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City Lit year 2 and the work begins

Over the summer I had absolutely no time to start exploring some of the processes I wanted to (screenprinting, more textiles stuff) so am now kicking self as I don't feel quite ready to start this year hitting the ground running as it were. We are now supposed to decide at least what we want to start with, and here I am making endless mind maps of all the themes that interest me (several!) and processes I want to try and just getting myself into State of Overwhelm! Sigh.

So our first session was a very sit down talky one but we discussed some useful things. Here are some of the research methods we discussed:

1) Drawing - from observation, imagination, or drawing as process Can be accessible, evocative, quick. You can use different processes such as blind drawing (where you don't look at what you've drawn) or continuous line drawing. The act of drawing teaches you to know an object. Where you draw - what surface - projecting - timing - scale - all elements to consider.

2) Constructing - exploring materials and structures, constructing models as proposals. Can spark a whole new direction. Can be time consuming, but there is pleasure in using your hands. 3d forms offer up a whole new range of directions (eg, scale, shadows, re-drawing, fiddling photos in Photoshop. ) Gainsborough used to use vegetables as mini-landscapes because he hadn't time to go out to the countryside - so his trees look like broccoli!

3) Writing - text-based research can help to articulate, is another way of pushing things out - text as inspiration, image, accompanying artwork, mind maps. Diaries and letters, the blog as a record. My 3D doodler - aesthetics of text.

4) Photographic / still or moving image-based research, including sound-based recording.

Can be a powerful platform for taking things further - eg screenprint, or mixing paint with photography, collage, or staging with props. In itself we felt it was too quick and easy and therefore not quite "enough". You can use to record time-based artworks or enactments. You can manipulate truth. see Krzystof Wodiczko's work at the Venice Biennale 2009. If you paint from a photo you wouldn't include the photos in any exhibition!

5) Enactment, or intervention in a physical environment

See Suzanne Macey's Chrystal Quilt, where invisible women sit around tables designed from above to look like a quilt pattern. Question of What is the artwork? . Can be cool in a place where you don't expect to find art. But are the photos of the intervention less powerful when seen only afterwards?

6) Conceptual - testing a pre-selected idea or proposal

This could be good as a starting point, or exercises for teaching. You can set own rules. You can free yourself up by creating boundaries. Maybe you'll create iterations. The significance of the action becomes a very important statement.

7) Transformation - selecting 2d material or 3 d forms and altering/ consturcting/ deconstructing/changing scale /angle /aspects of content/collaging/juxtaposing

Can be a performance in iteself. Overlaps construction category. Can be time-based., playful way to work, you can stumble upon something. Sometimes you're giving your audience permission to interact or do something. Metamorphosis. Self destructive painting eg Gustave Messler.

8) Interview verbal or written, or collaborative process.

Collaborative processes can be freeing because you are thinking about the group not you. You can also share your practices with the community you've done the artwork about.

Chris' advice was that this period should be fun, a chance to do something different, that we should set ourselves small tasks and break down our time. Don't force heroic workout before you're ready. Try bite-sized things, as you need to keep pace with your ideas - the mind works quicker than the making process...


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