References so farJo Spence has effected my work very much, but that is the only artist recently who really has? Again though- a very different art style to that which I have previously been seeking so, maybe a general visit to a Tate to find some new artists would help.
(with Jo Spence and Oreet Ashery)
I have never seen Jo Spence’s work before and really enjoyed it in this exhibition. It felt honest and personal.Introspective and critical looks a societal norms and structures. Her “photonovels” and commentary were wonderful- the format of Book and its traditions and connotations being used to tell personal narrative was very powerful- the contrast of the Normal Photoalbum was ever present, but this work did not present norm or pattern of its own- continually honest, self aware, analytical. Good documentation.
“How does the blocking off of earlier traumas and desires from childhood, which we still inhabit as adults, encourage us to collude in the limited number of stories in circulation about family life? Just how much is the lack of image-making about the family part of this cementing-over process? How does the family album relate to the regime of images offered to us from birth, of acquiring the habits of the for granted the ‘truth’ of the stories on offer in the media in general?Jo Spence
I feel is has been useful to allow the material here to be used, it no longer seems to have very much to do with “me” as a person, but rather has become a repository of various conventions, techniques and choices within photography.on presenting personal photos,
The personal is political. There is no was I could have understood fully the political implications of trying to represent other people when I was a photographer (however well intentioned) if I had not first of all begun to explore how I had buily a view of myself through other people’s representations of me.
My continual rethinking of the past, as my consciousness changes, is impossible to stabilize. This reworking is initially painful, confusing, extreme. As I become aware of how I have been constructed idealogically, as the method becomes clearer, there is no peeling away of layers to reveal a “real” self, just a constant reworking process. I realize that I am a process.
These pictures are here for no better reason that they remind me of happy times and of people I love.
Recognising structural forces, being critical, seeing how they have made You, but without trying to remove or undo them. Freeing yourself from the burdonsome aspect of thinking they are real definitely, but not rejecting the bits that make you feel good.Constructive disection. Not demolition just further creation.
- My plan so far is
- Week 1. make as much as I can. Make a collection of work
- Week 2. develop into a more cohesive work? choose if I want to work in a focused Voice or Aesthetic, where I want variety.
- Week 3. decide on how I will present my work (binder, book, photo album, wall, digitally somehow). Work out what I will need for this, and purchase what I can (ie buy book, probably dont print photos). Decide if I will ask for an extension. If not, get to a place where all I still NEED to do is construct my final piece, and can add more work to this body or not.
Project proposal and action plan! It felt good to figure out my reference/reading list. Gradually remembering and realising items that have effected my work, revisiting things that have had long term impacts on my work (Paul Klee and Yayoi Kasuma very much so), and new inspiration and things that have caused recent shifts in my work (Jo Spence has had a recent impact on my motivation and process, more than an artist has effected me in a long time, and engaging with contemporary trans art such as Lake’s has helped me contextual personal experiences, and experiment with directly representing them.. representational art is not something I usually do, and I’ve been exploring why).
- 3 pictures of my hands touching my old pet chickens, cropped (with a border of background) from their contextual photos, from dads hard drive
- 1 picture of my hands holding a rabbit in a petting zoo. Black and white like the chickens pictured, from dads hard drive
- 1 rainbow puffle (google image’d) from recent camera roll, from recent memory.
- 1 packet of cool ranch doritos from recent camera roll, the only GF dorito flavour.
- 1 oil spill, from recent camera, thought it was pretty at the time, and now it was visually similar to the puffle
- 1 stock image of backpack, from recent camera roll, from recently looking at many backpacks, this is the interior of my lovely new bag.
⠀here is a batch of new work: ⠀
Have been working out a bit of an aesthetic core this week….
Material wise- coloured pencils, thin black and red pen, watercolour (usually pastel primary colours and mixed with opaque white)
homely materials, and those that I am used to using for personal doodling, that I am most fluent and comfortable with expressing through.
I have been thinking about working with crayon, due to physical oilyness (interesting with watercolour) and personal association but its general associations of child-likeness and naivety are not ones I necessarily want to be applied to my work.
I have tried adding words to my visual pieces and do not know. They make me feel exposed and I think might give too direct meaning.. or even just too loud a voice to the pieces. I do not yet know if this is productive discomfort or should be a boundary.
I have definitely been finding it hard working with old pictures as material for a sustained period. I enjoy looking at old pictures, as a nostalgic and grounding thing, but usually it is an hour or an afternoon of looking at and thinking about them. When I immerse myself for longer the memories and feelings and missing become more vivid, the memories feel nearer and loss and missing feels fresh again. Re-experiencing the changes. And in a way I was not emotionally capable of at the time, and that was not available until relatively recently, the last few years. Reprocessing without being emotionally numb. Doing this project as my main thing at the moment means feeling that sort of thing with much higher frequency than anytime I had regular therapy. lol.
Having the pictures as a sort of record of completed processing feels good. Product of an emotional dive. To group them together, have a library of the different parts of my life feels sort of like proof of identity. A little abstracted narrative.
With this context it feels again relevant to me to integrate zine format into my work.
this piece using an unfolded zine as a backdrop works well to me. I like the loose narrative of the 8 page folded zine. Can be thought of as a page or a book. Can have a front and back page or just four double pages that can be folded any way to form a book.
When unfolded the four by two formation, especially using pages formatted with a central image, and similar content (see also my past simpsons comic chicken based zine), it becomes a postminimal construction. An emotionally charged grid. 8 related but rigid units of content.
