Creative Dementia Arts Conference 2016

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This years conference was at St Hugh’s College, Oxford 14th and 15th April 2016.

My original proposal for this MA  ( as I remember it!) was  based on autobiographical and collective memory and I had some idea, I think, of linking my community -based work with my practice. I’ll explore how these links have developed and unravelled in another post but I’m including this resume of the conference to reference specific uses of digital technology and also a project I became aware of that I will follow up in the future, post-MA.

From a Networking Point of view the conference is always useful meeting with colleagues, Clare Carswell who is Lights Up Co-ordinator.

Lights up is a Monthly arts group for people with Dementia and their carers in West Oxfordshire. I have worked with the group on several occasions and work from the group was exhibited at an exhibition in January, curated and installed by Clare.

Hannah Cervenka ( who Co-ordinates Taking Part which helps to fund Community practice in the area) and Paula Bailey ( who I worked with on the Banbury Old Town Party community event for several years).  Both are Arts Development Officers for Cherwell District Council,  Karey Morley, who facilitates the ‘Times Gone By’ Reminiscence group at  Banbury Museum were also there and I had a great discussion about Community Practice with Pam Foley, sculptor amongst others.

Frames of Mind

The key elements of the Conference for me were the Workshop by Salmagundi Films , a not for profit arts organisation founded in 2004 by Zoe Flynn and Bo Chapman and based in Stratford, East London

Their workshop highlighted their use of iPads for people with dementia in care homes, framesofmind_300.png

“Frames Of Mind® (FOM) is our concept of using Stop Frame Animation as a therapeutic communication tool. With Animation anything can happen. It is a creative process which encourages the use of visual metaphors, to think outside the box, and this liberation from the ‘literal’ can enable participants to explore and communicate potentially difficult or sensitive issues.”

There is an article published in Dementia Care which gives further insight into their work.

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I have tried to introduce Google Maps as a Reminiscence tool but have limited success. Working as a sole practitioner is  restrictive unless I work 1:1 or 1:2 which isn’t possible in the places where I work or with the groups that I facilitate, at the moment.

In the case of Frames of Mind there was funding to include Care staff in the project for training and supply of iPads to the homes for (in theory) a sustainable project. This goes back to the need discussed in a past post about working as an individual rather than a company…for funding and commissioning purposes.

For the future this may be the only way for me to go as a Community Artist……

We worked through the process of making a personal portrait and also saw how Stop Frame animation could used to make short autobiographical films for  people with dementia using personal objects or photos.

I don’t have an iPad but will invest in one, play around with the drawing apps and some stop-frame  and introduce the technology to some individuals and staff in the groups I work with. Too good an opportunity to miss. Again it will have to wait a little while.

The hand- held quality of the iPad really helps make the experience intimate and personal. Much more so than a lap-top which  can  seem too threatening to much older people.

UAL and Dementia Research

In one of the (many) leaflets I picked up There was a call for Papers for the Royal Society for Public Health Conference in 2017 on the Arts and Dementia. For the therapeutic nature of the arts to be recognised and researched is  a huge leap. The Research is both Qualitative and Quantitative which means it  can be used to attract funding and help reduce other costs! Dr. Hannah Zeilig from London College of Fashion, UAL is one of the Organising Committee for the Conference.

Again something to Research when the MA is  completed  to  consolidate my personal and community practice.

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Connection, communication and time/space layers

It has been a long time since my last post though I like to think I’ve been doing a lot…. at least it feels like it!

I’ve spent/ wasted an inordinate amount of time thinking about things I would like to do, researching the cables needed, messing around with cables and connectors and then realising I maybe don’t like what I am doing or it doesn’t yet fit with what I want to do ‘right now’.

So , one of these things was to try to use my camera/iPhone and laptop to film me live so that I could incorporate this into a projection as per Joan Jonas….

I fiddled and faffed for what seemed like weeks as my projector is new (2014), my laptop is old (2008) and my iPhone is newish ( 4S bought this year).

Nothing seems to work quite right with anything else.

I get some images but not the right ones in the right window or ‘space ‘ or they are inclusive of screen or they don’t work at all and I try HDMI and VGA and every damn thing and some work sometimes and other other times and in the end it has been everything I did not want this to be which is the tech becoming the work not the work using the tech!

So now I at least can attach most of what I have got to most of what I have got and get some image from it.

