Fragments and Latex – Part 3

Wanting to continue on from my previous experimentations in Fragments and Latex – Part 1 – Objects and Fragments and Latex – Part 2 – Prints and Rusting Objects I decided to further this work by using the latex to lift the rust from the objects and produce a more cohesive piece of work.

Although this line of enquiry has been looking at lots of fragmented objects, they all have a commonality about them in the fact that they are objects that evoke a memory of a past (home, life, experience, situation).

I laid out my objects on a piece of glass from an old glass table and then began pouring the latest. At this point I had no idea even if the pouring method I was using would be successful in this instance.

Once the first pouring had dried (left for roughly 24 hours) I then began to brush additional layers onto the objects which at this point were securely in place.

I then created a fabric layer in the piece to provide structure and applied an additional two coats of latex (in total one poured layer and four painted layers).

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Finally after a whole weekend of pouring an layering I decided then to dig the objects out from the constructed piece.

Finally revealing the final object.

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Reflection

The act of pouring the latex onto the glass worked very successfully, however it was really difficult to dig out the objects – with perseverance though this did work well. What was really good about this digging away at the objects was the fact that in reality when I first found the objects they were sunk into the mud of the reservoir base and some had to be dug out when I first found the objects.

I really like the effect made when the rust is held into the latex and this gives an imprint of the physical essence of the objects having been rusting away under water for many many years.

The Wildling – Part 3

And so the making begins – armed with gaffa tape, Kitchen roll and cotton wool I begin by focussing on the gloves planned in The Wildling – Part 1

Wrapping the cotton wool in Kitchen roll and gaffa tape was a surprisingly quick and relaxing process.

Reflection

Rusting Objects

Having found several fragmented objects on my site visits I have been collecting lots of rusting household remnants such as hinges bolts and nails. All things that are akin to those objects I found. below is an example of the current state of the objects and what I hope to achieve.

I have rusted items quickly in the past with a view of making rust prints and I’m keen to use latex to acquire the rust from the objects.

So I sought out a solution called Rusty 3000 (I’m no chemist so this is probably the extent of my chemical experimentation) 16 oz of Hydrogen Peroxide, 2 oz of White Vinegar and a tablespoon of salt. Highly corrosive so rubber gloves were used.

I’ve made two solution baths and placed a door handle in a jam jar.

Below are photos from within the first few minutes.

I removed the door knob from the jam jar so not sure how effective this will be for the door knob in the long run.

After 1 day:

After 2 days:

Leaving it now for a week to let it cook.

Meanwhile I decided to take advantage of the rusty froth and make some prints too.

Reflection

This was a really successful exercise – the liquid was very caustic so I had to be extra careful and this scared me a little bit, however the end results were really good.

I learned that not everything rusts as well and additional things on the surface of the metal can hinder the process – paint for example.

I really liked the bit of video I recorded where I could see the interaction of the liquid with the object and definitely plan to investigate this further.

The greatest challenge would have to be not getting burned – I’m really clumsy at the best of times and working with a caustic liquid was difficult for me.

 

 

Tutorial – 18/01/19

I found my tutorial with Jonathan today to be very constructive. To date I have begun several threads of experimentation which were up for discussion.

In the first instance we discussed the experimentation I had recently completed using latex. See Roof Slates and Latex.

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My intention is to upscale this experiment to create a much larger piece and the intention of bringing stitch back into my artwork. Reflecting on my previous piece using stitch in Evacuee I do not simply want to recreate the process and apply it to this body of work, I want to develop the thinking further. For the evacuee project, I used leather thread to stitch burnt photographs and acetate together to create an assemblage. My reasoning behind using latex – that I can use stitch to bring all the slates together into one larger piece and I can begin to introduce digital elements into the work with a focus on distorting the images. Distortion of memories, facts, truth, history but also physical distortion of the digital image.