I still think that my final outcome will be a collection of a4 sheets, presented in a book format. But I think some of them will be not- printed digital images. some will be drawings and flappy with collaged parts. I had thought I wanted to homogonize the final surface texture of the works but, this would retain some very pleasing textures as well as.. I suppose variety? but in a way I do not think would be overwhelming. A way that would accentuate the limitations and noise of digital art (low resolution, scanner noise), present it as an alternative to like, rough crayon texture, allow it to be obviously intentional, for people to feel it freely as nostalgic or homely or as broken human relations.
Next week I will be deciding on my final format, taking everything home, buying anything I can(? scrapbook, binder, holepunch rings, paper, spray mount hmmmmm) while probably being fairly distanced by surgery anxiety.
I think this piece is pretty effective, although I struggled a lot with relative scaling of the component parts. It is a soup of connotations. An ikea table extracted from a cosy picture of my dads living room around christmas, with a time stamp of items: my old phone case, wii remotes in jelly cases, a chocolate orange in a bowl from a trip to china town, two coaster that were around at Home in Ross before I was born, a massive fucking vape, my mums favourite brand of lipbalm. The ikea table was bought by dad, in the first house he lived in after selling the big house after divorce. For the first several months living there at weekends, I slept in my dads bed, but he surprised me by clearing out the box room and building me a bedroom, with so much new ikea furniture. I was very excited. ANYWAY drawn on legs and a rug, an image of me standing infront of a pirate themed photo backdrop, with me replaced with more palmtrees(taken on holiday with dad about five years previous). At the bottom learning-to-write esqe blue and red, with perfectly cursive text overlayed to their proportions. text talk of my relationships circa 3 years ago. “maybe l8r tho??”. Soft rejection implying exhaustion or hiding of some kind. Of decisions that may be regretted of missing out. Assumptions about the future, and continuity. Yes this makes me very sad to put into words oops.⠀ ⠀
I have decided that I would like to present my exhibition piece as an intimate item- similar to a book or binder or pile of paper, that is encountered on a table of floor. The viewer will need to acively choose if they want to see the contents, and keep seeing them. Bookish format also implies narrative, arc, in a way that works well with this work. I want the images to be read as related, and part of a whole, for the reader to look for links and themes that may or may not be there. It doesn’t matter if the themes and arcs the viewer reads into it are necessarily the same as those I thought of. There will be themes of my thought that I was not aware of, and themes that may be coincidental, or very real. I do not have very clear thought at the moment, which is important, and outside of that i do not want to construct a Personal Narrative.
Scrapbooks with assorted coloured sugar paper pages, big enough to fit a4 pages, up to max a3.
I had thought about presenting in a binder, but having made some of the work now I think that would feel too clinical, not cosy enough, not tightly enough leafed.
The tihings that attract me to photo albums are present here but mixed with a child’s roll- solitary and simple and less full of societal norms..
I also like the contrast between the intention for my scrapbook pages- each containing an a4 sheet of collages content, rather than a collection of objects assembled on the sugar-paper page. A level removed, a level more processed and curated and less honest.
I would very much like to see a selection of scrapbooks so I could choose but, I do not know where to find a selection of dated cheap scrapbooks.. I have never seen multiple types together. The lack of choice and ready-made-ness of ordering “a scrapbook” and working with what you get is a more honest and freeing experience, but I am limited by the size- I am producing a4 works and these need to fit comfortably on a page. Also size wise- I probably do not want too many pages.. I think I want the book to be full-or-near-enough and do not have that much work. I can remove pages but dont want to make the book feel hollow.
I also need to work out a balance between digital and physical (ie bits with tape and pencil and paint), if I do want to include physical pieces. So far most of my work has been digital, and this will become more of a necessity after surgery… I do not have a good printer at home so I will need to go into uni to print, and have been staying at home to avoid coronavirus before surgery, and will be at home after surgery. I should make a trip with a list of things to print soon, so I have the option to work like this after surgery.
Yesterday I plan to go into college (after lesson time?) To collect my belongings, so maybe I can take things to print then⠀
after a covid induced departure
I am struggling to continue with my project- find a way to draw a conclusion from it it is set very much in the context of top surgery- was meant to be about the before and after, process and emotions surrounding it, as well as the broader emotional experience of my Routine and Normal in light of this event. I quarantined myself about 1.5 weeks before my surgery date as I was scared of getting sick before it. My surgery was cancelled on the day as I had a fever of 38.something. My temperature had been normal the previous day but I have not been able to test it since (I went to my gp for that reading) as thermometers are out of stock in pharmacies and online at the moment. I have not since had any symptoms of sickness and mostly believe that temerature was caused by being really fucking anxious but I do not know. Arriving and filling in inpatient forms and having my temperature taken and signing out and leaving was all very fast and impersonal. Have had no release of all the anxiety that had built up around surgery and now no longer have college or work to go to? The work I was making was driven by emotions around surgery and more broadly Current Personal Events, but now my emotions are not very productive or interesting? Continuing the automaticish work I was previously making does not feel worthwhile? I could try producing separate bodies of work before/after and sort of accepting this change. But I do not know how to be creative at the moment. I am not dealing well with quarantine mentally, which is not a state I am incilned to creativity in. And practically- living in a shared bedsit i do not have room to have a creative space. At least not a permanent comfortable or calm one.
I would like to have some sort of ending to this. Now for digital presentation I suppose. I do not have access to a scanner so I suppose it will have to be phone-photographed physical work, alongside my digital piece. I will maybe embed a pdf or the work, sort of like the scrapbook presentation I had planned.
I would still like to complete the scrapbook when I have access to a printer and scanner, it would be a nice object to have.