sketchbook: drawing/contact drawing contact drawing contact contact drawing

[a sketchbook note from 23 January 2019]

drawing/contact drawing contact drawing, contact
contact drawing
with this body of work i am interested in an expanded field of drawing as practice. curious about the edges of the medium, form, practice, what happens when one makes contact with another: a text, a performance, a moving image, a dialogue, a walk.  the proposition for this work thus revolves around a series of enquiries around contact. does it blur, mix, repel, what happens when it turns impure, hybrid; bodies of one and the other mingle and create anew. 
the space that it constructs, creates, produces: there is an attention to different scales: body/ sensorial; between one and the other; at a distance.

Assignment 1 BoW: Territory

This post contains the requested elements for my first assignment submission of BoW, Territory. I have found the instructions of the outline proposal somewhat confusing, and initially worked off the instructions for the personal statement alone. I have since amended the proposal and yet, it feels as if it repeats the same things in different forms/lengths, so, my apologies if something is still missing.

The guideline I worked to and have included is p.22 of the coursebook:

Send to your tutor an initial project proposal, to include:

  • your reflective commentary
  • a clear indication of how you’ll integrate your two creative practices into your body of work
  • an outline of your theme of significant topical importance, linked to the Research course (150 words)
  • a work plan setting out your timescales for completing work (300 words)
  • your initial personal statement (300 words)
  • a reference to your mind/concept map – this can be photographic or physical.

The reflective commentary is contained in this post here.

The first concept map for the overall course is written about in another post and include for reference here

All other elements are included in the attached PDF with the shorter Personal statement which also covers all the elements (bar work plan) is included for reference below.

Personal Statement: Drawing / Contact (modality, site, practice)

This body of work seeks to build on and consolidate an artistic practice that I begun to explore throughout Drawing 2. The final projects (m(e)use|use me; the Hornet Tree, the Critical Review on an expanded field of drawing) as well as the realisation of the module-spanning, Parallel Praxis, all begun to articulate a notion and practice of drawing in an expanded, interdisciplinary field. Here, drawing emerges as a set of enquiries, methods and processes in which performance, photography, writing, installation, moving image formats and more traditional drawing processes interact and mutually inform each other.

As theme for this work I would like to set out initially with methodological concern. My interest centres around ordinary objects, processes and procedures to explore the body as tool and site. Doing so, it situates within and builds upon feminist concerns of the ordinary, the unspectacular, the everyday to investigate the fabric that contributes to our articulations of corporeal selfhood. Furthermore, it is interest in contact. At once, immediate, sensorial, tactile it also asks wider questions concerning relationship and presence. These concerns around agency, voice, autonomy are at once informed by older materialisms (notably: a critical materialism of social praxis) and are curious about new materialisms and the constitution of the human body, also in its potential hybridity, one cyborg form or another). 

Through a series of enquiries and investigations this body of work sets out with functional/instrumental objects/ processes and explores their boundary/ edges: when do they  become something different; taking in a range of media and established working practices. What are the influences and interactions with a human body? What senses are engaged? What control, interaction or dialogue takes place? If these enquiries are located in specific sites – institutional sites: what happens to objects, processes that are designed to perform for certain purposes and are however otherwise employed. Do they yield? become different? resist? 

These enquiries intend to encompass research presentations; possibly elements of conflict facilitation; a series of experimentations/ performances which also provide the research for Research as well as expanded drawing as documentation and tool to activate/ open out: become hybrid, performative, sensorial while engaging with mundane objects/ processes. Doing so, this body of work is at once the body of work while remaining curious about its own coming into practice.

The initial range of creative practitioners that inform this process is wide: ranging from interdisciplinary artists such as Joan Jonas and Susan Hiller to contemporary photographers Noemie Goudal and Ed Clarke to writers and poets such as Katrina Palmer and Juliana Spahr. Gordon Matta Clark’s architectural practice around intersects also seeks a place within this.

BoW A1 territory: concept map

I had started to consolidate the various concept maps into a bigger one to outline the themes for the Body of Work itself. For the time being, much in here doesn’t connect or relate, yet, the spatial organisation and visualisation is useful: I have a beginning sense of how different media/forms can relate to the notion of the body as tool. And, if the body is site, then what are the spatial/geographical practices and dimensions this engenders.

I am currently keen on holding on to the notion of modality, but this may simply turn into methodology (I am not sure if modality means register, or a particular relationship to a type of space: utopian, institutional, experiential), so for the time being it sits here as a poorly defined term.

