The Crazy Context

by theobfuscatedone

Life is crazy here in the Obfuscated household.  And by crazy I mean crazier than normal.  Normal crazy means that just me and the cat do weird shit but lately the crazy exploded in a supernova of insanity that leaves no one unscathed.  It’s not even coming from me or the cat.  Weird, huh?

To cope I have been consuming unhealthy amounts of candy and shunning technology and contact with the outside world.  I have also developed a mantra that I have been repeating frequently: Murder is not an appropriate form of problem solving.  The mantra started as: Murder is not an effective form of problem solving but then I realized that murder is, in fact, an incredibly effective way to problem solve.  Thus the adjective change.

Speaking of adjectives (terrible non sequitur), the final show, working title “A Moment in Time”, is a go.  It only took ten months and a mini meltdown but it happened.  Mark your calendars: “A Moment in Time” is from May 4th to May 11th.  I cannot muster up excitement for the whole thing quite yet.  Perhaps when we get closer and the other shoe still hasn’t dropped.  In fact, both C and I are in the process of drafting thesis proposals so that the things we are doing get an official seal of approval.  We have to have working titles for our theses as well and the one I am currently working with is “Throwing the Hour: Revising Socially Sanctioned Time.”  I love coming up with interesting, thought provoking titles and would say that I am rather good at it.  Imagine my surprise when the professor for our Culminating Project Workshop did not like any of the ten titles I came to her with and instead proposed: “Time in Art”, “The Art of Time”, and “Timeless Art.”  I’m not particularly surprised that she came up with the lamest titles ever, she is one of the most boring people on the face of the earth but her attempt to usurp my own options pissed me off.  Firstly, any of her titles are so broad and generic that they could mean everything or nothing.  Secondly, this is MY thesis and I get the final say over it.  I really do not like her.  The whole proposal thing has been annoying because there are no guidelines for students doing anything other than a straight written research thesis and no one is willing to guide us.  Fucking academia.  There are some things about it I love but a lot of it is utter bullshit (It doesn’t help when people tell me that to expect some sort of communication in a week is unreasonable in academia and in academia things move slower.  Just because that’s the way it works doesn’t mean that’s the way it SHOULD work.)

Since the final show is a go, the thesis proposal is on it’s way, I have been in the studio a lot producing hourglasses.  Since I know that you have all been waiting with bated breath for this, I give you-

The first hourglass made with the newly developed process.


A trio of hourglasses on their way into the kiln.

The three you see here just went through the first firing and we have yet to open up the kiln to unpack it.  Through a series of serendipitous coincidences, I did the bulk of the firing of the kiln.  I started the program, adjusted the gas and at the end of the firing switched it over to manual and P and I finished it. Looking into the peepers to see what the cone packs were doing was amazing.  You look into the three inch hole and feel extreme heat coming towards you and inside the pots are all glowing red, like the embers of a camp fire but at almost 2000 degrees.  To gauge the temperature we use the internal thermometers, the cone packs (cone packs are made up of pyrometric cones that fall once a specific temperature is reached.  You use several cones the fall from colder to hotter so you can gauge the progression.), and the color of the pots.  Sometimes one part of the kiln will be hotter than another part.  During this firing I looked in the main peeper and then one on the side and got to see the difference in temperature reflected in the color of the pots.  In one area the pots were a bright pale orange with a dull glow while in a different spot the pots were hotter, with a brighter glow and more yellow verging towards white. I’m totally prattling on but it was just so friggin’ cool!

I just finished another hourglass today and I am quite pleased with them and myself.  I taught myself how to throw closed forms so that I could narrow the connection considerably.  So far it’s working and when P and I were putting them into the kiln they got randomly clustered together in such a beautiful way. I am thinking about shifting my plans to just produce lots and lots of hourglasses instead of adding pendulums, etc. to the mix.  I need to talk to P and see what she says.  The next thing on the agenda is to glaze them and both P and I are thinking that they need to be in neutral, unobtrusive, complementary colors.  The forms are so elegant on their own that bright colors would detract from them.

I’m no longer anthropomorphizing the hourglasses like I was in the beginning.  As they’ve evolved, my reactions and feelings towards them have evolved as well.  Now they don’t have names but they represent different aspects of time.  The one that I trimmed off center represents distorted time, the one that will be empty represents no time at all.  It’s a fascinating process to be a part of.

My bed is underneath all those books and papers.

Another part of the process is the research one.  My current readings seem disparate but have actually connected themselves quite nicely.  There’s also research on other artists because my thesis includes an extended artist’s statement and I need to be able to put myself in dialogue with other artists.  Since my aesthetic is one not many share the dialogue is often with those I am in opposition to.  It’s been incredibly interesting to start making the connections and think about where my work fits into all of it.

People keep telling me not to be worried about my thesis and I have always tell them that I am actually really excited about writing it.  I am in my element, drawing from different disciplines and making connections.  I’m really only worried about all the other work I need to do!  The thesis is going to be a piece of piss.  I’ll slog my way through the rest.

I’m on my way…