Category : Parallel Project

P5.2 – Parallel Project Ex5.2: Reflective exercise (Part b)

After my previous reflection with more focus on my collaboration with music student Vicki Downey, here my wider reflection on this works sits in my practice and the course ‘Studio Practice’ as such.

 

Feedbacks received:

in key words

Stefan513593 - P2SP - Parallel Project - Reflection - key words

Fig. 1: Parallel Project – Reflection – key words

 

Some voices
(permission to quote was received) – link to PDF 

 


I very much appreciated the feedback on our work shared later by Caroline Wright, lead of the New Music Collective-Fine Arts collaborative project (together with Carla Rees):

I’m pleased the NMC/FA project was worthwhile. Collaboration can be challenging but it is very often incredibly revealing – to those involved to discover one’s own sense of self and way of working, and to better understand the content and communication in (and of) the work. Your collaborative work was, for me personally, an interesting example of how music/sound and visual material can create atmosphere, and how changes of tone and manner of communication can be enhanced or changed by experiencing work through different senses. Within collaboration, there are fascinating aspects around boundaries, of the work, of the ideas and of the two modes of realization, where do they extend to, overlap or synthesise. And where do the boundaries exist from the audience point of view. Sound can bleed beyond visuals and can be seen as a tool for segueing visual material, but it can also be so much more on top of this. I hope you continue to explore working in this way.
– Caroline Wright, MA, PGCert HE Art & Design, SFHEA, Program Leader, Fine Art, post- and undergraduate, The Open College of the Arts

=> It very much enhances aspects of boundaries and transformation, of expansion of experience beyond the pure visual, aspects that I found became more and more important in my work since the beginning of this course related


Positive moments of our work:

  • The combination of visuals and music came across as powerful and uplifting the work to another level
  • The at times disruptive sequences were perceived as an integral part of the work
  • A change in atmosphere, from comfortable and curious, through disturbing and unsettling, to a relaxing and peaceful finish, was appreciated. Though, not for all it was working properly (especially those viewing it on smaller screens at home)
  • The incorporation of paintings and process paintings was considered as powerful and successful
  • A sense of failing and unresolved boundaries was recognized, for me a great feedback as such.

Reflecting on my tutor’s response to the third part as having some sense of ‘melancholy’ I can relate this back to one of my beginning of the work, the baroque and sense of temporal intensity, or as Michael Ann Holly described the ever changing and metamorphosis:

it [Baroque] dazzles and distorts in failing to represent the unrepresentable, baroque vision sublimely expresses the melancholy so characteristic of the period. – (Holly, 1996:92)

Questions to myself

How relevant are the discernible sections in the work?
=> Vicki and I found the sections as important to give structure, perhaps a reflection how structure was integral and supporting our distant collaboration work. Would a collaboration with both on site looking different? I am wondering whether independent sequences, installed on different screens in a gallery space, as body of work alongside possibly non moving images, could be more powerful? Each sequence in itself possible to be stretched more? A question of narrative in a work and a narrative in an exhibition space. I felt reminded of the exhibitions works of Jutta Koether (Four Seasons  and the Seven Sacraments – paintings) and Bill Viola (Intimate Works, slow motion videos). Possibly, slower transitions with more coherence between section, e.g. as seen in Will Kendrick’s  work That Hall Is Woven With Serpents Spines, 2018. From the peer feedback received, those who viewed the work through the provided vimeo link on flatscreen devices, it appeared that the three sequences were too much distinctive and possibly missing a motif or visual connection

How important are some visuals, e.g. face-in-sand for the work, as they are at times perceived conveying an obvious message related to cultural connotations?
=> I had another version as a process painting that I could replace the face-in-sand sequence with (Schaffeld, 2019b). However, I do wonder whether those cultural gestures do need to be considered purely as cliché – or whether in context of a work that one would consider ‘art’ could exactly challenge underlying assumptions? How didactic or obvious should or should not a work be? As Caroline Wright asks in her feedback, ‘where do the boundaries exist from the audience point of view?’

How relevant or didactic is the use of a title? Mindful Resonance Interaction (MRI) was mostly placing the work as a response to MRI scan experience.
=> I could completely eliminate any reference to MRI, possibly to use a complete different text? Although, some didn’t bother at all with the title. Wearing a patient gown in the middle section seemed also be obvious, although wearing a black dress could put this section even more into other areas, e.g. computer games, tron-type. Apparently, single bits in the work came across as ‘obvious’, but would the entire narrative be as obvious? I got the sense that the viewers who picked on single obvious bits, didn’t consider the entire work as obvious – perhaps this made it so discruptive, unsettling, unclear of what it could be?

How relevant is the final part?
=> Idea was to get the audience back into the room, into the present after the quite unsettling middle section. Although, disruptive elements continued to play a role, the overall feedback related more to feel relieve, relaxed and with a sense of peace. In that sense, the final part was successful.

