Becoming a Creative Dementia Arts Professional

This Creative Dementia Arts Network Training Day wasn’t brilliant timing, as I really wanted to concentrate on the Final Show but I felt I couldn’t afford to miss it. I’d already passed -by any involvement with the Flourish mentoring Programme. Clare Carswell was there from Lights Up, who I’ve worked with in the past see below and several other community artists I know who work with people with dementia.DSC_4280 copy.jpg

It was a really valuable day  including roundtable sessions on Evaluation in Arts and Dementia Projects with Dr Kate Hamblin from the Oxford Institute of Population Ageing, and Funding and Opportunities from Maria Parsons CDAN CEO.

I also went along to a session with poet, John Killick of  Dementia Positive, which proved extremely useful as we had a fascinating discussion about the difference between reading aloud,  printed text, handwritten text, storytelling and how he creates his poems from fragments of conversation.

He also talked about the experience of FLOW, a psychological notion  which  Mihaly Csiksgentmihalyi  describes as the  creative moment when a person is completely involved in an activity for its own sake, see this TED Talk

https://embed-ssl.ted.com/talks/mihaly_csikszentmihalyi_on_flow.html

The more things change…..

After choosing not to archive my streams, Periscope now gives the option keep the Scopes for ever!…… I’ve just has a notification when I opened the app.

It’s been coming for some time in different forms, since the demise of Katch…as seen here  using the appropriate #.

But now it’s here automatically …if you want it!

In the meantime here are some of my streams  ..

21st May: I broadcast Louise and I looking through documentation of some of the work I made on Crouch Hill , some 8 years ago. Neighbours and our sons were involved in this work. We shared our memories and I reflected on the work, the space, then and now.

22nd May: I took down the pin-hole cameras and broadcast that process. Brian Little, historian and Elvie the dog, happened to be there at the same time.

29th May: I opened my birthday gifts from Louise on the Hill and shared the experience with the Scopers. There was little Trolling! Just jealous…

31st May : Walt Whitman’s Birthday. I read two Walt Whitman poems, Song of the Universal and To think of Time, from Leaves of Grass. These poems address, `time, Space, ephemerality, rural life and politics with thoughts of simultaneity. It rained very hard and I abandoned the reading because the wet paper disintegrated.

3rd June: Colleague, Jon Shapley, whose work also addresses issues of space, came  up the Hill and we discussed the nature of the space of Crouch Hill. I read from the summaries  key to my Research Paper that  I’d presented for the Research Discussion in February. He used to work in town planning, so I asked him to ‘build’ a new development, as housing is being constructed around the Hill as this project continues. There was some interesting ‘chat’  and lots of interaction as visitors to the summit altered the installation.

 

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and its still continuing now… see Twitter Here and Here 

I also made a Vine : I was reading from Bailey’s thoughts on Time Perspectivism whilst Jon built a village.

5th June: I wasn’t intending to Scope but as we reached the summit, I heard people partying. Some people had had a camp-out. The first I’ve seen this year.. It was an unusually warm day. The space changed again

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13th May: I broadcast Trace see in this post An inadvertent but significant simultaneity

22nd June: I broadcast For the Heart. I  read from classic texts, Hilda Leyel’s  Herbs for the Heart and Gabrielle Hatfield’s Hatfield Herbal on traditional herbal medicine, regarding the medicinal properties of Hawthorn. I’d intended to do this on May Day, but the May blossom was very late to flower and on the Summer Solstice, I hurt my back and couldn’t really walk at all. This day seemed appropriate to talk about traditional medicines to heal the heart. I broadcast it at 3.30pm, as others were holding a memorial for Jo Cox in Westminster and around the world. This time I was an intentional participant in ‘a simultaneity’, Scoped or not. 

26th June: Visited the Car-Boot sale at the Self-Pick Farm situated at the bottom of Crouch Hill., looking for bowls for the Show. I had several interesting conversations whilst Scoping. Particularly pertinent  was a seller from nearby Chipping Norton greeted by a viewer from Morocco, who marvelled at the tech. and said.. “So why do we need the EU then ” .. with all that tech…One of the sellers, Paul from Stargoat  recognised me from my involvement with publicity for the the Old Town party community in Banbury, some years ago. He played his guitar and chatted about music, David Bowie, walking the Wainwright Way and his home in Nethercote just outside Banbury.He also told a story about the role of his home in the exchange of information about nuclear fission to the Russians in 1948…I feel a project coming on….

