Tutorial 1

Tutor: Jonathan Kearney

30th October 2018 at 4 p.m.

Issues discussed:

Initial progress and direction of project and experimentation.

Jonathan asked a lot of probing questions and used the Socratic approach to establish a good grasp of what was my line of questioning.  We soon developed a good working rapport and his supportive commentary allowed me to open up and reflect on and isolate the essence of what I was trying to communicate.  It soon become very apparent that my explorations were broad-ranging.  I was also prepared to look for alternatives and discuss them through painting, photography and film, while taking risks and trying to develop a deeper understanding of my creative intentions.  My current focus, however, remains on refining my concepts through broad-ranging contextualisation and extended critical analysis.

” Remain opened.  MA should give you a chance to explore other pathways at the end of the course”

Jonathan Kearney

It had also become clear that I had no idea as to where my research journey was taking me and what were my expectations regarding the shape and form of the final visual proposal.  The emphasis was solely placed on the development of ideas and alternatives through prolific production of work and supported by a dialogue of contradictory perspectives.

Jonathan’s skills in direct questioning of my thought processes had led to a deeper reflection on the essence of my work and helped to draw plans for introducing meaningful quality improvements.  It was suggested that I should look at the work of Justin Mortimer, especially one of his pieces titled  “Resort”,oil on canvas, 181 x 220 cm, 2012

jm resort (detail) 2012 oc 181 x 220 cm

We have discussed the juxtaposition of the contradictory subject matters.  This ambiguity creates a powerful line of questioning,  builds curiosity and remains opened to interpretation.  Jonathan has also explained Mortimer’s multi-stage process of transformation between digital manipulations and the painterly execution.

I was very inspired by the work and decided to direct my further explorations towards looking at possibilities of visualisation in this new space for me, which is created somewhere between digital (non-physical) and the physical act of painting.

The tutorial has helped me to develop a greater understanding of my thought processes and overall research intentions.  My focus remains to be on “my own response” to poverty.  Its function is not documentary.  It is intended to be more of a self-diagnosis and reflection on my own priorities and hierarchies of needs.

“Focus of self is legitimate”.

Jonathan Kearney

 

Final thoughts:

“Time” as a concept remains vitally important in my research and exploration.

What is the point of this?

What is for?

Who is it for?

What do I want?

What do I need?

What do I have?

 

Life Is About Transience

Does witnessing poverty and deprivation make me want to change their situation on the one hand, or on the other, it merely changes my reflections on my own life, ambitions, aspirations and priorities?

Their uncertainties are an unsolvable dilemma and my reflections are simply frustrating.

Mortality is the essence in Heidegger’s proposal of authentic living.  His concept of Dasein (being-there, existence) has become very current in the context of my reflections on viewing art in Valencia.

The idea that death forms the meaning to life is well-defined within the philosophical framework. Many thinkers have discussed ‘death’ and its relationships to what we do and how are. Montaigne argues that “to study philosophy is to learn how to die”. Seneca proposes that “life is nothing, but a journey to death.” This was further extended and contradicted by Nietzsche, who states that life’s purpose and meaning are defined by our  goals and inspirations.

Existential writer – Camus emphasises the absurdity of life. This thought process is extended by Kierkegaard, who questions the sense of life in the context of death.

Many others also suggest that love, beauty or reason are necessary to provide existence with meaning.   My reflection is that most Philosophers will not simply assert that death is sufficient to give our existence a form of meaning and reason. Is art as a language of expression perhaps that addition, which is needed? Is visual exploration trying to solve the biggest puzzle of life?

I have spent the last two days exploring a range of galleries and museums in this bustling city.  Currently, there is a broad offer of exciting exhibitions available, covering both Spanish and internationally renowned; traditional and contemporary fine artists. During my viewing experiences, I tried to categorise artefacts by the essence of their subject matter or theme.  After a very careful consideration,  I have concluded that our common fear of transience is the origin of all of our thoughts, feelings and undertakings. We are subjected to mortality and this is where all of our worries and anxieties are stemmed from.  This phenomenon can manifest itself in a variety of forms, from religion, fear of omnipotent God and the ‘Last Judgement’ to death, illness, pain and other general life’s misfortunes. I found an ever-increasing evidence of loneliness, isolation, alienation and forever present inability to establish a deeper rapport and communication with others.

