Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Project 2

By presenting fragments of past and present lives (personal and ambiguous) and by also harmonizing the natural and artificial worlds we live in and create, I explore the questionable spaces between the extremes where we all exist. The reattached branch, the breathing tree, the momentary casts of my self, and the memories of my experiences in combination with other natural materials, catalyze thinking in a shared space about the in-between that connects us all in the now.

After completing my 1st natural sculpture, I noticed this tree in a new light. I now saw her as a very uniquely posed woman that is both fun and thoughtful. She playfully exudes continual growth, strength, flexibility, beauty, balance, wisdom, and grace (attributes that I believe constitute an impressive and notable woman.) This whimsical outdoor installation was the progressive next step at bringing my ideas more to life. 

The use of more living matter such as the multiple plant fibers that were casted and/or applied, and including the openness of the environment and the public to affect the content are all important factors of my work and the conversation the installation is creating. By taking my work outside to live, I feel it becomes more real and opens up the playing field for interaction. I tangibly came to understand this more today.

As I approached her crossing the street from the parking lot, I noticed the tree had been adorned with suspended bottles. Getting closer I noticed how well they were integrated into what I had started. They were filled with personal messages of female identity and much more that I didn't get to fully explore. It was as if somebody had done what I had not yet thought of or put together. Then later in the afternoon they had been cut down and only a few pieces of rope remained tied to the tree limbs. This person shared a moment of enhanced reality with me which allowed us to see beauty in a commonly overlooked being thus motivating our choices to include the public in the experience. I hope to find out who did this additional work but know that regardless of the basis of the individual's intentions with this tree, there are no coincidences and an enchantingly fun, significant, multidimensional dialogue has potentially begun...

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

"Room Full of Quiet" Documentation

Room Full of Quiet Artist Statement:

In my ceramic work I present the audience with energetically marked, thick, heavy vessels that engage and express my notions of nature and our relationship to it. Here, I wanted to address a different aspect of nature that isn’t as easily captured by actions; a silence that collects and projects sound for miles.  The crisp, dry air of a northern Minnesota night combined with fresh snowfall dampens and amplifies sounds at the same time.  Every winter I cherish the chance to hear this silence.  To feel the sound of all the currents of wind blow through the trees while train whistles eek out from what seems like a different country engages my full attention.  It becomes the most beautifully loud quiet place on the planet.  Quiet is a quest.  My father (who recorded this) found his quiet after work rocking in this chair.  Years earlier he gave me quiet, rocking me to sleep in this same chair.  I present you with a kind of quiet that isn’t silence.  Everyday we are filling space with more sounds.  I find the most powerful to be in the spaces of quiet. 

Monday, May 13, 2013


The Body Was Never A Free Gift

I began this project with the intention of a video installation project, eight different projectors with two projections onto four walls.  It initially started with thinking I wanted videos of random people and just their eyes.  However, the more I thought about it, I knew it had to be my family because of the motivation behind the concept of the videos.  I recorded my family members that I am really close to.  I recorded their faces, thinking this would allow me to change if I only wanted their eyes or if I wanted their faces or more. Initially, I had wanted just the eyes because eyes are an important part of communication.  

While recording them, it provided an interesting experience for us.  I noticed the silence we shared, which is something we do all the time yet it was different because there was a recording object between us.  It was also interesting that they completely trusted me to record them and didn’t question it other than out of interest for the project I was working on even though most of my family dislikes being on camera.  There is a supportive element to this project, as well as a very intimate component.  I started with my mom because she was in the hospital, and at the time of the recording we weren’t sure if she was going to make it.  We still aren’t, she is still waiting to see if she can get back on the transplant list.  I am constantly scared about losing someone else in my family or someone important to me because we have faced a lot of deaths and hardships, which was part of the concept behind this.   After my mom, I recorded my grandma, then my nieces, my nephew, and then my sisters.   As I was editing the footage, I began to think about how to display the videos, realizing I didn’t think I agreed with my original idea any more.  I decided to display them next to each other in a grid, with each face disappearing eventually behind static.  Also, while editing the video, either due to my lack of knowledge in this field or just how it has to be done, the videos were losing quality, even saving them at high qualities.  I debated whether this was a good thing or not.  I realized though, I enjoy it when the material is able to work with me and communicate and dislike forcing a material into something it doesn’t want to be.  I, therefore, left the videos to lose quality and become less clear.  As it became less clear, it began a dialogue of memories for me and as someone dies over time the pain lessens slightly even though we never forget them.  This fear reminds me constantly that our bodies are temporary, and only offering us a form for us to borrow for a short time to fulfill our aspirations.  The body comes with weaknesses, and we need to realize that we only have so much time to be with our loved ones and to make our dreams come true, as we come to realize the body was never a free gift.    


