Friday, 26 April 2013

Haptic Visuality

"Haptic" comes from the Greek ἅπτω ( thanks wikipedia), and refers to nonverbal communication involving touch. Haptic film evolved from Cubism and it's suggestion of a 3D shape. This exploration into creating a surface texture that could be read by the eye as "texture" rather than solely as an "image" evolved film into something that you don't only look into, but rather created another dimension to the 'feast for the eyes'. As I referenced earlier, Walter Benjamin, speaking of early film cameras, said;

" Evidently a different nature opens itself to the camera than opens to the naked eye-if only because an unconsciously penetrated space is substituted for a space consciously explored by man. Even if one has a general knowledge of the way people walk, one knows nothing of a person's posture during the fractional second of a stride." The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction

While he was referring to the object as seen through the lens of the camera, haptic film makes us more aware of the canvas that is the physical film. Through painting, scratching, stitching the film we are aware of it's tactile changeability.   

Len Lye "A Colour Box" 1935

Len Lye's kinetic film was created by scraping through coloured ink. The result is an almost sculptural, playful, and abstract film that really takes joy in the fundamental actions of the filmic process. Earlier I cited Joris Iven's "Regen" , this even earlier film, focused not on narrative content but rather on the details, fragmented shapes and texture of the wet city. The texture of 'rain' as all parts of its nature are explored, describe the city as purely existing in one moment of time. 

So in my project STKINT, where I had to describe the experience of visiting Stoke Newington International Airport in a film, I lifted textures, colours, and sounds and created a haptic film using paint on projected slides creating a stop motion short film. View film with the link below.

work from Chloe Cornell 2009

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Tuesday in the Toolbox

Blue Paintbrush: " So, what do you think about this painting on film business?"
Red Paintbrush: " Eh, it's a change but you should see how the easel has taken it...
It's really knocked him down a peg or two, he's always thought he's such an institution..."

still from STKINT film, site-specific work at Stoke Newington International Airport 2009

for full film go to, and select STKINT project.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Artists that Inspire: Sally Benedict

Sally Benedict is an artist who has recently caught my eye, her style is abstract but she has a mesmerising and calming quality to her work that makes me want to look at it again and again. On her website,, she says that she

 "...grew up in Atlanta, frequently traveling and attending art openings, exhibits, and design shows, seeking inspiration from the work of both past and contemporary artists. She completed her education at The College of Charleston in 2007. Sally has traveled extensively to South America and Europe where she honed her eye and trademark ability to create visual texture with a rich, adventurous color palette and expressive linear techniques."

from photograph by Ben Williams

from her interview above, "she's most influenced by innovative females like Georgia O'Keeffe and Sonia Delaunay, the french painter who applied her geometric vision to everything from textiles to photography. Benedict often incorporates the kaleidoscopic colors of the Lowcountry and recently began dabbling in portraiture..." 

I love the completative, soothing nature of her pieces that still manage to be lively and feminine; sounds like she puts a lot of herself in her art judging from her interviews. These are all lovely pieces and I would love to be able to have one for my home.


Nugget 1

Spring Bazaar

Mexican Tile

Two Weeks Off

 -this last one is my favourite...

These last four are from her current portfolio, find at
Her work reminds me of the work of the early expressionist artists like Kandinsky's Black Arc, and inspires in me the same dreamy affect of Chagall, though without the flying animals. Her art seems to me like an extension of what the Expressionists found in Cubism, a technique to "explore the emotional facets of the subconscious, primitive energy by reorganizing the pictures surface"1.

" Mountains and Sea" Helen Frankenthaler, 1952

Sally's art reminds me in particular of Helen Frankenthaler's work as she combined free intermingling patterns where the pigment and the illusion of depth. She along with Albers and Morris Louis were part of the Late Abstract Expressionism in the 50s and 60s creating art that people were to live with rather than for the gallery. You look at both Sally's and Helen's work and are overwhelmed by the artist's feelings imbedded in the work, it may not necessarily be a representational work but it still imparts the experience that the artist intended.

 As for me it makes me want to pick up my brush again and paint some abstract reflections on the coming warm weather, maybe I'll head off to the park with my easel and paint 'en plein air' like Monet taught.

1. Art: A history of Changing Style by Sara Cornell p.396

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Secret Doors

Continuing off of old children's stories and tying nicely into spring, The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. See this trailer for the 1993 version with Dame Maggie Smith in it, directed by Agnieszka Holland.

Well this was the version from my childhood, don't get me started on the 2001 'sequel'. Looking at this film again now I think that it holds up well over time, it is period correct (just look at the 70s Austen films and you'll catch my drift) and is still as charming as I remember it.

