Documentation: what form is resolved and/or redundant?

One of the main points of clarification now at the end of the SYP module just before it goes to assessment is the form of the work as it remains, meets audiences/publics and is presented/circulated.

I wrote earlier about documentation and the active process of it in clarification, re-engaging and actively remaking work that exists in live and performative contexts.

I want to document here too some of the failures around the portfolio process.

This one included here is a fairly simple one to report on; the format and orientation of the entire portfolio, ideally a website or at least an epub but I will fall back to a more easily navigated PDF with links (not interactive) is a more difficult one to report back on.

But this simple failure:

I have two new series or rather forms of circulation/engagement with the Stage 3 work; one is the A/Folder padlet, the other one the performative diary around the making of a series of eight successive prints of the fir branch in late March.

Both of these exist online in their form. One, A/Folder as an interactive, expanding padlet space here:

Made with Padlet

The other as this hashtag search on Facebook: #FirHideSideNotes

I create pages of screengrabs from each of these in ID only to discover that they don’t reproduce, they look scrappy, out of place and outdated in form really. What is the point to document them thus? The padlet exists and .PNG files in total which serves as backup and timeline; the FB files are saved in Evernote for my own record, but neither of these forms need an audience, they are internal reference files.

So, I decide for that portfolio to include a mere link to the FB hashtag as included here; for the A/Folder I include one single image and again a simple link to the padlet space.

Thus I fall back to traditional forms of having stills not as installation views but as object in its own right to serve as full page (or diptych) visuals, and the hyperlinked reference. For the #FirHideSideNotes I include these two spreads:

Revisiting documentation: performance, portfolio and beyond

As part of the wander wide web residency and exhibition project with the OCAEU student group, I early on raised the notion of documentation, and what this might entail. I remember us exploring it a little bit, and clearly the decision to have a permanent website (as catalogue) to exist beyond the time limited online gallery space at Kunstmatrix, speak to this need to document beyond the event.

With much of my own work hovering between object and performance, documentation has long been a consideration (and relates too to my explorations around an archive).

I write this post as part of the early, Part 2, coursework and consider documentation as relevant for my practice to be concerned with

For SYP then, documentation is recording of what is to come as engagement/exhibition but since it draws on what was/is, it is the recording of an archive in some sense.

and conclude

Here, documentation is considerable more logistically and conceptually narrow than how I have so far approached the concept of ‘archiving the site and the work’; the latter poses a number of questions concerning the nature of the work, the time/duration of the work and various access/contact points. 

Relevant here then is also how I propose, organise, and in part facilitate a series of informal artist cafe conversations around the ongoing exhibition to a/ engage further with the exhibition, its works and modalities, and also b/ to create a record (experiential for those who attended; and physically as in recorded zoom sessions) to exist beyond the online exhibition. Here, we have run five artist conversations in total, as shown in this screengrab. The recordings circulate to the group as well as any registered attendants, are hosted on an internal g-drive folder and we will place them on the permanent exhibition site also.

Screengrab of wander wide web site frontpage showing the lineup of artist conversations

And as before, the involvement with the wander wide web project helps me clarifying my own processes and practices, to figure out what works well and what is needed to allow e.g. for documentation and for engagement in an online exhibition (which is not what I have chosen for my own work).

The events themselves are documented but as direct engagement with objects, processes, artists and others (visitors, interested bystanders, participants), the re-engagement is productive and also facilitates to document while making.

To me, this learning: of being confident in engagement with and again, in recording in numerous forms, some perhaps redundant, some failing ones too, is significant for the SYP module and to understand my practice as ongoing research while making while documenting.

The course portfolio includes a few further thoughts as to how the visuals of the portfolio are documentation and objects (and which ones also don’t work easily) and it includes a fuller array of where the records of my SYP (and the entire stage 3) are documented.

update: network directory (ex 3.1)

I revisit the list of priorities from Spring on the network directory (adding in purple my current thoughts as of early September 2022.)

Let me try and prioritise:

a/ picking up and consolidating existing relationships across Central Scotland, DIY and artist-run; CCA, Cove Park, Rhubaba and Embassy

This hasn’t really happened: I spoke to a few of my artist friends who have been involved in the DIY spaces but all but one have now left the arts as sector, retraining in data or life science.

At the same time, most of my contacts and networking is taking place in the UK: around poetry/life writing/creative writing, at the intersection of visual poetry/asemic poetry, screenwriting and a little bit of radio art. These originate within twitter contacts but also the two Poetry School courses I took in early Spring and in July.

b/ critical friends  and peer-exchange networks are, not surprisingly, the ones that interest me most; how to develop these further (notably GSARD, OCAEU, 1:1 exchanges too)

These developed most, the GSARD crit group is a constant and inspiring context for crit, reading/discussions and some first exploration of making/showing work together; the OCAEU group a second, I joined the admin team until July 2022 and took part in the wanderwideweb residency and online exhibition. In the latter, much happened in collaborative explorations, in exploring sound in my work, in curating a group show and currently in running a series of artist conversations and how to document the considerable work and exhibition beyond its online presence.

c/ what exists here between Celle, Uelzen and Gifhorn: what artists are based here; any exhibition spaces, and resources (print studio etc), and groups to connect to, any possibility to teach/facilitate?

I made a couple of enquiries and reached out re: access to workshop spaces in one of the larger towns but also local art teachers but nothing has yielded access nor working contacts so far.

d/ walking arts/ site-based work that isn’t geopoetics, place nor landscape : > methods may be a route here (which also addresses colonial legacy of geographic fieldwork)

I followed some online and met up with two artist colleagues to see the Walk! show at Schirn in Frankfurt where one of them was exhibiting, we also talked with one of the show’s curators afterwards.

e/ to write and contribute to: either blog posts or other forms; not primarily academic journals, it needs wider access; I also doubt a publisher as such would be interested

I wrote a couple of blog posts for #weareoca and have begun to investigate how to publish in visual/poetry magazines, perhaps chapbooks etc. I haven’t pursued any more academic publishing so far, remain uncertain about its relevance and/or reach but am also in discussion with academic colleagues about co-authoring more hybrid formats (one a photo essay about pandemic travel restrictions and distance/care).

f/ to circulate and locate both a/folder as free mail art object; but also: photographic prints and cyanotypes as objects for circulation through sale: where to locate them?

I continue to do so with the a/folders and have a rudimentary set up for the other objects but for the latter haven’t found a site to host/facilitate access yet (they currently live on IG).

g/ engagement as key pointer: where and how to base the work; e.g. distribution via mail drop along my commuting route; to colleagues in Glasgow Geography; etc.

These remain to be done: both for academic contexts, the site of the first iteration of Drawing/Contact but also the OCA tutors who I engaged with while at the OCA. I consider a working/viewing presence along my commuting route for the first weekend in September but couldn’t facilitate access early enough to make it viable. So, a local/site-based event/performance remains to be done too.

j/ what is my current social media use and how can I utilise that (e.g. is Facebook rather dead? what puts me off the IG influencers? and what to do with 41 followers on twitter?)

I have resorted back to FB to use it as diaristic performance, recording space; sometimes I use twitter for this too (with a doubled following by now); I am investigating if I set up a regular (monthly) newsletter via substack as a way of moving some of the performative work into a direct readership. I currently use IG as main SM handle and am in the process of building a website via Cargo to act as portfolio. I think I will include my LinkedIn profile for any of the training/facilitation and academic work (I don’t want to clutter the artist portfolio with it, and LinkedIn remains relevant for this line of work of mine.

These following points are more complex to respond to, and I will leave them here for now and return to them in the portfolio document as I look forward.

h/ what does it mean for the work if it solely animates through friendship and personal networks?

i/ what roles does archiving play in all this? does this network differently and otherwise?

SYP as practice as research

Where and when is the site, audience and work/ as early question (SYP 1):

In fact, it was phrased like this in July 2021:

Challenge of writing around the idea of SYP as exhibition. 

