Reflection and overview of body of work for this module

This, the final, and thus first post to encounter on this blog includes two sections from the overall course document: firstly, a course reflection; secondly, a set of instructions of how to approach this work (both in analogue and physical form)

Reflection on the overall module

This module concludes with the parallel project: parallel praxis and a final editing of the critical review essay on interdisciplinarity and ambiguity in Joan Jonas’s work. These conclusions come with a tight schedule for submission and yet seem fitting, complete. Organising the material – digital and analogue – for assessment allows me to reflect and engage with the materials of the last 14 months.

The parallel project indeed relates back and looks back to the module itself, it reorganises the materials and lets them become something else still. The video is not just a narration, an instruction; I begun to include the key clips – visual, and also found sound recordings – in the work to author it and let it unfold. In this sense, it draws on a number of senses and sensations, and indeed revolves around an exploration of a body (mine) as drawing tool, investigating the reaches of what constitutes an extended field of drawing. It speaks out of the screen to ask the viewer to engage directly with some other materials. With this, it resonates with both Joan Jonas’s and Katrina Palmers’s work: they engage, performatively, and in doing so make visible and audible that engagement between artist and audience, viewer, reader, interlocutor. Will it work? Does it fail? What happens instead? In this parallel project, there is a literal voice – mine – and in its clarity it also helps to articulate all those other voices that are involved in my art-making, an art-making  that is visual, textual, increasingly dares to be performative; it takes in things I learned before: critical social theory; dialectics; a body/dreamwork coaching and counselling training; a dissatisfaction with academic publishing; a keenness on finding those other spaces and places that are never entirely utopian but offer a hunch, a first step from here to there.

In this process, Drawing 2 deepens my engagement with a movement between digital and analogue (continuing from DI&C): the submission reflects this. It also continues with questions over what constitutes site, audience, work > explored in different ways and always with an exploration of this movement digital/analogue (initially: gap, agency, control (generative systems, drawing machines); then: what constitutes drawing; the kind of tools: office tools;)

One of the key challenges for presenting this work for assessment was a difficulty of presenting work across digital/analogue; notably the former: as much is worked out in FB albums; relatively late I decide to make two of these available (one as sketchbook file in the g-drive; one as a set of 4×6 photographic prints) but a moving image format isn’t easily transferred, and remains wanting. Keeping with office tools and formats as throughout the module is productive here; devising folders in digital and analogue formats to provide access can be improved further but is functional

The best work arguably, at this point is the parallel project itself, how it links and makes accessible the material across. So, really to open up ways towards the production in series and experimentation that leads to resolution in the assignment pieces. They also exist as photographs and written text. And the assignment submissions (all of them, possibly A2, Photocopier Manual and A3, Green, are the ones that can most easily be developed further, sited within a bigger body of work)

  • They are resolved in their own right; even the brief A4;
  • They formulate around an emerging body of work to which the parallel project speaks more clearly and the CR
  • How can these be developed further: installation/development as speculation emerging from A3 onwards

The assignment pieces are not reworked but reflected upon > in mid-July I decide that an early assessment event is possible and begin to focus towards that and to draw out what learning, themes and approaches are in this last L2 module to be moved into L3. This is a new way of working (DI&C had a number of entirely redone assignment submissions) and I find it productive and generative.

Voice/ themes/ practice

  • the humour and how I instigate processes that allow me to arrive at resolved pieces
  • the relationship to conceptual and intellectual concerns (institutional critique, production of space)
  • working across a range of media/approaches and finding ways to integrate them with each other and use that integration in innovative ways (photography, writing, performance, drawing).

What remains?

  • there is a continuous theme running throughout which concerns questions over copy, reproduction, repetition and difference, and, as it becomes clear in the later part of the module, this concerns both the surface, the background of the actual artwork as well as that it stretches beyond and outwards from it: what kind of space do we perceive, live, practice?
  • a further articulation of what these pieces say to each other and beyond (here, the as video and as folder submission goes some way towards this but also opens out further still towards a potentially much larger exploration around space, performance, the sensorial, interdisciplinarity and institutional critique

 

Overview of this body of work

The materials for this module are submitted as digital and analogue and the presentation form invites you to view these as integrated forms, as this presents a key investigatory process for how I approached Drawing 2 and thus also contains a number of responses to the course aims and outcomes.

Please unwrap the physical materials submitted – these contain 2 individual assignment pieces (2: A Photocopier Manual and 5: m(e)use | use me) and a series of numbered A4 and A3 folders that contain the core of the analogue sketchbook work; it also includes photographic prints from one digital sketchbook printed and presented in a zip folder).

