Category Archives: Research and Reflection

Response to Tutor Formative Feedback on Assignment 6 progress: February 2019

 I reflected on progress here   and discussed with my tutor in our feedback session in February. Below is the relevant extract from the combined formative feedback report:

Assignment 6

Helen is very happy with progress so far. She said that she was more interested in the wood, is drawn to ones without people and is less interested in the sporting activities on the Memorial Field. The straight-on view of the bench in No.3004 (26.12.18) is very good. She also suggested I keep photographing the split tree and the tree in 2579 (3.11.18). the basketball court (2571) could be a possibility without the foreground. She was also drawn to the ‘memorial’ tree (26.12.18).

 Advice is to keep photographing all the benches because, during the year, everything changes around the benches. Also keep photographing the memorial tree and other structures (try to keep the same standpoint) and to be aware of subtle changes. I can build a visual vocabulary through devising a shooting script and schedule regular intervals – say two shots every season. This won’t be difficult because I go there nearly every day. The challenge is to be disciplined.

Overall, my tutor thought this was a great location to keep shooting and “At this stage I’d be again looking for patterns across these images, what ae you drawn to regularly, what is strong visually – are there any motifs recurring and how can these show “transition”. Her suggestion was to keep things simple, use visual devices to enhance metaphor, seek out compositional clarity, line, perspective.  Also to try to keep frames free of too much clutter – either in form, colour or content, or to have a very clear rationale behind overly cluttered frames, e.g. what does that convey.

In the early stages of editing for Assignment 2 I had analysed the frequency in which I had photographed the same kind of scenes (including this as a PDF in my editing process blog post)  and this had been very useful.  Assignment 6 looks like being quite heavyweight in terms of number of images so a similar editing strategy would work very well.

I know that I’m drawn towards different types of interventions in the landscape – what I’ve come to term “interrupted landscape”.    There’s the official landscaping; the Borough’s 5-year plan, removal of dangerous branches; installation of signposts and footpaths; removal of plant species ‘not indigenous’ to the habitat.  There are also the less official interventions, the marks of human presence often bordering on performance art. As well as the carving of initials on trees; branch tepees come and go regularly and there’s a new artistic activity of painted pebbles which has its own Facebook page and showing that some ‘Ottershaw rocks” have travelled far and wide. The Christmas ‘memorial’ tree was the first installation of its type and I’ll be interested to see if more appear    I am also interested in the difference between the Memorial Fields themselves – the mown grass; different kinds of leisure according to season and the different clothes people wear – and Ether Wood where the changes of season are more subtle whilst changes made as a result of the 5 year plan have been quite marked. – e.g. the clearing out of rhodedendron bushes and holly and building of some paths with grit composite material.

I know my tutor said she is less interested in the people but they are interesting to me, not only in terms of people enjoying being outside but in how they occupy the space; take charge of it. For them it’s there to be used as a stage for them to act upon (borrowing from Simon Robert’s approach).  Susan Trangmar’s film and book “A Play in Time” (2008) is a valuable resource as well. Excerpt below:-

<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/4726751″>Excerpt from &quot;A Play in Time&quot; by Susan Trangmar</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/user1778739″>Helen Wade</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

This kind of film is an inspiration for me and I think it could translate quite well to iPhone video if I can find the right route to it.

I’m a little concerned regarding my tutor’s advice to try to keep to the same standpoints when I’m re-photographing the benches, trees and other structures.  With such variety to choose from it’s not really possible to put markers down so I’ll have to see how that transpires.

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Response to Tutor Feedback on Assignment 2

Response to Tutor formative feedback on Assignment 2 and the progress of my ongoing Assignment 6

 I had a comprehensive feedback Skype session with my tutor on the 21stFebruary from which, as previously, I wrote detailed notes which my tutor then ‘edited’ and added her own comments.  Report PDF attached.

CBanks_LDS_A2 Feedback

and below is the summary table of Strengths and areas for development.

 

Further thoughts

I will focus here on feedback for Assignment 2 and write a separate blog post on our discussion of ongoing work for Assignment 6.

