Sunday, 18 December 2016

Reflections on the final lecture by Dr Bailey, regarding closure of modules of the first semester

The lecture was opened with a statement that all work should actually be completed to submission by Friday, 16 December; to allow us to have a formal holiday over the Christmas period.

This will allow for a kind of breathing space before the very concentrated efforts required before the next semester's modules.

The next phase of development within these lectures will be "Creative Innovation and Entrepreneurialism".
These new modules will provide an opportunity for collaboration across the whole group, with cross-disciplinary practice including textiles and other studies.

One of the actions required over the holiday period is to develop a website built around the service.  That will hold a group dynamic, and will help to build our individual portfolios while working together with live project brief.

It is intended that one develops this project brief commercially through outside agencies to the University. It is, therefore, necessary to choose one of the three outlines topics of submissions as detailed by Dr Bailey.

  1. The first option is to engage with either of two outside companies in developing brand and image and marketing products and outputs.
  2. The second option is to work with the local Huddersfield gallery and a body or organisation known as 'Rotor'. This group has an objective to bring contemporary art closer to the public through the Huddersfield Gallery and is very much based on a community engagement.
  3. The third option is to engage with the Royal School of Art, 2017 competition, which is very useful for any type of artist to enter for future recognition.

The deadline for signing up to one of these three options was Friday, 16 December 2016. This was the same day that all other time limits for each of the modules must be completed.

With regards to the forthcoming work in the New Year, the generation of an E-portfolio will be completed and submitted by 7 May 2017.

It was suggested to look at the website

That site holds the previous examples of students on the Master's course and their work.

Conclusions & Overall Reflections:

  • During the Christmas break,  I should reflect on my personal development plan and try to work out what areas of improvement I need to speculate and executes upon. As the module in the new semester is a self-directed practice module, I need to work out carefully what it is that I will be doing. 
  • The key to the next modules is good project management!
  • I need to make sure that my time is managed better as a much more balanced split between theory and practice during this next term.

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Further reflections with Dr Liam Devlin and discussion with Dr Rowan Bailey.

I am deeply immersed in a period of sensation awareness, but it's becoming almost like an otherworldly mess!

It has been difficult to try to engage in this mode of thought (rightly or wrongly I'm not sure) because concurrently, there is pressure on me to complete the detailed written proposal.  I need to finish that within the next weeks, which outlines my deliberated practice for my following six months commencing January 2017.

In the reflection of a conversation with Dr Devlin last Friday,  the subject of shamanism came through. The idea of liminal thought patterns where one is transfixed in an in-between state between the real world and our deep consciousness is not unlike some of the trance type states of mind that shamans and magicians of ancient cultures place themselves within.

With regards to my practice my own views of creating some kind of animated sequence, but very much displaced from what people perceive as the "normal" (whatever that is). It's important that the work itself informs the viewer of my intention and I need to keep this in mind while creating images.

Meanwhile suggested recommended reading included the work by Donna Haraway and her tentacular practices which involve flight; together with work by Tim Ingold which can be accessed through the Museum of Modern Art (New York) and their online archives will be a good way to both establish and evaluate further ideas

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Research and Project Proposal, - post presentation reflections

I felt that the presentation I performed yesterday for the Research & Proposal module generally went well.  My feelings over it are positive because of the reception that I seemed to gain. However, I hope I have not miss-read this.

Over the past few weeks, I have been struggling with conceptual ideas of how to visually engage the notions of speculative realism and the method of the Peregrine in some form of delineation, and I think some of that inner struggle may have come out as anxiety, - albeit, active and enthusiastic though I hope.

It has suddenly dawned on me, almost like a "Eureka" moment in thinking about the original book, "The Peregrine" and the observations of JA Baker...

It seems obvious to me now, what I have been missing!

What I need to do, is to draw what the Peregrine sees!

e.g. to bring, through some sense of mediated discourse in DRAWING with another creature, 'the life of JA Baker', as witnessed by the Peregrine on a daily basis. To Peregrine, every day's observation of JA Baker might have been utterly insignificant to the bird himself, (the "Tercel") and what he actually sees occurring on a daily basis, may have not considered the clothed human, constantly watching him, as important.

In discussing this notion with Dr Bailey, it became evident that much of my own research will consist of making sense of other artists, who may have done similar work. I accept that there is much scope to review this and I need to carefully select appropriateness to avoid any potential rabbit holes (No pun to the Peregrine intended, although he might like that anyway)!

In analysing 'The Peregrine' text, the objective for me is to look at a perspectival shift. This change in perspective or shifting viewpoint must be considered carefully and in particular how I am going to achieve that to carry off a realistic new view and outlook from such a dimensional. It was suggested by another PhD research student that I looked at the film by Chris Pinney entitled Leviathan. This was directed by Lucian Castone-Taylor who is head of the Harvard University Sensory Ethnography Laboratory.


And subsequently reviewing that film, whilst these are indeed an alternative viewpoint (and a wonderful deep engagement from a human visual point of view) all that actually seems to be happening is the camera is placed where the seagulls are placed, or where the fish are placed...

  • This still makes for an anthropocentric view of the world through another creature's eyes. 
  • Immersing myself in the film for its complete cycle reaffirmed my desire and anxiety to try to mediate the point of view through the act of drawing itself!  This is quite a difficult challenge because I suspect that, to many, the outcome may be very esoteric and difficult to understand. 
  • Nevertheless, this, however, must not hold me back and my commitment to continue along the theme originally envisaged is growing stronger daily.

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Reflections on the lecture of Wednesday 23rd of November 2016 with Dr Rowan Bailey.

Today's session discussed the importance of appropriate presentations for this module in developing the proposal and artistic research methods. For the next two weeks, these lectures will be replaced by our presentations towards the development of the project. In the final lecture during week commencing 11th of December, the intention is to use that session to look at next term's activities. All presentations for the next two weeks will occur in the postgraduate suite.
  • The purpose of the presentation is to articulate how our work has been developing in this module TMA 1401.
  • It's an opportunity to reflect on the work and research that we have already done and to help crystallise our next steps.
  • It's also an opportunity to test our thoughts as to how we approach the major project in the New Year.
  • Furthermore, the presentation session will create an opportunity for feedback from the tutors.
Ultimately what this presentation is, is a kind of sales pitch:
  • to actively pitch and sell the idea of your proposal.
  • To contextualise our ideas.
  • To articulate and conceptualise the ways in which we work.
  • To provide evidence of research.
  • And how this research is going to be applied in practice.
How one articulates their proposal verbally would be different from a written plan simply because in a presentation and audience scenario, the verbal communication as such, cannot be self-plagiarising from the written word. This is not something that needs to be worried about!

It's important to discuss what worked well and good practice.
  • Demonstrate project planning and time management so that work can be prioritised and scheduled for next year.
  • And articulate the strategy of how you will achieve your each of the tasks that are identified.
The presentation will then be loaded into Turn-it-in after the verbal presentation for further review by tutors.

[see the six-point slide from Dr Bailey to provide areas of what to present. e.g.:]
  1. The aims and objectives of the project – these might not be final yet, but a rough outline might help communicate the structure of the project.
  2. Research and Development – to explore working strategies, processes, approaches to take.
  3. To focus on the framework for your project.
  4. the context proposed to work within – is there a target client/user/audience the proposed work is aimed at?
  5. to reflect on the key technical skills or key areas of development needed for the project. 
  6. Reflections on the project - Next steps?
It is essential to demonstrate reflective analysis which identifies strengths and weaknesses of the process and methods that have been reviewed.

Both visual analysis and text box analysis of any features such as reflections on drawings, sketches, design development and project planning should be self-explanatory.

As a strategy to develop the verbal presentation;
  • start by identifying the key ingredients.
  • Unpack what needs to be done as tasks and activities.
  • Articulate what you have found.
  • Set out the objectives to realise the actual project idea.
It is advised that one does not create a "petch-kutcha" style presentation which usually engages through just 20 seconds per slide and in this case would need to fill 15 minutes so that would require 45 slides at 20 seconds each and would probably be far too excessive.


  • Ensure that you have at least 12 texts that can be referred to, as the subject is an initial reference base. These provide information from your reading lists with relevant articles to reference.
  • Remember that this is a proposal only, so start with a broad scope. That is a demonstration that if you have researched with a wide entry point and hence this is why 12 texts should be considered as a minimum starting point is references with a review of at least five other practitioners methods.
  • The primary research methods must demonstrate that you have explored these other (five) methods and how you evidence these other methods is critical. As an example use the website at methods at Manchester, to help articulate other practitioners work.
  • The method can be delineated through a description supported by various other references and how these might apply in your practice. The aim is to legitimise the work that you carry out yourself through your practice; verify what you do is practice, and then contextualise it to demonstrate its currency.
  • As a useful example, look at the "business management" case study as contemporary phenomena would be a good place to start. Further reading can be gained from page 104 onwards for the section entitled "Methods in the book by Carol Gray and Julian Malins (Visualising Research) by Graham Malins (2004).
At this stage is also worthwhile to look at the section "critical reflection" to show some justification for the decisions that you have made as a practitioner to take your work forward.


