Visiting artist residency at USC School of Cinematic Arts, LA (Part 12) by Anna Madeleine

In my last few weeks at USC I learnt how to use Skybox Mettle - a software plugin for After Effects that will let me put my 2D animations into a 360 view, so I can make VR videos.  I made a test one with my body part tissue paper animations, and was pretty happy with it! I cut the animation into four clips of about the same length (12 seconds), and placed them in 3D space in After Effects in four separate panels surrounding the camera (the viewer). So when the viewer turns around, there is animation on every plane. I’ll continue with this, and work on designing animations specifically for this space and adding animation to the top and bottom planes.

In my last week of using the Oxberry studio I tried multi-plane animation - using two layers of glass over one another, allowing me to animation two layers at once. I tried this by adding a layer of line work over the tissue paper tectonic plates, which worked well, but I got a little lost in what the work was about. It’s a really nice style that I will play with more at home.

Continuing with the cyanotype works, I’ve made one of a wind farm, and one of a bird circling in the sky. I think an interesting concept for these is energy consumption and production - the oil wells, the wind farms, and I filmed a steam pump at a factory while on a bike ride to South Bay this week. Another possibility is solar farms - if I can figure out an element of movement in them. This theme also relates to the process because the images themselves are a product of solar energy (sunlight). Could the animations themselves be powered from solar??

After seeing Kathy Rose speak at seminar, I went with students Evan and Crystal out to UCLA to see her perform. Sadly we missed the performance itself but did get to see some longer versions of her early animation work, which was great. Then Crystal gave us a tour of UCLA - interesting to see the different vibe between it and USC - much grittier and more ‘art school’ but less tech. 

On my last weekend in LA I went to Huntington Gardens with friends Jasmin and Kyle, and had a lovely brunch with some of the amazing people I met.

Kyle, Jasmin, Cynthia, me, Karine and Laura  <3

Kyle, Jasmin, Cynthia, me, Karine and Laura  <3

Visiting artist residency at USC School of Cinematic Arts, LA (Part 11) by Anna Madeleine

Got the cyanotypes working after some experimenting with the exposures and chemicals, and exposed 32 frames for a 2 second loop of video. It worked!

Animated cyanotype! #cyanotype #animation #experiment #blue #oilrig #losangeles #landscape #sun

A video posted by Anna Madeleine (@anna_madeleine) on

Still working with tissue paper in the Oxberry studio, I moved back to the idea of earthquakes that’s been in my mind for a while. Last weekend there was an ‘Earthquake advisory’ for Southern California, which was a bit scary…. but nothing happened. The advisory meant that chances of a big earthquake were as low as 1 in 100 instead of 1 in 6,000. 

Anyway I’ve started making an animation of the tectonic plates, using tissue paper cut outs. So far I’ve animated them moving and shaking, and I like the subtlety of that. I’m also happy with it as an image - using graph paper and tissue paper that makes nice variations in colour when they overlap, which in this case happens on the parts where the plates meet, the ‘fault lines’.

This week I presented my work at the CTAN Seminar, speaking about my work in general, my PhD project and what I’ve been doing at USC. I got some great feedback and interesting questions, and the students wrote responses to my talk online here.

I’ve also started speaking to and animating with Media Arts PhD student Laura Cechanowicz, who works with animation and VR to explore time, space and the body. There’s lots of similarities in our works, and we’ve starting sharing the Oxberry studio to discuss what we’re doing and start some collaborative work.

Gallery visits this week were to a few spaces in Downtown LA, the warehouse sort of district. They were nice spaces with more conceptual exhibitions than the other Pop art shows I’ve seen recently. I also visited the Fowler Museum at UCLA, which was showing Nkame: a retrospective of Cuban printmaker Belkis Ayón, which was awesome, and an interesting textiles exhibition, Uncommon Threads.

Masae Bamba in Uncommon Threads

Masae Bamba in Uncommon Threads

Then I explored Culver City during one of the Culver City Art Walks. The highlights here were an exhibition by Henry Taylor at Blum and Poe, which looked at homelessness, poverty and inequality in American society. Taylor’s installations turned the gallery into whole new spaces - one a make-shift dwelling behind a graffitied wall, in a sort of urban wasteland, in the next room the backyard pool of what I imagine to be a LA McMansion. In another room the artists’ studio space is set up which looks as though it’s in use and the artist has just stepped out, and finally a darkened room showing a new video work by Kahlil Joseph where the viewers share the space with three people sitting around a table, smoking pot and drinking beer.

