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.

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