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ART: RESTORATION BY ADAM BEKKARI

DEFINITION AND INTERPRETATION

When it comes down to it the word 'Restoration'  is the act of returning something to its former glory, a previous location, or to its original condition.

As an artist I've gone for a more spiritual route when interpreting the meaning of 'Restoration'or 'To restore' something/someone, I believe it's to have more than what was lost in the first place, and to have the final state at a higher point compared to the original state. basically something/someone is improved beyond previously thought or imagined

Miranda van Dijk, Fabric Flowers

FOCUS/ PERSONAL FOCUS Statement

I've chosen to focus on the concept of memories, a memory is something that has been remembered and stored in your mind from the past. I believe the idea of restoring past memories is good to build our state of mind and restore ones self. With the idea of self improvement and spirituality the personal focus is solely on building oneself through nostalgic and wistful memories that help build ones spiritual sense and state of mind.

ARTIST STATEMENT

Spirituality is a realization of self. "It leads one to oneself, and improves our person." Through my body of work I have explored personal memories and consciousness which help restore and build our state of mind, and spiritualism of oneself. self improvement intertwined with an ensemble of memories restore a sense of spiritualism. The age of the memories are preserved through the nostalgic and sentimental style of the pieces seen throughout the work, similar to how in my first stage the leaves are nostalgic and reserved just like the tree they are in front of.

Context Statement

The spiritual context of my body of work informs the analysis and interpretation of memories through the idea of nostalgic and sentimental means. Through film making, photography, sculpting and digital imagery, the investigated impact of memories to the sub conscious is explored, self improvement through spirituality is also a prominent theme when look at my spiritual context.

Growth / Memory / Spirituality Interconnectedness

I will be exploring the juxtaposition between spirituality and memories - and how the spiritual growth of a person impacts specific memory retention. Spirituality is an underlying theme in this body of work, as it explores how individual growth, memories, nostalgia, familial connections intertwine to affect a person's spirituality.

RESEARCH PART 1

Finally after doing some extensive research about artwork in regards to memories, I came across a couple of articles about people who have Alzheimer's and dementia are making memories through the use of art. The artwork in Muzeo’s Carnegie Gallery

Muzeo's latest exhibit: Lasting Impressions

QUESTIONS/Reflections part 1

what medium or materials are used in your first piece of artwork?

For my first piece the materials I've used are canvas paper and ink, the mediums I used was filming/ editing and printing.

What steps did you take to create your first piece?

  1. Scan all 64 nostalgic photos onto the computer
  2. Edit all the photos and scale them to size, get rid of white background as well
  3. Cut canvas paper into 32 A4 sheets, then run them through the printer to print the images onto them
  4. Cut all the images of the canvas paper into leaf shapes, then cut triangles around the edges
  5. Film a tree swaying in the wind, then edit the tree with 'premiere pro' to give it that nostalgic look
  6. Scatter the leaves on the ground and project the tree onto the wall behind them

Where have you seen similar work? Does your art piece represent an artist?

Artist Miranda van Dijk uses a similar style with her body of work "Hidden Memories" but she uses a different process to create her art, my first art piece represents the nostalgia since in memoriesand idesa of old and aging photo.

What excited you about this project? Why?

The thing that excited me about this specific body of work was the fact I would be able to explore past and nostalgic memories, even going as far as utilizing my families own memories.

What were you uneasy or unsure about? Why?

the one thing I was uneasy/unsure about was how I was going to create enough leaves for my first stage, the reason why I was uneasy/unsure was because I didn't want my first stage to become too time consuming meaning I wouldn't spend enough time on my other three stages I planned.

RESEARCH PART 2

"Your mind is a powerful entity that can be trained, through different exercises" and "Eliminating negativity from your life will help you appreciate what you already have."

SPIRITUAL GROWTH

Many people underestimate the value of spiritual growth, although it’s an extremely relevant part of your personal development. Developing spiritually means opening your mind and heart to the possibility of achieving a belief system that can improve your outlook on life; better your personality and make you appreciate what you already have. Many experts also believe that spiritual growth can help you establish your “highest calling and life purpose”.

You don’t have to be religious to achieve spiritual growth, and if you aren’t a member of any particular faith, then this isn’t a problem.

The process of achieving spiritual growth could mean finding spirituality in the first place, and as each journey is unique to our own personal requirements, it’s no better or worse to begin from a place of religion.