How does my work sit in relationship to painting?
=> Some parts of the work are video recordings of my live performance (with painted face) and of painting as process. Some other parts, eg. face-in-the-sand could be considered as drawing? Leaving a human trace in nature, though ephemeral in its existence? I do consider painting as an interrogation of color and space. Trying to expand this notion, I went to digital and sound spaces that could bring the audience into a physical embodied encounter with the work (with reference to Vincent Morisset)

How did my personal project evolve, which decisions did I take to move forward?
=> Since part one I was intrigued by crossing boundaries and expanding conventional notions of what painting could be. I very much like the process approach alongside a blurriness between materials, including blurring boundaries between digital and physical matter. I embraced more and more the materiality in itself and how actions as pulling and stretching do impact performance, understanding and visual expression. Starting out rather literally with pulling and stretching, the parallel project lifted those aspects up to a metaphorical level: stretching connotations and understanding of sections that made up for a disruptive narrative. Further, I do embrace ambiguity as a key elements, leaving space for the audience to response with their own experience and stories, there is not one way right or wrong. Also there is no misunderstanding as one could often hear from conceptual artists  that the audience could mis-interpret the work (question of intelligence and decoding competence?).

What did inform my work as it stands today, and where there comprises to be taken due to the collaborative aspect?
=> Mostly, I was inspired by works of Bruce Nauman and Hito Steyerl, artists of different generations embracing their contemporary technologies and imaging techniques to explore space, understanding of material, and experiencing ambiguity. Further, the entire area of medical imaging technique is certainly informing my work and the way I do see the key elements as written down in the featured image above. I find those sensibilities of media technology as one can experienced either through medical imaging or through popular media culture do inform the vulnerability and forces I apply on materiality. 
To make my parallel project as a collaborative project might be a risk that I take (what is mine and what is not mine). But I do believe that one always makes work in collaboration, even if it is ‘merely’ informed by peer or tutor feedback. My collaboration forced me to work more structured and to response what is there (in this case the music pieces created by Vicki). Music is abstract, and it informs abstract ideas – being transformed by my hands with material matters turning into visual imagery.

What are my key learnings throughout the development of my personal project?
=> I found the collaboration a stunning experience. We worked for four months on it, quite effectively (considering that I started this course more than one and half year ago), and in resonance. It felt as if our collaboration was another metaphor for MRI process.

How would I want to develop my work further? Deeper or different directions?
= Overall, I do think that the work is too loaded with a complex narrative. Three to four distinctive parts bundled into one audio-work. Considering gallery spaces, I would rather split the apart, make it into three to four screenings, possibly in three joined rooms to allow and add the movement of the audience to be part of the work and its experience. I am very much intrigued by the layering of sensual channels, visual and auditory at least. Other senses, as touch (through walking through) and smell or taste could be explored additionally. However, I am with Merleau-Ponty who stated that all senses are linked to each other in the phenomenological encounter with the and in the world.

Key subject

 

– Transformation – Crossing Boundaries –

 – Disrupting narrative – 

– Vulnerability  Fragmentation – Material Reality –

 

I find as if I am coming not more and more to a core of what I want. Part of it seems to me quite autobiographic, although not spoken out explicitly, only through visual imagers and spaces that exceed the sense of sight alone. It seems to resonate what I partly described in my short ‘journey’ for #OCAstories . Big part of what I want to do relates to the psychological dimension of human life as I do experience intersubjectively with my clients/patients in art therapy.

Overall, I can now discern a few aspects that are important for my work as an emerging artist:

  • transformation of material,
  • crossing boundaries of single perspectives and material reality,
  • disrupting narratives through juxtaposition and contrast,
  • showing vulnerability and fragmentation 

 

Actions to develop the work

  • First, to make a distinctive and slower version (either with cut-up voice-scape, see example) or with the organ part alone
  • Second, more visually coherent, yet disruptive transitions.
  • Third, a plan for presenting the work for assessment incl ideas of room spaces.

 


Image:

  • Featured image: digital composite of painting and writing out key elements relevant to my practice

Supporting Material

Reference

  • Downey, V. (2019) Reflection on multi-disciplinary project. [pdf] At: https://drive.google.com/open?id=12OIyVZD5H2ov-MfU3aXpJCfmrBJbRzMW 
  • Furnace, F. (2017) Newsome, Rashaad – Shade Compositions (2007),  [online], At: https://vimeo.com/219147231  (Accessed on 12 June 2018).
  • Holly, M. A. (1996) Past Looking: Historical Imagination and the Rhetoric of the Image. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.
  • The Open College of the Arts / Rees, C. & Wright, C. (2009) <about the collaboration> At: (link to come)

 

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Collaboration as Parallel Project // P5.2 – Ex5.2: Reflective exercise (Part a)

collaborative project music fine art MRI

This was going a bit different than just a straight forward parallel project. The outcome was realised and performed aka screened in a private viewing event at Toynbee Studios, London E1 6AB on 20th July 2019 with the support of OCA (Caroline Wright and Carla Rees). The work consisted of an approx 10 min visual-music performative video created together with music student Vicki Downey.

Mindful-Resonance Interaction (video-audio, 09:45 min): 

as installed and screened at Toynbee Studios on 20th July 2019. A collaboration with music student Vicki Downey ()

Remark: in order to have the best experience of the work, it is recommended to listen to with good headphones with a frequency range down to <=20 Hz or with a good audio system that can convey very low pitches

 

 


Now, with the outcome accomplished, time to reflect on the work done and a reflection after the event including feedback from the audience and learnings from what I experienced from the other five projects presented.

