Thinking about Thinking

Critical Thinking is the objective analysis and evaluation of an issue, using questioning, arguments and conclusions to form objective, reasoned logical judgements that are well thought out and without bias.

Good Critical Thinkers are:

  • Rational, being able to think clearly and independently about what to do or believe.
  • Analytical, being able to carefully examine and interpret information to understand the logical connections between ideas what it represents and make an informed judgement.
  • Effective communicators, being able to interact and collaborate with others verbally and in writing to explain thinking, express opinions and share ideas to provide solutions to the given issue.
  • Creative, being able to recognize patterns in information, making abstract connections, predictions or determine new solutions.
  • Curious, being able to ask higher order, deeper, more meaningful questions require more developed thinking and more complex answers. Asking higher order questions can develop more abstract thinking and promote the justification of opinions, speculation and hypothesizing.
  • Open minded, being able to analyze information objectively and without bias.
  • Problem Solvers, being able to use questioning (Who, Where, When, What,Why and How) and logical reasoning to evaluate information and determine practical solutions.
  • Reflective, being able to think backwards in time to the root cause of the problem and forwards in time to the consequences of the solution.
  • Bigger Picture Thinkers, being able to break bigger problems into smaller components to create solutions that help to resolve bigger problem. When solutions emerge moving from problem identification to problem solving.

When critically thinking about a problem, it is essential to have good reasoning for your comments and judgements and form your beliefs or conclusions. A good way to critically think about an issue is to organize your information, develop and structure your reasoning, establish your arguments, consider the evidence, identify where assumptions have been made, evaluate any arguments and determine a conclusion.

When critically reading, analyzing a piece of text identify line of reasoning, critically evaluate line of reasoning, identify evidence in the text, evaluating the evidence, questioning surface appearances and assumptions, identifying conclusions and determining if the evidence supports the conclusions.

An argument is a set of statements (premises) that together comprise a reason for a further statement and a conclusion. A good argument has premises that make the conclusion likely to be true, where the argument supports the conclusion. Bad argument premises don’t support critical thinking.

Arguments can either be deductive or ampliative. A deductive argument is when the truth of the premises guarantees the truth of the conclusion. An ampliative argument is when the truth of the premises does not guarantee the truth of the conclusion. The conclusion is more probable.

When critically analyzing an artwork, it is not enough to simply describe an artwork. The descriptions of the formal elements must be contextualized so that to viewer can understand the influence that each element has on the work as a whole. Formal analysis is where we reflect on the context and meaning, analyze the subject matter, themes, issues, narratives, stories and ideas and look more closely at the form that the artist has produced, such as line, shape, colour, texture, composition, expression, content and meaning.

Those who effectively critically analyze artwork:

  • Describe the artwork, identifying styles and formal elements, genre, meaning and thinking about the artwork in a wider context.
  • Analyze the artwork, thinking about the composition and the relationships between the elements.
  • Interpret the artwork, looking at what the artwork is about, how it makes them feel, the mood of the artwork, what the artist was trying to say, identifying symbols, metaphors, context and meaning and thinking about what it means to them as a viewer.
  • Judge the artwork, reflecting on the strengths, weaknesses, the way the ideas are communicated, how the artwork is viewed in the wider community, likes, dislikes and learning.
  • Evaluate the artwork, reflecting on how the artwork has changed their perceptions, the level of technical, conceptual and composition skill, other qualities found and the effectiveness of the piece and what premise their judgements are based upon.

Bibliography

Research – Casting with Resin

Reading up on what to consider when using resin.

  • Releasing agent required where mould has potential to stick to resin.
  • Sample using Latex mould, however silicone rubber moulds will be stronger for repeat moulding.
  • Matt silicone moulds will give a matt finish – gloss silicone moulds a glossy finish
  • Casting moulds are better quality and more durable than baking moulds.
  • Read the instructions to know for sure what quantity of resin to mix to what quantity of hardener and how long it takes to cure
  • Be super accurate with measuring
  • Mix thoroughly – looking for a uniform colour
  • Choose the right resin
  • Get good at the basics first

Epoxy resin is:

  • best for beginners as it is the easiest to work with.
  • Has the longest shelf life
  • Most forgiving environmentally
  • Longest pot time
  • Sometimes cures with a yellow tine – check before you buy – the more colour free the more expensive.
  • Available as a doming resin which is thicker with extra surface tension, however more difficult to remove bubbles from.
  • Considered a soft resin meaning the casting can be dented.
  • Not suitable for polishing with a polishing wheel – it will not withstand the heat.

