Conclusions

Dear Jesse,

— this email outlines and points to the relevant blog posts concerning the revisions for the previous assignments and thus concludes the module.
I am cc’ing OCA Enquiries (as per your suggestions) into this as confirmation of having concluded the module within the timeframe.

The main changes to discuss in our tutorial concern A1 – Office at Night and A2 – Der Grund.

For A3, the essay I will present a version reworked on the basis of our discussion, notably writing through the final section which is currently only presented in bullet point form (due to the word limit).

For A4/5, please see the discussion on the previous tutorial as to technical and presentational revisions (mainly: moving to a dedicated site which allows fuller control over uploaded videos; but also considering to edit the selections of videos down.).

For A1 I have written (and now updated) a blog post which details a further iteration of the original participatory methodology of the project and now includes a repositioning of the initial prints in the participants workspace (i.e. a take on the manual collage). Please see post here: https://digitalimageandculturegh.wordpress.com/2017/07/31/office-at-night-2-material-and-possibly-outcomes-a1-office-at-night-revisions/

For A2 I took a series of additional photographs, following our tutorial and have re-edited the set of images and intend to realise it as an actual print album (as family album) rather than an online format. Please see post here: https://digitalimageandculturegh.wordpress.com/2017/09/05/der-grund-2-revisions-to-assignment-2/

 

All best,
Gesa

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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.

 

Analog adventures… the faulty ones

2016_12_contact sheet_lev

 

 

I have now scanned the recently exposed films, talked to the technician and while the Jobo did not subsequently replicate the fault, it would have been either the lack of heating up or also a currently not well-coordinated process for mixing chemicals.

All films are severely underexposed. Several also have severe colour shifts; in one it looks as if for part of the film the colour information is complete absent. A couple of films were fairly straightforwardly adjusted by adding exposure in PS, for other I am needing to figure out other processes of trying to retrieve them. (They are also in the main fairly dusty but the one on which I used an airgun is clean, so its not dust acquired in the drying process).

The worst film (film 2 below) is somehow luckily also the film that in retrospect doesn’t interest me all that much, the film with images of a current project strand relating to House is possibly fairly salvable (film 1); I have a couple of strong images on another film that turned out ok (if the graininess gained by the underexposure is disregarded).

I found this site that is useful for pinpointing faults from an examination of the negatives.

Screen Shot 2016-05-20 at 18.09.16.png

This is the description of what the scans look like. I will need to use a loupe to investigate the neg itself.

I am also figuring out a process of transferring to digital. The workshop has an A3 Epson flatbed scanner as well as a Hasselblad drum scanner. I had started to scan all of one 135 into the drum scanner, it took ages and it is also completely over the top for the kind of images that I am producing. So my proposed process is the following:

Either process in workshop or in professional lab

Scan all strips of one film at once at 300 dpi in Epson scanner

  • adjust for levels there and then
  • save original and adjusted
  • import both into Lr and produce one print out: this is your contact sheet

Then decide which images warrant high quality drum scan and proceed with these.

 

The 300dpi contact sheet produces good enough images for web uses and small prints.

These are some of the contact sheets:

(first the unadjusted scan, then PS adjustments)

 

film 1:

2016_15_contact sheet

2016_15_contact sheet_exp+lev

film 2:

2016_09_contact sheet

2016_09_contact sheet_part 1 lev2016_09_contact sheet_part 2 lev + col bal

This in contrast is one of the first films, properly developed:

2016_07_contact sheet_lev

 

Being able to actually see what was on the underexposed films in some sense settled my upset: I realise that many of these images are okay but not earth-shattering. The ones with the curtains are the most precious ones but I also think that I can rescue them sufficiently (and I have two more rolls to be exposed though this was the last and most experimental roll, also using a wide-angle lens).

This process was also useful in enquiring into the nature of my attachment to these images, the latent image as well as the processes involved to safe, recover and make-up for loss in this process. There may also be something in there in how the materiality of the faulty negs can be used purposefully for suitable contexts.

risk and attachment (adventures in analog)

Much of my photography over the past few months involved getting to grips with my new used medium format camera, a light meter and excursions into processing and moving analog to digital (assignment 1: Office at Night was the first project to use a film camera).

Last week I begun to process the film in the local community workshop space. It didn’t go to plan. These facebook posts are an account of risk, attachment and memory in my photography. The events have been really useful in helping me figure out where attachment lies in the images, what a processing flaw may also tell me then about ‘faulty memory’ and the truth claims within a photograph. There is also something in here about ephemerality of the images that I am interested in taking: I was figuring out the ease or lack thereof for restaging, retaking some of these images and realise that the easiest one to re-do involves a 12-months wait until the trees are about to burst again, and hoping that there will be sunny weather during that time.