I really appreciated and learned so much from her detailed analysis of my ‘final’ Assignment images and it was reassuring to know that seven of them were ‘strong’ as regards composition, viewpoint and colour (1, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8 and 10)

I need to have another look at 12, 13 and 14

to see if there are similar alternatives bearing in mind that my tutor said eight images would be sufficient rather than twelve.  There’s that slightly obsessive part of me that thought I should begin with an image from the beginning of the walk (1) and end with one from the end (15) however, Helen said I don’t need it.  I will write further when I have taken another look at potential replacements/additions.

I discussed the process of editing here but one of the areas for development is to evidence the creative sequencing and choices in more detail using the approach modelled by Helen in our Skype discussion. Her overall advice to keep looking for strong frames, especially with complex landscapes, and utilise different standing points can be applied to all Assignments I think.

Another of the strengths I have shown relates to contextual research, yet my tutor did remark on the fact that visual/photographic research specifically informing my work was lacking. I was taken aback by this because I did refer to several artists when discussing context (as here) . Perhaps this was because I was thinking more about the approach of the photographers than choices of viewpoints or methods, although I had written about Paul Gaffney – not only in relation to pathways but also the way in which he uses just spaces and no people – and my tutor commented on this in her feedback in relation to image No. 7 with its two paths and people emerging from both.  I had also used Simon Roberts’ strategy of photographing from above, doing this from one of the bridges over the canal, although I didn’t specifically link this.  I’ve taken on board that I do need to be more specific in linking my own work with that of well-known photographers; even to the extent of occasions when I have chosen not to use a similar approach.

Further posts to come regarding  feedback on progress with Assignment 6 and also initial discussion on Assignment 3.

 

Reflection on Assignment 2

 

 Overall, this part of the Module has been a good experience for me and realising how much the projects and exercises feed into the Assignments has mitigated my weariness sometimes at the time it takes to record them. This period during Part Two has been a busy time for me as I’ve also attended Exhibitions, spent a weekend at the Brighton Photo Festival and been involved in the organisation of the OCA Thames Valley Group Exhibition at the Lightbox Gallery and Museum in Woking.

I’ve also been experimenting with cyanotypes and anthotypes and recently went to a half-day session on hand-weaving where I began to create a representation of the canal.  All this is waiting to be written about.

So far as Assignment Two is concerned this is now complete and my self-assessment is below.

 Technical and visual skills

I think I did reasonably well with the challenge of dynamic range on a bright, Autumn day when the sun is low in the sky. The editing process itself was quite lengthy, mainly because I had a lot of photographs to choose from, although I’m aware that some people might think I should have taken a lot more photographs.   Once I’d made the ‘final’ selection I converted to jpeg reasonably quickly but I intend to re-visit these conversions when I’ve decided how I will eventually present them for Assessment.

I’m still pondering on my exclusion of graffiti and litter on the basis that ‘there wasn’t a lot of it”. Was I unconsciously aiming to provide the best possible view of a public leisure amenity?  I’ve acknowledged that I was caught by the ripples and reflection in the water and note this is reflected in the photographs I’ve chosen.

Quality of outcome

That fits in with the above really.  It was hard to avoid taking a pleasing image on that particular day. ’Change of use’ is something that came into mind early in Part Two during the first exercise and the canal as it is now certainly fits that. My final question in writing about the final selection was whether the canal has been too sanitised.  The word simulacrum comes to mind – a prettified version of something meant for hard work, alternative transport and to make a profit.  If I’d thought about that earlier I might have done an entirely different kind of project – layering old photographs of working boats on the canal over the present day for example.

Comments on my first idea for the Assignment – the video of journey by bus and train –  lead me to think that, maybe, I should have used some video for my eventual choice of using the canal. The problem there is that the towpath is narrow so, apart from being obvious I would also be an obstacle if I stood in one place for too long. One thing I forgot to mention was that apart people walking their dogs it was obvious that most were either using it for exercise or to get to one place from another. In this sense that moves away from the leisure aspect to the towpath having a functional practical use.  I did photograph people, but that was mainly from a distance, either appearing from or into it.  Also, I found it difficult to contemplate the idea of standing on the narrow towpath and shoving a camera in someone’s face, especially when they were going about their business as opposed to ambling along. Then again, when I go on the boat ride when the season starts I could video from there.