This is a functional project plan: how does my practice fit within that and where does it really push at the boundaries. 

For this plan, Rachel observes that the concern over audience is really the most interesting area to focus on it: Who is the audience and in what form does the work engage whom, how and where? The instructions and how to push the form between you and the audience; when do you want to be open and revealing; when quite closed and secretive. 

If this work is relational, it is concerned with various relationship forms: actants, matters; public, private, reveal and conceal. The concern of the engagement plan is the how and why, and it can be bristly. 

At the provocative end, Rachel suggests that I could argue that the material is in fact the audience, seeing the new materialist and post-humanist aspects of the work. 

(tutor report, SYP 1, July 2021)

And the active research process (also from SYP 1) concerns:

R: To raise a question: for you and others who work with site is the big question: where is the work? What is the work? And a lot of people will only ever see the documentation. There are the audio pieces too but they are of the site, don’t necessarily need to be experienced in site. 

Where is the site, where is the work, where is the audience? Is the engagement with you, the site the work and the question of how it works in proximity to the site. (27:00) 

These don’t fall all into each other: site, work, I, audience. 

It isn’t about near space but contextual distance; these aren’t the same but the distance is being negotiated within the work. 

The concept of a toolbox is helpful: I can pick it up; so perhaps a mobile: what constellation does it all have, how does it move. Some of the distance is structural but some is moved by wind. 

Also: role of time being slow and fast and what that does for proximity. 

(tutor report, SYP 1, July 2021)

These were the active questions; the engagement strands addressed these and so did the investigation around archiving and participation. 

Arguably too, the creation of new work processes (and the review of the bridging projects, Making Hay and Fir Hide,) investigated these also.

The site and any engagement is productive.

Once I establish a container (like Stromverteilen, as site, as practice or as method), I can infinitely explore it in numerous connections, the work, the site will be activated in these (possibly more or less successful). The work and the site then also become mobile: processes like a/folder (see a current reflection on this strand here), but even a social media practice of posting circulate the site and the work to different audiences, they fragment, reconstitute, remake and echo (some of these can be controlled but much also becomes involuntary, uncontrolled, perhaps even invisible, latent).

I centred all three engagement strands on these. And they yielded insight. 

Utilising the a/folders in a series of group settings was particularly insightful: they circulated in different ways ahead and prompted in one case a four-week group process of distributed engagement with them; one was tested in crit group and committed group setting (with a lot of criticism to start with), and then there were two that formed a key activity in the see (through) making workshops. In these, like in the first, extended process, the engagement was also very visible, in the case of the workshops even recorded with altered camera angles. And these were great. Excellent in fact. In particular the #12 a Kaleidoscope was almost magical at the making stage but then also when testing. The camera set ups provided fabulous views; and hearing also of how people tested the device and what they observed added another layer yet.

The see (through) series had two somewhat different modalities; the making workshops were possibly (besides the social media advertising) the most uncertain parts of my engagement : of testing art-making instruction when I know that I was particularly interested in the process rather than the object, wanting to foreground the group aspect in this. I was nervous how this would function in zoom and with my art that at the start of the a/folders received a fair bit criticism for being too intellectual and too abstract. 

I have written a longer reflection on access/engagement, notably in relation to the 2 making workshops is this separate post here).

The participation (in) archiving conversation followed a simple format: 3 short introductory presentations from the three speakers, a little response from each to each and then an opening of the conversation to all present. The presentations were concise and insightful, they were open too as to present our current engagement with and thinking about these matters. The conversation that followed from them was generous, engaged, exploratory and genuinely interested in dialogue and intellectual engagement. I remember coming away thinking that I didn’t have to make myself dumb. It yielded a number of new questions and concerns around archiving and participation while at the same time opening an existing conversation between the three of us out to a larger group and made our concerns and our engagement visible also. 

This all poses a series of reflections on the larger project plan for SYP but of course also for the next steps once this module has ended. Please see the respective posts for these.

A/Folder update at the end of SYP

I created and circulated further A/Folder since I tested them first at the end of 2021. The most recent edition is #12 a Kaleidoscope, there exist a couple more drafts.

This is the expanding platform for the series:

Made with Padlet

I tried and tested a series of engagements, the losest being a general tweet, the closest printed out zines posted to colleagues or as this part of the tutorial discussion shows, being attached DM conversations with friends.

Tutorial report SYP A5, 25/3/2022

There is much more in this project as to engagement, contact, instructions and obligation. I have begun to draw out a number of these issues since inception and they have been discussed throughout the tutorials 3 and 4.

At this point I am intending to let this project continue to run, I have created a section in the Portfolio for SYP and will update accordingly for the assessment (Autumn 2022).

I recorded the changes to the padlet (however only since I moved from blocks to canvas, I had initially set it up as a post wall but found that didn’t work when I begun to receive longer text submissions). Today, 2 April, I have removed the need to approve posts, none of the submissions have been spam and I want to give those who submit posts more choice over placement, sizing and engagement with the site.

I also received a whole series of post for #8 Go to the meadow, as response to one of my three DM inputs discussed above.

Here a gallery with the existing screenshots:

see (through): practice conversations | 3 events in March

Three online events in March invite you to explore jointly sites, methods and themes of For Cover, my practice-as-research based body of work.

As practice-as-research For Cover articulates across four covers, four blankets, at the forest edge (and just beyond it) in drawing and contact: haptic and tactile media such as frottage and cyanotype trace wind, rain, sound and care in site-specific installations. It circulates already as an expandable PDF to zine library/archive: A/Folder: an instructive glossary, and a series of objects, b-hold: circulatory objects to touchsee (through): practice conversations is the third aspect of exploring its publicness.

Two making workshops invite you to join me and explore some of the methods and tools of my enquiry: drawing machines, mobiles, and viewing devices to engage senses across the visual and the tactile.

1: Moving-with is interested in how our embodied movements, feet, bodies, hands, produce tactile objects and enquiries.

3: Contextual distance enquires into where is the site, work and audience between the visual and the haptic.

Inviting individual explorations ahead of the sessions, the zoom-based workshops seek to utilise the digital space our meeting to navigate across contact, distance and closeness between desk and camera.

2: participation (in) archiving invites two fellow artists, Susan Farrelly and John Umney, to join me to open our ongoing practice conversations across archiving and participation –who where when and what of our practice; their temporalities and spaces; their discipline and subversions.

For the making workshops, there is a little preparation ahead of them (and limited spaces). You don’t need to bring any making skills, merely an inquisitive mind, and a few simple tools (paper, drawing implements in monochrome or colour).

Sign up via Eventbrite for further details.

The events will take place via zoom with links provided ahead of the events.

All events in this programme:

1: moving-with (a making workshop): Monday 14/3 6.30-8.30pm UK 

2: participation (in) archiving (a conversation with Susan Farrelly and John Umney): Wednesday 16/3 6.30-8.30pm 

3: contextual distance (a making workshop): Monday 21/3 6.30-8.30pm UK 

Submission SYP 3: Networking

I send a note last week outlining what I would like to discuss as

  • feedback
  • networks :: I started a directory but it’s far too much stuff, so it is here that I would really welcome a discussion as to where to prioritise and how to proceed
  • archiving
  • circulating objects for free/ but also selling c-prints and cyanotypes :: any views, approaches, sites etc

I write some of these offline, while archiving is very much a WIP with many notes (written, audio) but not coming together just yet.

Tallying this with the coursebook requirements adds also some update re further resolved work and project plan.

So, this post constitutes again my assignment submission (along with a couple of files submitted directly as part of the network directory).

