This post updates on the revisions of Assignment 1: Office at Night.
[UPDATED 8 September 2017 with decision on final form, see end of this post]
I now concluded the second round of image making for the Office at Night.
The first one consisted of meeting a colleague in her office, us jointly taking images while discussing a series of questions over office, work, night, desire. I then developed the images (made on iphone and Minox 35 mm film camera) to form both the manual and digital montages of assignment 1.
In my first submission I was deliberate as to the provisional status of the images: while impermanence was a deliberate aspect of the manual montages, which were just temporarily arranged in my notebook, while working in the coffee shop, it nonetheless wasn’t a formal resolution for this assignment yet.
During the first part of the course I also experimented with my own bedroom/office as a workspace that exceeds its boundaries. These images formed project Project 1_2: through a digital lens.
The main point of critique of the tutor report concerned the aesthetic qualities of the images: they did not engage, arrest, invite to concern oneself more with them:
You practice is very well informed, contextually, but to be honest, I don’t find that the formal outcome of either these approaches actually have aesthetic qualities that match their intellectual underpinning. Forgive me if this sounds trite or pedestrian, but my view is that artwork – in all forms – is presented to be engaged with, and it needs to be aesthetically enticing to do so effectively. I think this is particularly the case with your ‘manual montages’ – I think one needs to always ask the frank question, of whether anyone else is actually going to want to engage with a piece of one’s work.
— as they originated in a fleeting process and formed a documented record, I didn’t mind this criticism too much and found it fair. It also, over the following 18 months led to much investigation, reflection as to what I consider the underpinnings of my artistic practice, what role what kind of aesthetic plays in this and how to work towards resolutions that address both the the conceptual concerns and a visual realisations that matches these.
My immediate line of thought for this was three-fold:
a. to produce a series of considered still set up far more formally, possibly photographed on film again (and pursuing a few months later the acquisition of a medium-format camera) to allow for a -reembedding back into a slowed down, quietened context.
b. to investigate whether the stills and montages could themselves become part of my main working process, i.e. become the material that constitutes (or: re-constitutes) a notebook. I conducted a series of first printing experiments in disassembled journals to see if this was feasible, but stopped at this point.
c. to engage my interview partner in examining and rearranging the earlier images together to then document this second part in photography again.
In Summer 2016 I sent a single-use camera to another colleague and invited her to document, (inspired by the short set of pointers that I already used for the first conversation) to record anything around the theme, while I would do something similar for my own office at night, again also on a 35mm camera (though not single use but with fairly high-quality lens and a 3200 ISO film).
We then met again (10 months later), in her office/ bedroom and looked at the images, talked about the process, any themes arising while setting up over the course of a couple of hours and with a tripod and the medium-format camera (Kodak Ektar 100, i.e. saturated slow film) a series of stills, some of these featuring ourselves also. I choose to work with available light for this and fairly slow shutter speeds to make use of the narrow DoF of the camera.
On the basis of this second process, I can now envisage a series of revisions for the initial assignment:
- the submission of a single A3 print that consists of the diptych in my own bedroom/ office at night
- a series of images that are referencing the different offices, in which this project has been located:
— the main question for this approach: single images? combined images for Office at Night (A), and my own office, plus the single digital montage for the original Office at Night (H)?
- an artist book in the form of a reassembled notebook, with some printed pages, some text, empty pages and a set of the original source images to invite the viewer/reader to perform their own manual montages in this? [no marquette of this yet, but will reinsert this]
— what role do the more formal montages play in this notebook? e.g., do they form a cover or back image, are they included as a print also?
— is there a book per office? i.e. like a potential series?
— is there scope to turn this into multiples? [e.g. by photocopying, inkjet printing, risograph or indeed screenprinting?This is the type of notebook I use, it is stitched and I in the past already disassembled them and rebound in different forms. It is slightly too large for the pages to go through my inkjet printer but the thinness of the paper is as such not a problem for the printer.
It also contains a pouch in the back, which could easily take a series of 6×4 prints.
Final decision on format
Following further discussion and reflection, I arrived at the decision to print single images, fairly large (such as 10×10, or above; though 10×10 is possibly the print size limit for assessment submission – which I will need to check). These will be the following six images:
[I need to upload the current diptych as two single images]