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.

Thinking and memory-making

This blog is, at present, a place where I am trying to concentrate and clarify my thoughts into something more accessible and easier to assimilate for future reference, whilst another complex almost random and unconscious process happens within me, day and night.

I am becoming more aware of how my methods of recording information, making notes and processing what I have read, act as an archive and look like as a representation of my process of memorialisation.

The images above show how I make my notes and record my thoughts as I read, watch, listen and talk to others.

I plan to handwrite the text from the post-its into a notebook and maybe use it in a post here on the blog.

Using the post-its concentrates my thoughts into small pieces or ‘bites/bytes’ for re- consumption.

Reading the almost prophetic work of Philip K. Dick – ‘We can remember it for you wholesale‘ which was filmed as TOTAL RECALL and Ray Bradbury – ‘Farenheit 451′, and Henri Bergson- Matter and Memory feeds into my process.
They all explore the way that experience and information is ‘laid down’ and accessed later in the human body and the implications this has for us as ‘self’ and humanity.

‘her’ (2013) by Spike Jonze is also extremely interesting, as the operating system in the title role responds and grows through its ‘digital’ memory of others and its own experiences via various interfaces.