Gesa Helms 12 May at 19:47 ·

I am discovering that processing my own films is a fairly high risk strategy. After closing the door behind myself and standing in the most complete darkness for the second time ever, and contemplating that well-known fear of the dark and its very temptation, I realise that I must not switch on the light. I also realise that I may not be able to load the film, one after the other, onto the spiral. What if the two films aren’t properly separated, what if my fingertips are greasy, what if I don’t seal the tub properly. I am working calmly until someone starts to knock: are you alright. Yes. Ten minutes later, another knock. Are you alright? Yes I am, and somehow the people outside the dark seem concerned. Maybe I ought not to be alright? The clip disappears. And why do I keep thinking that the film unrolls off the spiral rather than onto it? I had carefully chosen which films to process first: neither California nor Curtains in their entirety, so that if something were to go wrong, I wouldn’t lose all of the images. As I keep working I am thinking back to the images that remain hidden for the time being and that I am winding onto the spiral.

Once I finish I return to the workshop. Someone starts to talk to me, and he keeps talking all the time until I leave another 30+ minutes later. I take him to be the technician whom I haven’t met yet and he is to usher me along as I seem to not know what I am doing. He panics once the beautiful German machine that is to process C41 starts processing straightaway without heating up first, and I realise that there is an entirely new strand of risk coming in the way of images… he keeps talking and I am trying to assess whether this new risk means just a bit of extra time or the loss of four films. Remembering that my hands had been warm at some point, we eventually reconstruct that the chemistry was still so warm as it was freshly mixed for me that Yobo didn’t need further heat.
I learn a lot about the compact travel arrangements of photo agencies in the mid-1980s which would pack such a machine onto their photo assignments (the most compact film processing machine every produced); about the layout and aerial photography of Sennelager, and that this former British army camp is in fact near Paderborn (I heard the name so often when men would tell me that they were in Germany too, but never established where exactly it actually was).
In the end, I have nicely aftershaved four rolls of film drying and taking colour. They have images on them as I can see.

I walk back home through the park and it looks entirely different to the days when I hung out there just 2.5 weeks ago: no more shadow shapes and the skyline is completely different. Just as well that risk remained a statistic for today.

This latency thing is utterly fascinating. It intrigues me almost more than the images. It meshes with memory in a most curious manner.

_____

Risk did manifest itself in more than statistic and I now have a set of what looks like seriously underdeveloped images. Curtains will have turned black, Thomas’s and my face will be absent against a dark sky, and shadows on the pavement in full sun a kind of apocalypse pre-told. It looks like a faulty temperature gauge, and my trust in Vorsprung durch Technik misplaced (or perhaps in its maintenance routine). One response may be to take photos I do not care about. But there will possibly be other responses too. Time is enforcing itself again and it will be Tuesday before the scanner will show me the actual nature of what befell my images. Just as well I didn’t load the remaining two rolls, then all curtains would have been blackened. And, hello, trusted snappy shit who haven’t scratched any of my negs before.
I do not want to take images that I don’t care about. But that means there’s this thing about attachment again.

Okay… dearest four film rolls… I guess he was NOT the technician, and it possibly wasn’t the temperature gauge but the excess water in the bottom of the tank. His instructions on when to close the valve and to run another cleaning cycle with a closed valve were opposite to the ones I was given 40 mins earlier by one whom I know to be a technician and which resonated with the instructions on the wall…

I remember thinking that some tech seems to have a lot of leeway, and how exciting that was. I think it may, but it also has effects (currently borne by myself as to working out whether ephemerality of images that I care for is really what I should be focusing on).

I may have experienced mansplaining and I mistook it. That hasn’t happened very often. But then, when I noticed he wasn’t interested that much in what I was contributing to what I thought was a conversation, I could have attended to that misreading a little more, but in any case: the valve was closed at that point and it wouldn’t have made any difference to the excess dilution of the developer.

There may be a performative story in here.

 

Reflections on A2: Der Grund

Demonstration of technical and visual skills (35%) – materials, techniques, observational skills, visual awareness, design and compositional skills.
Working across original, scan, printout and on-screen: the images for this section are diverse: the main body produced for this assignment consists of formally composed, fairly abstract photographs (partial self-portraiture) of my feet on a variety of grounds (variations of my bed, blanket, boxes), taken with different lenses (though primarily a short telelens) on Lumix G and digitally post-processed. Other images are found family album images (either from my own family or purchased online); these are rephotographed as objects or scanned.
The presentation of the material is, as per assignment laid out in a bookform, digitally, in doublespreads. The sequencing is unfolding across the book: opening out from a series of motion-blurred images to gain a focus on absent feet, a standing in of these feet, and a juxtaposition of family album images and response, before moving out of view again. The majority of images are full page single images, occasionally interspersed with a blank page. A few doublespreads are more complexly composed by repeating or creating a tension between past and present (source/response) images.
I was intent on creating a contemporary response to the family album image and wanted to do so with the digital camera and a rather considered and formal aesthetic layout and composition, dominated by colour fields, limited objects and clear lines within the image.
I worked with natural light and a reflector. I worked with an A mode on the images and autofocus and the former lead to different hues in the tones of the fabric surfaces, which wasn’t ideal and meant careful Lr adjustments of these in post-processing. With the composition being fairly coherent across the images, the autofocus mode was a good way of ensuring focus on my feet, for further shoots in this manner, I would set manual aperture/speed and work with auto-focus or a rope/stand-in to measure distance.

