Sharing memories of Santillana del Mar

Connectivity: Problems and solutions

I’ve been spending a lot of time trying to sort out the poor connectivity and pixelation problems with my Broadcasts.

Increasingly , people are hopping on and then dropping out. Although audience numbers as viewers on the scopes are not the reason for the work, it does mean that it is rendering the broadcasts ineffective, even if there are no viewers for other reasons… I appreciate that viewers are not enjoying the experience of the broadcasts and that the remediation is incomplete and inefficient.

I’ve investigated getting a new phone as mine is an iPhone 4S, reconditioned. I’ve  tried using a Vodafone SIM as this phone is unlocked, (Louise’s  Android works well on Vodaphone from this location) but with limited improvement

A new phone will have to wait a while until other avenues have been investigated, as I have a contract which is only due for renewal in July and the early upgrade fees are too high for me to afford.

After I’d broadcast as below I spent some more time in the tent playing around with my son’s Chromebook laptop which has 3G to see if I could get any sort of signal at all. I was hoping for a future event on May 1st to interview some people via Skype or replay some video material, show images and text from a laptop via Periscope for discussion. However no signal was available and as my phone signal ( 3 or vodaphone) is not so strong or reliable I could’t use either as hotspot.

I was playing around in the tent with two laptops, three phones and 2 SIMs when a couple came past walking their dog. I explained what I was doing in the tent with photographs, slides, laptops, miniature clogs etc  and why……They understood and were interested. Their  son is an art student at Kingston School of Art….

Sharing the memories

After having the conversation with Andrea from Asturias during the Yes and No game, about Santillana del Mar. I arranged a time when we could meet via Periscope to show here some of my ‘memorabilia’! Photographs, maps, slides, souvenirs and postcards …all shown via Periscope.

I contacted her via Twitter @andrepr3 along with some of the other people who’d been in the chat and were interested in coming along.  I ‘ve posted the link here  to the messages rather than a screen shot. When I realised that she wasn’t able to make the Broadcast as she was playing football somewhere else at the time I posted some of the images on Twitter as well, scanned for the original slides and photographs.

I spent a very long time trying to find replacement bulbs both in local shops and on-line, for the hand-held Boots 2000 35mm battery Slide viewer that you can just see in the clip  and is like this one here...if it still is on Ebay! but in the end, no success… I tried to hold the slides up to the phone camera and into the sun…. but of course it was useless… that was the point of the exercise really! A fascinating analogue/ digital juxtaposition though in what I hope was a humorously nostalgic action.

I had hoped to project some of the slides by saving the digital images to my phone and projecting from a battery powered Pico projector but sadly the tent isn’t dark enough ( I did try this earlier on when I first used the tent.

There is of course no power source for a mains projector.Using a generator would not be practical in this location and also makes the whole event too semi-permanent and controlled.

Above is a short edit of the broadcast saved to Katch with the Tweets on either side.

I made the video for the Final Symposium video but had to cut it because of time.

As I upload it it will be posted to Twitter via YouTube.

The edited version of this post will also be posted on Twitter… both  somewhat out of the timeframe…as I am finally posting from a draft in June!


An example of continuing re-mediation of archive and memory over time, temporality of space, networks of social space, linked to mapped space and simultaneity in action. Along with the ritual of sharing and rendition of analogue images via a digital live stream network and this again, this blog.

There is also a re-animation of embodied memory through the action of sharing of the images and my story-telling as I shared my memories and ‘re-lived’ the trip myself.



Laura Lancaster: Working from personal photographs (and Matt Collishaw)

Last night I went to the preview of Laura Lancaster  and Jan Vanriet at the New Art Gallery Walsall.

Both these artists work from photographs, Lancaster’s from discarded and forgotten images and Super 8 film, in flea markets and on eBay so with no personal attachment, and Vanriet’s the opposite, from family photographs and those of people in Nazi concentration camps ( where his parents met).

Both artists work has a strong association with memory, which is where I came in on the MA….seems like a long way back…

Whilst I am not working with this imagery at the moment, I have at the start of the course..cling film scans0011 Resized




IMG_0214150with these drawings on cling film  ( above)

and ‘found’ slides which I used in some projection experimentsAustralian Slides0033 Resized 150
plus these prints on acetate for projection

My work has moved more from personal to collective memory but I’m still interested in artists who do use this imagery for eg Jonny Briggs  whose work is very different from this!

