Questions asked of peers
- A response to the work (not whether you think it is good/bad/indifferent) but how it makes you feel (positive or negative feelings).
- If you notice any spelling or typographical errors, please let me know. There are some deliberate choices, for instance, about using not capitals in some sections – but if you see anything that is clearly not meant to be there or something awry, do tell me.
- Adjectives that spring to mind: disjointed, fragmentary, dreamlike, psychological, introspective, performative, questioning
- It has a sense of narrativity without a traditional narrative structure – it mimics some of the conventions of narrative but in a very chopped-up way (which suits your concept of course) – reminds me of William Burroughs’ cut-up method
- Fragmentary work like this gives the viewer/reader the space to fill in gaps or join the dots – I find that my appreciation of work like this is based on (my subjective view of) how far apart the artist has placed ’the dots’
- It broadly feels about right to me – which isn’t to say that I have interpreted it how you might have intended but I did get a sense that I had interpreted it
- I make this comment about almost all work that combines images and text so this is possibly just a personal hangup – I think there could have been less text
- I really had to think about whether my feelings about it were positive or negative! Neither / both / neutral? …
- My feelings about it are positive in that I appreciated it, found it interesting/engaging (puzzling, ambiguous…)
- Some of the imagery is, in isolation, dark and foreboding (razor blades, film-as-bondage) and some of the examples of ‘cutting’ (people being removed from photos) are equally dark but the Japanese cutout imagery wasn’t and so overall I didn’t find that the ‘narrative’ or the content evoked particularly negative feelings
- It triggered more thinking than feeling in me – and that’s not a criticism, I love my thoughts being provoked 🙂
- As ever, I enjoyed my short break inside your head but still not sure I’d like to live there 😂
- Typos: is the two different spellings of ‘protagonist’ on the cover one of the deliberate choices…?
- Any suggestions for going forward that spring to mind automatically.
- How did it make me feel? – disjointed, looking for a theme and not really finding it. Cuttings and the various links to that are clear but that is not what I find throughout. The jumps (conceptual) between some of the images are too big for me personally.
- Spelling? – To tell you the truth I skipped most of the writings which is unusual for me. Normally I find I read and then look at the images. In this work I looked, read a couple and then ignored them, especially the full page of text.
- Possibly too many images of the film around your leg – not sure it adds enough
It makes me feel unsettled like things are falling apart or like I’m in a play where I don’t know the words, where I have no control and don’t know what I’m supposed to do or think – it’s uncomfortable. To me, it’s a little negative, unhopeful and hostile (could be the colouring and the film ‘bondage’). I feel a lot of distrust in the world, in what might constitute sense or reason or meaning, possibly a little cynical (this more from the text). It’s not the lack of linear narrative or the fragmentation that unsettles as much as the conceptual jumps I have to make from one thing to another. I’m (deliberately) not saying whether I think this is good or bad, but it does embrace obscurity and to some extent discontinuity.At the moment the text is more powerful to me than the images. These get a little repetitive towards the end and could produce a similar effect (if this is the effect you are looking for) with more varied visual language. Keeping with the fragmented nature but actually going further, exploring more threads.The tone seems to flit between seriousness, symbolism & humour – to the point that I feel locked out of the meaning, unable to really pinpoint a coherent thread or theme. This might be intentional and isn’t a value judgement, just how I respond to it.Moving forward – I would step away from the images and try to analyse them and their juxtapositions from an outsider’s view. Stick them on a page and scribble all around, like you would when trying to read someone else’s image in depth. Perhaps break out from some of the tropes (shadow puppets and body/film especially) and explore other visual stories – like you have done in the text – maybe using something stylistically from your A2 which would seem to fit as a fragment here and has the same darkness.
It also feels a little like the concept may be constricting your visual language. I would forget about it for a bit and just make instinctive pictures – the concept will come through more subtly. I also wonder if the book format is limiting at the moment. To be honest, it feels like it wants to be a film with voiceover rather than text. Which isn’t to say it couldn’t be both but perhaps one format will help move it forwards more.
I often feel a bit like Alice down the looking glass when experiencing your work – that is definitely not a negative comment.You asked how it makes us feel. For me, it was definitely negative. Quite disturbed really. I think I might have read much darker things into it even than you intended, but I certainly found it dark ( again not a negative regarding the work)for me even the puppets were not a light relief ( pinocchio always scared me as a child!) but maybe because I had put myself in a very dark place at that stage.I think I would get rid of one of the leg photos too ( as someone mentioned). They kind of jarred on me more than the others.And maybe a bit less text. though I really like the layout and the way you have written the text on page 10.So all in all, very disturbing for me ( but I like disturbing much more than pretty pretty) and it made me think, which is always a good thing.potential definitely. well done as always.
It’ll be interesting to hear how you tutor feels.
Overall I think this is an interesting project. Short of a finished project but there is definitely something to work on.Some of the text I thought was excellent – reminded me a little of Jeanette Winterson’s style, some I thought was a touch cliqued – perhaps just a little too much stuff about ‘failed promises of consumerism, ’the power of washing liquid etc’.I have no problem with the length of text as the more I read (chunks of it) it the more I grew interested and curious; if it was re-edited I think it could be really strong. I liked the bits / references to acting / performing / scripts etc. These sections felt very authentic.The images I think rely too heavily on the repetition of a limited group of images; the paper puppets / film on body / found photographs. For me – overall it lacks a little bit of visual interest. The layout of the text is the most interesting visual component for me.I think part of the work is absolutely coming from within you, part of the work isn’t, part of the work is more ‘with the end in mind’ – and I think in that process it becomes too random to properly engage with. It’s almost as if it needs to make up it’s mind what it is.The ‘end game’ of a fragmented constellation of text and image is really interesting if it can be pulled off – I started to see different stories interweaved / crossing over, bit of the T.S Eliott’s The Wasteland’!
