Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Foundation opening projects

New Academic year, new posts!

Most incoming Foundation course students receive open briefs with a fairly abstract stimulus. These are intended to get you thinking, and perhaps move on quite quickly to subject areas some distance from your original starting point. One given topic was 'Functional Skills Maths' - so where could you go?

To start off basically, a number of artists have used numbers. Demuth, Johns, and Indiana to name three. But you could move on quickly from that to more abstract uses of numbers.

Peter Greenaway did an amazing work called The Tulse Luper suitcases, all based around the number 92, the atomic number of uranium, which was discovered the year Luper was born.

Tulse Luper is a fictitious character, an ornithologist, who travels the world, collection, packing and unpacking suitcases, and then leaving them in appropriate and inappropriate places. Some were stolen, some were arranged to be stolen, others were meant to be re-found, and then brought back together to go on display - 92 of them.  He also did the films Drowning by numbers, and a Z and two noughts.

Maths is about addition and subtraction. Most art is about adding something, but what happens when you take things away? You could look at Sam Taylor-Wood's films on decay. 'A Little Death'.

You could also look at using ice as an installation material, and see how it reduces in size, and alters in chape. Great with spotlights behind it in a pitch black space.

More obviously you could explore the idea of painting by numbers, or aspects of the Golden Section and the Fibonacci sequence which underpins a great deal of art and architecture.

Gormley: Field

Multiplication or multiples are a staple in art, see, for example, Gormely or Tunick, or think about division, folding paper, dividing objects into constituent parts, etc.

I mentioned A Beautiful Mind - about a maths professor/genius who gets involved with cryptography, eventually leading to a nightmarish mental descent. Well worth a watch.

Since you are dealing with numbers, you could look at key dates, 9/11; 7/7, or receipts. One student did an entire project around all of her receipts which gave insight into how she lived. Like a numerical diary.

Theo Jansen's creatures might not seem mathematical at first glance, but work on the binary system.
You could, on that theme, also look at non western mathematical systems - the sumerian system, metrology, etc.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Concentric Circles

Katherine, I've added some visual ideas here for the topic concentric circles. I've not added any commentary, as I would for a normal dissertation advice post, but thought these might add to your ideas.

I can't seem to label the images, but amongst them there are: Jean-Paul Gaultier's Madonna bra, Jasper Johns target, Georgia O'Keefe's flower painting, crop circles, Peter Sedgley's green concentric circle painting, Sonia and Robert Delaunay's circle paintings, Pencils, wood, agate, sand drawing, millefiori glass beads, The Pantheon, Rome, Kandinsky's blocked-in circles