Well, the course has finished and I’m still doing a bit of work here and there.
My plan was to start a new blog for anything that I might do, but it seems silly to throw all of this away so I’m just going to keep developing what’s here. In lieu of an entirely new blog, I’ve changed the theme so at least it looks a bit fresh and new.
Now that the course is over I can include a few bits of older work that, looking back on them, seem especially relevent to the areas I want to develop now. So hang on in there and some new things might appear after that…
“Above all else, it is about leaving a mark that I existed: I was here. I was hungry. I was defeated. I was happy. I was sad. I was in love. I was afraid. I was hopeful. I had an idea and I had a good purpose and that’s why I made works of art.”—Felix Gonzalez-Torres
the following. I wasn’t going to publish it but I need to try and use it for some positive reflection.
I only posted today that I was concerned that the show had too many elements and that perhaps it needed stripping down a bit. After the private view I’m almost convinced that I’m right. I’d like to say it was the fault of the visitors but I’m the person that displayed the work as it is and it’s obviously not done it many favours.
I really struggled watching people do one (or all) of the following things. a) Popping their head around the corner and moving on. b) Scanning what was on the wall and moving on. c) Telling me how terribly conceptual it is.
I honestly don’t see it as being particularly conceptual. Conceptual Art in the strictest sense is art in which the idea is more important than the outcome. Outside of this all art is conceptual to some degree in the sense there is always a motivation behind it.
I wouldn’t call what I’ve done in the college “Conceptual Art” because what is hung on the wall is far more important to me than the idea behind it. The concept was simply a series of representations of a space and period of time.
I don’t see the overarching idea as even being particularly important in looking at the work. I suppose my only question would be: do you find something in the marks that is of interest to you? Do you find them beautiful?
People seemed to prefer to cast around for the “grand plan” so that they could feel the piece was seen and understood and therefore able to be moved on from.
I should emphasise that I feel I’m to blame for this. All of the extra elements play up the idea of concept and I now see it was a mistake. If I could completely redo the whole thing it would just be the drawings and the graphs. And perhaps the sound.
I don’t know - at what point does conceptual become Conceptual?
is a fascinating series of documentaries by Adam Curtis that’s on iPlayer.
For my part, I’m less than enamoured of the machines after some fairly spectacular technological failures at the private view this evening. Projector - dead.
After some rescue attempts with a replacement I’m not sure what I’m going to do. If I was of the right temperament I’d probably just cry. That and a few other things made this evening pretty hard.
Anyway, I don’t want to give up so I’m trying to reconfigure the display in a way that will work. I don’t want to rely on something as complex as a slide projector, because should anymore problems arise I’d like to be able to sort them out easily.
So I’ve had to do some thinking. I’ve got a tracing paper wall which I’d rather not tear down. I had the projector for the beam of light and the sound. So how can I get those two things but in a different way?
My aim is to try and backlight the tracing paper so you get more of the shadows of people inside cast onto it. I was never very happy that this didn’t work with the projector beause it’s beam is so focused so I need to try and see this as a positive. A series of lamps or something should work. So I’m frantically investigating.
And sound. Well I’ve already got mechanical clocks and kitchen timers so one of those should suffice. Watch this space.
I already handed the evaluation in, but I have a couple of niggling criticisms that keep bothering me.
Well, just one really. And it’s not really a criticism as much as a statement on where I am at the moment.
As I was putting the work up, I was getting more confident in the drawings and almost felt the need to strip a lot of the other stuff away. Like it was only there because I didn’t feel they and the graphs could stand up on their own. I don’t think this is true because the whole installation works really well and fulfils my brief but I suppose it indicated where I’d like to go next.
I think I need the time to refine what I’m doing and strip away some elements. In essence I’d like to do a Fine Art degree.
Does anyone know of a mysterious benefactor willing to fund me through one?
