glossary (for Res 4)

I start the work on Research 4 (draft) by turning to the existing (almost full) draft that I submitted for Res 3 about a year ago and investigate both the research questions and the extent to which these need to change as well as the glossary. The glossary currently exists and a .png file, an object but not a glossary as text.

In the previous Research tutorial we discussed:

  • how the glossary maps out the terrain of the dissertation and research and presents a research object in its own right; and
  • that I should investigate the relationship between the research padlets (verge/weed, stair:case) and the glossary object as a matter of research itself to feed back into the dissertation.

I am starting this process now before writing through the draft sections. Over the months I had updated and revised the dissertations sections as the project was shifting, and am in terms of structure fairly clear what needs to be cut, what reordered and what added.

A similar clarity exists as to the glossary terms: I revise, after having done a rather long list of potential new ones; I cut the ones that for the whole project no longer bear all that much relevance; and alter some terminology. I am clear about the four sections (new conceptual contribution; obstacles; series solutions; methodology; and that these will be the footnote added to the object). Some terms may combine or diverge (bridge/edge are contained in new Sorge/care; smallness of things becomes lin; a/drift covers some of the earlier barriers.

It may be necessary to abandon the title concept drawing/contact: it seems too vague now (and I have a similar sense over how I used performance in earlier submissions). Tentatively, I propose reach/resonance to cover the relational of drawing/contact, it seems to contain the movement better too as well as the role of site. I may delete site/practice and practice/site too: perhaps it’s also too generic and unnecessary.

I am considering including keywords as appendix as short, more traditional paragraphs for each term of the glossary.

Here my revised one, the original one below:

Glossary object as of February 2021
Glossary object as of February 2020

PS: distance (none at all)

as I sit and write the earlier post I seem to be forgetting one key element, I turn left and right, half-trace it, it dissipates again, eventually, I convince myself that it is all there already.

Only, it isn’t: the key condition of working (or perhaps: living) under pandemic conditions, here or in the earlier there, is marked by distance, the total lack of it: all is immediate, all seems an ever-running live feed, I can’t step to the side, pause, rewind. In turn, all becomes now, immediate, what is gone is gone and I barely get to anticipate.

In all previous work the stepping to the side was the key movement, the key move and gesture in order to step up closer again. This side step is gone (while still everything seems to pass by).

This condition of distance jostles for attention as much as the ever-evading module work and the distance of contact restrictions. Trying to give each of them a presence in this body of work is what this second half of the work is concerned with.

The maraprilay padlet was an earlier attempt, so was the distributed distance tracing of absent sketchbooks.

distance/contact (after BoW4)

I stumble upon a note from 14 months ago. I want to post it, it seems so resonant of now, then I find a note that I already did post it, here: https://close-open.net/2019/12/04/distance-proximity-after-res-2/

And when I find the image I immediately remember the loop I did back then before eventually heading back to the pub, after all.

Today, or yesterday, or the past however many months, the note on the same topic reads as follows:

Distance: the module seems to ever evade me, the whole project constantly under threat of slipping away, of me letting it slip away. Of it falling apart under my hands (es zerrinnt mir in den Haenden). I am anxious as the weeks pass that it will never get done. So, all the while the project is so interested in contact and touch, it is the distance that organises it.

In/out of reach as modality to know the project.

(and that an arm’s length is a good measure for closeness is something a colleague offered some time ago also).

It is of course the modality of the pandemic also, and in that the project begun an enquiry, the enquiry shifted, ruptured (like one of those register shifts I set out with? just more violently, more abrupt, entirely not initiated by myself), and I at once wanted to let it be unsettled, wanted to recognise that register shift as significant while also seeking a response that would not simply try to anchor the project in a before, nostalgic state. In doing so, an almost completed project got opened up and out again, my personal circumstances altered by care relations as much as what the pandemic introduced as travel distance and the combination of these proved almost too much for the lightness of touch, of contact that the project had been exploring.

Today I read back over my Research draft and settle down to reorganise it for the third time.

Submission of BoW 4 Core

This post orientates the works assembled as part of my BoW 4 Core submission and points towards key reflections around these.

The disjuncture of the previous 10 months means that the blog is somewhat discontinuous and I only start in late autumn to gather material and reflection here, after having completed a number of fairly extensive works. I have since Research 3 assembled much of my work in padlets, using the canvas layout effectively as interactive mindmaps and concept maps.

As part of this submission I set up a padlet which will serve as a work space to map the works, the key texts and the timeline (both for Research and BoW) (click on image to open padlet):

a body of work: core padlet outlining work to date

Currently it is organised chronological, pointing towards the works that informed up to Research 3, the pandemic interlude and then a series of works that took place since September and which I orientate my BoW around. It details key elements of these autumn works and key themes, linking to other padlets, to blog posts as well as a couple of videos.

The work is vast as it now covers 25 months as well as two ruptures at a point I was ready to submit BoW 4 and Res 4 back in March 2020.

Two of the autumn works are resolved in different ways.

1. Im Walde 14-23

2. Stromverteilen (series)

Two other works are part of the autumn works cycle:

3. Walnut Tree of Touch

4. Drei Nuesse

Given the amount of material, I propose a tentative priority:

1. Am Walde

2. Stromverteilen (as series)

3. Instructions to touch and related posts around tactility, handling collections and touch at the centre of the work (Drei Nuesse and Herz/Stein are practice-based series, and I realise now too that Stromverteilen, despite its scale and reach also has these elements strongly present).

4. Distributed Distance and Herz/Stein summer school

>> these latter point towards the small-scale, repetitive processes, the fluff of the work that I initially intended to make accessible as a self-assemble artist book portfolio and which I am now trying to reconfigure to allow for the idea of near-space, touch and contact to function under pandemic conditions.

5. Verge/Weed and stair:case from the Spring padlets function as extensive sites/practices

6. Drei Nuesse is a practice-based proposal, where I created fragile toned strips of exposed paper, they mirror bookmarks from earlier in 2020, but I am uncertain about the objecthood of this series.

7. Walnut tree of touch is resolved but not further assembled beyond the 36 double-sided prints. The intention is to sow these as 6×6, with spacing between and hang into a room. It has relatively little material assembled around it as I focused on the practice series and tried to make them work for a digital/distributed/distance format.

Leading up to this submission I spent considerable time around the small tactile practices once Im Walde was concluded. I then turned to Stromverteilen to explore what was in this considerable thematic besides the Parcours video and the blankets as residues. In this process, the work expanded and seems to hold considerable promise in the different strands (akin to the original staircase site). So the padlet and blog contains several recent posts trying to explore the themes and different forms in it. This also means that I have not spent much more time with either Walnut Tree of Touch nor the Drei Nuesse.

I have a sense that the autumn works address and explore the drawing/contact and relational near-space and the practices of moving-with; that this work can live digitally is without a doubt to me, enough of my practice moves between analogue and digital and is interested in the transitions and translations thereof. This is not the problem that the pandemic posed to me. The problem is more ontological as to the extent to which tactility was being pause, shifted, reconfigured and I realised that my work tracks along a present, works with memory and envisages a future; in order to understand this significant shift, it needed to pause as the sudden rupture and closing off of sites in March meant the work had suddenly ceased to be contemporary and I didn’t want to add a mournful nostalgic front to the whole project. That the pandemic is still with us however also means that the shift is longer term in nature and the rupture will remain as significant moment informing the present and near future. This in turn means that I can begin to make it part of the work and seek forms of expression, engagement and interaction within this shift.

