tutor report: SYP 2 Resolution

My timetable has been fairly tight after assignment 2: generally 4-6 weeks between the assignments to fit into the standard course duration. So, as I am submitting SYP3, I am posting the report from the previous assignment. We had the tutorial shortly after my submission.

The overall summary is:

I am presenting a largely chronological account of the tutorial. It covers similar themes as before: 

Audience specificity; forms of engagement; the questions over archiving/site and how all these are being addressed in the concept of the PDFs A/Folder that is form in which I consider engagement to function:

The discussion as all preceding ones rich and nuanced. I record and compile and realise the benefit of this note-taking mechanism: how the reports are truly mine and my work/practice documents (I remember how early on I was missing the authoritative voice of telling me how well I was doing).

Much of the discussion concerns the details of the a/folder process and the specificity of audience, direction and control:

Instructions to follow and/or diverge:

SYP of following instructions and giving people instructions and the relationship of giving permission to be wild and lose as to what people do with the instructions that you are giving them. How do you test that, the language, the permissions, the openness of the instructions that you give. That is key to the engagement. 

Rachel mentions how people talk about Sol Lewitt’s instructions and there not being an alternative of how to follow them and that seems incredible as there is much in how they could have been interpreted differently.

This relates again to the Village Book; and the questions of distance: on how to do things differently, and what that means in terms of authority and control. This is where the crit group is really interesting: a couple are wary of my work as they fear getting lost; there is a threat of dissolution in it; at the same time they were adamant that I mustn’t instruct. Yet, my instructions aren’t instructions but you need to be calm enough to realise that there is no instruction. So there is a really careful negotiation of not free will but relational bind of what sits in that relation the work constructs with audiences. The literalness of my approach, and how it does employ the opposite at the same time. It is not anxiety over being a good student but: am I understanding the order of the world and how does this order affect me: do I get how this building functions and what effect does this function have on me? Rachel: this is where the pandemic comes back in, in relation to authority and being pushed/forced.

What is the return process? How do they get back to you? Is that specific enough?

  • Am I tearing a hole in this? Or am I using a new paper? Is this specific enough? How do you test it?
  • I sent verge/weed to three creative friends and various engagement process. But does this mean it is only for creative friends?
  • > what is the audience? What audience do I care for? 
  • < what is the entry level? Is this enough. 
  • Perhaps be more directive: this is my return address, send me something. 
  • Do you want knowing people or unknowing people? 
  • Different objects and instructions for different cohorts: testing relational bind and testing distance. It will teach me about looseness of contact. Different objects for different audiences: I will always have to presume or anticipate my audience.
  • Will I drop an instruction along the commute route? Doing something with the kids and their earlier engagement with the drawing machine but also the found notebook process.
  • Multitudes of routes how the work is encountered and how this can be tested and engaged with: the moments of nearness and distance in the work itself and these instructions as part of the networking. 
  • How to navigate the instruction, what needs to be clear and what is possible in the inbetweenness. 
  • My friends and the trees as my audience: maybe that is sufficient; because: what is the pay-off? Having good questions and processes.
  • Not to squander opportunities to ask 20 people to do something for me. But also, not everyone needs the same instructions, so I can have quite different processes and instructions, different routes and all this is testing distance. Different instructions to people within a group can be really interesting too to show differentiation in the world too: how we relate to authority? Inside? Outside?
  • What can be dropped where and perhaps returned? What can be sent out on social media and returned that way?

I reread now and note the action points:

  • What objects work for what audiences? Then sending these out and explore what comes back. First three months in the year to do this.
  • How to proceed with the workshop? Let me write through this: three sessions, towards the end of the course, in March. This is my comfort zone. Who would I like to invite for a panel? Perhaps some money for artist fees? If we meet for the next tutorial in mid-January we can discuss this further.

SYP 2.1: resolving the body of work

I disentangle an earlier ambitious submission timeline and thus find myself still ‘resolving’. The task is not to resolve a body of work portfolio for an (exhibition) audience, that isn’t it. Rather: I am seeking a resolution in which both BoW and Research move forward as equal components.

