light splaying out, in a wonderful & gifworthy type of motion
“Products or goods are produced not to be consumed, to be swallowed directly, but as a set of new modes of communication, knowledge, languages, or even worlds.”
— Chukhrov, “The Space of the General: On Labor Beyond Materiality and Immateriality”
As my practice fundamentally revolves around the creation of a personalised universe or what I call the fabrication of the Contemporary Mythology/Fantasy, I think it would be interesting to consider constructing my dissertation almost like an art object in itself: printed on vellum or some kind of semi-transparent acetate, perhaps, with a couple of layers of either mirrored sheets or a form of lenticular printing (holographic illusion). So that the reader has the possibility of literally reading the dissertation from a distorted, glitching perspective. Language is another filter - and what I am interested in is the fabrication of the filter… of the filter… of the filter.
My first essay was about the Object consuming the Subject; my second essay saw the Subject become the Object; my third essay was about the Object being consumed within the cocoon of the Context-Object, or the frame, the uncanny space, the personalised world. What is necessary now is to put all the essays, which are related sequentially to each other, together in a coherent way where the writing itself is (like Bataille) stylistically linked. The Subject, Object and Context-Object merge, flattening the 3D into 2D layers. The ecosystem of creative remediation mediates the self back to itself: the object back to the subject-object. Seen from a certain perspective, these sandwiched 2D layers construct a 4D illusion or uncanny space that merges the virtual and the real into a singular entity. No longer do we ask what is real, only what is meaningful.
The Dissertation is the Context-Object (cocoon) from which meaning emerges. But is the essay about the context-object or is it the context-object? If it is the latter, then should it be constructed like a scientific, anthropological study of a new being/context/world that has the pulsing qualities of a GIF, the capricious unpredictability of a meme, the dark secrets of the Deep Web? The ultimate Post-Internet Creature, the Post-Machine Machine, the Un-topia? Or should it simply discuss it from the distant perspective of an Observer?
If we imagine that we exist in a 4D illusion (a hologram), then wonder makes sense. Spectacle is logical, absolutely necessary and simultaneously self-aware of its own falseness. It makes sense, also, that in the face of illusion we crave sincerity, meaning and integrity. Look to movements like the New Sincerity, nu-Muzac/lounge/New Wave genres like seapunk, chillwave and vaporwave, or recent exhibitions like Lone Tree at Marlborough Chelsea which observes that they have “seen lately a significant resurrection of Romanticism in contemporary art […] explore how notions of the spiritual and the magical alongside the sublime and the romantic, have once again, become important” and The New Romantics at Eyebeam which explores “ways in which contemporary artists using digital media engage the body, representations of nature, poetic irony, and expressions of individuality as originally expressed in 19th century Romanticism […] The artists in this exhibition expose an underlying thread of individual expression that extends beyond mere tech-fetishism.” As the Metamodernist manifesto observes, we are oscillating, bringing back nostalgia, sincerity, magic and illusion. Except perhaps now it is the illusion of disappearance, of a curious geometric flattening towards the horizon, towards banality, the glitch-kitsch, as a strategy for new meaning.
However my dissertation is structured, I would like to reference these exhibitions and new media artists like Mark Leckey, Jon Rafman, Joe Hamilton, Yoshihide Sodeoka, Adam Ferris etc, many of who touch upon Ian Bogost and Graham Harman’s definition of object oriented ontology (becoming object). Also online curation, labels and memes, including musicians like Oneohtrix Point Never, PC Music, Vektroid, etc. As a whole, the essay must remain critical and self-aware, referencing many contemporary cultural elements of post-internet life but not submitting to it. TLDR; above all the essay’s key point is to remain true to itself and attempt to dig/accelerate towards describing and proposing the new cultural strategy of the second decade of the millennium.
Banality as a medium, imitation and reproduction as a site for revolution, excavating a virtual geo-location where everything is not alike but similar…
What comes out as 4D? Is it the subject, the object or the context-object? Or is it a sleekly transformative creature, glistening wet as it emerges from the husk, the ghost emerging from the shell? It is not utterly human or machine or even necessarily cyborg… its parts, made anew, are organic, having not been post-fabricated but constructed from our electric dreams, the accelerated devotion, belief and investment towards the Contemporary Fantasy.
My journey into the world of bioplastics has been a mad experience through an alien landscape. I went to the grocery store and I got me some cornstarch, thermometer, food colouring (ALL COLOURS BECAUSE I’M ~*PRIMARY*~), milk, vinegar… and went to the local pharmacy to get me some glycerin.
I still haven’t had time to do casein (milk) bioplastic yet so I decided to stick to corn for now. I’m really interested in chitin, algae, tapioca, potato, gelatine, sunflower seed, soya bean proteins, yam, banana skin, etc or more or even combining different polymers with fibres like flax and hemp. Bioplastics Party, anyone…?
Experiment 1: using the Instructables base ingredients and recipe.
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 tsp canola oil
- 3 drops of blue food colouring
Experiment 2: using Instructables base ingredients and recipe but adding MORE water to make more pliable.
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
- 1 cup water
- 1 teaspoon canola oil
- 3 drops yellow food colouring
+ HEART: I had some extra left of experiment 2 after I poured the mixture into the aluminium foil cupcake moulds so I decided to add a drop of blue food colouring to a single heart-shaped mould and let it mix by itself with the yellow mixture.
Then I reached a plateau because I was like, wait.. I don’t have a microwave. I considered this for a bit and then decided to just bake my mixture for an undetermined amount of time. It was 1:09 PM. I baked the mixture (all of the above together) until 1:25, a total of 16 minutes. Then I took it out and let it cool down.
Experiment 3: Using Greenplasticsnet’s recipe and ingredients
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 4 tbsp water
- 1 tsp glycerin
- 2 drops of yellow food colouring
This recipe asked for the mixture to be heated on the stove. However, it did not specify what temperature, how long, when I should start the heat so I mixed all of the ingredients before turning on the heat and continuing to stir until it looked kind of kneadable and jelly-like. I tried with no food colouring and then a second batch WITH food colouring (red and yellow). I guess the second batch turned out slightly more malleable and clay-like probably because I still had remnants of the first batch at the bottom of the pot (…because I was lazy…)
- Oven-baked cornstarch bioplastic is a lot more gelatin/jelly-like than the stove-cooked bioplastic. The latter is a lot more malleable like hot, soft clay when fresh.
- Both CRACK and shrivel (shrink) when dried. This is problematic… I need to figure out how best to tackle this problem. Would refrigerating help? What about pouring resin over it before it dries?
- I’ve read that the pliability of the bioplastic depends not only on how much cornstarch/water you put in but also the amount of glycerin. If you put in a lot of glycerin, there is the likelihood that the plastic will never dry, which is interesting.
- How to stop the bioplastic from biodegrading as much as possible even if it endures heat (for example, an LED light…?)
- The corners of the oven-baked bioplastic are interesting; they’re translucent/transparent and very plastic like.
- I’m not sure the canola oil helped with anything except to form these interesting oil spot textures on the surface of the oven-baked bioplastic.
And that’s the end of this episode of Fun with Bioplastics. Tune in next time for further
kid’s serious lab experiments.