Practice-based reflections

Reflection takes its time and if my favourite sport is maturing ideas, it’s counterintuitive that I should expect them to ripe before timed. Here are some thoughts that occured during off-term but ony now I had the time to type and articulate them.

1 - Just as the off-term period reached its end, I had to teach English full schedule for 2 weeks and for the first time ever, I brought to the classroom my artwork as a form of reallia. This experiment made me ratify that my work indeed stimulates questions. English language wise, more specifically the language of guessing. From a formal point of view I was expecting language of description (adjectives and adverbs) but I was able to understand that this is the language that the maker potentially uses, but the reader uses guessing and hypothesising.

2- I realised that I am incorporating a theoretical directive in my work, and that I have created a strategy around it – détournement and the anti-spectacle.

3- I have delivered a talk which helped me realise a change in my practice's outcome: that I am now controlling the reader – as opposed to what was happening at the beginning of the course: I realised change happened again. When consolidating this talk I also realised the fact that before my mother had died I was doing work that celebrated the beauty of the world and that now - I'm trying - I am doing work that makes people question how can the world be made better. So I noticed that I am using beauty as a tool rather than a final outcome.

4 - I have confronted institutional problems appealing for change and was talked into the fact that academic staff being controversial is a dangerous line that we have to risk, including linguistic prejudice, and that the line between being unprofessional and rebellious is too blurry to start being discussed. And here the blurry lines of flatness and disrespect get messy.

Simplicity and Complexity

5 - I also think that academics think that everyone is at their level of education, and consequently understanding, but not. Some people are just not clocked on and if the work is public there isn’t going to be a selective audience, therefore, like my mentor Benita would say: ‘it has to be clear for both the teacher and the donkey’. This means I need to take into account the donkey. My work has inherent transformative questions. The world needs affirmative ethics' transformation. And really that’s why I want to do public art, to deliver questions that catalyse the betterment of our surroundings, via a ‘every little helps’ effect.

A big question in my work at the moment is how much of it can be deemed educational and illustrative and how does it stand in the wider context. I don’t want my work to be illustrative (that’s one of the reasons why I came to do Fine Art) and all I want people to do is to reason: I don’t want to teach them because there are too many ways of being reasonable. I just want to appeal to that human quality that is often forgotten.

6 - I finally understood the difference between keeping your complexity true to yourself, but filtering (not necessarily sectioning like I understood it before) the poignant message out, so you can be heard loud and clear. Intentions are also very easy to make vague but it is within the message that the work exists. It’s like an instruction in English class, not an explanation (and this was something I reflected upon for my teaching's CPD: repetition of a variety of explanations only seemed to confuse the students). In this sense, one could say that there is an educational streak within the making of a piece, but, like it’s complexity, it must be contained and retained pre filter, so that the result is neat.

At this point in my practice my stream of thoughts tell me:

> being illustrative is being educational, too may explanations generate mixed metaphors which provoques a lost message – this is a problem

> being concisively explanatory leads onto further questioning, which by devising, meanings can be assigned. When the concise meaning has been assigned you are then 'allowed' to be elusive – no problem

I do wonder what will I do about issues that keep coming up in my work:

will I learn to change that?

will I take this ‘learning disability’ to my advantage?

will I not do anything because ‘that’s the way things are/I am’?

These issues are around:

1) final small details that were thought through, which are meaningful as they are, but MAY confuse the reader and some small decisions may have been slightly off, a slight clumsiness

2) cramming too much in one piece

3) the manipulated impact vs the concrete elusive

7 - New rule: Personal space is part of your practice too. But practice shan’t be part of your fee personal space.

Me Making

8 - Making an installation and consequently a book, for example, is working with the theoretical awareness of my own methodology, which is different from working without reasoning what was your own pattern somehow. Awareness is another vehicle of transformation, however there is a need to be genuine and face change again when necessary. I don’t want to rely on my methodology if it’s not relevant or meaningful, if it tames the creation of the artwork, just for the sake of being true to a modus operando. This methodological awareness is a vehicle of transformation if allows for transformation, it shoudn't stop it because it’s not self-sufficient.

10 - Another thing that keeps persisting is this ‘cliché’ of mine that says that I look for forms of subverting all notions of page and spine. It ends up verifying in my work though (even without me thinking about it when I produce or plan). And this keeps emerging in the process: I observe myself assigning such bookish functions to the parts of the installation or object. I also started incorporating linguistic clichés in the final artworks, so maybe I should embrace the fact that clichés not only serve a technical purpose, but also have been present so often in my life that I am intuitively using them. And just now, awareness has corroborated its pertinence as a strategy to employ détournement.

11 - The book as symbol differs from book work and altered book (it’s in the grey area in between).

I really need to look into art movies related to abstractionism and theories related to that: I have sort of outlined some of my thoughts related to this and how it's backed up by an anti-spectacle methodology. On 'Free' for example: I feel like I am condemning the reader to a continuous, slow and repetitious rhythm: continuous in the sense that you start reading the sentences and you should go through it until the end to achieve the full phrases. Slow, as per anti-spectacle, it takes 3x over what a normal book takes to flick through; repetitious through the mechanical process and the re reading of the words within all pages, relating to learning; because the repetition is both kinetic and half linguistic, the alienation happens not at a direct levels but at an abstract one. This is because in the world of patterns, void of examples and figurative faces, only you have the power to fill in the exemplifying stance or graphism. Therefore, the reader is supposed to get absorbed and experiences therefore abstraction via the synchronised movements and the images that border between figurative and geometric in front of him. A landscape half recognizable and directions spining in a clear blur.

12 - During the talk, someone asked a really interesting question. She asked me why have I not chosen any other medium, i.e. print(making). And I answered that I cannot conceive or see one single image in the same way that a narrative medium gives way to my concepts. Even if not chronological, there is a multitude of links that could be put into a narrative. I can’t see a simple, one single, image reflecting my complex thoughts (mainly questions) that I want the reader to be aware of. Also as my essay on surface and depth describes, there has to be two points at least to be able to formalize the idea of depth, because otherwise it’s all the same. Given that my work is primarily based on meaningful depths, I will always have to have at least 2 images connected to each other. Installation is also a media of my choice, because I do think in 3D to start with, only after I visualise the 3D I am able to transfer that onto paper.


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