PHO705: Guest Lecture Victoria Forrest

Pre-amble

Watch back on the video and comment.

Nigel Ready CRJ here worked on a book on his FMP worked with Victoria.

Introduction

We’re now into the new year 2020 and a good time to have looked back at this video of the making of a book on the landscapes of Seamus Heaney, for now, MA graduate Nigel Ready.

There is more activity with Victoria who is returning to give another talk in her series followed shortly afterwards with a review session which has been ‘booked’.

Addressed during the break has been the limited numbers of pictures available to publish and so this has been worked on. Still not satisfied, there are now more images where each theme has a limited to draw upon. Making a book is going to be a big challenge notwithstanding having hand bound a book already for the course.

Challenges also are cover embossing / cover image as that craft has not been tried out.

Victoria’s Guest Lecture

What follows are some key points and a few images that serve to remind.

Apart from the introductory slide showing some of the scope of Victoria’s work, the others cover: the brief, reply, embossing of cover, the outake with shovel that determined something of the cover design.

Production steps

This outlines some of the points when working with a book designer.

The brief in the slide above was accompanied by a tight edit. The reply slide content widens what the book designer gets to see for the edit.

At the early stage the photographer has cropped in to images and they have a significance that can be lost on the viewer. The scope was quickly reduced to poet Seamus Heaney. Victoria twice used web resources to get a feel of the poet speaking/reading his poetry and of the styles of cover others had used before taking inspiration from Nigel’s photos.

Resolve what you are saying.

Determine emotional response and voice.

Allow wider selection to depict the subtleties of a complex subject. This used 150 photographs. It was only 64 at the start.

Get a feel (YouTube readings).

Work always starts with the photography and cases of two images saying the same thing reduced to one image.

Choose top images in editing down.

Made pairings and made a run (narrative).

Narrative shouldn’t be forced.

Go by the run of the images. Outcomes could be adjust, re-create or reshoot. Probably best is to stick to the run where possible?

Title VERSO inspired by listening to the poet. Digging the earth and turning the soil, turning words and in bookmaking verso is the left had turned page. So a name and a narrative.

Developments led to borders and lines and visual themes.

Some photographs remain personal to the photographer yet fall outside the narrative e.g. being not moody enough. These are separated out.

With a PDF and printed pages, many hours are spent re-arranging pages and tweaking.

Next were design features. The photography informs the design, Accompanied by the Google search of visual language others have used.

Decide on graphics and type to create a mood and tone. The cover design was embossed as ploughed fields with typography inspired by the poet’s gravestone.

Summary in relation to the Motherline project.

The starting position was alluded to at the top of this blog. Book experience has included being published in a group photographic project, and having learned how images are laid out and paired up, along with an awareness of typography being important as well as transitions etc. Finally, rudimentary making has been done by way of a practice book, a dummy and an exhibition pamphlet. A number of other books have been witnessed being reviewed.

In essence, the subject matter of design has many varied parts and practice is neat but fairly elementary, especially compared to what is on the shelves of the bookshop.

An attempt will be made at preparing a piece of work needed for the meeting with Victoria. The base question is whether there is enough image content to fill a book in a consistent manner.

Related activity around a module end and the lead in to a book and an exhibition was an experience gained. The challenge is over what can be done in the available time and being ready.

PHO705: Pecha Kucha

I’d given a public talk on Photography in the past, around 2016, where I talked mainly about my focus on Abstract Art. I mention this not just because of the consistency in the practice choice but because more to the point I’d used an automatic slide advance approach to time my talk to an allotted time period.

That was very much like a Pecha Kucha, which differs in having a defined 20-second slide duration, but given I’d practised my talk, it turned out on the evening that apart from fairly blinding lights there was no lighting for my notes and so I proceeded to talk off the cuff. It went surprisingly well and the overall presentation was second perfect.

For the Falmouth FMP, preparation was somewhat different as for a start I’d been overseas, well to Amsterdam at least and with the many distractions of the Unseen exhibition, other exhibitions and travel.

Well, of course, I’d planned ahead and had set about an initial structuring alongside several goes at scripting from various angles to see what might work.

It only needed to be assembled and polished but for a bout of influenza that laid me low for a week, so there against all my plans I found myself cobbling the presentation together at the last moment. What with several confusions over my booking, I ended up with an earlier slot than anticipated. No time to record over audio and file on YouTube but made it in the end for another off the cuff presentation.

The PK did it’s job.

