PHO705: Symposium – Good Picture 2019 “Imaging Revealed”

Note concerning project naming:

The name Motherline is introduced into blog usage below as it is now being adopted. Motherline refers to the photography of healing wounds and the resultant abstract glow images from a digital post method.

Imaging Science

Long-awaited, the Symposium on imaging science took place at the University of Westminster. on Saturday 14 December 2019.

The opportunity existed to be introduced and meet people from the scientific and medical community. A number of those present were from the Kodak or Ilford companies and from the Universities or other professional bodies.

Imaging science participants were generous in giving their time to listen to the Motherline image glow and the post-processing techniques used.

Michael Turner based on UV image by Dr J Crowther
Michael Turner based on UV image by Dr J Crowther

A processed image was created from a UV image portrait captured after the Symposium talk Imaging the Skin – UV, visible light and IR

As preparation for attending the conference, research was conducted into image compression and decompression, as the techniques used in enhancing glow in Motherline photographs.

It became possible to describe to a medical forensic imaging expert the art interpretations of glow in healing and in return obtain vital and conclusive feedback.

A detailed discussion was had on the processing steps for potential infrared detection. The wavelengths for emanations from healing wounds at human body temperature are very long wavelength, well beyond consumer camera detection capability. The conclusion was that there will be no detection of IR emanation.

Where IR is received by a smartphone camera, in the example of the domestic remote control, the wavelength is short enough to be detected depending on the exact optics of a specific camera, lens and bayesian filter.

Blood Supply |Bacterial Fluorescence

However, in the project photography there is a glow present, so where does it come from? A general news article explains (Hrala, 2016).

Foremost is the presence of blood supply around a healing wound.

Potentially there is fluorescence present. Bacteria gather in the region of a healing wound. When excited by an external light source a glow will appear in the visible spectrum. A Japanese research paper examines this in detail (Koboyashi, 2009)

Detection used a cooled CCD in conditions of complete darkness. With a prosumer camera, there is no detection of direct bodily emanation from a healing wound. Rather than emanation, an external light source excites the bacteria and produces fluorescence in the visible light spectrum.

Both of these effects are the likely cause of the glow that appears in the photo project images.

Bibliography

Hrala, J. (2016) You Can’t See It, But Humans Actually Glow With Our Own Form of Bioluminescencescience alert. Available at: https://www.sciencealert.com/you-can-t-see-it-but-humans-actually-glow-in-visible-light.

Koboyashi, M., Daisuke, K. and Okamura, H. (2009) Imaging of Ultraweak Spontaneous Photon Emission from Human Body Displaying Diurnal RhythmPLOS | ONE. Available at: https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0006256.

PHO705: Recombinant Rhymes and DNA Art

Project development: rhymes, art and naming of the photo project.

Oxford definition.

This post is an extension of the Recombinant Rhymes and DNA Art (McNamee, 2019) feature in the blog post, PHO705: Research Artsci, Communicating Science Visually, Computational Biology and a new Avant-Garde

The intention is to deliver something art-based (rhyme or graphic text or image titles) over the upcoming period between terms as noted in the Final Proposal. An intention is to experiment to discover if contextualisation and visual language can be built with Recombinant Rhymes or DNA Art.

The idea is to use imagination in selecting words like TELEOLOGICAL that contain DNA base letters ACGT and combine them for effect, perhaps making a video with a reading of a rhyme. Words are intended to be selected for their connection to narratives of the project.

Select from the following ACGT words for some connected meaning:

Base-words-ACGT

Examples:

  • Advocating 
  • Fracturing conflagrations
  • Countervailing 
  • Lethargic contagiousness

Interestingly, the validated list contains the terms Abstracting and Photographic.

Project naming

In short, “Motherline” is the name presently chosen. This is less politically charged than the earlier proposed project name “Matriarchy”.

Matriarchy like patriarchy has political overtones, so is not so attuned to the themes of the work.

Motherline is derived here from the post PHO705: Visual Language of DNA Testing and the terms:

  • Family Ancestry (autosomal DNA)
  • Motherline Ancestry (mtDNA)
  • Fatherline Ancestry (Y-DNA)

Bibliography

McNamee, A. (2019) ‘Art of Now Recombinant Rhymes and DNA Art’. A Whistledown production for BBC Radio 4. Available at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0002rkb

PHO705: Group Guest Critique 10 Dec 2019

Theme sets

Themes occur in several sets subdivided. First, are the now consistent outputs of the work, and second, the themes of visual narrative explored and third the set of the subject matter placed before the camera.

