sketchbook: drawing/contact drawing contact drawing contact contact drawing

[a sketchbook note from 23 January 2019]

drawing/contact drawing contact drawing, contact
contact drawing
with this body of work i am interested in an expanded field of drawing as practice. curious about the edges of the medium, form, practice, what happens when one makes contact with another: a text, a performance, a moving image, a dialogue, a walk.  the proposition for this work thus revolves around a series of enquiries around contact. does it blur, mix, repel, what happens when it turns impure, hybrid; bodies of one and the other mingle and create anew. 
the space that it constructs, creates, produces: there is an attention to different scales: body/ sensorial; between one and the other; at a distance.

Assignment 1 BoW: Territory

This post contains the requested elements for my first assignment submission of BoW, Territory. I have found the instructions of the outline proposal somewhat confusing, and initially worked off the instructions for the personal statement alone. I have since amended the proposal and yet, it feels as if it repeats the same things in different forms/lengths, so, my apologies if something is still missing.

The guideline I worked to and have included is p.22 of the coursebook:

Send to your tutor an initial project proposal, to include:

  • your reflective commentary
  • a clear indication of how you’ll integrate your two creative practices into your body of work
  • an outline of your theme of significant topical importance, linked to the Research course (150 words)
  • a work plan setting out your timescales for completing work (300 words)
  • your initial personal statement (300 words)
  • a reference to your mind/concept map – this can be photographic or physical.

The reflective commentary is contained in this post here.

The first concept map for the overall course is written about in another post and include for reference here

All other elements are included in the attached PDF with the shorter Personal statement which also covers all the elements (bar work plan) is included for reference below.

Personal Statement: Drawing / Contact (modality, site, practice)

This body of work seeks to build on and consolidate an artistic practice that I begun to explore throughout Drawing 2. The final projects (m(e)use|use me; the Hornet Tree, the Critical Review on an expanded field of drawing) as well as the realisation of the module-spanning, Parallel Praxis, all begun to articulate a notion and practice of drawing in an expanded, interdisciplinary field. Here, drawing emerges as a set of enquiries, methods and processes in which performance, photography, writing, installation, moving image formats and more traditional drawing processes interact and mutually inform each other.

As theme for this work I would like to set out initially with methodological concern. My interest centres around ordinary objects, processes and procedures to explore the body as tool and site. Doing so, it situates within and builds upon feminist concerns of the ordinary, the unspectacular, the everyday to investigate the fabric that contributes to our articulations of corporeal selfhood. Furthermore, it is interest in contact. At once, immediate, sensorial, tactile it also asks wider questions concerning relationship and presence. These concerns around agency, voice, autonomy are at once informed by older materialisms (notably: a critical materialism of social praxis) and are curious about new materialisms and the constitution of the human body, also in its potential hybridity, one cyborg form or another). 

Through a series of enquiries and investigations this body of work sets out with functional/instrumental objects/ processes and explores their boundary/ edges: when do they  become something different; taking in a range of media and established working practices. What are the influences and interactions with a human body? What senses are engaged? What control, interaction or dialogue takes place? If these enquiries are located in specific sites – institutional sites: what happens to objects, processes that are designed to perform for certain purposes and are however otherwise employed. Do they yield? become different? resist? 

These enquiries intend to encompass research presentations; possibly elements of conflict facilitation; a series of experimentations/ performances which also provide the research for Research as well as expanded drawing as documentation and tool to activate/ open out: become hybrid, performative, sensorial while engaging with mundane objects/ processes. Doing so, this body of work is at once the body of work while remaining curious about its own coming into practice.

The initial range of creative practitioners that inform this process is wide: ranging from interdisciplinary artists such as Joan Jonas and Susan Hiller to contemporary photographers Noemie Goudal and Ed Clarke to writers and poets such as Katrina Palmer and Juliana Spahr. Gordon Matta Clark’s architectural practice around intersects also seeks a place within this.

BoW A1 territory: concept map

I had started to consolidate the various concept maps into a bigger one to outline the themes for the Body of Work itself. For the time being, much in here doesn’t connect or relate, yet, the spatial organisation and visualisation is useful: I have a beginning sense of how different media/forms can relate to the notion of the body as tool. And, if the body is site, then what are the spatial/geographical practices and dimensions this engenders.

I am currently keen on holding on to the notion of modality, but this may simply turn into methodology (I am not sure if modality means register, or a particular relationship to a type of space: utopian, institutional, experiential), so for the time being it sits here as a poorly defined term.

Clicking on the image will pull up the large media file

Reflective Commentary: Parallel Praxis

While considering a series of works produced up to now (and these are included in the notes to my Research tutor), I chose to write a reflective commentry solely on the Drawing 2 module-spanning Parallel Praxis, as this is the work that articulates most clearly in practice how I understand the potential of an expanded field of drawing that engages both site and body in a sensorial and performative form.

This reflective commentary is part of Assignment 1, Body of Work.

Parallel Praxis is a moving image work of 7:46 mins length. It features a series of still and moving image clips, the former often animated by internal Ken Burns movement. It also features a series of environmental sound recordings, the most notable one a montage of a dance track recorded alongside some traditional music and the movement noises along an unspecified interior space. All these are contained and authored through my own voice recorded in different segments, registers and modes. 

The piece arguably directs two unknown viewers of the larger body of work through the material and in the event to be assessed. So, at first glance it is instructive and directive, most notably when it asks the viewer to pause and turn to other material they ostensibly have in front of them, to then later resume. The voice begins to consider, unpick and undo this instruction as the video proceeds. Doing so, it curates, demonstrates and performs at once.

It does so by explicating site and the movement of a person walking through rooms, up and down stairs, opening and closing doors. Only two still images, montages of a performance within two spaces along the corridor, show the site that we hear. The site is otherwise engaged with by a stated desire to leave: to walk down the stairs and exit. We see the exit then acting as a hinge for the video clip in an autonomous piece of work (Green [did I work hard enough]) in the centre of the work. This clip along with others show shadows, body parts, a swerving camera. They don’t help us really to orientate or identify the site. For that we need to rely back onto the voice and the sound of movement.

