Monday, September 22, 2008

Goldfish bowl

A few posts back I posted a bit of writing about a vision - if you will - that I had while meditating (yeah, I'm one of those guys). That sitting was inspiration for me to create a kinetic sculpture. Here are some early sketches of my idea:

The idea is to create a sculpture that in a way is like a giant Weeble or Bozo Clown Bopper (in principle, at least - Weebles wobble but the don't fall down). A goldfish bowl will sit on top of a rounded, bottom-heavy stand. To one side, a motor will raise and drop a hammer (probably made out of rubber; if not, out of some other soft material), which will fall to hit the side of the bowl, causing the whole sculpture to wobble about. Somewhere in the piece I hope to have a light, normally turned ON, connected to a tilt switch, that will flicker ON and off when the sculpture is moving (a tilt switch is an electronic component with moving parts inside that will complete and break circuits depending on the orientation of the switch). I am not sure yet whether or not I want the lamp to be hanging above the bowl or to be illuminating the water from below. The hammer will hit the bowl most likely 1 or 2 times every minute (maybe even less, like once every two minutes - it will all depend on the wobble). The whole sculpture will be plugged into the wall to get its power.

This piece is about the difficulties I have in finding calm in my life. The goldfish bowl is an inspiration taken from the shark tank vision, a moment of almost total control over my peace of mind. The literal imbalance of the piece is the imbalance of my emotions and thoughts. The hammer will swing consistently but slowly, allowing the object to come to a rest and for the light to stop flickering before upsetting the balance once again.


"Bang" by Jim Woodring. An exemplary case of comic art. Or an exemplary case of comic art inspired art? I dunno.
*Swoon* "My hero."

Saturday, September 13, 2008

"Play Date"

By Jim Woodring

Shark tank

I saw a cylindrical tank of water, made out of clear glass, diameter roughly 10 feet, height roughly 8 feet. In the water was a large shark, almost featureless, no telling signs of what kind of shark it was. Also in the water was me, although I was not seeing from the perspective of the diver-self in the tank, but from some point outside of the tank, some other self. The tank sat in a blank grey void.
The shark was extremely irritated and thrashed about uncontrollably, biting with teeth and scratching with skin. There was no blood, no carnage, only a strong feeling of panic, pain, and discomfort. I could sense these feelings coming from both my diver self and the shark. Although the self outside of the tank could see clearly, the self in the tank could not; the water was too muddy and murky. The water was also extremely sugary, and the taste of this sugar water in the diver-self’s mouth was strong and unpleasant.
After taking all of this information, I realized that I may be able to control this reality.
Instead of making the shark, mud, and sugar disappear, a simple and straightforward solution to my problems, I saw that there must have been a reason that these things were present in the first place, and decided to act differently. I started to increase the size of the tank, by tens, hundreds, thousands, millions of times its original size. My point of view outside of the tank became useless – there wasn’t any outside of the tank anymore. I took the eyes of the diver, and the two selves became one.
The water had also grown in volume to fill the tank, but the dirt and sugar had not. The same amount as from the original tank had stayed in this tank, and so had dispersed throughout the huge volume of water. I could see clearly, and the water seemed pure and clean.
The one shark had become three. I could sense them at the bottom of the tank, swimming around one another. Their actions were slower, calmer, and more natural than the first shark. They no longer filled me with a sense of anxiety. I knew of the danger they possessed, but I had accepted them as part of the tank. I regarded them almost as one would regard dogs, and allowed them to come to the top of the tank to swim around me.
I did not leave my area at the top of the tank, and unless allowed otherwise, the three sharks stayed in their place at the bottom.