We briefly discussed the distortion of imagery through photo transfer and Jonathan told me about Citrasolv a degreaser that can be used to transfer laser print. We also had a brief discussion about acquiring copyright free archival photographs though Library and Newspaper archives.

Having printed digitally onto thick canvas fabric, I have recently order some samples on much light fabrics, these samples I then intend to use to experiment on how the latex works with digital imagery on paper and digital imagery on fabric. Why lighter-weight fabric? This project in particular continues to bring me back to the time of my childhood – the reservoirs flooded around the time of my birth. Memories of home keep flooding back to me as I think of the homes that were demolished to make way for these reservoirs. When I think of my mum’s house and my nana’s house and what objects/fabrics signify them as different to home now and this would have to be net curtains. The days we’ve spent hanging the freshly washed net curtains on the line still linger in my mind – an act that is rarely seen nowadays. So I had two samples printed, one on Organza fabric and one on Net fabric with the potential to further distort and fade the imagery.

Although it had been my original intention to print onto net curtain fabric, I discovered recently that indeed this process had also been used by Christian Boltanski in La Traversée de la Vie and the 1994 piece Moved (Menschlich). This leads me onto a question that Jonathan asked me during the tutorial – Why Boltanski?

This is a question that I found difficult to answer – indeed I have found other artist that also reference that historical post war era – Joseph Beuys, Anselm Kiefer. In previous work I too have referenced war and the effects on humanity. But I ask myself, is it really just this – why the effects of war in particular – or is it more than that – is the loss of our history or memories what is paramount. I know that for me in particular – I always have in the back of my mind that this could have been me – but for a change in circumstance. I  feel that events for all of us change and distort in our memories over time and creating art about these events is an act of remembrance and in a sense an acknowledgement of the people and the experience they went through.

Boltanski uses archival photographs, something which I am keen to explore further and the sense of anonymity from some of his works I find particularly evocative – no – we don’t know who all these people are – yet they are individual just the same as each and every one of us. Perhaps this is the inspiration I see in his work. On Artsy.net he reflects on the fact that although everyone is unique, we also disappear so quickly and the conflict we all have towards those that have passed over, hating death – yet loving and appreciating the deceased.

In the work Forgotten Children, I found anonymous photographs of children affected by the Syrian war and produced a series of Photo Etchings in an attempt to acknowledge and remember their struggle – recognising that these children are all unique and individuals just like every other person in the world.

We then discussed what had had the biggest impact on me from my recent Site Visits to Haweswater, Thrusscross & Derwent and Tryweryn. This would have to be the tree stumps that I discovered on the shores of both Thruscross and Tryweryn. The result of deforestation to make way for the reservoir, to me these tree stumps act as a metaphor for the memory of the history and events of the locations.

img_3174Having been cut down they show the memory of their demise, being soaked and dark brown and peaty showing the memory of being submerged underwater, their roots exposed reminding us that at one time they were living trees. Memories of Life, yet memories of the effects of man on the area. When I first saw them I felt as if they were crawling up the embankment and as if they were indeed alive. For something so static and so dead they still felt alive and full of movement.

As soon as I saw them I had this idea for creating a larger scale model which I could then get someone to wear and perform in at our next visit to the locations.

We had briefly discussed the fact that I felt my video work with the shirts What Lies Beneath was not stimulating and that I felt it needed some movement/performative element to add more interest/stimulation to the piece.

I feel that the tree stumps provide the perfect opportunity to gain this performative element.

Jonathan commented on the shape and colour of the tree stumps against the lightness of the shirts and the ground and that he felt this could be a way forwards with a movement based idea. He also suggested that I might introduce dance as a physical movement – something that could visually connect with the ground and the shirts. Possibly using slowness in movement with the movement of the shirts in the wind.

Another idea we discussed was also the use of a drone (which will be much to my hubby’s delight) and to be honest it was clear in the first site visits that drone footage would have been a really useful tool. Drone footage will provide a new perspective on the view of the sights an be able to gain a Just above the surface view point of the sites on my next visit.