The edit is improvised: the sections cut from one to the other with a shudder or delay; the voice sounds at times intimate, at other times tinny and distant. Are the blanks and the Ken Burns movement too obvious? too long? And yet, both the opening and closing sequences rest calmly, the voice articulates clearly, albeit dreamlike, what it seeks in form of instruction, critique and articulated movement. It seeks no less, other than the ostensible instruction to be assessed, a form of drawing practice that is sensorial, that engages our ears as much as our eyes, our sense of touch and sense of movement across, within and outwith a site, testing the body how it draws, performs, relates and authors an expanded field of drawing.

R1: first responses for tutor

I have now written up and compiled a series of posts relating to the first questions of Research to be send to my tutor for a first feedback before proceeding to write the project proposal. This has taken longer than planned, part of the reasons for this lie I have written about in this post, here about literalness.

In this post, I compile links to the various posts (not in chronological but logical order as per coursebook) that contain responses to the questions about

1. Initial ideas (identification, review, strengths/weaknesses, concept mapping, further identification of interest)

2. Getting started (getting organised, time plan, habits, process): https://close-open.net/2019/02/06/r1-2-getting-started/

3. Identifying resources (reading list, skim read, gatekeepers): https://close-open.net/2019/02/06/r1-3-identifying-resources/

Alongside these posts I have a number of further handwritten notes, some of these scanned in here (they include a number of SWOT charts for individual projects, which aren’t written up further yet but I want to do that, as it was a comment during the progression discussion).

There are also a number of sketchbook entries that process these documents and notes further:

R1.1 Initial ideas (part 2)

I had started to post some of the concept maps which are part of this extensive part of first questions around ideas, review, mapping of existing work, theme, potential, weaknesses in an earlier post here, and now want to conclude this question with a reworked outline of my initial ideas. For this I referred to the statement of intent that formed the basis for the transition discussion in autumn (keeping its review and context and writing through ideas as they have emerged since then):

Initial Ideas and orientation

I would like to continue at the point where my recent module, Drawing 2 concluded (and am for this statement drawing on my earlier self-assessment with some reworking and expanding for what may lie ahead). The final projects (m(e)use|use me; the Hornet Tree, the Critical Review on an expanded field of drawing) as well as the realisation to the Parallel Project, Parallel Praxis, all begun to articulate a notion and practice of drawing in an expanded, interdisciplinary field. Here, drawing emerges as a set of enquiries, methods and processes in which performance, photography, writing, installation and more traditional drawing processes interact and mutually inform each other.

The parallel project indeed relates and looks back to the previous module itself, it reorganises the materials and lets them become something else still. The video is not merely a narration, an instruction; I begun to include the key clips – visual, and also found sound recordings – in the work to author it and let it unfold. In this sense, it draws on a number of senses and sensations, and indeed revolves around an exploration of a body (mine) as drawing tool, investigating the reaches of what constitutes an extended field of drawing. It speaks out of the screen to ask the viewer to engage directly with some other materials. With this, it resonates with both Joan Jonas’s and Katrina Palmers’s work: they engage, performatively, and in doing so make visible and audible that engagement between artist and audience, viewer, reader, interlocutor. Will it work? Does it fail? What happens instead? In this parallel project, there is a literal voice – mine – and in its clarity it also helps to articulate all those other voices that are involved in my art-making, an art-making  that is visual, textual, increasingly dares to be performative; it takes in things I learned before: critical social theory; dialectics; a body/dreamwork coaching and counselling training; a dissatisfaction with academic publishing; a keenness on finding those other spaces and places that are never entirely utopian but offer a hunch, a first step from here to there.

Besides the actual projects that constitute the body of work of Drawing 2, there is something also in the tools that I used and which for the assessment submission refigured as a portfolio without large sheets of paper but instead a series of folders and pouches that relate and point towards some of the digital parts (FB albums, e.g.). This process of working with materials that are common, and in some ways mimic office work processes was important and I feel it may also structure some of my future enquiries. It also deepened my engagement with a movement between digital and analogue (continuing from DI&C). It also continues with questions over what constitutes site, audience, work > explored in different ways and always with an exploration of this movement digital/analogue (initially: gap, agency, control (generative systems, drawing machines); then: what constitutes drawing; the kind of tools: office tools).

In this, and as a first step into Body of Work I have begun to explore the notion of hybridity (is that interdisciplinarity?) within an expanded drawing practice. For this purpose, I have started a series of investigations that take the questions and processes of these initial steps in Assignment 1 and explore their scope for an artistic practice: created and transposing concept maps; guide books etc. Also: having submitted and accepted a conference talk at that Society of Artistic Research conference in late March in Zurich around the work of the Gap and its wider relevance, I have begun to (a) explore further routes around this work (a void, a gap between two filing cabinets as a starting point towards investigating relationship, distance, agency and control as well as notions of a gap between analogue and digital processes within an institutional setting) and (b) the notion of a conference talk as performance, instruction, screening and thus to enquire into this particular format and modality, which I hope will be instructive for the further development of both BoW and Research.

The issues with regards to voice/ themes and practice that clarified during this final Level 2 module were:

  • humour and how I instigate processes that allow me to arrive at resolved pieces
  • the relationship to conceptual and intellectual concerns (institutional critique, production of space)
  • working across a range of media/approaches and finding ways to integrate them with each other and use that integration in innovative ways (photography, writing, performance, drawing)

It is then on the basis of these emerging working practices, conceptual concerns and emerging clarity and articulation of voice that I would like to approach Level 3. I find these first respective assignment pointers for Research and BoW useful in relation to review and investigate existing work to date (and have kept a good part of such review as context for articulating my first moves within Research). I also find some of the overlap but fairly little actual integration confusing, and it took me a while to make sense of the individual exercises and questions and how they do/ not relate between the two modules. As both first assignments are strongly focussed on planning ahead and specifying approaches, means, literatures I find myself hesitating: while I have a clear sense of direction I am at this moment wary of specifying this too far in advance as I generally review and refine on the basis of some work already done and articulate e.g. theory/concept post-practice (to feed into a new cycle). With this in mind, I have spend considerable time with some of the questions, have also reviewed some of the Level 2 pieces in some detail; but crucially, started to do a series of new investigations and enquiries to allow me to test some thoughts, refine these build in these. 