However, achieving spiritual growth is difficult- especially when done alone. For this reason, there are a number of resources available (both for free and at a low cost), that can help you develop your spirituality. Developing spiritually can be beneficial to your everyday life. Using meditative techniques like yoga, for example, you can achieve a more calm and level outlook. This means that you’re less easily stressed or irritated, which in turn can help you solve problems better in your personal or professional life.

Meditation is an excellent way to develop your spirituality.

Yoga, in particular, is effective at detaching you from reality and helping you grow spiritually. There are two varieties of yoga: asanas and pranayam. These are both extremely useful for spiritual growth, and in fact, according to the Spiritual Research Foundation “ If yogic asanas and pranayam are complemented with other forms of spiritual practice to purify the mental body and other bodies then a person can achieve rapid spiritual progress in his lifetime.”

Yoga classes are available at most recreational centers, but also online. Many qualified yoga instructors are now offering video tutorials on websites such as Youtube, and these are typically free. This means that for no cost at all, you could begin your spiritual development immediately. According to Greatist, the best free programs for yoga beginners and intermediates are Yoga For Dummies and Dr Melissa West’s Chanell. These two teachers focus more on practicing yoga with regularity, and on making meditative exercise an important part of your daily routine.

In addition to taking yoga classes, a more traditional approach to spiritual growth is attending a spiritual retreat. Spiritual retreats are private sessions held, usually over a number of days, in a remote location removed from everyday life. They are an opportunity for you to disconnect from reality, and to focus on your self-improvement. Some retreats can be ‘silent retreats’, which can “allows us to relax and rejuvenate on a very deep level”.

In general, while most spiritual retreats are reliant on a fee being paid, retreatfinder.com can help you find a free or not for profit retreat in your local or national area. This may involve you living in a natural reserve, or practicing a meat free diet, but new experiences are an important part of personal development.

MENTAL GROWTH

Personal Development is highly regarded in the world of psychology, as it presents an opportunity for people to work on their mental health, and develop the tools necessary to handle their emotions; their relationships and their perspective on life. Consistently working on your mental development enables you to enjoy your life, and avoid or manage mental health conditions such as anxiety or depression.

According to Psychologist Anywhere Anytime, there is no uniform way to achieve mental growth. Everyone has a unique mental condition, that may require different amounts of counseling, or perhaps a different treatment altogether. They state that “The approach to help must be individually assessed and applied on a personal basis. It may include a variety of interventions, ideas skills, and behavioral techniques.”

QUESTIONS/Reflections part 2

Is your work in any way expressive? (Exploring experiences, feelings, emotions or memories) – If so what does it express?

My body of work does in fact explore experiences, feelings, emotions and memories as that is the major theme that runs throughout my body of work. My stages also express a sense of nostalgia throughout.

What is the theme/title of the unit?

The theme for my body of work is Restoration of Memories.

How did you get started on this unit of work?

The way I started this body of work was to go home and look through old family photos to give me a sense of nostalgia then I thought about how they could be distorted or altered.

How is this body of work different to previous ones?

Well within this body of work I've kept the colors basic, where else in my last body of work I choose to stick with neon colors and primarily blues, reds and purples. Also in my last body of work the focus was on abuse in relationships and this topic is all about memories.

Did you learn new skills

I hadn't learnt any new skills so far but I've been continuously applying past skills I have to make it slightly easier as I am familiar with what I'm doing.

FIRST INFLUENTIAL ARTIST

One Artist in particular that I've taken inspiration from for my stage 2 is David Szauder and his "Failed Memory" series. David Szauder born during 1976 in Hungary. He studied Art History and Intermedia, he then eventually moved to Berlin and started work at the Hungarian Cultural Institute as media artist/ curator in 2009. During recent years he now takes part and follows various art, new media projects and exhibitions/screenings. Finally he has been leading many workshops about interactive media in Berlin as well as Budapest since 2010. His latest series "Failed Memory" is inspired by the 'connections between human and digital memory' this captivating and thought-provoking series is a visually engaging way to deal with the intriguing theme. Szauder tries to connect 'artificial intelligence and human memory' within his pieces of art. When asked about his artwork he explained “Our brains store away images to retrieve them later, like files stored away on a hard drive. But when we go back and try to re-access those memories, we may find them to be corrupted in some way.” with the use of digital imagery he has been able to create the idea that humans store memories similar to how computers store data, but as humans we lose some small details (fragments) an are forced to replace them with 'self-generated memory fragments. Szauder has distorted and deformed people's faces in the images and broken them down into fragments to show his message, he has also changed the color of some images to give them a more antic and aged look.

