Moving Forward – January

Since hand-in last week, many things have unexpectedly changed and swapped and jumped about in my brain. After spending a fair bit of time alone this weekend and a slightly uncomfortable drawing session with a friend where I was pushed to think about what I truly desire creatively, I have come to a bit of a turning point.

I have been reflecting on the past couple of years of studio practise and noticed the gaps. Gaps meaning breaks from the studio and what I find myself doing creatively in those periods like holidays and just after hand ins… In times of rest or simply away from marked studio work I seem to always come back to a specific figurative drawing style using chalk and oil pastels. I do it and feel relaxed and under no pressure to evoke a meaning or convey a critical context. I’ve realised that this is actually the kind of work I enjoy. Therefor I have started to activate this style and new found freedom and real enjoyment of it. Play, enjoyment and honesty with my work has been on my mind ever since I had a tutorial with Hew Locke when he asked me if I enjoy making the things I make and I couldn’t honestly say I did.

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I also had my feedback tutorial with artist and lecturer Lucy Willow who I have known for the past couple of years and she knows my practise well. She said it was evident in that play and passion weren’t present at the moment and was confused by the way I presented the work and why I’d done it all. She was right, I didn’t really enjoy making last terms studio work and found myself over thinking it, reading too much and trying too hard to give it a meaning before I’d even made it. She told me to relax and just have fun, let the material lead me, play, put things together and not over think it. She also assured me that the meanings and contexts can come after and that the work will speak to me naturally and evoke the meanings I naturally and instinctively gave to it when it’s ready- a more positive process than the one I was following before.

The beginning of creative freedom:

I have a load of different materials and objects in my space. Most are either found organic matter or materials I have manipulated like dough and bread, hay and stuffing. I have started tying and arranging the separate objects together around metal structures I twisted and welded in the workshop. I let my hands and eyes lead me avoiding the temptation to bring in contextual references or seeking reasons and meaning for the creations and shapes.

I thought of these sculptures as potential landscapes and did some close up video documentation of their textures and shape – potentially for green screen video overlaying of me climbing them or something similar.

This pulsing and rocking element to the sculpture makes it look and feel like a create even more. It rocks on its own just from people passing or walking by it. Quite an interesting tension and characteristic.

The organic matter and objects I have brought together in the work are sourced from all over the world. With some objects from Central America, Norway, England and Canada. A fellow student and I had a conversation about the sculptures and we realised this kind of attempt I am performing at trying to link distant objects and matter that aren’t from the same origin. The trapping and tying of the natural materials around a metal skeletal form is like I am trying to bond them to a steady centre of which all of it can stand secure as one being. We concluded this similar to the current universal need for connectivity and acceptance of all people coming together in crisis, migration and globalisation.

Another reflection was about the presence of pod or bud like objects and shapes. The figurative drawings I’ve been doing have plump, round, bud like heads but exaggerated, distorted bodies. Also many of my objects are seed pods, shells or stones of a kind which all encompass an element of containment and birth or regrowth. Associating with ideas like: reincarnation, reproduction, growth, nature, spreading seeds through nature, the weather, collecting, health, food, nutrients, sharing…

Sharing is an interesting idea; when trees or plants produce seeds they are allowing their DNA and part of themselves to be spread and shared intuitively throughout the ecosystem, landscape and habitat. A metaphor for the need for humans to spread their nutrients and kindness and part of themselves with each other and the rest of nature. Like exchanges of each person or body. Humans like seeds spreading their goodness to their habitat. Figurative drawings and the seed idea now connecting.

I also found that some of the objects in my space were quite musical so I have been playing around with their potential.

I like how marks were left on the cymbal from the air dry clay on the stick ends. A collaborative sound making process that is also traced and documented on the instrument of choice. It felt good to play with someone and bounce of the intuition of the others choices and decision making when it came to deciding the fate of the object.

I am enjoying the performative elements of my work and space and making process and will continue to document my movements and discoveries. The body feels like it may become quite important.