The most common theme in all work was an act of inner desperation to get ‘help’ from someone out there, who can help us to embrace our uncertainties through some ‘magic’ participation in our lives.

In conclusion, I have a growing uncertainty concerned with an inclusion of ‘religion’ in my visual research and experimentation

A documentary photographic review is below:

IVAM – Institut Valencià d’Art Modern

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Museu de Belles Arts de València

 

Annette Messager. Pudique – Publique

 

Tony Cragg’s work  at the Palace of Arts and Science.

Ulso Elemany’s exhibition at the Boncaixa Foundacion titled 

“The Suicide of Painting”

Espai Alfaro’s work at “The Place”

Exciting graffiti in a derelict area of Valencia.

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Visit to MACA in Alicante.

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There was a range of work on display by the famous Eusebio Sempere.  The other work included op art installations by local artists and paintings with references to the Spanish War.

I felt quite disappointed with the currency of work in the gallery, which is supposed to promote the contemporary arts in Spain. The building, however, was truly inspirational and provided  me with some opportunities to explore ideas of optical illusions in architecture, especially corridors and staircases.

Unfortunately, I was not allowed to photograph them.

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Exhibition at the Bus Station

‘Boarders and Immigration’

Surprisingly, the most inspiring exhibition of work was at the coach station.  The was a range of dramatic photographs on display made from broken wire dancing material. This adds to the element of reality, while creating a more appropriate setting for the content of the photographs than a typical white and clean wall.

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(Photo by telesur. com)

Uncertainties of the characters in these photographs are on a different scale to what I have ever experienced. The timing of this exhibition coincides with the March of 7000 mainly Honduran citizens through Guatemala and Mexico towards the American boarder. I have travelled vastly through all those countries and have many good friends there. Practically, every family is affected by the consequences of gang violence, “war tax”, drug smuggling and loneliness, which is caused by emigration. Perhaps, I need to include these important issues as a serious consideration in my research.

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Photographs, which I took this morning, while wandering far beyond the touristic strip through rough parts of town.  There is one word, which links all Latin countries around the world.

This word is ‘peligroso’ meaning dangerous, vertually, physically and in terms of a common mood in all those places.

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Map of Time

Handful of Painterly Dust.

painting turning into dust
Encaustic and oil on primed board, projection of hand, mixed media, PVA and sand.

Everything will turn into dust, including my painterly desires and uncertainties.

This is especially true, when re evaluating the hierarchy of needs in reflection to my experiences in Haiti.

Hand gesture tries to stop a painterly process of expression and is gradually replaced by emptyness. The hole shaped as a silhouette of a wine glass, is marked with the anxieties of the past, which have turned into dust.

Map of Progress

Map of Progress

I have created the above map of progress to try to find out, where my research journey has taken me so far.  It should help me to get things in focus. It has also allowed me to write a list of activities, which I need to finish before moving on with additional lines of enquiry, as follows:

1. Explore references to the designs of Mr Jones watch – I need and I wantI

2. ‘I have time’ video needs to be completed and edited

3. ‘Paintings and Mirror’ video needs to be extended.

4. I have created a range of food videos and should include them in my records.

5. Check and complete a range of reflective accounts, which are currently in a note form.

6. Isolate the element of questioning, while considering the following :
What am I doing?
How can I develop it?
What is the next step?

7. Update references with research into:
Time
Chance
Change
Uncertainty

I have designed the following Map of Time.

I have time for                     I have no time for

I have time to                       I have no time to

I have time for this

This video has just been updated.  I am trying to deal with self-reflection in the mirror and the gradual replacement of focus from painting onto reflected image and vice versa.

Refinement 2.

Refinement 1.  Please, observe the inside of the mirror.

Dreaming About A Kettle

Dreaming About Bread

There Is No Time!

Waste of Time

MAP – the arrow of time.

  • The thermodynamic arrow of time
  • The cosmological arrow of time
  • The quantum arrow of time
  • The perpetual arrow of time
  • The psychological arrow of time

The arrow of Time (entropy).

