Category Archives: Juliana Castro Varon

Student

On Circle’s perfection / Whittle, Turn, Cast, Print.

There is a french artist called Fabienne Verdier. She lived in China for many years. She arrived at the age of 22 for some months, and stayed a decade.  When she returned to France after living in China for one third of her life, she had to find a way to reconcile opposite points of the compass, making them both a part of her so that she could create. I just remember her work and the connection it has to our path through perfect spheres. The circle is both the perfection, but when broken –when not perfect, when unclosed– it is also the beginning of chaos. We are not drawing circles to meditate, just as it was a mandala. However, I’m pretty sure that whittling and talking is somehow part find meaning through the act of making an object with our hands, and just having conversations around it can lead to better understandings. I’m thinking that all our imperfect results are all about meditation and, why not, the beginning of chaos.

Turning

turning – noun

  • an act of reversing position.
  • the place or point at which anything bends or changes direction.
  • an act of shaping or forming something.

When we turn something, we find something new hidden within a bigger form. To turn the sphere (just as whittling but faster, hence more evident) shows up how objects are already hiding in the materials and is up to us (as designers, creators and curious people) to find them.

Let’s then happily state that a designer is a person that is very likely to find things within things, and therefore, the design process is a process of finding things within things. Be them connections, factual objects, ideas, questions or images, the act of finding is itself an act of creation. Turning then is also reversing position or changing direction. My turned sphere turned almost perfect. I found out that is just a matter of attention and having the eye wide open. Knowing that I would find an sphere was also a key point for its almost “perfectiveness”. Sometimes we turn things without know what would we find out inside them, that is exciting as well!

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Many points make a line, many 2D layers make a 3D – Printing

I’ve been thinking that the way 3d printing works can be compared to the way a point becomes a line and, in that sense, a line becomes a doodle, or whatever form. Let’s remember some geometry and let’s hope I’m good enough at explaining this in English. In a cartesian plane, for each point in X, there is a point in Y. To draw a line is nothing else that to draw many points that grow in relationship to X and Y. A line (no matter if it is open, closed, open, straight or curved) always consists of infinitely many individual points (at least for any reasonable notion of ‘line’). Basically, between any two distinct points on a line there is a third point between these two points. If we look at the process of 3d printing, it works just like it. It’s all about layers.

And fall arrived!

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Spherical shapes: on maps, perfection, the moon, the Earth and north notion – Casting

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Since my sphere was defective/incomplete I’ve been thinking of large spherical shapes. My imperfect sphere may seem a sphere or not, depending on how you look at it. Like the moon, -but the moon is never actually incomplete, only the distance and position which does not allow us to see it whole.

We also happen to live, all the time and throughout all our lives in a sphere.

This brings me to a little comparison with something I read recently about why the north is located above. Apparently, It has not always been like that. In ancient Egypt the top was placed on the east, because there was where the sun came out. In the maps made by Christians in the same era (called world maps) the East was placed at the top, pointing to the Garden of Eden, with Jerusalem in the center. The reason why the north began to be the reference has to do with explorers like Christopher Columbus, who sailed taking as guide the North Star.

To illustrate how far this north-in-the-top thing has come, we have the famous photo taken by a NASA astronaut in 1973. The Earth is seen above the south because it was taken while a lap around the planet. NASA decided to flip it to avoid confusing people.

The photo on the right is my incomplete sphere. Both the moon and the Earth 🙂

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The Gift – Clift Dilton / Take me, I’m Yours – Jewish Museum

I visited the Jewish Museum for a show called “Take me (I’m Yours)” curated by Hans Ulbrich Obrist. As the name suggests, the exhibition aims visitors to take home parts of the works exhibited. During the visit I remembered The Gift from Clift Dilnot. Putting the “gifts” in a context in which the giver doesn’t know exactly who will receive the gift probably changes (although not exterminates) the context in which the over-production can be an ethical problem. Nobody is obliged to do anything. The gift are just putted there. In this case, everything is ready for the public to choose whether to take it or not. Everyone can decide what to take home and what not to. The desire of “giving” is the starting-point gesture, but is not influenced by the receiver (which is stated by Dilton as a very important part of the equation). While almost none of the “gifts” were “tools” to do anything all served a symbolic function: they were put there, so people could decided to have them. Maybe –following Dilton– a gift is valuable when an object is just placed there, just given to who wants it /needs it and not as a capitalist requisite for social interaction.