All these artist above use photographs as a source with association with memory and time but in different ways.

For me, Lancaster’s paintings had a real painterly materiality and her delicate drawings on the found paper  such a contrasting fragility ( all in differing drawing styles, as if by different people…)Vanriet’s work was much more controlled and uses repeated images.Both shows were tender and poignant despite the size of the exhibits.

There is of course a huge contrast with Jonny Briggs, whose work is mainly photographic images.There is a PDF of Questions for Jonny Briggs 13.01.16   that I hope to be able to ask him about is work, at some point.

There was also a work by Matt Collishaw  ‘All things fall’  see these images and video. It was astounding. Made apparently using a 3d printer and took a year…..As or much of his work, very beautiful until on closer inspection…… not so in content.

Community -based work

I’m planning some workshops and a gallery visit for people with dementia in association with the local Demetia cafes, in association with the  Education Dept at NAGW based on the Laura Lancaster and Jan Vanriet exhibitions and will also start a series with other groups in my community-based work. Many people in the groups enjoy working from family photographs and referencing these artists may help me take them in quite a different direction by being able to discuss the context and prices of these works.


Broadcast Balloons

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This article on Sky News drew my attention

North Korea has launched around one million propaganda leaflets by balloon towards its southern neighbour amid increased tensions over Pyongyang’s recent nuclear test, it has been claimed.The North’s unverified claim of a successful hydrogen bomb test on 6 January has sparked off a new Cold War-style stand-off between the bitter rivals.

The simplicity and directness of the way the balloons and messages subvert the restrictions imposed by North Korea on digital and other means of communication – the immediacy and intimacy cut across the propaganda.

I came across it whilst researching the concept of the ‘broadcast’ way back in November but never actually written much about my thoughts about the original  meaning of the word,  that stems from the idea of sowing seed by the broadcast method.

I remember this from my agricultural practice… before the introduction of seed drills and precision seeding – putting the seeds in a specific row or slot.

So a Broadcast spreads ideas relatively  indiscriminately  ( “some fall on stony ground”  – biblical quote and all that). A metaphor still used today in communications which has a resonance for me, my previous commercial agricultural links, and my present day art practice.

Also some political and cultural implications, too, if you look at the history of the drill in Britain ( Jethro Tull ) and the fact that non-Western ancient civilisations had already invented it centuries before. Parliamentary Enclosures of Common Land started in 1750 not long after Jethro Tull died……

I hadn’t realised that messages on balloons have been used regularly since the Korean War according to this Wikipedia post ( apologies for Wiki reference but is a free and collaborative encyclopaedia that anyone can edit so it seems appropriate here!!)

and the protests continue according to the BBC ( March 2016)



Yesterday I went to the Videovada event : Re-purposing Analogue Video Workshop Oxford artist AD Pawley introduced the workshop and the aim was to create an installation from redundant Video equipment.      Make sculptures from VHS Tapes, build a low-powered TV transmitter and explore reflections and feedback with old TV screens and video cameras.

Looking at the video feedback experiments he had done was relevant to the re-mediation re-projection work I’ve been doing but is using VHS and analogue recording and TV’s.

In the end we had a screen woven from VHS tape. Some hanging stuff near the bar.. my failed attempt to make the space  sort of ‘tapey’, and several cameras filming and then transmitting to each other in a continuous loop of feedback which was fun and interesting and interactive too.

It provoked interesting discussion though especially at the evening screening. From 8-10pm there was a  Participatory screening – where people brought their own projectors. There was a Super8 and not super 8… and  splicer. The image quality from the Super8 was wonderfully nostalgic  and the colour so rich. Hugh Pryor  brought in home videos and animations.

A screening with no rules! and all projections were projected onto the walls of the OVADA Warehouse. Basically we just all found space and showed our stuff.

I took the Pico and projected from my iPhone. The original Salt Way just to see how big I could project without losing quality ..and also the final ( I think ) of the remediation projections on the Salt Way.

I had some discussion with Neil C Smith about the work and we discussed quality of the projection and size of projection and his interpretation of the ‘galaxy’ element of the work. We also discussed the rotation of the video and how this affected image quality when projected as it was filmed on the iPhone.