I anticipate that a good part of these thoughts will fold into SYP; some of the ontological shifts and what it means for my practice will inform the draft of Research 4 and any notion of an appendix as satellite objects of the body of work. I will turn to these after this submission and have begun to mark a few observations in the reflections and post published for BoW (without necessarily needing to discuss these here in detail).

Sorge/Strom (as part of Stromverteilen)

Over the process of making the Trafodecken across several late autumn weeks on top of the transformer station, I realise that my role in this durational project is one of care and maintenance work (much later I discover that the employees of the electricity company are also charged with a monthly maintenance check-up of the station. We never meet until they send me a message late in January).

I am presenting the material simply in gallery form. There are alongside a series of short videos (turning pages, revealing cones and plugged feathers, insects moving on the blankets, the viewing device surveying vertical lines).

This work presents the practice thread that also features e.g. in the earlier sketchbook materials and Herz/Stein, Drei Nuesse. I remain uncertain about the form (other than galleries, slides and/or a/v works). I don’t think the purpose is to pull out individual photographs to print as objects — Yet, this remains part of the review/discussion.

Sorge (Care)

Across five weeks I go almost daily, often twice daily to check in on the blanket, the wind, the rain, the needles and the resin. The wider site had become a destination for about a months earlier, so the 12 mins route from one side of the village to the other village edge (I leave the village towards the swimming pool, walk up along the woodland to come to the holiday flats that mark the village edge a little further north) has become a commute. Noone asks but if they did I would have told them about my outdoor office.

I am most uncertain about the effect of the wind, the blankets are loosely tied to the station but the two rows mean the gap in the centre easily catches in the wind. I pull on the sides, tighten the string and at one occasion roll the paper up and tie it down on the northerly corner to secure it against a storm. The first paper is heavily marked by this process, for the second paper the weather was calmer, marked by periods of frost and clear sky, or perhaps I only secure the paper more firmly?

Across this period I patch some tears, hide marks I feel ambivalent about and also feed some of the documentation back in to the process.

I also observe the insects on top of the blankets. In fact, I observe mostly, besides the pulling the blanket into place.

The initial impetus for this work resided in the idea of rubbing and marking the tracing paper (much of my earlier work was interested in this, I (re-)discover Ingrid Calame’s large scale works), but once in place, I find the marking too strong, the graphite rubbing too violent, and so I step back. Later, with the heavy rains and the puddle patterning on top I discover the translucency of the Copic inks (dropped from the refill, the pens don’t work with moisture). These seem perfect to add and keep lightness in the process.

Here are a number of images around the maintenance work

Strom (Flow, also: electricity)

My maintenance work around the transformer has a resonance nearby. The house next to it is being refurbished. It becomes a welcome stopping point, a frequent conversation: we chat while he works. He discovers how faulty the house’s electricity is and spends the weeks while I mark wind on the transformer station with rewiring the house, trying to find and resolve faults. I joke that I can sit atop of high voltage while he fiddles about with residential low voltage.

I seek permission to draw the broken sockets across the house. I don’t really get it initially, then when I do I don’t find time and by then the most exciting messy sockets are already tidied up. So there exists only one afternoon of hastily drawn sockets and wires in the front porch, drawn from outside. They can be worked further, I can also draw the box with the distribution switches (I am sure there is a technical term for this) or the newly fixed sockets) (This was around the time that Hayley Locke did a couple of workshops around Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights, I somehow fantasise of using the cutout shapes for the quickly drawn sketches).

Originell/Verboten (as part of Stromverteilen)

The Trafo sits right at the edge of the village and is adjacent to one of the most popular walking routes out of the village and into the woods. So, most days, there is a frequent stream of dog walkers and walkers (as frequent as in a village of 270 people allows for). I don’t recognise most of the people, they don’t recognise me, over the weeks I however start talking to a few of them, and meet a few I knew from 30 years ago. This definitely becomes a thing once I start sitting on top of the transformer and once I place the first blanket on top. For several of them it takes a few iterations until they ask.

One woman laughs and says: That is original, I have never seen anything like that. I reply: You should try, it’s quite comfortable. — It’s the kind of exchange that I remember as typical, it is a little forward, a little aggressive (the next time she asks: are you bored again?), but also curious. On the third occasion, I have the blanket laid out on the lawn next to it, she steps next to me and says: now I want to have a look at it too, C. (my neighbour from the other side of the village, who observed me from the window front a few days before and enquired who I was and didn’t recognise me) said this was looking really interesting. It takes me to that point to remember that that initial put down hides interest, is the typical kind of conversation opening where I am from.

Another woman finally comes up to check where I am going (I pass her frequently in the village, after a while we started talking, my mother fills me in on the conflict they had with each other some time ago). Now she knows.

The moving onto the transformer as grown woman, the standing on top of it steps aside and outside what is acceptable along that path and in that village. I am conscious of that, I decide not to be concerned, my being here for such extended period of time is enough out of normal for me in any case; that this is simply another environmental art process is routine for me, but not for the village edge.

More recently the conversations concern my role: so, what is this? Art. Ah okay, you mean you earn money with this? Another: You do this professionally? As a hobby? It’s the money earning which is the first item of contention every single time in these more recent conversations.

In the Moving Image workshop in November I say something about the audience: that it is not for the village, and yet the village sees it, engages with it, so what would this look like if the village was an audience?

This process comes to a culmination on Tuesday when I take the blankets up to the station to photograph and explore a couple of lines ahead of the submission. I play for a couple of hours, place them inside the neighbour’s fence, go home for lunch and return a couple of hours later. I. who I talk to while he renovates arrives at the same time and walks towards me: ‘You were wanted earlier. The guys who maintain the transformer asked for who the one was who was sticking up things, placing things on top. You know it’s not allowed. They asked if I knew who was doing this. I said yes, and that I wasn’t going to tell them. So I need to tell you now. Did you stick something up there?’ I laugh, yes, three months ago. He: It’s not allowed. I reply, there is nothing there, so what. He insists and seemingly has forgotten what he observed me doing there for months.

I wonder if it’s the same men who fitted the new distribution box in December. They left the house without electricity on a teaching day. I dared to ask them about timelines, I wasn’t sure if I was too forward or not but 10 mins before my appointment the electricity was back on.

— This story belongs here too, along with a voice memo I sent to my friend in IL for the first time from the site while I waited on the sun to appear on Tuesday. It’s all quiet, noone around, the sound of the memo is all spacious and I talk through the site but also talk through the UK, my distance, the ideas I have for work here, I get upset, a different neighbour appears, he stood with headphones nearby for a while I realise, I also realise he witnessed my displaced distress.

(This one has no visuals, possibly a soundtrack, it can be written more tightly as a storyline though).

Stromverteilen series

I find a transformer station, clamber atop and discover the 1.50 mtrs elevation (and my body’s ability to pull my self up) are joyous. I return and experiment:

  • a collage double spied from the distance
  • a white tracing paper blanket becomes 2 iterations of marking and recording needles, wind, rain, sun and sleet for 14+days leading up to mid-Winter (Trafodecken)
  • a few other items mingle

I take the resulting blankets to a kitchen space, an analogue zoom background and earlier this week back to the site to explore their potential to act as installation screens and as objects in situ.

