SYP as practice as research

Where and when is the site, audience and work/ as early question (SYP 1):

In fact, it was phrased like this in July 2021:

Challenge of writing around the idea of SYP as exhibition. 

This is a functional project plan: how does my practice fit within that and where does it really push at the boundaries. 

For this plan, Rachel observes that the concern over audience is really the most interesting area to focus on it: Who is the audience and in what form does the work engage whom, how and where? The instructions and how to push the form between you and the audience; when do you want to be open and revealing; when quite closed and secretive. 

If this work is relational, it is concerned with various relationship forms: actants, matters; public, private, reveal and conceal. The concern of the engagement plan is the how and why, and it can be bristly. 

At the provocative end, Rachel suggests that I could argue that the material is in fact the audience, seeing the new materialist and post-humanist aspects of the work. 

(tutor report, SYP 1, July 2021)

And the active research process (also from SYP 1) concerns:

R: To raise a question: for you and others who work with site is the big question: where is the work? What is the work? And a lot of people will only ever see the documentation. There are the audio pieces too but they are of the site, don’t necessarily need to be experienced in site. 

Where is the site, where is the work, where is the audience? Is the engagement with you, the site the work and the question of how it works in proximity to the site. (27:00) 

These don’t fall all into each other: site, work, I, audience. 

It isn’t about near space but contextual distance; these aren’t the same but the distance is being negotiated within the work. 

The concept of a toolbox is helpful: I can pick it up; so perhaps a mobile: what constellation does it all have, how does it move. Some of the distance is structural but some is moved by wind. 

Also: role of time being slow and fast and what that does for proximity. 

(tutor report, SYP 1, July 2021)

These were the active questions; the engagement strands addressed these and so did the investigation around archiving and participation. 

Arguably too, the creation of new work processes (and the review of the bridging projects, Making Hay and Fir Hide,) investigated these also.

The site and any engagement is productive.

Once I establish a container (like Stromverteilen, as site, as practice or as method), I can infinitely explore it in numerous connections, the work, the site will be activated in these (possibly more or less successful). The work and the site then also become mobile: processes like a/folder (see a current reflection on this strand here), but even a social media practice of posting circulate the site and the work to different audiences, they fragment, reconstitute, remake and echo (some of these can be controlled but much also becomes involuntary, uncontrolled, perhaps even invisible, latent).

I centred all three engagement strands on these. And they yielded insight. 

Utilising the a/folders in a series of group settings was particularly insightful: they circulated in different ways ahead and prompted in one case a four-week group process of distributed engagement with them; one was tested in crit group and committed group setting (with a lot of criticism to start with), and then there were two that formed a key activity in the see (through) making workshops. In these, like in the first, extended process, the engagement was also very visible, in the case of the workshops even recorded with altered camera angles. And these were great. Excellent in fact. In particular the #12 a Kaleidoscope was almost magical at the making stage but then also when testing. The camera set ups provided fabulous views; and hearing also of how people tested the device and what they observed added another layer yet.

The see (through) series had two somewhat different modalities; the making workshops were possibly (besides the social media advertising) the most uncertain parts of my engagement : of testing art-making instruction when I know that I was particularly interested in the process rather than the object, wanting to foreground the group aspect in this. I was nervous how this would function in zoom and with my art that at the start of the a/folders received a fair bit criticism for being too intellectual and too abstract. 

I have written a longer reflection on access/engagement, notably in relation to the 2 making workshops is this separate post here).

The participation (in) archiving conversation followed a simple format: 3 short introductory presentations from the three speakers, a little response from each to each and then an opening of the conversation to all present. The presentations were concise and insightful, they were open too as to present our current engagement with and thinking about these matters. The conversation that followed from them was generous, engaged, exploratory and genuinely interested in dialogue and intellectual engagement. I remember coming away thinking that I didn’t have to make myself dumb. It yielded a number of new questions and concerns around archiving and participation while at the same time opening an existing conversation between the three of us out to a larger group and made our concerns and our engagement visible also. 

This all poses a series of reflections on the larger project plan for SYP but of course also for the next steps once this module has ended. Please see the respective posts for these.

Access/engagement in see (through): practice conversations

I have started to deposit and reflect on the series of three events and all their attendant conversations and encounters, and I know these reflections won’t conclude by 4 April, the date of my final SYP submission.

