Talk by Alexa Cox

  • The phrase that stayed in my mind from this talk was story telling. A few days ago I was thinking about meaning and my work, what is the meaning of a work and weather I think of meaning when I work – maybe I do think much of meaning rather than trying to  stay consistent to my story telling.  So when Alexa mentioned that she interested in the role of the artist as story teller immediately caught my attention and made a link with what I was thinking earlier.  Most probably we understand and apply story telling in a different way but maybe this is what each artist is trying to do: tell a story through a visual language. Alexa said she changed  her practice from making painting and then applying theory to trying to establish a visual language by reducing information and creating more ambiguous ideas.
  • place of research: initially made paintings and then applied theory – a process not prominent in communicating ideas / now she has created a visual language / reduced information in painting – more ambiguous images.
  • alternative researching, not just art theory, but also stories, anthropological subjects / also researching through work, freedom to create work, playful – not stressed to create final works
  • use the learning experience to make something else / reflect/ brake making habits
  • gesture and line / how does a gesture represent a  story telling
  • now dealing with landscape and memory / researching on spills, stains, threads and traces

Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, 2016 : “Telling Tales: Excursions in Narrative Form explores the varied, inventive approaches taken by leading Australian and international artists to narrative form. Using diverse materials including light, fog and hand-typed text, their works pick apart conventional story-telling approaches to reconsider ideas around structure, duration, repetition and fragmentation. Breaking away from a traditional linear format, their works instead offer cyclical and open-ended stories, narration through non-verbal communication or silence, and mysterious, incomplete narratives constructed through fragments and clues. Questions around authorship, truth and fiction emerge through some artists’ works whilst others embrace oral histories and live durational events, including shadow puppetry and opera, to convey their stories.” ( accessed 11/10/2017)




Talk by Helene Paris

  •  works start with a question: good idea for starting point / one question leads to another/ different thoughts, words, ideas, ways of exploration, materials to be used / brainstorming process  – creation of  a broad plan which can be modified and narrowed at a later stage
  • currently working on smell / collaboration with bio sciences: smell is a medium which is difficult to understand unless you have live experience, it cannot be captured in an image or video / maybe the only way to be indirectly captured is by documenting persons’ reactions when smelling
  • liveliness 
  • ephimerality – common in live performances and smell
  • smell and memory – remembering smell, persons, feel transported back to a specific place
  • works in small audiences/ closer to audience / what the audience can give to the performance and the performer : the audience has a boundary-less interaction with the work / cannot bypass the work because it is not an image / they cannot look for five seconds and turn around

Works by Kater Attia dealing with memory – Exhibition @ Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney 12th April – 30th July 2017 (accessed 15.10.2017)

Thoughts/notes on Gifts from Cabinet magazine (2/2)


Identification / identity / proof as to who we are / cultural characteristics / collective memory / common characteristics of a nation / how these characteristics change through the years / people with different identities / immigrants / combination of identities / creation of new identities


  • An exhibition centered around four acclaimed Alaska Native artists whose groundbreaking contemporary works question institutional methods of identifying Native heritage, examine their own mixed-race identities, and challenge perceptions and stereotypes about indigenous peoples. Runs through September 8 at the Craft and Folk Art Museum (CAF) (accessed 07.10.2017)
  • Nikos Kessanlis / Greek /shadows/ elimination of individual characteristics

“Shadow play differs in form in the West and in the East, reflecting thus the divergences in their social and ideological practice. The main element that changes -beyond the visual diversification in the figures and the subjects – is the following: in the East it doesn’t matter if the puppet player is visible to the public, while in the West he remains invisible so as not to destroy the illusion of the spectacle. In the East it is possible to create the illusion nevertheless; they don’t consider the puppet player as a stranger that intrudes into the world of the imaginary, but as someone who serves this world and contributes to the ritual of its emergence. Contrary to the East, the Mediterranean thought tends to separate the creator from its creation. The creator is hiding behind the opacity of his creation; meanwhile in the East there is no border to separate the creator from his creation. The visibility or invisibility of the player in the Asian and Mediterranean shadow play reflects the deep rooted primordial beliefs of the people that used it. At the same time, the realistic observation of everyday life provides it with prime matter; sometimes it imitates life and sometimes it intends to exorcise and rationalize its transcendental features” ( accessed 07.10.2017)

Thoughts/notes on Gifts from Cabinet magazine (1/2)


