Exit Tutorial

Tutorial with Jonathan Kearney,

Video Skype call,

Wednesday, 17th June at 12.30

This was my last tutorial before the final submission at the beginning of July. We had a long conversation about my project and its refined and evolved meaning. Jonathan approved the changes, which I have made in consequence of our previous discussions. All my work was converted into video files and supported by a computer generated spoken narrative explaining each piece. This element of juxtaposition of image and related stories is integral to my investigation. It gives important additional insights and explanations, while contextualising my work and thinking.

We progressed to discuss the impact of the current pandemic on my research, visual investigation and the overall achievement. I explained how I would like to continue with the development of my project and ideas, and we discussed the plan for extending my visualisation during the forthcoming trip to Madagascar. In case of prolonged sky closure, I intend to identify another, appropriate to my creative intentions, location such as Serbia.

The second part of the tutorial was dedicated to reviewing the blog and its curation. Jonathan confirmed the final design of my online exhibition space and asked several questions regarding my proposal and its rationale. Subsequently, I was advise how to improve the initial part of my unit 2 assessment plan. I was advised to elaborate on a list of headings to explain their content and significance to progress. I also learned that some of the links in this document did not work and needed to be corrected.

I fully embraced all advice given for my consideration and actioned every suggestion immediately after the tutorial. I am very grateful to Jonathan for taking a lot of time to help me refine and improve my submission, which is now much more thorough and comprehensive, therefore increasing my chances for the top score.

call ended at 13.45

Symposium – Reflections

Jonathan presented my 5 minute video to the group yesterday. I received a broad range of opinions, questions and suggestions. I was inspired by a constructive dialogue and several intriguing interpretations of my work. I would like to respond to the main comments as follows:

Matt – is the Venetian mask making its way into paintings too or are the sequences of you wearing the mask in this video taken from a piece in itself – where did it come from? I’m curious.

Yes, it will be a part of a future painting. My intention was to create a sensation of an outsider, alien like character, who observes and comments on the nature of the human condition from ‘out there’.

Alexis – you have mentioned that the voice in the narration is as though an alien, it is another and not you. What do you see is the relationship between the voice of the narrator, the text and yourself?

The alien like voice creates a clash between my observations and those of an outsider, who is trying to formulate an objective and detached analysis of the situation and predicaments.

Danielle – I’m interested to know whether/how hypnotic repetition is embedded into your painting process?

Using a washing machine as a creative tool is repetitive in its own right. Watching the spinning of the drum has hypnotic qualities. The slow and very precise process of portrait painting is also monotonous and mind-numbing. It is passive and based on observing the process of destruction without any possibilities for intervention and influence.

Aristotle – Do you see your artistic identity as an alter-ego?

Not at alter ego. The intention is to initiate a dialogue by introducing another perspective, an angle, which is unbiased.

Matt – This is something, which I remain interested in – I asked similar questions during our group tutorial at low residency in terms of the point at which a painting becomes fixed, concluded, or left, and the cycle is broken – is this point at which it becomes a story?

My work is based on an evolving and sequential dialogue, a commentary on the human condition in the context of predicaments of daily survival and turbulence of existence. It is not an object of craft, which forces a question about the work being completed. It is not a piece of embroidery – you do it and than, it is done.

Kelda – is (your project) about discovery? With the travels. With your artwork? You have been experimenting with process like using the washing of your artwork…

My research is focused on an attempt to develop a deeper understanding in order to establish and analyse the discrepancy between what is on the surface and what is really going on underneath the facade. The process is metaphorically important. The underpinning thinking is of primary significance, as always.

Alexis – The washing of the canvases is clearly an important element in your process, how does it function in the concept of hypnotic repetition and does it have a personal significance?

The spinning motion of a drum of a washing machine has hypnotic qualities. Its metaphorical function is to confirm and reinforce my observations about the repetitive nature of peoples’ lives and the entire structure of their existence. There is no escape from this entrapment. The destination of every attempt to break free from this cycle is failure. It becomes consumed by it and integral to the entire existence.

Danielle – (hypnotic repetition is embedded into life in its entirety) through habits?

I am not talking about rituals and acquired habits. My project explores the essence of being and its overwhelming impact on the most basic form of existence – dealing with life without thinking about it – getting on with perseverance.