In principle, this is already spelled out in the notion of a methodological toolkit as the core of the engagement plan as per SYP 1. In practice, this toolkit requires further refinement, notably as to where the engagement in it sits (in residency applications, in a postal limited edition, an expanded digital platform or, or, or?).

As for the actual body of work, the resolution is far more simple. I have noted it at various points and will revisit here:

Adding Research to BoW padlet to allow for more context

2 June (at the end of BoW 5 report):

We discuss at some length how parts of the reflective writing (either on the blog or from the dissertation) can come to the For Cover padlet to allow for deepening that narrative and contextual/conceptual understanding. I mention the various routes through different material enquiries that I discuss in the findings chapter which could work here and could then also link to the dissertation itself, and thus also letting the BoW link to Research (and not just Research to BoW).

Tutor report 5, Body of Work

AP: to set this up on the For Cover padlet accordingly.

Revising selected elements of For Cover

8 August (when preparing for assessment)

  • re-record the audio for Walnut Tree of Touch (a Potential Blanket)
  • a black screen as visual resolution for its audio file
  • rephotograph slides for Am Walde?

More generally, I was asking:

  • How is the site archived?
  • How does audio relate to the archive?

As far as reworking/resolving existing objects are concerned, these are very limited in what I identified as needing doing.

The set of questions of how these can fold forward towards and engagement format (with the work that is For Cover + Research), these were becoming more ambitious:

The engagement plan for SYP as per end of BoW Module (15 May):

As engagement plan at this moment I put the following forward:

  • site-specificity and on-site installation/process
  • digital platform and portfolio
  • edition of DIY assemblage for distribution
  • publication (academic, artistic)

(see the actual post here, it has a whole range of further considerations as to what, where and when is the site: https://close-open.net/2021/05/21/stromverteilen-engagement-plan-for-syp/)

And then in the SYP 1 Project Plan (15 July):

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.

As practical reworking of elements of For Cover, I will

  1. not rephotograph Am Walde for the digital a/v presentation: they are good quality digital images and work well as they are in the slides;
  2. will add a blank screen to an a/v of the existing audio of Walnut Tree of Touch (a Potential Blanket), and NOT rerecord the audio: there was a concern over its speed but I find it fitting;
  3. I will investigate further if the existing padlet is in fact a suitable digital platform (in conjunction with the Research portfolio of Stromverteilen):
  • longevity and control over format changes as per platform developer and institutional access
  • precarity of presented material due to lack of control of platform
  • if both preceding points are not in fact fitting for digital distance as form of engagement
  • explore Adobe Portfolio as alternative site (and clarify what it needs to allow for, include in contrast to a professional website in which For Cover sits as one project of many)

<< this work will present the Resolution of Body of Work as per coursebook (i.e. SYP 2)

Further resolution (and why SYP 2 is a more complex body of work):

I wish to consider any concern over various interactive elements such as a limited postal edition or instructive work to be sent out to be returned as part of the Engagement or even Practice as Research, rather than resolution of previous wok.

I also have continued a range of enquiries into contextual distance as well as archiving over the summer and these present research objects or perhaps engagement objects. They will inform my engagement practice and the toolkit.

There is also a range of objects that resulted from the Research module, such as the drawing machines as well as two Cover images produced by the large format analogue pinhole camera, which are effectively part of the wider body of work and will filter forward into SYP (I will write a separate post about these).

Early spatial registers: site, praxis and contact enquiries

This is a summary post to bring the early enquiries and considerations and experiments around site, praxis and contact towards the final dissertation.

It is part of the research folder (and referenced in the dissertation itself):

There exist different modalities to distance and closeness. Some of them are indexical: folding the sketchbook pages around the staircase bannister; Herz/Stein wrapping and folding, binding them, the stone seems to disappear. Here the direct touch alters and shifts and is significant as to what is object or event. Through the enquiries I have a sense of what happens when this becomes looser, when the distance increases, how much resonance is carried up to what point and when it then recedes. At this stage I am glad to find and intrigued by the generosity and abundance of the research and how much was actually happening in contact.

