Video Lecture

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...

VL 3 : Exposition and Context (iv)

The final section of the lecture is focused on periodic exhibition venues and prizes:

Venice Biennale

Started in 1895 and takes place (as the name suggests) every other year.
Features avant-garde art.

Frieze Art Fair
Takes place in October every year.
Sponsored event, currently by Deutsche Bank (which begs the question why is a German bank sponsoring a London event?)
Features talks, education, curated elements.
Also many galleries in attendance; this is a commercial snapshot of contemporary art, so there is a focus on selling artworks.

Turner Prize
Awarded to an artist presenting an outstanding body of work during the previous year.
Provokes a lot of debate - the winning art is usually "challenging" in some way.
The prize is sponsored, attracts TV coverage and can promote a "celebrity" image for the artist.

John Moores Painting Prize
Biennial prize coinciding with the Liverpool Biennial.

Exposition and Context: Professional Context, Video Lecture 1. Unknown. [Video Streaming] Caroline Wright. Open College of the Arts. (MA1)

VL 3 : Exposition and Context (iii)

Beyond the gallery
The video lecture also explored opportunities outside the traditional gallery context:

Guerrilla Girls
Used newspaper, the Internet, site specific and viral campaigns.

Guerrilla Girls, 1985-90

Marc Quinn
Work displayed on the 4th Plinth
Seen as controversial, questioning "what is art?"
Provides political and social comment on motherhood and disability.

Marc Quinn, Alison Lapper, 2005,_Trafalgar_Square,

Maggi Hambling
Public work "Scallop" on display on Aldeburgh beach.
Was it wanted? The use of public space was not completely accepted, but has tempered over time and is now seen as a landmark.

Maggi Hambling, Scallop, 2003,_Maggi_Hambling,_Aldeburgh.jpg

Robert Smithson
His large scale earthworks "Spiral Jetty" can't really be seen from the ground.
If it can only really be seen in full from the air, what is the intended audience?
What is the intention with the work?

Robert Smithson, Spiral Jetty, 1970

Andy Goldsworthy

Temporary work such as "Icicles" is photographed before it melts.
Is then the work the original sculpture or the photographs of the sculpture, or are the photographs purely a record? (noting, he produces a lot of books...)

Andy Goldsworthy, Ice Star, 1987

Franko B

Uses the body as the medium for his art.
By looking on as he makes his "performance", bleeding from his arms as in "O Lover Boy", are we complicit in the self-harm?
How does something affect the viewer as voyeur?

Franko B, Oh Lover Boy, 2001

Antony Gormley
Angel of the North has become a landmark and is much loved by the locals.

Antony Gormley, Angel of the North, 1994-98

Exposition and Context: Professional Context, Video Lecture 1. Unknown. [Video Streaming] Caroline Wright. Open College of the Arts. (MA1)
Franko B's website - (accessed 22/12/14)
Government Art Collection website - (accessed 22/12/14)
Guerrilla Girls website - (accessed 22/12/14)
Wikipedia - (accessed 22/12/14)


VL 3 : Exposition and Context (ii)

Beyond the questions posed and responded to in the previous posting, the lecture also delved into the nature of the gallery. I'm going to put this forward as a series of bullets at the moment as there's a lot of ground to cover and I feel like I'm slipping behind - maybe I'll come back later and look at specific points in more detail, but at least writing it down here is a start.
  • What purpose does the gallery serve in this day and age? Is it for entertainment or education? Edutainment? Does it have to be one or the other? Will one mans entertainment be another’s education?
  • It was stated that the gallery will mediate art from within its original context, narrative and frame (as opposed to something like the Internet, where these things will, in all likelihood, become divorced from the work).

The video went on to look at specific institutions...

National Gallery (London)
  • A temple to the arts.
  • An impressive building that states the value placed on the arts - a national symbol of culture, wealth and status.

Tate Modern (London)
  • Reflects the considerable status of modern art.
  • A symbol of commercial (rather than national) wealth, with the Tate family and their sugar fortune being the benefactors.
  • It can be both a personal and collective experience.
  • Features everything you need for a "day out" experience - cafe, dining, members room, gift shop, books, etc. And of course there's the galleries...
  • Attending the venue shows we give ourselves a certain status.