From Snapchat to 4chan with some in-between

A Summary of some of the apps and Platforms I’ve looked at during the last 12 months .

  • My journey around apps started I guess with a fascination with Snapchat  and watching it in the Reading Room project see this post  last Spring .

My son had introduced me and I loved it… for daft middle-aged not teen reasons! No sharing images of  my body-parts, Thank You! … The trouble was that non- of my contacts joined! No community... One replied to my invitation with ” I’m not on Snapchat but would you like to meet in town for a coffee . “Well we are over 50!

In some ways these events  were key to  the paradox of  living within and between several digital and physical communities which is demonstrated also in my Research Paper. And probably the start of thinking about bringing those together within my process.

  • At the end of Unit 1 in October 2015, Jonathan mentioned Storify, story-telling platform, in a tutorial  so I  signed up and started to investigate it. I drafted this post then and have been editing since.

I kept looking at Storify and trying to fit what I wanted into it…..It is great for  adding content from social media but I did have some problems with the Search trying to find exactly what I wanted.

That’s pretty hard call even when just using a browser as I wanted such specific times and dates and of course had to consider Time differences in location of the event and also on the platform. Twitter time does not equal UK time for instance! The problem can be sorted by altering the settings within the browsers but I couldn’t seem to get the specificity I needed with Storify. I’m sure I could’ve done it a ‘long way round’ and imported the content as images ? but I didn’t feel the other all rest would produce what I wanted in the end, so I abandoned it…There for future reference though….

The  main problem though was that it still produces too linear a narrative.… although more recently for an Upgrade there is livefyre which may be worth investigating. At the time of I was investigating there was no Free Trial, otherwise I may have gone down that route! There are others and others!!! all with different emphases on image, text etc…..

 Later on I decided I  wanted to be able to include live feed from Periscope on  a storytelling platform….. I might have been able to do that  by using Katch but then that disappeared ( see below)

  • I had already spent some time looking at other simpler platforms for documenting the narrative of my process. Some image hosting sites I knew already…Pinterest, Flikr and have dipped into in the past. I set up Instagram and Imgur account to investigate further. The latter on my son’s recommendation because I had been thinking of posting on Reddit, when searching for synchronous events to document along side my actions  to demonstrate simultaneity  as in these described in   Protected: Same time, different places  and here

 described fully in Notes for Research Discussion Thursday 11th February 2016

  • I looked at a range of news sites on Youtube and also Buzzfeed, Huff Post and others.I’d also been directed to and ‘warned’ about ( my sons assume I need protection – they are possibly correct)  the content of 4chan and used some content for the video clips made in   Final Cut – these short pieces which became  works in themselves.

I was still desperately trying to make something non- linear within the constraints of the linear.There’s a long and rambling post where I discuss ( with my self) the vary aspects of that and how film- makers approach the problem.

I eventually stopped trying to tell the story of simultaneity and demonstrate it simply through the action.

  • But on my way I’ve been having ( and continue to have ) fun, playing with Vine here and Anthropology – ritual and space on Vine
  • Using Periscope as  medium of making and showing my work has evolved during my process. The app has developed and continued. The best way to find to what’s available is to watch and interact with other Broadcasts. I did a lot of that at the beginning but recently have limited myself to Broadcasts only. I may have missed out on some updates but didn’t want to get distracted by the app. Just work within the constrains of it, as it was in May. The full functionality depends on having a decent phone so things have improved since upgrading to 8GB iPhone SE. Just after I’d started to use Periscope, this happened:

Scope Day  Originally on November 7, 2015, 56 broadcasters in 37 cities on 6 continents showcased destinations in their respective cities/countries over the course of 16 hours, a sort of simultaneity demonstration. In December 2015 Issac Duckett, the CEO of SCL Brands / Slickchix has acquired the rights to Scope Day.

  • I have used, with varying degrees of success, YouTubeLive and  Google hangouts but rather stupidly deleted the evidence of attempted and successful Trials from my YouTube Channel when tidying up! but Here is one from YouTube below  and one here which was successful on Google Hangouts

is one remaining failure!

