tutorial reflections 1: what is (source) material?

— following my 2nd BoW tutorial last week, I want to write up a few posts exploring some of the key themes going forward. This is the first one, the other ones are likely to be:

  • what are expectations of self/object/viewer in the work?
  • what about the smallness of things?

For the past few months, I had a sense of what events, gestures or questions would become source material for the project (they were significant, they generated questions for myself and they invited to be explored and shifted in register). Following the tutorial, I however think, that my source material is far broader and more extensive than I had previously anticipated.

It was becoming evident when discussing what I had and notably what the role of the lens-based material is. I tend to sketch with the phone, and yet I hadn’t thought of including virtually any of the photographs as work (the moving image clips possibly, but also not really).

It was also then becoming clearer as to discussing why an event/ gesture/ question is part of the project (and which ones I overlook); and whether I had collected and explore enough for assignment. I had far too much, Doug seemed to indicate I was an assignment further on that 2, and also that there was not enough time to even go through material that was already on the blog/instagram, let alone the material that was still sitting aside/offline.

This has been turning in my head and so I wanted to explore it further. With my parents, I went on a day out yesterday and I designated the day as exploration. I used the camera a lot to observe what came to attention and recorded a series of questions.

Here they are: road signs, positions of bridges, then an artificial mountain of a mining extraction and its position within a field of wind turbines, cloud formation, incidental signage and finds.

The questions or interest revolved around connections while moving, and of bridges/crossings.

— I recognise that earlier bigger projects also started to follow a line of adjacent/ juxtaposed propositions and questions (notably: the line) to place a series of themes next to each other or in relation with each other. I will explore existing material with this in mind to see what it is that leads me to include within the project or to consider part of the project (i.e.: to ask what is the connection/contact/moving-with that I am interested in and how does it manifest and when).

sketchbook: thisconnection as bridge

for months i have been circling around her. like an elastic band i stretch the connection and at points then jump right onto some of her pages.
.
i write a cryptic line in my summary and off i go again.
.
this morning i pack all three and search.
.
among other things i find:
.
as i continue swimming i bodythink through the cosmos. through the work the living and the dying are doing for each other at this moment in time and any other. i had realised earlier this summer that my dad is going to teach me something vital. and here in this process with Achim i realise the work that is being done by us around to facilitate the movements between here and there and what each receives in this. i think i rarely felt so tender amongst it all.
.
thisconnectionofeveryonewithlungs (juliana spahr)
..
it is the closing line of a longer thisconnection (men, women, roleplay, victims, essentialism)
.
she will be the bridge across and away from the site. form content that connects while standing apart.
.
in army of lovers, she and David Buuck investigate a plot of grassy wasteland between a few major roads.
.
i have precisely such a plot. a pontoon bridge leads to it. all sorts of insignificant incidents take place. some are fantasy. a good part happens on speed. someone falls into the water and eighty-seven pelicans take off while the sparrows argue over the best spot to pig watch each morning. he who opens the kiosk at will and hides in dark corners within sells me an ice cream for €2.50. i think he made the price up. next time i check and i know he did. but he settled on it, having committed to a sun-worn board with lots of expensive ice cream (all cost €2.50). it sits next to the instant cameras,€20 for 2. how did the film develop?
.
.
.
unrelatedly, i observe the verge. in mid-July on the abundant West Coast it is exuberant. i move along and record it. later i step into it and record some more. elsewhere in the village, the council spent money on controlling growth. it does so abundantly. i record eagerly and just wait for being approached by watchful neighbours (none so far).
.

the specific connections this post makes are to Ag Achilleios as site and the bridge as site

I have an earlier short note also relating to Juliana Spahr here.

critical reflection: modality of BoW

Screenshot 2019-07-28 at 13.33.01
Detail of updated concept map for BoW (July 2019): modality/methodology

As material for the dissertation:

The process of shifting back and forth as the process of the Body of Work and how produces itself and links to the dissertation.
  • the gap pointed to it: what is opened up
  • the photocopier manual, (m)use me, and the parallel project present its practice
  • the line as practice to deal with the social subject matter (and so does: office at night; the corridor work and other green: contact, secrets, gossip)
Katrina Palmer’s Loss Adjuster is good for process and shift
Juliana Spahr’s Army of Lovers, Everyone connected, The transformation as container and focus on new materialism and relationality within
Bhanu Kapil as for fragmentation and moving between different materials.
Joan Jonas and Rosemarie Trockel for holding these togethers (perhaps some like Doris Salcedo too?)
Friedrich Kittler opened the door to this and should be at the heart as conceptual/ methodological question
The smallness and the unimportance as guiding question to judge vis-a-vis artistic canon.

How to trace this through the BoW:

Reworking the concept map from February made some of these processes clearer: what is the how and the what: I had discussed as key outcome/ process a series of performance formats (solo; 1:1; and group) but wonder if that is the process really and if the process is not a tracing, following, pursuing of material shifts and registers; and that performance (through the inclusion of others, and a focus on the body) is merely a format that facilitates that.
In June I collated a few thoughts as to material contact:
clay experiments (following the Bleakeley performance)
darkroom and contact printing
screenprinting again
then: in the sketchbook:
  • the transferral of marks to the next page,
  • the pick up of graphite on previous pages
  • see through/ fold
  • (it is again processes that have intrigued me for a long time; possibly it is the link to indexicality again here that also concerns the interest in the ‘contact’ concern for the wider project)
  • most actual drawings in the sketchbook are 10-15mins pieces while on the bus: layering fleeting views on top of each other, repeating and reworking. I did 12-15 of these over four journeys. They are not about indexicality. Yet, in some sense I feel they are relevant in terms of the drawing marks and in terms of what is connected through the moving through?
I also think the drawing on top of templates/copies is part of this too, and so is much around photocopying; and indeed the work with the typewriter in late March.
As in D2 I find a hesitancy towards material processes, as if they sidetrack me too much. I don’t think that I don’t experiment enough (which was one of the discussions over the material processes in D2), but I think I struggle to explicate or name what I am experimenting with.
As plan for Part 3 I want to focus on the processes themselves and pursue a range of them to explore what kind of register shifts are occurring (and, so my thought: are constitutive of the near space, the contact).

sketchbook+: the line folds into Level 3

(as a placeholder in advance of Research tutorial 1).

— the piece of previous work that I have spent most time with over the past four weeks is the final work produced during Digital Image & Culture: the line, which I finalised as a tumblr site, and am currently in the process of re-publishing through facebook as a public album.

The line is also the piece on which my submission to the Walking Arts Network conference in Prespes, Greece, is based. So I am currently also in the process of writing a 3-4k word contribution for a conference publication as well as considering how it will present as a 15-min talk/presentation.

As part of the re-publishing process I am keeping an offline journal which I will move here at some point. There are some thoughts I have here right now in terms of how to proceed (and what can become part of Res or BoW and what is best kept aside).

Here some notes from this morning:

I have the strong sense that the line is crucial for moving forward. I want to test some of that with Rachael in our first tutorial today.
  • the line as fragmented space that is very much non-linear
  • the line as imaginary and anchor to the pieces articulated
  • the pieces articulated are diverse:
    • private chat
    • dreams/thoughts/fantasy
    • more functional notes and records
    • methodology concerns
    • fragments from other authors
  • there is no clear order as to how they are encountered: they are clearly not a singular line to be walked but multiplicity
There is much in here that is definitely about near space: about relational concepts and about performance.
The performance is in my voice but also in the conceal/reveal that is taking place
The current re-publishing through FB (as suggested at assessment) is testing some of that but also any relationship between audience and work/.

 

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.

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.

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?

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

Comments
Gesa Helms

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