I am not concerned with high res or image quality so that helps I jet want to be able to get a variety of imagery from a range of sources, some live and some documented : some still and some moving so that I can mess with them at the same time.

I guess I have got there so that I can do what I want to do when I need to and it doesn’t interrupt the ‘ flow’ too much at the time..

Oh for an AV technician and store where I can just go and get the stuff and set it up in a free space.

Have I blogged and moaned about this before…I can’t remember…

My studio is now a mess of old analogue and new digital apparatus with cables all over and ‘stuff’ hanging down off the ceiling for projection purposes.

Progress is painfully slow in the making department but I am now

  • projecting with two analogue slide projectors face to face across a hanging  film of muslin so the images combine in the middle…sometimes with black tissue to alter the final surface.
  •  projecting sometimes an analogue and a digital face to face, one with video and one with stills on slide.

I HAVE NOT A CLUE WHY I AM DOING THIS….yet…

Something to do with layering and interface and no- interface but it needs extension.

  • I have made home made slides from images ( scans of cling film drawings of old photographs and scans of the old photograph originals) from acetate and used these
  • They don’t melt if you leave them for a limited time in view.: Sometimes these stick and separate in the auto function so I have spent many a happy hour unjamming cartridges, slides, carousels .. also replacing old bulbs, sourcing new ones, fainting at the cost…..
  • Ones printed on acetate with inkjet DO smudge no matter what the advertising states but maybe I can use this smudginess in the future to good effect.
  • I’ve also made some prints from the A4 inkjet on acetate copies and they make interesting acetates when the print has been taken off … See below

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So my actions are still about using 2D images and video but since finishing Neuromance and overhearing my sons at Christmas chatting about ‘getting into’ a server in a set time -frame I ma thinking more widely about digital geography and the psychogeography of the space.

Also I guess the psycho- geography of any space I may create and the nature of virtual image..?

I have been moving ‘stuff’ in my studio, propping things up, lifting the heavy projectors, arranging the cables and then projecting the images which float until they arrive on a surface, wherever that may be..maybe meeting another image or a physical surface…….

I’ve been reading

Digital and physical surfaces.
Published:London : Chelsea College of Art & Design, 2007.

Presentation of practice based research by Brook & Black, Shelagh Cluett, Paul Coldwell, Philip Courtenay, Maryclare Foá, Jo Love, Barbara Rauch, Andrew Stiff, James Faure Walker, David Waterworth, David Webster, Jungu Yoon.

and

Walking and mapping : artists as cartographers / Karen O’Rourke.
Author:O’Rourke, Karen.
Published:Cambridge, Massachusetts : The MIT Press, [2013].

Which I guess has influenced this.

I have made notes which I will post separately and have some pages in hard copy as I still like to have a physical book where possible and pages copied after to scribble on.

The images and video I’m including here don’t really do justice to what I am doing as to get good doc imagery would take forever to set up lighting and composition wise so I will just use these and my other files as aide memoir

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Work to date for group discussion of proposal

This post outlines my project proposal and looks back at some of work I have made since September.

The most recent is a video piece made for projection in combination with  ‘curtains’ of drawings on cling-film.

I’ve not done this yet though. I also need to reflect on this piece, specifically from a digital cultural perspective.

It could have ben made without digital technology but possibly is different as a digital piece. My reflections will be posted in full after the discussion….well not straight after!

Work shown was made most recent first.

 My key question is : how can digital technology contribute to the re-animation of action or event residue to demonstrate its co-existence with the present?

I am interested in the way we document and archive past events, the overlay of memory of past and present, and the fluid space in between.

Aims:

  • To combine the use of digital technology with physical action, objects and images (remains of place, time and events) to produce work that evokes emotional affect in a viewer.

  • To use digital technology and traditional art practice to make manifest concepts such as impermanence, change, continuation and layered co-existence, rather than static archive.

Documentation video ( fragmented edit)

As below but with video projected through.

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Documentation drawings on cling-film with digital projector

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Layered traced drawings of documentation video below

Abstracted video documentation of action with cassette tape

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Traced performance documentation images with fragments ( below) removed.

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Print Residue 2 detail US 14.09.14150

Ink residue on glass plate after drawing monoprint ( from performance action documentation image)

Binary seals and tablets process150            Binary Clay tablet150

Clay tablet and cylinders with Hamlet quote ( ‘more things in heaven and earth’) in binary

From Marina A to Revolution with Frank’s in between

This will start out as a list of experiences with full reflection added later when I am less tired.