1/ networking (a directory). It’s a WIP (largely as it’s extensive due to the overlap continuity of existing academic/artistic and pedagogic practice), so there is some need to refine as to what steps are prioritised. I begin to outline key points in this post: https://close-open.net/2022/01/18/exercise-3-1-network-directory/

2/ feedback. There is a history of work offered for crits and feedback received in peer networks. I wrote the following post specifically on the a/folder engagement series and as reflection of this also: https://close-open.net/2022/01/18/exercise-3-3-recent-feedback-to-a-folder/

3/ further refinement/ development of work for presentation: I offer an update on the circulation of the a/folder series here: https://close-open.net/2022/01/17/a-folder-an-instructive-glossary-update-1/ ; an outline of the event series to accompany it as engagement here: https://close-open.net/2022/01/18/event-series-as-part-of-presentation/ ; and finally another piece of work (a series of cyanotype prints around the extended meadow, with a view of selling these here: https://close-open.net/2022/01/17/a-new-years-day-sited-archive/. These also include any thoughts concerning changes.

4/ I have not updated the project plan at this point but will revisit for assignment 4.

5/ archiving site: it’s an ongoing enquiry, I took many notes but haven’t reviewed these yet further. I will present some of this for the next assignment and offer for discussion in the actual tutorial this time.

I am currently working towards the current module end of 13 April. I enquired about a possible extension but am uncertain if it will benefit me all that much: there is value in concluding this and there is ample time for both the event series and a/folder series to circulate and provide plenty of material to develop then the next steps post-coursework.

exercise 3.1: network directory

Coursebook instructions: This could be one of the most important research tasks you’ve ever undertaken! The multi- disciplinary nature of Creative Arts at OCA makes it impossible to list every festival, fair and competition in every subject area that goes on across the UK and beyond. The onus is on you as a creative artist to find out what’s out there, using the OCA website and the list below as a starting point. Scan all the options, unless they are obviously irrelevant to your creative areas, and start your own resource directory, using whatever format works for you. This exercise is worth spending time on and doing properly. You’ll be able to add to your directory as you evolve as a creative artist and develop it into an extensive resource relevant to your needs. Be discriminating, though – focus on networks that really look as if they could be useful for you. Find a way to highlight any or all of the following, as relevant: 

  • people to start a conversation with 
  • companies to work for 
  • internships to apply for 
  • agencies to approach 
  • networks and collectives to join 
  • blogs to send your work to or write an article for 
  • galleries to submit work to 
  • books to read 
  • competitions or awards to enter 
  • festivals to visit 
  • postgraduate courses to apply to 
  • professional bodies to join 
  • funds to apply for (discussed in more detail below). It might also be useful to have a calendar section to note down: 
  • things to follow up – for example, portfolio reviews happening in your area, forthcoming concerts or recitals 
  • key dates – competitions and shows (e.g. Frieze) tend to happen at the same time every year. 

— I can start wherever and easily be overwhelmed. I have been working across academia, arts and education for fifteen+ years.During Drawing 2 I went to a number of conferences with my artistic work (WalkingArts; SARS) to explore academic/practice settings for my academic/artistic practice. The list here is vast and I started with tracing recent conversations, some that I struck up  in order to pick up with artists/educators conversations and exchanges that got stalled during Covidbrexitillness time.Did I say, the routes are vast: both academically and artistically. I am hesitant as to where to make a start:There are elements of walking arts; of drawing research and mail art that interest me; there are also a few connections across academic/artistic practice to explore (wider education, creative methods; geography, my own discipline, is interested but I am uncertain if I am still), there are also the PAR networks that are opening up through Rachel’s tutoring and my own forays into Twitter, wider edges around Facebook etc.

Let me try and prioritise:

  • picking up and consolidating existing relationships across Central Scotland, DIY and artist-run; CCA, Cove Park, Rhubaba and Embassy
  • critical friends  and peer-exchange networks are, not surprisingly, the ones that interest me most; how to develop these further (notably GSARD, OCAEU, 1:1 exchanges too)
  • what exists here between Celle, Uelzen and Gifhorn: what artists are based here; any exhibition spaces, and resources (print studio etc), and groups to connect to, any possibility to teach/facilitate?
  • walking arts/ site-based work that isn’t geopoetics, place nor landscape : > methods may be a route here (which also addresses colonial legacy of geographic fieldwork)
  • to write and contribute to: either blog posts or other forms; not primarily academic journals, it needs wider access; I also doubt a publisher as such would be interested
  • to circulate and locate both a/folder as free mail art object; but also: photographic prints and cyanotypes as objects for circulation through sale: where to locate them?
  • engagement as key pointer: where and how to base the work; e.g. distribution via mail drop along my commuting route; to colleagues in Glasgow Geography; etc.
  • what does it mean for the work if it solely animates through friendship and personal networks?
  • what roles does archiving play in all this? does this network differently and otherwise?
  • what is my current social media use and how can I utilise that (e.g. is Facebook rather dead? what puts me off the IG influencers? and what to do with 41 followers on twitter?)

exercise 3.3: recent feedback (to a/folder)

I offer a/folder at various stages but then with a series of finished PDF to print zines in two crit group sessions and individually also. This below traces these and responses and reflections:

1/ OCAEU December tutor-led crit: a/folder PDFs to print (several, deposited with a series of Qs in a padlet ahead of the tutor-led session)It’s an interdisciplinary OCA student group, a mix of levels and disciplines, with possibly a sizeable number of textile students, a few native English speakers living elsewhere in Europe, age-wise I am in the younger half of the group.I ask for a slot, despite being on the organising team (there were however three spare slots still available and we needed to fill them). I prepare carefully a short set of posts, along with two pdfs and questions as to format, engagement invitation, actually content/process and upload these well ahead of the meeting,I am second to present, am asked to introduce the work, take one of my folded zines and show it on camera.I struggle with the distance and struggle to conceal my surprise that noone has printed these. I am offered that these are too intangible, as PDFs, while they know I make some wonderful work, this seems abstract. But also intimidating: the instructions for the PDF seem to be set out to make them fail, so they step away. I struggle with this: I didn’t at all anticipate that the first point ‘PRINT’ wasn’t enacted; nor that the PDF format would through people out entirely. I also struggle with not being too sarcastic at this point as to materiality.I am also asked what people would get back from it? I am surprised: here’s a free piece of artwork from me for you, and you ask what you will get from me for engaging with it? That that exchange would be conceived mean hadn’t occurred to me. What would people get back from going to a gallery? The tutor asked me to contextualise the work: who was I inspired by or was it my brainchild? That comment jarred similarly, and I brushed her off. Someone offered multiples and artist books.What it showed was the delicacy of exchange and distance: that the format shift moved it out of art object to critique; there was a sense of obligation, but also uncertainty over exchange, of being fearful of not getting it or failing. Interestingly, this all foreclosed the materiality of actually having a tactile hand-sized object that would move from my screen to your screen to your printer.
Follow-up 1: OCAEU cafe early January with three who were also at the crit.The two who were most sceptical as to the abstract nature of my work brought the work up again and we ended up talking through the PDF and the process: how big? can I fold this? The process was warm and interested, I was offered how my work is so full of integrity and very much my own work to which I stay true. But also: it seems just so much work at L3 (the two are in the final parts of L2 and considering whether to proceed or not). (I had hoped to find some more notes on this but I don’t seem to have any in writing nor audio).Oh, but what was interesting too was that I talked about my incredulity that the objects failed at the very first instruction: print. And that I struggled to process that and to stay involved. We talked further about distance, the haptic and materiality.
Follow-up 2: OCAEU exhibition group WIP (I circulated #6 drawing/machine as collaborative proposal to the 20 who are part of the exhibition project.We each prepared a slide for our WIP as part of this group project. I introduce mine and the idea  behind engagement via a/folder. I preface the request being extensive (other projects involve a digital photo being sent; a couple of leaves collected and posted, a canvas received, dipped in water and returned). We use, for the presentations, the chat to offer comment, feedback, association to the themes the others present. I see the chat floating by and it almost in its entirety sits with expressions of commitment of contributing. I remember being surprised by this, as I was confident that one or no return at all would also be a good outcome and no sign of this not working.

