Task 2

Task 2 : F3 feedback notes

Too much time has passed between the group crit and me writing this, too much has happened outside of the course and things are beginning to get a bit hazy. Others have said it before, but it’s really difficult to talk about the work, answer verbal questions, answer written questions, think, respond, talk some more and write down any sort of note to serve as an aide memoire for writing something meaningful at the end. Luckily, I got a grab of the comments, and I’ve also had some feedback via e-mail.

I’ve already posted the chatbox notes, but here I will respond to those that I think need to be responded to in some way.

Mathew
It’s interesting how you extend the narrative of the photo sequences with text. Have you considered making the prints unique and more intimate with handwriting – just like Duane Michals does with his photo sequences?

Have I thought about handwriting? Not at all!!

At the time the comment was made, the name didn’t really register with me, but on checking on Google I have seen the work before somewhere. There’s a number of others that come to mind when I think of this sort of thing, not least is Robert Heineken who hand annotated some of his Polaroid sequences (I saw his work in Liverpool recently). Does it make a big difference if the lyrics are handwritten? My first thought is that it would be very difficult for me to come up with something that I was truly happy with. I’d struggle to make it centred, would the characters be the same height, would the line droop near the end…? I would probably try to make the handwriting so “precise” that it would lose the purpose of being handwritten.

I also see these. as being quite large images when printed (which is the reason for one of my questions), so how does this then relate to handwriting? Would it be brush painted? Sprayed? I feel like I would lose control a bit – I guess I’m a photographer working digitally for a reason… Which, with reflection, is a strange thing to say as these images are entirely down to chance!


sharon
Rob, I’d like to see more experimentation -maybe hadn 
[HAND] colour the photos in some way – over print them? Add sound?

I  suppose this is then also related to the last point too. To working digitally and degrees of control. The images are all manipulated in some way digitally, and years of not using my hands artistically is maybe crippling my confidence somewhat. There’s also an issue of space; I live in a small two bedroomed cottage, and until that lottery win comes in, there’s no space for a studio to have these things printed and then made available to layer in some way by hand. Perhaps interesting, once I’d gotten over the trepidation, but impractical and not really me either. I mentioned in the talker to the slides that this was a big deviation for me, and that my work is normally much “straighter” (as below), this is perhaps an interesting diversion for me, but I suspect I will return to my normal photography at some point.

rob2752-edit
Sword Beach

As for sound? Maybe it would be an option, but then what? If I think about video, then there’s maybe a need for sound. It might also be included in a gallery context too. Would it be songs? Would it be war? Would including the sound push something too far one way or the other? Something to think about, but…


Máire
be really interesting to exhibit these on 48 sheets
or printed and posted on walls/boards in cities

I didn’t know what this meant (48 sheets), but a quick Google and I believe it refers to billboards… Yes, I was thinking large scale prints anyway (over a metre) so maybe… Yes, I think it would actually work like that. I’d like to see it…However… It’s not cheap to get it done in – a billboard is about £700/m and about £200 for the printing. A single board wouldn’t really work either. My pockets aren’t that deep!! Something a bit smaller then – back to my 1m gallery prints perhaps?


Anne
slide 3 has horizontal lines that seem to refer to the TV screen…seems important???

This image includes a screen within the feel – the superimposed face of a drone controller and the targeting screen he was looking at (with reticule). Yes, it’s hard to miss the relationship between the controller (actor) looking and the viewer looking. There’s a degree of appellation going on I suppose, or is it just that by watching we become complicit in the actions, or at least accepting of it? Of course, each viewer will have their own take on this.


Emma
Transfer letters….old school, rubbed onto the photographs?

I’d thought about Letraset on the glass of the framed print, so that the lettering floats above the image, even if only slightly.


Alison
or those stencil lettering
look great in the street

Related to the Letraset – I suppose it depends on scale… (so see above!)


Ines
as a comic book type of presentation

The previous work for Task 1 was loosely comic based, but not necessarily formatted that way. I wanted to move away from it with this main thrust of the project…



Looking at the e-mail comments I’ve received:

Tanya:
had a brief thought about some of your lyrics- knowing most of the songs(!) they began to run through my head and some felt more ‘right’ with the images that others- meaning that i thought the music went with them or not.Bauhaus – yes- Blondie – no! I don’t know whether this could be another layer, maybe a hidden one- except for those who know the music- maybe even using weirdly inappropriate music that has a great lyric- (if there is such a thing) to set up a confusing dynamic between words, music and image.

I agree with the Blondie one, but it was something I thought I needed to try to get the idea of what I thought was appropriate. Weirdly inappropriate music – would that include Kylie? The strangeness perhaps comes here only once you realise the source.

untitled-1-of-1-2
Image: Black Hawk Down
Lyric: Can’t get you out of my head, by Kylie Minogue

What about lines from army songs- marching songs or battle hymns?

I think this would then deviate from my thoughts of “entertainment”, so whilst “this is for fighting, this is for fun” (from Full Metal Jacket) might fit in thematically, it’s too far removed from my idea.

back to lyrics- the longer words like this one  All and Everyone, by PJ Harvey give  a different feel – more like an explanation I don’t really have a preference either way- tossing it back to you Rob!

I’m favouring the single lines at the moment…

What do you like- a little ambiguity? something more related to the scene? Is the actual music important or just the words? Do you want to expand beyond song lyrics to poetry or news reports or other words or is it important that it’s lyrics – and especially ones that you like  a lot (and show your age!!!!) What about that – lots of 40 somethings will know these lyrics is it better to stick to that generation or do you want to mix it up- what about different music genres- you got any  rap/hip hop in there?

