Saturday, 21 January 2017

Thinking about last term's activities; feedback with Richard Mulhern.

In Digital Media Concepts, my overall mark for this module was scored as a 'B' (middle of the scoring thresholds for this grade). I was a little disappointed with myself in not having achieved the minimum of 70% or above for an 'A' grade, however in reflection, this lower mark is probably appropriate for my work in the actual practice outcomes that I have made during the last term.

I think Richard may have found difficulty in my critical reflective summary, in locating appropriate contextual references within my work. This is let my markdown significantly.

In my critical reflective summary, I mentioned the book "the Peregrine" as a key influence and as a backbone for narrative, but again in the actual practice, there does not seem to be a reference to this. Coupled with a lack of thematic reference to speculative realism and contextual association, makes the critical reflective summary a little confusing. In Richards feedback, if there had been a linear narrative to the Peregrine, then the non-linear narrative should be explored.

In the review of the critical reflective summary, Richard felt that this output seemed to be an exercise in writing a report, "without saying anything at all". My response was that this was intentional at this stage before the major project had actually started so that I could keep a broad proposal approach to avoid tying myself down too much at this early planning stage.

My focus was about putting concepts together rather than the outcomes themselves, but Richard correctly pointed out, that the process needs to be critically underpinned. There is neither a presence or absence clearly articulated of speculative realism. The presentation in Richards view seems to be to overly task orientated, but open-ended; therefore the research has become freewheeling, and it needs to be focused on a question so that my methods can be tested more rigorously.

I explained the current feeling that I had, that the break in academic studies over the Christmas period has allowed the early ideas to start to crystallise, for me to put more meat on the bone as it were. That is to bring the three elements together of speculative realism, digital media and drawing, against the backbone of the Peregrine. My intention is to collide all of those ideas together, and I feel that I do not want to use the book "the Peregrine" just simply as a narrative, (some sort of story just to create an animation). But what I want to do now is to use the description in the to try and articulate what the Peregrine saw so that it's an observation of JA Baker. What goes on in the Peregrine's mind may be completely irrelevant in the way that JA Baker recorded the Falcon's movements. It is here that the speculative realism aspect of my planned work will start to come through.

Richard felt that my CRS was quite a hard read in that issue in the sense that I appeared to be talking around the subject matter. However, Richard also pointed out that all the work around my engagement with Photoshop seemed to be unimportant. What I must do is focus on what is important and also on how to make sure that in the next module the same problems do not re-occur.

In my response to the above, I agreed entirely with Richard's views, and so this whole process underlines the importance of having regular reviews and conversations, not only with Richard but also other academic staff and my peers.

The lecture which I attended on 24 January, regarding documentary photography triggered some salient points that I want to pursue. For example, one item that was cited was the drawing by Albrecht Durer many centuries ago, where traveller described to Albrecht the creature that we now know as rhinoceros. On the description alone, Durrer was able to firstly draw a rhinoceros, but then was able to create a woodcut print of the creature, and the outcome was so accurate it seems almost impossible that he was able to recreate this vision of the creature without ever having actually seen one.

I need to detach myself from just using the images of photography, as a documentary repetition of something that has happened, as I do not want just only to recreate a documentary record of what JA Baker observed. But instead, is that I want to do something halfway between the life of the Peregrine and the world from a Peregrine's point of view, and hence maybe just have JA Baker as a small presence in the distance. Richard picked up my need to resolve at this stage again and made reference to a recent television programme on the BBC called Planet Earth. Within this program, the camera was strapped onto an Eagles back, and during this program, there is a sequence that shows the Bird's Eye view. I quickly retorted that I'm not looking to try to repeat this as it becomes a mediated in between thing, that human would only recognise as a view from a camera strapped to an Eagles back. Our own perception, through visual colours and queues, are very different from that which an Eagle or Falcon might see. I, therefore, want to mediate through the language of drawing and in particular digital media based drawing. I feel that it is a complex task that I'm trying to achieve and understandably, Richard feels that we need to simplify this approach and start to see examples of what it is that I'm trying to do. Because I see things as complex, I tend to make things over complex and their re-presentation. It . However that the image might not have the visual strategy, however, I project onto it, so it is, therefore, interesting to look at the work of Daan Paans, and that idea of an observed notion, an image of something observed but never seen. This is exactly what I want to do, and clearly Richard understood my challenge. My idea that this should be done through drawing that is not photographic or imagistic, as it is purely from the mind. The work of Albrecht Dürer is not a million miles away from what I'm trying to achieve. I'm trying to articulate something from the point of view of what the Peregrine might see and then drying it through digital media. So it is not that complex? Richard agreed that we need to consider all of the angles between perception, time, fiction and science and narrow down focus upon those areas which this topic circles. It is not about the resolution and that beautiful relationship that he has with the tradition of beautiful animal painting such as Stubs and his horse paintings: there is a real history of this in Belgium and the Netherlands.

Hypothetical archetypes from natural science and science fiction can be found in the work of Daan Paans, and hence these images colour our perception in the present day. And therefore we assume images colour perception in the future. He calls these counter images and plays with this juxtaposition of present and future and the contradictory nature of the images that protect themselves. Richard recommended a deeper engagement on a practice level with a review of Daan Paans work.

Structure and strategies used by similar artists and photographers are what are being looked for in the presentation of my work for academic assessment. By looking at emerging practice and theoretically exploring, together with critically exploring is what is required. Richard also pointed out that it seems to him that on reflection of our discussion I would need a period of quiet contemplation myself, to reflect and put into order my thoughts more clearly. I need to initiate that myself, by making work early in the process and giving myself both chance and time to review reconsider and critically analyse my outputs. The suggestion was then that I try to complete as much as I can before Easter, and allow those three weeks of reflection for the ideas to permeate. You're working on things intuitively and exploring some good ideas, but I'm not giving myself time to process those ideas so that I can look back and say to myself, instead of doing this as I have done, I can then do that, et cetera. This then becomes a process in itself! If you are a producer of work which we all are, one doesn't work until the final deadline (unless one can of course), for example turning up for a train at 10:09 to catch at 10:10, you're not going to catch it easily! If however, you plan for contingency and aim to arrive at the station at say 9:50 AM, then there's a much better chance of having a successful journey.

Overall, Richard felt that it was interesting work but I need to be kept on track, not in a constrained way, and definitely not seeking resolution at this stage, but nevertheless through regular conversations and feedback. The kinds of debates and discussions need to keep going, and when we do the formative assessment, we might do this through a peer group reflection and maybe get some sorts of artefacts together that each of the students can then review which gives us the ability to test our ideas out with people. If there is physical work laid out, perhaps on the floor or on desks that can be scrutinised this would make a much richer environment to get good critique and feedback from. Perhaps this could be done as a form of pinup style display? This is what is usually done with undergraduate students. Maybe this could be incorporated in the Masters study? We can then split up into say four groups, and then group 1 reviews and critiques group 2 and group 2 reviews group 1 and so on to get feedback.

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