Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Reflections on a tutorial with Dr Juliet MacDonald and Dr Anna Powell, Friday 7th April 2017.

This 20 minute tutorial was particularly valuable to me as I know that Dr McDonald has a keen interest in the practice of drawing, and her doctoral thesis is an extremely rich and detailed account of her journey in attaining her PhD.

Some of the thoughts that Dr McDonald has given to my own work suggested looking at the work of Marcus Coates.

"Marcus Coates (b. 1968) is an artist who specialises in projects that involve the natural world. Graduating from the Royal Academy School in the early Nineties, by the millennium he was attracting attention for filmed art events that were both eccentric and thought-provoking. These included Goshawk (1999), wherein Coates was suspended in a pine tree so that he might view the world as a bird of prey, the self-explanatory Sparrow Hawk Bait (1999), where he ran through a wood with his head covered in dead birds, and Indigenous British Mammals (2000), which saw him partially buried in wild moorland, performing a karaoke of bird songs" (The, 2015).

There was also an artist who "lived like a goat" and spent time living with goats in order to preposition his artistic experiences accordingly. Thomas Thwaites, a 34-year-old researcher spent three days in the Swiss Alps living as part of a goat herd. His research he says, was for future robotics that could be used to de-volve instead of evolve.  This is a useful paradigm to think about in my own practice?

It was suggested that I could create some tensions within my work. Perhaps a provocation and friction for something exciting? A little bit like a butterfly painting of the conflicts brought together?

A further discussion with Dr Anna Powell brought forward the following exercise:

It would be a useful exercise for me to create three questions that my work is trying to address;
is it Antagonistic? Provocative? Or to simply seek further knowledge?

In re-framing my title objectives I considered;

a) how can digital media based drawing be used to re-articulate the contemporary philosophical concepts of speculative realism through the backbone of a literary text?

b) bringing the ancient ideas of drawing as a primary form of recorded expression (and representation) and colliding this with contemporary technology and philosophical thought?

c) an argument of viewing the world from a totally different vantage point. An alternative speculative perspective, with the baggage of human sensations (that is our normal perceptions) being stripped to a bare minimum (hence the use of simple line drawings and tracings)?


  • Consider reframing the paradigm of engagement?
  •  research of Ian Sinclair, an obsessive documentary spanning ten years of the London borough of Hackney. 
  • And also Georges Perec, "Species of Spaces": fictions of wandering reality.
  • Further research may be useful in the work of Daniel Eatock and his manifesto "Conditional Design Manifesto" together with "First Things First Manifesto"?.


- 10 Questions for Artist Marcus Coates Eccentric visionary talks birds, shamanism, intoxicated animals and the Brighton Festival by Thomas H GreenThursday, 26 March 2015

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Monday, 10 April 2017

Thinking about my Critical Reflective Summary, Tutorial on 31st March.

My senior tutor spent some time with me on 31st March, to help to crystallise my thoughts for my critical reflective summary (CRS).  I have waited a couple of weeks to review my notes and allowed some latent learning/digestion to take place.

A number of books were suggested that could be useful for my reading, perhaps not immediately, but certainly, as I draw closer to the major project module after the Easter break.

The books mentioned included:

"In Praise of Shadows" is an essay on Japanese aesthetics by Jun'ichirĊ Tanizaki, the Japanese author and novelist. It was translated into English by Thomas Harper and Edward Seidensticker. Published in 1933, in Japan, the English translation was published in 1977 by Leete's Island Books.

Also by the philosopher John Gray, "Silence of Animals" together with the book "Straw Dogs".  I have subsequently found the Silence of Animals as a Kindle edition and have now purchased a copy.

I may also consider reading "A Company of Wolves" by Angela Carter?  It appears that this is an interesting twist on the original little red riding hood fable.

There is a further useful reference to the post-human discourse by Rosie Braidotti.  The following publications may provide valuable material;

  • Braidotti, R. (1991) Patterns of Dissonance. Cambridge: Polity Press.
  • Braidotti, R. (1994; 2nd ed. 2011) Nomadic Subjects: Embodiment and Sexual Difference in Contemporary Feminist Thought. New York: Columbia University Press.
  • Braidotti, R. (2002) Metamorphoses: Towards a Materialist Theory of Becoming. Cambridge: Polity.
  • Braidotti, R. (2006) Transpositions: On Nomadic Ethics. Cambridge: Polity.
  • Braidotti, R. (2011) Nomadic Theory: The Portable Rosi Braidotti. New York: Columbia University Press. 

Further sources that are leveraging work around film and perception, particularly the psychoanalytical and the "imaginary signifier" can be gained from the author Christian Metz.

Overall this was a useful tutorial and there is plenty of work and reading for me to undertake during the next few weeks through my holiday period.

I am aiming for approximately 75% of the document to be in written form about the theories, observations and reflections, with around 25% of the document covering my practice.