BoW 2 (Gather and Manifest): tutor report

Here is the report from the tutorial from 31 July for part 2 of BoW.

Two items here for reference, the rest in the document below:

Project proposal (if any change) (student)

To refocus towards the attention on process and material shifts rather than taking performance as key to the project.

To explore drawing/contact within the parameters of the methodology that I have already begun to articulate and test and experiment with a view to gain an understanding on:

  • expectations of the work
  • digital and analogue forms of these
  • the types of relationships between objects and the overall container, holding framework, assemblage of the work

Critical Reflection (space to critically reflect on the work across both units) (student)

Role of concepts of near space, site and moving-with to create a terminology to describe a performative action (of drawing in an expanded field)

>> the methodology for the project needs further unpacking and articulating: where does it come from and where does it reach.

>> here the glossary that Rachel suggested for Research is indeed useful (possibly to explore and make connections, to refine – not necessarily to define down) [I am thinking of e.g. Raymond Williams’ Keywords].

BoW then would become the place where I figure out practically what the methodology is for the ideas concerning near space, drawing/contact and moving-with.

Part of my own reflections (and which didn’t come into the report) are here: tutorial reflections 1: what is (source) material?

tutorial reflections 1: what is (source) material?

— following my 2nd BoW tutorial last week, I want to write up a few posts exploring some of the key themes going forward. This is the first one, the other ones are likely to be:

  • what are expectations of self/object/viewer in the work?
  • what about the smallness of things?

For the past few months, I had a sense of what events, gestures or questions would become source material for the project (they were significant, they generated questions for myself and they invited to be explored and shifted in register). Following the tutorial, I however think, that my source material is far broader and more extensive than I had previously anticipated.

It was becoming evident when discussing what I had and notably what the role of the lens-based material is. I tend to sketch with the phone, and yet I hadn’t thought of including virtually any of the photographs as work (the moving image clips possibly, but also not really).

It was also then becoming clearer as to discussing why an event/ gesture/ question is part of the project (and which ones I overlook); and whether I had collected and explore enough for assignment. I had far too much, Doug seemed to indicate I was an assignment further on that 2, and also that there was not enough time to even go through material that was already on the blog/instagram, let alone the material that was still sitting aside/offline.

This has been turning in my head and so I wanted to explore it further. With my parents, I went on a day out yesterday and I designated the day as exploration. I used the camera a lot to observe what came to attention and recorded a series of questions.

Here they are: road signs, positions of bridges, then an artificial mountain of a mining extraction and its position within a field of wind turbines, cloud formation, incidental signage and finds.

The questions or interest revolved around connections while moving, and of bridges/crossings.

— I recognise that earlier bigger projects also started to follow a line of adjacent/ juxtaposed propositions and questions (notably: the line) to place a series of themes next to each other or in relation with each other. I will explore existing material with this in mind to see what it is that leads me to include within the project or to consider part of the project (i.e.: to ask what is the connection/contact/moving-with that I am interested in and how does it manifest and when).

concept map 2.0 for BoW: drawing/contact and near space

Following submission of BoW A2: gather/manifest, I sat down and revised the concept map that I made for BoW A1. Notably, I have clarified as to what concerns its modality (methodology and artistic practice) and how the concept of near space provides the substantive focus (between drawing as means and contact as intent).

Quite a few aspects are still not articulated but rather loosely grouped together. However, this will serve for the next round of focus but also provides a direction for the next Research assignment and how to achieve a stronger focusing in on key aspects.

Mindmap Theme BoW July 2019

 

critical reflection: modality of BoW

Screenshot 2019-07-28 at 13.33.01
Detail of updated concept map for BoW (July 2019): modality/methodology

As material for the dissertation:

The process of shifting back and forth as the process of the Body of Work and how produces itself and links to the dissertation.
  • the gap pointed to it: what is opened up
  • the photocopier manual, (m)use me, and the parallel project present its practice
  • the line as practice to deal with the social subject matter (and so does: office at night; the corridor work and other green: contact, secrets, gossip)
Katrina Palmer’s Loss Adjuster is good for process and shift
Juliana Spahr’s Army of Lovers, Everyone connected, The transformation as container and focus on new materialism and relationality within
Bhanu Kapil as for fragmentation and moving between different materials.
Joan Jonas and Rosemarie Trockel for holding these togethers (perhaps some like Doris Salcedo too?)
Friedrich Kittler opened the door to this and should be at the heart as conceptual/ methodological question
The smallness and the unimportance as guiding question to judge vis-a-vis artistic canon.

How to trace this through the BoW:

Reworking the concept map from February made some of these processes clearer: what is the how and the what: I had discussed as key outcome/ process a series of performance formats (solo; 1:1; and group) but wonder if that is the process really and if the process is not a tracing, following, pursuing of material shifts and registers; and that performance (through the inclusion of others, and a focus on the body) is merely a format that facilitates that.
In June I collated a few thoughts as to material contact:
clay experiments (following the Bleakeley performance)
darkroom and contact printing
screenprinting again
then: in the sketchbook:
  • the transferral of marks to the next page,
  • the pick up of graphite on previous pages
  • see through/ fold
  • (it is again processes that have intrigued me for a long time; possibly it is the link to indexicality again here that also concerns the interest in the ‘contact’ concern for the wider project)
  • most actual drawings in the sketchbook are 10-15mins pieces while on the bus: layering fleeting views on top of each other, repeating and reworking. I did 12-15 of these over four journeys. They are not about indexicality. Yet, in some sense I feel they are relevant in terms of the drawing marks and in terms of what is connected through the moving through?
I also think the drawing on top of templates/copies is part of this too, and so is much around photocopying; and indeed the work with the typewriter in late March.
As in D2 I find a hesitancy towards material processes, as if they sidetrack me too much. I don’t think that I don’t experiment enough (which was one of the discussions over the material processes in D2), but I think I struggle to explicate or name what I am experimenting with.
As plan for Part 3 I want to focus on the processes themselves and pursue a range of them to explore what kind of register shifts are occurring (and, so my thought: are constitutive of the near space, the contact).