The theme and interest is refined to some extent as for the Research to be an investigation into 

The site of Interdisciplinarity in Drawing Practice, 

and for the Body of Work a Theme of Significance being

Drawing/ Contact (Modality, Practice, Site)

With these two related themes, I would like to pursue and clarify the approach towards an embodied, sensorial and expanded field of drawing as artistic practice. There are a number of technical skills and approaches I am interested in: moving image/ video (possibly even 16mm film); darkroom techniques; screenprinting; performance; but none of these are fixed and I trust that the suitability of any of these will emerge in relation to the actual projects. Similarly, I am very interested in pursuing further my investigations into sites (interior/exterior) as well as movement between these. It may make sense to prepare and arrange for an actual site to serve as a field site for the Body of Work (and thus move it out of ongoing work arrangements).

Following the Concept Mapping (Q1.3), the most promising and salient themes that animate my interest are geographical and environmental following my investigations into the institutional corridor and an artistic practice that engages it: they concern site, direction, orientation, movement, exit; gaps, possibilities for other spaces that sit aside, elsewhere; and as such follow on from the Gap, Green and Parallel Praxis. Related to the production of space, these touch on questions of performance, the sensorial, institutional critique and the sensorial.

There is a continuous theme running throughout which concerns questions over copy, reproduction, repetition and difference, and, as it becomes clear in the later part of the module, this concerns both the surface, the background of the actual artwork as well as that it stretches beyond and outwards from it: what kind of space do we perceive, live, practice?

performance score: the gap, observed

i sit on the floor on the other side of the room: the centre of my body centred on the space between the two cabinets, black dress, leggings and shoes. my legs are crossed at my ankles. i breathe in, uncross my legs, sit them down, then cross them again. — end.

– this is observed by one person. from a number of positions and heights. first: behind the desk, seated; then, standing between desk and cabinets, leaning on them; standing right in front of the gap, facing me directly; then at the same location, kneeling down; sitting to the right or left of me, legs similarly stretched out; finally: standing in the doorframe, the door is ajar, my legs are visible but not the rest of me. the person moves slowly from position to position.

this happens without speaking. what the observer observes is up to them.

light: either ceiling light, preferably though natural lighting.

duration: approx 6 mins in total.

R1.2: getting started

The second of the initial questions concerns how to get organised, timelines, writing/ creating habits etc. I focus on my workflow and present an initial timeline for both Research and BoW, with the view to complete both by the end of 2019.

Workflow and process

I generally work with a mix of Papers as referencing database and more recently Books for epub. Besides this, a number of books exist on my bookshelves or in the University of Glasgow library to which I have access.
For the past six months I have started to use Evernote as research and planning tool and will continue to do so:

  • A large notebook is simply titled [untitled album] L3 work, which contains clipping and thoughts
  • A more general album [day thoughts] contains wider, course unspecific information
  • I set up more specific notebooks and move across when it becomes relevant
  • I tend to draft my blog posts in Evernote, move relevant photos from Photos in here too, which also means photograph handwritten notes and add to digital ones
  • I test much of my writing and thinking in limited Facebook publics, that has worked over the past 2 years well and is a good way to gauge how particular concepts, thoughts and writing notes function.
  • Once these are relevant, concluded I write a blog post
  • I also started to treat a section of the blog as a sketchbook — this comes out of the circumstance that much of my sketching happens digital and I want to recorded (I would like see if I can have these in a side column, separate strand within the blog)

My general manuscript writing interface has been Word, for all the academic texts I have written as well as the Geography PhD. I have now started to explore Scrivener as a tool to help me write longer text and use InDesign for layout work. With Scrivener I am interested in the flexibility that it offers and want to try to use it for a couple of texts that I am working on and I think the dissertation if it becomes a written document may function within that (with Papers, Books, Evernote as research surfaces as well as handwritten notes; InDesign for typesetting). My thought re format however is that I may end up producing a hybrid moving image work which will contain different format, such as a lecture style recording, some slide show with commentary plus perhaps original moving image works and stills. — I will revisit this thought in Assignment 2.

Proposed time line for Research and Body of Work

Spend considerable time in Spring and Summer to work on BoW, in that time refine the focus for Research, write the bulk of Research towards the end of the Summer (if it is a standard written work) – i.e. A4

Can the actual research be in the form of a series of performances/ experiments — largely auto-ethnographic but also testing forms of dialogue, relational encounters that arise from and relate back to the BoW i.e., there is actual empirical research here that sits at a hybrid form and links directly to the questions in the BoW? 

[the summary diagram on p. 8 of the course handbook seems to assume that there is original research taking place, which in part can be secondary literature but that seems only one of several angles and approaches]
If this is so, I envisage to conduct this also over the summer (depending on site, audience/ participation, this may need to be timed more carefully)

Timeline for Research:

  • A1: end of March
  • A2: end of June
  • A3: mid-August
  • A4: end of October
  • A5: end of November

How does this relate to BoW in terms of schedule?

  • A1: end of February
  • A2: end of April
  • A3: end of July
  • A4: early October
  • A5: end of December

R1.3: Identifying resources

For the Research module, the first step is to send the responses to three sets of questions to my tutor, to get a response and on the basis of this to write a 1000 word research proposal which narrows down and refines the first 3 questions.

This is my first list of resources (Question 3), a brief note on how they relate and how to negotiate access (which may not be relevant to how the Research/dissertation will unfold).

For the actual submission of A1, a further refinement happens on the back of some initial feedback.

Exercise 3: Identify resources 

Search

Relevant artistic work

  • Joan Jonas
  • Drawing Ambiguity
  • Sophie Calle
  • Aperture / Performance
  • Amelia Jones et al (eds) 

Written work:

  • Juliana Spahr thisconnections, The Transformation
  • Bhanu Kapil
  • Chris Kraus
  • Katrina Palmer

Interdisciplinarity/ mutability and technology of form/process (possibly simply: methodology)

  • Hilevaara/Orley eds
  • Stephanie Springgay
  • Donna Haraway 
  • Kristin Ross/ Bini Adamczak
  • Friedrich Kittler

>> some of this also concerns: The body/ the sensorial: agency/ control and the post-human

Space, site (utopian, phenomenological)

  • Ursula LeGuin
  • Gordon Matta Clark
  • Noemie Goudal
  • Henri Lefebvre
  • Site as method: Lucy Lippard
  • Sarah Ahmed on orientation

     << many of these overlap and filter into other of these rough headings.