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3rd Yr Journal – Week 9, 10, 11, 12

I feel like I’m not moving particularly quickly through my thoughts and ideas. I don’t feel like I’ve come very far from my original idea but maybe that’s just my perspective. Anyhow, I had a tutorial with artist Hew Locke this week and it was really useful because he reminded me to have fun with my work and not worry too much about it. He said I was in danger of it becoming too serious and not enjoyable which is fair to say as joy should be a factor of making as that’s when you get the best results? I don’t know, but it encouraged me to stop thinking and just make and enjoy and stop worrying so much about whether or not EVERYTHING is perfectly politically correct and communicating the right thing before I’ve even made it.

As of this, I have spent the remaining weeks playing and making as well as naturally starting to think about future ideas that will hopefully be implemented in the coming projects in second term. Ideas came naturally through making and play.

The image of the white sheet above is of some fabric that I dyed with rust. I used pieces of metal I found at the ‘corner place’ to dye the fabric using a simple technique involving salt and vinegar. Then I drew around some dough ladders onto the fabric. The photos to the right are of the ceramics and metal I found at the ‘corner place’ laid on top of the fabric. They are laid out neatly and spaced apart a bit like artifacts of the ‘corner place’.

Please click on images for description…

 

I tied all the dough ladders together using strips of canvas from the drawing I did on the floor at the ‘corner place’. It’s like a net of ladders now, giving the ladders a completely different function – they are now in a net that is used to catch things not reach or get over things. It is very delicate and quite heavy due to the ladders getting damp and dense. Now it is like a rhizome of interconnected ladders leading to one and other in every angle with no specific destiny.

 

The pieces of grease proof paper on the image above on the right are some of the ones I used to bake the dough ladders on, I love how the moisture has seeped into the paper and left stains and traces, they are so beautiful. An interesting way of image making and arguable drawing. The moisture traces of the bread…

Above I have draped the now net like ladders over the palimpsestual Jacob’s Ladder step cast as if they are falling down the step freely. A waterfall of dough ladders. The left arrangement of the step and ladders in the corner looks more interesting in a photo however the right arrangement look better in real life. The corner arrangement has more of a link to my work as it encompasses the idea of the ‘corner place’ that is next to Jacob’s Ladder as well.

I have also been taking recording of conversations I’ve been having with people when I directly ask them if they have any stories that involve staircases or ladders. It is interesting because every single story I have received is about people when they were a kid going down the staircase or ladder in some way; no stories have involved people going up and they are always recited with a kind of nostalgia. I heard, “yes but when I was a kid…” many times. An interesting observation about what comes to mind when people think of the ladder or staircase. I did these recordings in social moments when people have just eaten dinner together and are then just relaxing and chatting. Relaxed social moments when people are sitting around in a group sharing stories and ideas.

I have also made a short experimental film called Pigeon Colonization – The Ladder, The Corner. In the film I recite one of my poems over changing footage I took of the ‘corner place’. I make breaks in the video to link to each time I say “next line”. I say ‘next line’ after every line of the poem which was initially said as an accident when I was practising the reading. By saying next line before moving on to the actual next line of the poem I create a kind of repetitive bridge – a bit like a ladder, like a staircase of repeated words that rhythmically leads you through the story. You can find the written version of the poem in my sketchbook. I experimented a lot with the visuals because initially this poem was meant for a different film which I will explain later. I’m not sure if the poem is read in a fitting way for the film, the way I read it is quite matter of fact and I’m not sure If I like this. In the original film, I wanted to add text that would tell the poem and the reader would have to read to follow. I worry that a voice is too specific and holds too many associations to gender, class, country etc and I think it would be best for the reader to read the poem to themselves as if listening to their own words not mine. To change it, I’d keep how an image only appears when ‘next line’ is said but try out how this would work throughout the whole video.

Ideally I’d like to project the video onto the arrangement of the ladders some way. Using photoshop I have tried to imagine what the film if I did this. The video would be much more distorted than this in real life but I think I’d like the way the images would dance over the bodies of the ladders connecting the two together through layering.

