VL5 : Mapping the Territory

A short video from Angela covering some of the work she did herself as part of her doctorate (I think) on mapping her own territory. The starting thrust was to ask a series of questions about collaborative drawing - when does collaborative drawing happen? Who does collaborative drawing happen with? What is it about? How, why, when...?

Then her map became conversational, documenting conversations with others, It also listed drawing initiatives (Jerwood drawing prize, biennale's that sort of thing...). There was the oppositional aspects of verbal and visual encounters, positioned both visually and conceptually in the middle of the map. A list of one-off questions...

The map was embellished in dots, which served the purpose of being a fairly mundane activity during which Angela could cogitate about the questions posed on the map... the brain was immersed and processing whilst decorating...

Interesting to see, and will drive my own initial mind-map on from simple lists of influences into something more enveloping and evolving... certainly in the mind-mapping stage I'm going through at the moment. It will be interesting to see who it affects the finished item, which I doubt will remain in the mind-mapping software (mindmaple on the Mac platform). I suppose I'd better get on with it...

T3 : Mapping - an early attempt

Just starting to go through the mind mapping process, an hour spent with a piece of software and there will be bound to be people and things left off (this is far from complete). The way I’ve broken it up will be far from ideal, people might argue that things are in the wrong place, but this is just an attempt to get moving on this…

Parking a project

I've come to a decision to put the war film project on hold, maybe permanently, maybe not. One of the reasons for deciding to do this is the recent Tuymans case whereby he has been found "guilty" of a copyright violation for making a painting of a photograph of a politician. Looking deeper (as I have recently), those "famous" appropriation artists (Koons, Warhol and Levine, etc.) are known to get permission for using the works they appropriate. Where they don't, the work is sometimes withdrawn from circulation, such as Sherrie Levine's After Walker Evans which now belongs to Evans' estate.

As things stand now, I don't have permission to use the films as my source material, and so the next step will be to seek out that permission so that the work can be used. If there's a large cost involved, then the images won't be used other than for "educational purposes" as part of this MA. Whether that will hold any water, well, we'll see if anyone notices. I do have doubts whether permission will be granted by the film distributers.

So, what next?

+++an update+++

This update isn't about what I m right end up doing next, I haven't a clue. Rather, it's some further thinking about the Tuymans case highlighted above, and others including Fairey, Prince and whoever might fit the bill. The people litigating in these instances appears just to be the photographers, and there might be a purely economical reason for this as their own market diminishes, this is in terms of the fact that the end-users pay less - micro-stock being something that's encroaching here, diminishing the returns available and also the amount that users are willing to pay. There's also the fact that any muppet with a camera can often think themselves a photographer, which then can mean that some end-users turn to "citizen photography", or even just ripping images off from the Internet (notably social media) as being fair game. So, with less money available, if someone uses an image without authorisation, especially if that someone is a corporation or otherwise has money, then the legal battle ensues.

Having said that, there are instances whereby the big corporates go after "the little man" - Paramount and @555uhz with Top Gun being a particularly pertinent example, and U2's record label with Negativeland. I'm not really willing to go down that route just at the moment, so as I said, I'm parked whilst I find the time to write to all these film companies and ask them nicely...

Andy Warhol's dead!

OK, ok... I was flicking through the music back catalogue and saw the title "Pop Art" and I thought why not? It's been a while - must be close to 30 years!! (I was young and impressionable at the time!) And it seemed appropriate.

PS. Andy's asleep...

Metamorphosis of Japan... @Open Eye


Anyone that knows me and my ‘likes’ as far as photography goes will know that Japanese photography ranks high on the scale of things that get me buzzing, so it was a certain amount of excitement that I headed off to Liverpool last Wednesday for opening night, even if my “thing” is more centred around the (admittedly more predictable) Provoke era, the exhibition includes the work of some of those that went on to form the short-lived Vivo collective (after Fukushima’s Junin-no-Me, or Eyes of Ten exhibition in 1957). I do tend to like most of the stuff that’s come out of Japan though, from the really early to the contemporary. Something to do with their way of seeing I suppose. It’s not necessarily tied to the Western art practice, although it does feature from time to time (I’me thinking Yasumasa Morimura here).