  • Be critical with the reading. 
  • Identify what the flaws are in what I have been reading.
  • Why is this important?  e.g. this reference is of importance because X, Y, Z.
  • To have an excellent presentation is about selecting relevant specifics (just a few) and to have evidence such as strong peer-reviewed quotations to back up the specifics that you have drawn out.
  • Demonstrate that one has a firm grounding in the subject matter that is explored.
  • Use the University's library system "summons" together with appropriate filters such as the use of peer reviews, current references, and relevant evidence.
  • Lastly, it is important to consider how the presentation sits within the marking system. For this module, the assessment will be divided into equal parts. Therefore as there are 30 marks split between the evaluation criteria, then the average taken for the proposal section is approximately five scores from the 30 marks total.

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Reflections on a short tutorial with Dr Liam Devlin regarding Digital Media Concepts.

 This was a short lecture on Friday, 18 November 2016. Dr Devlin reminded us about the module being essentially about documenting, testing and experimentation.  Dr Devlin outlined the need to submit a Critically Reflective Summary.

This module, TMA 1404, is about critical reflection on the research that we are doing, and it is therefore necessary to include all relevant images that we come across when presenting our CRS.

(I need to underline the notion of what is relevant with regards to images though).

  • Ultimately it is about producing evidence of our research and how we engage practically.
  • Analyse key concepts and trends.
  • Develop the concepts that underpin my own commercial/academic or positioned practice.
  • Work towards furthering your own expertise through providing evidence of doing the same.
  • Articulate your rationale for doing things.
  • Above all make this a comprehensive and coherent CRS proposal.

There will be a stand-up presentation of the CRS, as it is vital for each of us to be able to explain our position verbally, so therefore the format of the document is equally important.
An illustrations list is therefore required at the beginning of the document, - not at the end for this CRS document.


  • Which practitioners, authors and others influence your work. Document this clearly. 
  • Who else is doing this, and where did they originally emerge from?
  • And in what context is this? (Make sure the work you do is correctly purposed and target the audience accordingly).
  • Articulate each stage of evaluation in your practice, together with the appraisal of it, including your frustrations of what did not work.
  • What has caused issues for you? 
  • What problems have you overcome and how?
  • What are your next steps? -  Document these too!

The CRS document should be approximately 3000 words, but can also include moving images and video which should be placed on the Internet video channel.

Don't forget to articulate which tools I use, such as my blog, time management applications, Twitter, sketchbooks et cetera (if appropriate of course!).

In a nutshell, this module holds 30 credits and is ostensibly about;

  •  this is what I wanted to try:
  •  this is what I have done; 
  • this is what worked; 
  • this is what didn't work; 
  • and this is what I want to do next!

  • A presentation for the work already completed as the CRS and your own practice work is required on 15 December. The proposal CRS document must be handed in on Friday, 16 December 2016.

Further reflections;
Following the one-to-one tutorial with Dr Liam Devlin.

  • After discussing my ideas of speculative realism and object oriented ontology, I felt that I had been stumped somewhat by a simple question that I actually ended up asking myself!
  • I wanted to ask myself how can I sum up speculative realism in art in 30 words or less. I must work hard to be able to articulate the simple tenets of speculative realism. 

It was recommended that I read the book "the aesthetic regime" by Jacques Rancier as soon as possible.

I must try to find this literature and work on this before further commitment to the CRS proposal.

Saturday, 19 November 2016

Reflections on a discussion with Dr Rowan Bailey regarding my proposal for digital media research methods.

After a good conversation with Dr Bailey, she recognised and mentioned that it would be worthwhile to revisit the work by Bruno Latour and I should not forget this philosopher's critical initial writings which set the scene for object-oriented ontology.

  • I need to do this to be distinctive with the various camps and ideas centred on speculative realism. 
  • For example it is also worthwhile looking at a counter argument by Barnard Stiegler, who discusses ideas of Heidegger and also to provide a counter argument for techniques such as chance and time.
  • Another good research area to revisit would be the work of Jacques Derrida and his book "Memories of the Blind". Further, work to study "The Metaphor of Drawing and Thinking".
  • (Also not forgetting Michel DeCerto)

My core focus must remain on revisiting "The Peregrine" but also to look at methodologies and modes of drawing on the banality of everyday.  - Rowan also suggested that I take a look at Ben Highmore, regarding psychopathology of the everyday.

I need to work on drawing out from the Peregrine. The ideas of migration, the everyday, banality, and metaphors. To help me to do this, I need to think up new methods and metaphors of fracture. It is worth looking at 'experimental drawing' again to try and find practical ideas for this...

Further suggested reading by Dr Bailey was "sing theory, by Bill Brown" I have subsequently been able to locate the paper by this philosopher online. It will help to position my proposal with a view towards looking through the works of Heidegger.

  • Let the drawing take ownership of itself!

It is also worth revisiting the work of our very own Dr Juliet McDonald, here at the University of Huddersfield, and her "experimental drawing". (I must try to get a copy of her doctoral thesis if possible).

Last but not least Dr Bailey repeated the very sensible mantra of making sure that I can tick off each of the points of the assessment criteria while producing my proposal document!

"Migration" - a lecture by Dr Rowan Bailey, Wednesday, 16 November 2016.

In thinking further and revisiting my notes regarding "Migration".

Within the context of "Migration," there are incredibly complex challenges of movement in time and space, with equally difficult challenges to infrastructure, population, food, culture, employment and welfare. Migration generates "Wicked Problems".

What seems to be changing currently, though, which is different from previous movements from history, is the expansion of global exchange. As a result, some 3.1% of the world's population are now considered as "migrants".

There are several "push and pull" factors.

  • Lack of jobs/poverty
  • civil strife, war and persecution
  • refugees and "populations of concern" that is, displaced people who are now stateless and it is estimated to be somewhere around 35.4 million people worldwide with approximately 10.4 million of these displaced and stateless persons in the category of being refugees.
  • Environmental issues, natural desire disasters.
  •  See
  • desertification, the results of global climate change, etc.
  • Illegal people trafficking. This represents the third largest global criminal activity after drugs and arms trades.

For further reading see the work by Doreen Massey "A Global Sense of Place" (1991). Within this book, she investigates

  • "what is a place"? 
  • -  'Local' versus 'global', (Micro versus Macro); 
  • history of place; 
  • movement of capital;, etc, etc.

Within this book, Massey also recognises a phenomenon known as "Space-Time Compression".

  • What this means is that places don't have unique singular identities, but multiple ones.
  • Places do not become frozen in time.
  • Places are in constant flux, with multiple interchanges and exchanges of a variety of cultures, generations and new identities.

For further research see the three-part BBC documentary "Exodus" (2016). A documentary raising awareness of real life struggles of migration.
As creative practitioners, the real-world stories have to be told! It is our job as a social recorder and commentator to articulate them, therefore.

For further research look at the work of Sophie Henderson, director of the migration museum project in London.

"Call me by my name: stories from Calais and beyond."

Using graphic practice to explore and articulate the situation of migration and physical movement of displaced people. A new "Migrations Exhibition" is also happening in a small area of Huddersfield Gallery as part of the Migration Museum project. Part of this Migrations exhibition has been curated by Jessica Hemmings (See her book entitled cultural threads: transnational textiles today)

A worthwhile visit to Huddersfield Gallery proved very insightful, and I made the following observations;

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Weekly briefing of research methods and proposal writing, Reflections upon a short group tutorial with Dr Rowan Bailey.

Reflection on the session of Wednesday 16th of November 2016.

  • It was reminded that the proposal will need to be handed in by Unilearn approximately four weeks today, i.e. before 16 December, one month today. The presentation however will be a week earlier than the proposal hand in date!  I need to therefore make sure my prduction plan fits with these timetables.
  • Dr Bailey asked the group if we are building the narrative for what we need in order to submit it. As a further reminder again I will need approximately 12 texts to define other practitioners who have done similar work what they have done and why.
  • The five methodologies that we have individually been researching must be selected by now, articulated and referenced fully. The balance is required when selecting appropriate methodologies.
  • A statement of consideration of these methodologies is required within the proposal. How have I analysed them and come up with the decision to use a particular methodology or adapted one for my own use.
  • It is essential that we are not using a specific research method directly ourselves, we are not going to actually use them directly, but they will shape the application of our own research method.
  • A clear framework of themes, contents, contexts, aims and objectives that we are setting ourselves is necessary in the opening introduction and as the strawman for this proposal.
  • With regards to word counts it is expected that we will produce at least 3000 words minimally but 6000 words would be much better.
  • A visual analysis of other practitioners works is absolutely required. Why are these practitioners inspirational with regards to your own work?
  • Avoid the use of "I" through the document, but in the reflective section, it is perfectly acceptable and should be used.


