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

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

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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.