shoddy video of my sketch folders:

… this is improvised and for tutorial purposes:

submitting the work solely through these folders (plus g-drive), and not as mounted work would mean I lose two larger drawings from Part 1.

Main drawing in first image here, and the monochrome A2 drawing of the filing cabinets as boxes here.

All other work is moving image, in A3 size or below, or as objects.

(at point of posting, this video was still being converted, but should be available after 9am)

parallel project / parallel praxis: the things that I didn’t do.

This project has been running alongside for over a year. It started, and always assumed, that I and my body would be the drawing tool. The critical review was going to explore this alongside, in some sense in its negative: as an absence of human agency, control. The early notions of the gap (between the filing cabinets of Assignment 1, but clearly as it folded forward into a gap between analogue and digital, a gap between agency and chance, and a more general disjuncture, disarticulation) tried to anchor this parallel project in some way in its negative.

The corridor placements as a long-term practice of siting, of placing – a thing, and myself in the process; of removing this frequently, sometimes of having it removed, and towards the later stages of people, unknown to me still, siting it more prominently.

The photocopier performances and writing instructions of the same time took the self as drawing tool serious in an expanded field of drawing. It would be relatively late that Joan Jonas became the interdisciplinary artist to focus on in the critical review and whose practice became a clear anchor for articulating some of my own approaches (if less so as resonance in theme).

Along with the question over self as drawing tool, the question of site continued to be raised, it was rarely uncontentious: accessibility to the filing cabinets an early manifestation; a secrecy over the corridor placements ensued; when I appeared in a contractual work role in the corridor all of this practice seemed to have come to an end; at some point my contractual role seemed to do so too.

So: myself as drawing tool is something, someone, an entity, that moves, changes site, location, departs, returns, reconfigures. The tracing paper as tool, medium, prop became increasingly important once it started to figure from assignment 3 onwards and inform a series of small projects.

A site-specific ceiling, wall and floor-covering installation of hopscotch in the corridor and a related video projection did not materialise. But see some notes on it here.

In tutorial 5 we discussed two further avenues, besides the one that I did pursue (changing scale, white balance and background of printed collages, here).

a. drawing on the inkjet prints

  • I didn’t. I printed them out but then really didn’t quite have the energy to open this new avenue; I didn’t like the materiality this was going to open up

b. myself being the subject of some on-site documentation

  • I discussed this one with a few people; I wanted to ask my artist friend but assumed she was going to be busy. I then, on Thursday asked a friend and colleague if he would. Well: I didn’t really ask, I said that I may want to do this; but at that point the interest of standing in the department and being recorded of doing so held little interest. It really didn’t seem important; and it didn’t seem the right way to conclude this: I did not feel I needed that documented present to conclude the project.

So, instead: I have removed myself and the project entirely from the corridor and the actual spaces of the institution. That decision arose initially out of a conflict in May; it still holds and is good: the freedom that comes with the manipulation of the prints is considerable and at this stage of the project important. It is elsewhere, offers a different praxis, a parallel praxis. There are numerous strands and threads across the analogue and the digital in this whole body of work across the module. Here, the conclusion of this parallel project as two digital jpgs in an online folder seems apt, fitting. It presents a resting point while also pointing forward to what the kind of enquiry that I have opened up can become.


There is a whole thread of investigations about what constitutes the artwork, what marks an absence in this module. This post also contributes to it.


refinement: parallel project

Following the last tutorial, I printed out different sizes and also altered the white balance of the weakest of the collages, I also chose another background.

I also, following the tutorial, have a sense that Parallel Praxis is a suitable title for it.

For reference: this is the image which worked the least (due to folding of overlay and a too high contrast of white balance:


I deliberately pushed a number of concepts within the collage: size, rotation, perspective of lens, direct sunlight. These have resulted in the following images:


— of these I do like the first one with the low perspective as well as the one in which the background image is rotated once. The direct light on the last one definitely doesn’t work; I am not sure the humour of the cutout being so small in the two previous ones is right.

I also took two more restrained ones, trying to emulate the success of the earlier three:img_5190img_5196

Both of these work and I have the sense there are a couple of good sets within these:

The complete contact sheet is like this:

screen shot 2018-09-23 at 16.52.12

Three sets I explored are these:

screen shot 2018-09-23 at 17.13.46screen shot 2018-09-23 at 17.09.46screen shot 2018-09-23 at 17.14.26

screen shot 2018-09-23 at 17.15.18

— I currently feel that the smallest set, 3, is the most successful. With four or five images it starts to appear gimmicky. I will see what the discussion tomorrow yields.

parallel project thoughts:

I have been working in parallel both for the A5 submission and the parallel project. They seemed a bit variable, for which part the work was going to be. I explored, as timelines, a rather complex installation within the link corridor of the institution, which would consist of a video projection of the videos here; a ceiling and a floor tracing paper installation which featured a game of hopscotch. It didn’t quite come together in a sense but it led me to the following demonstration, which also includes a 40 minutes audio recording about the drawing work within and beyond the institutional space with a colleague and friend.