I would like to start by stating that I am extremely proud of how this project has progressed. I feel as though I worked with all of the new skills and confidence gained as part of the first two sections of the course and developed them further and have ended up with a selection of work and final presentation that I can be satisfied with. I think I have met all of the aims of my initial proposal and many more besides. Whilst there have been small changes, they have happened naturally. Keeping the blog and working in my sketchbooks and effectively using tutorial time has allowed me to maintain control of the process. I have managed these changes well and doing so has hugely increased my confidence in my way of working.
I believe perhaps the most important decision of the entire project was the decision to take on the external brief. This didn’t happen until a couple of weeks into the project and it has confirmed to me that an external stimulus and subject matter is absolutely key to my way of working. As I stated in my initial proposal, whilst I am confident that I have developed a strong conceptual and practical set of interests and skills, they are best used in response to something. This gives my work focus and allows my design process a certain logic and structure which means I can remain in control of it even in the face of creative problems and blocks. It also provides a deadline which I find incredibly useful. Whilst I am happy with the rate at which I worked throughout the project, I found towards the end that the pressure and increased work rate that a deadline brings is incredibly stimulating in terms of forming ideas. Whilst this can be frustrating in terms of perhaps not being able to use them in the current project, it has given me a huge amount of momentum and faith in the knowledge that I will continue to practice in some form once the course has finished.
This leads me on to another realisation which is just as important as the first. In this project in particular I have discovered processes which I can fall back on should a project’s development run in to difficulties. These are specifically activities such as mark making and walking. Contrary to my opinion at the beginning of the course, these activities are generative in terms of ideas and problem solving. This is evidenced in the larger sketchbook I started working in when the project seemed to hit a dead end about halfway through. And in fact, it is the ideas and work that I developed during this seemingly difficult period have proved the most interesting and has formed the majority of the work I have presented in the final show. I now see that practice feeds into concept and ideas just as much as, if not more so, than the other way around.
On the surface, I believe it seems that my final realisation has changed hugely from my initial proposal. Keeping a blog has proved vital in keeping track of these changes and allowing me to reflect and document my thought process adequately. However, looking back now I see that any changes that have occurred have been in terms of my understanding of certain terms I used in the initial proposal. For example, in the proposal I was planning to include a live element in my work, which I took to mean a performance in which I would take part. To look at my work now, there is no discernible ‘live’ part, but in fact the change that is inherent as part of a live performance is evidenced throughout; for example with the salt crystals growing over time. I have also expanded my understanding of what ‘documentation’ might be. I had assumed it would take the form of lens-based recording but I am now more interested in how an object or drawing itself can be a record of an action, and in fact I have deliberately avoided using photographic representation in order to allow these different methods of recording action and place to come to the fore and not be subsumed underneath a direct photographic representation.
The only thing I don’t think proved as helpful as I might have imagined was specifying that I would work in ‘fibre-based’ media. Whilst in actual fact I have stuck to this, I don’t think that medium is particularly important to me as an artist, rather I find the media appropriate to the project and utilise and exploit them. I believe I would have been attracted to the rope braids on the chairs regardless of whether they were included in my chosen working materials, and in actual fact, I think trying to stick to these restrictions too rigidly was the cause of my loss of motivation halfway through the project. Allowing this selection and specification of suitable materials to happen more naturally and having the confidence that it will happen, rather than attempting to do so from the outset, would be the one change I would make to the project in the future.
I keep mentioning how I have been working with the atmospheric reports I had printed from the stored data at the Old House.
My initial plan was simply to use them as a ready made and pin them straight to the wall as a foil for the drawings I’ve done. But they were far too intelligible. Everything else I’m putting together has a sense of impenetrability or strangeness about it.
So I spent ages tipex-ing out all of the lines and then quick off-ed them onto some nice paper. I’m really pleased with the result - it’s like I’ve removed their purpose with the aim of aestheticizing them - much like the destiny of a lot of the pieces in the Old House and museums more generally.
The final element was to use the most expensive paper I’ve used so far. The sense of weight and value this adds to them should contrast nicely with my drawings which have just been done on found questionnaires from the Old House, which is bog standard copy paper. I’d like people to wonder which of the two things deserve the better treatment and materials. A piece of traditional ‘artwork’ or a scientific representation.