11 or 12 point font at a spacing of 1 1/2 or double space is required, with Times new Roman, straight aligned left, clear text should be used.

  • Illustrations should be referenced fully.
  • An abstract is not required at this stage.

Whatever you do, make sure it is useful to you as a working document for the next year of study!

Be careful especially not to duplicate your work for the other module in digital media concepts. If we did, this would put us at risk of self plagiarism.

Within the digital media concepts module, we also need to write a Critical Reflective Summary, and to do so Dr Liam Devlin has created a template which is suitable for our reflective practice.

  • Use the checklist of the assessment criteria!
  • Structure the proposal for 6000 words. For example, provide say 1000 words for the literature review section with clear signposting of the assessment criteria.

Monday, 14 November 2016

"the Anthropocene, a New Ecological Age". Reflections on a Lecture by Dr Rowan Bailey, 9th November 2016

The following notes relate to a lecture given by Dr Rowan Bailey at the University of Huddersfield, on Wednesday9th November 2016.

The Anthropocene.

This new epoch or age in human history has now been properly recognised and fully 'announced' by The Royal Geological Society.
(For further references see the "Nature" journal regarding the human age and the new human epoch. There is an article entitled "Goodbye the Holocene" which is a look at how the science is generalised by the media, and the idea to question them in order to create new narratives).

How is the Anthropocene being communicated?

What is the underlying message / emotion /etc. regarding this?

Consider the differing disciplinary engagements that all commentate on these issues:
for example

  • geologists
  • feminists
  • capitalists
  • Marxists
  • et cetera et cetera

What impact of population growth causes the potential environmental issues?

How is the Anthropocene era described as a "wicked problem?"

For example climate change, poverty, urbanisation, water shortages, demographics, waste, waste management et cetera. These are all inextricably linked.

It is useful going to revisit the Arup website and also to relook at the "issues" cards.
Each of these issues cards help to identify on a microcosm type scale each of the current subjects being investigated by Arup research.

The phrase "wicked problems" was originally coined by Rittel and Webber, (1973) who started to explore "dilemmas in a general theory of planning". It was this research that coined the term wicked problems, particularly within urban planning and design. It was recognised that different stakeholders have different reasoning, often they are ill informed, they have subsequently ill-conceived ideas, confusion - born from indeterminacy!
The need is to move beneath this complexity.

See further the Austin Centre for Design website;
at this site it shows 10 characteristics of a "wicked problem" and defines each of the 10 criteria approximately as follows:
1). Wicked problems have no definitive formulation. People's lived experience is different from one another all over the globe.
2). It's very hard (near impossible) to measure things in isolation with regards to wicked problems.
3). Their solutions can only be good or bad, not true or false. In other words these are always subjective outcomes that may please some people but not others.
4). There is no template to follow. (But there is history as a guide).
5). Wicked problems always require more than just one explanation, especially with the explanation being dependent on a perception of X and Y but just as importantly the designer themselves.
6). Every wicked problem is a symptom of another.
7). No mitigation strategy for any of these, as it is always a human customer.
8). A solution is frequently a "one-shot" or nothing type activity, and is not universal.
9). A wicked problem is always unique! It is specific to the site or area and everything that surrounds it within that particular context.
10). The designer attempting to resolve a wicked problem must be fully responsible for their own actions and the outcomes of any proposed and implemented solution.
Wicked problems usually require a "soft" mindset approach to begin to understand the actual issues at hand.

The potential views to take are…
See the                     "hard systems approach V.s The soft systems approach".
Hard systems are ontologically determined, whereas a soft systems approach is epistemologically driven.

How do we consider the Anthropocene in the context of mindset within art and design?

(Tip; Look at the abstract of a paper whenever reviewing it first!).
 For example see the paper "Ethics, Ecology and the Future; Art and Design Face the Anthropocene" written by Kayla Anderson.

See also the work of Joanna Zylinska's paper entitled "Minimal Ethics for the Anthropocene".

Both the above documents are available for download through the Open Humanities Press.

A further book which is particularly useful for my studies is one written by Jonathan Carew entitled "Ontological Catastrophes".

[** Remember always to follow up a writer's own references whenever reading papers of this type!].


  • When writing our proposals, for us to be "critical makers" we also have to be "critical thinkers". We have to articulate the complexities involved clearly. We, therefore, have to move away from the idea that we are the centre of everything. We, therefore, have to think critically, conceptually and speculatively. In other words, we have to think of ideas that are radical/contrary/new!
  • Criticality conceptualisation and speculation should work against the cultural norms.
  • The idea that fear often stops us from doing this has been written about considerably, and I am drawn to remember a book I read some time ago entitled to feel the fear but do it anyway" by Susan Jeffers.
  • "Complexity" is all about the human condition! See the website, this provides a useful segue to an entirely different point of view regarding the climate change that is going to affect all of us. The old-fashioned "narcissist" notion of trying and conquering everything is a traditional way of dealing with "problems" and has to change simply because we cannot master everything. Therefore what we need to do is make an adaptation of situations to find adapted solutions.
  • A useful book would be "Critical Design" by Anthony Dunne and Fiona Raby, further information can be found at

(This is a bit like Thomas Moore's seminal discussions regarding utopias and dystopias)
The above website is a useful example of how artists are articulating new ideas. For example, the book I quoted a little earlier "Feel The Fear But Do It Anyway" by Susan Jeffers, used to fit into a category of books and articles known as "self-help". This suggested that there was something wrong and that there were problems with the reader. In itself this has now been adapted and "self-help" has now become known as "personal improvement". A much more positive view of trying to help yourself but without any connotation of negativity.

** Further research is necessary for "post humanists, and post-humanism."

How can we reimagine and create the speculative design? Speculation becomes a radical act. To think about future possibilities and changing our mindset of a "solution based" approach into new change we need to adapt an environment rather than try to conquer it.

See "The Infinity Burial Project" by Jae Rhim Lee, a TED global broadcast from July 2011. Within this TED talk, the author did detailed research in the science and reproduction of mushrooms and other fungi and came up with the notion of how they can be re-engineered to re-compose the human waste product of cadavers. While this sounds a fascinating and frightening consideration, it is also extremely practical.

Further research

But the themes of the Anthropocene that can benefit from further research would be thinktivism. Speculative realism. Object-oriented ontology. Et cetera et cetera.

We then discussed further details regarding sound ethical practices of a research practitioner. The necessity for openness, honesty, guidance, criticality et cetera. Don't plagiarise others research or findings or indeed reuse any sort of pirated research.

Our proposal is an explanation of our participation "of" and "in" our research.
Think of how other people will be involved? How will people be utilised and in what way?

Take a look at the "Research Ethics" procedure and governments of the University of Huddersfield, and together with the ethics forms and checklist go through the whole process.

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Reflections on the weekly briefing with Dr Rowan Bailey, Wednesday, 9 November 2016.

In revisiting some of the notes that I made for the research methods and project proposal module TMA 1401, I have been thinking about how my plan development is progressing.

Within the briefing, we reminded ourselves that we would need to have at least four or five journal articles properly referenced out through summary as part of the literature review these journal articles will go together with short reviews and summaries of up to 10 to 12 case studies as research.

As a separate section on the proposal, it's then possible to create a set of the main influences which outline what each of the cases addresses, but also what they don't engage with.

Conclusions and work to follow up this week!...

  • I took away the message loud and clear that we need to fully and accurately "sign-post" what we are going to do in our proposal for this module.
  • It's essential that I need to summarise and analyse the existing literature that is out there to put my work into context. 
  • By continually reading both journals and books on artistic research methods this will help to define my progress. 
  • Ultimately the proposal is all about Content! Content! Content.

Monday, 7 November 2016

A reflection on practice (assisted by Richard Mulhern, Sen. Lecturer), module TMA 1404. Friday, 3 November 2016.

 A reflection on practice, assisted by Richard Mulhern.
Richard was keen to explain the role of learning and how this connects with the other module TMA 1401 concerning research and development of research methods.

In this Digital Media Concepts module, what is important is to understand and negotiate is;
 "what will be important for ourselves, as individual practitioners as to what to pick up and research and what to leave alone?"

 In essence what we are trying to do in this digital media concepts module is to continue to improve our own unique and individualised language. In a Masters degree, this is an emergent activity.

In a way, the combination of both the theoretical research module together with this functional module helps in a similar way to an academic Masters degree in perhaps a science subject. The process is virtually the same. The science method is simply all about establishing a goal, defining a process, and then tracking the same and our experiments to hone in towards the convergent point.

It is, therefore, necessary with reflection, not to overcomplicate the work through too much discussion about the method.  And in my particular case, I need to be careful to avoid over analysing object-oriented ontology and speculative realism.
Richard suggested that I looked at the work of Joseph Beuys, which in reflection, is an excellent place for me to consider, as I looked at the work of this artist a couple of years ago. Of particular interest is the work of a body of work usually referred to by Joseph Beuys as "Thinking is Form."

In consideration of the practice towards digital media concepts, this Masters degree will allow me to find new meaning. This should give me the space to learn a higher level of interdependence and reflexivity, that is, continue with the ideas that Ebbinghaus originally planted (nearly a hundred years ago) which is to learn and then repeat, and then learn again, and learn to make further outcomes.

I need to define what the implicit indicators are for wanting to develop my ideas of how I can draw together the concepts of digital media and speculative realism.
Initially, I have started practical work around animation. However, I am also now considering the use of some kinetic text style to help articulate some of the fundamental ideas of speculative realism.
I realise with the reflection that I need to be careful in how to choose particular visual representations so that I can drill down to define 'what is behind those images'?

An area for study would be due close writing on Joseph Beuys. I know that Benjamin Buccloh wrote extensively about Gerhart Richter and I have investigated those books as an undergraduate. I need to try to find due close writing as a further exercise to reframe some of my ideas.

Reflections on "Visualising Reseach" - by Gray & Mallins

In consideration of appropriate research methods Carol Gray and Julian Malins visualising research guides to the research process in art and design published in 2004.

It is clear that it is possible to invent research methods that are specifically appropriate for the task at hand in an artistic endeavour. It seems appropriate that an inherent part of successful research methodologies is the action of reflective practice. By comparing one's own works and practice to those produced by other practitioners in the field, and also practice created by other artists from different categories or disciplines, provides a much richer outcome towards one's own artistic production. What is key in all of these research methods is the experience of making and creating artefacts and through this experiential engagement it is possible to reflect on what is successful and what is not on areas that are quite often purely subjective whether they are aesthetic or appropriate is always a matter of considered opinion. By making reflective analysis and at the same time keeping in mind theoretical research from other disciplines and combining that with visual comparison and research of other practitioners is in itself a triangulation known as a pedagogic approach.

To make suitable judgements on research methods Gray and Malins explained that "clearly articulated research questions to be addressed through the research and related objectives will enable those questions to be explored and answers. By specifying the research context for the questions and the rationale for why it is important will enhance creativity insights knowledge and understanding. Through the specification of appropriate research methods and answering the relevant research questions rationale can then be developed for use of particular methods.

The ideas of improving learning methods were articulated considerably through the work of psychologist anything house who brought out the theory known as having house theory in which learning followed by reflection and then followed by reflection at a later date was the most efficient way of grasping concepts. In 1984 further work was published by in "the experiential learning cycle" in which Colbert stated that there were four phases for most effective experiential learning. The first is the total immersion in a subject matter to establish a deep-seated experience. The second phase is a period of reflection which follows and concurs with anything house earlier theory. Kolb went on to create two further phases or stages the third one being a conceptualisation of the learning process in itself and by doing this action of the articulating the understanding gained through the earlier experience and reflection permits the fourth phase to be manifested through further ideation in order to develop new aims and objectives and therefore execute upon them in order to gather new fresh outcomes and experiences in themselves for further reflection. Thus starting the cycle again.

Saturday, 5 November 2016

Reflections on a lecture by Dr Rowan Bailey entitled "digital transformations", (2nd Nov. 2016).

These next lecture notes are a reflection of some of the topics we discussed last week.

Before the particular conference on Digital Transformations, Dr Bailey provided a short overview of how we should be working towards producing and gathering evidence for our proposal. I thought it useful to repeat and reflect upon the themes discussed;


  1.  we need to start with the contexts to our literature review!
  2.  I need to find five methods of research in artistic practice, for example at
  3. Within these artistic research methods, there will be one potential opportunity to use those ideas and concepts towards my own work and the book that I have chosen "the Peregrine."  I need to find ways to engage with these practically!
  4. "scope" to articulate the introduction of the proposal properly I should think about how I need to set the scene, (or the lay of the land), and then build contextual review of the research methods chosen.
  5. How can those methods then be applied? For example, a reference might be a reference to the authors, such as Watson (1992) and "The role of chance as a creative stimulus in Sculpture". (In thinking about this I need to consider using "the cloud" as a repository. This is, in itself, is a recursive yet direct relational reference to digital media and digital transformation).

It was appropriate to review the pages 27 to 34 of the book "Visual Research" by Gray and Malins.
Then I need to consider the literature and document it appropriately. This is also referred to in the book by Gray and Malins "visual research" pages 35 to 48. Entitled "Mapping the Terrain".
Do I need to ask myself how am I going to do this differently?
I need to articulate what worked well and what didn't?
I then need to look at what am I going to do to then address context?
Also without forgetting what am I going not to do for research?

Ultimately these ideas are a description of how I can analyse studies in a critical context?

In the reflection of this short overview, it is worthwhile looking at Rowan's suggested format of the proposal as a starting point to complete a skeleton or strawman of the proposal and then to develop my proposal in itself.

Further Conclusions

The most urgent activity now is to set objectives and aims to achieve my own goals in this voyage of exploration!.

Digital Transformations;
A lecture by Dr Rowan Bailey, (2/11/2016). University of Huddeersfield.

In considering the book "Big Data" by Manual Castells and "The Informational City" (1989) by Manuel Castell's and Yoko Aoyama) this book describes the decline in industrial cultures, and the paradigm shift of material production to knowledge and information based processing.

In considering "the digital age", the analysis of large amounts of data and the correlations between them is no longer about cause and effect in simple terms. This is something that can be explored in an artistic context as well.

Data management,

 and data "mining" deals with the retrieval and the treating of methodologies for representing the whole of the data which is being stored. Within this data management includes;

  • Aggregation,
  • Monte Carlo analysis,
  • Hadoop,
  • Quantum Analysis,
  • Artificial Intelligence.

The book referred to earlier, "Big Data" (subtitled 'a Revolution that will Transform how we Live, Work and Think), by Victor Mayor-Schoenberger (2013), together with the work of Kenneth Cukler is something that I need to read!...

The idea that "the datafication" makes information in itself "indexable" is achieved through the concept of "metadata".

For example, the Google device "n-gram" viewer, (which was formed through the worse kind of industry, that being the military?).

It is based on "location as data".
e.g. Global Positioning System, (or global positioning satellites).
Initially the satellites were placed in orbit around 1978 during heightened times of the Cold War, which were used solely by the United States military, but are now fully accessible to the general public and form an integral part of our daily lives.

Another idea of datafication is;
the Massachusetts Institute of Technologies' "Human Dynamics Laboratory" and their work on "reality mining" for example the tracking of influenza virus.

The interactions of the use of data have many implications for artists.
For example,

  • issues of use:
  • methods of visualisation;
  • and methods of analysis to name but a few.

As a further example see "1 million tweets map" which is an online facility and provides dynamic data visualisation of actual tweets going on in real time.

"The Risks."

  • Datafication and its use with surveillance?
  • Health monitoring, both publicly and privately for good and arguably principal activities by insurance companies?
  • In other words for prevention and cure, or exploitation?
  • Education and free learning? (An example might be the Khan Academy)
  • targeted advertising, such as that done by Google and Facebook.
  • Forecasting and resource optimisation for global resources.

Cyberspace and social identities.

The "Digital Universe". 

The world is overflowing with information with the expansion of human knowledge. How do we orientate ourselves within this?
It is a question of identity.
An interesting book written in 1984 by William Gibson is the book "Neuromancer" within it William Gibson coined the word cyberspace.

It is important to consider that our unique identity is completely "fabricated" when our presence is on the Internet.
The Internet is also free from "body scrutiny" and is a space of democratisation.
Expression is not necessarily constrained by judgement brought about by face-to-face communication.

I recall my work at Sun Microsystems at the turn of the millennium and the new advancement of "the participation age."
There was an idea then, to embrace fully (and to some degree exploit) the emerging concept and practice that there was a hybrid function going on of the producer and user together.
An example of this is blogging, and blogging as expertise.

