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

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).

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.

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.

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.