Theoretical Exhibition – Model

This page describes the process of creating a model of the Turner Contemporary Gallery with the selected artworks displayed.

Sunday 18th February 2018

Today I dressed the model with the artwork that I have selected to be included in the Diaspora, Decoupling and Representation exhibition.

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Saturday 17th February 2018

Having put this task off for many weeks I finally decided to face my fears of working with foam board and tackle this.  I did the work over two days, firstly building the model itself and secondly dressing the model with the artworks. I finally learned to use light pressure to cut the foam board and have more success with my cutting.

Saturday 10th February 2018

Prior to starting work on the model of the gallery, I did some planning. I printed off the floor plans from the Turner Contemporary website and used them to build my model approximately to scale.

I then added some brief workings out of my own to help with my preparation. Overall I would say my model is “roughly to scale”. The angle of the roof I estimated using a photograph.

Theoretical Exhibition Website

This page contains information that relates to the setup of the theoretical Gallery website. The website address that I have chosen is shown below.

The main graphic that I have used throughout the website is below:

Header Image - Folder 1 Grain Extract

Prior to setting up the theoretical gallery, I contacted the Turner Contemporary who very Kindly sent me some images that I could use as part of my website. These images were then edited, firstly to remove the existing artwork from the gallery spaces, then to add the artwork for this exhibition to the spaces. These images were used on the Exhibition Tour page of the website.

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I have set up the website with the following pages.

Below are the Artist Images that I have used as part of the website.

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Theoretical Exhibition Catalogue

This page contains the content of the catalogue being provided with the Imaginary Museum.

I decided to create an exhibition pack of a Presentation Folder and Leaflets to be available in the gallery space and a catalogue to be sold in the shop at the Imaginary Museum.

All the artwork was created in Adobe Illustrator and converted to PDF for supply to the printing company. Each of the images below are a snapshot of the PDF Files that were provided to the printing company.

Presentation Folder Images

These are the Outside Cover and Inside Cover for the presentation folder. The image created was based upon The Slave Ship by J.M.W. Turner and the Turner Contemporary Gallery.

  • The following images have been edited during the production of this Presentation Folder.
    The Slave Ship courtesy of Wikimedia
    Turner Contemporary courtesy of Colorminium

Leaflet Images

Catalogue Images

Dissertation Essay

Diaspora Decoupling and Representation

Introduction

The Diaspora Decoupling and Representation exhibition is hosted by The Turner Contemporary in Margate. This exhibition aims to bring together a collection of works from John Akomfrah, Mona Hatoum, Emily Jacir and El Anatsui. Being Decoupled from and representing their Homeland through their artwork provides the common thread of this exhibition. . As a way of addressing of the consequences of decoupling, Diaspora Artists seek to provide an unequivocal representation of their communities and homeland. This forms a contrasting view that opposes the negative portrayal of these communities that is often portrayed in the media.

Diasporas are migrant communities of people who have forsaken their homeland either by force or by choice. They hope to improve the quality of life for themselves and have been increasingly discussed by the global media. False impressions and misconceptions of these Diasporas are often created by misrepresentation in the media.

By definition, a Diaspora is a transnational network of dispersed subjects, connected by ties of co-responsibility across the boundaries of empires, political communities or (in a world of nation-states) nations. Diasporas are thus de-territorialized, and yet complexly spatialized, imagined communities whose members conceive of themselves, despite their dispersal as sharing a collective past and common destiny, and hence also a simultaneity in time. (Waller and Linklater, 2004)

On the surface, it appears that migration has only begun in recent years; nevertheless, people have migrated across the globe throughout the ages. With the rise of globalisation, migration has become an increasing phenomenon that has come about as a result of the world becoming more accessible.

People who experience life from within a migrating community may encounter issues of identity, through the experience of associating with more than one identity. They identify through their experiences as an individual while possessing a shared sense of belonging to their Diaspora. Over time individuals who have migrated begin to identify with their host population also.

Having de-coupled from their homeland, a Diasporic community becomes autonomous. Individuals within the Diaspora maintain that sense of belonging by understanding their roots and being part of their community.

There are many artists in the world today who deal with issues of Diaspora and Migration through a representation of their disassociated culture. They live separate from their homeland but continue to be rooted in their core traditions and beliefs. The experience of dualism can bring about a sense of isolation and loneliness, being connected to their homeland, yet decoupled and separate. A sense of longing may exist for their past lives, their early community and their long-established routines and traditions. Diaspora Art echoes this sense of rootedness and represents a remembrance or homage to those traditions and beliefs that are at the core of their being. Producing Diaspora Art enables the decoupled to portray a more positive image of their culture and heritage than is presented in the media.