Skim read

Reading Springgay and co-authors and following up Cultural studies <-> Critical methodologies; I wonder if I can work through this material with an interest in methodology as artistic practice that operates interdisciplinarily. I.e., to take the doing of the BoW to enquire into the how and use this to open a space across the different media forms and possibly also explore how this space is utopian/ relates to the institution?
The gap as the opening, entry point for this. Hilevaara/Orley’s introduction and practice of folding as question and first marker.

Gatekeepers and other access

These seems to concern primary research for the dissertation more so than what I anticipate this piece of work to currently be: an academic discussion of existing literature and research that relates to my Body of Work. Yet: I can also see that it may make sense to identify either practitioners or researchers to contact; to possibly conduct some interviews, a focus group or similar. I will spend more time on these considerations when they arise.  Otherwise: access to library materials through UCA and UofG; to galleries and archives as they are publicly accessible or bookable by appointment.

sketchbook: Juliana Spahr’s thisconnectionofeveryonewithlungs

— I read Spahr’s collection of two long poems from 2004 (and written after 9 September 2011 and then from late November 2002 to late March 2003) at some point last year and keep returning in thoughts back to it. I read quite a bit of her writing at that point and am taking with form and subject matter, an environmental concern that decentres at once human agency/ perspective and also articulates a political concern running through it.

I am not sure yet for what, but I feel that her writing will be important for what I am doing.

The collection of thisconnection is available online here.

I haven’t quite figured out what/ how much I want to repost here, so this post may simply become a collecting point for a number of comments on it.

4 February 2019:

  • there is something in the ritualistic building up, then building out, then reversing which really works for me. also: the visualisation of what sentient negative space is like and how it builds a connection (which then is both lovely and doomed)
  • what Spahr does is exploring sentient negative space. how it connects and is animated. her negative space is of course not empty: it is air, a particular mix of elements, sustaining life on earth. 
    the fairly simple structure of the long poem allows for repetition, a stepping aside and into a haze, a sense of knowing how to proceed, to arrive at a simple and devastating final line (which of course is not final, as she picks up again at the point at which she realises that the US will invade Iraq she continues)

v2 of expectation will etc.

i had written and posted the material within this in a different order. it wasn’t just text 1, text 2, image, text 3. but text 2, image, text 3. text 1 just remained placed but not published.

i wanted to convey that non-linearity in the PDF too and set up an InDesign version of it; it iterates now, there are probably more variations that are meaningful within it, and there is more attention to font type and placement to be paid, but this works as another sketch.

if you can set your PDF viewer to view it as two-page spread, that will be perfect (it’s a5 size if you want to print it)

— text 1 exists as a photocopy work, folded once and pushed into the gap. as such it is an object in its own right also. it may just be separate from this book form though.

sketchbook: wax stain

i make copies of one of the pieces that i made around the gap and negative space to proceed to use wax pastels, linseed oil and graphite so as to stain and smudge (it’s a process that keeps intriguing me, see here as part of Drawing 2, here a sketchbook page from several years ago)

— i trace the edges here, not to too much success, so it is less these pieces that i am wanting to record but:

A few days later i look at the notebook and see that of course the red pastel got everywhere: it has dried up where smudged but it is so intense that it smudges and moves to other pages effortlessly. it does so more so than many other medium, there is something in the idea of movement, diffusion (contamination comes also to mind but that too pejorative)

expectation will recognition [blank] resolution [blank]

i have been experimenting with resolving the gap from Drawing 2. there are two routes for this so far. this one from yesterday/today as flow text below and as formatted piece in this PDF:

expectation will recognition [blank] resolution [blank]

expectation / will

spur of the moment: i ask if i can hang out with the cabinets. i can.
there is no light in the room. the heating doesn’t warm the room.
i sit down opposite them. there is on them no real hue other than the grey.
i kind of except for something to hit me.
what can possibly hit me here?
a recognition
a resolution
an ending.
— i feel restless though: don’t want to keep staring and the familiar thought from before enters again: maybe these objects are all that they are. maybe you have seen all of them. why do you linger still?
i feel hesitant to move away from them.
i kind of wish they would transcend my time here with them and others.
but of course i don’t know if they will. in fact i know, they will, but will i.

recognition /

something in what i write and print makes me sad.
it is a soft sadness. all warm tears and shy.
it is one that can’t be social and barely bears the lunch that i later feed it
its strength and presence surprise
while i am uncertain what it concerns

it doesn’t come at the moment of writing
neither when i reread
yet it floods while i hold the paper

the writing concerns as the discussion this morning
the role of crisis, then will
for a creative process

what i narrate in the morning
i move through at lunch
yet, this time, the fear of nothing
is stronger and floods my face

all that i can think of is feeding it back into the process
of noting and depositing it right at the heart of nothing
in that, i make my own will strong and let it reach into the nothing

i walk

resolution /

i discover the source of sadness
within the violence of my plan
the plan that would transform one to another and in the process destroy what was one
the plan always hovered as the ending for what was
i have hesitated for 15 months to enact it

i thought i could mitigate by recording, observing some more
by attending to all that is right now and to note it all

my sadness is the recognition that i cannot

that i still do not understand its process its unfolding its becoming
not understanding it how can i proceed to undo it?

will there be a point at which i understand enough of nothing
to be confident to proceed undoing it
to be safe in the knowledge that no harm comes
to it, myself, someone

and so, that anticipated end state will not
it exists as prospection as plan as utopia
the current state is resolution and recognition

my expectation took me
my will turns wish and remains

course instructions/ literalness

Returning to my notes that I started to work through a series of initial exercises for Research, I see that I have done a lot of it already: mapping, tracing, evaluating, prospecting existing projects; what animates them and what they could turn into; how they speak to each other, to the disciplines they situate within and transcend; and how they speak about myself and my practice.

I map, I draw, I photograph; I go back to the gap and explore it further in extension, in negation, in translation; I seek and touch other spaces that sit off and aside the functional ones. I also begin to use the developmental course tools as site/ enquiry into artistic form.

