Formative Review Feedback

Feedback from staff and Students at PCA

Jessica Corlett – Student11:17 Walk On exhibition that was in Plymouth 6/7 years ago

Timothy Ridley – Student11:17 Derrida, ‘The animal that therefore I am”

Jessica Corlett – Student11:19 sound mapping

Leah Jewitt – Student11:21 The walk itself is a piece of art

Timothy Ridley – Student11:21 Marcus Coates work with birds and sound hops into my head

Timothy Ridley – Student11:26 The tone of your work should reflect your personality I always think?

Jessica Corlett – Student11:27 people with synesthesia have mixed ways they feel and see sense – could you represent senses through visual metaphor? I followed this up with a article on synesthesia which I incorporated into the essence of the essay

Timothy Ridley – Student11:28 Just walking is politically charged along lines of trespass and being outside of the capitalist day to day. I followed this up with a piece on Trespass

Leah Jewitt – Student11:29 When talking about senses and print, you could print with found objects which stimulate your physical senses, using them as printing blocks for example. This has moved me to using essential oils and pigments.

Ray Goodwin – Student11:30 I was going to suggest psychogeography too, as well as the Flaneur

Timothy Ridley – Student11:30 Yes place over space seems implicit in your work Jane.

Steven Paige11:31 look to http://www.timknowles.co.uk/

http://walkingartists.altervista.org/tim-knowles-windwalks/?doing_wp_cron=1616067102.8273611068725585937500

Stephen Felmingham11:32 Psycho-geography. http://www.mappingspectraltraces.org/about-us.html se

Antigoni Pasidi11:32 https://www.artangel.org.uk/project/end-matter/

Stephen Felmingham11:33 also look at Paul Nash – Fertile Image – which I have since done.

Patrick Keiller – I have since looked at this work and it definately has some resonance with my work. I used this idea to take forward the work ‘Wandered lonely as a cloud.’

https://www.barbican.org.uk/whats-on/2014/event/walead-beshty-a-partial-disassembling-of-an-invention

Dr Iain Biggs – Deep Mapping. I need to explore this work more. Antigoni has provided me with an array of slides on Deep Mapping. I will need to look at how this affects my research proposal, is it complimentary?

The work of David Nash I have referred to Land artist David Nash in my work before. His work with sculpture and wood connects with the landscape.

Trevor Borg His work is interesting as he uses a variety of media which is born from site specific practice; His work includes painting, drawing, sculpture, installations, photography and film. Which is something that I would like to explore. He investigates territory and aspects of temporality. He uses Found matter and repurposes it. Borg’s work explores the potential of matter and how it contributes to an understanding of place. This is feel is related to my work.

I felt bound by print but after a conversation with Antigoni I feel that I can explore as a fine artist would and just come back to print. Even a printed catalogue of my work could be the work. At this point I went back and visited the lectures and I was thankful that they had been recorded as I could start to see where my work had become multi-disciplinary.

 http://www.timknowles.co.uk/

http://walkingartists.altervista.org/tim-knowles-windwalks/?doing_wp_cron=1616067102.8273611068725585937500

https://www.artangel.org.uk/project/end-matthttps://www.artangel.org.uk/project/end-matter/

Psycho-geography http://www.mappingspectraltraces.org/about-us.html

Risograph Printing

Risograph printing sits between photocopying and screen printing. Its process works on the same principles of layering images as you would do in screen printing. The reason why I wanted to try the Risograph process, was to give me an understanding of the process which as it is ideal for multi run prints it could be useful for printing my own books and the printed result is more urban than if coming straight off a colour printer which uses toner.

The first step in the process is that you make layers of your prints in photoshop. Each of these layers forms a master for each drum colour. Once the master is etched onto the drum You can then start to print each layer. There are different colour drums for each layer of colour. It’s best to start with the black drum as the black ink dries the quickest and each layer takes quite a while to dry. The ink does tend to smudge even with the finished product. Once you have run some test prints you are able to quickly run off copies, hence the risographs popularity for situations where many prints are required; posters, zines etc.

The daffodil was printed on yellow paper so that made the printing process slightly easier. However the opacity of the black needed to be manipulated on the machine to get the correct image. I do like the illustrative effect of the flower and it makes it less photographic and pretty, thus challenging our image of the picturesque.