The extent to which this has been researched over more than two years is significant. If I consider a number of early slide shows exploring travel routes, bridges to cross over and pass underneath and bus journeys in Northern Greece, these already explore such questions of reach, resonance, veiling along with questions of where and how contact happens. 

The first enquiries began to articulate as drawing/contact events (d/c events): they generally were fleeting, moving through or constructing a relational space (often with one other person); some happened in passing (the first four), then I begun to invite people to share such event/encounter with me.

drawing/contact events (accidental, intentional):





This one the one where I felt I was beginning to understand the relational dynamics of fleeting, yet significant contact:


This final one with my dad happened after I made the verge/weed series and which allowed a deliberate movement within spatial registers (a line, a boundary, a stepping across:)


Concept map around Drawing/Contract for BoW/Research:

I kept revising my initial concept map around drawing/contact up to this point:


Agios Achilleios as site for enquiries:

Around the time the drawing/contact events begun to constellate, I travelled to Northern Greece for a Walking/Arts conference (presenting the work around the DI&C The Line project). I used the extended time on a small island to explore the spatial constellations, the role of the pontoon bridge, emerging friendships as well as attending to fauna/flora to dig around my themes of drawing/contact. In the months following I presented the material in a series of Pecha Kuchas to varying peer audiences, exploring notions of boundary, site (implicitly here: reach/resonance), fleeting contact:

This is an example of one the slideshows I made of the materials:

And finally, I made this video at the end of the trip, in register it’s closer to earlier work (in its forthrightness, its pacing and its directness) but also reference the spatial registers of those early enquiries:

I also continued similar enquiries at another visit at my parents, developing the theme of bridges in the work:




All ensuing work around spatial registers then takes in explicitly the staircase site, a bit absentminded traced the first urban lockdown loop and then relocated to the Northwest German village/wood edge that became the eventually body of work. These are more easily accessible in the final parts of the blog but I wanted to draw together these early, formative, spatial registers that helped articulate towards the final resolution in For Cover as well in the dissertation itself

Originell/Verboten (as part of Stromverteilen)

The Trafo sits right at the edge of the village and is adjacent to one of the most popular walking routes out of the village and into the woods. So, most days, there is a frequent stream of dog walkers and walkers (as frequent as in a village of 270 people allows for). I don’t recognise most of the people, they don’t recognise me, over the weeks I however start talking to a few of them, and meet a few I knew from 30 years ago. This definitely becomes a thing once I start sitting on top of the transformer and once I place the first blanket on top. For several of them it takes a few iterations until they ask.

One woman laughs and says: That is original, I have never seen anything like that. I reply: You should try, it’s quite comfortable. — It’s the kind of exchange that I remember as typical, it is a little forward, a little aggressive (the next time she asks: are you bored again?), but also curious. On the third occasion, I have the blanket laid out on the lawn next to it, she steps next to me and says: now I want to have a look at it too, C. (my neighbour from the other side of the village, who observed me from the window front a few days before and enquired who I was and didn’t recognise me) said this was looking really interesting. It takes me to that point to remember that that initial put down hides interest, is the typical kind of conversation opening where I am from.

Another woman finally comes up to check where I am going (I pass her frequently in the village, after a while we started talking, my mother fills me in on the conflict they had with each other some time ago). Now she knows.

The moving onto the transformer as grown woman, the standing on top of it steps aside and outside what is acceptable along that path and in that village. I am conscious of that, I decide not to be concerned, my being here for such extended period of time is enough out of normal for me in any case; that this is simply another environmental art process is routine for me, but not for the village edge.

More recently the conversations concern my role: so, what is this? Art. Ah okay, you mean you earn money with this? Another: You do this professionally? As a hobby? It’s the money earning which is the first item of contention every single time in these more recent conversations.

In the Moving Image workshop in November I say something about the audience: that it is not for the village, and yet the village sees it, engages with it, so what would this look like if the village was an audience?

