BoW part 2: gather/manifest submission

[edit, 28/ July: I updated and included links to a new concept map; and to a discussion that points towards Research on the theory/concept of how ‘material’ is engaged with here and what that means for the materiality of the project; I also included headings to orientate the reader better]

I have struggled (or am struggling) a little to delineate the materials that form part of this submission: they are extensive, a little excessive even and their form seems indeterminate. Part of the point where I am at now is to consider this struggle as useful. So: here it is.

I delayed the submission for a couple of months as I felt I didn’t have enough materials to point towards the manifestations that I was intent on exploring. The range of experiments and pursuits since the first assignment is relatively vast (but, perhaps along what marked D2, I am wondering what constitutes Drawing, even in an expanded field). However: what it contains and does pursue are questions over performance, over drawing/contact, the concept map from A1 but also questions over audience, relationship between artwork and author/audience. It also takes serious the focus on the small and intimate (both in encounter, but also perhaps in subject matter). It also has pursued and clarified further the ideas around near space, the sensorial and a shifting and moving between different registers.

So, what this post will try to achieve is to delineate the (leaky) container of my current sketchbook and to offer some routes into the material for discussion and a round of critique before focussing in further.

Material explorations (1: performance/ social)

The material that I explored concerns, in the main, a series of encounters/situations of exploring what I understand as near space in an embodied, sensorial form of drawing as expanded field.

These are:

A series of events (identified and explored after their occurrence)

A series of 1:1 encounters that are explicitly set up to explore the above.

A series of gestures

  • they are mentioned at the start of the first drawing/contact meeting;
  • they are also mentioned in some of the sketchbook notes.
  • Yet: I possibly feel most uncertain about them, but would like to discuss further
  • (part of the uncertainty has to do with authoring/voice; in what kind of process these sit: it is about moving-with, the concept that is the centre of the second presentation [see script below], it seems to have moved from performance more so to choreography/dance)

— I started considering these as somewhat connected to relational aesthetics, a feminist version of this; and also have been reminded of Grant Kester’s Dialogical Art in a conference presentation a couple of weeks ago.

There are a number of different forms/ media that I explored:

The concept map drawings (and some experiments to develop these both analog and digitally)

A couple of booklets/zines:

A series of performative sketches and scores:

Academic presentations (both performative in form/nature)

A FB album from my travels in Greece which became a performative research thing during the week at Made of Walking

A 5000 word essay on the line which is a mix of creative writing and academic article: Gesa Helms Moving-with a line_080619_FINAL_image placement

A sketchbook since mid-June which is travel log but also site of experimentation.

Conceptual/theoretical concerns: moving-with and near space

There is a key set of works and concerns that I felt my week in Prespes was touching on and exploring: the question of site, audience and authorship. I am really intrigued and excited by some of these considerations and findings as I feel they will fold forward to address the question of form and placement of this final body of work:

There are a number of posts which exemplify this approach (and they sit within the FB album). Exemplary, I have moved one into the blog (the issue with moving is that they need a making strange, rewriting to work anonymously in public):

Much of the focus has explicitly rested on the work that is the line, its revisiting, re-publishing, re-editing but also the creation of some new elements and in exploring what is old and what is an artistic practice that folds forward.

The reason for focussing so strongly on the line lies in its approach and subject matter: it explores in detail what I have (again) turned to following the corridor work of D2: the near space, the 1:1 encounter and personal/ intimate stories and how they circulate in various publics, what they are constitutive of. (I have tagged all currently relevant posts with the line; the line itself as video work sits as a tumblr site here and is discussed as Part 5 (and 4) of DI&C))

Theoretically, it also shifted the focus from drawing/contact to a notion of moving-with. –I have some ideas what I mean with this and will focus on these two concepts for the next submission to Research but also amend/expand/re-focus the initial concept map for this (I explore this concept a little further in the manuscript above from the conference, but also have a draft for a longer one in which there is more scope to work conceptually).

I have updated my initial concept map for BoW to a new, 2.0 version (see below, and this post that gives some more detail for the development):

Mindmap Theme BoW July 2019

Material explorations (2: shifting/matter)

I wrote another reflective post which concerns some of the approach I have been taking towards the media of this body of work: of why and how there is little tangible material engaged with. It led me to the key concerns of D2: the gap, questions of transfer/translation and of agency within and across, — something we did at various points discuss not only as expanded field of drawing but also transdisciplinarity.

Clarifying the modality of the working process points to this as both approach/practice for BoW but also then something that clarifies further the questions of the Research dissertation.

It started with a sketchbook note on near space (which is really a tracing of shifting material/media), here.

Please see this post for a fuller discussion.