The second law of thermodynamics states that in case of systems, which are isolated, their entropy can only increase. It cannot ever decrease. Therefore, measuring entropy is a way of differentiating between the past and the future.  It allows us to comprehend, what is already behind and what is yet to occur.

I plan to experiment with this idea and design a map of time with references to different levels of certainty.  Will anxieties of the past become much more obvious in the future?

What would happen, if I contradicted Machian’s theories of dynamics and quantum geometrodynamic perspective by stating that there was no time! (Butterfield, 2001)

Does it mean that my experimentation with moving image should develop and progress, therefore stop? Should my work remain still?  Is stopping time the answer to all uncertainties of the future?  The list of questions could easily flow.

In the context of the potential to save money in Haiti, time as concept is irrelevant.  There is simply not enough income to put anything aside.  There are not enough resources to sustain life.  Therefore, dreaming about purchasing unnecessary objects and the associated frustration of wasting time to be able to save ‘nothing’ is a morally unsound torture.

I propose to experiment with images, which indicate desire to possess “something”, something physical.  There is, however, absolutely no potential or chance for this dream to come true and materialise.  Everything is suspended in the sphere of wishes and imagination. The time has already stopped there.

The dream of owing a kettle becomes more and more vivid, but it never gets a chance to materialise itself and become real. It gets ‘stuck’ somewhere in the sphere of imagination, between needs and desires.  The most disturbing is the fact that when you expect it to fully form and appear to be real, the film challenges the predictability of the narrative by stopping the kettle in the process of appearing.

Staring at a grey wall deadpan, day and night.  This is all that what is left.  Human suffering has no impact.  We have seen this all before.

“Underlying this chamber is a number of allusions to recent Polish history – the ramp at the entrance to the Ghetto in Warsaw, or the trucks which took Jews away to the camps of Treblinka or Auschwitz, for example. By entering the dark space, visitors place considerable trust in the organisation, something that could also be seen in relation to the recent risks often taken by immigrants travelling. Balka intends to provide an experience for visitors which is both personal and collective, creating a range of sensory and emotional experiences through sound, contrasting light and shade, individual experience and awareness of others, perhaps provoking feelings of apprehension, excitement or intrigue.”

(THE UNILEVER SERIES: MIROSLAW BALKA: HOW IT IS

Uncertain Nature of Possessions

Image result for art michael landy his destroysLandy stands in front of the exhaustive catalogue of 7,227 of his belongings – in the end,all that remained was his blue boiler suit (Credit: Michael Landy/Parisa Taghizadeh)

 

“The ultimate irony of Break Down (title) is that, as soon as it ends (the process of distraction of all own belongings), Landy will have turned himself into the ideal consumer – a man who needs to be sold new underwear, pyjamas, shoes, toothbrush, hairbrush. ”

(Dormet, 2001)

 

Refinements of earlier expertimentation.

The documentary narrative evidences the meaning of time, which is necessary to save money to purchase goods, such as lamps and TV sets.  The “goods appear and disappear” silently without any impact on life and the surroundings.  Are they therefore necessary? What is their purpose and function?  Is life fulfiled by a meaningless process of collecting objects?  Why cannot we exist without them?

 

“Is Break Down about the transience of consumer goods?

ML: Yes, many consumer objects have an in-built, compulsory obsolescence. Companies don’t want their goods to last long and that determines what materials they use. People have also generally become less able to understand how things work: objects have become much more complex. People are no longer able to maintain them properly, let alone repair them themselves.”

“Stallabrass, 2001”

 

Initial experimentation with the uncertain nature of physical possessions in the context of time and necessity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dreaming About A Watch.

“Reversing the arrow of time was possible for the quantum particles because they were correlated — their properties were linked in a way that isn’t possible for larger objects, a relationship akin to quantum entanglement but not as strong. This correlation means that the particles share some information. In thermodynamics, information has physical significance”

(Conover, 2016, p. 10)

Philosophers generally agree that time is continuous as it does not stop and start or reverse.  It has also a direction and a form of order.  Therefore, time is progressive and sequential, from past to present; from present to future.  Time is also defined by its objective – the arrow of time indicates progression in only one direction – forward.

