Tag Archives: Medical imaging

A6 – Critical Review – Final Draft

Stefan513593 -P2SP -CR - - draft - digital composite of sketches and drawing after Chadwick ('Self-Portrait', 1991)

After feedback on my revised draft, I pulled up the key items that I need to consider in my final draft

  • less dense and less informative
  • more reflective and critical engagement
  • more emphasis on materiality, process, and visual aesthetics
  • to relate strongly to my practice and interest of materiality transformation and vulnerability of the body.
  • make it really an enquiry into my ideas
  • relate to my approach towards the contextual notes for A5

 

Here the link to : PDF

05 Stefan513593_P2SP_CR-final draft

 

(Total  word count: 2528 // without direct quotes, footnotes, references: 2065)

 


Remark on tools

For my research, brainstorming, outlining, and writing my drafts I used the following tools – all with which I can work on my laptop and my tablet in sync, an important aspect for me when travelling:

  • Inspiration:  for brainstorming, on the go, visual mapping, connecting and outlining
  • Scrivener: for writing and compiling essays, providing structure, 
  • Endnote: reference database, with pdf and annotations and research notes accumulated, now also an archive of my studies

I do find them very supportive and helpful (although inspiration is the least stable one, not on a Mac, Windows is better). It gives me structure, quick access to information, and space to connect and to relate to. It might be not everyone’s cup of tea, but I am very positive to have found a robust and sustainable working approach. And all three are malleable enough that I can adjust if needed to my way of working.

 

read more

Critical Review – Revised Draft for review

amended:  for the sake of avoidance / self-plagiarism: 

I do thank all who gave me their feedback and comments on my revised draft. The final draft is the current one

I am considering here the discussion on self-plagiarism at OCA discuss forum and input from OCA librarian Helen at: https://discuss.oca-student.com/t/should-i-publish-my-essays-on-my-blog/10737?) and the mitigating the minor risk that someone could reference this revised draft – what would apparently put me intro trouble, as I did not reference my revised draft in my final draft. Let the readers of this amended post reflect for themselves on what may be good online academic standard….

Please see my final draft at: 

A6 – Critical Review – Final Draft

Total  word count of revised draft: 3282; without direct quotes, footnotes, references: 2487

 

 


Image:

  • Schaffeld, S.J (2019 Reflecting in layers – Sketches and drawing after Chadwick (‘Self-Portrait’, 1991)  [Digital composite] 
read more

Critical Review – Outlining argumentation

Outline of my argumentation, based on my earlier brainstorming and draft outline around the subject of medical imaging / MRI and art. Especially, considering more the work for my parallel project and assignment 4 works around materiality of paint as malleable and vibrant as skin through which the gaze is intruding onto us.

link to: PDF

11 Stefan513593_CR_P2SP_outline2

 


Reference:

read more

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

 

read more

Project 4.5 – Ex. 4.5: 3D colour chart

  • Project 4.5 – Ex. 4.5:  3D colour chart
  • Project 4.5 – Ex. 4.5:  3D colour chart
  • Project 4.5 – Ex. 4.5:  3D colour chart

Color – Mapping a Space

My chosen location was the garden of the South London Botanical Institute, that I visited as part of the ‘Art & Environment’ study weekend with OCA tutors Melissa and Dan (see my reflective account)

Two aspects fascinated me:

  1. The varieties of color of plants and flowers (Fig. 1), with a selection of it embedded in a slide (Fig. 2)
  2. The botanist gaze embodied in the microscopic view (Fig. 3)
Fig. 1: SLBI garden impression

Fig. 1: SLBI garden impression

and my collection (with some ethical concern, feeling myself as a Victorian naturalist, and with an awe for the powerful colors of the specimen)

Fig. 3: SLBI -Plant collection

Fig. 3: SLBI -Plant collection

..specimen to look at, to gaze through the human prosthesis: the microscope. Triggering associations of far away (planets?) and very close (‘inside the body’)

Fig. 3: SLBI - the botanist gaze

Fig. 3: SLBI – the botanist gaze

I wanted to comhine both somehow, with some preliminary experiments informed by project 1 of part 4. My fascination became even more intriguing as I could relate this to my parallel project on medical imaging, the microscope as perhaps the first human prosthesis to look deeper, to discipline the body, to slice, to flatten. My reading of Lisa Cartwright’s ‘Screening the Body’ (1995) supported my interest. 

