Sekhmet part2

…. I think I’m my own worst enemy sometimes. I couldn’t let the project drop, not because of the criticism (which was very valid) but because I felt the execution and everything was not up to my standards. At the same time I was being deluged with Finals(tm) and I didn’t have the time, energy or resources to do it again. So I told myself, the moment my main Finals were over I would redo it until I was happy with the result.

I made smaller sized version of the piece, and lit/shot it in the bathroom. I think the last is so blue because you can really see the interior of the agar + UV, which is a nice contrast to the cold-warmth-cold-warmth of the exterior. I’m not sure how clearly the ravens (black objects inside) came through – how visible/identifiable they were, but I like that you can at least see the suggestion of it.

This semester has been both unbelievably exulting and stressful at the same time. I felt so free to work on what I loved, but at the same time I was doing SO. MANY. THINGS. that I couldn’t process or enjoy or do it to the best of my ability. I just wanted to do everything, and that meant that the quality of work suffered. I really felt like I could’ve pushed it even further, but the pressure to deliver on time (for all projects) meant that I cut corners….. to my utmost regret.

And yet at the same time, this semester feels so vastly different from last: it’s almost like I got my rhythm back, ideas coming out faster than I can manage it – it’s a wonderful feeling but it made me so high-strung and skittish and hyperaware that I almost couldn’t do anything. But you know what? it was cool. I learnt lots of stuff. I organised my first exhibition in NY. I had great fun and most of all I really experienced so many things and met so many people that I wouldn’t trade for the world

Maybe the best way to sum it is this: I bought my first pair of sneakers after 7 years, turqoise blue with yellow stripes. I bought it because I wanted to be able to run, to sprint, to feel the closest I have to wings in air, the rush of wind to the face because now I have places to run to, people to run for……

Each season of winter, comes a year of fallow – the dead earth lies asleep with powers underneath, gathering a storm and burst into a brilliant spring.

Sekhmet part1

The first time I did Sekhmet, it was a disaster. We had 2 critics for presentation and I was a total wreck – murphy’s law day. Everything that could go wrong, went wrong. I fried 2 arduinos after trying to jack them with A/C power, the chlorophyll distallation testing took way too long – only figured out that grain alcohol was causing the murkyness on Friday, the lights were causing a bitchfit and crossing itself, I ran out of battery clips, the room setup was terrible and the jello was a pain to transport —- on top of my general nervousness about showing a newscast instead of a presentation, having never rehearsed or done it before and being late. If I could I would delete the memory of that day forever.

Actually they were pretty nice about it, regardless. One of the key feedback they gave (Rushkoff then tldr’ed by Dave) was: “All you needed was a gorgeous video of the agar and chlorophyll reaction filmed under perfect conditions with absolute craft and you might have nailed it.”

And I was like: goddamn why didn’t I think of that? Why do I always have to overthink things and make life harder for myself? I was pretty angry at myself which lead to…..

major studio newscast

I decided to do a newscast instead of a standard powerpoint presentation because I wanted to capture the sense of having multiple narratives at once. Playing archetypes (devout christian, art critic etc) allowed me to show the range of responses on Lazarus installation and how other people interpreted the meaning of experience. Also at that time, I was re-reading WWZ and a bit inspired by the idea of a oral history or collective, to make a presentation that was extremely subjective

The newscast comprised of 3 different parts: 1. newscast opening where I described what it was and a short clip showing how it looked like 2. a panel of ‘critics’ made from the responses I received during the fair 3. interview with ‘myself’ where I recorded a set of responses I made to respond to some questions. I think it was easier pretending to be interviewed, than explaining directly (maybe?)

It was actually more difficult to do than I expected. First I was very very nervous, it took me several tries to get it right. In the end I wrote a guide-line script, and put my laptop below the tripod so I could refer to it if I forgot anything. I really admire people who can do performance art all the time, I find it extremely painful and difficult.

The second problem was finding equipment… I only came up with the idea on Wednesday, and my presentation was Tuesday following week so I had to film the video before the weekend so I could cut and edit in time. At the same time was everyone’s finals, and AMT equipment was totally booked out. Madness! I had my own tripod (which was good) but no camera. In the end I managed to get an overnight timeslot from 6pm to 10am for a day…. but that meant no mistakes and only 1 take. I set it up in my living room and did as much as I could, then went to find a classroom the following morning for the interview/newscast parts (also a problem since the building was being used and all classrooms were booked out) in the end I managed to get into the small meeting room by chance….

Apparently the sensors in D12 work using motion sensor. If you take a thickish piece of cardboard and swipe it across the top of the door while pulling the handle, it will trigger the door to open even if you DON’T have a cardkey. Then the rest of it was just cutting and editing the footage and creating logo/title assets.

I think if I could do it again, I’ll make it clearer and book it earlier + everything. I also wish the idea came to me earlier!!!!! :/ it’s a pity that lighting only strikes at the last moment

chlorophyll tests

extracting chlorophyll was incredibly difficult. The first round I used:

– dill leaves (leftover and free from whole foods)
– one jar full of grain alcohol; one jar of standard canola oil

I got a very muddy red colour, because the cellouse/cell walls broke down due to the blending and the red extracted was not bright because dill did not have enough chlorophyll

2nd round:
– frozen spinach
– one jar grain alcohol; one jar standard canola oil

Produced a murky brown colour for the alcohol mix, and the water sunk below the oil which caused problems in trying to seperate them (I just used sediment/filtration method, not accurate enough)

3rd round I consulted photographers specialising in UV photography, and the method was to dry spinach in a warm oven (180F) with the door half-open:

3rd  round:
– fresh spinach dried to crisp in 180F
– one jar grain alcohol; one jar standard canola oil