I downloaded the encoding software onto my old laptop necessary for YouTube Live stream  and managed a successful stream from my living room but then next time  I couldn’t even access Youtube because the OS no longer supports the updated version… I tried my son’s Chrome book and again had some success but I wanted to broadcast from the Hill where there is no Wi-Fi and using my phone as a Hot-Spot didn’t work for streaming, certainly not with the phone I’d got at the time.The Chrome book had 4G but  still didn’t work. Periscope is just So Easy in comparison.

From an audience point of view it allows anyone with the app to find your stream and watch. The accessibility is so much greater than Youtube where people have to search harder or know her to find you. The Map and List on Periscope make it straightforward and you can search for users using username.

I looked at Lifestream  but it is very corporate, the audience would not be the broad, happen across audience that I was hoping for. I didn’t investigate Snapchat Live.

  • Twitter  : All my broadcasts are automatically shared on Twitter. This gives my Twitter Followers even without the Periscope app the chance to see the Broadcasts for 24 hours.

I’ve been using Twitter more now, to share Vines and posts on my MAFAD Blog as well as posting and re-tweeting.So much so that it has become an essential component for my Final Show, as an access point for an audience

  • Google Translate: In the early days of using Periscope I had a large number of viewers from Turkey (and Russia) so I used Google translate to view the conversation. I could only do this from Screen recordings though. Here they are below,  rather long, clumsy and unedited; but they  show some of my investigation…

There was some chat about an app for simultaneous translation whilst broadcasting, but I couldn’t find it….

and

  • I was interested in the work of Blast Theory especially after the  Participation session with Jonathan and downloaded  Karen app, which was fun.
  • Katch was an app which saved automatically all Periscope streams WITH Comments and hearts  but it closed at the beginning of May. It was useful when I found it and the results of the archived content can be seen in several posts below

Lewis Carroll, Time and Philosophy   

Egg Rolling: Easter Day 

Games without frontiers?

Questioning the i Ching- games without frontiers continued,

All the other broadcasts  were saved to Katch from early March until the end April and I archived them from Katch to this Youtube  playlist Here. The comments (on an Excel spreadsheet), stats and video files were downloaded to my Desktop. It wasn’t available for the St George’s Day work, so this was screen- recorded on the Desktop.

I looked at lots of other Video and screen saving apps available on my 4S but non- worked well and kept to screen recording from the Desktop which if accessed using Chrome as a browser shows the hearts and comments on the replay

  • i Ching: I played around with this app as I aim to use the iChing in an action during the Final Show…possibly using the app…I’d used cards already see above 
  • Geocache: I’ve played around with too ,see here Protected: Geocache possibilities
  • I’ve debated the use of Bit.ly  vs other alternatives  as shortners for Twitter etc.. My son favours Goo.gl but I’ve stuck with Bit.ly so far
  • Soundcloud here 
  • Clyp as here 
  • I investigated Anchor too,”Anchor is radio by the people, where any voice can join the conversation. Anchor makes it easy to broadcast short audio clips to a global audience in seconds. Your listeners can talk back, sparking instant group conversations that were never before possible.”but found it rather dull at the time. Very corporate…Maybe I’ll investigate it when it’s been around a bit longer.IMG_3727.jpg

 

Final Show Preparation 1

IMG_3669For some time now I’ve been selecting the image(s) to  print on the wrappers which will go around the chocolates for the Show.

I realised this would not necessarily be a straightforward choice, but it has been interesting, observing the way I feel and approach the choices and my reasoning behind them. The aim, to a certain extent is that people will engage with the objects ( the chocolates and the bowls they will be placed in ) sufficiently to look closer and pick one up; and then maybe take it away with them.

Essentially the chocolates serve as a promotional item to encourage access to my Twitter and Live stream during the Show. So, the image/s on the wrapper  should encourage engagement and participation and say ‘pick me up’…The Twitter name should be recognisable as a key to unlock the stream in social media, large enough to  say ‘ search for me’…. but not so large that it diverts all attention from the image.

Unlike normal promotional items there is no ‘logo’ as such, yet there is a sense of  ‘branding’. By making my profiles on social media more uniform, with the same image etc  and linking the accounts, there is a level of conformity  to the concept of my ‘ identity’ as a ‘brand’  that links with chocolate, social media, images,market,  commodification and  consumption. Especially within the context of a selling exhibition and increasing corporate involvement with arts education.