  • Again, another status symbol, this time from a much earlier time (1939), which wasn't a period associated with the artistic "day out", so can be considered a social instigator.

Guggenheim (NY)
  • A purpose built centre to draw people in from the outside.
  • Space designed for the presentation of the arts.

Guggenheim (Bilbao)
  • Reflects Bilbao's industrial heritage whilst still following in the footsteps of the New York gallery.
  • very much a symbol of wealth and prestige (something of a trend emerging...)

Louvre (Paris)

  • A building full of history, grandeur and opulence.
  • The hanging style is very different from other places, a lot of art hung in very close proximity to each other, whilst also competing with the building itself.

Musée d'Orsay (Paris)
  • A converted railway station.
  • Holds mainly French art from the Impressionist collection of the Louvre. (Note - wikipedia states they're from the Jeu de Paume prior to 1986)

The Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts (Norwich)
  • Purpose built for the display of visual arts.
  • Attached to the University of East Anglia, whose courses reflect this.
  • Features curated pathways through the displayed Sainsbury's collection, rather than specifically curated exhibitions.

Pitt Rivers Museum (Oxford)

  • The work comes from a somewhat random personal collection.
  • Arranged to reflect the locality, rather than other connections between the artefacts on show.

Exposition and Context: Professional Context, Video Lecture 1. Unknown. [Video Streaming] Caroline Wright. Open College of the Arts. (MA1)

VL 3 : Exposition and Context (i)

The third video lecture sees Caroline come in for in for a change, talking about the context for our work. She asks a number of questions, which I will try to address below, before going on to talk about places to see work, from the gallery to site specific work (part ii of this post).

The questions were as follows:

Why do I want to make this (being an artist) a career?
Well, a career might actually be a little on the strong side. I personally doubt that it would become my career as I seem to be doing alright as an engineer. However, I don't get a huge amount of creative satisfaction from that line of work (more on this later), but it pays the bills, which means I can do what I want to do with my photography without having to worry about pleasing a client or producing something to fill a market need.

Having said all that, if it were to become something that could fulfil that role, then great!! How it would do that, I've no idea really.

What are my reasons for doing it?
Well, creative satisfaction is the main reason. Working outside of the strict rules and procedures of engineering is hugely liberating, it allows me to think differently, not having to worry about whether a particular option is "safe", or whether something might be provable, whether evidence can be found to support a particular route of action. There is something to be said for having an idea about something and working through it, seeing if it works or not, using the camera to ask questions of myself and of others. Admittedly, it doesn't always come off, but sometimes I do produce things I'm happy with.

What are my needs?
As might be gathered from the above, on the first level I want to produce something that gives me satisfaction, that helps me work out things in my head in a visual way. It might be argued then that photography is a form of tool for me, a visual "calculator".

It's also feeding my desire to make images. Long ago I decided in my own mind I wasn't really good enough to create images using paint or pencils ("decidedly average" comes to mind), so photography provides the means that I can use to explore things visually. Yes, it's a different language that is used, but that 's ok... I've liked photography for a long time anyway, even if the style of what I have liked has changed over the years (once, it had to be black and white...)

In terms of fame and fortune (part of the original question), it's not a huge driver for me. I'd be foolish to say that I would not like either, who wouldn't like an extra source of income and some level of recognition? However, it's not what I specifically do it for - aside from a few hundred quid here and there, I've never really made anything, and it certainly doesn't cover my costs! And as for the recognition, I tend to do everything under a pseudonym anyway... The limelight makes me feel uncomfortable, although that's not to say I don't have an ego that needs feeding occasionally. What will come, will come, but essentially I would see that as a bonus.

What does my practice constitute?
Photography... although not what the layman might identify with in that I don't look to do portraits, or chocolate box landscapes, etc. Mostly I suppose the work will be in series, that the images juxtapose with each other (or something else in some cases) to create something "extra".