My aim for this exercise:

  • to match the various colors found,  with my naked eyes in the garden, through the microscope, and through photographic reproductions after my return to my studio space. 
  • to build on, but also to free up from my initial thoughts, and to response more directly to the process of making

 

Preliminary experiments

How to capture color with the idea of microscope? I eventually found that circular shapes would be more suitable than rectangular as advised in the coursematerial. 

Considering the aims of this part of the course, I found that to isolate color as paint from its support might be also an idea to look at. 

Materials used:

  • circular shapes: found plastic lids from yoghurt products. Those lids did remind me of petri dishes (made from glass or plastic( that are typically used in microbiology 
  • paint: acrylic paint and/or Aquacryl paint plus impasto gel or arcrylic adhesive to be able to peel the paint skin from the plastic lids

Some experimental tests (Fig. 4):

Fig. 4: preliminary testing // peelable paint and plastic lids

Fig. 4: preliminary testing // peel-able paint and plastic lids

=> quite satisfied with the performance of the paint (though it took some days till completely dry and peel-able). The obtained paint-disks to work with, not so rigid, with some flexibility. More to see. This triggered some childhood memories: ‘melting crystals’ to create colorful melted, normally round shaped,  stained window pictures (they melt at around 180 C, and we used a kiln for that). Anything to take from this autobiographic experience? Quite astonished by this connotation. Would this trigger in other viewer’s mind childhood memories as well? Perhaps just a side effect, one of many narratives. 

Surface and supporting material: my main reasons are the disk shape resonating with the ocular botanist gaze, and the plastic material (acrylic paint easy to peel of) as found object (found as linguistic gesture of what I found in the garden, at the study visit, when looking through the microscope). Using other surfaces would alter that connotation. 

Next steps: to color match observed garden and microscope colors, and to discern difference between impasto gel and acrylic adhesive as well between acrylic paint (opaque) and aquacryl (transparent). Would it be possible to obtain transparent or translucent disks with light able to shine through? Like the light from a microscope? 

Matching colors

(slider view, click on one image to open Lightbox view – Fig. 5 & 6)

Fig. 5: matching botanic color

Image 1 of 2

matching botanic color

 

=> as envisioned, the plates with acrylic adhesive turned out to be glossy, compared to the mat impasto gel plates. Also, acrylic adhesive itself is transparent compared to impasto gel being rather opaque (surprised me). Further, I noticed that the color adhesive plates are much less transparent, wondering how this could be. Nevertheless, I decided to move on with what I have (and not trying to repeat till I get what I intended to get) and to see how things would work out in space, and under the performative impact of light.

Anatomy of Color

Question: to peel the paint skin of the plate? Or to keep it inside? I decided to peel – not knowing whether this was to best decision  

{xx color disks} in space 

together – alone – flat – in relation – activating the background – being activated by light – mapping

(slider view, click on one image to open Lightbox view – Fig. 7 – 10)

Fig. 7: color in space no1

Image 1 of 4

color in space no1: placing as collection

 

After my various ‘installations’ , still kind of flat though, I sketched down two ideas for more spatial installation: kinetic and negative space (Fig  11)

Fig. 11: color in space no5 - sketchbook ideas

Fig. 11: color in space no5 – sketchbook ideas; kinetic mobile and negative installed space with looking through circles

 

All in all, I am not so satisfied with the outcome. Perhaps, I was too busy with my parallel project and the rather flexible disks seemed to be rather restrictive. Nevertheless, there is something in that I cannot grasp at this point of time.

Naming my colors

Why to name them? For me or for the audience? As title for the work? As list of names as title? A poem? As contextual reference? Or as intentional meaning to guide the viewer? Perhaps, an invitation to connect linguistic and visual cues?

I could name them after the botanical origin, or after some colorant used in microscopic (eg. astra blue, sudan red or safranin). I didn’t find that those name who add to new knowledge, seemed to be rather too illustrative.