Different weather, less-used stretches and a different time of year could also have produced a different outcome and certainly the canal would be a good subject for Assignment 6.

Demonstration of creativity

I aimed to approach the project with an open mind, which meant taking the photographs before I read up on the historical context.  Having written that; I was probably fooling myself somewhat because I have previously studied social and economic history.  That was a long time ago now but I’m aware how much I’ve absorbed this into my way of thinking and articles I read.  I think that undercurrent has always been there in my photography work, but I was aware I was using this more consciously in this Assignment in acknowledging and challenging my views on local government – of which I’m usually quite critical amongst friends, relatives and neighbours but not in print.

Context

I was sparing in respect of the historical context,  but providing a PDF of my notes which could be accessed separately seemed a good way of demonstrating my knowledge of the history. Regarding artistic influences – I haven’t cited that many but those I have were influential in my thinking and approach.  I am constantly viewing the work of others and, at times, my head feels swamped with images, so I’m learning to go with what comes into my head as I’m thinking of a project whilst attempting to ensure that this isn’t just the last artist I looked at!

Researching Mark Titchner’s work brought my personal context more into focus for me. Firstly, I acknowledged to myself that my experience of living somewhere influences how I think about myself and, secondly, this highlighted my continually growing awareness of myself as an observer.  I am a participant-observer in my environment; partly through nature and also through having moved homes reasonably often.  I know I’ve referred to this before and I think it’s probably going to become more apparent as I voyage through this Module

 

 

 

Daniel Blaufuks : Terezin (2010)

During our feedback session for Assignment One, my tutor suggested I look at the work of this photographer, in particular his project Terezin (2010)

Daniel Blaufuks was born in Lisbon, 1963, in a family of Jewish German refugees.  He uses photography and video and his work is presented through books, installations, films and facsimiled diaries and letters. His first documentary, Under Strange Skies (2002) chronicles the Jewish immigration, which included his own grandparents, through Lisbon during the Second World War and his film Slightly Smaller than Indiana (2006) is an essay on landscape and collective memory in Portugal. His project Terezin incorporates a book and video/film about Theresienstadt a World War II ghetto and transit camp in Northwestern Czechoslovakia.

Theresienstadt, in Northwestern Czechoslovakia, was established as a garrison town in the late C18th Century.  Between March 1939 and the end of summer 1941 the occupying German forces used the town as a military base. As they planned the first deportations of German, Austrian and Czech Jews to locations in the East in October 1941, The German SS and police decided to convert the garrison into a ghetto and transit camp.  The first Jews arrived there on 24thNovember 1941. To begin with it was those aged over 65 years and German and Austrian Jewish World War I veterans who met the criteria of either severe disablement due to war wounds or veterans awarded the Iron Cross 1stClass and above. Later on, a third category of the ‘eligible’ list was added – prominent Jews, especially artists, musicians and other cultural figures whose disappearance might lead to inquiry from their communities or from abroad.

Although the ghetto was run by the SS in practice it was presented as a model Jewish settlement for propaganda purposes. Educational and cultural activities were abundant despite congestion, hunger and forced labour.     When reports about the death camps began to emerge at the end of 1943, the Nazis decided to present the ghetto to an investigative commission of the International Red cross.  More deportations to Auschwitz were carried out to reduce the overcrowding in the ghetto and fake stores, coffee house, bank, school and kindergarten etc were opened with flower gardens planted throughout. Meetings between IRC and prisoners were ‘meticulously planned’ beforehand.

After the visit the Nazis produced a propaganda film and when filming finished most of the actors in the film, including almost all of the independent leadership and most of the children in the ghetto were sent to the gas chambers of Auschwitz.  The film has been used by Holocaust deniers to make false generalizations about the treatment of Jews by the Nazi regime.  More than 155,000 Jews passed through Theresienstadt until it was liberated on 8thMay 1945. 35,440 Jews died there and 88,000 were deported to be murdered. See here

The book

The book incorporates text, found photographs, facsimile diaries, photographs of objects; stills from the propaganda film, and stills from the film Blaufuks created in response to the propaganda film. the pages are not numbered. A DVD of his film is also included in a pocket at the back of the book.