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: https://close-open.net/2019/07/24/a-week-on-agios-achilleios-as-site/

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.

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_4e67

 

a week on Agios Achilleios as site

For my travels to Greece I made a travel album, which then during the week at the Made of Walking encounters/conference became a research site.

The album is here: τους πελεκάνους μου.

The closing post to the album is this one:

EDIT: my phone browser also misbehaves and forgets to place it into the album 😮
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my browser Fb misbehaves and doesn’t let me post, so let me type this on the phone:
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– i think this post concludes my pelican adventures.
– i think that most of the memory pieces i wanted to place next to each other i have now
– what i realised that i wanted to try was to seek a container to place next to each other a variety of things, meetings, sights and smells that came together in that week in Prespes
– there were two points when i realised that so much was mingling that i wanted to treat it as a field site and become a keen observer with interest:
(a) institutional processes and critique came together with both my inside/outside and my family album work in a site combining several key aspects of what i am concerned with in my work over the past four years
(b) Jen and then others started to talk about my FB posts and placed them offline again; and while not for the first time but for the first time with people who didn’t or hardly knew me, did i have a form in which the different forms of conversation mingled and informed each other;
>> that i was going to talk a few days later on a project which employed these two strands also, was perfect and too good to miss
>> i kind of used this then to make my own project (and sought some links to what is to be my final year work)
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all else from this will sit in my sketchbook album (i add a link below, most of you will have access to it, should you not, drop me a message and i will add you)
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there is something about the (fraught, failing) attempt to build a closed situation, room, site and i am keen to test this for this material. we did discuss in the past a corridor, a Fischli & Weiss machinery, i had dreamt of a world of Ursula Le Guin, a stage with Joan Jonas, Carole referenced Katrina Palmer’s Loss adjuster on Portland, i also think about the space the Sonic Seance show has set up at the CCA currently and bak invites for a training for an otherwise futurity. — many of these will be too ambitious. i think what interests me is as before the leaking and the blurring, the open fuzzy edges and i am pleased to have all the bus journey sketches around Kozani which go some way towards this.
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i also am grateful to have tested the notion of gossip a little further. i have a lot of respect for it. found myself at various turns of the week being made to decide one or another. felt the hot spots of conversations travelling, adjusted some posts, didn’t write others and then on other occasions found myself surprised at what tender things it also was generative of. now with this having passed, i sense acutely the absence of those close and frequent iterations and interactions that made it possible to write like that. now it has firmly become a thing past and of reflection. i have lost the careful hold and sensation in my finger tips to gauge one thing or another (or to be wrong), so as a practice, this is also no longer a possibility.
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oh: and i almost entirely forgot Susan Hiller’s Dream Machine and that beautifully fraught Soviet apartment room recreation at the Tate.

 

For my work for the two modules, some of this can be drawn out further:

>> totality/ situation:

it relates to other sites, events:

  • Corridor as institutional site (with Green and other Green)
  • the line as body of work

My interest is in:

  • details events processes that are held in temporal and spatial proximity (maybe even just through my attention, there is no assumption that it is causal or functional)
  • part of that attention then concerns memory/ focus but also subjectivity
  • what gets deposited, contained and what doesn’t or can’t
  • so the totality/ situation/ event is one with open, blurry or fuzzy edges: things are bleeding in and out (does it make sense to focus on the blood?)

As much as this concerns the source material for a work, it also gives an indication over how to present it, how to realise it: Since House in 2015 I had thought of a room, an installation to re-access the site, to make it public. Similarly: there as an idea during D2 to do something similar with the corridor, to remodel it, to situate it elsewhere. Effectively, too, the work around Office at Night did something similar in its final realisation.

There are a series of ideas, possibilities from this:

  • a construction of a physical site to contain and hold together objects deemed relevant
  • a visual realisation (such as concept maps, presentation) or a publishing form that achieves something similar.

The kinds of materials gathered are small, ordinary, fleeting (and this makes a little clearer to me what I had initially written as the ordinary, every day in the first statement/ outline). So, the collection/archive/situation (I will need to have a closer look at what this is) is constituted in ordinary form, encounters, events, gestures.

 

There are a series of influences and references (many not new):

Katrina Palmer’s End Matter / Loss Adjuster

Joan Jonas larger performance cycles (I have one in mind in particular, I will need to look this up)

Juliana Spahr’s writings (This connection of everyone with with lungs, Army of Lovers and The transformation) that all try to assemble and hold in relation a whole range of things.

Fischli & Weiss’s installations were a reference point for the parallel project of D2 (and possibly to fold forward).

I had also revisited the Andy Warhol materials that informed the formation of the line (the diamond dusted screenprints but also Gilda Williams’s writing on Silver Sliver and the close attention to when present becomes past in his work).