Problem was the chlorophyll was extracted too slowly, it took several days before the colour would show (when it did, it was bright red). My solution was to grind the dried spinach into powder to make it easier for the solvent to dissolve

4th round:
– fresh spinach dried to crisp; then grinded down using a pestle/mortar
– one jar grain alcohol; one jar standard canola oil

Finally chlorophyll extracted. Very difficult to do it via alcohol though, might try with acetone but acetone has mild flourescence as well, which might change the results and also render it inedible. The oil is a good base, but it meant that I couldn’t cook it directly into the agar as intended and I had to pour it over instead

Lazarus (2012)

So for all my planning and prototyping, the result was totally unexpected and because of that – the entire feeling changed (sadness)….. I was pretty upset, and being super-perfectionistic control freak it was kinda inconsolable for a bit. BUT then, I kinda realised halfway that it’s OK because it’s not worse – it’s just different but just as good(?) as what I intended.

Presenting…… Lazarus!

90 gallons of jelly, 144 packets of powder, 60x10mg of quinine pills, 9 x 4w chandelier lightbulbs, 30 superbright UV leds and countless countless hours of stress and standing infront of the stove stirring that stuff up. Nothing in the photos captures the sound of Pendericki’s chorus rising from beneath the clouds of jelly, the sensation of ethereal light and wet slime, the surface tension and fragility (like holding cold flesh, someone said) the slumberous dark coldly enveloping.

I think ….. I think I finally made peace with this project. I still want to do the violet-orange version, but at the same time I have a really clear idea of what this tripartite is now. A triangle: Lazarus, Sekhmet and [?]. A series – God Eaters. She is sleeping was never meant to be because it never existed within the group. That’s OK. shikata nai. life goes on. Thing is, what is the [?] ??? I wish I knew.

Lazarus…. Lazarus was good (well, depending who you are). If you are Ryan R. or Ted B. or Nick F. then you love it and know it without too much explanation from me – which is good, because every time I try to explain it just gets worse. If you are Zhang G. or the reporter dude then you’re in the middle of the scale – you’re obviously affected by something, but you reason it out by explaining to yourself that it represents *this* or represents *that* and is symbolically of *this*. If you are Anzeka.S, then unfortunately this totally passes you by, because it has no critical question or problem to solve.

Something I realised while observing people, the best reactions were from game players – possibly because games are a weird combination of calibrated experience and free play, so in a way, it kinda trains you to open yourself to pure affective experiences? does that make sense? I adore games too, and I can see it a bit; little like. Like for me: cinema, theatre and game experience is really similar in affectiveness…..

Anyway, the best part is I now have a real abstract – ta da!

God Eaters is a series/trinity of works that examine ideas of divinity, ritual and myth by exploring uncanny materials that iterate various immanence experiences towards the sublime. Myth is seen as a function for creating familiarity through narrative, only to be broken by ephemeral materiality. In this state of confusion, reason gives way to affect where the experience overwhelms and devours to create sublime.

Lazarus is an installation comprising of 90 gallons of quinine agar arranged in a cuboid pyramid (tetrahedron) of 3 x 30 gallons blocks each embedded with chandelier lights and UV leds and flavored with artificial pandan and powdered vanilla in a dark room. The wiring is exposed through the translucent layers and broken pieces of agar and the lights flicker, as though pulsing with life. As the lights heat up, the jelly melts and you can clearly hear the sound of it dripping over the choral music. Forks are arranged in a regular square formation encircling the installation, and the audience is invited to participate by consuming or touching the piece. Over time as more people consume and break parts of it, the installation disintegrates until it becomes nothing but the sound of water dripping over the music.

Sekhmet […………….] is the chloropyll piece I will be presenting for major studio finals.

and the rest, to be continued????

Steve S. (from rhino class tutor) gave me the most AWESOME reference ever. I love! 😀

all i really want is you

😀 😀 😀
am in a ridiculously happy mood today

My new and awesome UV leds from LedsSuperBright which are freakin amazing. They are mindblowingly rave-party bright – running on 100mA current and a whopping 620 lumens EACH. That’s even brighter than some standard lightbulbs

simple trial – tonic water LASERR!!! check out the beauty of that beam! This quinine test – I knew that the UV was working properly since the quinine was reacting and glowing very brightly through the frosted glass. So I decided to do a chlorophyll test

And so I tested a small sample of the chlorophyll I bought from the health food store – it was supposed to turn red, but didn’t!! NOT AT ALL. NOT EVEN THE SLIGHTEST HINT OF RED and it couldn’t be a congealing issue since I was using liquid chlorophyll. Even with preservatives (boron, vitamin B1 or B12) it would’ve glowed because most additives have luminescence properties. Anyway once it didn’t fluorescence as it was supposed to do it, I quickly did a chroma test (iodine + yeast solution) and bam! that stuff is not pure chlorophyll. Fuck knows what’s in it, but it’s not chlorophyll

So that gave me a major headache because I was supposed to do the chlorophyll agar for this Sunday during the Spring Fair – so what else could I do? I did a project swap. I swapped the final project with the spring fair project and suddenly when I did that it was like magic – all the things made sense. I never realised it, but actually the final project should have been the chlorophyll one – because that one grew out of the lightbulbs in water idea except I didn’t realise it because I was going nuts with the studio and spring fair events.

Added incandecense colouring using a yellow torchlight – and bingo!


Agar version of the quinine + incandescent light – OMG IT LOOKS FABULOUS! The violet is a lot stronger than I expected (in my head, I imagined a softer look) but feel is perfect. GLORIOUS AWESOME FANTASTIC FABULOUS FIERCE UBERCOOL SEXY GODLEVEL PRO-BOSS BALLER WOOHOO INSERT SUPERLATIVE HERE

Now to just finish up blocks of it…