Jonathan observed that a lot of what I am doing with this project is creating Metaphors for Memory – so many metaphors to create and lots of ideas to be working on. Feeling positive for the way forward.

Roof Slates and Latex

I previously had an idea to latex the roof slates and decided to put this idea into action.

I had in my mind a larger sculptural piece of work and saw potential in using the slates I had previously gathered to create this piece. I also had a desire to investigate potential projection surfaces and latex could possibly provide me with a suitable surface to project onto.

As part of this task I also wanted to estimate how much liquid latex I would need to create a large sculptural piece and some estimation would be required as to the number of layers.

As well as some liquid latex I also purchased a cheap decorators drop sheet from my local B&Q to cut up and use as a reinforcing material.

I set about beginning to apply latex to the roof slates to see how successful this might be. Having laid out the slates on my kitchen table, I started applying thin coats of latex to the tiles and decided after three coats that it would be a suitable time to add the reinforcing material.

I had the idea that I would ultimately stitch the slates to a larger piece of strong canvas material. so I used the edge of the drop sheet to provide a strong supporting edge that I could then stitch to the larger canvas material at a later point in time.

Half an hour between coats and once the reinforcing material was applied I left an hour between coats. I only applied one extra coat after the reinforcing material – bearing in mind that this was an initial experimental stage. In total – 5 coats. I then left the latex to cure overnight.

The next morning I then began removing the latex from the slates and for the first experiment with these slates I was delighted with the results. I really like the fact that the latex has taken on some of the material from the slate and the effects that were produced.

I then laid out the latex slates in the manner that I had in mind for the larger scale piece. I’m happy that this will scale up really well.

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At this stage I had half a litre of latex left so I repeated the process on six of the larger slates. Left the latex to cure and then removed the latex from the slates. I applied anti fungal talc to all of the slates to ensure that they don’t go mouldy and no longer stick to each other.

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The next day I reflected further on what I had produced. Not all of the slates would prove to be useful at this stage. If I decided to create a larger piece that effetely appears like a roof top the larger pieces are more effective for what I have in mind. I’m happy with the number of layers required to produce what I need.

I estimated that it takes 1 litre of liquid latex to produce 12 large tiles which would be approximately 1 square metre. Knowing this will help me to calculate how much latex to purchase when I decide to upscale.

I’m really keen to produce the larger piece which I have in my mind to be approximately 3 metres long by 2 metres tall – 6 square metres and 72 slates in total – six litres of liquid latex.

I only have six of the larger slates at the moment so my estimation would be 2 days per square metre – 12 days of latex prepping in total.

Reflection

The best thing I did was to go back and read up on applying liquid latex again as it had been some time since the last time I did this. This gave me the confidence to just get on with the task in hand.

It was a good idea for me to latex all the tiles I had as this enabled me to be more clear about which tiles would be most suitable and what I would need to do to upscale.

Because I read up on this subject again, I remembered to use anti-fungal talc and not just ordinary talc – saving the latex from becoming mouldy in the future.

I possibly could have put more thought into the process prior to starting and that way I may have produced only the larger tiles from the outset. With hindsight, this would have meant that I’d have had more useable pieces at this stage. I also feel that although the reinforcing materials was appropriate in this case, if I was working with different objects (for example the fragments I have collected, which I intend to work with) then I would need to use a lighter weight reinforcing material.

This task will definitely have an impact on my future work as I have intended for a long time to reintroduce latex into my practice and definitely see ways of introducing stitch into this work as well. I have several 3-dimensional ideas which I feel latex would be an appropriate material for.

The greatest challenge in completing this task is the one thing that always raises it’s head and that is my lack of patience – I so wanted to hurry the work along to see the final effects – however managed to reign this in and wait albeit slightly impatiently for the curing to take place.

I didn’t find this task boring or tedious at all, in fact very therapeutic and calming. If anything the production of 72 tiles is going to be a bit repetitive and in the future producing a larger single latex work may be more stimulating.

