Drawing by Laurie Reynolds of 2018 residency participants.
Key Words – Borderscape, autoethnography, landscape, liminality, lament, memory, identity, trace, spectrality, hauntology, diaspora, heterotopia.
Ann Carragher – originally from Newry, Co. Down, Northern Ireland, is a practicing artist and lecturer of Fine Art and Critical Studies.
Her visual art practice is relative to numerous ‘typologies’- recent work addresses states of ‘in-betweenness’ and ‘liminality’, relative to the natural & built environment. She presents works that weave together notions of loss and lament, by exploring the ambiguous and allusive qualities that manifest (physically and psychologically) in the intersection between space, place, mobility and memory.
Border’s, hinterlands and thresholds are a recurring theme, where the past, present and future are conflated, mediating on paradoxes between materiality and the evanescence.
Research title – Landscape, Liminality, Lament: A practice-based exploration of ‘The Gap of The North’, on the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland.
My PhD research explores the overlapping and interwoven histories of the landscape in and around the ‘South Armagh/ Louth Border’ (the territory between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, also known as the ‘Gap of the North’) close to the town of Newry, Northern Ireland, where I grew up. It is an inquiry into the cultural, social and political resonances of border experience –– through a practice-based investigation of identity, memory and place.
How I hope to benefit from the residency – What can I contribute in terms of skills and interests.
Taking part in the group residency at the Sidney Nolan Trust not only would be a privilege for any artist but this opportunity would give me the impetus to inform development and explore potential – collaboratively, visually, theoretically and professionally.
The site, environment and atmosphere of the place would provide an apt milieu to assist, encourage and develop new work & ideas, providing a catalyst and platform for artist led activity, possible future collaborations & networking – essential elements necessary for sustaining artistic development.
As my practice is based on Borders, I intend to use the opportunity to also visit the man-made boundary structure of Offas Dyke. I shall respond through feelings sensations and reflective memory, using drawing writing and photography.
Dr. Rob Mullender
Sound, Bodies & Water, Sociality, Soundscape.
I have been a practicing artist since 1994, mostly producing sculptural works which generate or deal with sound in some way or another. I received my PhD in 2011, which looked at how light could be used to synthesize sound, and how this technique constituted a kind of alternative history of experimental sound production. My current research involves an archive of ‘visualised sound’ artifacts from the Victorian era. I teach sound (and other things) at graduate and post-graduate level, at the London College of Communication and University of Central Lancashire.
How I hope to benefit from this residency:
This residency will offer me the opportunity to work on specific aspects of my sound recording practice for a short and sustained period. It will enable me to engage in productive discourse with other artist/researchers regarding my practice, in exploring ideas aggregating around the themes of landscape, soundscape and the body. As a researcher, I value opportunities to engage in practice-based enquiry in a field-centred context, enabling me to operate in a different mode to my normal, and to develop new networks of practitioners. I am able to offer a broad knowledge base in terms of Art History and theory, and having been through the process of doing a PhD, feel I can offer useful insight into practice based research processes.
This piece of work will centre on the sounds produced by bodies of water, and how we might engage water as a medium common to ourselves and our surroundings. It has been proposed by the Psychoanalyst Didier Anzieu that our body’s envelope as a psychic phenomenon begins to be constituted in utero by way of sound; our sense of self is instantiated by vibration… a ‘skin ego’. The sound of water lives both within and outwith the body, providing a continuity between self and landscape, bridging this enfolding envelope. This proposed work will consist of sound recordings captured using home made hydrophones – recordings of the bodies of water (and things that live in it) in the immediate landscape that holds the Sidney Nolan Trust and those held within the bodies of the (consenting!) resident artists. The final form of the work remains unclear, but at present is predicted to be a composition intended to be listened to in the landscape on mobile devices.
James Scott Vandeventer
Alternative spatial organising: Toward more sustainable living
Keywords: organisation; geography; alternative organising; spatial organising; sustainability; sustainable living; degrowth; ethnographic approach; photo-elicitation
My research is situated at the boundary of geography and organisation studies. It seeks to understand alternative spatial organising and how such spatial organising can lead to more sustainable living. I am utilising both ethnographic and visual methods to understand the social-and-material, relational nature of spatial organising through which a particular space acquires meaning(s) and manifests as an ordering of space. I am engaged in empirical fieldwork at a social housing estate in Hulme, Manchester that is characterised by a range of alternative practices. Through my analysis, I intend to link alternative spatial organising with a ‘strong’ understanding of sustainability.
