Ideas? Technical issues?
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By: Cindy Robinson-Begg
MA Fine Art
Most of the work for this course will be self-directed. There are two modules of critical studies during the first year, with assessments. The other modules are related to developing and, finally, exhibiting one's own work.
# 1 [25 November 2010]
Having started a blog on my website and struggling to keep it up to date, I was a bit hesitant about starting something I might not be able to keep up. Here goes.
I did not get in to Uni today because it snowed heavily. I felt like a caged animal as all my plans for work, lectures etc were thwarted. I even set off to go, but thought better of it as the roads were bad, so decided to stay home and re-think my work plans.
Hence, I am starting a blog.
I got quite a bit of work done during the past week, reviewing images, editing video footage. I got to the stage where I was so tired of seeing the same clips over and over that I started to dislike my ideas for the project and started to see them as tedious.
I have been enjoying reading, Staging Femininities: performance and performativity, by Geraldine Harris, who analyses 3 works of 3 artists. I find it inspiring to read about the work of other artists, particularly artists whose work embodies notions of gender and performativity.
I need to give a presentation next week of work associated with an essay I am researching. I am going to present this as a performance so I need to work out exactly what I am going to perform as I only have 10 minutes to make it meaningful.
The essay is going to reference the work of Bobby Baker and the presentation is in a lecture theatre so I may 'perform' a lecture. I think I will wear a boiler suit and a name tag to signify 'male authority'. I will use powerpoint slides to create a frame for the performance and as an aid to demonstrating particular skills. The skills will be to do with braiding and knotting.
# 2 [27 February 2011]
Bobby Baker presentation inspired. I was so excited about the performance and it mostly went according to plan. I had timed my slideshow so that I knew, when it got to the last slide, I had about 45 secs to finish off.
I cannot believe how much time I spend thinking about what I am doing. After tutorials I often find it hard to sleep or I wake up thinking about what I need to do next.
I have been struggling with two parts of my ideas which I felt needed to be joined up better. One of these parts is about everyday repetitive ritualised behaviours, tasks and activities. The other is about my relationship with this Rook figure, which is larger than me.
It is a bit like a nightmare aparition but isn't because it is protective and symbiotic.
# 3 [27 February 2011]
Repetition, incongruities of scale, figuration and autobiography, are, I think, recurring elements of my work.
I have some interesting Rook video that I want to match with 'Rook like' performance.
Unfortunately the likeness of behaviours has a limited life span.
Our University Canteen Exhibition last week involved me in a performance of 'ironing white shirts' and watching a video of other daily activities whilst dressed in clothing portraying an exageration of stereotypical femininity.
Where will it all end????????
# 4 [1 March 2011]
I tempted the crows and rooks down with cheese, bread and fat and was able to get some decent footage of them strutting around. Also took some photos of them, and me, in the park.
Wondered about performing ironing in the park. I know there wouldn't be a power supply so the creases wouldn't come out of the shirts, but people would wonder and think about what I was doing and would probably ask. I don't think people here would be afraid to ask but it might be interesting to find out.
The power supply and props are the difficult thing about setting up a performance. I like to be fairly independent, so that usually restricts what I can set up.
On another matter, The Sunderland Book Project: I plan to create some work for this. I have an idea for some performance associated with it.
# 5 [4 March 2011]
I had a couple of brilliant tutorials today that really helped me to realise that the confusion I am feeling is because I am human; wiith all of the layers and complexities, which, inevitably, come through in making my work.It is not always possible to come up with a definitive answer to a dilemma I set myself.
I understand that my tutors do not have all the answers but I think I was expecting to be able to find all the answers immediately within myself.
I now think that I will never have a final answer but along the way I will find insights. This will only happen if I keep on working and interrogating the work and my experiences as I go.
# 6 [4 March 2011]
Much soul searching today. I have been considering whether to 'ditch' the rook and my tutorials helped me to think, 'why?'. It may be because I feel embarrassed by it and worry that it might not be acceptable, maybe it is all just too traditional and illustrative????? I have been cross with myself and exasperated that I seem so reluctant to 'move on', but why do I think that I need to move on?
# 7 [6 March 2011]
Plate preparation all day yesterday. Also experimented with soft ground. The marks are very soft and indistinct. Need to work out a plan for moving forward, but going to have a few days off to rest as the past few weeks have been phrenetic.
I know I will not be able to switch off my brain, but watching some good movies might feed it without too much angst.
# 8 [7 March 2011]
Spotted a tree full of Corvids on my way to my allotment today, so I took some photos using my phone. Interesting that they were hanging out right next to the cemetery. I am going to check out the Rooks in Backhouse Park tomorrow and find out who they are.
Don't ask about the holiday. I am going to have to wait until April for that.
It is International Women's Day tomorrow, so I am wondering what kind of event that should inspire.
# 9 [8 March 2011]
International Women's Day Performance in University canteen. This was a rather hastily thought out event. I set up a bowl of soapy water and proceeded to wash a white cloth which had a red stain on it. My intention was to link the women at this institution with women from less privileged circumstances in developing countries. I used clothing to suggest a more primitive way of life.
There was quite a large audience and I did hope to engage people in discourse about the work. Unfortunately, people watched and talked to each other but not to me. Maybe it was too didactic or perhaps people are getting too acustomed to my interventions.
I will edit some video of it and upload it later.
Following that I took a walk in Backhouse Park to commune with Corvids. I was not disappointed as there were a group of them bathing in the stream. It was also great to hear the sound of them calling to each other from the trees.
One of them seemed quite willing to engage in tag (at a distance). Ted Hughes wrote about Crow as if it were the human soul, so I asked the Crow who it was. It told me that I knew the answer to that particular question, but I don't remember that I do.
# 10 [10 March 2011]
Assessment looming for post grad certificate stage next week. I spent yesterday and most of today editing video of performances into short enough but long enough pieces for consumption in the crit. It is difficult to get the video document to represent the essence of the performance. I need to consider how I want to document performances that has meaning for me.
I also produced a new cut of a video I made a few months ago but I have been working on production and improvements and think that it is much better. This is a work in itself rather than a piece of documentation.
Critical Studies lecture and seminar today was on Relational Aesthetics. Lecturer presented, amongst others, the work of Santiago Sierra. I would be interested to hear what other people think about his work as an example of Relational Aesthetics.
Since tutorials last week I have begun a journal which I am aiming to use daily to document my interactions with Corvids. I will choose a photograph each day, taken using my phone, and draw and write a few words to respond to these actions.
Live Art, video and printmaking are my particular interests at present but I use methods according to the flow of ideas and media that support them. I am based in Northumberland and part of the Northumberland Artist's Network.
I have strong links with other printmakers in the region, particularly Northern Print, where I worked as technician's assistant, and Horsley Printmakers.