I’ve also found I like drawing with the cheapest materials available - biros and tipex etc. More later.
I’m really not sure why the idea suddenly entered my head, but I couldn’t see any reason why it wouldn’t work and it has. They now function as speakers. Very happy.
The idea was in response to the participatory part of my original brief. Whilst I’m not so interested in actual participation anymore, I still want the viewer to be aware of their physicality whilst within the installation. So I’m going to set up the projector so they have to walk through it, and rather than just being able to put some headphones on, if they want to listen to the sountrack then they’ll actually have to hold the handset to their ear, which I think will emphasise the time that they’re listening because they’ll have to make that extra effort. Also - if I suspend them from the ceiling it will really define the space and make them aware of how they’re moving.
Plus - all the sound stuff I’ve made kind of sounds like you’re intruding on something. Like when someone’s mobile accidentally calls you from their pocket.
The ambient sounds of the Old House combined with a track by sound artist Ryoji Ikeda.
Ikeda works with raw infomration to make soundscapes. The idea of raw information is really relevent to my project, and also I like the extra dimension it adds to the recording of the house. I think it makes the listener aware that whilst they are listening that something is being communicated. And not necessarily something they can grasp. Also - when Claire heard it she suggested that it reminded her of the possibility that a phone line may be tapped and that someone is listening it. Which obviously works perfectly with the fact that I want to record the duration of the exhibition.
A very vague overview of some research I’ve been doing as I go along. I’ve been meaning to post it for ages. It’s all in reference to Freud’s writing. I think it illuminated some of the reasons I’ve been doing things quite well.
The most obvious reference to repetition in Freud’s work is in the essay ‘Remembering, Repeating and Working Through’. In this Freud link repetition to the unconscious in the sense that we are doomed to repeat negative behaviour patterns until we consciously remember and work through them. This is what he sees the function of the psychoanalytic therapy as.
However, more interesting to me was the fact that repetition forms the basis of what Freud terms the death drive (todestrieb). Freud outlines his theory of the death drive in the essay ‘Beyond the Pleasure Principle’. The death drive remains a controversial aspect of his theoretical framework due to it’s basic thesis that alongside the will-to-life is another, darker force which drives organisms in the opposite direction.
Before this, Freud had suggested that all life operates in accordance with the pleasure principle. This is essence means that all psychic energy and effort is expended in the attempt to gain pleasure. However, Freud saw this was problematic in many clincal cases he treated. His primary example is that of war veterans suffering from post traumatic stress disorder. Why would these patients be consciously and unconsciously living the extremely traumatic events in dreams and such like, if the sole goal of life was to attain pleasure.
To counter this Freud proposed an economic model of psychic energy, which rather than being based on a pleasure/unpleasure division, was focused on maintaining a calm equilibrium within mental life. In this sense, any psychical excitement or disturbance, whether pleasurable or unpleasureable would be recognised as negative.
Thus the death drive. This translation perhaps carries the wrong connotations since it does not necessarily imply a drive towards death, but rather an inorganic state. By this, Freud means that the mind is constantly being pulled in several directions. The pleasure principle pushes the subject to search out pleasure, and the reality principle tones down the pleasure principle in order that the search for pleasure not prove so strong that the individual harm him/herself in the pursuit of it. And in addition, the death drive pushes towards the absolute lowest level of psychic tension attainable, i.e. death.
Alot of what I’m making at the moment has this element of psychic energy about it. When I removed the axes and information from the atmospheric reports, the lines they made could be in reference to anything. The bottom tends to be much more level than the top, like a monotonous undercurrent.
And in my drawings there is always a tension between simple repeated motions and the more frentic writing of the words. When recorded these repeated movements sound rather like a clock. I.e. mechanical or inorganic. I’m not sure how well I’m expressing my thoughts on the matter, because it is a complicated one. But I suppose I hope both the drawings and the graphs suggest a tension between the objective (inorganic) and the subjective (organic), and between expression and it’s negation.
