How we hold things while they're hot. More phonotrope explorations, the macro lens, paintings as memory.
“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking out new landscapes but in having new eyes.” —Marcel Proust
We’re transitioning between spring and summer here in NYC and temperatures have been venturing into the mid-70ºs. The windows in the studio have been staying open, framing green upon green. I indulged in people-watching with friends who’re in town, chilled glass in hand, chin in the other. The conversation ran lazy and long.
Most of the past two weeks though have been intensely not lazy. I dove back into consulting and just wrapped my first design contract in almost three years. It was a pleasure to re-engage the analytical brain, and falling back into that workflow felt natural. Riding a bike, as they say.
The rest of the year will test my load-balancing capabilities as I re-integrate consulting into a year with unfamiliar variables, which include an exhibit, new relationships, and the wildcard that my family has become. I’m determined to make it work, and so far, all the balls are still up in the air.
On this balmy Sunday though, I’m alone with nothing on the books and it feels great. Space and silence feel luxurious. I pull a double shot of espresso, slather cold butter on a slice of baguette, and watch the leaves stir outside while I chew.
Space is something I’ve been thinking about a lot, too, as I continue to explore the idea of fragments-as-narrative. (For those of you just joining us: I recently started exploring phonotropes, or paper animations run on the turn table.)
The phonotrope allows me a particular kind of distance as I handle what still feels searing. I build layers against the heat by painting from memory, or making sketches inspired by photographs. I iterate many times over, each rendering in some ways moving further from the source. In other ways, steadily closer.
It’s a strange and intimate kind of remove.
I’m filming on the phone at an unconventional frame rate and shutter speed, via a temperamental app. Leaning into consequent unpredictability, I’ve been surprised at, and moved by, what’s been surfacing:
On the hardware side, I’m playing with a macro lens for extreme close-ups (which presents its own challenges):
Here’s the lens in action, 1” from the surface of the paper:
Next to a pen, for scale:
There’s a sort of respiratory quality about animation on a turntable. Irregularities in the paper make the picture rise and fall as it moves:
Moving image to sound makes it come alive for me, and playing these explorations back to an audio track made me emotional. It’s good that the composite is only fifty-four seconds long.
Engaging with grief in this way isn’t acheless. But it’s made it possible for me to hold what I’ve lost, even if only a minute at a time.
Members, take a look at the composite below, to music.
Everyone else: until next time.
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