Where am I currently positioned?
Hmmm... aside from on a sofa in France... seriously though, I'm not sure I really know. I'm a photographer, and I photograph what I want. Part of the reason for doing this MA (and not a photography MA) is to se if I can find out where I'm positioned in the wider art context.

What would I like to be in a few years time?
Still doing what I want to be doing, and if other people like that too it will be a bonus. I'd also like to be more aware of what I'm doing, where I'm going with my work (and why). I do sometimes wonder why all my work varies so much, so I'd either like to be in a position that I'm relaxed with that, or I've sorted myself out so that I'm more consistent.

What is a "professional context" for an artist?
The professional artist works in some way. If you look at the so-called art photographer, as opposed to the more commercial types, then in addition to print sales, there will be books, residencies, working with communities and teaching. Even some of the bigger names teach and take on other jobs - I'm thinking those like Stephen Shore here too, who is a director of photography at Bard College. There are many who supplement their direct art income in this way. I guess what I'm trying to say is that it's whatever "fits".

I said earlier that I don't have to work at being an artist in order to survive, so does that take me away from being a "professional"? In terms of money flow, everything seems to be an outwards flow - I pay to exhibit, pay to have my work seen, pay to receive feedback. Not many people are paying me for my art (one or two only).

What is success?
A wide ranging question, with answers ranging from being recognised by peers, to a wider audience, to making sales of existing work of one type or another, to having people wanting to commission the work or the worker for something.

Or it could simply be making the work. For me, this is where I am I suppose as not many people really see my work. The next step would be to widen my audience.

What it the right setting for my work
The main setting for my work is currently the Internet. Whether this is the "right" setting is another matter, but I suppose in some ways it does play to the sort of work I'm currently producing (the appropriation work that is
Some Unholy War). I do like to think it will move on from there though, and I'll see more of my work seen in a more physical form, whether on a gallery wall or in a book. A gallery would not really need to be some national institution such as the Tate Modern or MoMA, a smaller local gallery would be more than acceptable. The same with books; I'd be perfectly happy to see work on a small scale such as those produced by Cafe Royal Books or The Velvet Cell, or even a bespoke personally produced piece (which I've already done) rather than a mass produced one by Steidl or Dewis Lewis.

Exposition and Context: Professional Context, Video Lecture 1. Unknown. [Video Streaming] Caroline Wright. Open College of the Arts. (MA1)

VL 2 : A footnote about Internet searches

In VL2, Angela spoke briefly about using generic Google searches for artists or artwork, and how this can lead to lack of context or even errors if you’re unaware (related artists will also appear). Well, I’ve just read an interesting article on the PetaPixel site that describes exactly this problem in relation to the work of Andreas Gursky.

Screen grab from PetaPixel site

OK, the article starts off with a similar photograph posted on Flickr and cries of image theft, but then quickly dissolves into a list of instances where the wrong image has been used, or potentially used. Lyza Danger’s photograph has been used by “Art Intelligence”, which then might appear to be something of an oxymoron but when you look into it, it’s just some chap writing a blog rather than something with any degree of provenance or authority. And there are others…

Screen grab from Art Intelligence

There’s also something about the versions, and how there might be different ones out there.
Wikipedia states “There were 6 sets made and mounted on acrylic glass”, but it’s not clear if this means it was an edition of 6 of a single diptych, or if there are 6 different diptychs. I would tend to expect the latter, but this isn’t confirmed by a quick search. The fact the expensive one is called 99 Cent II Diptychon (2001) leads me to expect at least one more (which is what the article says, with the first not being labelled and not a diptych), but there’s possibly 6. Confusing…
To be fair on the people writing these things, they will simply have used Google as a tool without knowing how to use it, and it’s dangerous. A bit like sparking up that chainsaw without reading the instructions. Ok, maybe you won’t lose an arm with Google, but it can probably get you into other sorts of trouble. Better to stick with reliable sources I guess, although of course, sometimes they don’t cover the people you want to research!