In turn, we have:

Out of abstraction, the theme set subdivided into

  • place as landscape/seascape/mountains of heritage and theatre of war;
  • ghosts ever more recurring;
  • depictions of inner/outer space.

Out of the physical and psychoanalytical, the theme sets are around language/communication and intent:

  • science mitochondrial DNA,
  • war,
  • the phenomenological – the weird/eerie/uncanny

Examples of the above can be found in this portfolio:

Portfolio by Michael Turner

There is the theme set of the subject and photography:

  • healing wounds,
  • museum (military and medicine),
  • family archive,
  • video (gaming and broadcast)
  • Generative art.

Examples of some of the above are also in this portfolio.

Portfolio by Michael Turner

In retrospect, this presents the analytical. To think in deconstructivist terms as in Derrida, it would make sense to home in on that which conveys the main feelings. There again Art Science (Artsci) as described by Arthur Millar brings scientific method back into scope. The latter demands more resolution by the artist. Millar points to the history of the avant-garde. The art world and gallery system had rejected impressionism and the likes of Picasso as surrealist. Artists then built alliances later their work being more established it became more widely accepted. Millar might argue the case for art-science as the new avant-garde.

In the case of accepting Millar, then the project proceeds as

Family Constellations

Family Constellations have allowed freedom from entanglement with ancestors and their narratives of loss in a war.

FMP Experimental

View the following as experimental imagery that is work in progress. This is not the end product of publishable standard at this early point.

PHO705: Week 9 Reflection

Bases and Ghost by Michael Turner

Position and Intent

The work is intended to be positioned within Modernism PHO705: Modernism. As abstract it may fit into the Art-Science avant-garde as a branch of Modernism.

The implementation is still open at an early stage. Developments in one direction are towards overlapping archive ancestry images of motherline and mtDNA glow images.

Motherline – Glow by Michael Turner

This is in the direction of Susan Hiller Aura and Falmouth painter Jake Wood Evans. PHO705: Artist Jake Wood Evans

To go ahead, work needs to be resolved. As these firm, vestiges are present in other approaches.

War imagery, either from Museum exhibits or from video archives footage. There is the style of Natalia Goncherova with angels and flying machines compressed into the frame in a very claustrophobic way (as in her lithographs).

Science, as molecular biology, animation and Generative Art.

Further influences begin with Albert Steiglitz and images similar to cloud formations. This is closest to my type of work of any of the above approaches.

by Steiglitz

There persists influence from Picasso, in breaking bounds then Rachel Howard in terms of the hidden brush of gravity abstract style.

Thoughts about Resolution

More wayward approaches need to be set aside where project intent risks being diluted i.e avoid any negative impact.

The strong influence going into the Final Major Project FMP has been to resolve the visual language to make the abstract accessible to the viewer. This was achieved in a summer exhibition although the martial narrative need not be enforced was a consideration.

Having just stated that though, the war theme is necessary otherwise we lose the linkage and orphan the themes of place foreign and theme of ghosts recurrent.

PHO705: Week 12 Reflection

The following were covered in Week 12/;

PHO705: Symposium – Good Picture 2019 “Imaging Revealed”

The Symposium was long-awaited (August – December), and in terms of the ‘How’ element of the major project Motherline. The impact of ancestral identification was tested in discussion with imaging science professionals. Fortunately, the basis of the project once more stands when the premise is tested against science.

The input received on the methodology of making acted as a precursor for ramping up image creation which during the break has now taken off.

PHO705: Recombinant Rhymes and DNA Art

Recombinant rhymes and DNA Art is approached as supporting art either in creating Exhibition context or as part of a book, or indeed both.

The scope was set as words containing DNA base letters ACGT from which ‘poetry’ might be created. Originally this was inspired ‘double-strand poetry’ from a BBC Art-Science podcast.

Since the word list (circa 1100 words) was created for DNA using ACGT bases a second and partly overlapping wordlist (circa 500 words) has been created for RNA using its bases ACGU.

The idea would be to create a spoken-word recording and contextualising graphics for exhibition atmosphere and book in turn.

The atmospherics of playing spoken word was experienced at the Tate Modern exhibition of Natalia Goncharova’s work. In one area, viewers were funnelled through a corridor space that linked two functional areas. The corridor had its own smaller-scale works on view. Playing in the background was a recording of a Russian speaker whose voice created a wonderful aesthetic effect.