Ben – I find it interesting that the washing, really does not wash away anything. Merely smears and alters the original image into something new.

It is very much a part of an uncontrollable, uncertain and unpredictable creative process.

Jonathan – the washing process is obviously connected to washing and cleansing but in this case it is also very destructive, as it removes large amounts of the painted surface, how much of this is about your giving up control or giving over control to the washing machine in this case, is it in any way an empathetic action with the stories of come of those you have met?

Yes, it is in a way, because there is a bizarre similarity, a parallel between the nature of my process and the lives of the people I paint.

Kelda – It is also retelling the story (of the painting, or the people whose stories you are seeking out), the ‘truth’ is distorted with every telling.

Absolutely, it is twisted and distorted, just like their lives and existence – nothing is certain.

Leah – Regarding “new normality”. I have a question about this. What is the difference between the new normality and the old normality? What on earth can completely change our inherent state? If it is only changes slowly over time. So can it be said that “change” is what we call “normality”?

The key point is that everyone has a different normality and a unique perspective on life and existence. My work reinforces this concept and celebrates this thinking.

Matt – There is a great richness and depth to your storytelling in conversation. Pav – maybe the layers of paint form a mask that invites inspection without the spoken word?

Yes, possibly, but the narrative is very important and forms another layer to the understanding of my perspective and research findings.

AxAsh – just sharing my personal opinion,I feel there might be some violence element in your work Pav. I meant,did you attempt to make it or it is just a random result?An interesting saying is that art making is another form of crime. Some film directors have the same explanation. This can be a way to heal their trauma?How do you think?

The character is not violent, may appear to be sinister. This is, however, a part of a bias and interpretation from the observer and depends on his own insecurities. It is designed to draw attention to the situation.

Friederike – [It is also retelling the story (of the painting, or the people whose stories you are seeking out), the ‘truth’ is distorted with every telling]
Yes, exactly and therefore is very well in tune with concept of the mask, which can hide identity but also retells a story like in theatre.

Repetition stops you from thinking and analysing your own life, ambitions, dreams and aspirations. You hypnotically and simple ‘get on with it’!

Tutorial with Jonathan Kearney

Skype video call on the 15th May 2020 at 11.30

It was great to be able to share my most recent ideas with Jonathan. We had a really good conversation lasting far more than the planned 30 minutes. Our discussion covered both, my preparation for the symposium and the proposal for the final exhibition.

I was encouraged by a very positive feedback received. We analysed the initial and sinister-looking part of my 5-minute video. The function of this section was to create an element of drama, unreality and uncertainty. The masked character resembles an outsider – alien-like creature, who comments on his observations of the Earth in the context of the pandemic. The recording of the washing cycle has metaphorical meaning and requires a deeper interpretation of the purpose of cleansing.

I described the long process of refinement of this piece and, I think, Jonathan was impressed by my efforts.

The second part of my tutorial was dedicated to reviewing the overall concept for the exhibition. I explained that my creative intention was to keep the focus firmly placed on the meaning of my work. I am trying to avoid any unnecessary additional details, distractions and decorations. All selected work, 14 paintings and 7 videos will be displayed on a plain white wall. Each image can be enlarged individually for clear viewing and supported by appropriate text. The idea is to add another dimension to every piece through contextualisation. I am planning to use recordings of a computer generated voice in order to ensure clarity and consistency in my approach.

Jonathan was very supportive of my work and we had a very stimulating conversation about the overall journey through research and learning during and after the course. This had led to a discussion about the stages of developing, refining and composing my final evaluation. I explained that I am now ready to include the impact of the current crisis on my thinking and reflection. My evaluation, review and progression plan is closed to the finalisation stage.

Tutorial ended at 12.38

Feedback from Leo and Fleur

I have asked two of my Foundation students to provide me with further feedback. Their key comments are summarised below.