The other highlight was these text works by Tim Gratkowski at Walter Maciel Gallery. My favourite work here was made of tags suspended from the ceiling, all at the same height. Each tag has a letter cut out of it, which casts really nice shadows onto the wall and floor.

I also went to LACMA one more time, and saw these amazing drawing works by Toba Khedoori, who was born in Sydney but lives in LA. These were huge works on paper, but (in some of them) only a relatively small part of the paper was drawn on. It created an unusual sense of space, which felt both intimate and expansive at the same time. In others, the drawings were quite geometric, and I also enjoyed the paired back use of colour and the contrast of big white spaces with very black blacks.

Toba Khedoori at LACMA

Toba Khedoori at LACMA

Toba Khedoori at LACMA

Toba Khedoori at LACMA

Visiting artist residency at USC School of Cinematic Arts, LA (Part 10) by Anna Madeleine

Last weekend I joined the DADA graduate students along with Mar and lecturers Kathy Smith and Everett Lewis, on a field trip to the ghost town Bodie, and Mono Lake, in the Eastern Sierras.

Bodie was fascinating - an original gold rush mining town in the middle of nowhere that was abandoned in the early 1900's, with much of the houses - with furniture, cars, old objects, shop fronts - all left behind. It is now a California Historical Landmark and a Wild West Ghost Town. While there, we took photographs, made a time lapse, took some audio recordings, and I attempted a 3D capture of some of the tomb stones (sadly unsuccessfully!).

Some of the old buildings had really nice textures in the peeling off wallpaper and weathered surfaces, others you could only see in through the windows but were left in interesting set ups - the school for example, with writing on the board and half made craft projects. There was also a church and cemetery, where people still get buried (because of family lineage).  

Mono Lake, the next day, was incredible! It’s main features are ‘Tufa towers’ - geological formations that occur when springs of water rich in calcium bubble up through carbonate rich lake water, reacting to cause a calcium-carbonate salt deposit. Like Joshua Tree, it was like stepping into an imaginary world, or a Dr Seuss book, or a different planet. 

Visiting artist residency at USC School of Cinematic Arts, LA (Part 9) by Anna Madeleine

Doug Aitken, Hot Mess: Aperture series, 2016

Doug Aitken, Hot Mess: Aperture series, 2016

On Thursday I got to go to a talk I’d been looking forward to for ages - The Idea of Time, with LA artists Aaron Koblin and Liz Glynn at Doug Aitken’s new exhibition Electric Earth at MOCA. I’d been interested in Aitken’s Station to Station work - where he got together a bunch of artists to travel across America in a train, making art on the way. Both Liz Glynn and Aaron Koblin were part of this work and it was awesome to hear them speak about it. Glynn’s talk was kind of performed in a really energetic way as she walked around the stage and grappled with generally mind-bending questions about time, space and relativity. Eg. Is time just our perception? Imagining the future and remembering the past happen in the same space, so how do we know the past came before the future? Does the individual amount of time we carry get adjusted every time we get on a plane? If so, do our GPS devices only create a false sense of universal time? Does time equal money? (No - even with no money, time still exists equally.)

Doug Aitken, Black Mirror, 2011, installation view at MOCA

Doug Aitken, Black Mirror, 2011, installation view at MOCA

Aitken's exhibition was incredibly diverse, with seven large scale installations (not just 'large scale' - huge!). His work spans video, experimental music, sculpture, and photography, and I found across all of these was a sense of cinematic epic-ness - highly produced, glossy, and made just right. The works that stood out to me were ‘Black Mirror’, where three video screens were playing in a room made of black mirrored walls. The mirrors reflected the screens endlessly into space, and with each each screen playing a slightly different channel, wherever you were watching from you’d get glimpses of the other screens in the reflections. It was completely fractured yet seamless.