Looking around the exhibition, there’s a good mix of work there; 11 different photographers according to the little catalogue, from Ken Domon to Yasuhiro Ishimoto, through Eikoh Hosoe and Shomei Tomatsu, amongst others. Much of the work can be considered to be in a social documentary vein, and that’s exactly what it is. However, whilst the work is effectively documenting the tumultuous post-war years from the A-bomb and occupation to becoming an economical power-house, it also represents a shift from a realism movement (Domon) to a more humanist style of photography, inspired by HCB and Doisneau…


There is much to enjoy, but a particular pleasure was seeing a wall of Eikoh Hosoe’s photographs, from Man and Woman, Kamaitachi and Barakei. These are much more ‘artistic’ than many of the others, in Kamaitachi, Hosoe photographed Tatsumi Hijikata performing the role of the titular “weasel-demon” in a butoh dance, so is deviating from the mantra of Domon and the “absolutely unstaged snapshot” (Vartanian et al, p21). I’m really captivated by the depth of the blacks in the image from Barakei (leftmost in the image above), it drew me into it. I have Kamaitachi in book form, together with others in a compilation, and whilst the book form is really nice, the “problem” when compared to the gallery print is that the image is rotated and spread across two pages. The gallery print is also much better quality, although it has to be said my copy is a reprint and I can’t comment on the original, those original artists books are something to behold.

There were also some prints from Kikuji Kawada’s
Chizu (The Map), a photobook of considerable reputation; it’s regard it as the “ultimate photobook-as-object” (Parr and Badger, p286 ). Here, Kawada looks at the aftermath of the war, the bombs and the American occupation. He uses the camera and the contrast in the black and white printing to introduce a level of abstraction in the documentary – it’s really effective at what it does.

An excellent collection of images – I’ll be going back to the exhibition at least once before it’s ended, I’ve booked into a talk by Marc Feustel and I’m thinking about the book-binding course as well…
Parr, M and Badger, G (2004) 
The Photobook: A History volume I. 2010 reprint. London. Phaidon Press Limited.
Vartanian, I, Hatanaka A and Kambayashi, Y (2006) 
Setting Sun: writings by Japanese photographers. New York. Aperture Foundation Books.


Postmodernism and globalisation


What are we looking at?

Sometimes, it feels like looking at postmodern art (and the theory behind it) is something like looking at the world through the code of the Matrix. It doesn’t make sense until you start to pick up the patterns. I still feel like a novice at this, even though I’ve been reading around the subject for a little while now. Gerald Deslandes third lecture was a quick dip into the world of postmodernism, and of globalisation. Again, it was quick and quite superficial because of the time constraints (90 minutes again, or thereabouts), but despite this it was still interesting.
In the 80’s and 90’s, art became “cool”, travel became easier and media was rammed down our throats. And then there’s digitisation and computers. Postmodernism seemed maybe like a logical way to go after two world wars and two atomic bombs… Something a little more playful. Something confusing. Something made up.

Looking at the first 40-ish slides on postmodernism, there were some artists I didn’t know and there were some I did. The Dusseldorf school (The Bechers, Gursky and Struth) got a mention – I’d not actually considered them to be postmodernists, but on reflection I can see the case for Gursky and Struth, a little less for the Bechers. Are their trademark typographies playful? Are they signs referring to other signs? No, but there is an element of “the end of the machine”. I’d not identified this as being part of postmodernism, but sure enough, a quick Google and you find “Postmodernists rue the unfulfilled promises of science, technology, government, and religion” (
 allaboutphilosophy.org) – these buildings are the remains of a bygone technology…

The work of John Kippin may be worth a more detailed look. I’d not heard of Kippin, but both images appealed to some degree.

Futureland, by John Kippin

Other key ideas highlighted were detournement and appropriation (Sherrie Levine and Richard Prince), Gerhardt Richter’s paintings, especially that of Gudrun Ensslin of the Red Army Faction (called Ulrike Meinhof in the presentation).