During this residency, I will explore a photo-elicitation technique I intend to apply in my research. Recruited participants will be invited to take photographs that capture meaningful moments on Rodd Farm. Then, I will conduct short interviews about their photographs, and analyse them from a spatial organising perspective. This will enable me to trial this technique, gain experience with analysis, and record and evaluate my approach. In addition, I plan to dedicate time to writing and reflection. Importantly, while my research focuses on an urban context, future directions may include investigations in rural settings such as the Sidney Nolan Trust farm. As such, I will be able to consider application for my research beyond its current remit.
I am pursuing my PhD in affiliation with the Institute of Place Management at Manchester Metropolitan University Business School, where I am also an Associate Lecturer. Born in Los Angeles, I attended Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. and subsequently worked for several years as a food retail manager. In 2015, I moved to the U.K. to pursue my interest in sustainability through a Master’s degree at the University of Edinburgh. Through this, I gained an understanding of alternative visions for the future, developing a particular interest in the emerging degrowth movement. In my academic career, I plan to continue to explore both what sustainable alternatives involve and how we might begin to move toward them. To this end, I am a member of the Steady State Manchester collective, Institute of Place Management and Heidelberg Club International, all of which explore and advance a more sustainable society.
Merzwomen & the Daughters of Dada: A Search to Reveal the Contemporary Valence of Kurt Schwitters’ MERZ Through Art Practice
Keywords: Kurt Schwitters, Merz, Dada, Feminism, New Materialism, Nomadic Thinking, Non-nomadic Thinking, materiality, collaborative practice, art collectives, rupture, recovery, resistance, ‘selfhelp’, friction, flow, texture, consistency, dialogue, praxis, accountability, autonomy, constituent parts, syncopation, improvisation, resonance, situated-ness, contemporary, exile, refuge, culture, connection, transformation, analysis, shared project.
My art practice based research has the over-arching context of German artist, Kurt Schwitters. Schwitters practice was habitually itinerant both before and after his voluntary exile to Britain during WW2. I am interested in how his and my own itinerant artistic methods develop materially and philosophically whilst on the move. I make work whilst absorbing selected aspects of Schwitters’ letters, critique and artistic outputs, paying attention to resonances which arise, to draw into the thesis. A recent example of this is an exhibition I co-presented with fellow artist, Heather Ross, called *Merzwomen & the Daughters of Dada. Schwitters claimed that he worked autonomously although his letters document a collective and social approach to making and disseminating work. Through performance and static work, this exhibition sought to explore the merits of working both autonomously and collectively in order to discursively draw out meaning made through artistic output.
Jackie Haynes established House of Haynes Fancy Dress Hire in the Northern Quarter, Manchester in 1995. For seventeen years, she developed a business of making and hiring costumes alongside bespoke commission work and a wholesale range. In 2012 she changed direction, creating an art practice from existing skills and completing an MA in Textiles at Manchester Metropolitan University. Whilst studying, she became interested in the work of artist, Kurt Schwitters. Following the MA, she continued to generate and participate in both independent and collaborative art projects, symposia, residencies, talks and exhibitions. Much of this activity centred around contemporary resonances with the artistic activities of Dada and Kurt Schwitters’ Merz. This subsequently developed into a more focused exploration through a successful application to the Kurt Schwitters PhD studentship which she began in 2016 at University of Cumbria Institute of the Arts. This art practice based research is due for completion in March 2020. Jackie shares a studio at Islington Mill in Salford and lives in Manchester with her two daughters.
The North: An Exploration of the Relationship between Place and Identity through the Prose Poem.