On the trespass poster I wanted to use three colours so the process would need three drums of different colours. I had created an illustration from one of my photographs in Adobe Illustrator, then created the layers in photoshop. The inks are expensive and at the time there were only four available colours that I could use, these were not the ones that I would have chosen as I wanted a yellow background and brown tree.   As the text was red I created a white mask for the red text to sit on, otherwise the blue would start to bleed through and change the colour. This required quite a bit of test prints to get the red to correctly sit on top of the white. 

Text
Background
Final
Tree with mask for text

Final outcome

On the final copy there were some streaks down the outside edges which I could not erase. I will need to revisit the process to try to master the skill of risograph printing, but in essence I feel it gives a similar outcome to screen printing with the benefit of being able to create multiples. I also created a simple printed copy and as a result I could see how the more ‘rough and ready’ risograph print lends itself to posters and propaganda material.

The granite quarries

My travels often take me to Lundy, I like many others are drawn to this granite rock in the middle of the Bristol Channel. On my latest visit it was the quarries on the east side of the Island that were my intended destination for a walk.

This desire to engage with the quarry was stimulated when it was suggested in a tutorial, that I look at the work of artist Katrina Palmer. Katrina Palmer’s work The Loss Adjusters focusses on deviant goings-on in the history of Portland Stone. There are many similar narratives around the Lundy Granite Company and the management of the Lundy Granite Company which was set up in 1863. At the time of the quarry activity, there were between 200-400 men on this tiny island which usually housed around 17 inhabitants including the Owner of lundy his family and lighthouse keepers. The men employed by the Lundy Granite Company found little to stimulate them and were often drunk and disorderly, as retold by Ternstrom, M., (2008).

it was complained that Ryan, the engineer , was continually drunk and abusive. It was perhaps inevitable that with some 200 workmen, laxly supervised, on an island with very few sources of recreation apart from the canteen, there would have been fights, disturbances and damages. When one case came to Bideford court in 1865 the judge said that Lundy was; ‘….a refuge for the destitute .. the fag ends of society’

Like the Portland stone in Palmer’s Loss Adjusters, Lundy Granite was in demand for building parts of London, Palmer re tells the narrative around the quarries and how Portland stone had been shaped and hollowed out over centuries by convicts and quarrymen to provide stone for some of London’s best-known buildings – one million square feet of Portland stone is said to have been quarried for St Paul’s Cathedral alone. 

One is confronted with the juxtaposition in history when walking past middle quarry, which once full of quarrymen it is now named VC quarry, renamed in memorial to John Pennington Harman, awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross for his actions during the Burma Campaign. (The Quarry was one of his favourite places when a boy on the island).

Whilst in the quarries it was my intention to explore being in the landscape, rather than just being an observer. Stephens (2000) refers to the work of Peter Lanyon when he talks of how Lanyon integrated with the landscape when creating artworks;

 the Artists use of the experience of space and time as the source for his painting also Incorporated the historical experience of the place and it’s people. This was not just a question of the countryside holding the deposits of earlier occupation but of its contents embodying a human past. ‘Rock and and boulders’ he said (lanyon) ‘are touched by centuries of work and life. For me they’re stones with a human history and meaning’

One cannot fail to be mesmerized by the granite as on a sunny day the whole island glistens from the minerals within the granite, the silvery coloured mica contrasting against the black, white crystals of feldspar and greyish transparent quartz crystals. Whilst researching the concept of geology and the landscape I discovered the work of Tania Kovats whose practice is inspired by rocks and the whole concept of geology

The landscapes that interest me the most are geologically explicit landscapes where you can clearly read the narrative of formation or erosion. This leads me to be working with landscapes that are often remote – cliff edges, deserts, odd geological incidents. The way our experience of landscape is culturally mediated is of central concern to me. Much of my thinking over the last few years has meant I have looked to geology to help read landscape to further understand how landscapes are made outside of what we effect upon them. No landform exists forever but only within a particular time span in the earth’s history. I see landscape as a series of incidents coming into being.’ Kovats (n/d)

The geology that surrounds granite is intriguing as can be seen by the microscoped view below of a piece of granite below. This is definitely something I wish to investigate further with my work.