Cultural constructions are avenues for understanding how a group understands itself and wishes to present itself to others. At times when Lebanese and Arabs are considered by mainstream media representations and political discourses in their host societies as terrorists, conflict-ridden, and religious fanatics, these cultural representations gain consequence in understanding the ways in which members of the Diaspora engage with these negative constructions and wish to alter them for more positive portrayals in their host societies. (Abdelhady, 2011)

Some artists use ethnographic research to create artwork, observing a community as an outsider. Spending time with the Diaspora promotes a clearer understanding of their distinct position in today’s society. Through the observation of their daily lives, the observer gathers information about their behaviours, beliefs, attitudes, language and traditions.

When Ethnographic Research is undertaken, the observer can find they empathise strongly with the Diaspora. They can become conditioned by the group culture and begin to develop the same cultural tendencies. Their relationships are strengthened without actually becoming a part of the group.

A Transient Community can sometimes lack a collective identity or historical event that establishes a unified bond. They preserve their cultural heritage and collective identity through the re-invention of old or the establishment of new traditions is commonplace.

The Slave Ship was first exhibited in 1840 and was painted by J.M.W. Turner. Originally titled Slavers Throwing Overboard the Dead and Dying this painting was an early representation of the African Diaspora. Depicting a ship full of African slaves forced to abandon their homeland Turner was as abolitionist who believed that slavery should be prohibited across the world. He was a frequent visitor to Margate and stayed in the same boarding house every time he visited.

The Turner Contemporary, Margate is built on the site of this boarding house. This Gallery has influenced the regional regeneration of the local area. It is located in the heart of a diverse multicultural community with geographical proximity to Dover. The Turner Contemporary provides a relevant backdrop for the Diaspora, Decoupling and Globalisation exhibition.

The artists taking part in this exhibition, John Akomfrah, Mona Hatoum, Emily Jacir and El Anatsui have no direct links to Margate, nor J. M. W. Turner. However, many of the issues raised by these artists relate to the ongoing discussions in the media around the subject of Diaspora. Issues which have a direct relevance to the immediate community of Margate and the Dover area. The artists all share a similar historical connection to the subject of Diaspora, being decoupled from their homeland. They produce artwork that engages with the issues of Diaspora and the collective cultural memories juxtaposed with the personal experiences of the individuals of the Diasporic Communities across the world.

Dissertation Excerpt

Diaspora, Decoupling and Globalization

Excerpt from Dissertation by Michelle Wright that discusses artists who live away from but continue to create art about their homeland.


Diasporas, migrant communities of people who have left their home land either by force, as a result of war, through natural disasters such as famine and through a desire to create a better life for themselves, have been increasingly discussed by the global media. The UK media focusing only on the current issues that relate to the UK, appears to suggest a false impression of the Diaspora issues affecting people in the UK on a daily basis, these issues affecting the Diasporas, are issues that have existed for many across the world throughout the ages.

Now, more than ever it is especially easy to experience instantaneous interaction with other people around the world as a result of globalisation. We have access to knowledge from anywhere in the world through the internet and the ever increasing access to better technology. It is now easier to travel to anywhere in the world, people trade on a global level and money is easily moved from one country to another. As a result of the world becoming more accessible through globalization, Diaspora and migration is an increasing phenomenon that we are more and more aware of.

Individuals who experience life from within a Diaspora, may encounter issues of identity, in that they associate with more than one identity, not only as an individual but possessing a shared sense of belonging to the transient community they exist within and the community that still exist in their homeland. Over time, it is only natural for individuals who have migrated to begin to identify with their host community also. It is only natural to feel that sense of belonging which comes from the community we are a part of but also from knowing where we came from, understanding our roots. These transient communities, having de-coupled from their homeland without severing roots to their homeland, in a sense become its own autonomous entity.

There are many artists in the world today who deal with issues of Diaspora and Migration whilst living away from their homeland. Although they are apart from the day to day experiences of their homeland, they continue to be rooted in the traditions and beliefs of the nation that they are intrinsically linked too. This duality, born in one place, live in another but still belong to the culture of your homeland can be a place where isolation is experienced, being connected to your homeland, all the time, while being separated. The Diaspora Art created, resonates with the essence of this sense of rootedness to their homeland and represents a remembrance or homage to those traditions and beliefs that are at the core of their being.

Some artists also create work about Diaspora as an observer or an outsider looking in at the Transient Communities. This process of ethnographic research can mean that the artist spends time with the Diaspora they are observing to gain a better understanding of their distinct position in today’s society, behaviours, beliefs, attitudes, language and traditions through the observation of their daily lives and information gathered through other means, such as artefacts and journals.

