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
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[no further entry]
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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.’
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‘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]
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[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

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 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.

1_2 through a digital lens: final image

following the outline for the office at night, I firstly did a series of photos and montages based on my own office at night: to trial different approaches towards working with the space itself, my own place within it (as author and subject), to then develop a methodology for the conversational photo shoot in my colleague’s office.

I pursued two different forms of images:

a) a panorama of my office space (including all the space surrounding my actual office: living in a small flat, the rest of the room is in fact my bedroom).

b) a series of close-ups of the desk space and around.

The image construction became experimental… I started without being clear what kind of image I was pursuing; but realised in the process that I was intent on doubling, flipping and overlaying the office: to let it expand, spill out, mingle with the rest of the room (and myself).

The visit to Thomas Demand’s show The Dailies gave me the idea to reposit my image back into the space itself: he had created a unique wallpaper for the gallery space based on the model of the gallery that he had constructed in preparation for the show. So: we, as visitors, became in fact subjects within that previous model and experienced the wallpaper (and its lighting, no repeat extravaganza) as if we were in fact inside his model.

I chose to mock up the large panorama on cheap photocopy paper: the material with which I actually print out from my office, the material that is available and abundant; and which resonated for part of the improvisation that characterises my own office space and its doubling roles.

I tried various positions (grids, continuous image, different height in relation to bed) before settling on this slight doubling of a fairly low placed print, photographed slightly from below to give a sense of spatial distance towards the the top of the print; I wanted to move the night-time office to the daytime, though in a subdued natural light.

in my office at day
in my office at day

 

Two other images produced for this exercise is a diptych showing an overlay of the various photographs produced with (b) as the close-ups around the desk space. I like the image it produces on its own, though I don’t have a strong sense of the conceptual import of the image, and find it thus less salient than the above; the diptych is a reference to Burgin’s Office but it seems too complicated as it currently stands, still… possibly something for later:

my office at night (diptych)
my office at night (diptych)

There is a third image that I have made, I find it successful, and it unsettles me. So, it’s not my final image for this exercise, but it is one to keep for later. I think the unsettling has to do with its perspective: it views down onto the bed, reveals more of the bedding and, in doing so, adds desire to the connotation (and it’s quite possibly not Burgin’s epistemophilia, the desire for knowledge). I am intrigued as to how that little shift in gaze changes the connotation for me so strongly:

in my office at day (variation)
in my office at day (variation)