Saturday, 28 June 2008

shed artists....

from here - a range of practices that include; "The World’s Largest Camera: Nilu Izadi’s Camera Obscura is a pin-hole camera in the guise of a shed. A hole in the ceiling constantly captures the sky and the trees as smaller cameras do, but this was a camera one could walk into, enjoying the garden from the outside in, and from the upside down."

I'm interested in this as a possible photographic-principled means of getting an image of the outside world into the shed from the other shed with me in it which was maybe opposite? Image upside down unless use mirrors to correct this?

This work was part of 10 garden sheds created as art works for the Other Flower Show 2004 at the V&A, London

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

binh danh- photosynthesis and photography

One Week's Dead
this photographer uses photosynthesis to imbed photographs of the vietnam war into the cells and leaves of plants- interesting in the floral/shed/lifecycle connection- and for my Research paper- how the image is grown of out images that are dead-memories that live on? thanks justine for the link!

Talk and tutorial with Kira O'Reilly

from here. inthewrongplaceness performance. this piece has been performed in a variety of locations and documented bu a variety of photographers- responding to their style. the above images suggest death, haunting, through the natural light, blood red.photograher was a dance photograher and this element clearly is in there.

from here. this participant was the partner of the photographer so agreed to photo. ends in a pieta where audience can hold her.

really fantastic talk kira gave about her influences/connected ideas, and her work yesterday. a few points of particular interest to me- citing influences, audience and documentation;
  • kira's work explores the private and public body- traces, cutting, marking, intimacy, internal made external. background in fine art then into performance. for the first half she talked through her influences, somewhat chronologically, before then talking about her work- through sculptors, painters to live artists, film makers- variety of materials, processes, contexts: including eva hesse, frida kahlo, louise bourgeois, fakir mugafar, ana mendieta, marina abramovic, rebecca horn, ron athey,franko b, orlan, david cronenberg
  • she had worked with another person early on and found this difficult as always ended another to help facilitate/mediate- eve dent, early work involving leeches, audience surrounding her- drinking wine- dual narrative of blood red wine consumed and leeched consuming blood
  • started the develop one-on-one performances, putting the viewer directly into the work. using a chair posed next to hers to encourage people to sit next to her- worked more effectively when clothed, and audience approaches her from behind, she uses mirror on floor to catch their eye over her shoulder- more at ease for people to then approach? the audience are invited to the performance through front of house sign up sheet, often giving the audience member a handout explaining what they need to know before entering- eg 'you can sit next to the artist'.kira walks through the audience members journey to the performance to see what its feels like/make any route changes etc
  • 'wet cupping' uses brandy glasses on skin that the audience had drunk out of- implicating them in the work- very body as sculpture. people ate cake- bleeding after the cake- ideas of things entering and leaving the body. performance as an event- this was her birthday party in a function room of a hotel. 'wet cupping' has also happened in other contexts- backroom of a pub in deptford, a black box theatre in copenhagen. works had adapted to site, audience size set by venue, she responds to the architecture and context.
  • not form theatre background so doesn't get theatrical about her work- not a gestural thing, a real thing. she explores real order and chaos- precision of the cut, chaos of the bleed.
  • cutting body via a surgical tape grid- and leaving the mark, the trace on the wall
  • element of risk-trust- when asking others to cut you- she prescribes where- places where arteries can't be severed- eg thighs.audience wear gloves.
  • intimacy with strangers- carrying out intimate tasks, intimate feelings, but this isn't the real them. proximity- sometimes the action simply requires this- eg sat on a bench and to make a cut participant must get closer
  • DOCUMENTATION- pieta piece where audience hold/cuddled her in front of a video. the intimate exchange of the cutting itself wasn't documented- these negotiations remain private- issues about what to document- the aftermath yes- with permission, kira with plasters on cuts. participants look into a video monitor to align self in the frame for recording the image, she also uses mirrors- as mentioned earlier. The inthewrongplaceness performance with a dead sow was also photographed by a fashion photographer who used over exposure in a white studio and slow synch flash to get the energy of the movements more 'hit and run'- a stark contrast to the very still, haunting photo above
  • work with biotechnology exploring cloning cells- stelarc growing a third ear, experiments with body and lace.did a piece in Netherlands made for camera- performing body taken into the lab
this is pulling out the bits of interest to me-in the tutorial touched more on these and other areas;
  • size of audience and event- different energies if do two events- should i do true to the nature of the work- but can see that the one-to-one work on the private view limits audience numbers dramatically. if go for it- private view- possible 6-6.15pm show, 6.45-7 one-to-ones, then repeat at 7 and 8?
  • what's the group experience of intimacy against one-to-one? consider this more
  • talked about my shedseason presentation- so many ideas- especially drawn to the shed as a camera obscura, possible use of photo emulsion directly onto the wood of the shed- nice way of losing the photographic darkroom feel of the paper- perhaps trial this
  • flower tributes ideas- discussed the post grad forum last week, liked this- mentioned my new idea of removing the flower from the bed, taking it into the shed for the performance, and then replanting it backs after-flower suspended in the events duration- relocated after wards so LIFE GOES ON, only the image dies
  • need to devise a series of experiments to trial ideas but perhaps mediated in different ways- to see how other's feel about seeing me on a screen rather than in real life
  • unsure about live feed between sheds- privacy of sheds in a CCTV obsessed nation....

