Field Reflective Journal.

I was first accepted onto the Erasmus scheme for field this year. The thought of getting the chance to study in another country and immerse myself in it’s culture excited me. However, it was not to be. I struggled finding all of the information I needed. I exchanged emails back and forward for months enquiring about different things, countries, Universities, courses, probably on an extremely annoying scale for the people in charge, but I wanted to be fully informed before making any decisions as for a whole term and credits to be met, I didn’t want to take any decisions lightly. As the deadline for applications drew to a close I was accepted in two universities, one in Tallinn and one in Mainz, Tallinn being Graphic Communications and Mainz being a straight swap for Illustration. However, our scheme doesn’t fit in with their schedules. We were to go for one term, January through until March. For both of these universities, their term runs from mid February/March through to July. Tallinn the least amount of time I could attend would be four months and the German tutor informed me that he would do his best to help me receive the credits I needed for the module, but I would struggle during such a short stay. He also sent a very useful link about costs. I was told I would need approximately £1600 for my first few days in Germany. This would be for accommodation (first month rent and deposit), health insurance, enrolment fee etc. I would also have to pay flights, rent for the 4/5 months of being there and also paying for my contractual accommodation in Cardiff and the £7500 tuition fee for this year at CSAD. Somehow I don’t think the grant you are given for going to study abroad would cover much. So I decided to pull out. I was disappointed, but then had to be realistic. If I had been given this information at the start, I would of weighed up the options quickly and not been emailing back and forth. But seeing as I hadn’t been on holiday for however many years, I wasn’t prepared to struggle to get the money together to pay that much to study away when I am already paying so much to study here anyway. I was questioned my the head of the Erasmus option why I pulled out, I explained this all to him. I don’t think he was aware of the costs. I feel more research has to be done to make this amazing opportunity achievable.

I then had to select two options. I chose from the limited information available on the subjects; Drawing Philosophy and Surprise Me.

Drawing Philosophy was interesting and as I have previously posted, I enjoyed listening to peoples opinions and the debates, however there was not a lot of drawing apart from the Drawing in Conversation element. The Drawing in Conversation is definitely something I am interested in carrying on and I am disappointed with myself for not finding the time to be more involved with since leaving. I want to reacquaint myself with this during the Summer break as I believe it can be taken in interesting directions. I am interested in Philosophy but feel it was taking me away from making images and that is what I really need to focus on.

*For a more informative breakdown of my thoughts, processes and experience within Drawing Philosophy, please refer to previous posts made during the option.

During a tutorial with Anna, I expressed my concerns about not producing much work during Drawing Philosophy and even though I found it interesting, I was concerned that if my next choice was ‘guess work’ as to whether it would help me evolve my work or help me to produce something substantial towards my portfolio it could affect my outcome for the year. She recommended me trying to change to Gorilla in the Roses option as it was more suited to me. We looked to find more information on the options and everything had been taken out of the option folders on Blackboard meaning students had no access to option documents. I asked to change to no avail but the Illustration tutors managed to get me assigned to the Limited Edition option which meant I at least had control over what I produced and could use collage if I chose to. I took it upon myself to message David Ferry who was running the collage option to tell him the situation and ask if I could have access to his reading list or to any information he would be giving to his class and he replied I should still come along to his lectures and sessions. And I did. I was planning to try and run the Limited Edition and Gorilla in the Roses options side by side if possible, but it would of become too much. Instead I informed my tutor of what I was doing and moved myself out of the option I was assigned to and into what would benefit my practice.

I would like to have more time in this option. It feels like we are only touching on certain aspects as to inform us and take it forward. Which is understandable, but regrettable. Tuesdays are lecture days where we have been talked through satire, editing, digital manipulation, artist books, controversy and films as montage. Thursdays are our hands on days where we are led by what we have spoken about on the Tuesday of that week and we produce work of narratives or we have a workshop showing how we make a concertina book to help with narrative. I would of liked to produce more work again, but I have been reading for dissertation and I have watched a couple of recommended viewings. There was a talk about controversy which has led me towards pin pointing what aspect of collage I want to investigate and write about for dissertation. I have attended an exhibition and talk in London that was recommended and have been advised on others which I plan to go to within the next couple of weeks.

