Recreate Starts

The first teaching session of recreate was started at Webster Primary School on 22 November. As the first session, we only wanted them to have a concept of our project. So, Bob asked them to draw the first thing came to their mind when he said environment and pollution separately. Some children didn't know what pollution was, so we explained to them.

I was so surprised that the children could draw a lot of stuff. Most of them kept drawing until we told them to stop. They were so imaginative and drew a lot of stuff. Some of the drawing were really really good. No one got bored with the activity. Therefore, we were all so happy with it. However, it was the first session only. We didn't know what would happen when they started to paint or make sculpture, especially at Hulme Adventure Playground.

The image was taken with B&W films.

Another Break-Light Experiment

I knew the result was not going to be as good as when I used for quite many lights in different colours. I used 9 the same kind of safe lights which are for people doing exercises, such as cycling or running at night. I asked my little Bboy friend, James to do the performance of dancing with light for me.

James can dance pretty well although he is only 10 years old. He can also do two powermoves, backspins and wind mills.

The first few images were very messy because I had to adjust the timing of exposure after a few shot.

This is the wind mills. I thought there were too many light on the body. They caused too many line of lights crossover but not looking good so I reduced the number of lights after this shot.

This is the back spin which James can do so fast and so many times of spin with this move. From the image, the movement of lights are much smaller than the wind mills one.

We were experimenting to use the flashing mode of those safe lights. And there can be seen the lights are intermittent in the image.

This was my turn and I used much more space than James.

This was probably the best shot of the day. Some lights were on continuously but some were on intermittently. I really like the shape of the image because it looks like a top spinning. The balance of the composition is also excellent.

I am now looking for some great small LED lights, I hope I will find some soon.

Researching for Breakdancing Animation

Recently, I had been researching some world class bboys' dancing videos as a reference for me to do a breakdancing animation which will be displayed in the 2nd Year Interactive Arts' exhibition. There are a lot of great bboys' videos on youtube but they were not taken in the same angle. I needed them in the similar angle because I needed to draw the animation from those videos. I needed to combine those videos to one videos but the bboys in every clip must be dancing in the similar angle. I had been working on this with the Adode Premiere Pro CS3 for a not time and I have finally done it. I can start to made my animation now.

The video will be used on Photoshop and I will draw a animation frame in every 4 frames of the 30fps video. So, at the final, the frame rate of the animation will be 7.5fps. 12 fps is too many for me at the moment because I am not gonna finish this 3 minutes long animation by the deadline. I had tested 6fps animations of toprock and it was all right so 7.5fps should have no problem.

Liverpool Biennial 2010 - Touched II

Andrea and I went to Liverpool to see the rest of artworks which we haven’t seen form the last Liverpool trip. We arrived there at 9:30 in the morning. The first destination was Tate. The exhibition of Biennial was on the 4th floor of the gallery and it was free for entry. Then we walked around the Liverpool to visit other artworks and finally, we completed our arts studying trip at Walker Art Gallery. It was a very good day because we have seen a lot of amazing and interesting art pieces.

There are some artworks, which I like or I think they are interesting.

Europleasure International LTD, Touch and Go by Cristina Lucas

There was a short video exhibition in this unused old factory about people throwing stone to break the glasses of the building. The video is pretty interesting. People in the video become happy after they break the windows. It seems they have released their pressure by throwing stones to the Europleasure International LTD. The letters of Touch and Go are also showed by those broken windows.

Inside the buliding

The video was projected on a white board in the building.

1 Without by Wannes Goetschalckx

Not only a series of videos were displayed at Tate Liverpool, Wannes Goetshalckx was actually doing a performance moving boxes in a wood shelter at the same place. It was good to think about what missed?

In a year, the artist had taken an image of himself every hour. He have done five this kind of performance documenting himself. The changing of his appearance are clearly shown in the images.

I really the way how the artist to use a infra-red camera to make a video. The great contrast between the people's body temperature and the temperature of the environment was so sentimental to me when I was thinking about the government of China keeps building cities but never take care the residents.

Where are we from? Where will we go? by Li Weizhou

It is one of the five prizewinner pieces of John Moores Painting Prize China 2010, exhibited at Walker Art Gallery. I was really impressed by the simple painting of a long queue of people waiting for something in bus stop. It was probably because I am a China born Chinese and living in England, and the true is there are a lot of Chinese leave China, their home country to other states every year. Why they do not living their home country? The reason could be so many things.

It is also a very philosophical piece. Everyone has asked there questions, "where are we come from? We will we go?" at least one in their life. But no one knows the true answer. That is represented by a traditional Chinese painting but not a traditional composition. Especially the empty places of the painting, are very meaningful and connotative.

There were too much excellent artworks in the Liverpool Biennial Festival, I cannot mention them all in here. Moreover, I already forgot the titles and the artists' name of some art pieces which I like. Anyway, I am really looking forward to seeing the next Biennial Festival in 2012.

Breakdacing Animation

This little figure on the cross course crit poster is one frame of the breakdancing animation which is my new animation project. I started this project because I can work on my computer, not like the Break-Light project could be prevented by so many reasons as I have to engage people, find places and buy lights. Furthermore, I was activated to do this by an animation, Cut (2009) by Kristian de la Riva from Liverpool Biennial 2010. The animation, Cut is of a man how to mutilate himself. It is funny and interesting but very gory. I like the way (I guess) the artist drew the movement of the figure with a video under because the figure’s moves are so smooth and realistic. Therefore, I wanted to try this way to make an animation.

