- Project proposal

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What do you want to make?

Working title: (sur)face
In the first year of Piet Zwart I have been looking at LGBT related topics. I mostly did so from a personal subjective perspective in photography, and by looking into queer cinema. In the presentation of the second term I made clear that I wanted to be make a statement with my work, be more political. As feedback the tutors told me I already make a statement in the work that I make.

Ideally, as a graduation proposal, I would like to continue with the three lines of thought I’ve been working on in the first year. The photographic medium in itself (and the methodology of the ‘table’ not the tableau’) , making the (gay) cinematic language my own combined with CGI and LGBT issues/identity. As an end result I would like to bring these three (or four?) things together, though it might still be loose entities. I think It could be interesting to work towards an installation through curation of the material I will gather. Besides I am considering a solo exhibition in Amsterdam after the graduationshow and maybe an accompanying self-published photobook.

One of the actualities that caught my fascination is the study “Deep Neural Networks (DNN) can detect sexual orientation from faces” by Yilun Wang and Michael Kosinski. It claims that faces contain information about sexual orientation and that AI can interpreted this better than humans. An Artificial Intelligence Gaydar so to say. According to the study gay men and women tend to have gender-atypical facial morphology, expression and growing style. This corresponds with the idea of PHT (prenatal hormone theory).
This theory asserts the following:

“(…)same-gender sexual orientation stems from the underexposure of male fetuses and overexposure of female fetuses to prenatal androgens responsible for the sexual differentiation of faces, preferences and behavior” (Wang, Kosinski, page 30).”



model_heat_map.png
Heat map produced to see which parts of the face provides information about a subject's sexuality
(Stanford University, Kosinski and Wang)

At this stage the research remains very incomplete and has a lot of ‘what if’s’. The theory could even be wrong, but I am more interested in the possibilities or perhaps the dangers/dread in these technologies for the LGBT community. There is for example a possibility of a dystopian future; if in the wrong hands, state sponsored homophobia/transphobia could be further implemented through technology.

It also makes me think about what one can tell from a surface. The surface is superficial and not superficial at the same time. The things we see, look a certain way for a reason, especially if it is man-made. One could argue that it also concerns nature.

With this information I would like to propose a combination of still and moving images, that will accompany each other similar to an installation piece. The work will consist of photographs, video(s), perhaps also other media objects (books, texts.…).



The photographic part of this installation will consist out of images collected throughout the years, but will mainly focus on new images, or at the time of the graduation, recent work. 
A online page I made accompanying an exhibition about intimacy serves as a good example of how that might look like. (I do feel an itch to take it a bit further by thinking about a more sculptural way of presenting). 



intimacy.png
Online 'exhibition' page that accompanies an exhibiton about intimacy. It shows my working method of creating 'tables', where I combine recent work with older work to create a new space of meaning.
Full page: http://www.fabianlandewee.com/intimacyopdeschans/index.html

The video part I imagine as a short film with overlapping footage (my own and found footage). Where fiction is blended with reality (or actualities) inspired by queer cinema. As a side note I should mention that Queer cinema is very broad but my focus is mainly on gay cinema and those who break with the conventional structure of what is considered cinema and what is considered normal in society.

illustrationontext2.png
sketch one to illustrate illustrationtext.png
sketch two to illustrate



In both the photographic and filmic work I will try to involve people from my ‘bubble’, for example friends, acquaintances and other people from the community. They will be ask to perform, pose or talk in my work. 
In that way it also becomes their work.







How do you plan to make it?
My methodology consist out of gathering material in the first place. So I will start by contacting people who would like to participate in showing their vulnerability in front of the camera. These images I can use in one of my ‘tables’. When there is a ‘click’ I want to ask the person to also participate in the moving image part of my research as this takes more time and dare of the person involved.

What is your timetable?
Practice:


Medio December: have first materials as a rough sketch for installation (or whatever the end result will be)

Weekly schedule untill at least December:
- At least one day a week: creating images (still and/or moving)
- One day a week: arranging/producing/editing
- Two days a week: theory/reading/research/practical research
- One day: working to pay the bills
- Weekend for catching up in case there are other obligations during the week, working to pay the bills, or free.

Theory Deadlines:
10-11-17 Thesis outline (what form will it take?)
24-11-17 Graduate Proposal Deadline:
12-01-18 Deadline First Chapter
16-02-18: Deadline First Draft Thesis
05-03-18: Joint2: Deadline Second Draft thesis (texts to 2nd readers)
12-03-18: Deadlines Second readers' comments
05-04-17: DEADLINE THESIS 






Why do you want to make it? 


My work deals with the gay male subjective gaze, desire, making analogies, trying to collect and connect to the world. But lately I feel the urgency to react to current developments in homophobia. I still do not understand the fear of the 'other'. I think we should celebrate diversity and that we should try to find what we have in common instead of what separates us. Besides this I also want to consider the dread that comes with new technologies which might be used to violate human rights.