VL2 : Questions

Video Lecture 2 signed off with 3 questions to ponder:

1. In what way do artists' biographies inform of detract from the viewers experience of the work?

2. What are the implications [of] Ward's assertion that "That all art is a form of proposition and anything's possible."?

3. If you could only read or hear one view on an exhibition, would you choose to hear the artist's view to that of a critic or reviewer and why?

With question 1, I suppose I touched on that in the previous post with Dorment and Bourgeois in that his view is that the biography is the work, or the work is the biography... This then precludes any other reading of the work, limits the possibilities and in that respect limits the communication, the dialogue that takes place between the artist an the viewer. Maybe the artist is no longer "dead" as Barthes and Foucault proposed. However, without any knowledge of the artist, their biography and other works, viewing their works is also a less fulfilling experience. Yes, you can enjoy the craftsmanship and the skill the artist brings to the table, but the artist must be quite dead - there is a void that is only filled by the reaction of the viewer to the signifiers in the piece. The artist's biography will bring some level of insight to the work, richen the viewers experience. With someone like Bourgeois, knowing the family business was weaving, there is something that can be derived from the various signs of weaving within the work and there is then some level of association. With my own work, looking through it there can often be seen a lack of people, space, distance and horizontal "barriers"; these might be interpreted as being a sign that I'm shy, often shunning the company of others and certainly avoid the limelight. As an artist, you have to draw upon what you are aware of, and that is often something quite biographical - Bourgeois and Emin may make (have made) this as plain as the nose on their faces, but even for others it will still be their, even if veiled to some degree.

It might be argued that whether "anything's possible" will depend on the sort of art that you practice, and the often self-imposed constraints that you put on the creation of the work. A "straight" photographer can only photograph what is visible before the lens of the camera as realistically as possible (and then it's governed by the laws of physics), whereas anything can be drawn that can be imagined. Of course, it is possible to manipulate and post-process the cameras recording, to add or subtract in Photoshop (or even to the analogue image), but then it will be argued this is not straight photography. And of course, photography was long considered a craft or a science, not an art, but this is not the understanding that a contemporary commentator like Ward is coming from. No, I don't actually believe that is what he was meaning. Duchamp proposed that an upturned urinal was art, and whilst not initially accepted as such it has taken its place in history. The implications are wide reaching, and to be honest I've only really started scratching the surface of this in my more recent explorations into a more general art (as opposed to what was fairly strictly only photography, in terms of medium).

The third question is a tricky one. I suppose the best result might be to read the review of a critic who has an understanding of what the artist was intending. In this way, there will be a duality of the commentary in that it will be cognisant of the artist's intentions, his thoughts on the juxtaposition of images (or whatever) with their neighbours, with their surroundings and why the images were pulled together in the way that they have been. Why the images were made, the intent. You also get another view from a different perspective, perhaps bringing in a different context and playing them off against the work of another. The view will also (generally) be more objective - certainly a problem I often have myself is that I become too close to the work, wrapped in the idea rather than the execution or relying too heavily on connotations that may be too personal for the viewer to grasp (unless you really spell it out for them).

If time permits, I often find myself going around a (one-man) show twice; once to simply look at the images and see if anything talks to me, pulls me in without being spoon-fed the artist's statement. This also allows me to make my own little narrative too. The second time will be after reading the statement so that the context becomes apparent if it wasn't before. Of course, there is a danger that the artist's statement can be a bit on the obscure side and confound that understanding, but there we go. I often find myself going around an exhibition counter-clockwise, and looking at books from the back. I'm not sure what that says about me...

VL2 : From Archive to Interview

Angela’s second video lecture looks at online resources and the commentary provided on the work of a small handful of artists, and how they can differ whilst also perhaps agreeing…

The first thing to be said was a word of caution when looking online, highlighting the lack of context and basic information (scale, material, etc.) that can be seen on doing a simple Google search and the possible confusions and misinformation that can result from taking your information from a website with little or no provenance. The Internet is a wonderful tool but, as with many things, has to be used thoughtfully and appropriately. Take Wikipedia for example – this can be a good source of basic information and a springboard to further reading, but it is indeed error strewn and has nothing in the way of reliability of information or authority. It was also highlighted that Googling for something or someone might bring up unexpected results, featuring the art of a contemporary instead of the desired artist for example. All fairly basic stuff I suppose, but worth mentioning for the less savvy out there.

