Summer Progress

mind map plan for summer 15

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.

mind map plan for summer 15

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.

Web Visibility

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.

Visibility outside the Gallery System

Validation Beyond the Gallery – axisweb

This piece of research was published during the summer break and this was perfect timing as it deals with many of the issues that I had set for myself to consider over the vacations. It deals with the career paths of artist’s who work outside of the gallery in a variety of ways and how they are validated. The researchers first interviewed organisations involved in the commissioning and production of this type of work about the processes and relationships with artists. Those organisations then suggested artists to interview for the second stage as their practice was either exclusively or partially outside of the gallery. The researchers acknowledged that this covered a wide variety of art practices.

Initial Reflections

This paper gave me many issues to consider in relation to my own work. I still currently fall into the category of someone who makes art objects but I do want to continue to explore other ways of making work. One artist said:

‘The idea of making things just to sell them doesn’t appeal to me.’ (Kate Genever Poly-Technic)

I don’t think many artists make things just to sell but selling work is much more problematic for some than for others. For me its a very difficult area and throws up a lot of questions about value and audience. Once something goes into a private collection it disappears.

how we measure success? 

This was a really useful section and related back to how hard it is for us to see our own work. This gets even more complicated as many artists in this area are working collaboratively. I want to change my PPP in the light of this paper.

function of art?

It was good to see that work outside the gallery often (but not always) fulfilled different functions from Gallery based art. Certainly many of the artists were making art for radically different reasons.

networking and location

The importance of networking for this type of work was highlighted several times. I also became aware that the report only dealt with British organisations and UK based artists. This is a problem as I really would like to be able to meet more people engaged in this type of work and that does mean moving beyond my current circles. The lists of artists and organisations was useful but I need to research locally based project.