About our collaboration

(see also Vicki’s reflection – under Reference)

When the call for a New Music-Fine Arts collaborative project was announced, I was thrilled. I pondered for quite some time about how to bring sound and painting together, having only experimented for myself with some animated images and recorded painting processes. I knew that I often take too much on my shoulders and at times all over the place. Therefore, I hoped that I could integrate the collaborative bit into my coursework, even hoping it could be part of my parallel project related to medical imaging and MRI and being presented for assessment (still to come) – and I got the go from my tutor under the condition it would be well documented. I was even more thrilled to hear in my first virtual meeting with music student Vicky Downey that she felt intrigued by the topic of MRI and was open minded to have our collaboration on this theme, somehow ‘directed’ by my parallel project. Since the start I felt an amazing resonance and trust between us.

Big challenge for me was how to create and get visuals, animated images or ‘still’ paintings into a piece of work that work together and are ‘synced’ with Vicki’s music. We discussed this and it occurred to me that non-perfect sync might be even a good idea. I never worked on any video or animated piece longer than 1 or 2 minutes, and mostly as recordings, but without the addition of extra-soundscapes. I was afraid that I have to spend a massive amount of time on learning film editing and post-production software, and that the results would look clumpy, rough and amateurish.  Or that awful transitions would damage the experience of our work. I put this concern away and was pleased that our discussion went along more or sensation and experience of visual and soundscapes.

I really enjoyed our collaboration that followed a mutual sequence, starting with talking through my initial idea and own experience of brain MRI, Vicki’s experience and ideas relating to MRI, and pulling together rough ideas on how MRI works, how it could be translated musically and visually, and some references to other artists.

In this flowing phase, I found it tremendously helpful to have Vicki as a remote partner, giving structure through her music pieces, that I could take up and inform my visuals. We refined and build a flow together later. I do thank Vicki for being in that sense more structured as me, as I tend to be rather experimental, at times chaotic and always embracing uncertainty. Also, I very much appreciated how Vicki took up points from our discussion through a few virtual meetings and more email exchanges (that I put all together in a separate doc) and played out and experimented freely. Fortunately, this didn’t put her off. 

I made a very rough first draft visual sequence midway that found good resonance with Vicki, and just before our big day made variations and eventually the night before the final cut. I was embracing uncertainty and considered certain de-synced transitions as a key element of the outcome and the experience. It was like a dialogue in three, between visuals, music and perception by the audience of both together. This also led to the fact that I could share a second version of a full visual sequence (a narrative?) with Vicki only the day before the event. However, I made some variations of sub-sequences that we reviewed remotely by texting together. A big thank to her for this late checking in and trust and openness.

Each of us created more ‚raw material’ that didn’t go into our final cut. We have more material that we could (and will) see how it could be used. This includes MRI footage in the work, voice and words, humming sound by string or by audience, and last not least how a live performance with people (us or other) could look like.

Overall, I very much appreciated the opportunity from OCA to work collaboratively with music, especially that it was Vicki who became my partner in ‚MRI-crime‘ (our work title ‘Mindful Resonance Interaction (MRI)’, that I made up in a moment of deep inspiration, is also a reflection on our collaboration based on openness and trust). I also found the inspirational and pragmatic Carla and Caroline very supportive and appreciated that both also made some work together. As a Fine Art student at level HE5, I feel inspired to explore further relationships between visual spaces and sound spaces, both key to our human understanding and knowledge of the world around us. This collaboration opened up new perspectives for me, and I can now even imaging in include voice/words into the work.

 

Reflection after the performance event 20th July 2019

We started the day in a wonderful venue at Toynbee Studios, six projects in pairs, three before and three after lunch. I was so thrilled hearing that my tutor will come, and for time reasons made us to schedule our bit as the last one of day.

Stefan513593 - NMU/FA Collaboration OCA - 20July2019

The day started with the fantastic impromptu Kym and Jason, who performed painting and music ad hoc, involving us as the audience by asking to roll a dice that would inform their performance. It was a good start with a lot of fun. I very much liked the vitality and spontaneity of the performance. Something, I could do envision for street art performance or any other public spaces as well. Will keep this in mind as it resonates with my art therapy practice as well. 

A slide show accompanied by live piano music followed by word and voices followed by Anne and Naomi (who was virtual present), with Anne’s husband joining in. I very much enjoyed her piece ‘hands’, written poem, sung along by Anne and her husband, we as audience were invited to sing along as well. I found it intriguing to include words and voice in a piece, something Vicki and I considered but not realized. Re audience voice, it appeared also in the piece performed later by Anna and Deborah, as well as by Emma and SarahJane.