Example Russian speaker recording from the Tate exhibition:

During the summer exhibition. the atmosphere was created by video (and for a while using audio) and proved effective as a trial.

PHO705: Group Guest Critique 10 Dec 2019

There were two students with our guest so a minimum group size on the day.

The other student went first whose work had already been reviewed amongst the cohort. Comment related to:

  • advice to drop text and focus on visual language.
  • a question about reverting to film process.

The recently named Motherline was reviewed and received reviewer comment. Questions related to clarification and comments were mainly of the checklist variety:

Was the intent exhibition? Yes. The summer exhibition led to a question about the level of comment received. This was recorded already within this blog. The reviewer wished to attend the Easter exhibition as the venue had been decided and dates needed to be pencilled in.

PHO705: Colour

The previous portfolio settled on monochrome and red. It is interesting to re-discover the following quotation from an external to MA course, The Power of Colour. KLC School of Design.

The following colour interpretations are there to be agreed or disagreed with.

“According to Benjamin Whorf’s Linguistic Relativity Hypothesis, the language a person speaks determines how he or she experiences the world. This can affect how someone perceives colour. For example, the Shona language in Zimbabwe does not distinguish between red and orange. There seems to be a pattern, however, in the order in which all languages recognise colours: all languages appear to have a name for black and white, and if a third colour is recognised, that is red, and next comes yellow or green. “

“People who live in sunny climates prefer warm, bright colours, whereas those from places with less sunlight prefer cooler, less saturated colours.”

Quotations from KLC School of Design

There is a useful article What Colors Mean in Other Cultures. This proved useful in the past and so is brought into the scope of this blog post.

Another colour reference is marketing related Colours Across Cultures: Translating Colours in Interactive Marketing Communications

TranslatingColours

Colour Psychology

Colour Psychology has been extensively written about, and again here in Chivers and Wright. However, there is often a willingness to accept what is prescribed yet the verdict around any rules and interpretations is open in terms of there being no absolute scientific validity.

Micco-Groenholm-on-Color-Affects-System

KLC School of Design

PHO705: Modernism

A re-exploration of the roots of Abstract in Bauhaus, Modernism, Post Modernism and Abstract Expressionism. Here, for now, a start is made.

This blog post serves as a reminder to revisit the developments that led to Abstract Art. This research was started in an earlier module. As there is a link to the chosen abstract genre for the final photo project, there is a reason to extend the reading.

Historic references are recorded here from external to MA studies:

  1. Spotlight on Walter Gropius
  2. The Bauhaus Movement (see timeline at the end of this blog post)
  3. Johannes Itten Biography

Further inquiry begins here with Rothko and Albers.

Mapped History of Abstract Art

(Affron, 2012) Inside front cover

Note: attended Tate Modern Exhibition of Natalia Goncharova during Assessment Period 4.

Marc Rothko

Rothko has had numerous mentions in this blog over the past 18 months:

Josef Albers

Albers work gained mention in an external course on colour but did not gain mention within the scope of this MA blog other than a blog this week PHO705: Artist Jake Wood Evans. To right this here a quotation is taken verbatim from (Affron, 2012) Page 302 as it ties together a number of references:

“Itten’s tenure at the Bauhaus was notoriously marked by the increasing incompatibility between the Expressionist and esoteric impulses of Ittenand his cohort and the functionalist ethos for which the school would become known. That tension is latent in Josef Albers’s Gitterbild (Lattice Picture), also known as Grid Mounted … Working on this piece as a student in the glass workshop of the Bauhaus, Albers cut and arranged squares on manufacturers’ samples of glass within a regular metal lattice. On the one hand, this straightforward grid composition foregrounds the materiality and variety of industrially produced glass, divested of the conventional esoteric connotations of coloured glass panes, for example in church windows. (Albers had created a stained glass window for a church four years earlier, and he would have been thoroughly familiar with the mystical connotations of stained glass). And yet, as light passes through Albers’ grid, Kandinsky’s immaterial fantasy of unbounded colour returns, finding subtle expressions through the chromatic emanation of light.”

(Affron. 2012) Page 302
Gitterbild (Lattice Picture) / Grid Mounted Josef Albers

The above plate is from the book Inventing Abstraction (Affron, 2012)

Alfred Stieglitz

Stieglitz work (Birgus, 2002) Pages 44 and 45 have visual similarities with the earlier portfolio images created for the MA as well as the current crop of images. Interestingly the 4×5 print format is common.

