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.

imposter self and other: zine for workshop

this is the zine (now as a revised analogue/digital edition with hand-colouring) about the imposter. it acquired an imperceptible design flaw in the file and only revealed itself half-way through my introductory performance on Saturday.
today i played with pullprint to make it purposeful. i had layered and moved about the initial document as part of the construction in any case, so the extra layer is a useful commentary on my imposter’s perfectionism and how she reveals herself in public:

— the workshop/ event: Imposter self and others: desperate measures that I facilitated is this one here at Rhubaba Gallery in Edinburgh on 15 June.

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/.


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.

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