About Me

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Liverpool/Sheffield, United Kingdom

Friday, 10 December 2010

Post Review

The previous few weeks have consisted of fighting with projectors and DVD writing programs with the intention of creating a very specific piece of video art. Although I feel my assessment went well there were a few limitations I came across whilst working with the space and projectors that stopped me from achieving exactly what I wanted. So overall a rather stressful experience. After the assessment last Wednesday along with a slight feeling of disappointment I naturally felt a huge sense of relief that it was over. I jumped on a train to Manchester to visit a friend with the intention of giving my brain a creative break, however during the 50 minute journey I found myself scrawling in my notebook frantically writing down all the feed back and advice I'd been given during the assessment. It made me realise how I'm constantly thinking in a creative way (however it's not always productive creativity.)

Amongst the frantic scrawl I've managed to extract a series of bullet points that explain my plan of action over the Christmas break.

  • To capture a huge file of film to work with 
  • To concentrate on experimenting with editing film using Final Cut
  • Look in to buying a second hand projector
  • Experiment with filming underwater
  • Look at the work of wide range of film artist particularly older, more primitive techniques.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Biennial review

My involvement with the Biennial has been mainly that of a spectator however due to the nature of my degree I have managed to get an brief insight in to how the Biennial was curated and how much dedication and time went in to the process.

Looking back over my Blog entries based on my Biennial experiences over that last few months has made me think about the talk given to us by Lorenzo at the very beginning. As I have experienced more of the Biennial the information given to us by Lorenzo has begun to make more sense and become very real. I recall something Lorenzo said in the talk about the importance of communication in organizing such a monumental event. When being involved in pieces such as the Allan Kaprow reenactment and Sachiko Abe piece it was very apparent how the quality of dialogue between curator and artist could potentially make of break an art work (especially a performance piece.) If there is a lack of understanding between curator and artist the piece would simply not work. It also made me realise that being involved with the curatorial side of contemporary art is something I would be good at.

For me I feel that this years Biennial has been far more successful than 'made up' in 2008. This is mainly due to my involvement in this years biennial however I also think the theme was far more successful and gave far more for the artists to work with.    

The theme of 'Touched' and its multiple and equally valid meanings have been addressed and made clearer in my own mind due to my engagement with the artists individual representations. At the end of last year we were given a brief to follow that involved creating a piece of art work that we would want to submit into the 2010 Biennial. My idea was instantly to concentrate on touched in the physical and sexual sense. I went on to develop a series of very abstract, very physical black and white photographs that described physical touch.

After experiencing the Biennial that my piece was hypothetically intending to be a part of it made me realise how completely unsuitable my piece would have been for display. If the Biennial has taught me anything about being a practicing fine artist it is to never take a brief too literally and to always think completely outside of the obvious. The theme was tackled in a number of ways. Franz West explored the theme physically with his touchable sculpture 'smears' .Ryan Trecartin made the saying to be "touched in the head" very real with his terrifying films. Lee Mingwei explored the theme in terms of emotion. I believe that the most successful pieces were those that appealed to my inner most emotions and fears. The works that touched me the most such as those by Sashico Abe, Lee Ming Wei and Teching Hseih made me feel anxious,uncomfortable, isolated, guilty and inspired.


Monday, 6 December 2010

Time to reflect

The end of the Biennial has come as a bit of a shock, although I feel I got a lot out of it there were a few exhibitions that I didn't get round to visiting and I feel slightly guilty for not exploiting the opportunity more. Liverpool is a very different place without the permanent availability of art on my doorstep and it will be missed!

There were a couple of pieces that I didn't get round to writing about that have effected my practice in a significant way. I'm going to use this opportunity to look back and reflect on the pieces I missed out and also to reflect on my Biennial experience as a whole.

Joe Diebes: Scherzo 

"A music film that explores the limits of human virtuosity and the convergence of human and machine. The virtuoso's desire to achieve machine-like speed and perfection is realized in both exhilarating and disturbing dimensions as his performance is fragmented and recombined into an impossibly extended musical climax."

The atmosphere achieved by the piece was a perfect combination of melodic repetition and extreme intensity. I found it fascinating how such an overwhelming experience could be created by using a single instrument. For me the sound alone (without the video footage) would have been enough to create the same intensity and although the visuals added an alternative sensory experience I felt they were unnecessary. Although disturbing and uncomfortable to be a part of I couldn't help but to be drawn in to the piece and hypnotized by it. I found myself being very reluctant to leave.

