I was more than a little concerned that I had ‘not enough to go on’ for my first tutorial with Jonathan although for the past few days I have had more enthusiasm for my search and also for some of the bits and pieces I have been making. I was reassured by J K that I need not analyse the work but just reflect on it and enjoy the making process, responding to the feeling of working with certain materials etc. He brought me back to thinking about work I had submitted in my portfolio and since yesterday I have been allowing that to sit with looking at artists whose work is apparently concerned with the same issues as mine. It was reassuring to know that it is Ok not like the work of other artists is fine but the way forwards is to analyse what it is I don’t like and why? How I want my work to be different and how that may be achieved. I will do that in more detail later when I have had a closer look but today I did research them more deeply and discovered that some of their other work is interesting to me.. often background research work and sketches were useful. My concerns are embodied and digital memory. These topics have been ‘done to death’ (appropriate for archiving tendencies!) I am also concerned about using personal archive and hope to use less personal material as I want to be affective but not sentimental. J K suggested that I set myself short term deadlines for projects to work on some of the ideas I mentioned. This is a practical solution to temper the excitement that may turn into fragmentation if it isn’t directed to some extent. I’m going to start with some cling film and then move to using some old slides I found in the loft. Jonathan also mentioned Jimmie Durham. I don’t know his work and have been looking at examples of his eclectic practice. Very interesting and if J sees it as relevant to my work I must examine some aspects of my work that I have let lie_ the participative, public and unexpected contingent elements I think? I talked about the difficulty I have with ‘exhibiting’ and whether this because of lack of courage or that it is irrelevant to my practice. I need to investigate this more so that I don’t put up barriers to exposure.
a. Project with cling film: Continue to draw on cling film and work with it for a 2-3 days. See where it leads.
Project with discovered slides and projector. Investigate making video from scanned slides and project this with slides as an opposite to F1 ( 2010) where I made stills from video and overlaid projections.
What am I doing with these:
a. new material as support /handmade technique, preservation/ flimsy…
b. Overlay of time slices and time passing…….?
Next week I plan to talk to Jon Shapley about a joint exhibition we have been ‘discussing; for some time but which has not materialised ! I’ll add images and links and more text to this post soon to consolidate it a little I’ve been looking at these artists and works in particular and will analyse as above:
Ann Hamilton – ‘Event of a Thread’ :
Ann Hamilton uses thread and muslin and playing in this work. I have used these materials and have encouraged audiences to participate through playful actions. I like the way she uses voices and reading texts as an overlay. I am interested in concerns of collective memory and the ‘trade’ labour background but do not want ideas of ‘work’ to be central to my discussion I don’t think. This is a work I would have liked to have made.
Ann Hamilton – creating ‘Indigo Blue’ :
I would also have liked to have made this work. In my case, ideally, I would have wanted the overalls to have been worn before using them in the installation rather than just bought for the piece. I love the way that Hamilton uses these large spaces and changes them. The closest I have been to this was Labour (2009) in Newman Street. I remember feeling I wanted to fill the whole space and more importantly, feeling that I could! Labour reflected past experiences of work and labour demonstrated through materials and spontaneous recollections through performance. These included speaking in Russian and reciting Russian poetry, both in Russian and English. Now I think about it again, one of the key elements I enjoyed about making this work was not necessarily my conceptual concerns for the work but actually carrying the dirty materials of coal, salt and grain and pieces of slate, old wood and plush fabric into the clinically clean office space just off Oxford Street. That bringing together of materials into a space where they no longer belonged (but once would have been common) brought me great pleasure… even if it was difficult to keep them under control and the space uncontaminated. This makes me think more about works where I bring materials form one location and place them somewhere else….
Ann Hamilton – Recent Works :
Hamilton discusses her early use of video, which appeals to me as it is experimental and unsophisticated, often concerned with the body. Her concerns are ‘outside/inside’ and boundaries which initially don’t seem to be the same as mine but they are about embodiment and the mouth features a lot. This reminds me of Kiss, Spit, Vomit series from 2011 This lead me on to similar experiments in a cross- pathway review where in the crit. Lao Tsu was mentioned. Hamilton has built a meditation boat in Vietnam, so this started me thinking about these links and maybe instead of the archiving and holding of memory I was interested really in the changing nature of things, impermanence but highlighting this by ‘juxta posing’ ( good art word!) the old and the new..maybe as technologies, materials, place and rituals……..This feels important for clarification of my proposal. Hamilton again shows her ability to be playful (Guggenheim New York) and the use of books and the ‘removal/destruction’ of text. The way she thinks of location is really interesting as she is not afraid to alter the space to emphasise her core idea. I would never feel comfortable doing this as it would feel ‘manipulative’?