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The original video was a 16mm stock motion video shot on Jacob’s Ladder. It was of all the bread ladders slowly making their way down the path way that leads off Jacob’s Ladder; the path that runs across the back of the ‘corner place’. The video took hours of work and saw the ladders dance down the slope and into a pile. Then I shot some footage of people walking down the stairs at Jacob’s Ladder and finally took video of the ladders being thrown over the wall into the ‘corner place’ with the help of a friend. I haven’t got the film because I misplaced it over Christmas while doing some filming in Costa Rica and unfortunately left it there. It was found and is very kindly being posted but hasn’t arrived yet.

 

 

3rd Yr Journal – Week 8

Taking inspiration from the visual nature of the mono-prints and researching the work of artist Simon Callery, I worked with a piece of large canvas within the corner space. Simon Callery makes work by laying canvas over archaeological dig land, draws and cuts around the shapes of rocks and indents and markings found underneath, repeats this process and hangs the resulting fabric pieces over each other vertically, making a kind of palimpsest where you can see the layers of canvas from viewing the work from the side but also you can see deeper layers from looking face on at the canvas by looking through the holes cut out of it (see work of Callery below).

Related image

I did a very similar process to Callery by working on the land in that way, mapping its texture on the canvas with chalk and cut away at the shapes I wanted to. I also collected some rusty pieces of metal from the site and using commercial descaler I tried to do some rust staining however I am not sure I did the process correctly as the rust from the metal didn’t bleed very well but I think I’ll try it again.

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I also didn’t do multiple layers of the onsite landscape mapping like Callery does but it does resemble the mono-prints quite a lot which wasn’t expected or intended.

Following the making of the sheet map of the corner space, I rediscovered my interest in the dough making I was doing right at the beginning. However I was thinking a lot about the idea of barriers and their presence in order to divide and segrate the landscape and people. Barriers whether physical or metaphoric are like in between spaces in themselves as they are in neither of the two or more places they are dividing. The barrier itself is no-mans-land making it everyone’s? Artist Trinh T. Minh-ha works with the notion of the barrier a lot in her work and I have been doing a lot of research into her thoughts as part of my dissertation. The video below is a very inspirational interview that helped to clarify and inspire more of my thinking about the wall and barrier and spaces between. Watching this video was one of those moments where I felt really good about the work I was making and positive to listen to someone of such intelligence and well respected in the art and literature world, speak about similar subjects and approaches.

Minh-ha see’s Twilight as an in-between space, as well as walls, passages, the act of walking and explains it so beautifully! I love her references to in between places being places of passage from one place to another, and being places of transformation as you go from one state of being to the next. I especially like the relation between Jacob’s Ladder as a place of physical passage and her ideas about walking being a spiritual act of transformation and how the act of walking allows one to perceive the world around you differently, re-evaluate and contemplate. The passageway like Jacob’s Ladder being an interval in the lay out of Falmouth and a place where people walk up steps (steps having their own ancient symbolism), transforming in the void of unimportance that passageways carry. It is a “proximity that keeps the possibilities open, keeps the interval alive” Minh-ha explains. She also talks of border lines and barriers in relation to world politics and their limiting characteristics. The addition of walls and barriers restricting flow and growth also the interesting concept of going over or under a wall or barrier.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this going over or between things so decided to start making ladders from dough. The ladder is an ancient universal tool that comes in many shapes and sizes and from many different materials for functional reasons. All over the world the ladder can’t really be improved and is still used everyday with the fundamental use of getting from one place to another. Ladders are also interesting as they are objects that can be transported and carried and have no fixed location. They have no fixed home and aren’t tied to a specific person or identity. They can be carried long distances but their function is always the same. Ladders are things we take for granted. I like the concept that the ladder as an object can be transported anywhere and will always be recognised as these characteristics are important to my work – the ladder has no home and is always in an in-between and indefinite state plus pretty much all humans will recognise its function. Instinctively knowing to use it to ascend or descend or cross between.

I placed the ladders up against the wall to the Corner Space, I didn’t leave them there but I want to make more and do this. Leaving them leading up the wall may cause people to look over it, think about going over something, over the barrier between the nothing space and their place of passage, defying the division. They might ignore them and not think at all and continue in their passing down the path, they might even steal one. All these potentials and more have their own connotations and could be read in many ways but in a public art piece like this, where art is in the public realm, there is no knowing what will happen to it or who will see it and what they will think. It feels cohesive to put art in public spaces considering my strong links to the overlapping of culture and overall importance of people.

