Reflect, Review, and Refine

Coursework, Creative Arts 1.1 Experience Creative Arts, Creative Arts BA (Hons), Project 5: Developing Methods - A Sense of Time and Place, Research & Reflection
  • What are the main areas or ideas for reflection from the feedback you received?
    • Something that stands out to me is how my tutor really liked the pieces I didn’t particularly think were strong. I experimented with taking photos with wires on my screen, and I wasn’t happy with how they turned out, but my tutor really thought they were powerful. This makes me want to be more experimental and take a few more risks. Post work that I perhaps don’t think is finished and get feedback on it.

      Creating any piece of work is a risk, and it exposes you to criticism, something nobody enjoys, but it is how we all learn and develop. It is something I definitely need to get better at. I could be braver with what I post here and open myself up for feedback more instead of waiting for a polished piece of work.
  • How will you develop and refine your work and ideas in response?
    • As mentioned, I want to be more creative and experimental. I need to get back into playing with ideas and not necessarily only post on here the ones that feel finished.

      One thing I could do a lot more of is using my sketchbook to develop ideas and show how I get to my finished pieces.

      Another aspect my tutor mentioned was to explain my thinking a little more.
  • Which sections of your work do you want to explore in more detail, and how might you do that?
    • I really want to explore this idea of the internet and time spent and now bring in place too. The internet is a place that perhaps doesn’t meet the conventional understanding of place, but we all curate our own little corners of the web. There isn’t a physical space but a digital space. How can I explore this?
  • What elements of your work start to reflect something about the place you chose to work in, and how might you build on that?
    • My work was based around my desk and where I work. How it is all digital and not something with a physical presence. Is this still a place?

A Reflection on Meaningful Locations

Coursework, Creative Arts BA (Hons), Project 5: Developing Methods - A Sense of Time and Place, Research & Reflection

Tim Cresswell’s book describes place as a “meaningful location”.

For me, this is a difficult concept as I have moved around a lot in my life and I struggle to make meaningful connections to a particular location.

I have always felt happier when travelling and exploring, maybe because I don’t have a strong connection to anywhere else.

Even at the moment, I have a sense of wanting to move again.

I think that I may find this unit difficult but it might also give me an opportunity to explore a sense of not belonging anywhere too.

‘Place an Introduction’ by Tim Cresswell

Coursework, Creative Arts 1.1 Experience Creative Arts, Creative Arts BA (Hons), Project 5: Developing Methods - A Sense of Time and Place

Place: An Introduction by Tim Cresswell is a geography textbook for students focusing on human geography. It looks at the everyday usage of the term ‘place’ and the debates and discussions around the definition.

This post will summarise my notes from reading the Introductory chapter.

Notes on Introduction: Defining Place

Place is one of the most important terms in geography and its study benefits from an interdisciplinary one.

Artists along with geographers grapple with the idea of place.

Not only artists, but place now has a price attached to it and is important to businesses. GIS (geographic information systems) map places and fuse with social media so our phone always knows where we are. Data from this is valuable. There are open-source maps so that corporations don’t have a monopoly on the production of place.

This virtual battle reflects longstanding struggles over place. Links to previous protest movements.

Place often has political elements.

Place is important in many aspects of life – food production, housing, holidays. Yet despite its importance, it is very difficult to define. It isn’t a specialised academic term, it is an everyday term that is familiar to us. However, even though we inherently seem to think we know what it means, it is both simple and complicated. It is different to a word like “territory” which is a specialised term.

Every day uses include:

  • “Would you like to come round to my place?” – indicates some kind of connection between a person and a building and a notion of privacy and belonging.
  • “Brisbane is a nice place” – a geographical location
  • “She put me in y place” – a sense of position in a hierarchy
  • “A place for everything and everything in its place” – an ordering of things

We often add possessions to spaces to turn a space into place.

We name spaces in the world to give them meaning. Coordinates on a map mean nothing, give it a name like a city and we get an image of what it is like.

The most straightforward definition – “a meaningful location”.

John Agnew has outlined three fundamental aspects of a place as a meaningful location.

  1. Location – they have fixed coordinates on the Earth’s surface.
  2. Locale – the material setting for social relations
  3. Sense of place. – subjective and emotional attachment

When humans invest some kind of meaning in a portion of space it becomes a place.

