Having finetuned my first dorodango to as good as I could I moved on to a new one, like Sebastian and Erno. This time I dug the soil from another spot, and it seems there’s no sand this time – good. But as I srarted to form the ball, I noticed the consistency resembles clay, which can be bad I guess, as the ball might crack more easily. Webcam connection worked much better this time, and working was a pleasure.
“It was time to start from the beginning. I dug up some dirt from underneath some crooked trees. This was much muddier than my last batch of soil so the feel and overall experience working with it was quite different. The material felt squishy in my hand but I was able to find the weight and proper compression of it.
I too, as Thomas mentioned whilst discussing, find this formation of a constant quite deep and meditative experience. When I get it ready I feel like I should preserve or sacrife it somehow for something greater. Back to the essence perhaps?”
Sebastian: Today´s session was tiring, the Internet connection broke often and so did the surface of my dorodango.
I decided to find new set of soil, dirt and dust. Beginning with a fresh start to see if i can master it in the coming round.
Erno: Last nights session with dorodango was like drinking tar from a bowling ball. When I tried to start my workshop computer it just replied with weird beeps that I could not comprehend. This ment the convinient communication channel was out.
The dorodango ball itself felt quite good at first. It was solid, firm, but there where some uneven areas on the surface. I took the old sock out and desicively started to polish it. The outcome was not as hoped: the surface mostly just got rougher. I tried applying some black pigment even to try to smooth it out. The pigment gave a nice gradient at best but nothing to solve the fundamental problems.
I need more dirt, need to start a new.
Olli: This time connection problems played a big role in my dorodango session. We used Jitsi, and most of the time what I heard was glitchy. I could not also see people’s cameras, so I felt a bit alone hearing something distorted that reminded me of laughter and remarks. At one moment I visited upstairs and as I came back, the connection started to work, and the rest went better. There is a recording of the meet, though, so I can listen and watch the discussion later.
My mud ball has been now around 1 month in fridge.
When I took it out from the plastic bag, It felt a little bit moist on the surface, so I add on it fine dust gathered from the cellar.I continued polishing it, and suddenly it slipped from my hand. There was a sound like a stone would have felt on the table. The mud ball fell and got several cracks!
I tried to press it together; the cracks got smaller, but I could not get them away. I add some dust into the cracks and put it back to the fridge.
I smuggled a bit over two kilos of very very find sand, hand picked from beach in Tokushima prefecture in Japan. At that time i had no idea what to use it for, i just fell in love with the fine grain and smoothness of the sand. When we started this process it instantly clicked inside my head and i knew that i had to use the sand for the fine outer layers of my dorodangos. I finished adding sand layers to my first dorodango and let it dry out. It was rock solid! but it alas during the last dry out for some reason i did not put over soft pillow and it had a slight flat point in other way rather smooth surface. The sand also as a final layer was eventually not smooth enough and i went looking for new fine dirt outside. i eventually found it between street and a curb. a place where all the dust gathers from cars going by. I must have looked like mad man crawling on the street scooping dust with my hand to a shifter and from there to a small yogurt can. so i started another Dorodango building process…
I started my Dorodango with excitement and I saw that mine would be the greatest thing ever done. For the base I used mud that I took outside of my workroom. It was very good to mold for the shape of the ball. After the base was more or less round, I started to apply very fine dust from the streets of Turku on it. The ball kept its shape so I left it to dry for a week or so. Next time I took the ball out of its bag, it had dried and was hard as a rock. However it was not so round anymore… I tried to round it more with glass but that wasn´t such a good idea. I had applied a bit too less of the fine dust on the surface so as I used the glass it took off small pieces of rock from the surface and those rocks made some scratches on the ball.
After that I began to polish the ball. I used leather and sock for that. After a while I discarded the leather and continued with the sock. The polishing took quite a while before the ball started to shine. However, because the balls surface was uneven, it became to look like a moon with all its craters and that beautiful smooth and perfect ball that I had in my mind when I started the process. But in the end, I like more of the crater filled moon than the idea of a perfect world.
Last Sunday I started two new ones and they started to build up nicely. The mud was wet enough and the fine sand was successfully applied over. I added some color to it and I am now excited to see, how the color will be shown on the DoroDangos.
