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.

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