I’ve layered the more regular straight stitch-like (metronome-ish) marks over top of the more frenetic writing ones. I think the combination of the two communicates the sense I get of doing the drawing. It’s like a constant push and pull between the two things. Repetition. Expression. Control. Spontaneity.
As I start to pull the different strands of my work together I think (hopefully) that certain themes I was working with are becoming more apparently.
The one I’m most interested in is the contrast being subjective and objective, and handmade and machine made - and how these terms might become slightly confused.
Again - this is where sound is becoming key I think. Whilst I’ve been working on some drawings for the Old House I realised that the sound of the activity is as important as the marks themselves. And I think displaying the two together will make this clear. I almost feel like I become a clock, or a machine. Albeit a very imperfect one. Going to try to upload the audio later.
As I start to plan what my final show presentation might be, I find myself struggling to communicate how specific everything I’m choosing is. I suppose it’s just because I have quite a strong instinct when it comes to think I do and don’t like, but everything I’m choosing is very deliberately selected.
From the clips I want to hang things with, to a specific tape recorder I’ve found, everything has a particular resonance. It’s mostly on a purely formal level. So a lot of the time I find the same marks reappearing everywhere. Whilst I was loading the projector carousel I noticed that the converging lines of the slides mimicked the lines I noticed previously in the knitting machine and the loom.
I sometimes worry that people don’t look at my work this way because they immediately jump to searching for some overarching concept. Hopefully the bit of work I did in the larger sketchbook will help make it more pronounced.
So, it was my birthday at the beginning of April. A particularly thoughtful friend decided to put together a package of various creative type things for me. Part of it was this amazing paper. It’s maybe the most delicate paper I’ve ever come across. Parts of it are totally falling apart (almost like tumble dryer lint like in the Gabriel Orozco piece I posted ages ago). And despite being so delicate (or perhaps because of it) you can still really clearly see the grid formation from when it was made.
Anyway, I knew I had to find a use for it. And I did! I ended up quick off-ing the sketch up diagram of the salt chair onto it. And I’m really so pleased with it. The contrast of the computer generated image and the delicate paper is really beautiful. I’m not sure what I can use it for, but as another example of contrasting handmade and machine made is works really well.
All the talk of presentation has got me thinking. I have all but finalised how I would like the work displayed in the Old House. Just three large (five litre) laboratory glass beakers spaced evenly in front of the fireplace, with ropes coming out of them and (hopefully) crystals developing. The positioning is key, because when the chair was functional it was kept close to the fire so as to keep the salt from getting wet. Now I’d like to put salt, in a state as wet as it can get, in a similar position. Hopefully associations of the fire and heat will be apparent and juxtapose nicely with the cold glass and water.
However, I am aware that the leap from the chair to this maybe too great, and it seems wrong to have a work so completely bound up with the chair, and yet not do anything with it. If they will let me I’d like to reorganise the kitchen a bit so that the chair can stand opposite and facing the three beakers. In order to make it clear that it is a part of the work I’d like to place it on top of a perspex box filled (or half filled) with salt.
I’m really pleased with this solution, since the box would work in the same way as a pedestal. However, where putting something on a pedestal for aesthetic consideration would traditionally mean depriving it of it’s original function and use value, doing this will hold the aesthetics of the piece and the chair’s original function in contrast with one another.
This configuration could also provide a platform for using the rock salt lick block. If I were to place the block on the seat of the chair (block on chair on box) it would provide a good visual repetition and draw attention to the void inside the chair. And, the chair would be sandwiched between the two incarnations of salt.
Having realised that time and it’s passing are so important to this project, I’ve been thinking about the most effective way to incorporate it into my work and/or its presentation.
I’ve collected a few time keeping devices - a stopwatch, an egg timer, an wind up clock and a metronome. Trying to select which is most appropriate is proving problematic.
I’m intending on using something at both locations, to try and tie them together - even if the viewers aren’t aware of this. My current thinking is to place something inside the salt chair so that you can hear it ticking from the outside. My instinct is leaning towards the metronome for this because of the clarity of the sound it makes. The movement of its pendulum is also appealing, but if it’s inside the chair you wouldn’t be able to see it. Perhaps it should be on top of the chair?