Clicking on the image will pull up the large media file

Reflective Commentary: Parallel Praxis

While considering a series of works produced up to now (and these are included in the notes to my Research tutor), I chose to write a reflective commentry solely on the Drawing 2 module-spanning Parallel Praxis, as this is the work that articulates most clearly in practice how I understand the potential of an expanded field of drawing that engages both site and body in a sensorial and performative form.

This reflective commentary is part of Assignment 1, Body of Work.

Parallel Praxis is a moving image work of 7:46 mins length. It features a series of still and moving image clips, the former often animated by internal Ken Burns movement. It also features a series of environmental sound recordings, the most notable one a montage of a dance track recorded alongside some traditional music and the movement noises along an unspecified interior space. All these are contained and authored through my own voice recorded in different segments, registers and modes. 

The piece arguably directs two unknown viewers of the larger body of work through the material and in the event to be assessed. So, at first glance it is instructive and directive, most notably when it asks the viewer to pause and turn to other material they ostensibly have in front of them, to then later resume. The voice begins to consider, unpick and undo this instruction as the video proceeds. Doing so, it curates, demonstrates and performs at once.

It does so by explicating site and the movement of a person walking through rooms, up and down stairs, opening and closing doors. Only two still images, montages of a performance within two spaces along the corridor, show the site that we hear. The site is otherwise engaged with by a stated desire to leave: to walk down the stairs and exit. We see the exit then acting as a hinge for the video clip in an autonomous piece of work (Green [did I work hard enough]) in the centre of the work. This clip along with others show shadows, body parts, a swerving camera. They don’t help us really to orientate or identify the site. For that we need to rely back onto the voice and the sound of movement.

The edit is improvised: the sections cut from one to the other with a shudder or delay; the voice sounds at times intimate, at other times tinny and distant. Are the blanks and the Ken Burns movement too obvious? too long? And yet, both the opening and closing sequences rest calmly, the voice articulates clearly, albeit dreamlike, what it seeks in form of instruction, critique and articulated movement. It seeks no less, other than the ostensible instruction to be assessed, a form of drawing practice that is sensorial, that engages our ears as much as our eyes, our sense of touch and sense of movement across, within and outwith a site, testing the body how it draws, performs, relates and authors an expanded field of drawing.

R1: first responses for tutor

I have now written up and compiled a series of posts relating to the first questions of Research to be send to my tutor for a first feedback before proceeding to write the project proposal. This has taken longer than planned, part of the reasons for this lie I have written about in this post, here about literalness.

In this post, I compile links to the various posts (not in chronological but logical order as per coursebook) that contain responses to the questions about

1. Initial ideas (identification, review, strengths/weaknesses, concept mapping, further identification of interest)

2. Getting started (getting organised, time plan, habits, process): https://close-open.net/2019/02/06/r1-2-getting-started/

3. Identifying resources (reading list, skim read, gatekeepers): https://close-open.net/2019/02/06/r1-3-identifying-resources/

Alongside these posts I have a number of further handwritten notes, some of these scanned in here (they include a number of SWOT charts for individual projects, which aren’t written up further yet but I want to do that, as it was a comment during the progression discussion).

There are also a number of sketchbook entries that process these documents and notes further:

R1.1 Initial ideas (part 2)

I had started to post some of the concept maps which are part of this extensive part of first questions around ideas, review, mapping of existing work, theme, potential, weaknesses in an earlier post here, and now want to conclude this question with a reworked outline of my initial ideas. For this I referred to the statement of intent that formed the basis for the transition discussion in autumn (keeping its review and context and writing through ideas as they have emerged since then):

Initial Ideas and orientation

I would like to continue at the point where my recent module, Drawing 2 concluded (and am for this statement drawing on my earlier self-assessment with some reworking and expanding for what may lie ahead). The final projects (m(e)use|use me; the Hornet Tree, the Critical Review on an expanded field of drawing) as well as the realisation to the Parallel Project, Parallel Praxis, all begun to articulate a notion and practice of drawing in an expanded, interdisciplinary field. Here, drawing emerges as a set of enquiries, methods and processes in which performance, photography, writing, installation and more traditional drawing processes interact and mutually inform each other.

The parallel project indeed relates and looks back to the previous module itself, it reorganises the materials and lets them become something else still. The video is not merely a narration, an instruction; I begun to include the key clips – visual, and also found sound recordings – in the work to author it and let it unfold. In this sense, it draws on a number of senses and sensations, and indeed revolves around an exploration of a body (mine) as drawing tool, investigating the reaches of what constitutes an extended field of drawing. It speaks out of the screen to ask the viewer to engage directly with some other materials. With this, it resonates with both Joan Jonas’s and Katrina Palmers’s work: they engage, performatively, and in doing so make visible and audible that engagement between artist and audience, viewer, reader, interlocutor. Will it work? Does it fail? What happens instead? In this parallel project, there is a literal voice – mine – and in its clarity it also helps to articulate all those other voices that are involved in my art-making, an art-making  that is visual, textual, increasingly dares to be performative; it takes in things I learned before: critical social theory; dialectics; a body/dreamwork coaching and counselling training; a dissatisfaction with academic publishing; a keenness on finding those other spaces and places that are never entirely utopian but offer a hunch, a first step from here to there.

