writing workshop 3/3 – a new way of thinking a past work – can you hear the art?

The image below is a work I did in 2014 (80x80x8 plexi glass box with a suspended plastic piece of a recycling bin bag with prints of rusted cultivating tools)

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readings for writing workshop 2/3

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Developing context

Based on the articles in http://www.1000wordsmag.com/, how the author has approached and presented/analysed the artists’ work

  1. Black is the Day Black is the Night
  • General background of the research area, the basis of the research: “writing from the prison is an art of literary resistance”
  • The process followed by the artist: exchanged letters with prisoners, tried to visualize their lives, considered the different meaning and significance of prison time
  • Reference as to what prison might means, reflects social concerns, supports this with references to literature work
  • Then goes into facts and statistics, what is the prisoners profile in terms of gender, age etc
  • Reference to a different meaning of the prison, not as a correctional environment but as a place where prisoners get mental support and prepare for the outside world
  • Then goes back to the artist’s work: relationship between prison time and photographic time
  • Comments on the work of the artist referencing text work of other authors
  1. Alex and Me
  • Here the author starts with a summary, what the work is about: a road trip and broken affair between the a man and a woman/ photographs
  • Visual description of the work
  • How the idea was conceived and how it was developed
  • Commenting on the work and making links with a film, Double Night
  • Summarizing
  1. Out of the Blue
  • Overview of the general research area/reported missing people making references and giving statistics and facts
  • Artist’s research area: creation of an identity for an invisible person
  • Starting point of the process: artist made personal contact with a family and collected photos and papers of the missing person
  • A description of the way the work was presented
  • An interview with the artist, giving a personal inside of the work, how the project was realized

Exploratory project / Week 5

For this project I will continue working on my current research and try to apply new methods and explore different areas on what I have been working on up to this stage. As a first step I worked on my sketch work on a smaller scale and also added colour. My initial thought was to start working on a big scale (as this is my intention for a potential final work) in order to be able to see in practice how this could be realized (sometimes something that works on a small scale does not necessarily work when you go larger). After many unsuccessful attempts (as you can see in earlier posts) I thought of changing my initial approach and experiment on a small scale (going from 150×150 to 30×40)and also using colour. So as a first step I made a few sketches trying out several techniques and ideas. Another diversification that I wish to attempt is to use a bit of science in my work, in terms of trying to solidify the coloured water that I got from soaking almonds. Working with liquids can be quite challenging but i will attempt a few experiments to see how that would work. Also another area that I will attempt to explore is to crush almond hulls and shells and then separate the different components, going from dust to bigger pieces.

Through these processes I intent to explore the various ways that the almond hulls and shells may be used in such way that will have a direct link with the landscape of Cyprus. In terms of visual result whether images may be created that will have a link with the landscape as well a reference to the historic value (as a memory carrier, time referencing etc) and whether a viewer will be able to recognize the connection between him/herself, the land and the the product.

Up to this stage I have adopted a variety of different approaches and strategies. The basis is the product, and how this may be used as the medium in a variety of forms. I intent to continue doing this and pushing my research and “manipulation” of the almond shells and hulls further and to document the results.

The personal risks are a big question mark because most probably is through risks that you will get better results and develop your work further. I think that taking risks are a difficult part of a project because most of the times I do not get the results that I expect and think that I have reached a dead end, which might indeed be the case or not. In past work I have used plexi glass, which I like as a medium and method of displaying/framing work, but from now on I would like to use it less and only when necessary –  to push my self to adopt different ways of displaying.

When working with unknown material the challenge is to “control” the medium. Also when doing a 3d-work the mechanics of construction are always a great challenge, it goes from elegant in my mind to chunky and bulky in reality. It must not fall apart, be safe to hung or stand on its own.

reseach on discourse

I came across an article on the following site (https://artjewelryforum.org/articles-series/throwing-stones-in-glass-houses-on-criticism-art-history-and-critical-discourse , accessed Feb 2017) it relates to the art of jewelry making, but it references the art historian T.J. Clark which I found quite interesting [T.J. Clark, Image of the People (London: Thames & Hudson, 1973)]:

“T.J. Clark writes that he doesn’t want to talk about art as a ‘reflection’ of ideology, social relations or history. He doesn’t want to think about history as a ‘background’ to the artwork, mostly unimportant and every now and then brought into view. Nor does he want to assume that the artistic community (the avant-garde) is necessarily the artist’s point of reference. And he refuses intuitive analogies between form and ideological content, as if a lack of firm compositional focus equals egalitarianism, or fragmented composition equals human alienation in industrial society.”

