Facebook as research as part of digital identities

This posts spells out the key themes of enquiry I pursued for the digital identities section of this module (i.e. Assignment 4 & 5).

How and for what do I use FB?

Over the almost two years that I have been using FB frequently, and the past 10 months during which it became an explicit research tool for the lines of connection and disconnection between private and public, between biography, confession and fiction, and between various forms of material, media, registers, my use has changed. In part, this was clearly also due to FB’s own changes, notably the integration and disintegration between FB and messenger.

Over that period also messenger, which until then as a DM interface that I generally wouldn’t pay attention to moved decisively to be my DM tool of choice: notably due to its easy integration of GIFs and sticker packs it allows for a form of communication that is quick and media-rich, SMS or Whatsapp moved to much less important roles than they had played in previous years. It also mirrored a change in who would be frequent contacts and the preferred platform between us. So, for all intents and purposes, when I talk about FB here, I will also include the messenger app.

In terms of my own posts, around 50% consists of photos or videos (the latter only perhaps 5% of these posts); 30% are posts that provide links/ repost materials or comment on these, 20% are original writing pieces of myself. The latter almost exclusively only address Close Friends; perhaps half of the image posts goes to all friends, the other to minus acquaintances (also called good friends, which reduces the cohort by c40%); I reckon the reposts have a similar distribution between all friends or minus acquaintances. The boundaries between these last two groups are changeable, only recently I moved a fair number of good friends to acquaintances; while prior to that most art contacts would become good friends, most older, more infrequent or academic contacts would remain acquaintances. In general, good friends are those that I have a form of fairly frequent contact with (either offline or through online interactions).

The remainder of this post consists of four sections:

a. a summary of FB posts
b. FB timeline as sketchbook
c. the role of boundaries and differentiated publics in facebook (the ways of transgressing)
d. anxiety of absence / fear of missing out

 

 

 

 

a. summary of posts

The first foray into the relevance of FB for this module, I set up a collection of posts from my timeline to give a sense of themes and formats of discussion, and how the materials that form the basis for A4 and A5 circulated through FB

Facebook posts relating to this assignment which can sit in this blog’s public (amending as I go along).
A first outline as to some themes relating to online/offline; public/private for this project are in this previous post.

These are collected in this blog post here

currently: 19 Feb – 8 March (possibly some before, some after?); perhaps a total of 7-10 posts.

b. as sketchbook

the section of this post that i am writing last, and yet the most frequently employed use of a FB post for me: i take it to test out thoughts, ideas in a form that push them a couple of steps further from noting in my journal: i do not only type them up but submit them to a limited public. in this sense, my FB timeline, certainly the section in which i limit publicness to  minus acquaintances or even more so, to close friends friends, applies a form of discipline to test what holds up of my thoughts. so, in many ways, one of the most frequent FB uses of mine is actually revisiting my on timeline and re-reading, retracing earlier posts. i don’t tend to alter them, i also don’t tend to hide from the timeline these written posts (while i frequently remove older photos, which after that will only live in their respective albums). what i however often do is that i amend, add, qualify or take further thoughts in earlier posts by adding comments. so, quite a few posts have acquired comments only by myself.

as a sketchbook, the publicness often does not work so much in others commenting online but the post providing a reference point in a face-to-face conversation. about half the people in my close friends list are people i meet often, so, for them (and us) the posting means that there is a topic, a particular perspective to consider, to refer to, to discuss, to amend or alter.

FB is however severely limited in this purpose: it is difficult to export (exporting means losing all comments and all media links embedded in a post), its search function is rather limited (i need to remember a word within the post, even hashtags are not found consistently but only reference a selection of the set that has the hashtag applied).

besides text posts, i use the posting photos (and less videos) functions a lot: even more so, once i had decided that instagram wasn’t working too well for me. so, there are some days in which i rather extensively will map, trace, narrate what i will do and see. i remain ambiguous for whose purposes that is: to assure my own presence, movement to myself? or what in there is also to show off, to affirm, to confirm, and at points confuse as to what it is that i am up to?

c. the role of boundaries and differentiated publics in facebook (the ways of transgressing)

as posted to Close Friends on 9 December 2016:
[altered as to a further name change; alteration of the list of off-topic subjects]

FB circles, in/out groups, confidentiality and off-limit items:

I have in two contexts now discussed in more detail the boundaries of my using my FB timeline as an online sketchbook or notebook.
One discussion involved two who have seen and often engaged with the posts of the past few months (both online and offline); the other one was with two where one of these is not on FB, the other has not been part of the group to which #pondpiecenotes and after posted to.