One current show at the CCA in Glasgow, Sonic Seance presents a series of collaborative works around music, performance and spoken work in a setting that takes in two rooms, one an ante-chamber with sofas and reading materials; the other, larger one, has four screens with a video looping in each, some printed textile banners, many cushions and floor seating around a few tables, a wall-spanning projection of some grasses and above all and scent infusing the whole setting in fairly low lighting (the scent is for me just past comfortable and just about not making me feel nauseous).

I also, one reflection of my sketches and drawings for this, and how the sketchbook is developing, have been returning to Rosemarie Trockel’s work, notably the drawings and zines that I saw several years ago at Talbot Rice. There is a review of the show here, and it is good in capturing my memory of the show and what intrigued me in her drawings but also in the exhibition of her book drafts under glass.

 

critical reflections: source/materials

Collecting the notes from the two modules, I reread the coursebook and consider the instruction to explore, following an investigation of Marilene Olivier’s process and practice of what constitutes mine, notably along the line of:

theme — material — process

My notes, after some hesitation, state:

img_8287

— I had arrived at this through DI&C, notably the line, and then formalised it when compiling my materials in different forms and formats for assessment of D2. It is helpful, and in other ways also not, as it doesn’t help me organise them, help me shift them around and making them at once familiar and strange in the process.

I turn a page and start to collate what I have — being doubtful that I actually done enough ‘manifesting’, having remained and explored different route in great enough depth (the breadth wasn’t the problem, but I felt I had again flitted from a to k, and then to y).

This is a first collation of the materials that I drew into the process of gathering and manifesting:

img_8288

I added a few more notes to this since and on the next page started to spell out which notes (i.e. FB posts) relate to these and take them further (often in text, reflection or experimental; often in visuals to, these are generally stills or a/v sketches; less frequent are actual drawings).

I also flick back a few pages and annotate the theme/material/process further: the struggle over fixing these is that they seem to sit at the far edges of what I again understand to be artistic practice: much is conceptual, performative, but also in either form rather common (it is not a stage performance but a testing of processes, materials and edges).

There is little in the previous modules that prepared me for such a practice, it seems (and still I see such a practice all around me: the artists in Glasgow, the presentations at SAR etc., so I know it is perfectly fine as practice, but it rubs up against some of the earlier learning). In one of the coursebooks I read a line about how to proceed with a conceptual practice.

The materials and investigations are fairly substantial in what they are; yet, with how they sit in form and notation, I see why they easily slide out of view/ attention. So, over the past couple of days I started to collate them (and will continue to do that for a few more days) and then submit once I am back in the UK in the second half of July.

There are a series of questions for me right now:

  • what is the role of the moving image material, notably the films: there is something in the set that I noted down here that is really important.
    • what is it?
    • what role can it have?
    • what form can it have?
  • the role of books/zines for my work and the place for software/apps?
    • InDesign for the imposter zine and expectation/will
    • digital/anologue
    • but also: early powerpoint slides for some of the diagrams
  • audience/ public:
    • most my sketchbook still resides in FB and I moved some of these across, I keep the formatting as it seems relevant to denote the origin/translation process (but will investigate this a little further)
    • this has been a key focus recently:
      • the reposting of the line in FB
      • I invited people explicitly to a limited public album
      • the interactions with the Bleakley and Giles performances
      • the question of who is the public for expectation/will and the gap performance scores
  • what is the relationship sketchbooks and blog?
    • it relates to the notion of audience/public
    • it also relates to the investigation of form
    • I added a number of FB posts as sketchbook to the blog (namely for April), and will continue this for this part of BoW and investigate how to proceed.
  • materiality:
    • what is the kind of manifestation for this work?
    • what constitutes the work (as in questions concerning what constitutes the performance?
    • how do I address my desire/ joy to handle stuff with my hands
  • the role of movement in drawing/contact
    • it runs through much of this: as edge, transgression, volition
    • moving-with as key concept for the line text
    • how does this shift the focus? what do I lose by doing so?

I take these two at the lake shore, yesterday, they fit:

BoW2: updated plan from tutorial 1

(made in late February, revisited and updated 25 June)

— there are some new items that arose in the meantime and which aren’t included here (but then will be referenced in the assignment submission)

A2 Gather and Manifest: end of April; now: end of July.

 

  • including Performative Talk at SAR, end of March

:: I decided not to: it felt too forced, too academic (all the while the talk wasn’t: it was on the performative end of the contributions there; and yet it was quite conceptually rich). I didn’t want that format to strongly inform this Body of Work but keep it separate. That was a good choice as it removed drawing/contact further from the institution (and I think allowed for the near space and mobility to be articulated more strongly)

That the line and the writing for it became then part of L3 was interesting >> it is a different audience, a different working practice to develop it into a text.

 

  • Conclusion/ realisation of further experiments around the gap, but also: utopian

:: I concluded this: there is a drawing out of practice from the space into a presentation. It is also about the presence of that gap in contact. I almost feel like I created a foil of this to transfer onwards.

Is there a rubbing/ tracing I can do?

What did I actually do after the presentation and with the gap? I went to my parents and set up these events and recorded them. And the slow, searching circling around the gap (and the question as to what constitutes a conclusion) allowed for the focus to drop right down into those four events. I doubt I would have otherwise noticed them or been able to consider them as part of BoW.

Whenever I have since been in L’s office, the gap there is no longer a question, a focus point. I think the piece I wrote back in February did present the conclusion (along with the instruction for the performance score).