I also make the transformer and my movement the subject of a short video piece (two channel): Stromverteilen (Parcours).

It rests here for the time being. The video works as a piece, I can also see the blankets acting as an installation site which houses the two video channels. The on site installations struggle to work, even when the sun hits them right. They result in a few good photographs, but I don’t think it’s photographs that I am after. The idea of screen (and backlighting, either by the sun or striplighting) remains but is not yet realised. Eventually, after I gave up with cold hands and clouds, the sun hits the spot and I right at the end throw one blanket into the tree and it’s pretty, delicate with the branches tracing and catching the light. It’s also too random to worry about right now.

(initially I called the whole site, the transition between village and wood, Stromverteilen, started this padlet here, there are a number of other strands in this too, e.g. the faulty electricity wiring nearby, but I pause these right now and let them recede into the sketchbook material).

This post assembles four strands of works within this series, the video the most resolved, the others point towards key processes and the object status is still somewhat uncertain.

I present the four strands, some additional visual documentation and the present a series of observations to be taken forward and into Research.

Works in this series

At this point I tentatively propose:

  1. Stromverteilen (Parcours)
  2. Trafodecken (transformer blankets)
  3. Sorge/Strom [care/flow] (small scale processes and fluff originating within this process): https://close-open.net/2021/01/28/sorge-strom-as-part-of-stromverteilen/
  4. Originell/Verboten [original/forbidden] (talking around while standing on the transformer): https://close-open.net/2021/01/28/originell-verboten-as-part-of-stromverteilen/

This post contains the materials for 1. and 2., the two others are held in separate blog posts.

1. Stromverteilen (Parcours) as video work (probably two channel rather than this combined video. (see some earlier drafts as spart of the Moving Image workshop with Garry Clarkson in November/December).

2. Trafodecken: Key objects and insights from this process

Insights (also relevant for Research):

A series of observations of the recorded materials and the investigations over the process of making the blankets:

  1. The detailed marks that trace needles and rain (as well as some light) on the blankets, for some of the time I keep records as to what is marked when; over the duration the repetition of needles on top and underneath as well as of Copic ink dripped into any puddles are the most persistent features of both the blankets. The second blanket also is frottaged as soon as it is laid out: I use a thick soft graphite to trace the surface. I was eager to do this right away, but the first blanket proved too fascinating in its pristine surface to mark immediately, then I discovered that insects were moving on its surface, the rubbing would have harmed them.
    For the eventually resulting object, the graphite blanket is stark and heavy, the one without much much lighter and translucent.
    The wind and rain soften and weaken the paper, a thick 110gsm tracing paper, the first blanket process comes to an end when I realise the paper is disintegrating and tearing; I close the second process at the point that I leave the village for a week. Both blankets were laid out for a long fortnight leading up to mid-Winter.
    I roll the first blanket up for about a week of high winds.
    Both blankets pull apart in the middle and reveal a gap, right at the end of 2 I place some cyanotype underneath to print this opening.
    I experiment with how I fix the paper on the short sides: I use light string, adjust, readjust.
  2. I go most days, often twice a day. For a large part of the process my work seems maintenance, care even: to check, adjust, tug in. The processes of intervening and tracing take a backseat. Many days I don’t add any marks apart from those to adjust and reposition the papers.
  3. I add a few other objects, sometimes stuff that accidentally has found its way onto the surface, sometimes objects I find on the way that seem relevant. I also a few times take print out from photographs of the process back to the site and place them, some get reworked, some get blown off and placed back in.
    One process is a visual narrative (two photographs placed side-by-side), they stay for several weeks longer, eventually acquire some moss and at the point that they are blown off into the grass nearby, I take them home.
  4. I observe insects, larger ones, mainly smaller ones moving on top of the blankets and mingling with my marks. I records some of them with a handheld iphone, later with a tripod. I am fascinated by the movement they add to the cumulative marks. That I move frequently on top of the blankets too is a resonance, mirroring of the insects and joyful.
  5. Late, after the final documenting in late January I realise the most frequent images document the function of the blanket as peripheral vision and/or kaleidoscope; I photograph the flat top against the wooded background. It’s the spatial construction of this that interests me and that I document and arrange and trace.
    In this, the process adds understanding to how space is constructed, how illusion is achieved and what the process yields for different viewpoints and plays with figure/ground and scale. It’s a similar process that I pursued in the staircase site and it speaks to my interests around utopian spaces, doors to elsewhere and the quotidian, small processes facilitating these.
    Employing the blankets as screen is twofold here: a screen to acts as opaque background, as delimiter, but also a screen as translucent as employing shadow play and filtering the sunlight and objects to the back.
  6. The work around the transformer station is also a movement work, something I call for Research moving-with: The walk up to it, the ‘commute’ from one village side to the other, stepping away, stepping out on the meadow, and then the parcour of pulling myself up on to the station, of sitting, squatting and of jumping down. Furthermore, I have GPS mapping records of my first walk there and a number of subsequent ones. I wonder if this is a separate theme within this series.

These will be the lines of enquiry to pursue further (either within in BoW or to move them to Research). The question of scale for the blankets remains key: there is a sense that the blanket is both screen but also detail, possibly for the latter to be deconstructed and reassembled in book form or similar.

instructions to touch

Okay, this the proposition of how to organise tactility in close/open at a distance.

This post a first exploration of various modalities:

  1. audio only
  2. a/v with black screen
  3. a/v with illustrative image (at the moment: of the object instructed)
  4. a list of written instructions (these are also possible in different forms: as image, as handwritten list.

1. audio only

2. a/v with black screen

3. a/v with illustrative image

4. a list of written instructions

Instructions to touch #1

Go to the walnut tree outside. Find a walnut shell that has been picked open by a crow. Take it indoors, wash it, let it dry. After a few days, open your sketchbook and place the shell on an empty page, fold the previous page over, hold it taut. Take first a maker pen (in a soft pink), then a thick and soft graphite stick and trace the opening of the shell. If you want to, also trace the edges and folds further down until the whole shape is transferred. Remove the shell and close the sketchbook. Have a look a few days later at how the opening has folded into the sketchbook.

Instructions to touch #2

Go to the walnut tree outside. Find a walnut shell that has been picked open by a crow. Take it indoors, wash it, let it dry. After a few days, open your sketchbook and place the shell on an empty page, fold the previous page over, hold it taut. Take your mechanical pencil and trace the opening of the shell. Adjust the pressure so that the paper doesn’t tear entirely. If you want to, also trace the edges and folds further down until the whole shape is transferred. Remove the shell and close the sketchbook. Have a look a few days later at how the opening has folded into the sketchbook.

Instructions to touch #3

Go to the spare room and look out a red-coloured sock yarn. Pack it in your bag, put on your shoes and jacket, make sure you have also headphones and house key and walk up to the transformer. Pick up one of the frozen fir cones and hold it in one hand. In the other, take the yarn ball and begin to wrap the cone from the middle outwards. Adjust the pressure, perhaps you can place the yarn ball in your pocket and it will simply release the yarn. When you come upon a break in the yarn, place the cone down and pick a new one. Repeat. Take the cones inside, place on your desk and watch over the next days how the warmth encourages the cone to open and strain against the yarn.

Instructions to touch #4

On your walks, look out for sweet wrappers. Pick up any you find and place in your sketchbook.

