The feeling of pitching from side to side and surging up and down having gone, it is down to solid ground with a thud. This is where I find the reality of an interim appraisal statement to contend with (arrgh! ) mixed together with marks and feedback for my Lit. Review. The latter was a good mark and that was supported with useful feedback for moving forward. (Including the fact that I should learn how to spell ‘Nietzsche’ correctly. At least I had the ‘i’ and the ‘e’ consistently the wrong way around in my text(tee-hee) but it obviously was an excruciating irritation for my erudite tutor/marker/external-examiner.)
The Interim Appraisal feedback does not bring anything similar in terms of joy or even a degree of wry self-deprecating amusement. The sort of ‘working at level’ mark was OK but the comments sound like riddles in a foreign language for which there seems to be no pocket dictionary easily at hand. In the studio, we all call it ‘beard-pulling’ language….. a sort of stream of intense and incomprehensible alien utterances directed at your work that leaves you wondering whether you (the artist who made it) and the Professor are actually looking at the same thing. If critical distance isn’t, at least in part, the sense you get when you’re out of your body watching your work and yourself being babbled about in strange tongues – then I don’t know what is. The result of this experience is what, we call ‘MACFA Blues’ and it follows crits and appraisals on a regular basis. It has brought some fellow ‘Masters’ to tears. I refuse to be intimidated! I won’t feel blue!
I must learn the Alien Lexicon! ……. That is a sort of New Year’s resolution I guess and I am increasingly becoming aware that it IS what ‘becoming MACFA’ actually consists in far more than ‘making’ your art. Becoming MACFA is learning the lexicon and ‘speaking it’ through your work……. or something like that……. at least I think so,……….. it’s a far cry from the ‘Foundation Mantra’ (derived from Mr B. Mau) about ‘JOY!!!’
For now, I propose to complete the project Ieft unfinished at the end of semester 1 when the print workshop shut for Christmas break.
It was so funny, towards the climax of the Choice Project – ‘Scrap That’ (Ars Moriendi), when, glancing over my shoulder, my husband saw his image (collagraph print) on the internet. He immediately set up an Insta account and followed the foundation course. Equally funny this evening then, when he turned to me and said (showing me his phone) ‘Isn’t that yours?’…….
Who captured that picture with that chance lighting I wonder? It wasn’t me! The whole project has been about chance and I have enjoyed it enormously! I understand that it was conceived as a way of “getting Fine Art pathway ‘moving and making'” instead of just sitting around contemplating things. I am not a sit-arounder in that sense…. I like to just get going and find where working and making takes me so, perhaps I didn’t ‘need’ this project as such but, I have learned a lot throughout it. For example, I hated the idea of working with ‘plastic’ at first but have ended up rather pleased with the ‘Neuroimagining’ outcomes. On the other hand, I adore textile work and have some uncomfortable feelings about the final outcome of ‘Me And My Friends’ that I can’t quite explain except by reference to Bruce Mau’s ‘Love your experiments as you would an ugly child.’ Speaking of Mau, I can add that, running alongside the practical work we have done in the Dice Project, I have really enjoyed the Dada oriented contextual studies input we have had. It has been fascinating to learn about (and research deeper) into Mau, ‘The Oblique Strategies’, Lomography etc. Also, we have looked at ‘Early Experimental Film Makers’ and I have rather fallen in love with Marie Menken, Hans Richter, Lotte Rieniger and of course, Jonas Mekas and John Smith. The Girl Chewing Gum is refreshingly hilarious but, in my YouTube playlist it is ‘Associations’ (1975) that I keep going back to. I’ve put quite a few examples on the playlist (particularly Mekas interviews) and will look forward to watching them all over the Christmas break.
A trip to where you get perspex sheets from – horribly expensive stuff! Nevertheless, materials have been purchased for mounting the ‘Neuroimagining’ piece. While I am contemplating how to accomplish this …. more work on ‘Me and My Friends’ dual brain textile piece – it’s hand in next week so there’s a lot of finishing off to do!
I have experimented with a variety of arrangements of the bowel, brain, microbe and neuron motifs before attaching everything to the hessian backing fabric. The pieces are appliqued to the backing using the sparkly thread that represents the vegus nerve connecting the gut and the brain. Little shiny french knots help to secure everything and represent the ‘communication’ through the system …. the electro-chemistry of the neuron-bacteria link sort of idea.
The Finished Piece – except for working out how to mount it. Photographed with different lighting effects.
All change! The studio is transformed, we have pathway zones now for Fine Art, Viz Com., Fashion, 3D etc. and have each chosen our personal studio spaces – a desk with a board. Our Fine Art induction has been exciting; a quick fire range of collaborative activities based on the elements of chance and random outcomes.
One: a) Random selections define a subject, methodology and medium to produce individual responses.
Alternatively, another person gets ….
b) Unite the individual responses in a collaborative piece and find a way to connect everything.
Linking it all up.
Two: Some contextual studies input about ‘chance’ in Art. Interesting material to read about Bruce Mau’s , ‘An Incomplete Manifesto For Growth’, and Brian Eno’s ‘Oblique Strategies’.
Three: Chance Based Narrative. Lucky dip for your narrative character, lucky dip again… discovery where you are or what state you are in. Another dip, get a post card. Finally, dip again to discover who your postcard is to be addressed to. What message will you write to them? Now hook all your ‘clues’ together and make art around the narrative you construct. What fun!