Research Showcase at University Centre South Devon

I was invited, for the third time, to deliver a presentation about my research project. When designing a structure for my talk, I divided the supporting PowerPoint into two distinctive sections. The first part was devoted to my recent achievements, exhibitions and awards. The second, focused on my last pieces. I have decided to cover the most current period of the last 18 months only.

UCSD Research Showcase Pav Szymanski.pptx — Read on

A recording of my presentation is below:

University Centre South Devon Research Showcase

I have been invited to take part in this year’s edition of the UCSD Research Showcase. My role was to develop a presentation about my research project using a common structure.

I have used this opportunity as a tool for bringing all of my thoughts together.

The webinar is planned to take place on Monday, 4th May at 2 p.m. I am currently rehearsing for my talk and have already prepared a range of slides as follows (the last three images are stills form my videos):

East London Gallery Visits, Saturday, 22nd February 2020

The first gallery – Victoria Miro

The first exhibition contained a range a highly commercial and very large scale photographs printed on dibond. The detail portrayed was truly and surrounded by a dusk of space. The use of chiaroscuro was absolutely impressive and drew references to the masters of the Renaissance. The show was accompanied by a 20 minute film projected on dual screens. The narrative was set in the context of futuristic space travel and science fiction concepts.

The second gallery – Parasol Unit

This exhibition displayed a range of drawings, illustrations and animations. The underpinning themes range from a dream like macabre to dealing with post dramatic stress disorder and the Eastern practice of meditation.

The third gallery – Beers.

This is a joint show between three artists covering a range of fascinating paintings, which question the artist’s identity. There are also intriguing sculptures made from screwed cardboard portraying the human form in great detail and sensitive etchings on paper.

The fourth gallery – Art Book Shop.

This little book shop sells a range of artists’ and limited edition books. It is very small but stylish and well stocked with original and value items.


The fifth gallery – Kate MacGarry

A solo exhibition by Rose Finn-Kelcey portraying her key pieces from the 70’s and 80’s.

Her works comment on different forms of social activism and staged performances.

The sixth gallery – Chisenhale


The gallery promotes cutting edge artists from the UK and international. They work very close with artists and offer four commissions per year.

Current exhibition is a 23 minutes film by Imran, a London and Bangladeshi artist. The piece is split into three chapters was shot quite close to the gallery and is supported with a personal narrative.

This a second projection, which I saw today. Both have used a dual screen approach. The idea is that both are projections are separate yet they work together and make a contribution to the holistic image. This allows for the use of mirroring and opens up totally new possibilities in terms of juxtapositioning of exciting angles and viewpoints, frequently contradicting the screens and switching one off.


The seventh and last gallery – AreByte exhibition was based on four, large-scale projections.

Each one was a recording from a different type of art auction. The first was based on prisoners bidding for their time, the second was filmed in a market for the poor, their fire one was recorded during an auction for the wealthy and the last for the upper classes. All projections were triggered by inserting a pound coin into a slot, which was than converted into a cryptocurrency.

The exhibition commented through contrast and compare activity, on uneven money and wealth distribution in the contemporary society.

The filming was focused on the backhand shoes of people in each group category.

Overall, an excellent and thought provoking visualisation of divisions in a capitalist and market driven world.


Biotechnology and The Post Human

A fascinating and thought provoking evening of presentations by renowned international artists. There is an awful food for reflection and digestion. I feel truly challenged and stimulated to embrace a range of powerful concepts, which were presented during this evening at Goldsmith’s.

Time-lapse & Hyper-lapse with Colour Grading Workshop.

This has been a very intensive and exciting day. Matt Edwards, who run this workshop is an expert with a fast knowledge in this area. The purpose was to initiate experimentation with filming and editing footage in an intentional and meaningful way. A strong focus on the overall idea is very important in order to develop a holistic and professional piece.

In order to ensure consistency between individual workshops and experimentation, I have decided to create and record a mini pop-up show of my screen prints.

I used a Nikon D90 camera and a tripod. The idea was to capture a broad view of an art studio. All work in progress provides the frame with detail and sets the seen, while contextualising the video. I practiced with recording myself, while continuously displaying prints on a white wall to form a large rectangular composition. Subsequently, the pieces were removed one by one. White wall as a start and the same white wall as the end. This concept has provided my with the boundaries for my action and narrative.

I have experimented with a range of possibilities and considered a number of unassuming angles for shooting. My creative intention was to ‘go’ beyond a simple use of a documentary or media approach. I wanted to create a short art film.

Simultaneously, this provided me with an excellent opportunity to photograph my prints using a digital SLR.

As soon as all images and video footage are processed, I will include them and other visual material in this post.

Premier Pro is an advanced piece of sophisticated video editing software, which allows for a superb level of control, manipulation and intervention.

To aid my memory, I made a number of notes. I hope to use them as guidance in further experimentation. I am excited about taking my current ideas further and this process will begin shortly.

I feel that I have learned a lot about the impact of colour changes on video and the way in which it is perceived and understood by an audience.

Surprisingly, there is a similarity to how this applies to traditionally developed imagery.

