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.

 

 

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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 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.

Drawing and Collage

These are just a few drawings/collages I’ve done throughout my research to visualise and explore how texture has implications and see if the visual language I have created through sculpture can also be portrayed through the marks and textures I created on my drawings. I wanted them to stimulate the same ideas as my instillations. I think they are still missing something. I would like them to have something more, similar to the installations – I think at the moment my drawings are along the same lines as my installation if my installations didn’t have video with them. But the video element stimulated more ideas and senses and I need to develop my drawings so that they do the same.

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The work seems incomplete with some areas of clean shape and some completely erratic. I wanted to experiment with manipulating images of the possible barren, dry, desert future but add a rough industrial feel to the outcome, hence the pastel mark making and makeshift, dirty or abandoned outcome.