[untitled album] Facebook sketchbook: excerpt

[ this is the third post in a series of posts pulling together the role and sites of my sketchbooks for this module. The previous posts are here:

Experiments and Sketchbooks for this module

sketchbooks for this module: process and circulation]

My main sketchbook for this module consists of a facebook album, [untitled album], which contains 300+ posts since the start of the module. The posts are often image-based, with stills, and over the course of the module also around 50+ video clips. They experiment with juxtaposition of images, text/images, they are performative in front of the lens, with the image edge, but also in terms of the writing and the juxtaposition of text/image. A small number of the posts are referencing other people’s texts, a few exhibitions; a small number of posts also are reflective in the sense that I condense previous work, reconsider where it can go next. Publishing it to a small-ish audience (around 60 people) has been useful as a way for me testing relationships within the material itself, but also positions around audience, around voice/position.

For assessment, this material will be presented as a PDF to the assessors. As the material also contains sometimes extensive discussion with others, I will not move it out of the Facebook container.

Below however a few screenshots of the material (as the easiest way to move it into the wordpress environment) — they are in chronological order and from the early part of the module (around Assignment 1, the gap):

Screen Shot 2018-09-02 at 13.01.19Screen Shot 2018-09-02 at 13.01.33Screen Shot 2018-09-02 at 13.01.50Screen Shot 2018-09-02 at 13.02.07Screen Shot 2018-09-02 at 13.02.22Screen Shot 2018-09-02 at 13.02.34Screen Shot 2018-09-02 at 13.02.42Screen Shot 2018-09-02 at 13.02.51Screen Shot 2018-09-02 at 13.03.03Screen Shot 2018-09-02 at 13.03.48Screen Shot 2018-09-02 at 13.03.55Screen Shot 2018-09-02 at 13.04.09

Tutor report for assignment 3: Green

Here is the report for the third assignment, Green. I have already written down a reflection straight after the tutorial in this post:

Gesa Helms feedback_part_3_GH_DB2

— I asked a series of questions for clarification and so the report required a couple of iterations in the document, which I quite like.

As a reminder for myself, I am copying the items that relate to what comes next below:

Context

We discussed the following, please have a look and analyse in your learning log as part of your critical voice.

Pointers for the next assignment (tutor)

  • I suggested that you maintain your momentum and approach to subject from this part three into part four, exploring notions of glitches, temporality, installation, intervention, video, audio and interdisciplinarity.
  • Consider the successes of your video sketches as a growing part of your visual vocabulary.
  • Think about the relation your drawings/video have to a sensorial experience of the world, and how the viewer will be affected by this.

 

Strengths Areas for development
Excellent continuing development of cross-disciplinary application of drawing and photography in the use of audio/video Consider how you might develop your video work, integrating aspects from your creative inventions.
Interesting experimental mark-making in relation to the context of the green environment. Utilise the successful aspects of your process of drawing, consider enlarging or creating temporal drawing in the environment as part of interdisciplinary work.
In-depth contextual research and analysis. Continue to develop your thinking here, incorporating analysis of artists working in video and aspects of drawing ambiguity that are relevant.

Reflection on assignment 3: Green tutorial

[the written tutor report is still being finalised, I will add a link to it asap]

When I submitted the assignment I wrote a note that it felt riskier than previous ones: the brevity and medium gave me that sense.

The tutorial was immensely useful and helpful in unpacking that sense but also spending some time to examine what is contained in the work, where it may be heading, what are tricky parts and what deserves further investigation.

A point we kept returning to was a sense of playfulness and inventiveness – initially, that the methodology that I have begun to devise for myself in the investigation of the institutional space allowed for both and also facilitated a way to investigate difficult aspects (by having tools to fall back on); and later though, the advice or cautious commentary was that I should give my tests more space, more room to breathe, that they  (such as the post 1/7) warranted more space, attention to allow for more play and invention. This was an interesting loop, and I didn’t find it easy initially. It took a couple of iterations until I felt I was able to unpack what was substantively, as subject matter, in the project (the limitations of the corridor, questions over hardworking, conduct and whether I have a place there) that was at once also limiting and restricting play and invention, hemming the project in, making parts of it feel claustrophobic. — If anything, I generally feel that I play and invent rather well in my work, so it was so curious to hear this as advice, but then of course it made perfect sense as to what was the nature of the work that I investigated.

— I also figured out how the ‘stumbling upon’ the video snippet and deciding to work with this present a subversion of play, a trickster figure to go one step further with remove, to present a sideways move, and it’s fitting.

We spent considerable time unpicking and tracing the series of moving image material that I presented and that was great: it was really useful to hear back what was present in the work; the biggest insight possibly around the Ken Burns effect of wip: green (moving image and sound); I completely had not realised that this anticipated the pendulum movement in the final submission (just as an effect, a cliche); that the use of the audio also undid the  cliche of the effect was also good to discuss.

