Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Sketchy thoughts, sketchy scribbles

I'm about to embark on My First Class in Grad School, and I'm awash in ideas for a final class project. Since I can't make up my mind, I thought I'd ask all y'all's thoughts.

But first, a sketch.

People, and breakfast, and ballpoint pens!

And now, if you're so moved, please read on about my ideas and feel free to weigh in.


The course I'm taking is called Liberal Arts Perspectives.
I could do a research project, but I'm drawn to the creative effort option.

Here's the bare-bones criteria:
The Creative Effort must add to a communal understanding of Time, and needs to be accompanied by an 8-10 minute presentation that furthers my classmates' understanding of the project and its relevance/significance regarding Time.

Some of the ideas I've spawned to date:
1. Building a Never-Ending Hourglass (Some sort of Klein Bottle turned into an hourglass)
2. Making ephemeral sheets of edible gelatin "printed" with edible inks and imagery related to Time (Time as something delicate, consumable; a slight parody of art photography's gelatin print technique)
3. Reconstructing a deliberately broken bottle, then inserting and launching trackable messages, possibly including a group's imagery from their typical day (Time in a bottle, adrift)
4. Creating an "ur-candle" by melting many different ritual candles -- church votives, used candles from the local Zen Center, synagogue Sabbath candles, etc. -- and reforming them into one super-large pile of enormous candle-ness

Flat Art/Conceptual
5. Temporal maps (Using a version of topographic maps -- "steep" contour lines where Time seems to move fast, "gentle" contour lines where Time seems to move slowly)
6. A Map of Timelessness (Using others' software, map the incidence of the word "timeless" across a period of time on specific Web sites)
7. A new Book of Hours (A hand-made book containing hand-written interviews with local religious practitioners on their daily practices, with accompanying sketches of the interviewees -- and of course a blog to make the work accessible to all those I interview)
8. A small group photo-project: facilitate others' responses via digital cameras or cell phone cameras to a short series of questions, all images of which must be photographed in one 24-hour period

9. Mystically-focused, time-paradoxical poem(s)
10. Short story -- Salvador Dali meets a watchmaker who makes wax timepieces

So far I'm most drawn to the possibilities within Idea 7.
That said...what do y'all think?


am said...

#7 and #9 lit up as I read them. If there were some way you could work some of your poetry into a Book of Hours . . .

Seeing your sketches reminded me that yesterday I noticed a small public square with grass in the center where children play and adults sit or lie down and read. There are shaded benches on the periphery where I might sit and draw the variety of people who sit on the benches, the children who play, the adults who make themselves comfortable on the grass or on the benches and those walking back and forth across the square, to and from the bookstore. The outdoor drawing season is coming to a end. I'd better get myself out there!

Anonymous said...

Hello Darling

I like the idea of a hand-written book best. With illustrations, of course. But why does it have to consist of interviews with religious people? Do you feel that religious figures are somehow particularly privileged in access to knowledge about time? Rather, I should think, an illustrated Book of Hours, with all the labor expended on illumination, would itself be a meditation on time, no? (you spent HOW MANY WEEKS illustrating the prayers for 7 am?)

lowenkopf said...

Lori's Very Fine Book of Hours, a lovely way to balance the time and space between reality and fantasy, but also between the secular and the religious. Don't forget G.Vico; T.Adorno.

Anonymous said...

Oh my.

All these ideas sound fabulous. I'd love to see you put them conceptually together and stick that in a bag and let something else percolate during the class, though. (Maybe make a sketch of the whole damn pile?)

Too, too fun!

Am posting anonymously because Google/Blogger always nukes me as a persona.

Pica/Feathers of Hope

John Eaton said...

Very cool, Lori.

Could you blend up 2 and 7, with part of it gellified, kinda' like communion pieces?

Have fun,


Pedro said...

I bet on the seventh choice.
Of course because of the medium but also because I am very curious about how religion oriented people see time: As a circle? As a spiral? As a line?
Of course I am sure you will do a wonderfull job.

Pythia3 said...

