Exercise 3: Develop

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

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 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


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:


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.

Tacita Dean

Coursework, Creative Arts BA (Hons), Project 4: Developing Methods - Traces of Time, Research & Reflection

Tacita Dean

Nationality: English
Born: 1965
Major Works: Disappearance at Sea (1996). Mosquito (1997), Trying to Find the Spiral Jetty (1998), Sound Mirrors (1999), The Green Ray (2001), Kodak (2006), FILM (2011)
Years Active: 1992-present
Medium: 16-mm film, drawing
Style: Films that resemble drawings, no narration or score, no fancy lighting “I like things to happen within the frame”.


Padlet link to research.

Tacita Dean is someone I have been aware of, mainly due to the film The Green Ray which I looked into back in Project One and also from her book Place (Dean and Millar, 2005) but before this project, I would definitely rate my knowledge as sparse.

Expansive is a word that springs to mind when I began to research her work. This one entry can never do justice to the scope and breadth of her work, so I am going to focus on what I see as some common themes that run through her work and particular pieces that caught my eye. I also want to focus on any inspiration I can take for my own creative journey.

Common Themes

As detailed on the padlet research board, I have looked at a variety of Dean’s work, although I feel I still have only scraped the surface. There seem to be some common themes that run through them which I would like to reflect on.

One thing that is clear from pieces like Mosquito (Magnetic) (Dean, 1997), Kodak (Dean, 2006) is a determination to keep older means of producing art and video alive such as 16 mm film. There is a nostalgia for the past and the way we used to create and a focus on keeping these industries alive. Dean herself says:

“There’s something in the emotional language, the emulsion, and the movement and the breathing that makes film a very alive medium, whereas digital projection is inert.”

Tacita Dean

Dean writes in an article for The Guardian (Dean, 2011) about her wish for celluloid film to maintain its presence in art and video and her sadness at the last 16mm lab in England closing. She talks of her process of creating films using 16 mm as being “intrinsically bound up in the solitary hours of watching, spooling and splicing” and how there is a “magical transformation” with analogue techniques that digital can’t replicate.

This has made me stop and think about the importance of the method used to create as being equal in stature to the end result. Modernity seems to continually look for shortcuts, we now have apps such as canva that turn everyone into a graphic artist with ready-made templates and images to snap in place. Is this art? Or in taking all these shortcuts are we losing true creativity and is everything becoming a cookie-cutter replica of each other. There is something about a hands-on, slow and arduous process that reflects in the final piece. Would Dean’s work like The Green Ray (Dean, 2001) have the same impression if it was filmed and edited digitally?

I think people are starting to appreciate times gone by and the processes we used to have. Recently there are movements such as “Slow Food” which has a focus on slow, traditional methods over mass production. There is a sense of loss when old industries die out and artists like Dean are highlighting this with the use of materials such as 16 mm film.

It brings me to think again of Katie Paterson’s Future Library and how the world will look in one hundred years. By reflecting on the past, we jump to thoughts about the future. That is what thinking about Time does, it seems difficult to only think in one direction.

Another common theme I see is this technique that has been described as “drawing with film”. This in some ways seems to contradict the idea of keeping to the old ways. In bringing film into the idea of drawing, are we losing traditional drawing techniques? This idea is explored to some extent in Ed Krcma’ Tate paper (Krcma, 2010) who suggests that drawing is more aligned with analogue technologies like film. Interestingly in this paper a comparison to William Kentridge’s work is made which is a link I han’ tmade previously but I think it is a very valid one as both do use film and drawing together to create something very new.


One piece by Dean I was immediately drawn to was Trying to Find the Spiral Jetty (Dean, 1998). The Spiral Jetty is still something I keep coming back to for inspiration and so my interested was certainly stimulated when I found out that Dean shares a similar fascination. Trying to Find the Spiral Jetty is a sound piece that Dean recorded when travelling to the United States to visit the Jetty. She didn’t find the Jetty but recorded her experience, analoguely of course.

Trying to Find the Spiral Jetty, Tacita Dean

Building on this sound recording, Tacita Dean made contact with JG Ballard who was also a great admirer of Smithson and they exchanged a series of letters over a period of time. This lead to the making of the film JG (Dean, 2014) hich features images of the salt lakes intertwined with Smithson’s Jetty and Ballards short stories. Tacita Dean said of the project:

“Both works have an analog heart, not just because they were made or written when spooling and reeling were the means to record and transmit images and sound, but because their spiraling is analogous to time itself.”

Tactita Dean

In order to mix the landscape and time in the same frame, Tacita Dean used a technique that “used various purpose made masks of different shapes to mask the gate aperture rendering an effect of stenciling, layering the filmed images” (Galerie Marie Goodman, 2014).

I think of Dean using Smithson and Ballard’s work as a basis in a similar way to the Ekphrastic poems. Creating something using a very different discipline based on an earlier piece of work. This has given me a lot of ideas and inspiration about how I may keep Smithson’s work at the basis of something I could create.

Inspiration and Ideas

When I first cames across Tacita Dean in the introductory lecture with her Green Ray film, it wasn’t one of the works I was initially drawn to and I didn’t look too much into it at the time. However, now having spent some more time exploring her work it has given me a lot of ideas and inspiration for how I could develop my own work.

One approach I want to experiment with in the next few days is using film as a drawing technique. I sadly don’t currently have access to analogue filming equipment to fully appreciate this style but am hoping I can create something digitally.

In the future, I want to experiment with analogue photography and filming. I remember the anticipation as a child taking photos where you had to wait and see what returned from the developers and you didn’t have the chance to take 100s of versions of the same shot to get a good digital photo. I will see if I can get hold of a camera to allow to do this.

Looking at Tacita Dean’s work has also renewed my interest in the Spiral Jetty and land art. Perhaps there is a way I can combine “cinematic drawing” with taking photos of spirals in the local environment.