The next project by Anna and Deborah was informed by Anna’s graduate show work on ‘one year in prison’ informed by letters of one prisoner. It sounded familiar to me, as my work with Vicki was also informed by my ideas of parallel project, though nothing was realized till that moment. Nevertheless, there work got a spin by the input of Deborah. The audience was once again invited to participate by creating a human wall (reference to the prison wall) and holding lace flags. Anna informed us that this bit was informed by her exchange with textile students. Their piece was an animated still photograph sequence with voice over by Anna and Deborah sitting on both side of the human wall. I took away the experience of space created in the room, through a layering of background screening, audience as object rather sculptural installation and the words and voices that pulled me as an ‘observer’ into a liminal space.

After lunch, the room became dark, as the three following projects were built around the screening experience accompanied by music and sound. It was interesting for me how the day was split into two parts (intentionally?). Caroline’s and Carla’s work was according to their information a rather short notice built together performative work. Carla was playing on her flute and creating a huge variety of sounds and Caroline played a gong, both playing in the back, between the screen and the audience seated. I was impressed by the experience of time and duration. At the beginning the transitions of stills were very slow, meditative, and the perception of space through layering was stunning. What started abstract moved on with zooming out perspectives and with more clarity on location and video sequences were included. The soundscapes created and experienced were intriguing. Compared to screen-based sequences only, as me and Vicki worked along on our piece, a double space created, the room of the performance was part of the work. A tension between what I see and what I hear, going through my body, being fully immersed. Time was standing still, and I did appreciate how long a piece can be (it was roughly 15 min long) with slow motion or even still.  Definitely, something for me to keep in mind.

The project just before our part, was done by Emma and SarahJane, a fast moving sequence build around original footage from an older Venus travel film related to the myth of the Sirens, accompanied by Emma’s music as a soundtrack, or a soundscape synced with the visuals. SarahJane had incredible technical knowledge how to apply filters to make visual effects. Most stunning was their rather improvised audience involvement through a voice choir accompanying the last sequence of an underwater siren sequence. Another fab example, how well the audience can be involved actively, and how improvisation actually works by just doing, being in the space, and feeling resonance among the people and the visuals or music.

The last bit was our work ‘Mindful Resonance Interaction (MRI)’. I was quite nervous, checked with Vicki who was virtual present, sound systems, being concerned about the transmissions of very low pitches. We didn’t foresee any audience involvement or live performing things; it all was about the visual-music experience conveyed through projection and sound. We discussed before the duration of the black screen in the middle of the work just the night before. But having experienced the other works before I was not concerned at all. It is amazing how much space (visually and musically) can be hold when being in that space physically. An experience lacking completely when viewing online, screen based only. For me the big take away: one’s own body has to be in that space. How could embodiment be better explained? We received good feedback related to the photo-painting sequence and the narrative created, at times an disruptive, unstable sequence that worked well with the experience.

Overall, a fantastic day, full of creative energy. We all worked together very well. It was very worth for me to flying over. As one key aspect in my work is embodiment, best experience for me was the necessity of being in the space itself. Kind of summarizing what my parallel project was and is all about. The experience of MRI was a point of departure, it concluded in an experience of visual-sound-music-embodied space experience. I left the venue and the day encouraged and highly motivated and was following up with Vicki to share what I felt and experienced, and feedback received offline. This is another aspect of collaboration: sharing and involving.

 

About the development of the work ‘Mindful Resonance Interaction’

First, we agreed to start wide open, bringing each of us visual and musical sketches into the table aka into the cloud (a shared drive). This was quite a helpful approach, to have a place to share without talking directly to each other (Vicki is based in UK, I am based in Germany) and to get input of what the other had in mind. We discussed themes as body-mind binary opposites, sense of disembodiment inside the MRI machine, the hand outside the machine with the thumb on the emergency button, physical parameters e.g. proton spinning, Lamour frequency, precession, slicing, machine sounds, notation etc.  One reference I added to our discussion was Rasheed Newsome’s Shade Compositions (Furnace, 2017), a combination of stage performance, screening, and sound and voice – it was good to hear that this resonated with Vicki. I do believe that this idea of combining wall screening and stage performance followed through our collaboration. We diverted from this, perhaps more unconsciously mutual agreed on in resonance, it became clear that Vicki couldn’t attend in person. Therefore, we put the stage performance bit aside, and to make it digital only. Somehow, I didn’t feel it would make sense to perform on site/stage alone. 

I did pull from ideas created during my course, kind of spin off ideas informed my ideas about my parallel project. I maintained a dedicated sketchbook for my project, at the beginning it was rather focused around my brain MRI experience, other artist’s work informed by MRI, and my coursework ideas. It developed into a more focused exploration around our collaboration.

A next main phase started midway, when we agreed to structure our work around three parts: an emerging (informed by my reference of arriving in the clinic and before going inside the machine) , an inside the machine (with its percussive, pulsing sound and slicing effect relating to the visual imagery resulting from the process), and a final part that I referred to as Baroque, informed by MRA images of my brain vessels, we called it  ‘Brain Baroque’.

Concerning the Baroque: this is informed by my reading of Deleuze ‘Fold’ (brain as folded matter) and inspired by Helen Chadwick’s work ‘Oval Court’ and her interest in the Baroque, Rococco. I found it helpful to have midway Carla Rees supporting Vicki in finding her way into this theme that she took up and came back with stunning piece of music. 