I tend to audio note first, then listen, then draw out my thoughts in writing; sometimes the writing is in a sketchbook, sometimes typing is more useful (sometimes in evernote, more rarely, like now directly as blog post).

There is plenty in terms of insight around how these events were set up as practice encounters, how the activities (and a/folders) worked and how the digital space became agentic in the sessions.

What occupied me a lot in planning was who they were for (a bit similar to the a/folders too)? — were they for fellow artists? fellow students? my friends and colleagues who are interested in methodology, though not necessary in artistic practice? where they for people wanting to learn art? for other interested publics? — that really places the question over audience, engagement, and ultimately the relational aspects of my artistic practice back at the centre.

I assessed that in all likelihood the making events were for artists/art students/researchers, at a push those with a substantive interests in site-based work, mobility studies or perhaps also leaning towards the relational questions raised; but if they were concerned about creative activity, the hurdle of a practical workshop was going to be significant.

Nonetheless, I chose to set them up with minimal artistic requirement: curiosity, a couple of simple tools were stated as needed, doing so I hoped to make them accessible to non-artistic researchers; the process-focus to encourage output-focused art students to decentre towards a research perspective.

The activities were practice-led enquiries investigating movement and distance and relating these back to the research, with 15-20 minutes inputs to my own work; two extended making activities and if time allowed a small group activity to explore site/work in these activities and people’s own practice.

I didn’t expect the camera experiments to work so well and to create such an interesting video channel (and that people were so open to experiment with these). I also was surprised as to the insights the simple activities created about moving-with and contextual distance; notably the kaleidoscope activity was generative and insightful in a way that expanded on my own research investigations as part of the degree work.

There were two access issues:

  1. My joining instructions for the first session, moving-with ended up in many people’s spam folder; the eventbrite page had been disabled but pretended to know how to join (only that it didn’t); so a workshop with 18 places booked had six, then four people trying unsuccessfully to join and I started to pick up a series of confused, then irritated messages on three DM platforms and per email. Two joined later, four gave up. Holding this access barrier while running the workshop, where two of eight hadn’t received the joining and preparation info was demanding.
    I picked this issue up afterwards: a comprehensive email and a different set up for the following workshops.
  2. One of the participants (who attended all three sessions) in the first workshop seemed to struggle with not having found the preparatory email, the instructions, the way to work with the camera, and possibly in general the idea of practice-as-research, there were a lot of questions and what I picked up a lot of being bored in that grid position
    I have enough of a facilitation practice to know these difficult roles are generally group roles, someone slips into them, I facilitate to afford them leaving this role. It didn’t quite work though (and it now returned to me in the feedback; as well as a curious wanting to pick my brains for a facilitator for a session which was pretty much my topic, only to tell me that several weren’t after all interested).
    The feedback then was: boring, not novel, tiring. And it curiously got to me (as much as I know the above as structural set up).

From the testing in my crit group and the OCAEU group I know how the work I make activates an edge, is easily perceived as difficult, uncomfortable, not accessible: it often articulates as distance: too abstract, too removed, the site isn’t in reach, the instruction opaque. That for the first session the platform conspires and locks half my eager participants out is quite something, and quite true to the first experiments with the a/folder series.

There is something about trust and commitment in the work. And how it gets criticised accordingly. I will take this to further reflection and further development.

I am incredibly grateful to have explored a creative facilitation practice that isn’t art instruction or output focussed but instead offers my own methods for appropriation and exploration (and also: abandonment and critique). I find the first access issue (spam-foldered instruction and eventbrite circuit of nowhere) quite easily addressed, the follow-up for that was successful, and several attended the later meetings or watched the videos. The latter is trickier and speaks also to the very specific OCA student cohort and expectations within that (and my own impatience with it).

In the greater scheme of feedback, this is one negative in currently five feedback form responses and more than that unprompted follow-ups post-event by email or DM. Yet: if I want to make space and hold it for divergence, I should attend to how to better hold these critical, difficult roles in making workshops (which I can hold very well in academic settings), where my own position seems more exposed than in my usual facilitation practice.

