Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Week 1-Claude Glass

A while back I read Arnaud Maillet's "The Claude Glass" (Zone Books 2004) and it got me pretty excited about a simple use of optics and an early way of reading one's environs. The Claude glass was a dark piece of reflective material that an artist would hold in one hand while facing away from the landscape to be depicted. I imagined that this piece of magic collapsed the view onto a two dimensional surface and took away its color, making the tonal reading for which it was made. Thinking about it and then testing, it doesn't really work that way: not the easy way to make the world black and white I had expected. I began using the method though within installations, so that with every building move, there was also a reflection, an image of the three dimensional, often one that was scaled to include the observer.

In my last installation I used a black reflective material (big sheets of black plexi) as a flooring that that the viewer moved across to view a model of a landscape I had cast in the space. By the end of the installation the landscape model was repositioned and the flooring (now covered in the results of the casting process) hung vertically as a wall-like division in the space.

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