Katrina Palmer (2015) End Matter

This a recommendation from tutorial 4, in relation to the Hornet Tree; we discuss it in tutorial 5 (and it is included in the tutor report).

Here an interview with the artist:

I really enjoy the form and presentation; I think the project is great to see as level of ambition and what is possible with my fiction/narratives, how these can be developed.

The theme of loss and adjusting for loss on Portland as quarry, hollowed out island is fascinating. I see how my own stories are very different to hers which are historical stories, almost ghost tales; I like the irreverence with which she breaks conventions and introduces contemporary concerns but also a whole range of meta-physical questions (via Hegel) to her invented site of the Loss Adjusters’ Office. That this office features a number of photocopiers, the sensuality (a constant hum, some warmth) of these as one way of coping with the task of adjusting loss, is quite ingenious and intrigues me no end; similar: her way of writing herself into these unstable stories and timelines.

Some of audio production is less interesting to me: it seems too polished with echo effects, I take issue with the actual voices; but these are smaller concerns.

That the project is available at a distance is great. I order End Matter, the small book publication and read it quickly. Again: some of the production choices are a little forced but also kind of work well for me in terms of her ambition and what she tries to achieve as a fictional, almost metaphysical narrative that is strongly conceptual and at once sensorial, sensual even.

The site which hosts the overall project and the audio files is here.

The bookworks publication page, here.

— I will return to this, no doubt

reflection on tutorial for assignment 4

I have already posted a few things, notably thoughts on how to present my sketchbook work and experiments for assessment in a series of posts (Experiments and Sketchbooks for this modulesketchbooks for this module: process and circulation[untitled album] Facebook sketchbook: excerpt) which are a reflection on the tutorial for the most recent assignment.

Following the tutorial I arrive at a point where I have a clear sense where this module has taken me and what a conclusion to it is. I am pleased to have articulated what is contained in the the Hornet Tree and discuss this both as a small, intimate piece of work which nonetheless reaches out – so to speak across the garden hedge, into the world, and speaks to contemporary concerns around diversity, divergence, ambiguity and a non-authoritarian social and political practice (ways for me to circumscribe anti-fascism). In this, Hornet Tree in its form is not dissimilar to earlier works (Der Grund, House, the line) but it seems to me that with this work I have begun to be able to articulate it in a way that does not feel so personal as some of the other works have seemed.

— this feels quite significant, big to me, and it feels also as if I am at the point that I can see the benefit of having stuck with the degree course and the numerous rounds of learning that it offered: there is a sense of an artistic practice emerging that can hold the above in balance and tension and be articulate with it.

The suggestion to explore various strands through speculation, sketches, marquettes was really useful and significant too, as I know that sometimes I falter at the prospect of not being able to enact or carry out an experiment. Allowing myself to scale down and think, write, model, illustrate through it seems feasible to not enact the block of not finding the means (time, finances, space) to enact it (this was something that at times I felt stuck with earlier suggestions about my work during the photography module).

I feel I have a good sense how the longer, parallel project relates to the main course work, assignments and while it is not quite concluded, there are two possible aims/goals and both are promising; and both will also then clarify work for Level 3.

I am excited to see the pace and intensity this course has acquired right now, in particular as the time has been personally demanding for me, so this is good to see and from this vantage point to look forward to Body of Work and Contextual Studies.

sketchbooks for this module: process and circulation

As part of the tidying up and making the material accessible, both to myself as I move to the final modules, and for assessment, I have continued to investigate the role of sketching for this module.

It takes place in a number of ways and finds itself then in a range of sites:

  • physically, immediately:
    • Moleskine sketchbooks, thin paper, they are notebooks, a slightly more square, slightly smaller than A4 format (3 of them)
    • the camera roll of my iphone 7 plus (a few thousand stills, around 150 videos)
    • I also think the experiments on templates (Corridor Breaks, Green, some around the lens/ink/diffuser project) are also effectively sketches, and I would like to make them visible/ read as such
  • these are then once mediated and reposted (often unprocessed though except for ration, in IG, and compressed heavily in both IG and FB):
    • some on the instagram account that also sits on the menu in this blog
    • abundantly in my personal FB account, the main sketchbook album ([untitled album]) has over 300 posts in 13 months
    • as posts in a private evernote account
  • it is only at this stage that the material would then on occasion be written up and become a blog post here (tagged with sketchbook)