At the beginning of the book Blaufuks recalls that the first image he saw of the camp was in Austerlitza book by the German author W.G. Sebald – towards the end, looking almost like a photocopy and portraying a space that seems to be an empty office.

There is no clue as to where the space is located and, according to the clock on the wall, it is exactly six o’clock.  He goes on to describe the small cabinets layered on an entire wall and how the whole room seems to be waiting for the occupant to return. His descriptions are very precise delineating exactly what we can see in the photographs – making them clear in our mind.

Blaufuks write about some diaries that came into his possession in the winter of 2001 – from the years 1926, 1927, 1928, 1929 and 1930.  Again – very precise. The diaries are written by someone called Ernst K (we aren’t provided with any more personal information about him). His written hopes, dreams, travels, photographs, scraps of papers with addresses and a lock of hair in a in ‘transparent cellophane paper. All appear. The diaries end in 1930 and Blaufuks wonders what happened to Ernst in subsequent years. No indication is given as to how/why these papers came into Blaufuks’s possession and who Ernst K was.  Was he indeed a real person I wonder, or is he a composite of the type of person who would be transported to Theresienstadt – the place where Blaufuks then transports me, the reader.

A description of the camp; how it came about – photographs, franking stamps, currency notes, charts. Postcards even. Stills from the staged film and then a description of his own visit to see the remains of the camp. He finds the room in the Sebald photograph.

 

The memory of this room prompted me, for some reason, to find the film fragments and to try to retrieve the images from their intended purpose, from the carefully constructed reality the film was planned to create for posterity

To slow down the continuous motion and search through the faces one by one and, once again inspired by Sebald’s writings, to see if somehow I could find Ernst K. among them.

 I needed to try to create some truth out of the falsity and out of those staged images. Was everything fake here or could we at least trust some of the expressions on these faces? Were these moments of happiness in the midst of chaos and despair or plain acting in front of a camera, just like in some of our later family home movies.

To understand how images can still lie even when we think we know the truth about them

(Blaufuks, D, 2010)

The book then continues with images from stills of the original film, interspersed with Blaufuks red-filtered images; photographs taken on his visit there (I think) empty rooms, details like a rubber apron, scraps of food.

The book itself ends with an essay by Karel Margry Theresienstadt 1944-1945: the Nazi Propaganda Film depicting the Concentration Camp as Paradise summarising the history of the Camp and describing the making of the film. At the end of the essay Margry provides, on paper, a reconstruction of the film in its final form – pieced together from available sources with scenes and sequences presented in correct order. Margry notes that, by order of the SS, the film’s music score was made up exclusively of pieces by Jewish composers.

Daniel Blaufuks’s re-presentation of the original Propaganda film

Blaufuks suffused the film extracts with a heavy red filter overlay which makes it difficult to see and also slowed-down the sound as part of his quest to find some truth in the images. The colour reminded me of old, thick blood. I couldn’t find the exact red so below is an approximate (I have experimented with layering a photograph of the crematrorium from WikiCommons but don’t think it appropriate to include it in this particular post but it can be found here)

The re-worked film opens with what seems to be an audience (perhaps watching the film) and the sound is distorted through being slowed-down. The conjunction of the heavy, dark, muted red and slowed film made me feel quite sick as it resounded in my throat and diaphragm. There is a sense of heavy doom about it. It is stamped with the words “STAGED NAZI FILM’ on the top right. 

Close-ups on people apparently reading at a table. A sequence of young women in shorts in a field, captioned “On the old fortress grounds people happily while away some of the leisure hours in the sunshine (05.33).  A lot of the scenes are of people sitting, reading, knitting, including what look like nursing staff. Large groups of children are shown. It refers to use of free time and watching football matches and a municipal bath that serves the population (1.03.49). It was the images of the municipal bath that made me shudder the most.

