Intersections: Anila Quayyum Agha
This installation by the Pakistani/American artist Anila Quayyum Agha, uses a central light source that casts a shadow over an entire room, to create a wonderful immersive environment that heightens a feeling of spiritual contemplation. This beautiful resolution of what is a very old idea, is something all of us can think about using and is not the property of any one artist or designer.
Hilden and Diaz
The designers Hilden and Diaz market Ernst Heinrich Haeckel inspired chandeliers; when you illuminate them they cast shadows around your room that turn it into a forest. A very similar idea to Anila Quayyum Agha's and more affordable and available to ordinary people. It also asks some questions as to the relationship between art and design. The reality is that the idea belongs to nature, i.e. to us all.
Shadow of a plum tree cast by moonlight: David M Porter
The sun and moon cast shadows for free and we can all benefit from the idea. Because so many of us are having to self isolate perhaps a project whereby we investigate the potential of a different way of making images would be both useful and distracting, as well as reminding us that we don't need expensive materials and equipment to make interesting images.
This very basic video shows how you could begin a project.
The problem with working in this way is how to give your shadows sharp edges, so here is a short tutorial on how lighting works.
Hard and soft light and shadow tutorial
Using some tape, wire, scissors, a cutting knife and whatever else you might have at hand, try and transform materials you might normally throw away into something that can be used to create shadows of images related to the work you are already doing. Noble and Webster even managed accurate shadow portraits, so it literally can be images of anything.
Noble and Webster
Make sure your light source is not a hot one, the last thing you need to do is burn the house down and that you have camera ready to record anything that looks interesting. Then try and follow the implications of what you have done. Try and film the process as well as record it as a series of static images. Then review your footage and begin the process again, this time relating what you are doing to the potential you have unearthed in the review. In this way you can begin to reveal for yourself what the project might lead to. Remember Jasper Johns and his mantra, "do something and when that's done, do something to that".
I shall try and mix these blog posts up during these days of self isolation, sometimes putting up a practical project and at other times things to generate ideas. But remember, it is in doing things that ideas emerge, so don't think for too long about what all this might mean, just have fun playing with shadows.
The vignette (Includes links to other information about shadows)