Arguably, this helps to re-articulate the hierarchy of knowledge, with particular emphasis on the expression of new ideas and cultural change.

Consider a review of the Royal School of Art "Animate" website and also a review of the book by WJ Mitchell (1996) entitled "The City of Bits"; space, place and the Infobahn.

Also, the concept of "The electronic flaneur."

Consider also the ideas of co-opetition in the new post-industrial trade paradigm

In my own research find the book by Donna Haraway "the cyborg manifesto" and "Ghost in the Shell by Masamune Shirow, on youtube.
This describes a post-human condition,
"we are an artifice."
"everything is artifice".

Further work; - Current exhibitions & possible Gallery Visits.

  • The Electronic Superhighway (2016 back to 1966). Art including the work by Lynn Hershman-Leeson, creating an alter ego called "Lorna" who has not left her home for over four years...
  • Consider other work such as Douglas Copeland. I-Recognition.
  • James Bridle, Homo Sacer, holograms.
  • See also the "Big Bang Data" exhibition at Somerset House which showcases the design of various designers and artists. 
  • Look at the work by Erica Scourti on Vimeo. "Persona non-data."
  • Look at the website ""
  • Brendan Dawes - digitising and representing data in new forms.
  • The Guardian newspaper has its own data visualisation section.

Thursday, 3 November 2016

Reflections on the Homeless Sculpture series of lectures, held at the Whitworth Art Gallery,Manchester. Thursday, 27 October 2016.

The series of lectures entitled Homeless Sculpture, which was introduced and curated by John Plowman was my engagement for the day.
The sessions were presented and opened early in the day with a description of the homeless sculpture website.
Within the introduction it was explained that Charles Hewless considers sculpture as "a world entire into itself", its home is nowhere except the imagination of the viewer. It is belonging to the world but also interfering at the same time. A quotation by David Smith, (as cited by Philip Potts) was "break the isolation of the sculptural object."

Sculptures original home has always been the museum, but for the last 150 years (as per the ideas of Baudelaire and Rodin) it has become autonomous.

There is a constant pressure to reconnect with the public. For example Giacometti and his sculptures engaging with space and around the form to connect with the public of New York in Times Square.

In the words of Barbara Hepworth "consider the matter and space as one", an example of this might be in work by Mike Nelson "the Coral Reef". In this piece, it has no outside, but only an "inside."

Going back to some of the concepts of Aristotle in "the reciprocal belonging of the place" as quoted by Edward C. Casey ("The fate of place", page 71).

For current practitioners, consider Thea Djordjadze, "as Sagas Sa" 2012 at the Documenta exhibition in 2012. This extends the idea that sculpture and place are as one.

In Japanese culture, this is sometimes referred to as "KuWai" which is often related to Shintoism. An obvious example might be that of the work in Arato Isozaki, in his "Japanese-ness in architecture", page 66.

There is a reciprocal relationship to place and Shinto gods. As an object, such as a tree, maybe the central focal point of the type of worship.
What is essential to the place is "what is happening" - reference, Dorothy Tanning, who once said, "the only thing happening here is the wallpaper."

A sculpture is present in the object, but it is also something that invites a "yet to be" idea. In consideration of the statement, I thought and reflected on Heidegger's "becoming"?.
It has a dialogue with the outside, in other words, the preparation and the production, then the dismantling with notions of its occupation elsewhere.

Lucy R. Lippard created sculpture based on the populations of people in the town that she was investigating. For example in work "557, 085" which was made in Seattle in 1969; and also the work "995,000" which was a reflection of the investigation she conducted in Vancouver in 1970.
 Her premise was to "create an exhibition from out of a suitcase".
To create the blurring of the role of the Creator and the Observer.
- She created cards of instruction and then sent them to other artists. Within these cards, she included instructions specifically about her predetermined duration of an exhibition. These other artists, in contemporary context, were people like Sol LeWitt. He then created sub- cards of further instruction to further artists. Robert  Smithson also received instructions, and then he created a sub- instruction from the further production of art.

Following on from Lippard's original catalogue of cards she then writes about how the actual works (post sub- direction) were then made, or in most cases the excuses and reasons were for not being made!

An example of this might be "One-ton corner piece" 1967 to 1968. Consider the position of this work which was one tonne of sand placed in the corner of the studio and how it manifested itself in each new installation.

In Gerhart Richter's "Seven Panes; (house of cards)", this was the Sheards tribute to the UK architecture with strong influence by the Bauhaus movement and Walter Gropius.

A sculpture is usually made for a speculative audience and is invariably held within the museum. A further example might be Serra, "House of Cards".  These were four sheets of self-propped-up pieces of steel into a box shape and placed within the centre of a museum or gallery space.
The questions it brings are, "does it neutralise and destruct the gallery space?" The answer is, of course, no, it accords itself with its place.

The ideas that these sculptures induce is the capacity to give free and deliberate attention, and that is, in itself, necessary of the viewer to do so, to get the best meaning from these objects.

(I noticed that an interesting inclusion into this exhibition which was ostensibly contemporary was the addition of works by Donatello.  The argument put forth is that Donatello's work is much more tangible, physical and connective to space (as per Giacometti's work generally for instance), and is much stronger than say other artists of that same period such as Michelangelo).

Discussion around the ideas of "homelessness" invokes the ideas of space and place as a cultural concept, which makes anyone attending to it, to have some role as an occupier. This may be a spectator, or participant, et cetera.

"Homeless and belonging" is an entirely different feeling and situation from the old-fashioned ideas of "public and private" which would be found in a museum or gallery space. It is, therefore, logical to conclude that architecture may drive different response to how we might experience dramatic sculptural pieces and how we experience them.

The next part of the lecture was then given by John Plowman who was the artist in residence in the town of Lintz, Austria.

He wanted to investigate three things. (These were the result of being lost during a perambulation of Lintz and he stumbled upon).
"Being Lost / Perambulation;
Rilke's writing on Rodin;
The sculpture is a thing lost in a Studio.

During his time in Lintz, he found the Bruckner Hall site, which was the local City Concert Hall. This was designed by Eduardo Paulozzi (1924 to 2005), and his work was a homage built on Bruckner, -  Anton Bruckner 1977.
This continued with the ideas of the physical and metaphorical sense of being lost in the museum.

The temporal notion can be gained by people gathering and moving through space to make a sculpture become activated. This can be seen in the works of Richard Serra, for example, autonomy of space and place.

The studio is "made and is a site adjusted", the indifference of the public, towards how they treat a piece of sculpture is what is of interest here.

The next short work tools provided by Rosamond Krauss.
 She stated that modernist sculpture was homeless.
The idea that high art culture and in particular high sculpture, such as the figurative, could be heightened through the idea of surrounding it with water.
An example was shown which articulated well an interesting technique or device that would ensure that the observer would be detached completely from the sculpture. This was used at the Festival of Britain sculptures. In themselves, they were a representation of modernity.

The heroic concept of the mother and child, but in a way as some of these sculptures occupy a social space, they are kind of "rubbished" as they sit in shopping malls where the public often take the objects for granted.

Sculptors and Sculptures of today are taking on a very different weight. For example Rachel Whiteread's work. In her works, it is permanently present as it also becomes a kind of architecture.

This perceptual feeling of anxiousness, "like being on the edge of the bottomless pit, with a ladder extending into it"... invites the viewer to take that first step in an anxious invitation towards letting go.

In work "at the foot of doors" by John Llewelyn-Waldron, this remained hidden in an archive for over 30 years but then brought out to the public to view very recently.
 In this work, it makes different engagement with the works as a sculpture, because it is clearly not a monument. But equally, we re-engage with these works with new dialogue, which is entirely different from the sculpture or object which continuously remains in place as is usual, to such a familiarity.
A consciousness that almost seems for the object to disappear in plain sight. Something that is on display continually, therefore, becomes mute.
People no longer see it.
Sometimes it gets covered in graffiti.
Perhaps the sculpture should be decommissioned?

An example here is the Paulozzi piece that John Plowman found back in Lintz in Austria which he then further articulated in his photographs, ...of the mound outside the Bruckner concert Hall in Lintz.
Sculpture needs to be different.  Different to differentiate itself from other objects by using materials that make space and then articulate their differences or specialness or other, some form of unusual mass, than other objects might do. Something has to structuralize for it to become a sculpture rather than just another object.

In the next short lecture at the Whitworth Gallery, art historian Claire O'Dowd of the University of Manchester provided her discussion of sculptures as architecture and architecture as sculpture. The first example that she provided for this kind of consideration was the work by Mike Nelson "a psychic vacuum" (2007).

