Week 25 — Contextual Study, COVID Closures and other holdups

Contextual Study Feedback

During my tutorial with Kimberley, we discussed how the structure is clear but to make sure that I situate my practice at the start, and continue to position practice within the theory throughout. Some things to note were to consider expanding out on topic of hierarchy (not necessarily authority), fact over hypothesis, and how layers of knowledge combine to create something more real. Also, when situating my practice within a field of contemporary practice, outline critical aspects and use one example as a case study. There is not really enough room to elaborate out too much further than that.

Wen writing, go from the general and then focus in on specifics, like on the subject of feminist reclaims of the cosmos, focus on how this is related to the hierarchies of knowledge. Finally she suggested emphasizing the idea of touch being linked to control, the scale of the work being related to human scale/intimate, the materiality making the unknowable palpable and the infinite size of the subject matter being made handheld. All good feedback and reminders to keep top of mind as I move forward.

In the peer review meetings, Tiina and Katie also had great suggestions for me, and I really appreciate them as readers coming at the writing with fresh eyes and clean slates. They suggested reigning in the scientific language and theory to make the text more accessible and focus in on ideas of scale in relation to time, and clearly define my argument related to the hierarchies of authority and gender. They also both were looking at Deluze’s theories, and suggested that him theories of conditions for knowing as always changing would be of interest to me. Ideas that experience only makes sense when organized by forms of sensibility and intellectual categories, fits in with the Kantian philosophy I was writing about last year. Deluze distinguishes art, philosophy, and science as three distinct disciplines, each analyzing reality in different ways, yet neither is considered above the other.


Studio Progress

Collaging and scanning (mostly) completed, despite being interrupted by a rather impromptu need to move, as the folks I was house sitting for had to return home earlier than planned.With everything going on currently I sure most are finding it difficult to focus and be productive. It has been a really emotional week and I just felt I needed to take a break and reevaluate my priorities right now.

After a few days, I will pick back up on the video overlays for these works and formatting them for print, despite the current inability to get printing done at this time.

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I also worked on a few more Celestial Terrestrial collages. I think with four or five more species a small publication can come together. I would like to have it printed, but I also plan to share this for free as an online zine.

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Revised Exhibition Proposal

As we pivot to an online exhibition, I am proposing to build a microsite to house scanned versions of the original hand cut collages, and essentially fill the browser with each collage and overlaid video elements. By clicking on different sections of the collages, it will take the viewer deeper into the collage (pulling up details) or to the next collage in a cyclical fashion.

There will also be a free downloadable zine, which can be printed out at the viewer’s home, or saved to an ebook/tablet. This version can also be activated with an AR app, with instructions described in the zine.The AR video works are activated by pointing the tablets at the works on paper, showing video, animation and digital images on top of/melded with the physical works.

I see this fitting within the context of a group exhibition where each member of MA3 would have their own virtual room to populate with their work, and my room would link to this custom virtual site, and have a link to take the viewer back to the group show. However; I am open to alternatives to this means of display considering the context of the final group exhibition.

 

Similar to the SevenSisters.space project I worked on last year, this project will live online, but have a physical companion in time.

 

Week 24 — Tutorial, Artist Run Culture, Non-Colonial Public Art and Zines

Tutorial with Neil Musson

Since the last tutorial I have been trying to focus my Research into meta-physics of touch, perception and related theories of cosmology, in preparation for the contextual study, but this has also lead to some changes in my ways of making. I am still working out the merging of physical and digital work while exploring themes related to understanding the cosmos through perception and imagined touch, but the metaphysical theory has grown.

In the tutorial we discussed how I don’t see my work as overtly political in its aims, but how I hope to still have an effect on the audience, but I should really consider how to find those audiences working with set environments. Neil remarked that my work explores the gaps between established ways of knowing, which is really only possible to do in the role of an artist. Leaving questions open ended, rather than telling a statement with the work.

As for the thematic content of the work the layering of “mythological narratives, speculative fiction and scientific information” could be endlessly explored, and while I may never come to a conclusion, the progression is a part of the work. We also discussed how the work relates to maps and cartography, and how I might consider the layering in relation to maps, layering to obtain a deliberate abstraction.