As per my previous post, and a related enquiry on the OCA Discuss Forum, the biggest question for me is the practicality of giving access to the moving image material of my sketches (I have only about 10% accessible, mainly through the IG account, a couple of the longer one, and the processed ones are uploaded to a free Vimeo account). Here the question I posted on the forum

Hi – I am preparing my Drawing 2 module for assessment. And there are two questions that I would appreciate some thoughts on:

a. videos as sketchbook
My sketchbooks feature a considerable amount of sketches in video clip form. My current subscription for wordpress does not include the embedded video player so I have been either uploading through vimeo (mainly edited, final pieces) or Instagram to be able to link to them.
But there are a whole number of other clips that make sense as sketchbook material and I wonder how to present these… In my previous assessment (DI&C) I did not upload any material beyond the content and self-assessment to the G-Drive folder but my thought is whether to include a folder that contains a sketchbook collection of video clips?
How have others presented experimental moving image material for their course?

b. Include photographic prints for Drawing assessment?

Quite a few of my assignment pieces use still or moving image lens-based materials, as well as a number of projects which work in series off a main template. For the latter I am thinking of binding them as small booklets (Japanese stitch binding or something similar); for the former I don’t really want to mount them on an A1 sheet but think of just sending a clamshell box with a set of prints alongside (probably A3). – Is this something people do for assessment of a non-photographic module?

Many thanks!

— I received quickly a very useful response about selecting, using the G-Drive, hosting on a separate page, as well as using QR codes to link from the physical log to an online space. It was incredibly useful to see a developed practice of making the material accessible, and while our practice is somewhat different, it was really useful to read the level of integration and working across forms and sites. I think this is something that I have been trying to establish too, really since the Facebook work of the final assignment in DI&C, but been struggling to find ways to utilise (and possibly even understand) my rather intensive writing/posting process of materials which at once was a recording, but it wasn’t really reflection but a recording (through posting) of practice (performance, writing, lens-based, drawing) and a testing of publicness to this.

— In this sense, the current investigation and seeking a presentation form sits also firmly within my investigation about the link between practice/audience (public) and where and how my forms of investigation are practice. (my expression of this remains vague, I remain impatient with the words I use, but will ignore that for the moment).

>> the question that Stefan raised in response to the second item (whether to include photographic prints for a non-photo assessment) is useful, and has been part of this module from the start, where the first submission for me was the photographic print, for Doug it was the installation — and I need to respond to that still. It surfaces again in the most recent Assignment, Hornet Tree, and as to what in this is the piece of work. Both assignments have different answers, and it is good that I seem fairly clear as to what is documentation of an artwork and when is the photograph the artwork. I think it may be possible to include different forms for each >> I will consider this when I turn to the photographic stills for submission).

For this module, I am submitting the following as sketchbooks:

  • three Moleskine notebooks, rebound together
  • PDF files of the assembled Facebook albums [untitled album]; [other people’s cast offs are…]; and excerpts (as relevant) from [bat run twice] and [close/open]
  • small, bound books that assemble the projects which worked with templates [corridor breaks], [green]
  • a selection of prints that document recording process
  • a selection of prints where these prints are the artwork, and are not suitably reproduced in the PDF or Moleskine notebook
Screen Shot 2018-09-02 at 11.45.41
screenshot from Evernote presentation mode of [untitled album]

tutor report and feedback, Assignment 4.

Below is the tutor report for Hornet Tree.

The tutorial happened once I had left the site and returned home. It was incredibly useful to draw together, notably, where this piece of works sits in context to, and is wider than a single environmental intervention/ performance/ installation, but also more than a family conversation.

