Evangeline Brooks

Good Morning! (2019)

Good Morning! reimagines morning routines in an attempt to discover what makes a morning "good." Images were generated with a custom code that distorts webcam input into a geodesic form of movement and colour. The program ran in the mornings as I got ready for the day, creating an abstracted documentation of the routine. Together, the series acts as a visual diary, exploring what a good morning, and therefore a good day, can look like.

Q&A with Evangeline Brooks

Q. Could you tell us about any current projects that you are working on?

A. Blue Dot is my fourth year thesis project; it’s a triptych of interactive screens that comment on burnout culture and productivity shame. The three screens depict the same character in a different setting: a garden, a museum, and a kitchen. Each is a monitor plays an animation that the viewer is able to manipulate and see through a coloured plexi-glass layer sitting in front of the screen.

Q. Describe your project in its current state and what you’d like it’s final outcome to be.

A. Blue Dot is heavily a work in progress right now! Currently, it’s a pile of plexiglass, bottles of dye, and a mess of wires and monitors. There’s a lot of moving parts – the fabrication of the screens themselves, the hardware to allow for interaction, and the software to take that interaction and affect the animation.

Q. How did you reach the conceptualization of your current project?

A. The narrative of the central character is based on a short story by my sibling, Davy. The story follows Nessie, a robot who comes to Earth from outer space to attend public high school. Once there, she has trouble meeting expectations: academically, socially, etc – despite being built to fit in. Her time on Earth is deemed a failure, and she is sent back to space. It’s a powerful story with a lot packed into a few pages, but the comments on how we push ourselves to fit within a system we built beyond ourselves has struck me the most. For the installation, interaction gives the viewer responsibility in Nessie’s world – the audience is able to distort the scene to make it anxious and chaotic, making it impossible to decipher the animation. Turning Nessie’s world into static is similar to what we do to ourselves, busying our own world to the point where we can’t see the important parts.

Q. Are there any artists that have inspired this work? If so, why?

A. The visuals are inspired by artists like Olafur Eliasson, James Turrell, and Josepf Albers – their use of pure colours and light interaction makes their work accessible by boiling their concept down to simple elements: shapes, shades, and the material they’re made of. The concepts I’m working with are ones we often hear about in studies and articles with research and data – important, obviously, but burnout and productivity in our post-capitalist world are so pervasive and incredibly integrated into our everyday that it’s easy to forget that the problem can also be seen in simple terms. By using essentialist aesthetics, I’m hoping to simplify a big concept into something easy to digest, as well as make a composition that’s easy to look at.

Q. Describe any challenges you have faced and any solutions that you have found to be helpful in the creative process.

A. The materiality of Blue Dot has been a big challenge. I’m lucky to be working with a narrative that’s conceptually very strong, so much of my job as the artist (and not the writer) is to make sure the concept comes through physically. It’s been a journey to colour the acrylic – I tested glues and adhesives into the double digits. The solution here was to give up – I was headstrong in affixing coloured acetate onto the acrylic, but neither material was happy with being glued to the other. I switched gears to dyeing it instead, and the process became quicker and cheaper and looked much cleaner. I find it’s much smoother to work with the medium and follow what it wants instead of forcing it to look the way you think it should be.

Q. Have you had any success in getting your work out into the world? Do you have suggestions for other artists?

A. This is a terrifying question. This piece in particular hasn’t seen the light in a finished form yet, but I’ve been lucky to show other recent, similar work at small scales locally, whether in Image Arts or with Toronto-based art collectives, screenings, or publications. For artists (including myself) I’d suggest a break – let your brain breathe for a bit so it can work hard for you later! There’s no rush to get anywhere because most of us don’t even know where we’re going, so take your time.

Work In Progress

Thesis: Blue Dot