Art as Aftershock
Earthquakes are dangerous phenomena, yet two artists chose to present these natural disasters, in a way that makes viewers contemplate, rather than fear them.
Luke Jerram and Carlos Amorales created works that comment on the 2011 Japanese Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, and 1985 earthquake in Mexico City, respectively. Their works allow viewers to contemplate the nature of earthquakes with the help of visualizations through seismographic data.
In Jerram’s piece, the artist took the seismographic data from the Tōhoku earthquake, and rotated it using a computer program to see the data in three-dimensions, later printing it in those dimensions. The sculpture, made in 2011, represents nine minutes of the earthquake, allowing viewers to calculate, and imagine, the severity of the disaster on their own.
Amorales approaches the 1985 earthquake in a more theoretical presentation, in “Vertical Earthquake” (2010). Rather than using data, the artist creates his own fault lines and cracks on the walls, drawing epicentres around each. The artist chose to capture the chaos and emotion of the event. Within the installation, newspaper clippings of the disaster are displayed, with fault lines drawn on them as well.
Where Jerram uses data to help visualize the severity of the earthquake in Japan, Morales plays with drama and emotion, creating a fragmented image which symbolically reflects the earthquake that he witnessed. Both pieces however, are sobering reminders of the immense power our Earth has over man-made constructions.
Recently I’ve repeatedly heard myself and others in Urban Arts say how “stressful” the program is. Teachers and counsellors seemed puzzled at these remarks, considering the fact that technically we’re assigned less work than what we would get if we were to take the four courses (English Art Music Drama) in normal school.
This got me thinking about the type of pressure we’re inflicting on ourselves for each assignment. The fact that we’re in an arts-based program (with a diverse mixture of artists) causes us to observe everyone else’s process of creating whatever we’re assigned to create. I’ve personally experienced feeling intimidated by another student’s perspective/take on a project, when my instincts to “screw all my ideas and follow the crowd” kicks in and overcomes my “free and creative” side. And each time that happens, I have to stop and repeat to myself that communicating my perspective is the whole point of being an artist.
I feel like this is a continuous struggle of being an artist. We are told from a young age that we are to fit in with the world and avoid standing out too much. So when we do start to create, explore, and express our thoughts, we unavoidably end up battling our inner voice that tells us to do whatever the person next to us is doing. An artist that I would aspire to be, is a person who is not afraid to bare his ideas to the world, while maintaining that balance between personal expression and inspiration from other artists.
Creativity is Madness
Girl with a Pearl Earring.
limited edition prints: http://www.adamlistergallery.com/8-bit-giclee-prints.html#anchor_88
This is a techno-art project I found recently called Stainless. It is basically a series of high-resolution images taken from a train while speeding by a station, catching people unawares in a public setting. The creator is a photographer and artist from Hungary, Adam Magyar, who travels around the world and captures these images. The video shown above is of people waiting on the platform at Shinjuku Station in Tokyo, and I chose to post this specific one simply because I’ve been to that station a million times.
I think this series is a great example of how the “idea” is half the art. No one would ever think that an ordinary, boring scene such as people waiting for the train could be made into a detailed, interesting observation of people in a public setting. Of course there were many technical glitches that the artist had to work out in order to accomplish what he wanted, but the idea is so important and it demonstrates how an artist does not always have to have the best skills in order to make a great impact.
He has done similar things in different stations around the world:
42 Street, New York: http://vimeo.com/83664407
Alexanderplatz, Berlin: http://vimeo.com/83663312