Concerning uncertainty, I tend to push thinking about final piece away and still being very positive about the process and an outcome. I have to acknowledge that only quite late in the project phase I got some clarity on how things might evolve from my side. 

My first draft (Downey, Schaffeld, 2019b) based on the three part music provided by Vicki established for me a frame around emerging (my portrait with zooming into my eyes) , using original MRI footage and some of my sketchbook ideas to improvise on the idea of slicing alongside the organ sound from Vicki, using original MRA footage of my brain vessels (animated) for the ‘brain baroque’ music, and last taking my same portrait to fade away into blackness as end. 

I was not satisfied with couple of items, e.g., do I want to use original footage? Do I want to illustrate ‘slicing’ through animated movement of still images? how could we make a meaningful finish? I wanted to build in process work, i.e. painting process, and to replace photographs with paintings, all still to be created.

I found it was very helpful that we obtained a combined full piece of work, even in a very raw and sketchy way. It supported us to reflect in structure, on timing, on visual-music resonance. Without that overall impression, I doubt that we would have been able to establish the outcome we presented (see Schaffeld, 2019b).

Few main changes we made: to break the first part down into two sections (a slower and a more dynamic phase) and to break the third part also in two sections (allowing a smoother finish). Vicki came up with the idea of breathing, I related it to departing from the machine into nature. This really got my ideas flowing, to distant myself from rather illustrative visuals, and to relate more to the body. Some further reading done for my critical essay gave me ideas in faces, defacing, and touch and the body. The result was me drawing a sand with the water washing it away. This is what I do relate to the seacoast, for our work I had to improvise and to set up the ‘beach’ on our porch with sand and letting water from our rainwater container run over it to flush it away. All these connotations with drawing a face in sand and the sea informed the last section of our work.

I decided to start the  ‘Brain Baroque’ piece with the original animated footage (was too fascinating for us since the beginning), but merged it with a process painting of watercolor running down (in final piece it is ‘running’ up as I rotated it informed by the uplifting sound and uplifting evolvement of Baroque forms).

To replace my photographed portrait with a painting was the easier bit, and I think that the fact of Vicki being not physical present informed my decision to ask her for a portrait photo and to paint her as well. During the making next steps followed on each other and our two photographs turned into two portrait paintings that turned into one layered combined portrait followed by the first idea of zooming into the eye and into the brain. 

The last, the middle section was perhaps the hardest bit, as I not only questioned the use of original footage for that (too personal? too illustrative? ethics?) as well as the visuals as being just an illustration of the music or of my idea of ‘slicing’. A turning point for me was when I started to depart from being inside the MRI machine and focusing more on my embodiment, my reaction to sound when I was inside. Is music not creating a soundscape that we tend to take in us, triggering images, and last not least make us to move, to feel? What if I would perform not to the original footage but to Vicki’s music? A surrogate perhaps, but more real in the presence, informed by same phenomena of human embodiment. I think after making several performance during daylight and at night with UV light, fluorescent paint on my face, and a check pattern projected onto my body and the background wall (the  pattern was one of those moments of serendipity found during making of other works for my course, informing this project) I did know the music by heart.

 


Supporting Material

Reference

 

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Screen & Transparency // feeding my parallel project // OTHER VIEW

Medical imaging // layering – scanning – transparency

Informed by my work on assignment 3, a masking, layering approach, framing, using stencil technique, spray paint, and reflective surfaces.

Fig. 1 – 3: Looking through

Matting with black board. Reminding me of some kind of medical images, e.g. X-Ray images placed on a flat lightbox or glass

 

 

Fig. 4: Masking and Reveal

Layered approach with striations, lines of scanning, masking to reveal

Fig. 5: Notational Difference

Same paint, same color, still differentiation between figure and ground. A classification, a notational discrimination, a yes or no.

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Project 3.5 – Ex. 3.4: Parallel Project – visual mapping

Working title: 

 

// Dislocated Image – Dislocating Self //

 

Ongoing interrogations   – a chronology 

// blog category ‘Parallel Project’ at: https://ocasp.stefanvisualart.com/?cat=126 // 

// this information will be amended in a word doc – accessible at: chronology log (455 kB)

// sketchbook aka notebook pages for my parallel project – accessible at: sketchbook pdf (29 MB) (below figures are selected pages from this sketchbook)

My first visual thinking – mapping out

My interest: MRI as visual imaging technique informed by my bodily experience from a MRI scan (Bern, April 2018)

My inspiration – Museum Visits: Bruce Nauman ‘Composite Photo of Two Messes on the Studio Floor’ (1967) and Hito Steyerl ‘war games’, drones and visual simulation for remote attack

My question: Is MRI (or medical imaging technique) not a similar visual technique as satellite or drones? 

Mapping the territory:

Fig 1: Visual Mapping . areas of interest

Possible routes:

  • imaging as  mapping / seeing above and through / dislocation gaze and object // working with raw MRI images to translate them painterly

 

My second visual thinking – mapping out

My question: How does Baroque folds compare to MRI imaging technique?