Gudrun Ensslin, by Gerhard Richter

With the globalisation presentation, artwork from beyond the West was introduced. Ai Weiwei was there obviously, with his sesame seeds (mass produced like things are in China, but will cultural implications as they’re made from ceramics, and of course it is representing food and abundance…) Other artists mimic “native” or “tribal” artefacts and iconography, with some exhibitions displaying the two side by side (“what are we looking at?” comes to mind again), and also non-Westerners realign their practice to gain advantage from globalisation – the example was given of Cyprien Tokoudagba, a shaman from Benin who made work to help people becoming an artist and selling the same works as art.
Certainly food for thought, and a great foil for the postmodern theory I’d been reading of late – good to see some of it actually appear as artwork of one kind or another.


What is my practice?

I'm trying to work out what my practice is so that I can write my P3. At the moment, I'm not sure... I've not really achieved a huge amount in the great scheme of things, I don't see my art becoming my only source of income either. I suppose the question I'm really putting off answering is why am I doing the MA at all? Is there a purpose to it, other than self-improvement?

OK, so to write my artists CV, what would be on there? A small handful of exhibitions, a few self-published books. Anything else? Well, no. Not really. So, putting it all out there, this is what it amounts to:

Papergirl Blackburn [St John's Centre, Blackburn. 2014] - the community arts project featured 10 prints from Speak My Language before they were given away at random on the streets of Blackburn.

[( 6 )] [Banks Street Arts, Sheffield. 2014] - a group exhibition that I lead in terms of organisation, etc. 6 photographers, all recent or impending graduates from the OCA BA in Photography. It ran for a month in July, and it's the subject of the first few blog posts on here.

Sheffield International Book Prize [Banks Street Arts, Sheffield. 2013] - another show at Bank Street, this time featuring all of the artists books entered into that years book prize. I didn't win, although the book is now part of their permanent collection.

In Search of Space [Carlisle Photo Festival, Carlisle. 2013] - my work was on display during the festival, a bitter-sweet experience due to the poor quality of reproduction from the festival printer.

Inspired [Steward's Gallery, Clitheroe. 2011] - an mixed media exhibition featuring the work of local artists from the Ribble Valley.

I've also got work on pretty much permanent display at the OCA head office and that of another local firm. Does that count?

I've self-produced half a dozen or so publications, ranging from newspapers, Blurb books and catalogues to hand-crafted leporello format ones, each from one of my series,
including Speak my Language, A forest and Into the Valley.

My work has shown up in a number of places, it was featured in #Photography magazine, the Big Issue and a few other places. It's been used commercially, although nothing recently... Perhaps my more recent work would struggle to find a commercial use, and I don't create it for that purpose anyway.

How do I build on this? Do I actually
want to build on this? To answer the second question first, yes I do. So what is it I want to build on then?

I suppose it's got to be the exposure side of things. Famous for 15 minutes, and all that. Lauded in magazines, the shows the talk of the town... Ok, seriously. It would be good to get into a few more exhibitions, and I keep on submitting to the festivals and what have you, but it's a familiar story to be knocked back. I also need to dig into the local possibilities for a solo show, although "local" can be a bit of a solitary experience I guess. I'm not too sure there's much of a local scene... OK, there will be when you get to the cities (Manchester, Liverpool), but I'm not very familiar with them, beyond the headline galleries. So yeah, local - I need to start somewhere...

I need to keep hitting the magazines too, both the mainstream and independent ones (like #Photography, which ran some of
A Forest).

I need to get into the networking thing too. I need to do a lot of things, including make some new work. And do the day job. Oh, and the MA... Actually, I need to get organised. Maybe then I will work out what my practice might be...

Notes from around a few books...

