For the theme I had chosen for this assignment was destruction and renewal based off of a street artist, Vhils, and his work. I tried finding the similarities between the two themes, though, destruction had come out to be a stronger theme to focus on because that is the basis of Vhils’ technique when he creates his own work. Already from previous analysis, some main destruction skills Vhils uses is wall and wood carving, explosives and acids. Seeing these as his main techniques, I wanted to try an explore other techniques to destroy various surfaces. The following “models” I’ve done have focused on scratching, melting, physical damage, shattering, and subtracting.
For the first model, I’ve decided to focus on a series that all share the same beginning but all have different endings. I decided to use three Starbuck cups, grande size. These were items I had left in my garbage and were about to be thrown away but I decided to incorporate them into my project because Vhils main technique of wall carving does focus on surfaces that are in neighbourhoods being ignored to be fixed or under the gentrification process. Therefore, I saw these cups to be in a similar way, they were being thrown away and disposed off. Trying to think the same way as Vhils, I’ve attempted to bring life back into the objects. To bring life back, I’ve used scratching, melting and physical damage to affect their original state. The first cup, I took sand paper and scratched away at the surface of the cup, both inside and outside. This created a frosted affect to the cup. The second, I lit certain areas of the cup on fire. I tried changing the direction of where the flame would be, for example at first I had just left the flame on the side and when it melted it, it came out with clear smooth edges. When I lit it from underneath, where the cup would be over the lighter, it created a black, smokey affect, and when left to melt, it left behind a smooth but black finish. The third, I had physically left it on the ground and stepped on it in one forceful step which distorted the entire body of the cup. While thinking of the third damaging affect, I really didn’t want to do anything physical to it because I thought it wouldn’t make as much of a difference than the sand paper and the flame. After a few days, I couldn’t think of any other method, so I decided to attempt the damage and to my surprise, it was exactly the type of affect I was looking for. I think while figuring out these physical damages, I really wanted to go above and beyond what could be done, or at least have it appear extremely damaged, so when I thought stepping on it, I thought it wouldn’t be as effective as it did.
For my second model, which is still under process, is a bottle that is shattered. Originally, I had plan to have the bottle smashed with pieces large enough that I can glue onto plastic sheets to reform the bottle but see the areas it was broken. After actually breaking the bottle, I did not expect it to break as much as it did. I found this to be extremely similar to my recreation of one of his works where I had plastered a tile and when I carved away at the plaster, a lot more of the plaster came off than I had plan for. In similarity, the original idea I had realized, would not work out the way I expect it too. Since the pieces broke it in much finer pieces, or pieces that weren’t large enough for me to work with, I tried finding alternative ways to work with what I had so because I had taped around parts of the bottle and those broken pieces were able to stay on the tape, I took the larger pieces and began glueing them down on a surface. A quarter way through, I began to see it as islands on a map, later on as people approached me when I had three quarters of it done, they asked me of it was supposed to be a gun. Unintentionally, I didn’t realize until I had looked away that the pieces formed a shape of a gun, in my mind I was still thinking of it as a map of islands. I continued to go on with this and with any fine, shattered pieces, I glued them into the some of the open spaces. This is still a work in progress and still trying to figure out what else I can do to work with what I have of the left over glass.
For the third model, I had plan to take a keyboard and only take out the delete key and seeing this as a minimal model piece. In the end, as I continued to think it through, I thought just taking out this delete key may be too minimal since it didn’t show enough destruction to the physical aspect. So with the keyboard, I had taken all the keys out and planned to just leave the delete key in its place but I thought this didn’t speak enough of the theme. To relate this to Vhils’ themes of using destruction to represent people who are being affected in the communities in the gentrification scheme, I thought about what sort of message would they say. I picked out specific keys that I could make sentences out of, for example, I had ‘delete’ and ‘home’ places together to represent the destruction of what they call home. I continued to play around with these, like ‘alt’ and ‘R’ to make the world alter, to symbolize the alteration for the people, and ‘home’ and ‘esc’ to reflect that home is an escape for them,
almost like a protective area, and that the government is taking that away from them. In the end, after various combinations of the keys, I decided to make a phrase, ‘U’ ‘ctrl’ ‘2’ ‘Delete’ ‘Home’, which is the idea of the government using their authority to take away their homes. I placed these keys in the middle of the keyboard where it would be surrounded by an empty space.