Note Archive: #process

Process: Soliloquy

Reflecting Out Loud
Constructing the Soliloquy project, 2016.

A Blue Period

It’s a little know fact that the Au Lazuli project stemmed partially from a dream. A dream filled with awe, the likes of which I’ve only fleetingly experienced before. This night, was much like any October night in late 2012. A little chilly, and terribly lethargic after a day spent at university, fretting (a lot) over what to make.

I went to bed earlier, around 10pm. Snuggled deep into my quilts and cocooned myself into the enveloping warmth. Sleep came quickly; atypical for me compared to most nights, where it can sometimes be a struggle to fall into a slumber. Yet this night, sleep came easily and before long, a dream state arose. I’ve no doubt that I dreamt a good many dreams that night, yet most evade me except this:

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Echo Formation

Over-thinking. It’s what I do apparently. Especially when it comes to creative ideas over the last year. They just twist and turn, contorting within the small space between my skull, yet never truly resolving because the doing is essential for that.

One such idea, is a piece deriving from the fashion as a social phenomena theory that circulates. I’ve been a little dubious as to what extent dress can reflect society, and in thinking about past influences, I began to remember the story of Echo & Narcissus. Which made me think of mirrors, as the perfect embodiment of both characters in the tale – vanity and reflection. The question whistling from the corner of my lips was:

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Tesselation


My original plan for this post, was to publish it alongside a video of the No Boundary Between piece installed at the Loft. It was a promise I'd made to several people who weren't able to make it to Birmingham for the actual exhibition – and one I was looking forward to keeping, mostly to try video editing again.

Last week however, my hard drive decided to throw a little hissy fit and being the fool of a person I can be, I'd not backed up the data. So, a year of photos and all documentation has been lost. I somehow managed to recover almost everything prior to that, but late 2013 - 2014 is a complete blank.

In a weird way, I actually didn't mind when I thought I'd lost everything. It felt quite freeing and a good jolt to remind me it's time to make new work, take new photos, have new experiences. I'd rather not have lost the documentation of my work, but my life – pah, that is happening now, right?!

Anyway, rather than let these process shots linger in the drafts, I thought let them loose. The last vestiges of this project. You can see my smiling face above which is, I have to admit, a rarity when I actually make work. Mostly it's grimaces, contemplation and quiet swearing until about a week after the end. This of course, only reflects my part of No Boundary Between – which involved folding two sheets of paper in the tessellation pattern, sandwiching the canvas fabric between, refolding (yes, using clothes pegs to help) and pressing. Chris had a distorted scanning & glitching process which sounded fascinating when he explained it to me in March. You'll have to ask him about that though.

All in all, it was a very interesting project to complete. It got me making stuff after a year of freaking out about making stuff (okay, I'm still slightly freaking out about making stuff, but less so) and it got me into thinking that maybe, I can actually channel over-ambition to other artwork and not necessarily always concede defeat to the conventions of fashion. Perhaps it's conflated ego talking, but that was quite exciting on a creative level.


Cross Process

Our days at The Loft are numbered. After a six month stint at the Priory Walk space, we’ve little under two weeks left and one final exhibition to go.

It’s a bitter sweet symphony; I’ll miss my days surrounded by talented Loft friends, yet it’s also high time to put my own wheels into action. Of course, not without a detour first: clothes may not have been made in the last six months, but following the multi-disciplinary ethos of the Loft, I did partake in a little collaborative art project back in April, No Boundary Between.

Since the project transpired because of the Loft, it seems only fitting that it’s shown again at We Are The Loft Birmingham – which means some remaking, testing and refining on my part. Still, cross discipline arts practice is becoming dearer to my heart by the day, and the idea behind this project is still interesting, though I’ll explain it another day.

Anyway, since I’ll be deep in the woodlands of making over the next couple of days, I’ll leave you with a few process shots to whet your appetites. Don’t say I don’t share some insights!

Our Empty Vessels

An oldie, but ambiguous enough to still work. Written as the prelude to the Hypochondria of the Heart project.

The Chaos Of Memory

So… my good intentions of blogging have fallen by the wayside, though for valid reason lately. It’s partly because I quite enjoy silence on occasion and partly because I finally decided to apply for the MA I discovered last year. A course which encourages a balance between theory and practice (i.e. perfect for me) and I hesitated on thanks to my social survival mammoth overriding the more reliable gut instinct.

Last month I was fortunate enough to get an interview for the aforementioned MA and a week later, offered a place. This part is irrelevant because what I’m actually sharing today is the week-long project I completed for the interview. Something different from most of my previous work and bizarrely, falls in line with where my perspective has shifted – a more encompassing approach, which extends beyond what is generally considered fashion practice.

The task was to produce a response to Archiving the Future, an essay by Pil and Galia Kollectiv. It took me a few times to even vaguely understand all the ideas, followed by a lot of highlighting, scribbling and general regression into school-time revision mode. It probably helped that I genuinely read theory books for fun on occasion. The idea took a few days to formulate: photograph of an object, coupled with a story and presented in the form of an advertisement. I produced three images for the interview, mostly because I thought a series lent itself well to the idea of collecting.

At risk of being super ‘pretentious art school’ sounding, here is a brief explanation of the idea:

  • Photographs of objects - subtle reference to “The Treachery of Images (Ceci N’est Pas Une Pipe)” by Rene Magritte… an actual object would be real, but a photograph of an object shows it did exist, is (or was?) real and tangible, so could have a history. By photographing it, the functionality of the object is removed and the original/historical meaning or context has a layer obscuring it. It creates distance from the origin and allows the collector to become author.
  • Invented stories - this element is derived from the “invention of a lost meaning” idea within the actual essay. Again, it is used to indicate that the object does have a history, however that history is being invented by the collector rather than based on the truth. It is being rewritten and ties in with the idea that the act of collecting is attributing value rather than the object itself providing that.
  • Advertisement presentation - finally, this component is deriving from Benjamin’s idea that collecting operates in a different mode to advertising. It is taking it from private to common, by taking objects owned by collector (personal) to being within a platform designed from mass viewing (public). This element also places a subtle question on the position of collecting as outside capitalist ideologies (as suggested in essay), especially if collecting does rely on industrialisation to strip an object of its meaning.

It’s probably easier to follow after reading the Kollectiv essay, but hopefully it makes some sense. Jon & I realised that the objects are ultimately irrelevant, because the idea questions authenticity in value. However, we decided that the objects are describing the collector (me in this instance) which ultimately helped solve the criteria of selection – it became a visceral act, rather than guided by strong intellectual components. Of course, I chose objects which were secondhand or old, allowing the falsified story to seem plausible.

Anyway, I just wanted to share them because I was quite pleased with how they turned out. Funnily, I found the Significant Objects project after I came up with the idea and the similarities are uncanny. The key differences being the final presentation (they listed on ebay, whereas mine are meant as adverts) and the number of writers.

Of course, getting onto the MA itself was wholly unexpected, but I’m approaching everything from the mentality of gradual evolution, kaizen, so who knows what will happen. It will be a challenge which is exciting and nerve-wracking in equal parts. I’m told that’s a good thing though.