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

thinking things through before seeing kira o'reilly for tutorial...

ok- so these are the issues/conflicts/things i'm most pre-occupied with today;

  • I want to do a show that challenges my work through playing more with the audience, proximity,intimacy, live and mediated.the photograms idea works very well and i have a solid performance there but need to take it to the next level
  • am i going to have the space at the back of theatre to be able to work with ideas of overlooked, anonymous/intimate, voyeuristic- review each shedseason event and work out which works the best in situ. decisions need to be finalised!
  • i still like the floral idea but maybe merging with parts of the other events, and removing the flowers from a planter and then putting them back (replanting) after the photogram story, referencing the situation of a performance between life and death- the flowers fate hangs in the balance- to be planted and continuing to live rather than automatically killing everything (as I keep doing)?!
  • work more on the relationship between the housing block, alienating stairwell and the shed- what's the meaning of the shed- go back to original research i said i would do and have only half completed eg interviewing people in their sheds
  • why am i wanting to work beyond the one-to-one intimate darkroom encounters- what does it do for my practice? more people can see the work is lame 'excuse', i do like the idea that it offers people a proper chance to decide whether they do or don't want to participate, i.e. they'd need to see phase 1 then sign up for phase 2- this needs to be thought through more- a sense of hooking people to come along for the second part, leave them without the punchline or leave them on a cliffhanger?
  • phase 1 - my story- telling the story to a group- how? live/mediated and if so why? where are the audience situated?

-on the stairwell- mediated via mobile photos/multimedia players? intimacy in an anonymous place like when you sit o the train- the video draws you into my world away from your surroundings

-in the big shed (participants enduring forced intimacy with strangers)or is this alone?)- watching me together, with me in the little shed through the window or live feed link?)

  • what type and size of shed- and new/freecyle? one old, one new? shiplad style seems to be best as most light tight (from investigations at B&Q and homebase yesterday)
  • Use the ideas kira talked though in her work where only the end, less intimate part is recorded (the holding her part) to help me make decisons about documentation- style of photographs to encapsulate a mood, use of slow shutter speed, or how about kitschy filters for nostalgia haha. spoof, hyper documentation- staged reality. or how would it have been if i'd photographed the people with me after the experience?

VLP Forum 12 june- photo investigation of site continued - for overlooked

Photos in and around hoped for site at WCA for MA Show- TWO

Monday, 23 June 2008

Photos in and around hoped for site at WCA for MA Show- ONE

so- a possible merging of shed season- floral tributes (shed your tears or shed load of laughs) and overlooked.

Sunday, 22 June 2008

Post Grad Cross-MA Forum 19th June

Ok- so tried out a mini-performance of work-in-progress cat wreath story (video here of the first half- youtube only permitting 10mins, this is the first time I have really been able to view self as not recorded self performing much before )

here’s some points from the feedback:

• Drew connections to spalding gray- performative presentation

• My outfit (floral, vintage, colour ) harmonised with the objects and the story

• Choice of objects, suitcase, washbag all very fitting, like stuff left when your gran died- simple objects to manipulate during story.