I felt always really constrained by observation: I have no experience nor vision to draw and conceive of stuff that I can’t access experientially; I never attempted a graphic novel, e.g.. But over the past year I have found means to experientially move with the stuff that isn’t quite there. That is a huge revelation, it moves some of my facilitation/ coaching experience much closer to my practical artistic practice. It seems conceivable now.

In all this, I get flustered. I check the instructions in two coursebooks; they relate – kind of – to each other and yet they are different. I haven’t figured out their difference yet. I thought I had it when I started to produce new work: work that sits as hybrid between instruction, tool and art object. The maps thus move from instrumental form to potentiality – in a similar way as the Photocopier Manual did; as Parallel Praxis did as m(e)use | use me did. It seems expandable, workable as practice; and I begin to conceive of far more other forms – academic presentations – to become hybrid objects. (I of course know of the format of a performative lecture, yet: until now its experiential modality seemed alien to me; it seemed more of a naming convention than something inbetween).

What I get flustered with is the linearity of instruction which yet does not resolve. I realise at various points, and yet forget always again, that I am too literal. I try to follow the steps outlined and yet they don’t resolve for me. I want to be a good student and submit to the process but the process stands in my way. I am too literal. It is the literalness that I understand as culturally different–the reason why we are assumed to have no sense of humour. I remember the teasing that people who are close to me start to dare at one point or another once they hit upon that literalness, that naivety. I always recognise the emotional marker when I am being teased with it, it rarely registers otherwise: I still follow the instructions.

Yesterday morning I dare to write out which part of the instructions make no sense to me. I feel better. And yet: the Research and BoW themes don’t gel yet, I feel any differentiation between them is artificial and premature.

I go back to an early note about the theme of significance:

Three ideas (are maybe only one):
Body in movement (my body as drawing tool) >> starting theme for D2
Interdisciplinarity in Drawing practice >> the wider theme for the Critical Review (if the Jonas’ essay would have been 3500 words longer than what it was)
Production of space, the idea of reaching, touching a utopian spacetime aside the corridor (or, the latter intruding)

At night, I think about a project about touch, about contact

I think about the touch drawings, the pencils on long sticks that produce a nervous line while registering every stutter and stammer along the transmission from hand to paper surface.

It can include movement, the walking back and forth
It can include distance via digital circulation
It can include one to one performances

It is about private, about public,
Tenderness and violence 
Love and withholding.

— and I am certain it can also accommodate some institutional critique and a wide-open grassy field should I desire either.

From this, I propose:

the Body of Work: drawing / contact (modality, practice, site)

the Research: The site of interdisciplinarity in drawing practice

With these two related themes; BoW can explore all that is in the concept maps around Body as movement, Touch, Contact and Spatial Praxis: it will do so phenomenologically; I have the sense that theme can cover most of the quote above, while the Research/ dissertation then underpins some of this a research form that can explore conceptual forms, moves and potentiality; I hope that it will concern ideas of production of space/ site; utopian forms of hybridity and how this relates to institutional critique.

Both will likely become more narrow and yet it is a field, play ground laid out to start within, that picks up and relates all important things from before.

territory (1)

yesterday, when I took some print outs of some of the mapping and drawings I did while away, I think I ended up with the first thing of this module that is a thing:

tear (1)

the spatial praxis concept map is photographed, printed, drawn over and overlaid with the torn sketch of some masking tape tear. i photograph it on the table and let it in part overhang the edge, so it folds downwards (not to the green but to the black).

it echos both working practices from across Drawing 2 (photocopiers, tearing, overlaying) and of DI&C’s Office at Night (the manual collages that drop off into the edge and negative space).

around this one piece, there are several more iterations (before and after) [clicking on them takes you to the media file — some are in landscape orientation]:

I have some more ideas around the shadows to explore (but need a tripod/ video set up for this); want to fold the map, tear a bit further and use some oil pastels and turps to smudge.

>> interested in the enacting of a different plane within this; what happens if I in drawing simply draw out (i.e. open up) those different planes, dimensions that I sense may be there; also: ordinary materials and pragmatic objects (the concept map is part of the Research/ dissertation development: it is as such not an art object but a writing/thinking aid: what happens when I transpose into the body of work?

spatial praxis play (3: onto the concept map)

part of the play with the spatial praxis map.

here: firstly, it becomes the surface for some shadows being overlaid. these are purely accidental but of course point towards the surface being both representation and new object again: so the circling and iterating, the building on top and layering can proceed in all sorts of way:

it is a concept map

it is a drawing

it is a methodology

it is a floor plan

it is an instruction, a record, a memory, a construction plan.

>> with these different functionalities, time and space of the map are multiple and not clearly determined

In different sites and different times of day, the map will be different.

When I take the maps down to put them in my luggage, I roll them up (or rather: they revert back to the form that I unfurled them from a few days earlier). I realise that they are new objects and shape them a little, place the camera near or far and include my hand. These are basic, don’t work aesthetically but provide enough of a record to develop from. Well: the first one doesn’t work for the background; the two other ones, more close up work better.

spatial praxis play (2: kaleidoscope)

further explorations of the spatial praxis concept map:

i take this on the way to the shop on 31/12: liking the single leaf in the middle of the road and the fog. i want to pair it with the indoor selfie: the hues but also an inside/outside. >> the oak tree with the ivy looks delicate and gothic.
i try to combine through the layout app and discover the rhythm when flipping. i am not sure the portrait with it works but i keep it. later i proceed with more flipping and mirroring but without the selfie.
>> there is something about the space it constructs: both on the digital image but also what it does to my sense of that track past the house that is well-known: the tree becomes a delicate kaleidoscope, in further processing it becomes darker, with tentacles, the road is lost. i use it for a FB cover photo and it is rather dark at that point.
on the last day i take the Voigtlaender and shoot c15 exposures on the oak tree and the apple tree with an idea to use these to construct similar imagery from them.
doubling and mirroring moves it into a fantastical scene; it continues to read as tree and outside but then quickly takes on different meanings too. (cf cinematography of new Sabrina)

spatial praxis play (1)

The map on spatial praxis leads to a series of earlier sketches/notes that seem relevant.

