Research A1: dissertation proposal

this post concludes assignment 1 of Research with the dissertation proposal. The work leading up to this is a set of questions and exchange with my tutor prior to this draft.

The near space in an expanded field of drawing: interdisciplinarity, hybridity and contact

Research proposal for Creative Arts, Research
Gesa Helms | #492645
27 April 2019

This dissertation proposal seeks to support my Body of Work drawing/contact with an investigation into the kinds of relational spaces that are created in an expanded field of drawing. Here it begins with drawing as a performative practice and in turn seeks to understand performance as a drawing practice. If performance is centred on the body of the performer within a specific unfolding time frame – a presence, can we then be curious about the kinds of spaces this is productive of: relationally, sensorially and materially?

That such spaces exist in the present time also indicates that they may be past or anticipated, have a memory, an excess as well as an absence (performance art in art history presents precisely this dilemma). Jones & Heathfield’s (2012) edited collection centres on these kinds of presences and absences created, asking also how these by implication draw in a whole range of other media – such as photography, writing, drawing, re-performance, video – to access the live performance positing an important concern regarding interdisciplinarity and shifts in form, register and media.

Centring on the body of the performer and the experiential foregrounds both the material (older and newer materialism) as well as the sensorial (likely accessed through phenomenological means).

The Research dissertation will attend to:

(a) existing practices that engage with this

(b) a set of enquiries/ research questions that are driven through these and animate the dissertation as well as BoW.

  • how do these writers inform my enquiry?
  • how does contemporary performance practice do so?
  • what is there about what constitutes the work: the shifting of medium, register, encounter: how do we make contact within this?
  • who is the audience? subject/object? author?

See the PDF for the full proposal, its links to BoW and relevant key texts and resources: Research Proposal A1 Near Space

 

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).

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/