I read the book some time ago but have only just watched this film.  Somehow, I needed to circle around it knowing its falsity. I then re-read the book. To me this is a carefully prepared book telling a chilling story.  The precise prose is almost forensic in the mapping of how this Camp came into being; its purpose and destruction.  I could have ended with my response to Blaufuks film but, really, I needed to go back to the written words to gain some balance

Daniel Blaufuks writes a short postscript on the final page. Whilst preparing his book in Göttingen he discovered in Steidl’s library (his publisher) that the photograph in Sebald’s book was taken by the German photographer Dirk Reinartz and originally published by Steidl in the book “Deathly still:  Pictures of concentration camps” (1995),  which is still available.  Blaufuks writes, A perfect circle which started and now ends here in Göttingen.

I have another book by him Works on Memory: Selected writings and images (2012) Cardiff, Ffotogallery which I’ve read but will write about in a later post.  I feel very drawn by his mediations on memory and use of archives and artefacts to question truth and fiction and know that his work will be a useful resource later in the Module.

References

Terezin (2010) Blaufuks, D. (2010).  Göttingen,  Steidl Publishers

https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/theresienstadt-establishment

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theresienstadt_(1944_film)

https://www.lensculture.com/books/7179-deathly-still-pictures-of-concentration-camps

https://www.yadvashem.org/holocaust/about/ghettos/theresienstadt.html

 

“Over Hills and Seas”: Tim Andrews – 26th October 2018

Tim Andrews, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 2005, at the age of 54.  He was working as a solicitor at the time.

“Having PD mean that I was able to retire and being able to retire meant that I could do all the things I wanted to do but never had the time i.e. watch cricket, go to the cinema and go out and have a coffee and do the crossword. As it happened, these things were not enough as they were all solitary experiences and I missed the daily, hourly contact with other human beings. So, when my photographic project came along, off I went into to the stratosphere.” (online blogpost 25thFebruary 2016)  

His self-instigated project  began in 2007 after he responded to an advertisement in “Time Out” magazine looking for 100 people to pose naked for a new book by photographer Graeme Montgomery .  Within the next two weeks there were further requests listed from two other photographers so he responded to those as well. In 2008, he discovered that Graeme Montgomery was advertising on Gumtree and whilst searching for photography he found a lot of people, mainly students, looking for people to photograph. Thus, his project really began.  In total, from 2007 to 2016, Tim was photographed by 425 photographers and he brought his project Over the Hill to an end in 2016 wanting it “…to be complete, to put it into a box, tie it with ribbon and place it on a shelf so that, every so often I could take it down and look inside and marvel at all the great times I had with these wonderful photographers”.

Tim took the box down this year however having decided to present another exhibition of 32 photographic works from both the project and subsequently, with the theme of Landscape (including Seascape) – the purpose being to examine how these photographers changed their approach to photograph Tim.  Here’s a view of it – be aware it’s marked “Mature” :-

 

 

Tutor Jayne Taylor had organised for us to meet with Tim Andrews, after the Exhibition at the Regency Town House closed for the day, for a guided introduction.  I experienced him as a very engaging speaker, full of anecdotes about his experiences with the various photographers and obviously immersed in his project and enjoying being in front of the camera and having attention.  I’ve always enjoyed watching Gareth Malone, the English choirmaster and broadcaster giving a singing voice to people who never thought they had one but gave it a try anyway. Gareth Malone describes himself as an “animateur” and I think that term perfectly describes Tim Andrews in the way he contacted his potential photographers; directing proceedings (often collaboratively); posed in all weathers; starred in the theatre of his performance and collected and curated this Exhibition which is all about himself. His enthusiasm and energy would be impressive in even a fit, young man.

The theme of nudity does crop up quite often so I was surprised to read In an interview with Vice.com magazine (pub. 4thAugust 2016)  that the percentage of nude photographs of Tim is less than 20 percent. Maybe he chose a higher proportion for this Exhibition; I was more aware of them just because he was nude or because he spent quite a while standing talking to us in front of a photograph of himself nude, painted blue all-over and wearing a turban  – the photographer being Karen Knorr.

What did I gain from the talk and the Exhibition?