Notably: it is the idea that the image plane folds upwards and allows us to crawl into the space between the two filing cabinets of the Gap:

1. the after dinner mints fold into shapes, c 2010 on a lunch time date with my parents and my grandfather. Just before I had seen Bethan Huws’ work in Hanover.

2. Placeholder 3(a) and 3(b) [Cairn], 2013 : part of a body of work that tried to get at notions of place and movement in Northwest Iceland and memory thereof. It is part performance, part lens-based work: I lie down on my living room floor as if I had crouched into a half-ruined cairn on a plateau that we encountered a couple of months earlier.

3. chestnut buds that I construct our of masking tape and suspend in front of a large print and cut-out.

>> the question in all of these is of scale and position of body towards that scale. Of radically altering scale and thus a cave becomes a little handheld object. Bethan Huws’ show consisted largely of a set of ready-mades, bottle holders if I remember correctly, which appeared christmas tree like and we would walk through them. the tinfoil shapes on a dirty table cloth resonated with those. (there is a text I wrote on the Huws show in my previous blog here)

I also think of Leykauf’s Spanische Wand of photograph/installation (see link on DI&C blog here) and a number of other photography, print installations and illusions that play with these forms of a perception, stand-in and scale shift to become performative, iterative and perhaps as much surreal as utopian.

I am also thinking about loosely folded paper planes and shapes, arranged in a number of configurations. I begin to play a little in my sketchbook:

R1.1 concept maps: initial ideas (part 1)

This is the first set of exercises (from Research, but overlapping with Body of Work) to revisit significant projects, identify a theme of significance, and to begin mapping out a research proposal and workplan. I have done a number of these exercises before arriving at these concept maps, I will see which of them I will add to the blog in what form).

These are a mix between concept and mind map. each takes about an hour and i develop these over a few days. i map my previous projects into these. contact and touch overlap in small sections the issue of communication and technology is new to arise and good to see where it fits (Kittler but also of course the spacetimes of Le Guin).
there is an issue of wanting to move between concept and methodology: to create a hybrid form similar to what i started with parallel praxis, but this seems daring, uncharted, difficult as it again sits right to the edge of subject matter, discipline, definition

to add:

  • touch poems
  • Abramovic (and perhaps other things from my Techniques lecture)
  • intimacy
  • Juliana Spahr’s this connection of everyone with lungs

 

Drawing as contact zone as overall theme for body of work?

>> do some more maps; including spacetime but also perhaps to get a bit more concrete? i.e.: the three themes from earlier:


Body in movement (my body as drawing tool) >> which was starting theme for D2

  • done 29/12: it becomes a model more like and some movement is part of the mapping:
  • audience sits separate
  • body as tool becomes fool as body
  • this is more limited to the ones before but also more generative: it is open enough to make connections and point forward:
    • a moving body of work
    • mainly missing: site >> I added this to concept map: Spatial praxis
    • there are a series of modalities of works beginning to appear:
      • impro
      • instruction
    • when is the tool the drawing?
    • what role does the shadow play?
  • to add:
    • writing as contact?
    • flirt as contact // erotic charge

Interdisciplinarity in Drawing practice >> the wider theme for the CR >> map the CR onto a sheet of paper

  • what else has been added/ remained/ left in terms of interest?
  • does the focus on interdisciplinarity still hold interest to pursue further? the extended field? what touches and is in contact with whom and what else?
  • what would be a lack/ absence of contact? a gap?

Production of space, the idea of reaching, touching a utopian spacetime aside the corridor
i am mapping the corridor and all else. strangely, i can locate an exact spot where i fantasise about it simply opening out to one of Le Guin’s worlds. i will need to test it.this is the fourth map (after touch, contact, and body as movement) — i want to do two more, then i think i can write what it will bei also realise in which types of constructions the photographers i care about cluster; the writers (of sci-fi, new narrative and steamy surrealism); and then the performance/installation work. i hadn’t thought of Office at Night having an open and House (Stories) having a closed door, but it is a very fitting image, and so is the line which is in fact two, one more rigid, the other one increasingly porous; the gap and the greens sit on different planes: the former folds up and allows us to crawl into the dark space between the cabinets, the greens are a quick release lever being pulled and we rattle (unharmed) to ground level


Also: what about the confessional/ obsession… do you want to explore it a bit further at this time?

themes of significance (1) FB close/open 18 December 13:42

Gesa Helms

18 December at 13:42 · 

Themes of significance (1)
— I have my first tutorial with both of them. the line starts out well, the we find we are six (an errant echo for each of us).

Three ideas (are maybe only one):
Body in movement (my body as drawing tool) >> starting theme for D2
Interdisciplinarity in Drawing practice >> the wider theme for the Critical Review (if the Jonas’ essay would have been 3500 words longer than what it was)
Production of space, the idea of reaching, touching a utopian spacetime aside the corridor (or, the latter intruding)

At night, I think about a project about touch, about contact

I think about the touch drawings, the pencils on long sticks that produce a nervous line while registering every stutter and stammer along the transmission from hand to paper surface.

It can include movement, the walking back and forth
It can include distance via digital circulation
It can include one to one performances

It is about private, about public,
Tenderness and violence 
Love and withholding.

— and I am certain it can also accommodate some institutional critique and a wide-open grassy field should I desire either.