Obviously the ladders are made from dough as well which may intrigue people, remind them of a moment from their childhood or spark an association to something. As I’ve mentioned before, bread is also universal and ancient, so as a sculptural material it automatically brings common understanding and knowledge together creating an overlapping in itself due to the overlapping of people’s recognition within the objects.

I also got my bisque fired step mold ceramics back. The lighter brown shapes are negatives of the indented part of the steps on Jacob’s Ladder and the darker shapes are positives from the lip of steps on Jacob’s Ladder. They fit together nicely.

Above is just one way I could display them using the cast of the Jacob’s Ladder step. I have swapped the placement of the molds. The ones on the top ridge were taken from the indented part of the step but the ones on the floor at the bottom of the step were taken from the step lip. They are interesting little objects as you can tell they have been pressed into a space from one side but the other just has the organic markings and prints from my hand. They are objects that present the connection my hand had with the steps.

 

 

 

3rd Yr Journal – Week 7

In light of the concepts and ideas I talked about in my last entry. This week I did a lot of making. I made casts on Jacob’s Ladder by pushing terracotta clay into the L-shape where one step connects to the next one and others were made by folding clay around the edge of the steps.

I wasn’t sure what to do with these but I ended up taking the more interesting shapes to Brick Works in Penryn to get bisk fired. The more interesting shapes were the ones taken from the inside L-shape over the ones from the edge of the step. Unfortunately I didn’t take any pictures of the shapes themselves because I pretty much took them straight to Brick Works. It will be a couple of weeks before I get them back but it is quite nice to take things somewhere to be processed, it’s an out of sight, out of mind kind of thing, giving you space to move onto other things and have a fresh perspective of them when you get them back. I am really looking forward to seeing them as solid objects that could maybe be fitted back into their places on Jacob’s Ladder; not sure yet.

I also delved into some mono-printing. I thought the mono-print aesthetic looks quite similar to archaeological drawing. Sketchy but inky. The nature of mono-prints always seem to look like they are capturing something fleeting, unrefined and rustic so I thought I’d try to depict some of the shapes from my pub table top rubbings using the process.

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The images above are just a few of the many mono-prints I did. Some of the mono-prints were done directly onto enlarged photocopies of photos I’d taken at the corner spot to try and combine the two narratives in my work. The lack of human presence of the corner spot over layed with the traces of constant presence found in pub table tops. The pub tabletop traces over laying each other, shapes of the corner spot taken from the photos overlaying the traces plus other combinations. The ones above are my favourite ones, some didn’t work so well, too much ink or the layout of the images came out wrong but it was nice to visualise the two parallel ideas in my work together and on one flat piece of paper. I think they did work well, and I really like their rough quality. The shapes almost look paganistic or religious in some instances. Spell like and symbolic but the local people are to blame for these almost mystical symbols taken from the tables – spells people don’t even know they are casting as they absentmindedly scratch away at the paint or calve doodles.

I did mono-prints over a couple of days, in and out of writing dissertation as that is demanding quite a lot of time at the moment, and now the prints like the walls of my studio space. So I am semi surrounded by the traces of pub goers as I attempt to make work inspired by their doings. There is quite a strange and interesting layering to all the elements I am dealing with and I am still trying to work out how they fit together whether or not they fit together at all. Maybe they never will ‘fit together’ and will just co-exist and that’s how they are meant to be in the world just like people are when they live in and around each other – we don’t necessarily interact or have much to do with our neighbours a lot of the time but cover the same ground almost every day – so close to each other in the comfort of our houses but separated by walls – comes down to barriers again.  Barriers and objects or entities that separate and segregate people from being together in the same place at once however leaving traces on the common ground that layer up due to the collaboration of their oblivious creators who come together in acts of doing so.  Neighbours coming together from different backgrounds, opinions and homes to obliviously create traces and things in spaces that they all occupy in fleeting moments.