Fortunately for the Lundy of today, the quarries did not prove that successful commercially and were badly managed as recounted by Ternstrom and thus only mined for 6 years. What interests me is the devastation that might have been experienced on this Island, if they had been successful. The quarries now resemble dramatic amphitheatres looking out to the North Devon Coastline, whose stories are hidden in the rocks.

References

Granite – Lundy (no date). [Online]. Available at https://www.virtualmicroscope.org/content/granite-lundy. [Accessed on 22/04/2021]

Tania Kovats (no date). [Online]. Available at https://land2.leeds.ac.uk/people/kovats/. [Accessed on 22/04/2021]

Stephens, C., (2000). Peter Lanyon: At the edge of landscape. 21 Publishing London.

Ternstrom, M., (2008). The Lundy Granite Company: An Industrial Adventure. Westwell Publishing.

The Narcissistic Daffodil

In March whilst still in lockdown, I took a back door pilgrimage. The walk I had planned started from my doorstep and its purpose was to link two sites of religious significance. St Anne Chapel and St Brannocks Church. My mini pilgrimage started at St Annes Chapel in Saunton. My intention for this mini pilgrimage was ’embodiment’ which translates to a ‘tangible or visible form of an idea, quality, or feeling’.

The start of the walk was on an official bridleway that took me up a path alongside the gardens of a manor house with perfect gardens and lake, complete with the noise of a chain saw whirring away. I soon started to head uphill on a path which whose verge was full of different Yellow flowers, a sure sign of Spring.

As I got to the top of the hill the land opened out onto a track called Long Lane. As `I journeyed along the lane, I tried to focus on my intention of embodiment, trying to connect to the landscape, but the more of my journey that passed, the more the colour Yellow became prominent. Not only were the flowers up the woodland track all yellow, but as I walked along Long Lane it felt a little surreal, daffodils sprouted up along the track, this led to my questioning as to how did they get there?. Usually you see daffodils on grass verges along busy roads, near human habitats, not like these, clustered along an old track. Were they planted by drovers many years ago? Or were they planted by the MOD to soften the presence of the radar stations!

As I moved along towards the end of the lane and down towards St Brannocks Church, I again became aware of the colour Yellow, but now the yellow became connected to danger signs and the fear of death.

This juxtaposition of the yellow daffodils signalling Spring sat against the yellow electrical signs signalling the fear of death. Through one of my tutorials I heard of the work of film maker Patrick Keiller, which made me start to look at landscape differently. I started to look at how daffodils might be seen differently, to how we currently observe them as a spring flower. Research led to me find that some white daffodils smell like cat urine and could be poisonous thus making you vomit. The more I thought about this idea, I started to wonder whether the Daffodil (Narcissi) links to the word Narcissistic? Are the two connected?.

According to the Oxford Language Dictionary a narcissist is ‘a person who has an excessive interest in or admiration of themselves. narcissists think the world revolves around them” So is this early flower that shows off its blooms in early spring a symbol of Narcissism?

There are more parallels to be drawn with narcissism in this mini pilgrimage. The pilgrimage ended at St Brannocks Church, where there is a Holy Well. As I sat by the pool, I could see the trees reflecting in the water. In Greek mythology, Narcissus was a hunter from Thespiae in Boeotia who was known for his beauty. The story goes that he rejected all romantic advances, eventually falling in love with his own reflection in a pool of water after sitting by a pond for day after day. This thought of narcissism gives the well a whole new meaning.

Dangerous Holy Well

Even the Holy Well at St Brannocks has become a danger, maybe it could now be repurposed as a place for narcissists.

Reflections in the Well

As part of my MA Fine Art (Print) I would like to explore this idea of the Narcissistic Daffodil through a medium that I have not used before, that of Risograph printing. The reason for this choice is due to the juxtaposition of riso printing being known for its bright colour against the word Narcissistic which is quite dark.

Bibliography

London (1994) British Film Institute

Robinson in Space (1997) British Film Institute

Unframed Landscapes

I was recommended a text in my tutorial titled “Unframed Landscapes” by Maja, N. A., and Fowkes, R., (no date) I found this article pertinent to my work as it talks about the potential for the landscape genre to represent inner experience’ and that ‘when admiring a natural landscape, we apply the same aesthetic conventions we use for appreciating a work of art: ‘ The authors support venturing into the landscape and looking at is an art critic might look at a painting.

