Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Traveling Museum, Assignment Guidelines

Each student is required to design and construct a display case. The display case will house original objects made by the student.  The content and meaning of the objects will be derived from research conducted at the St. Augustine Historical Society Library. Ideas about display will come from time spent looking at the many display options at The Lightner Museum. Display cases will be designed so the structure is easily movable. The display cases will be on view at various locations in the community. Dates and locations TBA. Each student will produce a professional written document that will serve as an information source for their work. This information will be incorporated into the final solution as either a plaque and/or label. 

Expose students to the processes of research and group discourse to develop an idea. This approach to art making will provide students with an opportunity to make work that has meaning and content. Utilizing local resources provides opportunity for a site-specific project. 

Step 1:
Class field trip to the St. Augustine Historical Society Library. Discuss the need and desire to collect and document images and objects from the past. 

Step 2: 
Each student conducts their own, individual research at the library. At least two hours required from each student. 

Step 3:
Present research to class for discussion. 

Step 4:
Visit The Lightner Museum to gather ideas about display. 

Step 5:
Present display ideas to class and decide on a format. Display cases will be similar in size and design so that materials can be purchased in bulk. 
Firm up individual ideas for objects. 

Step 6:
Mold Making Workshop. Russell Maycumber will demonstrate how to make molds. This process may be of interest for producing small scale objects for this project. Discussion - artifacts, reproduction, mass consumption, souvenirs, the significance of objects, Venus of Willendorf. A hard copy of a reading will be provided. 

Required Research: 
St. Augustine Historical Society
Link here to view website.

Lightner Museum
Link here to view website.

Additional Reading and Research:
To Have and to Hold: 
An Intimate History of Collectors and Collecting 
by Philipp Blom

The Hare with Amber Eyes 
by Edmund DeWaal

Mr. Wilson's Cabinet of Wonder 
by Lawrence Weschler

Museum of Jurassic Technology
Los Angeles, California
Link here to view website. 

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Kevin Mahoney, Student Work

“And to see the world is also, at the same time, to experience oneself as visible, to feel oneself seen”
David Abram, Spell of the Sensuous
Chapter 2, Section II
With this work I’m attempting to separate myself from the image of myself with tracing paper.

Wood, photograph, tracing paper, 18" x 24"

Kevin Mahoney, Student Work

Natural History of the Senses
For this project I set up a microphone going through a loop pedal going through an amplifier. All of this was covered with a red velvet curtain to add a layer of mystery. So as the business of the Molly Wiley Art Building happened each day, the sounds of it’s inhabitants would be reflected back into the building. Each time the sounds would loop they would loop back on top of eachother, building up into a sea of feedback. I placed a mirror behind the curtain so that nosy viewers would be able to see that it was, in fact, them making the music. Unfortunately I faced problems with people not wanting to listen to the music and I also faced problems with the microphone on my camera not picking up the sound as it truly happened. I feel that this piece would be specific to whatever site it was installed in and I feel that it operates more as a physical experience that does not lend itself very well to documentation.

John Cage

Mahaly Garrett, Student Work

For this installation assignment, I focused mainly on the History of the Senses chapter on touch. The chapter spoke heavily of the Exploratorium in San Francisco, a place I’ve been fortunate enough to visit. In the chapter, the author mentions the blacked-out maze which causes one to rely entirely on their sense of touch and balance as they navigate a series of traps and surprises in total darkness.
I wanted to create a relaxing, naturally-themed area which focused entirely around touch, sight and smell. Using several blackout curtains, I was able to create an inlet area in a corner which became a cave. Inside the cave area, I put down dirt and sod, then placed tree branches on the walls which touch those who enter the cave. The entire point of the area was to entice people to sit on the grass and feel it beneath them, as well as the branches around them. To emphasize the sensory experience, I dabbed campfire-scented oil on the blackout curtains in order to add to the synasthesia. Ultimately, I wanted the feel of the nature, as well as the smell, to affect each visitor differently, as each people has a different connection to nature and the smell of a fire. I really enjoyed leaving the majority of the experience up to the visitor, as dictating and explaining each section of the piece would ruin the initial reaction.

Michelle Behling, Student Work

The sense I chose was hearing:

"Sea robins, drum-fishes and many others make sounds with their swim bladders; croakers grunt loud enough to keep China Sea fishermen awake at night; Hawiian triggerfish grind their teeth loudly ; the male toadfish growls; bottlenose dolphins click and squeak like badly oiled office chairs..." (198)
Diane Ackerman, Natural History of the Senses, 1990.

This part of the chapter made me think a lot about the natural sounds in our environments. When I go to sleep at night, the sounds I hear are the refrigerator and other electrical humming sounds. I wanted to respond to the abundance of mechanical sounds that can be heard throughout the day. Often I think we tune out these sounds and then blend into the background. However, in most building these sounds are present. I think it's interesting that often lights and machines buzz more and more with time as the parts wear down, making them impossible to fabricate.

I wanted to interfere with the space and create mechanical noise in the background to alter the sense of hearing.  I tested several types of lights using an electronic dimmer, a common cause of humming lights, to test the volume and sound of the hum. Although this experience has visual sensory information, it is primarily meant to be felt as an auditory experience.  I attempted to partially shield the visual aspect of the light with a curtain in my installation.

Ultimately this project was my first experience with lighting and sound. At first, I was unsure if I could even produce humming lights, as they are considered a problem meant to be solved. It seemed as if this project was the backwards solution to a problem- a solution created through a reverse process. 


Andrew Hollingsworth, Student Work

Installation in response to an excerpt titled the Painter's Eye 
from Diane Ackerman's A Natural History of the Senses.

Emily Lowell, Student Work

Touch Chapter
From the book A Natural History of the Senses by Diane Ackerman