 

 

3rd Yr Journal – Week 6

I have been thinking a lot about space this week. What a space has to say and what it stands for and communicates in its relation to people and the landscape. In light of this I decided to photograph the space next to Jacob’s Ladder initially from across the valley like last week but this week I shot on a 35mm 1970’s Praktica film camera. I then photographed the space from behind the wall looking into it and the surrounding area, then I jumped the wall so that I actually went into the space and corner itself. Finally from that spot that I have been looking at for a while from the other side of the valley, I photographed in the opposite direction back at the place I’d initially seen it from. It was like a journey of breaking through layers and physical and imaginary barriers to finally reach a destination. Visualising these barriers or layers similarly to how I visualised ripples and layers in the past; layers that circle a specific point. I experienced stages of finally getting to the unnoticed, space in between and once I got there I wasn’t too sure what to do. I’d made the journey and finally made it into the space I’d been seeing for weeks, finally bridged the gap between a distant place or land of wonder to actually standing within it; quite strange. So I just documented it through photography.

 

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All these concepts and thoughts seem to keep leading loosely to elements of migration. This coming to a new place imagined and seen from a distance, breaching barriers as the journey goes on and not quite knowing what to do once you are somewhere you’ve potentially imagined for a while. Another barrier present in my work was the presence of me sitting on the step on Jacob’s Ladder two weeks ago. I obstructed the flow of people on the steps and they unquestionably moved around me on that public place of passing. Like avoiding obstacles on a pathway. The place of passage offering obstacles or barriers that obstruct and change the flow of people passing through. I’m thinking maybe I could work with this concept and implement not me as a person but something else onto the place of passage that causes people to change their passage or root down the steps or on the pathway etc. I could insert my plaster cast copy of one of the steps onto Jacob’s Ladder and somehow document it’s effects of the public as they pass.

The most recent Frieze Magazine published this month (October 2018) is centred around decolonization and the migrant and refugee situation across the world. I have read most of the content and it has birthed more links between my work and the potential of it relating to these issues. Although I initially started off working with ideas on culture and the potential of it being an intangible archaeological palimpsest, my work has continued on these lines but has started touching on ideas on the displacement of  culture and people, movement and overlapping of people over time and space. Which is why the migrant crisis is becoming increasingly relevant but my ideas over all rooted in the idea of the overlapping of people in one place in general.

Last year, I watched ‘Human Flow’ a documentary by Ai Wei Wei which was an epic documentary film observing and exposing the reality of the migrant and refugee crisis aimed at revealing its horrors and truth to the West. It was incredible but unimposing, an observational, calm undramatic exposure to the situation that I believe avoided fetishisation of the crisis and any overly dramatic cinematography and music to enforce ‘wow factors’ so often found in Western cinema and film. It let the content speak for itself.

With the reading, thinking and watching in mind, it made me see the area of Jacob’s Ladder and the empty space next to it as a kind of miniscule narrative discovered in my direct surroundings that embodies similar characteristics as the wider, hyperobject of the migrant crisis or colonialism. I am finding larger important narratives in the smaller local physical and social landscape to understand and communicate the bigger picture is a respectable way to inquire.  

From what I can gather as a white person never having been to a refugee camp, they are portrayed as a kind of place between places. Like a place of passage between A and B just like Jacob’s Ladder is. A place of refuge or temporal settlement between two potentials just like the pub is. However, I am aware of the problematics of associating a refugee camp with a British pub, two extremely high contrasting locations, environments and histories.

It is interesting to consider the similarities with the palimpsest of culture in terms of refugee camps and places of passage. Places where people are brought together and create context, history and impressions on each other, time, space, objects and the landscape. Places of layers and a growing history and past. In a Frieze article called ‘Impermanent Inheritance’ by Suzanne Harris-Brandts, she suggests that “the camp is an artefact of the 20th Century” which does challenge the contemporary notion of the artefact and its parameters however does so under colonial circumstances once again. The West getting to decide the importance and unimportance of things and under it’s righteous identification system despite the impressive challenge of the notion. But it also caught my eye due to its use of its archaeological terminology.  Describing a social and physical landscape as an artefact follows suit with being able to describe culture under the archaeological term of palimpsest; it is just another example of challenging archaeological terminology.

This week I have essentially learnt that my work aims to understand the distant by exploring the direct. Discovering local metaphorical narratives that help to understand the stories and lives of people outside of my own.