There are various issues that these two discussions raised for me. The first concern is about in/group out/group through these selective postings (notably: the selective enclosure of the particular audience. I had thought about this as to inclusion as being fairly easily undone on part of the reader: to overlook, to hide or to unfollow; the exclusion is more complex, notably when mutual friends are inside the audience, like posts or comments, which pushes notifications to their own friends’s feeds… which at once pierces my own attempts to bound who gets to see what I write; but also alerts mutual friends that possibly other conversations are going that they are not party too). There is more to this and I will likely return to it.
.
The second concern, which I considered in more detail yesterday, was raised as question if there are themes that are off-topic. My response was in several stages, and in hindsight I realise just how much I veil my responses. I responded as to how I proceed to judge if a post holds or not, so I generally move ahead in a series of steps and then assess my relationship to it and adjust, it’s rather practical and involved. It is also in some way true to my attitude towards a priori lists, which I do not find easy to take serious nor follow. I then also provided a positive inclusion list rather than one of exclusion.
.
However, yesterday I then arrived at my off-topic items, of which there are numerous. By refusing to acknowledge that they exist in the first place, I drew another layer of curtain over them to protect them once further. But, with the recent piercing of this list through the post about R., it may be worthwhile spelling some of these out:
.
Items that I have not written about nor intend to write about in posts:
– anything concerning current desires and involvements with people around the matters that I discuss;
– all posted accounts about my own experiences of (sexualised) violence were fairly contained in the transition between childhood/adolescence. I have not posted about any of my later encounters and relationships in which consent or violence were issues;
– …
– most of the items I write about I write about at a time that they are resolved: hence, even if I use present tense for several notes, they are not contemporary but usually an ex-post reflection.
.
Where these boundaries lie and how they manifest is at points and as I move along somewhat fluid. As for the fourth item about resolution, this became apparent in post #2 from a couple of days ago (R. in my flat and expectations of violence): I posted it initially at a point when I was really caught out by it, it was incredibly present and I didn’t know at the point of posting on how to move with it. I removed the post as it was too unresolved, and moved it into a discussion with a close friend. This had once before occurred in relation to a post after the US election: again, the post was raw in its upset and I felt too exposed with it on my timeline, I removed it and raised it once in a conversation, which was a much better place for it to be held.
.
That I exposed my relationship with R. unsettled me and made me revisit this list of ‘protected relationships, items, concerns’; I can trace the need for exposure around the sense that suddenly the violence seemed to be deposited in my flat and left with me as a secret (or rather: amidst the context of various secrets). It also sits in the line where I respond with my own violence in situations where I perceive myself to be under threat (as in an earlier post between aunt, mother and myself). As such, it sits in the effects of how my experiences of patriarchal violence are more often between women rather than men>woman. There were a couple of occasions where my intent to protect also similarly pierced or transgressed; and this isn’t helped with the setting of a networked form of notebook where transgression and blurring boundaries is pretty much design of the medium and intent.
.
I also realise that the form in which I discuss concerns reflects my intent to conceal and veil existing relationships and concerns: it follows some of the arrangements over anonymity that were in place in the coaching training: ‘you can talk about anything here as far as it affects you, your experience; as soon as you would need to use someone else’s name, you are outside your own experience and should refrain from raising it.’ It was a rule that people applied in different forms and often topic of conversation as to how to proceed. It also means that in consequence I started to talk rather a lot about myself, my own feelings, actions, sensations, signals, perceptions; and I have kept that format. It makes for a self-centred account, one seemingly (actually?) intent on defining, aligning, negotiating, one’s self. And yet, I don’t think I am all that much interested in my self but in the relationships it constructs with the world, how its constitution tells me something about the world, lets me experience the world and others. So, the auto-ethnographic accounting in some ways is a reflection on the need for secrecy and veiling. And I will carry that thought a little longer with me.
.
#digitalsecrets

d. anxiety of absence and fear of missing out

one of the most intriguing and vexing aspects of the FB related activity is a realisation of just how quickly the platform has become affectively effective: it draws me in, it wants me to spend time, to look at my things, at those of my friends. it even is successful in me seeking likes, affective approval, engagement and in my retrospective questioning if i misstepped, misjudged, transgressed unduly.