Follow-up 3: the first drawing machine is offered: a FB post, an email and blog post. ‘This was such fun!’ — There is much more in this, and I will collect alongside further responses. The joy however: again, one who was most critical of the abstract nature of the object, and then it offered such enjoyment. I myself had forgotten the joy that resided in many of my earlier projects and also in the objects that I devised around Trafo and meadow. And here it returned as the first comment, along with two A3 tracing paper, a custom-made string, a set of notes and a bit of background about the tree who drew, a hundred year apple tree (cooking variety) somewhere in the vicinity of Kopenhagen.The FB group post yields yet more of : oh, this is exciting and an enticement to participate. Later, another email tumbles in requesting my postal address (while a windstill but dry day doesn’t move their pen currently all that much) — my two colleagues who worried about the intangibility of the PDF now made drawings to be posted to me.


2/ GSARD crit/making session: proposed #3 detach back in October as part of a first set of instructions for some collaborative work; then asked for a session in late January to navigate a refined #3 detach as shared project of the preceding four weeks.We use email and a shared google file for the collaborative work.As part of this process, I choreograph #3 detach on site, around the fir hide, make an audio file, a couple of photographs and other work is tumbling in on the google drive ahead of our meeting.I will report back. 


3/ conversation with JW about a/folder zines and mail art circulationJW and I have been talking about our respective art, while one time being concurrent Drawing 2 students, over the years. She also contributed to my earlier request to make a viewing device. We caught up a little in late autumn and I asked her again about mail art, my PDF to print zines, she in turn is curious about what I will do after.We talk and then she turns to: ‘So, no one has given you feedback yet (I told her of 1/, before its further iteration occurred). She said: First, this isn’t a zine. I expect more pages and also: it doesn’t fold right, the printer edge muddles it and the text spills to the next page. If you had called this an activity sheet, I wouldn’t have minded but for me this is too scrappy. She also offers:

  • if you want others to send you something, then it’s mail art
  • how she introduced me elsewhere are a mix between walking artists and performance artist

And the most generous comment concerns participation, it develops following a recent show of a large piece of collaborative work, shown in a gallery space nearby, and she said it all very much reduced her to being a spectator. She continues as says that my work wasn’t private; that while I initiate it, it is collaborative; it’s very different to standing and looking at a photography. She ponders that she possesses the work, it’s quite private but she can then also decide to do more with it.I send her another PDF, Make a pocket, and ask if she is interested in exploring the instructions, the content of the not/zines. She says yes.

Event series as part of presentation

Besides the circulation of the a/folder series, my project plan includes a series of events. I had been thinking of how these could sit between making, enquiry, dialogue and presentation. With so much of my work sitting within practice as research, I don’t want a simple artist talk but something that engages in similar measures as the a/folders invite. I think it is within these modalities that digital distance can be fruitfully engaged with.

I mapped and arrived at the following:

A series of events that engage the questions over

Contextual distance || moving-with

  • where is the work?
  • where is the site?
  • where is the audience?

In some sense, a/folder in its iterations and circulations is my response to these questions that guide this current module. Yet, I would like to research together with participants in an interactive workshop format these questions in relation to their own practice. Likely, an a/folder or two will be part of my introduction, facilitation but it’s not a show and tell.

So, I am proposing:

2 digital making workshops (of 2-3 hours), with limited number of participants (up to 20), possibly solely advertised through OCA networks and my own, one each on

a/ contextual distance

b/ moving-with

(or the order is reversed)

Then, a third event as conversation with two fellow artists opening out the above in the context of archival practice and participation. This can be more widely advertised and not with a numbers cap. The two artists in mind have been discussants of our respective works for some time. I will approach the second (the first already agreed) shortly to gauge if it’s feasible.

The aim is for these sessions to take place throughout March, with a view of concluding in time before the module ends (mid-April).

sketchbook mapping of event ideas

a new year’s day sited archive

I still had a full set of the Hahnemuehle etching paper that I have been using for the Am Walde cyanotypes and wanted to print the woods again, this time with a view of making the prints available for sale. I couldn’t quite decide on the time, initially it was supposed to happen during Spring 21, then it didn’t. Then I liked the idea of reprinting in similar environmental conditions, i.e. around Winter solstice a year later.

I took New Year’s Day as the day to site paper, having treated it with chemistry shortly before midnight on the Eve. I went to a couple of familiar sites: one knobbly branch junction in a conifer, larches, blueberries and tree stumps. But by and large let myself to be guided by what objects held my attention.

I placed all sheets in the morning and collection most of them in the afternoon.

I also placed a number of them on the meadow, flat, facing upwards, nothing obstructing the direction of sunlight. I left these four outside, they got fixed by heavy rain during the night so the recording duration was rather short. I went to coat them again, placed them again to repeat, and repeated for some a third iteration to explore what is in repeat coating/exposure but also how time records work in the medium. There is likely another post on this to be written.

I also double-exposed the blueberry ones with damson and wild peach.

So heres: a rogue rhododendron, a low fence gate, peach and damson, blueberries, a dead conifer, broom, larches, a birdbox, a leftover field of grain, stumps and debris, the open meadow, the site of a drawing machine (conifer and ground). I cropped some of them too, so they are at a maximum 27.9×38.1 cm.:

I had a couple of iterations of editing and grouping these:

a/folder: an instructive glossary (update 1)

I set up an Indesign file where I keep adding page spreads (A4) to make new iterations of a/folder PDF to print zines.

I tested a few of the early ones with artist friends and refined and edited. I then circulated 3 so far, 2 within my Crit group, one in the OCAEU exhibition group.

The format of the the a/folders has a single A4 page as inside, as the specific object of the a/folder; it then on out the outside has a title page, a folder instruction (with links to the project padlet and a contact email address), there is a notes page and a short statement specific to each iteration too.

I am currently experimenting with

  • audience: single, specific, groups; artists and/or other publics; anonymous/general online posting/reposting
  • content: method, site, relationship between object/maker/participant
  • aesthetics/design: various forms of photographic images, as such, of sketchbook pages, using font or handwritten text (immersive to detached)
  • types of invitation, instruction: direct, subtle, disinterested

The post on feedback concerns a series of responses to the a/folder work presented in a couple of group/crit contexts and individually.

All of these so far are strongly mediated by my own relationship with the recipients, and I am interested in the responses to the digital distance, but also concerning the nature of exchange and sense of obligation involved; there are also all sorts of misunderstandings and different response to direction/control or lack thereof.

I have started to receive a number of responses back from the group processes, concerning #5 Make a Pocket; #3 detach and #6 drawing/ machine. They are vastly variable from each other, and quite distinct. Part of that is of course also who responds, but I start to sense the role opacity of instruction plays in this.

Possibly the most interesting response to date is the one from a durational group process among OCA students (working on an exhibition for June 2022), where collaboration is one of the shared working methods. It’s also the one context where the nature of a/folder was most sceptically received: its abstract, intangible nature as PDF format but also concerning the exchange modality. The a/folder invites a response of setting up a drawing machine on a plant, twig, bush, branch or tree and trace wind and other movements on tracing paper to return to me by post. It is one process I used quite a bit during Research but didn’t include in the BoW portfolio and the first responses were: ‘This is so much fun!’ — I had forgotten my own fun with this and other processes and was quite happy to see that surface so strongly and clearly as so much of my pre-Level 3 work was strongly informed by joy and playfulness and a bit of mischief. These seemed to have gotten a little lost with all the contact restrictions but here they were quite at the heart of my archiving process.

Within the collaborative group process I have also made two a/folders in response to one particular request by a colleague: to help preserving a leaf. She asked for different methods/routes towards trying to do so and I was intrigued how the a/folder process can work reactively but also for how my methods can circulate in such a manner.

I am inviting responses to any of the a/folders to post to this padlet and will write further updates on the process as it unfolds.

Next steps:

  • how to post on FB, twitter and Instagram (it needs a couple of containers for each of these)
  • to continue making further a/folders and exploring their modality and content
  • to post to e.g. mail art groups or wider OCA discussions to invite more of the distanced responses to it
  • to consider a mail drop to some of the people on my commuting walk and living adjacent to the site

Inside view of #6 drawing/ machine

Submission SYP 2: Resolving your work

This constitutes the submission of assignment 2 for SYP: Resolving your work.