Therefore, with regards to income in Haiti, it should be possible to safe sufficient amount of money to purchase goods, which are desired and needed.  The only obstacle is …the time required for this.

Do I have sufficient time?  Is is too long to save?  Can I wait?  How much time do I need to save enough to purchase a wrist watch?

I am dreaming about a watch

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A watch is something you have as a necessity.  It is not commonly regarded as a luxury object. Here, the aspirations are much grander, such as cars, houses, nights out and jewellery.  Therefore, the focus is on non-essential items rather than every day “things” we take for granted.

This visual consideration was inspired by a boy in a town called Jacmel.  He continuously made visual references to my basic, inexpensive watch and indicated how impressed he was with the idea of “knowing the time”.

Time, as a concept, has become a very important part of my thinking.  Therefore, if requires more contextual analysis and investigation to understand its significance in different contexts.

Everything will eventually turn into dust.  A handful of sand…

No watch
Handful of Dust

Visualising Uncertainty

Antonio Machado:

“Wanderer, your footsteps are

the path and nothing else;

wanderer, there is no path,

The path is made by walking”

(Alonso, 1980)

There are certain benefits of uncertainty.  Perhaps one the most significant advantages is “chance”.

Our obsession with uncertainty about the future can be visualised in terms of probabilities.  These are very difficult to communicate effectively outside the time typical infographics, including graphs, charts and diagrams.  The impact of Hi-Tec and interactive methods of visualisation offers totally new opportunities and can be of  substantial help here.  However, communicating deeper uncertainties remains problematic due to incomplete or disrupted knowledge and other external factors, which may affect our perception of the nature of what we are unsure of. Are we purely entertaining the feeling of being unsure?

Confidence is frequently perceived as a sign of arrogance?

This thought has led me to exploring the importance of chance and probability in the context of my response to what I feel is certain and what is not.

Contexts of certainty and uncertainty

The alphabet of certainty and uncertainty.

The map of certainty and uncertainty.

certain and uncertain money

By chance, things have suddenly become much more uncertain:

How do I measure chance in all those contexts?

Unfortunately, Haiti was struck by another earthquake today.  All of my friends there have been affected.

What does poverty mean in the context of sustaining life?

How do I communicate the extent of uncertainties exaggerated by this natural disaster?

References

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Albert, D. and Loewer, B. (1988), Interpreting the Many Worlds Interpretation, Synthese,

Alonso, M. (1980) “Antonio Machado Poeta en el Exilio”, Antroporos: Ambitios Literarios

Barrett, J. A. (2011) Everett’s Pure Wave Mechanics and the Notion of Worlds, European Journal for Philosophy of Science, 1: 277–302.

Butterfield, J. (2001) The End of Time? All Souls College: Oxford

Cage, J (1961) “Where are we going?  And what are we doing?”, in Silence (Wesleyan University Press, 1961), pp. 220–222.

Cassidy, D. (1992), Uncertainty: THe Life and Science of Werner Heisenberg; New York: W.H. Freeman

Choksi, N. and Cummins , A. (2016) “In Memory of the Last Sunset”; 20th Sydney Art Biennale

Conover, E. (2016) Information Is Physical, Even In Quantum Systems, Study Suggests, Science News: Vol. 189

Hansun, K. (1890) “Hunger” Penguin Book, 1988

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Insolera, M. (2015) “Surviving Greece”; La Caixa Forum, Madrid, 2015

Jha, A. (2013), What is Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle? The Guardian

Korsgaard, M. C. (2012) Kant: Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals; Cambridge: Texts in the History of Philosophy

Nauman, B. (2015) ” Life, Death, Love, Hate, Pleasure, Pain”; La Biennale di Venezia – Biennale Arte 2015

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Vol. 333, Issue 6048, pp. 1393-1400 DOI: 10.1126/science.1191181

Dorment, R. (2001), A Deconstructed Life; The Daily Telegraph

Wiseman, H. (2012), Explainer: Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle; The Conversation

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Maurizio Cattelan: “America”

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15 Artists To Watch at Frieze London 2015

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