below is a post that i drafted but never posted after i one tried to exit the platform (rather unsuccessfully) in mid-March:

[undated, possibly first week of April]
[unposted]

[I was reading a post about grief on E.’s timeline: it was about shipwrecks, the love that preceeded each shipwreck and the scars they will leave. it had something also about the 100ft waves that engulf you, that turn 80ft waves, that become more infrequent, that you may discern at a distance about to engulf you.
so, that Friday i saw such a wave coming ahead. it gave me about 12 hours notice. i told A. how i felt tender and triggered again. about the usual stuff. about stuff that i wanted to write about and yet wasn’t sure what the form of writing about was going to be and what site was there to be for writing about.
… a series of observations of the theme of sexual violence that I omit here … These three threads mingled with three incidences in my own life, when I was 17, 27 and 36. They seek attention, if not resolution. And I wasn’t trusting myself in how I was using my timeline or FB more generally at that moment in time.

So I departed, alongside no caffeine, no cigarettes and no food. I had the sense that no FB and no nicotine would be the hardest, but strangely, the cigarettes didn’t concern me, the absence of caffeine gave me a headache a couple of times over the week that I was fasting, a little breakfast tea took care of it. What however didn’t work at all was the FB absence, by Monday morning I was missing the sticker packs, I was missing the photos going back and forth in one conversation. By Tuesday I was beginning to realise that so much of my current work meshes with my FB timeline and my saved links, that I went to look things up. Furthermore, I had on the way to a different office encountered the homeless person who was just found dead outside one of the shop windows; it was one of the few deaths I have come into contact with unexpectedly and it threw the overwhelm that the FB feed sometimes presents me with right next to my body walking through town, so the FB absence seemed to not serve that purpose of distance and detachment.

So, rather than a week or two, I managed to stay away for 36 hours only; FB was still sending me emails over stuff that it was wanting me to look at, notably messages. It was continously stoking my anxiety over missing out, being out of reach. It was curious to see how effectively it would feed that, and I realise that while addiction isn’t too often an issue for me, this was quite hard, harder than I thought. And nonetheless, those 36 hours were long enough for me not too feel those waves crushing down on me quite so hard; by the time I was starting to look at FB again, without posting, the need to expose and proclaim had passed somewhat too. I hadn’t sat down to write about the 3×3 of above in a different format yet.]
<< not posted.

at some point in June FB introduces a new feature in its gamification of posting (as it has done for some time about checking in, reviewing page content etc.), it now congratulated me that i had posted 88 continuous days, and: that my friends were responding. I got mortified: what? had I posted every single day since that 36 hrs departure? it took me about another week for reaching a day of not posting.

 

Assignment 5 : the line

This post contains

a/ a link to the assignment work
b/ a discussion of the statement, theme, purpose and methodology of the work
c/ the reflection on the assessment criteria (updating previous reflections for Assignment 4)

the line

the final work for assignment five is this website, consisting of 35 video clips and a series of static pages which provide statement, references, and methodology of the project.

https://the———————–line.tumblr.com/

 

statement, theme, purpose and methodology

1/ the line

He told me to draw a line, to stick to the line. Make transparent what is here and what is beyond.
I could hear in his voice that this division works for him.
It is never one that I would have much confidence nor trust in.
Yes, if this is about boundaries, then let me pick the line carefully, and in abiding by it, let me move – similarly carefully – across my own boundary.