Some of David Szauder art work from his series 'Failed Memory'

Miranda van Dijk is the artist behind the shop Puur Anders (Pure different in Dutch). She prints (vintage) photos on fabric and turn them into leaves and flowers.

Her botanical sculptures are a visual translation of her poetic short stories. They can stand on their own, but together with the story they form a dreamy picture book, with the text as a guideline and her work as illustrations. Miranda loves to talk about change, development and women's growth. Her Garden of beautiful moments is her inspiration.

The series of work I've taken inspiration from is Miranda van Dijk 'Hidden Memories' piece, Van Dijk decided to create her first stage her After the death of her grandmother, van Dijk looked through the her album filled with yellowed small photos. She saw her grandmother when she was young, in crazy poses, making fun with friends. “I could only guess the stories behind them. I had my grandmother’s voice there! I suddenly realized how precious such memories are and how nice it is when you can cherish them. I am a stylist and worked at that with flower corsages. Thus was born the idea of one of the photos, where my grandmother danced in a beautiful dress, to make a brooch in the shape of a leaf.

QUESTIONS/Reflections part 3

What technologies are evident in your artwork?

Within in my body of work i'll be using a vast range of different technology to achieve my art, for instance in my first stage i'll be using a camera to film a tree and using a projector to project the film behind my fabric leaves scattered on the floor. My second stage is an experimental/art film which requires a video camera to film, I'll be using a DSLR. Finally my third and final stage is digital imagery so I will be using a camera to take the pictures in my photo shoot and then further edit it with 'Photoshop'.

What are you as the artist trying to express

as an artist I'm trying to express the idea that the digital age distorts memory retention as well as juxtaposition between nature and human technology. I have successfully done this by blending technology and nostalgic images to express my statement.

Why is this work important?

This work is very important as now days the digital age is a very real problem as our lives are now filled with technology, our lives are slowly becoming distorted with the digital impact and our memories will slowly become less nostalgic and more digital.

How do all of the works compare to each other? Similarities? Differences?

All the artworks are connected by the idea of memories, nostalgia and distortion. The first piece and the fourth piece are both sepia toned, then the fourth, third and second pieces are all distorted or disjointed. And finally all the pieces are connected by the idea of a sense of nostalgia.

stage one

The 'Nostalgic' photos that'll be used in my first stage

This is the film will be playing behind my leaves representing the tree of memories.

Stage One Inspiration/Overview

A film of a nearly static, 'frozen' tree was chosen as the background to the first art installation. The single tree symbolizes individual life and growth. Leaves on the ground, scattered below, give the impression of movement and depth, while at the same time indicating loss as the 'memories' have fallen from the tree. The piece becomes a literal 'snapshot of time' -- the tree is a perfect image for this art as it, like an individual, is in a constant state of regrowth and renewal. Used in this way, the tree itself becomes the embodiment of nostalgia as the memories are lost and replaced with new memories (leaves). Continued below.

My other inspiration for stage one came from Miranda Van Djik's use of printing old photos onto leaves and flowers made from canvas. I used old family photos to impart a personal element to my work. The images were provided by my grandmother, and create a even more poignant message to the idea of fading memories -- time is far enough removed that I do not know who the people in these images are -- the idea of cognitive dissonance. Each person has a story which has not survived through the generations. The twig/leaf has fallen from the branch. Canvas and twigs lend an impermanence to the work, as eventually the material itself will disintegrate. The wire that connects the twigs and the canvas is used to suggest a hope for permanence of the memories, and the futility of the effort over time.

Stage One Problem Solving

Originally I had thought to use an EasyCut machine, with a pre-loaded leaf image. However, this did not allow for differences in the image size and shape, and I felt that I would achieve a more natural, organic feel to the leaves if they were more individual. The canvas paper also created a problem, because it was thicker than expected for my printer, and had to be fed one-by-one into the machine or it would jam. Sticks also had to be a particular thickness, or they were not strong enough to hold the weight of the canvas and wire without breaking.