In terms of practical ventures I’ve had this week, they are still in development of previous work and ideas.

I have begun moulding the shapes discovered and unearthed from my pub table top rubbings from clay, giving them a physicality and presence within a 3D context to see how they differ and change. So far I have started to view them as creatures and characters birthed from the palimpsest, palimpsest being the mother that bares stories, history and narratives through the marks and traces she allows in her dimensional space brought to life through the fingertips and presence of people. A space between people and the physical world around them, the palimpsestal dimension giving life to history and time through physical traces. The space between the person and their surroundings.

 

For some reason I have the desire to cast the shapes in a metal of some sort for a heavier more tactile, definite presence in reality rather than in the illusive, conceptual world I talked about above.

I also did some collages in attempt to visually combine archaeology with culture and landscape with a slightly scientific overall feel however I found it difficult to visually link archaeological drawings into images of people and landscape to make it aesthetically pleasing.

3rd Yr Journal – week 5

I did a lot of research this week and idea generation. I’ve started to get excited by film and the interaction of people and how I can embody the concepts I’ve been working with such as the bringing people together to create a palimpsestal moment or place or object. Potentially using common ground such as universally understood materials like dough, straw and clay or in a place like a pub or on the Jacob’s Ladder steps or a park. I’m not certain what will come about in the next couple of weeks but it feels as if more photography and video are likely.

I re-researched into the word Palimpsest and discovered the Latin breakdown of the word’s origin: ‘palin’ meaning again, and ‘psestos’ meaning scraped or rubbed away. I realised that this idea of rubbing or scraping away relates to the step on Jacob’s Ladder more than I realised – of course people have collectively sanded away the granite on the steps, which reinforced and sparked ideas about scraping and rubbing away. Which simultaneously reinforced the rubbings I did of the pub table tops. I’m not sure how I will implement this yet but I have some ideas for doing some filming in a pub of people collectively doing something or me interacting with people who just happened to come to the pub that evening. Maybe some form of collective image making or activity or I could lay down some paper or fabric on the table to collect the marks made by people at the pub.

I also expanded further on thinking about Palimpsestal places; where people, especially from different backgrounds and cultures, collide in the their physical and non-physical presence to alter and change a location. Thinking of places that have experiences a lot of change from layers or time, people, building and alterations. Noticing ghostly remains of dry patches on the floor where things have been and then removed after it has rained. Remains and traces of lost buildings on the side of others still present, echos of sounds like ripples of the original sounds from a mass of people like cheering, chinese whispers, reincarnation.

I thought about more conceptual palimpsests like myths and rituals that have traveled through time and place to be reworked and altered to suit different situations until the originals show through only in glimmers. Stories that get modified by different people over time. Our whole experience of the world is a palimpsest, it could be seen as a whole progression of palimpsestic reality, where the old is partly stripped away, reused and edited for the present. Memories are palimpsests as they are edited and changed by other thoughts, and people and opinions and thoughts and knowledge all the time, plus it is thought that every time you re-think of a memory, you are remembering the last time you thought of it, not the original one. Everyday we wake up with a new memory of the day before – that day scraped from the present, making way for the new layer or the new present moment and new day.

I need to discover or create a place where traces of people’s presence are found that were created over separate moments in time.

This week I also cast my flimsy Jacob’s Ladder modroc step mold in plaster:

It was quite difficult to deal with the large, floppy, damp modroc mould as I wanted to cast it in either concrete or plaster which is super heavy and powerful compared to the weak modroc. It was a bit of a challenge but with some pieces of wood, clay, newspaper to stuff the shape of the step into place and a lot of sealant and vaseline to protect the modroc and stop the plaster from sticking to the mould, I managed to create the cast. There is beautiful texture to the plaster step but up close you can see the tiny holes of the modroc fabric plus the little overlaps of the way I lay the layers onto it. I imagined the step to be more accurate and true to the step but being able to see the layers of material I used to make it adds to its layered history and visually deepens the story of the step.