Shona Illingworth and others – Memory in Art:
I found the excepts I watched of Balnakiel rather drama/documentary for me, though it did remind me a little of the series I made in Prenteg. I am not sure why but I would not want my work to be like this. It feels both detached and sentimental, which is an odd combination. Maybe if I had seen the whole film I would feel differently. The site Art in Memory is going to be a useful resource i think. Maybe it doesn’t work for me as she has done what I would be tempted to do and had a lot of conversations with a neuro-psychologist about memory and how it functions. Maybe the work is too thought through… In some ways the excepts reminded me of Silence but although a feature film, or maybe because of this, I was affected more. Illingworth is quoted as a key artist working with memory so I will investigate her approach more and see what I like and don’t like and why! http://www.m-ia.net/texts/contribu.html
Shona Illingworth – Balnakiel
Kerry Tribe – The Language Of Forgetting:
Tribe is also, in theory, concerned with the same things that I am investigating. Dead Star Light at Modern Art Oxford quote
‘Together these works continue Tribe’s interest in producing large-scale projects in film, video and installation that carefully consider the possibilities their mediums afford and attempt to produce an experience for the viewer akin to the subject of the works: amnesia, misremembering, the gap between individual and collective memory. Employing ‘old’ technologies, including 16mm film, reel-to-reel audio and analog video, each work explores these themes of personal, cultural and collective memory, and conversely, processes of forgetting and erasure.’
However that work left me completely cold and in fact I could only remember going to see it when I looked at documentation images. Very clever but too objective for me despite it being an investigation into subjectivitty. I found her delivery during the lecture uncomfortable as she talks about her project with people with aphasia and having nothing ‘fun’ to show as it is too early in the project. This made me think of all the things I hate about artists , probably unintentionally, using people as ‘material’ ( which is fine…..) but in a way which is not compassionate and where the ‘use’ is not recognised, acknowledged or credited. It reminds me of how people and bodies were used by the medical profession in the past. However when I watched Critical Mass and Tribes other work I do find them very interesting and clever. not what I want to do though. I’d better work out what it is I want to do soon!!
Robert Rauschenberg – on the ‘Erased De Kooning’ :
A seminal piece for reference.
Liz Rhodes – Light Music:
Peter Mansell referenced this after looking at the videos NumberOne etc. I see the similarity and will look more closely at her work http://bcove.me/16fht0qi
William Kentridge – on his process:
I find Kentridge’s work so very moving. I am interested in the erasure to form something new and ever changing. I was really excited by the way he views his process of walking back and forwards to camera and then to the drawing essential in the process of making, and the space where the work develops. I like the way he draws on the image flat on the wall. THe interaction between the drawing and the camera, with a body in between.
Joan Jonas – Reanimation:
I am fascinated by what Jonas is doing here and how she is doing it. Is it Augmented Reality ? I love the use of objects and moving image and drawin with the objects. I also like the unplanned element and the working by instinct. I do find her subject matter is not the same as mine but in some ways very similar. Based however on cultural anthropology, there is a Shamanistic quality to her work which I like and is not proclaimed by her herself. Her phantasmagorical imagery appeals but I would feel uncomfortable with that, as an older woman around in the ’70’s! I do not want to make what she does but I want to use the same processes…with different imagery. She is the key artist, for me at this point. Her work links with land rather than structure and yet is shown in gallery settings and works so beautifully.
Joan Jonas – Tate Modern Performance:
Seeds of Change – A floating Ballast Seed Garden – Maria Thereza Alves:
I found this work after my tutorial whilst researching the work of Jimmie Durham. Alves is Durham’s partner and they collaborate frequently. This work resonanted because of the use of plants and seeds and botanical links. It was interesting that Ann Hamilton had also make a boat piece. So have I but not so monumental or permanent Boats (2007) Trinity Buoy Wharf Enlli Island.
‘Seeds of Change’ is the overall title of an ongoing ballast seed garden project from Brazilian artist Maria Thereza Alves. Between 1680 and the early 1900’s ships’ ballast – earth, stones and gravel from trade boats from all over the world used to weigh down the vessel as it docked – was offloaded into the river at Bristol. The ballast contained the seeds of plants from wherever the ship had sailed. Maria Thereza Alves discovered that these ballast seeds can lie dormant for hundreds of years, but that by excavating the river bed, it may be possible to germinate and grow these seeds into flourishing plants. For Alves, ballast seeds can be seen as a living embodiment of Bristol’s history of trade, reflecting the different routes travelled by Bristol merchants worldwide. Working with the University of Bristol Botanic Garden and Bristol City Council, Arnolfini have utilised a disused concrete barge and created a permanent Ballast Seed Garden on Bristol’s Floating Harbour, populated with a variety of non-native plants, creating a living history of the city’s trade and maritime past. The University of Bristol Botanic Garden team will plant a new scheme of plants at the Floating Garden annually. To access the list of plants for our Spring-Autumn 2013 scheme please download it here.’
Alves is an artist I will research more.