Instructions to touch #5

Look out for some replacement stones. The first ones you find may be large, almost as big as you can comfortably hold in one hand. Begin to wrap with the sock yarn, exploring how you can turn the yarn and/or the stone. You may also place the stone on the ground to ease the wrapping. After, once your yarn has finished, place the stone back to where you took it from.

Instructions to touch #6

Look out for some replacement stones, ones that are smooth and you can bind together. Along the field with the empty seed heads, make your choice and lift one from the ground, it may be half-buried. You may find it’s an almost perfect heart shape, it may not require any other stone. Place it in the bag you brought with you and then in your pocket. Once home, forget about it for a couple of days, then place on your window sill. Think about a precious wrapping for this singular stone.

Thoughts to consider further:

  • it is surprisingly easy to retrace an object by way of instructions to self.
  • what is the role between instruction and narrative
  • while the audio works well I find the illustrative image is the weakest: it is too definite and it forecloses what that object can become if someone else does indeed follow the instruction
  • the written instructions work also well; possibly as image rather than list, what does handwritten add here (other than decoration or hand of the artist?)

Approaching my sketchbook in this way and translating the sketchbook into something experiental, transferable in this manner seems a considerable step forward — it addresses the falling away of the participation, engagement with a self-assembly portfolio at the heart of the site specific installation. It also proposes a form of contact, intimacy and tactility both in terms of relational form and in what the materiality of the work here, in my hand and/or sketchbook can become when it travels over digital distance to reinstantiate in your hand, sketchbook, elsewhere and at a different time.

Herz/Stein and Drei Nuesse as handling collections?

In the process of pulling together my different works for BoW 4 I am trying to explore scale and reach within the work, notably what role touch and tactility can have for this body of work (principally, but also practically under contact restrictions and all digital submissions).

Coming up to March 2020 I explored a series of objects, notably: stones, stones with seaweed, stones bound with yarn and elastic as tactile objects, the objects leading out of a the idea of Herz/Stein, heart/stone, a heart emoji placed in online conversations, the idea of it closing down, marking both territory and belonging.

This exploration continued at a distance and in tactility: a series of workshops over spring and summer had me exploring the stone, yarn, elastic combination as well as the relationship dynamic that sparked the initial enquiry and how some of this had been also moving through the staircase site before lockdown.

When I moved to Germany I almost packed the stones and yarn, I almost had it sent in three parcels. Then I didn’t. Now I realise I can use other yarn and other stones to continue if there is more to continue.

The work around the walnut tree and the opened shells mirrored the objecthood, if not at all the relational charge, and I set up Drei Nuesse as a similar close-range, intimate process of exploration of materiality that can be held, handled.

The concept or desire for the work always found expression as a handling collection, a term a fellow student introduced me too a couple of years ago with her work (and the binding, rope, yarn also found an early spark in her work).

How does a handling collection work at a distance? Also: to what extent is a handling collection an over-determined concept residing in museum practices (something my work isn’t interested in)?

This post is a summary post to help me articulate these ideas a little further in anticipation of a conversation with said fellow student to explore a little further what resolution for these near-range, tactile works of mine may exist.

Some of my questions at this moment are then:

What is in the handling collection as term? 

  • too determined by museum practices?
  • what happens in digital context for this?
  • can I invite to diy and then everyone has something to handle?
  • handling and/or touching (the former designates a subject/object relationship, the latter more equal, undefined)
  • sketchbook as handling item?
  • unique objects/ easy multiples

Role of screen/stage for the tactile objects?

  • Questions of scale
  • Figure/ground
  • Peripheral vision and centre stage
  • Satellite objects of work
  • Possibility of a wallpaper as a different concept from screen, stage, constellation

Distance/proximity as enquiry: handle/ touch at a distance?

  • Where does tactility move in a pandemic?
  • Digital touch and haptics
  • Sound as intimacy

This post is accompanied by the previous one where I collate the experiments around both series, both posts to serve as basis for a series of discussions

touch and intimacy at a distance

close/open comes to my mind, the title I gave this site before it was a site and a body of work.

I am spending time with the small tactile objects of this work, both Herz/Stein and Drei Nuesse, turning them left and right, exploring well-tested processes and some other tangents to see what form of a tactility, touch and thus closeness I can achieve with them. First in my own hand (not so difficult), then possibly in yours (far more difficult).

Considering this an exhibition with audience participation always introduces the distance of a gallery site, however unconventional. Contact restrictions and sites closed add to this. These limitations notwithstanding, my work has also always worked with closeness and intimacy at a distance, often through social media posts, through audio messages and through touch screens. The viewing and listening experiences often one of a single person and their device. The sound and the handheld device the means for such proximity.

Yet, I remain uncertain if this will do as sensory means for the kind of objects that both Herz/Stein and Drei Nuesse are: stones, paper, yarn, shells. Their touch and the sensation of their weight, shape and surface in one’s hand does not work through a device. Can I narrate these?

The padlets are attempts to bridge such gap and to provide a visual narration through the objects. It’s an effort of translation, transfer, and yet the outcome holds in a number of ways.

In any case, in advance of a series of discussion around my tactile objects, touch and handling, here two sets of images by way of collating what objects there are:

First, the experiments for the walnut shells (cyanotype exposure of the inside; bleach+tone with walnut ink; wrapping; staining with ink inside the shell; tracing the opening with ink and graphite).

The objects created with the cyanotype, bleach and tone are delicate strip, the paper almost undone through the iterative working. They are delicate objects, perhaps suited to a light box but also not quite for handling.

Is the handling just a fantasy? Is there just a trace of the touch contained in these?

A similar gallery for the Herz/Stein processes is this one (I left them in Glasgow, had the original stones and yarn and elastic almost sent three times, today I take a new ball of red sock wool to the edge of the wood and begin to wrap stone, stick and cone):

instruction as relational engagement at a distance?

Since Drawing 2 I have been experimenting with instructions, both to self and to others. There are a few that were sketchbooks ideas during L3. At the start of the first lockdown in April 2020 I attended two tutored OCA meetings of the London group with Bryan Eccleshall. Between session 1 and 2, I devised this padlet comment (copied in full), the discussion that followed invited me to consider these four points not merely as instructions to myself (or summary of my own practice) but to turn these into instructions to others. I didn’t do that at that point but now while compiling works for BoW 4 I want to place this here as note and potential series to include.

Distance… pets 2020 was what my filing system made of my conceptual musings at the start of lockdown 1, it’s worth keeping

Since the first meeting (of Keeping the Momentum) I begin to explore what are forms of enquiry for me now, tonight I find 4:


1. Drawing/ encounters in socially distanced times. I meet online, offline, accidentally or kind of so a few people. I take note, often in camera form, sometimes in FB posts, none of them yet folded onwards like what I did with the drawing/events in my BoW but they are similar kind of things, only the parameter has changed. I collect.

2. I explore the role and form of my walks. Previously they were commutes which were so familiar that they often mistake themselves for drifts. These have disappeared and with them my creative thinking/writing space. I no longer find the latter at the end of the former. Instead, I watch and observe the city and its pavement. I also begin to think of some interventions of my own. I have all that chalk pastel in one of my cupboard.

3. The space between my laptop camera and myself. It comes into focus as it feels extensive. It is hidden from view, yet when I am quite distracted it is visible to others. I begin to explore it.

