SO… there was a pokemon go event near Amsterdam and OMG I’m going to Amsterdam that day. Doing the math, that means I’m going to this event, in a foreign country, to catch a kangaroo. This stupid pocket monster is normally only available in Australia so it’s an amazing opportunity for me to catch two regional pokemon (Europe has a mime) in one place without having to purchase a ticket to Australia. I planned my visit to Amsterdam with an overnight stay with friends Margaret and Rene who live a little north of the city in a converted house that used to receive small ships. Margaret and Rene are the Dutch couple I met in the residency in Onishi, but being such a huge people-hater, it took me over 2 hours to warm up to them. Margaret is a top photographer and Rene is a consultant who helps brand companies to make them more successful and then guides them towards being a better and more responsible business ecologically. (I had to say this out loud here because I know that Margaret gets patted on the shoulder at the very least and most likely gets a kiss for communicating correctly to me what Rene does.) I think the Dutch have one of the most ecological cultures I may have ever seen. They are very ready to embrace ecological responsibilities.
I have some tiny movies for you.
Tokyo Edition! I still have so many images to share from Japan. Let’s get right to it.
Ok, ok. I’ll show you the sumi-e work I’ve been doing… but prepare to be underwhelmed. I’m going to contrast it with the work of my instructor, Sanae Aiba, so you can see why I’m embarrassed.
Wow, I can hardly believe it. Here it is! A little info about the work: My initial idea was to make sculptures of everyday objects that have cameras on them, such as bumpers, phones, video game consoles etc. and exaggerate the camera portion by putting a surveillance camera “growth” on the spot in which the camera appears on the object. I tinkered with a raspberry pi for weeks before I left the country with plans to have it power an actual camera and put it inside of the sculpture. It would be attached to a monitor which would show you looking at the piece and the piece looking at you. Well… the raspberry pi made me want to murder people in the face. I never solved the issues I was having no matter how many youtube videos I watched and tutorials I read. I still love the idea so I may revisit it when I get home if I can get a living, breathing tutor to help me figure it out.
Just so you know… in addition to participating with the community, eating, sleeping, pooping regularly, riding a bike as my means of transportation (including riding 2 miles every other day to get groceries or supplies… no it’s not far, but it takes a big chunk of time out of my day), and writing about all of it daily, I’m making art each day as well. I don’t have anything too exciting to show for it yet but I figured I’d fill you guys in.
Paper factory! Paper factory! Ok, now I have a story about Yasuko Takada. I stumbled across her when I wandered into a craft store called On y va! This is a clever play on words on Yasuko’s part. In French, “on y va” means “let’s go!” and the sound of “on y” sounds like the first part of Onishi. I was looking for some craft supplies and I thought that’s what was sold at On y va. What’s actually there are handmade crafts from local crafters and in the back is a sewing workshop.
Story time. You should probably sit down. The flea market on Sundays here is super cool and I’ve been twice now. The first time was a reconnaissance mission though I did wind up with some cute cat things and a handful of uchiwa. As I’ve settled into the area and met people who know things, my mission on the second visit became more critical.
Why are you there again, Sue Anne? Well, I’m at an artist’s residency to make art and fulfill my sabbatical proposal. I’ve been busy blogging (obviously), getting around town, meeting people, struggling through a language I don’t understand, screwing up my digestive system (albeit with incredibly tasty things… except squid), and of course, making art. My plan was to make some privacy related ceramic sculptures and do some ink drawings on them. Inside of these sculptures I was going to put a raspberry pi (it’s a credit card sized, fully operational computer) connected to a camera and monitor so that essentially the sculpture would spy on the viewer as they looked at it. Welp. That raspberry pi can kiss my ankles. I struggled for days trying to get it to work and built up some very inappropriate rage. Decided that I would make work that had the same impact without technology.
“I’d like to see you do it in eighty days.” ~Mr. Stuart. I’m literally traveling around the world in 80 days. That wasn’t my goal and I didn’t plan to do it – it actually just unfolded that way. As I finalized my plane ticket purchases I realized that I’m actually flying the circumference of the world. I mentioned this craziness to some students and they made a remark about the book, Around the World in 80 Days written by Jules Verne in 1873. My eyes went wide as I attempted the math (I said wide not vacant… ok maybe a little vacant…), and being an artist I wasn’t doing the math quickly enough so several students in the room started adding with me. My final ticket home hadn’t been purchased yet and I considered extending my stay abroad for a week or so, but discovering that I could actually travel around the world in 80 days cinched it. Eighty. Days. Boom. I don’t think I ever read the book. I may have seen the movie but it didn’t leave a lasting impression. You’d think I’d remember a movie with Jackie Chan in it. My husband was coaxed into getting the book for me and I started researching. Here’s the map from the fictional travels: And now, compare that to mine: IS THAT NOT ABSOLUTELY INSANE? My travel is as follows: Dallas -> Los Angeles -> Tokyo (with an excursion to the small town of Onishi where I’ll be attending the Shiro Oni Residency) -> Doha, Qatar -> Amsterdam (with an excursion to the small town of Renkum where I’ll be attending the Obras Holland Residency) -> Reykjavík, Iceland -> Newark -> Dallas. “But, Sue Anne, why are you doing this and what’s an art residency?” Oh jeez, dear reader, did …
I’ve had this idea floating around in my head for ages now and I’ve finally fulfilled it, but as it is with every project, I never anticipate how much work it will be. The rule of thumb is that you estimate how much time it will take and then you multiply it by 3. Welp. I just worked my ass off.
Middle class income and lifestyles for alllllll! Nope – not the kind of class I’m talking about. I came to a crazy realization this semester: I think a lot of my assignments suck. Let me stop you right there and assure you that it’s true. I’m sad that I’m just now having these insights so deeply into my teaching career.