I have to be careful here or else the work will degenerate into a low level political rant without focus….if it hasn’t done that already…I need the images and the objects to, more than anything, illustrate the essential points of my work on Crouch Hill, highlighting those key thoughts of my research project, with allusions to the extended analysis and act as a promotional item!

I also want the small chocolates  to act as small objects  with the action of taking and eating one to stand in for the ‘small’ actions in  Bailey’s concept of time perspectivism

The distribution of the chocolates acts as a performative act of communal ‘sharing’ with each being a small ‘gift’,  referencing Marcel Mauss’s concept.

If I’m lucky, some people will follow my Twitter or Download Periscope and watch my stream. I guess it  may well follow the 1% Wiki Rule of Participation, with 9 out of every 100 participating ( Wiki’s case editing in my case viewing ) and maybe 1% chatting. But that’s just fine with me. If no-one does, well they have still been made and the process of making and discourse and action around it still took place and will continue in a narrative of embodiment  and possible future dissemination and re- mediation by the people involved.

I’ve finally settled on 5 images, rather than 1, which hopefully, provide an intriguing narrative to the most recent part of my process. I like the fact that the way they will be distributed during the Show leads to the fragmentation, non-linearity and un- finishedness of this narrative throughout a social space, with a continuing contingency of the story over time. See also post here about which I selected 

I didn’t want to do the layout for the printing  because my graphic skills are poor and  the local printers Banbury Print and Design work with the chocolatier, Belflair, to make the wrappers the correct size! Thanks Nicola, you’ve been great!

After lots of proofs ( they must be sick of me…..) with changes of text content, direction and font, I think they are there. I’ll send them to print later today. The images I’ve used are all by people who have been part of my work and so are credited with their copyright and permissions given.

That old documentation paradox again….

Following my broadcast on Monday, 13th June, I have made a decision not to document anymore Broadcasts. I will delete any video saved to my camera roll, if this should happen. I have more than enough material to work on and the excessive amount of documentation here within the Blog.

Paradox is at the heart of  my process including my excessive and compulsive documentation  and the contrast with  ephemerality of the medium. So for these last few weeks of the MA, and the broadcasts I make during the Final Show will cease to exist after 24 hours…at least as far as my hard-drives are concerned.

Does this feel uncomfortable.Yep, but the relationship between performance, documentation and archive  has never been an easy  or static one and I’ve wrestled with it throughout my practice

It will be time to look again at key works from Peggy Phelan’s Unmarked: The Politics of Performance ( 1993), Derrida’s Archive Fever ( 1995)  and works regarding performing the archive .

Just for now though, I’ve made my decision. The broadcasts will be listed on Periscope and there will be documentation of the number of viewers and other stats. that I can access on my phone for a limited period afterwards. This will include Peak numbers of viewers and a graph showing numbers over time (the latter is not possible to see here for this broadcast) There is also a list of viewers so that if I want to follow them or contact through Periscope or Twitter, I can…

I’ve posted some examples below. The graph is from a more recent broadcast.

On Twitter it will be possible for me to see a record of  Total Twitter activity  as below:

 

Symposium 2.6.2016 with replies and reflections

Following the Symposium 2.6.2016 I’m posting answers to hopefully most of the questions which were asked during my slot.

There was quite a lag which meant that questions were more difficult to answer properly in the live time-frame, unlike the previous Skype chat-only Research Discussion ( and also further notes here)  in February.

Thanks to Jonathan who explained things on my behalf ( an uncomfortable process , but useful under the circumstances- also good to hear which areas I had made explicit to Jonathan during the Tutorial and which may need further clarifiction!)

Live-stream options:

I have looked at other ways of Livestream ( Google Hangouts, Livestream) but prefer Periscope as it is essentially a mobile app and so handheld and ‘intimate’ ( although available for viewing via Desktop now ) and accessible through 3G. With Hangouts and Youtube Lifestream using Downloaded Encoding Software I had variable results and was dependant upon  Wi-Fi.

The places I have been working often have no Wi-Fi but usually 3 or 4G.

I had problems with stream quality and faffed around changing Network providers (from 3 to Vodafone on unlocked phone and looked at others via other accounts ) but have solved the problem more or less completely by early upgrading from old iPhone 4S to SE…..