Key Words: poetry, place, cartography, identity, culture, environments
My research into the notion of ‘The North’ celebrates what I would term the vernacular in a literary form. I hope to demonstrate the ways in which a deep engagement with the North’s geology, flora and fauna and built environment enables a writer to engage in a ‘braided’ conversation involving place, history and culture, revealing new substrata that move away from the more stereotypical ways of conceiving the region. This conversation demonstrates an awareness of how the vernacular operates through the use of Northern idioms and idiolect, but crucially, the work is modern, inventive and playful. Throughout my initial drafting of a prose poetry collection, I have come to realise that I am largely using ‘North’ as an imaginative idea: a metaphorical construct, but one that needs continual re-invention. Currently my process is heading towards the collaborative and interdisciplinary sphere, making use of photography, visual art and cartography as well as writing. The prose poetry form is one that is itself open, fluid and amorphous, thus more receptive to such reinvention. It is a form that can accommodate ambivalence and paradox: the lyric sentence and the powerful metaphor; innovative juxtapositions of language registers, genres and the use of palimpsestic techniques. By testing prose poetry’s flexibility, with its relative lack of literary tradition, I therefore seek to re-invigorate my use of language and understanding of identity and place.
I began my practice-based PhD in October 2016. As an early stage researcher, I hope to use the residency to become part of a wider community of practice-based researchers in an environment focused on creative work. I hope to collaborate, write, walk and respond to the possibilities of the natural environment surrounding the venue.
Alongside my PhD, I am a freelance writer, lecturer and poet. My work has been published in a range of anthologies – in the UK and Australia. I have been long-listed for the National Poetry Competition and short-listed for the first Rialto Pamphlet competition in 2017. I am a lecturer in creative writing at the Open University. My latest book of poetry is ‘Painting the Spiral Staircase’. (Cinnamon, Spring 2016), and I have worked as Literature Programme Manager in the North of England for the British Council. I have just been awarded funding through the Arts Council this year to edit and produce a new anthology of British prose poetry, with co-editor Professor Oz Hardwick and Valley Press.
Isabel Benito Gutiérrez
Music as a collaborative discipline: issues to address, exchange of elements and the role of the contributors.
Keywords: Multidisciplinary, Audiovisual, Painting music, Colours and sounds, Collaboration, Galleries as concert halls
Representation / Encounters of Landscape
Keywords: Landscape, Indeterminacy, Anorganic, Encounter, Process, Expanded Field, agency
My Practice based research interrogates our engagement to landscape as an arena of slippages of space that surrounds the determinate of function and idealised of our critical understanding of landscape, inducing a metaphysical sempiternity, poetic, indeterminacy. Through collaborating with indeterminacy within post-industrial landscapes with the employment of the Camera to act as device to allow me to traverse the assemblage created by movement of elements that construct landscape, as well as being part of the as being able to capture light fallen on the subject of a documentary.
Photography is used as the entry point for exploration, however with the intervention of the landscape throughout various stages of the photographic process to create collaborative pieces of work that composure and build that allow land to create its own mark on the images.
These resulting ambiguous works created have formed a void space, that functions relationally through leading meaning to that which surrounds it, forcing a perspective not of recognition but that of that encounter. This Encounter is leading me towards to defining a concept of ‘anorganic’ a space that would allow further readings and understanding of how the landscapes functions, as well as providing ways in which the nature of the collaboration could be furthered within the confines of an exhibition as a point of engagement instead of space that holds artefacts of the collaboration.
Within the residency, I look forward to prolonged engagement with more diverse land composites and immerse myself further to fully explore the unique setting that i don’t have access to, enriching and diversifying my research.
I am artist working in the expanded field of photography and land art with a focus on the progress of collaboration with the materials that comprise the landscape. Outside of working towards my PhD, I am trainer in technology and accessibly working with schools and groups within the deaf community with a focus on creative application, teaching in sign language to make computers and resources open and accessible.
Towards Symbiosis: An investigation into the parasite as metaphor for painting practice
Keywords: painting, parasite, host, commensal, mutualist, mooch, appropriation
The (re)use of existing artworks became an established form of artistic practice in the twentieth century, understood through the terminology of quotation, appropriation, parody and pastiche. The alternative term parasitic is established in other discipline areas such as finance (Travers-Borgstroem) or philosophy (Serres), but is underexplored in art practice, history and theory, and especially painting practice/analysis. As with a biological parasite, the role of the contemporary artist (who uses other artist’s work) is arguably in a non-symbiotic relationship, ‘feeding off’ its historic sources.
In undertaking this research I hope to explore and test the hypothesis that the art that is produced can have a more equal association. Mutualism is a term initially derived from biology that describes a relationship of mutual benefit for the two parties. I want to investigate whether a parasitical practice could be mutually beneficial for both the original artist and the contemporary artist, and under what conditions.