Four elements (and related links) form this submission

1/ revised and new work;

2/ reflection on 1/ in light of presentation concerns

3/ a synopsis of my presentation plans

4/ revised project plan.

I wrote 1/ and 2/ a little ago: essentially concluding that little is to be revised as body of work and that in fact the objects created/revised form part of the engagement itself (for the purpose of this submission these are also called presentation, but I understand engagement to be more than presentation form.

1/ and 2/ are in this post: https://close-open.net/2021/11/18/syp-2-resolving-the-body-of-work/

3/ I argue that the two pinhole photographic prints constitute new work, made for circulation/engagement (while resulting out of the final stages of the Research dissertation enquiry): https://close-open.net/2021/11/28/for-cover-contact-and-gaze-pinhole-images-for-sale/

These then fold forward to the substantial addition of new objects, engagement objects, that are tentatively called A/ folder or An Instructive Glossary to: a growing series of zines in PDF print at home download format as presented in #3 Detach and #4 Open in this post: https://close-open.net/2021/11/28/a-folder-or-perhaps-an-instructive-glossary-to/. I am in the process of testing these in a series of small group settings to explore the viability of them being responsive and generative as a process.

There are a series of research processes at play around engagement, archiving and distance, with distance likely informing both of these others. I have written a little on aspects of contextual distance here: https://close-open.net/2021/10/15/contextual-distance-in-the-padlet-portfolio/ and here: https://close-open.net/2021/11/18/archiving-site-1/, and it is also raised in relation to the audience considerations for the above zine process.

I am also proposing for presentation aka engagement a series of workshop/discussion events: I would like these to be practice as research, making workshops and/or panel discussions and dialogue. There exist a few first considerations as to focus:

The idea is that these workshops run over a 3-4 weeks in February/March 2022 as digital events.

The presentation/engagement in digital form is being explored: perhaps, given the discussions around contextual distance, see blog link above re to archiving, the padlet is a suitable mediator for the work; I am however also testing Adobe Portfolio (perhaps too Creatives for my purpose, or other unlimited single page site — I intend to turn to this over the next assignments, and perhaps it sits as project on my artist website).

For the on site/ adjacent to it engagement, I am exploring e.g. a maildrop of a similar single page zine as for the A/folder PDFs along my ‘commuting route’, i.e. 15 houses, or similar.

4/ I have updated the project plan accordingly, along with the timeline here:

A/ folder or perhaps: An instructive glossary to

Most of my past few weeks were spent doing two things:

a/ to explore the notion of archiving (on site/ in notation); and

b/ to work through the questions around engagement.

I want to unpack the latter here in more detail as part of my submission of SYP2: Resolving my work: PDF zines for circulation as WIP.

The project plan of SYP always included an analogue element: perhaps a artist book/box to circulate in a limited edition; perhaps a performance/event on site or adjacent to (besides its already existing digital form, perhaps edited, perhaps transposed to a different platform from the padlet site).

The idea of an assemblage, an artist box, a limited edition originates with the idea of a large Research drawing or perhaps a large drawing that concluded the body of work. I have spent many hours on site/ about the site to work through the elements, strands, connections and dissonances only to find that such drawing remained elusive. There was however a list of objects that could transpose the site to elsewhere (even fit into a box to be posted; to be non-precious too). Some elements were: larch essential oil, a cone, a feather, an instruction for a drawing machine, a notation of burning birchwood and crows flying overhead.

Again, the materials seem too… perhaps too literal or too romantic, too much trying for immersion when earlier I had deliberately trying to distance myself from that and a simple sense-transferal from here to anywhere.

In my sketchbooks of the original site, the staircase, I find two instructive participatory processes that I have experimented with: a zine around a hatch atop of the staircase, and an instruction for a viewing device. The latter was posted to three friends/colleagues and returned.

Along with my current sketchbook notes and the instructions to touch that I developed as part of For Cover, these in turn became the following:

An expandable collection of PDFs, with printing and folding instructions, relating to variable elements of my practice as research: site, object, method. I modelled two and am attaching them here along with some relevant visual documentation.

#3 Detach:: presents a series of instructions around the notion of distance: to process a single line, phrase or in entirety

#4 Open:: a new invitation to copy a viewing device and use it.

I made simple instructions on the outside, along with title and a return address.

They can circulate as PDF and by means of a double-sided printer can then materialise as a small folded zine, a single image inside.

The series is flexible and can be expanded in various directions and include a number of objects and enquiries.

This unfolding does not yet have an adequate instruction in the PDF:

For Cover (contact) and (gaze) pinhole images (for sale)

Following my experiments with a large-format pinhole camera (taking 4×5 sheet film), I have subsequently edited and printed two images from this research enquiry.

The pinhole camera has an aperture of f232, i.e. very small. It means too that all that is in view is in focus: the very small aperture affords a depth of field far beyond any of the usual small aperture of e.g. f16 or f20. It comes with a long exposure time, which I utilised then for the double exposure of For Cover (gaze), the only sign of it on the other print is my translucent thumb (there/not there).

The pinhole camera was a new process (and so was large format sheet photography); it arose as an enquiry and pursuit around the viewing devices and games; that Laura Marks names its all-in-focus vision as the antidote to the haptic and erotic showed me that my line of enquiry was well worthwhile.

For Cover (contact) has become the title image for the BoW of portfolio: It looks onto the meadow from ground level at the time and site of the Walnut Tree of Touch (a Potential Blanket). The weather was sunny spring, the meadow full of small white flower heads and succulent greens, my little thumb also got a sighting.

It is printed via a hybrid process (chemical processing, digital scan, photographic printing) almost as a contact print but since contact sheets no longer exist as actually possible indexical form, I settled for a resonance of that mass printing format of 10x15cm. So, the dimensions of the print are 8.9 x 11.7 cm, no border, on glossy Kodak paper. They are batch printed and numbered in an open edition.

As objects, I experimented with two frames: the infinity, or floating, frame was my initial intention: an ever so slightly portrait-oriented, deep wooden frame, with the print floating just underneath a museum-grade glass. The second frame is a simple, ready-made square frame (at 20x20cm) with a mountboard sitting 0.5 cm outside the print, the board here is ever so slightly green, for the infinity frame the mountboard is a very slight beige.

For Cover (contact)

For Cover (gaze) is a double exposure image taken from the transformer station onto the meadow and back to the station. It merges thus sidelines, trees and plants along with a concrete cover.

It is one of a series of visual experiments with looking forward and back, with one looking and another returning the look. Gaze seems appropriate as it lingers.

The printing process as is like the earlier one, the dimension however different. The print on glossy Kodak is 15×20.1 cm; the prints again batch printed and numbered in an open edition.

For Cover (gaze)

As objects that sit directly at the research of the For Cover body of work: in terms of visual enquiry, contact processes and the exploration of site and movement within this, I am interested in offering these as objects to circulate.

Each print is offered for sale, along with a short statement of For Cover, for £35 or €35 including postages to the UK and Europe. Further abroad: ask. If you are interested in purchasing one or the other, get in contact via the contact form on the left-hand menu (payment via paypal or bank transfer).

SYP 2.2: Presentation and/or site visit

Presentation is routinely a gallery exhibition; and so it takes me a couple of rounds to read the details that veer off from this format. I am at the point of submitting SYP 2; print out the instructions in the coursebook and marvel at a site visit proposition for my engagement. Let me explore this a little:

Venue, venue, venue — it isn’t quite event, is it? How is my dislocated venue visited? I link to it, on social media, in DMs, in email footers and physical print outs (I am still undecided if QRs are rubbish, pandemic-light, or rather smart functional). There are plenty architectural details: letterboxes, the folds of paper print outs, the question as to ‘what type of printer do you have and use?’; and then there is of course a physical site that I tried to offer immersively, instructively; erotically even too, but that then became a blanket for cover.

