Thursday, 5 June 2008

Bad at the blog

Well its almost over and i am only now posting a blog.... technical difficulties??

The work is developing, maybe not in the studio... . . . . seems you always need more?

This place was a sewing machine shop in kyoto.
If it was a garage there would have been full of really beautiful old porsche's, farrari's and an array of britsh cars from bond films and one big old american muscle car...... oh and in the corner under a tarp a sliver of a lambo showing its rims...


Going between home, where the oven is, and the studio, where everything else is.

My polyester draperies are lifting the tone of the studio.

Here they are, effortlessly lifting the mood of a studio surface. Casual, yet elegant. If you squint you don't really notice the fraying.


So it's a bit late, but here are some pictures. These are my reference images du jour, not the work itself.

I'm not turning gallery 3 into a shop exactly - it's not that precise an exercise - but I'm building two window display spaces into, well, the windows.

I don't want to give too much away.

The project was called Unfinished Business, but I've changed it. Now it's called Rise and Fall. I like it better. It implies something about empires, and also dichotomies. And it's narrative, for which I am a big sucker.

Everything I'm making is becoming text. It wasn't supposed to be like that. But it's everywhere.

Saturday, 19 April 2008

About, above: photos of exhibition

About above (part 2) -
installation view
a camera obscura starmap, installed in a darkened room... the luminous image is created from a pinhole-and-screen version of William Herschel's 17th Century depiction of the Milky Way

detail - with direct sunlight in late afternoon

detail - showing the park and trees outside the gallery window (image has been rotated 180º so you can see the park more clearly)

Some photos from the exhibition... all went well - good feedback, good attendance. I am happy with this little project.

The camera obscura effect created by the installation was something that I thought would be immediately recognisable to everyone that entered the darkened space - but not so, it seems... many people thought it was just light, which moved and got blurry sometimes (that 'blurriness' was the tiny upside-down pictures of trucks and buses passing by outside on Chalmers St).

I really liked how, on a rainy day, the whole effect was this soft, blue light, with little flashes of colour (people passing by in brightly-colored raincoats). And on a sunny day, in the late afternoon, the setting sun created a brilliant array of points of light, a mosaic of tiny pictures of the actual sun setting behind the fig trees of Prince Alfred Park.

myself and Fiona Hall inspecting the camera obscura for quite some time on a rainy afternoon...

I even managed to drag Fiona Hall along to see it and give me some feedback - we spent a couple of hours inside the installation, chatting and watching... Fi had a lot of thoughts to offer (as usual), which was fabulous - we discussed that fine line between over-explaining a work, and providing sufficient information so that the audience would have a sense of 'what it was all about'.

What I love about Fiona's work is how her objects reel you in with their seductive qualities, and while you're examining it you start getting the actual point of the thing (which isn't just what it looks like and in made of)... yes yes, i know that's part of 'art making 101', but still - that balance between the beguiling surface and the layers underneath it is something that I think is very relevant, especially in this world that we live in, right now.

Artist talk time, on the last day of the exhibition - we turned the lights off once everyone was inside and I spoke about the work in the darkness with the starmap glowing happily - the most eerie artists' talk I have ever done...

detail - (cloudy day)

So. The exhibition. 3 weeks of showing and an artist talk later, it's all done and dusted and currently being mulched at some cardboard recycling plant in southern Sydney. But permutations of the project seem to be putting out feelers - the Ergas Collection are featuring one of my solar-powered cardboard planetariums in a show in Melbourne in July. And it also looks likely that I'll be making some more for Sydney Observatory's 150th anniversary in June this year... so we shall see where where these cardboard universes take me...

Photos of the installed exhibition are here - and the cache of photos for About, above as a project in its entirety can be found here.

detail - bus parked outside

view of Firstdraft Gallery 3, as seen from the street outside

view of street outside gallery, as seen from the west-facing window which contained the camera obscura... this was the view that made up the tiny pictures

detail - showing the park and trees outside the gallery window (image has been rotated 180º so you can see the park more clearly)

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

About, above: Exhibition

solar-powered planetarium, Hyde Park, Sydney, 22nd February 2008

About, above: Exhibition

Kirsten Bradley

Firstdraft Gallery, Sydney
2-19 April 2008

Artist talk: Saturday 19 April, 4.30pm

About, above is a project that considers the plausibility of making natural systems out of cardboard. Drawing on our enduring fascination with the night sky and the space beyond, About, above prods the viewer with gentle questions. The project explores ideas regarding our emotive reactions to natural systems, and investigate our relationship with natural pattern- recognition and our capacity for wonder, in the face of disbelief.

A project in two parts, About, above invites the viewer into a world of lo-fi nature through participatory sculpture and installation. A suite of solar-powered cardboard planetariums in the streets of Sydney, and a camera obscura universe at Firstdraft Gallery both draw in part on early texts and representations of the night sky, as well as ideas of pattern, navigation, simulation, geocentricism and the peculiar nature of light.

About, above aims to consider how we choose to navigate through our worlds, and how we choose what it is that we see.

Documentation and process of About, above can be found here.

About, above room sheet: click each page to enlarge

The artist would like to thank the Directors of Firstdraft for being such a sterling crew, Fiona Hall for her encouragement and mentorship, Nick Ritar for being himself, Jack Barton for his truck, Michelle McKosker for her enthusiasim, and Sofie Loizou for her floor and her friendship. Thanks also to John Power for his ongoing discussion and to Experimenta for facilitating the Fiona Hall mentorship.

This project has been made possible by Firstdraft Gallery through their Emerging Artist-in-residence program, and by EXPERIMENTA through their Media Art Mentorship program. Firstdraft is supported by NSW Ministry for the Arts and the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body.

EXPERIMENTA 's Media Art Mentorship project has been assisted by the Australian Government’s Young and Emerging Artists Initiative through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body. EXPERIMENTA gratefully acknowledges the assistance of CraftSouth to the EXPERIMENTA Media Art Mentorship Program.

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

All in the pinhole

Installation view of my pinhole starmap at Firstdraft, prior to it being covered with a screen in order to create the camera obscura...

Camera obscura is something that I am rather in love with, and I have been ever since I made Forgetting you is like breathing water and the Ever Rotating Sky series, back in Banff last June... I do feel that this fundamentally simple yet gawkingly special technique is something that I could spend many years coming to know.

The second part of About, above is therefore a little marriage between the solar-powered-planetarium theme and camera obscura... in the form of an installation in the front gallery of Firstdraft in Sydney.

all in the name of exploring simplicity as an emotional experience, of considering light as a revered substance, and playing with patterns and tessellations and multiple images in order to create a small piece of contemplation... and, of course, the chance to create a cardboard grotto...

Gallery 3, all blacked out with cardboard - there are big windows behind said cardboard at center and at right. The starmap is holes in MDF, attached the window at the center of the image. All this needs is a rear-projection screen over the mdf (on a frame, which creates the necessary cavity between pinhole and screen), the lights turned out, and we're rolling -

my MDF-and-pinhole version of William Herschel's 1785 depiction of the Milky Way (prior to screen palcementover the top). There is an exterior window (west facing across Chalmers St) directly behind the MDF. The camera obscura starmap that is created will measure 2.5m wide by 1.5m high.

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Drawing the birds path

The Lund Observatory illustration of the Milky Way, completed in 1956. The original work is 2m wide. Click image for a larger view - it's absolutely scrumptious.

More Milky Way-ness. Like the Orrery, depictions of the sky above have been something we have really tried hard to encompass. And so I must mention a couple of especially endearing representations...

The Lund map of the Milky way (in which you can see the Emu dark cloud constellation quite well) is actually an illustration, even though it looks very much like a photograph. Professor Knut Lundmark, in 1955 or something, had a team of astronomers sit down for what must have been quite some time and accurately map and depict the Milky way for all posterity.

Apparently, upon completion of the grand task, the brighter stars had to be 'mussed up' somewhat and made a little more fuzzy. Though painstakingly accurate in their relative brightness to the rest of the illustration, the closer stars just didn't look right... too pointy and sharp. And so, the astronomers pulled out the 19th century version of the Gaussian blur and made everything a little more misty... less accurate, but more believable...

The shape of the Milky Way as deduced from star counts by William Herschel in 1785; the Solar System was assumed near center.

My other favorite depiction of the Milky Way is by William Herschel. When I first saw this I assumed it was from way back, maybe the 13th or 14th century... but no, William made this one in 1785. It is a diagram he made while attempting to count the stars in the Milky way. You may notice that all the stars are all of a rather even amplitude of brightness... it would seem that William had the opposite problem to Professor Lund and his team...