MA1 Visual Enquiry
Exploratory Project Plan & Evaluation
Name: Alison South Date: 23rd February 2015
Project Plan. 1 to 2 pages.
What do you want to explore? Be specific.
Making a piece of work which is temporary and site specific relating to an abandoned building. I will seek advice from friends to make contacts in different areas and negotiate with those responsible. My preferred sites are abandoned factories, institutions such as hospitals, schools, prisons etc. If possible I would like to be able to open the work up to the public as some kind of an exhibition even if only for a short time.
What is your personal challenge?
- Negotiate with people and having to defend my ideas to strangers.
- Adapt my way of working to a specific space.
What methods will you use?
- talk to as many people as possible to find a good space as quickly as I can.
- analyse the space in terms of past function and physical properties
- investigate the history of the space, develop new research methods. Through communication with people, archives and technology.
- adapt my way of working in the studio and possibly on site in response to the space and the stories
- collaborate with people and environment
Plan an outline programme over 12 weeks; build in time for reflection.
wk 1 find a space and a back up plan B.
wk 2 investigate the site and its stories (the history – oral history)
wk 3 consider materials and begin to play with them on site and studio
wk 4 experimentation on site and in studio
wk 5 experimentation and documentation of progress
wk 6 reflection
wk 7 more experimentation according to the outcomes of the reflection
wk 8 making
wk 9 making
wk 10 working in the space
wk 11 photographing and documenting the event
wk 12 reflection
What challenges do you anticipate?
Finding a space and getting permission
Legal challenges – permission to use the site
Lack of personal negotiation skills and having to keep going with them.
What could you do when you get stuck?
go for a run /read a chapter of a novel.
pick up the phone and call someone to ask for help
16th May 2015
- What went well and why?
The working on site was generally successful it freed up my process as I had to strip back to essentials and plan carefully. I could not take a wide variety of equipment with me so I had to choose what to use carefully. Sometimes this was more successful than others. For example I did not dilute the paint enough but in the space this was more effective than in the studio. The figures needed to exist and they were not over powering.
2. What did not go so well and why?
I am not as well organised as I need to be. I took the wrong ladder with me to the site once and could not reach the beams. On another occasion I charged the DSLR to go and take photographs and left the battery charging in my kitchen. When I arrived at the site I had to take photographs using my phone which are not very good but are the only documentation I have of this phase of the project.
3. Comment on what have you learnt about:
I found it difficult to make the figures the size I wanted them to be: a little larger than life size. This might be as this year I have done less drawing than usual but also because I was working outside my comfort zone in a public space and never knew who may arrive. In fact the only people who came whilst I was there (some runners) were more frightened of me than I of them and ran away when I said hello. Painting on the walls was difficult especially at first and very different to walls in the studio but I really liked how the mark interacted with what was already there. I was more comfortable in the studio and enjoyed the sensuality of the paint on calico, but both felt right.
As mentioned previously I needed to select carefully and be organised before driving a 60 km round trip to the site. I would like to use more from the site in future and find a way of integrating the supports I took with me (card and fabric) into the site more effectively. Working without water or electricity was a challenge which I got better at dealing with. I also felt several times that this would have been an excellent type of project for some kind of collaboration.
- Your capacity to take risks
Throughout this project I felt a bit like I did as a child entering forbidden territory. I feel I took the biggest risks in articulating my project within the local community, some of whom frankly thought I was crazy and the local culture councillor offered me a nice new gallery space in which to exhibit. I did meet some very helpful people too who I think will be mutually useful in the future. Although my best sources for images in the end were online scanned analogue photos.
- How you cope with problems
When I took the wrong ladder and forgot the camera battery I felt very frustrated. I tried to reschedule the tasks but in one case I got sick and some phases are not documented.
- How could you take forward what you’ve learnt?
I intend to document the project using digital and analogue photography. I like the idea of going back into analogue as I used found analogue images as sources. I will use this documentation when I approach the Ciempozuelos town hall about exhibiting either in one of their institutions, possibly in the patio. I will also use the documentation to seek the use of other sites.
Through this project I have identified my interest not only with institutions and the narratives of those who inhabited them but also a concern for the changing labour relations and ways of working. I can continue to work in abandoned spaces to build up a portfolio whilst trying to take the work into more ‘official’ sites where I will need permission for access.
I also had the idea of using this work in an educational way if I can get a voluntary job in a young offenders center in the summer I would be able to develop what I have done into a project