Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Creative Caffeine

I wanted to take pictures of the main hub of the oil industry...at the gas pumps themselves.  I would snap pictures as I was driving by, or as I was putting gas in my car at various stops.  Of course the day I didn't have my camera I drove past a gas station while 3 huge trucks were sitting re-filling the tanks, unfortunately I never came across that event again, but here are some pictures I caught, especially the gas pumps to get a first hand look than just going off of print outs.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Downward Spiral - Catching Up

Since Friday I have been sick as a dog, yet I never allow myself to give in to bodily weakness and try to push through against all odds.  After work Friday I did nothing but sleep, when I woke up Saturday I was even worse but found the energy to do some test plastic pours (which weren't completely successful :( but a learning experience)  Saturday got worse and worse, leading to a 'family emergency' (for once not my family, but my "2nd family") sleepover at my house with my bestfriend and boyfriend (brother and sister) I always end up having to tend to others when I need to dwell on myself.  Now its Monday, I called out sick, I've given my lovely sickness to my boyfriend as well and I'm beyond run down.  Of course this only happens when I'm in the end of the semester jam...

I've been horribly behind with blogging for the materials project so this will be my crash course, with my creative caffeine to follow in the next post.  This time I tried to jump in the deep end immediately with my waxes and maquettes, allowing my research to evolve and shape my processes along the way, I found all of the assigned readings so profound and interesting.  I'll give a minute tid-bit here and there to my family on my findings and realize how out of touch our world is.  People have no idea about these issues and its taken at shock value when even the least of the findings is revealed to them.  I'm finding myself more and more into further research from the things we learn in class.  I've bought enough books on blood diamonds to fuel my beach/pool raft lounging reading sessions all summer long.  I love to find subject that impassion me, they're the ones that spawn so much creativity....ANYWAY, heres my synopsis on my newly acquired knowledge:

New York Times Multimedia Presentations
-The quote "without gold it is not a wedding" speaking of Indian wedding customs where the bride purchases pieces for herself and baubles for all of the women in the wedding party, really struck a cord, in America the saying should go "without mass amounts of diamonds it is not a wedding"  so much of the focus on the love bond in a wedding is placed on these precious materials, the bigger, the shinier, the better.  The more of these riches is a statement on the wealth, why must we use these materials that rip apart the earth and detriment societies to show immense love and care?  We're told a diamond is forever, set in gold the statement is backed like the nations currency system (or lack of this gold and weak dollar in today's society) yet many of these marriages end in divorce, but the environmental impacts of extractions of these materials stay forever, and many irreversible.  The gold today can be called "dirty gold" because of the environmental damages and impacts.

Ethics of Materials
The second I read this article about the use of ivory I immediately thought to an ivory slab necklace my mom owns.  I was always in her jewelry box from a young age to find the "prize of the day" which thing or large number of pieces I would slap on to go to school or play.  I was NEVER allowed to touch or play with the ivory necklace and looking at it would impose her saying "that is very special, it is real ivory, don't touch that." To me I had no idea what that meant, what ivory was, but I got the stigma that it was something bad, and I was afraid to even look at it.  Even when she would wear it upheld this reverence to it, refrained from touch and never asked questions.  She stopped wearing this and thinking back after I learned about ivory in school I wondered if she did this in guilt.  Again I never talked about it.  When I read this article I talked to her about it and asked if thats the reason she stopped wearing it, which I figured it was.  She responded that she simply couldn't find it and lost its chain so its been sitting in her drawer for years, but she said that even though it is a horrible thing it is a beautiful piece because you can see the patterns and swirls in it.  Her necklace pendant is about 1 1/4 inch long by 1/2 inch wide, and to me even that amount seems horrible.  She received it as a gift, like most jewelry, and wore it with pride for its simplicity and beauty.  It just makes me think beauty, yes, but at what price?