 

  • space/ practice as it relates to the gap along with ‘opening’

:: this has nicely developed on from this towards the ’near space’ idea. the gap indeed was the route into ideas of opening, rupture, the discussion around Le Guin also moved it towards utopia. This is in turn also allowed for the turn around the corridor, the focus on the opening there and the fantasy of stepping into elsewhere. It will be really interesting to see how this gets developed in near space. The 1:1 performance for the gap as well as expectation/will are both forms in which this is active as an interdisciplinary concept.

 

  • Concept maps as hybrid form >> book/ set of cards/ map formats

:: this, the production/material investigations I feel I haven’t done yet. I did a few sketches, a little experiment with clay, and then a series of body gestures and tracings, but this feels really insubstantial (part of that is because my investigation is in part INsubstantial, so that shouldn’t necessarily concern me, but there are material routes through this which aren’t body/gesture/performance.

AP: collect all that you have done and how this relates to the earlier sketchbook work.

 

What is the role of time-based media in this?

:: the video works were really important towards the end of D2: of holding together and articulating the range of media and registers that I wanted to engage with and wanted the audience to engage with. This seems to have receded a little right now. I am not e.g. contemplating using moving image as a recording device for the performances (this is too static, too limited an understanding of what I would like these performances to be); but I think the time-based work will return as part of the realisation, as collage, as book format. I also wonder if time-based is going to be a stronger concern for some of the material investigations of drawing/contact. E.g., the drawings on the plane and the bus are strongly time-based. I have no idea if they are purposeful for this right now, but I know that the marks and the rubbing through plays a role in its simplicity of a drawing/contact.

 

What is the role of the sensorial/ the corporeal in this? Performance? Experiments?

:: I clarified this too: it circles around gesture/contact in different forms.

There are ways to establish this further: e.g. how Kapil works with the sensorial and how I understand the moving-with for the walking/arts conference to be sensorial

[Gesture is of course extensive and cuts right across the entire arts—that became clear in the conversation with AB, and I am not sure how far I want to venture into this… again: I possibly just want to define one thing and make it work, put it to use in this project…. it will be a glossary item]

<< there is a question here as to the site of the investigation: this could be (a)

(a) actually existing continuous institutional site

(b) the actual site imagined/ transferred
as utopian/ conceived

(c) a new actual institutional site

(d) a number of different sites (some mobile, some fixed, some imagined)

:: I clarified the site: it is mobile, constituted there and then in the encounter/ performance.

Site is then possibly really something like contact zone (at different scale).

(This came out of the conversation with AB)

There may be a point to seek out an institutional site that is not meaningful to any participants.

sketchbook: the line as gesture

Album close/open

i talk at length about the line last night. he knows the work, he, like many of you, is in it. i talk about the reposting. the things the reposting is making clear to me. how it relates and how it alters what is central to the piece for me. i know that a photo essay will not be a sufficient form for it. that was already clear when E. and i finally spoke after half a year or more on Monday. it needs layering, looping and mingling. when i gesture about the state this work needs, i realise what else it is; how a conference paper on state and street violence is not sufficient for it; what else it is and how the list of participants for Prespes allayed some of my fear. how brazen it feels to bring violence and desire to walking arts. how it genders the walker, the walk, the city, the street.
— it doesn’t gender it, it only make apparent the deficiency of a whole number of accounts. it’s not like we are talking about a female principle. far from it.
towards the end he asks if the timeline stresses me. i: no, not all. i have a whole month to do this and there is little else that i need to do. this is fun.
the gesture i make is one that i recognise as my own, about myself. i get moved by it. literally. i may have to move it with it.

Comments
  • Gesa Helms — I still can’t believe that former tutor wanted to get rid of the core, the body, the heart of it…
    Edit or delete this
  • Gesa Helms i make the gesture of the line twice and pursue it further. it goes into different directions.
    i watch it and i sense it.
    nobody else watches and senses it.
    i wonder what T watched and sensed when he saw me doing it yesterday.
    .
    did it happen?
    did i perform?
    .
    what did it leave?
    .
    the sense sensation is strong. it persists, increases, ebbs away a little, returns. it is that which animates the gesture and continues, prolongs it.
    .
    i watch intently and wonder if it is of interest to anyone who watches. or, is it something that needs doing in order to be something.
    .
    what do you see?
    Edit or delete this
  • Gesa Helms it poses again the question of the mirror
    Edit or delete this

Critical Reflection after Res A1

— the tab critical reflection acts as the hinge between the two courses (I have one here, as well as a private one as an evernote folder).

The research proposal is written, thought a fair bit longer than asked for (and it still only reviews key work/resources in 250 words).

I must admit the uncertainty over the relationship of requested tasks (what and how to review, write out, clarify, clarify further) and my own plans seems confusing still: I end up with a far too wide field when I pursue the instructions. It is generative of a lot of text and then wants a very brief text only. (I have no problem with the questions and tasks it asks: the reviews are useful; I think there is struggle is that the text is rather prescriptive in pursuit but offers no tools to tighten and focus: the proposal wants five themes addressed in 1000 words).

I have seen and reviewed a fair bit of work: live performances in different registers; I watched a series of films too and explored their cinematography, script and framing devices; I have read key pieces of fiction writing that I identified as key for my interests and a fair amount of academic work too. Attending the SAR conference mid-March was really important: both to test out my own work (though any feedback was largely self-derived and little came forward from audience) but also to see where my work relates to and can be situated within. I wrote a couple of these up on the blog, but there are a few other artists still key to what has influenced my thinking about performance, intimacy, site and drawing. I have also had my proposition to move the line from online video work to photo essay and to consider its methodology as walking methodology accepted for a conference in Northern Greece (Walking Arts Network).