Between The Secret Garden and Narnia, another favourite series, you have this post: Secret Doors. Here are some of my favourites...

Pauline De Rothschild's NYC apt.

- maybe create a secret garden indoors?

-or make your home the secret.

I always love hidden doors, and bookcases.

Well, this would be a dream come true..

- a very unexpected secret door, to the butler's pantry?

- and because I'm me, how to make one. Though I have no place for one. Maybe for the day when I do a set design for a stage production of a murder-mystery and the killer escaped through the secret door?

And to leave on a high note, Narnia anyone? Who wouldn't want this in their house, even as an adult? Imagine being a kid and having your parents turn this into the door to your playroom? Though as a set/ costume designer, I would probably go overboard and add trees...

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Monet's Garden

Spring is in the air and along with the sunshine comes the urge to plant things. I have painted often in the past and have always found Claude Monet to be an inspiration, both as an artist and as a gardener. I am planning on planting nasturtiums and was reminded of Monet's garden. It was an oasis and I hope to grow one as well.
'Garden Path',  1902 by Claude Monet at Österreichische Galerie Belvedere

I know that probably the most recognisable works of Monet would be his waterlily paintings that he also painted in the Giverny gardens. While I love these for their calmness, and almost overwhelming nature ( the large murals) which make you feel like you are floating on a calm lake; I want to focus on his flowers. 

As a child I loved the book .

In which a garden loving young girl travels to Paris and sees Monet's garden and paintings and learns what it means to be called an Impressionist. I also went as a child to Monet's garden so I really loved this book and would love to visit again. 
me at 5 in Monet's garden

It is a short way from Paris so it is quite quick to take a train there, please go if you are visiting Paris in the spring or summer. Here are some lovely pictures taken by Cherry Blossom Girl in the garden.

Monet liked to paint controlled nature, like the waterlilies and the bridge. He was deeply involved in his garden and meticulously planned the layout and treatment of the garden to his gardeners. The garden was his source of comfort and inspiration throughout his later life as he gained cataracts, he then continued to paint the garden from memory. 

1.Monet, right, in his garden at Giverny 

The Garden in Flower, 1900
Water-Lily Pond and Weeping Willow, 1916–1919

Springtime (1872). The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore

The Rose-Way in Giverny,1920–1922, Musée Marmottan Monet
I hope you are enjoying spring, take a walk in the fresh air. Monet was one of the forerunners of painting en plein-air, or out of doors, far from the studio with its still life. He struggled to capture light as it shifts and changes and these attempts are among his greatest works. So if you are struggling to find the muse, be it writing, painting, or finding that elusive idea, take a break and walk outside. I leave you with Monet on his bench enjoying the sunshine.


all paintings can be found on wikipedia.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Tuesday in the Toolbox

illustration: spool-"I can't take much more of this, I'm getting seasick!"

cape: designed/made; set and costume designer: Chloe Cornell from 
" Baby Blue" '12
Dir: Lisamaria Laxholm, actress: Sydnie Haines 
illustration by Chloe Cornell

Monday, 15 April 2013

Spring Green- Inspiration


The weather has finally turned for the better and it feels like Spring is finally here. Here are some spring greens to brighten your day. I hope it's nice where you are! by david christensen 2. Raoul Dufy via alovelybeing  3. painting by Tatiana Musi 4. Prue Ruscoe photography via desiretoinspire 5. via Mark D. Sikes  6. Miranda Brooks and Mastien Halard's home via

view more of my inspiration board at pinterest

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Reviving the Lens

“I’m an eye. A mechanical eye. I, the machine, show you a world the way only I can see it. I free myself for today and forever from human immobility. I’m in constant movement. I approach and pull away from objects. I creep under them. I move alongside a running horse’s mouth. I fall and rise with the falling and rising of bodies. This is I, the machine, maneuvering in the chaotic movements, recording one movement after another in the most complex combinations. “

“Freed from the boundaries of time and space, I co-ordinate and all points of the universe, wherever I want them to be. My way leads towards the creation of a fresh perception of the world. Thus I explain in a new way the world unknown to you”
-Dziga Vertov, 1923 p.10 Berger
on the film camera

We are now very used to whipping out our phones or cameras to take a photo or shoot a film. There is little effort involved and we are quite at home with recording our daily lives almost to the point of becoming the spectator rather than the lead in our own lives. Of course filming and photography were not always so simple. At the beginning of the last century it was new, laborious, expensive and time consuming. It was an event. 