Thanks so much for this evening, Gesa!  Great to hear you speak of your work, and also John and Susan.  I’m thinking about drawings I made of my heartbeat, which I stored in a box (archive?) with new eyes.  Lots of things to think about!  I only picked up your mail below on Tuesday morning, but hope you had fun on Monday evening?  I love drawing machines and blind touch drawings (some of these have become an important part of my practice) so such a shame to have missed it.

Thank you very much for organising the workshop. It has been eye-opening for me on many levels but mainly it made me  question why I do things the way I do them and how to pay more attention going forward.
I couldn’t attend the first sessions but I did the exercises mentioned in the first session after I viewed the video. I’ve tried to upload my images to the Padlet in case that would be helpful for you.
May I please ask you if you could forward me the link to the second session recording? I would be interested to listen to the conversation between Susan and John.
Thank you very much.
Wishing you success with the assessment!

Hi gesa. Was lovely to see you! I really enjoyed the workshop.looking forwards to Wednesday. X

Here is the PDF from the feedback form responses (updated 5 April 2022, 7 responses):

Submission SYP 2: Resolving your work

This constitutes the submission of assignment 2 for SYP: Resolving your work.

Four elements (and related links) form this submission

1/ revised and new work;

2/ reflection on 1/ in light of presentation concerns

3/ a synopsis of my presentation plans

4/ revised project plan.

I wrote 1/ and 2/ a little ago: essentially concluding that little is to be revised as body of work and that in fact the objects created/revised form part of the engagement itself (for the purpose of this submission these are also called presentation, but I understand engagement to be more than presentation form.

1/ and 2/ are in this post: https://close-open.net/2021/11/18/syp-2-resolving-the-body-of-work/

3/ I argue that the two pinhole photographic prints constitute new work, made for circulation/engagement (while resulting out of the final stages of the Research dissertation enquiry): https://close-open.net/2021/11/28/for-cover-contact-and-gaze-pinhole-images-for-sale/

These then fold forward to the substantial addition of new objects, engagement objects, that are tentatively called A/ folder or An Instructive Glossary to: a growing series of zines in PDF print at home download format as presented in #3 Detach and #4 Open in this post: https://close-open.net/2021/11/28/a-folder-or-perhaps-an-instructive-glossary-to/. I am in the process of testing these in a series of small group settings to explore the viability of them being responsive and generative as a process.

There are a series of research processes at play around engagement, archiving and distance, with distance likely informing both of these others. I have written a little on aspects of contextual distance here: https://close-open.net/2021/10/15/contextual-distance-in-the-padlet-portfolio/ and here: https://close-open.net/2021/11/18/archiving-site-1/, and it is also raised in relation to the audience considerations for the above zine process.

I am also proposing for presentation aka engagement a series of workshop/discussion events: I would like these to be practice as research, making workshops and/or panel discussions and dialogue. There exist a few first considerations as to focus:

The idea is that these workshops run over a 3-4 weeks in February/March 2022 as digital events.

The presentation/engagement in digital form is being explored: perhaps, given the discussions around contextual distance, see blog link above re to archiving, the padlet is a suitable mediator for the work; I am however also testing Adobe Portfolio (perhaps too Creatives for my purpose, or other unlimited single page site — I intend to turn to this over the next assignments, and perhaps it sits as project on my artist website).

For the on site/ adjacent to it engagement, I am exploring e.g. a maildrop of a similar single page zine as for the A/folder PDFs along my ‘commuting route’, i.e. 15 houses, or similar.

4/ I have updated the project plan accordingly, along with the timeline here:

Stromverteilen: a drawing/contact practice as research portfolio

In the process of designating material for assessment, this portfolio for the Research module needs to go here (again). I will have posted it (likely, possibly) earlier when I used it to explore the links between BoW and Research; I also find an earlier padlet to take an earlier role, a body of work: a core, https://oca.padlet.org/gesa492645/rthyyn7qr5iz1zak), and the later Ariadne thread to point onwards into SYP (https://oca.padlet.org/gesa492645/p8217c8jsc8rx4h8).

This padlet served as digital meadow, forest/village edge to situate, explore and reach out to and beyond the various works that were emerging around the site of Stromverteilen. I also then organised towards the resolution of the For Cover BoW while this padlet held onto the numerous enquiries and abandoned (or lost) sites that preceded the village/forest edge.