Creating a narrative from the flex of response of the viewer, where a kind of displacement is felt, as the outcome of such works. The installation was approximately 15,000 feet in space, which in itself created feeling of homelessness in a contextual sense. The context for the viewer is different therefore from the framework of the artist.

Another artist in this mode that has been explored is Gregor Schneider for example in his room works "Kaffeezimmer" ...this was a rotating room within a gallery space.

Another piece of work that was analysed and discussed was by Gordon Matta-Clark "Splitting" (1974) which was a whole two-storey house that appeared to be chopped in two. Another one of his works "Conical Intersect" (1975) was a huge hole that had been bored into and through a series of three terraced houses.

These had some similar ideas and resemblance to the work by Henry Moore and the Parenthetic sculpture. This can also be seen with Lynn Chadwick's "Beast" (1959) which has only been presented once before, and it, in itself creates an anxious sculpture of a four-legged animal; seems to be very disturbed in how it is received.

The next lecture was provided by the senior curator of the Whitworth gallery. (She was formerly the curator of the Hepworth). A talk entitled "things" because ultimately this is with what she deals! (See Elizabeth Price's work on homelessness).

Her idea and interests as a curator are in the concept of "Re-homing". Her life is about sculpture and is always in motion, as "in transit" or as an object going from one space to another, that is "rehoming".

For example one of the works she cited was that by Gustaf Metzger "Flailing Trees" (2009).
Initially, this works was in the centre of Manchester but is now placed at the front of the Whitworth Gallery, and is in fact due to be moved again.
The decorative object or sculpture is 21 willow trees that were uprooted and repositioned upside down in concrete, with the roots exposed to the air. It is, therefore, a living sculpture.

The sculpture is often exhibited and then disposed of. This, in itself, must be changed in some way. Many Manchester artists are attempting to preserve these temporary transient sculptures through collectively using premises at the Islington Mill and Salford with an intention to store artists' work for free in future.

Reflecting on the lecture provided by Alex Potts at the Whitworth Gallery regarding "post-war modernist public sculpture."

In this talk, Alex Potts looked specifically at the work of Eduardo Chillida ( and Henry Moore.

Sculptures have to create works that are related to their space within the future use of that particular space.

A figure that was made specifically for the UNESCO buildings in Paris, which is the "Reclining Figure" by Henry Moore in 1957 is of particular interest, as it explicitly contrasts with the site or space that it is placed within.
Within that space in the union UNESCO Park area, this changes with the change of space as a humanist location of gathering.

In contrast, in Chillidas work, it makes mischief of Henry Moores work. However, in Chillidas "Wind-comb" of 1966 to 1977, which is installed in San Sebastian in northern Spain, he went on to create the "House of our Father's" made in 1986 and then installed in 1987. This was a sort of tribute to the ideas of Pablo Picasso's Guernica. It provides a statement of Basque-ness and its sense of place in the "Park of the peoples of Europe" situated within the town of Guernica in northern Spain.

Now compare that with Chillidas work and Henry Moores "Large Bronze Sculpture" (now also located in the park of the people of Europe) also in Guernica, which was installed as a tribute to that artist after he had died.

The point of looking at these pieces is that giant sculpture creates its own sense of place. An example to further illustrate my be the work by Henry Moore "Two Large Forms" which is installed at the Bundesbank German Chancellery in Germany.

At the time, this particular sculpture made lots of sense. However, this caused all sorts of problems after the reunification of Germany, as to where it should then be positioned.

In contrast to Chillidas' "Bundeskanzleramt" in Berlin and his sculpture which shows a natural response to the German reunification proper (in other words the history, as post-modernists, made from steel), which is essentially two halves of the sculpture grappling with each other.

The placing of an object become something of a social creation, rather than an "artistic" creation. For example Chillidas "Place of Encounters 3" made in 1972, but not allowed to be installed when it was due to do so, until 1977, which is situated under the Paseo del Castellano in Madrid. Within this, the metaphysical concept of autonomy is blurred.

There is a much deeper engagement nowadays, certainly over the last 50 years, with the connected meaning of the object and its place. In the case for example of Metzgers' "Flailing Trees", the movement of the sculpture into the park will create an entirely new meaning of it, because of its own placement. Metzger, the artist, is fully agreed that the work can be removed and remade as it is moved and so therefore re-contextualised.

Perhaps it's re-recontextualization is necessary because it now lies within the centre of the Whitworth and therefore it is now institutionalised within a gallery space. Consider and reflect further that ownership itself is also temporal. Ownership can also be public and connected or private and disconnected. And equally, this can change through time as ownership changes through time to.

The idea of "un-fixity" helps to create the idea of "an encounter". Useful to consider here might be the work of Matta-Clark again and "the performative encounter" as a strategy.
This further reflection ties up nicely with some of the ideas that I wrote last year about Heidegger's notions of "place as an event".

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Reflections on the workshop entitled "The Human Zoetrope" by Rob Lycett, senior lecturer at the University of Huddersfield.

Rob provided an excellent initial presentation which looked at the works of Stephen Irwin and for example "the black dog's progress".

The objective of this workshop today was to create approximately 300 frames of film animation which would last about 45 seconds.
The inspiration for the workshop came from Channel 4's "life-size Zoetrope" which was a short film by Mark Simon Lewis.

The method for the seminar was synchronised exposure using a DSLR camera. The images were then further processed by using digital animation together with repeating loops to make a much larger piece of work.

The notions of looping and repetition are similar to the ideas of Eduard Muybridge's moving horse.

These ideas of looping repetition, - animation; still continue the work into the current day fashion in Manga.

In this particular workshop, the initial activities were to create a title sequence as a pixelation. An example of a useful resource was "looming Iris" which was a real-world time-lapse pixelation set up by the art movement INCAa.

In our workshop, the group was split into six groups of three, giving 18 separate creators pretty much free rein to produce 12 frames each which would then be stitched together using the application "Dragon-frame".

The outcome of the workshop is linked below.

<iframe src="" width="640" height="427" frameborder="0" webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen allowfullscreen></iframe><p><a href="">hudgda_zoetrope_2016</a> from <a href="">Rob Lycett</a> on <a href="">Vimeo</a>.</p>

Reflections on a tutorial with Dr Rowan Bailey, Wednesday 26 of October 2016.

Today it was useful to have a review of some of the research methods theory that we have been individually looking into for our practice.

Last week, Dr Bailey suggested as a group discussion that we regularly bounced ideas off one another and reflected on our own work.


  • In review of my own work for example, it was clear that I needed to work harder to keep the ideas open and use the book "The Peregrine" as a vehicle to scope the research process itself. 
  • The convenience of the idea of The Peregrine, (being a raptor), helps because I can then use the process of the book as a process for research.
  • There are risks to this approach however, as studying just a small scope might produce an output that is not as optimal as perhaps it could be. 
  • I must not fall into the trap (or rabbit hole) of trying to remediate the book through digital media... That would simply just be a question of copying the idea of the Peregrine in itself. 
  • - The book in itself is a work of art. 
  • Instead, what I need to do, is look at why it is a work of art in order to find my own subject and object, and hence in order to define the text itself that I then work with.
  • Ultimately this is a question of exploring an exploration. 
  • It is useful in my activities towards making a constellation of possibilities, and that to apply the research to something new. 
  • Whilst I have been recently looking at a number of films by Werner Hertzog, it is also worthwhile to look at films such as "The Enigma of Kasper Henson, or alternative series of films by Hertzog such as "Storyzcek" (?). 
  • Also of interest are more recent films such as Grizzly Man. I also should try to see Werner Hertzog's film Nosferatu for a different view again. 
  • In all these films what I need to do is understand how the Peregrine book resonates through each of those films.
  • Dr Bailey suggested another idea to look at what "speculative fiction" is. 
  • The workings particular by Donna Haraway and "New materialism" written by Karen Berard are also useful which is an analysis of the apparatus of humanity. 
  • Many of these books may be available through the Open Humanities Press under the subsection "New Materialism".

Saturday, 29 October 2016

Animation and After-Effects workshop by lecturer Sarah Nesteruk, (Wednesday 26th of October 2016).

In reflection and consideration of this wonderful workshop, conducted earlier today  I will attempt to articulate some of the work that we covered during the four or five hours that a group of similar minded creative individuals came up with in response to the suggested exercise of re-articulating and interpreting the play by Samuel Beckett "Not I".

Sarah explained the importance of our role in trying to help reinterpret ideas of perception and the way that we see the world. That is, the object external to ourselves, and "I".
For example in Beckett's play "Not I", it is all about the focus on the "mouth".

It was agreed by the group that we would limit our colour palette to images and text of black red and white, and this would be the format for any creative work that we produce.