I enjoyed working through it and of course you ‘ve got to admire the ambition!
I can see the influence of Martins in the work, and why not, he’s an inspiration! However with Martins there is, despite his clear commitment to his subject(s), a measure of distance between the him – the artist and subject. And that limited dispassionate stance helps the reader to enter the work. Much, if not all, of Martins’ work is extensively researched – I’d love to see his note books, which is evident in his work, and that sense of research comes through in this work – notwithstanding the course notes at the end of the blog post.What I feel about this work is that there is still some distance to go – I wonder if you’ve considered working with an editor, perhaps especially for the written component of the work? I feel that you make yourself evident – much as in the visual narrative – and then you disappear. On the visual side, I felt you either didn’t make it evident enough or too much – maybe that’s where I found some tension. But hey! It’s only assignment Three!!Bringing in the course schedule into the conversation, have you discussed/agreed your strategy with Ruth(?). I think that would be/is quite important as the work will be a conversation between you and your tutor which will be referenced by the assessor at assessment and there are still some dinosaur assessors who still believe that photography is a two-dimensional photograph, preferably Matt finished with 1” borders for easy handling….
On the subject of text, my favourite book last year was “Anastasiia She folds her memories like a parachute” by Christian van der KooyThe text is integral, much as yours is – Kooy’s text anchors the narrative whereas yours, I’m suspecting isn’t supposed to? However I felt that at times the text did express an intensely personal perspective (going back to my comment about editing again, I suppose).
I think the work has an enormous promise and potential, and with continued work will become something of lasting value to your practice, let alone the degree.
A very intriguing piece of work! I was drawn in by the imagery and your text but must confess after about page 10 I began to lose a sense of what I was looking at. At first I sensed a piece of work that was quite personal, the chance meeting, does the narrator remember this person or not. What is their connection? I wanted to know more but after page 10 the sense of a film script grew but at the same time I became lost and other than an overriding sense of the negative aspects of today’s consumer society I found it hard to follow. I also found the amount of text too much for me in a photographic piece of work.
It certainly got my attention though and I would want to look at it again to try and understand the overriding themes.
It will be interesting to see where this goes.
I did see it last week but haven’t had the time that an intelligent, challenging and provocative piece of work deserves (there’s your first bit of feedback ). And I haven’t read what anyone else has had to say, by the way. How does it make me feel, you ask. On edge; a little uncomfortable; to an extent, frustrated (by, I think, my struggle to find some firm ground from which to read the work – and I mean ‘read’ in the broad sense; though there is some frustration, too, at the literal reading level); like lost 21c soul struggling to get to grips, out of touch with what’s going on. Positive/negative? That’s a tough one to answer – probably a bit negative … but with some reassurance that it all seems to be a play/film anyway! I felt before that your work is to be experienced not read/understood, and I get that here. Your questions (in your e-mail) suggest that you’re not looking for a critique – but I do feel the need to comment on ‘text’. There is a lot of it; no indication as to where it comes from, so presumably your own words; so, am I reading this, to a significant extent, as a piece of creative writing. That may be something to think about in the course context – but, of course, it’s actually a piece of creative work, whatever the form.Typos? You refer to “tax-dogers” – which may be deliberate, but you asked us to tell you if we saw anything.
The way forward? … let it come to you.
Response to the work
The title of ‘cuttings’ – fits with film but is there another link – cutting edge, sharp wounds, self-wounds, the bruising of life as it unfolds.
Beginning quote. Fits neatly with your ‘cuts’ – part of a greater whole as it reveals itself. Snapshots from life; chapters perhaps but not necessarily from the same lives. Parallel lives. Incidents that might happen to many in different ways. Something universal?
The choice of that deep colour blue for the cover. An almost midnight depth. What are the connections for you here? The quote – not wanting to stay with the script; rebelling against the individual demands of ‘your’ life – rules, expectations, roles.
Placement of images – e.g. holding the roll of film the cutting mat above. What will survive the cut; how will it work out. What happens to the piece that’s been cut.
Who is in the cast? How many? Is this about being a woman’ a woman’s life?
Stream of consciousness, all the differing thoughts that pass through one’s mind at several points during the day Shopping a good example – a routine task to keep family fed. Living life like a programmed robot. Is this all there is to life
Multi-tasking and thinking. Losing sense of self in the banal everyday.
The ideal life of the advertisements v living life.
Something about the prostituting of self to be taken care of. Marriage a transaction. The cruelty of rejection.
The selfie generation as example but is this what it’s always been – looking for a greener field, being an observer of life; life passing by. Looking outward rather than inward to find sense of self.
Spelling/typographical errors (apart from deliberate such as no capitals in some sections
Couldn’t see any.
Any suggestions for going forward that spring automatically to mind
Tread lightly. I’m reminded of when I sat as a model for a couple of different sessions for painting a portrait. There was more of me captured in the beginning stages than when the artists started filling everything in. They were frustrated because they couldn’t ‘capture’ me and that included the tutor who was painting as well.
Leave those spaces for the viewer to enter in with themselves. Window and mirror.
Paraphrase verbal feedback: Love the leg images, very clever, in five years’ time there will be some people who don’t even recognise it; we’re all tightly bound by film and images. Interesting stuff.