Assignment Two – Encountering Time

Assignment 2 - Encountering Time, Assignments, Creative Arts 1.1 Experience Creative Arts, Creative Arts BA (Hons)

Part 1 – Reflection

I feel in terms of academic theory about creative arts I have gained a great deal in this project. It has been quite theory-heavy overall and I am looking forward to a chance to put some of these ideas into my own pieces of work. However, despite the theory work, it has been another great eye-opener in terms of finding new artists work and ideas to explore and reflect on.

The exercise on ‘Formal Elements‘ at the beginning of this unit both helped and hindered me. It was a great help to contemplate some artistic theory across disciplines and a great chance for me to formalise some of the ideas I already knew but perhaps don’t always think about when looking at pieces of work. However, it also highlighted to me the difficulty when applying these rather outdated lists to contemporary pieces that span disciplines. For example, I struggled to think about how to apply these formal elements to works such as installations and land art. I did find it useful to apply these lists to a piece like The Hedonistic Imperative (Ziegler, 2006) and the films The Story of the Last Chrysanthemums and Amelie.

I appreciated the chance to return to one of my favourite pieces from the Project One lecture. Future Library (Paterson, 2014) and this gave me the opportunity to use the OCA library to find some existing analysis on this work. By reading other critical analyses it gave me a new insight into the artwork. When I had considered the piece, I focused on the environmental message and the role of the forest and the trees, by reading other critiques, I was able to grasp the view of the contributions of the authors. They too will never see the response to their work, they are unlikely to be alive when their work finally gets published and enjoyed. I agree with Mickiewicz the most difficult question of all is “if people will even understand the work, will people even read paper-based books at all in 100 years time”? (Mickiewicz, 2017).

Another piece of work I discovered in this project was Doug Aitken’s mirror (Aitken, 2013) and I started to compare this to what still stands out as my favourite piece in this course so far The Spiral Jetty. This is a comparison I started here but would like to return to as it gives me some ideas of how I could take some of Smithson’s ideas and bring a modern spin on them.

Having the chance to look at a section of The Road by Cormac McCarthy reminded me of my love of great writing and I am in the process of reading the whole book. Concentrating on literature again gave me some ideas about writing something more creative to go along with some of the artworks. I wonder what it will be like in the future when someone in one hundred years time finds the Future Library? There is also the idea to take some of the visual imagery in The Road and create a Toby Ziegler style image.

The exercise on apples and reading visual communication is a part I feel I rushed through. I think I naturally look for the meanings and context in pieces and so perhaps I felt I didn’t need to focus too much here but also time was against me to get through to the assignment piece. In my past, I have spent a lot of time reading mythologies and religious texts from different eras and so I do analyse symbols and semiotics. I became aware through this work that I am very euro-centric though and to expand into other parts of the world is something I would like to do.

The final section on comparative analysis gave me more artists and work to research and contemplate. I decided to focus on Alice Kettle and Ibrahim Mahama as I found their contrasting use of textiles to highlight the stories of people very inspiring. I felt these pieces moved us away from “Time” and more into “Place” as a concept to look at.

Assignment One Feedback:

Based on the feedback I received for Assignment One, I have tried to incorporate some of the action points from my tutor.

  • When thinking about action points for future work, I am now taking time to think about the steps to achieve those points as detailed below.
  • The book How to Write About Contemporary Art (Williams, 2014) was an excellent suggestion and I have read it once through for this project but I intend to come back to many of the ideas as the course progresses. There are so many nuggets of information in the book that I have highlighted to return to.
  • I feel I am now developing my use of the Harvard referencing structure in my learning log and will continue to do so.
  • When I get the chance I discuss ideas with peers and take part in the group work. I have attended Doug’s Wednesday sessions which have been a great opportunity to chat with other people on the programme and I am very active in our group chat. I am down to take part in one of the group workshops soon.

Learning Action Points:

There are still many things I would like to improve going forwards and some of the points from the assignment one feedback, I feel I haven’t had time to develop yet.

  • Explore different ways of presenting ideas e.g. through lens based media. I do want to incorporate more of this into my learning log. I need to sit down and plan the next project in more detail with more realistic time frames. When I have submitted this assignment and before starting the next exercise I am going to read through the project as a whole first to plan where I can start doing this. Time was against me in this project due to the holidays but I will have more time going forwards.
  • I want to include more images of my own work in the learning log. I feel I have got into the analysing of other people’s work but am neglecting my own practice. Again, with better preparation and planning of the whole project I feel I could achieve this and have the opportunity to experiment with more ideas and materials. Part two below will list some of my current ideas I want to develop.
  • I need to get back into the good study habits of doing something every day like when I first started. I feel like this project has had some time pressue of my own doing but also not helped by the fact I am interested in all the sections mentioned. I find it hard to not put 100% into all of the exercises and am having to learn to be a bit more selective about where I spend my time. Again, I think planning the start of the next project will help me do that but I am aware of becoming too rigid and not allowing my work to find a natural flow.

Part 2 – Ideas to Develop

I still have some ideas from Project One that I want to return to. I really like the idea from my last feedback about using the hole punching as a prop for photographic or video work in different locations, connecting the word time to specific situations, and allowing you to capture the light through the perforations in the paper, by displaying it on a window, or taking it outside and documenting at different times of day to emphasise the context of the work.

There is also the theme of spirals that I am drawn to and would like to experiment somehow with the hole punch technique in combination with spirals.

Toby Ziegler’s technique really inspired me too in this project and I have some ideas about how to incorporate some of his styles with a spiral based time element. I just need to sit down and develop the idea!

As mentioned in my reflection, an idea I am interested in developing is how to take the principles of Smithson’s Spiral Jetty and modernise them through the use of moving images. I take inspiration from a piece by Doug Aitken Mirror that I stumbled upon when looking at the ArtXHistory archive.

Part 3 – Ideas on Time

When I look back across the whole of this project, I am not sure my ideas on time have changed that much. However, I have learned a great deal of research and analytical skills that help me to look at pieces of work with a more focused and attuned vision. I am developing the idea of time and place being linked, especially with the works in the comparative analysis section.

Part 4 – Question

  1. Using formal elements is useful when looking at quite traditional forms of art, but I wondered if there were any good resources for how to analyse something like land art or installations that perhaps don’t fit into a neat category of visual art?
  2. Is it okay to write assignments like this where the assignment ends up being more of a summary and signpost to the other posts on here? I do feel like I rushed this reflection and it ended up being more of a guide to what I have done in this project than a true reflection.


Aitken, D. (2013). Mirror.

Mickiewicz, P. (2017), “The Library of 2114”, Esse, vol. 89, pp. 40-49.

Paterson, K. Future Library. [online] Available at:

Ziegler, T. (2006). The Hedonistic Imperative. [Oil Paint, Gold Leaf and Graphite on Canvas] Available at:

Williams, G. (2014). How to write about contemporary art. Thames & Hudson.

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