My thoughts for names:

  • yellow: ocular round
  • blue: botanist gaze
  • yellow green: nature’s skin
  • blue-green: water of life
  • transparent: transparent body

=> Here I can see how names, playing with connotations, can bridge somehow the gap between context, idea, and aesthetic perception, beyond the functional realm of paint tubes in stores or to nostalgia


Reflection

  • Overall, I was intrigued by my initial response to the idea from garden and microscope. Although, the technical execution of the color-plates was not as intended, I found some spatial arrangements, that went beyond that initial idea. Especially, I was intrigued by the light performance through a projected test-pattern onto the plates. Giving it all together a spatial appeal in a flat environment. Nevertheless, I felt that my direction went a dead end, and will therefore continue in a different direction.
  • The test pattern, laid over the physical paint-skin, adds a sense of artificiality, scientific, or medical appeal to it. I am wondering whether this could work in context of my parallel project.
  • By chance, I was struck reading about Percival Lowell and seeing his sketches and photographs of the Mars, 1905 in context of ‘objectivity’. The images reminded me strongly of my microscope images (see Fig. 3, especially right bottom) His drawings after photographs challenging the question of whether it is ‘objective fact’ (in Lowell’s case the appearance of channels on Mars) or whether to ‘say that the results were from the brain of the retoucher’ (Galison and Jones, 2013:331). I can relate this visual images as mapping (drawings and photographs), mapping similar as MRI works as a mapping device.

Reference:

  • Cartwright, L. (1995) Screening the Body : Tracing Medicine’s Visual Culture. Minneapolis, London: University of Minnesota Press.
  • Galison, P. and Jones, C. A. (2013) Picturing Science, Producing Art. London, New York: Routledge.
read more

A trip to environment – a human perspective ?!

Having booked me onto the ‘Art & Environment’ weekend April 28th/29th with Melissa and Dan, I was not really sure what to expel or what to get out if it. I guess one thought was to get after my digital-material-screen paintings a fresh and different perspective on things. We do have have a larger size garden where we live, that actually inspired me for the first exercise with OCA / drawing 1 / temporary drawings: to draw with dry fallen tree leaves.

Anyhow, first day was quite South of London, at Charles Darwin, and I felt after a rail trip of 3 hours quite impressed for being in such a historical place. I do think it has to do with how I relate to things, more phenomenological and kinesthetically. With a felt sense of place where I can ‘organically absorb’ it alongside my mental images of a deceased person who made a big impact on humanities, and the way we relate to ‘nature’ (put the word in brackets as humans beings are nature as well, despite some conceptions of not). I liked the idea that Darwin set out at the age of 21 on the Beagle by suggestion and to company the captain, certainly not to find and discover new theories (not-knowing but being curious).

The second day closer to London at the South London Botanical Institute (SLBI). Another marvellous historical site, building with character. And with an impressive Herbarium collection (47511 species in 175 strong metal archive boxes). Another felt sense, and a sense of belonging as a group in a place of creative conditions as research place: a kitchen, a library, a study room, a garden. We talked about space and place, and that setting good conditions can be inspirational and open up. In that sense, I liked Darwin’s ‘sand walk’ or ‘thinking walk’: a path at the periphery of the property, protected from the outside, to walk, every day, to think, five days a week, an iteration that is important in art practice as an iterative cycle of inspiration, making, and reflection (as also shared by Matt White by his research cycle during our last RG Europe virtual talk).

The venue was excellent to have an entire house at our disposal (Sundays the institute is closed) feels very luxurious. Nevertheless, to move and discover, to sit down and talk and reflect (or to have lunch together), and to repeat all of this.

Impressions:

Dan and Melissa provided us not only with a doc package that one could do in any place of the world and in one’s close environment. They also gave us short 5min exercises (see also Instagram @startercultureuk) to respond in any way that resonates. 

  1. Find and use an alternative tool
  2. Observe growth
  3. Observe and record edges
  4. From a plant’s point of view— What does the plant see, feel, think?
  5. Find a way to attune yourself to that which wants to reveal itself (in what you’ve done)

Some of my outcome of these exercises and further exploration, some useful for my project (guess that one is a tuned to a personal meaningful project all things gravitate towards this and are seen in that context)

=> Found plants, colors, patches, mud for edges, small varities (we were encouraged and allowed to pick small specimens from the garden). To think of using the colors, Melissa mentioned chromotography to extract the colorant.

.. and interaction with a plant from the herbarium – a daisy from 1835. A verbal response

 

 ‘To attune myself to that which wants to reveal itself’ – a slow motion recorded performance with soil (thanks to Dan for being the camera-man):

Video (0:59 min, with audio)

Last not least we had time to look deeper at what interested us. To  look at the collected small specimens through the microscope, and to record this viewing with my phone cam:

=> shape reminds of the human eye, close view and still a remote sense of space. At times a sense of cosmic scale, planets. A juxtaposition of both extremes. I feel it could inform my parallel project on MRI and the medical gaze. A different device, but the same gaze. The microscope images of nature do have an aesthetic appeal, same as MRI images?