Development to this submission

— The period between the previous assignment and this one is rather long. There are a number of staging posts between these to gather the process. In reverse chronological order these are:

I have also added many key FB posts into this blog for the blog to now effectively also function as a sketchbook. They are all categorised as such. There are also further sketchbooks elsewhere but the key items are here. Some further individual images may as before be on the Instagram account. I will revisit my presentation of my digital sketchbooks for the assessment (as I did for Drawing 2), but currently feel this blog site holds the key aspects of my working practice.



10 thoughts on “BoW part 2: gather/manifest submission”

  1. Your comment, ‘I am wondering what constitutes Drawing, even in an expanded field’ echos what I’ve been thinking recently. I like the zine-format developments – knitted into the body of work rather than outcomes per se. Why have I never even thought of this, I’m now asking myself!


    1. — yes and thank you! I met a few people in Prespes who work in similar ways and with similar materials to what I do and that was great… I do wonder though (and I don’t think that is a problem)… I look forward to the tutorial and how it will turn these things further. Yes: I agree with you: the zine as part of it rather than outcome is what I had been thinking too… (one of my thoughts about outcome is returning to moving image again)… it may just be an oversized/ undersized book shelf in the end 😉


      1. I think this is also connected to – or a reflection of – the changed nature of art, from something like a pure spectator sport, to one where the viewer has a real participatory role in the work. Outcome per se has come down off the pedestal, and process is moving out from behind the scenes to being an integrated part of the whole, isn’t it? Performance art is part of this, but thinking about social practice has also made me change the way I see visual art activities (of all sorts). And your work always demands I re-think something or other!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. — yes, there is something in that movement, definitely. (sometimes too for better or worse: some of the claims over participation are just not there in actuality). One thing I am currently a bit wary of is the coursework pulling you towards institutional demands in ways that doesn’t make for stronger work. I didn’t have that sense about the coursework before (if I had a criticism, it was that some of the exercises were dull); in the L3 materials is something different going on: to safeguard the degree award procedure (which I know from all the HE work that I do with e.g. PhD students: the institution safeguarding itself)… I am not keen on it, and still trying to find a way to not be too occupied with it… (and my concern is that it makes the work too removed/too institution-facing… I haven’t quite resolved it yet, and my analysis may also be still off)…

        Liked by 1 person

      3. As a fellow CA student I was wondering how went about selecting your tutors for research and body of work, did you have one from drawing and one from photography? Partly for me I need have the confidence to embark on L3 and I think this will come down to tutor support. On your concept maps you haven’t separated out your two artistic disciplines, was there a feeling this almost redundant. I am hoping to blur the lines between textiles and photography in my digital image and culture assignments and use this as preparation for level 3. Thanks for a very interesting blog.


      4. hi Karen—thanks for your comment. the transition is pretty carefully done (even though it seemed to take a long time on the side of the office) and involves a series of documents to fill in and then a conversation with Doug as Programme Leader (who also was my D2 tutor). he suggested tutors and they were really good suggestions, i asked after a little consideration if he could remain my BoW tutor which he agreed to. i have no concern about that side of the process; — i think you know a little of my D2 work and it had pretty much integrated drawing and photography, my two official course strands, and so i no longer treat them as separate. the CA L3 is v small and that is where i am a little concerned: about making connections to other L3 students on other programmes and having a peer cohort (eg to have access to Gina’s initiative for L3 photo students if photo is one of your disciplines); i also think the L3 tutors have to be tutors for CA and not for the other disciplines (eg the photo tutors i was aware of where not in the pool; which wasn’t a big issue for me at all as to what i do but perhaps also something to be aware of)


      5. Thanks for the reply, who is your research tutor?. I would love to have Doug as a tutor as he is a based in the south west and run study days for us, it’s easier somehow when there is an existing relationship. Although I am taking photography courses I am not a photographer and my work is more about experimental making so not traditional textiles either. I have been able to work with my textile pratice in digital image course so hoping to start level 3 with my two disciplines already intertwined, which I think is how the CA degree needs to work. There are more CA students coming through the levels but I don’t know many others. I would prefer to work with a cross disciplinary L3 group. Thanks


      6. — Rachel Smith, Karen. And, similar to you I am also not a photographer and greatly enjoyed shifting back out of that cohort (though I do like lens-based processes a lot and got a lot from the presence of theory-interested students on forums and beyond), some of the concerns were too narrow for me and so I am glad to have stayed on CA pathway and really like its potential for interdisciplinarity.


  2. ‘… coursework pulling you towards institutional demands’: education in any culture has its ideology and agendas, doesn’t it? Given your level of experience (cross-cultural), can you knit that into the core, rather than it being a straightjacket? You cannot ignore it now you are aware of it and how it’s affecting you, can you?


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