Goes beyond just landscape they are connections, they help us understand people.

Artists and Works Mentioned

  • Towards Re-Enchantment: Place and Its Meanings by Evans and Robson
  • Christian Marclay – installation in Gstaad Switzerland

Key Quotes

“place is perhaps the key term for interdisciplinary research in the arts, humanities and social sciences in the twenty-first century.”

“Place is a word that seems to speak for itself.”

“You discover the art through the place and the place through the art”

“Power of Place”

“transforming space into place”

Ideas

The GIS systems mentioned and how valuable this data is, links to my data collection in assignment 4. I wonder if I could incorporate some of this into a piece?

References

Cresswell, T 2014, Place: An Introduction, John Wiley & Sons, Incorporated, Hoboken. Available from: ProQuest Ebook Central. [1 Apr 2022].

Place in Poetry

Coursework, Creative Arts 1.1 Experience Creative Arts, Creative Arts BA (Hons), Project 5: Developing Methods - A Sense of Time and Place

Here are three extracts which contemplate the theme of ‘place’ in different ways:

The Herefordshire Landscape by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Hills, vales, woods, netted in a silver mist,
Farm, granges, doubled up among the hills,
And cattle grazing in the watered vales,
And cottage-chimneys smoking from the woods,
And cottage-gardens smelling everywhere,
Confused with smell of orchards.

The Lost Land by Eavan Boland

I can see the shore of Dublin Bay.
Its rocky sweep and its granite pier.
Is this, I say
How they must have seen it,
Backing out on the mailboat at twilight,
Shadows falling
On everything they had to leave?
And would love forever?
And then
I imagine myself
At the landward rail of that boat
Searching for the last sight of a hand.
I see myself
On the underworld side of that water,
The darkness coming in fast,
Saying all the names I know for a lost land:
Ireland. Absence. Daughter.

Slough by John Betjeman

Come friendly bombs and fall on Slough! It isn’t fit for humans now,
There isn’t grass to graze a cow. Swarm over, Death!
Come, bombs and blow to smithereens Those air-conditioned, bright canteens,
Tinned fruit, tinned meat, tinned milk, tinned beans, Tinned minds, tinned breath.

Although each is about place and evoke a sens of place, they are on different levels.

The Herefordshire Landscape purely evokes a sense of place. It is atmospheric, full of visual language that evokes all the senses and gives you an idealistic view of the English countryside. It is peaceful, calm and allows you to picture yourself in the landscape living a carefree life. There are no politics in this world, it is celebrating the pure beauty of place in an escapism way.

Slough is much more political and thought-provoking and is a commentary on modern life. You get a real feeling of contempt for modernity from John Betjeman. It makes definite social comment about progress and place about how humanity with its modern interventions has made a place inhospitable. He actually wants bombs to “fall on Slough!” as “It isn’t fit for humans now”.

The Lost Land evokes a sense of place in relation to identity and exile. The poet is longing for Ireland “saying all the names I know for a lost land”. You get a feeling of desperation and loss from the poet, grief for a place and he is imagining himself looking at the shore of Dublin Bay.

I actually like all three poems in different ways. I love the pure escapism and naive joy in Browning’s poetry. It is a world I want to live in. I also like the thought-provoking nature of the second two poems. All three have given me more ideas to explore around Place.

Action Points

  • How can I explore the sensual nature of place?
  • Place is linked to politics and change – how can this be explored?
  • I would like to create a triptych of the three poems and the images they invoke.

What is Place?

Coursework, Creative Arts 1.1 Experience Creative Arts, Creative Arts BA (Hons), Project 5: Developing Methods - A Sense of Time and Place, Research & Reflection

Place is difficult to define. I decided to create a mind map with all the ideas I think about when I consider the word place. Place is home, it is linked to people and culture but there is also a sense of movement about it. Place never remains still. Just like time. There is constant change, boundaries change, people and things move in the place, time changes places like the seasons, climate, there is growth and shrinking.

I don’t think I am any clearer about what place is. Can we even define it?

Exercise 3: Develop

Coursework, Creative Arts 1.1 Experience Creative Arts, Creative Arts BA (Hons), Project 4: Developing Methods - Traces of Time
5-minutes
10-minutes
20-minutes

Mapping 5-mins, 10-mins and 20-mins of mouse movements and clicks.