Slide deck only

PHO705: Contextualisation: Hiller, Roth and Fathi

From discussion in a one to one meeting (1);

Artist 1 Susan Hiller – Auras

Artist Susan Hiller’s work Auras: Homage to Marcel Duchamp 2008 features found portraits of individuals surrounded by clouds of light: ‘metaphors for our selves in the digital age.’ Hiller is alluding to the 1910 Portrait of Dr. Dumouchel by Duchamp (1887–1968), a historical aura portrait in the clairvoyant tradition. (Tate, 2019)

I wouldn’t want clairvoyance to be the dominant visual reading of my project. What I do is create intergenerational identification by gene transmission.

So, the question. Will my intent be taken the wrong way?

Hiller’s colour work Aura’s flows from this portrait of Dr Dumouchel:

Dr Dumouchel – Marcel Duchamp

Auras – Susan Hiller (Homage 2019)

Emanations – Michael Turner

My work could possibly be made to go in this direction as I now have archive portraits as well as a colour abstract. The abstract immediately above is similar to Aura’s.

A summary of Hiller’s career and work exhibited/installed at the Lisson Gallery is presented by the BBC in their Introducing Arts website (BBC 2015). An artist talk is provided on the site.

Sadly Hiller died and her obituary can be found on the BBC website. This contains the heading “Connection, empathy, identification” from which I sense a parallel with my practice as Identification is an underlying theme.

From the obituary (BBC, 2019) there is mention of ghosts, “Ghosts are invisible to most people, but visible to a few.”. There has to be some concern as this year, ghosts began to appear in my abstract work.

Artist 2 Evan Roth – Red Lines

The work of Roth is described at the Artangel website (Roth, 2020).

Connecting you to the landscape of the internet.

Evan Roth: red lines – from the ArtAngel website (Roth, 2019)

A network of mesmerising video landscapes is streamed free to your home or workplace in this pioneering new project by Evan Roth.

Roth has travelled to coastal sites around the world where the cables that make the internet possible emerge from the sea. Filmed in infrared, the same spectrum in which data is transmitted online, the videos reveal another side of the internet, one that moves at the speed of weather, wind, and tide.

Evan Roth – infrared from the ArtAngel website (Roth, 2019)

Red Lines can be experienced by anyone in the world. To join the network, all you need is a device like a smartphone, tablet or laptop, and an internet connection. Devices should ideally be plugged into power and connected to an internet connection with no data limits (check with your service provider) with the browser set to http://p2p.redlines.network. 

In summary, the connection to my practice appears to be infrared, computers and landscape through internet transmission. The images are at places where internet cables emerge into the open at the end of a “red line” or connection to another geographic location.

A sentiment behind the work is given by this quote:

(In Maori culture) … your connection to the land you walk on helps shape your very identity. You are who you are because of who came before you; the earth and waters that supported them, now support you. – Janina Matthewson

Artist 3 David Fathi

David Fathi presents his work within the FMP module here. The interest for my work is the crossover between science and art. A blog post expands the research. The connected blog post from Week 5 can be found here.

Discussion as a reminder was about three projects, the first two books then the installation.

  • Book: Anecdotal … nuclear bomb testing on own lands e,g US Nevada
  • Book: Wolfgang … Pauli Quantum physics, anecdotes of things going wrong, CERN archive
  • Installation: The Last Road .. Henrietta Lacks archive HeLa cells

The migration to installations fell out from presenting Wolfgang creatively in numerous settings. Don’t let the form of archives seduce you. Maintain control.

The talk highlighted ideas of balanced pairs:

Bibliography

BBC (2015) Are you experienced? Visionary art from Susan Hiller. Available at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/4Tdy4ML2xms1FRp5RZTkjky/are-you-experienced-visionary-art-from-susan-hiller.

BBC (2019) Obituary: Susan Hiller, the artist of neglected memoriesBBC website. Available at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-47069583.

Tate (2019) Hiller Tate Britain. Available at: https://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-britain/exhibition/susan-hiller/susan-hiller-room-guide/susan-hiller-homage-works

Roth, E. (2019) Living with Red Lines. Available at: https://www.artangel.org.uk/project/red-lines/

Images

Marcel Duchamp (1910) Dr Dumouchel. Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portrait_of_Dr._Dumouchel#/media/File:Marcel_Duchamp_Portrait_of_Dr.Dumouchel_220x340.jpg.

Susan Hiller’s Homage to Marcel Duchamp (2019) moremilkyvette blogpost. Available at: http://moremilkyvette.blogspot.com/2008/11/pirates-gallery-susan-hillers-homage-to.html.