Red Shoes – Projection Design

The major multimedia element of my production, Red Shoes, is the projection that functions as the set. It help sets the tone for each vignette and carries the viewer on a visual journey through colors and textures and moods. The video is almost beautiful enough to stand alone without the dance or the music or the dialogue, but I enjoy the depth it adds to the performance, creating layers upon layers for the audience to focus on.

I began my journey with projection design years ago when creating basic videos of color and shape in iMovie for student performances with the non profit Turning the Wheel. That curiosity evolved and was encouraged by my good friend Alana Shaw when she invited me to dive even deeper into projection art with the creation of a video set for her stunning piece, Stardust and Water. I learned a lot working on the video for that performance, which was mapped to the stage and completely immersed the performers in stars, water, flowers, clouds, watermelon and more. It was quite the accomplishment and it has been refined with each city Stardust and Water visits.

Taking what I learned from that monumental project, I was emboldened to create a video for my own one woman show. The video for Red Shoes combines original footage that I have collected over the years, motion backgrounds found online, and videos from the public domain. Two excerpts in the video include choreographed short films that are complete artistic thoughts in their own right and were filmed, edited, and scripted by me for the piece. Below I share some of my artistic insights and creations for various clips in the show!

Red Shoes premieres TOMORROW!

Friday August 18th at the Pine Street Church as part of the Boulder International Fringe Festival.

Tickets are still available for all four shows through the Fringe Festival Website. 

The Rising Sun: I thoroughly enjoy blending two pieces of footage together to create something completely new and original. I especially like to layer my own original footage with clips collected from creative commons and public domain. This shot layers a shot I took while on a walk in Denver of grass in the wind with a video of the sun rising. The combined effect elevated the moment to a beautiful place.

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Wheel of Dancers: Performance art and projection design aren’t the only realms I explore with my creativity. I also spend a lot of time creating mixed media paintings and it was important to me to include this side of my artistry in the projection. This vignette from the projection is a slow motion video of a mixed media canvas spinning, and then layered with a motion background to reinvigorate the color and texture that appears in person when looking at the painting. I’m so pleased with the overall effect this created.

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Power within our own Feet:  A powerful theme throughout the show is the push and pull of looking outside oneself for power vs finding that power within. One of the stand alone moments in the film features a dance I recorded of my feet, honoring the depth of knowledge and grounding that exists in that part of me. I was honored to layer a film of a friends tapestry over my dance to create even more depth and richness. The final piece is like a visual collage, combining colorful elements to create something that no one has ever seen before.

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Tornado:  Another aspect that I really love about the video is the incorporation of images from the public domain. There is so much wonderful material that has been saved and collected from the past, and with the magic of the internet it’s become extremely accessible. I love the vintage feel it creates, pushing parts of the show into a timeless realm and hopefully creating meaningful connections for individuals watching. Along with clips of storms and tornadoes, images of spiders, forests, as well as audio clips from 40’s radio, are peppered throughout the performance.

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I’ve enjoyed working on the projection aspect of Red Shoes so much that I am feeling inspired to pursue creating films that can stand completely alone, with no blending over dance and theatre. Let me know if you would be interested in seeing my work evolve in this way. I’d love to hear your thoughts. But first I have to complete Red Shoes! See you tomorrow.

Tickets are still available for all four shows through the Fringe Festival Website.

FringeSLogo_Wide

Taboo – 7th Online Performance Art Festival

I was thrilled to participate in the 7th annual online performance art festival on February 11th, 2018.  “Taboo” was a visual exploration of stigma towards women’s health. The piece was broadcasted live and around 15 people tuned in to see the improvisational performance. I had originally wanted four male players for the piece, but due to weather and other circumstances I ended up being one of the participants, as well as my husband. I am constantly thankful for his support in my zany art. The piece is still up online so go check it out and let me know what you think!

