Betrayal of a Typewriter

 VS.

Technology is making a strong argument against my manual Imperial typewriter at the moment.

I’ve had the idea in my head for a while to make a shirt out of typed text. The problem with this is that with a typewriter having set margins, I’ve been having to make the pattern in panels. This obstructs the look of the piece a little.

Yesterday I had a crit. My tutor suggested, “why don’t you just print out multiples?”.

“Well because… because I want to stay true to my materials… and well… because… oh that sounds difficult… and because…”

the dream‘the dream’

I muttered nothings for a few moments and then realised as lovely as the idea of me hand typing the whole shirt is, I’d be so much more productive if i sped up the process with more advanced technology. And technically I’ve still typed the original text that got copied. That counts, right? …Right?

It counts. I’ve come to terms with it now. By scanning in one printed panel and multiplying it on photoshop then printing it on the large scale art school printers, I can do 3 weeks worth of typing in an hour. So I can make more art. I believe this is what they call a ‘win-win situation’.

the reality‘the reality’

 

Fun A Day

hiFriday night saw the exclusive exhibition of work from Fun A Day Dundee, 2013. This was a project where the objective was to make a piece of work a day for each day in January, and to have FUN. And so we did.

My piece consisted of 31 acetate frenetic texts placed over 31 moleskin pages with colour coded squares of what I did that day. The result is actually quite a personal piece, which I’m not sure I like. I felt slightly exposed with it just hanging there.

A worthwhile show though and I’m not gonna ditch the piece. I definitely feel it should be altered in some way though.

 

Fun a Day

 

Detail

 

 

It was January in the (new) year, 2013

31 type on acetate and 31 coloured pencil on moleskin squared paper

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more info on Fun A Day, go to: www.funadaydundee.wordpress.com

 

Capsules 4, 5 & 6

Some more boxes anyone?

I’ve had to go into uni before 9am every morning to switch on the little lights inside each capsule. Nothing like rolling out of bed at 8 in the morning and pounding down Perth Road to ‘Yellow Submarine’. It’s good, cause it gets me up early so I can spend today doing Undiscovered Landscape work… and watching The Big Bang Theory…

Number 4 was fun to make. It includes a piece of driftwood, some curled up leaves and three boxes of spent matches. Again this comments on the passage of time with the objects inside all having been used or changed over time. I sat in the studio and burned through the first box of matches, but they kicked me out to do the second and third, apparantly it caused some paranoia amongst tutors. In fairness, I am very clumsy, so there was probably a good chance of me setting the building alight.

It was a lot more difficult than I’d assumed, installing shelves and making things balance and hang in all of the capsules. Circles have proved to be relatively awkward shapes to work with.

 

  

Its actually a miracle that everything in Capsule 5 is secured and staying together. Theres hidden metal rods, masking tape, double sided tape and an extensive amount of glue. The spools are from a used typewriter ribbon. I threaded through a new ribbon of paper, with my own scribbled signature written continuosly throughout. This was a comment habit, rhythm and memory. Our hands instictively scrawl a signature without thinking about the words, it becomes its own image, a label.

Continuing the idea of text as image, and writing certain things out of habit, I have continued the use of ‘filler text’ this semester. This is text that is used in typing-excercises, usually nonsense but it always amuses me that it becomes rhythm and sticks in peoples heads. I also find that what is nonsense text in the context of a typing manual, becomes apparantly signifficant when used in an artwork. When seen within this box, one might read it with the fluidity of a poem, considering the meaning, when really the original intention was nothing to do with a narrative.

Another aspect of the uniformity between capsules is the little golden plaque on the door of each. The plaque shows a hyroglyphic symbol corresponding to the number of each box. This encourages the collaberation and layering of knowledge and multiple subject matter, that was seen in the old encyclopedias. The numbers provide another aspect of this and also emphasises the idea of documentation and presentation.

 

I kind of think of the final presentation of this piece as an installation with little assemblages throughout. The desk, the suitcases and the drawer are important aspects of this piece just as the capsules are.