The article refer to the work of Ana Opalic, ‘I do not See’ (2002), who presents a series of video-photographs of a disappearing forest path, she refers to what is excluded from our frame of vision. This work of Opalic’s resonates with me as I often take photographs when on my pilgrimages of disappearing footpaths, but have never analysed why I take these. Two photographs in my studio book (below) are of photographs I have taken whilst on pilgrimage of routes through a wood and a corn field, both have disappearing paths. Maybe the imagination of what lies beyond is an effective way of heightening our experience in the landscape, or maybe as Emily Dickinson quotes in her poem; ‘the best things dwell out of site’.

J Sharkey Journal entry (November 2020)

The authors speak about how landscapes has been seen as sublime and picturesque for hundreds of years and suggest that

‘the contemporary unframed landscape takes a critical stance towards the picturesque, either by depicting a landscape that does not correspond to the conventional categories of the picturesque, or by deliberately drawing our attention to those categories’

This quote makes me reflect that my landscapes should include the less attractive parts of the natural scenery, thus challenging the picturesque.

The article continues with a paragraph on land art and the movement from art in the gallery to the living landscape. The authors speak of land art in that it cannot be comprehended through a single image. In this sense, it has been described as ‘an unframed experience with no one correct perspective or focus.’ I can reflect on this in my work as putting words onto images may change how the audience might view the image, should an image be free of text, so that the viewer can apply their own perspective?

The authors criticise land art ‘Land art can be regarded as the most macho of the post-war art movements’ they add Richard Long is another case in point: ‘His work embarrassingly fails to connect with environmental politics and ecological concerns nor with the social conditions of the countries where he walks without travelling.’ This is a consideration I made when creating art on Lundy Island, a marine nature conserve, I used materials from the sea that would go back to where they came from.

They continue to talk how feminism and ecofeminism in particular, has brought a new understanding of how gender has shaped the ways in which we see the environment. They suggest that ‘Eco-feminists aspire to move beyond dualistic thinking and to establish relationships based not on hierarchy and domination, but on caring, respect, and awareness of interconnection.’ This ethos compliments my work in which I wish to connect with the senses more whilst walking, rather than some walking challenged based on mileage or altitude.

This view is supported by Mount, E., (2019) who quotes;

‘ Engaging the traditional landscape is no longer a paysage moralisé or source of moral edification, as it was considered in France and Italy during the 17th-18th centuries. Artists today take into account both the crisis facing nature and the crisis in the definition of nature.’    

There are strong links with my research proposal when the authors speak of how landscape can offer a multi-sensory experience.

“In the conventional landscape that reduces nature to two dimensions, stresses formal qualities and frames and flattens the natural world into scenery, our normal experience of nature is ignored. Nature possesses contextual dimensions, offers a multi-sensory experience, and appears as a seamless unity”. 

The authors draw comparison with the fact that ‘on the one hand we have an everyday emotional relationship with it, on the other, nature is something alien, mystical and unknowable’. I feel this links with my desire to investigate Holy Wells and understanding the folklore that lies alongside them.

I believe the challenge of working in 2D makes it a struggle to represent the living landscape and the way that art portrays landscapes is changing too. There is an opportunity to look at political, ecological and social factors that affect how we see the landscape. A question might be are pilgrims following popular routes such as the Camino Santiago damaging the landscapes that they so want to experience.

References and Bibliography

Maja, N. A., and Fowkes, R., (no date). Unframed landscapes: Nature in contemporary art | NeMe. [Online]. Available at http://www.neme.org/texts/unframed-landscapes. [Accessed on 08/11/2020]

Mount, E., (2019). The Landscape in Art: Nature in the Cross-hairs of an Age-Old Debate. [Online]. Available at http://www.synthespianstudios.net/the-landscape-in-art-nature-in-the-cross-hairs-of-an-age-old-debate/. [Accessed on 17/03/2021]

Birds in the wood

On a visit to Chapel Woods I wanted to reflect that the Wood is an RSPB site. As young ornithologist in my early years, I had a keen interest in bird watching, but this was not something that I pursued as young adult. This walk was a bid to try and activate my sense of seeing and hearing, I used to have the Observer book of birds but now I had a trusty bird song App! I had read whilst researching the woods that they had regular nesting species including tawny owls, nuthatches, great spotted and green woodpeckers.

