Reflective Research Journal – 3rd Year – Week Fourteen

This post got lost and forgotten some how, here it is late.

I have had a few inspired days where I have done some filming and video editing this week and I have done lots of research for both my practical work and my dissertation. Still struggling though, not to just see the art, the ‘object’ making as a a frivolous indulgence, when the real business of life seems more about surviving the cold just now. We are snowed in and my twenty-three year old daughter has moved from her caravan which was minus seven degrees inside in the mornings, into the one roomed cabin that my husband and I live in, so for five days now we have all been living and sleeping in the same space. We have been managing amazingly well I think, so far, no fights yet, but it definitely feels like a lockdown within a lockdown and fetching and drying out wood for the stove, bringing in water and going for my morning poop are the most important jobs of the day.

The video I worked on is all about my morning poop! It becomes a bit of an obsession in the winter for me not to become constipated because of the freezing outside compost toilet, but every winter it happens anyway. So I am trying to humorously combine this with my interest in the micro biome and faecal transplants to make this short film. I have finished a first version of it, which I am reasonably happy with. I have used more of last semesters green screen footage over new footage of my home made winter separation compost toilet chair in my studio. I then empty both the pee and poop buckets in the garden. I used music I made a couple of years back. A track called Wolfit, which references sewage being a resource in the wrong place, wasted gold. I also made a second sound track which I added in places, but it may have ended up being a little lost. I have used text insert screens for the first time, like they use in silent movies, I don’t know their official term. I started off with more, but I think they started to sound a little preachy, so I took some of them out. The ones I left are like the beginning of a fairy story, that big bad wolf reference again, ‘my own personal mythology’ as Erica called it. 

The CAP talk was Holly Davie, the last of the archive themed talks I think. There was one project she did which involved taking old photos with woman who’s research was unacknowledged, or who had been excluded from history, and trying to find a way of making what was absent visible, which she did by cutting out the woman and leaving a striking white silhouette, which I thought was very clever and effective. Some of her installation work hinted at theatre sets which I quite liked, though much more abstract than I would want to do I think.

We had the first part of a performance to camera workshop on Friday led by Erica and Pernille. They each showed us clips or photographs of performance artists they had chosen. There was some really interesting work to follow up and it triggered some ideas for me. We then had a brainstorming session in break out groups and it was great to see lots of friends faces, but profoundly difficult and frustrating to try and communicate over that platform, we didn’t manage to come up with many ideas as a result. But later an idea came to me, in fact a few, so I have that to work on next week. One involves smearing multi coloured makeup or face paint on my face, possibly with a rainbow poo as a prop (which I need to make), another involves a talking head style piece, where I possibly still do the smearing thing but also a monologue of my thoughts too… and the third is an idea for a collaboration with Laurie, who referred to her self as a cockroach in a message to me recently and we joked about us both being good at surviving in difficult situations and making a film where we are both separately in domestic settings and are falling over and kicking with our legs in the air, cockroach like, for a bit every so often before getting up again. Possibly with the aid of a giant foot or boot green screened in for effect.

I keep sketching ideas for cloth sculptures, theatre set paintings, paper cut outs, watercolour paintings, oil paintings and other videos and all I have actually managed so far, since the video experiments and pillowcase objects, are a couple of watercolours. Again, I blame my studio shed being so cold just now and the lockdown heaviness doing its thing. I keep collecting photos and video footage though for more films. I suppose this is just the incubation period for the finished work.

I am worrying about all the screen usage and my addiction to my phone, me and the rest of the western world. My daughter and I were talking to my brother about it. He just has an old style phone and a laptop and uses only text and email and is not on any social media. We talked about how the lockdown could never have happened say 20 years ago as it is now. The technology has enabled it. People are pacified by the their technology. Could someone at uni possibly manage to get by without a smart phone these days? I got one initially because it used so much less power than a laptop, which works in our off grid situ, and now its also my camera, but its taken over my life undeniably. My daughter (who’s only had a phone for about 4 years) asked what would I do if I got rid of my phone. I listed all the things I used to do. But I actually doubt how I would cope. There would be serious withdrawal for sure and it would cut me off from the world severely I feel. Would that be such a bad thing though? All the time I spend on facebook makes me very angry and depressed. Can I bring this into my work somehow too…? Can it be combined with the bacterial thing…? Are we all Donna Haraway’s Cyborgs now? Is this partly what she meant? I came across this term today in my dissertation research too, in reference to woman giving birth in the technocratic arena.

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