For me the piece was about the constant battle for contemporary artists to maintain a constant relevant contemporary practice and to keep up with ever changing and developing technology. It also said something very significant about Physical and mental endurance and extreme dedication to an individuals fine art practice.      

I will consider the use of composed sound in my own work.


Wannes Goetschalckx: 1 Without 

'1 WITHOUT, alludes to the composite of words and meanings within Goetschalckx's spoken language- in Dutch 'wit' means 'white' and 'hout' means 'wood'-while also referencing the 'empty' twelf plinth that forms part of the occasional platform for live interventions by the artist' Frances Loeffler-Liverpool Biennial the guide.          

I felt this piece had a very direct connection to my work as it is based on repetitive, ritualistic human behavior. Each wooden box contained a piece of video footage of the the artist carrying out relatively normal tasks within a confined space. The idea of captivity and isolation is emphasized by the artists need to engage in a very particular activity to keep his mind occupied be it eating, pacing, bathing or masturbating.

The piece gives a very intimate insight into the behavioral patterns of humans, showing the need to keep our minds occupied and stimulated in order to keep sane and content. It shows how we need a reason for existing and its is not enough to simply exist.  

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

London in a weekend

Over the weekend I was lucky enough to visit some incredible exhibitions in London. Out of the overwhelming amount of art I saw there were a few pieces in particular that had a lasting impression.

Moved by the South Bank Centre-

The Hayward gallery at the south Bank centre is currently holding an exhibition that celebrates choreography and performance art.

"The main focus of the exhibition is on visual artists, dancers and choreographers who create sculptures and installations that directly affect the movements of exhibition goers, turning spectators in to active participants."(Exhibition guide)

The exhibition is a brilliant way of getting involved in and therefore understanding a bit more about performance as an artistic medium and I would recommend the exhibition to anyone who is interested in working with performance art and installation art.

The first piece we encountered was 'Green light corridor' by Bruce Nauman. As the title suggests the piece involves a very narrow walkway saturated with fluorescent green light. When I first looked at the piece I imagined it impossible to walk through the corridor. However as I entered the narrow corridor I realised that getting from one end to the other was a possible but unpleasant experience. The glare of the light the height of the walls and the narrowness of the space induced a huge amount of unease and claustrophobia. I reached roughly half way and noticed that a child was attempting to walked towards me from the wrong end of piece (even though a sign clearly stated NO ENTRY!) I felt an instant sense of anxiety and was convinced I was going to get trapped! 

For the visitor about to enter his corridor work, Nauman has this to say; "You're now a participant in the work. You're very aware as you walk up or down that your body has to make an adjustment at each step. and so you have to figure when you can change your weight and where your foot is going to be placed and how high you step or how far down you step. and nothing is so great that you have to struggle with it, but everything is a little bit of an adjustment so your kept a little off balance all the time, adjusting you're self"

The piece has a very direct connection with my ongoing installation/film project and since participating in the piece I have been thinking about how I would change it to make the experience even more intense.
  • I would change the color to a deep red or something equally oppressive.    
  • I would have walls moving in or appear to be moving in to create various states of anxiety. 
  • I would make walkway longeror curve the walk way slightly so that the end of it can't be seen therefore emphasizing the feeling of claustrophobia.  

Tania Bruguera's installation piece consists of a blacked out room with halogen lamps lined up in a grid on the far wall. On entering the the room you are hit by blindingly bright light and unsettling sounds such as the reloading of gun and whispering aggressive voices. This disorientating experience is followed by total blackness and silence which is very unsettling. The piece has a direct effect on our movement and behavior, causing temporary disorientation and evoking the feeling of captivity, interrogation, torture and surveillance. 

Bruguera explains that her intention is "To address the subtlety of and seductiveness of power, and our own participation in the process." She also intends for the viewer to "experience politics as a sensation, experiencing fear, vulnerability and sensory deprivation before eventually achieving awareness." 

It was very interesting to experience a piece that evokes the same feeling to one that I am trying to achieve. Viewing the installation has given me the confidence to go ahead with my Idea and made me realise that with the correct equipment and space the piece has potential to be very successful.       