Clear Casting/ polyester/polyurethane resin

  • Generally cheaper than epoxy resin
  • Cures very hard with the hardness and clearness of glass
  • Can be polished with a buffing wheel and compound
  • Does not require recoating or a gloss spray to be shiny
  • General moisture insensitive – not affected by humidity.
  • Requires lots of ventilation.
  • Short pot time – generally 8 minutes – less than epoxy resin
  • Careful calculation of resin to hardener required (so many drops per 100ml)
    • Thin layers require more hardener to generate more heat to cure
    • For multiple layers, each layer adds to the heat effect meaning each layer requires less hardener than the one before.
  • Be aware of the end result at the beginning – measure the right amount of resin and hardener for your actual requirements.
  • Shelf Life is no more than six months which epoxy will last much longer.
  • Exposed Surface remains sticky after the resin has cured. This can be sanded off or sealed with resin sealer.
  • Likely to break if dropped.

Bibliography

Resinobsession.com. (2019). [online] Available at: https://www.resinobsession.com/resin-frequently-asked-questions/what-kind-of-resin-should-i-use/ [Accessed 3 Apr. 2019].

Resinobsession.com. (2019). [online] Available at: https://www.resinobsession.com/resin-resin-resin/mistakes-beginners-make-resin/ [Accessed 20 Apr. 2019].

 

Research – Lucas Samaras

My interest in Lucas Samaras is because of his Photo Transformations created by manipulating the wet dye on the poloroid photographic film. While the poloroid images are drying the surface is scratched, rubbed and scraped to disturb the image and create dramatic changes in the image presented.

A lot of his images are close up photographs of his own face, hands – yet others are elaborately presented theatrical scenes. Although these works are from the 1970’s they remain fresh and current with society of the present day’s compulsion towards selfie taking.

Bibliography

Schultz, C. (2018). LUCAS SAMARAS: Photo-Transformations. [online] The Brooklyn Rail. Available at: https://brooklynrail.org/2018/07/artseen/LUCAS-SAMARAS-Photo-Transformations [Accessed 2 Apr. 2019].

The Met Museum (n.d.). Photo-Transformation, Lucas Samaras. [online] Metmuseum.org. Available at: https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/265049 [Accessed 2 Apr. 2019].

Camera-Less Photography

I decided to look further into the techniques of Camera-less photography. These techniques may have the potential to give me the essence of objects that once were there but no longer. They show an image that never really existed, from the light dark and shadows. Always an original and not made from a negative.

“Encountered as fragments, traces, signs, memories or dreams, they leave room for the imagination, transforming the world of objects into a world of visions.” http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/c/camera-less-photography-techniques/

  • Chemigram: made in direct light through the manipulation of the surface of photographs using varnishes, oils or photographic chemicals for creative effect.
  • Digital C-print: using a digital printer, photographic paper is exposed to the red, green and blue lasers and then processed using traditional methods. A way of producing multiples for camera-less imagery.
  • Dye Destruction Print: made using direct positive colour paper, originally used for printing transparencies or negatives. This paper has three dyed primary colour emulsion layers, and on development the exposed dyes form the image.
  • Gelatin Silver Print: made when paper has been coated with gelatin and silver salts. The salts become dark on contact with light and the image is developed chemically.
  • Photogram: made from placing an object in contact with a photosensitive surface in the dark then exposing both to light.
  • Luminogram: made when light hitting the paper forms the image, like a photogram. Objects are placed between the light source and the paper but not on the paper.
  • Scanography: Using scanners to create images.
  • Found Photography: using your photographic vision to find and create are from images taken by others.
  • Sun Photography: Using the power of the sun to expose the image from objects placed on the light sensitive paper.

Notable artists are Floris Neusüss, Pierre Cordier, Garry Fabian Miller, Susan Derges, Adam Fuss.

  • Floris Neusüss who’s whole career was focussed on the Photogram.
  • Pierre Cordier founder of the Chemigram process.
  • Garry Fabian Miller developed an enlargement process linking plants and photographs.
  • Susan Derges focuses on the patterns of sound waves to the flow of rivers.
  • Adam Fuss, photogram artist.

Bibliography

AlternativePhotography.com. (2019). AlternativePhotography.com. [online] Available at: http://www.alternativephotography.com/ [Accessed 13 May 2019].