Furthermore, assignment 1: the gap is presented as a single photographic print in A3 and also contained in a titled A3 folder; a folder about assignment 4: the Hornet Tree contains some of the physical objects that are in the main presented for an online space.

Once all the materials are unwrapped, please begin with the Parallel Project itself: the blog post at https://investigatingdrawinggh.wordpress.com/2018/09/30/parallel-praxis-the-parallel-project/ will lead you to a video file. This is your starting point.

The video will ask you at various points to pause and turn to some of the physical objects: m(e)use | use me, Assignment 5), related submitted folders; it also includes a version of assignment 3: Green (did I work hard enough), directs to related folders and onto the blog post for assignment 4: the Hornet Tree and the respective folders again.

The video below documents (in summary) the materials contained in the folders submitted physically:

Once the video concludes, please have a look at the two digital files presented along the video for the Parallel Project.

Like the Parallel Project, the Critical Review is the most recent piece, and as such speaks to a large part of the preceding pieces. You may decide to read this straight after the video or at any other point.

From there on, do look at the other assignment pieces and the blog in more detail, the major online sketchbook in transferred form on the g-drive ([untitled album]), and the Instagram account linked to from the blog for other digital sketching.

The physical folders are numerous. I have labelled them in either Priority or Supplementary, please feel free to omit the latter ones if there is not enough time.

 

 

 

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feed forward, assessment results and Level 3 blog

This post concludes this blog. The module was assessed in the November 2018 assessment event. Here is the summary and feed forward from the assessors:

Visual Arts Level 2 Summative Assessment Mark (%) 80

Overall Comments and Feed Forward

The video, whilst apparently aimed at guiding us, was at its best when it also functioned as an artwork in its own right, using strategies of both institutional critique and curating.

This is an accomplished, layered and thoughtful body of work showing a sustained line of interest that interrogates the nature of drawing in a highly creative way.

The interplay of your two practices was intelligently and creatively conceived and was used to create work with a powerful interplay between systems and reproduction and the human or per formative turn. The notion of control and rebellion seems key and could be reflected on further in terms of audience engagement or agency.

At level 3 you will have the opportunity to present your work in a gallery or other public setting and this will give you a chance to further refine your strategies for presentation to an audience.

I was confident the course material was good, even though it skirted some of the riskier edges of drawing practice. Yet, finishing two assignment pieces as well as the review and the parallel project within eight weeks meant I was working far outside my comfort zone. I was encouraged to see what results such intensity yielded (m(e)use|use me and parallel praxis were effectively conceived and completed within three days each) but was uncertain what penalty would come over technique and quality of outcome for these. So, with this, and in any case: the result is excellent (I think only my drawing 1 course had a higher mark; the photography modules 3 or 4 points lower).

The feed forward is really useful in terms of audience: that lies at the heart of quite a few of the projects, and provides a useful focus along with the encouragement that the hybrid practice that I have been experimenting with is workable and can be developed further.

My level 3 (Creative Arts) blog is at https://close-open.net and the first assignment for both Research and Body of Work involves some considerable reflection of the previous two modules.

Critical Review Essay

Screen Shot 2018-09-17 at 15.00.22
Video still from Joan Jonas Draw without Looking (2013)

Discuss the intersections of drawing, performance and video in the work of Joan Jonas with specific reference to Drawing without Looking (2013)

Making one performance from Joan Jonas’s extensive artistic practice the subject for this critical review arises from an interest that I still don’t find easy to articulate. Let me try, though: it possibly articulates first as question: ‘But is it drawing?’ I laugh at the question, and still I pose it. I keep posing it and keep seeking its answer(s). Is writing drawing? Is an instruction drawing? A performance? I realise that these questions are not new and find the relevant body of work (e.g., Sawdon & Marshall 2012, 2015; Garner 2008). I first turn towards  an in-between: the ambiguity that resides in the practice and object of drawing, and Derek Horton’s (2015, 1) refusal to answer my question above as guiding line for my own enquiry which eventually leads me to Jonas’s artistic practice:

to investigate the opportunities that arise if we are ambivalent to the answers to such a question, subvert any answers that might be given, or challenge the question itself.

Horton continues to chart the field for such ambivalence and ambiguity: the ubiquity of drawing, the relationship it maps out first between a working practice and a finished object, but later then too between something private (the working out) and something public (the finished drawing), and to arrive at the importance of ambiguity in exploring the ‘interpretative relationship between people and things or ideas (or representations of them)’ (ibid).