Monday, 22 November 2010

Dream chase

In our conscious states we learn to suppress our irrational thoughts and fears in-order to keep sane. However when we dream, our subconscious mind takes over. It allows our inner most fears and anxieties to take control of our thought process. The intention with Dream Chase is to tap in to a subconscious state of anxiety. In the film a figure is being chased. Much like we experience in lucid dreams the sequence is slowed down dramatically showing the figure struggling to escape from an unknown entity. The sound is ambiguous and distorted suggesting the unknown and possibly paranormal. I intend Dream chase to be projected amongst other films and looped to suggest the idea of eternity.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

A sense of Non-place

Essay topic

“The world is getting smaller due to the increasing ability to travel.” Jagjit Chuhan (Lecture 4/10/10 ‘a sense of place’). Cities that once had had very unique distinguishable cultural differences now suffer from a complete loss of identity. European city centres in particular seem to have been developed in to one mass of international shopping arcades and are no longer distinguishable. During a trip to Madrid last year, whilst standing between Zara and H and M on the main high street it became apparent that I could have been anywhere in Europe in fact I could have been Stood on Fargate in the centre of Sheffield. My essay for this semester will be written on how modern and contemporary artists explore the idea of identity and lack of identity of place. Photographer Andreas Gursky bases his work on the anonymous non-place.    
"99 Cent", 1999, 207 x 337 cm.
 "Ruhrtal", 174 x 223 cm.
"Tokyo Stock Exchange", 1990, 188 x 230 cm. 

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Touched at the Tate

Child's play

Nina Conall currently has a series of sculptural installations in the Tate as part of the liverpool Biennial. One piece in particular effected me, but in a way that was completely unexpected. The piece 'Anatomy of the rising tide' consists of a series of long thin glass tubes hanging in a uniformed row, containing water from the Mersy river. The tubes are hung close to  a huge window which looks out on to the Mersy itself. Natural light form the window hits the Glass and is dispersed, causing it to flicker around the room in a very poetic way. For the duration of the time I spent in the room a small child had noticed the dancing light and proceeded to crawl underneath the hanging glass tubes. I found it particularly interesting how the child responded to the piece. She lay there almost hypnotized for about 5 minutes playing cautiously with the flecks of light, attempting to catch them in the palm of her hand. It made wonder what the piece looked like from the point of view of the child and as the security guard looked over in a fond, unconcerned way it also made me extremely envious. Can you imagine the response if I had decided to crawl underneath a piece of Nina Conalls work?!                       

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

What makes you anxious?

Waiting for trains
Public speaking
Small spaces
Unfamiliar social situations
Meeting new people
Being open and honest
Being lost in a busy place
Team activities
Being in lectures
Job interviews
Awkward silences
Getting on public transport
Phone conversations
Taxi journeys
Lack of organization
Long journeys
Attractive people
Talking to unknown people on the phone
looking after other people's pets
Flying alone
The future
Driving fast
Driving on the motorway
Someone else driving
Driving in a low sports car
MRI scans
My children being ill
Lack of fresh air
Deadlines and timing generally
Decision making
Scary people (smack heads)
Unfamiliar surroundings and people
Growing old
Having no money
Losing Control
Things I don't understand
Not knowing where my life is going.
Thinking of my parents.
Being alone.
Sometimes going on a night out.
Waiting to get on a roller coaster
Crossing roads
The shower curtain
Being around people I don’t know
Being late
Checking my bank balance,
Cotton wool.
Outer space
Not being somewhere when I should have been
Letting people down
Deep water
Disappointing people
Small spaces
Beautiful people

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Irrational thought process

A short experimental film that I am currently working on. Exploring the anxious mind and the feeling of complete loss of control.

Andy Holden performance

"We sat together the mountain and I until only the mountain remained...."


Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Sachiko Abe

Sachiko Abe’s endurance, performance absolutely blew me away. On entering the huge silent warehouse the first two things I noticed were the train of shredded paper trailing from the ceiling from the centre of the room like a drape of lace, and the repetitive sound of cutting paper. The train tapered out and flowed in a line towards the back of the room like a trail of salt. It flowed up the outer wall of a small building within the huge warehouse and in to the arms of a very beautiful Japanese woman wearing a very crisp white dress and shawl (Sachiko Abe.) It became apparent that the repetitive sound was coming from a microphone attached to the pair of scissors she was holding and that the trail of paper had emerged and was accumulating as she cut slithers off plain white sheets of A4. She sat cutting and rotating the paper in an almost trance like state. After being in the room for a good 10 minuets a crowd of noisy school children entered the space completely disrupting the silence. Abe became extremely agitated raised her index finger to her lips and gestured for silence. When her audience failed to notice her attempt she stopped cutting the paper she closed her eyes and folded her arms in a shockingly authoritive manner, boycotting her own performance. She only stared cutting again once the school children had left the room and the room was silent. 

