Documentation: what form is resolved and/or redundant?

One of the main points of clarification now at the end of the SYP module just before it goes to assessment is the form of the work as it remains, meets audiences/publics and is presented/circulated.

I wrote earlier about documentation and the active process of it in clarification, re-engaging and actively remaking work that exists in live and performative contexts.

I want to document here too some of the failures around the portfolio process.

This one included here is a fairly simple one to report on; the format and orientation of the entire portfolio, ideally a website or at least an epub but I will fall back to a more easily navigated PDF with links (not interactive) is a more difficult one to report back on.

But this simple failure:

I have two new series or rather forms of circulation/engagement with the Stage 3 work; one is the A/Folder padlet, the other one the performative diary around the making of a series of eight successive prints of the fir branch in late March.

Both of these exist online in their form. One, A/Folder as an interactive, expanding padlet space here:

Made with Padlet

The other as this hashtag search on Facebook: #FirHideSideNotes

I create pages of screengrabs from each of these in ID only to discover that they don’t reproduce, they look scrappy, out of place and outdated in form really. What is the point to document them thus? The padlet exists and .PNG files in total which serves as backup and timeline; the FB files are saved in Evernote for my own record, but neither of these forms need an audience, they are internal reference files.

So, I decide for that portfolio to include a mere link to the FB hashtag as included here; for the A/Folder I include one single image and again a simple link to the padlet space.

Thus I fall back to traditional forms of having stills not as installation views but as object in its own right to serve as full page (or diptych) visuals, and the hyperlinked reference. For the #FirHideSideNotes I include these two spreads:

Revisiting documentation: performance, portfolio and beyond

As part of the wander wide web residency and exhibition project with the OCAEU student group, I early on raised the notion of documentation, and what this might entail. I remember us exploring it a little bit, and clearly the decision to have a permanent website (as catalogue) to exist beyond the time limited online gallery space at Kunstmatrix, speak to this need to document beyond the event.

With much of my own work hovering between object and performance, documentation has long been a consideration (and relates too to my explorations around an archive).

I write this post as part of the early, Part 2, coursework and consider documentation as relevant for my practice to be concerned with

For SYP then, documentation is recording of what is to come as engagement/exhibition but since it draws on what was/is, it is the recording of an archive in some sense.

and conclude

Here, documentation is considerable more logistically and conceptually narrow than how I have so far approached the concept of ‘archiving the site and the work’; the latter poses a number of questions concerning the nature of the work, the time/duration of the work and various access/contact points. 

Relevant here then is also how I propose, organise, and in part facilitate a series of informal artist cafe conversations around the ongoing exhibition to a/ engage further with the exhibition, its works and modalities, and also b/ to create a record (experiential for those who attended; and physically as in recorded zoom sessions) to exist beyond the online exhibition. Here, we have run five artist conversations in total, as shown in this screengrab. The recordings circulate to the group as well as any registered attendants, are hosted on an internal g-drive folder and we will place them on the permanent exhibition site also.

Screengrab of wander wide web site frontpage showing the lineup of artist conversations

And as before, the involvement with the wander wide web project helps me clarifying my own processes and practices, to figure out what works well and what is needed to allow e.g. for documentation and for engagement in an online exhibition (which is not what I have chosen for my own work).

The events themselves are documented but as direct engagement with objects, processes, artists and others (visitors, interested bystanders, participants), the re-engagement is productive and also facilitates to document while making.

To me, this learning: of being confident in engagement with and again, in recording in numerous forms, some perhaps redundant, some failing ones too, is significant for the SYP module and to understand my practice as ongoing research while making while documenting.

The course portfolio includes a few further thoughts as to how the visuals of the portfolio are documentation and objects (and which ones also don’t work easily) and it includes a fuller array of where the records of my SYP (and the entire stage 3) are documented.

Not/writing about Not/guiding a reader: clarity, reveal and conceal in the dissertation (>Research Folder)

In as much as this text approaches contact in different voices and positions, it also does so with varying levels of distance: some voices lean close, others intent on an arm’s length distance between one and another. Clarity is thus negotiated in a series of reveals and conceals, sometimes it is upfront and present, sometimes it skirts around the edges or hides in tangled matter (as excess or abundance)

(Introduction, Research dissertation)

I add towards the final edits this short note to the introduction of the dissertation. It concludes a long series of discussions between tutors and myself around clarity, reveal/conceal, excess and that notion of writing auto/fiction.

My research tutor carefully noted where I did not guide the reader and in Res 5 she writes:

R: There are also still some moments where you drop works or large theories into the text with very little framing which can cause a feeling of being lost in the text (this might be intentional? but equally you can consider how much you want to then frame that expectation for the reader?)