Joan Jonas (b 1936, New York) has explored such questions through performance, video and drawing spanning her artistic career from the early 1960s to date. The question of who and what and how and for whom; of artist/ performer, of artwork and process and of audience have been utilised by her with great attentiveness to chosen forms and intersections.

I chose one of her recent pieces, Draw without Looking (2013) (DwL), which at its centre poses the question of transmission, transition and translation. It is devised as a performance for camera and live streaming, i.e. it only exists in a digital, transmitted form. In it, Jonas, of course, draws, talks, writes, monitors, videos and screens, and above all: performs. An analysis of the performance (which is accessible freely and easily in its intended form: a YouTube clip, albeit no longer live) serves to explore Jonas’ notion of interdisciplinarity, transmission and the role of ambiguity in production, transmission and reception for her work.

The essay is structured as follows: I firstly introduce DwL before turning to the negotiations of different forms and practices in Jonas’s work. For this, I attend to three themes: fragments and transitions, spatial constructions and digital live transmission. The final part relates this at once back to the opening remarks around ambiguity and traces the relevance to my own work in the context of Drawing 2 and beyond.

Read the full review here: Critical Review Final 300918

reflection on parallel project and critical review

This post constitutes the final post concerning the durational course work of the parallel project and the critical review. They are completed last and discussed in tutorial 6.

 

Let’s reflect then:

Parallel project

— the material is presented here.

This changed, looking back from now, remarkably little. Yet: in the final weeks of the course it seemed to acquire an intensity that I didn’t quite foresee: the readings and practical work I have done around both ambiguity and interdisciplinarity seemed to offer a broadening and deepening of what the themes and approaches were that I took to this module. And while I know well how projects conclude, it nonetheless comes as surprise. It also allowed, notably through the review of the material that I submit for assessment (digitally and analogue) for a rather extensive survey of the past 16 months.

I am thrilled to see continuing and deepening lines across the module: from the early drawings and explorations around the filing cabinet — a void, a gap, but what on earth is this about?; the questions over what is performative in trying to photocopy some paper on an institutional printer; to the work I did at my parents’ place, The Hornet Tree, an insistence on particular materials and the dialogue with my father over ambiguity and divergence; and the box of m(e)use | use me that contains and spills out, sensorially in a number of ways, with crumpled paper from 12 months of small interventions in the corridor space and beyond.

So: while wondering whether any of this was drawing, I pushed at some boundaries, attended to them carefully, inquisitive, in text, spoken word, movement, gesture, with lenses, tracing paper, pens and some ink too.

The g-drive folder as outcome was the first to arrive and it seems fitting too for the kind of work that I have done: concise, to the point, as big as it needs to be — and I enjoyed the discussion we had in the final tutorial about this not being a lack of ambition but an interest in ambiguity but also whether significance lies in small, ordinary materials and gestures.

After assignment 3, Green, we talked about moving image material becoming more significant, how 5 could be an artist book in moving image form, how the parallel project could be moving image, and that my Critical Review would settle on Joan Jonas’s practice. Towards the module end (faster than I had planned), I lost a little sight of that video idea and so am grateful for Doug raising it again, notably through: my voice, the way how I would speak through the concerns of the Hornet Tree, how I would articulate and start a tutorial with ‘You know, I observed this, and then this, and then this and then that happened…’

So, here, then the parallel project indeed relates back and looks back to the module itself, it reorganises the materials and lets them become something else still. The video is not just a narration, an instruction; I begun to include the key clips – visual, and also found sound recordings – in the work to author it and let it unfold. In this sense, it draws on a number of sense and sensations. That it speaks out of the screen to ask the viewer to engage directly with some other materials is a good move, will it work? I appreciate how we attended to that in our discussions, and like how Doug observed that, without feedback, we don’t know if the silence and dark screen at the end of Hornet Tree is too long, and the viewer thus misses the key resolution — but: I wanted to try and test it, and so I went and did it. Same here.

In all this, I seem at one of the most exciting points in this rather extended degree course:  there is a literal voice, and in its clarity it also helps to articulate all those other voices that are involved in my art-making, an art-making that is visual, textual, increasingly dares to be performative; it takes in things I learned before: critical social theory; dialectics; a body/dreamwork coaching and counselling training; a dissatisfaction with academic publishing; a keenness on finding those other spaces and places that are never entirely utopian but offer a hunch, a first step from here to there. Onwards, right.