Dust / mist as the result of a phenomenon or action with direct effect when breathed

In late 19th century London, the dust could be set to have  a double meaning: miasmic/disease and as a reference to development/future/new era

Dust in the air transforming as dirt on the floor/furniture/people – as a symbol of covering/transforming/ decaying/ referring as old/ not to be touched/not to be breathed/stay away

Dust created from digging a hole in the ground – reference to new project and mines/artificial environments-landscapes/ grey bluish colour of stones  – creation of dust

Dust/mist as a veil / blanket as a means of covering/hiding something – a blurry /undefined image / waiting for the atmosphere to clean / waiting to see what will be revealed/

Elimination-cleaning of dust / what can work as the vacuum to clean/define/reveal

p.96 “the storytellers have not realised that the Sleeping Beauty would have awaken covered in a thick layer of dust ….  dust constantly invade earthy inhabitants and uniformly define them” (by George Bataille)

p.98 “Dust, Bataille suggests, may one day gain the upper hand oeuvre domestic servants; he pictures a city in which dust has triumphed, “invading the immense ruins of abandoned buildings, deserted dockyards.” In fact, Bataille hints in a fragment entitled “Debacle”, we may already be living in this grotesque and desiccated dustscape.

Ruskin on process of crystallization



Images clockwise

  1. Jorge Otero-Pailos, produced by Artangel, Houses of Parliament 2016 (London) ‘The Ethics of Dust’ (title from Ruskin’s book)  – (accessed 04.10.2017)
  2. Francis Alÿs (Museum Of Contemporary Art Tokyo)
  3. Detail of “The Persistence of Modernism,” 2012 (dirt, found office furniture) by James Croak (US).


OCA session 25.09.2017 – CW

Positioning Practice

  • degrees of certainty/ if there are some constants, what happens if we document them and challenge them?/ are there areas in our practice that we are certain about?
  • confidence / mind does not work in linear fashion/ is there a requirement for an underpinning base/ living with fear/ is there a need for certainty?
  • what happens if we examine the uncertain aspects / scientists need to prove facts but artists do not work like that / we do not need to present facts / make suggestions, show wxperiences
  • Philosopher Giovanni Battista Vico on the certainty of the maker / has intimate knowledge that viewer does not have
  • things that I am uncertain about my work: use of materials/ presentation methods / engaging with the audience, does the viewer understand the contextual framework?/ diversification of contextual framework between works and projects / difference between commercial  and non-commercial exhibition, should there be such distinction?/ talking about my work / does my work fit within the contemporary art practice/ do I communicate my practice to the audience
  • I feel a bot more certain on that i intent to visualise the landscape based on a historic time line


Reading “Cabinet Magazine”

Article on “Identification” (p.163)

  • research on passports
  • when the need for passports first appeared
  • how people recognised each other, most of the times from what they were wearing (eg. a coat) and not form their characteristics, eg the colour of their eyes
  • how the information included on passports has changed / biometric data

Article on “Underground” (p.421)

  • mines, holes on ground , tunnels etc, as a world that organic world has been banished
  • artificial environment / human built
  • such places have also been created above the ground eg malls
  • “if we go, or imagine going underground, we enter an environment where organic nature is largely absent, but we also retrace a journey that is one of the most enduring and powerful cultural tradition of humankind: a metaphorical journey of discovery through descent below surface” (p.423)

Reading “Air Guitar”

The author is writing from a very personal perspective, and although some references might be considered as extravagant, this is what makes it interesting for the reader. The author is telling his own truth and we do not need to like or not. It is a fact, his story, which is unfolded in a very clever way.  I really enjoyed the examples at the beginning of the book on what is real/fake/artificial

  1. story about the therapists at school/ comparison with cartoons/ to see whether children are being terrorized, live in violent families/ “They ere real (the parents) not cartoons, and we knew the answers they (the therapists) wanted” (p.47) / so do you give the audience what they want to see/ what they expect to see or do you give them 100% of your personal insight
  2.   question on what is real/ “difference between that which we wish to see and that which we wish to see represented” (p.47)
  3. about the sunset/ “one either prefers the honest fakery of the neon or the fake honesty of the sunset” (p.52)
  4. “I wanted to achive Huh? Wow! instead of Wow! Huh?” (p.62)
  5. “I like enhancing dumb stuff that other guys just instinctively trashed” (p.62)