Concepts/Ideas

10 October 2017

Photography

It became clear in the research practice module how important photography is to my art practice. And although I typically create digital abstract collages with my photographs, it is still important that the work remains a photograph, rather than a photo etching or a screenprinted photograph. In this way the photographs sit within the photographic historical landscape, even if the traditionalist contest against my process.  I am still traditional in the sense that I use my own photographs and will often photograph with a project in mind. It is in the post-production process where I digitally create my collages with cut-up pieces of my photographs, layering pieces of pixels like they are musical notes.  These scenes can be quite abstract, but I have more recently started incorporating figurative elements. The overall image hints at the digital in how they are constructed photographs, but I am also incorporating parts of the human body or plants to root the viewer into a familiar territory, but in a make-belief world.  I think a tension is formed when the photographic medium is cut up and reinvented, but the output remains as a photographic image, rather than using a printmaking process are usual fictional and illustrative.

Books

I am new to making books, but this is an area that I want to explore in this module. I want to create a small series of books that incorporate my photographic collages and text. Words that I might define as automatic writing. Text that appears in my mind similar to how a visual idea might form.  The photographs and the words have formed separately, but I wish to bring them together in a book to see how a relationship is formed.

At the moment I see these books to be archival pigment printed, with a simple stitched binding, an exposed knot. Probably in a category of photo zines.  I may add a hand printed element, just to remind the viewer and possibly myself that these are gestures of books within the larger category of artist publications.

I do have a preference for quite traditional books. Linen hardbacks, clean design. Simple books. I would like to eventually make my own cloth bound books. Perhaps using letterpress for the text. But I don’t want my books to look too crafty, or to appear DIY. I like those kinds of books, but I don’t want to make them. I am not sure if I can make books to the level of quality that I want them to be.  Therefore, they may need to be printed for me.

I also like the idea of digital books. This is an idea that is a bit odd for me, as one of the wonderful things about books is the tactile and intimate nature of them. The digital book could create experiences that are impossible to print, such as moving image and sound. This would be controversial to the communities committed to print and paper, but could offer some experimental elements that l am curious about. Whether the book is paper or digital, I think of them as a vessel for ideas.

Print

A new project I am thinking about is called ‘Feeling plants’. There is some background research I want to do with nature and affect, but I thought that this might be one project where I could be more representational with my photographs. At the moment I see black and white photographs of pants printed as archival pigment prints or riso prints, and then either screenprinted or lino printing with some minimal shapes to act as barriers and distance between the viewer and nature.  I do want there to remain a photographic element, which is why I was thinking of adding printed elements on top of a pigment print. But I thought that this might also be a project where I could incorporate some field recordings.  I think this speaks to the poetic yearning for the landscape. The sentimental and romantic sense of loss. The desire to feel it, to get close to it, to be it.

Sound

During the research practice module, I focused on sound, photography and affect. I used affect and sound to guide the creation of my photographic montages/collages. It was sound that allowed me to think of print in a fragmented way. Layering sound, like a screenprinter might layer colours on a print, or in my case, layers of photographic images. One of the artists that I focused on was Jez riley French. He is a sound artist, photographer, composer, field recordist, writer, book maker, and educator. He combines all elements harmoniously. He also is a sound geek and makes microphones. I would be keen to take one of his workshops for the professional practice module, so that I could make my own sounds.  Although I am slightly daunted by his experience, and the lack of mine. His work in my mind is perfect and is highly respected in his field.

 

12 March 2017

I am interested in experimental music, and in particular, musicians and composers who are using, or have used, synthesizing digital or electronic technologies. I am especially interested in the idea of building up visual montage through the embodied relation of sound to image. Digital and electronic music is built up by using layers of sound and metaphor, including such things as samples and loops. Often, experimental composers will create graphic music notations as scores instead of traditional music notation.

The relation between the sound and graphic layers creates a series of affective images. Essentially, I want to integrate printmaking practices with digital technologies to create a print tapestry that mimics sound – a sonic inspired montage.

Photography

While the non-representational photograph has captured my attention, I have focused on the out of focus to abstract a scene. By subtracting the detail to preserve the essence of the framed, I have used the camera as a tool to alter reality and distort vision. I have been interested in using photography in this way since the late 90’s. I am still interested in this approach, but I am looking to add complexity to the images, but trying to retain simplicity. Thinking with sound – printing with sound – may be one way to do this.

Sound

What really gets me excited is experimental music.

Sonic surprises.

The unexpected and non-linear.

Without narrative or conversation.

When I am not sure where a piece of music is going, where it’s taking me, or how it will end, I think of this as a sound adventure.

So far my art practice has felt flat. One image to be read at a time. I want to try to lend it some experimental vigour.

While the non-representational photograph has captured my attention, I have focused on the out of focus to abstract a scene. By subtracting the detail to preserve the essence of the framed, I have used the camera as a tool to alter reality and distort vision. I have been interested in using photography in this way since the late 90’s. I am still interested in this approach, but I am looking to add complexity to the images, but trying to retain simplicity. Thinking with sound – printing with sound – may be one way to do this.

Since starting this project, I have been using music as a direct source of influence in my art practice, by listening to music and creating photomontages at the same time. Artists using music as their “subject” is not a new idea.

One inspiration for me in this work is John Cage, and his multi-disciplinary approach towards sound, print, and text. Studying some of Cage’s print work will inform my own experimentation with multiple forms of content (images and text), so adding affective layers to my print tapestry. I will focus on the etchings Cage did over a 15-year period at Crown Point Press in San Francisco, together with his experimental writing, including the lectures and writings found in his book, Silence.