The other was Sonic Fountain II where Aitken cut/dug a huge hole in the gallery floor to make an eery sort of blue pool surrounded by rocks and rubble. Above, a structure of piping was set up to drip water according to the rhythm of a digital code. It was an unusual collision of digital and physical, with such an organic sensation (water dripping) falling from seemingly random sequences into synchronised patterns. The sound of the drops amplified around the space and the smell of the pool and the cool temperature all added to the immersion of the work. 

Doug Aitken, Sonic Fountain II, 2016, installation view at MOCA

Doug Aitken, Sonic Fountain II, 2016, installation view at MOCA

The Griffith Observatory was worth the hour long Uber ride through typical LA traffic. We had a look through telescopes set up on the lawn to see Saturn, which looks exactly like.. a sticker of saturn! It appeared strangely flat, like a graphic or emoji. The inside of the Observatory was also worth the visit - the entrance hall has an amazing and mesmerising Foucault Pendulum (which swings continuously, showing the rotation of the earth) underneath the Hugo Ballin Murals. I also loved the Ahmanson Hall of the Sky which was all about seasons and cycles - sunrise, sunset, tides, and phases of the moon. 

The view was pretty good too I guess

The view was pretty good too I guess

The Museum of Jurassic Technology was.. strange, but very cool! In an inconspicuous terrace building in Culver City, the museum is much bigger than it looks, and feels like it goes on forever, like Alice in Wonderland or Mary Poppins’ magic bag. Annoyingly hard to describe, the museum is a museum about collecting - housing old fashioned natural history museum items, and millions of odds and ends that don’t really fit into any classification. 

It has an exhibition 'Tell the Bees' - an exhibition of pre-scientific cures and remedies, which I’m interested into making into short animations. There were several micro miniature works, like sculptures made in the eye of a needle, or microscopic mosaics; an exhibition with the fantastic title 'The World is Bound by Secret Knots' (about a museum founder Athanasius Kircher); The Lives of Perfect Creatures: The Dogs of the Soviet Space Program - oil paintings of space dog portraits; along with some other really nice drawings done by an astronaut about his time in space; and a room all about Cat's Cradle. Throughout, I really enjoyed the use of Pepper’s ghost technique of projection, as it allowed line work could be layered on top of video really nicely, and has that element of tricking the viewer by physical optical illusion (rather than digital simulation). One of the most fun things about this museum was that it transported you to another time - everything was ancient, some stuff didn’t work, it was mostly dark, and you were left to wander through the maze and discover the different sounds and images by pressing buttons and discovering what happens next, all while curious, perplexed and slightly confused.

Visiting artist residency at USC School of Cinematic Arts, LA (Part 8) by Anna Madeleine

IMG_7446.jpg

I'm working on a project about anatomy and the body, and started experimenting with using tissue paper silhouettes. I cut out simple shapes reminiscent of body parts and animated them against the light box, moving and floating through space. Working with red and blue (anatomy colours) I really like the shapes and colours that form by chance when shapes overlap.

Another way I’ve been thinking about the body is the points of difference between inner and outer movement of the body - e.g. looking and inside movement through MRI scans, CT scans, and X-rays, and outside movement through depictions of actions like yoga and swimming. I was then thinking about the way the meeting point between inner and outer, firstly the skin, but also the medical procedures that pierce or scan the skin to record and measure the movement inside. This series of animations explores this through having a pulse taken, a stethoscope measuring heartbeats, and having blood taken.

A video posted by @matchbox_movies on

 

Another oil pastel on plexiglass glass animation based on a photograph of the cliffs at Zion. While in the desert I was thinking about where I could find movement in the stillness desert, and one idea was the movement of shadows.

I’ve been working on the idea of making cyanotype animations. I’m experimenting with using a short video loop and exporting it to an image sequence, then making each image into a negative printed on transparency. Then I’ll expose these as cyanotypes, then photograph them and put them back into an image sequence then back into a video loop.

Cyanotype testing with one of Karine Simon's images

Cyanotype testing with one of Karine Simon's images

I’ve been wanting to try this for a while but haven’t known what to use as the video. Driving around LA this week I was taken past the massive areas of oil rigs. It’s a strange landscape to see in the middle of a big city, and the oil wells have a nice repetitive up and down movement. So I went back on a mission to get some video - it was all fenced off but I managed to find a vantage point where I got a few clips of the oil wells silhouetted against the sky. With some cropping, it should work.