Some time ago, I started reading various books, making notes and highlighting things. For some reason, (life, work, apathy…) I haven’t done anything with these notes until right now, when I’ve been trying to tidy the chaos of my desk. The thing is, they might not actually mean too much to me now although with a bit more time and revisiting the context they were made in I’m sure they will. They notes will all have been made with my current work in mind, so in some instances they do make sense… Anyway – here’s the original notes and where I can, some indication of why it mean something to me.

Eleanor Heartney, 
Art & Today.
Link between high & low culture. Kitsch. (look @ Clement Greenberg?) 
With the high/low culture I will have been thinking about my appropriation of film, itself a form of “low culture” and how that might be promoted to high culture by representing the frames I have captured as art in a gallery setting. Not sure where the kitsch was coming from… probably the “barbaric hordes!”

Deformation of consciousness brought about by life in the “information age”. (p16) 
Heartney was talking about Warhol, about decisions being made that affect freedom and individualism by others, in effect meaning that we’re not free or individuals (repetition, homogenisation and materialism). I was taking this in a slightly different context, as it applies to one of the reasons I am making the work at the moment – the fact that people’s understandings of military history is being shaped by Hollywood, the perception-transforming power of mass media and the slant that they wish to put on things, rather than any particular factual basis. We also have to bear in mind those “facts” that do exist will in turn be coloured by whether the person recounting them was there or not, was victor or vanquished, their politics and, of course, their skill at retelling past events…

Television, cinema and advertising have transformed our consciousness (p21)
 again, Heartney was talking about Warhol but again, I took it as being an applicable statement to my own work, for the reasons I mentioned above. It also brings in some of the ideas of the spectacle, simulacrum and such that will no doubt be mentioned in the next of Gerald Deslandes’ lectures which is on the subject of Postmodernism. This then leads on to the next thing I scribbled down and “second-hand spectacle is more real than our own experiences”. At this point I was beginning to convince myself I was a Postmodernist at heart, it all means something to me…

An artwork is an object that physically embodies some superimposed meaning  (p40)
more Warhol, although this time in the words of Arthur Danto, and relates to something Gerald was saying in the last lecture (Language and Consumerism), he referred to Jasper Johns Flag and how it was a pattern, but also how it carried so many cultural connotations because we know what that particular pattern was. It also ties in with the intention of the artist, ideas of the readymade, etc. and Haim Steinbeck who maintained “the key issue in art-making was not making, but choice” (p41)
Postmodernism: A very short introduction
“The postmodernist period is one of the extraordinary dominance of the work of academics over that of artists” (ch.1) 
An intriguing idea when it is first read, that the artist is secondary in the creation of the artwork, but it shouldn’t really be a surprise when both Foucault and Barthes spoke of the death of the author, and how the reader takes pole positioning in providing meaning to the artwork as they read it from within their own sphere of experience.

“There is a sense in which French postmodernism is a true successor the the surrealist movement, which also tried to disrupt supposedly ‘normal’ ways of seeing things.” (ch.1) 
is this why I feel some kind of connection with postmodernism? Surrealism was the first movement in art I really became aware of at school, and whilst it was difficult to get to grips with (did I ever really get to grips with it?) it does appeal to me at some level.

“‘books always speak of other books, and every story that has already been told’. This view ends up in a kind of textual idealism, because all texts are seen as perpetually referring to other ones, 
rather than to any external reality. No text ever finally establishes anything about the world outside itself.” (ch.2) the quote is itself from Umberto Eco’s The name of the rose, and it also came up in Gerald’s presentation, although he introduced it via Foucault’s theories of how we understand images through their relationship to other images. We cannot unseen what we have seen, so we will always draw some form of relationship within our own minds with what resides in there already. Obvious really. Many more of the sections from the book continue in this vein, and it seems pointless to put them all here.