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Allan Kaprow Reenactment of Round trip

Performance art is something that I have in the past stayed very clear of and refused to touch with a barge pole. I didn’t have a clue what I was getting myself involved in today until I found myself walking down one of the busiest streets in Liverpool city center banging a siv with a metal spoon. As I believe, in the original piece, Kaprow encouraged participants to carry two balls of paper, gradually increasing the size of them by adding more paper to them as they walked in a sort of procession. In addition, during our reenactment we were encouraged to make lots of noise, which added hugely to the embarrassment. At the start of our walk I found myself cowering behind everyone else desperately hoping not to be seen by someone I knew. As the event progressed I found myself becoming more and more relaxed to the point that I was getting overly involved. By the end of the walk I felt surprisingly liberated and free. It was a very different yet enjoyable experience with the definite highlight being, being confronted by a group of Tesco managers for raiding through their bins and having to explain that it was all in the name of art. http://www.moca.org/kaprow/

Monday, 27 September 2010

Lecture 'The consumption of art' followed by seminar

Lecture with Sheila followed by seminar with Jay-

After attending the Lecture about consumption of art (and not really understanding much out of it) I was very reluctant to attend the seminar, feeling that I didn’t really have much to contribute. It turned out that taking part in the seminar was the most rewarding thing I did today. I didn’t really understand the idea that Sheila was trying to get across but after discussing it amongst a group of people and hearing a variety of different opinions everything became much clearer. The thing that scares me about seminars is that I don’t feel confidant enough in my ‘artistic intellect.’ I often find that listening to people talk about art who seem to ‘know what they’re talking about’ makes me feel inadequate. The seminar today made me realize that you don’t necessarily have to be ridiculously eloquent and out spoken to get your opinion across about art, and that I will only gain confidence in sharing my views and public speaking if I practice doing so.

Friday, 24 September 2010

Biennial and FACT

As I entered the room containing the ‘one year performance’ by Teching Hseih, I felt an instant sense of unease. Although it took me a while to get my head around the concept there was instantly a superficial feeling of captivity and enslavement about the room. On studying the mass of information around me more closely the repetitive nature of the piece became more apparent. The thought of repeating the same action over and over again, on the hour every hour for a whole year was enough to drive me crazy never mind actually carrying out the process and recording it with meticulous detail. After spending roughly 15 minuets carefully following the sequence of photographs around the room I decided to leave. I left the room with a momentary feeling of guilt about my lack of dedication to art in comparison to Tenching Hseih. However the feeling didn’t last particularly long.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Talk by Lorenzo Fusi curator of Touched Biennial followed by visit to Rapid-Renshaw street

I woke up this morning with a feeling of absolute dread, 8.30am. The earliest I’ve got out of bed for a whole four months. A whole day of university ahead of me, almost unheard of for a fine art student. As the day progressed I was reminded of why I chose Fine art as a degree in the first place.

I found the talk by Lorenzo completely invaluable, listening to how the 2010 Biennial was curatored gave me a fresh insight in to the business side to fine art reminding me off all the possible job prospects available other than being an ‘artist.’ The thing that I found most reassuring was to hear how that even on a very professional level art is still very unpredictable. I found Lorenzo engaging, and articulate yet at the same I felt he didn’t take himself too seriously. This restored my faith in arty type professionals on the whole.

Renshaw Street was the first part of the Biennial I engaged in. I’ve got to say I came out with very mixed feelings. Some of it I felt I really understood and connected with. I was completely bemused by other parts and found them slightly disturbing. Lee Mingweis mending project was by far my favorite piece. I found it incredibly moving how the artist aims to create conversation and encounters between total strangers allowing stories and information to be passed between people. It made me think about how often I choose to avoid awkward trivial conversation in every day situations, and how realistically a lot can be gained from communicating with total strangers even if its is only a brief sense of satisfaction that I’ve done something out of my comfort zone. I loved the idea of the celebrating an item of ripped clothing rather than discarding it as turning something disposable into an artwork gives it an instant meaning.