I wanted to create artwork to represent the walk and explored the work of Hamish Fulton and Richard Long, both these walking artists have made work with birds from their walks. Although my walk was short and not like Hamish Fulton’s Small Birds it was my own mini pilgrimage into the wood.

Hamish Fulton’s Small Birds / A Continuous 101 Mile Walk without sleep / Country Roads Kent and Sussex England / Full Moon 10 11 November 1992,

Once home having considered the Adobe Suite I decided to use Adobe Indesign to create an artwork of the birds. I considered different options but chose Indesign. I researched Richard Long’s work and knew I would have to manipulate text to sit inline, so had to learn the kerning tool. I considered the shapes that Long had created with his artwork, and decided on a V formation as flown by birds.

Jane Sharkey Bird Call A walk in the woods (January 2020)

Reflection

I did enjoy using the app and I managed to see a woodpecker by using the app as a notification. I would have liked to sit and just listen rather than keep walking., Although both Fulton and Long use textworks to represent their walks, I am not sure that I transferred the senses of hearing bird song onto print successfully. Also using a V shape formation probably was not the best choice as the birds I was hearing don’t fly in formations!

References/Bibliography

Hamish Fulton’s Small Birds / A Continuous 101 Mile Walk without sleep / Country Roads Kent and Sussex England / Full Moon 10 11 November 1992,

HUMAN NATURE WALK (no date). [Online]. Available at http://www.richardlong.org/Textworks/2012textworks/human_nature.html. [Accessed on 15/03/2021]

Finger Labyrinth

After my pilgrimage to Glastonbury the subject of Labyrinth has become part of my work. Labyrinths appeal to me for their meditative effect. This I experienced when walking my Lundy labyrinth. I wanted to create something that would give the same meditative effect without the need to find a labyrinth. After some research I found the concept of finger labyrinths. Could I create one of these that would allow people to benefit from the idea of a labyrinth experience?

After a glass workshop I decided to create some labyrinth coasters. My concept was that someone could make a healthy cup of Pukka tea and then sit and finger trace the labyrinth on the coaster. spending a few mindful moments tracing the labyrinth as a form of meditation.

I used the Digital Print Bureau at PCA to create some vinyl cuts. The vinyl created a perfect labyrinth, exposing the required area I sandblasted the glass and then rounded off the edges with a sander.  

Reflection

I connected with a labyrinth facebook group and put them out there and received some really positive comments about the commercialism I asked the group how I  might incorporate different designs (4 for a set)  and received feedback on other types of labyrinths I could use. 4 were suggested, they also suggested I look at packaging and that they would sell these on my behalf. I would need to investigate costs and pricing. I also found that after a workshop in the fablab that I could cut these onto lino and then print from them.

Forest Bathing

I have been interested in the art of forest bathing for a while, Forest bathing known as Shinrin Yoku, is a Japanese practice which is a process of relaxation; being calm and quiet amongst the trees, observing nature around you whilst breathing deeply. As my research encompasses the potential of the landscape to represent the inner experience, I felt that a visit to a local wood might help with this research. I considered the site for the forest bath and selected a perfect location close to where I live (as lockdown restrictions applied) called Chapel Woods. There was a double bonus as when I got to the woods I found this was also the site of a Holy Well too.

When following the principles of Shinrin Yoku the key is to turn off devices, slow down, take deep breaths and just be aware of what is around you, use you senses of smell, touch, hearing as well as seeing Take time to pause and breathe. I found the woods were a perfect place for using my senses.

Chapel woods is a RSBB reserve and is a small woodland on a hillside. It felt very contained and a perfect spot, however I did follow a designated path through the woods, it was difficult to just wander as I might normally do as a walking artist following the principles of derive. However even keeping to the path, you could touch the damp bark and rub hands through the lichen.

The woodland is mainly made up of Oak and beech trees. It felt alive breathing woodland and As Roger Deakin (.2008 ) talks in Wildwood ‘the life of a tree is in fact akin to that of a human life, Living and dying on a human scale.’ When talking about environmental artists Newton and Helen Harrison, eco-feminist Carolyn Merchant has praised the way ‘they think of the world as a giant conversation, in which everyone is involved, not only people, but trees and rocks and landscapes and rivers.’ When walking through a wood such as this and albeit there were no ‘ash domes’ you you can get a glimpse of why wood inspires sculptors such as David Nash. Whilst walking in the wood, I came across some art which indeed might have been created by the someone inspired by the works of Andy Goldsworthy.