Idea 7 all the way - I love it. I did not even get all the way down the page and that reached out to me - grabbed me.
Can you also do picture within picture within picture like a time tunnel? Of course you can - do anything that is - but it is just a vision I had.
Can't wait to come back and see what you are doing.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts and asking our advice.

dinahmow said...

We just stir the pot;ultimately, you decide from which spoon to sup, as it were.
Personally, I feel drawn to any of the 3 dimensional ideas, with a blending of the Book of Hours.Also, I'd move away from the religious angle. But hey! It's your call.I'd certainly like to be in the class when you present your project!

Lori Witzel said...

Y'all are the most uncommonly generous bunch of un-commentators I could wish for! Thanks for your feedback, and for stretching my thoughts out and helping me shape something fabulous.

AM -- You go! Scribble madly while the scribbling's good!

Gawain -- I'm so glad you stopped by! A very good point -- I was thinking so much of the source of the concept in those daily liturgies (the ones wealthy people spun into status symbols) I neglected other nonreligious approaches. As always, you've given me much to think about, and so I shall rub The Little Grey Cells together some more in hopes the djinn will appear and help me make magic.

Shelly -- Thanks for your spotlight, and your citations; now to delve further...

Pica -- I actually thought of some sort of random pick to decide on the project, but I figured I'd not be happy with what the Fates decided. No telling which way the class itself will reshape my thinking, but I do appreciate everyone's response -- it helps me clarify mine. (I double-dog-dare you to mess about with the Klein bottle!) :-)

John -- Ooohhh, we could EAT the people I draw! Weird and tasty idea! I may still mess about with something edible, just because.

Pedro -- :-) Thank you, my friend, for your kind words and encouragement! It will be an interesting class!

Pythia3 -- Wooo, just got vertigo from that image! Thanks for lighting up at idea 7, love your feedback!

Dinahmow -- Ay-yi-yi, the presentation bit. I know that it will be a true learning experience for me to speak about this sort of work, rather than just write about it. I do business presentations as part of my day job, but this is a whole other type of thing to do...I really was sort of fond of the Message in a Bottle ideas, but the whole GPS transmitter thingie looked a little daunting.

More later, all!

jarvenpa said...

These are all delicious ideas, Lori.
As for random choice, well you could choose and then not do what you had randomly chosen, if you found your heart sank at the choice: oh no, I didn't want to do that--I really wanted...And then you'll know.
Time lapse poetry, I wonder..I wonder how and what.
Flowers that open while you watch (moonflowers do; the first one I watched was pure revelation--and then a sphinx moth showed up)
Some of these ideas (like the gelatin-melting pictures or concepts) are more about the ephemeral nature of the immediate than about time. Or is that what time is?
I've never quite known.
I loved the temporal map myself.

Granny J said...

Well, I always was odd-one out; I'm attracted by #10...

chris miller said...

Here's Reya's approach to this topic.

Larry said...

I loved these thought-experiments, Lori! Right now I have a strong yen for a Klein Bottle hourglass...

Springfarmalmanac said...

Many of these are visually fun ideas, but the book of hours seems deeper to me — not just a quirky concept, but a drawn-out exploration.

A book of hours, the traditional kind, gave ways to think about each hour of the day, each season of the year... and arguably each season of a life. Different speeds of time layered together. You could get a lot of thought out of that - how we think about scales of time, or different times, or the passage of time. There's so much room in that idea, and there are so many stories in it!

(I've just finished an MFA, and reading this is bringing back memories - have a blast, whatever happens!)

Bravecat said...

I like #10 most. Maybe because I am such a Dali junkie. And wax timepieces that can stretch and melt and show time faster or slower?

That is so neat. You really came up with all that yourself?

All the ideas are great.

Lori Witzel said...

Hey all y'all...just a quick "thanks" to the most recent wave of uncommontaters...and yes, Qatar Cat, I really did. I have an odd mind, don't I? But it's a fun place to play most times!


Dana S. Whitney said...

I just read a poem about a "new book of hours" but darned if I can think where.... I bought the anthology from, and get the daily poem from Writer's Almanac... but still. I think a Klein bottle filled with sands of time might be interested... or filled with pre-school letters and numbers.
Have fun!