This process comes to a culmination on Tuesday when I take the blankets up to the station to photograph and explore a couple of lines ahead of the submission. I play for a couple of hours, place them inside the neighbour’s fence, go home for lunch and return a couple of hours later. I. who I talk to while he renovates arrives at the same time and walks towards me: ‘You were wanted earlier. The guys who maintain the transformer asked for who the one was who was sticking up things, placing things on top. You know it’s not allowed. They asked if I knew who was doing this. I said yes, and that I wasn’t going to tell them. So I need to tell you now. Did you stick something up there?’ I laugh, yes, three months ago. He: It’s not allowed. I reply, there is nothing there, so what. He insists and seemingly has forgotten what he observed me doing there for months.

I wonder if it’s the same men who fitted the new distribution box in December. They left the house without electricity on a teaching day. I dared to ask them about timelines, I wasn’t sure if I was too forward or not but 10 mins before my appointment the electricity was back on.

— This story belongs here too, along with a voice memo I sent to my friend in IL for the first time from the site while I waited on the sun to appear on Tuesday. It’s all quiet, noone around, the sound of the memo is all spacious and I talk through the site but also talk through the UK, my distance, the ideas I have for work here, I get upset, a different neighbour appears, he stood with headphones nearby for a while I realise, I also realise he witnessed my displaced distress.

(This one has no visuals, possibly a soundtrack, it can be written more tightly as a storyline though).

diary (d) 2

IMG_2688i am uncertain of this numbering. it is all wrong in any case. they are not unfolding, they are in fact memory pieces. or rather: to fold forward what was to make it pliable again, to point towards soon.

2 concerns my walk route. it is new(ish) and while all the pavements are familiar, none replicates what was before. there is a short stretch that marks the start of return that is part of before but once removed: now i cross the road to catch the sun, all this started when the sun would make it worthwhile. so, i walk 200 mtrs of very familiar but now on the northerly side, not the usual one.

come to think of it: the whole start is at first familiar, it denotes the main road if i know i take the subway or train. but now i turn right at the lights, then left. this is almost entirely new but as it’s probably become the most often walked turn for the past two months it feels no longer new.

yesterday i notice as i walk on that my stomach is turning. or rather: it bounces to right under my throat. it continues and i need to change my pace. does it settle? it is worst furtherest away, then it begins to ebb a little. as i walk on i remember his comment of how there are three cafes selling takeaway things. i find two but make a point to look at the bakery too. it is newly open, what were seats where E. and i sat not long ago now houses bags of flour. i remember their rolls and their sweets. they were nice things. will i go to acquire some soon? i am not sure. it is most certainly not essential.

a flat white. a coffee made as espresso.

as i walk on i recall the things that have become familiar along this old/new loop. the day with the goldfinches, the heart line, again, again, then a single remained, no none. the runners, the mothers and college-age daughters, the ones that stand in the middle of the pavement. the flower bouquets on the park table, the single child that had climbed the fence to the playground. the four who stood apart and drank a beer. and so it continues.

when i am back on the road from the shops, i realise what remains: how i enquire, how i observe and how these things mingle with each other, poke each other occasionally or run off into the woods. that remains. my mood in which they mingle is changing, or rather: it seems to be more volatile than usual. the detachment has changed as much as my attachment and touch has changed.


concept maps: touch/contact/body in movement (revisited)

I go back to the concept maps right at the start of the course, put them up on the wall and then take little tours through them. I find three so far:


1 touch

i take a little tour across and through my living room wall and the concept maps i made a year ago. their format does neither photograph well nor did it display easily otherwise, so i forgot what i had been doing. touch was map #1, they got less textual, more spacious as i went along.
i of course delight at touché, tocarse, out of touch. google doesn’t translate the pleasure that lives in the middle.
bebopalubop it quietly hums before it moves a little upwards and out of touch. touché. (it possibly touches the ceiling now.)


2 contact

:: and for contact. (i had forgotten about the transmission but delighted to find the precursor of ωθήσατε in here already and of course: Ursula Le Guin… i wonder if i thought of anything specific, did i?)