 

2/ no shadow secrets

this work is not about my secrets

it is, possibly, about other people’s secrets
I sometimes think that these, other people’s secrets, are mine
this can confuse
it can be violent

are secrets like shadows
do they show in bright light
do they show at night
do they move

a grey sky does not cast a single shadow
all the same, my shadow remains

 

Statement one in fact is a note taken after the tutorial with my module tutor when we explored the boundaries of this work, i.e., what would need to be named, how, in what ways; and thus also, what would remain implicit, hidden, denied. Statement two was an early piece of writing about this work, at a point when I still called the work no | shadow | secrets. It alludes to the confusion over what was at stake in a series of images that I found myself collecting during the autumn and winter past. It also alluded to the situatedness of these images to auto-biographical events, confusions over these events and a seeking of finding a ground for this kind of work to stand on. Such ground was pursued rather literally: many of the early images would feature my feet as well as the shadows that I caught myself casting in a number of urban street crossing. This formed the first research thread for the work: a body of work around Andy Warhol’s Shadow screenprints that I encountered in Manchester’s Whitworth Gallery in mid-December. They conjoined with a series of evening and nighttime walks along two routes, one very familiar to me in Glasgow’s West End, the other, very unfamiliar to me along Oxford Road in Manchester and into Rushholme, where I had booked a hotel room for a single night en route to my parents in Northern Germany the next day. Over the following months I revisited these two routes as well as two specific sites, Partick Cross and the central flagpole in Whitworth Park, just outside the Gallery where I had encountered the screenprints. These sites and routes became the means by which I investigated my presences in urban spaces and which over time also were juxtaposed with a similar investigation in an online format, Facebook’s timeline and feed. In both online/offline settings I explored issues around boundary constructions, familiarity, visibility, absence, transgression and questions over self, presence and desire, along a present threat of violence.

Along with the production of a series of lens-based materials (in moving image, phone camera as well as MF analogue form), these sites and movements were investigated in text, mostly written (across a series of registers: personal messages, small-public posts, large public posts, personal offline journaling). These written materials were combined with earlier journal notes from myself about events that took place in Berlin between 2008 and 2009 as well as with extensive readings of other writers who used formats of autobiographic fiction writing, theory fiction, performance and the confessional. Writers here were in particular Chris Krauss, Sophie Calle and Bhanu Kapil.

These written materials also feature a series of others, my friends, confidantes, imagined others who in various ways, sometimes closely, sometimes at a distance took part of the project and who informed both visual and written materials. These written materials are in themselves thus a body of artistic work that explores the limits of working with personal subject matter, rendering this subject matter performative, fictitious, introducing doubt over veracity while ringing true, alluding to a series of affective moments and encounters that explore, radiate outwards and attempt a resonance – within this online space, within and across the urban spaces, within the reader, the passerby.

Purposefully, the material can be encountered in different sequences, paths, routes. The material, even though heavily edited down, is still excessive: it exceeds its own boundaries in more than one sense: the videos auto-loop so if left on, the voices will overlay each other, engage, obscure each other. It is unlikely that someone will listen to all files in succession (which succession?), so each encounter is likely to produce a different distributed narrative and a different sense of the images that go along such narrative.

The extent to which this work concerns Digital Identities, the overall theme of the concluding final assignments of DIC is at once immediate and at a distance:

It is at a distance since the body of work is visually, on its surface, but also in its means of production, concerned with urban spaces, it is a form of street photography, however one which largely omits people from the frame of the camera. It is furthermore produced in part with an analogue medium-format camera. At the same time, however, the conceptual concern being one about boundaries, boundedness, visibility, secrecy and desire is one that at once retraces questsions over contemporary subjecthood – which of course is a subjecthood that is intrinsically linked, or perhaps more accurately: constituted through a networked set of social relations, a networked sense of self (often media-rich, contextualized and hyperlinked). Furthermore, the second immediate concern of this work with digital identities lies in its mode of circulation, and even further: production. Here, I am particularly thinking about the textual material, but also the images: all that is contained in this project has existed in public before: on my Facebook timeline, thus also other people’s feeds, in private messenger chats. In this sense, it explores in draft and in practice questions over boundedness, veracity, performativity in the very medium in which digital identities circulate today.

For the purpose of this project, the page ‘methodology’ collates those video clips which in particular speak to and explicate these concerns over how the work is constituted through a notion of digital identity and publicness.