I am adding pointers forward as well as any missing works that I understand Research objects into this form and link here (and on menu sideline) as key post for understanding the reach/resonance of my practice as research.

Made with Padlet

What I understand as walking (notes)

Springgay/Truman (2018) Walking Methodologies in chapter on inclusion are good with movement:

what they mean, what is conscious, directed; what is intuitive: absolute and relative>> this relates also to participation (and the problem of inclusion); which in itself is precisely why my stuff isn’t Bourriard.
<< it relates to Manning’s minor gesture; but perhaps Harney/Moten on hapticality are better suited?
<< there is a naivety in new materialism: the vitalism is exactly the problem that the Critical Materialism identifies as vulgar materialism.
So:
— Springgay/Truman propose: land + geos, affect, transmateriality and movement as new developments of focus in walking methodology/research.
Movement then supersedes Lefebvre’s rhythmanalysis
Nomadic ethics of Braidotti are clearly strongly informed by Deleuze… I think that frame and background is good and resonates with how I work in processwork so this may be a good way to link that working practice (which in turn informed my artistic work, also in the line) to academic material. (see blog here: https://close-open.net/2021/04/28/nomadic-thought-and-transversalism-research-folder/)

But: then, what I have done is use this to transverse, move across spacetime and site/location: analogue/digital; fiction/non-fiction; gossip/sincere argument.
>> there is something in this that then takes the movement further (and arguably considers nomadic theory or hybridity as the constitution across << I mean, in some ways it challenges the notion of virtual space being virtual, non-haptic, non-moving
There is clearly something in the contemplation, stillness of Green that I try to garner, make use of (and in some way it proposes a counter-move to walking art).

Re violence, there are a number of issues that take argument with the flaneur and what he can do… that is a relatively simple route to follow.
Am I doing something else beyond that though?

<< the secrecy, reveal, moving stories and accounts along.

Much of my work in Drawing 2 explored this (see this link for movement in that module’s blog: https://investigatingdrawinggh.wordpress.com/?s=movement), the talk in Prespes (July 2019) and the subsequent publication articulated this in writing (see MS here: https://close-open.net/2019/10/26/moving-with-a-line-gossip-secrets-a-messenger-app/).

Immersiveness and my work (current status)

There are a couple of themes that continue right throughout my work (certainly from DI&C onwards across Level 2 and 3); immersiveness is one of them: the sensorial, an expanded field of drawing, the stepping into work that I make and the relationship it seeks between work and viewer/reader/participant around closeness and distance.

For the production of the BoW this was significant at a number of turns, e.g. when trying to devise what constituted drawing/contact, what the role of lint and the quotidian was, the sites and the reach/resonance of these and how to resolve the BoW.

In the Research (as practice) it was engaged with methodologically: moving-with explored the bodily registers of immersion (or lack thereof); of making mobile artists, viewer and work; the glossary circled around tools, obstacles and sites to explore the relational entanglements at the centre of the work; the Herz/Stein concept explored tactility, bind and release in material close-up.

For SYP I am trying to explore the exhibition checklist as PaR enquiry to get a better handle on (or perhaps a position to the side of) distance as key tool for how this practice moves onwards.

I am collating here the various posts that trace the engagement with immersiveness as concept up to now (at the point of submission for assessment of BoW and Res, and at Part 2 of SYP).

In chronological order the key posts so far are:

Practice as Research (PaR) (> research folder)

>> key methodology. 

[these are excerpt notes, not all page numbers are given nor is it clearly indicated what is paraphrased and what a citation; this is resolved in the dissertation, this is for further reference posted here only]

Estelle Barrett & Barbara Bolt eds 2006.Practice as Research: approaches to creative arts enquiry.

Barrett, Introduction

Situated knowledge: the subjective and the personal in creative arts research (p.4f)
Paul Carter (2004): Material thinking; to understand subjective and relational dimensions of artistic process: decontextualisation from a universal in the artistic process in order to bring to bear ‘instances of particular experience’. ‘In staging itself as an artwork, the particularity of experience is then returned to the universal’.
Bolt 2004: develops this further towards ‘materialising practices’ to understand ‘the dynamics of the circulation of artistic products… which implies an ongoing performative engagement and productivity both at moments of production and consumption.