All in all – very happy with this piece at this stage.

 

 

Unit 1 Project Proposal – Draft 2

Working Title

Investigate the analogies found in the landscape that can reflect issues of collective and personal memory displacement and loss reflected in the surrounding environment.

  • Is the influence of man in the landscape an analogy for the social issue of displacement and loss on a personal level?
  • Do the effects of dereliction and abandonment in the landscape reflect the inner experience where memories become lost or faded over time?
  • Do changes in the landscape provide an analogy for changes in memory?
  • Do things such as location smell, sound, objects help us to remember?

Aims

  • Research theories that relate to memory and art that can be utilized for inspiration.
  • Develop a body of work that considers memory/ remembrance and film/video
  • Explore the connection between contemporary art, memory/ remembrance and film/video.
  • Consider my own personal relationship with aging, remembrance and memory loss.
  • Investigate the Generation effect as a concept for reflection, remembrance and memory loss.

Objectives

  • Reflect and respond to inspiration derived from research of contemporary artwork relating to memory and remembrance.
  • Research and investigate artworks created to represent remembrance that deal with memory loss and distortion, including film and video.
  • Refine and improve video, audio and photography production and digital editing skills to develop projection/installation knowledge further.
  • Develop an experimental body of work that reflects upon the issue of displacement and the effects of distortion/loss of memory through time and life factors.
  • Experiment with photography and video to create digital and photographic material that can be utilized as part of the larger body of work.
  • Consider favoured techniques and processes to further refine and understand relationship with these materials.
  • Reflect upon memory triggers, introducing the theory that sights, sounds and smells can trigger a memory long since forgotten. Expand on these ideas by considering Binaural Audio, Binaural Beats and Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR).
  • Develop experimental artwork that considers the Generation effect, the theory that it is easier to remember information recalled from your own mind than it is to remember information read.

Context

Who are the key artists/designers/writers or other creative individuals related to your project?

Initially I intend to reflect upon the artist Christian Boltanski. Areas of interest apparent in the work of Christian Boltanksi are Life, Death and Memory with much of his work focusing on the Holocaust and blurring the boundaries between fiction and truth. Initial Pieces of interest are La traversée de la vie (The Crossing of Life), 2015, Départ (Departure), 2015, Animitas (Blanc), 2017, Arrivée (Arrival), 2015 and La Bibliothèque des coeurs (The library of hearts). I intend to reflect further upon parallels between Boltanski and my previous work. Boltanski produces work that documents historical events; he focuses on abandonment or past tragedies that bring awareness to the divide between human documentation and historical facts. These somewhat forgotten events help us to reflect on the present and becomes a method of unification for the audience, so that we can witness social change on a broader level.

I am interested in the artist Rachel Whiteread because of the way that her work elicits memory for the audience by casting the spaces around everyday objects she suggests the space that has existed around things. She explores not only memory but loss and remembrance too, remembering our history and noting the relevance that our history still has in our modern world. Her work brings about many references to our history (cultural, social, industrial and political) and helps us to understand this through our own perceptions and in relation to our place in our community. Particular pieces of interest are House, Ghost and Tree of Life.

Lesser-known artists are Shona Illingworth, Debbie Smyth and Briony McDonaugh. Shona Illingworth and her piece Lesions in the Landscape focuses on the artists’ own experience of amnesia and the comparison with the landscape of her homeland, St Kilda. Debbie Smyth, a textile artist known for her large scale 2D and 3D pieces using thread as a drawing medium.

Further reflecting on previous inquiry of the following artists: John Akomfrah, Lamia Joreige, Mona Hatoum, El Anatsui, Anselm Kiefer, Joseph Beuys and Louise Bourgeois.

What are the key ideas or developments that are central to your area of interest?

My aim is to continue with a previous line of inquiry into issues that relate to displacement. In reflecting further on the current work to date, I hope to delve deeper into the context of historical factual research and the human memories that alter over time.