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Taboo

  • duration: 10 min
  • watch: 11th February 2018 at 9 pm UTC

DESCRIPTION: Four anonymous male figures are guided to move feminine products (clean unused ones) around as a commentary on the taboo of a women’s period in today’s society and to bring attention to the stigma of these so-called luxury items and the reproductive cycle. Using parameters as prescribed by the improvisational form “object chess” the players will spontaneously engage with the objects to create new connections between the players and the objects. Players take turns placing objects into a field. There are three options. 1. Introduce a new object, 2. Move an object already in play, or 3. Introduce themselves as an object (in this case their hand). There will be three, three minute rounds, in which a different cast of objects will appear in each round.

Recap of 2016 Winter Artist Salon

Gallery

This gallery contains 7 photos.

Last December I was happy to present my art to friends and family at a salon held in my home. I curated a collection of my own pieces dating from college to the present and hung them throughout my new … Continue reading

Zen Playground: Inspiration, Analysis, and Interpretation

It is as difficult to understand Zen Gardens as it is to understand one’s own self. (Parkes, p.10)

Zen Playground” was a performance I created in December and various different inspirations were synthesized to create my final project. Artists discussed in classes, concepts discovered in other lectures, and previous aspirations from my own life came together to create this performance piece. The performance revolves around three key ideas: physicality, inspiration from children, and appropriating Zen imagery for a western audience. The original concept came to me many years ago when I discovered this small play area that evoked the image of a Zen garden to me.  The work had been bubbling away in my mind since I had first found the playground back in high school. The play park had a series of small rocks alongside various play apparatuses in an somewhat circular space. I immediately was struck with the idea of recreating a Zen-like garden in the playground. Since this initial inspiration I have learned more about Zen and have created a clearer vision for my appropriation of the Zen garden concept.

Several artists from the Gutai movement sparked my interest from Ming Tiampo’s article Gutai: Decentering Originality, because they drew their inspiration from youth. Murukami Saburo’s “At One Moment Opening Six Holes” from 1955 was originally inspired by his son throwing a tantrum and ripping through the paper screen in their home. This work is extremely provocative because of the amount of physical involvement the artist had on its creation. Watching the artist struggle his way through a series of screens is almost painful to watch. At the end of his performance he is panting and sweating in front of his audience. The Gutai movement is deeply entwined with two of the main principles for my own performance- physicality and children. “Early Gutai sought originality by investigating the nature of creativity. One place they looked to as a model was children’s art, (Tiampo, p.24)” I wanted to use the children’s playground to this same affect, drawing inspiration from where children play rather than how they play.

Another idea that I drew inspiration from was my lectures on Zen in professors J.P Park’s “Art In China” course. We spent two weeks discussing the origins and principles of Zen in his lecture. Three concepts from the Zen practice that stuck with me were that (1) enlightenment could occur at any time, (2) that children were closer to enlightenment than adults, and (3) that enlightenment could be achieved through repetitive tasks. The masters that codified Zen practices were anti-sutra and in general contrary to previous Buddhist beliefs. Instead of sitting and reading about enlightenment, actions and thought had to be taken to reach it. Spontaneous action in juxtaposition to repetitive action replaced previous Buddhist traditions. The act of working on a garden was a logical repetitive task that could possibly lead to enlightenment and also served to help the monastery through the cultivation of food.

Allen Weiss discussed the various aesthetics, symbols, and stories that have come to be included in Japanese thought, specifically in regards to gardens. He explained the experience of a Zen garden as follows:

Each person arrives with different beliefs, different expectations, different protocols of viewing. Where one finds the living presence of nature, another seeks a revelation of the transcendental void, while a third discovers sublime beauty. One need not become a Buddhist monk seeking satori to appreciate the Zen garden, yet, as with all art, the form and depth of appreciation depend on what one brings to the scene. These temples and gardens are thus simultaneously sites of meditation, magic, devotion, knowledge, curiosity—even commerce, play, and profanation. (Weiss, p.128)