In the conversation yesterday it also becomes clear that not all that I will do will fold into the course material: some of the writing through earlier material and seeking publications will sit elsewhere. When I talk about the Creative Lab residency plan, D. presents me a four-year schedule. I want to protest but decide that – with all the errant feedback in the line between us three – I don’t have to say anything and take the student role. Part of the Creative Lab residency, in particular if I would have had time for the utopia, would have not been a student place. I think that will need some attention (there is also something of comparing the Dissertation handbook to the Research course book).

close/open FB 17 December, 14:20

album close/open

Gesa Helms

6 mins · 

we talk about my facebook profile. he sees a fair bit, not the close stuff though. i talk about my circling around, the failing archive. we talk about some of the conclusions for some of the projects. he picks up some of the wraps of m(e)use and says: you know. these are all yours: they resonate across your feed, the overspilling albums. why don’t you just let that be and pull out things as and when it seems good. you may miss some things but that is also probably nothing to worry about. 
.
typing this today after a week or so, it occurs to me that it concerns more the nature of project endings rather than all the source material. it is indeed the interface of making material available, in what form, and what it in that action concludes (and what is left open). — that is the point, the hinge, the question, to consider (and to declare all else as secondary).
.
so: the close/open of the album and of the blog is in one part about publicness, the boundedness of seen/unseen, inside/outside; but moreover it concerns closed/still open — the finality of a concern, the question of whether more can still happen, is allowed to happen, is hoped for, sought after. and thirdly, it concerns distance: how close am i, are you, is an imagined audience to the material: that question of distance, attachment and detachment, closeness remains with it all.
.
i am tempted to call this: simple.

it reminds me of the time when i facilitate A. it is about her book project, the one after her PhD. i seem to seek the position to keep, to remain, to find; she wants to lose it, herself, everything else. she shoots an arrow towards the end. i am told off for pushing my need to remain to her desire to let it be. i don’t think my desire was undue, it was her default position that i let her argue against, to become a skilful archer to aim for nothing in the distance.1 CommentLikeShow More ReactionsCommentShare

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Gesa Helms

Gesa Helms [my mum is still laughing from the sidelines… i wave back at her]ManageLikeShow More Reactions · Reply · 5m

dennis cooper blog: young love takes shape a gif story (for zac)

i use gifs a lot as commentary in private messages and on FB; i have made a couple myself too but never spent much time with their production.

this is from one of the blog’s i follow (and which links back to a lot of the new narrative writing that i have been reading for some time).

dennis cooper’s blog post today features ‘young love takes shape, a gif story (for zac)’  — while i use gifs clearly in a dialogical, commentary form: as response, tangent, emphasis to an earlier conversation, i have never considered telling whole stories through it. this makes this form really interesting to me: they are also paired, then a blank space, occassionally there are three in a row. so while there is a temporal unfolding, the animation also is to be viewed concurrently (like a two-channel projection almost).

https://denniscooperblog.com/young-love-takes-shape-a-gif-story-for-zac/

Cooper has published a number of these, through the small French publishing house kiddiepunk, and they are available online or are downloadable. Of the first one, Zac’s Control Panel, the description reads

“Zac’s Control Panel” is a collection of famed experimental author Dennis Cooper’s short, transmutational works employing and ‘misplacing’ animated gifs. As in his highly acclaimed and popular novel “Zac’s Haunted House”, Cooper uses the gif as a language-like material to reposition, in the case of these new works, forms considered literary (the short story, flash fiction, the poem) and nondenominational (the documentary, the reenactment) into complex, poetic, claptrap visual literary mediums.

http://www.kiddiepunk.com/zacs_control_panel.htm

conference proposal: the gap and office furniture

I have submitted the following to the stream on productive gaps for the annual conference of the Society for Artistic Research:

Casual gaps among office furniture: drawing, teaching and seeking (beyond) the institution
The object at the centre of this contribution is a pair of metal filing cabinets situated in an institutional office space. More precisely, the investigation started with the shadow space between these two cabinets, with one leaning slightly towards the other. The gap, as a project, presented the first of a series of investigations into an institutional space (corridor, offices, the grounds below). Over a year or so it was conducted within two modalities: at first as researcher/ interloper; second as fixed-term member of academic staff. Was I, the researcher, still an interloper on a teaching contract?
A series of related works explored not only an expanded field of drawing (via photocopier, manuals, site-specific interventions and temporary performances) but also kept returning to the gap of the filing cabinet to ask what was and could be in that void and in that leaning gesture from one to the other.
As focus for this contribution I would like to map a series of movements concerning contemporary possibilities of institutionalspace, positionality and critique:
  • observing and drawing the spaces within and beyond the office and corridor: on the continued possibility of other spaces
  • as former and current researcher and artist in human geography; as part-time teaching assistant in the institutional space; as final year student for an undergraduate degree in Creative Arts.
  • the possibility of institutional critique in critical institutional spaces
In doing so, this talk proposes an input that at once seeks to open up the gap productively: as starting point and as practice for an expanded field of drawing and institutional critiques that attend both to the presence of contemporary work within the institution and the possibility for other spaces among the office furniture (see as part of these discussions e.g. David 2017,  Sawdon & Marshall eds 2015, Vishmidt 2017).
The filing cabinets have remained unused throughout this period.
— it of course relates to the overall module/ parallel project of Drawing 2 and specifically to the gap as the first assignment.
Update: the paper was accepted and I presented it on Saturday 23 March. The link with a video of a practice run and some reflections on the session are in this post.

transitions from there to here (1)

Moving from the end of Drawing 2 and towards Research/Body of Work has been swift — D2 was completed and submitted for assessment considerably earlier than planned; and it was ready to be done so.

This also means that from early Summer onwards thoughts and ideas were beginning to form around Level 3 and its focus — most of these are methodological: the how that connects the what. Yet, there is also a set of themes and enquiries that I did not pursue with Drawing 2.

The parallel project did become a video right at the end, and one thats plays with the actual framing of the work: is the instruction an instruction or part of the work itself? where is the actual space/ site of the work and who is part of it:

Initially, however, the moving image work that I was intent on producing would take the corridor itself far more as site and actually engage with it visually and performatively further than what Parallel Praxis does (in PP, the corridor mainly exists in sound: the movement noises of passing through it, doors opening and closing and my narrating of it).

The early impulse for the corridor were a series of popular culture references — some gothic, some horror, which followed from this early study of the boundary between corridor and office:

The references were in part from the American Horror Story anthology (Asylum, Murder House and Hotel in particular); as well as of course this:

 

Throughout Drawing 2, I investigated various means to visually work with the space of the corridor, to draw, film, sound it out — the problem of presence and visibility remained. Early on, my tutor and I discussed means by which to set up an enquiry elsewhere: to treat it like a residency elsewhere, not as the space that I actually encroach on, seek my own legitimacy. This issue would resurface in various ways and eventually, for Assignment 3 (Green (Did I work hard enough)) lead to my departure from the space towards one green space and then another still.