I was reminded of Isabelle Mège (who I read about in a blog post by my student colleague Sarah-Jane Field  a medical secretary in Paris who, over two decades, persuaded many renowned photographers (mostly male) to take a photograph of her with an initial request of,  “I would like to see myself from your point of view”.  Mège amassed a large collection of photographs, in a large variety of styles, not all of which could be called portraits, but they all depicted her body. In 2016 Anna Heyward of The New Yorker interviewed one of the photographers, Fouad Elkoury who had photographed Mège in 2002. He told Anna Heyward that he had agreed to Mège’s request because, “I could tell this project came from an obsessive mind, this strange project of being photographed by photographers she liked—not those she thought were famous, but those she liked.” He was taken aback when they met. “She was veryordinary, a very normal-seeming person. I had thought, based on her letter, that she might be unusual.”

The philosopher Jean-Luc Nancy wrote in an email to Anne Heyward that the key to understanding Mege’s work was that it was an act that made her an artist of some sort; one whose medium is other artists He invented new words to describe this “It’s a selfothermade ….. not an auto-portrait…. But it’s not an alloportrait either”.  Somehow this takes it beyond notions of the male/female gaze into another realm – a work created through some kind of projective identification between subject (initiator) and artist. There is a video about her on YouTube but I won’t give the link here as it contains a fair amount of nude photography.

Returning to Tim Andrews and his Exhibition – I was very impressed to see so many different versions of Tim by so many photographers, although I would need to do much more research on them all to gain a sense of how much was their own way of working anyway and how much they were responding to Tim ‘in the moment’.  My favourite photograph overall was the one of Tim wearing his grandmother’s dress (also exhibited) from 1904 – shot by photographer Clare Park. There was something very poignant about it for me with his wistful, painted face as he holds the golden dress against him.

The series that attracted me was

A section of a larger piece by Tina Rowe Sixty Minutes (2015)

Tim wrote of being ‘hooked’ by Tina’s work after seeing it in a Photomonth brochure in 2014 and so he wrote her a message asking her to photograph him, “What she didn’t know was that it wasn’t purely portraiture I was after. I wanted to be in a photograph taken by her. I liked the way her mind worked.  In particular, I liked her series ‘My Mother’s House” as I very much identified with this having made a documentary about my own mother’s house a few years ago.”

Tina writes about the session here .  She had intended to use a wide angle pinhole camera with camera flashes for a particular effect before she met him, “…but when he walked into my studio I realised that he isn’t the sort of person who should be summed up in a single shot …..I had looked at the work of other photographers in his project and there was a wealth of different interpretations of him as a human and as a canvas.  They didn’t really help because they are all so different. Just talking to him made me drop the one idea and pursue the other”.

So, there we have the two different types of personal alchemy resulting in the series created through joint authorship. The photographs were taken with a hasselblad camera and using a pack of fuji instant film.  The emulsion was then lifted from the instant film and placed on oak blocks. Reflecting on the whole process, Tim wrote in second blog post at that time “I love the fact that these are so delicate and are not digitised”.    I agree with him very much.  There’s something about those small vignettes, taken in the moment, catching him in various poses.  The wooden blocks look a bit battered now – perhaps grown into the metaphor of his life – but their oak remains stout.

 

References

Heyward, H.A. the Opposite of a Muse (2016) The New Yorker 17.9.2016 (accessed at https://www.newyorker.com/culture/culture-desk/the-opposite-of-a-muse28.11.2018)
http://timandrewsoverthehill.blogspot.com

https://timandrewsoverthehill.blogspot.com/2015/05/ten-into-sixty-tina-rowe-part-one.html
https://timandrewsoverthehill.blogspot.com/2015/09/60-minutes-by-tina-rowe-part-two.html
http://tinarowe.co.uk/portfolio/objects/60-minutes-with-tim-andrews/
https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/jmkmg7/parkinsons-over-the-hill-tim-andrews

 

Phoenix Brighton: 26th October 2018

 

Collaboration and collective working are the core aims of Brighton Photo Fringe   and, in all, they presented eight Collectives this year, selected from open submissions and showcasing new photography in all its forms.

 

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  1. An afternoon at Phoenix, Brighton. 

I arrived slightly late for the meet-up at Phoenix, Brighton, due to having got lost and driving round in circles trying to find my hotel.  This meant that my attention was scattered once I did arrive – looking around to see who I recognised and for some familiar faces whilst trying to key in to the works that were being discussed, but my attention was caught by this

Zoe Sim

Friston Forest Glitch – Exhibited in the Artefactcollection which comprised work by artists from Metro Imaging’s Mentorship Programme in addition to Metro’s own team.

