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?



Assignment 5: m(e)use

Part 5 asks for a drawing that needs an extended time to be completed and/or engages temporal dimensions in an unusual form for the viewer.

My submission for this part is a small handling collection of 11 inkjet prints plus one text document (instruction) printed on A4 photocopier paper, each crushed into a small ball and assembled (in no particular order, other than the instruction page sitting in one of the corners) in a clear plastic storage box.

The instruction/ statement for the project reads as follows:



– is a handling collection from the stationery cupboard

– presents in a clear plastic box 11 inkjet prints on photocopier paper and one instruction (this one)

– the images are not presented in any order, they are however presented as crumpled, scrunched up balls of paper

– an instruction would be to unfold them, one by one

– other instructions exist

– is a handling collection for the stationery cupboard


– boxed up, the images chronicle a series of interventions in an office space

– boxed up, the images reorganise that space while maintaining its form

– boxed up, the images give evidence to the spatial order of the office

use me


The titles is a play on the instruction ‘use me’, which is literal: handle me, unfold me, scrunch me up again; it is also metaphorical, as this project sits within the institutional space of work and overwork, it presents as previous submissions for this module as useable, made of ordinary materials found in an office; use me then can also read as submissive, libidinous instruction – m(e)use, reads as anagram, as muse, inspiration, and thus also seeks to transcend.

The timeline in this piece is a series of interventions within the office space (mainly a corridor, but also an individual office, a teaching lab) over the space of a year, twelve months. The timeline is also the time it takes to handle this submission: to take the paper balls out of the box, to unfold them. So, the viewing of the piece is made a bit difficult (if the images, the prints on each paper is considered the object). There is also, as in some of the previous work (Green, Hornet Tree) a question raised of engagement or not engagement: will a viewer become someone who handles, touches the object and thus activates it, or will they refrain from doing so (as in the loop and the delayed audio in earlier pieces, where viewers may simply exit).

This piece also presents a final testing ground for the parallel project. I will write more on this over the next couple of days.

A reflection of assessment criteria and a contextualisation of this work will also follow over the next few days.

I sent a copy of the piece to my tutor and below are some installation shots. My intent is to present the box to a few of my colleagues to test and experiment if it does indeed have some use value, but also as to what my role may be in working here and producing such work over such extended period of time.

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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.

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tracing paper as focussing lens

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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?



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.

[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