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?

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/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