I had the sense that the moving image material is significant (as medium but also a physical movement) and it was good to explore potential avenues where this can go: that the assignment piece works as a piece but also can be taken further: as part of a bigger installation, as part of a longer video (after all: while there is a release, an ease, it is also a loop, what happens if I let the loop become unstuck?). — That this may become the Parallel Project, but also that the artist book of Part 5 can be a moving image work is intriguing, and despite the learning that I will need to do (so much time at the computer again), it feels really fitting as to where to go with this material.

The tests and experiments that I did not conduct on other green will become the starting point for Part 4, Environmental interventions, and should provide a fairly smooth base, transition, as I have been attending to a fair part of that course part already.

We discussed timelines for assessment, Doug raised the November one as possibility, having checked timelines and work commitments, I think a completion in November is more feasible — I do want to heed his advice of running with the momentum that I currently have built up (I know I sometimes hunker down too much with projects), so possibly completing 4 and 5 before October would be good. And I am getting excited about Level 3 moving into reach.

 

Changes to assignment submission:

The only change that I currently can see myself making is to rename it from swivel green to Green (Am I working hard enough)

 

reflection on assessment criteria for assignment 3

Here the reflection on the assessment criteria for Assignment 3 / Green.

Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills
Materials, techniques, observational skills, visual awareness, design and compositional skills

On the basis of the last tutorial and the discussion over direction and pursuit of projects to explore work processes and materials, I felt confident to set up enquiries, but more so than before to record them and to become a bit more systematic in recording, and asking questions as to where to go next.

One of the key interest was to observe points of change/ development: a new template, a new mark and how these can be harnessed further; for this part, more so than before, I worked also with written text (both as reading and as writing): these were both arts-based as well as geographical/architectural. On the basis of the last tutorial I attended to the difference between purely generative/ self-confined systems and post-humanism compared to identifying a bit more about my own work process, which is generative but relies quite heavily on phenomenological signals and sensations to pursue and re-orientate. These figure with more confidence than before.

I attended too to the questions over what is a process-oriented work process, what is a material and finished outcome (so, while none in here is done to be first and foremost beautiful, it nonetheless functions in compositional terms).

The discussion of medium-specificity of lens-based and drawing was useful and also meant I was investigating more closely as how lens-based (here, almost exclusively iphone 7Plus in still and moving image) informs and pushes on and repositions the drawn mark (both on support but also as an extended performance).

I used a range of materials, supports as well as approaches. The final outcome, a short video produced in iMovie features many of these as both object but also as process: drawn marks on my skin, on the tracing paper as well as slowing down and cutting, reversing of the 2s long clip.

Quality of Outcome
Content, application of knowledge, presentation of work in a coherent manner, with discernment. Conceptualisation of thoughts, communication of ideas.

The work is presented simply, on Vimeo. The title, Swivel Green, may be too whimsical – I am tempted to call it ‘Did I work hard enough for this?’ to reference the institutional context of the Corridor in which this work originates, the question over work identities and a distancing from these, but also to reference some anxiety of production process of this video, which after, while sitting at the end of a long and multi-sited process of investigation, was recorded accidentally and ‘found’ on my phone after the session. Saying this, I am however also confident that it presents a good and fitting outcome for the part on Materiality and Gesture: it includes key elements of the brief: rhythm, gesture, movement, repetition (both of the hand, the body that authors the camera, the post-production, but also what is visually recorded, what is in view); it also includes audio: the natural recording during the clip as well as a screech, glitch, which became part of the horizon sequence.

Demonstration of Creativity
Imagination, experimentation, invention, Development of a personal voice.

This feels riskier still compared with the previous two submissions: part of this is explained in the previous paragraph, but also that I seem to move further away still from my initial understanding of Drawing. And still, I feel this is clearly a drawing for the reasons I outline above. The process by which I arrive at this submission is extensive, and rigorous, it employs three (possibly four, if I include performance) media forms: drawing, lens-based still and moving image work as well as writing. That I include written material, not in the final submission but at a key development stage (Corridor: to reach, to orientate), which works as a creative piece of writing that also speaks towards an academic literature is a key achievement in my mind: it helps to inform the piece of work conceptually but actually also doesn’t overload it. The exploration is process-driven and strongly phenomenological: I attend to the sights, sounds, sensations of the sites, explore these in marks (on paper, in camera, in sound, in written, as movement), and let them propel me and the work onwards — I did so across three sites: the original institutional corridor, from which I felt a conflict at work ejected me; downstairs to the institutional green (a rigorously maintained lawn), later to a semi-naturalised grass meadow (other green). In this, I also felt that I discovered and pursued a form of institutional critique in the form of a drawing process: it explores questions of discipline, bounding, excess, flatness, verticality, distance and departure in a process that is directive but also iterative (testing and trying out again). In the final form, which I did not anticipate but clearly allowed to emerge, these questions are contained but in a different medium yet again (a moving image clip that is not staged). — The process still feels rather fresh, so I may be overexcited and overconfident on the value of this outcome but at this moment I feel it presents a conclusion which I possibly could not have arrived at with a more contrived/pursued process.

