Sunday, 30 September 2012

Rogue Open Studio this weekend gave me the first opportunity to show work from my MA to the general public and get some responses.

I had an opportunity to discuss the show with my supervisor, and she encouraged me to see it as an opportunity to show my work, not as documentation but as art in it's own right.

So the show was stripped down to a minimum.  I showed a film, an object from the film on a specially made shelf and a photograph.  I felt very exposed, but the response I got from visitors was very positive.

Most people got what the film was trying to communicate, and we had some interesting discussions about memories and sites.  And better still, the pauses between visitors gave me lots of time to contemplate the work and to think about how it fits in to my original proposal, and how it moves the work forward.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Moving into performance

Over the last few months, my work has moved from installation and objects to performance.  I am as shocked as anyone, but on reflection, it makes a lot of sense.  I have a background in performance, and worked with a theatre company for 10 years, doing improvised storytelling. I don't know why performance hasn't occurred to me before.

On the other hand performance isn't something I've seen much of.  I've always been a bit afraid of it.  But I was very inspired by Marina Abramowitz at the Whitworth Gallery a couple of years ago, when she brought together a number of performance artists. I also saw the show she curated at the Manchester Art Gallery.

And one of my supervisors has been saying for a while that she feels my work is performative.

So I started by experimenting in a student crit, and that went okay so I have been looking at potential sites at the hospital for performance. I've been very lucky to have had access to some of the parts of the hospital that are now closed and which are very evocative.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Experiments with maps

I've finally got back into the studio.  It's been hard to remember what I do when I begin making new work, but these experiments have got me started.

This one makes me think of the way that I drift from reality to memory to fantasy, particularly when alone on a journey.

When I am in a place that I used to know well but haven't been to for a long time, my memory of it is often inaccurate.  I remember individual parts, but have lost the connection between them.

Do places remember the past?  Do they remember when they were other places?  Does a coast-line wish it was a mountain again? 

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Reading list no.3

A few more things I've been reading:

Visions of the city - David Pinder
Rodinsky's room - Rachel Lichtenstein and Iain Sinclair
Rethinking the meaning of place - Lineu Costello
Maps - Ed. Ross Bradshaw
Cultural geography in practice - A. Blunt et al
The counter-monument: Memory against itself in Germany today - J.E Young (Critical Inquiry 18(2) pp 267-96)

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Writing writing writing

I've joined a writing for group for practice-based researchers who want to explore new and creative ways to write in academia.  This is a stream of consciousness piece about my research that I wrote in one of today's writing exercises.

It is a bit mysterious if I look at it with too much intensity it seems to disappear, if I look at the whole of it. If I look at smaller parts then it has different characteristics - part of it is musty and crumbling, sepia toned, silent and very shy.  It doesn't want to play but can be tempted out with a sustained expression of interest and then slowly it uncurls a bit at a time, but never very much I could stay with it for ever and it would never completely uncurl.  In some ways it is reacting to the experience of being unloved.  The roof leaks and it is exiled in Gorton.  There is nothing beautiful about its environment and like a child, it should be nurtured.  No nurturing there except one guardian, on his own, in the silence, day after day.  And when someone comes to visit. It Is An Event.  It's smell is decay, slowly creeping and it knows that there is an end.

Another part of the research is foggy.  I think I know what is there but I can't actually see it, and if I could see it it might be very different from what I expect.  There is a slight danger to it, like driving in fog or a snowstorm.  Snowstorms are busier and some of it will be busy. Fog is languorous and lonely and very quiet. And I don't know what will loom out of the fog, it might be a fairground and it might be a cemetery.  I can't prepare because I don't know. I don't know and I want to be open to whatever comes and not describe a graveyard as a fairground.

The biggest monster is waiting for me and I am afraid of it. It can crush me and yet it can also carry me away to places I would never go on my own it can be my muse and it can capture peoples attention in a way that I cannot do alone. It can make a show or disappear.

The straight lines are holding me together and I love them.  But they trap me they seduce me with their simplicity and I revere them too much and cannot let them be smudged, cannot spoilt their perfectness.  They trap me and I want to learn to escape from them.  I can't change them and I can't ignore them.

The page is too big and the ideas are too small and my mind is smaller than either.

Friday, 9 December 2011

Research Proposal part 2

The writing is going well, and I'm learning so much from the reading I've been doing.  The submission deadline for my research proposal is looming, and this is where I have got to:

Academic Aim: 

To employ the site of the *** Hospital to extend my practice through an exploration of the fluidity of space, place and time.


To use counter-cartographic practices to map the hospital site, including lost sites and to identify what unrecorded data can be discovered in this process.

To collect and codify examples of subversion or reformulation of the planned elements of the site by patients and staff.

To create memorials to social memories about the site which capture the quality of locus.

To identify and communicate the messages of economics, social policy and health policy that are both written into, and read from the site.  

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

More reading ...

This is my next load of reading in preparation for writing my MA research proposal:

How modernity forgets. Paul Connerton
Art and architecture: a place between. Jane Rendell
The power of maps. Denis Wood
Space, place and gender. Doreen Massey
You are here: personal geographies and other maps of the imagination. Katherine Harmon
Places of memory. Karen E Till from A companion to political geography. Ed. John Agnew
Medieval world maps: embedded images, interpretive frames. Marcia Kupfer (Word and image. Vol 10, No 3

I'm still enjoying it!