At the moment it’s about the “entertainment” element. I had thought about leaving the films and into news footage or even promo video for military hardware, this would then blur the real/fake element which is part of what my initial thoughts were, but takes a step away from the entertainment element, but then it’s all part of “spectacle” so maybe I should? I might try it and see how things slot in together…

As for music style… no rap/hip hop at the moment (I don’t think), but there’s differing styles of music, from dance (The Prodigy), to industrial (NIN and KMFDM) and goth (Sisters of Mercy) to pop (Kylie). Lots of British indie stuff too, with The Smiths, PJ and The Wedding Present. Sixties music from The Beatles, The Doors and Jefferson Airplane. Elton John, The Sex Pistols, Queen and Bowie… Should it be a more select list? I don’t know.

My view on rap/hip hop is that it’s all about “Get out, cock the hammer, then kick down the door” (Cypress Hill, A to the K). OK, ok, I know I’m not familiar with the scene, but that makes it harder to work with… and I’m already confused.


Susan:
For me the outstanding image was the haunting green soldier with the powerful Cohen lyrics.  I preferred the independent, rather than blocked writing, which I found distracting, and feel that  the presentation of the words is key to how you move forward.

There is a connection with the words of Cohen (from The Partisan, a song about war) and the image, so the two reinforce each other. I’m still slightly torn, but coming to think that this is the right way to go… Not overtly about conflict, but not obviously trivially not about it either (like the use of Blondie Tanya mentioned).

The presentation of the words is fairly key,and I need to sort this out before the work can be resolved in any way. The intention with the blocking was to remove distraction (from the background), so it interesting to hear that it causes distraction in itself. I’m coming back around to not having the blocking (white or black) in there and just sticking with the text, although there are still a large number of variables to think about.

Having sat thru the various videos and slide presentations for the Turner Prize, I felt FFF could easily have been another contender.

It’s really good to hear that the work is being positively received as I do have my doubts about it…

I was comforted by your confusion, it helped put mine in perspective.

Similarly it helps to hear others are also confused. None of us are alone in our confusion…



Anne:
“If you could let me know which of the lyric styles you prefer (and why?) on mine I’d much appreciate”Its hard to say Rob!  I was asking a few questions of you as for me that is the way I’d start to decide on how I wanted things…do I want the viewer to know its from films, does it matter its filmic representations, or is it more important its conflict representations.  What does having the lyrics add to the images, is it important people may recognise the lyrics, or is it more important that they don’t.  Do the lyrics mean to veil or conceal the conflict or are they there to elucidate on some aspect of it etc, if only the senselessness.   So if it was me I’d decide conceptually based on what I thought I was doing with them

Is it important that they’re films…? At the moment I think it’s not really important the viewer realises that they’re films, but it is important that they are. The way I think the work is seen by the wider audience (accepting that it’s not being widely seen by anyone – it’s on a few sites but with limited audience), the images will be thought of as a form of entertainment in themselves – almost comic book art which in itself almost promotes the entertainment value of conflict. We are looking at them and not with a documentary eye. The lyrics are adding to that “pop culture” element of the work. I guess I want people to “enjoy” the work, and then almost to feel guilty for doing so as a realisation dawns…

They will then question what it is they have enjoyed. To think about what the war film represents – a celebration of killing each other for what are often strange ideals on behalf of what is usually the aggressor (politics, religion, whatever…) I think the purpose of the lyrics is to add to what is being thought about. Add to the confusion that might ensue, and it’s probably this in itself that is causing me so much confusion as I create the work.

Stuart Whipps – I suddenly thought of him, he’s a local photographer working quite internationally it seems these days, I went to one of his exhibitions on Wales and the picturesque versus reality, in which his images were accompanied by a recording of people making enunciations (of not particularly relevant things) in Welsh.  Which was deliberately that no-one could understand as we were in Birmingham!  It was partly about the way that non-local people have no understanding of a local context I think.  There was a translation available and it talked of historic events, welshness vs English overlordness….etc etc

But it reminded me of your work in the way there is not necessarily a feeling of ‘sense’ for a viewer but there is an underlying conceptual reason for the presence of the words.

I’ll look into this – not had a chance yet.

So for me if I was you (and this is just me and I think its possible I am just very very weird about this stuff) I would be asking myself why I was doing the lyrics, over and above the juxtaposition and fracture.  And I would decide in the end on how I felt in my gut about it regardless of anyone elses view!For me overall there is something about film, something about how conflict is portrayed on film, and that we watch it as entertainment.  So the lyrics might draw our attention to what we are doing in some way.  Another way I guess is to have a musical soundtrack that makes no ‘sense’ with the images.  Maybe there’s something about how film is immersive that might need to be there, and a soundtrack would also have an immersive quality that is not there so much with stills which are more contemplative.

Things to think about… (too many things to think about, although maybe now I have the realisation the confusion is self induced….)


Monika:
I like the words: there´s a club if you´d like to go” most – there is a connection between these words and the soldier – for me. What do think about writting yourself a Haiku. Links to your loved Asian photographers…

A haiku would indeed relate to my other interests, and would be appropriate to the intention of the juxtaposition, but it then moves away from my original ideas. Is it too great a leap sideways? Can haiku be written in English? How does the flow of on relate? Is it to syllables? To words? Would it be in some way similar to using a verse from a song? Perhaps it should form something of a future project.

You could present the photos as well in addition with spoken words….. wirtten, without the white blog behind…..or present them as a projection onto the walls going around and sounds – words coming from anywhere – this would be a deep impact to the viewer.

Hmmm…. The images started off without words (which have always been added afterwards – never as an intended pairing from the start). Maybe the images could be just that and somehow work out a way for projecting words around the gallery… Something more to think about. Actually, there is so much to think about….