4. There is possibly a fourth which is the computer camera and screengrab as photographic medium.

portfolio at a distance

In preparation of submitting 4 of BoW I have continued to review and assemble the works that I have. The biggest challenge for this lies in the distance: temporal distance to the material assembled and a simple spatial distance: sketchbooks #1-8 are out of reach since I moved to Germany in September. The current situation with haphazard postal routes between here and Brexitland has exacerbated this situation.

The plan a year ago was to create a loose sheet portfolio of photocopied collage assemblages, the act of compilation by the viewer (while ascending the staircase) was key to the work, along with the matter that each sheet was a simple copy, in a pile of numerous other copies.

Since early Summer, since it became clear that autumn would not mean the staircase would again become accessible I have explored alternatives to this process-based performative work and what the impulse to ‘lift the sketchbooks off their pages’ could look like in the context of contact restrictions and inaccessibility.

I will write some more about the options that I explored in earnest in autumn (individual portfolios with unique pages, already discussed in this earlier post, a single book, a printable zine, a singular body of work).

Each physical manifestation however had the challenge that the tactility and the self-propelled engagement with the work remained out of reach, and thus the work itself would revert back to a gallery piece, out of reach, and I am not interested in such a work for the portfolio.

For the past three weeks I sat down to begin to assemble single sheets out of the materials and the absence of half my sketchbooks became more salient: how can I create tactile objects when the source material itself is absent?

If this question of reach, engagement and tactility is so central to this work, what would a version for this current time look like?

I made in August a restless lockdown loop padlet, a simple wall, not the usual spacious and contemplative canvasses I had used before lockdown. The simple, almost breathless format of the padlet provided a similar sense of immediacy and repetition to the sense of the lockdown walks and fitted well.

(I find padlet as a presentation surface quite functional, as space for actual work, as a final form it is lacking, e.g. the inability to properly position and frame video work is a huge problem).

I collated and then edited all records I had of the missing sketchbooks in photos and then proceeded to upload 260+ of these to a padlet. They are in chronological order in the sense that I uploaded in batches of 8-15 images, the order than finalised with the upload sequence so somewhat variable inside each batch but the batches themselves are in order.

It is a portfolio, it gives a good sense of the explorations and themes, it coheres too as a series. It is intimate, notably on the phone app, two columns, its excessive too, you can look closer, there is visual detail and some text too. It is tactile on the phone screen and alludes to its own textures and yet it also remains at a distance that is distributed.

I want to let this settle for a bit but have the sense that for this resolution of a body of work in 2021 it will hold alongside the other objects.

Here is the padlet (click on photo to open):

Two December crits: screens and dis/continuity in time/space

I presented (parts of) my autumn works twice late last week and want to write up a few of the comments and insights from these two discussions.

  1. Practice as Research OCA Creative Arts sequence with Rachel Smith
  2. Saturday afternoon crit group

1. Practice as Research OCA Creative Arts sequence took place in session 3 of three weekly sessions (one first meeting and two weeks where three of us presented work each), Rachel, who is also my Research tutor had set up an expansive padlet and prompted with questions (to all of us and individually).

I was glad this sequence came when it came and was keen to use it to review my autumn work and find key points (either new or related to the earlier work). Unsurprisingly there was so much work and I felt I only scratched the surface when trying to review and identify key concepts, resonances and shifts. Yet, the few days spent mid-December with the work and myself (see December reviews 1-3) were enough to articulate something concise and significant enough to seek some feedback.

I chose to focus on the walnut shells and the idea of screens in my work and situated the the shift that happened through Lockdown 1 to my work and how I tried to reorganised the contact restrictions affecting my work, the modality of the work and also what I came to understand as practice in the ensuing months.

Rachel had suggested earlier to invite the participants to consider how they would like to encounter my work, and how to present the work in a world as it wasn’t anticipated to be.

Here are some responses:

  • the shells on the floor and people walk on them, take rubbings, photographs, touch them
  • Small work needs to be touched, mere vision is frustrating
  • Visual work should be much bigger
  • I offer sound as a way of amplifying the work (and realise how I have used sound before to create reach, expansiveness and intimacy in visual work)
  • the V&A has a series of videos for the auto-sensory meridian report (ASMR) where objects are shown with tiny sounds.
  • I am asked: what do your pictures sound like
  • Larchwood seems out of reach: trying to access something but it remains just out of reach
  • There is a sense of a cocoon (and I offer the earlier walnut cream recipe that was one response to the shells)
  • the intent to ignore on how to present the work online as making art is a way of getting away from the screen.

A few of these already explicitly comment on the screen.

When I consider screen, I don’t primarily think of the monitor or touch screen, i.e. the tools which demarcate digital work. ‘Screen’ instead surfaced rather analogue in my work as describe in an earlier post.

Yet, of course, it also marks the transition between analogue and digital.

A few more comments on this from the discussion:

  • Screen as standing for the piece of paper between me and the object; paper and screen may function similar; in audience experience it may in fact stand between you and the (art) object
  • Screen as enabler and barrier under contact restrictions and the need to constantly negotiate new conditions

A closing comment from Rachel concerned how my work is interested in materially manifesting spaces, which can take different forms, but such negotiation is crucial for making sure that the work is able to do what it can (and/or I’d like it to).

2. I sent my Saturday afternoon crit group that meets four-weekly, and I joined in Summer, a revised version of the padlet Chris and I made in our DIY summer school, along with my question about screens (the Larchwood sequence). I wasn’t sure there was going to be time, but the work we discussed resonated easily with mine and so there was quite a bit of time. The feedback I received was generous and encouraging. It concerned the expansiveness of the time I printed across autumn, the tenderness of the images; that one of the group was concerned of entering my work as they worried they may fall off. The latter was huge to hear: a persistent thread concerns the opening, stepping down, off, inside, elsewhere. For the larchwood: of whether you can get lost in the woods that I printed so modestly. To hear, unprompted that one can was a considerable compliment. Furthermore, in the walnut shells, along with the woods was a process of stripping away, boiling things down to foundations, if not essence: to get inside with various means (and without obvious success), it also raises the longing mentioned the day before.

Placing Larchwood alongside some of the summer school work was interesting (and new), and one comment insightfully drew the link to some of the performative work, notable, the video with my hand on my chest and breathing, this video marking a punctuation as it featured solely my hands, while much else constituted a result of what my hands were doing. Time, in this also has become the object of the enquiry (and relates to earlier thoughts that in the staircase work was not so much nostalgia but a particular working with memory, which stopped due to the lockdown and than all new work took place outside).

There were a number of further comments concerning the screen:

  • the role of screen for the cyanotype printing process
  • the screen as grid-like device. How can you subvert it successfully? The attraction and failure of the grid, if you are not careful you simply enter a computer game or a generic virtual exhibition space with such grid

This was the first time to present some work in such depth but also to use the discussion to explore some of the conceptual connections. As I said in the OCA workshop: one of the difficulties of the pandemic, and the move to Germany, concerns the inability to step outside, to review, zoom out, reflect on what is what, instead, the immediacy of an ever unfolding situation seems to enforce a pace and speed that is difficult to navigate.

There is plenty in that screen and its role. I am not sure how much this takes me away from the drawing/contact interest or if it’s part of it. My hunch at the moment is that it is the latter, a new condition, added to what were ‘simple’ encounters initially and these got complicated (but of course the condition of screen, kaleidoscope etc is not as such a condition of the pandemic, it however became more visible, significant).

I think what I am still trying to figure out is how much the original enquiry needs to shift and how much can become an appendix, a bookmark for the future.