The need for a sense of belonging and identity is inherent in all of providing security in knowing who we are and where we came from. As we grow the landscape around us changes, our impression of such and our memories also become fuzzy and unclear. Significantly, governments can influence massive change in an environment using parliamentary bills. In their wake, landscapes destroyed for the greater good and all that remains are clues that allude to the environment that once was. The way that we view and interpret the landscape and environment around us can provide us with a metaphor that represents our identity and the loss of associated memories through the passing of time and changes made in the name of progress. Our understanding of the history of the land that we inhabit also affects our interpretation of our environment.

Methodology

How will you go about researching your question?

Digital Media is a constantly expanding industry sector that provides an effective method for visual communication used to represent the experience of collective and personal memory and associated loss and displacement seen in the landscape through observation and recording. Observation and recording can show the beauty in what remains and the strength and courage to go on with our lives that exists in all of us in our human experience. Using Digital Media can also help to bring historical archive material into the awareness of the here and now. Archive material is often long lost and forgotten – yet it provides us with an important point of reference to reflect against in our current environment.

What means will you use – interviewing, visiting particular collections, processes or production for making.

Completion of archival research using a variety of methods. Initially, using the internet to identify exactly where statistical information that relates to historical events. I may also attempt to contact community groups of survivors in the hope that I may gather information on the human experience of such events and the essence of human memory now. I would hope also to gather some photographic material with the survivors that I potentially may use. I will also be to produce a Facebook page where I can begin to solicit responses from women on social media. The Facebook page will also form an ideal tool to share findings that occur during the lifetime of the project. Where possible I intend to visit sites of these historical events again in the hope of gathering further photographic and video evidence.

Resources

Are there any particular resources or equipment that you plan to use?

My hope is to experiment a lot throughout the duration of this course. As an artist at an early stage in my career, I have the opportunity to build on a more cohesive contextual artistic practice. My experimentation will extend to but is not limited to – modifying archive photographs with Photoshop and Premiere Pro, printing outcomes onto different fabrics for display, re-introducing stitch into my artistic practice – integrating methods with other artistic techniques.

Experimentation with photography, distortion, assemblage, fabric, stitch, latex, plaster, found objects, video and sound bringing together what I perceive to be the best of my previous work so that I can move forward with my technique and process.

I am also considering recording any visual findings using both a Polaroid and a modern digital camera. Using the Polaroid camera will provide me with a means to produce a seemingly archival record of my findings. The material recorded with the digital camera will provide me with the means to harness modern technology to work with the imagery in a more up to date manner. I intend to record video for a potential exhibit using projection.

How will you gain access to this equipment?

I already own a modern digital camera and a portable projector. I plan to purchase an original refurbished Polaroid camera from the Impossible Project. This organisation acquired the last Polaroid factory after cessation of production in 2008. They continue to produce Polaroid film and cameras.

A recent visit to the Liverpool Biennial has sparked an interest in ASMR (Autonomous sensory meridian response) sound recording and I hope to experiment further in the area of sound. For recording and playback, I am currently investigating required technology and cost of purchase.

I intend to rent shop space locally on a short-term basis whenever I am ready to test work in an installation environment.

Outcomes

Potential Outcomes are as follows:

  • Collection of assemblage work involving digitally printed fabric, stitch and distorted photographs
  • Possible Collection of Polaroid Photography linking to the assemblage work
  • Installation that incorporates, video projection with binaural sound piece(s)

Work Plan

Navigate to the working document for the Work Schedule using the link below:

Bibliography

Aranda, J. (2010). E-flux journal: What Is Contemporary Art?. New York: Sternberg Pr.

Berberich, C., Campbell, N. and Hudson, R. (2016). Affective landscapes in literature, art and everyday life. London: Routledge.

Couldry, N. (2013). Media, Society, World. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons.

Gibbons, J. (2015). Contemporary Art and Memory. London: I.B. Tauris.