I am copying the notes I wrote in the research section of the report to illustrate this:

Research(Student): Context,reflective thinking, critical thinking, analysis

  • Incredibly helpful was to take a step back from the assignment piece as conversations but to consider it less of a flag (it is not straight enough, taut enough) but a white flag (empty, but also to surrender, a peace offering) and then to realise that Gerrard’s Western Flag (see A3) but also Geertz/Shalev-Geertz The Geese from Feliferhof as two pieces about military order and discipline has entered this work.
    Also: Jeremy Deller’s Battle of Orgreave and questions of artefact/ event
  • Also really good were the questions around shadow and the materiality of the tracing paper: what is happening with the screen (sensorially, with a sense of wonder) >> the discussion made me realise the connection between the screen as lens, as device which bears some similarity (or: share key characteristics) with the photocopier plate and lens (a shallow depth of field). The tracing paper becomes lens-like
  • Who is the piece for and about? The submission text raised this already, here the ability to expand, relocate/reposition and move the audience towards a different public
  • AP: to write a post to speculate further on the material aspects of the tracing paper
    • Larger scale, focus, shadow play, lens
  • AP: to write a post to site, location and audience
    • What would happen to Hornet Tree (1) in gallery- large scale projection
    • Can this be taken to the street, a park?
    • >> go one step beyond what you envisage, both in terms of technology and reflection
  • >> these concerns would fold this forward into the Parallel Project (the other plan for the Parallel Project is to bring together the different spaces that I have explored for this module, and the how; likely as a video piece); for A5 I will experiment along both of these lines to test which is more viable one for the final Project.


I will write another more reflective piece of the tutorial feedback in a few days (I need to process it a little further). The discussion was great as Doug offered me to structure the meeting around a series of questions. Which we did, and also spent a good bit of time to discuss the remaining pieces (A5, Critical Review and Parallel Project) to wrap up the module in time for everything to be at the OCA by 28 September.

There are two good lines of investigation for A5 and either can then fold towards the Parallel Project. The time is tight but the material is almost there, so it feels quite manageable.

Gesa Helms feedback_part_4_GH

assignment submission 4: hornet tree

This post assembles the recording of an in situ installation, the hornet tree, which took place in the first week of August. It is, in some way still temporary: I am not certain as to what constitutes the actual piece of work, as I described in an earlier post about the status of recording the performance/ installation and examining the status of the various types of records, here.

My sense is that the work will be presented on a web page, which collates a series of records plus statement. Unfortunately, my own website (in which I could have easily added a page in a suitable layout) crashed last weekend and I haven’t had time to rebuild it yet. So, for the time being, this post serves as my assignment submission, in order of material it contains:

  • the elements of the submission
    • a video, the hornet tree (1)
    • a typed manuscript of the audio recording for hornet tree (1)
    • the translation of the manuscript text
    • two diptychs of photographic stills
    • a second performance of the installation (hornet tree (2)) and
    • three draft versions of a suitable statement,
  • a written description of the envisaged web page layout as well as
  • some background links to contextual work and the reflection of assessment criteria.

The submission


The manuscript translates as:

apple tree (1)

Well. It doesn’t work like this at all. There is no way. If you had a frame it could possibly work. But like this, it’s all really skewed.

The paper is far too wide at the bottom, and then you leaned the poles against the tree really crookedly. The poles themselves are also completely bent. 

Well. I am really sorry but I can’t offer you anything here. Everything is really bent and crooked. And with the paper you aren’t able to achieve any kind of tension across it. Well. If you had some cloth, it could possibly work, but like this. 

Well. I really don’t know about it at all.

It doesn’t work like this. I am sorry but I can’t help you.

apple tree (2)

Ah. This is what it looks like now? That is interesting. You can see all those things in this. Well. I only see that it is all really skewed and that there is this big gap and that there is no tension at all. Oh, look: there is a hornet. Well, yes: the shadows are really diverse and now it is moving. But sure, you make art. For me it is only a skewed frame. Well, if we would tense it properly on its edges. It is like the Schrebergaertner [the obsessive, tidy, controlled German allotment owner] and the one who does organic gardening. Fascinating. Tell me again what you want to do with this. And you think the tracing paper is the right material for it.

apple tree (3)

Oh, yes, now you can see the wind.



A second video recorded an 8 minute sequence in which I interact with the screen itself. Rather than pulling out the different sequences, I am including the whole video at this moment and point towards: a. the setup; b. the swapping of sides; c. the pushing upwards of the screen; d. the closing sequence.