While during A1 of BoW I was still exploring the extent to which I move anything that sits closer to academic involvements as actively a part of BoW (conference presentations, the concept maps etc), I have stepped somewhat away from this: I feel it would crowd out any visual/performative enquiries and enforce too much of an academic modality on these. I think this move will free BoW, possibly can be altered for SYP. It will however also mean that some of my current commitments in Spring and early Summer will sit additionally to the course work, likely slowing the coursework down.

What I have arrived at with the articulation of the research proposal is a clear sense of what BoW consists of as a work programme (a series of performances in different registers, audience/participant compositions); I have also settled on a focus for the Research: the concept that I currently call near space, that I seek to investigate in contemporary performance/ drawing practice; which investigates some key themes for BoW: relationality, presence/absence and site. This feels important and useful and allows a focus that fits and can be refined further.

What follows below is a series of answers to some preliminary questions in Part 1 of Research, I will keep them here for future reference.

Reviewing your creative work

You’ve got two subject specialisms and two Level 3 courses (for now at least) and somehow you need to find a way to bring them all together as a coherent body of work. Think about the creative work you’re doing for Body of Work first.
1. Look back over the work you’ve just submitted to your tutor, consider their feedback and implement any changes that would improve the work. Now look at the work you’ve created so far for Body of Work and consider how it can relate to the work you’ll create in this course and vice versa. Identify a variety of ways in which the creative and written projects can interlink. Record your thoughts and explore a range of options. Will your creative work drive your written work or will it be the other way round? It doesn’t matter which it is, provided you are working to your strengths from each subject area.
  • I thinks the weighting is going to fairly equal: one informs the others and vice versa, I don’t want R to drive BoW, realistically, BoW will always be strongly informed by R; so 50:50 is a good aim
  • I don’t want BoW too be too intellectual, solely focused on academic means of interdisciplinarity: I had started to think about some of the hybrid forms between PPTs, diagrams and performative lectures but I don’t find this satisfying enough: it seems more of an institutional critique (and too trying, derivative a form for me to focus on solely). I will thus also not fold the talks at SAR or in Prespes into BoW but set them up as testing grounds for forms of R (and test the materials and how they can fold into other media formats).
  • Yet, what I had started to discuss as hybridity is important, and I think the works of HJ Giles and M Bleakley point towards something that then in Jones/ Heathfield eds 2012 is further explored: the performative as viral, activated in different forms and in different instantiations (their focus is strongly on history/memory but bears much significance to the questions that animate me).
  • I would like to use BoW as a lab/ experimentation ground for R and to use R to formulate questions/enquiries and then study/contextualise/push further the questions that BoW present as findings.
2. Now think about resources. Can any of the resources you’ve identified in Exercise 3 help you with your creative work? Make a plan of action for accessing these resources. Will you need to visit a specific location, collection, exhibition, practitioner, design group, artist collaboration, performance, installation, recital, reading or conference? Can you access a record of these resources online?
  • I am not so worried about particular resources and access just yet: most of what I identify is writing/ artworks for artists that are reasonably well documents/ accessible. This may change though and I started to attend to conferences, exhibitions and performances coming up. My plan is to see a reasonable amount of live performances (both live art/theatre but also more artistic) over the duration of the final modules to get a good sense of what is going on (and am well placed for this in Glasgow/Edinburgh)
  • I would like to set up/ test out my own materials/ processes fairly soon though: I am thinking of either a reading group, 1:1 private performances/meetings with artist colleagues, later some workshop/ more public settings >> I am not sure if this will create material for BoW or inform the R (perhaps it will do both)
Now identify what you’d like to achieve from your creative work in Body of Work and think how you could use your research project to help you achieve some of these goals
    Write down answers to the following questions:
  • I want to consolidate skills in …
    • performance and interdisciplinary work
    • drawing as in relation to the above and an expanded field
    • conceptual art making that attends to the phenomenological and the sensorial
  • I want to produce …
    • a body of work that speaks to my concern
    • a body of work that offers multiple entry and exit points as well as routes through
    • a body of work that uses a range of approaches that originate within photography and drawing and move beyond these in an interdisciplinary field
    • a body of work that is effective with time/space (duration, pace, rhythm, site, place and space and ourselves within it)
  • I want to promote my work to …
    • be recognised locally both for my academic/ facilitation work as well as contemporary art practice
    • be able to navigate art contexts further afield (UK, but also NL, DE) primarily through this BoW and an effective link to my Geog/facilitation self
  • I want to refine …
    • my understanding of an expanded field and contemporary performance approaches
    • an entry and presence around geographical debates within arts and a potential contribution
    • the analogue/digital
  • I want to explore …
    • intimate performance modalities (1:1)
    • the potential for solo performance
    • the role of audiences (present/absent, near/far)
    • moving registers across media forms (Jones/Heathfield)
  • I want to prove that …
    • production of space happens in intimacy/body-oriented performances; and discover more about the kind of space being produced in this
    • these spaces contain the potential to be utopian
    • and that they provide easy and accessible links to our understanding of drawing
  • I want to involve …
    • my self, my fear, my apprehension
    • my joy and laughter too
    • colleagues and strangers
    • earlier performances
    • writers and authors
  • I want to integrate …
    • most of the above works towards such aim.

 

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.

BoW A1 territory: concept map

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

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

Clicking on the image will pull up the large media file

Reflective Commentary: Parallel Praxis

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

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

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

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

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

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

performance score: the gap, observed

i sit on the floor on the other side of the room: the centre of my body centred on the space between the two cabinets, black dress, leggings and shoes. my legs are crossed at my ankles. i breathe in, uncross my legs, sit them down, then cross them again. — end.

– this is observed by one person. from a number of positions and heights. first: behind the desk, seated; then, standing between desk and cabinets, leaning on them; standing right in front of the gap, facing me directly; then at the same location, kneeling down; sitting to the right or left of me, legs similarly stretched out; finally: standing in the doorframe, the door is ajar, my legs are visible but not the rest of me. the person moves slowly from position to position.

this happens without speaking. what the observer observes is up to them.

light: either ceiling light, preferably though natural lighting.

duration: approx 6 mins in total.

expectation will recognition [blank] resolution [blank]

i have been experimenting with resolving the gap from Drawing 2. there are two routes for this so far. this one from yesterday/today as flow text below and as formatted piece in this PDF:

expectation will recognition [blank] resolution [blank]

expectation / will

spur of the moment: i ask if i can hang out with the cabinets. i can.
there is no light in the room. the heating doesn’t warm the room.
i sit down opposite them. there is on them no real hue other than the grey.
i kind of except for something to hit me.
what can possibly hit me here?
a recognition
a resolution
an ending.
— i feel restless though: don’t want to keep staring and the familiar thought from before enters again: maybe these objects are all that they are. maybe you have seen all of them. why do you linger still?
i feel hesitant to move away from them.
i kind of wish they would transcend my time here with them and others.
but of course i don’t know if they will. in fact i know, they will, but will i.

recognition /

something in what i write and print makes me sad.
it is a soft sadness. all warm tears and shy.
it is one that can’t be social and barely bears the lunch that i later feed it
its strength and presence surprise
while i am uncertain what it concerns

it doesn’t come at the moment of writing
neither when i reread
yet it floods while i hold the paper

the writing concerns as the discussion this morning
the role of crisis, then will
for a creative process

what i narrate in the morning
i move through at lunch
yet, this time, the fear of nothing
is stronger and floods my face

all that i can think of is feeding it back into the process
of noting and depositing it right at the heart of nothing
in that, i make my own will strong and let it reach into the nothing

i walk

resolution /

i discover the source of sadness
within the violence of my plan
the plan that would transform one to another and in the process destroy what was one
the plan always hovered as the ending for what was
i have hesitated for 15 months to enact it

i thought i could mitigate by recording, observing some more
by attending to all that is right now and to note it all

my sadness is the recognition that i cannot

that i still do not understand its process its unfolding its becoming
not understanding it how can i proceed to undo it?

will there be a point at which i understand enough of nothing
to be confident to proceed undoing it
to be safe in the knowledge that no harm comes
to it, myself, someone

and so, that anticipated end state will not
it exists as prospection as plan as utopia
the current state is resolution and recognition

my expectation took me
my will turns wish and remains

course instructions/ literalness

Returning to my notes that I started to work through a series of initial exercises for Research, I see that I have done a lot of it already: mapping, tracing, evaluating, prospecting existing projects; what animates them and what they could turn into; how they speak to each other, to the disciplines they situate within and transcend; and how they speak about myself and my practice.

I map, I draw, I photograph; I go back to the gap and explore it further in extension, in negation, in translation; I seek and touch other spaces that sit off and aside the functional ones. I also begin to use the developmental course tools as site/ enquiry into artistic form.

I felt always really constrained by observation: I have no experience nor vision to draw and conceive of stuff that I can’t access experientially; I never attempted a graphic novel, e.g.. But over the past year I have found means to experientially move with the stuff that isn’t quite there. That is a huge revelation, it moves some of my facilitation/ coaching experience much closer to my practical artistic practice. It seems conceivable now.

In all this, I get flustered. I check the instructions in two coursebooks; they relate – kind of – to each other and yet they are different. I haven’t figured out their difference yet. I thought I had it when I started to produce new work: work that sits as hybrid between instruction, tool and art object. The maps thus move from instrumental form to potentiality – in a similar way as the Photocopier Manual did; as Parallel Praxis did as m(e)use | use me did. It seems expandable, workable as practice; and I begin to conceive of far more other forms – academic presentations – to become hybrid objects. (I of course know of the format of a performative lecture, yet: until now its experiential modality seemed alien to me; it seemed more of a naming convention than something inbetween).

What I get flustered with is the linearity of instruction which yet does not resolve. I realise at various points, and yet forget always again, that I am too literal. I try to follow the steps outlined and yet they don’t resolve for me. I want to be a good student and submit to the process but the process stands in my way. I am too literal. It is the literalness that I understand as culturally different–the reason why we are assumed to have no sense of humour. I remember the teasing that people who are close to me start to dare at one point or another once they hit upon that literalness, that naivety. I always recognise the emotional marker when I am being teased with it, it rarely registers otherwise: I still follow the instructions.

Yesterday morning I dare to write out which part of the instructions make no sense to me. I feel better. And yet: the Research and BoW themes don’t gel yet, I feel any differentiation between them is artificial and premature.

I go back to an early note about the theme of significance:

Three ideas (are maybe only one):
Body in movement (my body as drawing tool) >> starting theme for D2
Interdisciplinarity in Drawing practice >> the wider theme for the Critical Review (if the Jonas’ essay would have been 3500 words longer than what it was)
Production of space, the idea of reaching, touching a utopian spacetime aside the corridor (or, the latter intruding)

At night, I think about a project about touch, about contact

I think about the touch drawings, the pencils on long sticks that produce a nervous line while registering every stutter and stammer along the transmission from hand to paper surface.

It can include movement, the walking back and forth
It can include distance via digital circulation
It can include one to one performances

It is about private, about public,
Tenderness and violence 
Love and withholding.

— and I am certain it can also accommodate some institutional critique and a wide-open grassy field should I desire either.

From this, I propose:

the Body of Work: drawing / contact (modality, practice, site)

the Research: The site of interdisciplinarity in drawing practice

With these two related themes; BoW can explore all that is in the concept maps around Body as movement, Touch, Contact and Spatial Praxis: it will do so phenomenologically; I have the sense that theme can cover most of the quote above, while the Research/ dissertation then underpins some of this a research form that can explore conceptual forms, moves and potentiality; I hope that it will concern ideas of production of space/ site; utopian forms of hybridity and how this relates to institutional critique.

Both will likely become more narrow and yet it is a field, play ground laid out to start within, that picks up and relates all important things from before.

territory (1)

yesterday, when I took some print outs of some of the mapping and drawings I did while away, I think I ended up with the first thing of this module that is a thing:

tear (1)

the spatial praxis concept map is photographed, printed, drawn over and overlaid with the torn sketch of some masking tape tear. i photograph it on the table and let it in part overhang the edge, so it folds downwards (not to the green but to the black).

it echos both working practices from across Drawing 2 (photocopiers, tearing, overlaying) and of DI&C’s Office at Night (the manual collages that drop off into the edge and negative space).

around this one piece, there are several more iterations (before and after) [clicking on them takes you to the media file — some are in landscape orientation]:

I have some more ideas around the shadows to explore (but need a tripod/ video set up for this); want to fold the map, tear a bit further and use some oil pastels and turps to smudge.

>> interested in the enacting of a different plane within this; what happens if I in drawing simply draw out (i.e. open up) those different planes, dimensions that I sense may be there; also: ordinary materials and pragmatic objects (the concept map is part of the Research/ dissertation development: it is as such not an art object but a writing/thinking aid: what happens when I transpose into the body of work?

spatial praxis play (1)

The map on spatial praxis leads to a series of earlier sketches/notes that seem relevant.

Notably: it is the idea that the image plane folds upwards and allows us to crawl into the space between the two filing cabinets of the Gap:

1. the after dinner mints fold into shapes, c 2010 on a lunch time date with my parents and my grandfather. Just before I had seen Bethan Huws’ work in Hanover.

2. Placeholder 3(a) and 3(b) [Cairn], 2013 : part of a body of work that tried to get at notions of place and movement in Northwest Iceland and memory thereof. It is part performance, part lens-based work: I lie down on my living room floor as if I had crouched into a half-ruined cairn on a plateau that we encountered a couple of months earlier.

3. chestnut buds that I construct our of masking tape and suspend in front of a large print and cut-out.

>> the question in all of these is of scale and position of body towards that scale. Of radically altering scale and thus a cave becomes a little handheld object. Bethan Huws’ show consisted largely of a set of ready-mades, bottle holders if I remember correctly, which appeared christmas tree like and we would walk through them. the tinfoil shapes on a dirty table cloth resonated with those. (there is a text I wrote on the Huws show in my previous blog here)

I also think of Leykauf’s Spanische Wand of photograph/installation (see link on DI&C blog here) and a number of other photography, print installations and illusions that play with these forms of a perception, stand-in and scale shift to become performative, iterative and perhaps as much surreal as utopian.

I am also thinking about loosely folded paper planes and shapes, arranged in a number of configurations. I begin to play a little in my sketchbook:

conference proposal: the gap and office furniture

I have submitted the following to the stream on productive gaps for the annual conference of the Society for Artistic Research:

Casual gaps among office furniture: drawing, teaching and seeking (beyond) the institution
The object at the centre of this contribution is a pair of metal filing cabinets situated in an institutional office space. More precisely, the investigation started with the shadow space between these two cabinets, with one leaning slightly towards the other. The gap, as a project, presented the first of a series of investigations into an institutional space (corridor, offices, the grounds below). Over a year or so it was conducted within two modalities: at first as researcher/ interloper; second as fixed-term member of academic staff. Was I, the researcher, still an interloper on a teaching contract?
A series of related works explored not only an expanded field of drawing (via photocopier, manuals, site-specific interventions and temporary performances) but also kept returning to the gap of the filing cabinet to ask what was and could be in that void and in that leaning gesture from one to the other.
As focus for this contribution I would like to map a series of movements concerning contemporary possibilities of institutionalspace, positionality and critique:
  • observing and drawing the spaces within and beyond the office and corridor: on the continued possibility of other spaces
  • as former and current researcher and artist in human geography; as part-time teaching assistant in the institutional space; as final year student for an undergraduate degree in Creative Arts.
  • the possibility of institutional critique in critical institutional spaces
In doing so, this talk proposes an input that at once seeks to open up the gap productively: as starting point and as practice for an expanded field of drawing and institutional critiques that attend both to the presence of contemporary work within the institution and the possibility for other spaces among the office furniture (see as part of these discussions e.g. David 2017,  Sawdon & Marshall eds 2015, Vishmidt 2017).
The filing cabinets have remained unused throughout this period.
— it of course relates to the overall module/ parallel project of Drawing 2 and specifically to the gap as the first assignment.
Update: the paper was accepted and I presented it on Saturday 23 March. The link with a video of a practice run and some reflections on the session are in this post.

transitions from there to here (1)

Moving from the end of Drawing 2 and towards Research/Body of Work has been swift — D2 was completed and submitted for assessment considerably earlier than planned; and it was ready to be done so.

This also means that from early Summer onwards thoughts and ideas were beginning to form around Level 3 and its focus — most of these are methodological: the how that connects the what. Yet, there is also a set of themes and enquiries that I did not pursue with Drawing 2.

The parallel project did become a video right at the end, and one thats plays with the actual framing of the work: is the instruction an instruction or part of the work itself? where is the actual space/ site of the work and who is part of it:

Initially, however, the moving image work that I was intent on producing would take the corridor itself far more as site and actually engage with it visually and performatively further than what Parallel Praxis does (in PP, the corridor mainly exists in sound: the movement noises of passing through it, doors opening and closing and my narrating of it).

The early impulse for the corridor were a series of popular culture references — some gothic, some horror, which followed from this early study of the boundary between corridor and office:

The references were in part from the American Horror Story anthology (Asylum, Murder House and Hotel in particular); as well as of course this:

 

Throughout Drawing 2, I investigated various means to visually work with the space of the corridor, to draw, film, sound it out — the problem of presence and visibility remained. Early on, my tutor and I discussed means by which to set up an enquiry elsewhere: to treat it like a residency elsewhere, not as the space that I actually encroach on, seek my own legitimacy. This issue would resurface in various ways and eventually, for Assignment 3 (Green (Did I work hard enough)) lead to my departure from the space towards one green space and then another still.

The second means of working with the corridor would of course be in fiction, imagination, fantasy: to pursue a series of strategies in which the corridor mainly is a reference point, a marker from which a series of investigation spiral outwards. I was seeking such an approach early on, but know from experience too that most of my investigations tend to follow on, hold on to, notions of the real, an actual observation, experience for a rather long time before an opening towards a fiction of these emerges. So, during Drawing 2 that fictitious corridor did not exist.

However, right at the end of the module, through Assignment 5 m(e)use|use me, it begun to present itself: the box/artist book of 12 prints crumpled up that traced a year with the corridor pursued visually and performatively an opening out towards an other space, another presence of the corridor.

— In m(e)use, the corridor becomes a handling collection: invisible, yet present, and as the pages are unfolded, they link towards the corridor itself, operate clearly as representation and an object in their own right. Many of the photographs themselves operate as optical illusions, or perhaps, better: as attempts to seek alternative spatial configurations, constellations; to open out: forward, elsewhere; to offer alternative readings, practices and presences.

 

statement of intent

— I adapt from my final course reflection note for the Drawing 2 assessment and sent this as my statement of intent for Level 3.

Statement of intent for Level 3

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

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

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

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

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

It is then on the basis of these emerging working practices, conceptual concerns and emerging clarity and articulation of voice that I would like to approach Level 3. I do not at the moment have a clear theme or project or site in mind but rather would like to pursue and clarify the approach towards an embodied, sensorial and expanded field of drawing as artistic practice. There are a number of technical skills and approaches I am interested in: moving image/ video (possibly even 16mm film); darkroom techniques; screenprinting; performance; but none of these are fixed and I trust that the suitability of any of these will emerge in relation to the actual projects. Similarly, I am very interested in pursuing further my investigations into sites (interior/exterior) as well as movement between these. It may make sense to prepare and arrange for an actual site to serve as a field site for the Body of Work (and thus move it out of ongoing work arrangements).

There are a number of themes which are geographical, environmental that keep concerning me and they possibly should have a place within this project (as well as in more academic writing/ research practices):

  • there is a continuous theme running throughout which concerns questions over copy, reproduction, repetition and difference, and, as it becomes clear in the later part of the module, this concerns both the surface, the background of the actual artwork as well as that it stretches beyond and outwards from it: what kind of space do we perceive, live, practice?
  • a further articulation of what these pieces say to each other and beyond towards a potentially much larger exploration around space, performance, the sensorial, interdisciplinarity and institutional critique

My intention for the timeline for Level 3 is relatively focussed: I would like to conclude the majority of it by the end of 2019, with the aim to exhibit (or suitable alternative) early in 2020. My reasoning for this to a good part revolves around the Research element: I am actively writing through academic material around earlier projects and have the sense that a 5k word dissertation should, once the theme and direction is clear, be a fairly focused endeavour for me.

Examples of current work:

The line (Digital Image and Culture):

https://the———————–line.tumblr.com

Learning log post: https://digitalimageandculturegh.wordpress.com/2017/07/17/assignment-5-the-line/

The Gap

Documentation and learning log post and final:

https://investigatingdrawinggh.wordpress.com/2017/11/25/assignment-1-the-gap/

The hornet tree

https://vimeo.com/283649423

Learning log post: https://investigatingdrawinggh.wordpress.com/2018/08/16/assignment-submission-4-hornet-tree/

m(e)use | use me

Documentation and learning log post: https://investigatingdrawinggh.wordpress.com/2018/09/18/assignment-5-meuse/

Parallel praxis

https://vimeo.com/292210412

Learning log post:

https://investigatingdrawinggh.wordpress.com/2018/09/30/parallel-praxis-the-parallel-project/