Friday, March 13, 2009

From The Archives III

I’m nearing the end of spring break, which has been quite productive. I’ve worked a great deal in my studio this past week, and have a lot of work in progress (and a lot of thinking to do). I don’t have anything ready to post here, however, so it’s a good time for the third installment of From the Archives, wherein I post an old piece of work and write some comments about how it was made and what I was thinking about (you can read the first installment here, and the second installment here).

Doppler #1 was made in the summer of 1997, after finishing my first year of graduate school. Nearly all of the work I made my first year at Cranbrook reflected an interest in scientific structure and notation. After school let out, I was determined to continue the momentum in my studio practice and work throughout the summer (which was the first time since 1981 when I didn’t have a job over the summer). Carrying the ideas of structure and notation into the work I made over that summer, Doppler #1 was an attempt to visually recreate and diagram Doppler effect (changes in pitch of a moving object's sound). In this piece, the photographic fragments, the objects in the photographs, and the spaces between the strips of photographs get wider as they move from left to right across the composition. References to motion and sound occur throughout the photographs used to create this piece. Here’s a close-up (excuse the fuzziness, it’s a scan of an old slide, and I couldn’t get it to turn out well).

I shot the photos on a warm summer evening. I had my partner Kevin put on dress clothes, and I shot him playing his violin near a freeway overpass in a semi-wooded area close to where we were living in Ann Arbor. I waited until large trucks or other vehicles were on the overpass, as I wanted to emphasize motion and feature things that produced sound in the photos.

After processing the film, I scanned the negatives, and manipulated them in Photoshop by stretching and squashing the images. These manipulated images were taken to a digital imaging lab, where they were printed onto pieces of photographic film. I used this film to make the prints. There are three 20” X 24” photographs in this piece, all printed in a traditional wet darkroom on photographic paper. These prints were cut into strips and reassembled onto a large sheet of heavy paper (approx. 36” X 80”).

Doppler #1, along with a second doppler piece (with the unimaginative title Doppler #2), are the culmination of my lengthy exploration of scientific structure and notation. Upon finishing the two doppler pieces, I felt I that this direction for my work had run it’s course. I returned to school in the fall of 1997 determined to work in a different direction. Which I did, after a couple of false starts. I don’t think I did much with these pieces. I’ve never exhibited them anywhere, and I don’t remember ever critiquing them a Cranbrook. I liked them at the time, but they were lost in the shuffle of wanting to do something different with my work. Now, they’re in a closet in my studio.

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