Lumen Prize 2015

I watched this video  for reflection after one of the course chats about the Lumen prize.

There was a fascinating discussion about copyright which I’ll cover briefly in another post but this was just something daft that caught my eye.

Many of the presentations and work here are worth looking back at during the next few months but I am drawn to the incidental in some way…

The bit I really found fascinating happened at about 3 mins 51 secs before the ‘party’

The camera was focussed on the curtain.

I just loved that curtain and the ‘ordinary ness’ of it ….

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Josh Kline – ‘Freedom’ at Modern Art Oxford and Kiki Kogelnik

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This exhibition was interesting but I didn’t have much time to look around…This is the write up from the local Oxford Mail

A menacing and dystopian environment is produced at Modern Art Oxford in Freedom, the first solo exhibition in the UK by American artist Josh Kline (b. 1979).

This exhibition includes a compelling installation from which the exhibition takes its title. Four towering ‘Teletubbies’ dressed in SWAT gear guard a barren space modelled after Zuccotti Park, the privately owned public space in New York City and site of the Occupy Wall Street camp in 2011.
For Hope and Change, Kline presents US President Barack Obama, played by an actor augmented with facial substitution software, who delivers a confrontational new version of his inaugural speech, addressing issues ranging from global warming to race relations.
In this darkly compelling new exhibition, Kline creates a radical critique of the political and economic landscape of a globalised world.

With thanks to New Museum, New York; The Rubell Family Collection, Miami; and 47 Canal NY.

I spent quite a while watching Crying Games as above with Tony Blair and this was very effective…. The actors and facial substitution worked well and referencing falsehood of emotion ? and producing definite affect in the audience.

I’m not sure about the Teletubbies but, I guess if you’d been part of Occupy at that time the resonance was there….

For me I just saw Teletubbies…in SWAT gear.

I didn’t get to see much of Obama’s altered speech but if it was a good as “Crying Games’ then it was excellent.

The Kiki Kogelnik, Fly me to the Moon,  was fun and colourful and full of dreams of the future and space… rockets and so on…..Like Fireball XL5 for all those oldies out there!

Relevant too when you think about my previous post…. water on  Mars…. and the rockets in all the stories in The Illustrated Man.

Relevant too the mass migration of people but in the book it was to Mars…post-apocalypse.

Something I haven’t thought of since my CND days but Jeremy Corbyn is bringing to our table again…

So a very  interesting exhibition, even if not really anything I would use in my own work… I don’t think…[ EDIT JUNE 2016…maybe it influenced me more than I thought..? or maybe simply Zeitgeist}

Some text as a quote in the programme from Marshall McLuhan’s Understanding Media

( 1964) about fragmentation, speed and  the oval village.

Electric speed in bringing all political and social functions together in a sudden implosion has heightened human awareness of responsibility to an intense degree.
It is this implosive factor that alters the position of the teenager and some other groups.

They can  no longer be contained, in the political sense of limited associations. They are now involved in our lives as we are in theirs, thanks to the electric media.

He died in 1980.

This was written 51 years ago!!!

Illustrated Man- Ray Bradbury and projection

I’ve been reading the Illustrated Man- Ray Bradbury  sci- fi book.   I used to really enjoy Ray Bradbury, John Wyndham and all this..

Farenheit 451 interesting politically but also now re- digital reading etc….and the ‘destruction’ of the book….

Unlike Philip K Dick which seems prophetic, this book seems very sparse and  focusses  on living Mars after the destruction of the world!- Not jolly but interesting bearing in mind the news this week about ‘water’ on Mars…

As I was reading the initial description about the illustrations moving  across the subject’s body I thought of the work  projecting moving images on to a body 4- way projection – Slides and video

When I did that I realised that the reason was that I wanted people and ’embodiment ‘ to be at the centre of my practice , if not the theory behind it –  moment of realisation 

Now I’m wondering if I should look again at this projecting onto flesh….the body as a screen…..

