During 2011-2012, I joined Virginia Commonwealth University’s Art and Design School in Qatar, a small country diplomatically and culturally important in bridging eastern and western cultures. There, my daily interactions with students naturally stimulated many questions of how a visual culture can lay the groundwork for better understanding between people of different nationalities. If asked to be mediators or interpreters or agents of culture in our globalized context, what would these young artists seek to convey? In turn, what narratives could I draw forth to contribute to a fuller understanding of those living and working in Qatar? I decided to pursue answers to my conundrum in conjunction with my students.
Shift/Work has arisen from a number of learning experiments conducted in Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop and Edinburgh College of Art. Our shared concern was with the failings of art education that focuses solely on nurturing personal ontology. This text explores the genesis of Shift/Work, the establishment of an iterative process that enables artists learn together, and the educational legacy of the project.
Rationality, Intuition and Emotion - Exploring an Artistic Process
This exploratory text communicates the relation between my figurative sculpture and abstract drawings in an attempt to find the deeper grounds in my artistic work. During this project writing has become a connecting element, both as a description of my artistic process and as an integrated part of my work. In this writing I have tried to be open to underlying motives and early in this project it became clear that memories of psychotic episodes that I experienced in my twenties would start to play a crucial part in the description of my process. The psychoses had a prodigious impact on the formation of the person I have become and still play an important role as an undercurrent of emotional energy in my daily life and in my art. However, since I don’t want my art to be perceived through the point of view that I was once a psychiatric patient, I hardly ever talk about it.
In this exposition I explore how, if I want to explore deeper layers in my work, I can no longer avoid this part of my past.
Schizoanalysis as a Method in Artistic Research
This exposition uses concepts of contamination, sponge and plasticity to approach the heterogeneity of a schizoanalytic practice - and as such as a method for artistic research. These concepts are singular to my research on the amalgamation of performance, subjectivity and contemporary forms of capitalism. My argument is to a large extent based on the theoretical thinking and practical works of Félix Guattari. The singular concept of ‘sponge’, developed here, can be linked to Guattari’s concept of chaosmosis and to the concept of plasticity, which has been reworked from its Hegelian comprehension by Catherine Malabou. The foundation of my research is my artistic practice in the field of performance art. It is a practice based research including three artistic works – “Loop Variations” (2008), “Life in Bytom” (2012) and “Astronomer” (2014). My aim is to predicate it within the larger context cognitive capitalism, the neoliberal economy and post-industrial labour. Artistic practice is a device located within and conditioned by each economic and political ideology or order. However, an artistic practice is not only a formal production, but also produces content, which is not yet categorized, in other words new. Often in the discourse of neoliberal culture production, this new is described with the word ‘innovation’. In my opinion these terms are not equivalent, but often contest each other. This exposition takes place at the convergence of performance studies, psychoanalysis, and the critique of neo-liberal capitalism. My overall aim is to produce a contribution in this convergence. What is the particular locus of a performer in the setting of performance art or social practices, where borders between everyday life, audience, performer, physical setting or duration are not explicit? This exposition includes some analysis of artistic works, which are tied in with the discourses of capitalism and subjectivity.
10 Diary Entries [2010-12]
This work is an exploration into a personal use of spoken language though a predefined process intended to mirror that of my painting practice. A similar process of self-imposed limitation is applied with the aim of suggesting both an autobiographical residue of my own thinking, and open up a potential dialogue for the reader.
A series of ten quotations taken from a painting diary are paired with words and punctuation from a series of books that I own. This process has been repeated until all ten quotations have been paired, one word and punctuation mark at a time, creating lists of footnotes, the suggestion being that language has been acquired in this manner. The relationship between word and associated footnote becomes the source of play, frustration or familiarity. The intention is to demonstrate that this deterministic process far from being reductive in its effect, has resulted in the words being read either as part of a whole or reintegrated and reoriented into something new through a process of appropriation rather that engenderment.
The hope is that this procedural limitation can act as a trigger for the reader to resequence and reconfigure the references through association and connection that might say something about them in terms of age, taste and perhaps even prejudice.
While painting is the subject of the quotations, the implication is that this is constructed by material from another source. This has a distancing effect, which I hope has drawn some parallels with the process of making a painting itself. The footnotes have become detached for the quotations and are free to be re-cited, and act less to affirm or underline and more of leave a trace.
Innerground_ an Exploration of a Disused Mine Through the Memories of Former Miners
In order to create conditions for an engaged artistic production improving the knowledge on the theme and its no-more existent site, a research was conducted to identify space and sound attributes in people’s memories.
Performing activities, the ex-miners endowed the mine space significance creating a particular relation with it. Through talks the ex-miners of the mine of Winterslag [Genk, Belgium] were led to find the “lost sounds” throughout their memories. The idea is to use the collected data to [re]create sound-memories which could be implemented in an old mining site, encouraging people to explore this site in a different way.
A Hinge: Field-testing the Relationship Between Photography and Architecture
This article seeks to share the methods and preliminary results of an artistic research project in the field of architectural photography. A central concern is the representation of atmosphere in place of the standard depiction of objects. Important also is an attempt at co-design through an interview process with architects based on the notion of the dialectic. This aspect of the study is important not only for this experiment itself but is also crucial for analyzing the scalability of practices pursued in this investigation. Findings include excerpts from interviews and examples of photographs. More than just a project about photographic practices, however, this study is part of a larger investigation into the relationship that has developed between photography and architecture, focussing especially on Finland and Denmark, and the institutional practices of architects, publishers and photographers working in collaboration.
Upper Styrian Big Band Folk: Exploring Local Identity and Authenticity in Jazz
Upper Styrian Big Band Folk is an arts-based research project which has aimed for the exploration of local identity, authenticity and meaning as manifested in and interrelated with jazz composition and performance. This exposition outlines the project, its underlying aesthetic values and presents a critical reflection of the work. Two videos show the musical scores and audio recordings of two selected compositions for large jazz orchestra which represent a significant aspect of artistic research in this project. A hermeneutic reading of the music offers insight into the work's contextual background and aesthetic matters.