3 body in movement

:: body in movement (map #3) is more graphic, less wordy.
site is a graphite smear, i have some misconceptions about audience, ask about the tool as drawing (and find this in some of the autumn things); there is a resonance field which i will keep:

satellite objects make love

she liked. (a lot) (and as if liking was important).
her geek got fully piqued when i told her of the relational tables that GIS produces. she: go, go, go (near, and far and explore that distance).
of the glossary she made satellite objects.
i went, predictably to here. (it kind of returns it to drawing/contact, if Brexit wasn’t a thing).

the original song from the album transformer… lou reed satellite of love

towards BoW (3): synthesis

While most of my research takes place elsewhere (again), I am now beginning to pull together the materials from BoW and Research.

The plan is to submit Research 2 before BoW 3. In order to do so, however, I am seeking an inventory of BoW and my investigations that followed from the previous tutorial in late July.

The tasks back then for BoW were as follows:

What is near space, moving-with and drawing/contact
>> testing my assumptions and links
what constitutes source material?
what is contact?
what is small and insignificant?
what is the translation/transfer between media
what is the sensorial?
what is the relationship?
The one of these that has been following me most, is the question of small and insignificant. It sits primarily as criticism of my approach to this project and it returned at every turn. Over the past fortnight, while testing one performative angle I think I finally got hold of it a little better and it became a thing to feed back into the process.
So, let me review and assemble the various investigations for this work and then conclude Res 2, then followed by BoW 3.

she fell in love (layered)

this is the centre slide from the presentation of the line. I want to record the whole presentation again but haven’t got it finalised yet.

— I am trying different forms of editing voice and video at the moment; this is a direct recording and then export within powerpoint (current version for Mac), it does some things quite well, it doesn’t record any audio across transitions, and it also seems to show that there is audio on the slide (the symbol on the bottom right). Yet: the synchronisation is straightforward (before I would record audio separately and combine files in iMovie).

Critical Reflection after Res A1

— the tab critical reflection acts as the hinge between the two courses (I have one here, as well as a private one as an evernote folder).

The research proposal is written, thought a fair bit longer than asked for (and it still only reviews key work/resources in 250 words).

I must admit the uncertainty over the relationship of requested tasks (what and how to review, write out, clarify, clarify further) and my own plans seems confusing still: I end up with a far too wide field when I pursue the instructions. It is generative of a lot of text and then wants a very brief text only. (I have no problem with the questions and tasks it asks: the reviews are useful; I think there is struggle is that the text is rather prescriptive in pursuit but offers no tools to tighten and focus: the proposal wants five themes addressed in 1000 words).

I have seen and reviewed a fair bit of work: live performances in different registers; I watched a series of films too and explored their cinematography, script and framing devices; I have read key pieces of fiction writing that I identified as key for my interests and a fair amount of academic work too. Attending the SAR conference mid-March was really important: both to test out my own work (though any feedback was largely self-derived and little came forward from audience) but also to see where my work relates to and can be situated within. I wrote a couple of these up on the blog, but there are a few other artists still key to what has influenced my thinking about performance, intimacy, site and drawing. I have also had my proposition to move the line from online video work to photo essay and to consider its methodology as walking methodology accepted for a conference in Northern Greece (Walking Arts Network).

While during A1 of BoW I was still exploring the extent to which I move anything that sits closer to academic involvements as actively a part of BoW (conference presentations, the concept maps etc), I have stepped somewhat away from this: I feel it would crowd out any visual/performative enquiries and enforce too much of an academic modality on these. I think this move will free BoW, possibly can be altered for SYP. It will however also mean that some of my current commitments in Spring and early Summer will sit additionally to the course work, likely slowing the coursework down.

What I have arrived at with the articulation of the research proposal is a clear sense of what BoW consists of as a work programme (a series of performances in different registers, audience/participant compositions); I have also settled on a focus for the Research: the concept that I currently call near space, that I seek to investigate in contemporary performance/ drawing practice; which investigates some key themes for BoW: relationality, presence/absence and site. This feels important and useful and allows a focus that fits and can be refined further.

What follows below is a series of answers to some preliminary questions in Part 1 of Research, I will keep them here for future reference.

