BoW: what i will be doing

Gesa Helms

5 April at 13:18 · 

Wednesday morning I say what it is that I will be doing:
– a series of performance pieces/ drawings
– a couple of workshop/event things and 
– some documentation of the above.

That is it. 
The spatial praxis/ production of space/ site-thing will be part of it as building out and up from the encounters that constitute each. It will be utopian in its concrete practice. Nothing more, nothing less (I would love to call it Beziehungsweise Revolution/ relationally: revolution, but that title is already taken, unfortunately).
The documentation will be either in book or in moving image form.
Each segment/ section will address or: can address a particular question/ enquiry.
I am uncertain if the talks will be part of it or generally merely context. I think that is part of the wider question of what constitutes the site/ the work, i.e., really: if we talk an expanded field of drawing, do we need to have a sense of what is not part of it? what is absent? outside? and, why would that be useful. In that sense, I will have a consideration of distance/closeness in this too, and at that point it loops back into the overall thematic of drawing/contact.

The first four events in drawing/contact are intimate and in hindsight, retrospect. I am testing how these relate to the theme and what they do medium/discipline-wise. I am trying not to be too wilful with them, to let them hover for as long as they need to. In some ways, these take inspiration from the events around the line, and reworking the line for the workshop in July into a photo essay and presentation will be great. The drawing/contact encounters are different though as they transgress media/ reach. They are possibly less concerned with secrets and veracity but more curious about the contact, the stuff enacted, where and when it reaches, etc.

In this, then, the line, the Gap, and the wider corridor thematic are aufgehoben in the best dialectical sense: they are concluded and superseded into a qualitatively new question (I remember how for each time that aufheben needed translation I was stuck, as stuck as I am now as there is no equivalent in English).

sketchbook: research performance Mark Bleakley How we handle things

14 April noon – 16.30 Rhubaba, Edinburgh

my notes:

i stop outside the gallery and watch in.

air round my head, i watch them move and their actions mingle with reflections

sensing and trailing, tracing past the effect of the thermoplastic 

he invites me then she does

it is so warm and nice to the touch

we chat while i set the material on her waist standing up and just letting the patch drop

the sound is harsh and so different to the warmth, pliability of the material

she balances the piece from the waist on her face, then her knee, i photograph her walking away

she stands earlier next to me and i feel her presence, she holds out a piece and a smile,

i briefly think about taking it, then, shy, i don’t

i gonna put this right to your neck, is this okay? yes, it is quite hot i hear him steadying his breath

the next photo is after it has set 

pressed against the body or against other objects: how much pressure do you apply?

being invited to join, i am possibly the only one they didn’t know. the choreographer comments on my beautiful participation in the kitchen space

can you help me and hold that until it sets? i film a little, later i hear them giggling.

… 

Lucy asks me if she can cast me and i say yes. she casts my thumb and we wonder about transfer

responding to the movement impulse and to the pressure…

… the body gesture that makes the piece fall; the reaction to it falling, the sound of it falling

… 

towards the end of cycle 2 many more people arrive, at start of 3 we are just under 20. the performers now whisper and it seems to have moved towards watching. before it was quite playful and a joint thing, now it is a performance with an audience.


cycle 3: more forceful; they ask each other if one can push. bodies get entangled. at 2:35 they interact with audience again casting underneath a body: different to putting something on somebody. he leans into it and the woman who stood up didn’t quite intend to touch his stomach. he falls down and off, Katie and her investigate the leftover cast .

casting Lucy’s forehead. you can give me more, she leans into it further they go to the ground, his hand moves forward and the cast sticks on it through a series of upward movements. it falls when he falls to the ground a second time. .

is that too hot?

yes but it is too late now

sorry, i do that 

Discussion with Florence Peake and Robbie Synge

everyone to pick a cast and sit with it as if it was your lover who doesn’t like their shape? let’s recast
how we handle things how things handle us
Robbie Synge   — being isolated in Highlands and probing materials as what they can offer Florence Peake   — clay as medium, object as argument against fascism 
Relational space: clay is very responsive as it responds Florence: empathy objects and psychic readings constantly in contact with some material; focus attention on that and making it object of enquiry
sculptural time and the need during the performance to yield to the temporality of the material. you could see that making the timing 
sitting with the object as if it was your lover. it really wasn’t, i wouldn’t.
i have mine recast as my left fist. it feels so good as it sets and first lets my hand move then begins to restrict it. what is the object, what inside or outside
Rite as boundary blurring and not sure what is what; codependency with people but how about with objects? transference taking place; you ask people to touch your bare chest, heaven forbid, the object is leaving a memory
Florence: i really want to have been cast with them and i didn’t have that yet. i was even holding my hand out once, come to me; and it’s nice to sit with that desire. The intimacy of their size and shape is fascinating; while frustration with scale

sketchbook: the line as conference presentation.