Reflection on the assessment criteria

– I have taken the original reflection from Assignment four and amended (deleted/ added in blue)

Demonstration of technical and visual skills (35%)

This is the most extensive and expansive body of work presented for this module so far. It developed over a series of months and started initially with fairly simple camera sketches and movement studies (phone camera). It developed from there as a continually expanding set of images and themes, revisited and refined with both the phone camera as well as then translated into MF analogue format. There are primarily two types of images: movement studies and stand-alone individually composed stills. The latter are in part part of small independent series (e.g. #aroseisaroseisaroseisarose; gallery shadows/ reflections, or from a series of winter lights decoration in the North German countryside); others are taken along familiar routes and refined over a series of walks and honing in on composition, the role of a variety of lights, and the presence of shadow shapes. The day-time images were devised after a study visit in an unknown location (Manchester, around the University) and then revisited with different camera and a more refined research agenda. The majority of the images were taken during Winter, a final site visit in May added a few daytime, Spring images to the set. These in turn serve to heighten the evening/nighttime mood of the majority of the images.

Quality of outcome (20%)

As with a set of analogue images that I developed alongside the Critical Essay (These Summer Images, a selection of which was presented to the OCA study group in August 2016), this project developed out of a practice of taking photos, reflecting and refining these over an extended period of time until a coherent theme and purpose for the project had become clear. In doing so, I am building both on my experience on pursuing visual interests around lens-based formats: notably the availability of a high quality camera phone and the ability to operate within the specific requirements of a MF analogue camera. Pursuing these two route at the same time allowed me to bridge digital and analogue in a form that I initially explored in the Critical Essay but also which is resonant of my exploration of online digital identities (moving online and offline with material posted and explored within various boundaries of a Facebook timeline). Choosing the presentation format as a wall full of small scale prints that meander, conjoin and develop off of each other is a format that chimes well for these concerns: expansiveness, excess, cheap print (as in posting small size images on FB, often to be viewed on handheld devices). The forms in which I want to discuss the content of the project are still in draft form (and, due to the nature of the project) also subject to some form of veiling or boundary drawing. I hope to resolve these for the final form of the project. The final selection of form for this project changed significantly from Assignment 4 as well as the initial tutor feedback (mainly due to a discussion at the OCASA-funded study day in early May): I chose to narrow down the number of images from >100 to 35, and, in order to articulate the role of written/spoken material, present these as single video clips of a still image with an audio narration. Each clip exists independently from each other, can be accessed on a dedicated website in any order (a similar form of openness of the material as the wall installation initially allowed for). This final form however allows for a stronger framing of the images without forcing the reader to also read the textual material. Choosing such web-based presentation form also fully embeds the material within its original form of circulation in a social media feed: here, as before with the materials, the audience would encounter the material on an individual basis (either through a handheld device, the Tumblr app or on a larger laptop/desk-based computer screen; ideally with headphones); this in turn also articulates some of the themes in the work that are concerned with intimacy, proximity, disclosure, the confessional and the performative, its veiling and punctual reveal.

Demonstration of creativity (25%)

The working process of creating and reflecting and refining a large series of work required a systematic going back and forth between materials as well as also trusting in my ability to do so, not to lose a sense of overview or purpose as well as being able to select the most successful images. That these work in a variety of groupings within the large set speaks to me to the success of that approach; the format of the images supports this and while I am proposing the main form of presentation to be a wall installation, I have given some initial thought to other formats and would like to explore these further still for the second part of the project. I have decided, as part of Assignment five for the final form to be a website containing a series of video clips and a few static pages which situate the statement of the work, its references and its methodology. In its final form, this lens-based project has moved to integrate other media forms: notably video as well as an exploration of using spoken word (across a series of registers, such as transcribing messenger messeges, narrating fiction, discussing theory, exploring Facebook functionality); in doing so, I believe that I have found a form that speaks robust and clearly to the material (in image and text) as well as the themes contained within this form.

