I’m really interested in things that make us see our surroundings in a new way

I’m at an interesting point in my move to Madrid. Somewhat of a turning point. I feel like I’m at home here now, almost two weeks into my internship at Base, know where all the good supermarkets are, and feeling more positive about life in general. Since I arrived two months ago I have been working steadily on a project that I’ve started to call “Esto es aquello”. I read Gaston Bachelard’s Poetics of Space, which turned me even more onto the idea of the poetry of the street, and got me thinking about how we define ourselves in relation to the space that surrounds us. I wish I had read that book before my last semester of school! (Edvin my thesis advisor was right.)

The way we see our surroundings depends so much on our point of comparison. In the Garden of the Gods the viewpoint over, through and around these monumental rock formations changes the way we experience the landscape there at the base of the Rocky Mountains. Like the artworks I’ve posted on this blog, these forms are a tool to analyze the colors and shapes, lines and planes of our surroundings. By offering this frame/lens/viewpoint, we offer a way to experience the landscape with a point of comparison. The comparison itself can be anything: color, material, shape, angle, scale, etc.

I began making prisms – collages of the city – to express how we see the world, turned inside out and twisted, reflected. In the meantime, at the Thyssen I came across Paul Klee’s Rotating House and I could have looked at it for days. I do look at it just about every day. In this flat painting he is able to express so many words.

Paul Klee, Rotating House, 1921

This project is so much more related to my Times Square project from earlier this year than I thought. I wanted to create a distinct feeling of being inside a close, intimate space and looking out or framing what it beyond. We want to create a protected space for ourselves, from which to look out of and to perceive things separate from ourselves, in order to understand ourselves better. For example, looking down the triangular space of the street it seems to lead endlessly into expansive possibilities. Certain viewpoints are symbolic and meaningful for us for different reasons.

Defining space with buildings is related to the search for who we really are – to understand more about ourselves we need to understand more about what surrounds us. Then I realized that instead of seeing everything as separate, it’s more about seeing ourselves in others and everything around us. Like Mr. Maharaj talks about in this book. Instead of “this and that”, it’s “this is that”. OR “esto es aquello”. An early visual representation of this idea.

It’s about my experience in Madrid at this moment. It’s not about NYC except that the idea of “this” and “that” can be thought of as a comparison of the two cities I’ve lived in.  It could develop into a mythological story, maybe about the angel… and the windows. About knowing Madrid – knowing where I am. Maybe it’s all about being a foreigner and the loss of self that occurs when you live in a foreign culture. Kind of like a video component to Ella. It’s a little tied in with the “Hidden Madrid” idea – inside/outside, understanding the dormant layers of history and the structure that ties it all together.

Also, I found two notable studios in the UK (in my search to get a j.o.b). Grrr is a collaboration between a painter and a typographer. They say this wordy yet fascinating morsel about their work: “Our practice is centered around an anthropological study of layered narratives found in naturally occurring intersections between the metaphysical and the terrestrial. By examining and documenting the fabric of the journey through a continuous dérive, a body of interconnected knowledge is gathered.” I also really like the language of Introspective describing his exhibition: “Space between is a graphic exposition of the built environment. This is a participatory visual activity around spatial perception, it considers how space might shape and be shaped by our experiences of it.”

Published by Elizabeth Pizzuti

Design, art, and cats mostly

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