When Ethnographic Research is undertaken, the observer can find they empathise strongly with the Diaspora, can become conditioned by the group culture and begin to develop the same cultural tendencies, strengthening relationships with the group without actually becoming a part of the group.

A Transient Community can sometimes lack a collective identity or historical event that creates a collective bond amongst the community which can lead to the re-invention of traditions from their homeland or even the invention of new traditions, attempting to keep their cultural heritage alive.

When a Diasporic Community is moving to a new host country it must be anticipated that there will be an element of hostility from the host community, often taking the form of aggression towards individuals that belong to these migrating communities.

Encouraged by the media, it appears to be a common way of thinking in the UK that the influx of these migrant communities will destroy our Britishness, that cultural heritage that we Brits identify with. However host communities are often divided with an element of the resident population welcoming the migrant communities, providing help, support and assistance to enable them become established within the UK.

This amalgamation of new cultures can bring about exciting periods of change and an assimilation that may in fact preserve our so cherished traditions and identity that some cling to fervently. People belonging to these migrating communities have trades of worked in a professional capacity before they had to migrate from their homeland, these skills can only be seen as a positive contribution to the new society that they find themselves in.

Dissertation Synopsis

Reflecting on the amount of research I completed in the second year, I have decided to continue with the theme I have started and prepare my Research Project on the theme of Global Diasporas. My Research Project Proposal is outlined on this page.


Using this form produce an account of your intended area of research.

Student Name Michelle Wright Module Code ARF 601
Chosen

outcome

5000

Word

Dissertation

The imaginary museum illustrated catalogue + essay / website + essay 1 hour presentation + research folder 2500 word essay + 30 minute presentation  + research folder

Working Title

Diasporas, Loss and Globalization


How does – do you see this relating to you studio practice (not less than 100 words)

An ethnography of diasporas, loss and globalization discussing how Post Mondernist Artists across the globe seek to heal and transform spiritual wounds within a diasporic community using artistic expression to remember.

As a theme continuing from my second year practice, I hope to explore the effects of migration on a global basis, providing a deeper understanding of social issues and how they not only affect the local community but the global community.

Having previously focussed on the experience of living in a refugee camp, I hope to focus on the emotional and psycholigical issues that arise through loss, either the loss of a culture or a home, a community, self esteem, human rights and how the worldly issues of globalization not only affect diasporic communities but also the individuals included in those communities.

Having reflected on these issues and why they are so important to me, I have come to the conclusion that I feel an affinity for people in these diasporic communities because of my separation from Scotland, my spiritual homeland.

I intend to use processes of print, sculpture and video installations to communicate these issues.


Outline of Proposed Research Project Content

(Minimum 500 words approx.)

The purpose of this Research Project is to bring together a selection of Decoupled Diaspora Artists that represent their homeland through their artwork. Demonstrating their artistic endeavours to heal wounds and highlight issues affecting diasporic communities. Attempting to show that the emotional and psychological effects of separation are as much about humanity as culture.

For as long as we know people have migrated either through persecution, war or other reasons that effect the population as a whole. However, migratory routes are in a constant state of flux and movement with borders and boundaries continually changing.

Creating an imaginary Ethnographic Museum, an exhibition that brings together the work of Diasporic artists from different cultures. These artists use their artistic process to represent their Diasporic Communities. They address the negative representation of these people by the media, providing an alternative, positive viewpoint.

John Akomfrah is a Ghanian Filmmaker who resides in the UK. Inspired by the pessimism in the media, he continues to make work as a positive representation of the African Diaspora. He recently produced a video installation inspired by a 17th Century Sephardic community of Jewish Refugees. This video installation address issues of migration and religious persecution over a period of five centuries.

Emily Jacir is a Palestinian American Filmmaker who lives away from her Homeland, Palestine. Born in Bethlehem in 1972 she divides her time between Rome, Italy and Ramallah. Holding an American passport, she is able to move freely around Palestine and was determined to use this advantage to “realize the desires of those forbidden to enter her homeland.”

El Anatsui, a Ghanian living in Nigeria is a sculptor who creates beautiful fluid cloths from metals and discarded materials. Mostly concerned with his artistic process and experimentation, his work does not deliberately make reference to Diaspora and Economics. However, his artwork has a subconscious influence that alludes to his heritage and economics of history and the present day.

Mona Hatoum, a Palestinian Video and Installation artist who lives in London. Her work is very personal to her. However, because of her unsettled personal history and sense of rootlessness, parallels are easily drawn with the politics and otherness and collective memory of the Diaspora. She produces Cartographic works that suggests political influence over the mass population.