I screen recorded my work and then sat and watched it back. As I watched I followed the mouse movement with a white pen and then stopped to glue a star for every click I made.

Watching it back made me reflect on what do we have to show for a day of working online? We work hard but physically move little and then at the end of the day have nothing to show but a tiny bit more data generated.

I developed this idea from one of my initial ideas in the previous exercise:

This was one of the “line drawings” I completed for that exercise but using drawing software. This only covered a short period of time but I wanted to extend the idea.

I prefer the idea of creating something very analogue and material from a digital piece. So much of what I do all day for work is online, I wanted a physical something to hold to represent the time I spend working.

The final piece after 20-minutes is the look I was aiming for and I still may develop it to an even longer piece. I like that it reminds me of neural networks or data networks, or even a constellation and galaxy explosion.

I also like how the stars from early on get hidden by the white pen to create a mesh of activity and some depth to the piece. There is a sense of movement in the piece.

  • How might your chosen method, process, or media ‘reveal’ time?

I feel like my piece reveals a snapshot in time but shows that time has fluidity and movement to it. It captures “work” done in a period of time but in an unconventional way.

  • Which element of time do you feel your work is exploring or communicating?

Time and work are linked. This explores the nature of very modern work and how we often end a day with nothing physical to show for it.

  • What is the role of pace in the processes of making and looking?

Although this was a 20-minute recording, the process of making a physical replica took much longer. I had to slow down the video to get the mouse movements and pause each time there was a click to get the star glued down. It highlights how time can change depending on how you are interacting with it.

  • Is stillness possible in and through mark-making?

There is both stillness and movement in the piece. It is like a camera shot of the action. A still in time. There is also a movement that comes across from the lines.

  • How might duration be explored in drawing, photography, text, sound?

The duration here is interesting. Although it is 20-minutes of recording. It took much longer to make.

  • Which of the creative disciplines are you combining and how do they work together?

It is almost a reverse animation. Going from video recording to physical drawing. Where most people may draw ideas to then animate or record.

Exercise 2: Marking Time

Coursework, Creative Arts 1.1 Experience Creative Arts, Creative Arts BA (Hons), Project 4: Developing Methods - Traces of Time

1. Location:

I have chosen to base this work at my desk as it is a place where I spend most of my day and I am not always happy about spending so much time here. I wonder if the emotion of feeling trapped here will come through in what I produce.

My Desk

Tucked away in the corner of a room
Facing a barren wall
No window to dream out of
Prisoners have more pleasure
Yet my desk remains
The source of my income and freedom
Entrapment leading to enrichment
A neceesary evil?
Constant pings as people keep me here
Tasks pile up, yet the space remains clear
No papers anymore to show what I have achieved
Digital is the only mark I make.

2. One-Line Drawings

1-minute

1-minute Using what I have on my desk – software – drawn with the mouse.
1-minute drawing with the pen and notebook I use for work
ink and brush – 1-minute
charcoal – 1 minute
Charcoal – 5 minutes
Coloured pencil – 5 minutes
white pen on black – 10 minutes
B pencil – 20 minutes

3. Lines through the Space

4. Change

Mouse movements and clicks in 10 seconds

5. Sounds

Reflection

I really enjoyed this exercise and it has given me lots more ideas to try to develop.

The one I haven’t tried yet which I will return to at some point is the ICM photography. I need to spend a bit of time working with my camera settings to get that working.

I loved doing the one-line drawings. My favourites were the quick one minute using a brush and ink. I like the connection with the ink as it is the same ink I use to fill my fountain pen for writing and so there is that connection to work and the area I chose. There is also a time element as there was only a certain amount of ink the brush held before it ran out and would need topping up. This could be linked to time. how long will the bruh last before running out. Completing quick 1-minute drawings allowed me to experiment more than I would for a longer piece.

I also really like the effect of the white pen on black paper. It gives a negative feeling which is what I associate with my desk.

A feature of my drawings and desk seems to be the use of wires which end up tangled everywhere. I experimented with trying to create something with the monitor light background and wires hanging. I like the shapes it has produced and the backlit effect. It makes it feel like the wires are tree branches taking over the desk and monitor.

