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."