Have seen such an installation  in Stuttgart: artist Peter Kogler
http://www.nzz.ch/aktuell/feuilleton/literatur-und-kunst/mensch-und-masche-1.18233319

As well Rebecca Horn did this in Berlin, Martin Gropius Bau, with words…  
http://www.catonbed.de/jan2/pictures/collections/gropius/horn/a600catonbed_de6a.html

Comments

Task 2 : F3 feedback

Here’s the discussion from F3. Still need to get my thoughts in order, and I’ve had a few e-mails as well, but this is a starter for 10…

Mathew
19:36
It’s interesting how you extend the narrative of the photo sequences with text.Have you considered making the prints unique and more intimate with handwriting – just like Duane Michals does with his photo sequences?


sharon
19:36
Rob, I’d like to see more experimentation -maybe hadn
[HAND] colour the photos in some way – over print them? Add sound?

Máire
19:36
be really interesting to exhibit these on 48 sheets

Monika
19:37
i agree to emma

Máire
19:38
or printed and posted on walls/boards in cities

Emma
19:38
YES! 
[RESPONSE TO QUESTION ASKING IF THEY SAY ANYTHING TO ANYONE]

Monika
19:38
yes 
[RESPONSE TO QUESTION ASKING IF THEY SAY ANYTHING TO ANYONE]

Mathew
19:38
Yes 
[RESPONSE TO QUESTION ASKING IF THEY SAY ANYTHING TO ANYONE]

Máire
19:38
yes 
[RESPONSE TO QUESTION ASKING IF THEY SAY ANYTHING TO ANYONE]

Susan
19:39
Slide 9 (green) really works for me, and as suggested perhaps hand writing.

Anne
19:40
slide 3 has horizontal lines that seem to refer to the TV screen…seems important???

Emma
19:41
Transfer letters….old school, rubbed onto the photographs?

Alison
19:41
or those stencil lettering
look great in the street

Ines
19:45
as a comic book type of presentation

Susan
19:45
Your work felt like a Turner prize entry to me.

Emma
19:46
Rob – suuuuch dramatic images – truly moving…..

Mwamba
19:46
I love the energy in them Rob!

me
19:46
Thank you
everyone

sharon
19:46
Very emotional images

Máire
19:46
its very strong work Rob
Comments

Task 2 : F3 - just some more...

untitled-5-of-10-3
Image: Enemy at the Gates
Lyric: I bet you look good on the dance floor, by Arctic Monkeys


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Image: A Bridge Too Far
Lyric: How soon is now? by The Smiths


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Image: Our World War
Lyric: The passion of lovers, by Bauhaus


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Image: Battle for Haditha
Lyric: Psycho Killer, by Talking Heads


untitled-7-of-10-3
Image: Full Metal Jacket
Lyric: Hanging on the telephone, by Blondie


untitled-2-of-10-3
Image: Battle for Haditha
Lyric: A forest, by The Cure

(images used for educational purposes)

Comments

Task 2 : F3 - more versions, some thoughts and stuff

I’ve been posting various images and trials (but not all of them) within the OCA Flickr group forum in order to get some feedback. There’s been some things said that have helped, some that have made me think some more and others just pointing things out.

Firstly, here are some more versions, back to “testing” I suppose, or maybe it’s “sampling”… I’m not really sure.

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Image: A Bridge Too Far
Lyric: All and Everyone, by PJ Harvey

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Lyric: Ribbons, by The Sisters of Mercy

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Lyric: Some Kind of Stranger, by The Sisters of Mercy

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Lyric: Miserable Lie, by The Smiths

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Lyric: Birds, by Electrelane

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Lyric: In the Dark Places, by PJ Harvey

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Lyric: Ziggy Stardust, by David Bowie

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Lyric: The Partisan, by Leonard Cohen

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Lyric: The Charge, by New Model Army

untitled-8-of-10-2
Lyric: White Rabbit, by Jefferson Airplane

(images used for educational purposes)


OK, so here I’ve been playing a little with the length of the snippet and font size, therefore the size of the white box, even trying that white box as a black box, the opacity and again flitting back to red text. Some of the lyrics are more obviously war-centric whilst others aren’t. Some are deliberately love oriented, others simply obscure.

So, for me, what works? Well, without referring to any sort of idea of what I was hopping to achieve, on a visual level, I think a single line of text is better. I also prefer the idea of the lyrics not being directly related to conflict, those that are read a little bit more like a caption and less thought is required to process the coupling. Black text on white is possibly better too, I think the white background, semi-transparent though it is, helps with legibility as in earlier trials I’ve had to choose lyric length to suit the image elements in terms of light and dark, rather than content (I know here the specific content has not been particularly considered).

From various comments that have come back from Flickr – the first one relates to the last image, above. “remember what the door mouse said” was the copied from the Metro Lyrics website, whereas Anne pointed out it’s a “dormouse”, which is indeed what it was called on another website (AZlyrics). Oldie Lyrics claimed the line was “remember what the
doorknob said”. Now that really doesn’t make sense, even in the drug fuelled world of Jefferson Airplane or Alice’s Wonderland. Care needs to be taken to ensure the lyrics are correct, otherwise it all begins to fall down.

untitled-2-of-8
Film: The Battle of Warsaw
Lyric: Peace Frog, by The Doors


untitled-2-of-8-2

(images used for educational purposes)

 
With these two images there was some interesting thoughts posted. The mix of black and white image with red text was thought to be visually interesting, but without recourse to any intentions (Dewald). Another thought from Anne, especially with the lyrical reference to “the streets” was that this began to be more like a police drama than a war film – the hint of khaki was needed to be sure that it felt like conflict rather than crime.

spr2
Image: Saving Private Ryan
Lyric: Ribbons, by The Sisters of Mercy


(images used for educational purposes)


Stephanie gave the following comment about the above image from Saving Private Ryan.