Zoe uses infrared photography to oversaturate landscapes into pink worlds, believing that “…the aesthetics of pink can trigger contradictory emotions because pink is associated with many politically charged stereotypes. Zoe’s use of pink connotes a futuristic environment where technology is beginning to seep into nature, whereas I used near-infrared in Assignment 1 to signify what we are unable to see in the world with our normal vision. Furthermore, Zoe also uses asymmetric and jagged shapes to add to the surreal and ‘uncanny’ effect of her sublime. There is an interesting article here about some earlier work where she used pink in a different way to create a more dream-like world and critique female objectification by mimicking classical poses from paintings – I was reminded here of the work of June Calypso and her use of pink.

Now feeling more ‘at home” I went off to explore the other rooms.

Glen Turner

Rose (2018)

Glen Turner, a mixed-media artist, was exhibiting with the Ontic Collective  – a collective of lens-based artists working in Brighton. who aimed to present “a wider joint narrative about artistic practice post digital revolution ”

His series information states

In this series I have merged 3 elements resulting as the 4thelement.  The 2 photographic layers were made by winding back an analogue film and retaking the next layer, creating random compositions. Roses from Preston park, layered with a familiar suburban and industrial walk, with a textured traced layer from a plastic Braille map of England leaving a gold/graphite layer upon the surface, make up the total form of the images.

 David Cundy

Also exhibiting as part of the Ontic Collective.

 

 

An installation of framed prints on the wall and small images on top of variously sized ‘blocks’ arranged on a plinth. The narrative behind the presentation of these pinhole photographs concerns the execution of Lady Jane Grey in 1554 (see also)  She was beheaded on Tower Green and the ground keepers at her home are said to have marked the occasion by pollarding the oak trees on the estate in a symbolic beheading.  A chilling event and a very effective presentation.

Although this work does not appear on David Cundy’s website it does on his Instagram feed .  Whilst looking at his website I also took note of his use of image and handwritten text.

 Creative Storm

Curate with us.

A collective pod comprising two different exhibitions where two artists each brought a developed body of work and, over an afternoon, attendees discussed and contributed to the decision making in curating and installing work.

This was the outcome of one of the events.  I liked the idea of such an interactive event and a way of involving viewers in the work. I think it was the work of Tom Heatley as I recognise the roof and chimney pots.

New Grounds Collective

This collective invited viewers to, “a space where we speculate and delve into the ‘conjectural’ facts regarding the fluctuation of the natural, urban and cultural environments.

Idil Bozkurt

 

Deconstruction with Walter in Gallerio Umberto I(2018)

This is a representation of a shopping arcade in Naples, built between  1887-1891, designed by Emanuele Rocco and named for Umberto I, the then King of Italy.

It’s a one-off Installation piece – suspended transparent prints on a frame-based substrate I found it fascinating and had to keep going back to have a look at it.  Peering through the stacked translucent layers, trying to work out how it was done and admiring the 3D effect. Also for sale at £10,000 in Phoenix Brighton online shop I’ve just discovered.

I talked with fellow-student Karen Gregory about this installation and she said she’d created something like that which she has – see here

I think it’s a very effective and different way of representing depth in an urban landscape.

London Alternative Photography Collective

Their show brought together artists who ‘point’ their cameras at the sun and included alternative processes such as pinhole solargraphy, lunar photography, motor-controlled time-lapse and chemograms. It was good to see work displayed by many of the photographers I already follow on Instagram.

 

I was so busy discussing this installation with Karen and acquiring  very useful information on how to create pinhole images that I forgot to check the name of the photographer, which is really annoying. I think it’s from Pauline Woolley  Large versions of pinhole images on the wall and a display of the cans that held the photopaper. I am now collecting cans to use as containers!

MAP6 Collective

A group of nine photographers who work together to make new work about the complex relationship between people and place.

The Shetland Project

On this occasion they worked in the Shetland Islands for six days and I think the work produced is a wonderful example of the way in which collaborative projects can work – exploring the same place/location yet producing individual and distinctive interpretations of it.  It’s the kind of project I would very much like to be involved with one day.

