The blog curation for unit 1 assessment has been invigorating and informative. Keeping a blog journal has enabled me to articulate my reflections in and on my practice and its details. Research not only involves the external world but it also happens within the work itself. Each painting is experimental as it discloses new ground. It is an internal as well as interactive interrogation as I find a way ahead. Gradually, I am learning how to separate reflecting in-action from reflecting on-action. As I continue with the journal, I remind myself I am still only about halfway through the course and I have many more entries to write. Just like the painting, all is in continuous formation and reformation: a continuum reflected in the WordPress Coherent theme I have been using which has a basic style I feel best suits my needs.
Learning Outcomes (L.O.) Summary Statements
L.O. 1 Summary statement: formulate, describe and implement a challenging and self-directed programme of study relating to your Project Proposal (research; subject knowledge; communication and presentation; professional and personal development):
The first year of research focuses on a trajectory informed by a constantly updated project proposal. A particular area relevant to my practice is objectively explored in a research paper that concludes with the beginning of an explication I have termed pictopoiesis.
The research has looked into the practice of William Kentridge, poetic works and neuroscience as a means of making a holistic view of my painting methodology. I have developed a way of working which is aimed at disclosing an aspect of the poietic content of the work in a time-based format which can be exhibited, presented and engaged with to present a fresh view of painting using digital media. Hand in hand with a theoretical framework articulated in the Research Statement, the experimental works are a concrete manifestation of the idea.
I am mindful of the lengthy painting process and the technical requirements of working in oils. For this reason I have prioritised the painting during the first year, combining it in a holistic manner with experimentation and innovation. The main activity of painting is supplemented by research into and the development of other means including digital prints, animations, and videos. These present a variety of ways by which ideas can be presented and interactions and collaborations initiated and developed. In order to do so, I have extended my knowledge into digital photography, Adobe Lightroom, Photoshop and will soon be starting to use After Effects. Current challenges now include ways of centering images in an animation sequence to improve the smooth transition of frames.
I have considered the possibility of collaborative projects involving the use of a HoloLens or other such mixed reality technology. This is discussed in the research paper. The aim at the MA degree show is to present the research outcomes: juxtaposing the actual paintings with the digital works introducing a point of encounter between two means in a reciprocal contextualisation. I have experimented with gif animations, researching ways and means for their potential display en masse and otherwise. Some of these gifs were piloted at the group exhibitions: two interims, at the end of year 1, and for the UAL Students Union Free Education call out. I now plan to research and develop other outcomes including: artist books, map making, and leporello formats.
I have progressed from basic digital forms to more complex form compositions alighting on a Spark video format for the pictopoiesis narratives which include words and an element of audio. Deceptively simple these videos take hours, days, to compile as I have to have the complete sequence of images (30 or so, sometimes more) ready processed and to hand. All in all, I am gradually extending the painting as a continuum of making from its silent earthed-ness, which is where I began.
L.O. 2 Summary statement: critically engage with practice-based research and contribute actively to debate and discussion (analysis; technical competence; experimentation; collaborative and/or independent professional working).
In the Skype chats, there has been a permeable exchange of ideas right from the start, between my peers and myself. The opportunity to present and comment on work in the symposia has been invaluable. The chance for face to face interaction during the London residency, referenced in the Midpoint Review video, also informed the subsequent trajectory of my research towards the articulation of pictopoiesis. I particularly enjoyed participating in the pop-up exhibitions. The experience of collaborating with others towards a specific outcome, having only just met them was experimental and very informative. Terry Quinn introduced me to the HoloLens, sparking off an idea potentially involving future collaboration.
In all things I am interested in finding common ground; after all, we are all bodies, made of cells, and perhaps ultimately the world is best understood from that perspective. I have become aware of how much I am motivated by the poetic nature of life, affirming the painting as a form of visual poetry. It alludes to commonalities, so often hidden, the invisible rendered visible. My intention behind the Project Proposal is to explicate pictopoiesis. Pictopoiesis constitutes a disclosure of that which is hidden. A denouement setting out a trajectory that having its impetus in painting, extends into, for example, the dramatic arts and performance. The painting being such a solitary activity in itself, implies an invitation to collaborate with others working in different artistic mediums: to make new forms.
For the Midpoint review, the adobe spark video format, as recommended by my fellow student, Steph Bebbington, was experimental. The limitations of the format appealed to me and I went on to compile the first pictopoiesis videos in that format. I subsequently added words and an audio element – something I have always wanted to do, integrating imagery with text. This continues to be an experimental area of great interest to me. These short videos, deceptively simple, take many hours to compile. In them I have also discovered my voice quite literally, having enjoyed narrating the midpoint review video. In the pictopoiesis videos I have come to make very simple sound narratives; breathing life audibly into each frame; emblematic of breathing life into the painting and keeping it alive.
L.O. 3 Summary statement: critically reflect upon your practice and articulate a clear understanding of methodology and context of your creative practice (analysis; research; communication and presentation).
A grasp of the difference between reflecting in something and reflecting on it, has enabled me to deepen my critical analysis of my practice. I can now begin to explain the idea of pictopoiesis a term I have coined concerning painting as poetry. During the course I have been able to critically reflect on this notion through action research, collaboration, and the work done for the research paper. I have acquired the tools to better articulate myself concerning pictopoiesis, in the process finding real correspondences such as with the theory of practopoiesis, as detailed in my Research Statement and Project Proposal. This adds hugely to the contemporary and theoretical context of my practice as well as enriching my methodology. Through the blog posts, I have attracted the kind attention of neuroscientist Danko Nikolic, author of the theory of practopoiesis. The opportunity for an enriching interdisciplinary pictopoiesis/practopoiesis conversation has opened, something I intend to build on in future. To be in conversation with experts in other fields is particularly desirable.
Prior to the MA, I had already been involved in an interdisciplinary painting and poetry conversation and collaboration, which had lead to successful, published outcomes: Like Starlings collaborating with Thai-American poet Nicholas Gulig also Book of Lake and Naropa University Summer Writing Programme. I have subsequently built new and ongoing conversations in which through my own research I am being better able to articulate myself. I made a notes to self category. Perhaps these notes are of equal interest to the reader; they are certainly much easier for me. These note forms are experimental and evolving.
In the first of my tutorials, Jonathan recommended Sol Le Witt’s Sentences on Conceptual Art which I took up, leading me to conceptualise line in an experimental way. I made a category, line. This has provided a sub-theme of pictopoiesis which I am experimenting with and expanding on and finding form for in outcomes of my project proposal. I can now articulate my methodology and see the personal, historical contemporary and theoretical context of my practice.