I will be thinking about the following questions when creating my sonic montages:

Do images act as sound agents?
Given that music is an experience of temporality and print temporal in a different way (we can explore this difference in the discussion), how can I create layered prints that unexpectedly delight, as with sonic surprises?
How might we use visual registers to embody the resonance of sound samples?
My motivation with this research project has the following two objectives:

By using experimental music rather than a visual object to work from, I will seek to sample, synthesize, and abstract narratives from the photographs I work from. The final images aim to be abstract yet affective, but which perform, in their visuality, some of the experimental encounters manifest in sound art. By becoming more attuned to the processes of layering and building experimental music, I want to build and layer images in experimental combinations of, like sound: texture, depth, shimmer, touch, movement, and evolution. These, I hope will add richness and complexity to my work.

By trying to add texture and dimension into a flat, static space, I have the following questions in mind:

Can images act as sound agents, and vice versa?

Can I create prints that unexpectedly delight like sonic surprises?

Can I use visual symbols to represent sound samples? And are these symbols resonant, in similar ways, for others. In other words, do particular sounds and images share an affective force, a felt embodiment that comes from the sound- image, rather than an interpretive representation that is placed on the sound. If we feel sound, literally, which we do, do we similarly feel vision. Can this force be imaged, if not represented?

Since I started this experiment, I have been listening to music differently, and thinking about the following:

What does sound look like?

What shape does a particular sound have, is it small and bright, or fat, soft, and/or translucent?

Do the shapes flow from left to right, or have a gravitational pull from being weighty, or do the sounds float and dance up like bubbles in a carbonated drink?

And how does print’s feeling, texture, and depth, rather than simply the flatness of photography play into the reverberation of this felt process.

We know that we can print sound, as in vinyl; feeling sound is another matter. Perhaps vision, and the textured vision of print, may help us to appreciate how we are literally moved by, and so moved to make things, by the resonance of the sound-images themselves.

7 Dec 2016- Experiments

Inspired by seeing Paul Laidler’s newspaper club printed copy of the Working Proof, I sent away for my own newspaper club experiment. I have also been thinking about the flipping of the page, artists’ books, zines, and the need to experiment with this format, just to get a general sense as to how my images will work in this way.

I suppose I have made some slight suggestions of a narrative based on the working title News From Somewhere, with reference to my research into William Morris’s News From Nowhere. Here are a few images to give you an idea, but turning a page is much more exciting.


I have also been thinking about computer glitches and how I want to play with them in relation to samples of William Morris wallpaper. I first thought that I would add digital glitches to wallpaper samples I have scanned in. But, then I wondered about handmade glitches, and of course that seems more relevant when thinking about the Arts & Crafts Movement. I have just started doing some handmade watercolour tests. It will take many more tests before I try testing this idea with linocut or wood engraving.  Or, I might stop testing before I spend too much time on a bad idea.

The other element of these tests is my interest in sound, and to get me thinking about the placement of an image on a page, and what trying to imagine what the image would sound like, and what a clustering of images would represent.  Again, these thoughts are not fully formed, but I feel like I need to visualise some of them to see if they are worth pursuing.


20 Nov 2016- New Ideas

Musical and Visual loops: Ed Harcourt and Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats play at Colston Hall

I have seen several live musical performances when there is one musician on stage using a looping device to make the performance feel much larger than one player, as if playing with a full band. For example, they could record a few drum beats, loop the recording to create a rhythm section. Clap and record and loop to add another layer. Record and loop some piano sounds to create a background melody. You can loop and record and loop and record to create a cacophony of sound. I was reminded of this last night when I saw Ed Harcourt open for Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats play at Colston Hall. I was actually slightly distracted from the performance, as my mind was trying to come up with different ways I could loop visuals, just as musicians do with sound.

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I will attempt to create visuals to represent different sounds, and therefore create a visual score. This visual score could then be printed on one wallpaper roll, and pasted horizontally onto a gallery wall, ideally, in one piece. Horizontally so that it best represents a musical score. Because this visual score will be representing visual loops, it will be important that the wallpaper is viewed, as one would read music. There will be a sparse beginning, as you would expect when building sounds through a looping device. It will slowly build, creating many visual layers mimicking how a musician plays music on top of loops made through a looping device at a live performance. This will create an abstracted sonic/visual landscape.

In essence, this could be done on a much smaller scale for curiosity and test purposes. One could create an artists’ book or even a digital artists’ book with this idea. If it were digital it would be easier to incorporate the sound used to make the visuals, as I imagine that I would first need to create a soundscape and then create visuals to match.

I will also research the work of John Cage, as he created some wonderful visuals based on his music.


25 Oct 2016- Work in progress

I am currently researching Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper and William Morris’s News from Nowhere, both published around the same time, in the late 1890s. I will be looking at the Arts  and Crafts Movement and William Morris from a feminist perspective, and using the wallpaper theme as my link into both areas of interest.

In my approach to making, I will comment on the arts and crafts movement and the decorative arts, by stripping away embellishments, so that all that is left is a murmur of colour and shape. I would like to explore the process of enamelling in my work, and nodding at the decorative arts, but in my case, enamelling large photographic works in an industrial kiln. I am also interested in exploring woodcut in the traditional way that Morris’s prints would have been originally produced, and experimenting digitally with samples of William Morris Wallpaper, possibly adding glitches and other effects to add a contemporary current of industrialisation.

 


 

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