication available on website:

John Roco Roberto, 2000-2003. Japan, Godzilla and the Atomic Bomb. the History Vortex. Available at: http://www.historyvortex.org/JapanGodzillaAtomicBomb.html [Accessed: 2/11/2012]

Thinking about transmedia

Although my theme for my final piece is becoming more clear, how I engage with my audience and community isn’t something I’ve begun to consider, but I need to ASAP. The importance of involving people in your work is not just at the end, but through your whole project, creating a journey for them to go on with you. I wanted to brain storm the way I could do this, and then focus down my research area and come up with a serious project I can begin and evolve over the next 8 weeks.

Voting – Poll’s
Creating online discussions around the world
Making a specific brand
Video diary – allow people to see your flaws and creates a more human approach
Collaborating with other fans who either write, paint, draw, create music, photograph, make clothes etc.

I want to try and think of a project I can combine as many of these thing if not all of them. Collaborating is the one that most interests me, I would love to collaborate with a different Genre Practitioner to create a transmedia project. Once I have found people to collaborate with it would be really good to do these things together. Each to a video diary which we post to each other or record skype sessions.

I think my net move is going to be to focus my theme for the project down and then begin researching people who work in this area that inspire me so much I would love to work with them.

50 shades of grey lecture notes. #Phonar

Today’s Phonar lecture was on 50 shade of Grey. At first my thoughts were, how does this relate to photography, but as the lecture began to unfold I quickly learnt that there are many aspect of 50 shade’s impact, promotion, publishing and use of the ‘fan’ that I as a photographer could learn from.

Phonar is about a community and freeing up our work rights in order to collaborate. Rather than keeping everything copyrighted and shutting ourselves off to the greater world we should be sharing our ideas and information, creating a network of contributors and fellow practitioners. The idea of E.L. James’ 50 shades series of books steamed from her love for twilight. As a fan she partook in the ever growing community of online fan fiction and used her skills to re-present the love story of Edward and Bella. Some may argue that as practitioners we do this in all our work, taking influence from other peoples work wether it be colour, narrative, composition or any other aspects that draw us to a certain piece of art, nothing is 100% original anymore. But this isn’t a negative thing.

Tapping into a community that bases itself on our interests seems like a natural development in life, but sometimes we need that extra push. Phonar for example is a fan base for all photographers to access new ideas and projects allowing them to meet the worldwide photography community. Much like 50 shades stems from twilight, courses like Phonar stem from a passion of photography.

As a self proclaimed fan myself I found it interesting listening to Mafalda’s concept on audience and community. Whilst some people might see 50 shades as pornography other people might not. Almost everyone is a fan of something, a religion, a place, a TV show or a game. We pump money, effort and time into areas/hobbies not so that we can make money back (that was never E.L. James’ intention) but to share with other people in our obsessions. For me personally it is Anime/Manga and Japanese pop culture, I am a convention goer, and I spend hours online (some people would think wasted) researching specific characters or products relating to my obsession. We have been asked to key into a specific audience, reach the fans and collaborate with them, maybe do a project on them or interview them. Whichever method is chosen it is the best way to learn and grow. This time last year E.L. James was a fan, and now she is a best selling author, she produced her best piece of writing, not because she had to but because she wanted to, it’s her passion and she knew online was the best place to reach other people who were interested. For these reasons I hope to tap into the cosplay community. I have briefly scratched the surface, photographing at events, arranging studio sessions and joining forums.

This video is a great explanation fo fandom 🙂

Document my Journey to school…

I wanted to talk a bit about the lighting before you see the pictures. I made a conscious decision to have more faith in my abilities and set up the lighting prior to taking any photos. I knew I wanted a soft light because it would compliment the fold in the paper well, for this reason I used my bed side tabled lamp. Fearing it would still be to aggressive on the delicate and intricate origami I decided I would reflect the light onto the paper by using a mirror. All set up and I was ready to go, and to my delight the lighting turned out just how I imagined it, strong enough to create interesting shadows and make the origami have depth, whilst not being so harsh the images become agressive.

Time for the images…

Origami Me

This project looks at my journey to where I am now in my school life. My last year. I have always loved being in the education system, this series is a visual story of how school and university has helped me to grow and become more confident. Daisy.

At the current point in my education this is where I am. A nearly fully bloomed flowers. Hoping the next year will push me to become this…

PHOTOSENSE day 2

Another day of trying to establish PHOTOSENSE as it’s own brand and we have all written at least one post on each of the senses we are exploring, sight, sound and touch. We have already gained one wordpress follower too, and our twitter is ever growing. We are going to treat the blog as a hub for all the information we gather, a collective research blog which will later be edited down and re-presented as a radio show/ a series of shows. Have a look at the new blog posts from today which explore a wide variety of topics.

Another feature we added was the category selection at the top, allowing readers to choose their area of interest.