DJCAD Reflective Research Journal – 3rd Year – Week Two

Spent what studio days I had, writing down ideas in my sketchbook and collaging existing and new monoprints on to the large canvas I started last week and also speech bubbles exploring ideas around health, like; “I have dis-ease”. Did lots of research on brain cells and brain activity throughout the body, mainly on The Dana Foundation website. I have begun thinking about the electrical impulses and connections through nerves etc. as being like the mycelium of the body.

Had my first tutorial with my tutor Erica Eyres on Tuesday. She was enthusiastic and encouraging about my work and on seeing my video, I Stand for Text, said she felt the imagery could be weirder, maybe with my more performative work. Suggested experimenting with costumes and make up. I am resistant to the make up because of the whole, expensive, messy, skin absorbing business of it, but might experiment a little with kids face paints… I am more interested in costume though and I have made a white faceless hood with only eye holes so far. I think with this whiteness I am trying to blank myself out, become, blank, sterile a simple line drawing or cartoon of myself.

I plan to experiment this weekend with the hood and a white outfit, to blank my whole body out and do some investigative videos with movements and speech or voiceover about the mind body connection, maybe through the mycelium metaphor. Maybe reference the Descartian model which western medicine is based on about the mind and body being completely separate entities and how crazy it seems to me that we still follow this model of thinking. Possibly use text on paper pinned to my clothes. Going to try maybe working to a story board for once (encouraged by Gair in our Moving Image Module). Movements could include yoga, breathing exercises and maybe include elements from the Feldenkrais method which I just heard about today in a podcast called ‘Dosed’, which has a lot of interesting interviews with alternative health practitioners. The Feldenkrais method talks about the connection between anxiety, gravity and sexual prowess and in my mind links to Dr John Sarno’s methods which for me were a revelation in dealing with back pain and are all about tension, anxiety and anger and how we carry these as tension in our bodies which result in pain.

I started reading ‘Animals’ by Filipa Ramos and on seeing it was from a series called ‘Documents of Contemporary Art’ I looked up the series and sure enough, there was one published this year during the Pandemic, called ‘Health’. So I will either buy it or request it from the library, but in the mean time I found the list of artists surveyed in the book and have started researching each one to see if I can find anyone who is coming from a similar angle to me. So far, I have found Jo Spence and would like to read her Hospice Diaries from 1992, if I can get a hold of them. Her work references psychological health, so there may be a connection there. Oreet Ashery, who looks into loss and chronic illness in the digital era. 

The CAP speakers’ program is of course also online and we heard some of the tutors of DJCAD talk about their work. Pernille’s performance work was really interesting to see, as I hadn’t before. I like the idea of the audience being people on a train, for example, passing a field where a man was running very fast, or people were lying on the ground. Erica’s too. I saw some of her videos last year and they got me thinking about trying to play characters. I also liked Eddies copies of historical bird illustrations, but where he changed them in some way. The wrong head for example.

Erica sent me a whole load of artists that I might be interested in, which I have included below. Spent some of the weekend, reading about these artists work and printing out some images and info. Definitely some good connections there, which are helping me think about what I am trying to do in my own work.

Shana Moulton-

Tha Shani-

Painter Lucy Stein-

I was thinking that some of the video images you showed me reminded me of Cindy Sherman’s Civil War series-

Bonnie Camplin –

Ryan Trecartin-

Valie Export- 

Painter, Kinga Bartis-

Kris Lemsalu-

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