>> a relationship is constituted between process and text (and not between image and text), ‘of which the first iteration is necessarily the researcher’s own self-reflexive mapping of the emergent work as enquiry.’

In this, studio practice and own critical commentary in writing enter a dialogical relationship of creative arts exegesis, this in turn creates further development.
Relationship to practice-based learning: ‘A general feature of practice-based research projects is that personal interest and experience, rather than objective “disinterestedness” motivates the research process’.

>> crucially: new learning, not anticipated; emerging methodologies. (6)
Interdisciplinarity (7): Carter 2004 makes the argument that the relationality of the artistic process constitutes interdisciplinarity.

Chapters 1 (Carter): ethics of invention.— not so keen after all… seems confused.

Chapter 2 (Bolt): studio practice and meta-reflective work of exegesis.

I can request her PhD, bookmarked in Safari, if I need it?

Chapter 3 (Perry): creative writing as research; autobiography and fiction: a shift from the tangible object (novel) to the intangible benefits of studio enquiry.

<< this seems really relevant. 

It is an excellent expose of tracing narrative construction and biographical links; of filling one with the other and the blurring of reality and fictional spaces and what that as practice allows for.Writing as searching and contemplating of difficult (to understand) things.The exploration of the journal as creative work itself (rather than a means to other work)

>> this is highly relevant too.

I marked a few pages.

Chapter 5 (Iggulden): space within illuminated scripts revealing existing codes in medieval writing practices.

There is something in this process of copying, repeating, adding mistakes that is important (and the general focus on text is actually, if not in subject matter than in intent — probably even the transcendental focus) quite close to my own; There is something too in the projects she sets up and how she uses cursive and repetitive writing that is relevant.

There is a bigger strand about silence and obliteration of women’s experiences in there that is fairly generationally specific but nonetheless relevant too in the framing of ‘matters of no consequence’

Chapter 8 (Goddard): excess of reflection and core aspect of studio-based enquiry.

Lorne Story video postcard
He finds quite late a family postcard from the 1930s that functions formally like the video postcard that he has been making for his PhD116: ‘As a writerly practice, the exegesis can be as creative, fictive, and as full of playful conjecture as the other creative practice (or practices) it seeks to elucidate.’

> this is precisely how the parallel project for D2 functioned!

<< use the methodology for Res to help you articulate your methodology across writing/production (this stuff is what all the people in Glasgow are doing, it is not new to you. What is however new is that this is academic part of it, the one that ‘legitimises’ it.)

epistolary format: the Dark Object is one; are parts of mine such too? Are the FB posts epistolary?

<< my FB practice is this kind of stuff. it really is. do I want to pull this further into the process?

There is more on 117 about what is epistolary and how it functions

Overlapping fields: autobiographical writing and subjective video practice.

How to perform the reflective process of exegesis as part of the research itself.video: direct monitor to see what is being recorded (unlike film): one camera records while the other was replaying: key meta-narrative in Lorne Story.

He describes the story and how it nestles one layer into another (over time/memory)

> ‘Ultimately, a correspondence occurs between the practice and the exegesis, as a series of interactive dialogues’. (118)

His exegesis was a supporting document, trying to negate the assumption of explanation (119)

A letter or postcard are accessible to a range of different audiences (they are leaky, blurry in that sense), erasure, defacement and destruction in process of delivery (transmission isn’t guaranteed).

(check for quote when using, this is close to original)

> this applies to most things but it’s a good elucidation of how transmission, exchange works and I think while I worked with this before I, and it is active here too. Use it.‘What makes visual, performative, and media arts-based research so distinctive are the ways in which they conduct their enquiries beyond the sphere of written discourse.’ (120)
I don’t seem to find any actual text of the thesis, nor the video. Here is a text:http://www.doubledialogues.com/article/stop-telling-me-stories-she-said/

Chapter 9 (Stewart) Mapping and other research practices as informing artistic research; bricolage as notion.

Chapter 10 (Barrett) work is not the product but the process of enquiry and evaluation (Foucault and Haraway)

Chapter 12 (Barrett) Exegesis as meme.<< this is well before digital memes. quite interesting.
there is a definition on role of exegesis for Australian Res as practice qualifications… is this useful to consider? what does it add? or perhaps overcomplicate?https://ecu.au.libguides.com/research-methodologies-creative-arts-humanities/exegesis