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:

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.



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 😮
my browser Fb misbehaves and doesn’t let me post, so let me type this on the phone:
– 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)
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)
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.
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.
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:


— 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:


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.

  • 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.
audio walks as methodology:
Easter Rising sites in Dublin
Katrina Palmer project
digital artwork as outcome:
knowledge production as epistemic walking (not sure though how useful, only read the abstract)
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.