I think I can discount the clock from both sites because it doesn’t have quite the right connotations. If I’m working with this pseudo-scientific aesthetic then one of the timers would probably be more fitting. Perhaps both? I mean, the stopwatch counts upwards where the egg timer counts down. I’m also very aware of the danger of going too far with the scientific visual language - I don’t want it to become a pastiche or too literal. So I need to juxtapose that with more handcrafted, delicate things. This makes sense because all the way through the project the contrast being human hand and machine has been recurrent.
Whilst I think everyone has been trying to immerse themselves in the process of the project and not think about what the final outcomes might be, this was impossible last week when we were forced to start thinking about what technology we might need for the final exhibition. Scary.
Something I would love to do is set up some kind of direct webcam link between the exhibition at the college and the Old House. This isn’t technologically possible I don’t think, but the quality of combined presence and dislocation could be really haunting. I need to work this quality into the final presentation somehow.
In the end I decided to keep it simple. I’ve requested an old fashioned 35mm slide projector. The sense of nostaglia and the past works really well with the project, and also the automated changing of slides will mark time perfectly. Furthermore, the fact it is essentially a defunct piece of equipment could reflect the fate of the chair itself. Preserved more as a fragment of the past than something with any use value. I would like to use it in someway that the viewer has to pass through the light - so the images would be temporarily projected onto their body. But we’ll see - it’ll depend on what space I get allocated.
I’m constantly surprised by how my style has developed since the beginning. The thought that drawings might form some aspect of my final show would have seemed ridiculous to me then, but now it seems a real possibility.
I’m also planning to get sound into it somehow. I’m hoping several elements can be incorporated together so as to achieve the resprentation of a particular passage of time. At the moment I’m intending to print out the atmospheric reports for the time I’m drawing, and also record ambient sounds of that time. That way each element has something to be measured against and compared to so hopefully the impression will be more conceptually tight and defined.
Just after we came back from the easter holidays, we met with Alexia and Jules from the Old House again.
Thankfully it was another really positive meeting and they seemed happy with what I was planning. My worry about whether I’d be allow to place salt in the house was sorted out. Apparently they have some special material that when used as a lining for an object means you can put anything on it. Salt’s OK!
And just in passing they mentioned something very exciting. In response to my question about whether they keep the atmosphere at a specific temperature/humidity, Alexia said no, because there are so many holes in the structure that they would in essence be attempting to dehumidify the whole of Hereford. But - they do monitor it constantly and keep reports of the data.
I immediately seized on this! I’m wondering if I can use this very logical, fact-based scientific material in my work somehow. Whether to juxtapose with more handmade things (compare them to my drawings perhaps - two different methods of recording space and time) or as a material in themselves. I would love to set up a printer in the space and just let it print out a report every five minutes or so. I think they way the pieces of paper would stack and grow over a period of weeks could be really poetic. And it would document and make clear how the environment is constantly changing, even if only in tiny ways. I’m not sure it’s technically possible but as an idea I love it.
A few weeks ago, I read back over my brief and compared what it proposed to where I am now. Below are a few bullet points that illustrate the ways in which it has adhered to and changed from my starting point:
1. The most important development has been my reconsidering of what a ‘live’ element might be. Whilst at the outset I wanted to stage some kind of performance involving me in the space, I now see this as changing to a ‘performance’ by the materials themselves. It is the inclusion of salt which has made this possible. The growing crystals change and develop at a rate that I would have liked to perform at but would have found impossible.
2. As a result of this change, my intent to present the work at a mixture of documentation and ephemera has also changed slightly. My work has developed in such a way that a more traditional final ‘piece’ is more conceivable than I would have thought possible. Although this will likely still be modular, the result is likely to appear more like an installation than simply documentation.
3. My research questions have proved invaluable in guiding my thinking and allowing me to ask specific questions of any developments in my work. It is because of them that I have realised that physical interaction is becoming less important as time goes on. They have also allowed me to come to the understand my interest in stitch in more detail. I am primarily interested in it as a method of mark making and see it as equivalent to my way of working with pen and pencil. This in turn has developed back into an interest in mark making, and I am intending to create a series of drawings (possibly including stitch) which will be made whilst in situ at the Old House.