Images – Alfred Stieglitz

Laslo Maholy-Nagy

Having read photographic theory expounded by this writer and artist, and now having viewed a particular image, a chord has been struck. It concerns the appearance of the Christian symbol of the cross as it recurred in earlier work in the build-up to the MA portfolios.

In memory of Sibyl Maholy-Nagy – Laslo Maholy-Nagy

Wassily Kandinsky

Kandinsky is linked in the quotation above and has been previously blogged.

PHO703: Week 1 to 12 Surfaces and Strategies Contextualisation

Bibliography

Affron, M., Bois, Y. and et al (2012) Inventing Abstraction 1910-1925. 3rd 2014. Edited by D. Frankel. New York: Department of Publications Museum of Modern Art. Available at: http://www.thamesandhudson.com.

Birgus, V. et al. (2002) Die Kunst der Abstrakten Fotografie The Art of Abstract Photography. Edited by Jager Gottfried. Stuttgart, Germany: Arnoldsche Art Publishers.

Appendix

PHO705: Artist Jake Wood Evans

Attention was drawn to Irish artist Jake Wood Evans painting style.

Connected here is the use of Turner family archive photographs mixed with abstract art which has been trialled. Also, similar is the work of Susan Hiller – Aura, already referenced in this blog,

Paintings – Jake Wood Evans

There is something similar in intent. The final photo project images almost exclusively in black and white may benefit from hand colourization before mixing with mtDNA abstract art images. A basic sepia colouration might be a start.

What could be quite exciting would be the use of some muted or bold colour theory – this is getting quite exciting. Some practice and reading (Albers, 2013) and (Quiller, 2002), were conducted as part of the project research in an earlier module.

Also attended was a four-week course on The Power of Colour presented by the KLC School of Design. Colour theory also makes a regular appearance in Studio photography workshops at work.

Bibliography

Albers, J. (2013) Interaction of Color. 4th edn. Yale University Press. Available at: yalebooks.com/art.

Quiller, S. (2002) Color Choices Making Color Sense out of Color Theory. New York: Watson-Guptill Publications.

PHO705: Thinking allowed/aloud

As current research continues into Phenomenology and mtDNA, a break is taken to cast ahead to publication. The work has to be taken to the public and is still experimental as shown in PHO705: WEEK 9 REFLECTION. Some of the making stages in the plan will arrive soon enough.

It makes sense to gather some direction even though the desire is there to complete work in progress reading as mentioned in PHO705: WEEK 10 REFLECTION.

Thinking through one idea here has a purpose of creating a Strawman. This will have enough form or structure or clarify the artistic design. This idea is about a book and starts with Ghost images. These creations appear fleetingly and have to be captured before they disappear. There is a need to conquer this and to avoid there being no work of this type to show. Apparitions are always welcome to this work but the nature of creating them is open to the random. A perhaps predictable but nevertheless still surprising element of this randomness occurred during a period of distraction in which Ghost images began to appear in other made work, outside of the main project. Perhaps these intrusions are just another type of Ghost, linked to the main project by occurring during the project timescale.

In the previous module, an attempt was made to help progress by restricting image scope to abstract Landscape. At first, this was a mistaken choice. As with Ghosts, Landscapes are also subject to random process but nevertheless, they regularly feature in the work.

The experience was somewhat worrying as having restricted scope to landscape the theme was worked towards for a solid two weeks and the worst – no Landscape could be made. Letting intuition take over the method of obtaining the desired result was finally fathomed. A way of making at will was settled on which largely depended on recognising the kind of processed starting image that might work. There is an earlier Landscape representation with horizontals and verticals that would have been readily obtained from the start, which may still feature as published work, but what it had led to was a more imaginative scene that required more sophisticated processing more akin to perspective images as compared to earlier flatter images.

All this is taken as a lesson learned around the intuitive making versus something closely allied to a ‘commissioned’ approach.

The Week 9 reflection above turned up a Ghost of the kind sought. But what if that was it? in this case, it might be necessary to showcase the image as a full-page and in a process of categorisation accompany it with earlier ghost images as a plate of smaller inserts.

There is a process of categorisation that would work equally as well with the works other representations (seascapes/mountainscapes and spaces inner/outer). Each theme is linked phenomenologically with narratives of the work but each would stand as page layouts again of main plate and plate of earlier images at a smaller scale.

This is not the final piece, but thus far it has an appeal. It leads to making and it does so in a structured way and way familiar to the author and in some respects reflective of Victorian categorisation schemes e.g. in Botany.

