Research

MASK MAKING

I usually get asked this question a lot: Why the masks?

Well, I started wearing the masks back in early 2014, I didn’t have the context than to the why but I had the feelings. Knowing now that Mestiza or Latinx peoples often struggle with hidden or fractured identities has led me into a deeper investigation of mask and alter-ego studies. Reading many great Latina/o scholarship has enhanced my understanding of the masking culture that is alive an well today in Mexico and the Borderlands. This vein of studies also operates as a creative and productive outlet for my work as an artist.

Back in 2014, I was drawn to omitting my identity and obscure the image of the body onstage. The mask work has added a layer of surrealism that I am researching from a feminist perspective and admire works from Frida Kahlo, Remedios Varo, and Dorthea Tanning. Masks in these studies stem from Luchador culture which came out of the Tejas Borderlands and is now a pop-culture Mexican staple, however, the use of masks is relevant in Dia De Los Muertos and other traditions.

Starting this semester with a Costume Practicum with Lindsay Simon for 6 hours a week was such an outlet for creativity and production, and gave me time to really understand this process of making masks.

To get started, Lindsay asked I create a storyboard and gather materials. I created an inspiration board (Pinterest) to gather ideas for the Lucha Libre, Animal designs, and LROD masks I was interested in producing. Since I had only made these masks by hand I was ready to produce a pattern so that I could easily make more on a sewing machine rather than hand-stitch. The goal was to experiment with many fabrics and styles to gain experience making the masks and practicing my sewing machine abilities. For the animal heads, what was the next level of design besides making, shaping, and coloring them? I was excited to find out.

Here are some previous masks I have made for my work:

Innominate Performance – LROD + Artists Dance Artists: Sierra Hendrix, Levi Ryan, Kince De Vera, Scotty Flores, Hannah Cavallaro, Becca Blackwell, Molly Levy Lighting: Meg Fox Photo: Devin Munoz

Innominate Performance – LROD + Artists Dance Artists: Sierra Hendrix, Levi Ryan, Kince De Vera, Scotty Flores, Hannah Cavallaro, Becca Blackwell, Molly Levy Lighting: Meg Fox Photo: Devin Munoz

Now the hardest part was figuring out how to pattern the mask, seeing how I had the one I made by hand and the Lucha ones from a previous work. We decided to deconstruct one and go from there. Lindsay and I decided to use my head as the main pattern and build adjustments in as we went.

What was surprising about this process was that every material used needed a different pattern to account for stretch or no-stretch. By the mid-way point of the semester, we had finally gotten the hang of different materials and patterns. Now, we were ready to start adding more details.

In reflection now going through this process, I realize what fabrics I most like to work with for the masks: poly-rayon-spandex blend, lace-mesh w/stretch, spandex, lycra, cotton, sequin mesh, cosplay vinyl w/ stretch. For decor and lace-up low-industrial vinyl ended up being the most suitable. I also used 1in elastic to secure the bottom and string for the lace-up models.

THE WORK

mask-1.jpg

Mask 1: “Homegrown”

The basic learning.

Mask 2: “Borderlands”

More Structure.

death.jpg

Mask 3: “Los Muertos”

New Pattern.

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Mask 4: “Rupture”

Full mask design.

double-layer-mask.jpg

Mask 5:“Pesadilla”

Double layer mask.

Mask 6: Demo “Puebla”

First run on this design

before surging.

Mask 7: “Puebla”

Final project.

Mask 8: “Puebla”

Final Project.

puebla-mask-teal.jpg

Mask 9: “Puebla”

Final Project.

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Mask 10: “Stag for Days” Design and stud work on the animal head. Final Project.

Mask 11: “Bunny in Bloom” Design and Stud work on the animal head. Final Project.

Mask 12: “The Revolt” Design and Stud work on the animal head. Final Project.

 

I noticed as the process went on the use of brighter colors started to emerge. I am drawn making more masks with color and expanding the masks to include some other materials such as wire, flowers, studs, gas masks, and more. I am also looking forward to making some more costume pieces for LROD + Artists to work with. While I am eager to go more extravagant I have to remind myself that they also need to be danceable and breathable during performances.

These creative outlets provide my research with necessary fieldwork and experience that aid my MFA thesis and artistic practice while connecting the multidisciplinary vein of research I identify with as a choreographer.

 Until next time – LROD.

Creative Knot: GoPro: Hero Project

Creative Sandbox:

  • Opening: We will arrive together.

  • I will deliver a short content re-cap of the project, questions, and an overview of our time together.

  • We will move through some specific instruction (tasks, love rituals, experiments) in pairs and groups to establish some groundwork.

  • Then we will move into a more creative, play, open space for curiosity and input.

  • Sharing feedback and ideas around using the GoPro through interactions.

  • Closing Ritual.