My first is this animation of 8 steps basic toprock in a rhythm and it is 12 frames per second. Since Photoshop CS3, Photoshop started to support videos. That means people can add effect on videos with Photoshop. I used a dancing video of Bboy Focus as the bottom layer, drew the moves as layer by layer and when I finished the frames I needed, I used Ulead Gif Animator which is a software like iStop Motion to combine the frames to an animation. The music was added with Adobe Premiere Pro.

Another try is the animation of a kind of powermoves, flare. This animation supposes to be 15 frames per second but it has been slow down after exported by Ulead Gif Animator. However, the speed is easy to be changed. I will change it when I need to change it.

In this one, I simplified the figure and switched the frequency to 6 frames per second. It looks Okay if the figure moves like this.

I always use Adobe Premiere Pro for video editing but I always have the same problem which is videos lose quality after exporting. This time, I had kept trying to export to different format files but I still couldn't get the quality as good as the videos before edited by Premiere Pro. The version I use is CS3, I am considering to get a newer version.

Cross Course Crit

We held the first cross course crit of this academic year on 18/11. The event consisted of small mixed-year groups presenting their first term experiences to each other. We were asked to
produce a single A4 illustrated, presentation ‘poster’ what sums up what we have done so far. And this is my poster.

I presented to my group with this poster. The images in the poster are the works I have done so far. Most of them were already mentioned in this blog except that little breakdancing figure and I am not going to talk about it in this blog.

The first cross course crit was pretty useful because I think many people received very helpful feeback. Andrea even said that this event should be held once a month. I asked them where I could buy some nice and cheap LED light that I could use for the Break-Light project. They gave me some good and helpful suggestions. Additionally, when we were sharing each other’s works, people would work harder after they saw the great works from other classmates. It probably doesn’t work to everyone, but it works to me.

Present our Recreate project

On Monday and today, we went to Webster Primary School and North Hulme Adventure Playground to present the Recreate project and introduced what Children University is to the children. Before, that, we already had a 2 hours session on 4th November to discuss what everyone was going to say during the project. We prepared quite a lot of stuff and a great opening for the children. The children were also excited with the project but we only spent 5 minutes at Webster and 10 minutes at Hulme Playground to finish the presentation. I talked about the session of pinhole cameras with a demo pinhole camera made of paper and painting on junks. Other people talked about making sculpture with junks, making papers and making clothes with rubbish.

Today, we had a quick view of the Hulme Playground. I took some picture of the place and I will upload them on the Recreate facebook group, then other people who get involved with this project but missed this presentation will be able to see how the playground is.

Compare with two place’s children, the ones at the primary school were disciplinal but ones at Hulme were……we described them mental. We will have a 3 hours session on Thursday every week and that will be so exciting.

The First Black & White Film

It was the first time I used a roll of black & white film on my own camera, the first time I developed my black & White film at the Darkroom in MMU and the first time I used a film scanner.

I could expect I would need 4 days to get the procedure of developing and scanning the film done. On Monday morning, I finished the last 5 shot in the All Saint Park and planned to develop it in the afternoon. The darkroom re-opened at 1:30pm after the lunch break. I went to there at 2:30pm but someone was using it. I waited and I could use it at 3:00pm. When I tried to put my film in the barrel with light off in the darkroom, I spent nearly half an hour on it but I still couldn’t get the film on. I was wondering didn’t forget how to do it? I was so lucky that I didn’t break the roll of the film and I could rewind the film to the roll. I went out of the darkroom and a girl studying photography was just right there. I asked her why and she looked at the barrel carefully. She separated the barrel in two pieces, put them back together and told me the little two metal balls in the barrel were not in the same position, there why I couldn’t roll my film to the barrel.

I didn’t know the barrel can be separated in two pieces. I borrowed it from the photography office and used it immediately. However, now I know, it won’t happen again. The time was 4:00pm until I realised that so I had to do it next day.

The next day was Tuesday, the busiest day of a week. I got a lecture in the morning and a course meeting in the afternoon but the darkroom was not open during the lunch break at 12:30-1:30pm. Fortunately, the meeting finished a bit early and I had just enough time to develop my film. There was no fault this time, I was so satisfied when I saw the images on the film while it was been washing in the water. Eventually, I left the film in the dry cabinet over a night.

I got the dry film next day, cut it in six frames per set and planned to go to the Mac suite to scan the film. The female staff of the AV store told me there was a film scanner at the Mac suite. When I was using the film scanner, I was so frustrated. The scanner was Nikon Super-scan 9000, something like that. It was so freaking slow and always crashed by its old software. Even the staff of the Mac suite couldn’t give me a help with that because the software of the scanner is pretty old but the iMac is a new thing. I spent 4 hours to do the scanning and I finally got every image on the computer but I unexpectedly left my memory stick at home. I thought I had to scan them again because any files would be erased once I log out the Mac. But thanks god, the files were still there when I went to the Mac suite next day. I was so glad to see them there.

In this series of photos taken with Ilford HP5 B&W film, I found that I used quite many different lenses to take those shot. They are:

Canon FD lens 28mm F/2.8

Canon FD lens 70-210mm F/4 Macro
This lens is a tele-zoom lens but it can be a macro lens. I can get a quite close up shot when I twist the length to 70mm. £14 for this lens is a very good deal.

Canon Fd lens 50mm F/1.8

Nikon AI-s lens 50mm F2.8 Marco
Using it on Canon AE-1 Programme with a lens adapter

Canon FD lens 35-70mm F/4
Don't like to use zoom lenses because most of them have small aperture and cannot produce images as good quality as prime lenses. However, these three images look all right.