“As Munslow points out, the 1944 Warsaw Ghetto Uprising is not equally appropriately narrated, and therefore well interpreted, if it is seen as romance, as farce, and as tragedy. The best we can have is a debate about the nature and meaning of past events, and postmodernists (and plenty of others) say that this debate should be kept as open and as rigorous as possible. The penalty of a lack of vigilance is that some ‘official version’ may come to represent for us a true and final account of the past. It may also thus come to form part of an unjustifiable, because clearly distorting, ‘dominant ideology’ within its receiving society, as seems to have happened to both sides in the period of the Cold War” (ch.2) 
Here my interest was piqued by the ‘official version’, which is something I’m sort of working with in my current project. Another example of the power of the media has come to light recently following the terrorist attack on Charlie Hebdo when terrorism consultant, Steven Emerson, declared on Fox News that “There are actual cities like Birmingham that are totally Muslim, where non-Muslims just simply don’t go in.” (see here). Yes, he’s apologised, but do all those Americans who heard his declaration but not the apology now actually believe that Birmingham is a non-Muslim no-go zone? 

“How many people believe that Oliver Stone’s film JFK, which presents us with a New Orleans attorney heroically confronting those in the military establishment who conspired to assassinate Kennedy in order to keep the United States fighting in Vietnam, is not the fiction it is, but the truth?” (ch.5) 
sums up my thoughts on what I’ve been doing, although whether I’ve succeeded in asking the right questions yet is another matter…

I’ll not claim that there wasn’t much in the book that didn’t make obvious sense, but as it’s trying to de-mystify something built on the idea of myth by that obscure genre of people collectively known as French philosophers, it’s always going to leave something awry in my brain. However, there was one quote from this book that really brought a smile to my face. It was not so much about the theory of postmodernism, but a comment about Jacques Derrida. I’d tried to get to grips with some of Derrida’s theories a few years ago, eventually giving up as I generally found it too obscure and convoluted (although I did get a little from it). Anyway, the passage from chapter 1 of the book was:

“Michel Foucault once characterised Derrida’s prose style to me as ‘obscurantisme terroriste’. The text is written so obscurely that you can’t figure out exactly what the thesis is (hence ‘obscurantisme’) and then when one criticises this, the author says, ‘Vous m’avez mal compris; vous êtes idiot’ (hence ‘terroriste’).”

Makes me feel like I wasn’t a complete failure when I consigned him to the ‘not for me’ pile…
Butler, C (2002) 
Postmodernism: A very short introduction. Oxford. Oxford University Press. (e-book version)
Heartney, E (2008) 
Art & Today. Paperback edition. London. Phaidon Press Inc

Language & Consumerism

After missing the first of Gerald Deslandes three lectures, I was keen to see the second which was on the subject of Language & Consumerism. I’d touched on a few of these concepts when I studied the Understanding Visual Culture module a few years ago and was keen to see what was added here. There were some good points made, things worth noting but to be honest, 90 minutes and 90 slides meant it was pretty much a whistle stop tour of the subject.

Ferdinand de Saussure was introduced, with his linguistic framework of ‘la langue” and “la parole”, and how words are interpreted and understood within the framework. Michel Foucault was there too, with his theory of how a single image is understood within the context a a wider set of images. Aspects of Modernism were raised, with the example of how the statues “squareness” or “blockiness” reflects the nature of the stone it’s carved from (and hence, representative of Modernism) whilst also being interpreted from within a larger canon of similar sculptures, with the Aztec Chacmool figure.

Aztec/Henry Moore
from Language and Consumerism, by Gerald Deslandes

Douglas Gordon was mentioned, and I highlighted his name for further investigation (which I’ve not done yet). What peaked my interest was his appropriation of film by stretching them out to a 24h duration, the slow motion changes them to something meaningless, defined only by what we take from it. Something perhaps worth exploring with the work I’ve been doing? Yes, certainly someone to take a further look at when the opportunity comes.

Lots of other stuff reinforced what I’d previously covered; Barthes Panzani advert and “Italianicity” and the connotations it brings of freshness, abundance and yes, Italianicity  through the red, white and green colours matching the Italian flag (even though Panzani is a French company).

