Dominika Kolenda, our Year 12th student, provided us with her personal reflection after attending a school trip to Berlin.
Dominika’s project includes portraits of the city and its inhabitants, Dominika’s reflections and inspirations supported by her artworks relating to different aspects of the city life and history.
(fragments of Dominika’s project)
I started with a very careful observation. I chose one angle which I found appropriate. The city as a phenomena includes people. They are one of the most powerful building factors. It is said that smile is everywhere the same, that human’s gaze looks always in the same way. But I think it’s not true. Each smile, each gaze has its own smell and weight. The accumulation of senses and human stimuli creates the city. So I documented it. I made a series of portraits of Berliners.
‘’Ich bin ein Berliner’’
The more attention, the more nature. During my observational process, I noticed a lot of nature fluently percolate through the city. This union is a very important aspect of an understanding city’s mode of action.
As an illustration for this thinking process, I created a set of artworks documenting union of people, city and nature.
From the point where I was immersed in a society, but from the units’ perspective, I directed myself towards the group, towards the mass culture. Great example of the medium which is focused on a large group of recipients, in a short period of time is a street art. Where the receiver of art it is not specified in any way. It is an exact opposition to my previous observation. Now I have to focused on a group, not on a specific Berliners. As part of development I went to the place which allowed me a better understanding of a concept of mass culture. Urban Nation is a museum, palpable example of the human impact on the city. It’s gathering the art from the street. The exhibition showed me how the city can be animated and spirited by adding art. Art has also other functions, it is a medium of communication and manifestation. I decided to focus on an aesthetic aspect which is responsible for making city more pleasurable.
The way how art penetrates the city is incredible. Berlins’ street art is an inseparable part of experiencing the city’s spirit. These colourful elements create a unique reception.
As a visual reference to the street art, I chose Liveable Street. It is a polish project which is dealing with the problem of ordinary streets. The main aim of this social project is to make the streets more colourful and friendly. They are replacing boring and casual elements by a joyful and warm objects, including for example nature.
My (hi) STORY
I decided to change the angle of looking on the topic. I reversed it. Instead of thinking through history influencing Berlin, I started recognizing situations where the transient and short episodes change the environment. Where the people or nature leave consciously or unconsciously traces. And these traces are creating public space. I became one trace influencing history of the city. Berlin became a witness of my story.
I was at the exhibition in the Jewish museum. Works made by James Turrell created the strongest feeling I’ve ever felt.
‘’Upon entering the Ganzfeld “Aural” installation, visitors are immersed in a space that reveals neither its light source nor its dimensions. Their eyes lose their frame of reference; their gaze is unleashed. Light, color, and space melt together. The installation’s gradual color shifts are punctuated by flashes of light. James Turell demands time from his visitors. Our eyes must first adjust before the light’s effect fully unfolds. Suddenly, we perceive the slightest stimuli and changes. This leads to dreamlike experiences reminiscent of thick fog, expanses of snow, or the dark of night.’’
By adding everything together I created an independent image of a lamp. I considered the lamp as a perfect illustration of the James Turrell influence on the viewer. I transformed abstract form, abstract installation into the practical and physical object. For me abstract light installations are less abstract than the process of making something which is practical. It was a very demanding challenge for me. I knew that I wanted induce the same set of feelings which James Turrell’s instalation cause to the viewer. Lamp as an object is a physical and real equivalent to the installations, mainly because of the light. Characteristic feature for the Turrell’s space is a glow, light which spreads across the viewer. Objects included in this installation are always very shiny. While some of them are staying in the opposition to this idea and take a matt form. Thanks to this, this glowish part is strengthened and enhanced. I wanted capture the relation between this different materials. I started my experimentation with the research of glowing materials. I went through different types of neon and lava lamps. Unfortunately none of them filled my requirements. The best option turned out to be the led lamps.
Firstly, I designed my lamp on a white sheet of paper. With a time my idea turned into even more practical and palpable object. I started thinking about the mechanical possibilities and limitations. I moved to the area which I’ve touched before. I came to the conclusion its about time for converting this project to the 3D program. I had never before any necessity or opportunity to work in a such program, so I was starting from the very beginning. I chose VUE 9.5
Light is a central symbol in Judaism linking the beginning and end of creation. James Turrell’s works can be seen as one of the most spectacular artistic interpretations of the creation of light.
The challenge which appeared during the work was the composition and the relation between the lamp and the background. I was not aware of an importance of the type of light. I didn’t know how much it influences on the whole final work. To be able to create this simple construction I spent many hours studying lights’ operation system.
James Turrell’s works are based on a very transient and ephemeral materials. Neither light, nor sound is permanent. Going further with this thought I made my lamp short-lived. It affects two aspects of the lamp, its shape and its colour. In this presentation I attached four out of infinitely many shapes with a constant set of colours. Five cuboids are laying on five bearings which allow the movement on every dimension.
My main aim was to obtain as strong as possible connection between the original James Turrell works and my lamps. I used the same colours as in his installations and I was trying to keep their weight. So in a case where the specific colour was just an accent, I used it exactly in the same way.