His explanation of the function of Zen gardens lead me to believe that any artistic license I took on the concept would be acceptable. Huineng, the sixth patriarch of Zen, was often in favor of breaking down old traditions and re-appropriating ideas. In many ways Zen is all about anarchy, paradox, and irony. Zen gardens also function as a form of visual Koan. A Koan is a form of riddle that has no answer. Through puzzling through the nonsensical question with a nonsensical question enlightenment might possibly be reached through escaping normal trends of thought. The synchronicity between the inspiring artists of the Gutai movement, my own inspiration for this performance, and these concepts within Zen Buddhism was extremely exciting.  Keeping this in mind I went forward with creating my own garden at the playground.

I chose to use a child’s toy rake to groom the garden. Not only did it create an aesthetically pleasing line in the sand, but it also visually linked the viewer to a child’s role in the performance. Raking the garden was much more physically exhausting than I anticipated, but the repetitive and concentric circles helped establish a rhythm and reflected the physicality that had inspired me in other art pieces. In the end I was quite happy with the garden I created. Unfortunately I had wanted to work on the garden for more time but technical and weather issues prevented me from executing the performance as perfectly as I wanted. Originally I wanted to stop whenever a child appeared to play in the park, and start over once they left. No children came to the park for the full duration of my performance, and ironically as I was packing up my materials two families came to the park. This aspect of the performance was out of my hands. Also it snowed and was cold the first day I planned to perform, and so I had to reschedule to a day when there was no more snow.

Luckily, I was struck with another ray of inspiration for the music of the piece. Two men came to play basketball in a nearby court while I was working on the garden. The sound of the ball hitting the rim for the net reminded me of sounds I associated with Buddhist temples. I looped the audio clip to create a rhythmic chime. This creation of a sound that would perceived as authentic, when in fact it was completely fabricated. This idea is similar to the music Jaye Rhee created for her “Cherry Blossom” performance. She plucked at a chinese instrument to create a composition that sounded asian, but in fact was not. Incorporating this into my final video finalized the appropriation of Zen visuals and sounds for a western audience. In all I was very happy with the performance and it accomplished almost everything I hoped to.

Bibliography:

Berthier, François, and Graham Parkes. Reading Zen in the Rocks: the Japanese Dry Landscape Garden. Chicago, Ill. [u.a.: Univ. of Chicago, 2000. Print. 

Park, JP. “Zen.” Art in China. Visual Arts Complex, Boulder. 18 Oct. 2011. Lecture.

Tiampo, Ming. Gutai: Decentering Modernism. Chicago: University of Chicago, 2011. Print.

 Weiss, Allen S. “Heimits Of Etaphor: Ideology And Representation In The Zen Garden.”Social Analysis 54.2 (2010): 116-129. Academic Search Premier. Web. 8 Dec. 2011.

Paint Me: ARTS 1020 Performance Project

This is the schedule for my Performance starting tomorrow, Monday April 18th. This schedule is subject to change so check back before heading out.

The project is to appear in these places dressed in white with paint and a sign that says “Paint Me.” I will stay for an hour and see what happens. Simple as that. ^_^

The Long Awaited Tea Project Video!

Tea Collection Project from Sam Lee on Vimeo.

There it is! For everyone who has seen my kitchen and wondered why it is sticky this video will reveal all. Here is the final presentation of my collections project in Foundation in Studio Arts II. For the project I collected tea for 30 days then turned it unto syrup to be mixed with milk paint. Later I shattered the cups in my kitchen, which had less to do with collections and more to do with my unexplainable desire to smash ceramics.

In the end a lot of things went wrong. The tea became moldy faster than expected. The syrup was either too runny or too hard or to sparse. The milk paint was lumpy and didn’t dry like normal paint. Despite all this I felt the final installation made quite an impression and looked a lot more polished than some of my classmates pieces. I received and A for the piece.