This week’s seminar speaker was Floyd Norman, a disney animator who has worked on Sleeping Beauty and the Jungle Book, and is the subject of a new documentary. Floyd was a great speaker - very animated himself - and has a really extensive knowledge of the animation industry, along with nice anecdote and personal stories to go with it.

Desert Road Trip - California, Arizona, Utah, Nevada (USC residency, Part 7) by Anna Madeleine

Joshua Tree National Park, Mojave Desert, California:

Lost Palms Springs hike, Colorado Desert, Joshua Tree National Park:

Sedona, Arizona:

Grand Canyon, Arizona:

Zion National Park, Utah:

The Narrows Hike, Zion:

Valley of Fire, Nevada:

Visiting artist residency at USC School of Cinematic Arts, LA (Part 6) by Anna Madeleine

This week I experimented with painting on glass animation for the first time. I loved it! After getting some useful tips from Sheila Sofian including this article on several artists' techniques, I began with simple acrylic paints mixed with glycerin (to keep the paint from drying out) on backlit clear glass.

I’ve been swimming a lot recently and thinking about how I could make an animation that conveys the meditative nature of swimming, and the sort of fluid yet repetitive aesthetic and patterns that emerge - like shapes and silhouettes appearing for a split second overtime you take a breath, the abstraction of glimpsed body parts, the light in the water, the geometry of tiles on the pool, the darkness and rush of a tumble turn, the strength of muscles in pushing off and pulling through the water

For me, I spend a lot of time thinking about maths when I swim - mostly about the fractions and percentages of how much of the swim I’ve done, as I’m doing it. It always starts off with a prediction of how many laps I’ll do, then how many breaks I’ll take, how many laps in each set, then how many of those laps I’ve done. I want to try and merge or layer this mathematical structuring of the swim with imagery of the fleeting and abstract imagery experienced while swimming.

So painting on glass seemed a good way to start this idea, by using the fluidity of water itself. I started just splashing paint down in different consistencies of water to paint. As usual it took a while for the animation to take shape, but at one point I saw what could have been a figure from within the splashes, and I worked with it to make it swim out of the frame. I did this a few more times, as well as more literal line work of the pool itself, feet at a diving board, a tumble turn, the flags above the pool, and the tiles on the bottom of the pool passing by. I think the maths component will be in a different medium, possibly digital and layer it over the top later. Sound will make a big difference to this work as well.

Possible title: What I think about when I think about swimming

A video posted by @matchbox_movies on

Another thing I tried in the Oxberry studio was working on white plexi-glass, as suggested by Sheila. I discovered that oil pastel works really well on the plexiglass, because I can get the really smooth blends that I normally like to draw with. Usually paper doesn’t allow oil pastel to be rubbed off, so the plexiglass is perfect for it.

A video posted by @matchbox_movies on

I was invited by Elizabeth Ramsey from the Division of Media Arts + Practice to a tour of the SCA Media Arts Research Labs.  These labs include the Emergent Cities Research Group, the Game Innovation Lab, the IMAX Immersive Media Lab, the Jaunt Cinematic Virtual Reality Lab, the Mobile and Environmental Media Lab and the World Building Media Lab. A lot of the research is using new tech in really exciting and experimental ways to look at new forms of storytelling and visualisation (lots of VR) with initiatives ranging from health, sustainability, and political and social change.

The Mobile and Environmental Research Lab

The Mobile and Environmental Research Lab

On my second visit to LACMA I was able to see Chris Burton’s kinetic sculpture in action. Heaps and heaps of toy cars set loose - a very true to life depiction of Los Angeles.The attendant has to stand in the middle of the installation and reload the cars after the stop, to keep them moving consistently (unlike LA). I was intrigued by this, the way it had to be kept going manually (they were also really loud!)

Chris Burden's Metropolis II

Chris Burden's Metropolis II

The Serial Impulse at Gemini GEL exhibition was one of the best things I’ve seen in LA so far. It showed prints by artists like Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, Frank Stella, Julie Mehretu, Richard Sierra - many of whom I don’t immediately associate with print as a medium. The show gave an insight into serial production print-making techniques and some really experimental ways of using print different - eg. Michael Heizer’s Scrap Metal Drypoints. Using salvaged bits of scrap metal from the California aeronautical industry, he used surfaces that already had scratches, marks and corrosion on them as his printing plates. My all time favourite from this exhibition was David Hockney’s weather series. This series of six prints each explore a different atmospheric condition - wind, snow, mist, sun, rain, lightning - while referencing Japanese woodblock prints, French Impressionist paintings, and the streets of LA. 