Periscope is essentially ephemeral, lasting only 24 hours ( Though there has been an app that saved stream with live comments visible- Katch )

and you can chose to save the video footage ( but no interactive comments) to your phone video roll.

Since upgrading my phone I’ve also been able to save ( within the 24 hours) by screen recording direct from the phone using  Quicktime onto my desktop.

Prior to that I was accessing via the desktop app and ( provided you used Chrome as a browser) you could screen record the whole thing with comments using Quicktime)

Prior to that, relatively briefly, I’d forgotten about the screen recording option… …(Doh! I’d used it enough for other things!!) and tried to record just paying pack and recording through a hand help or tripod mounted camera/ phone just so that I could reflect on the comments and make sure what I’d missed… also translate in Google translate as initially ( October 2015) many of my audience were Russian.

That paradox of ephemerality and desire to archive is important and significant throughout the process and conceit of the work.

The ‘actions’ ( which are all performative but not necessarily always ‘performance’) are ephemeral but still ‘trace’ remains – with or without archival documentation.

(I’ll be describing more of this in other posts…. but some links with Mystic Writing pad metaphor and other Derridean and other references ).

Audience:

Audience Numbers

Numbers vary from about 70 to nil depending on what I’m doing and what time of day it is.

If I’m doing something alone which has a high degree of performance then I tend to get a lower number of viewers but who watch for a while. They may ask questions but get no answers as I am not behind the camera but in front… a separation of audience and performer as in stage theatre…. but an intimacy depending on where and how I position the camera.

If I’m doing something and chatting to viewers as they appear then the tend to stick around. This isn’t always possible as I’m working outdoors and want to read the comments and respond but can’t because of screen glare ( I’ve tried covering the screen but then it covers the camera! I need a low tech solution…the tent helps!)

I haven’t tried to get a following but have one. In the beginning I did try to ‘Follow back’ my followers just so that I could see and analyse other broadcasts broadcast but many of my followers are watcher only and many, early on, were just porn streams, so are blocked.

Audience for May Day bonfire  ‘Scope 

Ed mentioned that it would have been worth using high production values for the Bonfire video ( burning tapes) but this was  also a Periscope broadcast and despite the horn sound at daybreak being at 5.40am I had 3 viewers and 3 Replay viewers according to the stats.

There were between 6 and 12 viewers for the following series of Scopes of the bonfire making and lighting which followed and unto 6 replay viewers. (more details on an Audience post – with one screen shots).

The music for this was played at the site at the time of the Scope from another phone via a Bluetooth speaker, from a mix I’d made of all the music on the original tapes I was burning, downloaded from iTunes. see the May Day post . it is not added post-production

Generally speaking, here is also the chance of ‘happenstance’ viewers who are walking on the hill, as it is a popular dog-walking , family stroll route  and ‘camp-out’ location.

Some local walkers know me directly or by association abut others do not…they engage or don’t engage….as is their choice.

Style of video production – decision…

The hand-made style of video production is inessential choice in my work. Referencing the vernacular and hoping to  highlight obvious mediation/ remediation  of the event through the technology and yet provide a sense of immediacy despite a lack of immersion…see this paper on immediacy 

There is ambiguity in this approach and interpretation I realise. Lots to argue about and discuss which goes along with the performance/theatre/ audience boundaries and discussions which I hope to put on this blog somewhere..and should have done already….

Broadcast/ not Broadcast

All the work I have done on the Hill has been broadcast, even the trials of the equipment and the stream/ signal tests and experiments with video projection inside the tent.

Some of the footage on the first clip of the discussion whilst walking was not Broadcast as it took place on an M0D ( Ammunition Depot) site and as we approached the boundary my battery went dead.I filmed on my camera and included it anyway for the put[oses of the Symposium.

What’s the point of a memorial that you can’t see

Trystan was correct, this is important.