• The way the story was told was beautiful and had was it real/fiction issues but doesn’t matter- the universal issue of tragic news, behaving inappropriately in formal occasions, and the not knowing how to behave

• Liked the temporality of entering and leaving with all the objects- BUT should have done this with everything- i.e projector as well- need to find a more portable projector for this though, in a suitcase? Performance felt too tech heavy, rehearse to keep it fluid or lose stuff!

• Photographic process simpler with the erasing image than the digital- need the digital one?

• Some felt it was disappointing to see the cat wreath image- I had formed a mental picture and seeing it spoilt that (oh, I didn’t think it would look like that), almost like showing the punchline.

• Seeing it thinking it fake (would I really erase a family image in an album?) calls into question the authenticity of the story. Taking the photo out of the album, you can see its thin paper, not old- either use older thinker paper, or disguise this- no take it out? Erase, then close the album, back into the suitcase?

• Positioning the projector- hard to see to left of me- reconsider the staging- should have been sat on the floor with audience- proximity too far to see all objects/image, and needed longer to see it. Project image behind me the whole time of the sunprint?

• Good sense of intimacy and the personal in the story- people had a story like that

• Liked being in the light- some too scared to go in the closet darkroom- does this offer me a two phase performance- my story to a group, then invite to the shed if they want to come and share their stories? If too prepared with props/objects etc then this could put people off?

• Liked the magical in seeing the sunprint trace begin to disappear although very gradual- increase strength of light/proximity to fade it quicker?

• Thought old lady glass bottle was going to contain a cat smell! They could smell the nail varnish 2 metres away

• Possible dress the space- wallpaper, clock, etc- although it was also said that this makes it too theatrical

• Tension and aggression in the destroying the image no needed- too much- keep it calm and keep being self. The darkness juxtaposition to the humour in the story- find more sophisticated ways to present this

• No need to tear up the images. Retain the cat wreath photo in the album once erased?

• Other ways to create instant temporality- like the shredder?

• Discussed erasing other funeral images- erasing people- no. liked the idea of erasing the cat wreath photo as that was the thing that I want to forget, that caused the embarrassment at the funeral. Erasing the memory, erasing the joke

• If a two part performance- just use erasing technique, then save the photogram for the shed one-to-one

I'm really interested in the idea of a 2 phase performance-in daylight in a group and then one-to-one and in the dark, needs more consideration of the WHY and HOW, so all can witness my show, and willing participants come to the shed (follow me out of the door with the suitcase?) Also- performative self. Need to ensure its not verging on theatrical- keep it true to the EEC and nunnery- I AM ME.

How does this piece work in the space outside theatre? Or if it goes elsewhere -where? And the use of the origianl idea of overlooked? .....

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

looking backwards to progress forwards?

tonight it has dawned on me that i have been panicking about the perception i am not evaluating my work enough and it has occured to me that whilst this may in part be true, that the blogging does not exclusively show my process of review and elimination nor all the work undertaken- to date i have 6 A5ish size moleskin notebooks full of notes, sketches, analysis, piles of photograms, folders of photos unpublished on here from across the duration of the course. also, a lot of my evaluation of my work or notes taken from events i go to, or are done on the go, on the bus or tube. i think that the blog is a snapshot, all be it a good one of my development but its not exclusive. should i be submitting these books for assessment? what's the relationship between these and my blog?

i have been thinking back to the 3 performances- doug has said to evaluate and edit my body of experimentation- be reductive. the nunnery was my starting place for my own work this year and i have shown on here how the work developed as photo stories, videos, critical studies references, participant feedback from rehearsals and the notes form various post performance meetings with participants, including jordan mc are in my moleskins and on here.

Am ransacking my moleskins and blog:

Of prime importance from the nunnery (in) visible exchange were these areas;

• story was strong, friendly, funny at times, people related to this loss of innocence

• self was calm, well presented. at times exhaustion was evident though.