Michael Heizer, Scrap Metal Drypoints

Michael Heizer, Scrap Metal Drypoints

David Hockney, Weather Series

David Hockney, Weather Series

Visiting artist residency at USC School of Cinematic Arts, LA (Part 5) by Anna Madeleine

This week I started using the Oxberry down shooter for the first time. I worked on some more charcoal animation to get the hang of it. It allows for a lot of flexibility in terms of materials and lighting, and is really nice to have big blocks of time in a studio dedicated to animation.

More galleries on the weekend - tried to explore Culver City but it was Labor day weekend so many of them were closed, although we did find this great exhibition by Joseph Stashkevetch at Von Lintel Gallery of large scale works made of heavy paper torn and reformed into sculptural objects. It was fascinating how the paper was drawn on both sides so they were quite seamless while they were actually torn up and reconstructed.

Hauser & Wirth was showing an awesome exhibition - 'Revolution in the Making: Abstract Sculpture by Women, 1947 – 2016'. My favourite works here were by Phyllida Barlow, Jackie Winsor, Shinique Smith and Sonia Gomes, in the room focussing on a new generation of sculptors and including some especially commissioned work. The collection highlighted a really interesting approach to textiles and fabric, making works that were nicely imperfect, kind of messy, made of shapes, chunks, stuffed forms, strings and pom poms and reminded me of body parts or flesh kind of in the realm of Louise Bourgeois, or shapes and forms like soft molecular structures.

Jackie Winsor, 30 to 1 Bound Trees

Jackie Winsor, 30 to 1 Bound Trees

Sonia Gomes, Torções Circulares series  

Sonia Gomes, Torções Circulares series
 

After the speculation of whether we would need to line up for hours to get into the Broad, we got tickets to Cindy Sherman and walked straight in. The Cindy Sherman show was an eye-opener for me, having seen snippets of her work throughout art school but never having sat down and comprehensively studied her work. As a collection, they are quite incredible, exaggerating the ability to manipulate and transform the body into different identities. The exhibition was put together really well against dark walls, and presented a theatrical journey from her early to current work, leaving open what might come next.

The Broad’s permanent collection further concreted the influence of Pop Art on West Coast art, with Jeff Koons, Damien Hirst, Roy Lichtenstein and Ed Ruscha dominating the epic third floor gallery. My favourite moment was when a viewer broke out into a perfect moonwalk dance sequence in front of Koons’ Michael Jackson - only in LA!

En route to the Broad..

En route to the Broad..

Kara Walker, African't

Kara Walker, African't

Visiting artist residency at USC School of Cinematic Arts, LA (Part 4) by Anna Madeleine

Cactus obsession continues… had a look at a neighbours’ cactus garden, and am really interested in the colour palette of them and their texture and ‘hardness’ - some look almost plastic and some of the flowers are super delicate. The agaves in particular have a really interesting white imprint on their leaves, where the sun as marked it before it opens up. Could this be replicated in an artwork, as a sort of ‘exposure’, or natural printmaking process?

 

New favourite artist! Huguette Caland’s work was part of Made in L.A. at UCLA Hammer Museum. Her paired back line drawings of the body are really expressive and touch on issues of body image and eating disorders in a subtle but incredibly powerful way. Her work is also really varied - these drawings were shown alongside vibrant and abstract but very detailed patterned paintings, and painting is her main medium. Some had linework that reminded me of mapping or ariel views of the landscape, others continue looking at the body with shapes that look like disjointed and reconstructed body parts. Also arresting were her smocks and mannequins, where lines become part of the body even more.

I also enjoyed an installation by Rafa Esparza, who buried various objects in Elysian Park in LA and then invited participants to dig them up. The objects were then installed on the veranda of the museum on a floor of beautifully cracked dirt. 

 

I’ve started using the down shooter studios and doing some basic charcoal animations. Although i love the opportunities that the digital animation on the iPad present, I do miss getting my hands dirty and the texture and intuitive aspect of real materials.