Practically, we discussed how the videos function with the frame and how the lack of audio impacts the works, how some videos really draw attention to that frame, but while others have the potential to create depth in the video (like theatrical sets). Neil suggested breaking out of the box when it comes to showing work (think: big? installation? Outdoors? etc.) and continue exploration of the potential with AR.

I really appreciated Neil’s thoughtful feedback on my work, and it is so unusual, but exciting to have feedback from someone who doesn’t know too much about my practice, but who was picking up on the main objectives I am putting out.

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In progress collage bits

 

Seminar: Artist as Curator

Artist Run Spaces

Artist-run-centres have existed in Canada for the last 50 odd years, each with a wide ranging mandate, programming and agenda. I tend to think of ARCs as a sort of meeting place, or community centre, which focuses on the arts, and is run with the intention of adapting to the needs of contemporary artists. Fostering public engagement with art, advocating for the rights of artists and to serve as an educator, resource centre and creator of professional development opportunities, are all objectives which I think represent an effective and good ARC. Good ARCs should pay artist fees and support research, creation and experimentation, which links in with professionalization of practice.

In Sackville, there is one ARC, Struts Gallery & Faucet Media Arts Centre, which serves the town and university community of about 5000, with most students leaving in the summer. They host monthly artists in residence, workshops, screenings, artist talks and a yearly symposium on the theme of the handmade. They provide space for a university student run gallery. It is the the only media arts centre in Atlantic Canada that supports all forms of media art including audio, film, video, and new media.

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Struts Gallery & Faucet Media Arts Centre

Struts has been a really big part of my experience living in Sackville, providing opportunities to show work, both as a student and emerging artists, giving me opportunities to experiment without any pressure. It has also exposed me to a diverse lineup of regional, national and internationally recognized artists, and is a big part of making new connections outside of such a small town. They do a lot on a small budget, stretching programming, and really opening up a lot of opportunities for emerging and mid-career artist. Doing a residency at Struts, is sort of a big point of pride for Canadian Artists. It is also where I called home for a few years, living in the upstairs apartment, so I will always have warm feelings for struts.

Curator vs. Exhibition Maker

On the idea of the differences between being a curator and an exhibition maker, I think the idea of being an exhibition maker gets to the point of thinking wholly about not only the work in an exhibition, but about the complete experience of an exhibition.


 

Uncommon in the Commons: Non-Colonial Public Art with David Garneau

This week one of the events I attended was a lecture by David Garneau, put on by the Visual Culture and Material Studies Department at Mount Allison University. I had previously heard Garneau talk in 2015, but that talk focuses mostly on his own practice, where this promised to be quite different.

David Garneau (Métis) is a Visual Arts Professor at the University of Regina. His practice includes painting, curation, and critical writing. Garneau has recently given keynote talks in Australia, New Zealand, the United States, and throughout Canada. He is part of the curatorial research project Creative Conciliation; Sensory Entanglements, a 5-year, Australia/Canada, SSHRC-funded creative research project; and is working on the Tawatina Bridge project, a large public art work for the City of Edmonton. His paintings are in numerous public and private collections.

 

In the talk Garneau shared his perspectives on public art as a relationship between people and special things in public spaces specifically in relationship to indigenous artists and reconciliation. I loved a part of his talk where he said that publics change and so to should public art. We can reposition public art to be seen as a temporary service, rather than a permanent monument. This tied into how he talked about how public art might perform and inspire non-colonial, non-patriarchal, and non-capitalist social spaces, beings, and relations. Looking to rethink the idea of permanence and public art, he suggested a shift to an indigenous model which allows for decay, replacing pieces as needed in opposition to the current western desire to conserve in perpetuity.


 

Zine Reading and Open Mic

This week I also helped organize a small zine reading and open mic with four local zine makers Patrick Allaby, Madeleine Hansen, Shoshanna Wingate and Laura Watson.

