I’m nothing if not honest, so let me make this totally clear or I won’t be able to sleep at night…
This is not the exact same book you will see in pictures below, all set up and installed in the gallery. After working all summer on it, I decided not to risk screwing any of it up (ie, dinging the paper, crushing tiny little elements by mistake, or so on) by folding it up and photographing it. When we brought it over to the gallery, it was lightly folded onto itself such that it fit very nicely into three large boxes. And then from there we were able to get it to extend to 16′ and then some.
But the whole point of this project was to come up with a way to propose a pop-up (using that term lightly) book that *would* fold down into a small package, and so while it was being constructed, that was taken into consideration. I am confident that the book that’s up at BravinLee right now would, if carefully handled, fold down to the original size intended – there are pieces (ie, the pieces that make the huge trees in the middle, primarily) that would have to somehow become unglued, but each of those individual pieces equals less than 6 x 9 and would easily fit into this package. And so the idea of the prototype or proposal is that you would get this book that is really, really thick (it’s about 10″ thick) and you would piece it together as a craft project to reveal the whole story.
In order to make this mockup of what it would look like in its folded state, I measured out paper the length and width of the unfolded book, and scored and folded it very similarly to the way that the completed piece is made. I stuffed the back of the book with about 2″ of space to represent where all the papercraft “pieces” (ie, the trees, etc) would go – this is probably over compensating for them, as they were made of ordinary printer paper and I actually estimate that they would take up 1″ tops… but I wanted to leave a little room in case I shortchanged something in my calculations.
So – this is what it *would* look like, rather than what it *does* look like.
Oh my god, I can’t believe this project is almost done…!!! (below is the side view)
Ok, so here’s what I’m facing: on one hand, hits to this blog are through the roof (I assume from the mailing the gallery did? or because the semester is starting up?) but on the other, I’ve reached a point in my project where I really don’t have so many interesting images to post. By next week I should have tons more, but for right now we’re in the grunt-work part of the project – there’s not too much to really look at, as we’re basically just cutting, painting, and gluing little bits of paper together. But at the same time, it would be nice if people coming to the blog had things to look at and read other than my personal fascination with Ikea tables or the possible metaphoric value of eagles ripping the heads off of mice on my birthday.
And so, there’s this. It’s the best I can do in the very limited space I have:
It’s a tiny bird that will eventually fly over the branch that’s there in the background along with a whole flock of its little friends. The birds were by far the hardest thing to figure out with this whole book project, as there just aren’t many papercraft patterns of small birds available, but luckily Jeff was really incredibly helpful in coming up with one that is repeatable and looks really good. The branches started out difficult to make (again, no patterns available) but they were actually fun to make once I got going on them. They’re made out of just ordinary computer paper with walnut ink and watercolor and what’s really cool is that when you add just some white glue to it, the paper sort of melts onto itself… hard to explain, but it’s that nice little moment of materials working like poetry (or something?) when you least expect it.
There’s lots more, but that will have to wait til next week. I am pleased to say that so far everything’s really stuck to the original idea of the book – even if the individual parts don’t really “pop out” on their own, the little parts that get stuck together to form the various animals and things in the book are all very small and would actually fit in that back pocket I designed with plenty of room to spare.
After searching high and low (well, high and low within the Ikea online catalog), I think I might have found The Table for The Book:
It’s a Melltorp table, 69″ x 29 1/2″, and really cheap at $69… and I’m thinking maybe a couple of them side-by-side, lengthwise, so that it’s one long table (does that make sense?). Maybe. I have to see how heavy the legs are, but they look really simple and delicate in the picture.
I’m getting weirdly obsessed with this table situation. It’s unlike me. But there are just so many choices at Ikea… just when you think you’ve considered all that you have in front of you, you discover there’s a million other options available.
I’m reminded of visiting Russia when I was in high school (so it was full-on communist, USSR, all that stuff) and flying on Aeroflot in between cities. The unpleasant and gross flight attendant barked at me in her limited English, “Red? Green?” – probably the only English words she knew, and she was referring to the choice of beverage on the flight – did I want the disturbingly dark red beverage or the disturbingly dark green one? I don’t remember which one I chose, but I do remember that she handed me the exact opposite. It really didn’t make a difference – Soviet soda sucked, all of it – so I really didn’t complain. Plus, she was kind of scary.
Ok, I don’t want that situation either, but I just really hope the legs of this table look as nice in person as they do in the picture, so that hopefully I don’t have to start this process all over again.
Today is my birthday, so I very happily took the day off – I really needed to just chill out, get out of the house a bit, and have some fun, so the timing was just perfect. But we had the great idea of going to the zoo for the day, which would have worked well… except…
Today was the “pay what you want day” which, at the Bronx Zoo, equates to “pay nothing day” (it was really weird – we walked up to the attendant with money in our hands, not the full $15 you would normally pay but we were willing to give them something since we were going in to look around, and the attendant seemed utterly unprepared to handle/collect money and not a single other person was offering, so we put our money back). Which means that the zoo was mobbed, with every mom and child in the tri-state area flocking there. The kids inevitably screamed out the names of whatever animal caught their eye for two seconds (“Lion!!!” “Giraffe!!!!” and so on) and the parents basically barked back at them their first names (“Dmitri!!” “Madison!!!!” etc) for some reason.
Ok, not exactly the chill day that I had hoped for. And what’s more, any animal that could possibly be considered “cute” by any definition had a crowd in front of its area, so that it was next to impossible to get close to any of the animals to really hang out with them. Except in two exceptions:
The birds of prey. What, no one wants to bring their adorable tot over to see the vultures? Apparently not, because it was pretty empty over there. So we got close to the vultures, the condors, the eagles, and so forth, most notably getting there right after feeding. The birds all had a variety of small, dead, white mice laid out for them that they could snack on, and the definite highlight was watching the eagle rip the head off of his mouse and suck its brains out. Totally amazing. (I tried to take a picture with my camera phone… ahhhh, I know, it’s not the best.)
