Feedback Recommendations

1. Benedict Drew: http://www.benedictdrew.com/
2. Pipilotti Rist – showing in A Minute Ago in London shortly:

https://www.zabludowiczcollection.com/exhibitions/view/a-minute-ago

(‘A Minute Ago considers the idea of ‘a moment’ through artistic practice: how do we experience a single moment in time, and how do we process, communicate, and reconstruct it. Including performances by live art practitioners and moving image work selected from the Zabludowicz Collection, the exhibition investigates the ways in which a moment can be interrogated through different art forms’.)

  1. Look at Tony Oursler’s work (thinking particularly about his experiments with the voice and with sound; http://tonyoursler.com/who-will-give-answer-to-the-call- of-my-voice-sound-in-the-work-of-tony-oursler/
  2. Mark Wallinger’s Sleeper (‘performing’ the self): http://www.tate.org.uk/context-comment/video/meet-artist-mark-wallinger

I have been looking at the various recommendations Wendy gave me in the A3 feedback.

Benedict Drew – I have written about Drew elsewhere after seeing his work at the Whitechapel last year

Tony Ousler – https://www.nytimes.com/video/multimedia/1194817108496/sound-digressions-in-seven-colors.html

I couldn’t find the link I was given as it appears to be broken according to Ousler’s website but had a look at various other works by him and feel I must come back to it as there is so much. I was drawn to the above and the following words which were on an MIT site that came up when I searched for the words in the link.  https://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/abs/10.1162/15263810360661426?journalCode=grey

Screen Shot 2018-01-29 at 15.34.04.png

Mark Wallinger – http://www.tate.org.uk/context-comment/video/meet-artist-mark-wallinger Wallinger dresses up as a bear and wanders through a German gallery at night. Passer-bys ignore him or stare at him to see what’s going on, or are frightened by him as he lunges at them as they walk by outside.

I loved listening to Wallinger speak about his experience on the Tate website. But the critical point for me in this is his statement about performing for no-one which echoed what I was saying about Growtwoski’s assertion that a performance can be for as many or few as you like – (page 32 Kindle) – he talks about what a performance needs for something to be rendered a ‘performance’ and Growtoski says only one audience member is needed. Wallinger however, talks about having no audience at all other than himself which is just as valid in a discourse about boundaries between the idea of self and other (we are all part of the fabric of reality and therefore self and other are linguistically created illusions). However, is it not slightly disingenuous of him to say there was no audience since he filmed his performance, interacted with people staring into the gallery or who ignored him (even though they did, there was still meeting of consciousness’ caught up in the ‘performance’ of ignoring) – and then showed his dressed up isolation to another audience? Since the work was entered for the Turner prize the end result-audience was large indeed.

Pipilotti Rist – I have written about Rist several times but in particular here. I went to the Zabludowicz Collection last week and was very pleased to be able to spend time with her work in a gallery and with the soundtrack there (At that time, I had not managed to find it online with sound as there are some copyright issues on the Youtube version which means it is only shown silently in some versions – I have found it now. Apple Music  – not iMusic but the Beatle’s company are notoriously tricky about protecting copyright so wonder how this all played out….)  A while ago, I realised that I respond to aural effects, but that verbalisatised speech often irks me. For instance, I don’t recall song lyrics but at the risk of sounding horribly pretentious, I feel like I somehow kinesthetically ’embrace’ the melody, or it embraces me. That isn’t to say I don’t like or am not interested in language. I very much am and most of my inquiry here is about how language shapes our reality – but I find the human voice can quite often break a magical moment when it has been created with the use of light, sound, place, movement, rather than add to it and perhaps that is something for me to think about. I’ve digressed somehow – I am very drawn by aural aspects of Rist’s video, I’m not the Girl Who Misses Much – a dismantled version, in fact just one-line from a Beatles song, Happiness is a Warm Gun, which Rist adapts by changing the lyrics so it is about her female-self rather than a song about a female-other sung by a male-primary subject. The song is a terrific choice not only because of the words, but the combination of whimsical minor chords and its regular beat, already broken up with musical slides and somersaults, which Rist speeds up and slows down, as well as interrupts with other audio. It is accompanied by visuals of her dancing which are out of focus, with effects and editing tricks that further dismantle and disrupt the narrative. It’s the sort of work that makes me very, very excited!

I didn’t manage to see A Minute Ago by Rachel Rose, which the exhibition was named after (the upper level was closed in preparation for a performance) but have seen a clip on Vimeo here https://vimeo.com/141589264. This work made me think about fellow OCA student Catherine her Second Life investigation – and how reality in our hyperreal world has been usurped by technically made visual reality, and corporeal existence is rendered out of focus

 

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Assignment 3: vOice anD spEech lesSonS fOr thE theaTrE

Create a series of six images of ‘you’ that show different selves

“…we are creating an improvised character and trying to stay within our role…” Nick Chater, The Mind is Flat, 2018

vOice and speeCh lesSons foR tHe tHeatrE is a 4-minute film about creating and recreating a self

Background to the project below – please visit A3 Reflection and Research for ongoing discoveries and experiments. 

Language & Colour

A year ago a friend of mine, Jenny, was diagnosed with Motor Neuron Disease.  Recently I visited her in a hospice where she was staying for a period of respite, and the technology that allows her to visit Facebook, WhatsApp or Netflix by blinking at the screen was not working. She was only able to communicate by moving her face and looking in the direction of an alphabet grouped in coloured blocks on an A4 sheet of paper. Needless to say, this system is painstakingly slow and deeply frustrating for Jenny. Technology has been amazingly positive for her and others like her when it is available.

Two contributions to this project come out of watching Jenny’s disease take hold of her and destroy her life and family; one is the result of reading her thesis where she received a 1st, which she gave me early in 2017 titled Cinematic Chromophobia; The Case Against Colour (2001) in which Jenny discusses the ‘predjudice against and fear of colour both in traditional film theory and throughout the industry” (p1). Jenny ends by suggesting colour in film theory and the industry suffers from being trivalised, or seen as ‘deceitful and uncivilised’ (p39) and is even seen as leading to the destruction of art (p29). Although contemporary photography today seems on the surface to have advanced beyond this mindset, colour is still contentious and must be the right sort of colour. Fetishisation and social value linked to certain types of colour persist.* It continues to need to be controlled (perhaps much like women, working classes, or anyone else outside the pinnacle of western civil society). (p25)

Another response as I’ve watched my friend become sicker over the months is, of course, to do with language, with not having access to the exterior communal system of signs which most of us take for granted. Grotowski’s Towards a Poor Theatre is another text I have visited whilst doing this project and in Peter Brook’s introduction we are told about exercises Grotowski introduced to Brook’s company during a workshop. “Essentially the work was non-verbal…To verbalise is to complicate and even destroy exercises that are clear and simple when indicated by a gesture and when executed by the mind and body as one.” (1968; p10) Whilst language gives us access to an exterior world, it also reminds us of our civility and distances us from our animal origins, as do black and white print or controlled colour schemes.

I did not reach a place for verbalising in this project. Attempting to did not work even when (or perhaps because) in an earlier version, I used one of Grotowski’s exercises where words are broken down into sounds and repeated (see drafts on Vimeo**). However, I aimed to dismantle the relationship we have with written signs by using capitals in the wrong place in scene headings perhaps to signify that this work is in some way about being forced to look harder at what we take for granted in the sign system and our relationship to it.

Grotowski also suggests “we compose a role as a system of signs which demonstrate what is behind the mask of common vision”. Again, I have composed this work in such a way that it might prompt questions about how we relate to our sign system through the use of colour, repetition, familiar filters, and the lack of verbalisation but the inclusion of sounds which cannot be easily identified.

Self

Throughout this course and prior to it I have been looking at contemporary theory of self and had hoped that the course, titled as it is, Self & Other, would mainly be focused in that direction since it would seem the most fundamental ideas about who and what we are, are fast evolving. (I’m not sure where much of the latest research and modeling leaves critical theory as the idea of conscious depth is being rewritten). I interpret the science I read as being a model borne of rationalism, and perhaps, therefore, one that is more relevant to modern existentialism than historic concepts, steeped as they were in religious ideology (superstition).

Carlo Rovelli in “Reality is Not What It Seems” (2016; p227) reinforces the ideas I have been exploring throughout this course. He says, “The nature of man is not his internal structure but the network of personal, familial and social interaction with which he exists. It is these which ‘make’ us, which guard us. As humans, we are that which others know of us, that which we know of ourselves, and that which others know about our knowledge. We are complex nodes in a rich web of reciprocal information”.

 Audience

One of Grotowski’s key philosophies was that the audience could be as small as you wanted or even non-existent. In the short video the central character, me if you will, watches herself and is her own audience. If someone else happens to watch that is fine, if not, that is fine too. Many of the tropes here recollect the performative nature of social media where audiences can be vast. For the sake of ‘meaning’, in terms of what is being ‘said’, there are several possibilities. Not wanting to stipulate, I leave it to whoever watches but the audience or lack of audience is integral to the piece.

Repetition

There is a lot of deliberate repetition in A3.  This echoes the current trend of gifs and memes and is therefore recognisable as a comment on contemporary culture, where technology makes it easy, and perhaps also a reflection of something about who we are. Hal Foster talks at length about repetition and trauma in “The Return of the Real” (1996). “…repetition serves to screen the real understood as traumatic. But this very need also points to the real, and at this point the real ruptures the screen of repetition…Lacan calls this traumatic point ‘tuche’; in Camera Lucida (1980) Barthes calls it the punctum.” (p132) Foster goes on to explain this discussion is essentially about where in the world trauma exists – inside or outside?

The following from Derrida’s Grammatology is relevant but my head is still trying to come to terms with what this all means: “…, one thinks as if the represented were nothing more than the shadow or reflection of the represented. …what is reflected is duplicated in itself not only as an addition to itself of its image. The reflection, the image, the double duplicates what it doubles….what can look at itself is not one… (1974; p39)

For me this project is as much as about time as it is about anything else, and how our relationship with time like everything else I’ve discussed here is constructed in our minds. Wherever you are in the universe, time might vary (and indeed does, even in the same room depending on your height when measured accurately enough). Questions being raised about our perception of reality, of memory – supported by photographs in the modern world, are intrinsically linked to time and seem critical to our modern minds.

Filters

As I discussed in a reflection (https://ocasjf.wordpress.com/2017/12/12/a3-screens-and-filters-digital/) the idea of filters are very important to this work.

Language is used in an online environment in such a way that we become completely distanced from ourselves, and several hundreds or even thousands of years’ of cultural development fly out the window. Suddenly it’s ok to say exactly what you think. There is little subtext and hardly any nuance in some online arenas. Thoughts are no longer filtered just as the world becomes visually more and more filtered.

Source Material 

We were asked to make 6 images that represented us. When discussing this early on with fellow students, Gesa Helms said something about finding our voice and it made me think of creating work that was essentially about that very thing. I wasn’t sure if I would follow the idea but as I experimented I continued to return to the idea of voice, and that combined with my interest in language seemed to make the most sense in terms of what I was exploring through my experiments – available on my either via this blog or directly on the my Vimeo page.

My six or so images are made up found objects – literally in one case a vocal box at work, as well as my own archive material – old photos from a family album and clips from two videos I am in, as well as some new material made with this project in mind. I used a ‘real’ camera and my phone to make moving images, including one with a SnapChat filter as I’d explored this in earlier exercises. The main archival material is from a video of a performance I was in in 1994 called A New Order: An Evening at the Cabaret Voltaire. Once again repetition comes into play, and repetition involving the Dada movement will I hope add to the resonance. What’s more, (and I’m not sure how this will fly with the History of Art Department at Manchester Metropolitan University) I have appropriated myself here since the video is copyrighted to MMU. I could, of course, get official permission but I have not and have been in two minds about doing so. They may say no (although I’d be surprised) which would scupper me but the act of having had to ‘steal’ a younger version of myself back is pertinent in some way. Barthes’ famous quote “The text is a tissue of quotations drawn from the innumerable centres of culture” might be relied upon to indicate I myself am a quotation – refer back to Derrida above. I also used text from a book I had at university about speech and voice (Turner, 1950). I have included an audio clip from a very famous early colour film which signified female/male relations. It is unrecognisable here as I have slowed it down (like Jenny’s speech although I was not consciously aware of this when doing it). I have also included an audio clip that gives a sense of rhythm.  I might have found other archival footage and considered historical footage from South Africa where I grew up but in the end, I have stopped where I am with it for now as it seemed an appropriate place within the structure of the module.

Feminism

Jenny’s thesis draws on feminist theory, quoting, in particular, Julia Kristeva’s Desire in Language: A Semiotic Approach to Literature and Art, and this work continues in that tradition. This work is inherently feminist in that it explores the way I have watched myself become and continue to be a commonly signified ‘woman’.

Summary 

This short film is a testament to my friend, Jenny and the ideas she shared with me because that seems like a better way to explore my relationship with her than photographing her distress. It celebrates her love of study, knowledge and feminist ideals as well as her impact on me. It is about language, not having access to it literally, or in less obvious ways (silences others). It is about how the self is created and re-created.

Reflection

Demonstration of technical and visual Skills

I was asked to play, to take risks, to dare to fail, to leave behind the ‘studio’ like imagery. I hope I have done that, although it is always difficult to know how others view one’s own risk-taking. Too much, too little, too far from photography? I don’t know. I was tempted all the way through this process to abandon it or at least to present two submissions, one like this and another, a beautifully shot set of portraits of people and things from my life which I initially considered. I have deliberately opted for an anti-commodified video aesthetic by cropping in, degrading already degraded visual quality and pushing filters and colours beyond what is considered ‘tasteful’. It won’t be to everybody’s liking but having viewed some of the comments below Rist’s work, I am not going to worry too much about that. I would have more choices over what is possible if only I could get my head around Premier Pro but my ability with iMovie has improved enormously since last year when I first ventured into it. I think sometimes keeping things simple is also preferable. There are many aspects which would probably be better achieved with more experience but I’ll get there.

Quality of Outcome

I probably won’t be able to tell for certain until I have watched this in months to come. I feel torn between feeling it is absolutely and appalling nonsense, drivel in fact, and perhaps potentially something quite effective. There are bits that work better than others. Some bits are just too clunky and some indicate they might have potential. If I had a choice I would control the sound – it should be reasonably loud – and make sure everyone watched it on a big enough screen. Or in a large, dark room – perhaps overly grand, I know… It is clearly derivative of work I have been looking at but I hope I am not wrong in thinking it is also highly personal. I am lucky to have the archival material I do have. Not many people can make a repeat that was already a repeat of Dada.

The work seems to me like it might just a good enough place to move forwards from – how far forwards is the question…perhaps it’s too short and flimsy at the moment?

It has too many strings as always with me. What are the main themes? Colour, Jenny, language, technology, the relationship between self and other in a modern world. All interrelated but this is undoubtedly not clear enough. I did not realise how much it related to Jenny until yesterday (11/1/18) really.

Demonstration of Creativity

This is either highly creative or not at all, depending on one’s viewpoint I would imagine. I am quite bored of the same old photographs, making and seeing them, and it was a relief to veer away from that.

Context

I hope I have covered the course material sufficiently and I know I have introduced ideas from outside, in particular with reference to articles and books about reality and consciousness – i.e. what makes us who we are, selves and others. I referenced fewer resources than previously but I think that might be a helpful thing in terms of others managing my material.

I was not able to settle on a 100 word or so statement because I was not clear what the work is about. As time passes that is becoming more evident to me and I will return to this when I am able.

 

 

*David Batchelor’s Chromophobia is a key text in Jenny’s thesis and delves deeply into the way in which colour ‘needs to be controlled’ in order to avoid the ‘destruction of art’

** My 9 year old’s response, “Cringe! That one sounds like someone trying way too hard to make ‘Art’!! Get rid of the Ma, Ma, Ma bit!!” Perhaps Grotwoski would have liked the ‘shock’ and discomfort it engendered though.

(c)SJField 2018

Baylis, J. 2001, Cinematic Chromophobia: The Case Against Colour, University of Westminster, London

Derrida, J. 2016 On Grammatology, translated by Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, John Hopkins University Press, Baltimore

Chater, N, The Mind is Flat, Future Learn, Warwick University, Available At: https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/the-mind-is-flat#section-overview (Accessed 9/1/2018)

Foster, H. 1996, The Return of the Real, MIT, Massachusetts

Rovelli, C. 2016 Reality is Not What It Seems, Kindle Edition, Penguin, London

Tuner, J. C. 1976, Voice & Speech in the Theatre, Revised by Morrison, M, The Bath Press, Avon

Exercise 3.5: Reflection

Continuing with the experiments I have been doing in this section I have put together a short film complied with the following:

Old photographs from my album

A page from my teenage diary which is overlayed over the images

Snapchat filter videos from the current time

The sound from a very famous movie produced before I was born but watched by me as a child, one where the narrative contributed to my concept of love, relationship, male/female dynamics. The sound is slowed down so it becomes unrecognisable.

The title, for now, are random words which may or may not reveal something from my unconscious  – I can, of course, make connections as could others although one might need to work a little to do so, depending on the level of imagination in the viewer – in fact perhaps I should use an extract from my teenage diaries.

As I said at the beginning of the section I have used filters ad infinitum because this work is in some ways about the way we filter our world for good or bad.

An issue with what I’ve made – It’s way too much like an homage to David Lynch, not that there is anything wrong with paying homage to him. I love his work. But it is perhaps just too much like his. The slowed down sound edited together with slowed down visual movement is probably contributing to that in a big way, but I really like extending or speeding up sound as part of the work is…

… an attempt to explore the way we construct time – hence different elements from various periods in my existence, extending back to before I was born, constructed together in one small moment.

Other texts out there which might help me to make it a little less Lynch-like, but achieve similar things.

Things I’m definitely after – cognitive dissonance of various degrees

From my Music Libray:

https://www.deejay.de/Tomoko_Sauvage_Musique_Hydromantique_SP087_Vinyl__294834

From another OCA tutor’s (Andrew Conroy) Twitter feed:

After reading Stefan Schaffeld’s UVC 5 essay and being directed to look at more of Rist’s work, following Wendy’s suggestion:

 

 

A3: Some ideas

Black and white, colour, shutter speed too slow? Just messing about and wondering if I need to take this further….not sure where this fits in with other ideas. Had some other shots from this session were I was making shapes with my hair too and think I should also play with those again. Used lights here because it was so dark today and my house is dark in fact. I don’t much like the lack of light in it but I’m stuck with it for now. Not sure how to get the lights to work with a higher shutter speed although sure there must be a way… (So miss my room in the roof that had such super light before! Ah well!)

 

 

 

Added shortly afterward: I did this on my phone just playing around with the image and some generic textures provided by an app. As discussed with Morris below, this is conceptually rather different from where I’ve been heading and it probably doesn’t have any place in the work I’ve been putting together. But I think in time, if I can learn the skills, then I can perhaps do something along these lines in an animation, or include something similar now. I’ve certainly overlaid stills and moving images or two moving images, something to think about. The concept of flowers inside the shape of me is not exactly new and neither is having moving image inside a still shape of me. I have done that in PS but I think it easier in PP if only I could recall how we did it! It’s just a matter of masking so I’m sure I can work it out again….

I’ve been playing with quite a lot of apps because I think the key work for my A3 submission is probably ‘filter’ and all its various meanings.

IMG_4017.JPG

(c)SJField 2018

A3: Notes 2

Metaphor

 See the article about the computer metaphor, see the riposte, see the paragraph in the Psychopath book that discusses models, see language, see information

 Filter

 Meanings – filter out what we deem to be damaging and no good, an imposition on purity; or a digital layer that alters the look of something

Filter out noise, filter out views we don’t agree with, filter out dissent, and filter out questions

Children are bought up to filter out undesirable behaviour e.g. by being told well-done when they behave according to social expectations, and perhaps feel the less desirable parts of themselves are unlovable, which make sit hard for them to grow up accepting those aspects (Alfie Kohn, behaviourism)

Culture acts as a filter affecting how we perceive reality. This way of understanding is often referred to as a lens which is either biological and therefore of the body or it is plastic/glass and hard/soft. A lense refers to the way light enters. A lens is impervious and a material filter isn’t – it lets things in and potentially can let more or less in, while a digital filter is adjustable. Religion, political persuasion, family background, history, education – or lack of, class, relative wealth, habit, and tradition, Weltanschauung, all help to construct filters through which we experience life.

Our neurological processes act as the most immediate filter, bring all the things we experience through our various senses together into a harmonious and meaningful whole, allowing us to experience it – we have evolved to be able to do this – see video about external phenomena, i.e. sound and action perceived as happening at the same time

Our reality filter affects the way we experience time

Things can go wrong in our brains, and we can become dissociated from accepted reality in some ways, see Oliver Sacks, The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat

Advertisers and spectacle makers create a filter through which we understand morality, need, dreams, and ambition. In Lacanian, terms this is brought about through the imaginary and symbolic realms

Again – Lacan – we adapt to see ourselves as whole, as an entity, as a separate being and this is a reality ‘filter’ – mirror stage for instance

RAW file – merely information but the information needs to be deciphered and interpreted, and it cannot be except through the filter that makes us who we are.

Image Screen

See Lacan  – http://csmt.uchicago.edu/glossary2004/screen2.htm

“However, to see without the image-screen would, in Foster’s estimation, constitute being “touched by the real” and result in psychic death.  Foster sees the use of abjection in contemporary art practice as an attempt to “puncture” the screen, to view the sublime horror of the object-gaze (see beautiful, sublime).  Essentially, to look upon the impossible Real, which seems to be a paradoxical project. [x]

http://csmt.uchicago.edu/annotations/lacansplit.htm

 

Cindy Sherman

As I have been working on these and worrying about whether or not to submit them, it was fortuitous to come across Cindy Sherman’s very similar work.

https://www.instagram.com/_cindysherman_/?hl=en

https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2017/aug/09/cindy-sherman-instagram-selfies-filtering-life

Now I am a bit of a loss about how to proceed… they are obviously very similar and I need to find a way to make these my own. Perhaps video is the way forward – putting them together not as stills but as moving image with a voice over. BUT – adding the horrific voice to the horrific pictures is too much so either they must be relatively benign pictures with warped voice or the other way around.  Here is a draft video but I will need to reshoot them and try to make them work in landscape I think if possible. The music was from the App. (For now this is merely an example of alternative to stills). The other thing I keep thinking about is Rist’s work which also reveals the real but she does it in a less horrific, potentially far more beautiful/fun way and maybe that’s the way I prefer to go….

Whichever, I do plan to do this Assignment very soon so as to avoid thinking too much more, probably before completing two more exercises I need to do, which I will do afterward. I have to say the first three images make me feel very sick indeed…they are so awful. But as stated in the Guardian article above, “Sherman’s Instagram posts accomplish something not seen in recent years – they hold up a dark mirror to our era of self-obsession” (Becker, 2017)

Just a little beware….

https://aeon.co/videos/its-easy-to-get-caught-up-in-constructing-our-selves-but-what-does-it-cost-us

Images (c)SJField 2017

A3: Notes

I like the way this snap chat image has gone wrong – not sure if it’s obvious enough or if the subtlety of it is actually preferable… I like the idea of working with these because they’re so relevant but I am conflicted. I don’t tend to ask people on Discuss – too much noise there for me –  but I may with this as I really am torn. I think there is somewhere to go with the video I made although that will be off Snapchat soon if not already so I might have to use the video I already have which was just an initial attempt. If I do go down this path, I need to try and collect them as and when I can as the filters all seem to have slightly different idiosyncrasies  – not sure if using only these will be enough though or how they might be incorporated into something more alongside other images that I can fit together as a series.

Am waiting for some digitised videotape from my past too which I should receive after Xmas and was thinking about bringing them in in some way, although may I save them for A5  – where I will probably be a bringing together of all the work I’ve been doing throughout this module.

IMG_2951

(c)SJField 2017