DJCAD Reflective Research Journal – 3rd Year – Week Three

It’s been a hectic and pretty stressful week. What seems like huge amounts of online lectures/meetings and digital equipment and software tutorials to watch. Information overload, but I am hoping it might die down after this week. The Moving Image Module is a lot of work and has sort of taken over this week, with the first half of the week, filled with the difficulties of distance scriptwriting with a partner who is in Finland and then the various meetings and talks in Teams during the second half. This means I barely made it into the studios at all, hardly saw anyone and was rushing and stressed when I did. With pubs and restaurants being shut in the evenings and no visiting allowed, it’s really all work and no play. And with no options to work in the studios in the evenings either, it’s all beginning to feel a bit grim and pointless. I haven’t even managed to go to any of the exhibitions in the DCA, Cooper Gallery or Generator yet either. I miss all the pop-up exhibitions we used to take part in around DJCAD too.

Still, I now know, in theory, how to use Premier, the greenscreen and After Effects, I just need to start using them before I forget, though I have plenty of notes and there’s tutorial videos online too.  

I have been doing plenty of research for my Professional practice module, have filmed lots of video clips of test performances, with my white hood and playing around with breathing restrictions, movement, yoga, slow motion, time-lapse etc. Watching talks on consciousness and quantum physics, trying to come up with dialogue for characters I could play to bring humour into the subjects. 

I had an open tutorial with Eddie Summerton on Tuesday, who was enthusiastic and encouraged me to think and go bigger, create whole environments etc. I said I had started off thinking like this last year, but that the whole Covid situation was making me shrink in my thinking, as there was a feeling the whole place might suddenly close again, and then if everything was to be submitted digitally, that would restrict big ideas much more. But it’s also a kind of mental shrinking which surely everyone must feel? It’s such a depressing time anyway and then I watched The Social Dillema and now I feel things are even worse than I thought they were. I am caught up in the polarisation that’s happening around Covid, that’s being caused by social media predominantly, which is making me feel isolated and angry all the time, even though I have friends who feel the same. It’s making me feel my work should address this more openly, but I don’t think I have the courage. There is so much name calling and nastiness on both sides, I don’t want to become part of that. I decided to try and approach things from a more peace and love sort of place, exploring positive health attitudes and healing, looking at the effect the fear spread by the media is having on us all, regardless of our stance. But then I see the news or some social media posts and I start to feel blind fury again. Hopefully I can find ways to express all this interestingly… though it’s going to be hard… and I definitely want to challenge a bit, I do believe that’s the main role of art.

Anyway, the latest collage painting I am working on, Eddie said, looked like a clear progression from the last with less obvious surrealist references and more my own voice coming through. It has a lot of paper cut outs of watercolour shapes, with the white paper edges left, arranged into to almost human shapes in places and includes speech bubbles exploring ideas about health and healing. He liked the animals (my Wolfit creature) and liked the idea of doing cardboard cut-outs as costumes, which I hadn’t quite thought of yet, but then when I showed him my ‘Sweet Sauce’ video, I realised I was wearing paper cut-outs on my face, which he thought were more interesting than the more traditional white mask I was wearing in the second half of the video. So am keen to experiment more with this. A nice simple, cheap and environmentally friendly way of using costume which also echo’s the aesthetic in my paintings.

The speakers programme this week had Sophia of the Cooper Gallery telling us about all the artists they have had so far and was a good reminder what a great resource their website is. 

I have researched several of the artists on Erica’s list now and am particularly interested in Shana Moulton, Tai Shani and Kris Lemsalu’s work. Eddie gave me some names to research too, which I will over the weekend. 

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