 

The Critical Review

— the material is presented here.

This is more straightforward: it is concise, a mere 2000 words, which I stretch just a little past an additional 10%. I made it simpler and simpler, the structure bears little resemblance to what I wanted to do. And yet: in the final phase of writing it became more complex again and I am pleased to see that it offers to condense a series of thoughts around transition/fragment; around spatial projections and constructions and around intermediality that will help me move further with my own work.

It is good also not have struggled to much with voice in this, some is a fairly informal narration that when it is important changes register to argue its case. It isn’t a difficult writing style for me and I feel in this format lies a way to move back into an academic register (albeit a different field to my original social science one) without having to lose some of the forms and modalities that I value from writing more associatively, fiction (albeit theory-heavy), if not to call it poetic.

Doug suggested in the last tutorial to add Katrina Palmer’s work to this review. In turn, I reframed the conclusions into resonances with my own work (which seems more fitting in any case), and yet: Palmer isn’t easily integrated. I sense I would need to re-structure much of the original focus to allow one other single work to surface so late on. So, in that sense, she remains for a different time and instead features in the reflections in the blog.

I really like what Jonas does – also the mythical stuff she does, even though I barely talked about it. I am thrilled that I chose to look at her work and a focus on the technical aspects around projection and transition were really well suited to unpack in detail what is going on in her work and why I think it works so well and what in it resonates and can work with my own work too.

parallel praxis (the parallel project)

This post presents the final outcome of my parallel project during Drawing 2.

The project ran indeed parallel throughout almost the entire module and lead to a series of enquiries and projects that ran concurrently, fed into different exercises and then too the assignments. It is concerned with my own body as drawing tool. Early explorations involved the photocopier performances or conversations which led to A photocopier Manual; the lens/ink/diffuser project is part of it too.

My presentation for assessment takes the parallel project as starting point for unpacking the course submission. It does so with a set of instructions (as indeed an early interest involved the extent to which instructions constitute drawing also).

I present the parallel project in visual and audio form: it concerns and makes use of my voice to guide and direct. Sometimes that voice also distracts, adds tangents, (like any good narration does). It is not a ‘making of’ instead, I was intent to produce another piece of work, not just one that works as a reflection or commentary (all the while, my writing does do that as a common form also). In this sense it is a movement (back and forth, yet: not back again) through the institutional corridor, its stairs, its exits and the spaces beyond yet linked, if only through our – first mine, then your – movement between them.

Parallel praxis, the work’s title, takes place in an extended site: an institutional corridor, a green below from it, another green away from it, as well as the garden of my parents, and your workspace, desk or similar. Parallel it is in a number of ways: it steals time, attention from assumed purposes and practices (of academic work); seeking openings and diversions – spatially, visually, practically. It is also parallel as durational form: running over the course of twelve months, the final assignment m(e)use | use me evidences both site and time span and rhythm. Thirdly, it explores – by means also of the Critical Review of Joan Jonas’ interdisciplinary practice (notably: Draw without Looking 2013), a late but significant find of Katrina Palmer’s voice/site/text and extended sculptural work End Matter (2015) and Sawdon & Marshall eds (2015) Drawing Ambiguity – the limits, boundaries and transgressions of what a contemporary drawing practice may contain: an instruction, a writing, a photocopier, crumpled paper, my feet, my voicebox, my breath, your hands.

In this, the body as drawing tool makes use of the sensorial, touch, movement, the scent of printing inks may also still linger. It does so across analogue and digital, or rather: networked forms (here, the early work, the Gap, was important to draw attention to that act of transferring, opening up, trying to bridge, maybe not quite succeeding, and yet being engaged in that process – a process that arguably lies at the heart of much interdisciplinary practice.

The final outcome is presented in two forms:

Firstly, a video Parallel Praxis, which is available through the vimeo player below.

Secondly, a single folder on the g-drive, entitled Parallel Project, it contains two jpg files, IMG_5050.jpg and IMG_5202.jpg – both files are photo collages, taken by iphone 7Plus and printed on my Canon inkjet printer (in a number of iterations). They contain cutouts and overlays, in a number of iterations.

img_5075img_5202

These are the two file submitted separately, in order to anchor digital forms in the analogue and vice versa.

A separate blog post contains some final reflections on this project.

response/ revision to the gap (assignment 1)

I write this post towards the end of the module, after having posted the materials for assessment. The submission for A1, the gap is still a photographic print of the installation installed above my bed.