(from http://pages.ucsd.edu/~bgoldfarb/cocu108/data/images/Week2/album/panzani.jpg accessed 17/1/15)

There was talk about consumerism (Manet) and availability (Koons), and how Pop Art was very astute about the nature of images, how they become empty of meaning after constant reproduction, or at least they start to take on other meanings and empty of their original meaning. There was mention about how meanings change with the time, or at least how aspirations change, from “get married” to “got a girl”…

All in all, a lot to take in, not a lot of time to take it in in, but interesting nonetheless…


She'd sigh like Twig the wonder kid...

...and turn her face away.

Ok, that’s got nothing to do with anything, other than it’s from a song, which is the idea that probably what got the most mentions from the PK presentation. Not everyone provided feedback, but yeah, the music slant was the main thing. That and listing some interesting photographers.

And yes, that was indeed me on the first photograph, some 20-odd years ago in a Photo Booth in sunny Blackpool.

Not sure what else to add at the moment.

Pecha Kucha

A Pecha Kucha video about influences... What drives me? What makes me work? What makes me tick?

Here it is, from storyboard to the final video - 20 slides, 20 seconds each and a live voice over...


I’ll add what I’ve prepared as the voiceover text later, whether it ends up being what I actually say remains to be seen.

Slide 1 - Rob, some time ago...
Slide 2 - Concert photograph, 2010
Slide 3 -
Heinz Hajek Halke, The Home of Sailors, 1930
Slide 4 -
Henri Cartier-Bresson, Brussels, 1932 (MoMA)
Slide 5 - Daido at Polka, 2011
Slide 6 -
Shomei Tomatsu, Kadena-cho, Okinawa, 1969
Slide 7 -
William Klein, Torn Cine Poster, 1961
Slide 8 -
Tony Ray-Jones, Glyndebourne, 1967
Slide 9 -
Christopher Petit, Radio On, 1979
Slide 10 - Untitled, from
Speak My Language, 2013
Slide 11 -
Petra Wunderlich, NYC Kingdom Hall, 2009
Slide 12 -
John Darwell, Legacy: Inside the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, 1998
Slide 13 -
William Eggleston, Untitled (Peaches), 1973
Slide 14 -
Stephen Shore, US 97, South of Klamath Falls, Oregon, 21 July 1973.
Slide 15 -
Ridley Scott, Blade Runner, 1982
Slide 16 - Books 1, 2015
Slide 17 - Menu, 2012
Slide 18 - Books 2, 2014
Slide 19 -
Barbara Kruger, Belief + Doubt, 2012
Slide 20 - Pop Art Rob

Here’s what I
intended to say, but it didn’t quite work out that way:

1. Hi, my name is Rob and I’m addicted to photography
I’m going to talk about some of the things that I’ve liked and have influenced me over the years. The first thing I have to mention is music; it’s affected the way I looked, the way I feel and the work I produce. As you know, I’ve used lyrics in my images, but I’ve also used music as the image itself.

2. Here’s a photo I took at a gig, the photograph shows the audience and the effect music can have. Elsewhere it might be less overt but it’s there if you know where to look for the signs. All of my recent projects are also named after songs too. Might be a bit cheesy, but there we go.

3. Surrealism was the first “ism” I became aware of at school, and it’s stayed with me to some degree ever since. Not just in terms of photographers either, but Dali, Magritte and so on too. It probably comes from reading too much science fiction when I was younger.

4. Another surrealist was Henri Cartier-Bresson, but he will be better known for his photographs of the “decisive moment”, like his famous St Lazare photograph. I really got into black and white photography from these old images from Cartier-Bresson, Doisneau and Atget, etc.

5. From France, my interests moved over to Japan and the Vivo and Provoke groups from the 60s and 70s – photographers such as Tomatsu, Hosoe, Moriyama and Takanashi were producing images in the “are bure boke” style - grainy, blurry and out of focus.

6. The images were politically charged, and even though they were influenced by the West, and new wave filmmakers like Jean-Luc Godard, they pushed against the American occupation of Japan and reacted to the experience of the atomic bomb.

7. William Klein was an influence on Moriyama, and I thought their exhibition at the Tate a couple of years ago was brilliant. What draws me is the way he layers different elements – photo with photo as with this one, or with text or graphic design.