Quality of outcome (20%) – content, application of knowledge, presentation of work in a coherent manner, discernment, conceptualisation of thoughts, communication of ideas.
This assignment took in a rather different form of research to A1: it was working with the course materials, exploring different approaches to curating and working with archives; notably taking inspiration from Joachim Schmid, a critical engagement of Kessels’ work and then also Trish Morrissey and Hans Eijkelboom: as providing a stand-in, a trickster figure appearing in the other families to pretend to be father or mother roles. This role of camouflage added some form of lightness to an otherwise potentially heavy way of dealing with being the granddaughter of NS officers and soldiers. The formal composition of my own self-portraiture in tone was however very different to both Morrissey and Eijkelboom’s work.
The statement for the project leads into a family narrative that positions myself as author within a web of familial relations and obligations; it is in nature story-like and confessional and is based on research into the working modes of Sophie Calle and also the writer Chris Kraus: working with personal material, subverting it, adding oblique angles and remaining primarily performative while seemingly confessing. As such, I have felt able to position the diverse material in a personal, biographical field while also creating a distance to my personal live. The statement also closes with the questions that remain for me – as for many of my generation and the previous one – as to the incomprehensibility of the NS and Holocaust (despite having read and discussed so much about it) in the context of having only known these men and women as (often very loving) grandparents.
Trish Morrissey’s work Front is discussed as her acting as an imposter but also as a trickster: of allowing to intervene both seriously and committed (e.g. by naming the women she stands in for in the title of her works) and playful (taking on different roles, guises in these images); I found a resonance with this work more so than possibly others around the family album: to be able to be light-hearted and with a heavy heart at the same time: to cut across different emotional registers with a body of work and I feel that I have managed to achieve this in this project.

Demonstration of creativity (25%) – imagination, experimentation, invention, development of a personal voice.
With this series I had developed a brief and compositional sketches prior to taking the photos and proceeded to explore different formal setups. Each shoot was then processed and developed further in relation to the results and further insights the images yielded. Taking them off the picture plane and rephotographing them was one avenue I pursued: on the basis of the manual montages in A1, the found photos were rephotographed and included; the drawings over, angling and cutting out of the feet was explored but abandoned as it took me into a different reaction; I also pursued this with digital montages which I also did not include further.
I investigated carefully the setting and stage as to what its materiality (a wooden box on a soft mattress) was adding to the inquiry of ‘finding my footing or the ground that I am standing on’; this performative/ processural discovery fed in strongly into the further development (of shots that show me in unstable positions; and of the video for exercise 2.3).
For the book form, I selected and removed several additional layers to the work and focussed strongly on the interaction between past and present images and my own ‘standing in’.
I am content with the amount of discovery, analysis of early images and how these shaped the final project: while conceptually inspired, this concept arrived out of the observation of a simple photographic mistake: the omitting of feet on the picture plane which then became an investigation into the wider implications of being ‘footless’ or ‘ungrounded’ in these images and in their author’s (my granddad’s) relationship to myself, as a daughter of this family.

Context (20%) – reflection, research, critical thinking (learning logs, critical reviews and essays).
From the starting point of the project, this became a rather practice-led research: using the previous photographs to explore the next ones; during this time, I read the texts around this part of the course and reflected on their import in relation to my own family and part-invented (as in complemented with contemporary photographs and unknown found images) photographs. The coursebook’s focus on typologies filtered into the project in the form of Schmid’s work; the re-staging and intervening in family settings through Trish Morrissey’s work. None of these are explicit as such in the statement as I wanted the statement to work in some form of a private revealing of a family album (as thus to be performative in gesture while taking a confessional tone).

collaborative projects and their publicness

— the Nearest Faraway project which had been on a rather epic 3-year long journey through 35 contributors’ hands has been concluded and its process of becoming has now acquired a final book form. I had been watching the project for a long time and towards its end put my name on the list. It had been something I had been keen on doing but I think I had to figure out my own place within the OCA, the photography cohort and a lens-based practice a bit more and so I ended up being one of the final 3 contributors. It was exciting to hold the book in its material form and revisit the sprawling discussion threat along the little things I knew of those who contributed beforehand. And it was exciting too to seek a form to contribute to it.

It’s not the first collaborative project across large distances that I had been involved in but the first in a while.

Since then I had put my name to two other OCA-initiated projects: one a drawing based one and another a photographic one. Both work radically different to Nearest Faraway in terms of the collaboration but also the public, social nature of them. In each, I know my work contributes to something larger (a large drawing made up of composite squares for the drawing one, a chain of original/response for the lens-based project). There are no discussions of these, and its travels and development are almost entirely invisible to me aside my own contribution to it. In fact, this secrecy is an expressed part of the original/response one and I find it intriguing.

The talking about the project was a major aspect and interest in the Nearest Faraway project for me, and possibly for others. And as it travelled through each hands once over that 3 year period, the talking about it and looking at it from afar may in fact have been the key characteristic of how nearest/faraway became a concept and filled with experience.

We are thinking of a collaborative project for the OCA study group and I look forward to see what it may become.