Sounds of Storage

Deep Water

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Chamber Choir Documentation

"Chamber Choir" 
WSU Alternative Media
Installation, Projections, and Sound
by: Tony Marshall
Sound Engineered by: Adam Spanier of Solitude Studios

With this work, I am questioning psychological elements of our human nature and intuition. How much of our primal and childlike instincts continue to be a part of our lives as we grow up? How does the psyche balance our natural curiosity and our sense of possible danger? What do we qualify as dangerous and/or beautiful? Where do these things overlap? The piece becomes more of a psychological space, the longer that the viewer is inside of it. The constructed space works to balance the alluring nature of the beautiful colors and the mysterious and possibly dangerous phantoms.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Tshirt Project

On Final Friday, March 29, I went to Shiftspace Gallery and to the Fiber Studio Gallery wearing a white shirt that had “Feel free to write/draw on me” and carrying a range of colorful permanent markers, feeling apprehensive.  I am not much of a people person; I live in a safe bubble that puts me at arms length from everyone else.  As soon as I entered, I had people (that I knew) questioning me if it was a genuine invitation.  Soon after that, I had pretty much everyone who I knew there (the other graduates) drawing on my shirt at different times.  Most chose to draw on the back, which I had figured would be the case.  I had some draw on the sleeves, most doodled various pictures, I believe only one person actually wrote letters on it.

I think it would have been more successful if I had asked people to write on it versus waiting for people to read the shirt and request to draw on it.  I was hoping that it would start with people I knew, and people would understand that it was part of the art.  However, even with only people that I knew writing on it, it was still odd stopping and waiting for people to finish drawing on me before I could move on.  Some people told stories of the characters they were drawing and one drawing led to another to form a narrative. 

It was interesting to see people read the shirt and see the markers and see others drawing on the shirt but completely ignore me as well.  It did get a different type of interaction though – a different type of conversation than what I would have had. 

Dancing Ripples


Tuesday, May 7, 2013


Please Hug still photo

Self Discourse Series

View from top to bottom


I did it in my socks!

A Gouge Made by Looking

Driven to mediate spaces between my active participation in culture and my investigations for a sense of the natural (a term which cannot be removed from influence of human culture) I use marking as a way to establish place amongst these interwoven sources.  Excavating a mark in the sand immediately places a remnant of action on the beach.  It is a record of focused, energetic gesture conveying an aggressive attachment, or desire for attachment.  The video documentation is also a record.  Encoding an ephemeral moment that will be washed away by rising water in a medium that is preserved in a culturally digestible manner.  While brutish, the action heightened a sense of curiosity and wonder--something I view as necessary for a meaningful bond to be created.  Moving a lady bug and a midge fly from the sand or arranging freshly dug blue stones in a line are actions that express human concern and capacities for engagement amongst a neutral environment.  These energies paused the initial drive allowing for a less straightforward, meandering connection to be made. 

"Work" Documentation

Alt Media Project #2 A performance/ installation piece by Tony Marshall Through the use of contradictions, my work explores the transition from the everyday to the fantastic. I use elements of attraction with an opposing risk to create both a longing to join, and a tension against doing so. The operatic quality of this piece acts as a direct contraction to the seemingly mundane act of simply drawing. Within this piece, I am exploring the act of ripping the fantastic musing out of its original imaginary realm, and crudely forcing it into our current circumstances, so as to offer a new perspective to an act that has become nothing more than routine. Participants are invited up to draw on a piece of paper that is in front of me, joining in the interaction, although there is a symbiotic relationship between the paper and myself, unbeknownst to the viewer. I, as an imaginary creature, am jealous of the reality they are comprised of. Through my limited interactions, I work to erase every mention of them, so I won't be haunted by the realization that I, the character, am not real. I perform according to the following rules of engagement: 1) Only if they sit in the chair can I recognize that they exist... otherwise they are outside of my reality. 2) I may not speak. I may only breath and use very slight grunts and guttural noises to communicate. 3) While they are drawing I cannot touch them or the paper. 4) When they leave the seat, I must erase the paper, striving to make it clean. 5) Always be drawing or writing, pausing only for light food breaks. 6) I may only erase pencil... other media that ends up on the paper cannot be removed. This documentation includes excerpts from the journal I kept during the 9 hour performance."Work

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Marzipan Project artist statemet

Marzipan Project

Artist Statement
Heather Bal

When i went to Puerto Rico I took two 24 shot disposable Fuji cameras with me. I wanted to work within a documentation format that had an indirect process.
Then I purchased a pear piece of Marzipan from a bakery and carried it with me for two days. I only put it down to sleep at night, go to the bathroom, and take pictures in different environments.
The work then became this narrative of the action. The end documentation is more about experimenting with format and presentation of the action. To see how is it perceived, fades and fluxes through the viewer.

Photo documentation of Marzipan Project and The Please Hug Dress

Please Hug
Artist Statement
Heather Bal

With this piece I was interested in a garment being the trigger for our memory. I always seem to remember events by what I wore if it was meant only for that occasion. In this case I wanted to dress up for an event that embodied contact of the memory trigger, in this case the dress. Everyone who came into contact with me should have a relation to the image of the dress with the sign pinned to it that says Please Hug.
In addition to this, the video shows moments in the event and how body language and facial expressions play a role in our communication.

Razberry Jam