I started my practice-based PhD in December 2017. I hope the benefits of the residency to the early stages of my research will be multitude, but the most significant benefit is to be part of a community of practice-based researchers in an environment focused on practice. From reading the previous participant’s reports online, I am most excited about the unexpected and the unknowable things that I am confident will occur during the week.
Alongside studying for a PhD I am a practicing artist. Solo exhibitions include: Usher Gallery, 2014, Nottingham Castle, 2014; Manchester Art Gallery 2009; Transition Gallery, London, 2007; Wolverhampton Art Gallery, 2007; and firstsite, Colchester, 2006. Curated exhibitions include: Midpointness, Lock Up, Newcastle, Australia, 2015; Airspace gallery, Stoke 2016 (with Steve Dutton); Re-Unpacking, Nottingham Castle, 2014; (detail), H Project Space, Bangkok and touring, 2014; Misdirect Movies, Royal Standard, Liverpool, and touring, 2013 (with John Rimmer) and Unspooling: Artists & Cinema, Cornerhouse, Manchester, 2010 (with Dave Griffiths). In 2017 I presented my research at conferences including The Archive Unbound, Cardiff University, Paradox Fine Art European Forum’s Biennial Conference, University of Arts London, Please Specify!: International Conference on Artistic Research, Theatre Academy, Helsinki. I am also Programme Leader of MA Fine Art.
Deep Surface: A practice-based enquiry of the picture plane.
Key words: Surface: Structure: Geometry: Pattern: Shine: Light: Time: Speed: Inheritances: Drawing: Painting
My practice based research interrogates the depth of surface as a dense, complex and ambivalent plane. Through the making of artworks and a contextual underpinning, it explores the interplay between the outward facing and inward supporting components of the picture plane. The research brings critical commentary to existing artworks and to new works made in the course of the research. The understanding generated is applied to the wider sphere of the uses and value of surface in contemporary art. Notably, by evaluating the legacy and associated assumptions of the surface/structure dichotomy in a range of cultural art practices, a new reading of the interchange between surface and structure will be established.
My research has moved between practical and theoretical investigations which have impacted on each other and shaped the direction of the unfolding investigation. I am interested in exploring and sharing experiences with other practitioners in terms of dealing with some of the challenges that arise when research is rooted within the practice. In particular, ways to cope with the experimental uncertainty through which practice evolves. How do we understand what we do not yet know?
I hope the residency will also provide time for reflective writing, walking, being with other practitioners and the opportunity to make some new artworks. I propose to set up a ‘mini-studio’ and continue with an experimental body of drawings that explore the potential of the gilded surface. If facilities at SNT are unsuitable (I read that the studio space may be open to the elements) then I have a second project on stand-by. This is a video/projection based on the exhalation of breath as an elongated moment. Motivated by the process of activating mordants during the gilding process I am interested in the still concentrated body and the creation of a temporary surface on which to draw.
Alongside studying for a PhD I am a practicing artist. Recent exhibitions include Tracing Paper: Paper Gallery, Manchester (2016), Compression Culture: Vertical Gallery, MMU (2016), (detail): H-Space, Bangkok (touring 2014/15), Beauty is the First Test: Pumphouse Gallery, London (touring 2012- 14), The Drawing Show: Castlefield Gallery, Manchester (2014), Jerwood Drawing Prize (2010), Superabundant: Turner Contemporary, Margate (2009). I studied Art History at Goldsmith’s College, University of London (MA, 1995) and Fine Art at Manchester Metropolitan University (MA, 2001) and Nottingham Trent (BA(Hons), 1989). I am Director of Suite Studio Group, Salford and a part-time Lecturer at the University of Chester (2002- date).
Co-producing Manchester’s homelessness services 2016-2019: Participatory Action Research exploring the process, theory of change and unique lived experience of those ‘involved in’ and ‘affected by’ the Manchester Homelessness Charter
Keywords: Homelessness: co-production: Participatory Action Research: empowerment: co-operative enquiry: social justice: service delivery
This project emerged from the creation of the Manchester Homelessness Partnership which was formed in response to a series of local protests and occupations of public spaces, widely reported in the media. The Partnership is grounded in values that support a model of service delivery where people with experience of homelessness co-produce the solutions to their own issues.