Went to the opening of Corey Helford Gallery’s 10th Anniversary Exhibition in Downtown LA - was very typically “LA” - all very much about the glossy surface, extremely figurative and graphic Pop Art style, some works with an anime/cartoon aesthetic. The crowd was just as - if not more so - interesting to watch, with some spectacular costumes and outfits.

Visited a junkyard in Beverly Hills - these are some gems of trash from Hollywood:

 

Also, USC has a cupcake machine...

Visiting artist residency at USC School of Cinematic Arts, LA (Part 3) by Anna Madeleine

Runyon Canyon

Runyon Canyon

London Calling at the Getty was an amazingly curated exhibition of painters Francis Bacon, Lucian Freud, Leon Kossoff, Michael Andrews, Frank Auerbach, and R.B. Kitaj. I was especially taken with the very first painting in the very first room, by Michael Andrews. It was painted at the very end of his life when he was very sick, and I thought it seemed like he was letting go - of his style, of life. The rest of the exhibition was epic, with works by Francis Bacon, Lucien Freud, and Frank Auerbach. I loved Auerbach’s self portraits where he patched up part of the image where it wore away, and kept working on top of it. The Getty’s architecture was amazing as ever, especially at the time of night we were there with sunset of the city, cactus gardens and a never ending trail of car headlights down below.

My first visit to Venice Beach was everything I had hoped - crazies, hippies, make-shift homes. Street vendors, buskers, pythons wrapped around shoulders tanned like brown leather. Stinky public toilets, tourists peddling along on hired cruisers, girls in american flag crop tops on roller skates. The skate park full of attitude, girls smoking and skating, a kid as young as 4 or 5 gunning it before developing a sense of fear. Stormy skies over Palm trees making it feel like a scene from Romeo and Juliet.

The perfect place for people watching, I took a bunch of video clips for possible rotoscoping. Maybe to make short animations of characters of LA, each looping on a separate screen? Screens spread across the wall echoing the vast sprawl of the city, as though mapping the people of LA. Drawing lines, string connecting them to one an other, because there’s no centre to the city, just people and places scattered across a concrete maze of highways and buildings.

screens.jpg

I am developing an interest in earthquakes… the attitude towards earthquakes as LA is interesting, because there’s the constant expectation/anxiety of 'the Big One’, but also a complete apathy/nonchalance about it.

Points of interest:
- Anxiety - stores selling earthquake supply kits vs. people not believing ‘the big one’ will ever hit.
- Earthquake stories - when mentioning earthquakes to people, everyone always has a story about their experiences. “I was in an earthquake once..”, “I’ve heard it’s like…”, etc
- Animating the movement of tectonic plates
- Have began photographing cracks in the pavement. Photographing, animating, and aligning or overlaying with seismograph imagery? 
- Have started collecting seismograph data from USGS and also following Quakebot which tweets any earthquake activity surrounding LA.

Also interested in the plant life of LA. Heaps of cacti and really nice suburban gardens, and also a lot of Eucalyptus trees! Turns out Eucalypts are an icon of Southern California but are also super problematic as they were brought over without the Australian wildlife that keeps them under control, so they have turned into a pest and a danger for bushfires.

Lisa Mann invited me to her group meeting with recent graduates who are working with her on Roto Pasadena, a series of collaborative animations that will be projected onto three buildings in Pasadena - City Hall, the Library and the Police Station. The animations were beautifully made and it was awesome to be involved with their work-in-progress meeting and discussion to see a bit of the rotoscope progress. The projections looked great, met some awesome people, and had my first racoon sighting.

Visiting artist residency at USC School of Cinematic Arts (Part 2) by Anna Madeleine

I've began experimenting with making digital animations on an iPad Pro - a new venture for me! The digital line is super nice and smooth to animate, and I have ideas of layering digital line work over more textural hand-drawn or painted animations to combine the two aesthetics.