“…everyone who loved sports and adventure wanted a GoPro, and from a niche brand, it moved to being a household name. With GoPro, anyone can be a star. In a context where everyone is self-obsessed and “selfie-obsessed” GoPro’s success was certain. Gopro BE A HERO. Their slogan, and their focus during their entire journey.”(Berardinetti 2015, 32)

When we think of the self during this time of recurring narcissism we begin to see how disconnected we are from the community. This, of course, is not new and has come in waves in the past like during the 70s when our society experienced what is known as the “me generation” and once again as the world wide web has embedded our way of life with the millennial generations oversaturation of technology. While my research is not grounded in psychological studies of this content it is apart of the research to our current situation in a state of “glorified self-personas.” Leading me to curiosity about GoPro’s mission to BE A HERO or BE A STAR when these captures are the majority of individual experiences.

What I find interesting, is the need to capture the extremes of one’s life and showcase these events in a digital public space. I see how this is beneficial for humans who will not have an opportunity or lack the skill to do what some of the professionals do on these films, but seems disconnected to the being a hero of only one. Now don’t get me wrong some of these captures are breathtaking and beautiful, but this leaves me questioning the purpose behind “be a hero” or “be a star” in context to individuality and “selfism” vs. community and “other”.

  • Here watch this and think about what clip grabs your attention the most?

  • Hang on to your answer for Tuesday.

GoPro is a billion dollar company and was specifically designed for the athlete and adventure seekers to capture their extreme experiences. GoPro has since expanded to include different genre to capture that include, music, animals, nature, short films, and so on. This product was the innovation of the video camera and re-centered the person’s perspective into the film, while also providing selfie stick, Karma, or Drone to include everyone back into the picture. However, I am most interested in using the GoPro Hero model to capture community interactions around qualities of care, tenderness, peacefulness, and ethics. Mostly thinking about these questions:

What makes these people heroes compared to everyday heroes? 

What is relevant about filming the interactions of everyday heroes that exist daily vs. the radical interactions of athleticism?

What is it like to be a hero for a day and have your experience captured?

How do peacefulness and tenderness translate on film? What does tenderness look like in actions form?

Redirecting back to Mr. Rogers, I find that his method for approaching his television mission for finding “peacefulness” on the television was in the way he delivered his programming. In reading an article by Buczinsky he says, “We have come through the initial rush of constant information, the euphoria of video screen magic, and the tingle of social media connectivity, and on the other side, we have found its hollowness”(Buczinsky 11). Finding the relevance of wanting to connect back to the community, to be seen face to face, or to engage in human interaction is a goal that I believe serves this research under Norah Zuniga-Shaw’s Humane Technology Research. This project also incorporates the use and approach with technology to include tenderness Mr. Rogers provided its viewers.

I am interested in capturing community through interactions that need attention to be showcased and held to equal standards of the GoPro mission. I am also still debating how I will edit the film, cinematic or video art style since this requires some thoughts on how the approach is delivered, and the material is being captured. We will experiment with the headgear and harness straps for the GoPro since each provides different perspectives. I am interested in making art with the community – co-authorship.

Here are two videos to browse from GoPro for a Cause category, there are some interesting aspects to the perspectives used to capture different movements, children, and emotion:

https://gopro.com/channel/gopro-for-a-cause/gopro-cause-building-homes-for-children-in-africa

https://gopro.com/channel/gopro-for-a-cause/a-blind-man-and-his-armless-friend-plant-a-forest-in-china

****These films are professionally from GoPro and have use of all GoPro products in order to create along with documentary filming/production.

With Care. See you soon.

Intermedia || Merging Reflection

Archive Date: December 14, 2017
Author:
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In collaboration with my colleagues, we set out to produce a digital double investigation. Our goals included examining the Double as Reflection, suggested from Steve Dixon’s “The Digital Double” (2004) essay which I reflected previously on here. From this project, we realized that we were attracted to textures, themes, and discovered multiple ways to find a reflection at different levels of technological entanglement. Take a moment to skip through.

One challenge that we encountered was in using the video feedback loop, top-down camera, projection, and lighting to gain different perspectives of the space, it appeared that the movement we created needed to shift per examination. Incorporating The Isadora program, live sound, and lighting to bring these portraits together merged with the movement and use of the material was essential and grounding components to this project.

The digital double in the sense of reflection draws me to the consciousness that the real body maintains throughout the performance. I found it interesting that most of the time the real-life performer needs to witness the digital in reflection. Dixon notes, “This has been exacerbated by paradoxical rhetoric of disembodiment and virtual bodies, which have turned ideas of corporeal reality full circle by the claim that the digital body has equal status and (authenticity) to the biological one” (Dixon 2004, 24). During this study, the concept did cross my mind of the equality of images, and I found myself drawn to both bodies at different times. I begin to speak about this on this page with Agent Ruby and the sense of awareness of consciousness through AI that has developed.