I’m still thinking about whether to keep the iPhone as my primary filming device… hand held etc or using a better quality camera and therefore image. Hard to decide for future work. I still like the idea of using the iPhone and agree with Dave Charlesworth that it is ‘lazy’ but that is surely the point…. the common practice and the subsequent ‘ cheapening ‘ of image…. disintegration and degradation….

Talking to Neil helped me think throughout these things some more but I am undecided which to pursue… He has done lots of work on interactive projection ( with Digital Prisoners ) including apparently some work local to Banbury with Banbury Museum in 2006  Sound Pool ( I missed this! How!) and projection onto natural materials like wood  Trees of the Cherwell Valley and so on so I will look more at his work and it was good to make contact with him.

The event was good from lots of points of view,… mixing with other local artists who were interested in what I do gave me confidence and contacts but also i still feel like I’m just learning to write the alphabet. Also these events are invaluable at acquiring new skills especially as I can’t access the things at Camberwell but there is so little time to focus on what I want to do in the next project.

He will be running a workshop next Saturday that is about coding for interactive video using PraxisLive  an open source software,so that should be good.

I’ve just got to focus a little on how I want to move forwards……I’ve been collecting material but not sure what to do with it now!!!

Anyway here are a selection of images and videos of the day.

In deeper

Yesterday I played around with projections through the cling film ‘curtains’.

I tried initially with the series of Sibelius‘ but without sound.

Louise came to view and thought the extra visuals confused the ‘curtain’ projection.

I thought so too.

I scanned the photos I used to make the drawings and then, today, I projected them as a slide-show.

Again these images in sequence, like the Australia slides, did not work as a sequence.

They definitely distracted from the projection rather than adding to it, or the experience of the installation in total.

I tried the ‘Sibelius‘ series again, this time with sound and the sound seemed to tie them together.

The one below is with ‘Be Still my Soul

I like the way the projection plays on the ‘curtains’ as well as the wall..and the drawings are on the cling-film as well as the wall.

Double – imagery but with distortions, and layers……not sure what I am doing yet but a little concerned as I wanted to keep things simple with a core ‘ feeling’.. not too complex.

I accidentally deleted the one with the loud beginning phase of ‘Finlandia‘ which didn’t work well as just video but with ‘curtain’ seemed better to me as the loudness of the music was tempered by the visuals, I feel?

I can try it again.

I also used some of the fair footage, despite the fact that they all project at 90 degrees when imported directly and played through the Media Player. A common problem according to the ‘Google’ oracle.

Still I really like the abstract images that emerge with the projections and feel that sound really adds something to the whole experience…maybe too much?Joan Jonas doesn’t use loud sounds ..or does she?

Must investigate.

Really enjoying the overlays though.

Some still images below:

No sound as the video quality seems to be rubbish when embedded from Youtube…..

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Also messed with very basic Augmented Reality on my phone as still waiting for new desktop to download  Metia AG

Just to finish off… I slept badly last night and one of the things disturbing me was the refining of my Proposal Question.

It has developed into:

“To what extent does digital technology enable affective re-animation of personal or collective embodied memory of action or event ?”

It sounds very pretentious and not at all practical but I hope it has scope for the practice- base investigation I want to do and also the written dissertation.

Week four – reflections on work so far

More here soon. Ha! Well, OK not ‘soon’ as it has taken me till now, 5th October, to sit down and write something.

It’s is not that I haven’t been doing and thinking and reflecting but ver..ry slowly in a turgid sort of way.

I have not felt activated by anything I am doing, obstacles are not challenges but obstacles!

So finally after two weeks of fever, fatigue and residual lethargy I have been able to be active, sociable and now feel able to write some of my reflections.

Obviously many of the fleeting thoughts have been left behind but I can inly trust in the process that the essential will rise to the surface of the settling pool and be available for contemplation.


Binary and Printing (and Drawing): Reflection

The binary clay seals I made finally dried out and I had a go at printing with them.

Not really successful as they were not fashioned smooth enough to use on paper and the ink was absorbed by the clay so even printing on fabric was not really successful.

I will try using the relief on some clay but suspect as they were not fired it will crumble and break as this already started to happen when the ink was applied.

So the question is:

Do I source a kiln ( Helen S?) , make some better ones, fire and try again or do I shelve the idea?

They were interesting objects and visitors generally saw some references I had hoped for.

Several comments about the ‘things used in the da Vinci code’! ( is this a good reason to watch it again?!)

I had a notion of making some in glass which would be really enjoyable but very time consuming if not really relevant.