Very close to where Jacob’s Ladder sits in the hill side is a plot of land that perches almost invisibly behind the methodist church to the side of Jacob’s Ladder. The plot of land is extremely steep and has been catching my eye for a while. It’s an intriguing spot as you don’t know it’s there when you are on the Ladder because there is a wall that divides you from the plot and the steps. A wall that very few people will be able to see over due to its height, also no one is likely to consider looking over it as it’s almost essential that you watch you footing when you are going up or down the steps as they are so steep. Also, due to it being such a definite place of passage, it’s not important what is behind this wall. The only place to view the plot of land, is from the other side of the valley and even then it’s unnoticable due to it’s complete uselessness and lack of importance. People pass it all the time and don’t even realise it exists. At the moment this place isn’t obviously related to my ideas but it could be an interesting location to work with because of its characteristics being: only visible from afar, useless, forgotten, next to something used all the time. These two places are so close but opposites in the way the public interacts with them; one being all the time and the other not at all.

I took two short videos of this place of interest and are both from a distance, across the valley using a really bad quality zoomed night vision camera that can take normal videos in daylight. I’m not sure which one portrays it better, the first one doesn’t show any context to where it is in scale and landscape which could be interesting if seen by people from Falmouth to see whether they know where it is. And the second video sort of pans across close up rooftops and trees to find it somewhere in the middle, but continues to travel across the landscape after. The second gives it more of a setting, making it less mysterious and random or secretive. It makes me want to make a mockumentary about ‘the corner place’ to try and give it some sort of importance or false history next to something so well known and full of history and so often used in people’s lives.

Visually, The Corner Place looks more interesting to me when in black and white, it looks a bit spooky as if something bad has happened there.

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3rd Yr Journal – Week 4

There has been a lot of discovery through process in the past week. I really latched onto the concept of palimpsest and have been manifesting its parameter and circumference in order to translate it into my own context and to understand it in my own way. As of this, I have begun taking rubbings from […]

There has been a lot of discovery through process in the past week. I really latched onto the concept of palimpsest and have been manifesting its parameter and circumference in order to translate it into my own context and to understand it in my own way.

As of this, I have begun taking rubbings from pub table tops using newsprint paper and a soft pencil. It came to me that pub table tops are palimpsests; they have been marked and edited and stained over time by many different people, they are artefacts of contemporary culture.

 

Below are some of the most interesting rubbings. I’m not sure what I will do with them yet and how I will manipulate them further. I just know I’d like to transfer the marks somehow.

 

It is also interesting to consider the origin and history of ‘the pub’. Obviously ‘pub’ stands for ‘public house’, a place of all people meeting, a place of gathering. The home for the public, which relates back to thoughts I had on the domestic, and communal, universally relatable materials such as the dough, straw and clay. I like these links to the coming together of people and the communal place where history, background, ethnicity and identity are blended.

Pubs originate from Roman times however, and were more commonly named taverns or ale houses. They were often built on the sides of long Roman roads so that the legionary troops could stop for a drink. And it was ale and other alcoholic drinks served as they were safer to drink than water due to their brewing process. So pubs were originally just a place of passing – just a stop off point on a longer journey.

In light of palimpsest, places of passing through and pubs, I decided to cast one of the steps on Jacobs Ladder just off the moor in Falmouth. The notoriously steep and long old staircase lead to the Jacob’s Ladder Inn at the top.

 

 

 

I see the steps as palimpsests in themselves. The concave dips worn away from the original step shape tell of people and time. The thousands of people who have walked up and down the steps since their creation makes them a kind of slowly manipulated collective art piece. An abstract physical timeline. I was also attracted to Jacob’s Ladder as of course the steps embody the layering element of the palimpsest concept. This is a seemingly simple observation but its interesting to think of the staircase as a whole but also as individual layers carved separately from the soles and feet of people and animals. Each individual palimpsest layered up to make one very large more complex one.

I think it is important to mention as well what the origin and reason for Jacob’s Ladder to be made was and the fact it has no biblical relevance or associations, despite there being a greek mythology about Jacob and his ladder – expand! It was simply installed by a man named Jacob Hamblen in…. , a builder, tallow chandler and property owner to facilitate access between his business – at the bottom – and some of his property – at the top. It was just a means of getting from A to B, just simply an access root for passing from one place to another quicker than going round.

