Wondering what text of words to use? I wanted to take text with some relevance to my personal project, considering ‘cut-up’ technique as an analogue to my recent assignment 4 paintings related to skin: fragmentation, vulnerable, distorted, disruptive, unsettling
Reflecting on practices of text related to MRI, one example is Nicoleta Colopelnic (2013) where she described her back MRI scan through poetry and gave the medical imagery an aesthetic appeal, I decided to build my words from various sources that seem meaningful to me and my parallel project (Fig. 1):
- a medical text on psychological effects of MRI scan (Westbrook and Talbot, 2019:350)
=> the rather technical tone related to a patient’s ‘non-compliance’ with the machine process reminds me of how strongly the body became disciplined through the medical instruments it themselves. The fear and different responses by the patients as a flaw to correct.
- a text on visual aesthetic perception and the brain (Cela-Conde ed al., 2004:6321)
=> how neo-Descartian the medical world became by trying to map not only the mind but also the sense for aesthetics
- key words from peer feedback (see reflective blog post) on my inter-media collaborative work Mindful Resonance Interaction (MRI)
=> kind of verbal stimuli, different, falling onto me, what to make out of it?
- words from Vicki and me in resonance to MRI as subject matter, that until now didn’t go into the performed work from July 20th, 2019
=> how we came up with some freely associated words related to an MRI experience, un-discplined, un-mapped, chaotic. Those words are most closely to MRI poetry and I might use them explicitly for my further work.
- technical words from DICOM data of one MRI scan (screenshot from Horos)
Techniques to cut-up and shuffle
I was trying to make non-sense out the the tons of words (how to reduce those? or is the amount of overload part of the work and the experience of it?). Considering the MRI machine and the machine coding process to deliver visual imagery to the human beings in-front of the operator screen, I felt inspired to use an automatic coding approach as well to shuffle and cut-up my various text inputs. Looking for online tools (line shuffle tools from Advameg. Inc.and Random Tools) and use of LingoJam (2019) tools for creation of type fonts, a visual encounter with the invisible text resulted in a nearly illegible sequence of words that I composed as a string of large letter pages, in total 93 pages ! that became my base material for following explorations
link to : PDF
Video 1: more linear unsettling the entirely // Words cutup – sequence no 1(video, 1:33 min)
and as layered and double moving text-image (with the animated painting done earlier on for my parallel project, and a raw sequence that didn’t go into the final performative collaborative piece – see my blog post at: Spin-off Idea: Gesture as Narrative)
Video 2: recent aesthetic distance// Words cutup – sequence no 2 (video, 2:31min)
Not knowing what to do with the massive amount of text not giving me any further insight in how to proceed further, I eventually printed and manually cut them in smaller pieces and to see whether my more visually and touching approach of collaging them together in a sketchbook could show a way forward.
Playing around with to structure :
- to make connections – cut up my thinking (Fig. 2)
- to make sense (Fig 3)
- to response through feeling and touching – ? (Fig. 4)
Slider view (Fig 2 – 4, click on one image to open in lightbox view):
Informed my previous playful selection of narrowing down the words (Fig. 2-4) I was curious to see how to use them in a collage way. I am more intrigued by the materiality and performative aspects of the resulting non-sense cut-ups, less about the process of making (Fig. 5)
=> I was intrigued by the use of parafilm (or better PARAFILM® M) from some previous trials after reflecting on assignment 4 and alternatives to latex. Parafilm, material used in medical or chemical labs to close beakers and other containers, is translucent materials that can be painted on with acrylic paint. Due to its plasticity it is easily stretchable, an action that I wanted to continue exploring after assignment 4 in relationship to skin and medical matters. My exploration of Tyvek® (Fig.5, left) – a paper like material that can be cut open to expose the inner core and being used for protective and disposable clothing, e.g. in clinics, is informed in a similar search for latex alternatives and materials with connotations with medical stuff.
Exploring incision, stretching and other material matters. Slider view (Fig. 6 & 7), click on one image to open in lightbox view:
Fig. 5: collage 1
Making collages, partly as an instruction partly as a declaration (slide show Fig. 7 – Fig 14; click at the bottom right tiny arrow top open images in lightbox view):
=> this brought me back to some of my initial bar-codes, slicing experiments (see post). More an illustration, crossing boundaries with drawing and eventually creating ideas for painting. The series done in my A3 sketchbook, might be quite sketchy and illustrative, but I find the line between legible and illegible, between comprehsensible and non-comprehensible fascinating. It is a border that in case of QR codes can be easily crossed, with a rather digital result: yes / no – legible / illegible. This liminal space of making sense and getting insane sounds relevant.
=> the no.5 work is obviously as contained and unsuccessful as it was my work with paper chips for part 4. I kept it here for the sake of completion and as an idea. To develop it further I would reject the backing support paper and make it more sculptural, unframing and expanding the edges into the space of the viewer
Words as speech
I wanted to move away from visual, words to see, towards auditory, words to hear. Considering words as speech, intrigued by my experience of my collaborative project and of one project performed by a Anna, her husband and Naomi at Toynbee Studios, and informed by William S Burroughs practice and some artists examples from the Radio broadcast (Hollings, 2015)
the words from VIcki and me – spoken by me – unfiltered and raw (just with noise reduction and normalization filter, (audio, 0:57 min))
a) First attempt in taking my spoken words, apple various effect filters with Adobe Audition and re-mix as multi-track file. Creating a speech-scape, to be layered with visuals (audio, 0:29 min)
=> to soundscape partly distorted, interruptive, but good as a first speech-sketch
b) Second attempt my spoken words as a) re-shuffled, cut-up with Adobe Audition (audio, 1:08 min):
=> more flat as single track and no filters applied. However, the cut-up as a mix of chance and conscious decisions, percussive, repetitive towards the end. Wondering how this could be developed further. Speech felt now more as a plastic material to be transformed and modulated.