Thanks everyone for their thoughts, comments and time — I haven’t named anyone from the two meetings.

December review (3): the sketchbooks > drawing/contact portfolios

What is drawing/contact now (after nine months pandemic, after nine months pausing and after not just one (pandemic) but two shifts in site/practice (relocating temporarily and suddenly to Germany)?

What do I understand about it (better than in March)?

How can I re/present it?

  • Relational space
  • Recording
  • Translating
  • Shifting/remaining

At the BoW tutorial 3 (December 2019) a key task was to explore how to lift the material off the various sketchbook (physical, digital (IG and FB) and camera roll).

I realise this task remains the same, and currently plan to revisit the various drawing encounters across the two years and try to work each of them as a loose sheet portfolio. The idea is to arrive at about 7-12 such portfolios, with unique material for each encounter and a series of works (multiples, some originals) that stretch across and mark my understanding of key aspects of this work/practice.

For these, the bigger works of the autumn will act as screen and constructed site, so that the entire body of work functions across different scales and forms of intimacy: dropping into handling collections such as these portfolios (alongside Herz/Stein and Drei Nuesse) while sited within the bigger installations of Larchwood, Trafodecke and Walnut Tree of Touch.

December review (2): siting/practice

The dissertation draft and notable tutorial 3 (Research) notes give details of the Body of Work as it was envisaged early in the year.

The intervening months have added further work and allowed for some reflection of how the work is organised, structured.

I made a series of notes for how to revise and update the dissertation structure (and thus what would fold into the body of work) in the absence of the stair:case as site for the work (and exhibition).

The relocation to Germany in September added a further rupture and I have now begun to explore the work that I have been making since and how this work relates.

I seem to return to orientating the work (practice/research) around practice and site.

Original conception (March 2020)

Initially, Herz/Stein was a series of works that would move across the three ‘sites’:

  • verge/weed
  • stair:case
  • drawing|encounter

— of these, only the staircase is strictly a site, verge/weed is a movement practice (somewhat linear but also discontinuous); drawing|encounter is a relational practice but each sited in particular locations.

There are a number of reasons why I still want to call these sites, and also don’t consider them places >> I will return to this later, the discussion around stage/screen has made this clearer to me, it has to do with the manipulation, the deliberate handling of what makes the context of each piece, encounter; it also has to do with modularity, discreteness of each piece, that it is specific, originating in a particulate location/time/relation/material but does not bear the entire history and weight of what we want to consider as place; it is, possibly contentiously more modern than that; and then in its encounter and presenting thoroughly post-, yet again.

Covid Loop revision (August 2020)

To amend the quadrants of the glossary to include also:

verge/weed and stair:case as sites

and

Herz/Stein and Maraprilay as practice

December revision (December 2020)

I now add

Stromverteilen as site, and

Drei Nuesse/ Tree of touch as practice.

(there remains an omission that the first site is arguable the pontoon bridge in Northern Greece)

I then continue to wonder if drawing/contact can be reconsidered as practice/site or site/practice.

Herz/Stein and Drei Nuesse are the most material, tactile works: they are effectively handling collections or enquiries that result from touch.

Using the space I hired for a week to review the work, I lay out the four works and discover that they all organise a site, a screen, a stage for the smaller work to organise within. They create space, they remake the sites in a space all by themselves and it is within this space that the practice of Herz/Stein and Drei Nuesse can unfold, along with a series of portfolios that activate the sketchbook materials, quite possibly around a series of drawing/encounters as initially started in Spring 2019.

December review (1): screens in my work

I signed up for a few workshop over the past couple of months. The Moving Image one, a continuation (3-part) of Creative Arts Practice Research with my Research tutor another.

For the latter, I am going to offer some of my work for discussion. So I want to write a few survey posts to begin to articulate where two shifts since the material entered lockdown at the start of Maraprilay have led me to.

This one concerns the emerging body of work that I have been working on for the past few months since I arrived unexpectedly, and stayed similarly so, at the village of my teenage years.

I will discuss the works themselves in other posts (Larchwood, Walnut Tree of Touch and Drei Nüsse). At the moment I am interested in how three of these works (Larchwood, Walnut Tree of Touch and Trafodecke (transformer blanket) all work with the concept of screen, and what this concept may do for my work.

a. the staircase and other dreamscapes > utopian/ other space as screen

The biggest rupture to my work was when the Spring lockdown moved the site of the staircase out of reach. The work was not far off concluding, yet, after four weeks in February/March of being mostly out of reach due to industrial action, the site was effectively not concluded. I had gathered a wealth of material but the insights remained somewhat off. The lockdown was sharp and painful and with the site having become inaccessible the project seemed failed: the rupture added such a stark emotional register to otherwise so tender work that it felt impossible to continue to work with the site at a distance. This eventually led me to pause (after it was clear that even access in autumn seemed unrealistic, the Scottish Government’s covid plan needed zero covid to open sites like this one to random visitors like me).

At some point in May I begun to cautiously revisit the thematic and the site at distance – it had originated in a night dream, and I used the surreal nature of the pandemic to actively explore the dream components further, to continue to dream into the site and its inhabitants and themes. This yielded a number of insides, if not material. It crucially also opened the link again that hovers in the background of this (and other) work: that of a different, utopian space that lives just adjacent to the functional, institutional spaces such as Corridor and stair:case.

I also realised that my work functions closely along an unfolding present, that it is not interested in memory and nostalgia but also not vastly future-oriented but traces different temporalities as they tag closely along an experiential present. It is something that emerged first when I visited the Warhol show in Manchester in late 2016 (during Digital Image and Culture) and it keeps resurfacing. The limitations of the pandemic made it very apparent to me: I didn’t merely want to remember that site nor fantasise about its future. The material I had gathered as present/presence was insufficient to conclude, detach for the purpose of finalising the project.

b. Kaleidoscopes/ peripheral vision > a first actual screen

I have a strand of materials and enquiries which concerns ways of perceiving and seeing: kaleidoscopes and peripheral vision were the objects I previously investigated. Rarely did I do so centrally, but a curiosity as to folding in, manipulating visual planes (not just the edges but the patterning, the core organisation of observed to represented planes) remained. I also continued to try to secure, fix, chase the objects at the margin of my vision, tracing/chasing how horizon lines would bent at the corner of my eye.

In summer 2020 I conducted a self-organised summer school with my friend and colleague Chris and ended up pursuing an eventually failed attempt to reorganise one of the core practices of drawing/contact, the Herz/Stein series, which had led me to a series of stones that I covered in string and also rubber bands. The latter had disintegrated and I ended up photographing an aftermath, printed this and cut into hundreds of squares to reorganise. The process as such as failing: it didn’t yield anything for the Herz/Stein enquiry. But towards the end I realised that I was interested in creating a screen, a stage to let events unfold and document in front of.

Concluding image of summer school process

Revisiting the screen of the summer school now, I realise that it is in fact two part: the viewfinder meets the screen in the distance, opening and focusing the view on the space between finder and screen surface. I have some video attempts of situating a movement of the Herz/Stein bound stone objects on a string between these two.

c. Screen/stage as artificial site for drawing/contact practices

My current hunch is that the previous experiments lead me to an invitation to create a site in the absence of accessible sites. They also affirm for me that ‘site’ rather than ‘place’ is a key concept here: it is constituted, made, shifted, translated from a whole range of sensory observations and experiences. It is made and then a series of enquiries happen in front of it (or perhaps juxtaposed, adjacent, behind?)