In light of their value in the development of the project so far, I would like to reformulate them so they are more relevent to where I am now. They are as follows:
How are we displaced from the past, in both a temporal and physical sense, and how might this be expressed in materials and processes?
How do the visual and aural senses relate to one another, and shape the viewer’s conception of space, place and time?
In what way does the passing of time effect objects, people and emotions?
You might notice that time is present in all three questions. This is because it has become the central concern of the project I think. Whereas I was primarily interested in repetition before, this has developed into time. In a what it has just specificied and selected the area of repetition I am most interested in. For example, the repeated ticking of a clock as marking the passing of time.
Other than this, I am happy to say that the project is still very much fibre based (although increasingly less in a sense of process, i.e. stich and weave), and that I have, and still am responding in a very specific way to the Old House in the form of repeated visits.
The first development of the project that I want to cover is that I have now narrowed down the subject of the work from the various chairs in the Old House to just the salt chair. Although this seemed daunting at first, I realise now that it’s exactly what the project needed and has moved my thinking forward no end.
My reason for choosing the salt chair is the fact that it is the only chair in the house to have a double function, as both a seat and a vessel for protecting valuable salt from becoming damp. In this way the chair serves a function similar to the rope which now protects it. The rope protects the chair which protects(ed) the salt.
Thinking about it in terms of a cycle (life cycle?) I began to wonder what effect the salt and the rope could have on each other. I had reached a dead end with reforming and working with just the rope braid and this immediately kick started a new avenue for exploration. So I began growing salt crystals on the braid itself. This actually proved really successful, because the braid is made up of lots of tiny strands of fibres, it is very absorbent and so the salt water seems to climb up the rope quite far. (A quick foray into wikipedia reveals this process is called capillary action).
I really think salt could prove to be a good way to go. Obivously it’s really specific to the chair, but thought about in a wider context, you have the consideration that salt was once valuable enough to warrant such protection. And furthermore, how bound up to life it is. Without the correct level of salts in our bodies, we can’t exist.
At the moment, I’m growing salt crystals, which gives a really satisfying temporal quality to the work as well as a ‘live’ aspect which I wanted to incorporate. The work literally changes (see brief title) as the days pass. And considering everything in the Old House is set up as a preserved example of the past (time ‘stops’), the growing salt reintroduces the idea that time is still passing and that the environment is inescapably changing.
And of course, you have the visual and aesthetic qualities of salt which are often overlooked now that it is so ubiqituous. In this vein, I’ve bought a salt lick (designed for animals) which is made of himalayan rock salt. It’s really very beautiful and I’m wondering if I can work with this some how.
Growing the crystals is also very exciting because it has revived an aesthetic interest that has been recurrent in my work from the very beginning of the course. I’m very drawn to ‘scientific’ visual language and working in this way feels very right.
After a not exactly brief interlude, I’m back online and can resume blogging. A broken laptop charger being the cause of the hiatus. This is a massive relief since entries I want to write have been creating a backlog and I can now start to work through them.
I’m so frustrated that this wasn’t on when we visited Compton Verney at the beginning of the year.
'What the Folk Say' is a series of interventions by artists and curators who have selected artifacts from Compton Verney's folk art collection and repositioned them in telling places within the rest of the gallery.
A few artists that I really like have participated, including Jeremy Deller, Sonia Boyce and Susan Hiller. I think there is a definite correlation between this type of very site specific project and how I am responding to the Old House brief.
One of the artists, Alan Kane, selected a simple chair from the collection and said that it ‘represents cultural production at the working class domestic level. Furniture making would have been an activity, which was very widespread, almost ubiquitous - an everyday creativity producing objects prized within the household but rarely making the transition to objects of status outside this sphere.’