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1Q84, Parallel Landscapes and Austria

As usual, I’m writing very retrospectively and somehow I make different connections then : space-time allows it. In a post about writing my research per I should hopefully discuss this ‘time perspectivism’ more…

In  August and September, I began reading 1Q84 whilst I was on holiday in Austria at the beginning of August. I won’t review the book as a piece of literature, though Murakami has become a ‘brand’ with his App and all…

It’s about parallel worlds which co-exist and moving between them... not a new theme… but interesting.  About how we perceive things, our own subjectivity and the judgements we make accordingly. The cover is one of those images which ‘depend how you look at it’ and when you change that you see it differently: moon – butterfly – chaos thing….

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I thought about it on Sunday night when I happened to be awake and saw the Eclipse of the ‘Supermoon’. The eclipsed moon was rather like the distorted second moon in 1Q84…..

It was especially interesting as I was also reading Mattew Flintham’s Parallel Landscapes, his PhD which Gareth Polmeer recommended and I’d been reading a research paper by Geoff Bailey about the nature of palimpsest in Archaeology/Time.

So when I was in Austria I just couldn’t see things just the way they were.

I kept seeing other pasts….especially when I visited dams and so on.

Thinking of the workers who made them.

Also lots of thoughts about tradition and heritage, which of course are so important for contemporary Austrian tourism and sense of identity, collective and individual memory and so on……

It has happened before  when I’ve been in Austria, but this time the feeling was really strong.

Co-existing past and present, parallel or layered..

When I made the film for the Reading Room one of the audience wanted to know why I hadn’t used ‘Picture in Picture’ to show events existing at the Same time in Parallel.

I used overlay which is very different both conceptually and visually.

I think Overlay is more AFFECTIVE but I guess I could try both, maybe at the same time… that would be interesting.

There was another, more personal ‘ layer’ to the Parallels and Palimpsests…

I met Sarah, a colleague from the on-line course, in Innsbruck.

A parallel on-line world brought into focus with a personal meeting…

The parallel relationship is now somewhat different because of this same time, ‘real-time’ meeting.

‘Salt of the Earth’, ‘Bitter Lake’ and ‘Bowling for Columbine’

Last weekend I went to see  the Sebastian Salgado film ‘ Salt of the Earth’

It was at the charming, tiny Chipping Norton Theatre – not many people there but interestingly in the ads before one for the joining  a debate about the Leverson Enquiry.

I’ve looked on- line for it…trying to remember the address, but it was on screen for such a short time I cant find it…Odd as the video was quite long….

Very pertinent as both Rebekah Brooks and David Cameron live a spit away from the Theatre….

About the film, it was shot by his son and Wim Wenders and fascinating though some of his images very distressing and as an autobiography left a lot of personal and, for me, ethical questions about his work and approach, hanging in the air.

I didn’t like the fact that his face was used as an overlay so much with him talking. Just his voice would’ve been fine and interviews separate.

It mixed him and his work up and maybe that’s what it was supposed to do: maybe, but the harshest of realities of some of his outstandingly beautiful images was enough of a contrast without the rather romantic approach to his life and decision making.

Still it was powerful film and interesting from a ‘witnessing’ point of view about what images to shoot and why.

Also how his interests developed as he changed…. because of the images he had taken.

A real reflexivity there..

I’d still have preferred to realise that myself rather having it directed at me with the portrait overlay.

Made me wonder about my recent effort…. and whether that says what I hope it does.

In contrast to that film, a Feature  available on DVD and at cinemas, is Adam Curtis’s,  iPlayer only, Bitter Lake which I don’t think I’ve posted about, but meant to…

I saw it a month or two ago and it really is transforming. An ‘enjoyable’ film in its own right, so intelligent in its analysis and the quality of its making.

I’ve only remembered to blog about it when Jonathan mentioned him in one of the Skype chats. It is focused on events in Afghanistan and how the situation came to be.

Lots of factual stuff presented very clearly within a ‘beautiful’ visual narrative that  also alludes to ideologies without overstating them.

Really impressive. I will watch more of his work.

It seems appropriate to watch these especially as journalism as a form of witnessing and documenting have come to my attention even more through the Reading Room work

I started the MA thinking about Documentation and Myth but things have sort of changed….I’ll have to assess how exactly.

Previously I was interested in the ‘truth’ of documentation and the effects of subjectivity etc..styles of Reportage but I need to address some of my thoughts about style in the very least…..

The other is Bowling for Columbine, which I watched some time ago.

Style completely different and of course, Michael More features in it.

What is great is the relationship he builds up with people and so what he manages to report.

