DJCAD Reflective Research Journal – 3rd Year – Week Seven

I took part in the Cooper Galleries Collective Drawing event and documentation, marking the opening of the Trinity Buoy Wharf Drawing Prize 2020. A performative, accumulative, collaborative, gestural drawing thought up by M.Lohrum, on Monday.

I hired a camera and took it home for the weekend and filmed lots of footage of me running and skipping and dancing around the young birch woods at Coldhome. I made a costume with a mask that covered my mouth only, (it seems odd that suddenly any mask is associated with Covid, when last year a mask was for all sorts of different things) with a long red silk tongue, with wire in it, to hold it up and stick on strapless bra pads, with variegated green wool roughly sewn on, also a chunk on my head and a tangle of green wool hanging on a scarf round my waist which approximated pubic hair. I made a dance track on garage band, remixing a tune I had started during lockdown and adding a jumble of coded words, hinting at, but confusing meaning. I also layered in semi-transparent footage I’d filmed, moving the camera slowly across my collaged painting, ‘As separate grows, so we wilt’ (working title). So the characters and shapes and text in the painting, appeared so be with me in the woods. 

Had our Independent, Professional and Creative Practice module group crit on Tuesday, where I presented the ideas in my work and showed a version of my film; Club Embodiment on the big screen, in a lecture theatre to a small group of students, plus Erica Eyres and Pernilla Spence. It felt slightly nerve wracking, but not nearly as much as the first sort of video work and performance I began in 2nd year. Though video is much easier to put out there than a live performance, I suppose because the performance has already been done, in private (usually). I think when trying to create this sort of disco or club in nature vibe, it would be difficult to do that live, in Dundee anyway and obviously just now. I explained that this was a rough version as I had not as yet had access to the green screen studio and that I also planned to try out some green face paint. I got positive feedback and Erica and Pernilla, who said she liked the rawness of the bare skin without paint and also the rawness of the footage, and to by all means try out the green screen and after effects, but not to get too slick and polished with the finish, maybe just to make some of the text a little clearer. This was good to hear because I was quite pleased with the results as they were and certainly don’t intend to get too slick! 

I talked about using After Effects to superimpose myself in different settings like a busy street for example, but Erica said she liked the fact I had created this sort of night club atmosphere in this natural setting, which made me think, yeah – again – I was happy with that too and maybe it’s a bit cliched to put me semi naked in an urban setting and also not what I am trying to say really. They both had good suggestions of other artists to look at. 

On Tuesday afternoon and most of Wednesday around the CAP Speakers talk I worked on the 2nd large painting. I am at that difficult stage that I got to with the first one, which I am struggling to get by, but feel happier about continuing with this one and I really want to finish it next week, so the oil can dry in time for the collaging over.

The CAP speakers talk was by Elaine Shemilt. When she talked about the eradication of thousands of rats by poisoning to save the bird life on the island of South Georgia, without any mention of any ethical dilemmas, I felt totally shocked and enraged, to the point I really couldn’t see her work properly. I asked if there were difficulties in making decisions like that at the end and her answer, plus the responses by other students in the chat, (like ‘heart-warming’) thoroughly depressed me. She did say that many people left her organization over the rat culling issue, so thank goodness there are people who struggled with the ethics. I understand why they did it though I am, I think, not in agreement with these methods of ‘conservation’ and ‘Environmental management’. The attitude seems to be, humans messed things up (by introducing the rats), so humans should sort it out, but I feel unless we are going to completely remove ourselves from the planet, these sorts of evolutions of ecologies should be left to proceed naturally without further atrocities carried out by humans. Are we not nature too? But then you could argue culling was part of our nature I suppose.

On Wednesday evening I attented a Zoom talk by Monster Chetwynd on the anthropological side of her work. I have been aware of her performance work for years and have definitely been inspired by her and would love to try to get in contact to ask if I could do some professional practice experience with her, or just take part in a performance (which is maybe the same thing?) but I can’t find any way of getting in contact directly with her as yet.   

On Thursday we had our Moving Image expansive module group crit online (Teams) in the morning and room 601 booked in the afternoon, where I tried out the green face paint with my film costume and did some filming.  

Friday, I had the photography/production/green screen studio and camera hired and spent most of the day in there filming, where I got lots of good footage, to add into my film and then went to see the Generator exhibition.  

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