A Participatory Action Research process is used with the aim of improving the quality, relevance and utility of homelessness research by enabling people with lived experience to establish their claim as knowledge producers. A theory of change will also be developed, accounting for how ‘co-production’ of homelessness services enables traditional ‘service provider’ and ‘recipient’ actors to interrogate new ways of ‘working with’ and ‘thinking about’ each other. This will focus on the unique contextual factors enabling these changes to take place, including the consideration of hierarchical processes and social justice.
I’m Nigel Allmark and have recently started a PhD researching the work of the Manchester Homelessness Partnership. I’ve previously worked in a variety of health and social services since 2002 and I’m particularly passionate about getting services out of the office and into the community. Communities don’t limit themselves to ‘nine to five’, Monday to Friday, nor should people have to travel out of town to access essential services. I feel privileged to have been involved in some meaningful and important interventions during the last few years such as the new developing Integrated Family Support Service in Wales, NSPCC’s Caring Dads Programme and Multisystemic Therapy. I feel like I’ve really found my passion in this current project want to use this opportunity to create real change for our communities. Get in touch or follow me on twitter at @nigelallm
Between Formal Structure, the Real, and the Moving Body: Searching for Affective Signs in Film Performance
Key words: Film performance: Affect: the Real: Non-representational: Intuition: Contingency: Semiotics: Art cinema: Film philosophy: Cinematography
At the heart of my practice-as-research project is the concept of ‘affective significance’, which represents subtle-yet-emphatic, ‘magic’ moments in film, where aspects of style coincide with a unique instant of performance and a contingent manifestation of reality. On a theoretical level, the concept is grounded in the duality between affect and sign, and the fact that film is a permanent, still structure, but also has the ability to capture traces of the movement of the real, which register on film as affects: non-representational ‘flashes’ of impersonal sensibilities located in the film itself. The practice seeks to expand the potential of cinema by creating suitable conditions for affective significance to emerge through innovative work with film performance and cinematography, and multiple post-production methods. This will result in an original work of film art, and generate new knowledge relevant to art-film practice and to the debates surrounding film performance and philosophy.
Please follow these links to examples of work that I have recently completed as part of my project:
Besides working on my practice-based PhD project, I am an independent filmmaker, having written and directed several film dramas and experimental projects, work as a freelance cinematographer in London, and as a visiting lecturer in film at Derby and Westminster universities. Previously I studied Film and Television Production at the University of Westminister and Film Aesthetics at the University of Oxford. I am interested in visual arts, philosophy, science, technology, music and politics.
The Multimodal Book as Organism, Artefact and Assemblage: plant agency in processes of growing and making
Keywords: Multimodal art: interactive art: book art: plant agency: plant semiotics: ecosemiotics: New Materialisms: environmental philosophy: Latour’s collective
My research is an art-based, ecosemiotic exploration of plant agency which responds to the discourse around environmental philosophy. Feminist-materialists look beyond human exceptionalism to the interconnectedness of all matter, while activists claim that a disconnected view of ‘nature as a commodity’ leads to an impoverished experience of the world and complicity with the underlying causes of climate change and resource depletion. Plants are particularly exploited and under-recognised for their role in maintaining life-supporting environments. I propose that recognising plant agency can activate reciprocity, thereby breaking down divisions and prompting a more ethical attitude towards companion species. To bring attention to plants as active partners and co-habitants and to encourage meaningful personal connectivity, I am developing interactive hybrid artworks which aim to initiate subjective encounters with plants; assert a nature-culture continuum; and de-stabilise anthropocentric hierarchies.
I value the prospect of sharing and discussing inspirational ideas and methods with researchers from different fields and the opportunity to join collaborative work. I’m particularly excited about working together to generate and co-produce a public event which emerges from our interactions.
The residency is an opportunity for me to explore plant agency in our activities and in the human-made countryside. Using ecosemiotic criteria, I will look for signs of ‘syn’ and ‘sym’, a prefix meaning ‘together’: e.g., symbiosis, synanthropy, synergy, synthesis, sympathy, sym-poiesis. I hope the residency will provide inspiration for writing, images, maquettes and ideas which will feed into my artist books and multi-layered artwork beyond the event itself.