Here, one of the texts accompanying the exhibition:

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Designing Thinking Framework applied to Become a Curator

Form

Intended as a tongue-in-cheek reflexion on the vagueness of art discourse, Become a curator generates random artsy statements, composed of clear but meaningless sentences. This process uses Markov Chains to generate statistical models based on word frequency. These models are run through random iterations to generate the body of text. Now, I’d like it to become an actual show or a device to create art shows. Even though an exhibition can be the final form of this project, to create the steps needed to the exhibition to be replicated many times in different but controlled contexts, is the ideal form for it to actually grow. With a manual of exhibitions the exhibition is infinite and by being infinite, it reinforces the possibilities of design-devices as a form of art curating.

Objective

The objective, just as the Target is for CATTt, is to create an exhibition based on the texts that the generator gives to the artists. The selection of the artists, as well as the selection of the texts for them to interpret, should be a curating-project on itself.

Vision

Become a Curator seeks to make visible other ways on interpreting and explaining art discourses through new technologies and, potentially, humor.

Challenges – Opportunities 

To be taken serious, the show / project should be developed and understood as a different approach to finding junction, researching and exhibiting. I attempt it to be both fun and real. Intended as a tongue-in-cheek reflexion on the vagueness of art discourse, Become a curator generates random artsy statements, composed of clear but meaningless sentences. This process uses Markov Chains to generate statistical models based on word frequency. These models are run through random iterations to generate the body of text.

Image of the World

Become a Curator is based on a belief that art curatorial practices can and should be “shaken” in order to create more interesting and contemporary ways exhibiting.

Is this really necessary? – Whittling

While whittling my sphere and getting kind of desperate for my slow process I realize I unconsciously have become accustomed to the production processes being fast and objects being discarded after a short time. This takes me back to my concern about how industrial design sometimes harmfully feeds capitalism and overproduction. Trying to validate the creation of new needs as a way to “progress” I found a meeting point with two moments in history. First, the invention of photography (1800). Liberating art from the need to represent, it gave space to new artistic / social / historical needs. Two, the invention of the wheel (circa 3500 b. C). Those moment created an environment where something could evolve. So, to create new needs that guide to “evolution” is a valid design problem. However, the thin line between apparent progress and overproduction leaves us again at what I think should be the first design question nowadays: “is it really necessary?” I open the discussion.

CATTt: Target

A show is a new purpose to Become a Curator. A real curator has to actually have real exhibitions with real artists. To take further Become a Curator, I would need to curate a show that takes place with actual artists and in an actual gallery. By showing the computer-generated texts as curatorial texts of a work of art, I would legitimize them. This process of legitimization may only will occur if the texts are selected having some dialogue with the previous work of the artist and, somehow, with the other texts.

Steps:

  1. I will create an official lauch for becomeacurator.com to make it navigate the web with expectation and to have public asking question and using it.
  2. I will ask some local artist to agree with working on becomeacurator.com and create a tiny piece for the show.
  3. I will apply to curatorial shows both in Austin and in other cities, always trying to work with local artists and tiny pieces.

Designerly Ways of Having a Blog: on Concept maps

I want to try to locate in Designerly Ways of Knowing how would the Designerly way of Having a blog be. If we assume that the Design with capital D encompasses the appreciation of the ‘material culture’ and the application of ‘the arts of planning, inventing, making and doing’, a blog (the writing) must do the same: it may conceive or discuss each time a new thing. Having a blog (organize ideas around certain topics and build a recurring narrative) could easily be classified into the second area of education, one that does not follow a scientific method, but is more on the side of the humanities and the arts, experience, analogy and metaphor. I wonder then what is the next step to make the writing process a design process?

According to Cross, the third area is on the side of the world made by man and the synthesis. I think then that synthesize would be the Designerly Ways of Knowing how-to-have-a-blog. Maybe, just maybe that’s why for my individual practice (as a designer, a reader and a writer) the concept maps are my perfect match. Can be it defined as a designerly way of Knowing and organizing readings and writings?

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