Reflection on Mid-Year Review

I presented a video with supporting sound and text. A lot of thinking and consideration came into the development of my ideas in order to communicate the essence of my concept without being retrospective and descriptive of what I have done so far. I wanted to show the backbone of my current exploration, manipulation and experimentation in an ambiguous and open to interpretation way. After all, the prolonged agony of being suspended in vacuum while waiting for a very uncertain change is a multi-dimensional and complex concept to communicate.

All observing staff and students have done their best to embrace my messages, analyse them and try to formulate constructive feedback as a suggestion for further consideration and development.

I have received a variety of insightful comments and recommendations, all of which will be carefully considered in order to give “birth” to new ideas and creative possibilities for further discussions and visual dialogues.

The first and longest document was sent be Alexis. I really appreciated the time and effort he put into trying to understand and analyse my project. His words are as follows:

Pav’s work deals very much with time, time as a resource which creates a sense of anxiety and tension through inactivity and waiting. He subconsciously contrasts the act of waiting in others with impulsive actions that constantly create and destroy paintings in a continuous never-ending cycle as though in an attempt to stop the process from ending. He even has clocks counting down the flight take of times of various destinations around the world he is committed to visiting. The significance of this appears to be as filling in time by the very act of anticipation with is a mixture of apprehension and excitement, hope and fear.

I have the sense that you take passivity full on by the throat and making impulsive action your creative métier.

Q – How, as you state, does waiting imply that tomorrow will be better than today?

The video gives a pessimistic sense of waiting, uncertainty, fear, empty.

The first part of the video deals with a static state of passivity. The second part is active and almost impulsive.

Q – How do you envisage your work in the context of that sharp dichotomy between passive, imposed waiting and impulsive self activation?

When will you be coming back?———–

I don’t think Haitians will let me record them speaking about their struggle.

She offers her recordings on her own struggle.

Q – What is your response to her offer and when she says, ‘Why are you coming back so soon?’

Q – The lady conjectures on your reasons for returning, is she being polite, is she finding a polite way of saying no how do you process this event?

The lady speaking appears to be talking about the dignity of what I presume to be her compatriots. The sense comes across of your being an intruder from another set of circumstances.

Q – Are you an observer or participant in the situation, how do you deal with what appears to be an alienation from your subject,?

The monologue also implies the sense of intrusion, the sense that privacy is being intruded on for some unknown reason. This raises question about the relationship and issues of consent between artist and subject. It questions the point where being a flaneur becomes the voyeur.

Q – How does your experience inform your future approach to your practice?

The appropriation of the circumstances of others again impinges on the question of subject-observer relationship.

Does consideration of this send you in any particular direction and what form might it take?

My reflection:

My work is not about documenting a logical process of waiting for something to happen in the context of a predictable outcome. It is more about appraising the hopelessness of waiting as a bizarre non-activity. It is about an admission of a total lack of control, idea and energy for a new sense direction; a plan of how to proceed and what to do to change and improve the status quo of being. It is about uncertainty, unpredictability and fragility of life and the overall existence.

The second commentary was by Kelda:

Pav: I would like to know more about what the work at the end of the video is? What are your ideas? The apparent building up of materials that include labels from something mixed up with what looks liked messed up print or paintwork. How do these images relate to the ‘uncertainties of tomorrow’? Are you predicting a future or messing up the immediate visual space as an illustration of today? Is it deliberately ambiguous?

My reflection:

Essentially, this is my ultimate creative intention to develop work, which is ambiguous rather than illustrative and descriptive. The process is not about the “building up of materials”. It is more about an attempt to collage memories with interwoven anxieties coming from a variety of contexts; from economic to spiritual, existential to cultural and psychological to existential.

My work is based on a dialogue between the sensitive and painterly act of creation of a glimpse of hope and its subsequent destruction through the violent process of blasting it off. It is also a portrayal of hope as a failure to change anything – a total waste of time, effort and associated empty emotions.

Friederike commented:

I love how you are just sitting in that classroom. That strangeness of waiting. There is an artist you really have to look into called Ron Amir, an israelian artist, he just had an exhibtion in the Museum of modern art in Paris and filmed in refugee camps with migrants from African countries nearby. One would see these people in the state of waiting. For example longly preparing a coffee, but then nobody would come. Just waiting for something to happen that does not happen, because they are trapped.

My reflection:

I am going to consider the idea of entrapment as a manifestation of waiting. This is a new possibility worth investigating, especially in the context of my next research trip to Georgia and Azerbaijan in 19 days time.

Matt suggested the following:

Pav –

What does waiting physically and mentally involve? Waiting is difficult. Your paintings are vibrant and energetic, if still – as Ive said before im interested in the gestural aspect of the way you use the jet-wash – blasting through to reveal fragments of figurative elements, snapshots. Grasping at moments and solitude in a societal tornado. There is a time bases quality to this which calls back to the problem of waiting which I wonder about – possibly this line of inquiry could be pushed further? Id like to know more about how you feel regarding the qualities of your process and what you would identify as areas for development and focus.

My reflection:

Exploring possibilities of gesture is an exciting avenue and a possibility of project development. More precisely, it is about the contradiction of it – the absence of body language. Discussion of waiting as a state of suspension, almost hibernation.

Arthur:

Also enjoyed scene sitting in classroom- wondered whether parts were frozen digitally or if people were staying still.

My reflection:

There was a small selection of my students in the video. I asked them all to stay as still as possible and remain non-responsive to any form of external stimuli and completely reaction free.

The process of digital editing using Adobe Premier allowed me to slow the element of time further by another 25% to enhance this intentional effect.

Michelle:

Pav – Each layer as you work places each piece into its own state of waiting and a feeling of anticipation develops with each layer. The process feels as important as the outcome. Really like the vibrancy of the colours and the images you use as part of each work make me imagine the rest of the scene and a narrative of what the subjects are waiting for or going to be doing next.

My reflection:

I definitively agree with a statement that the process is as important as the outcome. Perhaps, I would go even further by proposing that the process of building layers and destroying them is this only aspect of the work, which actually matters. The process is the outcome and more precisely, the meaning of the process contradicts the outcome.

Aristotle:

Pav: Beautiful, really beautiful. Gives me context of your work and your progress as well in an unconventional way. The classroom footage gives us further insight to who you are.

Paintings are very vibrant and emotionally tense at the same time. Very successful in portraying what you want them to.

The only thing that doesn’t come across is what you anticipate your future steps to be.

My reflection:

The only anticipation at this stage is to continue with the developed process while experimenting with further primary sources from Georgia and Azerbaijan to triangulate data and my research findings.

Taiyo

The video you waiting in a classroom seems very time-based. I think the work change the dimensions of time, It feels like time is slower than usual. And I’m expected to see people’s facial expression while waiting. But I doubt it was all about hope, I think sometimes people waiting is just because it’s easier than take actions.

My reflection:

This is very interesting suggestion to look at waiting as an easier option. This idea could manifest itself through a simplification of the figurative narrative and a compositional device.

AxAsh

Pav Szymanski

I think the ’suspension’ in your video works really well. I like the control of the speed of the video, but maybe you can add more contrast between the slow part and the fast one. I like that you invited different people to speak in the video, which is a really good way to show that a state of waiting is a collective situation.

My response:

Seeing the state of waiting is definitively a collective phenomenon. We are all waiting for something. It can be very important and life-changing or simply insignificant in the grander scheme of works. What is important here is the anticipation, emotions and butterflies in the stomach. Who knows, what will actually happen…

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