I submitted and have had it now accepted, this abstract to a conference in early July in Norther Greece. The conference is organised by a walking arts networks. I am uncertain yet as to the format of the presentation (I assume: 20 mins long), yet I know that they want a written contribution in advance.

While I still need to attend to some practicalities, I am keen on going and I think that is likely to happen. Following the SAR conference I realised that this is a good format for me (as it was in the past).

The idea that underpins this proposal is to turn the current tumblr site into a photo essay. I also think that I, in this process, re-organise the tumblr site into a facebook album (public).

My interest in the presentation/written contribution is to explore some of the methodological and conceptual aspects between walking as practice/methodology, the subject matter and the site of its presentation/publication.

I am posting this here, as the line is one of the significant earlier pieces of my coursework (from DI&C), and just now as I begin to explore the format of performances/events for BoW, the stories and videos of the earlier project came back into focus.

The abstract for the conference is:

the line: walking with shadows, no secrets

the body of work at the centre of this photo essay is a series of video pieces in which encounters are reframed, recentred. they take place on street corners, in parks, at dusk, at lunch time. they also take place in private chats, in facebook posts, and thus circulate in iterations and revisions across a networked public. in doing, so they trace notions of veracity, transparency and secrecy. their gossiping nature is at once a insistence that something, someone happened. but also speak to the power of silence and our attempts to comply and subvert at once.the work is produced through a walking methodology — night and evening routes both known and unfamiliar and repositioned by digital circulation. the starting point is arbitrary, some run concurrently, the end point unknown. the proposal consists of a critical reflection of the artistic methodology that underpins this project and how through its form as online collection it rearticulates the idea of urban walking. it also is intent to explore further the sense of authorship and readership for this work, to make an argument for a diverse public in which this work is situated.the work itself, also by drawing on other forms of auto-fiction, theoretical fiction (Kapil, Calle, Krauss), explores – cautiously, not quite in sight – the role of desire, pursuit, sexual agency within the context of familial violence. Doing so, it is interested in the reconstitution of public and private not merely in the circulation of the work but also in its very production: what happens to a private self when it becomes public: in urban space, in an audio-visual body of work.

Thoughts on how to develop this further:

the proposal is for a photo essay. this is rather specific already and I think will work.  << it is not about writing prose/ fiction but about reflecting, contextualising and making visible the methodology/ conceptual concerns of the piece of work
I think sitting down and starting to structure this accordingly should be good >> which of the videos/images and which texts?  also: the boundary draft already has some of the texts from this, so what happens if I start building from that on?

There are some literature questions:

  • is there a concept of walking digitally?
  • about transferring movement/walking from analogue to digital?

augmented reality; documentation as themes as far as a quick scan reveals. https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/383150/
audio walks as methodology:
Easter Rising sites in Dublin https://www.emeraldinsight.com/doi/full/10.1108/JD-03-2017-0031
Katrina Palmer project
digital artwork as outcome: http://eprints.chi.ac.uk/2459/
knowledge production as epistemic walking (not sure though how useful, only read the abstract) https://estudogeral.sib.uc.pt/handle/10316/36340
https://ideaexchange.uakron.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1111&context=docam
De Certeau’s metaphoric walk >> making walking rhetoric. Is there something in there about how that translation is also occurring with move to digital? — in papers as PDF
Jeff Rice 2012: Digital Detroit — in papers as PDF

sketchbook: four events (drawing/contact)

event may not be the right word; it may be encounter, meeting, contact. — bear with me.

the first was rather momentous in my encounters of strangers, in the woods, while in conversation with my mother, while being nominally sixteen, while roaming woods on my own, while being not from here. it was so extraordinary, and yet however so long anticipated that it pierced my conception of what was going on.

it sowed an idea of what ‘performance’, ‘expanded field of drawing’, ‘set of experiments’ for BoW may look like; i found another one that similarly important and since then two more happened.

