As you work through Part Three, carry on developing your major body of work. Continue to shoot and reflect on your work so far and build a set of images to submit to your tutor.
Remember that the point of these assignments is to get tutor feedback on the project as a whole so come with your questions on how to move forward and ask for your tutor’s opinion on how the project is working so far.
Submit your work in progress together with a reflective commentary. Your reflection may consider some of the material in Part Three if it has been relevant to your practice. You may also wish to consider how genres are continuing to influence you and how you’re relating what you’re doing in Contextual Studies to your practice on this course.
‘Through photographs, the world becomes a series of unrelated free-standing particles: and history, past and present, a set of anecdotes and faits divers. The camera makes reality atomic, manageable and opaque. It is a view of the world which denies interconnectedness, continuity, but which confers on each moment the character of a mystery’
Susan Sontag, On Photography
The spreads are provided below, but it is likely best to look at the PDF above in Adobe or Preview on a decent-sized screen.
Context and reflection can be found beneath the images below. Links to influences and my own research/blog posts are listed at the bottom of the post – there are no links in the body of writing.
Cuttings is an inquiry into the way meaning emerges from the entangled intra-action between stories and lived experience, language and material; it explores the making and shaping of matter and ideological objects. As an emergent object itself, it echoes the fragmented way we receive information today.
- 230mm x 300 mm book – relatively large in the same vein as the movie star books I was given as a child (see L3 proposal).
- Front cover – fragment of text on blue background (which I subsequently see is a device Sophie Calle is using in an exhibition opening on 23/01/209 at the Fraenkel Gallery)
- Font – Letter Gothic Standard (11) for body and Sukhumvit for the title page.
- Plenty of white space between images
How the work came about:
I think I arrived at the title for this iteration – Cuttings – after reading a relevant chapter from Life After New Media (Kember and Zylinksa (2010). I have been attempting to look at the way we construct reality which is a vast subject and not much of a micro-narrative with which to contain the subject. Edgar Martins and Lisa Bernard both explore the sort of ideas I’ve been playing with but they are contained within precise and potent narratives. I have looked at Martins’ work, Siloquies and Soliloquies on Death, Life and Other Interludes (2016) which is ostensibly about death as it says in the title, but woven throughout is a relatively new way of examining and constructing the world – a non-linear, non-Cartesian way; one that is influenced by a modern form of science which does not see a world filled with discrete unrelated objects. (Even death is viewed somewhat differently through this emerging lens).
In an interview, Lisa Bernard says of her work, The Canary and the Hammer (2019) – (which I have only read about and not seen except online):
“The art market is so focused on creating a linear narrative,” says Barnard, who teaches at the University of South Wales. “I wanted to do the complete opposite.” Her aim is to showcase “a very fragmented world” that stimulates and excites. Using a range of aesthetics — traditional landscapes, portraits and still life, plus archival material and digital imagery — she goes on “a personal journey” through the troubled world of gold over different periods in its complex history.’ (Raval, 2019)
Before settling on Cuttings, I had put together some slides and video. I did it this way to demonstrate the entangled, non-linear view I was exploring. It details vague plans and an original title which I have been thinking about since beginning BOW as I recorded notes/writings on my Sketchbook blog. These were titled Random notes for a short story #(number). Rather than one single narrative, there were going to be many – emulating the fragmented way we receive information nowadays, via social media for instance.
Much of my research for CS and BOW has been based around Meeting The Universe Halfway by Karen Barad (2007) where the agential cut is a key term in her thesis. It is one aspect of her thesis, which she calls agential realism. It’s impossible to summarise her work without being reductive – but there are some crucial elements such as entanglement, diffraction and a rejection of representationalism. This latter concept is the hardest to get my head around and I am not sure if/how the work I’ve made supports or rejects it. My CS essay plan describes these terms in more detail.
The full post with this video with individual slides is available in the links at the bottom of the post
Background and ongoing development:
I have made extensive notes and included contact sheets, rejected ideas, early experiments. Crucial posts are available in the Chance, Research and Reflection drop-down menu item , and a keyword search will reveal even more if that is necessary.
Some of the work included was deliberately made with chance in mind – the 8mm film was ordered from eBay. I had no idea what I would do with it once it arrived. I have photographed it and made new images with it. While making the dummy I made printing mistakes which led to ideas – forgetting to press a button that ensured images were printed on a single page – then used that split in the book. The selfie was not intended for actual use but have used it anyway. Lots of experimenting has led to surprises which are included in the book.