It referenced the memorial which is on MoD land which now ‘overlays’ the battle of Edge Hill Civil War site and memorial. The one we visited is on the public road and can be visited at any time but the one referred to is on the site which is visible on the first map used as background in the Symposium, at Graveground Coppice; the site where the bodies are actually buried.Is is only accessible with MoD permission and by the Sealed Knot on the anniversary of the Battle, as far as research tells me see also battle of Edgehill Battlefield siteScreen Shot 2016-05-28 at 14.14.11

The ‘half- and half space’ is at the boundary corner of this area. There are no signs prohibiting access but it is not on the Public Footpath Civil War trail.There had been previous warning signs P1030953and you can see further video on other private posts (if you want the password please email).

The quote’s important because you can’t see this memorial but people know it is there. I was thinking really of Pierre Nora’s ideas of ‘Site of Memory’ which  do not simply arise out of lived experience but are created to embody a memorial consciousness. These sites still mark rituals which he believes, act as boundaries to the past and as ‘illusions of eternity’ ( Nora – Les Lieux de Memoir Nora, 1989 ) in an otherwise de-ritualised society. Also there concept of the Derridian ‘trace’ ( Derrida- Of Grammatology , 1976) 

Engagement and meaning

I was pleased that Ed picked up on some of the layered meaning within the clips of documented Periscope streams.

These are intended to be accessed and engaged with by differing audiences depending on their geographical location, culture, age…as discourse operates at different ‘levels’ according to Post-Structuralist  and Discourse Theory quick link but more discussion needed.

I was rather concerned that he thought it to be ‘exclusive’ and ephemeral and I hope my methodology of ‘slightly ridiculous’ is open, engaging and accessible in its playful nature; but that as in the Trickster has a depth  and another level of engagement…….

I have wrestled with the terminology Site- Specific for this work because, Yes, it is located physically at specific – sites and the work is related to the history of these particular sites but it also connects with a global site and community as well as local and specific…..

Also the same methodology and method could easily be applied to any location or ‘place, so I chose not to use that term… also the term Psycho-geography or ‘derive’ does not really apply to my walks and discussions as they are chosen with purpose rather than discovered. The research process around their history is more of a ‘derive’ I feel and the discourse which arises when we are there… though there is a brief for participants so that is debatable.

Certainly there are  Situationalist links  though.

Hopefully I’ve answered most of the questions. I’ll check the Youtube video again and thanks to Jonathan for describing my Show ideas….. there will be more on a specific post.

Also some theory references which I should have put on a slide in the video.

Tutorial 27.05.2016

castethebest

This image is relevant….all will be revealed!

In my tutorial with Jonathan we covered lots of ground. I  put forward my ideas for Live stream during the show and how I would make sure there was something for viewers to see during the PV.

In preparing for the tutorial I’d realised that it had been difficult for me to make decisions that were solely for my practice, future professional practice as well as the final exhibition, and to leave aside more personal desires….as below..

Yet another conflict and ambiguity that seems to have pervaded  my work throughout the MA.

Getting used to organising an exhibition without being present may well be the way I have to work in the future .

The opportunity to organise set up/install  on-line and at a distance is providing me with just such an opportunity…Even if I’d really love to be there, involved with a team, and seeing everyone face to face.

In some ways it seems a sacrifice not to be involved in this way…but essential for my work, now and in the future.

So, we discussed the matter of delegation and distant, loose direction and how my practice so far had engaged with these techniques of working in participative and collaborative practice….and how exactly this would work for the Show.

I put forward ideas for how the audiences would access my stream, when the streams would be and some of the content on the various dates; especially a performative exchange for the PV night.

Also, how different audiences would be notified or made aware of the actions and events during the week of the Show.

I explained some of the links and associations which are important  for the final pieces and how I see them working together.

Jonathan was more than supportive and I was very over excited really as, for once, things seem to be reaching some point of resolution at about the right time….

I’ll  post more details but there will be no specific timetable…just something every 24 hours to ensure at least one lifestream is accessible via Twitter/ Periscope every day of the Show.

I’ve really tried to cut down on any excess for the show as there is so much layering, fragmentation and ‘stuff’ in my work I need some clarity.

I mentioned to Jonathan about my Geocache thoughts…which I’ve decided to put on hold… they are not for now but another piece of work for the future… and he agreed.

I also discussed some of my thoughts about reciprocality, participation, collaboration and audience.

We’d had a talk the previous day by Charlotte Webb about her PhD and it set me thinking about future study….whether my practice is more suited to research in other disciplinary areas…

I shared a few thoughts with Jonathan about this too..