I really like the contrast between the images and the world here.

It is difficult to read, on purpose?

Just a thought: the text works here for me, strangely, as the projection of the viewer’s thoughts thinking about something else while watching a movie – rather than illustrating the thoughts of the character in the movie. You know, how your thoughts are drifting away from what your eyes are looking at sometimes. One thing growing with this set, from my perspective, is that with the number of images you are taking, you are more and more present in the set. I imagine you watching hours of movie with your camera, looking for something and these lyrics on these images are one more screen distancing you from the subject represented. 

untitled-1-of-31
Image: Brotherhood
Lyrics: Firestarter, by Prodigy

And again, Stephanie on the above:

I really like the lyrics you used in relation with the last 3 images, there is a difference with the previous one, they are angry, and they sound like music. They are more raw than the previous, more poetic ones, closer to the frustration one can have in front of war images. 

It makes me want to scream the lyrics, I feel restless now rather than contemplative. You triggered something.
So, some food for thought – more trials to undoubtedly follow.

Comments

Task 2 : F3 - More... thoughts... and more photographs

I’ve created a few more image/word combinations for Form, Frame, Fracture, building on something that was posted the other day. These trials are within what Les Bicknell would have termed the “sampling” phase (something from his lecture, more on which will follow once I’ve put T2 to bed, but see below). I’m still trying to work out what I want from this, so I’m still some distance from the “designing” phase, and I actually may need to go back around the buoy to the “research” and “testing” phases, but we will see.

les-b
Les’ phases of making


This time, I’m working with the images I have rather than going and finding new images (I will do more of this as we work through the year), and I’m just trying to work out how they feel together, unified in style of text, even though I’m not fully sure as to what that text should be. Should they be short snippets? Should they be obscure? (acknowledging that unless you recognise them for what they are, they will be regardless) Should they be more didactic and drive home a point? Should they be somehow violent in themselves, to mirror the violence of the war they are “covering”? Should they be completely opposite, softer and perhaps more feminine to offset a perceived masculinity of war? (and yes, I do appreciate it is not a purely male-oriented pursuit)

I suppose what I am trying to work out is what I am trying to say. What is the reason for creating these images? What is it for? And what do I want from it? (more questions from Les’ lecture)

Whilst I’ve thought long and hard about these questions over the last few months (well, the first three anyway), I’ve not thought about this particular version of the answer; whilst it will be informed by that thinking, what I will write below is somewhat off the cuff. I feel I need to do this as if I (over)think, I end up tying myself in knots. I might still do…

I’m not actually sure I’m trying to 
say anything, not in a direct sense. I’m asking myself questions though, and also putting those questions “out there” for others to contemplate, or not. The catalyst for starting the work was a combination of seeing media coverage of actual conflict on the television, my own relationship to that conflict, and how that conflict gets turned around, rehashed and presented as entertainment. War films are hugely popular and I will hold my hand up to admitting enjoying them myself. I’m part of the conundrum I’m trying to resolve in more ways than one.

I’m also interested in how both film and documentary come together as spectacle, sometimes even blurring, with films sometimes shot docu-style, with handicams and whatnot, I suppose this is related to using Hipsta-style apps for shooting
documentary photographs of war but working in a contra-direction. War is sometimes being packaged into something… easy to digest. Familiar. Acceptable. Sure, there’s the so called “War Porn” of Christoph Bangert and the likes, with work far more visceral and subject to censorship, and which is also presented for consideration by the viewer as documentary, not art (although, how is the current Tate exhibition to be considered?). And yes, this brutality and carnage will spill over into the more hardcore cinematic realms. Where do the real and un-real crossover? Where does it all become entertaining? Is it fetishised? Commoditised? (a slightly different direction, but one that might be worthwhile taking a look at – see adverts for the RAF here or BAE Systems here, and there will be others to consider too). I suppose it’s about our attitude more than anything else.

I could just leave the images as they were, blurred time slices that can have a really poetic feel in some cases, or be quite jarring in others, haunting too at times. Left alone, they feel too much like they’re promoting the concept of war, almost making it exciting, entertaining and reinforcing the idea of war as spectacle in the age of hyper-reality. Maybe that’s something I should push, but then I think this removes something of the onus on the viewer to question. The lyrics, for me at least, do two things. Firstly, it brings in another vein of the entertainment industry. More importantly though, I think it makes you stop in your tracks and consider how the two things go together. Why are the words and image juxtaposed? It’s here that I think the question of war and entertainment become stronger, although I’m undecided if they’re stronger with a more… surreal combination, or something more direct. Is it better to let people think about something for longer, accepting you will lose people along the way? Or should I look to hammer home the point using connected or related combinations. There are songs about war, some pro, others anti/protest. There are songs that have become associated through use in s film soundtrack – I’m thinking more about the late 80s Vietnam films here (
Good Morning Vietnam or Full Metal Jacket), and the music they used and even the pop songs they spawned; Camouflage or N-n-n-n-n-nineteen anyone?

I need to consider the theoretical underpinnings too. I’m reading
War isn’t hell, it’s entertainment at the moment, whilst simultaneously dipping into Memory of Fire too. There’s Baudrillard’s The Gulf War did not take place and other things as well. So many things that can be considered, war is obviously a popular subject in many ways – art, film, songs, books and of course, actually fighting them. It leaves me conflicted (pun intended).
 
