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".