 

Pin-hole Playtime – Solargrams

Way back, I been chatting to Martin, who lives in Llandrindod Wells about working on Crouch Hill and also about Pinhole Photography Day 24th April 2016. I’ve been involved with some of his image making before – notably a significant day in 2014- but as a subject rather than participant. Along with others, he’s been part of many conversations about the site and activities I’ve been ‘planning’ and somehow  (Him/Me?) suggested the possibility of using a pinhole camera on the hill over a period of activity.

I’d been focussing on May Day but to install a camera a little earlier meant that we could incorporate any images on the Pinhole Day Website (…or  they will be there when I have written this post so that the details of this post can then be put on the website ……….reflexivity in action!) and a combination of basic  analogue and digital tech for image making. The images will be Solargrams, tracking the course of the sun from April 17th to May 23rd incorporating Beltane sunrise on Crouch Hill.

Several important factors about the process relating to my research

  • Pinhole photography uses no lens…no mediation (at this initial stage) a raw and ‘pure’ analogue process, a direct extension of a camera obscura.
  • Solargrams, like these, track the movement of the sun over time and space from a static location; they show the passage of time within space… (rather than an instant). As Martin put it…’capturing contingency’
  • Scanning the image (see process below and here)  is a critical stage of the process as the original image will be DESTROYED by the bright scanning lamp (or at least severely damaged). Therefore, only one scan is permitted. There is a built in ‘ephemerality’ of the actual material imagery..
  • Collaborating and communicating with Martin had to be via mobile as there were no landlines in Wales and no Broadband.  The wind had blown down trees and brought down the cables.. in an unknown location so impossible to repair. He had been without a phone for several weeks. Luckily he lives at the top of a hill so his mobile connection is fine.

UPDATE: Here they are on the `pinhole day’ website !!!!!

The period they were installed ( 17th April – 23rd May) means they covered the time from before to after Beltane ( whichever Beltane dates you care to choose…depending on your location/nationality).

There’s also an image of Martin’s simultaneous (ish) sunrise on May 1st on the post about that event here…. when it is written

They were positioned to face in the direction of the sunrise to catch the movement of the sun across the sky, daily, for the period they were present.

The sun rises to the left of the Trig Point.

Martin, in true precision mode, gave me co-ordinates and landmarks to make sure I was facing the right way and in the correct spot and Helen helped to keep me straight when I fixed the cameras on the trees. They were small film canisters with film enclosed.

I took some images with a Polaroid One 600 too. Just for the sake of it…Helen even took a couple of me Periscoping the install using the Polaroid….and so on! and a couple of the surroundings for context…

IMG_20160527_0001.jpg

Here are the cameras, barely visible in one case,  when I took them down.

The other had been turned carefully round so that it pointed away from the activities that often occur on summer evenings!

When I went to retrieve them, Brian, the local historian in some of the Scopes was there walking his dog….

 

These are the images that Martin produced once they had been posted off to him in Wales and scanned.

“simply scanned, inverted, & adjusted contrast curves.
The colours are “as they happened”. Even with identical location & scanning there are different colour characteristics. Maybe chemicals in the air/cannister?”

Actually, that’s just given me the idea to set up a range of identical cams, each with a leaf of a different (aromatic/toxic?) plant enclosed

very ethereal and quite beautiful.

“Here’s a snap of the images on the photo paper as they appear in daylight. Should give you an idea of how thin the image is! The image v. quickly degrades once it’s flooded with light & there’s no photochemical means of preserving the image so that it’s viewable long-term. So the use of a scanner & photoshop/GIMP to stretch the contrast is a nice mix of new & old technology.” Martin Winfield

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This is how Martin processed the images….

Pinhole Solargram on Ilford MGIV paper, exposed from 17th April to May 23rd  unprocessed. Scanned, inverted & contrast adjusted in Linux/GIMP by Martin Winfield – martinwinfield.co.uk

Camera info:
35mm film canister with 0.2mm pinhole in aluminium foil.

 

Bill Drummond …..where is he now?

I’ve been loosely following Bill on his progress after reading this article and already being aware of his work at Eastside Projects . I love the daffs, Bill, as many other people probably do!