Fig. 2: Exploring a Baroque’ness of MRI

Possible routes:

  • Applying the 6 traits of the Baroque to MRI and explore through painting folds and unfolds, MRI more as a metaphor than iconographic

 

My third visual thinking – mapping out

Fig. 4: a summary

Areas of difference:

  • Bodily / Senses / Auditory & Tactile / seeing with the body
  • iconographically: Aesthetics of MRI
  • indexical: medical gaze of decoding information
  • metaphorical: conditions of detecting, differentiating, constructing a visible
  • Baroque’ness : 6 traits of subverting dominance

My intermediate conclusion

My question/statement: Mapping as technique, MRI as mapping device

Collecting and mapping (classifying) ideas

Fig. 3: collection of ideas – 8 routes to move. MRI as mapping device.

Possible routes:

  • The Baroque sensibility
  1. The encapsulated brain
  2. The Sound image – a push vibration
  3. The slices abstraction
  4. ‘Still images’ as performative one hour lasting stillness, ref daguerreotype and the neck brace
  5. Performative-screen-translucent => Dissolution of boundaries
  6. ‘X-ray’ layers, a scanning sensibility 
  7. Figure / Ground discipline
  8. Resonance Music / Sound / Visuals => moving into my collaborative project with music student Vicky Downey

 

Fig 5: sketching directions

 

 

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Screen & Dissociation // feeding my parallel project // ONE VIEW

This is my (parallel) development and reflection informed by my assignment work: Screen installation / Spatial gesture.

It occurred as kind of boredom-phenomena, related to the long drying and waiting times for my assignment work (TIME & DISSOCIATION) and inspired by my spin-off idea, I decided to develop it further – as one idea for my parallel project on medical imaging.

Overall, how projection could be considered as an intrinsic element of our viewing experience of screen based imagery: projection on walls as cinema screens, TV screens, computer monitor screens, or clinical viewing screens and any other framed images that defer meaning beyond its materiality. On the one hand, our body with its physical presence and on the other hand, the screen that is not what it suggests to be: a reality by framing attention.

And relating to my discourse with myself of  how digital and moving images : just a format of delivery as a distant learner or more than a collection of ‚moving ‚ still images ? Painting with paint on surfaces or painting in between spaces , virtual?

I felt it would possibly make more sense in context of medical imaging – the gestures as part of human interventions in clinics, as well as the body part that stretches outward beyond the MRI machine (as in my case with having a brain MRI scan).

Screen installation

Stefan513593 - A3 - screen gesture - ideas to oush forward 1

Fig. 1: screen gesture – ideas to push forward 1. Rhenalon plates, crossed, installed, gestural interaction

 

=> I find the sculptural aspect alongside the space to breath inspiring. The ambiguous sense of space something to elaborate further. A ‘simpler’ approach than the following ideas

When I placed that transparent work in-front of my blank computer screen , it seemed as if the gestural hands became more embedded in that ‘blank’ context (Fig. 2)

Fig. 2: Blank computer screen- blank context – embedding gestures; collaged gestures (left photograph – right painting, both laser prints)

I felt inspired to develop this further,, although I also felt that not much need to be done else. Questions of black versus colored striations (screen – projection artefacts) and whether the hands be painted flat or with some sculptural appeal. Or whether the installation of flat images (background, gestures) in space would be sufficient ambiguous to engage the viewer?

What resulting in applying various spatial settings (reminding me of the ‘painting in a round’ idea from part 2) , playing with gestures and screens (perspex, two sizes (30×21 split into half and for one side only), black acrylic spray painted perspex, painted and printed gestures):

Aspects that worked well:

  • Reflective feature of ‘black mirror’ (of gesture and environment)
  • A rather flying appeal on transparent surface
  • A narrative through the dialogue of two gestures
  • A mylar layer with cut out gesture with black background (Fig. 14)
  • High tonal contrast (Fig. 9 left)

What didn’t work:

  • Size and composition eg. Fig. 10
  • Additional complexity of white ground
  • Clarity of difference between various viewpoints
  • Low tonal contrast (Fig. 10 left)
  • Overall, robustness and quality of execution

Steps to develop it further: 

  • Better quality and robustness
  • Working with high tonal contrast, difference between b&w and intense but selective color 
  • Installing on support

 

Overall, I am intrigued by the bold appeal in space alongside the black screen as reflective matter. A dialogue between transparency and opaqueness, between revealing and concealing.

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New Music Collaborative Project

I am quite excited to work with fellow music student Vicky Downey on a collaborative project under the lead of Clara Rees and Caroline Wright. It was fantastic news to hear in my first call with Vicky on March 18th that she is excited to work on MRI as a project and to explore together through visual and audio works the idea of it. 

On March 20th we had our first group meet with others students who will work mostly in pairs on fine art-music ideas. The project will find its grand finale on July 20th with a live performance in UK (venue – tbd)

I am glad to work with Vicky on this project and I want to incorporate it in my parallel project for this course. Certainly a topic for further discussion with my tutor.

