In the times we find ourselves currently living in with the current state of always advancing technology both physically & digitally, there are so many (always) advancing ways in which we can execute something digitally. Including the way in which we create/ present our art. Artists tend to either take advantage of this technology in their process of art or stick to old processes. Aki Inomata is an example of an artist in which uses it to her advantage.
The 4th of April I visited the “Out of Hand: Materializing the Digital” exhibition at the Powerhouse museum. The exhibition contains works in which examine the place & impact of digital technology. One work in which really caught my attention was Japanese artist: Aki Inomata’s “White Chapel” from his series: Why Not Hand Over a ‘Shelter’ to Hermit Crabs? Series (2014-15).
The installation is presented both digitally & physically. With the medium form of a video presentation & live installation. The digital aspect of this work: The ‘video’ itself is of a Hermit crab crawling through rock pools, a rather ordinary scenario for a hermit crab however in the video itself the crab has a model chapel placed on its back. The physical aspect of this work is presented in front of the projected video. With the use of three glass cabinets. In each cabinet is the actual models of the Chapels as seen in the video. The whole work is set in a dark space with the only light coming from the video & a small light in every cabinet below the models creating a focus point for the audience you’re drawn into the light. The light is almost utopian it’s somewhat glamourous to look at. Especially with the well-crafted chapel.
The interesting thing about these models is that they are 3d printed & not sculptured. This without intention creates a strong impact on the way in which artists execute their works. With sculpture & physically modelling items as a category in contemporary art itself this use of digital technology creates a new medium of art for graphic designers & artist to create models as a mini sculptor would.
“The Inside of a hermit crab shell has a spiral shape, which cannot be realized by hand-carving but only by building layers. I knew that 3d printing was the best suited to do that” (Inomata, A 2015)
Implementing this new digital way of art as advanced & incredible as it is does also create boundaries in which actually physically modelling itself wouldn’t. Size for example. Size has always played a large role in contemporary art in every form. The concept of taking something and pushing it to a giant life like size adds a personified/ realistic element to the work. Many artists have created an identifiable name for themselves using size including Jeff Wall with his photography. With the use of a 3d Printer size could be a boundary as they are only capable of creating something confined to the space/size of the printer. 3D printers are also very pricey & not easily accessible choosing to use a 3d printer in order to create your work could go over your set budget. This is an issue with the current advancing state in technology it’s all great however only a niche of creatives with a budget are able to abuse the use of this technology.
I’ve talked a bit about the boundaries in which are involved with the use of this new technology in saying that this it also creates a whole new spectrum of forms & mediums for artists to create works. There are no boundaries to art really? Using our innovative minds art seems to see no boundaries maybe only in technology restraints. This is similar in the film industry; James Cameron’s idea for avatar was forced to stay an idea for 15 years as he was waiting for the technology to catch up to his ideas. Sure enough it did. Maybe there are some artists who have had 3d printing in mind for years & just held out for it.
A strong statement in which Aki is taking with this series is her fed up-ness with the current cultural state of architecture in Japan. After travelling and experiencing the architecture of western society, she is starting to believe that all Japan is doing is stealing architecture from every other country in western civilization. “I ask myself, ‘are we Japanese living in a mimicry of western world?” (Inomata, A (2014-15). Why not hand over a “shelter” to hermit crabs Aki Inomata).
Something that fascinated me with this work is the historical context behind Aki’s statement with the work. Been from Japan Aki executes a strong cultural element to this work. The chapel in which the hermit crab has on its back is no ordinary chapel. It is a religious facility however with no actual religious attributes apart from the appearance. It is used only for weddings.
This is strongly touching on the religious culture of Japan in which is almost non-existent with only 1% of Japanese people actually Christians. This is derived from the history of Japan itself which has always tried to abolish Christianity from its surfaces dating back to the 17th century when any Christian found in Japan was tortured & forced to denounce god publically & surrender their faith.
Interestingly enough despite this 60% of weddings in Japan are held in the style of a Christian wedding. This example of the use of Christian styled chapels despite the lack of Christians is what Aki is refereeing to when she questions Japan as a “Mimicry of the western world” (Inomata, A).
(Still from “Silence” (2017) – Denouncing Faith
But what is the relevance of the models to a hermit crab? Hermit crabs tend to change their shells as they grow. They test shells out and if they feel comfortable with the shell they will adapt it as their home.
Some are even forced to exchange shelters with stronger crabs. If the crabs liked the shelters in which Aki made for them they would move into the shelter & carry on with it. This plays with the concept of the Japanese taking ideas from western societies & executing it for themselves. The crab completely unfamiliar with the model chapel- completely unfamiliar with its structure/ background where it even came from somehow yet likes the model & decides to use it. Just as the Japanese appear to be doing with their architecture.