they are 1:1 encounters in different contextual settings: (1) a door to a concert hall while exiting a large meeting; (2) a car stopping while i cross the roads between two tracks in the woods; (3) my mother showing me a corner in the train station where she would as a teenager wait before going home after school; (4) and my friend inviting me to try the garden gate of abandoned flats.

two of them (the first two, one hand touching one shoulder, then the other another while leaving a conference; and the encounter on the road) i pursued a little further, in different directions. i have the sense there are more openings within them; the latter two still only exist in record.

if drawing is about contact, an expanded field of drawing, a relational construct and a space as well as a possible absence (see my concept map), then these are the questions i can ask of these encounters. until now i would generally just play with them in writing and rewriting, posting them in facebook, narrating them and seeing what resides in them verbally. this is the first attempt to use other means.

for (2) i was recording a drawing alongside the roadside demarcation by video when i heard the car behind me braking, stopping and then he asked. all that got recorded. i tell my mother later. then i post it; then i start typing on my mother’s father’s typewriter. i write three scenarios over a few occasions and reframe the account on pages of scrap paper. the drawing is typewriter ink on my dad’s scrap paper.

i am posting all three sets in complete and chronological order as they currently are:

for (1) i begin with writing out the event, then beginning to sketch the choreography, the movement of bodies out of the concert hall, the brief meeting inside the entrance door and the moving on; later i rephotograph the see-through in the sketchbook:

— for (4–abandoned garden) i have a couple of photo sketches, and it may remain with these. for (3–train station hall) i have only a memory so far.

what interests me:

  • contact: encounters, brief, random, that stick with me, that are significant, that contain movement: a coming and going; a boundary negotiated.
  • the don’t exist in actual form but are translated, mediated, pushed along
  • in that sense they also contain an absence, a negotiation of that
  • they are each rather geographical, i mean: they are productive of space as a body/relational concept and presence.
  • they are also performative (clarify what i mean with that)
  • all are personally significant, they are intimate in one form or another, i make them public.

BoW 1: tutor report

I had the first video tutorial following my earlier submitted proposal. It had seemed ages that I discussed actual coursework and so this was good: to ground the work since Summer and to articulate the forward.

In early December, following the progression discussion I almost agreed to a new tutoring arrangement and on Wednesday I realised that it was good to take what seemed the more risk-adverse approach and ask for continuity in Doug remaining my tutor for BoW. It was easy to revisit ground but also to begin to tap out what is all new: in approach, in intent, in relationship.

We spent a good part on mapping forward but also designating the endpoint for BoW and where the final module, Sustain Your Practice will become the realisation of the the Body of Work. So: I will end with a series of drafts, a pilot, or similar to then be finalised in the third module.

It was right for me to start with sketchbook work, to start drawing out what I want to keep from before as method, process, form. Doug brought up a good phrase that I want to use: to take the philosophies that I investigated and developed in Drawing 2 and develop them further – the gap, the expanded field of drawing, the ideas around performativity, instruction, the sensorial and relationships; of institutional critique; how it links to academic practice.

— that the sketchbook work is working, alongside what I have started to do with the gap again is reassuring (also: how I represent it digitally on the blog/IG). We discuss some of it in a fair bit of detail and it’s as always so useful to get some reflections put back at me.

So, attached is the PDF of a report. It is reasonably sparse at this stage but I am also very clear what comes next as ‘gather and manifest’, end of April for this is a bit ambitious but I will see.

Tutor is right to ask for a bit more clarity over scope: what will you do. — I kind of know what it is but I am reluctant to put words to it. So, here some bullet points (am I shooting or being shot at?):

To clarify what the process for BoW would be:

  • A series of performances, experiments
  • To be experimental and artistic (out there; think Yoko Ono and Mathew Barney’s early performances): let it be raw
  • Take forward where you concluded with Parallel Praxis:
    • A particular space/place (e.g. Jonas’s work takes place in a site, is brought together there)
    • Digital/analogue
    • Multi/ or inter-disciplinary
    • Performance
  • What is the relationship with the audience? (for Beckett that is key)
  • For BoW to end up with a series of drafts, a pilot or similar; for SYP then to take that and present it in final form

We conclude (along with stating it a few times as we went on): I should feel quite excited about what has been and what lies ahead. I am indeed.

The PDF, now:

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.