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This was a full afternoon with so much to see and absorb and I took much away with me about the nature of collaborative work presentation/installation and alternative processes. Still a late afternoon/early evening  visit to come with a walk to The Regency Town House, Hove to see Tim Andrew’s Exhibition Over Hills and Seas, with a personal guided introduction by him.

 

 

References

https://glenturner.myportfolio.com/roses-1

https://newgroundsuk.wixsite.com/newgrounds

https://www.cundy.net/projects

https://www.instagram.com/creativestormbrighton/

https://www.instagram.com/map6collective/

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bo4OHrCl8uo/

https://www.instagram.com/photofringe/

http://www.map6.co.uk

http://www.map6.co.uk/the-shetland-project

https://www.ontic.photography

http://www.pinkthingsmag.com/photo/infrared-venus

https://www.tomheatley.co.uk/there-we-have-it#7

 

 

Performer and Participant: Tate Modern 8th October 2018

This Display space invites viewers to discover how artists working between the 1960s and the 1990s opened up new spaces for participation. At its core is individual and collective action – artist directed or as political activism – and in different forms – a proposal for action, recording an event or artwork being activated by the use of viewers’ bodies. I walked around  with fellow students Gesa and Sarah-Jane and the Exhibition below particularly interested me:-

Ana Lupas

The Solemn Process  1964 -2008 . . A long term Project that began as a traditional ritual involving communal craft work in rural Romania and ended with the ‘relics’ of the work being sealed in metal ‘tins’ as a form of presentation.

My understanding is that Lupas utilised an already existing activity – the weaving of wreaths for harvest festivals, and transformed this into a performative, artistic activity whose main purpose was the making of the structures themselves rather than for a celebrative ritual based on long tradtion. Lupas defined her role as ‘a bridge between the ancestral and the future’ in that although the original structures might gradually decay, the artwork itself would remain as the process continued and new participants were drawn in. the work continued in phases but economic and social changes in Romania eventually made it difficult for participants to continue so the straw structures became relics. Lupas tried to preserve the structures by restoring then drawing them but in the early 2000s she developed a practical technique of sealing them in metal ‘tins’ and a way of combining the natural and ‘traditional’ wreaths with modern/industrial techniques.

 

I found a link here that provides more information on this and another project which ran alongside (although beginning later).  I don’t know why but, for some reason I began to wonder about finance – was this a commission, did the local people also receive payment for their artistic efforts?

There were two other aspects of interest for me which linked with other artistic projects based in the landscape and/or natural processes.

So far as the wreaths were/are concerned their only purpose lies in being ‘art’ products – unlike sheaves of wheat which are dried then threshed to separate the grain from the stems which then become straw and used for other purposes such as animal bedding or providing an energy source. On the other hand an artistic project such as Phytology (which I wrote about here )  provides herbs for people to use; has an educational aspect; a space for other artists to create new work and enables the continuation of the site as a community garden. The use of wheat also reminded me of the artist Faye Claridge and her Fern Baby (2015) which I wrote about here   a huge corn doll created as part of Claridge’s response to some of the photographs in the  Benjamin Stone Collection, held in the Library of Birmingham, and her collaboration with young people to re-interpret customs using artefacts from the Marton Museum of Country Bygones.

This led me on to further questions around the nature of art. Why is it that I would see sheaves of wheat in a field and think, “Oh, it’s harvest time again”, yet go to a museum or art gallery and it becomes ‘Art’? Similarly, in respect of a garden. A garden produces vegetables, herbs, flowers etc and might be beautiful to look at but how often do I consider it as the ‘art’ of the gardener; yet it can become an artistic project.  I also read an interesting piece here on the opening of the Switch House in the Tate Modern  in 2016 and the opening of the New “Performer and Participant” Gallery. Bryony White comments on this work of Ana Lupas as a metaphor for the relationship between performance and the museum:

Lupas’s process seemed to ask the same questions that performance historians, curators  and artists have been asking for many years: ‘how do we preserve this’? How do we put a frame around these potentially (and not necessarily de facto) unstable objects’? How do we continue to resuscitate or give life to actions’?

The question, “Why should we and if so by what criteria” isn’t asked.