Stage One Process

The photos were collected on a USB drive from my grandmother, and then resized for printing on canvas paper. The canvas paper was cut with a paper cutter to enable it to fit, and was fed one-by-one into the printer. Each leaf was then hand cut from the canvas, with a small 'stem' left on the canvas to attach to the actual timber stem. Each leaf was lightly ironed to create a crease in the canvas to help mimic the veins of a leaf. A walk in the forest provided the material for the stems of the piece, and each was cut to a similar length. The thin gauge wire was wrapped tightly around the timber and extended down the length of the stem to attach the canvas leaf to the stem. A hot glue gun was used to further stabilise each piece at the back of the leaf and complete the process.

STAGE two

Stage Two Inspiration/Overview

I've taken inspiration from David Szauder and his "Failed Memory" series. Szauder would distort and deform people's faces in the images, breaking them down into fragments -- similar to what I have done with my art in stage 2. I like the idea of using distorted images with images of children, as the memories of children fade quickly, and because we only retain a few vibrant memories from our young childhood it becomes a piece of art that many can potentially relate to. In all of the images for this series, none of the subjects are looking directly at the camera. By looking away, down, or off in the distance, the subjects themselves lend a sense of impermanence, where looking directly at the camera lens would cause the image to be more 'fixed' in time and memory. Two of my little sisters participated in the photo shoot. I wanted to use their images because it was a natural extension of the personal history images that were provided by my grandmother for stage 1.

Stage Two Problem Solving

Weather was a definite factor, as well as the availability of the subjects to participate in the photo shoot. Thankfully we found a moment in time prior to a rain storm, where we were able to shoot outside. This created an undesirable lighting situation. One problem that I ran into was emphasizing the whites, blacks and grays, and another problem we ran into was over-exposure from the sun which broke through the storm clouds, creating overly harsh lighting that needed to be corrected in post production.

Stage Two Process

I took the photos outside near our home, which is near a natural area and lake. This provided something for the subjects to look at while taking their photo. Once I had multiple images to choose from, I used Photoshop to alter the photos. I created my own screen with a noise filter to distort the images in the correct places. The photos were also made into black & white, to create a more timeless feel.

STAGE THREE

Stage Three Inspiration/Overview

My film was self-inspired and my own creation. I wanted to reflect on the idea of places that are supposed to be instrumental in creating memories, but are deserted. This further expands the idea of Cognitive Dissonance and memories which slowly disappear over time. I used places that are close to home, and that I know are busy at different times of day, but used cropping and film techniques to give the appearance of desertion. Using stark transitions, with static and harsh noise, between the various locations helps to give the idea of the scattering or disjointedness of our memories. The use of noise in the background, of people heard but never seen, further highlights this idea of loss and mystery. The use of angel wings throughout the film is meant to give an illusion of loss and also mystery, leaving it to the viewer to extrapolate the meaning.

Stage Three Problem Solving

One problem I ran into while filming was finding these very known locations to be not-so-deserted when I needed to film, and I had to use creative cropping and editing techniques to remove people from the locations. Another difficulty was how to determine when to draw the line between the natural image and distortion of the image when editing the film to create a more seamless feel to the end product.

Stage Three Process

To begin the creative process of my art film Cognitive Dissonance I first sat down and brainstormed four major locations which are usually filled with noise and people - places that would be likely to be involved with the creation of memories. These were, in part, dictated by the proximity to my own home, and also the ability to film them in the time frame provided for the completion of the project. Then I traveled to each place and filmed specific parts from each location. Once the filming was complete, I edited the film and added sound and visual effects to create the overall feeling of the piece.

STAGE 4

Stage Four Inspiration/Overview

Similar to my third stage, I decided to use self-inspiration and create my own piece. I decided to end my body of work with a tree that has been heavily distorted. This piece neatly ties my overarching theme together, bringing back the idea of leaves of memory falling from a tree and the distortion or disappearance of memories. This ties back into the idea of spirituality as well, because if the core of a person (the tree) is distorted, then it impacts growth and can distorts or twist memories, thereby impacting levels of nostalgia/good memories.

Stage Four Problem Solving

For the image of the tree, it took some time to choose/create the correct distortion effect, which lends itself to the project and the overall feel. By using a still from the video, I was able to choose from a number of different tree images that I already had on hand.

Stage Four Process

I used a still image from unused footage from my third stage of the art film Cognitive Dissonance (which shares the same name as the body of work). The image of the tree was then altered using Photoshop. I added a sepia toned effect to lend the piece a more nostalgic feel and then added a wavy distorter at the top of the image to give the impression of distortion and change over time.

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