Dziga Vertov's "The Man with the Movie Camera" 1929

Like the art movements of Cubism and Surrealism, the movie camera changed the focus of an image, forcing the viewer to look at a larger number of stimuli that quickly move the spectator through the narrative as opposed to painting or sculpture, where the meaning can be pondered at a leisurely pace. This forces the fragmentation of the subject rather than the alienation of the subject. Filmmaking, which started as a reflective approach to narrative, soon gave way to a highly subjective, fragmented use in media.

We are now so used to these mediums that we take it for granted. At the same time we still yearn for the effects of the past, though now it is in a handy app. The artists below have found ways to appreciate and continue to pay homage to the old methods of photography. 

David Lo, a street photographer, gives a tutorial on how to digitise a vintage camera. With this new configuration, using a digital camera on the back an old camera a new hybrid is created. The vintage camera used must have bellows or an adjustable lens to work in concert with the apparatus of the digital lens. The experience of shooting with this modified camera, the weight, the focusing, light leakage all lead to an overall different experience than what you would get when using a retro process on your phone. While some might gasp in horror at defacing an old camera, I enjoy the idea of giving it another life and using it once again for the purpose for which it was made. You can do this or leave it on a shelf gathering dust. And while some rarer cameras I would leave as is, for a retro/art/photography enthusiast this is a great way to give an old camera a new lease on life and to appreciate the process of taking a photo while still keeping the instant nature and plethora of images that come with the digital age. 

see the full tutorial at:

These wondrous art pieces above were created by Guangzhou Art Academy student Hu Shaoming over a period of four months for the exhibition Reconnecting Time. He dissembled two cameras and rebuilt them with a zipper to show the "magic" of each device so we can clearly see how the "great industrial discoveries of humanity" work.

Again, some people may be horrified that he destroyed a piece of history. But again, you cannot really get film to make it work, and most people just collect these cameras for display. So instead of letting them sit there static, Hu Shaoming has created a work of art that exposes the mystery and lets us appreciate the delicate inner workings of the camera, a land breaking invention that allowed us to perfectly record our lives and freed painters from being merely realistic recorders of history.

Instead with the advent of photography and film this anchor of reality was no longer needed in the world and resulted into what we now know as modern art.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

We'll always have Paris

-Howard Koch

"You belong to me and all Paris belongs to me and I belong to this notebook and this pencil.”
-A Moveable Feast, Ernest Hemingway

from :
On this website you can slide the slider from the 2013 vision of the street to the 1914 version. See how the streets have changed, or not. One striking thing about the 1914 pictures is how prevalent advertising was on the buildings. The advent of the mass produced print and the start of what we know of as graphic design was started with the Gutenberg press in 1450 which turned into the Humanist or Old Style to what was much later evolved into what we now recognise as graphic design, something distinctly different from fine art in the late 19th century which was recognised with the help of Henry Cole.2

What we now have is a plethora of advertising constantly bombarding us. In the present day we go through life besieged by images, sounds and text made to appeal to our highly attuned consumerist instincts. They are constantly changing, moving, flitting by before we even have time to take in their total impact. We slowly become so desensitised to the world of publicity that it fades into the background as a part of the environment. Only when something appeals to our own individualized interest do we pay attention in a conscious manner to the image presented. The act of looking is never a static one, our eyes are always searching, and moving. Only in the silent contemplation and stillness afforded by the art of old can we truly appreciate what lies before us. But in the fast world pushed faster by modern technology and the human omnipresent need to grow and break boundaries, our unending discontent with the status quo ,these moments will only be fewer and further apart. Though we are in an active mode while looking, we are static compared to the fast pace of publicity. This cycle is only broken when we turn the page, the ad is dropped, we throw the newspaper away, hopefully in the recycling bin!, or we change the channel. Advertising are all geared toward one person, the future buyer, promising to make them into a new and better person. They feed on our desires and insecurities on how others will view ourselves— that somehow think more highly of us in the first five seconds in which we have to make an impression. 

But buildings, cities, fashions and trends constantly change though people's wants and desires out of life do not.  Paris has in some ways changes drastically but it is still 'a movable feast'

These dreamy images remind me of Midnight in Paris by Woody Allen and Ernest Hemingway, especially as I'm reading A Movable Feast. So I leave you with this and maybe the wish to visit Paris in the springtime.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Tuesday in the Toolbox

fight: scissors " Back you fiend, back!"
         scalpel: " En garde. Tu est un imbecile!"

T square: thoughts " Just because one of you can cut metal and the other can't doesn't mean there should be a duel..."

" Don't make me call the stapler over to break you two up!"

.. apparently the stapler is a bit of a bully but he's better at breaking them up then the hammer who would just make it worse..