Baldwin G. (1991), Looking at Photographs: A Guide to Technical Terms Los Angeles and London (J. Paul Getty Museum in association with the British Museum Press)

Cooke, A. (2019). Two Ways to Improve Your Photography Without a Camera. [online] Fstoppers. Available at: https://fstoppers.com/education/two-ways-improve-your-photography-without-camera-235822 [Accessed 13 May 2019].

wikipedia.org. (2019). Found photography. [online] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Found_photography [Accessed 13 May 2019].

Henry, D P. (2019) Cameraless Photography. [online] Available at: http://desmondhenry.com/cameraless-photography/ [Accessed 13 May 2019].

Kanfer, D. (2019). An Introduction to Photogram/Contact Printing. [online] Photo & Video Envato Tuts+. Available at: http://photography.tutsplus.com/tutorials/an-introduction-to-photogramcontact-printing–photo-772 [Accessed 13 May 2019].

Kantor, J. (2015). Can a photographer be a photographer without a camera?. [online] QUORA.COM. Available at: https://www.quora.com/Can-a-photographer-be-a-photographer-without-a-camera [Accessed 13 May 2019].

Nadeau L. (1989) Encyclopedia of Printing, Photographic and Photomechanical Processes New Brunswick, NJ (Atelier Luis Nadeau)

(2019). Cameraless Photography…Scanner Art Photography… – Art, Photography, T-Shirts, Greeting Cards | Redbubble. [online] Available at: http://www.redbubble.com/groups/camera-less-photography [Accessed 13 May 2019].

com. (2019). Things Merging And Falling Apart – Tatiana Gulenkina. [online] Available at: http://www.tatianagulenkina.com/ [Accessed 13 May 2019].

ac.uk. (2019). Camera-less photography: artists – Victoria and Albert Museum. [online] Available at: http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/c/camera-less-photography-artists/ [Accessed 13 May 2019].

(2019). Creators. [online] Available at: http://thecreatorsproject.vice.com/blog/8-photographers-who-dont-use-cameras-to-take-pictures [Accessed 13 May 2019].

com. (2019). Videos about “camera-less photography” on Vimeo. [online] Available at: https://vimeo.com/tag:camera-less+photography [Accessed 13 May 2019].

(2019). Pierre T. Lambert. [online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChuxvFyBYM3VtnLDz8l6vNA [Accessed 13 May 2019].

London Gallery Visits 2

Leake Street Arches

Street art at its best – a continually changing space where street artists present their work.

Hayward Gallery

Diane Arbus: A comprehensive collection of photographs from the early career of Diane Arbus, fifty of the 100 photographs have never been shown in Europe. Most of her images depict urban life in the 50’s and 60’s and she creates very striking photographs where the subject may be in the midst of city life – yet can appear almost solitary. No Photographs allowed unfortunately.

Kader Attia: An exhibition depicting over twenty years of the past twenty years and following several thematic strands.

Barbican Centre

Daria Martin – Tonight the World

I visited The Curve at the Barbican Centre to see the Daria Martin Exhibition Tonight the World where she has an atmospheric film re-enacting some of her grandmothers diary entries from a 35 year collection. She also uses Gaming Technology to explore the historical context where her grandmother had fled her homeland to avoid Nazi occupation.

 

London Gallery Visits

On arrival in London the day before the MA Fine Art Digital Low Residency, I spent some time at the V& A and the Saatchi Gallery before finding my accomodation.

V&A: Trajan’s Column

As I had some time to kill I decided to visit Trajan’s Column, this is an exhibit that always impresses me by the sheer scale of the work. Comprised of reliefs made from plaster and built up in sections they cover the outside of a brickwork column. The reliefs are each numbered so that they could be reassembled easily at the V&A. I have only seen the columns from above previously and it was a good opportunity for me to be on the ground looking up at the columns.

Saatchi: Black Mirror Art as Social Satire

Below are some of the pieces that we saw while at the Saatchi.

Full Circle by Georgii Uvs

Marriage by John Stezaker displays publicity shots of classic film stars spliced and overlapped with famous faces.

Endless Endless by Des Hughes – A polyester resin, iron powder, fibreglass, plastic and wood sculpture that resembles a prone figure.

Couch and From 2nd to Third by Roman Stanczak

After Louise by Wendy Meyer

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Latex Observations

I spent some time re-discovering the use of latex as an artist medium. Below are some observations. 