The change piece is my favourite and something I am going to develop. To create it, I recorded my screen for 10 seconds and then used the recording to create a tracing of my mouse movements and marked each time I clicked the mouse with a dot. I want to try this for longer and use the white pen on black as the lines. I think this will create a map of my day on the computer, with the mouse clicks marking moments in time.

I then want to use the sounds as a background to viewing the piece. To create that sense of sensory overload and overwhelmingness of working online all day with constant pings, background noise and notifications. I think it could be a powerful piece about what the reality of work is like.

How Music Hijacks Our Perception of Time

Coursework, Creative Arts 1.1 Experience Creative Arts, Creative Arts BA (Hons), Project 4: Developing Methods - Traces of Time

For the research task, I decided to look at Jonathan Berger’s article How Music Hijacks Our Perception of Time (Berger, 2014). The reason behind this choice was two-fold. One, I feel my knowledge of music is probably the weakest of all the creative arts and so I was interested to challenge myself to look at an area that I would usually avoid, secondly because Christian Marclay was featured in the introductory lecture and I wasn’t particularly drawn to their work then.

Jonathan Berger is an American composer and researcher. Berger’s research explores how and why humans persistently, even obsessively engage with music (Berger, 2015). His article starts with recalling how he was listening to Schubert’s String Quintet in C Major and how during the second movement he had an unnerving feeling that time was literally grinding to a halt.

I managed to find a recording on Youtube and decided to listen:

I completely agree with Berger, I couldn’t even finish listening to the recording as it induced an almost panic-like sense in me. The piece is one of the most unnerving I have listened to, it is powerful and visceral and I felt completely overwhelmed. You get a real sense of time slowing down and feel like it is about to stop in the next beat. A very uncomfortable listen but very thought-provoking.

Listening to this gave me the idea of marking marks whilst listening to different pieces of music, to see if the playing with time came through in my mark-making.

To draw I put in earphones, closed my eyes and just drew as I listened to the music. You can see definite differences in the types of marks in the different pieces of music:

References

Berger, J. (2014). How Music Hijacks Our Perception of Time. [online] Nautilus | Science Connected. Available at: https://nautil.us/how-music-hijacks-our-perception-of-time-1558/ [Accessed 1 Mar. 2022].

Berger, J. (2015). Jonathan Berger. [online] jonathanberger.net. Available at: http://jonathanberger.net/ [Accessed 1 Mar. 2022].

Photography and Land Art

Coursework, Creative Arts 1.1 Experience Creative Arts, Creative Arts BA (Hons), Project 4: Developing Methods - Traces of Time

Photography has a special relationship with art forms that are impermanent such as land art, dance and performance art. Land art is often made in remote places where the artwork is expected to deteriorate or even be completely destroyed by nature over time. Photography and film can be the only records we have of these. Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty for example has been lost to the water, it is somewhere under a lake in Utah, completely submerged. If it wasn’t for the photos and film created there would be no lasting record. Perhaps this is part of the appeal of land art though, and photography takes something away by ruining the completely ephemeral nature. Imagine how much more something like the jetty would be enshrined into myth if we had nothing but oral records of the piece.

It makes me wonder about other great pieces of ephemeral art from the past that we have no record of now. Perhaps there was a great spiral ancient jetty that one day will re-emerge from a remote lake.

We live currently in an age where everything is recorded, most people walk around now with a camera in their pocket and we take more photos than ever before. There is something yearning about wanting to return to a time where things only existed in people’s memory and that memory evolved slightly over time to the amazing myths and legends from the past. Have we lost that now?

Jane Grisewood

Coursework, Creative Arts 1.1 Experience Creative Arts, Creative Arts BA (Hons), Project 4: Developing Methods - Traces of Time

Jane Grisewood’s drawings seem more about the performance of drawing than technical ability. The drawings are simple lines but with the characteristic of them being long and laborious.

Many of Jane Grisewood’s works are monochrome, just simple lines of black or white. They are drawings that anyone could reproduce if they had enough time. Time is a big factor in the work. Some of the drawings take over 100 hours to complete with the line going back and forth. There must have been a real mental determination and focus to produce them.

They remind me of ma(r)king time from Project 1. Where again the focus was on almost meditative flow work rather than anything detailed or skilled in nature.

Although I can admire the mental strength and determination to produce these. I am not particularly moved or made to think by them, other than “wow, that was a lot of time”. For many reasons, I found Ma(r)king Time much more interesting and powerful.