The lecture really got underway looking at the work of
Thomas Schütte, the German artist who studied under Gerhard Richter. Principally, it was one work that was the focus of the lecture, his Model for a Hotel (2007) that was on display on the 4th plinth of Trafalgar Square in 2007 and later in the Bundeskunsthalle in Bonn as part of his solo show, Big Buildings – Models and Views in 2010.

Screen Shot 2014-10-30 at 06.31.25
(screen grab from Schütte’s website)

The lecture featured three different reviews for Model for a Hotel, one from the Guardian’s Adrian Searle, one from Time Out’s Ossian Ward and a third from Richard Dorment from the Telegraph. Searle’s review is an audio piece (that can be found on the Guardian’s website
here), he speaks in hushed but excited tones, he’s clearly a fan but does not seem to fall into obscure prosaic ramblings about the work, his is a descriptive style, interspersed with exclamations of what I can only think of as being delight: “groovy!” he says. He goes further than simply Model for a Hotel though, also describing the other pieces in the Bonn show – the plywood and scrim Ferienhaus für Terroristen for example, and some silver angels that look like “brand new kitchen instruments”. He’s full of little pieces of back story, and it wasn’t really a huge surprise to see he has co-authored a book on Schütte’s work.

The other two reviewers only spoke of Model for a Hotel within the context of the 4th plinth installation, so there is no relationship to be had with Schütte’s other works, only with the surroundings. Ward was clearly unimpressed in his review (
here) – “a similar shrug went round those assembled at the unveiling of Thomas Schütte’s new sculpture for Trafalgar Square’s empty fourth plinth.” and that it mocked monumental art. It’s merely a model and not the finished article. Dorment is, as the Telegraph review states, “blown away by Thomas Schütte’s delicate sculpture on the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square”. He’s clearly impressed by the juxtaposition of the lightness brought by the colourful glass structure and the heavy and inert monumental monochromatic surroundings. Searle also referred to the piece in its Trafalgar Square location, but found the installation within a building to be “glorious”. What would the others have thought of it in Bonn I wonder?

(Thomas Schütte: Model for a Hotel, 2007, glass, aluminium, steel, installation view, Bundeskunsthalle 2010, Photo: David Ertl)

Moving on from Schütte, the next artist to be discussed was
Kiki Smith, another artist I’d never heard of (this is becoming quite shameful!). Again, three different reviewers of her oeuvre and three different views, this time it’s Elizabeth Brown, the Mary Ryan Gallery and Christine Kuan. Elizabeth Brown’s review dated from 1994 and spoke about sculpture and the body, the unusual effects that she achieved such as “evoking solid bodies in fragile silk tissue” or “transitory visual effects in bronze”. Brown is another who has gone on to write a book about the artist in question, so clearly has a level of interest in her. The Mary Ryan Gallery commentary was from a biography on their website circa 2001 where the work was described as feminist and that it was “BODY ART imbued with political significance” and “undermined traditional erotic representation”; an agenda has been identified that was not apparent 7 or so years earlier (the website currently states that “Her work addresses feminist, philosophical, social, sexual, and political aspects of human nature, employing non-traditional materials. Her early work, transgressive in nature, dealt with mortality and decay, while her more recent work explores the natural world, portraiture, fairy tales, and myths.” so may well have changed again). Kuan’s piece on Oxford Art Online provides a much more balanced view, talking about the craft, the processes, her influences. It’s an interview rather than a direct critique.

Whilst some of this might be contradictory, it is more likely representing a shift in ideas and ideals, it probably also has something to do with how we bring something of ourselves to the work, so we interpret things as we see fit. A feminist will draw more upon the feminist elements of the work, bringing them to the fore, making them the dominant aspect of the review or biography, whereas someone without such feminist ideals would probably play them down a little. There’s also a certain amount of writing for the audience, and the nature of the intent of the writing (interview, promotional biography, critical review for an exhibition, etc.).