Dr Nesteruk showed some animations in contemporary practice, by for example "Tomato", - an advertising agency, who also created further pieces such as "No Hope", on behalf of Radio Scotland.

In the above examples, it is the current fashion to create what is known as kinetic typography. The particular animation that was shown to us starts with the text idea "I think I'll be Drug".
The animation is a very effective way of getting a message across to a viewer.
The text and video combination of the spoken word are incredibly powerful. The objective, in trying to create such animation and videos is how to add character to the text. In another example "What Barry Says" which is a textual animation through the website video, written by Barry Robson.
Another might be "Knife Party" a further animation by Barry McNamara.

Todays' workshop created an animation sequence project. This was a concerted activity, with each of us creating individual vignettes which were linked together to form the whole play of Samuel Beckett's "Not I".
For this to connect appropriately and efficiently, each scene will need to have a start and finish of 'a black box'.

The simple format of the high definition template was the usual 1920 x 1080 pixels. As this is going to be used for a broadcast type activity on the web then 72 dots per inch with square pixels, is adequate.

It is important to create a specific assets folder that is unique to the project that you are attempting to achieve. This in itself was a very useful learning from this exercise in reflection.
To create the After Effects video, I used the "import file" action from the navigation bar to select the project folder and my assets, which were then "imported as" a composition which retained all the attributes of the layer sizes.

I was then able to create a new composition with those assets.

It can be found here....Part 20, - "Not I"

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Reflection on TMA1401 - Research Methods Lecture, 26-10-2016

In a lecture with Dr Rowan Bailey today, Wednesday, 26 October 2016, we conducted a workshop to explore and discuss previous Masters proposals, and in particular how they were constructed.

Sam Edwards (a former Master's student of the University of Huddersfield), created the first project to be examined.
In this particular document the following headings were used;
1) historical literature review
2) Perception
3) Gestalt theory and the principles of Gestalt
4) how Gestalt theory and perception manifests themselves through art.

Ostensibly this document described how methodologies that the student conducted, the research practice, was, in fact, all about developing those same methods and experimenting with them. The proposal had clear aims with a distinct definition of what the document is:
How the project evolved; how it had been implemented; and then furthermore, focus on what the actual project was.
Images of the research conducted while in practice and which the corresponding similar practitioners were, was also documented, together with details on how they influenced the creation of this particular student's Masters proposal.

And finally, the paper describes the methodology correctly used by that student which included the "why" and also the "what" of the project itself.

The final part of the document provided detailed references, in accordance with APA 6th edition, together with an illustration index.

Another proposal was written by Eloise Walmsley-Jones consisting of approximately 33 pages related to the practice of defining drawing.
She started the document with a literature review and gave details as to where the core idea had evolved. She also then articulated who the current practitioners were and what they did with their work; this included key artists influences.
There was then a contextual discussion in the document, which was around the question how do you put your work into the current context of other practitioners.

What conventions are challenged artistically here? What are conventions that have been followed too? And so on.

** A very useful book to read on the subject of research methods is that written by Barbara Bolt where she discusses research methods in great detail and the importance of reflective practice. - See "Practice as Research; Approaches to Creative Arts Enquiry", Edited by Estelle Barrett and Barbera Bolt. (2007), I.B. Taurus & Co. Publishing, London & New York.

A further proposal by Emma Jackson which was entitled interpretations of the uncanny was then discussed. This is especially interesting because it used digital media and in particular animation together with the concept of "the uncanny" (extensively written by Freud and further works through the 20th century).

An example cited as "The Path (2009)" which explores dream states and the uncanny. Further research was also articulated in "The omnipotence of thought;" a study regarding obsessiveness again by Sigmund Freud. The author of this proposal also touched on the subject of feminism and "The Castration Complex", also investigated and posited by Freud.

Emma provided an excellent overview of areas that she needed to develop. She did this by providing a mapping diagram and also she produced a project management and goal mapping section which helped to define how each of the educational modules being studied fed into her research as well.

A general question of "do direct quotations go towards the word counts" and the initial answer given by Dr Bailey was "no"!...

With regards to further work in the module TMA 1401, other topics we will include in the following weeks, include some significant global issues. For example;
The digital world and how it impacts with culture.
The Anthropocene and the demise of the human species (for example the space X project and the work being carried out now by Elon Musk and his ideas of the colonisation of Mars);
 And further, work such as Migration and the movement of people.
For example migration and immigration as an area of practice and research.

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Playing with ideas towards articulating an interpretation of Speculative Realism through Drawing

Having spent the last couple of days submerged in ideas of drawing and the vehicle that I have chosen of The Peregrine, I have used the field work and research gathered over the weekend to create a further segment of animation...

I'm still unsure of where this is going though, in itself, the short 5 second clip seems to work at an abstracted level, but I think I need to drill down further of how this can manifest further towards the ideas of Graham Harman and Bruno Latour's Object Oriented Ontology.

I feel the need to work on the fractured and segmented visualisation, in the animation I have purposefully left the clip "jumpy", and even put in a couple of frames of a colour chart to tighten the sensation of immediacy.  

I am not sure how well this works though.  Looking for other S.R. artist - practitioners, I found that there was a useful exhibition at the Tate some years ago (2014), which seems to place the movement founded by Harman quite well. A link to the exhibition records can be found here;

What I find interesting about the ideas that this exhibition raised at the time, is the argument postulated by Plato to Socrates (and/or vice-versa), some 3000 years ago (nearly), is still going on today.  Namely that is, "What is Art"?...  (Or should I put an exclamation mark here, i.e. "What is Art!").  

Is art confined to Xenophon's passage that he recorded Socrates thoughts and discussions with Plato, which states Socrates position of beauty and aesthetic values of everyday life...
"I promise you, that if you ask me for a good thing that is good for nothing, I know no such thing, nor have I anything to do with it... In a word, all things that are of any use in the world are esteemed beautiful and good, with regard to the subject for which they are proper." (Third book of the 'Memorable Thoughts of Socrates' (pp106-107)). 
Or is it the version of Plato's observations and thoughts of Socrates, where he records a very different version of beauty, based within the complexity of reality, - that is, the 'devine creations', and how our own interpretation and perception of the world is separated.

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Research into flight patterns of the peregrine

For the past couple of days, I spent some considerable time watching a falconer working together with his birds of prey during an agricultural and countryside show in Yorkshire.

The opportunity to film and photograph peregrines (or some crossbreeds with Peregrines and Gyrfalcons to be more specific), put a completely different spin on my interpretation of flight patterns that these birds exhibit. I was delighted to be able to see them at close quarters and even more importantly, talk with highly educated and enthusiastic practitioner and observer of the whole life-cycle of these magnificent creatures.

The photos and videos will be used to assist my understanding of the very essence of being a peregrine, in relation to the speed of flight and the ability to turn, dance and play whilst suspended in the clear medium of air.

Thanks again to Ben Potter of for an amazing day and for allowing me to use these photos and film for research!

Further reflections on tutorials with Dr Liam Devlin

There is an exciting development of the Apple Corporation and the "i-tribe" application, which uses a piece of hardware called the "i-tracker". One of the other students (Summer) described how this new application and device is finding that we as humans communicate more with our left-eye expression than the messages that we receive from and through our right eye.
[I wondered is this possible that it is because of "right brain" activity being a centre for creativity? Perhaps some further reading might be useful here, and I am thinking of the book "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain" by Dr Betty Edwards?]

In continuing the themes of digital media concepts, Dr Devlin recommended most strongly that we continue to take pictures of anything that takes our interest, and continue to think about this module as research to create a report of how we might have played with the ideas that the images bring us. An example of this type of practice might be seen in "Tableau Vivant: adventures for living" as in the works by Gregory Crewdson.

In the digital images or even analogue image reproduction, develop a drama in the composition through appropriate lighting, placement, constructed scenes and so on that are more real and mood driven. Play with experimenting in these areas. Another good example of the practice in this type of work would be the artist Bill Viola.

Other ideas include how the spectacle can be mediated, in particular by the media itself and the frissons of the possible.

 [Consider Martin Lange and his work which documents the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico and how a huge meteorite obliterated a village.]

Another interesting resource book would be "The Great Un-Real." By Taiyo Onorato and Nico Krebs.
THE GREAT UNREAL, 2005 – 2009

And also perhaps see the film and book by Cormac McCarthy, "The Road" which describes a bleak world about hope, with its central characters being the relationship between a father and daughter.

Engage in all the little stories that might be inculcated within the details of an image including that which is going on in the background, and therefore what are the possible narratives that can be created from each engagement or intervention.