The Price of Gold
This article was so eye-opening and shocking, as I read through it I highlighted what seemed pertinent to my grasp and understanding, by the end the bulk of the article is neon yellow with few words left untouched.  The sense of all the damages to the earth are unfixable seems horrible, whether its cyanide, mercury, acid mine drainage, or riverline and submarine tailings disposal it can not be counteracted, nor can it seep into the earth and break down.  Is harm to the earth, animals, and in turn humanity worth the waste to have a status symbol around your neck, wrist, or finger as a sign of vanity and wealth.  I'm a voracious seafood consumer, I could live off sushi alone and was raised out on the water fishing and crabbing with my father and grandfather, it was a way of life and routine.  Going fishing is one of my favorite things to do, being out on the water is a dream, one of my life aspirations is to buy myself a boat and one for my father.  The process of fishing, then to come home and skin and clean the fish, filet it, and cook it to enjoy is my favorite childhood memory.  My dad would always explain the importance of cooking the fish to eliminate some toxins and not to eat too much fish because of the mecury, at a young age mercury meant nothing more than the liquid in the thermometers that I broke and was screamed at not to touch and leave be for my parents to clean.  As you get older its what there's far too much of in the sushi and should avoid eating it at all costs.  Im sure I'm one of the 8% of women that have a risk for neurological damage in their offspring.  I should most likely stop eating fish for the next 10 years in hopes of ever becoming pregnant without imminent threats.  I was so surprised to learn that mining is the cause of the amounts of mercury in fish, how it is stored in organic matter and animal fat.  95% of the mercury used in gold mining goes into the environment.  It was shocking to find that some regions can not eat the fish in the local waterways due to mercury levels.  Also 30% of miners exceed the allowable mercury levels from the World Health Organization in Brazil.    Even beyond the mercury problem it was very interesting to learn how bad the mining industry is on the health of the miners, the condition of the earth being utilized as mines, and all of the effects.  I was shocked to find that the gold mines in Nevada consume more water than all of the states population annually.  I could go on for days explaining how much this article impacted me to get more informed on the issue, to learn more, and this swayed me into my topic of oil extraction, which has many environmental damages but it ripping the world's society at the seams causing wars and mass destruction as well as economic impacts and downfalls.  There are many parallels between the two all while the search of a "natural" resource, we apply very unnatural contexts and practices to rip out our 'prizes' leaving the earth with open wounds that can be seen from space, what good comes from that?

Some Groundwork
Ron Graziani's interpretation was open and vague, leaving one to wonder and take at bay their own interpretation while shedding light. He created a show around this and this article really lead me to think on the forever concept "art for art's sake"  There are ethical consequences with any ideology.  The ideology can be scientific, artistic, or for social reasons, but there are implications in each pathway and approach.  He says "artistic meaning is always a tale of civic struggle.  Without context artistic life becomes inert."   There is much truth to this I often come up with an idea in my mind that is just mere design and taken at face value can be pretty, but where is the meaning; there isn't it is devoid and just becomes a cookie cutter for consumerism.  You take it as an object thats pretty, mass produce it as a product, slap a price tag on it, and live off of its consumers, but the meaning and passion of art is lost. Art is full of meaning, you can not have a work in a show and have no sense of its meaning, there needs to be a story; a logic; a jumpoint, whether its profound or abstract there's always a meaning.  Without that context and meaning, why call it art, it looses its art context and fails without that.  "Art comes to life in the specifics of a context." I feel like I walk this struggle a lot with the whole jewelry context.  Commercial jewelry is everywhere, that path is a shoe-in, you're almost destined to success from any consumer market, people will buy shiny, pretty things as tokens of love, or dazzle to accentuate.  But art jewelry has meaning, the vast public will not "get-it"  but their is an unmistaken beauty and essence to the art jewelry.  It has so much more life and vigor; its a much more fun realm.  Yet designers walk the tightrope balance of what is commercial and what is art and how to create they're pieces with what percentage of art and consumer to find the perfect balance that will bring a profit and make a living.  This article made me keep focus on the message and context I want to create in my piece; a unique appeal, a story, and an aesthetic quality of beauty in the void that is the oil industry from all aspects.

overall I learned a lot through the research and felt a stigma, I love jewelry obviously, and like to adorn myself on a day to day basis on mood, feeling, and what I'm wearing, if there is ever a day I stop this consideration and care to this without it influencing my creativity and designs I would be scared and need to turn to a new life path.  In commercial jewelry its either silver or gold.  For years I only would wear and buy silver, but lately I fell in love with gold again, after taking this all in I'm like "great lets become obsessed and consumed with something thats killing our earth and imposes more problems than the beauty it reflects"  Its the same double-ended sword as the blood diamond plight.  Unfortunately with the high demand of gold, not only for jewelry, but money, investments, and the status surrounding it I can not see the public going against it any time soon, or even the vast majority knowing the detriments it forms, but at least I know and have spread my little amount of knowledge to others, and that is a help, as long as people are informed over their self indulgent impulses it is a step in the process of restraints and reforms in the gold mining practices.