A plaything of shells in front of larchwood print

Drei Nüsse WIP (autumn works #3)

I would like to consider this as practice and as a handling collection.
I find first one, then in the end over thirty walnut shells picked open by crows, either on the tree or on the ground. I collect them and become curious of the inside: some are deaf, the crows leave them, the others are emptied. I wash and dry them and begin to trace the opening. Then the inside.
Eventually I print the inside in a futile process, bleach the prints and stain them with walnut liquid we made earlier. 
There are other processes.
The resulting paper is at once brittle and sturdy.
Last year my dad showed me how to click walnuts out of their green shells.
As practice, Drei Nüsse relates to the Herz/Stein binding processes of earlier this year. Small tactile objects are found, related to each other and explored. They take the place of absent touch.
The blue is merely resonance.

I made a padlet about this WIP:

Larchwood (working title) WIP (autumn works #2)

EDIT (January 2021): I name this series Im Walde 14-23

An expanding series of cyanotypes around a larchwood (and adjacent) at the village edge. It is simply presented: the prints arranged in columns, each present a printing event, from left, oldest, to right, newest.

I am intending to keep adding to this series over the coming weeks, to perhaps 50-60 prints (just under A3 in size) in total.

I have also photographed each print and created a digital site to mirror the paper print arrangement. The site is here (click on the image to go to the padlet):

Walnut Tree of Touch WIP (autumn works #1)

approx. 40 double-sided Moleskine Cahier XL blank sheets, printed as cyanotype over the month of October on a mature walnut tree.

this current WIP state is laid out in part on the floor (viewed from above). I envisage this work to be sewn together as columns (possibly even numbered), space inbetween, simple white or grey thread to hang from a ceiling in a room. (organised as a plane, of 8×5 or 5×8 sheets, possibly some stabilisation across the rows too).

(To the side are two pressed sets of walnut leaf prints exposed under glass, these are not part of this work)

Documentary to derive material 1

for the Garry Clarkson workshop I want to focus on movement: movement of the camera, movement in front of the camera but also then how the editing moves the material.

I am using a simple performance structure around a small electricity transformer station I am working on the edge between village and woods.

I have been rolling out heavy tracing paper on its surface, keeping it for a couple of weeks and recording rain, wind, falling needles and some insects too. This is the second iteration of this process (a simple soft graphite rubbing, the moisture, drying and wind have pulled the middle of the two sheets apart).

The interest in the transformer is manifold. I started pulling myself up onto it and sitting down, feet dangling a while ago. The lift and the jump is an action that interests me — it’s a very modest parcour but fits around my interest in the body as drawing tool.

I often work with single shot video sequences, often found, often a static camera. The main clip is a simple attempt to narrate my POV movement up to the transformer, inspecting the tracing paper and then climbing on top and down again.

I have a supplementary last action: removing the soil my shoes left on top.

I play with two details of Bosch’s Garden to add a rupture, dislocation.

Development potential I currently see:

  • I am also interested in keeping the portrait ratio (and not having it altered to landscape), I work with iMovie 10.4.16 (the latest on Mojave).
  • Tightest of shots and viewpoints; use of slow/fast; focus and blur.
  • I am excited by the uplift and the move down
  • I have short sequences of insects on top of the tracing paper, unfortunately none with tripod which I feel it needs
  • Sound
  • Collage/Montage as way of accentuating the performance of it (the Bosch stills are an attempt to do this but not systematically so).

diary (n) one

my mother calls on the landline. i am sure it is her. as i respond she becomes alarmed. are you alright. yes, it’s okay. for the first time she seems to be listening to how it is here (besides: i am glad you are not ill). there is a spaciousness in her listening that wasn’t there before and so i tell her a few of the arguments across home, work, friends, futures.

is there some fun you can have.

i tell her some of the fun.

she proceeds to tell me what to tell the neighbours downstairs. i rarely follow her advice on social interactions. it often seems a little brutal. but i know what she says.

right at the start i realised how i switched into her crisis mode. i felt it in my spine, in my walk and in my focus.

the district with the town i grew up has no single death from covid-19 nor a single infection.IMG_2741

diary (d) d

i loop. time loops. i am repeating myself. time is repeating itself.

i remember a conversation from weeks ago. was it online. was it on the street.

he says: i can’t think straight. i am strangely confused. i seem to go round in circles. i am worried about my cognitive capacity.

i say: ah, yes, mine goes like that as well.

then i continue and say: you know, my mind is a little trippy most of the times. i tend to let it fold into the art stuff. my dream and fantasy sequences are generally a good site for that part of my thinking. what i started doing since mid-March is to let it fold into my day-to-day stuff and conversations more than usually. i almost consciously step into that mode and let it guide me through this strange now. it seems fitting. as i say this i realise that that is precisely what i have been doing. i have a series of messages that give evidence of how my dreams become a thing that is less closely guarded than normally. even my day dreams are the subject of my talking and writing now. as it write this i begin to wonder if my movement also gives evidence of this.

what happens to my walk

what happens to my sense of touch (notably when moving from plank to sphinx to locust and back towards downward dog.

what happens to my core muscles and my stomach when the latter gets nervous and worried.

how does fantasy manifest bodily

is this even a thing.

 

IMG_2552

below the dandelion i correct myself: my dreams were never closely guarded. but what i would guard closely are the bodily sensations, the effects on movement and perception these would cause in me.

diary (d) iii

i keep saying it. this: it don’t want it to become infected. yet, if i don’t, all this is past. it is a nostalgia piece. i don’t make nostalgia pieces. how can this be current. what would that look like. i make work about the now, the moment that is just about to be and that has just about been. it is of longing in the present. it is not nostalgic.

diary (d) 2

IMG_2688i am uncertain of this numbering. it is all wrong in any case. they are not unfolding, they are in fact memory pieces. or rather: to fold forward what was to make it pliable again, to point towards soon.

2 concerns my walk route. it is new(ish) and while all the pavements are familiar, none replicates what was before. there is a short stretch that marks the start of return that is part of before but once removed: now i cross the road to catch the sun, all this started when the sun would make it worthwhile. so, i walk 200 mtrs of very familiar but now on the northerly side, not the usual one.

come to think of it: the whole start is at first familiar, it denotes the main road if i know i take the subway or train. but now i turn right at the lights, then left. this is almost entirely new but as it’s probably become the most often walked turn for the past two months it feels no longer new.

yesterday i notice as i walk on that my stomach is turning. or rather: it bounces to right under my throat. it continues and i need to change my pace. does it settle? it is worst furtherest away, then it begins to ebb a little. as i walk on i remember his comment of how there are three cafes selling takeaway things. i find two but make a point to look at the bakery too. it is newly open, what were seats where E. and i sat not long ago now houses bags of flour. i remember their rolls and their sweets. they were nice things. will i go to acquire some soon? i am not sure. it is most certainly not essential.

a flat white. a coffee made as espresso.

as i walk on i recall the things that have become familiar along this old/new loop. the day with the goldfinches, the heart line, again, again, then a single remained, no none. the runners, the mothers and college-age daughters, the ones that stand in the middle of the pavement. the flower bouquets on the park table, the single child that had climbed the fence to the playground. the four who stood apart and drank a beer. and so it continues.

when i am back on the road from the shops, i realise what remains: how i enquire, how i observe and how these things mingle with each other, poke each other occasionally or run off into the woods. that remains. my mood in which they mingle is changing, or rather: it seems to be more volatile than usual. the detachment has changed as much as my attachment and touch has changed.