To take this a stage further is to keep a keen eye on an Exhibition element of publication. Having learned from visits of a knowledgeable public to a Summer exhibition of recent work, the idea would be to take from this experience the things that worked well with the audiences especially around sequenced narrative and incorporate it into the same book design mentioned above. A book section that parallels an Exhibition.

There then becomes a substantive element of making to propose and gather feedback on from the University regards the standards of the MA Photography course. It would also be necessary to maintain balance, i.e. not try and squeeze a long term project into the remaining time on the MA.

What this is about is the practicalities of making images of publishable standard, about a book and about an exhibition.

There are extras planned either to assist the design such as using ISSUU as a template for hand, bookbinding. Or, to help create impactfully contextualisation by making moving stills and or a video. This created the atmosphere at the earlier summer exhibition.

The exhibition has some elements that are rooted such as the available space and the possibility for lunchtime pop-ups during appropriate photographic training sessions. Some elements would be more aspirational at present, such as making society presentations at one or both societies with which there is an affiliation. This is a likely outcome but does not have to happen within the timeframe of the MA, it can follow on. Another group or in fact two groups have made approaches although generally so and not so much around a specific project.

The aspirational elements represent To-do action if something is to be achieved. For the purpose of the MA and continuity, it might make sense to negotiate with the various societies and groups, the further taking of the work to public view but time this to allow freedom to complete substantive work for the MA without too much self-imposed overload.

PHO705: Week 11 Reflection

As research continues into Phenomenology and mtDNA thoughts cast ahead to publication – PHO705: THINKING ALLOWED/ALOUD. In a sense, this has been a reflection upon recent refections and keeps in mind the need to take the work public.

The blog post PHO705: Artist Jake Wood Evans led to quite a bit of inspiration over colour. Colour has previously been worked on where it settled. In other words, the colour palette settled on monochrome and red as the preferred colour scheme. The reason for mentioning this is that whilst the references are very useful and interesting, the value of making a deeper dive could have limited value other than polishing work as there is already a developed sense of colour from work practice and ongoing development of colour in the projects developed for this MA Photography course.

While PHO705: Thinking allowed/aloud cast ahead to possibilities for making. This made a break from the intensity of research themes; of Phenomenology and the biological in terms of mtDNA.

In the background, research into Phenomenology in relation to the final photo project continued in spare moments. This will need to be taken under closer control to prevent reading from becoming too open-ended.

It is beginning to be sensed how much more time needs to be spent researching topics that can become very open-ended. IT has been quite a luxury being able to spend the time so far and this has aligned with such matters as continually being laid dreadfully low as bug resistance seemed to almost disappear for the majority of the Final module.

Whilst reflecting on colour, a seminal work was re-discovered that is available in PDf form. (Itten, 1970)

Bibliography

Itten, J. (1970) The Elements of Color. Edited by F. Birren and E. van Hagen. New York, Cincinnati, Toronto, London, Melbourne: Van Nostrand Reinhold Company. Available at: https://monoskop.org/images/4/46/Itten_Johannes_The_Elements_of_Color.pdf.

PHO705: Visual Language of DNA Testing

There are different commercial services that provide DNA testing connected with ancestry. One service is mentioned here as they have an option to have a personalised book and that fits well with researching visual language of DNA. Two services were inspected:

This is a continuation of earlier research. It looks at a specific book product of commercial DNA testing. The idea is to gain awareness of public perceptions around DNA by examining the visual language used by a company promoting DNA testing.

This current phase of research is prompted by the order and eventual arrival of a personalised analysis “Your DNA Adventure” (LivingDNA, 2019).

The content is predicated on three types of DNA we possess.

  • Family Ancestry (autosomal DNA)
  • Motherline Ancestry (mtDNA)
  • Fatherline Ancestry (Y-DNA)

As the photo project majors on the Motherline (a term now preferred to matriarchy as it softens potential for feminist bias.

The motherline is highly stable over thousands of years and once a change does occur it is passed down to descendants. The top-level term used is Haplogroup within which exist Subclades.

Descriptive language then takes over preventing opaqueness and is a strategy noted elsewhere for keeping others engaged.

There is a very good reference section to explore.

Within the publication the visual themes range across:

  • trees on African savanna (covers)

Note: The visual references are probably best viewed as a publication rather than my translate to text here.

Bibliography

LivingDNA (2019) Michael Turner – Your DNA Adventure.