Context (20%)

Different to Assignment 1, this assignment is largely built out of the material that I was collecting and its subsequent reflection, refinement and repositioning. The sources that inspired me to pursue and explore (as well as dismiss, notably the angle on secrets) the emerging themes and their refinement are varied across the visual arts and constitute in my mind a strong and successful frame of reference for this project while noone dominates the work in such a way that this is a work in the spirit of artist x, or similar. I am aware that my blog has not reflected a large part of the exercises for this assignment and while I have explored the themes (notably Foucault’s work on the Panopticon but also his work on sexuality; and its relationship to more psychoanalytical work on desire; and the shaping of these by algorithms), these haven’t been written up yet.

At the beginning of Assignment 5, I explored a number of photo books in terms of their potential to provide a non-linear form of storytelling, these will be useful for future work and in some way have also informed my choice for the final format of this work. In its current form, I have the sense that this work situates itself in some of the work that explores circles of friendship, their desires, questions over boundary and excess, the veiling of these and seeks to articulate these in a non-linear form. The most obvious work that does come to mind (albeit in a rather different set of images) is Nan Goldin’s Ballad of Sexual Dependency and its early life as an everchanging slideshow, shown to her friends.

The sex was over (Benny Nemerofsky Ramsay 2014)

[posted as this on FB, 3/7/2017, 17:24pm to Friends – Acquaintances]

Social work training 9/6/2017
Sanctions
.
[no further entry]
.
.
2/7/2017
The things we learn in the shadows
blindfold as fetish
Benny’s lover’s legs. His longing for these legs.
‘Do you remember who I am?’
‘You were editing a video of mine.’
‘Yes, I told you that I have been watching you for weeks before we first met in that bathroom, alone, blindfolded.’
.
.
‘We have been cruising each other for many years’.

[this marks the last contextual piece for the line. in fact, it marks an opening and designates the line as a transitional piece, not just between the Cross and the Grasses but to an elsewhere]
.
[a key element of this piece below is not part of this post, so let me tell you about it: the audio/visual below plays in a darkened room, there are about 15 people sitting in various places in the room; they have watched, listened to 90 mins of a dialogue, performance, movement between Liz Rosenfeld and Benny Nemerofsky Ramsay talking about their private and professional cruising of gay male spaces; the conversation ends with The sex is over, and features a single male dancer, who in this case is self-conscious ‘I am not a dancer’, but nonetheless moves between us and the beat for the duration of the a/v]

 

Assignment 4: no | shadow | secrets

[this is the draft of the extended project which will be resolved as Assignment 5. As some of its content is still in process, I have sent a personal note directly to my tutor, which I will leave out here for the time being].

I am including the draft statement, a short summary on contextual influences, an outline of what I still see as work to be done, the reflection on the assessment criteria (see further down) as well as the following image files:

  • contact sheets for the currently considered full set of images
  • a series of full-size jpgs of both digital phone camera and MF analogue images
  • a couple of installation setups for how I see the work as being presented.

Contact sheets

(of the main section with image title; the two static sites – Whitworth Grasses and Partick Cross as layout suggestion):

A sample of printed images

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 Installation views (from eventual left to right: Partick Cross, Main section, Whitworth Grasses)

IMG_20170330_153616IMG_20170330_124432IMG_20170217_144539

Draft statement

no | shadow | secrets (working title) presents as a sprawling, extending and expanding body of work of small-scale prints. It also is excessive: there is no space for all of the prints, so some remain, as a cache, to the side of it. It is indeterminate in a sense as it is installed on a wall space: the shapes and patterns of the prints can be recombined, leading to varied associations that the means of juxtaposition, proximity and distance between the various images make with each other. Nonetheless, the themes remain: it is about movement, about iteration and variation (maybe even about a Deleuzian repetition and difference), it is about an investigation of shadow shapes in various locations. Many images are of night-time movements: often on foot, along known urban routes, sometimes through car or train windows. The people that inform these images are referenced, none of them is visible (even though they may be present just outside the frame). Talking about the frame, the excessive abundance of no | shadow | secrets at the same time marks boundaries and edges: as subject matter, e.g. the roadworks along a long stretch of Oxford Road, but even more so of the photographic frame: with all its visibility, each image alludes simultaneously to what is left off, left out. The framing device and orientation of the environmental images, taken on both a digital phone as well as a medium format film camera, defy expectations of landscape vistas once these are rotated or cropped to a portrait orientation or indeed enframed by an egalitarian square (cf Fay Godwin). And still, and still: the (my) shadow remains, even if only moving through fleetingly; sometimes too, my feet.