Anyway, back to the latest “samples”. They’re here.

brthrhd1
Image: Brotherhood
Lyric: Sumerland, by Fields of the Nephilim


an1
Image: Apocalypse Now
Lyric: Bohemian Rhapsody, by Queen


brthrhd2
Image: Brotherhood
Lyric: Kill Your Television, by Ned’s Atomic Dustbin


bow1
Image: Battle of Warsaw 1920
Lyric: The Love Song, by Marilyn Manson


bow2
Image: Battle of Warsaw 1920
Lyric: Can’t get you out of my head, by Kylie Minogue


bfh1
Image: Battle for Haditha
Lyric: White Rabbit, by Jefferson Airplane


spr2
Image: Saving Private Ryan
Lyric: Ribbons, by The Sisters of Mercy


oww1
Image: Our World War
Lyric: The Partisan, by Leonard Cohen
bhd1
Image: Black Hawk Down
Lyric: Firestarter, by The Prodigy


eatg1
Image: Enemy at the Gates
Lyric: God Save the Queen, by The Sex Pistols

(images used for educational purposes)


I need time to think about them, but time is not what I have for F3. All that means is that before the end of the year they will change.

Comments

Task 2 : F3 - further playing, fracturing, reforming and reframing

During the making day discussions, a couple of things were said. One was about the font and positioning of the text and the other was about a stated preference for the black and white image. Well, I’ve done some playing with one of the images from Battle of Warsaw 1920, mixing it with a line from Peace Frog by The Doors. The actual lyric is fairly inconsequential as I have approached this as a simple exercise in comparing a few options.

The baseline image, keeping in with my previous layout decisions would be this:

untitled-3-of-8
Film: The Battle of Warsaw
Lyric: Peace Frog, by The Doors


The following are a few alternatives:

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untitled-6-of-8
untitled-5-of-8
untitled-2-of-8
untitled-1-of-8
untitled-8-of-8
untitled-4-of-8


And then the same with a grainy black and white film preset applied:

untitled-3-of-8-2
untitled-7-of-8-2
untitled-6-of-8-2
untitled-5-of-8-2
untitled-2-of-8-2
untitled-1-of-8-2
untitled-8-of-8-2-2
untitled-4-of-8-2

(images used for educational purposes)


I really don’t like those with the offset text, it begins to feel like an advertising slogan. Whilst this might have some relevance (I’m looking at commodification of war/war as entertainment ideas), it just doesn’t feel right for me at this moment. Maybe it will begin to sit easier, but I can’t help but think it’s “wrong”. I’ll not dismiss it for the moment – maybe it would be a good question to through into the group when we have to present the images? I’m not so keen on the text that changes tone either (the last one in both the colour and mono sequences). Again, it might grow on me, and the colour one seems better of the two for some reason. The central text (large or small) is ok. It still feels reasonably balanced and to be honest, I don’t have any strong disliking for it, but I do prefer the lower one as it feels more balanced, or maybe that should be better balanced. The boxed text versions may be something to pursue further, there’s something I like about them. I don’t feel strongly in favour of the red or black text at the moment though.

The fonts I’ve used are Helvetica, Courier and Andale Mono. I know there are many more to choose from, and that Courier and Andale Mono are similar (Courier allows a bold option though and is a bit more typewriter-y). My mind can flit around on fonts from one day to the next, so whilst Andale Mono was the one I was using, this will undoubtedly change at some point before everything is finalised.

Colour or black & white is a bigger question. It’s probably not one I can answer fully either. I have a strong attraction to grainy black and white, to the Provoke type aesthetic that it suggests, but I can’t help but feel that I should be working in colour. Or rather, why 
should I work in black & white – it’s not down to the film stock because this is digital work. It does offer an additional level of abstraction from the original (fracture?), and certainly this particular image feels “darker”, and I mean this in terms of mood rather than palette. But is it “right”? I really don’t know for the moment.

Comments

"Making Day"

Today is officially a "making day". A group of us get together to make "something" and share the process and products as the day progresses. This entry is intended to be a potted account of the day, typed up as it is happening.

First Hangout - 9am
Brief discussion about the format of the day, and an introduction to what we were all planning to be doing. There will be painting, working with paper and twine, and of course some form of photography. My plan is to photograph a film (
Overlord - a slight deviation from my normal approach in that it's a mix of fictional and archive footage, and produced by the Imperial War Museum), downselect some images, process them and then add lyrics so that there will be something approaching "finished" come 4pm. I've got a backup option too, just in case Overlord  doesn't cut the mustard for me (I've not actually watched the film). Anyway - camera's rolling and... ACTION!

As it happens,
Overlord didn't really bring the results I wanted. To be fair, I suspected it might not as it was a black and white film, so was inevitably going to be "different", although as I'd edited one of the shots from the recent Warsaw film into something of a journalistic image (below), I thought it might be worth a try. From the several hundred images recorded in the first session, there were 2 that I pulled out for further consideration, and only one of those that I've so far done anything with.

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The Battle of Warsaw, 1920


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Operation Overlord
Image: Overlord
Lyric: God Save The Queen, by The Sex Pistols

(images used for educational purposes)



As I was going through the image cache, I had set another film in motion, 
Apocalypse Now (my process is to set the camera up to take a photograph every 5 or 6 seconds during the film whilst I tend to listen to music and work on earlier images). Unfortunately, whilst I was working away my Playstation froze and lost all Internet connectivity (I stream the films) so I had to reorganise myself, popping a blu-ray of Zero Dark Thirty in instead, but only looking towards the end of the film, rather than all the office based sections. Again, not really anything from these two films in the morning. Well, actually a few nice images from ZDT but not really in keeping with the rest of the images recorded thus far. I'm not sure they can be used, although we will see.