8. Coming closer to home, I have to say I’m English, and I do like the more contemporary style of English photography – after the Picture Post era like this one from Tony Ray-Jones, it became a little edgier and… eccentric. I find this really interesting.

9. Cinema is another big influence, as you may have noticed from the work I’ve been doing. This still is from Christopher Petit’s Radio On, which was a direct influence on the work I exhibited in Bank Street last year with Speak My Language – a mosaic of images viewed in a large grid to form a non-linear narrative.

10. This is one of the images from that work, it’s of Wong Kar-Wai’s “Fallen Angels”, which also gave me the title of the project – Laurie Anderson’s “Speak my Language” was on the soundtrack to the film, and this frame and the lyrics were included in the mosaic.

11. I’ve also got to mention Objectivity and the Dusseldorf School – people like the Bechers, Thomas Struth and Andreas Gursky. I find this relatively recently but it appeals to the engineer in me, with everything neat and ordered and logical.

12. Quite a few years ago, I attended a talk by John Darwell. During that talk, he spoke about his transition to colour photography, saying “This is now”. It really struck a chord with me and I’ve generally worked in colour since, but not always…

13. William Eggleston was one of the early colour pioneers, who helped make colour photography acceptable on the art scene. I really do like his eye for mundane details, the way he picks up on all the little things we might overlook and makes you look at them as if they now meant something. They become important somehow.

14. Stephen Shore was another of the early colour art photographers. This particular image illustrates postmodernist ideas for me, the simulacra of the mountain in front of the real thing, not quite a map so big it covers the country, but still…

15. This brings me back to film and Blade Runner – an all time favourite of mine, and a perfect postmodern film, with its themes of simulation, what is real and all that. Looking at something like this starts to make sense of some of the pomo theory.

16. I’ve done a reasonable amount of reading on visual culture, and I do subscribe to some of it, but not all – it gets a bit… aloof in places, and it assumes a lot. Some times I just like to appreciate things for what they are to me (itself part of the theory), rather than what they might mean or not.

17. My favourite kind of book is the photobook though. This is one I produced with Daido Moriyama at an event at the Tate. My methodology was much different to his, I was much more considered, and he was very random, more spontaneous. His juxtapositions can be down to luck rather than planning.

18. I like the physicality of the photobook, the image becomes an object that you can “own” rather than something just seen on a computer screen. Whilst books might be thought of as a limited media, you can do so much with it if you want to. And we all know about bookness now.

19. I’ve mentioned text before, but then I don’t like direct captions. I like to think about what I’m seeing, rather than being told what it is. Ok, sometimes I’ll admit to needing a clue, but if the caption is reductive, I’d rather not read it.

20. And that’s it, back to music, me and popular culture… I probably should have been born 20 years earlier.

I’m waiting for feedback from some of the cohort, but I think things went well enough. And it was quite interesting that the Barbara Kruger text came up in the lecture beforehand (as did Warhol’s Marilyn).


Something a little different

A few weeks in France should be relaxing, but with a pile of books packed for the Christmas break this wasn't going to be feet up in front of the fire with a glass of beer and taking it easy. Well, ok there was a fire (and I was throwing logs on there like nobody's business, it almost felt like K-foundation's burning of £1m...). There was also some reading: there was Postmodernism: A Very Short Introduction (Christopher Butler), War isn't Hell, it's Entertainment (Schubart, Virchow, White-Stanley and Thomas) and Appropriation (David Evans). I've got various post-it notes and highlighted sections and scribbled annotations to make sense of before I begin to write anything to show what it meant to me.

Anyway, I also managed a walk, and I took my camera. Doing something different from the war films has been a little bit like therapy. I've not had to try and work out why I was taking the photographs, I just did it. They're not even particularly in a style I'm accustomed to, but there we go - something different. Something to step back from the other work and allow it to develop at the back of my mind, sub-consciously if you like.

untitled (63 of 77)-Edit
Col du Trédudon

I did come home and write up my notes on the Neo Avant-Garde though...