  • Latex Paint can be thickened.
  • You cant apply latex over someone’s skin.
  • Contaminants interfere with the latex when curing, though as an artist this is probably of benefit.
  • Brush Latex on in thin layers – Ensure there are no air bubbles
  • Each layer takes approximately 30 minutes to dry
  • Four or Five Layers minimum, up to 10 for larger items.
  • Poured latex will take up to 24 hours to dry.
  • Use loosely woven fabric for reinforcement.
  • Don’t reinforce areas that need to stretch
  • If latex cures overnight subsequent layers may not bond properly
  • Cured latex is more resilient to the elements
  • Use anti-fungal powder to avoid mould.
  • If using a mold, a support stand (sand) may be required to keep the shape.
  • Plaster is the best casting medium but other casting mediums can be used.
  • A hardener or thickener can be used with latex.

Virtual Reality Workshop

I attended a Virtual Reality Taster Experience on Friday 25th January 2019 at Tape Community Music and Film run by Helfa Gelf. This offered the opportunity to experience to interact with a virtual environment using auditory, visual and haptic sensory feedback and explore the different software available for creating virtual reality environments.

Research – Evocative Objects

I have been reading the book, Evocative Objects by Sherry Turkle and am fascinated by the meaning we place on objects around us, making the seemingly ordinary and insignificant possess greater significance in our lives. Certain objects can bring a sense of reminiscence for us, evoking memories and recollections from our past. The meaning that we place on specific objects can change as time passes and our memories fade. This book is a collective of stories where people are providing a narrative relating to familiar every day objects that they have pinned this sense of remembrance onto.

Using theory Turkle explores the role that everyday objects play in our inner lives and how this affinity and associations we possess for our own evocative objects brings the outer world into our inner world connecting objects to and preserving our relationships with our memories, bringing thoughts and feelings and melding our ideas and passions together.

There are six theoretical themes in this collection; Objects of Design and Play, Discipline and Desire, History and Exchange, Transition and Passage, Mourning and Memory and Meditation and New Vision. Bringing together a collection of personal stories about objects with strong connections to daily life that are then further reflected on and related to theoretical texts.

Jewellery invoking emotions and feelings about the immigration status of a mother and daughter. A student who identifies through the car she is driving who finally changes her Ford Falcon to a Station Wagon when she becomes a mother. A child with a bunny that can read her mind. A rock reminding a widow of the presence of her deceased husband. A sense of oneness between a gentleman and his glucometer akin to the oneness we feel for our modern technology. A grandfathers life-long association with his SX-70 Polaroid camera and photo transformation leaving his family with a representation of familiar people and places on his passing. A collection of salvaged photographs recovered after a fire.

Most objects have this value to people because of the circumstances in their lives around the time that the object was part of their lives. Yet some seem to have a more natural, uncanny resonance with memory, recognizable, yet unfamiliar, creating an ambiguity with what is known and not known about our inner self and the outer world.

The Knot Lady, as she was formerly known observed a student who was subconsciously using knots in her Knot Laboratory to process her feelings and emotions experienced during a difficult time in her home life, the divorce of her parents. Feeling torn between her mum and dad, she expressed these feelings of being pulled in two different directions through her knot making and also began to overcome some of these emotions at the same time. An expression of her own inner reflection on the outer world and circumstances around her. This particular story is paried with a reference to the Paris archives La Fondation Le Corbusier, the experience of visiting the archives in person to reflect on the archived drawings and their materiality and their subsequent digitisation. Observing the archives online lead to a greater sense of anonymity and a lack of connection with the physicality of the archive. The physical essence of the painstakingly hand-drawn drawings covered with directly fingerprints and smudges on the really thin paper was lost when viewed digitally.

An MIT student describing her laptop as irreplaceable may not seem an out of place ideal in today’s society. Yet her associations with her laptop may not be what would first come to mind. Her early romantic relationships were intrinsically associated with her laptop, in particular being the medium for the initial connection with her first love. So much so that any interaction with her laptop would remind her of this person supporting the idea that we can imbue an object with emotional value, bringing reminders of a person or situation whenever we associate with that object. In this particular case, the student already passionate about computers with early romantic associations is naturally reminded of love when she interacts with her computer. A reference is also made to another student with “romantic” ideals who spends all his time at his computer, but not to avoid the outside world, seeing the computer as a pathway to a web of social interactions and relationships and potentially a way to fall in love again.