This series is also attempting to translate experiences of online digital interactions (notably through a facebook feed and timeline, bounded to different privacy settings) into urban space. It traces and replicates its boundaries, its excess and abundance, its fleetingness, a number of transgressions, some disregard, some posing and posturing. Similarly, the production value of the images is on one level that of digital phone camera images, as jpgs often rather aggressively post-processed in camera which mingle with more considered, slower and carefully shot, selected and edited medium format analogue images.

Contextual influences:

Fay Godwin: square format for landscape photography
Vivian Sassen: UMBRA (shadows and book format with hiddne pockets); also interdisciplinary panel
Andy Warhol: Shadow series (notably those with diamond dust)
Ed Krasinski: Intervention in the Tate Liverpool show: a blue band linking disparate elements within a room; also: the shadows casts by mobiles
Tracy Emin’s My Bed
Hieronymus Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights
Calle, Goldin, Akerman as per Critical Essay

What is missing/ remains to be done:

  • decide on final set and post-process (notably MF images)
  • how to write about this? I would like to write a statement which takes the form of a short theory fiction piece (possibly moving along some of the images)
  • a screen print in 6×4 (possibly a simpler one than the shadows + movement blur in the one currently employed)
  • are there other forms of display/ installation? E.g., a book format, or a box?
  • elaborate the resonance of this vis-a-vis digital identities further, notably in relation to use of FB boundaries, publicness and privacy (but also: overwhelm, movement, non-linearity)

Reflection on Assessment criteria reflection

Demonstration of technical and visual skills (35%)

This is the most extensive and expansive body of work presented for this module so far. It developed over a series of months and started initially with fairly simple camera sketches and movement studies (phone camera). It developed from there as a continually expanding set of images and themes, revisited and refined with both the phone camera as well as then translated into MF analogue format. There are primarily two types of images: movement studies and stand-alone individually composed stills. The latter are in part part of small independent series (e.g. #aroseisaroseisaroseisarose; gallery shadows/ reflections, or from a series of winter lights decoration in the North German countryside); others are taken along familiar routes and refined over a series of walks and honing in on composition, the role of a variety of lights, and the presence of shadow shapes. The day-time images were devised after a study visit in an unknown location (Manchester, around the University) and then revisited with different camera and a more refined research agenda.

Quality of outcome (20%)

As with a set of analogue images that I developed alongside the Critical Essay (These Summer Images, a selection of which was presented to the OCA study group in August 2016), this project developed out of a practice of taking photos, reflecting and refining these over an extended period of time until a coherent theme and purpose for the project had become clear. In doing so, I am building both on my experience on pursuing visual interests around lens-based formats: notably the availability of a high quality camera phone and the ability to operate within the specific requirements of a MF analogue camera. Pursuing these two route at the same time allowed me to bridge digital and analogue in a form that I initially explored in the Critical Essay but also which is resonant of my exploration of online digital identities (moving online and offline with material posted and explored within various boundaries of a Facebook timeline). Choosing the presentation format as a wall full of small scale prints that meander, conjoin and develop off of each other is a format that chimes well for these concerns: expansiveness, excess, cheap print (as in posting small size images on FB, often to be viewed on handheld devices). The forms in which I want to discuss the content of the project are still in draft form (and, due to the nature of the project) also subject to some form of veiling or boundary drawing. I hope to resolve these for the final form of the project.