“My aim for this project was for hermit crabs to be able to move to different cities all over the world and exchange homes. So I chose these cities in order to include as many various kinds of building within each other” (Inomata, A 2015).
With the models not only is Inomata referencing western societies style but the idea of hermit crabs searching for shelter could relate to immigrants from Japan settling in Western Societies. This isn’t the first art work in which Inomata has touched on the topic of immigration. In her “No Man’s land exhibition Aki explores the tension between France & Japan in their history together. The work was ironically exhibited in the actual French Embassy in Japan. Really creating her mark on the topic with the choice of location related to the actual work.
I believe that Aki has successfully perfected her execution of her idea of creating a statement of the cultural appropriation of Japan. I thoroughly enjoyed experiencing the exhibition myself.
Mufson, B (2015), What can hermit crabs teach about cultural appropriation? , Creators. (Viewed April 26th, 2017):
Inomata, A (2017), Why not hand over a “shelter” to a hermit crab? – White Chapels, Aki Inomata (Viewed April 25th 2017):
“Out of Hand: Materializing the Digital” Exhibition at Powerhouse Museum (Visited 4th April).
For my final project I would like to create a video installation. As i am a huge Tarantino fan i would like to create a video of normal everyday objects shot in a style in which Tarantino would shoot it. For example his famous shot of food; Insane close up with the sound of the food crunching made louder than normal creating an almost uncomfortable yet realistic feeling as you watch a character eat.
The problem with this concept is how can i turn this into a story. Also create a way for the viewer to engage with the work. I was thinking of showing different people eating the same food item. To create an interactive environmentI would like to have the actual food item presented in front of the video with a bite in it. Bringing the idea of visual into the physical that i discussed in my week 5 blog post. I believe this will create an uncomfortable environment for the viewer which is the way i intend it to be. I believe this will make my work stand out as the viewer will be able to easily differentiate & identify my work from everyone else’s.
After visiting the “Out of hand” exhibition at the powerhouse museum I have gained some inspiration/ ideas for what form of medium I would like to execute in my final project. As a BDM student i’m strongly interested in using video & storytelling in my work. One work from the “Out of hand” exhibition in which encapsulated these two concepts to me was Aki Inomata’s “White Chapel” from his “Why not hand over a shelter to helmet crabs?” (2014-15).
The installation shows a projected video of a helmet crab crawling through rock pools with a hand built mini chapel on it’s back. Furthering the presentation of this installation in front of the projected screen is 3 glass cabinets in which contain the actual mini sculptures of chapels Aki used for this installation. I’m very fond of the idea of bringing virtual into the physical. Showcasing a video with some sort of physical element from the video in front of the video. I find it brings a strong surreal feeling to the way you experience the video as you can see some physical elements from it. I feel like this is an aspect in which hollywood misses i feel like i would enjoy the experience of a Scorsese or Tarantino movie if i was able to see a real prop or element from the movie as i watched it. Mutual to how we feel about seeing a celebrity in person. You’re seeing the actual person from whatever it is you are viewing.
Taking this medium of an installation i would like to incorporate more video editing & story into mine. Add a cinematic feel to this type of art. Basically would like to do a video installation in which brings off a well edited cinematic video to it with some sort of physical prop to go with the video.
The creative industry is a tough as far as opportunities go. It is an industry founded on who you knew with the few talented people getting through. As far as editing goes you really need to establish yourself & create your own name for yourself. Establishing yourself isn’t going to happen unless you make it happen, this is why Myself, Joel Dawson & Shaun Carpenter made a freelance video editing company “Three Head Studios” All three of us share a strong mutual passion for video editing and with this company we hope to gain consistant clients & establish a name for ourselves. Creating this company is helping create an opportunity for us to take this passion of film editing & apply it in the form of paid work.
In class Jo asked us to think of a mentor someone who you know/ look up to. My mentor would definitely have to be my family friend Blake Mcintyre. Blake himself is an established freelance video editor with his own company “Bring Into Being” with an office in Newtown NSW. I have aways asked Blake for advice regarding video editing since a young age. I remember asking talking to Blake in year 7 when i was 12 years old asking what software do i use in order to make a gun shot & lightsaber. Last night i hit Blake up for some advice in regards to starting “Three Head Studios” he was quick to reply and gave perfect business advice & advice on dealing with clients, he also offered to give some clients to Three Head Studios this is a big opportunity considering Blake does work for big clients including: Uber & Amazon.
The overall goal with freelance would be to sustain a livable income of just freelance editing.