Each of these makers, despite living in the same small town, offer distinctly different perspectives on zines and self-publishing, Their work that ranges from the personal to the political and the poetic to the humorous.

The readings were followed by a brief open mic and it was a great opportunity to meet some new zine enthusiasts in town.

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The Teeny Tiny Zine Library, now with over 100 zines.

This event was part of a new series of zine programming centered around Mount Allison’s Teeny Tiny Zine Library, which is housed at the Owens Art Gallery, and I started as an undergrad.

The Library is an ever-growing collection of zines, artists’ books and multiples, independent comics and handmade publications. The collection was created to archive and promote the small by mighty form of the zine, with a special focus on the Sackville zine scene and the work of Mount Allison Fine Arts students, Sackville artists and community youth.]


Currently Reading: The Importance of Cosmology in Culture: Contexts and Consequences by Nicholas Campion

Week 24 — Tutorial Notes

About my practice:

The night sky has long been a source of inspiration and imagination throughout human history. Absent of physical material, outer space begs to the filled with mythological narratives, speculative fiction and scientific information. My current work proposes an alternative theory for the development of the observable cosmos based on understanding the night sky through touch.

Poetic assemblages consider our physical relationship to galactic bodies of unfathomable scales at incomprehensible distances, through series of collages and accompanying zine with AR activations. Combining newly imagined and pre-existing stars, galaxies and constellations to create a new arrangement of the cosmos that quietly comes to life through movement and interaction. Using print, found footage and drawing, the impossible relationship of physically touching the incomprehensibly large, intangible celestial bodies that lie beyond human knowledge is connected to a handheld, knowable scale.

Animating a new proposition for the ordering of stars in the night sky, these works draw upon the history of astronomy, celestial cartography and cosmological representations of the cosmos. The collages and videos draw attention to the myths represented by feminine characters, and the violence they are often victim to in mythology. The fictitious conceptualization of real cosmic landscapes invite new discoveries and revelations, mapping the infinite, and making space to question the morals of these myths. Further investigating how lore is connected to and represented alongside scientific hypotheses through myths about how the cosmos works, this work aims to overlap subjective information (stories, myths, personal connections to the stars) with scientific, fact based reasoning and documentation, questioning the value of each of these dualistic means of perception, not favouring one over another, but rather allowing a space for them to work together.

Uranographia, video, 7min:

Uranography, collages and AR videos:

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Celestial Terrestrial, collages for a zine:
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Big Rip, collages for a zine:
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Week 23 —Critique, Visiting Artist Talk and An Escape

Critique Feedback

I feel so appreciative for the opportunities to have crits and get feedback on both my work and the writing about my work. I was glad that (I think!) some of the things I have been saying about my work are also lining up with what people are seeing, though there is always room for improvement and tightening of ideas.

I was glad that the feeling of the collages being handmade and physical came through, but there are opportunities to think more about how the videos are interacting with the work. Is it essential to break out of the 16:9, like when Moz said, we primarily see in the horizontal. How can I emphasize the scale, in relation to human scale, and cosmological time scales? Should everything in the collages be life sized, like the hands, or is there are way to push this with video? Could I consider inviting others to collaborate, and how do I manage limiting the ascetics of the collages and which images I select to use, because I will be the first to admit I have been very selective for this body of work.

Also, thinking about the importance of any text that accompanies out work, and the power it has to direct a viewer’s experience was a great reminder to think about. Just a few words, or a single one, can act as guides to the interpretation of the work. Viewers may create links between the title and work, but those associations can vary greatly depending on the individual creating them, their preconceived notions about the work and potentially any part of their background/experiences with art.

Beyond my own work it is so exciting to hear and see everything everyone has been working on, that I might not have seen on their blogs. I feel so invigorated by the opportunity to take in all these exciting ideas, and find connections to my own work and research, or other artist’s work I am excited about.

 


 

Visiting Artist Talk with Chloë Lum & Yannick Desranleau

On Wednesday I attended an artist talk with current Fine Arts Department at Mount Allison University, Sonco Artists-in-Residence, Chloë Lum and Yannick Desranleau, formerly known as Seripop.