The associations we subconsciously create with objects can subtly alter over time as circumstances, emotions, feelings, thoughts and opinions change and develop. We use these associations with the familiar to connect our inner being with the outer world. We can forget how these objects came to be so important or natural in our lives, yet these natural objects have historical significance to us as our lives progress.

In my current artwork I am creating associations and connections with seemingly inanimate objects to reflect on memory; collective, personal, historical, social, known, unknown, fading, changing and assumed in an attempt to express the relationship between the experience of the inner self and the outer world.

Bibliography

Turkle, S. (2011). Evocative objects. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.

Research – Shona Illingworth

This post forms part of my initial research for my project proposal.

Lesions in the Landscape is a video installation with an immersive sound piece. I became inspired by this piece through my own struggles with memory after a period of illness.

Claire, struggling with amnesia and memory loss through encephalitis causing a lesion in her brain resulting in the inability to remember the past, make new long term memories and remember faces.

“The past existing as a space you can’t enter or feel; the future a space you can’t imagine.”(Claire, 2013) http://digicult.it/news/lesions-in-the-landscape-an-interview-with-shona-illingworth/

Illingworth collaborated with Claire over a long period of time and melded the struggles that Claire was facing with the historical struggles of the community on the island of St Kilda, now a derelict and forgotten land with only formally recorded recollection of memories written in books about the island.

Parallels are drawn between Claire’s abrupt loss of memory with the abrupt evacuation of St Kilda in 1930 and subsequently the loss of it’s cultural heritage as the island became uninhabited. She weaves her own experiences with that of the island and the community using metaphor as her tool for her visual communication.

In this piece of work Illingworth is keen to show St Kilda in it’s current place in history as a MOD Weapons Testing range with a large radar installation and even the act of genetically mapping a species of sheep.

Although appearing outwardly uninhabited, having a life that continues, albeit without the historical community that was forcibly moved from there in the 1930’s. Very relevant still in today’s climate of migration.

Questioning how we are remembered when we are gone and what version of our history exists beyond our own existence. Claire’s experience of personal memory relies on and is influenced by the perceptions of the people around her.

Her Amnesia Museum is portrayed as an archive of forgetting, using photographs and other documentation to map amnesia as it develops in the present and can be imagined in the future.

“You can’t imagine the future if you don’t have memory…And if you don’t have a diversity of memory, then in some senses you inhibit the capacity to imagine the future” (Shona Illingworth, 2015). http://digicult.it/news/lesions-in-the-landscape-an-interview-with-shona-illingworth/

An analogy for the neurological experience of amnesia, the ‘island with inaccessible cultural memory’, embodies the phenomenon of lost connection and without memory it is not possible to imagine the future. http://shonaillingworth.net/lesions-in-the-landscape

Memory is so intrinsic to our identity – both on a personal level, as is the case with Claire, just as it is with a community of island dwellers from St Kilda. If there is no-one there to remember them, how does the island exist in the public consciousness, and in what way is their history told? Which version of them lives on and how is the future of the island constructed? http://digicult.it/news/lesions-in-the-landscape-an-interview-with-shona-illingworth/

Bibliography

CGP London (2016). CGP London | The gallery by the pool | Lesions in the Landscape. [online] CGP London. Available at: https://cgplondon.org/lesions-in-the-landscape/ [Accessed 25 Oct. 2018].

Film London (2016). Shona Illingworth, Lesions in the Landscape, 2016, excerpt. [online] Vimeo. Available at: https://vimeo.com/167723877 [Accessed 25 Oct. 2018].

Hawkins, K. (n.d.). Lesions in the Landscape by Shona Illingworth. A report from FACT Liverpool. [online] Digicult | Digital Art, Design and Culture. Available at: http://digicult.it/news/lesions-in-the-landscape-an-interview-with-shona-illingworth/ [Accessed 25 Oct. 2018].

Illingworth, S. (n.d.). Lesions in the Landscape – Shona Illingworth. [online] Shonaillingworth.net. Available at: http://shonaillingworth.net/lesions-in-the-landscape [Accessed 25 Oct. 2018].

Illingworth, S. (n.d.). The Amnesia Museum. [online] FACT. Available at: https://www.fact.co.uk/artwork/the-amnesia-museum [Accessed 25 Oct. 2018].