My work, my objects, portfolio, research, glossary, sound notes, flow through these effortlessly; I realise I am not concerned and don’t need to be concerned about the objects to be engaged with: they don’t need reworking; they may need selecting, orientating, engaging; but somehow even the choice as to which ones seems not too important.

Scale: insignificant to cosmic. It contracts and expands thanks to several folders.

Services: care work; haptic encounter, a pinhole camera offering all in sharp focus, if you linger you may drown a little at will; there is a hide for cover, numerous blankets; a pencil or ten, swirls skywards and along the horizon line. All these services, in service, playful and with utmost sincerity.

Health and safety: a magnetic current field; underfoot you feel it, how far does it stretch? If you don’t lift your foot you may trip while trespassing. Mind the dog shit too. And if this was summer: the horseflies. Oh, the horseflies. And then, how far away is your screen, do you squint your eyes, hunch your shoulders, strain your wrists?

Sound is distant but a set of good headphones can come to your (or my) aid here.

All in this is abundant and non-precious. This secures protection. But then, I lost a set of good tree drawings to an exasperated owner once. Or do I misremember now.

Hold you phone, follow the link and there is your moving image doubled.

There are numerous paths, you can veer off too and rummage a little with squirrels and thrushes. The jays invite you to flap your wings. That’s all the directions needed, I feel.

My insurance covers outside the EU these days; there are public right of ways, to cross the woods and meadows too. But, mind, your dogs needs to be kept on a leash for most of the year.

Dog walkers are still there; not many else but that may change in the next few weeks depending on how unsafe indoors is turning again.

Let me tell you a story. Or, have a title. I may offer some simultaneous interpreting however. I am not sure they quite caught my accent at my last public speaking engagement in early September.

All totally within reach; just move one foot here, another there, reach your hand out and listen intently: there you are.

(I wrote of the Stromverteilen site, I realise; it may need a little tweaking for its remote versions).

(I only wrote of the Stromverteilen site in the lower part of this, so it evidently changed, narrowed as site; it may not need any tweaking after all).

SYP 2.3: Thinking about documentation

Pretty much all that I call archiving falls under this activity’s ‘documentation’. Similar as with the submission of BoW, the documentation presents the work, in the case of For Cover as the event documentation of that half-day installation on site.

For SYP then, documentation is recording of what is to come as engagement/exhibition but since it draws on what was/is, it is the recording of an archive in some sense.

Thinking of the forms of engagement for SYP, as per the revised project plan (event series; analogue engagement via shared objects (send out/return); web platform and possibly on site/surrounding engagement; these are then a series of records:

  • a/v recording of digital events; possibly with transcripts too;
  • a folder/record of objects in circulation along with notes on reflection (written, a/v, audio, photographic, otherwise);
  • web platform as accessible at any point; and
  • a similar record to any on site engagement (depending on the nature of this: as event some a/v recording plus notes; if a letterbox drop or similar, the recording will be akin to the one for the analogue objects).

Risk assessments are unlikely to be needed; perhaps if a site-based live event these come into play; otherwise these are postal engagement at a distance. An assistant for digital events and/or live events would be helpful but given my experience also not necessary.

Here, documentation is considerable more logistically and conceptually narrow than how I have so far approached the concept of ‘archiving the site and the work’; the latter poses a number of questions concerning the nature of the work, the time/duration of the work and various access/contact points. These will be explored throughout the remainder of SYP (and likely filter into the events.

contextual distance in the padlet portfolio

In my crit group on 2/10 I offered my For Cover portfolio for a crit (I had last put some work, a mix of padlets and the instructions materials, to the group in early Spring this year). I had asked alongside two questions: how about archiving and how about engaging? We talk for a bit over an hour and I take notes. I copy these notes here and want to draw out a number of points as to the questions over contextual distance, what constitutes the work and where the work is. 

The discussion quickly moves towards the platform, padlet, and how much everyone hates it: how clunky and intrusive it is, how it stands in the way of the work; but then really, how it mediates (my words) and poses those questions of navigation and access, of ensuring completeness or the worry that something may be missed.

There is the argument that it scaffolds the work too much..

Much after the discussion, where I am still surprised by the force of some of the dislike being put forward, I realise that the notes also tell me something different:

  • that the work is rather beautiful
  • that the distance to the work becomes uncomfortable to endure
  • that the work and the site cannot be touched while the work implies it should, could, perhaps even ought to
  • and then there is the wider sense of how padlet as corporate platform seeks to manage and facilitate that distance: of becoming more and more corporate; of inviting us to add more and more; of presenting every changing interfaces and post modalities to remind us of innovation
  • so the platform is an intrusive mediator: of wanting to be known for itself, not just an invisible interpreter
  • it also points (this image contravened against our policy) to the fact that it can and does remove items it dislikes (without notification, without recourse, without me knowing what the item actually was); so my presence and the works presence remains precarious: it may disappear sooner than even my institutional access disappears.

I come away thinking that padlet may after all be the right platform for this work if the work is interested in that distance (see SYP tutor report 1).

I also come away thinking that the work is effective here to encourage access to the audience’s emotional registers around longing (and its frustration of lack of access)

So, the work is present but somewhat out of reach. There is an institutional frame that governs part of this, it catches some of the frustrations.

Immersiveness and my work (current status)

There are a couple of themes that continue right throughout my work (certainly from DI&C onwards across Level 2 and 3); immersiveness is one of them: the sensorial, an expanded field of drawing, the stepping into work that I make and the relationship it seeks between work and viewer/reader/participant around closeness and distance.

For the production of the BoW this was significant at a number of turns, e.g. when trying to devise what constituted drawing/contact, what the role of lint and the quotidian was, the sites and the reach/resonance of these and how to resolve the BoW.

In the Research (as practice) it was engaged with methodologically: moving-with explored the bodily registers of immersion (or lack thereof); of making mobile artists, viewer and work; the glossary circled around tools, obstacles and sites to explore the relational entanglements at the centre of the work; the Herz/Stein concept explored tactility, bind and release in material close-up.

For SYP I am trying to explore the exhibition checklist as PaR enquiry to get a better handle on (or perhaps a position to the side of) distance as key tool for how this practice moves onwards.

I am collating here the various posts that trace the engagement with immersiveness as concept up to now (at the point of submission for assessment of BoW and Res, and at Part 2 of SYP).

In chronological order the key posts so far are:

SYP 1: submission of Project Plan and tutor report

I submitted a couple of weeks ago as planned the project plan as SYP 1 (first time through the new VLE platform), now had the tutorial and received the finalised tutor report, all added to this post.

I wrote the project plan alongside the PaR workshop series in which I unpicked my working methodology, and alongside the various exercises for part 1.

The plan is functional as such:

The two key items in the plan are aims as well as audience considerations, which I both add here (and see the document below for the fuller plan).

Aims and objectives 

I intend to develop my BoW, For Cover, as PaR (i.e. alongside the Research module) towards a toolkit, testing its versatility and mobility.

This toolkit intends to:

  • present a mobile and versatile PaR, combining the various practices (such as drawing, writing, lens-based and performance work) into elements that can test the methodology of For Cover in different sites and contexts:
    • it will include a digital platform/space to act as an open container that can grow alongside the practice;
    • it will also include a material, analogue, element, such as a small edition set of different self-assemble elements to engage with For Cover across a distributed space and as private performance (i.e. a loosely understood artist book in a box or similar);
    • thirdly I will test the viability to revisit the actual site for a public performance/event in autumn.

One key element for developing this towards a professional practice lies in pursuing residency applications and settings. My intention is to network by applying for relevant residencies during SYP and by using both application development and perhaps residency itself for articulating my professional practice as mobile toolkit.

The second element is constituted by articulating relevant and suitable forms of engagement for this work, its methodology and thus for myself as practising artist (in visual, textual and spoken form). I want this to further strengthen the ways in which I engage with others in this work and through this work (please see below under Audience for further details).