• strong sense of intimacy in proximity, tone of voice, being put at ease

• separation of closet from outside world good through use of radio

• ensure my work is a performance and not a mere illustration of barthes work- leave space for the viewer to mull things over, digest, don't overly spell things out

• ensure attention is directed on where you want it at the right time- don't let things compete

• too many endings

• very upbeat and strong sense of togetherness

the EEC (in)visible performance then was pitched as the same, but adapting to site of a post room/kitchen.

I wanted to;

• be more playful in the contrasts- calm, silent, and then telling a story with funny anecdotes

• push the precision, attention to detail, slow down my actions when working non-verbally

• use some stand up comedy ideas about extreme contrasts in mood to draw the viewer in, and dark humour to maybe oppose this- shredder.

• Pace and structure the event better- use of usher

• Get feedback from a range of experienced live artists which I did apart form in the feedback session I managed to direct the talk to documentation- and not the work- doh!

• Shift the active and passive roles between self and participant to encourage co-authorship

• Reconsider the endings in response to site- yes and well received

One person came to both shows and said they felt the new version was tighter, the structure clearer and story less obviously or verbally connected to traces, moments.

Issues arising

• experience starts from the moment arriving outside the door- was too informal on occasions

• usher very efficient- she’s a teacher don’t you know ;) and perhaps over zealous on checking and approving peoples pocket objects- lost the element of surprise- I could have been clearer on this

• black out of space using felt- kept falling down- need to reconsider this technicality

• how much do I work and the participant work?

• Whats in it for the participant- why bother?

• Why do I use photography? Why photograms in particular

• Is it just the darkness of the room which generates the intimacy? Or how am I creating this- becoming more self aware

These last few points I am examining in the cross-MA post grad forum tomorrow, trying out different ways in creating intimacy (daylight, body language more apparent, proximity in bigger space, how I need to re-work my structure etc) and different photo methods. I envisage these experiments will either reinforce for me why I use my previous techniques, or establish new ones and reasons why to emply them; most importantly I hope I will gain an understanding of why I do what I do.

I am putting the space-in-between after this, as although it was between the nunnery and EEC, it was a significantly different performance- working with laura bean, a VLPer from a theatre background, we were experimenting with combining our fine art/theatre backgrounds and, for me, seeing what happens when there is a more theatrical development of the photogram process- away from the non-matrixed ideals- and exploring of persona, narrative, use of 2 performers.

For more on this project see the space-in-between on the left hand side of the blog.

Some notes I made;

• This was a brilliant experience to finish what laura and I started in November- surrendering an item- and now with the hindsight of a greater understanding of performance.

• The exchanges went well after we warmed up on our poor specimens lena and stevie- note- don’t try to run something when the participants don’t come equipped :(

• I found I really enjoyed working with someone else who’s really inspiring- brainstorming together, pushing the work further, questioning its every detail form all angles. Performing together and assigning roles each felt comfortable with

• Time in the space was crucial- we ran out of time to properly run everything before the Saturday event due to seemingly endless props, hanging things, technical stuff- did we need it all? And cost! No one heard the clock ticking sound I spent a long time sorting out.

• We really responded to site exploring real and fictive histories- centering on the meaning of the site as a redundant factory and soon to be contemporary apartments and the actions with the photograms signified this- deconstructing exchanged items rather than constructing them and letting their photogrammed trace disappear, and exchanging the items for a unique, one-off photogram framed in an ikea frame and neatly bubble wrapped

• I loved the shredder- the juxtaposition of very carefully folding each carbon copied proforma and whipping onto the table the shredder, making eye contact before shredding, playing with the non verbal, also use of eye contact when swiping onto the floor the remnant of the deconstructed items to create tension.

• Not sure who we actually were being in the end? People said we could have been more bored, robotic, factory like in form filling? And consider outfits more? Am i interested in being anyone other than myself- not really as my work is anecdotal.

All in all I learnt a lot from the space-in-between project and feel my cat wreath work to be presented tomorrow, and outlined in my posts on it is a playful mix of (in)visible exchange and space in between. I hope to consolidate my knowledge further by discussing the reactions of the viewers to it and learning more about the WHY and RECEPTION of the work I am making.

Is this my Research question??!!

Photography and present-ness: Can challenging the duration and temporality of photography shift it beyond its' document tradition into a live experience for the spectator?