Three possible statements:

162 grams of opaque paper lean against two branches of an old apple tree. the tree bears some fruit. the tree is full of insect life: wasps, hover flies, hornets to harvest that early glut of small yellow apples.
what separates one from the other? what is light, what is dark? what is visible, what is obscured?
a screen to call attention to what is in front acts, when the sun stands in the right place, as a lens to show what is behind.
at 9.02 am the sun disappears behind the screen, at 9.37am it rises above it. in the process, the tree shape shifts: its shadow arms move and tangle with the moving sun. later on in the day, the screen falls flat, milky. from the other side it seems to melt into the horizon line, extend it downwards.
my father and i converse about the screen. he, concerned with its righteousness, i intrigued with its multiplicity. in the course of our conversation, he catches the moving sun, the hornets in front and behind and the wind. 162 grams of paper move in the wind. easily so.
vision, obscured by 162 grams of paper, it affords us a different view. a shadow play, if we catch the sun right.
sound, amplified as we step closer. it becomes vision too, in front and behind the screen: a swarm of hornets to savour the ripening apples.
sound, recorded in type and re-spoken. it narrates a concern, a singularity that turns into an observation of all else that it is also. an opening into an ‘and also’ not an ‘either/or’
a movement captured in vision and sound; practiced and repeated, it removes the screen, affords a view beyond, removes the obstacle, the shadow play.
this work enacts a screen, a temporary divider. in doing so, it creates a front and a back. an in front and a behind. gathers and concentrates our gaze. the tree turns into mere shadow, in different levels of depths, shifting as the sun moves. the lightness of the paper and its fixture create opening, folds. the lightness of the paper also catches in the wind, slightly first, more so later. this is a conversation piece: its central characters: the tree, the hornets that delight on the ripening apples, 162g of tracing paper, two wooden poles, the sun, the wind, my father and I as we converse about the screen’s righteousness and its multiplicity. it comes to an end, is repeated. we have practiced this a number of times.

Envisaged web page layout

– a full page set up, it starts with a large version of the video, hornet tree (1);
– followed by the manuscript,
– then a two column arrangement with the two diptychs on the left hand side, small a/v players for the short segments on the right.
– depending on the length of each column, the statement would sit underneath the two diptychs;
– finally: the translation of the manuscript

Contextual work and Reflection

— unlike the previous assessment, I have for this one not created a separate menu item as ‘preparation’, instead, all preparatory work is included under coursework, part 4 (in order to avoid duplication).
Contextual influences follow on from the previous assignment, and also include Joan Jonas’s work (notably: Lines in the Sand (2002), Double Lunar Rabbits (2010)); the discussion about the role of the screen in mediating (Dewdney, A (2012) Curating the photographic image in networked culture. In: Lister, M (ed) The photographic image in digital culture. London: Routledge, 2nd edition, pp. 95-112).
Curating the digital networked image in Lister ed ; one of Laida Lertxundi’s 16mm films, Words Planets, that I saw at Tramway earlier in the summer (but haven’t written up as a post). Also: Kittler’s typewriter as tool.
Reflections on assessment related criteria are as follows:
This work is developed from a series of investigations that moved forward from the previous assignment, which itself was already an environmental intervention. I pursued experiments further as suggested, in a number of lines; I also scaled up, made bigger and explored as such the importance of scale, proximity of an environmental intervention. The means of doing so remain simple: tracing paper, again, acting as a divider; and then utilising position, wind, sun, the tree. As before, I am making use of unfolding events: I had observed the screen toppling a couple of times as I was fixing the camera to a post; then set this up and waited for it to occur again. I also wanted to make further use of voice, audio. The theme of the conversation: what constitutes an art work, and what constitutes a good working practice at once is a family theme but also one that is included in the previous assignment and the wider considerations around the parallel project: about control, agency, a gap, and my body as tool within this. Re-recording this and using the original German makes it strange at once, and foregrounds the unfolding audio alongside the visual. Here, the editing and the spacing of the audio sequences are key. The first video is recorded as once, the editing consists of the audio recording and layering.
Key for this work is a question of the relationship between recording and in-situ event; here the idea to present the work as composed of different elements attempts to draw it out, present the different aspects to it. Besides the sense of what is the work, there is also a question as to who is the audience: myself and my parents as known viewers, those who encounter its recorded form, those who pass by on the road to view the screen from there, above the hedge.
I am pleased about the inclusion of different elements in this work, of also having remained with it until it became another thing: toppled over by the wind, and feel I have found in the interaction between the fragile paper screen and the elements of sun and wind a resonance to the discussion that my father and I have over order, discipline and multiplicity and chance.