*Refer to earlier blog posts for work and thoughts during Gorilla in the Roses option.

These have been the most enjoyable and beneficial few weeks of my degree so far. I am happy I took it upon myself to not take no for an answer and to make sure I get what I want from the term. Even though Field this year has come on leaps and bounds from last year there needs to be a lot more information available before making choices, especially if the system is going to be so rigid you can’t change. Tutorials would help so you can be given advice on what will be beneficial from tutors that are familiar with you and your work. There is no point in being interested in something and trying the option for the sake of doing something different if it is going to take you away for a full term with the risk of not producing anything towards your work or improving your process. Also allowances need to be made for changes of interests or pursuing breakthroughs that occur after option selection as we were asked to chose the options early on in term one. The option to swap options with someone who would like to swap with you isn’t enough when you are not in contact with the whole school of art and design. There is too much at risk to be guessing when you are about to enter your final year.

 

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Lecture notes…

Not to be understood by anyone else… definitely not with how many typos there are! I quite liked that the words were incorrect in the end, I stopped trying to correct them. They show the speed of the information being given as I typed. I think I also just enjoyed that I could still understand what it all meant even though it wasn’t ‘correct’.

S Memo_01 S Memo_02 S Memo_03 S Memo_04

Trip to the Cabaret Voltaire.

Whilst in Zurich I found the Cabaret Voltaire where the Dadaists congregated and the manifesto was drawn up. It is a small place, the cafe upstairs and a shop selling books on Dada and other objects downstairs. I think I expected more from it. There were plaques on the wall of the incredible collection of minds that were a part of the movement and or had once gathered there. There were posters on the walls leading upstairs. I think maybe as it was so quiet and we weren’t sure whether it was actually open or not, I didn’t feel comfortable staying and having a good look. I took a few photos and left. I will try again next time.

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Fend for Themselves.

Not too sure on the name for this… this will be getting changed at some point! Also relating to the previous pieces inspired by newspaper articles. This one was titles ‘Catastrophe! Government cuts means elderly will be left to fend for themselves.” Hardly original, but still thought provoking. The article was written alongside a photograph […]

Glue. An exhibition on the art of collage. Chart Gallery, London.

Professor David Ferry was holding a talk on the art of collage at an exhibition called Glue. Chart is a small gallery space which helped me see how varied collage can be. All the work came under this umbrella, yet none of them looked at all the same. Collage is a perfect media to show diversity. Some of the work was vibrant and exciting, some melancholic and some seemingly mischievous. His talk was short and humorous. He talked through why he chose to call his class Gorilla in the Roses, after Joe Orton and his partner were prosecuted for defacing library books and sentenced to six months. (Which made me laugh as for our first practical lesson, he went to the library to see what books/ journals they could spare and told us to do whatever we wanted to them) He then led to how he had humorously defaced signage.  It’s a twist on word association, the visual form instead, a trigger, an automated response which shows your way of thinking, your way of seeing. This enlightened me to the fact that this must be why I am drawn to it as a medium as I have always seen things in objects that were something else to what the object is. Always associating something with another thing or form. That was the moment the big light bulb above my head lit up and I realised why I do what I do.

Artists featured in the exhibition are; Sarah Thomas, Mark Harris, Michal Cole, Keeler Tornero, Deirdre Kelly, Caroline Kha, Hormazd Narielwalla, David Ferry, Cordelia Donohoe, Mary Wintour.

Work of the artists;

10 12 13 1 9 7 8 2 6 11 4 5 3

 

http://www.chartgallery.co.uk

Second visit to the Hannah Hoch exhibition. Whitechapel Gallery, London.