Wood sculptures

From the outside of the wood, it was just a bunch of trees by a road that I often drive by. However in essence the environment of the wood felt haptic, you could really immerse your self into the wood, hence the name forest bathing. It really felt like you entered a space that played with your senses. My question now is how can i interpret this into print for my MA? I am interested in using the zoomed in photos to try to represent the tactile nature of the forest. Maybe I could consider Frottage which was suggested by lecturer Steven Paige in one of my tutorials at PCA. and defined by Tate ‘a surrealist and ‘automatic’ method of creative production that involves creating a rubbing of a textured surface using a pencil or other drawing material’

References

Deakin, Roger. 2008. Wildwood. Harlow, England: Penguin Books.

Jobson, C., (2016). Ash Dome: A Secret Tree Artwork in Wales Planted by David Nash in 1977. [Online]. Available at https://www.thisiscolossal.com/2016/05/ash-dome-david-dash/. [Accessed on 15/03/2021]

Tate, (no date). Frottage – Art Term. [Online]. Available at https://www.tate.org.uk/art/art-terms/f/frottage. [Accessed on 15/03/2021]

Lundy labyrinth

My interest in Labyrinths started when I set out on a pilgrimage from Wells to Glastonbury, with the set intention for the journey as Hope. The setting of an intention is the essence to both walking pilgrimage and labyrinths. Hope was in response to the fact that I was walking the pilgrimage in the summer of 2020 and the coronavirus was very much a focal point of society. My initial works around Labyrinth was when I used the the labyrinth and the Torr as an image for printing. Although this image worked as a print, I felt it did not offer any real tangible connection with the purpose of a labyrinth. Val Lupton quotes that ‘the point of a maze is find its centre. The point of a labyrinth is to find your centre’  How could you really experience a labyrinth from an image.

So I started to research the idea of creating a labyrinth and I chose Lundy Island as the specific site location. David Beech talks about site specificity when he refers to the work of Mona Hatoum, who creates work on the site and not in the studio. Beech in his youtube clip on ‘Art and Isolation’ (2020) refers to the fact that Hatoum finds “the location is usually the starting point”  The idea of the site for me was definitely the starting points as I came across an anecdote I had read in Gogerty, C., (2019) that shipwrecked soldiers used to create labyrinths to while away their time when wrecked. Shipwrecks were a common occurance on Lundy Island and I made a connection with the route from the Montague steps on the rugged west coast to the Old Light lighthouse. A path similar to Richard Long’s Line made whilst walking.

labyrinth on Lundy island

At the lighthouse I found some old builders rope and with some collaboration and an image on my phone of how to create a rope labyrinth, the three of us set to work to create a labyrinth. We found that we needed more rope than we had so we downsized the labyrinth and it was still an appropriate size to walk.

On finishing the labyrinth I and my fellow collaborators walked the labyrinth. When walking the labyrinth I found it easy to travel without much thought, which is ideal for mindfulness as you need to not focus on where you walk, but just simply put one foot in front of the other slowly. The site was was indeed a special place with 360 degrees of views; the prominence of the the 19C lighthouse plus the cemetery with all its island history, plus a medieval graveyard and views out to the Atlantic and to the mainland of North Devon and Cornwall. As I walked the labyrinth I really tuned into the senses – the feel of the fresh winter cold, the sound of the birds, the feeling of the ground beneath my feet, the smell of the crisp air washing in from the Atlantic ocean. 

As an aside I later discovered that Beacon hill the site of the lighthouse, maybe the place where pagans held sacred as a high hill nearer to the gods. Another reason for this site being perfect.

I added the photos on to a Labyrinth facebook group and received some positive feedback. It was suggested that the ability to select the space and place was important and maybe more so than just placing one in a specific location. This is one communication I found so inspiring.

Reflection

I believe this labyrinth concept is something I can develop, it appeals because of its mobility and collaborative nature. I also found that walking the labyrinth helped me experience the senses around the walk, as the slow nature of the walking helped calm my mind and find focus. However I do feel that maybe labyrinths in themselves are not my. single focus, but the way it sets an intention and aim to help one find their centre is one of interest.