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Zero Dark Thirty


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Zero Dark Thirty

(images used for educational purposes)



Second Hangout - 12:30pm

The second hangout gave us the opportunity to present what we had been up to in the morning, each of us with varying amounts of progress or perceived success so far, but it had only been 3 hours, so that was to be expected; they were all "in-progress". It did give the opportunity to comment, throw ideas or suggestions into the mix which could be incorporated or not as the day went on. As it happens, Angela stated a preference for the Overlord image over the other images I uploaded from an earlier session. As a standalone I can understand why that might be the case, but I'm working with a series in mind so it does appear to be a bit of a "sore thumb".


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Korean War
Image: Brotherhood
Lyric: A Drug Against War, by KMFDM



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Korean War
Image: Brotherhood
Lyric: Kill Your Television, By Ned's Atomic Dustbin



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Korean War
Image: Brotherhood
Lyric: Firestarter, by Prodigy

(images used for educational purposes)

 

As for the others, Tanya was working with portraits over time, Anne was experimenting with still life, Máire was working with twine and sugan chairs, Sharon with tissue paper and Alison with painting on small canvases.
 
Back into the second period of activity, I managed to sort the Playstation out again and resumed the process with 
Apocalypse Now. This time, everything went to plan, although again the fruit of the session was limited. This way of working is very much reliant on chance and the source material. Depending on the way the movie is filmed, the locations, the time of day being represented, the results can come out very different. Some of the results are completely unrecognisable as anything and therefore unusable to my mind, although that's not to say they're not interesting in their own right. Anyway, with Apocalypse Now safely in Lightroom, another film started, this time it was 1939: The Battle of Westerplatte, a Polish film which I recounted the first battle of WWII.

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A reject from Zero Dark Thirty

(images used for educational purposes)



Looking through 
Apocalypse Now and listening to more music (a shuffled mix of punk, rock, rap and goth), I plucked a small handful of frames out, but found myself looking back over films that I'd been working with over the previous weeks, trying to pair them lyrics that came to me from the random assortment of songs. Again, really quite hit and miss.


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Operation Market Garden
Image: A Bridge Too Far
Lyric: Head Like A Hole, by NIN



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Vietnam War
Image: Apocalypse Now
Lyric: Peace Frog, by The Doors



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The Battle of Warsaw
Image: The Battle of Warsaw, 1920
Lyric: The Love Song, by Marilyn Manson

(images used for educational purposes)



Final Hangout - 4pm
As Weserplatte was still recording as the final hangout started, I presented the three preceding images. Discussions revolved around the final presentation, which is still up in the air; my initial thoughts have always been that these should be large prints on a gallery wall so as to reflect their projected nature and also make the DLP pattern more a part of the work (see below). However, now I'm wondering how they might work as a video, with pretty quick-fire image sequences, with some duplication and perhaps longer on some images to allow the text to be read. I'm never too sure about the music for things like this though, and licensing a major piece of "pop" will more than likely be expensive... As for a book? I've no idea. Does the format and the subject lend itself to a book?

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DLP pattern detail


Another topic that was discussed was placement and font for the text. Centrally justified and slightly below the centre "feels" right to me - it affords the text a sense of importance, it's consistent and visually I guess, yes, it just feels right. The font is a simple one (Andale Mono if memory serves me correctly). I don't really feel the need to play with this any more, and if I did I would probably simply revert back to Helvetica or one of its derivatives. Maybe it's worth a go though, and the same will apply with the size of the text. Something to do before the end of Task 2 I suppose...

The others work had also developed in the afternoon, with Tanya's developing a "mug" theme (nice 80's hair btw!! - I will dig out one of mine from the late 80's/early 90's for a laugh sometime), Anne moving from manufactured still life to something more in a "found" style (like Richard Wentworth), Máire moving out into the garden with the twine (which then reminded me of Riitta Päiväläinen), Sharon making her tissue paper into tubes and lighting them in different ways (tree bark came to mind) and Alison grouping the small canvases onto a wall, with the relationship between them sketched in on the background, which certainly showed promise.
 
All in all, a worthwhile day and actually better than I had anticipated, although if this was to take place whilst I was working in a more"normal" method, it might cause problems; there's certainly not enough time to go out, shoot, come back, edit, present to the group. Maybe it would have to be a case of shoot one day and then spend the making day as an editing day. Whatever, I'm sure I'll find a way of doing things when the time comes.

Comments

Task 2 : something a little "angrier"

The last few trials with Task 2 have been a little… obscure perhaps. Deliberately so to be fair, but I’m not 100% sure it works, so I’ve tried a little something else that maybe brings the words together without being didactic. These are instead something a bit “angrier”, and can actually be read as fuelling the images, a reaction to the images or something else I guess. Exactly what will depend on the viewer, and I’m yet to really get any feedback on this. Here are a few images:

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Image: Brotherhood
Lyrics: Firestarter, by Prodigy

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Image: Brotherhood
Lyrics: Kill Your Television, By Ned’s Atomic Dustbin

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Image: Brotherhood
Lyrics: A Drug Against War, by KMFDM


I’ll explore a little further in this direction and see what happens, whether or not it says anything to me in the way I want it to.

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A chat with Máire

As part of working through Task 2, we're having small group hangouts; a chance to chat about what we're up to in a little more details than we perhaps would in the normal hangouts. There's only 3 people's work to discuss, so it's more focussed. I say 3, but this first hangout was only 2, me and Máire as Ines had lost Internet connectivity. So, we had plenty of opportunity to talk around what we were doing. We opened up a shared document and simply dropped images into it so we could see what we had been up to - a simple and effective way of looking at the work. We also briefly chatted about the previous Monday's hangout as Máire had missed it, specifically about the autobiographical nature of our work, Louise Bourgeois and how too much information might close off a way of reading the work from the viewer.