Learnings and take-always:

  • Walking as practice, a routine as iteration
  • Setting of ‘good’ conditions for creativity and as art practice: to fertilize, to plant a seed, to let it grow
  • Cross semination of ideas, one doesn’t know what might trigger work
  • Short time exercises help to avoid overthinking and just make, reflection afterwards
  • Color from plants, a source of inspiration
  • Microscope : another view in medical gaze informing my parallel project
  • Text: a verbal response, a title? embedded in a painting?
  • Edge and color, fragments and dislocation, not only in nature but also quite relevant for my coursework
  • Feeling inspired and re-energised to move on

Reference:

read more

Critical Review – Draft Outline

Establishing my chosen area of research

Medical imaging techniques as MRI scans do support various aspects informing artists to explore and embrace this technology, as:

  • an intrusive medical gaze below the skin
  • a post-modern multiplicity of viewpoints of reality
  • an aesthetic image through a contemporary representation
  • an embodied encounter with the invisible
  • a rhythm and sound informing subjective experience
  • a notational system of visual information (catalog)

Framing my Critical Review

In order to get a visual grip on my critical review by embracing my own experience in life, my art practice my interest, as well as other artist’s practices and the wider context of the theme that interests me (MRI scan as medical imaging technique in a post-modern world), I brainstormed and mapped out all ideas and thoughts and the interlinks between those in a visual map:

Brainstorm visual map (as pdf): a map that is relevant for my critical review as well as for my parallel project:

21 Stefan513593-P2SP-critical_review_brainstorm

I developed my question  over time (see further below and eventually came up with the following working question for my critical review (embracing art practices, materiality, medical imaging, and visual culture theories) and settled for now with the following statement-question:

 

Ambiguity, the disembodied self, and the performativity
in medical imaging and art

 

Outline & Structure

very early and rough state – as pdf

20 Stefan513593-P2SP-Critical Review_first_outline

I am aware that the topic is still quite broad, and I will most certainly funnel it down to specifics, e.g. how MRI process can inform art practices inspired by Helen Chadwick’s work ‘Of Mutability’ .

Question to me regarding the course material about ‘What have you learnt and how has/or might this research impact on your own work in the future?’ => to write in first or third person?

 


Earlier evolution of my question

July 2018: with reference to Bruce Nauman and Hito Steyerl: 
Medical Imaging technique as contemporary visual mapping approach

Nov 2018: with ref Silvia Casini, earlier MRI artists: 
MRI as Medical Imaging technique and the sense of self and identity

Jan 2019: with reference to Gail Weiss, Mark Johnson, and Juhani Pallassmaa:
How MRI can support an understanding of dissolution of boundaries and the body image

Feb 2019: by embracing the possibility to incorporate sound / music through my collaborative project:
How the embodied encounter creates meaning

March 2019: drafted version to work from:
Perception of an disembodied self in medical imaging techniques as MRI
or
The medical gaze and the disembodied self, variations of perspective in MRI and art.
or
Ambiguity, the disembodied self, and the performativity in medical imaging and art

 


Earlier ideas – informing my critical review and parallel project

How do I find a focused question related to materiality and artist practices that would resonate with my work during this course as well my ideas for my parallel project? 

(sources: Schaffeld, 2018a – e) 

