The thing that struck me most in the reading on hieroglyphs was pretty unimportant to the thesis of the article: carrion kite (vulture) can distinguish between foreigners and native citizens. That’s pretty neat. No wonder this vulture was important enough to have its own hieroglyph if it is capable of such intellectual feats.
I also enjoyed the part about the belief that all vultures are female and conceived by the wind. It reminded me a video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1wVICxlBY8o) by a band called Man Man that incorporates subtitles which may or may not be relevant to the storyline. One of these subtitles reads, “Death, you lecher! This bicycle is made of wind!” and vultures being born of wind seemed aesthetically related.
My hieroglyph project started with a trip to the recycling center. I spent more time in my studio figuring out ways to chew the edges of a piece of window glass to render it less sharp but still broken-looking. I considered and attempted some techniques of flint knapping but they proved unsuitable.
When I finished my piece I realized that it would make a nice time lapse so I made a sloppy quick video to see how it would look. https://www.instagram.com/p/BAyaWcETPRR/?taken-by=kitpaulson
I was interested in this weeks hieroglyph project because I have always enjoyed codes and ciphers. The Sherlock Holmes story The Adventure of the Dancing Men is one of my all time favorites. In the story Sherlock Holmes cracks the code by plotting out the frequency at which letters occur in common usage. I used this idea to my advantage in formulating my hexagon code.
I knew I wanted to make a letter substitution code that could fit in a hexagonal grid because I thought it would look appealing and be a good disguise for a code. I drew out as many hexagon-based glyphs as I could think of and then decided which ones I liked the best. I also made sure that I liked how they looked together (there were a few that I liked individually but when combined with other glyphs they were not attractive). The ones I liked the most I assigned to the most frequently used letters in the alphabet (and also to the initials of my name: nobody wants boring initials).
I also thought about how I wanted the code to be read. Initially I wanted it to be read outward from a central hexagon but I realized when I tried it out that it was impossible to keep track of where I was reading. I settled on left to right, reading along staggered rows of hexagons.
I certainly want to use my hexagon code for something but I have little occasion for ciphers. I will keep it in readiness should an event arise.
Cabinets of curiosity have long interested me. I settled on making a paper version because I wanted to the one that Michele showed in class to be more than it was so I figured I should make one the way I wanted it to be. I decided I wanted several layers of doors behind doors, not just one or two layers. I was more excited about making the cabinet than figuring out what to put into it so I figured I’d start building it and think about what to put in it while I worked on it. It took entirely too long to build. I should have used rubber cement instead of paste.
It was so nice looking when I finished that I considered not putting anything in it and leaving it curiously empty. But then I started thinking about objects mentioned in Appalachian ballads and how there’s a lot of them and they often have significance within the song so I decided to fill the cabinet with them. It helps that I have a mental picture of many of the objects in the songs that I know by heart as a sort of mnemonic device for keeping track of the words. It was fun to go through lots of ballads looking for the mention of objects, it was like a treasure hunt.
Usually building something the first time takes a while to build, and it usually doesn’t come exactly the way one wants it to. Rubber cement is a good choice, but waterproof wood glue is another good decision, and possibly tiny nails and then covering them with plaster and then painting the object. As an artist, I would only place things that really matter to you within the confounds of something you create. Never put trash within a creation you have and created and is near and dear to you as it will become an offense, trust me, I’ve been there.
I had all sorts of ideas for how I wanted my camera obscure to look but few for how to use it. I had made several cameras obscure a number of years ago when I was playing around with video and optics in my work. The one that worked the best was made out of an orange juice container and a toilet paper roll and I have kept it around. I used that one as a model for size and focal length.
I plotted out a paper pattern with a compass and straight edge and then I cut it in one piece from black matte board. Suyeon let me use her black masking tape which makes it look tidier and older.
Having built the camera I was stumped about how to use it. I finally decided I would use it as cameras obscure were historically used as a drawing tool for rendering landscapes. I wanted to draw a tree because they look mysterious through the camera obscura but I couldn’t get close enough to get the detail I wanted. Instead I ended up crouching underneath a small shrub so I could get close enough to see individual branches. I looks like a tall and stately tree, no one would know otherwise from the drawing.
I drew the image on a piece of sheet glass that I found. It has mysterious texture on it. I ground the middle of the surface a little bit so that it has tooth enough to draw on. I traced my image on it in pencil, then scratched in the lines with a diamond point when I got back to my studio. I tried to rub enamel pigment into the scratched lines but it looked terrible so I painted over all the scratched lines with enamel and then fired it on in a kiln.
Later today I will cut a piece of mirror to go behind the glass and then I will use foil for stained glass to attach them together and solder it so it’s one piece.
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