Vicky and I agreed on to set up a team drive, and to start with open ideas re MRI.  Aspects we want to explore are: bodily experience, appearance & dispappearance, image & sound, physical properties of MRI (protons spin, resonance), transforming data, slicing, mind &  body (Descartes). Both of us find good inspiration in Jean Dubuffet’s ‘CouCou Bazar’ (VernissageTV, 2016) and Rashaad Newsome ‘Shade Compositions’ (Furnace, 2017)

I will  document our conversation in a log and my notes will be done in my parallel sketchbook (see Parallel Project – Mapping ). I will ensure that my contribution is clearly documented.

 


Reference

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Parallel Project and Critical review – thoughts on how to get there

Stefan514593 - Parallel Project - sketchbook

There are two options at that moment that I feel are relevant to what I want to explore with my work:

  1. MRI as medical imaging technique and how we try to make sense of visual information in finding a Self and identity. MRI especially on brain imageries as experienced personally this year. Some more background information in my earlier post
  2. Informed by my work during part 2 the question how we relate to objects around us, mundane, daily objects. How painting can explore and raise awareness of what makes us to decide whether an object is precious or trash. References to fetishism in modern terms as explored by Hartmut Boehme in his book (2012)

I was interested in folding and unfolding (see my earlier post) in context of Deleuze and the Baroque. I can see how the brain structure is a folded object, and how object relationship do unfold on us through an questionning of subject-object relationship. The latter very much in context of my own practice and work with structural constellation work. It might that all aspect could come together. I am just afraid that I would loose focus and time and space to look deeper, not wider.

I related my MRI idea to Bruce Nauman and his exploration of visual imagery, moving images, recordings, topography and appropriation of contemporary visual imagery Composite Photo of Two Messes on the Studio Floor (1967) as well as to Hito Steyerl and her appropriation of mass media and simulation visual technologies to address socio-political power structures. 

During part 2 I worked on parallel ideas that intrigued me and where I really didn’t know how to embed them in other works or how to make sense out of it at a more elaborated level. 

Stefan514593 - Parallel Project - glitch and striations

Fig. 1: glitch and striations – coding and concealed information (Sketchbook)

 

Stefan514593 - Parallel Project - multiple viewpoints

Fig 2: multiple viewpoints -perspective in space (installation maquette)

 

Stefan514593 - Parallel Project - striations in spatial painting

Fig. 3: striations in spatial painting – detail from my ‘Walking Through Painting’ (see: https://ocasp.stefanvisualart.com/?p=1627)

Some of these elements moved in my decoding and communicating visual information: from barcodes to QR codes. One need to use a gadget, a tool to decode, to obtain hidden information. Something, I can related to medical imagery as MRI. The ordinary person can not ‘read’ them, as if all are the same. Revealing needs more information.

Truly, something I want to discuss with my tutor.


Featured image: sketchbook exploration with screenshot from HOROS, imagery from my brain

Reference:

  • Böhme, H. (2012) Fetischismus und Kultur : eine andere Theorie der Moderne, Rowohlts Enzyklopädie, 3rd ed. ed. Edited by König, B. Reinbek, Hamburg: Rowohlt Taschenbuch Verlag.
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Folds, Unfolding and Why baroque is not dead

Stefan513593_SP_part2_warmup feature

Warming up gestural drawing that possibly could lead into gestural painting? For the time being I restricted myself to charcoal sticks, one stick a day, one week.

Stefan513593 - SP2 -warm up - Baroque gesture
 
Stefan513593 - SP2 -warm up - Baroque gesture
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In parallel my reading, bits by bits of Deleuze ‘Folds – Leibniz and the Baroque’, trying to find context for my assignment 1 work on folding and unfolding, my exhibition visit on Sam Gilliam and my curiosity to seek new perspectives and meaning.

“The model for the science of matter is the ‘origami’,… the art of folding paper.” – Deleuze

And reading on the side some parts in Holly’s book ‘Past Looking’, helping me to understand better what Deleuze was trying to say.

“Unfolding is not the contrary of folding, but follows the fold up to the following fold. A fold is always folded within a fold.” – Deleuze

Key learnings in Baroque and Deleuze:

The Baroque House - an allegory

Fig. 1: The Baroque House – An Allegory (after: Deleuze)

  • Difference Renaissance – Baroque:
    solid figure – changing appearance, enduring form-movement, thing in itself – thing in its relations, thing as they are – things as they seem to be, absence – presence
  • Connotation with Baroque: excessive, ecstatic, theatrical, allegorical, intertwining of death and desire
  • Baroque as a ‘subversion of dominant visual order of scientific reason’
  • Baroque a ‘world of two floors, separated by a fold that echoes itself.’, a separation between matter and manner, material and soul
  • The fold: a form of expression, a Gestaltung, an infinite line of inflection
  • Open facade and hermetic inner volume
  • A room, a place with no windows covered with ‘lines of inflection’ (the monad according to Leibniz), a cell, a sacristy, a study room
  • The outer is not visible in the inner, only through invisible openings or mirrors light enters
  • Dark background, things appearing from the background
  • 6 traits assigned to the Baroque:
    – 1. the fold, 2. the inside and outside, 3. the high and the low, 4. the unfold, 5. textures, 6. the paradigm

At the end of the week I was wondering whether my gestural drawing expresses some of the Baroque elements: two halves (though no horizontal line), thrusting upwards, darkness below and light at the top. folds and twisting alongside a sense of filling of voids? Are folds nothing else than concealing of form? In the Baroque, the expansive garments that were completely bidding underlying body form.