The gorillas. Ok, the line for The Congo exhibit was out of control, so we bailed – walking around the long way, past the outskirts of the fenced off exhibit which was lined with a bamboo wall that you couldn’t see through. However, strangely enough, you could hear through it, and somehow I noticed (certainly wasn’t looking for this when I found it) while walking by that there were the unmistakable grunting noises of a gorilla coming from directly opposite the fence, like less than a foot away from where I was. Which means that while I couldn’t actually see the gorilla, I got probably a hell of a lot closer to a gorilla than I ever have in my life, and it was pretty amazing to just stand there and listen to this creature grunt and coo on the opposite side of this fence, just barely hidden from me.
Anyway. Back to work tomorrow.
(sorry about the impersonal post… I’m just going a little crazy, burning the midnight oil getting everything done… yikes!)
September 12 – October 18, 2008
Opening: Friday, September 12, 6-8pm
BravinLee programs is pleased to present “The Myth of Loneliness,” Amy Wilson’s first exhibition with the gallery featuring new books and drawings. The exhibit runs from September 12th through October 18th, 2008. An opening reception will be held 6-8 pm, Friday, September 12th.
Amy Wilson has developed an ensemble cast of child-like female characters inhabiting a storybook-like world. These lithe, nearly identically dressed girls morph into several manifestations of the artist’s voice as they communicate their thoughts, fears, hopes and dreams through text. In each scene, the characters tackle diverse subjects such as politics, art, science, and metaphysics; however, an overarching theme of the struggle between individual will versus political conscience seems to be present. The text is confessional, intellectual, psychological, topical and diaristic.
The following is a statement from the artist’s website, http://www.amy-wilson.com:
Over the last few years, my work has become about the space that exists between what we can roughly describe as the “outside world” and the “inside world”; the space that comes to define who we are in a thousand tiny ways, some conscious and some not. I use the image of the industrious little girl (in many cases, several in a single drawing) to be a surrogate for myself and see my work to be, in many ways, an exercise in self-portraiture. I play with the tension between the sweet images, pretty girls, simple palette, and the honest and (I hope) fearless conversations they have as a way of both exploring femininity as a broad concept, and also my internal life in particular.
For her first solo exhibition at BravinLee programs, Wilson has created an installation that literally pops out of a book and unfolds throughout the gallery. The new pop-up book marks the first occasion the artist has worked in such a scale with this particular medium, and will be the centerpiece of the exhibition alongside her new drawings.
Amy Wilson is a faculty member at the School of Visual Arts in New York City and holds a MFA from Yale University. She has exhibited at P.S.1, The Drawing Center, The Jersey City Museum, Bellwether Gallery, and The Andy Warhol Museum. In winter 2009, she will have a solo exhibition at the Hunterdon Art Museum in Clinton, New Jersey.
I’ve spent the last few days camped out in front of the Olympics, cutting and pasting the last remains of the book. And, of course, the big story that keeps getting repeated over and over on TV is the Are the Chinese gymnasts really the age their country says they are? and I find it really quite annoying for a number of reasons. Bela Karolyi suggests that the solution is to remove age restrictions all together so that, one assumes, the US and Romania and all the other high-flying acrobatic countries in the world can start enlisting younger and younger girls. Only fair, right? I mean, who cares if the practice of enlisting three year olds and training them hard to see which one of them might compete best when they’re nine seems incredibly cruel – at least the playing field would be flattened and everything would be fair, right?
Yuck. And given that all I know about gymnastics can be fit on the head of a pin, perhaps I’m in no position to offer advice. But I woke up this morning with an idea that… well, do I smoke crack, or would this work?
Why don’t we just adjust the equipment so that it can accommodate slightly taller girls/women? Suppose we just widened the field for the floor exercises a bit, or raised the uneven bars a couple of inches – wouldn’t that sort of take care of the situation? I’m 6’1″ and it’s obvious I will never compete in gymnastics. But what if the equipment was scaled up so that the perfect height for a competitor wouldn’t be inches below 5′ (as it is now) but rather, 5’3″ or so? Wouldn’t that they mean that countries would be forced to wait til their athletes were just a touch older, so that they grew into the ideal height?
This is driving me nuts.
…for the gigantic book, of course.
These are (very slightly) amended from a pattern I found online.
(Ok, that doesn’t like to the exact one, but I forgot to bookmark the pattern exactly. It’s on there somewhere.)
I worked all day – and I mean all day – on this… and it’s only maybe half done.
Ok, in order to get it up on google video without waiting a year and a half, I had to cut down on the quality. I think what has to happen is that I have to totally reformat it so that it works better for the web (on my computer, the quality is absolutely crystal clear).
So this is what I have for now… but it really is only 1/2 done. I filmed all the other footage… it’s just a matter of plugging it in and making it work. And also, figuring out how to get that gorgeous quality that exists on my computer to exist on youtube or google video
Is that not working? It’s also here.
Ok, so I took down this link because I just managed to export the video to a DVD (hey, I’ve never done this before, so it was a tense few moments there) and successfully play it in our home DVD player and the quality was about ten trillion times better than it looked on google video. So now that I know that gorgeous quality is actually possible and I don’t have to settle with crappy, grainy footage, it leaves me not really wanting to share the video in its crappier state.
Hopefully I can get this all sorted out and get it online and in decent shape soon.