Chloë Lum and Yannick Desranleau are multidisciplinary visual artists based in Montreal, Canada. Their work focuses on theatricality and the choreographic; in their performance work but also in their interest in staging tableaus and working with ephemeral materials that can be said to perform through re-deployment and decay. The duo’s recent works investigate the agency of objects, the material condition of the body, and the transformative potential that bodies and objects exert upon each other. These interests are informed by Chloë’s experience with chronic illness and its effect on their collaboration as well the duo’s exploration of narrative tropes from literature, theatre and television.

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Is It The Sun Or The Asphalt All I See Is Bright Black, 2016-2017, video still. Two channels 4K digital video, sound, 103 minutes.

I really appreciated how in their talk they discussed the process of object making as in tandem with the resultant final performance — which seems really clear from the unity of the final works. Their practice has evolved so much from when they last visited Sackville in 2014 as Seripop, but a lot of the elements remain, however they are brought to life in really exciting ways through the performances. I feel like this must have come from their ending AidsWolf, but maintaining a somewhat performative part of their lives.

They are still very aware of the importance of the audience in their works and the performances, and how the architecture available influences how they play within it. Breaking past a stage presence for the performances, and off the walls, literally means the audience is really embedded in the work, and at times dictate the final results.

I also appreciated how in their talk they shared their experiences of just trying to make things happen for themselves as artists, applying to everything, reapplying if they didn’t get funding, paying their collaborators fairly and at times struggling, but always finding a way to make things work our for themselves. I think that DIY sense-ability is really powerful, and it can pay off.


 

Small Escape

IMG_2215After a very intense work week, our annual fundraising event on Friday night, and working every evening this week and Saturday, Sunday was needing to be a rest day, rather than a studio day like usual.

However, I think there is something really worthwhile about taking a break when needed, walking along a large body of water and just thinking.

 

 

 

 

 


 

Currently Reading: Woolgathering by Patti Smith, for pleasure and to remember to find importance in the everyday.

 

 

 

 

Week 21 / 22 — Big Rip

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Thinking about my time scale and the much, much larger time scales I am a part of, if the universe is to end in a big rip, how could we pick up the pieces and put it all back together again. What would we keep, change and alter if there was a chance of a do over?

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Future predictions/things to think about while working:

100 000 years from now The proper motion of stars across the celestial sphere, which is the result of their movement through the Milky Way, renders many of the constellations unrecognizable.

not only less knowable than we imagined, it’s more unimaginable than we can fathom.

big rip

 


Currently Reading: DARK ENERGY AND LIFE’S ULTIMATE FUTURE by Rüdiger Vaas

Week 20 — Tutorial and Studio Developments

Since the last few tutorials I have continued to think about how my writing works with my images, and what I can do to develop that cohesion. Maybe by typographical effect, or maybe just by virtue of working on both elements simultaneously, I think a symmetry is starting to develop. Taking ideas from the writing and illustrating those elements in the work, and also pulling words from the work after it is made, the two parts are growing together.

I have been continuing to questioning how those ideas of truth and physical proof can be applied to finding truth in things which cannot be touched or experience first hand through an exploration of merging physical and digital work. All while exploring themes related to understanding the cosmos through perception and imagined touch.

In the tutorial with Kimberley we discussed the material and conceptual relationship between the drawings, collages and digital companions. Specifically the importance of the edges, and the joining that happens. The next steps would be to decide on what are the most crucial/significant elements and push the relationship between the virtual and the tactile/physical.

We also discussed the mirroring that has happened somewhat organically, but how that is an important element of the work. I plan to explore the potential of the positive and negative versions of the work, and what that notion of collage can do to extract and fill a space simultaneously. Thinking about the mirroring of physical and digital, we both agreed about keeping the feeling of intimacy by revealing the layers that are happening in the physical and digital, to emphasize the layering of digital onto the physical companion pieces. However, it is important to consider how technology, which allows the viewer to experience digital work, is a part of the work too.