I spent another hour and a half here and again, I feel it wasn’t enough time and will have to call in again before the end of the month. I had a schedule to stick to so I had to grab what I could. This time I spent more time looking at the abstract work upstairs and watching the short interview where she spoke about forms in nature and how she never completes a collage in one sitting, she has to keep going back to it. I can relate to that, sometimes I need to look back on it with fresh eyes as if I carry on, I risk settling for the wrong components just for the sake of ‘finishing’.

I want to go again, to read more the captions and descriptions and understand more about the pieces and the sections of the exhibitions. I did take some photographs… even though you’re not allowed…

tyranny photomontage life portrait 4 abstraction 12 years7 654.143212.62.52.42.32.22.1

 

From the last visit;

7 6 5 4 3  2 1

 

http://www.whitechapelgallery.org/exhibitions/hannah-hch

 

Another change in direction. Well, sort of…

After my End of Term Tutorial with Amelia, I spoke to her about possibly going into the collage option; Gorilla in the Roses, when my timetable allowed and allow it to run alongside my work for Limited Edition. Seeing as it is solely collage based and I wanted to make satirical collaged pieces in the form of a book, I thought this could be possible. I was advised to drop Limited and focus on Gorilla. I must admit that I am a little relieved for the workload after hearing the schedule for Gorilla as well as the speed Limited would be running at. I am still going to use Gorilla to help with my idea of the splicing magazine images of ‘celebrities’ with the politicians, as I think it could really work. But I am going to use these workshops to advance my process. There is exciting talk of workshops involving Photoshop editing, video and concertina books for narrative, coincidence… So this option seems to be ticking all of the boxes for me. It was possibly the most satisfying day I have had in University so far.

I made two collages, both will be scanned, posted and explained next week.

elderly-photo

Thought train.

I met with Tom Martin today to talk about turning my collage work into print. I think it could be interesting, but don’t want it to lose character when flattened. Even as I type this I think; “but I make digital collage sometimes… the elements aren’t exactly stuck down to the page…”, but there is a difference in the transference of taking an image/photomontage, scanning it and turning it into a half tone image and then scene printing it compared to digitally cutting elements out and arranging and pasting. As Tom and I were talking and looking through some books, I mentioned about wanting to make backgrounds to my collage to add interest but not swamp or take the attention away from the collaged elements, we talked about perhaps water colouring my back ground, printing over, then adding collage, the more the ideas came, the more it became apparent that there doesn’t have to be a strict routine to making my images. A lot is left to chance, which I quite enjoy, but then if it doesn’t work for me, rearrange, print over, cut up again. I think I will experiment with bringing print into my collaging. I can’t imagine making a full piece then turning it into a full screen print alone, but it could really play an interesting part in showing some contrast and depth. 

I do still need to remember advice I was given; “your work is better when it is kept simple”. I agree.

I also mentioned my idea for my Limited Edition and mentioned that I felt it was important how I present this work. I’m still undecided about having stand alone collages or making a concertina book. I feel like if I make the stand alone pieces, I don’t want them framed, or mounted on a wall as this is against how I feel about the subjects. I feel that would be putting them on a pedestal, showing/suggesting respect. I would rather have them encased in a box of some sort. So they could be locked away. Like a little box of horrors. He showed a couple of his books and boxes to me again and we spoke about there being an impact on the viewer on seeing how the work is encased and upon opening it. That there can be so much meaning added to the work by means of how you present it. It is like judging a book by it’s cover. You can also play on irony. I am liking the idea of it possibly looking like an official document. Or perhaps a briefcase (but this has been done before, so something different but along these lines) with the book inside. Formal looking, until you open it. The idea of a concertina book is standing out to me more and more as I bought a book Tom recommended in a previous talk, a book on different ways to bind. There were concertina books that have envelopes, pockets even, which could help add to the narrative. I’m rambling now. Typing out loud.