With this audio-soundscape sketched I am wondering how the words can be merged with visuals, feeling intrigued by Kentridge’s short moving images Breathe, Dissolve, Return (2008) What would be the difference in experience versus my collaborative music work? Another approach to ‘feeling complicit’ with the materials. All about creating in-between spaces
c) Third attempt mixing various words (incl Vicki’s) spoken by me, cut-up, merged and re-shuffled with Adobe Audition (audio, x:xx min):
< planned idea but skipped in order to move directly to the next step >
d) Fourth attempt audio from my cut-up speech (second attempt) with ‘merged’ with the handwritten words amended and a painting on parafilm as process – multilayered in Adobe Premiere. Finally, I got to move away from iMovie and enjoyed the versatility and flexibility of Premiere, especially for layering (what became a nightmare in iMovie).
Video 3: Cut up My Thinking // Words cutup – sequence no 4 (video-audio, 2:30 min)
=> After various attempts in recording the massive amount of text from video 1 in a linear way of reading (making a very long strip of small scale prints of the 93 pages) with either moving myself with the camera in front of the text frieze of – more successful – moving the text strip with a fixed camera. I was not that satisfied and convinced by the typed and printed text, thus I revisited my work in my sketchbook (see Fig. 2-4) and choose those ‘keywords’ to write them out on a similar small long strip of paper: text, written by my hand, more personal – another index of my being (writing and hand and pull). The moving strip itself reminded me of analog magnetic tape recording and cutting, quite as Burroughs mentioned it. It reminded me also of Jennifer West and her material usage of film tapes to paint on and to project them. In my case, an audio version of that. The layering process of physical and digital materials (experimented earlier on – see ‘my digital body in space’ from Project 3.2 – Ex. 3.1: Body as canvas and multilayered moving images ‘Performance unframed #2‘ from Project 3.4 – Ex. 3.3: The mirror as a stage .
Some aspect that I can find coming across in some of my works since part one are :
- Using materials does matter: I found it intriguing to find some relationship between written or typed words on paper, on other materials, and the process of reading (in this case from left to right as by my own learned cultural convention). The performative video works with connotation to tape (magnetic tape recording of speech) as moving images.
- I enjoyed the speech approach and using soundcloud – for its plasticity and to make it more malleable compared to written text. I do embrace more and more different senses to have a more immersed experience of a work. Definitely, something to look deeper into.
- My last video 3 work and its preparation made me aware of how my body posture and gesture plays a role in the making and reception of the work. Moving with a video cam means to record my movement as well (I don’t have such fancy film maker motion reduction devices) while moving a strip with a fixed cam makes the strip movement (smaller gesture with the hand) a bodily experience with its traces left on the video. I intentionally kept those ‘non-professional’ motion traces, not only as index but also as awareness of the body in the work.
- Informed by my collaborative work with music student Vicki I was intrigued by soundscape and now of speech-scapes an additional dimension to visual spaces. It brings me to multiple layer approaches that could be performed either live or as recording in a room. The works above are single perspective works, i.e what the viewer sees and what the viewer hears is coming from the same direction, mostly a computer or mobile flatscreen. In a physical gallery setting this could be disconnected and displaced, the speech, the sound coming from different directions, placing the viewer inside the work and not as an observing person alone. I like the idea of complementing visual that one looks at in one or the other direction and other senses exposed to different directions.
- I find malleable materials with a plasticity quite relevant for my work and relating to my parallel project. Did my last assignment 4 looked at latex as a stretchable and fragmented skin pattern, I can see now that even words might be as malleable as such materials. I found in Parafilm M® a similar material that I could use for that. Stretchable fabrics, with incisions, might be another approach to look at.
- Further development:
– I liked the developed idea of considering words as a plastic material, literally explored through stretching parafilm with words painted on it. Certainly more to discover with other materials, e.g. to cut out words from fabric or latex and to stretch them in similar way as I did with latex for assignment 4.
– Words as speech acts brings me to the performative aspect of language. Speech as such is performative, compared to a more ‘still’ expression of non-verbal paintings.
– Overall, I do believe that to work with the plasticity of words in context of my subject matter (medical imaging, skin, embodiment) would be the way forward.
- Advameg. Inc. (s.D.) ‘Shuffle Lines’ At: http://www.unit-conversion.info/texttools/shuffle-lines/#data (Accessed on 24 July 2019).
- Cela-Conde, C. J., Marty, G., Maestú, F., Ortiz, T., Munar, E., Fernández, A., Roca, M., Rosselló, J. and Quesney, F. (2004) ‘Activation of the prefrontal cortex in the human visual aesthetic perception’, In: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 101 (16) pp. 6321-6325.
- Colopelnic, N. (2013) ‘The Secret Life of an MRI Scan’, in: Qualitative Inquiry
19(4) 327–333, At: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1077800412471507 (Accessed 11 Jan 2019)
- Hollings, K. (2015) Cutting Up the Cut-Up,[radio broadcast], At: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b05zl52m(Accessed on 24 July 2019).
- LingoJam (2019) ‘Fancy text generator’ At: https://lingojam.com/FancyTextGenerator (accessed 25 July 2019)
- Random Tools (s.D.) ‘Online Randomization Tools’ At: https://onlinerandomtools.com/shuffle-words (Accessed on 24 July 2019).
- Westbrook, C. and Talbot, J. M. (2019) MRI in Practice, 5th ed. ed. Oxford: Wiley Blackwell Publishing.