“I want to discover what concrete transactions are hidden behind the mechanical image of “reflection”, to know how “background” becomes “foreground”; instead of analogy between form and content, to discover the network of real, complex relations between the two. These mediations are themselves historically formed and historically altered; in the case of each artist, each work of art, they are historically specific.”

“Clark wants an art history that keeps looking for active relations between its terms, refusing to allow anything to settle. Objects, whether French paintings or American jewelry, are not expressions of social, political or cultural relations, but instead they actively shape and construct these relations.”

readings for writing workshop 1/3

(Susan Hiller, “Theory and Art” in Thinking about Art (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1996)

p.105 ” quite a lot of the work that is being done now in art is highly theorized ahead of time. the artist tries to make the artwork conform to a given theory, to make it consistent, to tie it illustrationally to theory. this is its weakness.  Such an approach locates art as a second-order practice.”

p.105 Goethe: every fact is already a theory.” this means that every decision, every, unit, every object, is the result of a set of opinions, a world-view, and ultimately of theory. All art is grounded to theory, whether or not the artist can consciously articulate what it is. and even when the artist is articulate, the theory may be quite other than what s/he claims it is.

p.106 “like always, only time will tell which work, what kind of work, has staying power, what work has moved us towards a future … which of course can change over time, also, since there are many possible futures.”

p.227 “if you think about the narrative that the collections or assemblages of things make, the interesting thing is that there are always at least two possible stories: one is the story that the narrator, in this case the artist, thinks she is telling – the story teller’s story – and the other  is the story that listener is under – standing, or hearing, or imagining, on the basis of the same object.”

discourse analysis

(Gillian Rose, Visual Methodologies- An Introduction to Researching with Visual Materials (London: Sage Publications, 2006), Chapters 7 and 8)

The term “discourse” is quite complex in my mind: I did not come across a specific definition as to its meaning and at the same time there are so many different parameters that constitute this term, which change constantly . Given this I tried to follow Caroline’s suggestion to read the text with an open mind. So I did not go into extreme analysis of the terminology and theories outlined in the texts but tried to get a broader understanding as to the parameters/factors/influences/policies/strategies that might affect the audience’s approach to art/what is art/what the audience accepts as art or as “good” art. The following are just a few notes from my reading:

  • discourse/ a knowledge about the world which shapes how the world is understood (Foucault)
  • discourse in art/ 19th century/high culture
  • visuality as a sort of discourse
  • discursive formation/ the way meanings are connected together in a particular discourse/images of women depend on forms of masculine seeing
  • power & knowledge/ they imply one another
  • regime of truth
  • discourse and sources serving as starting point for my own research/ read other researchers/ use verbal material (interviews)/ what brings a intertextual research to an end is the feeling that you have enough material to persuasively explore its intriguing aspects.
  • Panofsky/ the comparison of visual images and text/ the Arnolfini example/ to understand secondary meanings in a work: familiarity with verbal and written texts and common sense
  • rhetorical organisation of discourse: (1) look at sources with fresh eyes, (2) immerse in the sources,  (3) identify key themes, (4) examining effects of truth, (5) paying attention to their complexity and contradictions, (6) looking for the visible as well as the invisible, (7) paying attention to details
  • a statement coming from a source endowed with authority is likely to be more productive than one coming from a marginalized social position.
  • institutions and discourse/ panopticon/ surveillance/ institutional technologies/architecture/internal layout/ methods of display/ textual interpretation-explanation/

Bibliography

(clockwise: Cornelia Parker, Mass (Colder Darker Matter)( 1997), Dario Robleto, At War With The Entropy Of Nature/ Ghosts Don’t Always Want To Come Back (2002), Terry Winters, Graphic Primitive (1998))

From: Eleanor Heartney, Art & Today (London: Phaidon Press, 2008)

p. 51, Cornelia Parker’s objects, carriers of past lives, ordinary appearance with devastating history, they resemble archaeological handicrafts,  viewer relies on wall labels to discover previous existence, image above is a construction by remains of a church struck by lightening

p.51 Dario Robleto, political concerns through the poetry of objects, image above is a cassette  made from every bone in the human body mixed with trinitite, glass produced with sand that was fused together in the blast for an early atomic bomb test, tape is said to contain sounds from various actual battles.

p.70 Terry Winters, focuses on mutating patterns, moved from abstracted images inspired by nature to others based on technology, recall diagrams more than allusions to the natural world, resemble scientific systems / drawing on sources as diverse as architectural drawing, medical photography, models of molecular structure, and direct observation, these works suggest that human generated patters and systems, no less than natural ones, are subject to the processes of decay and regeneration.