Sunday, May 10, 2015

Exhibition- Tehching Hsieh

I attended the artist's lecture and exhibition for performance artist Tehching Hsieh on April 16th. Being a performer (while not on the same level as Hsieh) and being appreciative of performance art, I figured this would be a good event for me to attend. The piece that was featured was the "One Year Performance (1980-1981)". It entailed a recording of every single time the time clock was punched for a total of 365 days, occurring hourly. Right before the performance, he shaved his head. The time clock was punched hourly for a total of 24 times a day, meaning that Hsieh had to sacrifice sleep in order to carry out this performance. He used modified alarm clocks to wake himself to make sure that the time clock was punched on time; this took a great physical toll on the body. He punched the clock a total of 8,760 times over the course of one full year.
I think that the devotion to this performance piece is something to be recognized and admired. When performing a task that grows incredibly redundant and unnecessary, Hsieh became fully dedicated to this task and gave it more meaning than it really had. While plenty of people might do this during their job, Hsieh actually made punching a clock his job. This work, and the rest of his "One Year Performance" pieces show his tenacity and what it means to be a performance artist to him.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Final Project: Video Installation

For my final project, I decided to do a sort of triptych installation concerning the sexualization and objectification of women in anime and cosplay, and overall in the "nerd" culture. Being a cosplayer, and a woman, I have been on the receiving end of sexual harassment because of what I choose to wear when cosplaying. I am able to see the problematic elements of what comes along in this industry and bring awareness to it.
 I edited three videos, each having to do with the objectification that is in this culture. Kill La Kill, an anime series released in 2013, is infamous for the women in this series wearing suggestive costumes. The creators even spoke of the designs, wanting them to be a "challenge to the cosplayers." While this may be partly true, I think a lot of character designers create suggestive looking female characters because they know women will dress up as them, revealing their bodies; this is done purposefully for the male gaze.
 The next video I appropriated was the music video, Me!Me!Me!, released in late 2014. This video is actually a criticism of otaku subculture, showing a male character being consumed by suggestive imagery of women dancing and eventually being stripped down naked. This sort of imagery affects his personal life, including his relationship with a woman he once had, choosing this sort of media over her. While exaggerated and over the top, I think the music video shows how potentially harmful the anime industry can be if one becomes so obsessed with it that it affects their personal life.
The final video I used was footage from Comic Con 2014, showing women in cosplay exclusively. Many of these women are dressed provocatively and the way the videos are shot voyeuristic and objectifying in nature. While I don't have any issues with women dressing sexy if they choose to do so, it is how they are viewed and treated that is problematic; they are degraded and treated with disrespect because males think their clothing is an invitation to sex. This leads and supports rape culture, ultimately putting the blame on women if they are harassed or assaulted even though they aren't at fault.
In an industry ran by men, I think that this view of women is harmful and disgusting. While I am a part of it, I think it's important for me and other people to call out the awful behavior that men carry out when it comes to objectifying women.

Artist's Lecture: Priscilla Varner

Priscilla B. Varner is a contemporary portrait photographer specializing in children, families and weddings serving Nevada, California, Colorado and Florida. Her exhibition, “Emancipating Jane: Challenging Representations of Legal Sex-Workers in Fine Art” depicts the relationship “between the photographer and the subject by removing the photographer, arming the legal sex-worker with the tools necessary to more fully represent her identity.” features a collection of images of sex workers photographed entirely by the sex workers themselves. This is an attempt to show a more realistic approach to the lives of sex workers when we live in a society that tries to portray them in a negative light and as objects of consumption when sex work needs to be normalized and the stigma needs to be removed.

This exhibition is one I found interesting and made me want to learn more about sex workers and society’s reaction to them. I do think that the stigma and negative thoughts that surround sex work need to be removed and sex workers need to be shown respect just as anyone else. They shouldn’t be looked down upon just because their line of work is different than a typical job.

Artist's Lecture: Tehching Hsieh

            Tehching Hsieh is a New York- based performance artist originally from southern Taiwan. He dropped out of high school to become a painter, and not long after his first art show at the gallery of the American News Bureau in Taiwan, he stopped painting altogether and started to create performance art.
He is most well known for his “One Year Performances,” which are yearlong performances known for being physically and mentally taxing in response to the conformity of industrial labor and capitalism. His work, “One Year Performance (1980-1981)” shows the actual evidence of labor he went through. He collected documentary evidence of said work: 365 punch cards, 365 filmstrips, the plain grey uniform he wore, and a 16mm movie he made, “compressing the year into six minutes, witness statements attesting to his strict routine and the time clock.”

I think Hsieh’s devotion to showing the effects that capitalism has on people who are slaves to the system is interesting and even admirable. I know that his art doesn’t just cover this subject, but it really shows the limits of the human body and what it can do given certain circumstances.

Artist's Lecture: Joel Swanson

Joel Swanson is an artist, designer and writer who is the director of the technology of the arts and media program at the University of Colorado, Boulder. He teaches classes on digital art, media theory and the history of design. He received his Masters of Fine Art at the University of California, San Diego with a specialty in computing and the arts.

A lot of his art deals with language and text. It explores the nature and behavior of text, and how it has evolved over time with the development of technology. Some if his work is even handwritten and printed on a wall, such as his work, “Wish You Were Here,”, made in 2014. It is merely the handwritten phrase, “wish you were here,” blown up in size and scanned and printed. Another work falling along the lines of technology and the study of text is  “Untitled (Cursor)”, a digital animation of a blank white screen and the blinking line that occurs in a typing space on a computer. A commonly seen device on computers everywhere, it shows how small elements of typing and technology becomes a common yet overlooked part of our lives. Everybody recognizes it, but I don’t think people know how often it shows up.

Sunday, April 26, 2015


This was more of a practice in stop motion for me than anything else. I have never really done anything like it before, and it was a bit of a challenge for me to hold the camera steady, and even more challenging to move the figure around to capture each still and make it go where I wanted to. The video itself was never intended to have any sort of message, just a practice in seeing the sort of effort that goes into stop motion art.