References

Art and Isolation (2020). Youtube. [Online]. Available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GjBb1psf3eA. [Accessed on 13/03/2021]

Gogerty, C., (2019). Beyond the Footpath: Mindful Adventures for Modern Pilgrims. Hachette UK.

http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artists/mona-hatoum-2365/who-is-mona-hatoum

The sight of the walker

A reflection on William Sharpes article – Part One

This is the first part summary taken from William Sharpes paper in Walking Bodies (2020), on reading the paper, I started to find alignment with my work which Sharpe (2020) talked about.

The first statement Sharpe ponders is whether;

‘walking art offers its proponents a choice; do I make my body visible in the work, as a painter might, so that my audience may have a sign of the walker, or shall I shape my work in such as way that the audience, perhaps as participant, sees something else ‘ thought through my eyes’ as Joyce puts it’ (page139).

In my work on the Lost and Forgotten Heinkels, I did place a photograph of myself in the work, but during a tutorial with Richard Webb, it was recommended that I don’t include photos of myself but rather let the reader/viewer explore.

Sharpe (2020) also suggests that art critics and historians desire images of walks more than the artists ‘the fact that it (the walk) happened is not merely enough’. Sharpe continues to suggest that; with artists such as ‘Long and Fulton it is not the length of the walk but the strength of the idea animating from it that counts in making provocative, illuminating art’ Sharpe argues that is the fact that there is a strong alliance between concept and image. This is very much where I have placed my walks and mini-pilgrimages, they are based on ideas rather than long walks. This can be demonstrated in my work of the Granite orthostats, where I have associated the walk with the image and in the Lost and Forgotten Heinkels where the concept of the walk was as important as the walk itself , in fact it was the concept that created the walk.

Sharpe also draws on the performance concept of walking such as Marina Abramovic and Ulay’s The lovers (1988) and Francis Alys’ work ‘sometimes something leads to nothing’ which both have political and social impact more than the walk itself. Sharpe asks a question whether visual artifacts generated by the walk are incidental or integral to the art-walk itself. Does the art reside in the walk, the walker or the documentation? This is something that I too have mulled over, how do I document a walk or indeed do I need to?

Sharpe highlights that a growing number of practitioners, have argued that walking art needs to challenge ocular-centrism to pay less attention to objects that can be visually consumed without engaging other senses. Linking walks and place with the senses, lies at the core of my research proposal so this is something where I need to take a deeper dive into. Sharpe also recalls that ‘a greater emphasis on walking as a collective activity form of art has emerged, together with less certainly about the value of tying the meaning of the art walk to representative images ‘ Sharpe suggests that walking artists move away from sight and physical force and seek a greater emphasis on haptics, sound, memory and orality. This part of the essay links to my labyrinth work where I not only worked collaboratively in the design but then got the walkers to participate in walking the labyrinth.

Sharpe highlights that over the last century the type of work favoured is that of a participatory embodied experiences that generate no-normative ways of walking/traversing together thereby ‘cripping the flaneur’ However Fulton would argue that a photo of a Buzzard simply says buzzard, ‘what comes in to play is the simultaneously of senes. There is a certain sight, we hear the birds, we smell the brush, the wind whistles in the corner of the eyes from the direction of the setting sun.’

Sharpe feels that ‘the sight of the walker is related to the words the surround or appear in the image, since walking images rarely circulate without language to sustain them’. He links this back to psychogeography which he perceives might bridge the gap between sight and sense. He mentions the work of Ian Sinclair who talks about the feeling of the street. He then draws upon the work of Phil Smith who walks discover thoughts, feelings and textures and organic matter often takes the form of documentation, handbooks and exemplary objects designed to encourage others to undertake exploratory walking. I know a little of Ian Sinclair’ work, but much of his walking is done in an urban environment, whereas `I am researching the more rural nature of walking. The work of Phil Smith I may wish to delve into more as I too am creating documentation from my walk, so I may find some similarities with his work.

References:

Billinghurst, H., et al., (2020). Walking Bodies: Papers, Provocations, Actions from Walking’s New Movements, the Conference. Triarchy Press.