I created a number of clips and sequences and experimented with additional effects including the use of alteration layers.

All in all, the day was very successful and demanding. I have benefitted from being challenged, especially in the context of experimentation and risk-taking leading to the development of new ideas and discussions of alternatives.

I am looking forward to the next stage of refinement of the work, which I have started to produce today.

A screen shot of my notes is below:

Raw Footage for Editing during the workshop

Wheel of Fortune Seller

I spent a considerable amount of time following and observing a street seller. This remarkable man works extremely long and hard for little reward. He pushes a massive, rusty and clanky trolley. The main product he tries to sell is chunks of octopus submerged in shots of rum. The weather is hot and humid, well in the mid 30s. He walks up and down the famous 19th street in Chinatown in Yangon. To attract potential customers, he offers a chance of winning a lucky shot by spinning a wheel of fortune. His days are monotonous and exhausting.

Despite many efforts, he sold nothing during a long afternoon. Sheer desperation appeared on his face, especially in his eyes.

I asked him for a permission to take a photograph to use it as a source for my project.

The reward of 10 USD put a wonderful smile on his face and exposed his rotten teeth.

We exchanged greetings and, suddenly, became strangely close, like old good friends. We are all on this planet together and the destination is death.


Refined Version of Three Burmese Monks

This is quite a new approach to image making for me.  I started by creating a multi-coloured background layer.  This under image was than continuously reworked and refined.  I was using un-primed calico as a background material for this process.

The layers continued to grow and overlay, creating an exciting and dynamic environment.  I felt ready to introduce the Three Monks as realistic characters – right in the middle of the colour composition.

The next stage involved further over-printing and blasting of the new layers away.  I used the previously tested pressure washer and simply rags, sponges and dirty and soapy water working on a horizontally positioned canvas and allowing the water to interfere with the drying paint freely.  This resulted in a number of washes and bleeding of colours.

Subsequently, I started to paint on top of the existing surface using relatively large brushes and a small squeegee.

My intention was to create a sense of isolation and division between the characters and the world.  I wanted for the Monks to become totally oblivious of their external environment.  They appear to be detached from their surroundings and this contradiction echoes the essence of my observations.  The monks are suspended in a hypnotic repetition of their daily task, routines and rituals. They have little understanding of hunger and hardship.  Their entire focus is on how to satisfy the superiors.  Although barefoot, they ware immaculate silk gowns, robes and hats.

The aggressive fight for survival, which is present everywhere around them, is just a distant illusion.  The mundane reality is far beyond their area of interest and abilities to comprehend.  Their lives are artificially sheltered.

A further reflection needs to take place, before I am able to formulate a range of meaningful quality improvements.  The are, however, two immediate tasks ahead of me:

  • stretching the canvas on a purpose made frame
  • working with water soluble pastels into the surface to refine and enhance detail.


Research Statement Tutorial 2

Tutor: Gareth Polymeer

Friday, 4th October 2019

UK time 11.30
Voice-call on Skype

The purpose of this tutorial was to review the overall paper and its development.  We have started by looking how I have embedded the previous suggestions into my statement.

Our discussion focussed on the idea that there is a distinct difference between the perception and understanding of the world using scientific theories and through the prism of art.  This was further extended by bringing additional elements into consideration, such as ethics, morality and the broader society.

We have started to discuss the pivotal and ground-breaking concept of anschaulich, which was developed by Heisenberg.

Gareth proposed an alternative avenue for investigation and elaborated on possibility of  very interesting questions:

‘What both, art and science, have to say about reality?’

‘How can artworks be reinterpreted in the light of anschaulich?’

Scientific instruments aim for establishing greater and greater precision and certainty, while part of the process of art is to open up new questions.

We have agreed that imprecision and uncertainty are much more exciting than a continuous scientific drive for achieving perfection.

I feel that Gareth during this 30 minutes tutorial has given me a number of potential possibilities for further refinement and consideration.  He reinforced that my research statement is developing steadily and making excellent progress in terms of answering my research question.

Research Statement Tutorial 1

Tutor: Gareth Polymeer

Thursday, 1st August 2019

UK time 11.30

Voice-call on Skype

I have presented an outline of my overall intentions for the research statement to Gareth. He was keen to find out what I was hoping to achieve and why. He also asked for the reasons behind the choice of my theoretical framework and its relationship to the dialogue between both art pieces analysed.

Following a very constructive feedback, Gareth suggested two possible avenues for further development of the existing body of writing:

1.  Art allows us to experience uncertainty and risk in a totally different capacity to the sciences and philosophy. It deals with an emotionally charged reflection rather than an empirical analysis of these phenomena. Therefore, art formulates new perspectives of embracing and understanding the world, which are far beyond the empirical and tactile experiences.

2. The nature of art encourages people to create responses, which frequently provoke and disturb, fostering the consideration of ethics. This is of significance for society and brings a deeper thinking beyond politics and religion. It is deeply rooted in our knowledge of mortality and uncertainty. Therefore, both pieces are significant in theses contexts and attract a great amount of debate about humanity and ethical considerations.

I plan to explore the above thoughts further in my research statement.