I think this really summarises why I’m interested in the chairs in the Old House, and also why I’m interested in the particular chairs that I am. They’re the simpler ones as opposed to the more elaborate ones which would make the transition to ‘art objects’ more easily. They are inseparably linked to the Old House’s function as a domestic space. The ‘Salt Chair’ in particular fulfills a dual function, in providing a seat and also as a vessel for storing salt.
I’m so glad I stumbled across this, and hopefully I will be able to make time to go and investigate.
I missed the one the week before so took part in the second one with the few others who also missed out. I enjoyed it, but wished I’d been in the bigger one just to get more perspectives on what I’m doing.
I really loved looking at everyone else’s work, hearing them talk about it, and trying to provide helpful suggestions. I did my best, and probably got a bit carried away. But it really made me think how much I want to teach. I find it to exciting trying to understand other people’s work and helping them see different possibilities and avenues forward.
I didn’t mind my own work being discussed and really wish it had been a bit more. I was really happy that people grasped the formal qualities of the work, but that was about as far as it went really. Which was a bit disappointing. I blame myself really. I suppose my way of working is fairly insular and inside my own head. I see the threads and links in my own work but I know that I need to try and make them clearer to other people. I struggle talking about it though because I don’t want to bore people and I really don’t see anything of value in what I’m doing.
By that I mean value for other people. I still can’t see how they might find anything really interesting to think about. I love doing it though, which is what keeps me going.
I think that’s why it would be good to enter the book arts competition and also that I’m doing the external brief. They’re both more public forums that I can test my work in.
I just wish there was some way of being confident that what I’m doing isn’t totally facile and lacking in depth.
The one at the end of the second part went really well and I got straight distinctions. So today was a bit of a shock. Although it went really well, and there wasn’t any criticism per say, I managed one distinction and the rest merits. The one real plus was actually this blog! Although I think maybe I lost ground because I use it for so many different things. Perhaps organising it using keywords would make it clear that I am actually fulfilling these criteria? Perhaps one for ‘contextual’, one for ‘research’, and another for ‘reflection/evaluation’?
I suppose I’m just a bit lost now. I’m sure it won’t last, but I was really, really happy with how things were progressing. I’m not entirely sure what I can change to improve the marks. But I’ll keep trying.
The last comment at the end of the feedback was: ‘how to make it interactive?’ That’s probably the easiest part to respond to. When I went to London and caught a few exhibitions, one of the main things I started to think about was participation.
This piece by Gabriel Orozco was featured in his exhibition at the Tate. In it, Orozco has taken a billiard table and made it oval and removed the pockets. The red ball is attached to a cord which turns it into a pendulum. Orozco completely twists the rules of the game, removing its goals and emphasising the poetry of its formal qualities. But I think the meaning was lost of the spectators who got caught up in the novelty of participating. The focus of the work was shifted onto the breaking of the boundaries between audience and artwork and the specificity of the piece was lost. It made me wonder why I was so interested in involving the audience directly. Or has encouraged me to question it in a more nuanced way.
Hal Foster has asked of participatory art: ‘Participation is the answer, but what is the question?’
I’m not sure what my question is regarding participation, so for the time being I’m going to let it fade into the background.
Today the group of us doing the Old House project met with Alexia for the first time. I was just expecting a casual chat but it was actually a semi-formal presentation. This is good, I think. I feel more as though our efforts are actually wanted, as opposed to being accepted by default. I also hadn’t fully grasped that our work may form an actual exhibition there. I still have trouble figuring out why anyone would want to look at what I do.
It was really good to see what the other people are doing. I’m really interested in how the works might interact with each other. I loved the textile samples that Georgie has produced. I was worried that my work might be stretching the brief but Alexia seemed really happy with my ideas. Her enthusiasm for doing something in the attic space has led me to reconsider its possibilities.
She reacted very positively to the suggestion that I do something ‘live’ within the space. Which was a relief! I was really concerned that I might be under their feet. But she even put forwarded of my doing something for h.Art week, which would be amazing.
There were actually less (well, no) difficulties or obstacles. This is working out to be the perfect brief for me. Fascinating external subject matter with a very open minded client who seems happy for me to follow my own interests. I’m even more excited now.