He advised me to look at these;

Francis Davidson; background ideas.

Fluxus; for containment.

Fluxus Codex; reference book.

Susan Hiller’s work.

Art and Artifact; reference book.

I’m excited for this. But I don’t think 5 weeks is going to be long enough for me to come up with my finished product and be happy with it.

 

Limited Edition… Unlimited Vision.

Today was our introduction to our second Field module; Limited Edition… Unlimited Edition. It seems very open. I need to read the brief again, but what I got from it was that we took control, we decide what we are going to do and ask for guidance rather than be told what to do and look for approval. There is the opportunity to sell your edition, whatever it may be and there will be talks on how to go about selecting your audience and how to pitch your work. But this is an extra, not a necessity.

I’m going to use this opportunity to focus more on my collage. I made a few rough notes as I was listening to the talk. I want to make something that shows the limited edition in a limited time frame. If this makes sense? Something that I have taken and reworked from this time, this week, then together these five weeks, that will then tell a story of this time frame. As this time frame will never be repeated. History. I am thinking of making a collage per week, splicing together things that p*ss me off. I get annoyed a lot about articles on so called ‘celebrities’, glamorising air heads, forcing impressions on girls of how to look, what to judge them selves against and influencing expectations of men. I read an article last week about a woman who was taking hypnotherapy to become brain dead like Barbie. This made me rage. I now think I should turn this anger, bewilderment, questioning of “what is life?” into my work. I might actually find it therapeutic to cut the photographs of these idiots up.

I’m thinking of splicing these with politicians. They are always in the forefront of the news, with their greed, smarmy smiles and their embarrassing attempts to convince us that they know what it is like to live in the real world. With these, I don’t feel as much anger as what I do for the above, although I should; I think I have just come to the conclusion they are all the same. Like I am a bit of a loss with it all. But there is a sense of gloom in the air. No one is standing up to anything, just waiting to be pummelled like a raspberry in the bottom of a mojito glass.

So… I’m thinking of making satirical/ non sensical collages of these. Buying a newspaper and a weekly magazine (reluctantly) at the beginning of the week, seeing what is going on, what the editors think we want/need to know and coming up with something that shows just how pathetic I think it all is.

I have no idea how I want to format this. Maybe four individual collages contained in a box. Maybe a pandora’s box containing all the horrors inside. Or a box with a curtain, so when the viewer is fed up of looking at it, can just draw the curtains and not be bothered by it again. Maybe also a continuous collage running through an accordion book, running week by week. Maybe one that also runs day by day? Maybe…

This is all subject to change.

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Developing drawing conversations with collage.

Looking back through my conversation sketchbook, I wanted to develop some of the collaborative sketches with collage, see what I can come up with using the ideas that came quickly from the workshops. Here I will post some developed work alongside what they were prompted from.

constentina-book-1                                              collage conversation 1

constantina-book-3                                    collage-conversation-2

constentina-book-2                                         scissor-legs

constantina-book-4-1                 shoes1

constantina-book-5          >abstractabstract-fish-woman

fish-head

passer                <Response to note I found. I crossed the ‘to’ out and added ‘do not’. People are always in a rush. It’s nice to spend time in a place or just time with yourself. It reminded me of a brief our tutor, Chris, set; Stop, switch everything off and be who you are for 10 minutes.

thoughts       <Response to an article I noticed as I was cutting up magazine pieces. It was an interview with a man who said “I remember when I was first in love with my wife I said; “I am jealous of your thoughts because they are inside of you”. It seemed like a bit of a confession, yet, I, myself, and I’m sure plenty of others have wondered what someone is really thinking or how they are feeling. It is something that unless spoken, you will never truly know. Even when spoken, the thoughts can be altered. I chose to blur the words a bit with masking tape to keep the confession feeling, also to create a wondering of whether the words were actually said or are they spoken in a thought too.

songbird- > Response to the song ‘Songbird’ by Oasis.