For this project, I appreciated this viewing:

Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker’s Fase (1982) is so simple from a current technological standpoint but is still so mesmerizing to watch. Here light, shadow, film, and movement create the dance – enhance the dance. One of the parts that most interests me is at 7:18 of this film. Noting that from the first half of the film space transforms and they are now performing on their shadows in a fully saturated blue space.

Glancing into the future I was struck by this digital double. While the concept is simple seems simple what transpires is exhilarating.

This is CO: LATERAL (2016) by Joao Martinho Moura

Moura’s work with the digital double here is literally electrifying itself. I appreciate how in this work the dancer is in the dark while the emphasis is put on the double.  The bold lighting against the blackened stage gives a stark contrast platform for the double to stand out.  In a sense this double take on a dominant force on stage and provides a strong presence in the work following along with Dixon’s models.

The most important experience I had from this study is the merger of technology and body with intention. Questioning why /how we implement technology into the work was at the forefront of this study to think about as a group. The question: How we collaborate with technology? Continued forward into our next studies.

Sources:

De Keersmaeker, Anne Teresa, and Michele Anne de Mey. 1982. “Fase.” (Film) Director Thierry de Mey. Music Robert Reich.

Dixon. Steve. 2004. “The Digital Double.” New Visions in Performance: The Impact of Digital Technologies. Ed. Gavin Carver. Lisse: Swets & Zeitlinger. Print

The Internal | Connecting | Creative Process

Date: October 26, 2017

Two levels in Creative process v.210

Mapping out a creative process to connect two parts of my research resonating with Inside the room and Outside the room branches. Inside the room’s design is led by the Experiment thread, while Outside the room reflects the Research thread. I was compiling this information from a word bank created in Grad Composition class with Professor Susan Van Pelt Petry and peers. We then each took the word bank and made a visual map of our own individual creative process.

For my own challenge, I only used each word one time and practiced this assignment utilizing a present moment embodiment. Meaning, I only allowed myself one piece of paper with no option to have a do-over. Utilizing this assignment as a challenge I was aware of my devising boundaries. This project created a meditative space for me to sit with my pen to the paper, and process my process. Which usually feels meta, however, this project was calming while being informative. Most of my reflections have happened through a stream of consciousness or analytical essay, so it felt good to move towards a tangible medium to flush out information.

Further noting the attention and weight of each word resonating within my body and I continue to let these words reconfigure inside my body. A digital roadway on the frontier of inter-connectivity pulsing, sparking and transferring connections that re-wires and retracts information before surging it back out again.

The system is operating. 

I recognize these maps are abundant within my body, mind and are the containers to hold, organize, connect information used to make co-creative spaces. They are roadways of information. Living knowledge intrigues me as I delve into the internal self of producing art. Maybe the cyborg self is emerging underneath the surface below my skin and responds to the familiarity of the motherboard. While the image below relates to this emerging, I examine the depths and intricacies that are possible in overriding.

Cyborg Self Reflection | Awakening

In trying to navigate my own cyborg self-relationship I am drawn to this quote by Donna Haraway a professor, consciousness, and feminist scholar, “Cyborg writing is about the power to survive, not on the basis of original innocence, but on the basis of seizing the tools to mark the world that marked them as other” (Haraway 2016, 55). My journey over the past five years has sent me plunging into words, writing, and language – preparing me for my conversations, arguments, and discourse today. Sometimes my consciousness rejects my impulse to respond, and my unconsciousness delivers connectors to reconnect broken bridges of thought. Tracing the map above throughout my creative process enables me to redirect how I am thinking, feeling, and exploring the material.

Responding to a recent visit by Vida Midgelow who presented at the DSA inaugural Scholarly Conference and is a Professor in Dance and Choreographic Studies at Middlesex University London says, “Coming into language is a significant process through which experiential, material and emergent forms of knowledge can be foregrounded, processed and shared” (Midgelow 1994). Previously, I rarely spoke my stance or dared to share the perspectives that ran rampant in my mind.

The information comes to me as this digital space allows me to write about these developing curiosities that are awakening. Identifying as an “other,” I do claim the tools to unearth my potential as a choreographic researcher, scholar, and free-thinker to engage in practices that move humanity towards change. Structures, rules, and traditions can be broken and reconfigured to make manifest new ways of operating that enhance artistic ability, connect technology and humanity, and revolutionize the central core of art making.

Free Motherboard Vector Art

The above image is how I imagine the framework for my discourse of choreographic research operating. The motherboard vector art is part – object – abstract – micro-processing –  unit –  internet integrated – modern – binary that projects future technological advances – or human.

 

Works Cited

Haraway, Donna J. and Cary Wolfe. 2016. Manifestly Haraway. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. https://muse.jhu.edu/ (accessed October 25, 2017).

Midgelow, Vida. and Jane Bacon. 2014. “Creative Articulation Practice (CAP).”                                      Forthcoming in Choreographic Practices. 5[2]                                                                                  https://www.academia.edu/9956868/Creative_Articulations_Process_CAP_  (accessed October 25, 2017)