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.

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 5: m(e)use

The post that contains the tutor report already included a few reflections: notably about the mutability of the two most recent projects (and where they belong, as Timelines Assignment or as Parallel Project).

Here some more thoughts, reflections:

  • the timing for this module’s conclusion is the tightest I have ever worked with. It is not an easy way for me to work and yet I also see what is possible with such tightness and focus.
  • I often can work with good speed and focus, but usually on my own terms, not to some external deadline.
  • So: part 5 only speculates on a number of things, produces a rather narrow line of experimentation along the way; and still: I also feel this fits to where things are: there is a lot of material that I generated along the way of this module and it seems fitting to let this surface and make it explicit part of the work itself (the projects around the corridor, its spatial planes).
  • While we didn’t spend much time yet reviewing the overall module, some glimpses of such review have arisen already as I begin to chart and map out what L3 work can be and what remains to be concluded here and now, what can remain open, and what should be moved into the next modules.
  • In this sense, I feel that both Timelines assignment and Parallel Project (and indeed the Critical Review) encompass much in terms of focus, practice, themes and also voice) from earlier parts of the module and indeed serve as a focussing lens itself: around the form of engagement that I seek (a notion of playfulness which hovers between tension and enjoyment; the fleetingness of some of the interventions; the ordinariness of the materials; a moving across and within both digital and analog, which manifests in form but also in sensorial register; a seeking of openings, alternatives with and in the work; how it constitutes an extended field of drawing and thus indeed proposes an interdisciplinary practice).
  • The tightness of the schedule sharpens this strongly; and the recent suggestions of work to investigate (Rist, Palmer) have really helped with this and to allow for the broader themes to arise and articulate.
  • Doug generally asks a question to start with that lets me trace my process, a particular theme, and while I do so rather practically, this works well to draw out the bigger themes and links within and across. I have found this approach to the tutorials and the work itself incredibly helpful and insightful to trace and draw out key links across (which I often sense intuitively and make work with intuitively, but the extent to which these are contextually embedded and what they link back out to, is at the point of the tutorial not entirely clear yet, here the form of dialogue is really valuable).

Tutor report for assignment 5: m(e)use

On Wednesday, we have the final assignment-related tutorial. Much of the discussion has begun to look ahead and to discuss what constitutes an appropriate end point for this module but also what else remains within it.

Just before the tutorial I follow up the recommendations that is Katrina Palmers (2015) The loss adjusters (post to be written), which is really helpful for me to get a sense of how far I can go with an idea, what to apply for, aim for and also what scale some of my own work around narrative and audio can go.

Attached is the tutor report in full: Gesa Helms feedback_part_5_GH, I copy below the discussion note as it relates to the two pieces (parallel project and assignment 5) which in some way could form either of these two pieces. The discussion is really good as we begin to chart the trajectory of what it is that I have done: what sits as contribution, as common concern, approach, working practice across the module — this will be the focus for the final tutorial on Monday. The draft for the critical review needs some more revisions, but these are relatively minor, and our discussion in the main concerned which references I may remove and raise in future as part of Level 3.

I have written another post as reflection on this and talk more fully about it. But, I was really happy to see that my play thing that is m(e)use | use me had the intended effect, and even more so: Doug pointed out a series of characteristics which make it a good piece of work, fitting well within the wider concerns of the module, the parallel project and what I may do over the next modules.

Assignment 5 / m(e)use | use me

  • The work comes as a surprise, it has no instructions and is joyful and playful to encounter; Doug describes how he finds the statement ‘Use me’ as the second last ball he unfolds and feels vindicated in his approach of how to touch, handle, engage with the box.
  • Opening the box releases the smell of the printer ink and that is an important detail: how we assume that the digital doesn’t engage the sense, and here it works across and offers a strong sensation. The other one is the tactility of touching and handling the work > these analogue sensations are key and well foregrounded in how I resolve the ‘artist book’ and timeline.
  • This is a strong and tight piece of work. Does it sit like this on its own or how can it be developed further and upscaled? >> become part of the Parallel Project, the video work (i.e: what would be its final editing and subtext?
    • I introduce Fischli and Weiss and their room installation; if the office, the corridor could become a site, a room of ‘nonsensical’ office tools, processes, materials.
    • How about the noise of folding/unfolding, the smell as large-scale pieces?
    • I also mention Palmer’s Loss Adjusters as a good reference for how work can be resolved, how ambitious it can be and where it can go?


Parallel Project

  • The reprinting and degrading is key; similarly, and this is where it relates closely to the box: what are the sensations around this work. We discuss how it needs a digital form of presentation (as jpgs in a folder, to be opened individually) to work with the photo collage as at once analogue but then made strange and pushed into a digital space where it is not immediately clear what spatial planes are being constructed:
    • It is clear to Doug that I am playing with the viewer; that there are tricks going on and that that is quite enjoyable
    • Is the image that I present (key: hands on top of the tracing paper roll) spectral? Otherworldly? What reality does it construct?
    • The white balance of the four images have a significant effect on the success of each (3/ is least successful at the moment: too far apart);
    • The overlapping and breaking of edges create a stage and background; they heighten the performative aspect.
  • The work is successful as there is an ambiguity about the elements contained and if this is entirely playful, joyful or also otherwise – so, due to the referencing of the institution, the performance, my partial hiding/ reveal, the glow that arises from the cold white balance of the tracing paper cutout.
  • AP: to test different scale and transgression of frame in print; if possibly: do perform and record; if possible: print at large scale

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?