I still do like glass as a material for all the tranformed, not really one thing or another  ( solid/liquid), constantly moving, reflective, transparent reasons.

And I love working with Helen in the studio!

I love the place and, as you will come to understand, ‘place’ means a lot to me – sparks off all sorts of ‘stuff’.

SO I think I enjoyed making them and the binary text thing is still lurking, as you will see later, but I am not sure yet where it ‘fits’.

I have been continuing with printing images made from documentation of actions and will upload images in my next post .

I am not sure what it is I am doing but I think I am Processing  the memory.

Working over and over again on the same image.

When I am tracing over the image, the result  become less accurate and so the image underneath is a more distant  represention of what went before.

Often when I am doing it I become bored with the repetition and am just doing it for the sake of doing it.

Not fully present in the action.

Similar to the way our bodies adapt to some sensations and so can distance our selves from, for instance , the feeling of our clothing and ambient sounds, in order to stay sane.

This then makes me think of maybe paying attention to all the forgotten experiences of our day to day lives…

and also to change my emphasis  more to ‘forgetting’.

I’ve written  before  ( BA dissertation )  Link??? about  fact and fiction in documentation and the fluidity of this but I feel my emphasis  this time is different.

My main concern is that I have been bored by this and by the results.

If I am then why would anyone else be interested! and I ‘m at the beginning of the MA!! Not a good time to be bored!

Also feeling very frustrated at not being able to go on the Liverpool trip or visit galleries etc the way I would like to.

Feeling devoid of inspiration and the things that make us perceive things differently.

But being aware that if my analysis is to be of the human memory vs. digital memory, what I am doing is engaging in the Processing part of the PROCESSING, STORAGE, RETRIEVAL procedure.

I felt comforted by this and have tried not to think too far ahead.

Experiments with analogue materials: Reflection

I really enjoyed playing with the materials and after finally getting my old Mac to read the files and uploading them into an ancient  version of iMovie I enjoyed messing around with editing.

The only problem is that I find the software ‘clunky’ and am a novice so the edit is rubbish.

Again it’s fine for playing around with but it would be good to make something that wasn’t scruffy.

Making the piece with Claire was interesting as it made me think of ‘what is collaboration?’

Her thoughts were interesting as we discussed the nature of archive and the possibility of filming in my loft ( where all my personal family memory-keeper’ stuff is mostly ( apart from the bits I am trying to edit and file)

Of course as this MA proceeds I realise that in ‘clearing crap’ during the summer I have thrown away things that would now be useful.

The less relevant life documentation with un-recognisable places and people that now I am interested in.

Anyway, back to the videos.

I liked the two short edits but the orientation of all three videos makes the reading completely different.

I took them to my Monday leisure Bodicote House Art Group for their critique as an objective audience and  their  interpretations were interesting, orientation featuring in their understanding of what was happening.

Peter commented that the music on the third edit was somewhat overwhelming and I agree but I really like the visuals and the sound of the tape clattering which of course can’t be separated from the rest of the soundtrack as they were recorded together.

I am tempted to re-make but I dislike the idea of repeating and rehearsal and more than the minimum of direction as it takes away the chance, spontaneity  and resulting raw affect which may arise.

When filming on my iPhone there were several other videos which I have discarded, the other with me filming and Claire W ‘playing’ with the tape.

I’ve since tried to project the video so I can ‘draw into it’ but much faffing about with the projector and it still won’t read the file.

I am increasingly frustrated by my ineptitude with the tech. esp as this is a MA Fine Art Digital and I feel as if I haven’t a clue.

Spent a lot of yesterday afternoon trying to download various converters and use them to convert M4V file into something readable but to no avail.

I have passed to my son and his pc but fear that it may be protected, not ‘something to do with my ancient Mac OS’ .

What I have done is to draw/trace  from stills on my laptop which has been useful in the continuing ‘processing’ of the documentation.

More of this in my next post.




Weeks two – three: proposal and practice

Proposal – reflections

The last couple of weeks have been interesting! Thinking so much about the Proposal made me feel like rabbit in the headlights. I initially wanted to hide in reading theory as I had done just before starting this MA to make me feel as if I ‘knew something’.

Henri Bergson – Matter and Memory.

Then to take train to London to seek inspiration  and comfort in a library of solid, sweet smelling books.

This is surely seeking reassurance form others who have already passed this way as well as finding  academic and practice  contexts.