Looking at my work, I posted a few images of the work in progress so far, and I gave a brief description of what I was doing, in terms of both physical and thought processes. The response came back that I was being "brave" due to the nature of the appropriation. I'll worry about that when the time comes I think, otherwise I will freeze...


The images I posted were:

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Day of the Rangers, 1993
Image: Black Hawk Down
Lyric: Bohemian Rhapsody, by Queen


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The Battle of Warsaw, 1920
Image: The Battle of Warsaw
Lyric: Saturday Night's Alright, by Elton John



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Haditha Massacre, 2005
Image: Battle for Haditha
Lyric: Books from Boxes, by Maximo Park


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The Battle of Warsaw, 1920

(images used for educational purposes)


The last image was just intended as something a little different, perhaps a bit closer to being "traditional" reportage type photography. Something for another day though.

Máire also spoke briefly of the start of her own work, which incorporated a sugan chair as the basis for the work. Things were still in the early days of the process she would be carrying out, so we talked more about the idea and the background. There will be more to discuss next week when hopefully Ines will join us too...

Comments

Task 2 : further tinkering and some feedback

After creating the first two images as part of Task 2, and the early doubts I had, I posted one of them onto Flickr and invited the OCA photography group to comment. The comments received by the time I’m writing this are copied below:

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Haditha Massacre -2005 : 2007
Image: Battle for Haditha
Lyric: Russian Literature, by Maximo Park



From Flickr –
here:

Rob™ says
I’m trying something with some images that you may have seen before, and working on ideas I’ve touched on before, but I’d like to know how you guys react to them. I’ve uploaded one into my stream, but I’ve marked it private – it’s in the pool though, so hopefully that means you’ll be able to see it.
haditha-2
If not, it’s on my blog anyway at www.iamrobtm.co.uk/Visual_files/e7101e61fab4091beff37c28b…
Basically, I want to hear what the combination of image and text does for you. I expect it to be confusing, but how do you work your thoughts around? Can you get your thoughts around what they mean to you, or do they actually simply not register?
Thanks in advance…

Semiotic says
one of the things you might think about is subverting both the images you make and the original images and intentions. This is on the spirit of photo-realist painting, neither the one nor the other to accentuate both. Also it is worth thinking about post-internet or post-facebook ideas, given the way that images pass round and are used, the ephemeral nature of all images, what is the purpose? What is the status? What is the value?

Anned003 says
Its funny that at the last mixed exhibition I saw there were photographs that were easily confused with paintings (manipulated, overlayered, blurry) and drawings (overlaid b&w) and also paintings (airbrushed I think) that I did confuse with photographs. The only sure way to know what was what was to look at the label!
Anyway on Rob’s picture, the words for me do seem to set up a resonance with the image in that the lock of hair that won’t sit still suggests a kind of movement in amongst stillness, that repeated thing that bugs you as you’re focussed elsewhere, but makes you return to it. Which suggests a mode of awareness…..and I wonder if that might fit with the image – that kind of juddering motion that is suggested which is like a kind of a double take feeling of slowed down reality you can get when in a state of heightened awareness/shock response.
But at the same time the pixilation is reminding me of screening of printed images and makes me think of blown up newspapers and then the text doesn’t fit in that context so well.
Not sure how much help that is! I don’t know the song or the film btw so aren’t using their content or the linkage to inform how I see it.

 
Southliving says
Seen, but haven’t got anything to add at this moment, got to get to school.
First reaction though, I want to see the whole body of work, and statement, to try and make sense, but I like being questioned.
I’m really not that into music, so the year of the song would be a stretch (for me) to know, and we’ve talked about the culture distance to war, although that was the British / French locations, here it is different, I know… my mind wants to link it to media (tangent: film industry / social / TV / commercialism / romanticism / patriotism / propaganda) (Pete also mentioned media).
Will be back… interested to hear what others say.

Eileen R says
I’ve commented separately on the pictures as I wanted to give my own initial response before reading those here.
I think Peter’s suggestions sound like very interesting options for further exploration that could resonate with this particular body of work.
Like others the songs you reference are unknown to me as are the films so I am judging just on the images and words without any directly relevant cultural references – though of course we all bring a myriad of such references more generally to things we look at and read. I had wondered in passing about states of consciousness for the first picture, though Anne has expressed that much better. Overall I am not sure these resonate as single images at this point in their development.

Richard Brown 56 says
The first image and its text put me in mind of a Skype like video conversation where the viewer is reminded of something about the subject that resonates/reminds him/her of the subject.
The second image made me think of betrayal maybe with the text alluding to a Judas kiss?
Like how the text opens up possibilities that the image on its own may not suggest. Hope this helps.

CliveDoubleU says
Textual punctum. As the maker it’s useful to set some rules but it doesn’t matter if those are opaque to the audience. I would use the text sparingly so a viewer doesn’t become over familiar with the mechanism.

Rob™ says
Thanks for the comments everyone – all grist for the mill as they say. I’ve got another three weeks before this needs to be in, so I’ll undoubtedly change things as I go. And please feel free to continue to comment…
Off to look at some stuff on t’Interweb now.

StanDickinson says
Because I’m already aware that the image is cinematic (and I have a feeling that it may look that way, even without the prior knowledge), the combination with text makes me think ‘trailer’. But it doesn’t flash up and disappear, like a trailer, it stays there, with the juddering image, and I look for connections – probably imagine them, actually. I would never make it to the ‘formal’ connections that you’ve devised, without some significant prompting, but I don’t think that’s what you’re after, is it? Agree with Clive – don’t overdo it. And something cinematic persists, for me.