Reviewing your creative work

You’ve got two subject specialisms and two Level 3 courses (for now at least) and somehow you need to find a way to bring them all together as a coherent body of work. Think about the creative work you’re doing for Body of Work first.
1. Look back over the work you’ve just submitted to your tutor, consider their feedback and implement any changes that would improve the work. Now look at the work you’ve created so far for Body of Work and consider how it can relate to the work you’ll create in this course and vice versa. Identify a variety of ways in which the creative and written projects can interlink. Record your thoughts and explore a range of options. Will your creative work drive your written work or will it be the other way round? It doesn’t matter which it is, provided you are working to your strengths from each subject area.
  • I thinks the weighting is going to fairly equal: one informs the others and vice versa, I don’t want R to drive BoW, realistically, BoW will always be strongly informed by R; so 50:50 is a good aim
  • I don’t want BoW too be too intellectual, solely focused on academic means of interdisciplinarity: I had started to think about some of the hybrid forms between PPTs, diagrams and performative lectures but I don’t find this satisfying enough: it seems more of an institutional critique (and too trying, derivative a form for me to focus on solely). I will thus also not fold the talks at SAR or in Prespes into BoW but set them up as testing grounds for forms of R (and test the materials and how they can fold into other media formats).
  • Yet, what I had started to discuss as hybridity is important, and I think the works of HJ Giles and M Bleakley point towards something that then in Jones/ Heathfield eds 2012 is further explored: the performative as viral, activated in different forms and in different instantiations (their focus is strongly on history/memory but bears much significance to the questions that animate me).
  • I would like to use BoW as a lab/ experimentation ground for R and to use R to formulate questions/enquiries and then study/contextualise/push further the questions that BoW present as findings.
2. Now think about resources. Can any of the resources you’ve identified in Exercise 3 help you with your creative work? Make a plan of action for accessing these resources. Will you need to visit a specific location, collection, exhibition, practitioner, design group, artist collaboration, performance, installation, recital, reading or conference? Can you access a record of these resources online?
  • I am not so worried about particular resources and access just yet: most of what I identify is writing/ artworks for artists that are reasonably well documents/ accessible. This may change though and I started to attend to conferences, exhibitions and performances coming up. My plan is to see a reasonable amount of live performances (both live art/theatre but also more artistic) over the duration of the final modules to get a good sense of what is going on (and am well placed for this in Glasgow/Edinburgh)
  • I would like to set up/ test out my own materials/ processes fairly soon though: I am thinking of either a reading group, 1:1 private performances/meetings with artist colleagues, later some workshop/ more public settings >> I am not sure if this will create material for BoW or inform the R (perhaps it will do both)
Now identify what you’d like to achieve from your creative work in Body of Work and think how you could use your research project to help you achieve some of these goals
    Write down answers to the following questions:
  • I want to consolidate skills in …
    • performance and interdisciplinary work
    • drawing as in relation to the above and an expanded field
    • conceptual art making that attends to the phenomenological and the sensorial
  • I want to produce …
    • a body of work that speaks to my concern
    • a body of work that offers multiple entry and exit points as well as routes through
    • a body of work that uses a range of approaches that originate within photography and drawing and move beyond these in an interdisciplinary field
    • a body of work that is effective with time/space (duration, pace, rhythm, site, place and space and ourselves within it)
  • I want to promote my work to …
    • be recognised locally both for my academic/ facilitation work as well as contemporary art practice
    • be able to navigate art contexts further afield (UK, but also NL, DE) primarily through this BoW and an effective link to my Geog/facilitation self
  • I want to refine …
    • my understanding of an expanded field and contemporary performance approaches
    • an entry and presence around geographical debates within arts and a potential contribution
    • the analogue/digital
  • I want to explore …
    • intimate performance modalities (1:1)
    • the potential for solo performance
    • the role of audiences (present/absent, near/far)
    • moving registers across media forms (Jones/Heathfield)
  • I want to prove that …
    • production of space happens in intimacy/body-oriented performances; and discover more about the kind of space being produced in this
    • these spaces contain the potential to be utopian
    • and that they provide easy and accessible links to our understanding of drawing
  • I want to involve …
    • my self, my fear, my apprehension
    • my joy and laughter too
    • colleagues and strangers
    • earlier performances
    • writers and authors
  • I want to integrate …
    • most of the above works towards such aim.