The funny thing about Baroque is, that I always associated it with decadency and voluptuous forms. However, I liked also to play Baroque music on my guitar or recorder. Perhaps it is so rich in various tonal dimensions? Only till I got hooked with my ‘folding and unfolding’-thing I felt more excited to look deeper. Deleuze opens it for me a more ‘post-structuralist’ approach.

Would this be another subject matter as my personal project?

Not sure if I can add something ‘new’ to it, even personally. Looking up google search for ‘folds AND baroque’ it turns out nearly 1’160’000 hits on google and even 14’900 on google scholar.

Interestingly Deleuze made some references to art practitioners re folds, some works I collected on my separate Pinterest board: El Greco and Tintoretto as Baroque painters, Klee (inflection as a core element of the variable curve, the spontaneous line), Rauschenberg (tabulation the grid), Jean Dubuffet (texturologie), Simon Hantai (folded canvas, painted, unfolded), Georges Jeanclos (sculptures), Elga Heinzen (painted folds)

And there are certainly those painted sculptural folds in the works of Sam Gilliam, Sophia Starling, some of Frank Stella or Katharina Grosse


Reference:

  • Deleuze, G. and Conley, T. (2015) The Fold – Leibniz and the Baroque, 9th ed. Translated by Conley, T. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
  • Holly, M. A. (1996) Past Looking: Historical Imagination and the Rhetoric of the Image. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.
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Parallel project – initial ideas – medical imagery

MRI  – Visual imagery and technologies – the self and the self portrait – technology that goes inside of me

medical imagery an approach to see inside, a diagnostic tools, intrusive. How relevant are the visual information acquired to know a person, to ‘see’ a person’s condition or even identity? What are conditions of understanding and what are conditions of perception and self image? Dependancy.

=> Would this be a relevant topic to explore further ? It touches me, it is very personal, and it is about visual imagery and visualisation technology. Part of visual culture or still restricted to medical realm? I am wondering how many image are taken every day of people, with results that can be of relief and often revealing devastating facts alongside the hope that medical technology detected it, thus they can heal it as well.

Visual imagery of my inner body – the brain

Background: I was assigned for a MRI inspection in the local hospital (on April 10th, 2018 in Bern, Inselspital.) after visiting my ophthalmologist who didn’t find a cause for my recent severe night headache. This visualisation technology is used in medicine nearly as a standard method for diagnosing potential harms of the brain zone. I’ve been in the MRI machine for approx. 45 min. and the process itself was already a unique, not so pleasant, experience. I intend to write down my thoughts and feelings separately. Luckily, all went well and nothing critical appeared, visualised itself in my brain images. 

I took the opportunity to get a CD with the medical image data on it (DICOM format) . I felt I could use this somehow in my art practice, but no idea when and how. But it was a CD with my data, data of my identity? Visual data of part of me, invisible to me, is it truly a representation of me?  The CD had a windows DICOM viewer on it, for my Mac I had to download the  open source medical image viewer HOROS.

One of the images I was able to see on the screen – who is looking back at me? 

screenshot of DICOM data of MRI, HOROS viewer

Fig. 1: screenshot of DICOM data of MRI, HOROS viewer

The weird thing is that I can scroll and swipe through the different layers of my brain zone, vertical and horizontal cuts. With a fingertip slicing through my brain – very strange. It really felt as something else – and so intrusive. 

Ideas and approach in relation to my painting practice.

  • layered images as disruption of ‘one’ picture plane, through fragmentation a reflection on identity 
  • imaging techniques as a mean of understanding of what we don’t know, painting as a mean of revealing questions of the un-known
  • disruption: not only picture plane but also a disruption of inside-outside, internal-external
  • repetition & process: scrolling back and forth, a continuous approach of seeking meaning and reason
  • control & gesture: what is in my control and what is external controlled? Who provides meaning? What can paint doing to mirror this?
  • foldings and unfolding: to make visible and still not revealing, not the surface, not inside, no location, an unknown origin
  • embodiment: a personal multisensorial experience, like paint – color, smell, touch, sound

I can see the following art context as relevant to this idea as it addresses issues of modern imaging technologies and how we make sense of visual infomation, and how it relates to power relationship of visual control:

  • Bruce Nauman and his exploration of visual imagery, moving images, recordings, topography and appropriation of contemporary visual imagery Composite Photo of Two Messes on the Studio Floor (1967)
  • Hito Steyerl and her appropriation of mass media and simulation visual technologies to address socio-political power strucures
  • ….

Possible extensions:

  • Artist in Residence in clinic: (local or somewhere else)? As I moved the Bern hospital is out of reach, distant project work perhaps?  Would bring me quite out of my comfort zone as a distant art student.

Reference:

  • Horos (2018) The Horos Project – open source medical image viewer, [online], At: https://horosproject.org/  (Accessed  18 May 2018).

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