  • Layered images:
    – as disruption of ‘one’ picture plane, through fragmentation a reflection on identity ref artists: Jaqueline Humphries, Helen Chadwick)
  • Imaging (medical) techniques:
    – as a mean of understanding of what we don’t know, painting as a mean of revealing questions of the un-known (ref artists: Hito Steyerl, Bruce Nauman, Helen Chadwick)
    – How the conception of the body image is being impacted by medical imaging techniques? 
    – How medical imaging techniques expand the human vision and gaze? (ref artists: Annie Cattrell, Elizabeth Jameson, Chris Drury, Michael Hopkins, Paula Crown, Angela Palmer, Karen Ingram, Katharine Dowson, Susan Aldworth)
    – MRI as medical imaging technique and how we try to make sense of visual information in finding a Self and identity (ref Silvia Casini, Lisa Cartwright, Liz Orton)
  • Sound:
    – How to explore noise and sound as part of an embodied work?
  • Disruption:
    – not only picture plane but also a disruption of inside-outside, internal-external (ref artists: 
  • 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 & unfolding:
    – to make visible and still not revealing, not the surface, not inside, no location, an unknown origin (ref artists: Sam Gilliam, Sophia Starling, Frank Stella, Katharina Grosse, Alison Watt)
    – How the brain could be seen as a visual of folding and unfolding, and the fold as a form of expression, a Gestaltung, an infinite line of inflection(ref: Deleuze ‘The Fold – Leibniz and the Baroque’)
  • Embodiment:
    – a personal multisensorial experience, like paint – color, smell, touch, sound (ref artists: xx)
    – an embodied spatial encounter with light, color and in relationship (ref. Helen Chadwick)
    – Choreographic elements in contemporary art as a performative expression of body images and self
    – Performative painting (Jutta Koether, Mona Hatoum, Robert Rauschenberg)
  • Coding & Decoding:
    – information with concealed, hidden meaning, visual information
    – fragmenting, disrupting, scattering, scanning – devices to code and transform visual information
  • Painting in a digital world:
    – Expanding painting through light and screen based materials
    – Exploring contemporary materials of reflection (e.g. perspex)
    – Moving images, video, and light as expanded field of painting
  •  Materiality:
    – How can a materialised painting be considered as a critical reflection on current life?
    – How physical material could be transformed through painting as a performative act?
    – Light as material
  • Participation:
    – How to overcome conventions of viewing paintings through the viewer’s participation?
    – How to invite the viewer as co-author of meaning and narratives?

Images:

Featured image: Schaffeld, S.J. (2019) Digital composite

Reference:

read more

Visits: Identity & Technology

Stefan514593 - Parallel Project - sketchbook

Wellcome Collection

After suggestions by my tutor and others I visited the Wellcome Trust Collection. The Wellcome Trust has the ambition to bring science, health and thriving life together through embracing new and creative ideas. 

For me there were two aspects to that visit:

  1. Seeing the collection and get possibly new viewpoints on medical imaging and arts that could inform my personal project
  2. Engaging with the people to see how I could benefit from an exchange of ideas. 

The second point kept still open as I have to undergo a written request (ongoing). On the first point I got a few ideas of creative transcriptions of medical imaging techniques.

Artist works:

  • Michael Hopkins (2004) Untitled: He applied white ink on slate to freely and more gestural with eraser and stiff bristle brushes to make suggestive abstract works , appropriating x-ray visuals of the human body (bones structure)
  • Annie Cattrell (2001-03) SenseShe uses functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI)technique to visualize human five senses (touch, smell, taste, hearing and seeing). The generated scans of active brain zones were converted into three-dimensional  structures of amber resin using rapid-phototyping process. 
  • Chris Drury (2003) Landscape of the Heart: A layered and interwoven work consisting of ECG patterns and a mountain landscape, linking heart rate increase when one climbs the mountain. The artist stated ‘to make mind and visual connections’ between microcosm and macrocosm. 

I was surprised that I could find these works. For me perhaps too literal takes and visualization of the process. Not sure it is the way I want to move forward. Nevertheless, it made me aware of how sculptural elements, layering (Drury) and isolation (Cattrell) could be used to explore invisible things.

In context of medical imaging, I was excited to see OCA student Beverly Duckworth’s work ‘Capsula’ at SHOWCASE. Understanding that her work has been selected for the May 2018 conference ‘Becoming Image: Medicine and the Algorithmic Gaze.’ by Digital insides, supported by Wellcome and UCL, made it even more fascinating. Unfortunately, not having much time to talk with Bev, I am starting to see a wider picture of medical imaging in arts and some key artists, institutions etc.  What I saw from the various works was that nearly all of them are digital lens based or using primary medical imagery as such for the work. Wondering how painting could leverage or providing a different viewpoint on this. It might seem a stretch to move from medical techniques to painting or video, though both have in common the visualization effect and a deferred meaning. What the eye sees (paint or curves or images) is not what one stays at, it goes deeper, a process of reflection and encoding of signs is happening.

I find the idea of layering technical patterns with gestural patterns an interesting idea. Something that I can relate to the works of Jacqueline Humphries and Jillian Mayer.