At the residency, I want to experiment with the possibilities of projecting text and images onto leafy surfaces. I have been printmaking, exhibiting and teaching at the Sidney Nolan Trust over the past ten years. I hope my familiarity with the site and the way the organisation works will contribute to the smooth running of the residency.
My multidisciplinary background has provided training and experience which may be of interest to fellow participants. I could deliver illustrated talks on the history of the book, artists’ books or ecosemiotics, and practical workshops on creative book-structures or plant materials and processes. My experience as a small publisher could assist with the production and dissemination of a collaborative publication.
After 15 years in secondary science teaching and examining, I made a conceptual leap in 2000 gaining MA Book Arts with distinction at Camberwell College of Arts The plant/human interface has been an ongoing theme in my artist’s books, which are held in 39 public collections including Tate Britain. I have led book-arts workshops, mounted exhibitions and co-founded a 3-artist collaborative group, ‘FACTION’. I have twice secured Arts-Council funding for developing new work. Currently, my practice is evolving from the hand-held artist book to a more participatory approach inspired by elements of the book: structure, image, text and narrative.
Creating Images of Belonging through Diasporic touch
Keywords: diaspora studies: Scandinavian studies: performativity: photography: materiality: translation.
My practice-based research examines issues of belonging in the Swedish diaspora in the north of England, bringing a minority culture into the public realm. I visualise the embodied experience of having two cultural narratives, problematising the notion of home as tied to place. I am developing a notion called diasporic touch, it is a conceptual idea, exploring how a combination of seeing, touching and creative writing opens up an imaginary space where ‘there and then’ is ‘here and now’, where past experience is enacted in the present (Kuhn, 2010), and the process of making art generate a sense of belonging. My visual images of belonging express the hyphen in my Anglo-Swedish experience, a life story emerging between written histories. Through a combination of performative photography and self-life writing I am materialising Homi Bhabha’s notion of ‘third space’ between cultures, making his abstract notion more tangible in my particular Anglo-Swedish experience.
In my work I explore the Dalastuga; I examine this traditional red-painted croft environment from my position in diaspora. In Sweden, this type of place is often a subject matter in historical paintings, used as front covers in magazines and frequently visible in the IKEA catalogue. The red-painted croft by the lake in the forest has, over many years, been the subject matter and the source of inspiration in my art practice. It is a cultural symbol (Nora, 1996) deeply embedded in Swedish culture linked to the notion of home, an idyll depicted by national romantic painters such as Carl Larsson and Anders Zorn; and a symbol still prevalent today. For me, it is a romantic, diasporic access point to my former culture (Cohen, 2008), an imaginary home (Rushdie, 1991), a place I desire but also approach with caution. In my art practice I transform the Dalastuga through diasporic touch. I re-appropriate the national narrative from my position in diaspora, questioning ideas of rootedness and homogeneity.
Through this residency I am hoping to develop a new body of works using performance, photography and creative writing. I have constructed a series of lanterns with glass panes picturing things that remind me of Sweden. I intend to bring a memory lantern, which project images of red-painted walls, to rural Wales. I will create performative scenarios by bringing the lantern to trees, barns, fences and meadow at the Sidney Nolan trust farm. The memory lanterns will project ‘there and then’ onto the ‘here and now’ and write prose blending my internal and external fields, trees, barns and grass. I will document these performances through photography. The residency will help complete an unfinished strand in my practice and explore how my work changes in a rural setting similar, but not the same as, the Swedish croft environment.
I am a PhD researcher and an Associate Lecturer at MIRIAD, Manchester Metropolitan University. My research project is called ‘Creating Images of Belonging through Diasporic Touch’ and is investigating Anglo-Swedish diasporic experience through my artistic practice. After completing a BA(Hons) in Fine Art at Central Saint Martin’s College of Art and Design I relocated to Manchester. I completed an MA in Visual Culture at Manchester Metropolitan University in 2003. I have disseminated my research at conferences such as: Annual Nordic Research Network conference Building Bridges in London, Writing Between the Lines at Cardiff Metropolitan University, Association for Art Historians Students New Voices conference Image Matter: Art and Materiality in Manchester. I will shortly present my research at the international conference Heritages of Migration: Moving Objects Stories and Home in Buenos Aires, Argentina, organised by Ironbridge International Institute for Cultural Heritage. Since beginning my research degree I have exhibited my visual work at Paper Gallery, Nexus Art Café, Grosvenor Gallery, LCAC Festival and Vertical Gallery. I am happy to share my skills in performance and photography. I am interested in this residency as I believe staying with a group of artists and working alongside each other will have positive benefits to all participants and I see this as a great opportunity for cross fertilisation of ideas around embodied and tacit knowledge.
