Exercise 3.4: Thinking through the structure for the Parallel Project

In Part Two you began to think about the Parallel Project and areas of your practice that you would like to develop further. Take a similar approach to that in Part One: Visual Mapping and spend some time mapping out initial ideas using your experience of the previous exercises to help you think about possibilities for a self-directed project. To begin,

  • identify at least 3 possible routes that this project could take.
  • Think about what you might do rather than what you think you will create; remember you are mapping out possibilities, not outcomes.
  • Consider how you will carry out both visual and material research; what materials, equipment, methods and sources will you use and how will you access these?
  • Identify any possible contextual reference points, artist’s work and exhibitions that could feed into this process. If you can, visit relevant exhibitions, performances and/or events.
  • You will need to document your process and reflections thoroughly; consider which methods will best support your developing practice.
  • Now put your plans away, continue working on the coursework and return to them after a couple of weeks

I think the reading and doing the rest of Part Three gave me a good opportunity to consider ideas. The project I partook in with OCA students, Contamination, also added to ideas that came to mind. Working on Padlet helped a lot to clear my mind and consider ways to approach the project. I considered Curiosity Cabinets

Route 1 Cabinet of Curiosities about the significance of Things – exploring this further, looking at placing it in different places and how the artist can use it to work in. I can use photographic objects and not necessary paint all the objects. I collaborated with my husband and he is building a small wooden cabinet. I can imagine making things for this – it can change into different exhibitions by removing/replacing objects. He is using American Ash and American Walnut to work with. I collected some of the wood shavings. I see the possibility of making drawings in ink and pen of the curiosities and writing about their histories and power in my life. I have always wanted to work in a ‘museum with natural objects’. I can imagine bones, horns, wings, feathers, rocks, flowers, insects, seedpods, grasses…..should I look into the work of a favourite artist, whom I admire much, Vija Celmins?

Route 2 The presence of absence – looking into new Materialism and my drawings I did on rhino horn poaching or my relationship with nature. Here I would like to consider installation art and use of video material or mixed media. On the OCA website a student discussed her final exhibition, called Clima(c)tic (suegedda.com). It was just the nudge I needed to continue this journey.

Below are two of her works, the fire pit was a performance piece, called complicit, where she lit a contained fire and the other is called wood and steel – in her own words from her website: “Organic & inorganic objects are placed together in a fragile balance with the man-made element dominant. It explores the instability & vulnerability within the human/nature relationship.” (suegedda.com) I value how she explore her own ‘climate conscience’ in her work. She lives and work on a cattle ranch in Australia. My son works for an international NGO, (he is a trained nature conservationist with strong skills in AI development) and works mainly on anti rhino poaching technology in conservations areas in the Southern African countries. I see his skills in this field as a good resource for my own exploration within the role of human consumption and socio economic situations in the conservation areas in rhino horn trade.

Route 3 Writing and Research as a way to inform my ideas around new materialism with focus on post human – using documenting as an art form – I can make installations, paint, draw, use photos and video as material. I feel comfortable to explore use of language and text in my work and would like to look at the possibilities of objects. Can art be a way of ‘naming things’ and the space where we can have an experience with things? I feel strongly that wonder is connected with philosophy -it is about thinking about things – in Arendt’s philosophy, a quest for meaning – is it contemplative and inquisitive, can it even make us look at things we take as for granted in a more appreciative way – posthumanist? Can it also be part of finding who I am as a painter and who I am? There are times when I do feel I am playing the part in terms of what exercises asks of me – I do not always feel connected or ‘in’ there. I know it is about this place I find myself where I need to put out the problem – trying to do it by critic – using my tutor’s formal feedback and my own insights.

Is wonder elusive:

Underlying the beauty of the spectacle there is meaning and significance. It is the elusiveness of the meaning that haunts us, that sends us again and again into the natural world where the key to the riddle is hidden.” (Rachel Carson, The Edge of the Sea)

Reading list for now

Arendt, H. (1978). The Life of the Mind. San Diego: Harcourt. [Google Scholar]

Bennett’s 2010 book Vibrant Matter argues that agency is only distributed and is never the effect of intentionality. Bennett’s “thing-power” exemplifies the ability of objects to manifest a lively kind of agency. She explains in her preface: “Thing-power gestures toward the strange ability of ordinary, man-made items to exceed their status as objects and to manifest traces of independence of aliveness, constituting the outside of our own experience”

Butt, Gavin, ed. 2004. After Criticism : New Responses to Art and Performance. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons, Incorporated. Accessed October 27, 2020. ProQuest Ebook Central. K Love article

Mieves, Christian and Brown Irene, 2017, Wonder in contemporary artistic practice, Routledge Advance in art and visual studies, Kindle version

Learning about an inspiring artist: https://youtu.be/zpSLDJM8FYQ

After feedback from my tutor on my reflections on Part 3 I want to add more to how I consider my practice in some of the exercises I have done. I would like to extend and develop some ideas into outcomes.

Walking and being between places and considering the liminal space I experience. Having considered the ideas of Part 3

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