Besides the actual projects that constitute the body of work of Drawing 2, there is something also in the tools that I used and which for the assessment submission refigured as a portfolio without large sheets of paper but instead a series of folders and pouches that relate and point towards some of the digital parts (FB albums, e.g.). This process of working with materials that are common, and in some ways mimic office work processes was important and I feel it may also structure some of my future enquiries. It also deepened my engagement with a movement between digital and analogue (continuing from DI&C). It also continues with questions over what constitutes site, audience, work > explored in different ways and always with an exploration of this movement digital/analogue (initially: gap, agency, control (generative systems, drawing machines); then: what constitutes drawing; the kind of tools: office tools).

In this, and as a first step into Body of Work I have begun to explore the notion of hybridity (is that interdisciplinarity?) within an expanded drawing practice. For this purpose, I have started a series of investigations that take the questions and processes of these initial steps in Assignment 1 and explore their scope for an artistic practice: created and transposing concept maps; guide books etc. Also: having submitted and accepted a conference talk at that Society of Artistic Research conference in late March in Zurich around the work of the Gap and its wider relevance, I have begun to (a) explore further routes around this work (a void, a gap between two filing cabinets as a starting point towards investigating relationship, distance, agency and control as well as notions of a gap between analogue and digital processes within an institutional setting) and (b) the notion of a conference talk as performance, instruction, screening and thus to enquire into this particular format and modality, which I hope will be instructive for the further development of both BoW and Research.

The issues with regards to voice/ themes and practice that clarified during this final Level 2 module were:

  • humour and how I instigate processes that allow me to arrive at resolved pieces
  • the relationship to conceptual and intellectual concerns (institutional critique, production of space)
  • working across a range of media/approaches and finding ways to integrate them with each other and use that integration in innovative ways (photography, writing, performance, drawing)

It is then on the basis of these emerging working practices, conceptual concerns and emerging clarity and articulation of voice that I would like to approach Level 3. I find these first respective assignment pointers for Research and BoW useful in relation to review and investigate existing work to date (and have kept a good part of such review as context for articulating my first moves within Research). I also find some of the overlap but fairly little actual integration confusing, and it took me a while to make sense of the individual exercises and questions and how they do/ not relate between the two modules. As both first assignments are strongly focussed on planning ahead and specifying approaches, means, literatures I find myself hesitating: while I have a clear sense of direction I am at this moment wary of specifying this too far in advance as I generally review and refine on the basis of some work already done and articulate e.g. theory/concept post-practice (to feed into a new cycle). With this in mind, I have spend considerable time with some of the questions, have also reviewed some of the Level 2 pieces in some detail; but crucially, started to do a series of new investigations and enquiries to allow me to test some thoughts, refine these build in these. 

The theme and interest is refined to some extent as for the Research to be an investigation into 

The site of Interdisciplinarity in Drawing Practice, 

and for the Body of Work a Theme of Significance being

Drawing/ Contact (Modality, Practice, Site)

With these two related themes, I would like to pursue and clarify the approach towards an embodied, sensorial and expanded field of drawing as artistic practice. There are a number of technical skills and approaches I am interested in: moving image/ video (possibly even 16mm film); darkroom techniques; screenprinting; performance; but none of these are fixed and I trust that the suitability of any of these will emerge in relation to the actual projects. Similarly, I am very interested in pursuing further my investigations into sites (interior/exterior) as well as movement between these. It may make sense to prepare and arrange for an actual site to serve as a field site for the Body of Work (and thus move it out of ongoing work arrangements).

Following the Concept Mapping (Q1.3), the most promising and salient themes that animate my interest are geographical and environmental following my investigations into the institutional corridor and an artistic practice that engages it: they concern site, direction, orientation, movement, exit; gaps, possibilities for other spaces that sit aside, elsewhere; and as such follow on from the Gap, Green and Parallel Praxis. Related to the production of space, these touch on questions of performance, the sensorial, institutional critique and the sensorial.

There is a continuous theme running throughout which concerns questions over copy, reproduction, repetition and difference, and, as it becomes clear in the later part of the module, this concerns both the surface, the background of the actual artwork as well as that it stretches beyond and outwards from it: what kind of space do we perceive, live, practice?