On Friday 24th I went to London to the Lisson on Bell Street and saw the Marina Abramovic White Space and then The Gates of the Festival Djurberg and Berg.

On the way back I realised that a bookshop Archive Bookstore, crammed with books, was open and I wandered in.

I need no old books or sheet music as I have an archive of my own, so I enquired about possibly selling some of my father’s.

I ‘promised’ to make a list and email it.

From there to Ambika P3 for Schizophrenia Taiwan, an exhibition of new media and digital art fromTaiwan.

I mentioned this in a previous post, and my vicarious ‘relationship’ with Taiwan.

Although the exhibition was spoilt to some extent by the sound contamination between works (a common problem I think when video is shown) there were several pieces of work which were emotionally moving. Nowhere to sit, though, to watch them in full.

I will describe some of the works here later.

From here I went down to The Jerwood Drawing Prize 2014.

The winner was a sound piece by Alison Carlier Adjectives,lines and marks, the first time a sound piece has won the Jerwood.

There was one video work and all others marks on a support, as far as I remember.

From here I walked round in circles for a while as I couldn’t find Frank’s Cafe and my phone was very low on battery.

I had forgotten it was on Southwark Street.

Eventually I found it and ate enough food to sink a small ship in the Thames.

Established that, despite all plans, I was not going to meet Sam at the Velodrome to see his friends riding the Varsity Track Event, so I left before dozing off into a post-prandial snooze, and with some difficulty, made my way to King’s Cross anyway on the 45.

I spent a couple of hours or so in the CSM library, borrowed several books, all relatively new titles with some digtech content, and made my way to KC station to get to Stratford.

Redirected to St Pancras, I found myself on the fast train to Stratford International, calling at various stations in Kent including Rochester and Deal.

From there, a rather confusing, poorly signposted and longer than expected, walk to the velodrome.

I gave Sam’s ticket to a youth leader on the way, in case it could be used, and chatted to three other lost souls looking for the racing.

An amazing building as you eventually walk towards it.

At last, went in to watch Revolution 1.

The next event was unexpected.

As I entered, at the gate at the top of the bank before the home straight, I started to weep.

The sound of the bikes gliding round on a warm-up, Hugh Porter’s voice on the sound system…….

I dropped my library books and, somewhere I discovered later, my UAL i.d.; found my way to my seat  just before the finish line, and waited for Andrea.

Watched Laura Trott beat Marianne Voss in the Women’s Omnium Scratch Race to deafening applause, and the Loughborough Team Pursuit lads get through to the Varsity final due to a dq.( Southampton touched wheels.)

Had to leave before L team rode again and so didn’t get to see them beat Glasgow…the whole reason for going, apart from seeing Sam… but never mind…..

A long and seemingly sadistic round-about route semi- directed us back to the station via Westfield (oddly busy at night, I thought), and then on the Central Line with a couple of Smurfs carrying pineapples (‘ Say hello in Spanish!’ ) to  Marylebone by 11 to get the train home.

A day of contrasts; memories made and many, rather poignaintly ( highlighted in pretty colours) re-visited.

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…..

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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.

Feeling uncomfortable but recognise and investigate……

Susan Aldworth is an artist working with images of the human brain and its functionality.

Her work is often quoted in Art/ Science circles and I feel it is important for me to look at it, and her approach, in some detail.

I first came across he lenticular work in the GV Gallery, London.

She works with neuroscientists and has a background in philosophy so I must investigate her work to some extent and yet I find her images, though aesthetically very beautiful and the prints attractive as objects, make me feel uncomfortable.

I think they bring up the same conflict for me as participatory work with vulnerable people i.e. artist autonomy, how the participation is introduced and its process. I feel unsure about this in her case and need to look more closely.

Her images bring this conflict ‘close to home’ as the lenticulars were produced from MRI images of brains of people with multiple sclerosis.

She works with people with their consent and they may be pleased that they are being ‘represented ‘ in this way and  so discussion about the condition is opened up …

They are, as I said, beautifully executed images.

Susan-Aldworth-Brainscape-21-etching-and-aquatint-2006-image-courtesy-of-the-artist-and-GV-Art-galleryLondon                                                                     Susan Aldworth

In contrast, here is a drawing I made in 2007, on a bad day. Not so aesthetically pleasing but maybe more of a representation…though of course… all of us are individuals and the symptom picture is not the same in any individuals.MS Resized PS