A bit of Background

I’m beginning this blog as a way to reflect on my first year as a part-time PhD researcher and as a way to document parts of my art practice and  my developing thesis.

I’ll be updating and writing regularly and over te course of my studies, I hope that this will become helpful for myself and those considering a practice-based research degree.


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This post is a reflection on the challenges of developing my theoretical position and how this underpins my practice and work. As my research is practice-based, theoretical writing is optional but is something that I am interested in. However it has been a bit slow to get started and there have been updates and changes over the last year (positive ones)! My research will be a series/portfolio of sound/art works and documentation with a theoretical paper accompaniment to support my position.

Initially, my approach (and previous work) has involved linking sound and digital art practice with the everyday (quotidien), spoken word, game structures and playfulness. These are concepts that have underpinned my work for the last 10+ years and are always present within the work I create.

 

The aim of this paper is to explore the body of art theoretical work surrounding the sound arts and how this art form relates to interdisciplinary art and the quotidian as explored within art, Fluxus and the intermedia concept. The exploration of these topics will be framed through the creation of artwork and theoretical research that investigates playfulness, humour and intimacy within art. Artists’ work that explores and is rooted within play, humour and the everyday through a sustained body of work and theory will be analysed.

 

However once I began my research and developed my first thesis artwork my position shifted as I began to analyse this new piece with my supervisor.

Essentially, I realised that my work (and previous portfolio) has been identifying and creating ‘communicative forms’ that explore human interactions, play, games by presenting work that sits between reality and fiction.

 

My research and investigation into this topic focuses on how we, as artists’, create and construct communicative contexts within practice. With my focus on sound, my practice-based research will question how artists create and present communicative forms and how these are expressed and presented through artwork. This work takes the form of recorded speech and observed human interactions where the original narrative becomes questioned and a new, quasi-fictional narrative ‘constructed’ by the artist through digital sound post-production, the creation of artworks and the display of art installation pieces. The original is always referenced, however the viewer is experiencing a new form of this narrative. An example of this approach is the piece When I Close My Eyes I Can Still See Your Face (2011)[1] that presents two individuals entering a staring competition. Over time the viewer realises that each person is staring at an off-screen ‘other’ and that the selection and edit of video material has been ‘composed’ by the artist. With this realisation, the work suddenly moves from reality and enters the realm of fiction.

[1] http://www.kimwalkerart.co.uk/When-I-Close-My-Eyes-I-Can-Still-See-Your-Face-2011

 

The link above is to an older piece created as part of my MFA Thesis at the School of The Art Institute of Chicago. Now that I am able to apply the above approach to my previous work, I can see new connections and ideas that I have been working with all along!


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I am half way through my PhD first year in the music department at the University of Aberdeen. Over this time I have focused on my thesis topic, re-focused on my thesis topic and changed my topic!

I have started to make new art work that will become part of my thesis portfolio and I have attended meetings of my department’s Sonic Arts Forum.

I have met my supervisor for our regular monthly tutorials and this has been the bedrock of my research and is one of the opportunities I have to discuss my work, art opportunities I am considering and any funding or projects I aim to pursue.

I have also managed to get my weekly routine established. This makes sure that I have dedicated research time (1 or 2 days per week schedule depending) and time to dedicate to my job, freelance work and leisure time.

I aim to contribute to this blog on a regular basis so keep updated to learn more about my experiences on my PhD journey.


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