  • There is an interesting dynamic of placing myself as a lens of a camera inside of a machine, which represents cycle
  • Focus on a relationship between ‘me’ and the nature of my work – interaction with references to monotony
  • It is very relevant to the key events of the Corona virus crisis – combination and juxtaposition of chaos and moments of stillness
  • It is necessary to keep the entire cycle in the video to express my creative intention of waiting
  • Consider using a real washing machine as a working object and experimenting with different cycles and programmes.
  • There is a good level of demanding the patience and feeling of entrapment.
  • Leo really enjoyed watching the entire experience, from start to finish, despite understanding how a washing machine works.
  • It is not just about painting – the focus is on the whole experience.
  • Watching the machine work from the inside has shifted the perspective totally and created the division between the inside and the outside.
  • There is a great relevance on the context of the pandemic through the purpose on the metaphorical meaning of cleaning.
  • It is about putting your own meaningful artwork through this process and getting it transformed into something new without having any control over how it will develop.
  • Both, the video and the audio provide appropriate contextualisation.


Friday, 20th March 2020 at 9.30 with Jonathan Kearney.

Notes from Skype Tutorial with Jonathan Kearney.
Friday, 20th March 2020 at 9.30

This was a very unusual tutorial. It was a very personal and untypically long deep conversation in definitely extraordinary circumstances. We were both deeply concerned about a continuously expanding pandemic and all its brutal implications on all contexts of our life.

The current situation is unprecedented and overwhelming. It has an enormous impact on all aspects of our existence. Therefore, it would be at least arrogant to assume that I had no radical influence on my creative intentions and the direction of my visual interrogation.

I have explained to Jonathan the sensitivities involved in my research journey so far. Subsequently, we discussed the sudden and unexpected turn in my project, which is deeply routed in the power of the Coronavirus.

All previously taken for granted status quo had to be refined and re-evaluated. This process continues and builds up on speed. The certainty of the past has become the opposite, possibly the most uncertain. Right has changed to wrong and vice versa. The world as we know it has been turned upside down and brutally destroyed. This overpowering situation has a pivotal impact on the way, in which we live and perceive the surrounding Universe. This radical change has vulgarly and violently twisted every context and area of our inhabitation of the Earth.

My current observation is that people around the world are anxiously waiting for the return to their old hypnotic routines. They beg for entrapment and look forward to going back to their previous existence.

Subsequently, we have focused on discussing the impact of this global crisis on our final show and the arts in general. The main issue is to rethink how to display the work in a virtual environment. The idea is to try to reinforce the meaning of the project. My biggest worry was to avoid diluting my intentions and messages.

I explained to Jonathan that I would not like for the form to unnecessarily overgrow the broader meaning of my visual investigation. We continued to elaborate on a number of possibilities. Jonathan suggested that I should consider editing my films together to create an entirely new piece. Therefore, I would take my current work to a completely new level. I argued that I was attempting to avoid producing a media film, rather than a video artefact. This part of our debate was very stimulating and thought provoking. I made a number of notes – a photograph of this page in my sketchbook is included at the top of this post.

Finally, I pointed out at an exhibition of work by Emily Prince, which I saw at the Saatchi Gallery. She dealt with a visual portrayal and organisation of a large sample of data. Her drawings were colour coded, structured and displayed in two separate formats: daily columns of deaths and the map of the USA indicating the origin of killed soldiers.

Emily Prince – American Servicemen and Women… – Saatchi Gallery Project Room – London – 7 January – 7 May 2011

I could employ a similar approach and continue filming the process of washing of my paintings. This would result in a large projection split into a large number of individual screens.

I also referred to the painstaking and methodical approach employed by Roman Opalka. He photographed himself every day for 45 years, while wearing the same shirt and and holding identical facial expression. This was in addition to the series of his Counted Paintings, from 0 to infinity. I included his quote as his words are of a special significance today.

Roman Opalka, 1965 – infinity, Self-Portrait


Roman Opalka (1931-2011)

“Time as we live it and as we create it embodies our progressive disappearance; we are at the same time alive and in the face of death–that is the mystery of all living beings. The consciousness of this inevitable disappearance broadens our experiences without diminishing our joy. There is always the omnipresent idea of nature, of its ebb and flow of life. This essence of reality can be universally understood; it is not only mine but can be commonly shared in our unus mundus.”

Roman Opalka – “Rencontre par la séparation”, AFAA, Paris, 1987


My ultimate plan is to project three videos. Additionally, I would also like to restreatch the washed paintings onto their original frames and include them in my exhibition.