Kimberley suggested reading ‘On visuality’ journal of visual culture 5, no 1; 53-79 by Nicholas Mirzoeff  and sent the quote: “inverse visuality is any moment of visual experience in which the subjectivity of the viewer is called into question by the density or opacity of what he or she sees….” was a very exciting idea to me, really implicating the viewer as being a part of the layers, as they have the ability to manipulate its viewing in some ways.

Looking ahead I plan to read more about theories of touching the untouchable, and really consider how materiality works with the potentiality of the virtual while continuing activity in studio toward final exhibition and other projects.


Studio Developments

In the studio I have been sniping and slicing away at new collages, while scanning others to be integrated into printed matter.

New Uranography collage:

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Botanical Collages for a separate zine:

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Cut paper, own work.

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Currently Reading: On Touching—the Inhuman That Therefore I Am, Karen Barad at Kimberley’s recommendation.

Week 19 — Writing, Studio and Donations

Writing Exercise with Lara Eggleton

Despite the technical difficulties, I really appreciated Lara Eggleton’s writing workshop on Monday. I wish that it could have gone for a bit longer, but did find our two short exercises really useful. They reminded me of another Professor I had in undergrad painting who said an interesting painting needs to have three comparisons of contrasts to be successful, and I think the writing exercise helped me arrive at that.

I also really agreed with Lara about not just throwing in purposeless language to make the work seem more than it is. I think this is so hard to overcome, and I think about it a lot, but it is also easy to want to slip into that type of writing. I think it is actually harder to write about work in a way that is accessible while simultaneously conveying all the academic baggage in the back of our minds all the time. Also, backing up and trying to describe the work without it being present really makes you think about whether what you are saying about the work is actually there. I don’t know if it all is there for me, so the exercise has encouraged to either takes those wishy washing points out of my writing, or find a way to bring them more forward in the actual work.

Here are my words and sentences:

What is it?

drawing and collage, night-sky, AR overlay of videos, subtle movement, hands touching stars, zines/xerographic book-works with those images and words supporting, becomes:

My current body of work is comprised of collages, zines integrated with AR videos of poetic assemblages of celestial bodies, stars and the night sky being manipulated by human hands to bring the immense night sky to a human scale in both time and matter.

What is it about?

truth, perception, cosmology, knowing the unknowable, touching the untouchable, embodying unfathomable scales (time and matter), making the infinite handheld becomes:

The work is about proposing alternative truths, theories and understandings of comslogogy as a means to question dominant ideologies of myths embodied by female figures and trusting their knowledge.

What is the relevance? Why care?

myth and science, truth and perception, control of representation, gender imbalances, questioning morality of mythology, environmental protection, listening to warnings for the future (from prophesies and science), contemporary retelling of ancient stories becomes:

Questioning relationships between myth and science, specifically related to gender imbalances and representation in cosmology, multiple ways of knowing are considered valid and important in caring for the natural world we are a part of.


Studio Work

In the studio I have been continuing to think about Cassandra, and creating a video collage to overlay upon the physical collage:

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This is also a busy time of year for donations to the not-for-profit galleries which have supported me the last year, and I have been making a few things for them. By trying not to take them too seriously while making, I think I stumbled into something I am fairly excited about.

For my Arte En Boite Submission (a yearly event which asks artist to donate a series of 11 prints) I have a small cyanotype, but got most excited about the misprints which I couldn’t keep in the edition, but which produced some beautiful accidental clouds over my image.

 

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own work, negative

 

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own work, cyanotype, edition of 11

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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own work, cyanotype, misprints

I used another one of the misprints to make this small work for another auction supporting Sackville’s artist run centre:

Double Comet

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own work, cyanotype with embroidery in found object

Day dreaming about fantastical astronomical occurrences captured and kept safe in a hand-sized container. Using the night sky as a system that predates the clock and calendars as tools for understanding time and marking human impact on that scale. A familiar scene shaken up and repurposed to a surprise when you list of the lid, something big inside something small.


Currently Reading: Christoph Meyer and Florian Otto,“How to Warn: ‘Outside-in Warnings’ of Western Governments about Violent Conflict and Mass Atrocities,” Media, War & Conflict.