 

diary (d) #1

i tend to write my way through and out. there are two formats for this. one, tested, tried, is the response to ‘What’s on your mind, Gesa’, on a computer screen, occasionally a phone. i need to go and check twice what that box says exactly in the process of copying it to here. i am sure the invitation changed over the years too. and still: it is the box that foregrounds a slightly darkened background that focusses my minds and thoughts. once i press post. i read again, i edit, i read again and so it continues. over the day or the one after i add further comments.

two, i open the large moleskine cahier, black cover, mostly, blank pages and click on the top of the 2b mechanical pencil and start with the date of the day and then it continues. the longwriting across the page, the indentations, occasionally an underline, arrows (>>) are favoured. earlier, i sometimes retraced the letters of a word or two to highlight it. i turn the page and marvel and new and older tracings and marks.

oh, and then there is my camera roll.

there is always my camera roll. it sometimes accompanies one.

 

here, i am stumped. i test over the weeks a numbers of routes, routines, patterns and processes and discover much in the process.

how do they relate to all that i collected until mid-March?

how can i conclude something as current when it already feels outdated?

how can i address my desire to leave it untouched and thus uncontaminated?

yet, my processes were always current and would find resolution in the little sliver between present and soon (i steal this line from Warhol and invert its temporal ordering). i am stalling, undecided if that is helpful or not.

 

i pause one. initially in anger, then i realise what the absence offers. i contemplate absence as ending and it seems good. it is spacious. unexpectedly so, was i not just now contemplating loss.

i find a new site for two. then i realise what the discovery offers. i contemplate discovery as opening and it seems good. it is spacious, temporally too. unexpectedly so, was i not just now contemplating loss.

 

IMG_2651

distance…pets 2020

This week is the first that I spent any length of time with my coursework (or other art for that matter). For the past few weeks I have a regular working-alongside zoom for a couple of hours one afternoon where I started to collate and organise my artistic work but this week has me returning to the dissertation draft.

I joined two of the recent tutor-led sessions, one by the London group on Keeping up the momentum (Bryan Eccleshall); and one for the CA pathway on Doing thinking (Rachel White); both of them are in two parts, the latter concluded today, the former will conclude tomorrow.

For the Keeping up, Bryan proposes a series of prompt to work on and let them fold onwards. I do this fairly early on, a couple of people pick my chain up; yet, I fail to return to it. What happens however in the intervening period is that I am becoming a little clearer as what my practice wants to do with social distancing. There are four ideas at the moment:

  1. Drawing/ encounters in socially distanced times. I meet online, offline, accidentally or kind of so a few people. I take note, often in camera form, sometimes in FB posts, none of them yet folded onwards like what I did with the drawing/events in my BoW but they are similar kind of things, only the parameter has changed. I collect.
  2. I explore the role and form of my walks. Previously they were commutes which were so familiar that they often mistake themselves for drifts. These have disappeared and with them my creative thinking/writing space. I no longer find the latter at the end of the former. Instead, I watch and observe the city and its pavement. I also begin to think of some interventions of my own. I have all that chalk pastel in one of my cupboards
  3. The space between my laptop camera and myself. It comes into focus as it feels extensive. It is hidden from view, yet when I am quite distracted it is visible to others. I begin to explore it.
  4. There is possibly a fourth which is the computer camera and screengrab as photographic medium.

Let me add a few documents for these (not ordered) (later)

 

Research 3: Gathering Data: Tutor report

The tutorial for this assignment took place soon after submission and just as pandemic lockdown was taking hold. My social life had quietened in its analogue form and the distance modality was pushing hard on the laptop camera and microphone.

It was quite a special experience to have this tutorial and discuss this subject, which is entirely not concerned with epidemiology nor actually science, in the context of what is unfolding around us.

The tutorial, its discussions and insights sat as excess in a world that had begun to get stilled (with some anxious twitches).

I spent some time transcribing much of the tutorial recording and it’s the longest report I compiled: it talks through the exhibition objects and the research findings along with with the padlets and case studies that I had submitted. It also spends considerably time unpicking the research objects that this module is generating too.

I am including one segment of the discussion, towards the end of the tutorial which tries to conceptualises what the case studies are attempted and how these can feed back into the dissertation process:

Are the three padlets related? Do you see a line, a link across the three?

There is something, and that goes back to the glossary form. I changed the glossary in the sense that each quadrant of the glossary addresses a part of the dissertation and there is a narrative in how each quadrant unfolds.

There a question of geography and scale across the three padlets:

  • (a)  The staircase is a traditional, definite site in how it is delineated. I use the site then to step into a fantasy, into a dream space. So while it’s the most physical site it is also the one that moves most clearly into fantasy.
  • (b)  The verge/weed has a geography to it, slightly more dispersed and yet it works along a line. Each of the processes hover along a path and the side to that path.
  • (c)  The four events, drawing/contact are most abstract, almost purely event- based, almost just the relational aspect between myself and somebody else.

— There is probably more in it but this is first off: they operate on different scales. There is a fourth strand, the Herz/Stein which sits across the entire Research; there are in total four quadrants in the Glossary and four series (three of the latter currently have a padlet).When I talk about the quadrants. The one on the right is methodology; the middle ones are empirical, the top one is theory, the bottom one are the objects; the one on the left are the concepts that I enact and explore.

With the case studies plus Herz/Stein as four series, they don’t quite that easily map across the four quadrants.AP: to write a usage instruction for the glossary as note underneath it (37:00)

The glossary can function as a descriptive way into the work, and a potentially great way of using a glossary. It is important to go back and frame that glossary.

I did this for a PK ‒ I have done quite a few PKs over the year to explore the work ‒ and this PK has an illustration for this on a series of slides.

AP: to explore the relationship of each series to the glossary: what are they and where are the gaps? The spaces inbetween the screen tabs and how you visualise or articulate those connections across.

— I didn’t expect to be able to discuss the forms of writing that are new to me, strike me as innovative, and it’s fantastic to be able to do that in these tutorials. To be able to discuss the writing as if they were art, is immensely useful. I address the glossary items in the dissertation but not as glossary. This, above, will be a way to do so. I will take the glossary and the padlets as art objects and explore them as objects, their relationship and what they fall short of for Research. Rachel returns to a discussion from last time about tracing paper and things being seen through tracing paper and to explore the layering between and across them. There is something in the idea of layering things on to each other, those three padlets and the glossary quadrants and how they function as layers on top of each other and how to move about. I know how to enact these processes with art objects, with drawings, I will explore this process for the glossary and padlets. Doing the review in January, February was really positive as it showed me how the review creates new objects. To push that process a bit further still on the basis of the padlets and glossary, to feed these into the process and see what they generate. I will have my planetary system like this, effortlessly, or an appendix.

— It will also clarify the extent to which my implicit complexity needs other forms of clarity or forms of entry to be accessible in the way that I would like these to function as objects and to be quite deliberate about these.

Rachel suggests that this is important, going back to the opening of the tutorial and ongoing events: that there is material and insights that this work is able to offer and that it should offer. It is important to explore those entry points so that different types of people can access what you are doing.

I am attaching the full tutor report: Gesa Helms 492645 A3