DJCAD Reflective Research Journal – 3rd Year – Week One

(Posting the first 7 weeks of this all at once, as had decided not to post them as a blog this time, then changed my mind).

Just finished my first week back at uni, with all the restrictions in place. It’s nice to be back and have a creative routine and timetable starting again, but the restrictions are taking a lot of the fun out of it. All lectures and tutorials online, very long, unclear, one-way systems, books in the library being quarantined for four days if you so much as look at them, most of the computers untouchable, very limited access to the studios and workshops to keep us apart and everywhere the masked social distancing dance. It’s like a mass scale art performance, or some sort of intelligence/spot the nonsense test, like in the fairy-tale The Emperor’s New Clothes. No one brave enough to say, “he’s not wearing any clothes!” or “this is a totally unnecessary farce!” But it’s going to be a fine line between expressing my dismay at the situation and alienating myself. Though I am beginning to hear more dissenting voices than there were at the beginning of all this. A lot of people are feeling they are being robbed of their university experience, never mind just being able to live their lives. I am trying to find a way of incorporating my views and ideas about our culturally, very narrow and western biased attitudes to health, into my work to try to challenge the governments coronavirus handling/restrictions. 

I have been looking again at the video work of Tabitha Rezaire, which touches on quite a few of the areas I have been exploring and am interested in; yoga and holistic health, feminism, natural femininity and body hair, healing our technologies, healing as activism and resistance. She “advocates for the possibility of nurturing a ‘mind-body-spirit-techno consciousness’ that counters our current state of disconnection.” From the 

GOODMAN GALLERY JOHANNESBURG website. Exhibition- EXOTIC TRADE – TABITA REZAIRE  18 MAY – 17 APRIL 2017

I like the unapologetic, over the top, cosmic/spiritual/healing vibes, expressed through the almost crass, garish, digital format. It’s not coming from quite the same place, but I like a lot of what she has to say and the way she expresses it, on the whole. I think she manages to express herself without sounding self-righteous and lecturey, which are areas I feel I sometimes stray into if I am not careful.

It makes me wonder whether I might not try to use more humour in my work. More irony. Poke fun at myself. Poke fun at the ‘quacks’, the ‘conspirist’s’. Poke fun at the ‘experts’, the politicians, the self-righteous, the rule makers, the fear mongers’, the media. Stop trying to convert people. 

I am struggling with keeping the work for my two modules separate, as one is film and the other the more general Creative and Professional Practice. The same work can’t be submitted for both, but there will definitely be crossovers with my ideas. And I want to use film in both modules, as making films, kicks off ideas for other mediums and has come an important part of my creative process. I am now trying to keep separate sketchbooks for each module, though I started in the same one and for example which sketch book do I put my research on Tabitah Rezaire in? I have opted for the professional practice one, but she’s going to be an influence on the film in the other module too. It feels like a very unintuitive and unnatural way to work for me.

I have also been looking at John Paul Bourdier’s Body as landscape work, in which he photographs painted bodies in the landscape. They are visually very exciting and are giving me ideas for painting and performance work. Also, Patty Chang’s Melons and Shaving performance pieces.

Other ideas I have worked on over the summer, or am just starting to think about include; Gossip Generator, coded narrative explored in various media, a performance piece where I make clay warts and lumps on my body and then cut them off, in a sort of ritual that deals with recognising anger as physical manifestations and symptoms and a documentary about my Dad and the fire and our rebuilding at Coldhome, which I have been thinking about for a while.

Books I have borrowed from the library are; Tell them I said no – Martin Herbert; Animals – Filipa Ramos; 25 Years of contemporary art in Scotland – Moira Jeffrey and Duty Free Art – Hito Steyerl.     

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