It is the peoples’ ‘ truth’ as you can see it spoken but his interview style and way of working is really clever and of course the content is fascinating, and funny as well as horrific. A very clever combination.

So, I’m not going to make documentary film but the styles are still important.

I haven’t discussed cinematography or anything here…just really reminding me over the overall differences in style…

And also the effect the Leverson enquiry has had on the British Press and how we , as a public, perceive ‘it’.

A very different ideology from that in 1903 when the Reading Room opened!

Titles for Work: Beware !!!

This is a retrospective post as I’m still waxing lyrical about the Reading Room event in the summer because I learnt such a lot- Things I have learnt before but re- learnt again….

One of these was checking any title for work I have made by  doing an internet search before I print labels etc…

For the Interim Show  I wanted to call the work something  which was ‘catchy’, descriptive sad appropriate    ‘ Read All About It’ seemed appropriate as it alluded to news papers and a time when they were advertised verbally by men wearing Sandwich Boards. Fitting with the age of the Reading Room… and what I wanted an audience to do.

My search led me to this…by Pro. Green and Emilie Sande. I was aware of the song but hadn’t taken much notice of it.

Then I watch this vid by Pro.G and actually found it very moving and powerful (and changed my opinion of Emilie Sand who I hadn’t really given much time to….)

More to the point, it meant that I no longer wanted to call the work ‘Read All About It’.

It seems inappropriate  for a younger audience because of this reference.

[Reflecting on this so long after the event, I actually think I should have stuck with my original decision as it would have lead to the audience taking some action…which was the reason for wanting it in the first place… and many of the audience would not associate this newer reference…and I  was aware of it anyway.. so that would have made it OK.Stick to my original thoughts, I think in future… and OWN THEM FOR MYSELF!   Lesson Learnt]

The Reading Room Event :even Further reflections’Community Participative Action Research Project’

At the risk of boring everyone even myself, I must post this further analysis and reflection on the Reading Room Event.

When I exhibited the leaflets, flyers and posters at the Interim Show I had to describe the medium for the work….I struggled with this and then  composed this phrase

‘Community Participative Action Research Project’ ( sic ) as I felt it described what I had done to some extent.

  •  I had worked with a community
  • The community were involved through participation
  • The project involved me performing ‘actions’, witnessing and analysing the actions of others and provoking actions within the community
  • I has employed this method of researching this part of my MA
  • I was also researching and analysing this methodology for researching for the MA
  •  It was a medium- term project (something I was doing before doing something else) – though ‘finishing’ with a single event

However, I decide to ‘Google’ this description before I asked for it to be printed on the exhibition labels….. just to see if the description had been used before…..

This is what I found…….There was a Wiki description of PAR,( below) which apparently already existed before I coined the phrase….always best to check!

If I’m honest , although I think my work fits the general description of PAR when it comes to the tenets it falls short.

In the end I did this work for me , so there was a high degree of Artistic Autonomy rather than agency  in the community involvement and to some extent, although I was interested in their comments and their thoughts I was to some extent ‘using them’ for my own work.

They had not invited me there and although I contributed by paying rent on the Reading Room I may not have given them anything back.

I cannot assume that what I did was ‘good ‘for the community.

After all it was my research for my project. So questions of authenticity arise.

I was authentic, I hope ,in the conversations I had with the community about why I was there and why I was interested i.e the contrast between the Reading Room and RAF Croughton and the comparisons of the technologies ’embodied with them’.

But I did not highlight my concerns over fro e.g. drone strikes.

What is interesting is how MY thoughts came to change during the time that I was working there…

How I saw the people at RAF Croughton was individuals rather than as a ‘group’.

Some of this was due to the individuals I met there and also through other independent freelance tuition work which I’d been                                                                                            doing in the area with a family who had connections with the base.

I’ve underlined the tenets that do apply, to a greater or lesser extent but actually as far as community participation in the true sense of the word, they did participate by coming to the event…. ( a few of them) and by allowing me to film etc but this is not real participation and certainly not true .collaboration

 It was more me that participated in their world.

Anyway, this below may be useful and also this link to FORUM: Qualitative Social Research, a Journal article which describes more about Participatory Research as a methodology.

It is very interesting and I’ll have to consider it in detail if I decide to continue with this methodology, so I really know what it is that I am doing…...