— I demonstrated the ink/lens/diffuser project and seemed to have myself inserted into the departmental space in a different form altogether.

I went and explored this, first as printout/ collage:


I think this idea will constitute the parallel project: it seems to fit on many levels. It also seems to fit in terms of questions over presence or absence. I like the first and last one of them best, chromatically, but also how it transcends the frame.

My suggestions for taking this further are:

a. to experiment with print scale — this is A4, it can possibly be different, both in terms of the cutout and the overall dimension: much smaller, but also: what about a life-size print

b. do I want to stand and perform this in situ and have it recorded with a camera?



timelines: two simple observations

— of course all moving image material primarily works with the temporal within the visual/auditory, so, per se: a video clip will address this part’s remit of exploring different uses, processes and practices around temporal dimensions within a drawing (see early thoughts on this final part here).

There are two recent clips that I took (one a set up small performance; the other one an observed occurrence), which however get to some of my interests in this.

The first one uses the focusing capability of the tracing paper to move from opaque to transfer not of shadow but of hue (which happens when contact between two materials is made). It uses my finger as the orchestrating device to achieve this.

View this post on Instagram

tracing paper as focussing lens

A post shared by lena draws (@draw___lena) on


The second one observes a shadow of a young child playing hopscotch, just at the margins of the frame:


Drawing in both of these is achieved rather differently, the second one is a strong shadow cast by a lunchtime sun; the former the slow movement of my finger pushing the tracing paper against my dress, until it focusses in on it and transfer the image and hue, it then releases again. Both are a single sequence, the second more easily looped (and indeed, the child played for a considerable time before and after this video); there is something about pace and rhythm in both of them that fascinates me and speaks not only to the course section but also the wider questions around the parallel project: of body as drawing machine, of different sites/ scales in which this can be enacted; on the question of control too.

depositing (intention 1)

in the shop i move the tracing paper into my tote bag, close by, to pull out without much effort. i resolve my niggling thought that i may just be littering if i place tracing paper on drawer surface and potentially leave it there.
— i turn into the street, the guys from the council were quicker than i was: cuckoo aka drawer is gone. no littering for me today it seems

Timelines: tracing some tracing paper

One of the lines to investigate is the re-use of the paper I used for the Hornet Tree installation. I recorded it with a short video clip, just before I disassembled the poles and rolled it up:

As the banner tumbled over a few time it eventually tore in parts and I spent some time stitching it (rather than applying more masking tape).


There are also other tracing paper that have been used:

  • the small screen from other Green in July
  • a few strips of paper with drawing marks on that I used for lens/ink/diffuser in the institutional space


What am I interested in?

  • what role does the previous use play?
    • it is used: visibly with marks, tears, folds
    • in memory: there is a record in terms of writing, video, photography; but also as experience: in my memory; in my parents’ too; for those to whom I have talked; and those who have seen it circulating digitally.
  • what about the paper being blank (Hornet Tree), torn, with masking tape, thread
    • what traces of the installation as drawing remain? — the folds, the tears.
    • I can investigate these either by documentation: moving image clip; stills; or by describing in words and transcribing these/ recording these.
    • is there an expectation for a drawing to be visible for it to exist?
  • what about the function of the screen?
    • in monochrome: different depths, clarity, focus
    • on contact to transfer colour too.


Crucially: how can this be engaged with, again? I.e., what other form or potential use resides in this material (again). The theme of part 5 is timelines, proposing a series of investigations about the role and experience of the passing of time in an artwork (production/viewing/engagement) — I wrote a few first thoughts here.

So: what does an investigation of this blank paper yield? what would it be of interest?

Two investigations so far:

a. photocopying the tracing paper in the institution yields eventually this:


left: open lid; right: closed lid (maximum bleed through) of all three strips of tracing paper from lens/ink/diffuser on A3 paper, photographed side by side


  • this works side by side but also with the different white balance on the paper (which is in both cases the same): it is almost a day and night commentary
  • I can see this functioning as a photographic print but can’t just see how else this can be developed
  • in terms of materiality: the tracing paper is fixed: both through the lens, graphically, but more so even in the opacity of the photocopy paper: the key function of the tracing paper (to trace, to see through, to act as focussing lens) has been closed off, concluded: it in some ways presents as far as to translucency a final state.
  • there are however other forms this can be kept open, developed further: folding, cutting

b. unrolling and refolding tracing paper

I mocked up some lines of tracing paper (not yet wanting to ‘spoil’ the original), rolled it up and took for a walk with me. Unpacked it and started to unroll, fold, bend. It seems arbitrary, random, too forced. What I discover though are a few things:

  • once folded (the folds changing the property of the paper, marking it opaque), the paper can stand up. If the folds are quite small, the paper becomes surprisingly solid (loses the fragility that threatened to tear and undo the installation even at very low winds)

    I included an extra photo – which on FB I called a cuckoo: the wet surface of a discarded piece of furniture: I possibly want to resite the folded paper on  top of it.