However, in response to the rapidly evolving and changing global crisis, I have decided to continue to evolve my ideas. My ultimate creative intention is to formulate a response, which is the most current, insightful and communicate the intrinsic qualities of my work and thinking.

I am focusing on the development of work with a strong feel of the zeitgeist. This is to elevate my role as an artist and to respond to the current issues, which affect our society in a dramatic and powerful way. I would like for my work to be an intelligent, though provoking and erudite comment. My pieces are the leader of critical analysis of reality. They point at and identify new ways of embracing our fragile lives in the context of devastating change. I am an observer of our history being made out there, here and now!

After all, we are travelling through space on a piece of rock; simultaneously spinning around and rotating at a great speed. Our existence is bizarre and impossible to imagine for an outsider.

Let’s hope that our journey is allowed to continue, develop, prosper and flourish!

Tutorial ended at 11.20

Interim Feedback

I have asked a group of my Foundation students to watch my Bye Bye Three Monks video. My intention was to receive some constructive feedback from my own learners. I projected the 6minutes and 47 seconds long film on a large screen in the base studio. There was a group of 15 learners available for this experiment.

The key points, which were risen during a plenary session are as follows:

I was waiting for something to happen and felt quite sleepy.

The video was relaxing and hypnotic; calming.

There was a sense of transformation from frustration to relaxation.

Some students felt quite exhausted after watching the vireo, while others found it relaxing and smoothing.

There was a little uncertainty as nothing was happening – concussion regarding the meaning of the piece.

Supporting sound, especially ‘Hugo, Hugo’, adds an element of pace into it.

The film is too long – after a minute, it may become uninteresting. However, later, it becomes enjoyable again.

This feedback has reinforced me in thinking that the video work well and communicates my ideas with sophistication. I may need, however, to support my work with a form of a postcard with appropriate text explaining the context of my investigation. I have used this idea during my most recent exhibition at Art 23 in London and received very positive feedback.

I have enclosed two sound recordings below:

Experimental Tutorial

Following a discussion of available spaces for the summer exhibition, we were introduced to the details of an experimental group tutorial. The idea was to identify a conceptual problem for discussion with two partners. The participants were only allowed to use open questions to force the presenting person to reflect on own practice. This was an excellent opportunity to use the Socratic Approach. My group was very helpful and simply superb. I was able to benefit from both Jonathan’s and Donald’s input and feedback.

I questioned a conceptual cohesion between the painting process and the subsequent washing and erasing of the painterly surface.

My notes are below:

Their commentaries are below:

Tutorial with Lois Rowe – Day 2

Hypnotic Repetition

Art project questioning reoccurrence and ritual as a distraction to the uncertainties of tomorrow.

Tutorial with Lois Rowe, Matt and Betty

Learning Centre – 10-12.30

I presented my work as the third person, after Matt and Betty.

Following a brief outline of my ideas, we started to discuss the essence of my conceptual framework and supporting thinking.

It become apparent that all recipients were fascinated by my stories and observations from my travels. The outcome of this tutorial has reinforced previous suggestions by Jonathan to include a background narrative, which gives an insight into my relationship with my models and their story.

Lois was extremely helpful and guided me carefully until I was in a position to refine my plans for the final exhibition. The vital questions remain unchanged:

What is my work all about?

What am I trying to communicate?

What is the element of questioning in my work?

How am I using the visual language in order to communicate complex ideas?

Finally, including self in the research process.

I am very grateful for that. I need to focus more on the holistic use of my language in the final exhibition.

The tutorial was recorded by Betty and I am waiting for a copy of this file.

Thanks to Betty, I have pasted a link to sound recordings of all three tutorials. My session is last.

Assessment Feedback Tutorial

Skype – video call with Jonathan Kearney.

Wednesday, 4th December at 3 p.m.

Following recent assessments of Unit 1, I received very encouraging feedback from the assessing team. My work was complemented at this interim stage of the course. This, in turn, gave me a lot of intrinsic energy and motivated me further to continue to improve and develop my projects. I was really touched by a range of highly positive and helpful commentaries, which I received.