Simply by being human, it is not difficult to imagine ourselves persecuted and displaced from our homes, countries and families as these diasporic communities often are. It could so easily be us in that situation, with no sense of security from one day to the next.

Artists that present work about Diaspora are often a member of the community they are representing. Therefore, the art may become auto-biographical in nature.

This exhibition will be a biographical body of work that disproves the negative portrayal of the Diasporic population in the media.

That positive representation can be presented in artwork as a contrast to the negative characterization in the media. The presentation of such artwork in an exhibition can in fact become a catalyst for healing and transforming these broken communities.

Aperture

Friday 2nd February 2018

Proud Moment – I attended the opening of Aperture at Balaclava in Caernarfon. While talking to the organisers it came into conversation that the chair and suitcase used in the photographs were in my car, so they asked me to bring them in and display them with the rest of the exhibition.

Monday 29th January 2018

Prepared my hanging instructions, packed my work and delivered it all to Galeri to be collected by Becs and Menna on Wednesday. Here are the hanging instructions I produced.

Michelle Wright – Hanging Instructions for Aperture

Please contact Michelle on shesafineartist@gmail.com or 07912 733371 if there are any issues.

Contents of Box

  • Lost – A2 Photograph on Mount Board.
  • Betwixt – A2 Photograph on Mount Board.
  • .Hope – A2 Photograph on Mount Board.
  • Nine Small Bulldog Clips (3 extra if required).
  • Nine Small Hooks (3 extra if required).
  • Outsider Video on DVD
  • White Bush TV and DVD Combi with Stand, White Remote Control and Power Cable.
  • Wall Mount suitable for the TV and DVD Combi.
  • Bush Headphones
  • Large Hook to hang headphones on.

Hanging Instructions – Photographs

  • Photographs are to have two bulldog clips (supplied) each and be hung onto the supplied hooks.
  • Please hang the photographs in the order shown below.

Hanging Instructions – Outsider Video on DVD

  • The DVD player can either be used on the stand or with the Wall Mount (supplied).
  • The headphones are to be attached to the DVD player and there is a hook supplied to hang them on.
  • The Remote Control is only required for switching the DVD player on.
  • The DVD will start automatically and will loop continuously.

Independant Study 1 – Research

Tuesday 9th January 2018

Curating the Digital

Increasingly, we use our smart phones and other digital devices to capture and curate day to day life experiences. As a cacophony of digital activity moves to the centre of human life overwhelmed by digital interactions, digital space is the place
where people spend the lion’s share of their time, curating their digitally mediated life. Although, many archivists are still thinking in terms of digital curation as a simulation of existing systems derived from physical archival practice such as the li
fe-cycle of documents, in the digital realm, judging which material is valuable is moving from the institutional domain to that of the individual curating in cyberspace where issues of physical storage become less and less relevant, so that everything captured gets saved. Often digital works are self – curating taking on a life of their own once on the Internet, where they can migrate via emails, tweets
and Facebook posts, and be remix ed and re-used to form new art.
The social impacts of individual curation are great as we all are at once, audience, participants and creators of content. We have moved our banking, shopping (Pin It with Pinterest), communicating, storytelling, and the curation of our lives to the
Internet.
This paper examines some the changes that digital technology has wrought upon conceptions of space, time and culture, and how ‘new media art’ has historically reflected upon these. It suggests that such art might be better represented in institutions such as Tate, which in turn might help them engage with the question of what their own role might be in the digital age.
The digital culture we now live in was hard to imagine twenty years ago, when the Internet was hardly used outside science departments, interactive multimedia was just becoming possible, CDs were a novelty, mobile phones unwieldy luxuries and the World Wide Web did not exist. The social and cultural transformations made possible by these technologies are immense. During the last twenty years, these technological developments have begun to touch on almost every aspect of our lives. Nowadays most forms of mass media, television, recorded music and film are produced and even distributed digitally; and these media are beginning to converge with digital forms, such as the Internet, the World Wide Web, and video games, to produce a seamless digital mediascape.

Digital artworks are being brought to life in one of Singapore’s most cutting-edge art galleries, thanks to laser light source projection from Sony.

Originally founded by art dealer Ikkan Sanada in 1982, Ikkan Art moved from its original New York home to Singapore in 2011. Today, Ikkan Art Gallery presents a wide-ranging collection by international artists. The gallery showcases works across a wide range of media, from paintings, sculpture and photography to video and interactive displays.