Audience

The work has public relevance and needs a public presence. Who this public in fact is besides a gallery-visiting audience (online/offline)needs further clarification. 

There are peers, curators, cultural practitioners as well academics across the fields of creative and performative practice, geography and social science as well as interested in PaR and methodology for whom the work has relevance. Engagement here will help to develop my artistic visibility within the field.

There is also an interested public for whom PaR, a methodological focus as well as the particular substantive focus of the work and its realisation will hold interest and relevance. These in part sit remotely for the time being, in future possibly also in relevant public/charitable artistic spaces and exhibition contexts.

Thirdly, there are passers-by and chancers-upon who encounter the work through its site-specificity. And while this isn’t an intended audience, they hover between participants and audience. I would like to consider a form of visibility in this general, distributed and possibly uninterested field also. 

Permissions for the time being are largely self generated: website space, social media access, the communication with existing networks and those to be developed; for the siting of an event/performance I would like to seek clearance with the landowner (although existing usage rights don’t necessarily require these).


The tutorial was again inspiring and generative, I write the minutes as during Research, although they now need to fit within a set of Learning Objectives.

The discussion around audience is key, as is the question of distance to site, work, myself and audience. I propose to conduct SYP as series of research enquiries (rather than a to do list).

I add the respective sections (audience and site/distance) here, the report in full again below as attachment.

How to understand audience outside a gallery exhibition context?

Challenge of writing around the idea of SYP as exhibition.

This is a functional project plan: how does my practice fit within that and where does it really push at the boundaries.

For this plan, Rachel observes that the concern over audience is really the most interesting area to focus on it: Who is the audience and in what form does the work engage whom, how and where? The instructions and how to push the form between you and the audience; when do you want to be open and revealing; when quite closed and secretive.

If this work is relational, it is concerned with various relationship forms: actants, matters; public, private, reveal and conceal. The concern of the engagement plan is the how and why, and it can be bristly.

At the provocative end, Rachel suggests that I could argue that the material is in fact the audience, seeing the new materialist and post-humanist aspects of the work.

If I stay here, in this place, my teenage home, longer, how does the village figure in relationship to the work: not quite as audience but as marker, as reference. 

[While I was making the work of course too] The village book as narrative and a contribution of my work (with an instruction to build a drawing machine) for its culture section. ‘The village would love to know about the mysterious woman who goes to the wood’.

R: And in years to come people will look back at these instructions as a point in the lineage.

The village not as audience but it rubs along it; there is something generous with how the village is towards me as the only one visible person of our family.

Current research/site work:

I clipped three empty sketchbook pages underneath the fir (and this is where the PaR workshop was really useful: to try out that research/object line); I have only been three times since I left it there ten days ago (the dynamics of the whole site have changed, besides the horseflies). I built a cover for myself, this little shelter with almost nothing, and this works. This is a durational work across this time. 

The site as a site for installing the work from last Winter: in May for the installation may be all that it has been. It may not work as a public event this autumn as initially envisaged.

R: To raise a question: for you and others who work with site is the big question: where is the work? What is the work? And a lot of people will only ever see the documentation. There are the audio pieces too but they are of the site, don’t necessarily need to be experienced in site.

Where is the site, where is the work, where is the audience? Is the engagement with you, the site the work and the question of how it works in proximity to the site. (27:00)

These don’t fall all into each other: site, work, I, audience.

It isn’t about near space but contextual distance; these aren’t the same but the distance is being negotiated within the work.

The concept of a toolbox is helpful: I can pick it up; so perhaps a mobile: what constellation does it all have, how does it move. Some of the distance is structural but some is moved by wind.

Also: role of time being slow and fast and what that does for proximity.


I have a set of action points:

  • to work through the analogue/digital forms and
  • to devise and pursue audience and site/distance as enquiries.

The plan is to submit SYP 2 (Revising my work) for late September.

SYP 1.4/1.5: presentation and promotion

There are two remaining exercises for SYP 1: one on presentation and one on promotion. These two have pointers which are very clearly geared towards a gallery exhibition. I am a bit reluctant to answer and/or modify them but also don’t want to skip entirely.

I am fairly clear on online presentation of the BoW and how Research relates to it (what actual platform, either purpose-built site via Adobe Portfolio or otherwise; or a modified version of the existing padlet, I am not sure of).

For the analogue form of an edition set I need to do development work but also consider circulation. The same applies to the idea of an event/performance.

For promotion I need some more thoughts, these are rudimentary (and a little indifferent). Here the question of who is audience and what for, and who are participants, co-conspirators etc is not clearly delineated, and neither is who is needed to be part of one group and/or another.

I am copying the Qs on promotion here for further reference (some of these are clearly not relevant, others need tweaking):

Use the headings below to help you – and add your own as necessary.

What is the nature of the body of work you’re promoting? What is its theme and format?

What is its function? Do you want it to educate, inform, entertain, or some combinationof these?

Who are your target audience?

How will you reach them? What will you do or produce to do this?

Do you have any key dates or deadlines? For example, when is your intended exhibitionspace available? Do you have to consider any collaborators’ timescales?

What journals or blogs would be interested in your project?

What regional media/newspapers would be interested in your project?

What potential employers are you looking to reach or invite?

What events are planned for your area that you could join/use/attend?

If applicable, how will you integrate promotion of your body of work with yourprofessional profile?

Will you create a new website or use an existing one? If so, does it look professional?

How might your exhibition affect others? (Read the sections on health and safety andtaking an ethical perspective in your Level 3 Handbook for help with this.)

SYP 1.3 : Looking forward

This is a set of good pointers, even so many are very simple to answer. There are other more open questions that will follow on and so I want to put this here:

  • Are you looking to earn income from your creative skills?
    • Yes, if there is, possibly through residencies, commissions, teaching, research/projects (sales less so but some may be possible)
  • Do you aspire to making your creative arts practice your full-time job or do you intendto pursue it as an interest?
    • I want to work professionally but also be free to pursue artistic projects that interest me; so realistically I will continue to work/live between research, art and education (with a shifts as to what, where and with whom)
  • Do you want to take your degree forward into postgraduate study, for example bydoing an MA (see Part Five)?
    • No, my idea is to conclude with this BA (Hons) and use the PhD in Human Geography as well as my academic experience to allow for working in research and teaching in a Creative Arts context where possible
  • Do you see a clear line between commercial and personal work or would you hope to reconcile the two?
    • My current work portfolio allows for clear preference towards artistic projects that are personally worthwhile for me (realistically, there is little commercial work in the kind of artistic practice that I engage in); I want to be able to say yes and no to projects where they interest me or not.
  • How does your combined creative activity fit within the wider creative arts world?
    • PaR, research and engagement, education, the link towards Geohumanities and academic disciplines that take in artistic practice; residencies and tailored projects work for the kind of practice/portfolio that I have also (not: graphic design nor editorial/commercial photography)
  • Will you continue to integrate your two specialisms beyond this course or do you intend to prioritise one discipline?
    • There are, possibly since Drawing 2, no longer two specialisms in my work but the work exists as contemporary practice.
  • How can the subjects you come across on a daily basis and have unique perspectives on, feed into your creative arts practice?
    • See Drawing 2, Res and BoW for how I work on that daily basis.
  • Do any of the ideas you’re working with have currency? Are they being discussed in the media?
    • Yes, and then again: not looking. But more seriously: a clear sense of relevance and significance. Will it make a good press release? Less certain.
  • How could you extend the discussion around these subjects through creative work?
    • Yes. Writing, applications for artistic/research projects and residencies on the themes of BoW/Res but also of the methodology and process of my PaR; the objects it generates can also circulate in various forms (exhibitions, writings, platforms)
  • How could you make your project for this course work towards your future development, whatever that is? It could be a valuable opportunity to make contacts, for example.
    • See engagement and project plan; very much the interest for SYP to take engagement and development serious over this module.

