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
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.
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.
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.
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 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
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.
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.
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:
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?
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: