Artists Research – Third Year – Semester 2

This is a list of research all in one place, most of which has already been mentioned in my Reflective Research Journals, but here it includes some images of the artists work.

The first major sources of inspiration this semester was Alanna Collen’s book 100% Human.

Followed soon after by Nicky Hart’s The Sociology of Health and Medicine from the 80’s. That led to looking into Thomas Mckeown and then Ivan Illich.

There is lots of information from these books throughout my Reflective Research Journals.

RRJ 12

Mierle Laderman Ukeles (Flow City 1983 – 91) Sanitation artist, is working with sewage, like me in a way, but embracing the water system, whereas I am looking at the dry separation composting method which can’t be called sewage. She’s looking at it more from a social and urban point of view rather than ecological and rural like me. But I like her ideas about it being brought more to peoples attention and not hidden away.

‘Ukeles embraces the sanitation system and argues that the “restrictiveness” that it makes manifest can be a valuable source of community and creativity (“Sanitation Manifesto” 624). I understand Ukeles’s work as valuable both po­ etically and pragmatically for the urban ecological vision it offers. Ukeles aims to map a complex and difficult to visualize system, that is nonetheless made up of local, human interactions and relationships.’ (Feldman, 2009)

Marcus Coats and his becoming animal series of work, has stuck with me from his Cap talk last year. Becoming animal is a theme I have been exploring this semester in painting and film, for example shitting like a cat, peeing outside, cleaning myself with my tongue. 

Also been thinking about Kate Mcleods ‘Becoming’ series and Paula Rego’s Dog Woman series.

Donna Harraway

‘The cyborg vision of gender as changing and changeable was radically new. Her map of how information technology linked people around the world into new chains of affiliation, exploitation and solidarity feels prescient at a time when an Instagram influencer in Berlin can line the pockets of Silicon Valley executives by using a phone assembled in China that contains cobalt mined in Congo to access a platform moderated by Filipinas.’ (Moira Wegel on Harraway, Guardian 2019)

Her philosophy around human/animal relations also links in with my work. 

Shana Moulton

I loved at Shana Moulton last year and really liked her humorous films exploring health anxiety and so-called alternative healing practices.

Emma Cocker on Heather & Ivan Morrison’s Earth Walker is interesting, I like the name and what I read about them and I like the strangeness of the below image. Anna Dumitriu I found when looking for artists working on the microbiome. I like the ideas behind it but am less interested in the actual work she’s making, a bit too sciencey/educational feeling.

Mary Beth Edelson

I love Edelson’s Women Rising series and its wildness and freeness and her animal motifs. I like that she was interested in Jung early on like me and she worked in all the same media. Her goddess worship and totem like images and working with the natural world are all very relevant and have given me lots of ideas.

RRJ13

Watched ‘More than Stories’ by Any Lewin, on Vimeo prior to her talk for the CAP speakers program. I really enjoyed the films, from the way she recreated stories, mixing memories, collected material and fiction. I liked the way they were filmed in a set, but that the camera drew back and to the side so the workings of the set and the crew, cameras and lights were often visible. Also the way there was a dialogue between actors and director (Lewin herself). Very interesting historically too and the personal viewpoint, it being her family history.

Vivienne Dick

Watched a film on UbuWeb called Beauty Becomes the Beast by Vivienne Dick, which was really quite inspiring. Slightly comic in an unnerving and disturbing way. There was an engaging narrative despite there being very little speech and any speech there was, was not cohesive in anyway. Mostly music and the strange and brilliant acting of Lydia Lunch.

RRJ14

David Altmejd – visceral odd sculpture

Bruce Nauman (Good Boy Bad Boy – film) Repeated words by different people with mounting emotion. Use similar idea for my Beetle film.

Ana Mendieta’s work I looked at last semester too, and she keeps popping up. Love this image of hers, almost growing out the rock – it inspired some of my ‘becoming plant’ paintings and drawings.

RRJ16

Art Oriente Objet (Marion Laval-Jeantet and Benoit Maugin)

I also came across Art Oriente Objet, an artist duo (Marion Laval-Jeantet and Benoit Mangin), who’s work is about health and quite extreme. For example, one of them injects herself with horse blood in a piece of work called May the Horse Live in me. 

signed up for a virtual tour of The Birth Rites Collection at Kings College London, where midwifery is taught and is curated by Helen Knowles. It came into being because of a distinct lack of birth related art in the UK. There is some challenging work, and it is interesting to note that a particular photograph, showing a positive home birth scene caused some controversy among some of the students, who requested that the work was in appropriate and should be removed. I was told by the tour guide that these kinds of responses tended to be from woman who had been victims of traumatic birth experiences. Much of the art in the collection portrays negative birth experiences, calling in to question the whole system of care and level of choice that surrounds birth. Its my view that this collection seems to be doing an excellent job of opening the lines of conversation within this problematic subject area and I intend to try to submit to their open exhibition after assessments.

Helen Benigson (video – Essex Road Hen Party)

I like the way the red words flash up on the black almost too fast read. I have been trying to find a way of using text in videos for a while and I quite like this way of doing it, though I would want to mix with image…I found Helen Benigsons work through the Birth Rites exhibition, through an interesting sounding film about consent in childbirth, but I can’t find the film.

The Wounded Storyteller. Body, Illness, and Ethics by Arthur W. Frank (still reading but has been a good resource so far on cartesian/sick role thinking verses more autonomous holism).

Also Reading ‘Tell Them I Said No’ by Martin Herbert and ‘Duty Free Art. Art in the Age of Planetary Civil War’ by Hito Steyerl.

Simone Leigh and her Free Peoples Medical Clinic and The Waiting Room (looked interesting, haven’t had time to investigate further though – do research into next semester).

Luke Fowlers film ‘All Divided Selves’

Started watching Luke Fowlers All Divided Selves, (which is also mentioned in the book I just named above), because Erica said it reminded her a little of my Coldhome Film. I liked the style and devices he used, and a succession of still rural video scenes from mist over water to a beetle struggling in a puddle, with a song or voice tying them together, subtly hinting at or illustrating the surrounding narrative or seeming to not at all. It’s something I would like to try. 

Watched Luke Fowlers All Divided Selves 2011 about R.D. Laing all the way through again a couple of times and have signed up for Erica focus group to discuss the film and share video work next Friday. People like him would be silenced/cancelled these days for his controversial ideas and yet he seems a very sensible, understanding and intelligent guy asking lots of good questions. (Though he doesn’t maybe seem to have been around for the 10 children he fathered with 4 different woman…) It made me feel depressed that that kind of radical thinking that was going on in the 70’s didn’t infiltrate into mainstream thinking in the decades that followed except in a few narrow areas, instead it closed down gradually and we are going backward again it seems. I loved the way the film was made with found footage and some additional footage I presume Like Fowler took himself, it worked really well. I discovered he’d made a docu/film called Birth with RD Laing in 1977 which disturbingly details many of the issues I am writing about in my dissertation too. 

Rehana Zaman (video)

One of the CAP speakers was Rehana Zaman, who’s video work I found very interesting. Some computer generation of a female figure who was made of the same material as her rural landscape, I love this idea, though am less enamoured with the high tech realisation of it. I liked her documentary style video making too and the technique of interviewing people in the partially-distracted setting of a kitchen or a car. 

RRJ19

I went to an online drawing and text workshop with Jade Montserrat, in association with Hospitalfield on Friday, which was interesting but I found less able to enjoy and be excited about over Zoom, than if it had been in person. But I hand it to her and the organisers for keeping things like that going through this period of time. And I was very glad I went, because the readings she did were brilliant. There was Alexis Pauline Gumb’s Archive of Fire and Adam Pendleton Black Dada (and Gabrielle Civil’s Swallow the Fish, which she didn’t have time to read out but I will look up).

Really satisfying meaty writing, well read (by Jade) and full of great imagery, which is presumably why she chose it as we drew/wrote along with it in charcoal.

Alexis Pauline’s website has poems she has written in response to photos of her as a child with her father and siblings. Makes me want to do a project about my lost photos again. Maybe line drawings roughly depicting my memory of them, with some text/poetry too. A book maybe.

RRJ20

Helen Marten

I looked up Helen Martens work again. I saw some video work she’d made last year, with spoken poetic narrative, like a coded language, with similarities to the kind of word work I was doing at the time, and still am to some extent. I read an interview with her, where she spoke about her first novel, which she wrote during lockdown and is similarly poetic sounding. I had been looking for inspiration to try some short story writing about the becoming animal characters I recently drew. I looked again at her sculptural work, which I had forgotten she also made, particularly the piece that won the 2017 Turner prize and it was good to see and read about sculptural made of a diverse range of materials, as I seem to be making a sort of sculptural installation in the studio.

RRJ21

Discovered Ivan Illich this week. His books ‘Deschooling Society’ and ‘Medical Nemesis’ sound right up my street. I have heard his name before and he might have been mentioned or certainly been an influence on some other books I’ve read in my home educating days, about child-led learning but glad to have found him properly. Some of his quotes are so spot on.

He was a big influence on the Dark Mountain Project guys, Dougald Hine and Paul Kingsnorth which is also an interesting project; “a network of writers, artists, and thinkers who have stopped believing in the stories our civilisation tells itself”. And produce anthologies of “uncivilised” writing and art, which I like the idea of. They are seen as ‘doomers’ and ‘nihilists’ though,according to Wiki, and as having an unrealistic, romantic, utopian ideal, about going back to a less technocratic time, right up my street ha ha, though they seem very sincere and serious. They do an open call for writing every year though, so I might submit some of my less humorous/light hearted work at some point!

Paul Noble (uses shit as a recurring theme) was nominated for the Turner Prize, the same year Monster Chetwynd was in 2012. I like his drawings and subject matter, but am less interested in that level of detail he uses to render them. I have also cited Monster (or Spartacus or Marvin Gaye as she has also been called) as an influence in past semesters and she definitely still is and I attended a talk by her on Zoom during the latest lockdown. 

Trulee Halls videos which include live action theatre performances, digital renditions and Claymation versions of bits of the live performance are brilliant. I am not sure how the digital bits are shown at the live performances, presumably on a screen. She did an Opera called ‘Tongues Duel the Corn Whores’. A large-scale impressive production. An artist I met and connected with over Instagram after we were the only two people on a virtual Tour of the Birth Rites Exhibition at Kings College London, said my work reminded her of American feminist artist Trulee Halls work. This woman had performed in the Opera. There were lots of huge gold worms and massive gold phallic corn on the cobs and female masturbation, nudity, fertility and pregnancy.  It’s about taking back female power symbols and pleasure. Very inspiring.

Daniel Richter puts lots of information in his paintings, he says – ‘how much can I put in’ – puts lots of contradictory things. He says, ‘Societies don’t find comfort in art, individuals do’, which I like. 

Ruth Ewen always works with others and considers music as fundamental. She has a lot of themes and media in common with me and considers herself a protest artist. She doesn’t consider her practice and educational work with young people as separate, which sounds a refreshing attitude.

‘Andrew Black’s video, Revenge Fantasy (2019), recounts fingering near Faslane, nuclear fission and submarines. A narrator tells tales of ass licking in the countryside, shots of pigs eating, hills, mountains, ticks being removed from eyelids, set to a lush dystopian soundtrack by Oliver Pitt. If Al-Maria and Sin shatter identity within the infinite expanse of space, Black reconfigures it in a relationship between queers and the land.’ (James Bell in Map Magazine 2019) I remember Blacks film from DCA exhibition ‘Seized by the Left Hand’ as there was a lot of shit in it! I liked the way he put his film together, it was yucky, funny and absorbing. Noted some of the his filmic devices which I might emulate, like the way he used text and the way there often seemed to be bits of grass in the camera lens.

David Lynches film ‘The Grandmother’ is great, love the weirdness. He grows a kind grandmother on a pile of soil on a bed because his parents are cruel and abusive. she hatches out of a tree stump. its all quite dark, disturbing and visceral. It is live action and goes into little animation parts too.

Emma Talbots exhibition Ghost Calls at the DCA is at last open, I went today and loved it. So many of themes and materials she works with are very similar to mine. Painting on silk, cloth sculptures, female dolls, animation using her drawings. Grieving for the mess of the world, ecological themes, inner psychological landscapes merging with outer. It looks like she tries to use environmentally friendly materials too. Liked her use of papermache, might try using that for more sculpture work next year. Will be going back.

Found Juliana Notari’s giant vagina in Brazil, while trying to find a giant vagina sculpture I saw in a gallery once…that you enter through. “The artist Notari in a Facebook post stated that the vulva is supposed to ‘question the relationship between nature and culture in our phallocentric and anthropocentric western society.’ However, the artist’s Facebook page was flooded with comments from Bolsonaro’s supporters and art critics who slammed the artwork and called it ‘obscene’ and ‘transphobic.’ The viral post caused anger among Bolsonaro’s supporters who slammed the ‘left.’ “The left is obsessing over poop or genitilia again,” commented a user on the Facebook post. Other users called the artwork ‘shit’ and wrote that it is in ‘bad taste.’”

I must be a classic leftie then 🙂

I also discovered Anish Kapoor’s vaginal entrance or Niki de Saint Phalle’s collaborative work – ‘Cathedral’ from the exhibition ‘She’. This is something I could consider for my degree show, A smaller, softer vaginal cave to watch my films within – unless my subject matter has moved in a different direction by then.