For my touch project, I wanted to push a past project further to play with the human’s tendency to touch something to understand it. I had taken photos of walls that mimic the style of colour field paintings out of envy (because I like to paint but like the aesthetic). These photos were printed onto matte canvas to further emulate the style and process of painting.
Many people in viewing these works believed that these photos were paintings. What caught my attention was for the person to fully accept what they were looking at, they had to touch the photo, the canvas, the material. Sight didn’t provide enough closure until touch had to prove it for them.
This reminded me of our class discussions about how birds see reflections in windows. It isn’t necessarily the same as the birds don’t know they’re about to hit something, but I found the idea of expectation versus reality interesting. So for my touch project, I want to reprint these photos with a fake canvas look applied before print. The photos would then be printed on Matte paper and presented to another group.
My expectations for this project are that people will feel conflicted with their sight and touch senses, and expectations may not meet the reality. I want someone to think they’re about to touch canvas and are touching for that closure, only to not get the opposite; just like the bird flying into a window thinking it is something that it’s not and only know after touching/hitting it.
My sound project is based on the concept of echo location. I had a chance to perform this experiment with the class for the making worlds presentation. The premise of this project is that other species rely on echolocation to maneuver through the world, and I wanted us as humans to experience the reliance of sound waves.
For the setup of the project, I had everyone in the class stand in the middle of a room with their eyes closed surrounded by 4 speakers. Each speaker had its own channel to play independent sounds from. Since the group was big, everyone couldn’t make their own sounds to bounce off objects. To counter this, I set the assumption that it was happening and just emulated the responses. My goal was to see if I could manipulate the movement of the class to move around the room avoiding the sound if it felt close.
From the observation and discussion, I would call this a good start toward a bigger project. Many people became disoriented, losing their gauge of where they were in the room. Others ended up solo off to the side. An interesting trend ended up being the group mentality, some people kept moving in groups as if their bodies knew they were surrounded. I would like to associate that with murmurations and the chain reaction effect of everyone moving because the people around them are moving.
Overall, it was a fun experiment with varying results. I would like to see where else this soundscape approach to senses could go, and how I can further manipulate human dependencies for all our senses.
The Western Rattlesnake sees infrared light via heat sensors.
Art Concept: Photographic short story/art collaboration: Rhonda Lee & Jordan
Researcher/Writer/Photographer: Rhonda Lee
Artist/Main character: Jordan
Secondary artist/character: Ronnie the Rattlesnake
The Western Rattlesnake, also known as the Northern Pacific Rattlesnake, is a pit viper and like all pit vipers, has a complex 6th sense that aids in finding food—its thermosensory organs. These two organs sit in a cavity (pit) below the nostrils on either side of the head and help locate the warm-blooded birds and mammals they feed on. These sensors allow them to detect infrared light. What they see through these heat sensors is similar to what a human sees while looking at a heat map. The small population of rattlesnakes in British Columbia is found in the Southern Interior of the province. There are no wild rattlesnakes in Victoria or on Vancouver Island.
But what if there were . . .
Jordan and the Rattlesnake in the Garden of Finnerty
Davidia Involucrata in Bloom
One day, Jordan the artist decided to go into the oasis to draw and make sun prints. First, he found a perfect place on a bench under the Davidia Involucrata tree which was in full bloom. The tree’s white, silky handkerchiefs blew gently overhead. It was paradise. Jordan liked that he was sharing the garden with many wonderful plants and creatures.
What he didn’t know was that that day, there was a special guest in the garden. Ronnie, a Western Rattlesnake, had come to visit. However, Ronnie planned to return home almost as soon as he arrived, as he quickly realized that he was not suited to the Victoria climate. Ronnie missed the dry, hot desert and longed for sagebrush and rocky outcroppings. Just as he was leaving the garden, he spotted Jordan, but Jordan did not see him.
It was daylight so Ronnie could see Jordan well enough, but when he got about a foot away from him, he decided to turn on his night vision to get a better look.
Ronnie’s Point of View
Ronnie was startled and slightly afraid—Jordan was much bigger than a bird or mouse, so he scuttled quickly away. Jordan kept on drawing happily unaware of the incident and then finally left to sit in a sunnier location to make some sun prints. Oddly enough, and it may have been the effects of too much sun, but Jordan felt like he was hypnotized, and when he made his sun print, he drew a serpentine pattern over and over with the brush. It seems that Ronnie had used his magic power to make an entanglement project with Jordan.
Hissy Fit Sun print by Jordan
I’ve always wanted to experiment with expectation of taste. Most species that search for food often find attractive qualities in the colour or texture of an object that indicates whether or not is a edible it tastes good. What I think would be interesting to document is a table placed at a public event with food that defies the aesthetic of what looks “good” or “bad” to eat.
Through documentation, I could further explore what qualities (perhaps bright and smooth or dark and rough) desire in their food. This project only works without the participants knowing, and of course no food item would be dangerous. This project plays with both the sense of sight and taste, as sight sets an evaluated expectation, whereas taste will either confirm or deny that expectation.
What I find particularly interesting in a project like this is finding out if someone will trust their sight again after being met with unexpected tastes. If that trust continues, how long would it take until someone deems the entire table undesirable out of fear that the next food may not be what is expected. Perhaps the participants would find pattern in this process and dismiss their sight because they have recognized that pattern.
This is a link to an article talking about how we connect sight and taste. The article brings an interesting thought to the table, which is, will the aesthetic of a food alter the taste for the consumer. If someone looks bad, do our sense work together and respond negatively through the process of eating it? This could also be attached to smell, so the foods would have to be food that was limited in smell to no interfere with the 2 primary senses in the project.
What I thought would be interesting for a smell project is using smell as a complimentary quality in a gallery setting. The goal is to use smell to enhance pantings to create a more dynamic experience. Each piece would be able to stand alone as a painting, but the smell will be relative to the content of each painting. For example, the smell of pine for a painting of trees. The paintings would have to be at a scale that engulfs its viewers, almost enough to cover a wall. Realistically it may be hard to do, but each painting would get its own room as to not interfere with the other scents.
The smell would be implemented using various types of air fresheners in the room. They would be hidden on the walls as to not interfere with immersion. The goal is to feel like the painting is emitting the smell, not a third party product. The lighting will be reflective of the painting as well to create a complete sensory experience.