Theres so much in this project. Little details, some that aren’t even seen. Scraps, images and tokens, that have been given signifficance. Hopefully the viewer can observe and appreciate this, constructing their own relationships from it and enjoying the aesthetics overall. You tell me…


 

 

Capsules 1, 2 & 3

So the studio module deadline has been met. I find myself a little bit lost and not knowing what to do with myself. The expansive module deadline is pending but we’re not allowed in the studio this week and I therefore seem to have achieved absolutely nothing today. Perhaps I’ll blog about what I have achieved this semester, to provoke a bit of self- motivation.

Some detail on Capsules One, Two and Three.

Capsule One was the last to be filled, and one of the most frustrating. When you can see the end so close, patience starts to wear thin.

The contents of Capsule One include a hanging envelope containing an old pair of  ‘Pince-nez’ spectacles, and on the right, eight envelopes each with a title but containing a blank page. This is meant to comment on the fading memory of events. We can remember an event happened, we know its title and perhaps its date, but in time the images and details of that occasion deteriorate.The content becomes unclear.

Capsule Two is my favourite and the one I had in my head from day one. It incorporates hanging baby teeth, shelves holding1940s pennies and shells washed up on the beach, still intact with both sides able to close. Creeped out yet? The teeth seem to have provoked some surprise.

I think this is a good example of the nature of assemblage. I’m not just ‘shoving things in boxes’. This is a process where composition must be considered as well as colour and placement of shape and form. Just like painting or photography, it is simply another medium to create an image and a reaction.

Capsule Three allowed me to continue the use of bones, as well as layered acetates, and typewriter text. Each box has a border of a page from ‘the Book of Knowledge’ in it. The boxes were originally motivated by the jumble of subject matter found in those old encyclopedias I acquitred back in Summer.

The small glass contains some preserved, pressed fuchsias. They are so fragile. Everytime I dropped one and tried to pick it up it would just tear in my hands. The old bones, small glass and dried fuchsias continue this representation of the fragility of memory.

As well as each having the border of encyclopedia pages, each is also uniform in the addition of a small light at the top of each capsule. This is to strengthen the concept of these being display cases, they are lit to present the objects more formally. I like the uniformity of the exterior of these boxes, and the consistencies throughout. They are tied together as a series, thus the random objects used have been associated together to create a new context. Hurrah.

 

I Like Old Things

It’s often a source of amusement between my friends, “Rachael, why don’t you listen to a song that’s less than 40 years old”, “Rachael, Bob Dylan will never marry you, he’s practically a walking corpse now.” Shut up guys. I like old things. I like old music. I like old fashion. I like old photographs. And in a warped way – yes, if you’re going to count Paul McCartney and Bob Dylan or even Charlie Chaplin, then I suppose I like old men too. Though I’d rather not word it like that.

Perhaps I just enjoy stereotypes too much. Its easy to fall in love with the idea of the 1950’s or 60’s. Things depicted in films, long braided hair, tie-dye,  rebelling without a cause, and a Volkswagon Bus. The whole tarnished image of it. I’d rather cart around an old battered suitcase with a visible story than buy new luggage. I’d rather spin a record than plug into an mp3. And yes if theres a Vintage blazer on the rails I’ll pick that over a label. Once again I’m exploiting myself and all my kitsch cliche glory. It became apparant to me today how much of a geek I am over the age of something.

I bought a typewriter about a year ago for a tenner from the recycling centre. The ribbon ran out after a few hours of typing and so I stored it away and forgot about it. Being home for the summer though means I’m kind of stuck for things to do. So I dug it out today and went on a little Google spree to look into the history of the thing and see what kind of ribbon I needed.

From my research online and the information given from the manual (which is in surprisingly good condition), I’m guessing its a Royal Royalite Portable typewriter, dating back to 1963/64. Which in my opinion, is pretty cool. So now I’m just waiting on my ink ribbon arriving and I’ll have a new toy to play with.

The manual describes it as a great tool for mothers to type up club reports and recipes etc, and in contrast, for husbands to type up important business documents. I guess when I’m prancing around in high-waisted shorts, singing the Beatles and dreaming of vintage typewriters, its easy to fall in love with a stereotype and forget that we live in such a better time now. The sexism that was around back then is clear even in that little instruction manual. Still though, I’d love to go back to that time for just a day. I’d totally do ‘the Twist’.

(And yes I did edit the photo above to give it that old vignette effect.)