TheBaronCooney says
I find I try to fit the two together, to try and understand how one relates to the other. The first image I keep focusing on what looks like a grin, I’d say an eery grin, and my first take was this is like a thought. The second image is more menacing to me and again I kind of wonder if this is a thought in a characters head. I find I bounce back and forth between the image and the text trying to resolve the contrast between the two. I find work like this stays with me longer than work that I can see or understand the meaning of. I come back again and again and each time I see something else. Hope that helps.

Rob™ says
Another one added…
ec
whilst unrelated, does the text now seem more relevant?

KarenGregory101 says
I’ve had a look at all 66 images and I find the ones that I’ve seen with text immediately more engaging – they stop me and make me think.
Further to that, because the meaning of the text isn’t obvious (I wouldn’t have known song/verse unless you’d said) the image takes on greater depth – it’s no longer just an image of the war or the soldier, but is more about the mental anguish the individual is going through.
On a different note (and I know you didn’t ask) I find the colours are also influential, they tell me that you’ve crossed over between wars, yet the theme continues – guilt, regret, disbelief.

TheBaronCooney says
I would say it seems easier to resolve the difference with this one, it’s not that it’s more relevant, perhaps it’s neutral?

Rob™ says
Not as obviously obscure….

Thanks Karen – you’ve given me something to think about there.


Taking this into account, I’ve created further versions, at least one of which is probably a little too direct, but I thought it was worth throwing out there to gauge the reaction (which was it was too direct). It was also interesting to see Semiotic (Peter Haveland, an OCA tutor) make reference to Post-Internet as I’ve just been reading an article in Garage magazine about that (more on which later I guess). Anyway, here’s some more of the images:

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Day of the Rangers, 1993
Image: Black Hawk Down
Lyric: Some Kind of Stranger, by The Sisters of Mercy


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Day of the Rangers, 1993
Image: Black Hawk Down
Lyric: Ziggy Stardust, by David Bowie


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Day of the Rangers, 1993
Image: Black Hawk Down
Lyric: This Boy Can Wait, by The Wedding Present


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Day of the Rangers, 1993
Image: Black Hawk Down
Lyric: Bohemian Rhapsody, by Queen


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Day of the Rangers, 1993
Image: Black Hawk Down
Lyric: Go With the Flow, by QOTSA


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Day of the Rangers, 1993
Image: Black Hawk Down
Lyric: Can’t Get You Out of My Head, by Kylie Minogue

(images used for educational purposes)

Comments

Task 2 : early tinkering

This is a couple of early musings within the bounds of the second task (Take a series of frames from a donor piece and re-form them as a single image. Then I will look to add a textual element from songs to fracture the original material by taking it out of the original context, one of the entertainment song / war film and make it something else). The boundaries I’ve set myself is to combine the film with lyrics from songs from the same year, in this way there is a cultural relationship between the two, with some level of distance from the events through the passage of time between the two. This distance will vary, with films ‘reporting’ more recent conflicts having a closer relationship than something from an older historical event. This will probably also create some level of discord between the visual and the textual – whether it does or not remains to be seen and is part of the point of doing this.

The first couple of images come from the film
Battle for Haditha which gives some level of approximation of the Haditha Massacre in November 2005. The film was made in 2007, so there is little passage of time between the actual events and the dramatisation of them and indeed, the proceedings against the participants had not been resolved by the time the film was released (although some charges had already been dropped). There are therefore obvious questions as to whether the film should have been made at all, never mind so close to the actual events. Whilst it might be showing something of the “apparent” war crimes being committed, it might not be glamourising conflict, it is still serving to provide a level of normalisation of such things. Does the interplay between the visual and the music work to question things? A thought that comes is that it might trivialise things, and this would be a cause for concern.

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Haditha Massacre – 2005 : 2007
Battle for Haditha / Russian Literature


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Haditha Massacre – 2005 : 2007
Battle for Haditha / Books from Boxes

(images used for educational purposes)


I’ll work with similar images some more, but it’s clear that some careful consideration is needed so that I don’t do exactly what I wanted to highlight.
 
Film
Battle for Haditha. 2007. [Video Streaming] Nick Broomfield. Channel Four Films.
Music
Maximo Park –
Russian Literature and Books from Boxes from the album Our Earthly Pleasures (2007)

Comments

Task 2 : F3

Form, frame and fracture. Or frame, fracture and form. Or Fracture, frame, form... or whatever.

3 words to somehow influence what I'll be doing for a little while. What do they mean, and more importantly what will they mean to me and my work? I think I'm going to have to be conceptual with this, I'm a photographer and therefore not going to do anything clever with the media - the media is photography, end of discussion. Or is it? Is the "media" a discussion about what I make or the subject that I make from? Is "form" something to do with shape, or being a criminal with a rap sheet? Has that criminal been framed, or is their image in a frame? Or whatever. Words are but signifiers of a signified, and they aren't always too precise. Words have many meanings, so do images. And sounds, smells or pretty much anything. So what "concept" do the signifiers
form for us (there's that word again)?

I'm not going to list all the different meanings of the words, there's online dictionaries to do that. I've already decided what I'm going to set off doing in terms of this task, continuing along the same rough vein of enquiry as with Task 1, but with a small difference. I'm going to:

Take a series of 
frames from a donor piece and re-form them as a single image. Then I will look to add a textual element from songs to fracture the original material by taking it out of the original context, one of the entertainment song / war film and make it something else.

Will it work? I've absolutely no idea, but I'll be spending some time to find out over the coming weeks...
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