In particular interest to my work, I need to look at the ideas of "the now" to hypnotise, yet stupor the viewer, through a kind of paradox. 

Tasks for next week:

  • Dr Devlin suggested that I looked at the work of Liam O Flaherty and his extensive investigation of the Arron Isles, about "His First Flight" (Book). This is a non-sentimental discussion about the obsessive observation with detail and the sense of movement.
  • Another great piece of work to look at is Helen Sear, and her films of red kites, and how people now interact with them. She has created some beautiful works using digital media for example sunflower continually opening and closing is imparted in her images together with a sense of taking time out, to think about "the now" and being "in the moment."

Saturday, 22 October 2016

Reflections on a tutorial with Dr Liam Devlin

The Digital Media Concepts model is aimed towards developing practical projects, but also at a technical and conceptual level.

The goal is also to create something with agility, but also end up in a place which might be considered as being totally unexpected! By creating outcomes through research without a specific end objectives usually, makes for a much more vibrant and engaging enterprise.

Taking the advice of Jacques Rancière (one of Dr Devlin's favourite philosophers), it is necessary to create a cultural environment for growth through the activity of sharing experiences; we are all equals!

Mahatma Gandhi said "first they ridicule you,
then they fight you,
then they kill you,
… And then you win!"

In your work, create a sense of tension! Through this tension, (even if you are dealing with it from a myth or an untrue subject), encourage the viewer or reader to make an enquiry.
This idea of tension is a type of hook, a way of entrapping the reader or viewer into a much more interesting dialogue of experiences which becomes two ways in its flow.

[Consider the concept of Magic Realism, Magic myths]

… A photograph is a paradox,-it is a document (which is an accurate record of something)… However, it is also an aesthetic abstraction at the same time!

Magic Realism is a type of literary genre which started to appear in 1955 (particularly in the works of Gabriel Garcia Marquez). In such literature, the writing seems to be presented in a realist sense, but what happens through the narrative is arguably magical. For example in the works cited above a classic example was the story of the man that was found in Chile, who appeared just to be an ordinary man discovered in the middle of a street, but then it transpires that he has wings of feathers on his back. The initial engagement is believable, but as you read on, the idea and image in your mind become disrupted. It can be considered as a challenge through subversion.

The "assumption" of the real is what good modern photography is all about, for example, the "selfie" is really a statement of "how I would like to be seen by the world".
In fact this is not a new phenomenon, as the high street photographer who used to use a background prop of maybe of a scene of beautiful mountains behind the subject, and perhaps they dressed up in theatrical clothes to suggest that they were actually there in the hills (rather than in an industrial city or town high Street ensconced in a small back room of a photography studio) was a popular type of "Magic Realism".

In the writings of Jacques Rancière: and the relationship between aesthetic's and politics and the "aesthetic regime", he discusses this in detail; "the social order (or as Ranciere terms it, "the police order") is a set of rules and conventions…"

Another example might be the book "the Invisible Man" (which is about the daily quotidian of being a black man in a white society) the device used is by taking the background culture to highlight social conventions and then juxtaposing it with an alternative view.

In Jacques Rancière's critique of the spectacle, for him it is located in its origins in Plato's denouncement of the mimesis of the theatre, is the place to "gawp".

Intellectual Emancipation requires an "a priori" notion of intelligence of a situation, according to Rancière.

"How then do we re-image meaningful fabric of "the sensible" to construct a new representation but without the terms of the message is a vehicle". (Rancière 2009:63).

20th-century art and beyond is no longer about representation; it is now a paradox. The "conventions" of language and representation versus the "meaninglessness".
In other words, we make meaning from the art form, including what lies outside of the frame to which we are looking at. [See the work of Jacques Derrida, outside the frame; and also the work of Hal Foster and the "screen" with a little tear in it, - which invites the viewer to poke a hole through it and see an alternative reality].

In essence, it is all linked with the power of suggestion, but without a specific message. In other words, the proposal is there, but there is nothing obvious as to how one might interpret the suggestion.


  • Keep making compelling imagery
  • do not aspire to the masses
  • do not conform to conventionality
  • create something contentious or contrary.

Monday, 17 October 2016

Fighting the the ideas of last week.

I'm still preoccupied with the ideas of using flight and the simple Peregrine drawings I detailed last week, and so combining this with the workshop we attended last Friday, I put together a simple yet rough animation...

Where this is going to take me, however, I have no idea!

I just need to keep "Making stuff" and something will pop out, I am sure of it!...

Saturday, 15 October 2016

Digital media concepts workshop, reflections on the practice of Sarah Nesteruk

Sarah's interest is the use of a publishing platform called "persona" at the moment which she has found through the active engagement of a website for artists known as the cargo collective.  Within this new "persona" platform, is essentially an even easier way to make up a website from scratch, by using existing templates that are taken from successful sites that are already established. With this new tool, you can set up a website as quickly as the task to create a simple PowerPoint presentation.

1) What follows is an exciting excursion into the use of digital media and in particular the application by Adobe, After Effects And Photoshop. Sarah is interested in the relationship between ourselves and our practice.

2) the question is, how do we express ourselves in the "modern" technology based on the "digital age"?

[For further explanation, go to]

We carried out a simple exercise that utilised this new persona tool by asking ourselves to simple questions;
A) what is the easiest thing that I can say about myself in three words?
B) how can I express this in three frames?

So after about five minutes of deliberation and procrastination, I thought of three representations of myself as 1). Artist. 2). Creator. 3). Thinker.

I then used Photoshop to create a 16 x 9 aspect ratio web-based image set up as a width of 1920 pixels times 1080 pixels at 25 frames per second. At 72 dots per inch (i.e. this is set up as a custom parameter as film and video)

Potentially what we were about to do was to create a 72 dots per inch, RGB/Adobe colour palette flashing animation. It was pointed out to take care with the frequency of the flashing images as it has been thought in the past that these might, at certain frequencies induce epilepsy in people that are more susceptible to such attacks.

[For further reading view the work by Prof Harding "On Visual Perception and Epilepsy"].

Once these three images were set up in Photoshop and named with the naming convention <filename_001.jpg, filename_002.jpg and filename_003.jpg>, we were then able to export them.

Within the Adobe After Effects software application, by selecting
[file import]
[file, [ Select <the first filename_001.jpg from the sequence,
...then ( in options), tick the select JPEG sequence]


Adobe After Effects then sets up a new project within each frame as JPEG file.
We then need to set up each image to take up to 2 frames to slow it down when replaying it as an animation.

select [new composition]… (This is the new composition tab, not from the selection itself).
Ensure that the frame rate is set to 25 per seconds.

The precise timing of the animation is done at the bottom of this drop-down menu, and usually a rate of approximately 12 images per second as comfortable for most people, therefore set up the duration of the animation to say 10 seconds overall.


Hover over the new series import above the new composition you have just created, and right click on the new series import.
Select [Interpret Footage]
                [Main] .... (Change the frame rate to 25 per second).
                 and loop this to say 100 times,

Then click and drag your new project sequence down into the timeline [i.e. the new JPEG sequence] towards the bottom right area of Adobe AE.

Towards the left of the timeline, click on the timeline menu [3 horizontal lines]
select "column" and ensure the stretch function is ticked.

Then by using the stretch percentage bar you can slow the animation down by extending the timeline to say 200 or 300% or even slower if necessary.

[Now you need to render the output]

The new persona web application requires both a low resolution and a high-resolution version which can be created through Apple QuickTime.

In order to do this, [select the timeline], go to "composition."
and then
[Add to the Render Queue] ... / alternatively use control M for the same function.

Moving through the next operations in an anticlockwise direction over the next choices, start by selecting the "output to" <enter a new file name>
select [output module]: QuickTime, <a submenu appears, and within the [format options] it is necessary to check that the output is set to application proRes 1080 P 25.


select [render settings]: Best settings, again a new submenu pops up and select "timespan" as <length of composition>,

You are then able to render the whole composition by selecting the [Render] button on the right-hand side of the timeline.

A QuickTime format.MOV file is then created.

Find and then double-click on the new.MOV file (it should be pointed out that you need to be using a fully equipped Apple Mac for this to work, as there may be some compatibility with Microsoft Windows and the Apple software, which is not loaded as standard on those later machines).

On an Apple Mac, this then opens a QuickTime sub-window. On a Mac, you can then export it to 720 pixels (720p) to make a smaller and well-compressed file.

The actual animation is complete at this stage.

Now, to set up the "persona" web sequence, you need to upload your.MOV file to the "Vimeo" website.

By using a combination of the Vimeo sites together with the Persona site builder, it is possible to create a new front end moving image to introduce yourself in the cargo collective artists website and repository.

A link to this is shown below.