Draft handout for Cross-MA Post grad forum 19th june 08

Harriet Poole: MA VLP Post Grad Forum 19 June 08

Main MA project aims and objectives:

Overall aim: Marrying the temporal nature of photography with the temporal nature of performance

• Challenging the conventions of photographic practice making the process of image making central to the experience of the work and not the traditions of the photographic object

• Investigating the duality between storytelling and memory, and photography and memory

• Exploring relational art ideas- social art derived from physically engaging with the work, responding to environment and interpretations of the audience, making work which is participatory and open to chance

• Exploring the anecdotal through sharing personal stories as an intimate participatory experience

Contextual connections:

In Camera Lucida, Barthes describes what is unique about the experience of viewing photographs, using the notion of the ‘trace’ to discuss photographs as witnesses of ‘what has been’, and his issues of, “Life/Death: the paradigm [of picture taking] is reduced to a simple click, the one separating the initial pose from the final print.” (Barthes, 1980:92 ) The photographic image, being that it uses paper and that paper is perishable, it is mortal and is, “…Attacked by light, by humidity, it fades, weakens, vanishes, there is nothing left to do but throw it away.” (Barthes, 1980: 93)

“For too long now we have been exhausting the medium in it’s potential to make sense of the world by insisting on a pre-occupation with spatial concerns, or the pictorial at the expense of a proper critique of time and the temporal, and the full recognition that the medium is absolutely a spatio/ temporal concern in equal measure.” Paul Jeff, writing on his Performed Photography, (2007)

“Clearly, performance art and photography are radically different mediums, but both define a non-ordinary space by imposing parameters on it — a space that depends on the viewer to make it come alive.” Karen Irvine, 2004, MOCP exhibition Camera/Action, Performance and Photography, Chicago.

Peggy Phelan’s accounts in the Politics of Performance (2003) that performance “plunges into visibility - in a manically charged present - and disappears into memory." (Phelan, 2003:146)

Lyn Gardner in, In the theatrical confession box, Guardian arts blog (June 08) writing about recent trends in intimate performance, “….what a great number of these performances are exploring is not intimacy, but the illusion of intimacy and the loneliness of a world where communication is easy but real intimacy very hard. But I wonder about the ethical issues around such performances, particularly when they are set up in such a way that the power lies entirely with the performers and the risk seems to lie entirely with the audience. “

Areas of discussion:

• Perceptions of the use of the photographic medium within the work in the mode of reception by the viewer/participant

• Different uses of photography - manipulated , digital and traditional

• Lyn Gardner quote and Intimacy in my work – real or illusionary? Taking risks with personal information offered? Is this work non-matrixed, non-acting (like a Happening?)

• Issues of co-authorship, democratic work- we make it together with open endings ? Is it interactive or participatory?

Plus- Thanks to Laura for the blog post article from Lyn Gardner-see laura's blog post

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

tony conrad at turbine hall, tate modern, saturday 14th june

tony conrad at tate
to help me in my essay (and this is fantastic for this) and practical explorations of process as performance, temporality using time based media and responding to site- went to see tony conrad's Unprojectable: Projection and Perspective. this 60s audio-visual pioneer explores experimental process as performance and was great visually responding to the old industrial site and his own film and music history- but sound wise the drone was just too loud to really be able to watch the performance for the 1 1/2 hr duration.
you are sitting on the floor of the turbine hall, below cloth screen billowing in the wind, the light-projected image of the activity on the raised stage arena, contours, enlarges, shrinks as it moves. you can see the real people as the screen blows around making the visuals you can simulanteously see projected giant. the performance is in 3 parts; films in run through reels and drill sounds are heard as though something is being manufactured/repaired, then industrial parts appear with film again running through, and finally an string quartet appears speciailising in drone. the vantage point is interesting, you can sit either side, and the images differ, some are sharper or more gestural figurative imagery- depending on how close they are to the light source. the string instruments when sharp have a strong elegance in contrast to the wires, block shapes of the industrial objects earlier projected.

for my work- the snatching and elongating of the image, working with another sense other than purely visual and beyond dialogue, experiments with scale

in the booklet they handed out afterwards (which made me think how much do you need to know beforehand) it talked about a piece of his work, Curried 7302, 1973 in which he cooked substituting onions in a recipe, for film.