With more leading artists looking to digital media as a means of creative expression, Ikkan Art Gallery wanted a high quality display and projection solution capable of meeting its ambitious vision.

https://www.sony.co.uk/pro/article/projectors-singapore-gallery-visualises-digital-art

Independant Study 1 – Proposal

Module: Independent Study 1 Research and Make ( 40 credit) level 6
Name: Michelle Wright
Proposal & Context (what is the intended context of the proposal and what is the background thinking informing your decisions?):
In North Wales there is a very clear link to the subject of Diaspora with the historical emigration to Patagonia on the Mimosa and there are clear links to this historic event with Caernarfon.

In line with the Dissertation Topic Diasporas, Loss and Globalisation, I intend to explore issues that affect Diasporic Communities and show that the issues that affect Diasporic Communities/Trans National Groups are not just a modern phenomenon and that they are something that has occurred throughout time.

I also intend to explore the ways in which we identify with a culture – What makes us feel so connected to our homeland and the concept of de-coupling and how this might affect individuals, that sense of rootedness to a homeland – the creation of a separate entity/group from the process of becoming separated from one’s homeland (de-coupling) and the concept that national borders and the local geography in modern times are becoming more fluid, less defined and are somewhat precarious/degrading in nature.

The concept of distorting a print to allude to the distortion of facts by the media is of particular interest and I hope to develop this concept in this project.

 

Media & Methods (what kind of media, (in addition to sketchbooks) is going to be used – site specific work using ‘found materials’ or indigenous materials, paint, video, constructional-type materials/sculptural materials?):
Experimental Print Making (Rust)

Video

Sculpture.

Found Materials – materials that have some relation to the cultures of interest.

Aims & Outcomes (what kind of work is expected – painting, sculpture, photography, installation, combined media, performance, documentary, image/text etc?):
Completed work will be an installation that combines Video, Print, sculpture and found materials.
Supporting Research (which artists, galleries/visits, articles, websites, journals etc will be collected and collated to show relevant research has taken place – this can go in the sketchbook or in a separate file?):
Migration Museum

John Akomfrah exhibition at the Turner, Folkestone

Caernarfon Archives (Patagonia)

Bangor University Archives (Patagonia)

Mona Hatoum https://vimeo.com/24541176

 

Tutor comments:
Emrys suggested I research the following to create more depth to the content so that there is a greater connection to the artwork – looking at homeland and artefacts/connections.

  • Cbristian Boltanksi
  • Annette Messager
  • David Bohm
  • Alan Watts
  • Boyle Family

 

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Independant Study 1: Studio Work

Tuesday 23rd January 2018

Summative Assessment Day.

Reflective Statement

This collection of work considers being decoupled from a homeland and the experience of dispersal that a subsequent journey of migration can bring. A reflection of an individual state of being and a sense of rootlessness and longing, indicates a sub-conscious social-political element relating to the subject of Diaspora.

Influenced by the work of Mona Hatoum and Emily Jacir, this considers a life lived away from a homeland. Relevance to migration is apparent, and comparisons can be made to these social-political issues.

“Once I made the work I found that it spoke of the complexities of exile, displacement, the sense of loss and separation caused by war. In other words, it contextualized the image or this person, “my mother” within a social-political context.”

Mona Hatoum speaking about her film Measures of Distance in the interview with Janine Antoni for Bomb magazine.

An outsider was symbolized using a chair covered with fragments of road maps. This juxtaposed that sense of rootedness with rootlessness and in-betweenness.  It was taken on a migratory journey between a host country and a homeland. Ultimately, being cut in two to constitute two parts and divided roots. This journey was then recorded using photography and film.

The two photographs Lost and Hope suggest that sense of feeling lost, not belonging, yet hopeful of a brighter future. Betwixt alludes to that in-between stage experienced during dispersal from a community. Linger shows our traveller waiting to hitch a ride to the next point in his journey.  Anabasis emulates a moment to wait at a bus stop and reflect before the journey continues. Pausation refers to a moment where rest was taken and a panorama found to contemplate.

The film, Outsider is displayed in a triptych. The symbolic chair travelling on top of the car through a homeland is shown on the left. The central clip demonstrates the outsider represented as part of a migrating community.  He becomes increasingly alone as his journey continues, shown on the right.

In the background, a protest against migration continues as a sub-conscious reference to the aforementioned social-political issues.

Drawing on the work of John Akomfrah, the outsider navigates a seemingly anonymous landscape, lost and isolated with his thoughts and his memories. His suitcase is empty indicating the feeling of loss and emptiness for a life once lead.

The anonymity of the landscape subverts the perception and suggests that this journey could be anywhere. An unidentified location bearing relevance to many that alludes to the fact that stories of migration like this are commonplace.