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I thought about him on St.George’s Day, 24th April, as it was also Asparagus Day. I went to buy some locally grown asparagus from the farm close to Crouch Hill, but because the weather has been so cold it was two weeks behind! I went to the local Co-Op and bought some which had been flown f from (!?) Spain…..

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I had downloaded some asparagus based songs  (surprisingly there are quite a few) e. g. Chris Wood, Half Man -Half Biscuit , took the bunches to the hill and offered them to passers- by. No takers… surprisingly.

This was a Drummond-esque gesture, but semi-rural Oxfordshire isn’t quite the same as Birmingham…

I also checked out his website Penkiln Burn, to see how he was getting on……poster-1

Simultaneous Broadcasts

This is a short post about something that took a long time to make and a long time to look through the excessive documentation…. for just a few screen shots.

I wanted to push the idea of simultaneous broadcasting from the same site via Periscope. Providing, what I hoped were several witnesses to the same event… and play with that idea.

I invited 2 local amateur archaeologists and 2 friends. The theme for discussion was Hill forts… relating to the idea of Crouch Hill as a signalling post, using fires, to nearby  Iron Age Hill forts such as Rainsborough Camp, which features in my research paper. Th planned action would also  aim to illuminate the general militarisation of the area, now and in the past; the  ‘multi-dimensional layering’ of  action, social interaction, memory  and physical landscape…. so combining the ideas of simultaneity and palimipsest.

Veronica had researched hill-forts and was to discuss them with Claire and other on-stream viewers, whilst Louise, Chris and I Periscoped the conversations at the same time. However, Veronica was sick and could’t lead.

Claire brought  her local OS (Ordnance Survey) map (a good link to the Trig Point and geo-location ) using that as a guide, we discussed the local geography and historyand position of some nearby  hill forts and ancient landmarks We  tried to spot some of them in the distance and then drank elderflower cordial. We finished the broadcasts  by  all walking around the summit and showing the viewers the geographical context of the hill from all our points of view.

This was the first time viewers had  been given a guided tour!

Challenges and thoughts

I had 2 phones with me , so in theory, a total of  5 different ‘witness ‘ broadcasts, (with another participant viewing from the  via desktop app. )

Unfortunately, I couldn’t get a signal on one phone and the others have very few followers. so chat was limited…I had 43 viewers and the others  a handful. I didn’t see much chat visible though apart from a few ( mild-ish) Trolls and could only see a handful of people hopping on…. not at all sure why that was…Generally no direct chat from me to the broadcast means very little from the network – unless people choose to  chat between themselves.

This is what I’d hoped for. Chat within and between broadcasts and our group on the Hill.

The bright sun meant that none of us could see the screens properly without covering up the phone( and the cameras!)

We spent a long time faffing setting up, using up our data and batteries, I got several back-up packs jus in case)  by which time most viewers had got bored and left, I think.

I could possibly have spent more time ‘training’ people to use Periscope and practising but I don’t like that idea of rehearsal and practice. The action and event is just something that happens… not theatre…the  faff was just part of the process and was streamed too, as it evolved.

Essentially, it was what it was,

At that time, in that place 

Although we didn’t create the sense of community and chat between Scopers I thought may occur,  we did broadcast 4 different witnessings of the same action.We’d all used the same # to make it easier for viewers to track us ( at least one viewer  did make the effort to find other Broadcasts).

The exercise didn’t really investigate  simultaneity in different locations as we were all in the same ‘spot’ … but was more an attempt to explore and play with the idea of performer/participant/ audience/ viewer/ witness/ collaborator and these roles.

I had the original idea from looking at Trish Browns’ Roof Piece ( 1979), although that is different.There are different performers in different locations, performing the same action, simultaneously. This has probably been created already via a broadcast channels such as Periscope. But for global performance  is a possibility for future development.

 

What we did do, was to record 4 different perspectives of the same action and relations within the space at the same time…and network them to a ( small) but global and local community.

See below  for 3 different shots of a passing dog-walker  (owner of Jasper; half-terrier, half- Springer) taken at,  more or less…, the same time.

He wasn’t really keen on joining the chat… more concerned that my temporary occupation may continue to permanence…

I’d also brought a game of ( chocolate ) chess as a reference to the history of social hierarchy and capture ‘layered’ and hidden within the space. It was so hot the chocolate melted, leaving a mess resembling a battlefield on the board….