For post grad forum 19th june cntd- photo destruction- experiments after Decasia/Dave McKean

ok- working with the idea of reason to eradicate an image live in a performance (as opposed to being developed, here it is being destroyed), i have selected a nanny's funeral (stand up ) story related image, the inappropriate event to photograph, therefore destroying it (interestingly, this is a popular topic on flickr, see here for floral tributes with some great examples of floral remote controls and cross-words ) and here for funeral photos as my great aunt was photographing my nan's funeral and i remembering feeling very uneasy at the time- under the spotlight of how to behave/react further emphasised by the intruding camera lens on personal and collective grief but its also seems inappropriate to smile- hmmm? or alternatively as its a celebration of life- maybe its not? life goes on)

so here am trying to see how i can remove the inkjet printed image found on
flickr this already feels disposable- image found on the internet through a search- (onto satin photo paper) using various solvents;

top to bottom- Vanish stain remover, upholstery stain removing spray, nail varnish remover, Cillit Bang, and timed to see how each solvent reacts with the photograph. Applied the nail varnish remover with a cloth (could this be a handkerchief? put the nail varnish remover in an old style bottle?) so image is pulled off- wiped away onto the handkerchief. i like the handkerchief as it references the sadness of funerals, how you pull it out from your pocket

Interesting to watch how the solvents sit on the surface and silently eradicate. the upholstery spray gave globules which then looked quite cellular after 2 minutes. cillit bang removed the most with a clean wipe back to the white paper (the most instant removal), the nail varnish removing pulled off the inkjet ink slowly and you could move the ink around- needed a lot of care to remove it in layers- slow, methodical action required- destruction is slower

Cillit bang caused the ink to separate, see above

in this video i have purely worked with nail varnish remover- immersing like in a darkroom tray (where nothing actually happened) and then wiping with the cloth- obliterating the subject form its surround. paper, however as its not as durable as the resin coated photo paper, gets soggy and the surface rather than the image starts to be removed. probably don't need to put it into a tray, i like the nail varnish as its a personal item rather than household- scraping back the layers of made up beauty back to ordinary self.

i am now coming back to my earlier experiments for the nunnery using the idea of digital projection killing the traditional photo in development- by trying a still photo feed straight to projector of the image reacting to light, which then projects back over the image- repeatedly to see what happens to the image when no chemicals used. the sunprint method gives a pale pink feminine colour- (i once used this technique with young students to make a mothers day card) i like the DSLR still image rather than video as it comments on the temporality even more- as it appear on the projector, it is of the moment already passed- and snatched away again to be replaced by another- not a constant feed

idea for the forum- NB this work-in-progress is one sided, non participatory only at this point to test ideas- but the work is intended to be participatory when developed- eg 'bring a flower' or 'bring a photo you no longer want' )

announce this work-in-progress performance has 2 possible photo methods so not intended to use both but done for purposes of forum discussion.

Table, chair, multi-media projector, DSLR, RCA cable, photo paper, flower (TO BUY), plate of glass, old box/suitcase (TO BUY/FIND) containing old bottle (TO BUY/FIND) with nail varnish in it, old photo album containing cat wreath photo, handkerchief in pocket)
Projector is set up on the floor in line with the flower on the floor.
  1. lay out the flower onto the photo paper on the floor at front. put glass on top of it to push it flat onto the paper
  2. sit in front of the group behind a table and tell the cat wreath story - live OR pre-recorded on a video projection so can be short and timed exactly as forum is short- max 3-4 minutes (also be good to see response to prerecorded?)
  3. get out old box and lay out bottle, and photo album. handkerchief from pocket, neatly unfold on the table.
  4. open photo album towards self only and take out the photo of the cat wreath
  5. wipe nail varnish over the photo flat on the table removing cat wreath subject of the image.
  6. remove the glass from the flower and remove the flower and put to one side.
  7. Using the DSLR, photograph the sunprint trace left
  8. image projected across the sunprint
  9. repeatedly photograph it- see what happens! how dark does it go- does the flower disappear?
  10. as it goes, destroy the flower (carefully or violently)
i have mega tutorial day (geraint and doug) thursday before the forum so need to be quick setting up on thursday