Demonstration of creativity (25%)

The working process of creating and reflecting and refining a large series of work required a systematic going back and forth between materials as well as also trusting in my ability to do so, not to lose a sense of overview or purpose as well as being able to select the most successful images. That these work in a variety of groupings within the large set speaks to me to the success of that approach; the format of the images supports this and while I am proposing the main form of presentation to be a wall installation, I have given some initial thought to other formats and would like to explore these further still for the second part of the project

Context (20%)

Different to Assignment 1, this assignment is largely built out of the material that I was collecting and its subsequent reflection, refinement and repositioning. The sources that inspired me to pursue and explore (as well as dismiss, notably the angle on secrets) the emerging themes and their refinement are varied across the visual arts and constitute in my mind a strong and successful frame of reference for this project while noone dominates the work in such a way that this is a work in the spirit of artist x, or similar. I am aware that my blog has not reflected a large part of the exercises for this assignment and while I have explored the themes (notably Foucault’s work on the Panopticon but also his work on sexuality; and its relationship to more psychoanalytical work on desire; and the shaping of these by algorithms), these haven’t been written up yet.

Mark Wallinger Mark (Fruitmarket Gallery)

These are my notes from the OCA study visit to the exhibition (there is also a second site, DCA where more of his id paintings are shown, I will visit it this coming Monday, and will add the notes to this post)

  • automatic drawing, working simultaneously or, as per exhibition notes: one hand copies the other (one a presentation, the other a representation)
  • the effect of narrow constraints on a series: both I paintings and Id paitings are black acrylic on canvas, the former consisting of various forms/ type in which the letter ‘I’ can be written; the latter the same process throughout
    >> working in series, working fast, exploring what is in it
  • the I paintings as self portrait but very effectively questioning the I of the viewer: this is not about Wallinger but about the audience (relationship author/subject/viewer)
  • the I paintings as a transitional route that leads to the Id paintings as a fully resolved form
  • the scale of the Id paintings is twice his height (the canvas flipped round to paint the other half) and extends to his arm width; the I paintings are also related to his body height (I think the large ones are his body height).
  • Sleeper (2004): encaged, dangerous, lonely, filmed and viewed from the outside. It took him a few years to negotiate access to the Neue Nationalgallerie; he was living in Berlin at the time and felt pretty isolated. Note also: the bear as city symbol of marketing and image campaigns; sleeper as not activated terrorist cell.
  • I was and are really taken with the sense of quite and persisten interrogation and questioning in his work: the id paintings are stunning and when placed next to Yves Klein’s Anthropometry really exposes so much further the misogyny of the latter, while at the same time allow us to delve quite deep into sense of self, the subconscious and processes and actions in which these are constituted through the body and movement.

I am Innocent (2010) [wordpress doesn’t allow the upload of my own video, but here is another one):

  • really liking this for the effect of surface/ front only: the image is mirrored but with each rotation I expect to be able to see ‘behind’, that expectation is refuted every single time
  • he stares and stares
  • again, a title which is literally true (this is Velazquez’ painting of Pope Innocent) and probably a lie, given the subversiveness of the original painting and its animated copy.

 

According to Mark, the chair and vanishing point installation not only features chairs that my grandparents had, it also works, when you walk around, as a rather stunning refocusing of lines of sight (and power?) > it became something entirely different when I stood underneath the vanishing point, looking across the many varied chairs.

I will need to find out more about Orrery, a four-channel video installation of an oak tree across the seasons.

A4: site 1 trial sets

I have started to narrow down my selection for the assignment sets.

I find I am fairly slow working through this material, and for the past 10 days I have not looked at the images but instead worked with my notes, some other textual materials and begun to settle on ways in which text (what form? what register? what content) can accompany this material in its current form. I found this way of working was useful, even though it slowed me down beyond my current submission date.

So, tonight, I returned to the Lightroom sets and begun working through it. While there is a vast amount of source images, I don’t necessarily anticipate the various segments to include a large number each.

So, this is the site which chronologically started the series: Partick Cross and observations of my (divergent) shadows while waiting for the traffic light. This led to a series of movement studies (both in video and burst mode).

The boundedness on a sheet is arbitrary for this blog post: I see them sitting on a wall (and leading on and out of the other segments).

This is a selection of the images, in slightly different arrangments:

[I am conscious that my discussion of this project is rather piecemeal, I will likely have to go back to re-articulate, combine some of the research stage posts, yet for the time being it seems fitting to me]

Partick x trial sheet 1
Partick Cross arrangement 1
Partick x trial sheet 2
Partick Cross arrangement 2