The Prison

carcel 1


My Proposal for the Prison in Segovia was based on the idea of how memory affects how we see people. We tend to get stuck and focus on aspects of the past which remain with us. Other events or moments become ‘lost’ to our conscious memory.

carcel 3


We also use fantasy and imagination to make our memories, we select and erase some people or events. We focus on different times and places. Our memories distort the way remember people and our relationships.

carcel 6


Using my existing work from the communities on the wall I made a ‘mock’ installation of how I would use the existing poles to hang see-through plastic with another layer of ‘portraits’ of the communities to which the prisoners may have belonged. These would be groups of workers from trades and industries of Segovia in the twentieth century and family groups of the same time.

In the end my submission was not successful it seems they were mainly chose performance and photography, however I am glad I started these experiments as it has helped me develop my ideas for the exploratory project.

the faceless subjects of Miho Sato

sato_miho_the_girl_(2007)_japan-660x420   The work of Miho Sato fascinates me. As someone always drawn to the human figure but never specific individuals it resonates and I look more at faces that are not there.


Sato is a displaced person, like me. She is a Japanese woman living in England. She has often chosen to show these individuals as faceless making us focus on other details. She also makes them function less as individuals. I also delete or ignore or rub away some people’s faces. I have used this to remove the focus and express the inability to remember details.   miho connection

Mapping the Territory Additions

mapping 2 2

I needed to update the map to add the possibility of working in communities: making projects in collaboration with community groups. I also needed to make it clearer that I was thinking a lot about the painting as an object and relate more artists directly to that. I might not leave all the artists in there as I would have to make more nests and they keep changing anyway. I am going to make eggs and find the cords and ropes to connect the ideas.

Mapping the Territory

After making 30 nest this is the current state of the mind map. I am currently trying to figure out how to make the labels (I don’t think I will have time to make an egg for every letter or even word. I don’t know how important it is that the nest’s labels are legible anyway. If it were a large painting one would not be able to read all the words at once. Maybe the need to move around to reach the words will add a sense of process. I am also gradually reading some of the books I have named on the map as I make it. I just finished – Foucault’s Manet the object of painting – which was so clear and simple after the Gillian Rose chapters on his discourse analysis. It ends with Manet not only breaking with pictoral tradition but pathing the way for modernism and abstraction. Clear but plenty to think about. I have found a day (7th March) when there will be no one at work so  can use the outdoor space to construct my mind map. I will also be able to photograph from the music room above.mapping


Thinking about eggs I was reminded of the Subodh Gupta eggs made from recycled metals.subodh_gupta_0411_small

We looked at them previously in the Postmodernism and Globalism lecture on the 19th January.


Prison in Segovia

carcel  carcel 3   perwe    p

On Saturday I visited the provincial prison in Segovia which was closed in the 1990s and has been partially used as an arts center recently. Now they are opening up the main building of the prison for artists of all disciplines to intervene. They are accepting proposals and so I am going to try to draft a proposal by the end of the month. 50%of the projects will be given over to people with a connection to Segovia and I have never had much success with this type of competition in Spain but this is too good not to try.

The smallest cells appeal to me the most along with the possibility for hanging work in the passageway. The small cells are (2.15 x 4.15m x 3.49 height) and there are bars on the ceilings – the upstairs ones are the  most oppressive and therefore they seem to represent more closely the experience of life in the prison. Downstairs some have been combined to give more exhibition space. The upstairs cells are not as accessible and minors are not allowed unaccompanied.

prison 4 prison 6   prison 3

These are some examples of the previous projects in Segovia from the end of last year. The first with the 2D dotted lines mapping the position of the figures real or fantastic positions within the cell works for me much better than the others that use painting techniques such as the trompe l’oeil on the floor which is an effective illusion but seems to make no reference to the locality. Possibly the influence of the screen were prisoners watching a lot of tv in the late 20th century? The third example also creates an illusion in an optical way but by using ‘hazzard’ tape. The feeling generated is one of discomfort, movement and panic. All of these rooms are empty and one can move freely in the space.

p the best My favourite was the cell whose doorway is filled with impenetrable cement.

prison 2      prison 5   carcel 2


There are two type of individual cells: either painted white with 2 poles running the length of the curved ceiling or original stones and cement but without the poles. My initial response is that the stones are ideal but the poles may be necessary.

prison 7


The huge heavy locks complete with layers of paint are quite beautiful.

Nest Experiments

nest real

This is my original nest – found abandoned when I lived in a small village.

nest clay   nest yeso nest papel My three experiments with making the ‘base’ of the nest. Clay, plaster and papier maché. I prefer the papier maché but the plaster one allows me the possibility of weaving my ideas in more easily. I haven’t tried any with other man made recycled materials yet. I am going to try to develop them further this week and I need to find a convincing way of adding my concepts for the map. I also need to attach them and balance some of them on twigs.

Mapping the Territory

I have been looking at ways of representing my map and as well as using nests and possibly eggs I was interested in some of the examples we were given:

aboriginal song lines

Australian Aboriginal Song Lines – this image made me consider making the map outside – I would have to do this at work as I have no other outside space.

Not commonly drawn to spiritual work these songlines really appeal to me. I am not sure I understand them completely but I think these are artistic representations of paths both spiritual and physical in the australian dessert which can go for long distances.

Fig1CmapAboutCmaps-small      this is a concept map from the research we were given (reference below) which is a site that uses software to make digital maps. It explained how the concepts or semantic units were illustrated and developed – in this section it was described as hierarchical and usually read from the top which is not the way I have ever used them. I always start in the middle and have always taught that the initial concept or question goes in the middle. Possibly this is because I have a different function which is for creating ideas rather than illustrating them so I don’t know which will be the most important at the outset. I feel Mapping the Territory is somewhere between the two – setting out the possibilities but not limiting us to them. Also the initial concept or question can be changed.

1_LORES_Airmail_Painting_112_The_Kitchen_and_the_War_1994-523x430Eugenio Dittborn made this type of work to be sent and transported, it is therefore folded and unfolded. it juxtaposes his daughter’s drawings of people, police records or scientific records of dead people. The frieze article below claims that it’s transportability is the least important aspect of the work, maybe so but I find transportability very appealing. Of course the unknown element of the individuals is also crucial for me.

christian_boltanski-lessons_darknessChristian Boltanski’s work makes me think if an electronic mind map as it uses electicity to light up the ‘portraits’ and cables to connect them. The images are a jumbled up mixture of concentration camp workers (ie killers) and victims and random people again unidentified making the point that we do not know. In this image the refelctions make the ‘jumbledupness’ even stronger.

I will not use people I am going to use the nests I like the nests as they are 3D and can be viewed from any angle, I am attracted to the idea that I can play with them and that they can use the ground and will not be retricted by the wall, ceiling or floor.


I watched the online conference with the Guerrilla Girls last Saturday at the Matadero in Madrid. I had only just realized that they were here and making a 30 year anniversary show so I missed the beginning. They talked about their philosophy, how they make work and how they fund it. The origins of the guerrilla costumes, anonymity and their relevance today. At the beginning of the conference I must admit I was a bit skeptical as I am not very nostalgic and I had not realised that they were still working together as a collective. However I was relatively convinced by their philosophy and they are a significant reference from history. I also know that the world has not changed so much since 1985 in terms of gender politics. The most interesting discussions were:

  • How they fund their work: their policy is to make things as cheaply as possible. They apply for grants, do conferences around the world which bring in income. They sell books, posters and t shirts on their webpage. Apart from the billboard posters they say their production costs are minimal. I was quite impressed how they had continued to be activists and artists ‘outside the system’ for 30 years. I haven’t researched that but it appears so. (The Matadero is an ex-slaughterhouse in the South of Madrid and is mainly publicly funded.)
  • They pointed out that although things have improved there are still only 4 (a women’s collective rep from Madrid claimed 5 but did not claim this made any real difference) works by women artists in the Prado. Doubtless they gave other examples but this was enough to establish the continued relevance of feminist activism in art in 2015.

I would have liked to see the whole presentation but it was a worthwhile segment.

NESTS 2005

When I lived in the South of Spain in a small white village each spring we would see unhatched baby birds lying in the streets having fallen from their nests. I was touched by this unrealised promise of life never lived and made several drawings, collages and paintings of the birds. Later on I found an abandoned nest and also used this. I love the way the birds constructed their nests using whatever they found including some human waste.

nests 1          nests      nests 4nests 3          nests 2

Looking back at these sketches I decided to use the nest for my mind map in mapping the territory. Luckily I kept the nest but these are my drawings from 2005ish sketchbook. After watching Angela Roger’s video lecture on making her map I realised that the process of making something repetitive (like her dots) would allow me to think about my practice in a different more physical way. I also like the metaphor of the nests as a place for nurturing and keeping the unformed ideas safe whilst they build strength.