At the beginning of the summer I set myself a few tasks mainly based on feedback from my lecturers and in particularly the assessment report and final tutorial with Caroline.
I wanted to try to keep the Journal going over the summer and I achieved this for most of July whilst I still had wifi. I then had a holiday and I have been a bit slow getting back into the habit since I got back home.
I decided to revisit my plan as I wanted to try to focus my last week before the first hangout of the year. I have worked much better in some areas than others. I feel I have clarified some ideas but others much less.
The weakest area by far is the summer reading. Not that I have not read but I have focused mainly on the history of work or industrial revolution in Spain and the migration of people. I had to read about the history of Madrid work and migration to write a proposal for La Corrala. I have also spent time collecting new sources of organisations working outside the gallery and subscribing to their newsletters so I can stay up to date. I have, however, read very little from the OCA list – only ways of looking and some of the interviews and a little of the postgraduate research handbook. Luckily for me I misunderstood and had read all of Eleanor Heartney’s Art and Today last winter break.
I also did very badly on my own reading list. I have read some of Gaston Bachelard’s the poetics of space but found the whole ‘house’ part really difficult as I couldn’t go with the large house metaphor when so few people live in this way – he starts by describing a huge vertical building and then saying that the flats in Paris (one of the most expensive cities in the world) were in some way inadequate. I was also reading this in Morocco maybe if I had been in London it wouldn’t have seemed so offensive. I like this idea of the immediacy and novelty of poetry although I think it is problematic when related to contemporary art. The associations matter and the ideas matter and the thinking about it matters (although I am reluctant to add written words into this process). I still believe in the physical presence of art of anytime and any function, paradoxically even when it is hidden.
The other books I read I have blogged apart from some delving into previously read books and I have not blogged all the articles. As well as the practice related reading I have been preoccupied with the political events in Greece and Syria and upcoming elections. What I missed this summer was fiction – a large novel full of ideas… another time.
Site Specific / Gallery
The other area I feel needs more attention and I did not resolve as far as I would now like to is the question of thinking deeper about my decision to work (at least some of the time) outside galleries – and this I think I can do much more in the coming week because although I maybe haven’t resolved it I have made proposals such as ‘la Corrala’ have been considering other spaces and even what can still go into a gallery space in relation to the projects. I maybe have tackled this a little bit the wrong way round. I have tried to continue working through specific ideas for myself and looking at how other artists work outside the gallery without focusing enough on the why? I know it feels like an enormous liberation but why is that the case. There is also the dawning of the reality that most artists I know are making objects or installations for galleries – I don’t have any kind of a network. I have blogged experimentation and the proposal for the Corrala.
On the negative side I have not really improved my use of photography. I think I still take better photos of my work with my phone than a DSLR because I don’t really know how to use it. I have followed all the basic advice and my photographs are not so bad but I know that this is a weakness and I realise I avoid this type of technology. On the other hand I feel much more comfortable when documenting the work using video. Although the videos I made in Ciempozuelos might not be a great quality, they do represent much more accurately the experience of being in the place. The addition of movement and especially sound added a lot to this.
I have also spent time organising my photographs.
As an artist working outside the gallery this seems even more important because most established channels of information are closed. I also agreed with Caroline that an out of date website is useless and possibly worse than no presence at all. I have therefore been working on a new website and I aim to publish it early next week. The advantage of being updateable is that I feel less pressured to make definitive statements or about misrepresentation of my work. I will be able to change it.
Putting together a web page (from an easy template lets be clear) has allowed me to improve the documentation of my work. For example for the Ciempozuelos project I have added links to vimeo and google maps. I have tried to keep it as provisional as possible as I feel like I am in a state of change and could go in various directions but it has allowed me to include proposals and I would like to add rejected projects at some stage.
So these are my priorities: to complete the webpage and to more clearly define my choice of working practice. They are big things but they now feel doable.