During our Skype conversation, Jonathan had reassured me and reinforced the potential of my continuing efforts. Subsequently, I was in a position to form a solid foundation for further improvements and refinements.

Jonathan was particularly interested in a layer based structure of my work. As previously discussed, a supporting spoken narrative could create another element by adding background information and explaining the context of the work to an audience.

This suggestion was very constructive.

Indeed, I need to detach myself from my primary knowledge, assumptions, bias and consider the opposite perspective.

Will a viewer have a full understanding of what I am trying to achieve and communicate; my creative intentions?

“How do you add a meaning to an image?”

Jonathan Kearney

This was definitively a superb question, which gave me a new avenue to explore further and extend on the impact of my work.

I really like the idea of an accompanying narrative voice, which creates another layer to my work.

However, Jonathan had also suggested something additional and, I see this suggestion, as an alternative to my current explorations.

“Make your work more explicit, yet simultaneously, do not loose its ambiguity”.

On reflection, I think that this comment had allowed me to make pivotal changes to my perception and thinking. The answer is to add a narrative layer to my work and do it in a measured, sensitive and balanced way in order to avoid visual description.

Initiating a dialogue, discussion and critical questioning are the only constructive ways forward.

My creative intentions are to initiate a debate and extend on the sophistication of my questioning. How does one deal with mundane rituals of hypnotic repetition?

We moved on to discussing a range of changes to the focus of my enquiry. The shift is from a focus on the process of waiting in the context of uncertainty to being suspended in hypnotic repetition. This can be perceived as a form of a coping mechanism. However, the starting and end points are the same. Therefore, there is absolutely no room for making progress and value added. Hypnotic repetition means returning to the same place – the location of departure, over and over again, perhaps, until the end.

We concluded this very helpful and constructive dialogue by focusing on my recently revisited ideas with using machine intervention.

My plan is to experiment with filming in a commercial laundrette. There is something special about observing a spinning motion of a washing machine!

Tutorial concluded at 15.36

Tutorial with Jonathan

Tutorial with Jonathan Kearney
Tuesday, 15th October 2019 at 12.30. Skype call.

  1. We started by discussing the practicality of submitting my research statement via Moodle.
  2.  Jonathan felt that the reference to Burtynsky’s work was of particular value, especially his dramatic photographs of people at work and over-industrialised landscapes.
  3.  I explained that one of my models disapproved of my visual work.  Therefore, in consequence to ethical considerations, I made a decision to delete a substantial volume of experimentation.  We reflected on the idea of ownership and moralality in portraiture.
  4. We discussed my most current pieces titled: Snake Seller and Burmese Captain.  Jonathan proposed a number of new ideas and possibilities for further investigation. The main one was to include a running commentary explaining my observations of people during my research expeditions.
  5.  He also suggested that I should redefine the element of questioning in my project.  Is my work about a dialogue with my models or is it a subjective observation of how people live? Perhaps, recognising that I am using my own perspective, while looking at the Universe adds value and gives me a new potential for further development.  We agreed that a form of an audio narrative would create another layer of understanding to my work and enrich the overall experience of both viewing it and embracing my perceptions.
  6.  I have previously experimented with embedding text into images, through animation and the use of supporting commentaries.  I indicated that most people, who I have interviewed were relatively shy and reluctant to be photographed and recorded.  Therefore, it would be very difficult to gather recordings of primary sources for editing.  Jonathan suggested that I should consider using my own voice.
  7.  The project is about my subjective view, observations and individual perceptions of reality.  Therefore, all minor insights and details are important here and should be skilfully employed in order to reveal sensitive parts of the story and reinforce the meaning of the work itself – I am imposing my view of others and, subsequently, opening up the situation.
  8.  I outlined my ideas for the next stage of development.  My plan is to work with an image of a coach driver and his assistant in order to explore this concept further: waiting for the coach to fill up, waiting for its departure, for the repairs to be completed, to reach the destination… all of this only to restart the process again.
  9.  We also discussed another two opportunities to gather additional primary sources and interview people as follows:
  • illegal workers from South and Central America in Spain at Christmas.
  •  Return trip to Thailand to interview and record Burmese labourers and Thai masseurs at Easter.

Our Skype conversation ended at 13.36.

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.