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.

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).

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