Plans from here:
I feel I have a choice – keep developing this book, or use it as an actual script (rather than a little double entendre about life) to create a moving image piece or several separate short pieces. I am sure the second option would lead to further images and writings and the book would grow/develop anyway as a consequence. But it may be attempting too much. I suspect, keep developing the book and then curate the experiments in SYP if I go for exhibiting rather than book production. Something to think about and discuss with Ruth.
I have used Processing – a coding programme to create some of the images that appear in the book now. Early moving image experiments are available on my Vimeo feed and posted on my blog – and I hope to find ways to make short looping films which could go on a web page with some of the texts perhaps.
Some people found the tiny handmade book development tool I made ‘enchanting’. For a moment I was almost tempted to go down that route. Melissa Lazuka’s Songs of the Cicadas, a handmade book with a very limited run for obvious reasons, looks a beautiful object but it is terribly romantic and I don’t think it’s the right direction. I have tended to make digital newspapers in the past – I like the utilitarian democratic nature of them but I do like the idea of a real book too. Something to contemplate.
Issues with this version:
I think there are some things I can do to this version of the book before submitting, reshoot a couple of things, add a bit more maybe – I have other ideas I’d like to play with, and the image of me at the end was a phone pic I did before attempting my first shots with the film – it’s a ridiculous picture which I dismissed but when I looked on my phone for something else, that’s what I liked about it -it’s ridiculousness because selfies often are. I would probably also reset the text to give it a thicker margin, look at decisions that will be affected by print choices – but I feel I need a bit of time away from it now, and to get back to the essay.
I have not requested feedback yet but will do after submitting to Ruth and take any useful comments forward to the next stage of development/assessment submission.
Demonstration of technical and visual skills
My everyday photography is not still life and I find it tricky – it requires the kind of skill that doesn’t come naturally to me. The image of the photograph on a self-healing mat with lines nearly didn’t make it – if I couldn’t get it straight it wasn’t going in. It’s not perfect but I think ok. My Processing skills are extremely limited. I wanted something to look like it had been through a digital process. I think there is much more scope but balancing out the time to find out how to do things (I am currently at the stage of copying and pasting the code I picked up in class and am grateful for Simon Chirgwin’s help as he attended it too and is far abler). But overall, I think it demonstrates a good level.
Quality of Outcome
I think this work is ambitious and carries a level of risk with it. It feels like the sort of thing that needs to be longer, needs more substance than it currently has to be able to do what’s it’s aiming to do. But at the same time, it already has a lot going on and so although it might need to have something else, it’s always going to need refining and balancing – and simplifying to allow for the complexity to live/breathe. I can see where Martins succeeds in using a range of sources. For me, there is the added element of the writings. He has text but it’s not the same kind of writing. Its presence probably means I need to pull back with the multiple sources of images.
Demonstration of creativity
Even if someone doesn’t like the style, subjects, tone – it would be hard to say its not creative.
The CS essay plan and research along with the related context for BOW is strong – and I am very much enjoying that aspect of L3. (A very hard thing for me on L3 is keeping on top of two modules at the same time, even though I know there is a reason for this and am benefitting – it’s nevertheless a challenge with time.)
Notes on Kember and Zylinska – re the cut https://sjflevel3.photo.blog/2020/01/11/bow-cs-digital-liveliness%E2%80%8B/
Kember, S. and Zylinska, J. (2012) Life after new media: mediation as a vital process. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press. At: http://topologicalmedialab.net/xinwei/classes/readings/KemberZylinska/LANM.pdf(Accessed 11/01/2020).
My notes on Edgar Martins work https://sjflevel3.photo.blog/?s=edgar+martins
Project I began then abandoned mixing old and new together (2018) https://sarahjanefieldblog.wordpress.com/2018/07/18/new-project-manipulated/
Notes on Tom’s First Film – film from eBay https://sjflevel3.photo.blog/2019/12/31/bow-a3-toms-first-film/
From Sketchbook – Random Notes for a Short Story: https://sarahjanefieldblog.wordpress.com/category/bow-cs/rnfass/
Film/photography/shadow puppets – McGregor, R. (2013) ‘A New/Old Ontology of Film’ In: Film-Philosophy 17 (1) pp.265–280. At:https://www.euppublishing.com/doi/10.3366/film.2013.0015 (Accessed 13/12/2019).
Vimeo video above – full blog post with individual slides https://sjflevel3.photo.blog/2019/12/01/bow-ca-an-attempt-to-put-bubbling-concept-outside-of-me/