I guess what’s also interesting for me is the fact that this research as my practice actually became part of my research for the Research Paper.

For me they are one and the same…almost indistinguishable….except that the written paper is in a textual and ‘formal medium…whereas any work I have produced and may produce in the future is just in a different medium.

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Forum for Qualitative Social Research

Participatory action research (PAR) is an approach to research in communities that emphasizes participation and action. It seeks to understand the world by trying to change it, collaboratively and following reflection. PAR emphasizes collective inquiry and experimentation grounded in experience and social history. Within a PAR process, “communities of inquiry and action evolve and address questions and issues that are significant for those who participate as co-researchers”.[1] PAR contrasts with many research methods, which emphasize disinterested researchers and reproducibility of findings.

PAR practitioners make a concerted effort to integrate three basic aspects of their work: participation (life in society and democracy), action (engagement with experience and history), and research (soundness in thought and the growth of knowledge).[2] “Action unites, organically, with research” and collective processes of self-investigation.[3]

The way each component is actually understood and the relative emphasis it receives varies nonetheless from one PAR theory and practice to another. This means that PAR is not a monolithic body of ideas and methods but rather a pluralistic orientation to knowledge making and social change.[4][5][6]16 Tenets of Participatory Action Research

Robin McTaggart (1989)

The 16 tenets of Participatory Action Research outlined in this short note were presented to the 3er Encuentro Mundial Investigacion Participatva (The Third World Encounter on Participatory Research), Managua, Nicaragua, September 3 – 9, 1989. They represent an important reflection and distillation of the praxis of participatory action research, by one of its leading practitioners, during the 1980s. The Caledonia Centre for Social Development, as part of its on-going work in the field of participatory development, wishes to make these tenets accessible to a new generation of social activists and to re-stimulate older practitioners.
See Also:

Participatory Action Research

is an approach to improving social practice by changing it
is contingent on authentic participation
is collaborative
establishes self-critical communities
is a systematic learning process
involves people in theorising about their practices
requires that people put their practices, ideas and assumptions about institutions to the test
involves keeping records
requires participants to objectify their own experiences
is a political process
involves making critical analyses
starts small
starts with small cycles
starts with small groups
allows and requires participants to build records
allows and requires participants to give a reasoned justification of their social (educational) work to others
Source and Further Information

These participatory action research tenets are published on page 79 of Everyday Evaluation on the Run, Yoland Wadsworth, (2nd Edition), Allen and Unwin, Australia, 1997

For a fuller description and elaboration of Robin McTaggart’s approach to Participatory Action Research readers are advised to consult The Action Research Planner, Stephen Kemmis and Robin McTaggart (Eds), 3rd Edition, Deakin University, Victoria, Australia, 1988.

Robin McTaggart, Deakin University, Geelong, Victoria 3217, Australia,

Fax (61) 52 442 777.

References[edit]
1. a b c Reason, P. and Bradbury, H. (2008) (eds) The Sage Handbook of Action Research: Participative Inquiry and Practice. Sage, CA. ISBN 978-1412920292.
2. a b c d e f g h i Chevalier, J.M. and Buckles, D.J. (2013) Participatory Action Research: Theory and Methods for Engaged Inquiry, Routledge UK. ISBN 978-0415540315.
3.a b Rahman, Md. A. (2008) “Some Trends in the Praxis of Participatory Action Research”, in P. Reason and H. Bradbury (eds) The SAGE Handbook of Action Research. Sage, London, pp. 49–62.
4. Chambers, R. (2008) “PRA, PLA and Pluralism: Practice and Theory”, in The Sage Handbook of Action Research: Participative Inquiry and Practice. Reason, P. and H. Bradbury (eds). Sage, pp. 297–318.
5. Allen, W.J. (2001) Working Together for Environmental Management: The Role of Information Sharing and Collaborative Learning. PhD Thesis, Massey University, Auckland, NZ.
6.Camic, C. and Joas, H. (2003) The Dialogical Turn: New Roles for Sociology in the Postdisciplinary Age. Rowman & Littlefield, Maryland. ISBN 978-0742527102.
7. Lewin, K. (1946) “Action Research and Minority Problems”, Journal of Social Issues, vol 2, no 4, pp. 34–46.