#line #faces #simple #animation #drawing #stopmotion #stopmotionanimation #matchboxmovies

A video posted by @matchbox_movies on

This week I've also been thinking about making a work based on getting around LA transport wise - the city has a famous car culture, and - maybe because of that - a really weird relationship with public transport. Even though it's fine to ride around, the new metro line is great, and the buses aren't that bad, people complain a LOT about it, and a lot of people who live in LA have never tried catching the train or bus. I'm getting around by bike and train mostly, but have also just discovered how cheap Ubers are here. There's an 'Uber Pool' option, which lets you car pool with other people going in the same direction. Even catching a normal Uber can be a gamble in how the driver will be and you never know what interesting conversations will come up, but the Pool option multiples that again, because up to three different people can share a ride. I am thinking about recording my Uber rides while I'm here - writing down notes about the drivers and passengers I meet and the conversations I have with them. There's also potential for a mapping project here, using all the receipts of the rides which include where you got picked up from and dropped off. I like that's it's a data trail of navigating the city.

First Uber ride in LA was with Anastasia, who looked like a model in her picture but turned out to be a grant-writer for sustainable energy companies. She picked us up on Mulholland Dr and we shared with an English and German backpacker after we all got lost trying to find our way down from hiking in the Hollywood Hills back to Hollywood Blvd.

Visiting artist residency at USC School of Cinematic Arts, LA (Part 1) by Anna Madeleine

I've just started a visiting artist residency at the Animation Division of the USC School of Cinematic Arts in Los Angeles, thanks to a Project Funding Grant from Arts ACT

While semester doesn't officially start until next week the campus is fairly quite, but I was given a tour of DADA (Division of Animation and Digital Arts) by production supervisor Mar Elepaño and met chair Tom Sito, sound lecturer Bethany Sparks, and animation lecturer Lisa Mann. Above my desk are some original drawings from Beauty and the Beast.

I have been shown the animation stop-motion and down-shooter studios - I'm particularly excited about using the Oxberry animation stands - huge old-school contraptions used for making under-the-camera animation with film. They've now got digital cameras mounted where the film cameras used to be, but still with the original light boxes and spotlights on either side for back and front lighting. 

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art has a huge collection of contemporary and traditional art - too much for one jet-lagged visit! The museum is huge, with several different buildings and multiple large-scale outdoor installations including Michael Heizer's Levitated Mass, a forest of yellow tubes by Jesús Rafael Soto, and the famous lamp posts by Chris Burden. The contemporary gallery was showing an extensive retrospective of Anges Martin's work (the first in USA) - interesting to see the development from early works (which I liked better) to the later grid works. Downstairs, an awesome-looking kinetic installation by Chris Burden that I will have to go back and see when it's running during weekends, along with Rain Room, which is booked up until I leave...

One of the highlights for me was Islamic Art Now, Part 2: Contemporary art of the Middle East, which had some really interesting screen-based works such as the 'Listen' series by Newsha Tavakolian, which was "a group of imaginary CD covers for fantasy albums by women singers, who have not been permitted to perform in public in Iran since the 1979 Islamic Revolution." My favourites though were some incredible paper cuts by Sherin Guirguis, which reference the geometric design of architectural elements, in this case the windows of a railway station. I also found Shoja Azari's video projection really interesting in its unusual framing of moving image within a still composition. It is a projected vertical image like like a book illustration, which is disrupted by animated vignettes within the composition.

I loved the exhibition Senses of Time: Video and film-based works of Africa ( "Our hearts beat to the rhythms of biological time and continents drift in geological time, while we set our watches to the precision of Naval time. "). Theo Eshetu's work was a TV screen surrounded by an infinity room of mirrors that created a sphere of reflections where the viewer is always included, creating a kaleidoscopic merging of us with the art. 

Fellow ANCA studio tenant Annika Romeyn happens to be in Los Angeles as an artist assistant for Robin Eley. After a hike in the Hollywood Hills we spent a good chunk of the afternoon captivated by this amazing kinetic artwork by Patrick Shearn of Poetic Kinetics (in collaboration with students) , mesmerised by its sound, movement, shimmer, as it morphed and flowed like a school of fish or a murmuration.

At MOCA, I loved Pierre Hughe's work Shore, where the wall had been sanded off to create an abstraction on the wall itself, with the paint fallen on the floor underneath (along with a turtle fossil). And after just having made my Submarine Cable Map before leaving Australia, I could relate to and was impressed with the use of cable in Jac Leirner's work (although treated very differently!)

I found the mantra for my residency in John Baldessari's wall painting... #iwillnotmakeanymoreboringart