  • it reveals again its functions as focussing lens and transfer of hue when in contact with another surface (my finger in front, my patterned dress underneath)
  • the strip of paper that I rest against my bag mimics and models another bag shape next to my functional one.


Some thoughts as to where next:

  • combine different strips of tracing paper: what does the merging of the different sites do?
  • a folded or rolled book structure with a print inside, or at least something that ‘rewards’, ‘refers’ to elswhere : that this isn’t just empty
  • withholding such reward, reference > does this undo what this is? How can I test it?



[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

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]

Experiments and Sketchbooks for this module

I and we, in the tutorials, keep returning to this:

  • What constitutes the working practice, the experimentation that I do for this course and in general.
  • It arose in the first tutorial with the suggestion that I would develop my own projects and pursue these to work with the course materials. A number of projects arose from this, namely
    • Corridor breaks
    • a brief round of lens/ink/diffuser within the institutional space (which moved out side as the use of the tracing paper, with more extended experimentation)
    • walking and drawing Green
  • The experiments seemed too brief for Green (Assignment 3) and we talked about it at length then of what I am foreclosing,
  • I was deliberate in recording my experiments in more detail for Hornet Tree (Assignment 4)

I agreed with the sense that I was restricting what I was doing within the institutional space (it was indeed part of the process of leaving and moving outdoors), and that I could see that also having resulted in a relatively tight form of working, experimenting.

I also however had the sense that I do experiment rather extensively and went to look for evidence of that:

  • on my camera roll as still and moving image
  • the video clips are currently difficult to publish here (unless I want to go through vimeo or instagram), so many of them don’t get posted (and I think I will for the remainder of the degree purchase a wordpress subscription that allows video upload; for a different project I have such a subscription and I like the easy of upload and integration)
  • I am not so good at writing up summary posts, so a number of experiments don’t get published;
  • these experiments however also do not exist in physical sketchbooks as much is photography and moving image;
  • the site where I extensively experiment is Facebook however, the main sketchbook album has 300 posts; these are practice rather than reflective: they use still, moving image, text and recording as a practice that is performative and/or writing-based.
  • There are a few more specific albums (one on digital/analogue; one on found objects; and one with a rather small public in which I discuss some of the more personal themes as they move into a wider public setting).
  • I also have an evernote account where I have a few notebooks which also function as a private account for notetaking, experimenting.


I am planning on downloading the key albums off Facebook and turn them into a PDF (most likely) or possibly even print them (less likely) and submit alongside my other sketchbooks (which aren’t many, I think to date 3 of the thin paper moleskin ones).

This is the facebook post that I write about my first round of revisiting the album in which I experiment for the purpose of making it accessible outside my rather limited Facebook public:


I almost didn’t revisit the photocopier (still not having worked out what has come to an end there) but by lunchtime I felt so flat that I needed a pick-up after a morning of training schedule finetuning which didn’t quite alleviate the ghosts of the night before. They were good, the new photocopies of the tracing paper, and they are different too to what was before, so all is good. Soon after I felt really flat again, too undecisive whether to turn left to the pool or right, home, I just sat on a bench for a while until decision arrived.
I have started to download my main sketchbook here (the untitled album, which I started when I started the Drawing module). One of the most interesting conversations yesterday concerned what we respectively understood as experiment. I told him of my FB albums, he said: yes, I like how you reflect on things. I: No! They are not reflections, they are doing stuff. Not all my text is reflection, a lot is performance, a lot is drawing, a lot is writing as practice. I am not sure he was convinced. I reiterated this line in the minutes that I just sent off and started to download. 2 months are done of 12, I also realise that I set up a number of extra albums in the process: my digital sex gender thing that is bat run twice; the found objects on streets albums, and much in the close/open also functions for the more private/unworked out stuff… I will have a look which ones of these will go to assessment, or will just be circumscribed.
but: for once I am at ease with my FB data, it provides me with the evidence of my argument, and some really good examples, of what I clarify in image, post, gif, sticker and sometimes a series of further comments. it does what i claimed it did: experiment, sketch. it also provides me with a memory plaything to model, subvert, believe in.

Image may contain: text


I continue to discuss the questions around my sketchbooks in my next post here.