Who can help you and how? 


| Michal Kosinski || assistant professor @ Stanford University, maker of the study about how DNN can detect someone's sexual preference |
| Jordi | styling / make-up /performing
| Thijs, Dino, Ting, Zu and others | as performers/actors/models |
| Ting, Karim | clothing/styling |
| Classmates | assistance with filming, questions and feedback

|
| Tutors | feedback, postproduction, thesis, texts and artists to research |



Relation to previous practice

Photography:
In form and methodology but also in subject matter my graduation project will be very much connected to my previous practice. On the one hand I will continue the three strands of thinking I mentioned earlier. On the other hand it is also a continuation of my methodology I started using during my graduation year of my bachelors study. To explain this I will have to look back at my previous graduation project. In 2012 I graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Maastricht where I studied Visual Communication with photography as main focus. For my graduation project I made an installation and photo book dummy with digital and analogue photo’s, incorporating self-portrait collages together with found footage from strangers’ family albums, microscopical images created in collaboration with a cancer research institute in Utrecht, pictures of the sun, the moon as well as abstracted images of taken in the surroundings of my own family’s home. 


Schermafbeelding%202017-06-05%20om%2013.38.36.png
Images: Untitled, 2012

With this project my photographic practice focused mainly on the collection of different types of photographic images. From this point on single images started to be less important to me than the overall combination of images. Through careful selection and combinations, I aim to create new analogies between the different materials.

Therefore my work should always be presented as a ‘table’ not as a ‘tableau’. The idea of the working table and the open possibility of changing the order of the images therefore also means that I do not work in fixed series or projects with my photographic images.

When working with photographs, my methodology consists in arranging and rearranging my ‘collected’ images. Continuing and elaborating on this practice, I have been researching the photographic medium itself, through for example texts written by the three pioneers of writing about photography: Susan Sontag, Roland Barthes, and John Berger, and also others.

Now I am continuing and elaborating on this practice. In form and methodology but also in subject matter my graduation project will be very much connected to my previous practice.



Video
In my research in the first year of the Piet Zwart Institute I have been particularly interested in queer (and gay) cinema as well as magic and rituals. The interest in magic and rituals started after seeing work by Maya Deren and Kenneth Anger, (see previous essay). 


Ernesto de Martino described the role of rituals and magic as a way for individuals to try to regain control again in times of uncertainty and confirm their presence in the world. Considering the daily world news and the current state of affairs, humankind might well be in need of something magical right now.

Below you can find two video's of my first attempts exploring the cinematic language. Through the use of slowmotion, colorful lights, black and white, sounds of outerspace, and by not having any dialogues I try to conceive a mystical/uncanny atmosphere. You see a young man, partly undressed looking and laughing in front of the camera, while a glass of water is being poured in slowmotion and in reverse.

The second video also has no narrative but has a more performative elements to it. In the short film you see a friend of mine, dressed up in his usual attire. While I lie on his lap, staring into the camera, he shaves of my hair. Unlike, Untitled 2017, this video not filmed in a professional studio. For this film I transformed my friend’s own apartment with the help of redhead lights and colorgels.






My graduation project will be in the same line of work as mentioned above. The difference is that I want to add topicality, and leave the magic part out, especially in the film part. This doesn’t mean I won’t borrow the aesthetics related to magic and rituals.






Relation to a larger context

"If one thing matters everything matters"

Artist Wolfgang Tillmans greatly influences me in the way of thinking about the photographic medium in itself, but also about the presentation of my own work. He creates site-specific installations where images are interchangeable and have no hierarchy. The seemingly arbitrary images of his immediate surroundings are powerful yet intimate.

Most artist that influence me are gay or queer. Besides Wolfgang Tillmans and Kenneth Anger, I enjoy or can relate to the work of Greg Araki, Derek Jarman, Brucelabruce, Sergei Parajanov together with Alejandro Jodorovski, Matt Lambert and Alexandre Haelefi.






References
The preprint paper: https://osf.io/zn79k/
https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/a33xb4/a-frightening-ai-can-determine-a-persons-sexuality-with-91-accuracy?utm_source=mbfb
https://www.lgbtqnation.com/2017/09/hrc-glaad-release-silly-statement-gay-face-study/
https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/sep/07/new-artificial-intelligence-can-tell-whether-youre-gay-or-straight-from-a-photograph
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/news/ai-gay-faces-facial-recognition-study-claims-artificial-intelligence-a7936851.html
https://www.economist.com/news/science-and-technology/21728614-machines-read-faces-are-coming-advances-ai-are-used-spot-signs

Jenkinson, J. (1997), Face facts: A history of physiognomy from ancient Mesopotamia to the end of the 19th century. The Journal biocommunication 24
Daston, L. and Galison, P. (2007), Objectivity, The MIT Press


http://www.aliciafrankovich.com/
https://www.artsy.net/artist/mark-morrisroe
http://jeremyshaw.net/