The next artist, I did know. Louise Bourgeois’ spider sculpture (Maman) was present in the Louvre gardens a number of years ago (in 2008) – the photograph below isn’t a particularly successful one, but it’s the only one I’ve been able to locate from the day.

Paris_03_08 298
Bourgeois’ work has been described as biographical, as the journal of her life although I’ll be honest and admit that I’m not sure what the giant spider has to do with that; I don’t know anything about her life, certainly not enough to make an informed reading of it and certainly not without reading someone else’s thoughts on the matter*. In looking at the three sources of writing on her, the first was an obituary (she died in 2010) and Angela described it as “nice”, as you might expect in that type of writing but without any thoughtful critique or commentary. In it, the one thing that seemed significant enough to be written down was “culture is the body, my body is my sculpture”. What has this to do with a giant spider?

Dorment has also
written about Bourgeois, and he has said that once you know the symbolism of the work it makes sense, and is nothing without it (tapestries represent the family business, cages to imprisonment, houses to security of her childhood and guillotines to the end of that security). With this knowledge, it all become subject to obvious indexical symbolism and that this has fed the academic “feeding frenzy” that came relatively late to her work. As such, the work is more famous for this academic interest rather than for any particular aesthetic qualities and may not stand the test of time…

Siri Hustvedt has a slightly counter argument in her piece for the Guardian (
here), she argues that “The story of Louise Bourgeois’s early life has become so enmeshed with her work that many critics have been seduced into biographical or psychoanalytic readings of the art, punctuated with pithy pronouncements from the artist”. From this is can be deduced that there are other ways to read the work, but we’ve been conditioned to read the biographical and psychoanalytical signifiers that repeatedly appear. Does this then mean that Dorment’s view is not his own? That it’s lazy? Well, of course there’s the fact that he might not like the work and therefore feels less inclined to come to his own interpretation and is indeed swept up with what has been already said about it, particularly by Bourgeois herself (he virtually says this in his article anyway – “Bourgeois’s work often fails because she gives us too much information”). I’m not implying this is the truth of the matter, Dorment is clearly more switched on that I am. I guess I’m just asking the question because I know it’s what would happen to me…

* Bourgeois has said, “The Spider is an ode to my mother. She was my best friend. Like a spider, my mother was a weaver. My family was in the business of tapestry restoration, and my mother was in charge of the workshop. Like spiders, my mother was very clever. Spiders are friendly presences that eat mosquitoes. We know that mosquitoes spread diseases and are therefore unwanted. So, spiders are helpful and protective, just like my mother. “ (from

The final artist was the performance artist
Bobby Baker who deals with subjects motherhood and cooking,routines, daily lives and such. She uses comedy and food, drawings and stuff and is influenced by world affairs… Rather than a particular critique on the work, this was used as a way of introducing online collections as a resource, with Baker’s Diary Drawings featured on the Wellcome Collection site.

There was also the Turner Prize and the Stuckists, perhaps here as a means to illustrate that we should look at different views as there might be something of interest hidden within the rants or the negativity.

Screen Shot 2014-10-29 at 21.16.10
(from From Archive to Interview, video lecture 2)

The Stuckists (and others) will be against “an empty gallery with a three-part recording”, they were also against Tomma Abts receiving the prize – a German winning a prize for a British visual artist under the age of 50? How does that work? But they seemed to be a bit more concerned with the abstract nature of the work, which is counter to their figurative painting manifesto, as is the giving of prizes in for art… or galleries in general for that matter.

The final part of the video is about online reference sources, such as the UCA website, or major galleries such as MoMA and Tate. I’ll not bother repeating these resources here, but below there are the ones used in this entry. All references used are also repeated in the Resources section of the site (although only the parent URL in the case of web pages). And from this we are then presented with three questions:

Screen Shot 2014-10-29 at 21.28.59
(from From Archive to Interview, video lecture 2)

I’ll answer this in a later post.