The second means of working with the corridor would of course be in fiction, imagination, fantasy: to pursue a series of strategies in which the corridor mainly is a reference point, a marker from which a series of investigation spiral outwards. I was seeking such an approach early on, but know from experience too that most of my investigations tend to follow on, hold on to, notions of the real, an actual observation, experience for a rather long time before an opening towards a fiction of these emerges. So, during Drawing 2 that fictitious corridor did not exist.

However, right at the end of the module, through Assignment 5 m(e)use|use me, it begun to present itself: the box/artist book of 12 prints crumpled up that traced a year with the corridor pursued visually and performatively an opening out towards an other space, another presence of the corridor.

— In m(e)use, the corridor becomes a handling collection: invisible, yet present, and as the pages are unfolded, they link towards the corridor itself, operate clearly as representation and an object in their own right. Many of the photographs themselves operate as optical illusions, or perhaps, better: as attempts to seek alternative spatial configurations, constellations; to open out: forward, elsewhere; to offer alternative readings, practices and presences.

 

statement of intent

— I adapt from my final course reflection note for the Drawing 2 assessment and sent this as my statement of intent for Level 3.

Statement of intent for Level 3

I would like to continue at the point where my recent module, Drawing 2 concluded (and am for this statement drawing on my earlier self-assessment with some reworking and expanding for what may lie ahead). The final projects (m(e)use|use me; the Hornet Tree, the Critical Review on an expanded field of drawing) as well as the realisation to the Parallel Project, Parallel Praxis, all begun to articulate a notion and practice of drawing in an expanded, interdisciplinary field. Here, drawing emerges as a set of enquiries, methods and processes in which performance, photography, writing, installation and more traditional drawing processes interact and mutually inform each other.

The parallel project indeed relates and looks back to the previous module itself, it reorganises the materials and lets them become something else still. The video is not merely a narration, an instruction; I begun to include the key clips – visual, and also found sound recordings – in the work to author it and let it unfold. In this sense, it draws on a number of senses and sensations, and indeed revolves around an exploration of a body (mine) as drawing tool, investigating the reaches of what constitutes an extended field of drawing. It speaks out of the screen to ask the viewer to engage directly with some other materials. With this, it resonates with both Joan Jonas’s and Katrina Palmers’s work: they engage, performatively, and in doing so make visible and audible that engagement between artist and audience, viewer, reader, interlocutor. Will it work? Does it fail? What happens instead? In this parallel project, there is a literal voice – mine – and in its clarity it also helps to articulate all those other voices that are involved in my art-making, an art-making  that is visual, textual, increasingly dares to be performative; it takes in things I learned before: critical social theory; dialectics; a body/dreamwork coaching and counselling training; a dissatisfaction with academic publishing; a keenness on finding those other spaces and places that are never entirely utopian but offer a hunch, a first step from here to there.

Besides the actual projects that constitute the body of work of Drawing 2, there is something also in the tools that I used and which for the assessment submission refigured as a portfolio without large sheets of paper but instead a series of folders and pouches that relate and point towards some of the digital parts (FB albums, e.g.). This process of working with materials that are common, and in some ways mimic office work processes was important and I feel it may also structure some of my future enquiries. It also deepened my engagement with a movement between digital and analogue (continuing from DI&C). It also continues with questions over what constitutes site, audience, work > explored in different ways and always with an exploration of this movement digital/analogue (initially: gap, agency, control (generative systems, drawing machines); then: what constitutes drawing; the kind of tools: office tools).

The issues with regards to voice/ themes and practice that clarified during this final Level 2 module were:

  • humour and how I instigate processes that allow me to arrive at resolved pieces
  • the relationship to conceptual and intellectual concerns (institutional critique, production of space)
  • working across a range of media/approaches and finding ways to integrate them with each other and use that integration in innovative ways (photography, writing, performance, drawing)

It is then on the basis of these emerging working practices, conceptual concerns and emerging clarity and articulation of voice that I would like to approach Level 3. I do not at the moment have a clear theme or project or site in mind but rather would like to pursue and clarify the approach towards an embodied, sensorial and expanded field of drawing as artistic practice. There are a number of technical skills and approaches I am interested in: moving image/ video (possibly even 16mm film); darkroom techniques; screenprinting; performance; but none of these are fixed and I trust that the suitability of any of these will emerge in relation to the actual projects. Similarly, I am very interested in pursuing further my investigations into sites (interior/exterior) as well as movement between these. It may make sense to prepare and arrange for an actual site to serve as a field site for the Body of Work (and thus move it out of ongoing work arrangements).

There are a number of themes which are geographical, environmental that keep concerning me and they possibly should have a place within this project (as well as in more academic writing/ research practices):

  • there is a continuous theme running throughout which concerns questions over copy, reproduction, repetition and difference, and, as it becomes clear in the later part of the module, this concerns both the surface, the background of the actual artwork as well as that it stretches beyond and outwards from it: what kind of space do we perceive, live, practice?
  • a further articulation of what these pieces say to each other and beyond towards a potentially much larger exploration around space, performance, the sensorial, interdisciplinarity and institutional critique

My intention for the timeline for Level 3 is relatively focussed: I would like to conclude the majority of it by the end of 2019, with the aim to exhibit (or suitable alternative) early in 2020. My reasoning for this to a good part revolves around the Research element: I am actively writing through academic material around earlier projects and have the sense that a 5k word dissertation should, once the theme and direction is clear, be a fairly focused endeavour for me.

Examples of current work:

The line (Digital Image and Culture):

https://the———————–line.tumblr.com

Learning log post: https://digitalimageandculturegh.wordpress.com/2017/07/17/assignment-5-the-line/

The Gap

Documentation and learning log post and final:

https://investigatingdrawinggh.wordpress.com/2017/11/25/assignment-1-the-gap/

The hornet tree

https://vimeo.com/283649423

Learning log post: https://investigatingdrawinggh.wordpress.com/2018/08/16/assignment-submission-4-hornet-tree/

m(e)use | use me

Documentation and learning log post: https://investigatingdrawinggh.wordpress.com/2018/09/18/assignment-5-meuse/

Parallel praxis

https://vimeo.com/292210412

Learning log post:

https://investigatingdrawinggh.wordpress.com/2018/09/30/parallel-praxis-the-parallel-project/