SYP Exercise 1.2: Ten key moments

I make a list and reread the instructions to find I have a bit too self-centred. The instruction asks for ten key moment in your field, I take ten key moments for where I am currently at. I don’t revise the list. I will remain a little idiosyncratic too as I am not sure how much I want to explicate, but here in chronological order ten key moments for having arrived at the artistic practice that is currently mine and with which I want to move forward:

  • Joan Eardley’s painting of Glasgow and Catterline, c2005
  • James Turrell’s exhibition in Wolfsburg 2010
  • Anna Barribal’s rubbings at the Fruitmarket, also c2010
  • I talk about the trickster and the banality of drawing grass as part of my Coaching and Facilitation training outside Berlin in 2013
  • I organise myself a residency in my mother’s childhood home and call it House, 2015
  • I make a video of balancing and falling on my bed as part of DI&C, 2016
  • I acquire my Bronica and travel to rural Aberdeenshire to photograph ferns with wide aperture, 2016
  • The event I do with Amelia and Liam at Market Gallery on Blow up my Town, 2017
  • I remake the gap between two institutional filing cabinets, 2017
  • I exit the corridor and find Other Green as part of Drawing 2, 2018
  • I talk about House, violence, memory and walking-with at a Walking Arts Conference in Northern Greece in 2019
  • I stumble across Laura Mark’s the Haptic and the Erotic while concluding the dissertation for For Cover, 2021.

For all the work post 2015 there are my earlier online blogs to trace the works in the respective modules — DI&C, Drawing 2 and then for the final two this current blog.

I reread the exercise’s instruction and it invites me to present this more engagingly than the above. I won’t at this point.

I present an equal mix of encounters with artistic and contextual work and then my own work and how different projects, approaches presented novel insights, allowed for a shift. The latter are in equal part private, personal, and some come from making work public.

I had not done such a list before and greatly enjoyed it. It was surprisingly easy: the moments, shifts and markers remain clear. I end up with slightly more than ten but am confident of the shifts they mark: of confidence, a new technique, a new position or recognition. They intimately concern my concerns and practice: I can see these as entirely my work, and the earlier three artistic influence kind of prepare the ground on which I move, there have been many other shows, art works and artists since but I think these early ones were significant in a way that some of my own projects then embodied similar shifts, new insights and understanding.

SYP Exercise 1.1: Five practitioners

With each new module I find myself liking the reflect/review activities of the first part. They routinely make A1 the biggest assignment for each, or rather: the most directive, the one where you need to do a lot before the assignment comes into view, but the review of Res and BoW carried me quite far into the courses, so I happily turn to A1 of SYP.

Five practitioners.

Kind of easy, they are in the Research dissertation, aren’t they?

I name: Joan Jonas, Katrina Palmer, Juliana Spahr and Noemie Goudal. None of them are new, of Spahr I have written only a little in the course contexts before, the other have featured. I also find myself returning again and again to Susan Hiller’s work. This one is possibly the most fan-girling choice as I am less certain how much there is of hers in my work. Except perhaps the insistence on themes, on dream and the psycho-analytic, of a range of working practices. Then there is Jew Street also.

I have a few books of each of them, of Goudal and Hiller none here.

The coursebook asks a number of obvious questions, and I find these are the more interesting ones to focus on:

  • What makes their ideas contemporary and of significance within the creative arts?
  • What can you learn from them?
  • How could you start a conversation with them?

The latter for Hiller, the only one of the list no longer alive, would be easy: Let’s hang out in our dreams together a little. Juliana Spahr’s Army of Lover is still not with me and it’s somehow the book I aspire most to, or possibly it’s one that I feel is closest to my own way of working with site, text, relationships and contextual references. I think I would possibly feel intimated by her more so than any of the others. That Doug, my BoW tutor did some work with Katrina Palmer and their conversations features in one of the coursebooks is exciting, and so was reading (and later gifting numerous times) her Dark Object and how close it is to some of our own institutional obsessions and desires.

Yes: enquiry and desire in Palmer and Spahr; vision and improsication in Goudal, Hiller and Jonas for treading beyond the obvious, easily accessible. In all of them I feel I admire their persistence, scope and commitment. There is ambition and sincerity and I think it’s what I can do with as a public persona, as a private persona it’s there plenty but I rarely enter into cultural spaces publicly with it.

No images either, they are easily found however.

Sustain Your Practice : opening moves

I signed up for SYP before submitting assignments 5s for Res and BoW, I wanted a little transition to see if any redundancy would emerge. I asked for my Res tutor to continue as my SYP tutor which meant that I would benefit from both L3 tutors for two modules each.

We had a preparatory conversation in early May and it was incredibly useful at that time as it wrapped and focused the eventually fairly tight submission deadlines for Res and BoW but also helped me with some motivation towards moving forward with this work and using SYP as a way to revisit a number of intentions, motivations and ambitions that I had and have for pursuing this Creative Arts degree and, crucially, for sticking with it for this long.

The notes for the May meeting are as follows:

  • Site specificity of the work for this site that I found myself and the work in?
    • Where and how does the work exist?
    • Does the documentation become the work?
  • Rachel says that what is good about SYP is its seriousness of identifying, articulating and seeking who and where the audience is and how to interact with the work: taking engagement very serious.
  • Sol LeWitt’s Instructional Drawings
  • Elisabeth Tonnnard’s Swimming Pool Book and Ed Ruscha
  • But to return to the engagement and to finding your audience as key to sustaining your practice
  • The extent to which text and journal submissions are part of this
  • To use the 9 months that I have and to schedule what needs to happen
  • Submit the project plan and the other assignments happens somewhat concurrently
  • How to delineate what is BoW and Res, and how SYP traditionally only pursues BoW in an exhibition format
  • There is often a mistake that people submit too much as BoW for assessment: be clear what needs to be submitted: like, 3 objects and the relationship across (and to check with Doug)
  • 20 July as submission for SYP 1

I submit Res 5 and BoW 5 after this discussion and then have a joint tutorial (plus a written one for Res 5) with both my tutors. The latter, as requirement for BoW 5, includes a projected engagement plan which now folds forward in to SYP A1.

After conclusion of Res 5 I start a series of site-based drawings, essentially the final drawing for BoW that I halted as I began to understand it as Research Object, not as part of BoW. I use the practice of this drawing as transition and then begin in early July to assemble the materials for SYP 1. As with all modules it has a series of exercises to gather and review at the start, they are good ones and I will place them on the blog over the next week.

I also sign up for another Practice as Research set of workshops with Rachel for the CA cohort and am offered a 45 min slot to talk about my work, I use this to tease out connections and lose threads and try to make communicable how I research and what my methodology is (in part I see this working towards that development of a mobile toolkit, another part helps me write the project plan alongside).

(I will add and later link relevant blog posts here).

I remain a bit daunted by the timescale as my family situation remains fragile as it is, at the same time I take confidence from what has been possible to do over the past year and have a strong BoW and Res completed and to move forward with. The start of SYP helps me to remember the reasons for sticking with the degree, even though my location and the field in which I would see my artistic practice be professionally situated shifted so much over the past 18 months. Some of that however doesn’t matter and I have a good sense of what I want to make public, to what kind of public and with what kind of professional position. For this, SYP will be good.

(no images today)

Picking a line as research enquiry:

For the current iteration of Rachel Smith’s Practice as Research workshops, I looked at my research objects at this moment of transition between BoW/Research and SYP and made a line of enquiry to explore the methodology, the notion of a research drawing as well as what in my work presents a mobile toolkit to take elsewhere during SYP:

I will try to pick a line that…

in three parts explores
a. a Research Drawing of the space underneath the fir tree that marks the beginning of For Cover last autumn
b. the role of insolent reading (or: reading, voicing, writing in/of site with Laura Marks’ the Haptic and the Erotic as key theory for the work; and 
c. the methodology of using audio recordings while walking as theory/methodology development for Research/Body of Work

This padlet column presents an Ariadne Thread, a linear tangle of these items. It is an aid for me to talk about and for you to explore the bits that hold interest.

Made with Padlet