In this, this work repositions the initial proposal around a Critical Review on Generative Systems towards something more performative, agentic — all the while giving chance quite a prominent place in this submission. It also takes forward the questions over the body as drawing tool for the parallel project.

Context
Reflection, research (evidenced in learning logs). Critical thinking (evidenced in critical review).

I have been working at finding a workflow around note-taking, discussing material and recording it for some time, and for this part I feel I have found a way to publish the directly relevant posts in a way that was useful and practical. So, by the time I was writing the assignment post, the references were already there and accessible. The process now consists of Papers3 as reference manager, Evernote as my main notetaking app, I discuss and try out most things on FB, and then the wordpress blog itself. Instagram works as digital sketchbook, longer videos are uploaded to vimeo.

The context for this is also written work – original essays by artists such as Hito Steyerl, some art criticism by people like Lucy Lippard and more standard academic texts such as Stephen Graham’s work on Verticality, Friedhelm Kittler’s Gramophone et al. While I haven’t written it up, Tacita Dean’s (2011) Film was really useful, so was John Gerrard’s Western Flag (2017) and Erica Scourti and Monica Espinosa’s sound installations (2018).

swivel green — Assignment submission 3 (materiality and gesture)

The instruction for this third assignment is to construct a drawing based on a complex piece of music. — This completes a series of projects that investigate distance and proximity to mark-making (drawing blind, at a distance, employing drawing machines and a set of instructive, emotional markers to test the opposite to these distanced approaches).

I had asked during the last tutorial if I could use any sound as basis for the assignment, intending to utilise the various investigations into the corridor space and its sounds as source material.

I proceeded with these investigations — which made me find myself away and outside of the institutional Corridor space, first with a Green lawn at the groundfloor outside the corridor, later further still at an Other Green.

I also proceeded with a series of self-initiated projects with probed questions of agency/control, performativity (and the role of my physical body, self in this) as well as continued the enquiry into the utilitarian office tools as drawing materials.

These enquiries took place in the form of (performative) drawing projects, sound recordings, in-camera video clips (and more complex short edited clips), and writing. — The underlying theme in all these concern distance, proximity and agency in the context of institutional critique.

I decided to pursue two themes of the instruction further

  • rhythm and gesture

Other Green as site offered plenty (wind, movement, shadow); these opened too into an investigation of the key characteristics of the three different sites which I explored further and supplemented with academic reading (and subsequent writing).

I also pursued the question over sound further: in a series of recordings within the corridor, which led to questions over whose sounds (my walking, my breathing, capturing other people’s speech but also capturing silence).

Working with direct recorded sound but also then adding audio to other visual material (still and/or moving) was one key way to proceed.

The other way was to visually explore further the role of the tracing paper, what it captures and my role as the agent of that capture.

These combined to a series of site specific drawing performance and lens-based explorations of these. During these, I capture plenty of material, on a bright day I didn’t keep track of what I recorded nor the settings; so later on I found ‘blind recordings’: ios live photos (short animated ‘stills’) as well as a series of additional accidental short videos.

The submission here is the outcome of one of the latter; a short 2s clip that forms the basis for a then post-produced short video clip (slowing down, reversing, slicing different  parts to form a continuation, plus an audio glitch).

The statement [preliminary] for this piece of work is as follows:

Somewhere between Hito Steyerl’s In free fall and Stephen Graham’s Vertical, this is Other Green. You arrive at it by taking either turret down from the Corridor, observe the shadows on Green in all their imposing flatness, then leave.
It glitches across the horizon line, employs not just my hand but also my legs (both, for varied purposes), a notebook, a tracing paper and a series of questions.
It is a drawing. It completes my current project.

The contextual development for this piece is discussed in the following posts:

  • John Gerrard’s Western Flag (Spindletop, Texas) (2017), here in this post
  • D Horton’s (2015) Introduction to Drawing Ambiguity, see notes here
  • Hito Steyerl (2011) In free fall: experiments in vertical perspective >> instable horizon line and verticality; e-flux publication here
  • Stephen Graham (2016) Vertical: The city from satellites to bunkers Verso, some notes here (also mentioning Tacita Dean’s (2011) Film)
  • Kittler’s Gramophone etc >> the notion of forming, disciplining and normalising as to what we understand as ‘sound’, as ‘writing’; a short first post here
  • Erica Scourti and Monica Espinosa’s sound installations at We are having a little Flirt
  • Erica DeFreitass’s Mourning Gestures as to the space between objects/spaces (the role of distance)

The key preparatory works for this piece are explored in these posts:

Moving image experiments”

The two different greens and various (still) methodologies to explore them:

Myself as drawing tool:

Institutional critique/ agency/ proximity and Distance:

Reflections on the assessment criteria are here