After our web- chat on Tuesday 16.9.14 I watched the video links and found Jo Love’s discussion of her practice -based PhD proposal  helpful, partly because she was talking about print and it’s possibilities – The way she draws on print and uses digital and analogue together – a ‘material’ practice that really explores the nature of the image.

I have been thinking of working with a local print workshop and wondering how I can ‘justify’ this in my practice and proposal.This lecture will help me think more about print-making as a methodology and also my need for justification! I will post the link when I finally update to a new computer and can simply copy and paste it from Skype chat- not possible for this ‘old laptop’. Discussions of ‘old and update’ later…

The David Cross lecture regarding Research Methodology gave me a feeling of confidence in just ‘following my nose’ in search of direction – of trusting in my senses to lead me. I liked the description of the ‘action-based’ model from social science which very much fits with how I feel emotionally about my practice . However, I tend to want to make a tangible object sometimes.

Is this another justification thing? Something that I feel people will accept, understand and value rather than my place-related responses. Part of me knows that these actions and their residue do affect people and that they do carry them in their memory and conversation as well as formal documentation and yet I still feel a sense of inadequacy as their purposeful un-monumental quality.

Quite a paradox to unravel before or during the writing of my proposal.

I often feel as if I am saying one thing about my work and my intentions and yet doing another—–that there is insufficient clarity. Some years ago Sarah Cole commented that I did not take what I did seriously  enough and that my practice would never have an absolute clarity as it was not that sort of practice. That was most useful at the time. There are references to personal mythology in my work, not necessarily mine and sometimes collective. Maybe it is time to realise those connections again?


At the end of Week two  I started to play with some cassette tapes that belonged to my late father and asked a colleague, Claire Winfield, to film on my iPhone ( also filming her playing too). Initially the  action was intended to be about the haptic quality of the tape and the associated sound it produced. I had thought of a much bigger performative action at some point, using my whole body and some’ wrapping’ type action which features a lot in my work. Some years ago I had started to knit a blanket with the tape but stopped before it was large enough to do anything with, Maybe time to re-visit.

The documentation I chose to work with was of me ‘playing with the tape’. I had looked through some old C.D’s in the studio which had belonged to Claire’s recently deceased mother, as for the future piece I wanted to use sound which may be on the original tape, during the performance. The only music suitable was Sibelius Finlandia. This was a strange coincidence ( I am fascinated by co-incidence) as it is

  • Is well-known as an English hymn ‘ Be Still my Soul ‘ lyrics written by Katharina Amalia Dorothea von Schlegel in the 17th century.

Be still, my soul, the Lord is on thy side; Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain. Leave to thy God to order and provide; In every change He, faithful, will remain. Be still, my soul, thy best, thy heavenly friend Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

  • known for its Nationalistic links ( pertinent with the action being considered by the British Government at this time
  • known for its WWII associations ( both my father and Claire’s were Prisoners of War in the Far East from the fall of Singapore in 1942 to VJ day following Hiroshima and Nagasaki)
  • by a composer who was loved bothe by my father and me.
  • also has Welsh lyrics ( Gweddi dros Gymru or A Prayer for Wales) -my father was a Welsh speaker and `Claire’s mother Welsh by birth.

We played  the CD, I played with the tape and Claire filmed. I have edited the video roughly as iMovie audio fade out won’t work properly (yet another old version) and played with exposure/contrast/brightness to give three versions below.

I find playing a combination of them together interesting and imagine them projected, possibly as an immersive installation.

I will play with projection next.

I also made some tracing drawings of photo documentation from an action from October 2012 and some traced drawings from stills of the video. See Post below for further details.

Experiments with analogue materials

I am aware that the soundtrack and its associations are loaded with cultural, as well as personal, meaning

(see above).

The former may override the latter for a viewer and so make my interpretation of the video in the context of my practice, irrelevant and invisible.

My concerns are those of personal experience of an event, how this experience is stored and accessed in association with future experiences; individual, shared or collective.

Also the effect of the senses, in this case: haptic, auditory and visual, and the resulting affect with its relationship to re-experienced events through remembering.

I have been thinking also about forgetting as an emphasis and I think this comes through unintentionally in these pieces.

More the destruction of memory than the preservation of it?

I think that, maybe in working on drawings of the documentation of an action, the material process acts as a sort of immaterial ‘processing’ ( of the archive?)