Popular Video Technology, Quanta, and Materialist Practice
Keywords: Video: Popular Technology: Popular Video: Smartphones: Camera Phones: Quanta: Flusser: Gidal: Structural/Materialist Film: Film: Materialism: Digital
I make videos on my phone. This accessible, popular methodology holds the possibilities of making work easily, spontaneously, and cost effectively; as such, produce images that are more approachable, understood, and reflexive; and produce the work using a popular screen, so that all screens can display this image as their original, from smartphone to the living-room TV. For my specific research I’m interested in Peter Gidal’s Structural/Materialist film, in which film is presented through non-illusionist demystification, as ‘film as film’. By using this materialist approach to video, as a digital and fundamentally changeable medium, the instability if the digital can be used as a fundamental factor of a work, rather than a lack of stable originality. Within this I have found the digital to be difficult to define in traditional terms, to which Vilém Flusser’s theory of ‘Quanta’ has become fundamental.
Working through spontaneous inspiration, the residency location will become a source of material for a new series of works continuing my interests in natural and human made forms. During this time I look forward to discussing this methodology with other residents, and experiment in exchanges of process through practical application as we borrow and share with one another. This will then feed back into my research as to how others approach video in their own practice, if at all, and develop my own methodology through collaborative approaches and discussion over the course of the residency.
As video cameras are so widespred today due to their integration into popular devices, I hope to share my understanding of this technology as an accessible and fruitful method of working, as well and engage with other artists positions, producing collaborations through exchange and experimentation. For example, an organically generated walk in search for video inspiration, which can then form a screening and discussion for the group.
My interests in video began in skateboarding, and developed through my degree in Video Art Production BA at UCA, Maidstone. Established by David Hall, the course continued a medium based experimental ethos, which has otherwise been lost in ‘moving-image’ discourse. After this I continued to Visual Communication MA at RCA, London, which continued this experimental approach to medium under the guidance of experimental film historian A. L. Rees. From this I moved on to my current research, supervised by Digital Culture author, Charlie Gere. I currently lecture on Visual Communication MA, RCA, London, and programme regular screenings and events.
Opening up the Wig: In what contexts might a woman’s wig have agency and how might this agency be explored using lens-based practices?
My research uses lens-based strategies to reveal the relationships between the wig, the self, society and the construction of female identities. Many theorists have commented that hair is a boundary between the body, the self and society and culture.
I propose that the wig constitutes an exaggeration of that boundary, a lens between socially constructed ideals and innate ideas about individual identity. Wigs are objects worn on the body, and historically, the wig’s materiality has often caused them to ‘erode’ our sense of the body’s boundaries, and in addition to masking or projecting a wearer’s existing identity, the wig often can lead the wearer into the fulfillment of new identities.
My research argues that the wig cannot be said to just be merely ‘worn’ by the body, but rather enters into a collaboration with the body, demonstrating the plasticity of ‘self’ across different versions of what the body is.
I’m developing new photographic for a solo exhibition in October (at Manchester’s Paper Gallery), and this will be the culmination of a period of practice research, it will also mark a pause point in my practice as in September I start the last two years of my PhD – my writing up period. So in terms of my own research development, this residency opportunity comes at a very opportune time, and I would benefit from the residency in many ways.
The residency would provide the opportunity to bring work-in-progress to share and exchange feedback which would benefit the development of my research.
I would benefit from being in a different environment, being amongst other practice-based researchers, my teaching commitments and other day to day distractions have meant that I have rather lost touch with the practice based research community at MMU, so this opportunity would benefit me through the opportunity to share and develop research strategies, methodologies and practices with a practice-based research community.
I believe that my own practice would be enriched by collaborating with others, through the public event, but also through exchanging ideas during the residency, and I would be interested in continued collaboration after the residency. I think this would also be an opportunity for me, through exchange of knowledge, to challenge my own research and push myself outside of my ‘research comfort zones’.