Web references – all accessed 29/10/2014


VL1 : The Reflexive Practitioner

Screen Shot 2014-09-14 at 09.10.29
Video Lecture 1 : The Reflexive Practitioner

What’s it all about, being a “reflexive practitioner”? It’s all about thinking, with reflection being about looking at what you do, reviewing, pondering, etc. However, it’s also about forward thinking and the impact of that thinking on future thinking and how you do things. In essence I guess it’s about stepping back so that you can learn from thinking about what you do. There’s a quote in the video from Donald Schön stating that reflexivity is essential for independent learning. Some key elements coming from the lecture are:

  • being aware of how you make work
  • being aware of your influences
  • knowing where to position yourself and your work amongst others
  • being conscious of yourself as an artist within the broader discipline
Screen Shot 2014-09-07 at 07.35.26

There is also talk of bringing other outside areas of interest into the artwork, things that influence you in a greater sense. James Aldridge and Tracy Emin are mentioned, Aldridge from the course required reading book Interviews-Artists. In the book, Aldridge talks of how he was influenced by his father, but also by where he lives (in Sweden), his taste in music (metal) and how elements of his work come from other artists; Audubon, Schongauer and Munch. Recognising this is part of what is mentioned above (and something I refer to in my questionnaire answers). It’s all part of how everything comes together in the work we produce, just as it comes together in how the work is interpreted by the viewer as discussed by the semiotician, Roland Barthes.

The House of Osama Bin Laden, by (Ben) Langlands and (Nikki) Bell, is something different. I suppose some of my reaction to it is reminiscent to how I first responded to Man in the Dark during the introductory hangout. It’s fairly dated, in a way that anything that has a dependency on technology will become. It is however related to some degree with something I’m considering going forward, a spin off from my Some Unholy War. Whether this happens or not is still open, but I will come back to Langlands and Bell when the time comes to think about it some more. I will leave the politics out of it as well for the moment, although it will undoubtedly come back at some point during my current work - questioning the influence of the establishment on the making of work for example. There is an awful lot of propaganda in conflict related imagery. Indeed, my own situation will be called into question with the work, which is part of the reason I want to do it. Like has been stated in the lecture, I will need to be objective, introduce that critical distance spoken about during the lecture when Angela spoke of Shaun McNiff.

Christiane Baumgartner’s work is heavily about process, making the work look like a contemporary photograph/video still whilst being firmly rooted in an old technique, such that it only becomes obvious on closer look. I’ve not yet had the chance to look more closely at her work, but there is something interesting there, something to return to at a later date.

“How do we prevent ourselves from becoming slick?” I’m not so sure I am slick... But the question in relationship to Rose Wylie’s work is more about how we look at the work of others as a way of critiquing our own. How to reflect on whether we are just going through the motions of making work. The section moves on to making transcriptions, or studies of the work of others which will lead into the first assignment (“Take Two Influences”).

The rest of the video then looks into ideas of the studio (I’ll be doing the studio questionnaire later), work flow and reflection upon how an artwork is progressing, the iterations.
Screen Shot 2014-09-07 at 08.01.29
Whilst this might indeed be the way that we are encouraged to process our work, and probably even the way it actually happens, my heart sank as I now had “a process diagram” to follow, enact this process and I will get my ISO9001 accreditation for being an artist. You see, part of my reasoning for following this path is a desire to get away from rigid rules, from processes and from logic and to do something more organic, chaotic perhaps. It seems this may not actually be possible. Realisation of this leaves me at a bit of a low point, even if I should have been aware of the fact already (it is pretty obvious when you sit and think about it). This low point coincides with general doubts too, so... There are some closing thoughts that should be considered with the theory and practice questionnaire too, and are actually good points for when thinking and talking to others about your work.
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I watched the video a few days ago, this is written up from my hastily scribbled notes, I’ll try and watch it again before the seminar tomorrow.

Screenshots from the OCA Lecture
VL1 : The Reflexive Practitioner , © Open College of the Arts

Rose Wylie, whose work was featured in the video,
has won the John Moore’s Painting Prize...