It is interesting to consider Jacob’s Ladder as a place of passing through – the people and interactions I had whilst on the step for 6 hours were varied. Some people passed  multiple times; walking with a group first, then running down then walking back up and running down again with someone else. One woman was going up it for exercise and said that last year she did the ladder 10 times one after another! Many, almost all people asked what I was doing and although I was making an absolute mess, no one commented on it in a negative way. There were also people who completely ignored what I was doing. I had a very uncomfortable encounter with a 70 year old man who insinuated the gross things he would do to me, to warm me up, had he got me “behind the wall”, which was extremely unpleasant and shocking. Over all I realised that the activity I was doing gives a reason to communicate, such a narrow pass that you are almost forced to interact. Because it is a staircase, it is maybe easier to talk because it is inevitably going to be a short encounter making it easier to start one – the place of passing bares no obligation to chat or stay for a while if one does not want to. This is a well known stereotypical observation of the british awkwardness and reluctance to have anything more than small talk, as more than small talk is out of the comfort zone. It also made it a kind of safe place for the old man to make an oppressive comment as there was no one else around at the time and I feel he would be less likely to say something like that had I been on the street at the bottom of the ladder.

Down a slightly different root, I have begun re-looking at the photos and sketches I did at the archaeological dig I went to in August.

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At the time I was thinking a lot about the fact that Anthropologists’ job is to watch, research and observer other people! I began finding this concept quite bazaar and frustrating as I’d never heard much about anthropologists who study anyone other than indigenous or native tribes men. I couldn’t help considering the kind of colonial undercurrents of the ology, the appropriateness of it and the potential interference, false informity and the historical eurocentrism that comes with treating these communities and cultures as ‘the other’ then continuing to represent them as ‘the other’ throughout the entire Western world. After some research, I realised that now there are studies done by anthropologists of non tribal or native peoples; a lot in fact. But I decided I wanted to be a part of this and challenge the entire concept of anthropology. My ideal setting would have been me studying a group of Anthropologists, and to study them in a way that encompassesses anthropological processes but also to use more artistic ones and explore the ways I could study them as it to treat them as a tribe themselves whilst they are at work carrying out research on another group of people. I wanted to collect data and research on the way they interact with each other, the social hierarchy, common language, common background, beliefs systems and thoughts, gestures, eating habits and anything else that became important during the research project. I wanted the anthropologists to in a way get a taste of their own medicine, but despite this still being a dream project for me. It meant that I’d have to arrange going on a research trip with a bunch of scientists along with all the barriers that come with that and I didn’t feel like I had the time frame to do it in my last year of study.

This is why I decided to at least do a practise on a group of archaeologists down here in Cornwall. To do a study of a arguably similar group of people doing slightly different work but their practises overlap and include practical field work in a changing environment.

Although this was my original idea, I started thinking about the sketches I did there for a different reason. I photocopied the sketches and drew gradients like what you find of maps onto the figures as if to map their bodies like you would a landscape. This then instantly looked like ripples and of course portrays a layering effect on them making links between the figures as a landscape with layers just like the earth. Ripples are things that spread in waves of energy, weakening as they get further apart from the epicentre or source of the energy flow. Places and people become connected by the effects of a ripple, like people affect other people in their actions, interactions and movements in the world which affect others who could be close by or far away. The energy of our existence affects other people by the way we use it, who we make connections with and where we travel in time and space.

I’d really like to create something that people interact with that will alter as a result of human interaction as it’s passed from person to person; whether a space or object. This will be a creation of a palimpsest and is done so from the ripple of energy that will manipulate it.

I looked at the work of Pierre Huyghe this week and he uses similar ideas but in a slightly different angle. He conceives the conditions for an environment but leaves it at that. He creates spaces where an unpredictable non-regular cycle of events will ripple out from its centre to create variations avoiding linearity. People and other living animals are essential to his environments as they basically have a mind of their own that will in-turn, form the present moment of the exhibition or art piece just from chance. It is also considered that due to the environment having been given space to grow and breath will take on its own life and events, it is difficult to distinguish what is ‘meant’ to be happening in the space and whether something is an accident or a result of the outside world of the art piece coming in.