I started my ball in session 2 two days ago with some soil I dug from our yard. I filtered the biggest particles away thinking that the consistency would be proper. For some reason I did not put the ball in the fridge, but left it on the cellar floor inside a plastic bag. In session 3 I started to work with the ball and noticed it was quite flexible and started cracking when changing shape. The surface felt rather gritty and trying to remove sand particles from the surface just revealed more. I filtered some fine dust out of the dry soil, applied it all around the ball and put into the fridge.
I scooped some dirt from a large pile of soil in the back of my studios parking lot. I had to remove many small roots and stones from the dirt. At first my Dorodango ball kept cracking and I realized I needed to add more water to the mix. After putting in the refrigerator for a few days it was solid but still to rough on the surface. I decided to filter the dirt through tarry cloth and cote the out side of the ball with this mixture. I also added some clay and than I put it back in the refrigerator.
I collected mud from a dried out puddle on the bottom of a hill in our neighborhood. On the hill is a massive landscaping project going on and the fine consistence of the mud comes I as I guess from the washed out sediment. I formed five balls in the size between golf and a tennis ball. I want to experiment with different sands and dust for the finish. Right now four balls are in the fridge still moist and squeezable. The fived I put in a bucket of sand to let more moisture drain out. Tonight I continue to work on it. Cigarette ashes I will try on the next, metal dust from a welding/grinding place on the following.
Dorodango session 2
Participants for the second session were Thomas Westphal, Olli Suorlahti, Erno Pystynen, Mark Andreas, Sebastian Ziegler and Heini Aho. Some of them started a new ball, some continued the old ones.
Erno: I started with a new soil, because the sand i got from the lake is too fragile, it does´t work.
Yesterday I was reminded of the importance of ground work in everything.
Otherwise, it was a meditative, some people talk about the danger zone, I call it Dorodango zone, meditative zone.
Sebastian: I was not too concerned about my ball (even nothing so special happened to it), my mind was set in the how to get all of our members online and how to keep the recording working. How to capture the records, which platform is the best? Jitsi instead of Skype?
Heini: I took the ball out from the fridge. The ball was surprisingly good looking, even if it was sitting in a plastic bag for nearly two weeks, there was no cracks. I started polishing the ball with a rug, which did not really work well. Instead of polishing it, I created scratches in the surface. I am not sure how to continue. I packed it back to the fridge and perhaps continue it with more sand.
Erno: Do we perform the balls in someway? Stop motion? Installation?
Heini: Do we plant a seed inside?
Sebastian: Can we imagine to get our all balls in one place. To bring the all balls in one place? Soil is on forbidden list in so many countries.
About Videokaffe, an international artist collective.
What thrives in us is our interdisciplinary and international background. Drawing from engineering, science, technology, crafts, sounds and arts. We explore and aim towards an inclusive, interactive and process oriented experience, while manufacturing a unique edutainment. The collaboration is sparked by the members’ desires to create innovative, challenging and transformative art by learning from each other, building on each other’s talents.
We are seeking to find the nexus between digital and analog, through the medium of kinetic sculpture. Videokaffe has members in Finland, Germany, The U.S., and Russia. Since its formation in 2011 the collective has had numerous exhibitions in The U.S., Russia, Germany, and Finland. The members collaborate working remotely from their studios across the world through digital media portals creating new artworks. Videokaffe comes together for a studio residence/exhibition at least once a year in the same location.
Videokaffe was recently presented in C.A.P. Kobe studios /Japan, as a part of SeeSawSeed project by it`s two members Jenny Mild and Sami Pikkarainen. Since the group generally enjoys learning new practical skills, it feels natural to start our next task with the art of mud balls from the Japanese culture.
Our work in progress for the Prosessigalleria during the following two weeks will be the “Dorondango”.
Dorodango is a traditional Japanese craft, where the end result should be a glossy ball made out of dirt. During the upcoming weeks we connect through webinars from our ateliers to put hands on mud together.
The Videos between the Videokaffe members ateljees are showing a table, hands and the process of forming a ball.
The individual end product is clear: to make a polished ball. How it plays together we don’t know yet.
In the recent past we have exhibited in Galleria Anhava, Helsinki and SeeSawSeeds, Kobe/ Japan where two of our artists had a residence and Exhibition. In Galleria Anhava devidet the Gallery to Showcase and Laboratory: the Showcase side stayed as a gallery while the other half transformed into a wokrshop and opened the space for the public to see us work. During the exhibition we produced a “Ruby Goldberg”-machine and through that opened the process to anyone interested, by performing examples and giving space for discussion.