In autumn last year there was a plan to install a new set of filing cabinets as prints from my inkjet printer in the place of the actual filing cabinets; moving them to the other side of the room. With varying intensity I pursued this plan over the ensuing months. It stalled as I still felt I had to record the actual gap in more systematic ways: once I would move the cabinets, it would cease to exist. And still, something made me hesitate to proceed. And so the months passed, we went on strike, we went on fieldtrips, it ceased to be important, I left the corridor for this work. Now almost a year has passed and I still haven’t installed it.

I realise before the summer that something else facilitates this non-actioning of the plan: it is the resonance that not only one of my crit group friends identified in the photograph but my tutor also: the shape of the gap as photographic print becomes a vulva, becomes suggestive of female genitals in the way it curls and slopes around an imaginary absent hole. While I kind of sensed that there was an erotic charge in the photograph, I took it to be the red surface of the bed covers.

In the tutorial, Doug suggested that I should consider if this connotation has a place and if so, give it that place; and if it doesn’t maybe I should reposition the piece, remove it, so as not to add more confusion to the piece.

I conceded back then, and still do, that it does have a place. I like that connotation and like how it hovers around the idea of body as drawing tool; of place, of agency, of the kind of relational concepts at play between two filing cabinets. At the same time, it also meant that re-installing it was not going to be easy. I realise during the summer break that between myself and office inhabitant the installation is fine and would be fine, with a range of connotations. But it is not fine as a public office off a corridor and next and opposite to a number of colleagues. The idea to make the installation public was foreclosed with this. It still hasn’t opened, it may still do; but possibly only once I reposition that charge.

When I discuss the connotation with people who have seen the actual installation above my bed they are surprised (as I was): the environmental context, the wider and open edge of the piece do not focus in on the shape of female genitalia. It remains unfinished, in a sense. And in a sense it also foreshadows in this way the questions over site, audience and what constitutes the actual work that have been so productive for this course.

tutor report and feedback #6: parallel project/critical review and assessment

This here is the report from the final tutorial: Gesa Helms feedback_part_6_DB . It was focussed, happened a mere five days after tutorial five and principally concerned a reflection on the whole module and the final stages of the parallel project submission.

I copy below the points from the discussion about the parallel project, which meant that rather than just submitting a g-drive folder with two jpgs, I would return to the idea of making a video, a video akin Katrina’s Palmer video as interview with the artist and the overall End Matter site, and in this video direct the viewer to the body of work that constitutes the parallel project:

Parallel Project

  • We mostly discussed the Parallel Project and how to use it as a guiding thread through the whole body of work. I appreciate Doug’s point that while the submission of two JPGs in g-drive folder is fine (as well as that it resonates with some other assignments in their ‘smallness’, or rather: conciseness, tightness), it would be good to give more of a sense of the development of the project and how it indeed has been parallel, woven into the whole body of work and accompanying it throughout;
  • We return back to the idea for this project to be a video as body of work (as we discussed following assignment 3) and Doug comments that, just as I was explaining my rationale for the 2 JPGs, he felt it was important to bring that voice into this, by literally, again, using my own spoken voice. This was then the subject of the majority of our discussion;
  • We used the discussion to unpick some of the contributions that my body of work in this module can actually make to an understanding of what constitutes drawing practice: to talk out of the screen, to instruct and direct the viewer to engage with different parts of the material; in that sense, my body becomes the drawing tool literally by using my vocal chords, my breath, my muscle tension to direct and produce the work itself;
  • Doing so, it would also mean the work crosses the threshold between digital and analogue;
  • The audio would effectively be based on an instructive script, provide a choreography around the body of work and make connections too to Palmer and Jonas;
  • There were a number of further points we discussed to clarify different elements of what the video work could contain, how it could be structured and the relationship it can construct between author/subject/viewer.

 

I am also, more as a way of reminder to myself, include the final points for development — I realise tonight as I am rereading these that I had overlooked the point about contemporary theory relevant to this work:

Pointers for assessment (tutor)

  • Consider our discussion on a video work for your parallel project that instructs the viewer towards the workyou have made.
  • Maintain a view on the contemporary theory behind our discussion on your PP. For example, research intoperformance and the internet, the corporeal, digital interaction etc.
  • I made a point about possibly adding Katrina Palmer into your critical essay that you may be able to weave in as part of your ongoing research.
  • Do get back to me this week if there’s anything regarding your submission you’re not sure about.

 

I will add a final reflection post on the Parallel Project (and this tutorial).