Visual art exhibitions and events with a platform for critical writing
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By: Sharon Haward
As an artist with 25 years experience I have recently embarked on an MA in Digital Media Arts. The course combines different kinds of programming, practical projects and research into art and visual culture theory plus new digital technology theory. However the systems we are exploring require new ways of thinking and the question is how can we harness this vast range of amazing, evolving technologies in meaningful ways ?
# 1 [20 March 2011]
I am part way through Visual Cultures and Networking Practices unit. This involves using existing networking tools such as facebook, twitter, Flickr Youtube etc to create a new 'thing'.
This project lends itself to almost anything form the trivial to the chance to create something new and broadly networked. My project involves a conflation of ideas stemming form Sophie Calle, Laurie Anderson and Blast Theory.
The premise is that I am a secret agent tweeting about my mission and trying to engage an audience by asking questions about places and names - so far proving hard to get people involved- the Twitter is linked to a blog with pictures. However much I am enjoying lurking in woods and graveyards in disguise and taking photos to blog - it really needs interaction to make it worthwhile.
Twitter - agentesse
Blogger - http://agentesse.blogspot.com/
# 2 [4 April 2011]
Am currently focussed on exploring unit on visual cultures and networking practices and finding it hard to come up with something both engaging in audience terms and relevent to these technologies.
So far have devised a project around the idea of spying - a loose game involving me as main character - a spy who has landed in the South East and has a set of instructions to follow - am using twitter (@agentesse) and a blog (agentesse.blogspot.com) to create an online presence - the aim is to get others involved in problem solving and game playing ! but realise need to be doing it all day every day to get some momentum ...enjoying dressing up and being furtive but finding it hard to get people to play along ....
# 3 [22 May 2011]
Rather a large gap between posts ! finding that the project takes up lots of time mentally and that it requires a lots of planning. Plenty of persuading family to photograph me being furtive and secret agenty which they are finding frankly embarrassing ! but this bit is enjoyable.
So far have joined tog. blogspot, facebook, twitter and a wordpress website type front page. so starting point is http://agentesse.wordpress.com/
Difficulty is getting people to join in - have tried various methods - personal appeals, facebook messges, individual emails, and some are interested it's proved hard to enlarge the initial group.
Need to achieve a tipping point and this could take some time - but will keep going for a while.
# 4 [28 May 2011]
Juggling numerous post modern theories positions the reality (now, how do we begin to define that !) of making something in the studio ?
Don't think my practice has been torn assunder yet but am finding I am constantly having to re-rethink and re-postion myself. It may be that I have threads of my past practice weaving through whatever I produce next but it will be different - it has to be as I can't unthink and unknow stuff.
My tendency to worry about coherence and logic in my work, or lack of it, in fact - doesn't really matter - perhaps they are overrated and arrive if and when they are ready.
Particularly enjoying Haraway's A Cyborg Manifesto - not sure of my cyborg status as I put dishwasher on whilst listening to her lecture on YouTube and whether this fully embraces her idea of the ,"utopian dream of the hope for a monstrous world without gender" but it's food for thought !
# 5 [1 November 2011]
Art and Technology - what a big gap ! now in second year of MA. Digital Media Arts and am wondering where it will all lead ?
Working on unit called Beyond the Screen and we will be using electronics and code to make interactive work - trickey, unnerving and intense.
Hard to see how the interactive thing will work within my practice but feel it could add another dimension to it.
Need to avoid anything with too many whistles and bows, plenty of that already, but am massively impressed with Pipilotti Rist's imaginative use of digital media.
# 6 [4 November 2011]
Took part in a 2 day sound workshop - a really good way to learn intensively about making a sound piece - used found sound, some decent digital recorders and edited with GarageBand.
I could see immediately how this might impact on my existing practice (often I am left wondering how Flash, an arduino, processing etc might fit into what I do already) but this seemed a natural extension to the work I've already done.
When I was on the beach today, I stopped to pay attention and listen and was surprised that the sea was really really loud !
# 7 [17 November 2011]
Playing with Processing, a direct and visual language designed for artists and designers.
Good for moving and coloured lines, patterns and pictures.
Can be used with pure data and with ardunos - after quite a bit of fiddling around.
All works swimmingly when there is someone to ask but like learning all computer languages it requires patience, time, a methodical approach !
Hmmm not so sure how much time I want to spend making nice colourful sketches and hard to see how it might work within my existing practice but it'll be intesting to find ways of making it meaningful
# 8 [8 December 2011]
. . .beyond the screen is proving rather painful - not that interested in interactivity - well interactivity that goes beyond looking listening thinking and moving around ! however not to be defeated, have spent the afternoon getting 3 LEDs to light up in different sequences - albeit in a rather weedy way !
but am soooooo uninspired and bewildered by the idea that millions of people (well, mostly blokes) spend their time making 'weekend projects' of little gizmos that measure their lives in various ways via a bit of arduino work and acres of code - it's all very well Lacan saying that women are forever outcast as "other" - don't think he realised how much "other" we might be ! I almost feel like another species when I looks at all this stuff !
# 9 [10 December 2011]
. .one step forward 3 back ! learning all these bits of code is a bit like trying to learn chinese and russian with a blindfold on ! juggling new stuff in Processing, arduino and pure data - thay have some similatires but are specific in what they are good at - yesterday managed to get a video into processing – hurray ! but this morning when I checked it out again, it wouldn’t work . . . then after about half an hour of faffing around dicovered that when I saved it, it had made itself into an arduino file ! what’s that about then ! guess I should have noticed but the sketch was blue rather than grey - but none of the files work in the arduino state, in that they got error messages but in theory does it mean they could work through the arduino ? anyway some sort of progress is being made though not really interactive – yet !
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Site-specific installations and interventions are at the forefront of my current practice and I am interested creating temporary and speculative projects in a range of abandoned,neglected buildings and spaces.
My practice revolves around combining traces of history, with an exploration of the psychology of the built environment to create transitory events. Recent projects include projections and interventions in derelict bus station, urban plot, and railway station.
Underlying these projects is a desire to re-engage with our non-visual senses by playing down the visual and allowing our boldily location in space to be re-defined through sound and spatial awareness.