The residency would give me the opportunity to engage in some creative writing around practice – I’m interested in a collaborative writing project and this maybe something that I could contribute to the residency – through workshops or tasks.
As a lecturer I feel that I could also contribute my experience in developing communities of practice through listening, and supportive feedback around other’s practice and research. I also have a willingness and an interest in developing activities that can stimulate ideas and discussions around research.
In terms of other skills and interests that I can contribute, I am experimenting with ‘errors’ digital multi-media formats including animation, GIFs and glitches – there is a developing interest in this area amongst feminist theorists, and it also relates to some of the writings around new materialisms – there maybe some synergies with what other members of the group are doing. My practice also uses collage and assemblage techniques – and collage (or more specifically cutting and pasting) is an interesting method and methodology that can be applied to a wide variety of practice and research.
I am a lens-based artist currently doing a part-time practice-based PhD at Manchester School of Art, I also teach Fashion Photography at Leeds College of Art. I completed a BA (Hons) in Photography at Nottingham Trent University, and an MA in Documentary Film Production at the University of Salford. My photographic work has been published in Source Magazine, Hunger.TV, and Of The Afternoon. I am currently exhibiting new work as part of ‘Discursive Documents’ at Huddersfield Art Gallery – a joint project with University of Huddersfield. I have also exhibited at Dean Clough, Halifax, Paper Gallery, Manchester, London Art Fair, Manchester Contemporary, PS Mirabel, South Square Gallery, Bradford, Cornerhouse & Castlefeld Gallery, Mid Pennine Arts, Open Eye gallery, Ashton Art Gallery, Mad Lab, Manchester, BBC Big Screen and Manchester Art Gallery
Reading Socially Engaged Book Art: Establishing New Dialogues
Keywords: Book Art: Documentation: Collaboration: Dialogue: Socially Engaged Art: Education: Bookmaking: Workshop: Felt: Location: Materiality
My research project aims to conceive of a definition and critical framework in which to read socially engaged book art (2000 onwards) through the selection of case studies and mapping of practices and book forms. Socially engaged book art involves artists engaging with various social groups (homeless participants, communities around place, women’s groups etc.), through the process, exchange, creation, collaboration and production of books in an artistic manner. The inclusion of various agents is often to challenge perceptions, provide space for the voices of marginalised groups, to foster community cohesion and to improve individual’s lived experience. My research utilises an art historical approach, which places the book art at the centre of analysis. This also demands consideration of the book art’s potential circulation and readership, the social processes behind their creation, the book as a conduit for dialogue, and conceiving of the books as more than ‘documentation’ of an event.
I would like to use the residency to approach two different, but related enquiries.
The first enquiry will be an exploration into book art as a method of documenting the activity of the residency researchers. This may involve the creation of a single, collaborative book (concertina style), which contains a visual/written dialogue. Participants could be given two pages at the beginning of the residency, in which to document some element of their processes or thoughts during their stay. At the end of the residency, a group workshop will be held in which the participants will collaboratively bring these pages together into one book.1 This opportunity presents a practical investigation into collaborative book making, as well as a record of potential relations/contrasts between researchers work.
The second enquiry would be to write about my case study Feminist Felt (2013). This involved artists Melissa Potter and Miriam Schaer teaching groups of women in Kakheti (an agricultural area of the Republic of Georgia) to make book art with felt, in exchange for traditional felting techniques. As a dialogue between the case study and residency, I would like to attempt to make a felt book in response to the rural location of the Sidney Nolan Trust. This will assist my research in the understanding of the felt making process (at a basic level), but also consider how materials used in book art often leave traces of the locations in which they are created.
Originally I trained in Art & Design at foundation degree level, gaining a strong interest in lens based practices and bookmaking. I soon realised that my love of research overtook my practice, and went on to study a degree in Art History. Throughout my research I have pursued a strong interest in book art, writing my undergraduate dissertation on methods of displaying book art, and my master’s thesis on feminist engagements with book art. After my masters I worked in Museum education, running a schools programme, community outreach, developing partnerships and running a wealth of different events. These interests currently culminate in my research project, which investigates collaboratively made book art with artists and different social groups. Although I am not strictly a ‘practitioner’, I have run bookmaking workshops around a historical magazine with a colleague at several conferences, as well as teach as an associate lecturer.