Some more footnoting or a more traditional glossary would help with this, as we discussed in the last tutorial

However, I also recognise this is an ongoing consideration for you in terms of the writing as practice and the idea of contact, distance and how sometimes you are holding your reader at arms length. Again the more you can make decisions about transparency and opacity in the style of the writing and make this deliberate with signposting the better. 

You outline the idea of voices clearly in your introduction and the typography of the text in some sections which is really helpful, and so you might want to do the same with the idea of clarity or what is revealed and what obscured?

Perhaps this connects to our discussion last time about managing excess, and the difficulties of cramming all the rich research you have done in the word count?- You do acknowledge this in the dissertation, but you might want to acknowledge the moments when this will impact the reader?

G: I seem to have been wholly resistant to that traditional glossary. Maybe it’s the fixing that happens through it, the solidity, that puts me off. Let me try for some key terms and add to the dissertation appendix. I mean: it’s not that difficult to excerpt from the blog post two sentences as to nomadism, right. 

As I said in my first email response to this feedback: I really like how you returned my investigation of care and maintenance to my readership. I think it’s my social scientist who is a little impatient with slow or ignorant readers and I need to have a conversation with her as to how serious she is in carrying this forward to her artistic writing practice. 

I think our conversation in the BoW5 tutorial that it is not a matter of handholding but perhaps merely naming the opacity, the distance (in a footnote, or in a glossary, now this is turning interesting for me), could be sufficient. And: importantly: that that investigation of clarity of approach will only benefit me for how to proceed beyond this.

(Research 5 report, written by tutor, with my commentary marked in document)

This blog post intends to expand on the relational construction of clarity, opacity in the written aspects of my work and also serve going forward to SYP.

Having begun in seriousness to work with personal family matter at the end of AOP meant to explore how to place into public private matter and how to make such private matter strange, performative while still holding and containing its frequency, resonance, content. I have experimented with different forms since (and DI&C, Drawing 2 and now, much less charged and more at ease, have done so also for L3). In all this, the original charge, impetus, motivation is contained and woven into the material, sometimes tightly, sometimes loosely.

For L3, and even more so once I moved towards the edge of the village, this has become much easier and discovering Laura Marks’ negotiation of the visual and the haptic has provided a tool, a methodology that allows for it to be considered artistic practice of serious subject matter.

The forms in which I seek contact are varied: directness, in your face, elliptical omission, shifting text and work along, inventing names, dates and locations while reporting truthfully on all else. In fact, so much of my observations are in fact literal to a fault: even the taste is the one I remembered, and yet a series of turning, shifting, removing and reordering turns pointed observation into matter than can be held and considered otherwise.

The other means in which I negotiate reveal/conceal is excess — in its positive connotations its richness, suppleness, abundance; yet easily it is also simply: too much. In all this muchness the important stuff can be included, can mingle and move while not sticking out all that much. The L3 work (PaR, written) sought and found forms to relate this back to site, audience and artist, and does so through a variety of surfaces, containers and means (glossaries, appendices, font type alignments, a simple visual surface which presents links and layers should one seek these, etc).

In this, care of the matter, the source, the relationships contained therein are a first priority; care for the readership or audience a second thought and one that I sometimes brush aside, even though the intent to make visible, negotiable, public is sincere and thus an audience, a public required nonetheless. Possibly the biggest learning for all of L3 so far has been how to become adept, confident and careful in modulating these relationships and forms. This is work in progress, this blog post situates the Research dissertation as such form and provides a base towards the engagement of SYP and an artistic practice beyond it.

Die Luke (hatch):: zine/process idea

I started three interactive/performative processes during BoW 3:

  • Kaleidoscope
  • wild herbarium (autumn 2019 edition); and
  • Die Luke (hatch)

This post concerns the latter and presents a draft idea for a self-print zine, folding instruction (1 page A4, double-sided) and an invitation to a little hide and seek investigation, and potential follow-up.

The idea is to make a single, two-sided zine for participants to print out and fold and to investigate their familiar surroundings to find some locations, to record some associations and to invite to show/share with me.

It follows ideas around un/familiar in day-to-day spaces and ideas of escapes or stepping into elsewhere (though one of the images currently doesn’t offer an escape, but literally, warmth).

The zine construction is as follows:


The images I want to use are either drawn/photographs (and possibly overlaid on previously photocopied templates):


The instruction would be simple:

Find Die Luke and elsewhere

Record associations, observations

Do you want to share them? show me?

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/.


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.

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: