For A5 documentation images
A5 consists at the moment of three elements, the video, the writing and stills of mirrors which I placed around the garden in Ferentillo.
By adding fragments of the selfies and other footage I made and edited on my phone I am linking the old technology (mirrors and cameras – absence and presence) to the new (phones and apps – pattern and randomness)
Obvious influences here although often when we see others doing this they are working with materiality (Julie Cockburn I am thinking of in particular). I am deliberately working with digital non-materiality.
I will need to test the prints to see how the files from the phone fare but I think it’s going to be ok…
What I need to do is decide if I need the montage element on the prints or not…(whatever else is true I need better images as I have a handful which will do for now but not if developed further).
Added after initial post – these are very Julie Cockburn and I am trying to think about how to move further away from that, or if the basic concept is enough of a difference as this references changes from absence and presence to pattern and randomness and links the video to the stills.
Over the last few days, I have had some helpful feedback from various OCA students via email or in hangouts. Here is a brief summary of some of the things I found very useful. I am grateful to all for their help and suggestions.
Catherine – “I know you were frustrated with having to keep explaining the concept but, to me, the struggle was worth it. There’s a bit of me now, though, that’s wanting you not to do much more editing. I remember posing for a portrait class a couple of times and what surprised me was how the not quite finished versions were more interesting because they left room for the viewer to complete the portrait.”
Brian – Don’t be too dictatorial with your statement, leave things open to the viewer to make up their own minds, music works well.
Stan – (in response to specific questions about the text and pulling it apart to make a statement and work) You have three voices – 1) critical, 2) personal, 3) student
This was very useful. The student voice kind of gets in the way and I think should be put it aside, but I need it when putting things together for assessment I think (or do I?)
He also advised me to remove a slide from the end with text that dedicated the film to Jenny – this made total sense as it distracted the film and tied it down. I was already worried it was too sentimental and removing the slide helped to reduce that worry.
John – I just love this so have to include it here: “I sensed Adam Curtis in the editing style. He has the wonderful ability to pull things together that, individually, appear quite meaningless and yet the global edit has something very powerful to say.” Thank you, John!
Everyone I spoke to agreed, the final passage of my written document (as it was a few days ago and which I sent out), helped to anchor the work and would serve as a statement. The first section had a different academic voice and was something separate. John’s email to me says it well – “I think there are two very distinct things going on here (I know that you know this, because the voice changes through the piece). In the early part – up to the section “The role of imagery” the narrative is strongly academic, assuredly composed positing cogent arguments and it reminded me very much of “The Century of the Self” by Adam Curtis. Your references are used economically and illuminate your train of thought very well. And I found myself yelling “Yes” (internally of course) to that narrative intent.
And then (of course) it all changes. As soon as you mention Jennifer it becomes intensely personal – well, of course, it would! – and I wonder if the two combined weaken each other? The notions expressed in “Technology and the sign” become blurred, your personal and emotionally charged reactions are counter to the dryness of your academic search for expression.”
These discussions have helped me clarify and return to the work, submitting (I hope) a slightly clearer, more developed position than a couple of weeks ago.
I have not mentioned everyone here as it would repeat things already said, but I am very grateful to everyone for taking the time to look, think and respond.
This is an updated submission showing further developments after initially submitting 27/04/2018. As requested this work is still unresolved, however, it has been brought to a place suitable for a test installation with a small invited group of viewers prior to assessment. I have added music by Simon Gwynne but am not satisfied with the way it is working alongside the images – (although very grateful to the composer, Simon) discussed further down. I will document the test and make a link to images available on this page.
A5 Self & Other – Self Directed Project
Develop a project around the theme of Self or Other, or a blurring of the two. For example, this could be a performative work of self-portraiture, or perhaps a documentary story combining portraits, objects and spaces to describe Others…Assignment five is a project in progress. It is not expected to be fully resolved, visually coherent or a clearly contextualised submission. As well as visual material (contact sheets, work prints, etc., depending on the nature of your practice and your project) you should include a short text (around 500 words) setting out:
- The specific themes your work is addressing or what you work is attempting to communicate (+/-500 words) – See statement below or else academic text in actual work
- A brief self-evaluation – rewritten since the 27th. I have used the headings provided by the OCA, see below
- Feedback – Wendy’s text below
- A list of practitioners you’ve looked at in relation to this assignment – penultimate section of this post
- A bibliography – final section of this post.
i will have call you
A multi-layered project which includes montage, juxtaposition, filtration and colour using still and moving imagery, as well as text, exploring ways in which social media extends identity. It was made with and is about the technology which informs our digital culture.
This work is made to honour, celebrate and thank a very good friend, Jennifer Baylis, who gifted me with some wonderful ideas to explore before she died. We had met when our now ten-year-old children were babies. In a thesis for her MA, for which she received a 1st in 2001, Jenny, whose words appear at the beginning of the short video component of this work wrote about colour in film, the need for it to be controlled – and how that need was a reflection of control across society. The last time Jenny was able to communicate with me using symbolic linguistic signs she said, “I will have call you maya deren” (sic). The missing word and lower case letters, implications of language being lost, are made use of as the title here to reflect society’s evolving relationship with the sign due to developments in digital technology. Relying on eye-gaze software, Jenny blinked it to me via a messenger app roughly six weeks before her death after I told her I had received positive feedback for another project, which had incorporated some of the ideas she had explored in her thesis (2001).
Video – Inspired by Maya Deren’s Meshes of the Afternoon (1943), produced when moving image was relatively young and women working within it more usually hidden or objectified, I have explored a digital reality within a similar non-linear narrative. The film is mostly made with proprietary apps and filters, often freely available nowadays and utilised by many with tremendous and astonishing ease. Filters are seen as ‘less than’, while ‘authentic’ film stock is privileged over what we might do with our phones. Not only am I using the lowest of the low in terms of commodity value (proprietary filters) in work about a world which is heavily influenced by such easily altered images, I have reproduced the images repeatedly, mostly on my phone, and layered them; perhaps in a response to Walter Benjamin’s thoughts on reproduction.
Text – A critical response to digital technology and social media
Still images – UPDATE – I AM NOT GOING TO INCLUDE THIS SINCE MIRRORS ARE SO CLICHED BUT I HAVE INCLUDED SOME OF THE WORK IN THE SHORT FILM NEVERTHELESS “Mummification and photography are united against the disappearance of appearances: they are alike in their materiality, their techniques, and their codes of resemblance” (Alain Fleischer) A photographic performance, placing mirrors in my mother’s garden in Ferentillo, known for a micro-chemical in its soil which mummifies the dead. Mirrors have historically been seen as a doorway between the living and the dead. Phones nowadays perform some of the same functions as a mirror, seen most notably in relation to Selfies.
Jenny Baylis died, aged 46, in February 2018 from Motor Neurone Disease. This work is made with love and sadness.
SJField, May 2018
As suggested above, currently the project consists of the following elements:
- Video (4 mins)
2. Writing (related to the film, to be ‘performed’ in some way yet to be decided) i will have call you Long (17 May)
3. (Still images – when I test this work I plan to pin still images on the walls but I am not necessarily submitting these images as part of this assignment as it may be simply too much and the film and text are sufficient although it would be a shame to lose this element as I consider it critical. Examples TBC)
(Documentation of test installation to be added later)
- Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills Materials, techniques, observational skills, visual awareness, design and compositional skills: I was asked earlier in the module to shift away from my commercial practice. I have deliberately gone as far from nice, clean, and saleable imagery as I can, and pushed boundaries in terms of taste and so-called ‘good’ practice by relying mostly on my phone & filters. Nevertheless, I have still adhered in some ways to creating work which follows certain visual conventions, such as rule of thirds etc. This work is not about anti-commodification. In fact, it explores commodification of self so I’m not sure that would be right anyway. Technically, phones and filters can be limiting in terms of resolution although that is always changing and, thanks to my phone contract and upgrading, I have the most up to date phone which has the best image quality available on this format. However, when you put things through filters the image degrades and some apps are better than others with resulting output. As the edit stands now (May 2018) there are a couple of clips I will certainly redo or replace with others, and some which I’ll need to make decisions about after experimenting with projecting and installation since the resolution is very low. Will the effect of degraded footage projected on a wall add or detract? I will decide later. Although I have made the clips on my phone, I have pulled the whole thing together on a desktop computer, with a widely available and easy-to-use editing suite which is brilliant for what it is, but limited. It is immensely irritating not being able to lock clips in place for instance, and I will ultimately need to learn to use something more sophisticated. The video is not finished but even if it were I see it as a practice session for something longer further down the line. While sketching in preparation for this, I often used ambient audio, which I like but have found this hard to include in the film as it is. There are some clips where I have left audio very low but some without. I am not sure how/if this combo works for now. In a longer project, I would attempt to make more of audio as I did in earlier experiments rather than just music. The music is not what I originally envisioned and working with others provided another set of challenges. But I am grateful to Simon who stepped in and think he’s done a good job writing something that works with the visuals.
- Quality of Outcome, Content, application of knowledge, presentation of work in a coherent manner, with discernment. Conceptualisation of thoughts, communication of ideas: At the moment I am not happy with the music – it is sentimental and I wanted to avoid that. People have said they really like the jusic and I am grateful to Simon for it but if I were able to write music myself my I would not have gone for this. In retrospect perhaps I should avoid music and simply use sound as I have been doing in my sketches – recording sound, stretching it, overlaying it with other sounds.
I can find it hard to clarify my ideas to myself, nevermind anyone else. This has perhaps led to me making work which risks being overly convoluted, and I am redoing A1 entirely for this reason. I know this work is complex but so was my submission for A3 which Wendy was positive about, and I feel I continued developing from there. I am also heavily influenced by practitioners who seem to reject logo-centric traditions. Getting to a place where I can convey the sorts of ideas I enjoy working with, in a way that provides something tangible for people to grab hold of is, therefore, challenging. However, I very much like Joan Jonas’ request that people simply try to experience her work rather than try to understand it (although also note she begins with a strong, clear concept in her mind). But, thanks to Wendy’s suggestion of including what I had originally written when submitting this work to her, I feel like I have managed to provide an intuitive and non-linear work which is counterbalanced by the more rational academic text (performed or presented yet to be decided) – both of which deal with the same themes albeit in different way, and which compliment as well as playoff each-other.
- Demonstration of Creativity
Imagination, experimentation, invention, Development of a personal voice.
Over the last year and a half or so it has become increasingly important to me to make work that only I can make. Picture making itself is so very accessible to all, and anyone can make a decent picture on their phones. And many do! Lots of people can use digital technology to make highly creative work. Democracy is great. But it’s perhaps too easy to copy and simply churn out the same old stuff. And doing so, beyond dull for me, having gone that route for a couple of years; plus there is the challenge of maintaining any meaning in an image-saturated world. I mentioned in an earlier assignment how bored I had become of making and looking at the same old images – Instagram is teeming with copies and simulations of famous photographers’ work and I was contributing to them. I thought of the idea of working with filters because as far as I could see no-one else was, a few people seemed alarmed by my early experiments and also perhaps, most crucially, these apps are symbolic of so much in our modern lives – not only the actual apps but also the ownership and method of their making and dissemination. I have appropriated the technology and queried its lack of value as well celebrated mass access to creative materials and tools. I really hope I have succeeded in making something only I could make – in terms of style, but also based as it is on aspects of my life and people I am connected to.
- Context Reflection, research (evidenced in learning logs). Critical thinking (evidenced in critical review). I LOVE that Wendy thinks my writing conveys my ideas well, as said in the formative feedback documents and during tutorials. “Why can’t you write as well as you speak?” was the question I was always asked at school and college. “You’re so eloquent in class” they’d say as they lamented over my badly-spelled drivel, most often a random collection of barely constructed non-sequiturs. Now, I seem to be at a point where people ask why can’t you make visual work which conveys your ideas as well as you write? The same things which make it hard to conceive of clear, simple ideas and made it challenging to write, are what have made it tricky for me to provide an easy to navigate learning blog. I was asked to address this and to be more concise in previous assessments. I have had to balance the assessor’s needs with my own, however. I use my blog as a working diary and write a lot – it’s part of my process. I’m not going to stop. But I have isolated key posts and made them available in the menu system across the top of the webpage and left the bulk of my meandering thoughts in a subsystem (accessible via the hashtags or by clicking on Categories). I believe the posts I have chosen convey the ideas I have tried to explore here adequately.
Feedback (Received following my initial submission and in response to it on 27/04/2018)
Full document here: Sarah-Jane Field-assn 5 – S & O_photography tutor report form – RT notes
You have produced a very interesting piece of writing to accompany your short film, which I’ll touch on in a moment. The short film itself is a work in progress (as requested in the remit). In it, you use montage techniques, juxtaposition and filtration to produce a multi-layered piece which explores the ways in which social media can extend identity. It’s visually engaging and I enjoy the way you’ve shot both on and made the film about mobile technology. You describe this in your text:
(my film) ‘includes footage and images made with a mobile phone camera, using proprietary filters, in honour and celebration of my friend who recently passed away after a degenerative illness. Before having children my friend taught film studies and during her final months, we spoke on our phones via a messenger app. She had lost the ability to speak in the usual way; her phone and later an iPad, which she used by blinking at it, were immensely important to her. Technology extended the time she was able to use her ‘voice’ and indeed the reach of her self’
In your accompanying piece of writing – which I do find very interesting – there seems to be a strong sense of the performative? I really do think that you should also consider using spoken word – all or even fragments of your text either in tandem with or separate from – your film. Your writing so clearly expresses your ideas I think, that it’s important that you – in some way – incorporate this into the work itself. Of course, using spoken word and performance is one way to do this but also many artists such as Tracy Emin and Fiona Banner’s Top Gun (here:http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/banner-top-gun-t13203 ) have habitually used text in their wall based work. (Interestingly, this text is usually handwritten, itself suggesting both the performative and the autobiographical).
In your assignment 5 you have a wealth of exploratory, critical and analytical references and copious references to relevant practitioners whose work relates to your own.
The only thing I’d suggest including in addition, is some reference to how you might further develop the installation methods for this work. You do mention wall based single screen presentation but I also think it would be very useful for you if you can to visit the current Joan Jonas exhibit on a Tate modern (I have already done so), specifically with a view to looking carefully at the various ways that Jonas, an experimental filmmaker working from the 70s onwards, has devised to install her various film works. I think it would really help you to think about possible alternate ways to project your own filmic material in the future. If you can, for example, borrow a digital projector (it doesn’t need to be a great one at this stage) and experiment a little with different forms of installation, you could then both document these trials, almost like potential exhibition installation ideas and include these on your learning log as you move forward.
Recommended reading: Joanna Zylinska’s essay Non-Human Photography (sent as attached PDF)
An intensively researched, experimental and original final submission, Sarah-Jane.
Practitioners I’ve looked at:
Maya Deren, Meshes of the Afternoon (1943)
Deren, M. 1942. It Must Be Done With Mirrors, Availableat: http://www.worldpicturejournal.com/WP_4/PDFs/Deren.pdf [Accessed 18/4/2018]
Kudaleck, M, In the Mirror Of Maya Deren (2001) Navigator Film, Austria (DVD)
Sandy Skogland, Fresh Hybrid (2008)
In addition to the above, other influences include Berthold Brecht, Robert Wilson, Robert Le Page, Dada, Shakespeare’s King Lear (specifically the theme of empty rhetoric)
Further work I have recently noticed addressing similar themes:
Clare Strand, The Discrete Channel with Noise
John Stezakar, Various works
Stewart Lee, Content Provider
Anderson, M. ed. 2008The Book of Mirrors: An Interdisciplinary Collection Exploring the Cultural History of the Mirror, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Newcastle
Baggini, J. 2011The Ego Trick, Granta Books, London
Batchelor D. 2017 Chromophobia,Windsor & Newton,YouTube – user-generated content. Available at:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6FlEEKiFXOU[Accessed 26/04/2018]
Berger, J. 1972 Ways of Seeing, BBC, London
Blatt, Ari J. 2009 ‘The interphototextual dimension of Annie Ernaux and Marc Marie’s L’usage de la photo‘, Word & Image, 25: 1, 46 — 55, 27 – Alain Fleischer, Mummy, mummies (Lagrasse: E ́ ditions Verdier, 2002), pp. 15–16. Translations mine. (Blatt) Available at: https://www.tcd.ie/French/assets/doc/BlattOnErnauxMarie.pdf [Accessed: 24/04/2018]
Bronfern, E. 1992 Over Her Head Body, Death Femininity and the Aesthetic. 1st ed. Manchester: Manchester University Press
Brecht, B. 1979 Threepenny Opera(1928) Penguin, Suffolk, p 33
Deren, M. 1978 Cinematography: The Creative Use of Reality, in The Avant-Garde Film: A Reader of Theory and Criticism,ed. P. Adams Sitney (New York: Anthology Film Archives, 1978), pp. 60-73. Available at: https://makeitthink.files.wordpress.com/2010/05/cinematography-the-creative-use-of-reality.pdf[Accessed 28/04/18]
Dyer, R. 1999 White. In: J. Evans and S. Hall, ed., Visual Culture: A reader, 1st ed. London: SAGE Publications, pp.457-467.
Field, SJ, 2018 Discuss the blurring of self and other within the work of one or more visual artists of your choosing Available at: https://ocasjf.files.wordpress.com/2018/02/assignment-4-self-other-rewritten-2-following-feedback3.pdf [Accessed:01/05/2018]
Hulkes, R. 2008 The Philosophic Mirror (The Book of Mirrors: An Interdisciplinary Collection Exploring the Cultural History of the Mirror, ed. Anderson, M) Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Newcastle, p 54
Lamoureaux, M. 2016 This Dude Accidentally Convinced the Internet That Finland Doesn’t Exist, Vice.com Available At: https://www.vice.com/en_uk/article/xyd48w/this-dude-accidentally-convinced-the-internet-that-finland-doesnt-exist [Accessed 08/05/2018]
Miranda C.A. & Fleishman J. 2018 How images – sometimes manipulated and altered – are shaping the seething world of our politics, LA Times, Available at: http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/movies/la-ca-political-iconography-20180413-story.html?outputType=amp&__twitter_impression=true [Accessed 27/04/2018]
Pendegrast, M. 2008 A Historical and Psychological Overview (The Book of Mirrors: An Interdisciplinary Collection Exploring the Cultural History of the Mirror, ed. Anderson, M) Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Newcastle, p 10
Rovelli, C. 2016. Reality is Not What it Seems – English Edition. 2nd ed. London: Penguin.
Shah S. 2018 Nan Goldin: The Other Becomes One, American Suburb, Available at: http://www.americansuburbx.com/2018/04/nan-goldin-becomes-one.html[Accessed at 26/04/2018]
Twenge, J.M. & Campbell, W.K. 2013 The Narcissism Epidemic Atria Paperback, New York
Williams, L. 1993 Mirrors without Memories: Truth, History, and the New Documentary Film Quarterly, Vol. 46, No. 3 (Spring, 1993), pp. 9-21 Published by University of California Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1212899 .
Williamson, B. 2008 Mirrors in Art: Images as Mirrors (The Book of Mirrors: An Interdisciplinary Collection Exploring the Cultural History of the Mirror, ed. Anderson, M) Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Newcastle, p 134
Joan Joans said at the end of a small clip put out by the Tate on social media:
“I think I would only ask that people take the time to experience it and not try to understand it” Jonas, 2018
It’s going to be my mantra from now on!
'When I finish one piece I'm challenged to do the next one… to explore and experiment. It's like going into the unknown continuously' – Joan Jonas ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ The largest exhibition of #JoanJonas's work ever held in the UK is at Tate Modern until 5 August 2018. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Meet the artist in the full version of the Tate Shots video by clicking the link in our bio.
“I jsut ask
- I was obsessing over the writing I had been doing and have re-edited it again. It might seem odd to keep doing so but it feels very important to get it right and it was not quite. It feels far more robust now but I am struggling to figure out which sections of information I need for the submission – a reduced version of 500 words. I don’t think what I have in place currently is quite right – leaves too much out perhaps from the other sections. Maybe I will ask fellow students to read and seek advice about which section felt the most informative.
- I watched La Jetée (1966) directed by Chris Marker thanks to John Umney and will rewatch as I think there may be plenty of things for me to look out for. It is a 20-minute film made with still images rather than moving. There is a clear narrative, and voice over which I understood thanks to subtitles. I need to pay close attention to how music and spoken voice interact with the images. The film deals with memory construction in one of its related themes.
- Simon has started providing me with music ideas and it’s not at all what I was expecting. This introduction of another person’s imagination and experience is harder than I thought it would be. I’m having to relook at everything and reconsider. But I don’t mind this, I think. It is forcing me to go in different directions which may be a good thing. How can I make it work? I am no longer entirely in control but even so, I still veer between thinking what a load of tosh (about my stuff, not Simon’s) and oh this is maybe ok… The music is far more poignant than I had envisioned at the moment so I have to address how I manage that. There is perhaps something interesting to notice in the credits for programmes such as Transparent and The Americans (Amazon) which both use old images, fast-paced edits, contrasting rhythms, and montage to create a nostalgic somewhat discordant feel.
- I wasn’t going to sign up for DIC just yet but it seems crazy not to be putting the continued developments into coursework. I like the idea of submitting work in progress very much but I’m having to work out what that means for the progress and the course framework (which has always been a helpful support rather than a dictatorial edict). I can’t do it just yet, financially speaking, but as soon as I am able to I think I will rather than waiting until September if at all possible.
Since submitting A5 I have been working on various aspects which needed attention prior to assessment.
- Editing the context: I needed the Themes section to be 500 words as it was too long. Obviously, me being me, I returned to it and made it even longer! However, I will use the long version within the work somehow and an edited version for the explanation of what the work is about for the submission. I have borrowed Wendy’s description of the work because it is very clear. I have also practiced writing about it in very few words on Instagram to see if it conveys what I need it to in a couple of sentenceshttps://www.instagram.com/p/BiY4bVzHR9J/
Both still drafts and minus references which can be found on the first A5 submission page
Long version :i will have call you Intro Long (11 May)
Short version (5050 words) : i-will-have-call-you intro-edit
- Music: I had agreed with a wonderful Jazz musician that he would work on some music I could use in the edit. However, in the end, we have agreed we are not able to work together this time due to timing, but I am lucky enough to have found another talented musician who is far closer to home, so perhaps for the best practically speaking. We are swapping ideas and so music is on the way. After receiving an initial rough idea which I liked very much, I plan to re-edit and use some of the ambient sound I have and Simon can add to my edit when it is ready.
- I have been asking about for a space I might borrow for a day or two to test out some installation ideas and have some informal meetings due.
- I need to go through the still images and decide what I want to use for sure in the GIFs and the film, and what I might print as straight images – the last of which can wait until the last minute. I need to write a very short context for that section about mirrors. I know this is an important element, which I wasn’t sure about, but because of a conversation I was having recently about Halloween in Scotland, I was convinced not to discard it just yet. I was told that people “believed that during Samhain [old Scottish word for Halloween], the link between the living and those who had passed on was heightened, and that the ghosts of the deceased could mingle with the living” (2017) Mirrors were also thought of as doorways between the dead and living (see my post on mirrors) and have been written about in terms of absence and presence. Nowadays we have screens which are better described in terms of pattern and randomness which are thought about in terms of being a link between all sorts of worlds, and perhaps at a most extreme and fantastical end between the dead and the living. Mirrors represent something from the past. Digital technology represents something from the future. Deren was obsessed with mirrors and their impact on our image. Going forward we have digital data and information which influence how we imagine ourselves. I must keep the mirror pictures as a section in their own right!