In the approach the course took to have a discourse on perspectives and topics around Visual Culture, my thinking and material work developed questions around the interconnectedness of fragments as visual memories of place. Making workaround fragments comes naturally in my thinking and I could also see it as part of my daily walking practice. Opportunities to write and research how this influenced my practice was presented as it became clear that the process would follow an open-ended inquiry. Looking to its repetitive nature, walking as an activity resonates with my practice as it became the place where ideas and questions came forward. By working through the course, I found that memories of place became important material explorations. William Kentridge’s use of drawing to think and explore was a strong influence in developing ideas. I found charcoal explorative and tactile as mark-making could be worked as well as erased whilst drawing. Newer materials like the Portuguese Art Graf graphite blocks were also utilized extensively in drawings.
Part 3 of this course was an important growth area where I realized I had to connect my interest in research into my making. Walking was a repetitive practice I was engaged in and an interest in nature and place. I had to contextualize this walking and connect it with my learning outcomes in the course. By now I was seeing the importance of engagement through responding to the learned theory in the course. This was a place of uncertainty and uncomfortably as I clearly felt this should be a place of experimenting with things and ideas I have never confronted. I was clearly unsure about my own voice and how to put my practice within the ideas being introduced at this stage. With regards to feedback on work done, the presentation of contextual inquiries was seen as ‘extremely thorough and it was remarked that the documentation of research supported the writing and thinking. I read and researched wider into walking as art during the work in the Parallel Project, as well as the recommended reading my tutor suggested. In our study material, we looked at how Beuys reacted to how his practice worked: my learning was to let theory lead to practice, which then leads to theory, and so on. I was trying to grasp with my own creativity by seeing my walking as an ongoing process within my practice. I found the course was very stimulating and in a way Repetition and Place stuck to my mind as I worked to incorporated my walking practice into my artmaking process.
Regular interactions with like-minded artists increased after participating with global groups of walking artists. Here ideas, events, like synchronized walks, and experiences around walking are shared. A sense of wonder about nature has always been what brought walking an explorative and contemplative process for me. Utilizing quiet time contributed to bringing senses to the front – hearing, smelling, touching, the feeling was considered in works. Small studies were made in response to sounds which I consider has the potential to develop in bigger works by putting them together with video footage or a series of works that repeat. My writing and thinking were focused on learning from other artists, as well as partaking in a challenge of a 40days of drawing and keeping a daily practice of drawing in a sketchbook. Should I consider why most works did not get resolved or developed – was I following too many choices? I would reply that material work together with walking became a way to ask questions on how to connect bodies, the environment as well as the sensory experience of place – being responsive. My walks are mostly solitary and sound walks where the sound of feet crunching the soil, or talking about smells or feeling the waves against my feet and observing my shadow drawing in the water. I would like to develop these works as types of maps – describing sensory experiences. I hope the work would become more focused and layered as I move onto my next course on this level. I found the integration between praxis and theory was not easy to reach during the course work until I used my own walking as a way to explore making and analysis. In my work process, I found it insightful when I asked other walkers to share their experiences of walking with video, writing, photo, or soundscapes – does this direct me towards thinking of doing work in collaboration with others – even the viewers?
Trinh T Minh-ha, who since the early 1980s has been developing a theoretical, film, and poetic oeuvre fundamental to postcolonial and feminist debates, use the passing of time and movement in her work to remind that with ‘each step, between sounds, images, and aphorisms, or the said and the seen…’a visitor can reflect on his own present activities as ‘spectator-researcher-visitor’ (Chen, 1992). I value her ideas of ‘speaking nearby, not speaking about‘.
Work about walking was documented in my Parallel project blog as well as accompanied by videos, soundscapes, and photo images of work and of my walking. Most walks were ‘documented’ onto my smartphone as GPS maps as documents of place and attempt to trace these maps by my line and mark-making, cutouts, and own mapmaking (not real/true) has potential to develop in bigger explorative works.
It is important to acknowledge a constant battle to integrate my own making, whilst writing and researching. Having said this, I think I have grown in my own thinking and acting to work more independently and focus more on making and documenting my own praxis. The work I presented during the course was open and experimental and needs to be extended. Ideas around walking are also very open and refining this it should make the work more coherent. I realize there are still many ‘loose strings’ to address in the work I presented, but that the critical research methodologies to analyze and evaluate showed insight.
I believe this reflection is in many ways an outcome of writing the Critical Review.