Both encounters were rather a coincidence than a planned trip. Browsing the current  galleriesnow.net map I was intrigued by how both artist explore sense of identity technology, wondering whether I could get some further inspirations for my personal project. 

Sketching ideas for PP - inspired by exhibition visits and talks

Fig. 1: Sketching ideas for PP – inspired by exhibition visits and talks

 

 

Jacqueline Humphries 

At Modern Art Gallery Vyner Street (02 Oct – 10 Nov 2018)

All new large scale paintings from 2018. Entering the newly ‘White Cube’ (reconstructed one year ago) I could smell the oil paint, kept my attention and made me aware why I love oil paintings (versus rather sterile acrylic paint when finished and installed). 

Humphries (b. 1960) is an accomplished abstract painter and the new works on display is her process driven encounter with her older paintings seen through a layer of digital information technique. She converted the visual scanned information into ASCII strings, made from these strings larger sheets of laser cut stencils, and pushed through these holes thick paint manually onto the canvas surface. A process form analogue through digital towards analogue again. With subsequent erasing those paint partly and with added gestural strokes, she created mesmerizing works, decontextualized (nearly void) and with an emphasis on an aesthetic outcome. The joined text states that

‚the emotive content contains traces of memory and ghosts in the process of their translation‘ – Modern Art Gallery

I like the idea of memory and fascimiles, layers of time and space developing into something new. Her stencil approach resonates with some of my explorations with cut-outs and overpainting, exploring shapes and edges.

It is a very tactile approach to code, encoded information. Something that I like compared to some more literal translations of coded (medical) date as seen at Wellcome Collection (see above). A possible approach to my more embodied encounter with MRI imagery.

 

Jillian Mayer

At Annka Kultys Gallery (24 Oct – 24 Nov 2018)

Quite a shift to see Mayer’s work. All video art from the filmmaker who co-runs the company Borscht and openly publishes on YouTube. Fluent with media and exploring liminal experiences in a digital age impacting our sense of identity. Instructional videos how to disguise one’s face to move undetected in public spaces (considering the presence of facial detectors), how facial measure could tell more about oneself than in would expect, and a musical performance as a work between video, film, and musical. At times with a dystopian sense reminding me of the film ‘Matrix’. 

I looked up the artist website and found her painterly sculptures ‘Slumpies’, useable sculptures that either enforce or enable a posture typical for some cultural habits of interaction with smartphones, or making selfies. Fascinating for me to see the ‘rawness’ of the sculptures that I could related to the ‘rawness’ of the objects in my Object-Box. An appearance my tutor was questioning. Mayer sees the ‘lack of conscientious design as an ad hoc solution made from simple materials in direct contradiction to the sleek forms and designs, and the marketing culture, that defines our intimate dependence on technology.’ (Artist website at: https://www.jillianmayer.net/slumpies-1

I was thrilled to have an engaging talk with the gallery owner. The gallery was upstairs above a shop, one open room with a desk and three walls. She even asked for my IG profile -what by itself was a ‘shocking’ moment for me after the private view at SHOWCASE – totally unexpected. But after visiting another small gallery in the same neighborhood made me aware of the importance of social media interaction with newer galleries. Something more traditional galleries, e.g. Marlborough Gallery, would be less engaged with. For me, to think how and what I want to use which channel for.

Conclusion

Technology, eg medical imaging techniques, could be either translated literally through drawing and painting (eg Hopkins, Cattrell), or layered with paint as fragments and memory (eg Drury, Humphries) or just using primary imagery for new ways of seeing at things, alongside an aesthetic appeal of the resulting work (e.g Duckworth). Making the invisible visible relating to how it impacts our self image (Mayer) is showing through her layered video projects. 

I take away the idea of layering of coded information with gestural marks, technology created patterns as a layer in between. 

After my visit to London and some further visual encounters with various works and artists, I sense a better understanding on how things might move forward. I sketched a few ideas on one of my many tube rides and am exciting to play around with some of them when back in my studio. 

I will definitely reach out to more people (e.g Liz Orton from Digital Insides, or Wellcome) to see how this could evolve. But first to make some practical stuff – as I feel that I need to phrase somehow my scope before talking with people who could possibly support me.


Reference:

  • Duckworth, B. (2018) [Email sent to Stefan Schaffeld, 29 Oct 2018]

 

read more
Follow Me

Follow my Learning Blog