DJCAD Reflective Research Journal – Week Eighteen

I worked on the drawing for my etching and transferred it to the zinc plate over the weekend. Monday, I printed from my etching plate. Worked from ideas in my sketchbook, partially developed from my ideas from semester 1 and a partial development of other (some older) ideas. I find the etching process a little tedious and as I have said don’t really want to work with acids (though electric etching is a possibility) and though I liked the final result, I don’t want this to be a final piece of work. I am not excited enough about an etching for its own sake. But using it in video, maybe. Also, I said during our group tutorial with Kate that it still feels like a part of my process; the physical drawing and painting part and it helped me develop ideas for performance and video. Kate said had I thought about reenacting the scene from my etching and I said I thought it was too nasty a scene to act out, but as I said it, I realized it didn’t have to be, it could be done in a comic way, (darkly comic) and it would give me a chance to either give someone else a clear role in the performance. Someone dressed as a woman, Instagram pouty mask on and nude suit with big, fake sagging breasts and fake pubic hair or make the large woman from trash I had already thought about. Its moving away from its original symbolism, but this may be better and changing direction slightly, I think, could be refreshing. I certainly feel more excited by this as I write. I needed a narrative, and this feels like it might be it beginning to form. I would dress as the wolf with the scissors and scalpel and would cut the pubic hair and perform breast surgery, (with my scalpel and needle and thread). It could echo a torture scene from a renaissance painting. One featuring Saint Agatha maybe. I could have a soundtrack of people speaking about why they shave and why they like expect or like shaved women (or men). Or I could use comments from Facebook posts about ‘Januhairy’ for example, visually somehow.

Before this tutorial and flood of ideas. I made a paper and masking tape puppet from scrap cardboard, newspaper and masking tape. It took an hour to make something I wasn’t very happy with and though I had intended to make several, I felt by the end of this one I really couldn’t unless I did it along with someone else, or while watching a film or listening to a podcast or something, because my boredom line had been crossed. I thought it was age making my attention span short, but I think actually, I may always have been like this. I think that is why I have always done lots of different things and having a varied practice is a strategy to get around it.

I have just done some research on Saint Agatha images and am amazed at how much my etching echo’s some of the compositions. Of course, I have seen these images before, so I suppose they were there in my psyche somewhere. Or else maybe I was deliberately referencing them, my memory is so bad or selective, I may well have been. I may even have written this in here before or in my sketchbooks!

The two-hour reflective research journal workshop/lecture on Tuesday showed us different artists and the tutors’ ways of researching/sketch booking/journaling and was pretty fascinating and inspiring. Other people’s sketchbooks/notebooks always are. Cataloguing and archiving was mentioned as part of the process and as always, I thought about my lost sketchbooks and journals. I worked out in the lecture, that I lost thirty-five years’ worth of them – of archives – since I started when I was nine. At some point I have to do some work about this. Maybe if I ever make a documentary about the fire and family breakup. It could be part of that. It could be an interview/conversation with my sister who voluntarily opted to bin all her teenager journals and has said she acknowledges that I am an archivist and she is not.

Artists talk by Scott Miles on Wednesday. I liked some of his ideas but didn’t always feel that the work carried the idea that well. And as someone pointed out during the Q&A, the materials and processes were using are hardly sustainable, but then again, much of this work was being made during the heyday of arts funding and if your given fifteen grand to make work, what are you going to do with it I suppose?! He talked about finding his place in the art world or how you can fit in as an artist and was clearly very ambitious and it seems to have worked for him. He also said we would be graduating into a very different art world from the one he graduated into (which would have been the same one as me if I’d got into art school straight from school incidentally). The last three film screenings have all shown ambitious artists who have been selfish and determined in their quest for recognition and I suppose fame. I don’t think I would be happy to behave like that, though who knows, maybe there are other ways.

Wednesday afternoon I asked Hannah to help sketch out a rough video of my performance idea from the etching which was fun and I learned what I need to change and work on from it, so it was very useful.

Went to the Cooper Gallery talk on Wednesday evening also. Arresting Masculinity: Anger, Hybridity and the persistence of the Patriarchy in the 21stCentury by Dany Nobus who is a clinical psychologist, psychoanalytical Psychotherapist and chair of the Freud Museum London. It was a highly interesting, intense and controversial lecture and provoked a very hostile attack on him. What he said about surveillance and the policing by some universities of certain reading materials only being allowed to be read in public because the content could offend some, is potentially quite worrying. I liked what he said about the phallic space and how instead of finding an alternative, we needed to focus on the spaces in-between. But this is all new language to me, and it obviously isn’t in the world of philosophy, so maybe be was saying nothing new, I don’t know. He talked a lot about the anger of the disenfranchised and the dispossessed and how to them toxic masculinity is both the cause and the solution. He also talked about how young men’s lives today are affected by the ‘prevailing paradigm of modern masculinity’ and how the mental health issues and suicide among students in England had quadrupled in recent years. So many books were mentioned that I would like to read now, but I have to focus on my Freud essay first! He also said Freud had almost nothing to say on anger, which might be why Louise Bourgeois said that he was no use to her, so this is useful.

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