Greslé, Y. (2015). PRECARIOUS VIDEO: HISTORICAL EVENTS, TRAUMA AND MEMORY IN SOUTH AFRICAN VIDEO ART. Ph.D. University College London.

Manovich, L. (2010). The language of new media. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press.

Munteán, L., Plate, L. and Smelik, A. (2016). Materializing memory in art and popular culture. Taylor and Francis.

Pollock, R. (2013). Discovering Rachel Whiteread’s Memorial Process: The Development of the Artist’s Public and Memorial Sculpture from House to Tree of Life. Undergraduate. Brandeis University.

Quigley, T. (2010). Memory, Temporality, and Loss: Rachel Whiteread.

Saltzman, L. (2006). Making memory matter. Chicago, Ill: University of Chicago Press.

Solnit, R. (2017). A field guide to getting lost. Edinburgh: Canongate Books.

Svasek, M. (2014). Forced Displacement, Suffering and the Aesthetics of Loss. Open Arts Journal

Taylor, K. (2009). Cultural Landscapes and Asia: Reconciling International and Southeast Asian Regional Values. Landscape Research.

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

Tutorial – 02/11/18

Today’s Tutorial with Jonathan has been really useful as to date I have been going through quite a lot of confusion with regards to my way forward and my Project Proposal.

I began by explaining to Jonathan the point where I’m at now. Prior to starting the MA I had been intent on my project being based upon Women in Work and I originally wrote a proposal for this as a theme. However in one of the recent group chats Jonathan had asked me if I always worked to a theme and this raised for me the fact that I wasn’t entirely comfortable with the Women in Work theme I was planning.

I decided to take time to reflect on my work over the last two years in particular and review my motivations for creating the work that I had to date. See UAL First Year Symposium for an overview of my work to date.

In short I had been focussing on the Social Political elements of particular historical incidents that had occurred locally that I felt I was not yet finished with and that I had only just scratched the surface of. My final piece of my degree, about Tryweryn had been the most potent for me personally and had affected me on a very deep level. Through my reflection I began to realise that the subconscious connecting theme throughout my work was about memory both cultural and personal, historical yet up to date and that in my photographs I had been attempting to show unearthed memories in the landscape. I created the following mind map to try and make sense of my much confused thinking.

We then discussed my perception that I have yet to develop my own particular artistic style and whether in fact this is important at all. From our discussion about this it became apparent that perhaps the important thing is the motivation/trigger that stimulates the artistic process. For some this might be using specific materials that the art then flows from the act of using those materials.

For me, I feel an empathic connection to a situation or event that I need to make art about. I then research the subject and decide on what materials would be appropriate for each project.

Perhaps I was looking for some clarity in my work that I had not yet seen. After my discussion with Jonathan I can now see that there is a clarity in my process and that is enough, that a particular artistic style is not always necessary and has been a distraction to me. I already know I’m a maker and that I see the digital realm as an extension of any work that I make and now I’m more aware that I do have a clear process – even if I couldn’t see it until now.

Whilst we were talking about motivation, it also became apparent that to be able to visit a location or site that relates to the work I am making is very important to me – being able to sense the physicality of the landscape and the emotion and feeling of the events that have gone before.

Moving on to the subject of memory we discussed my proposed artists that I am considering for contextual reference; Christian Boltanski, Rachel Whiteread in particular, and also Anselm Kiefer, Mona Hatoum, Joseph Beuys and Louise Bourgeois. We also discussed triggers of memory such as smell, location and sounds that often pull back memories that had been long forgotton. Jonathan mentioned the piece Keicheyuhea (2017) by the artist Aslan Gaisumov on display at St Georges Hall for the Liverpool Biennale 2018 and her rememberance of a life gone by brought about by the sight of her homeland.

We then spoke about my intention to bring my more successful elements of my practice forward to help me with my project enquiry. These would be introducting stitch and photography, akin to the piece I produced for the Elfennau Exhibition – Galeri Caernarfon from my previous degree.

I also mentioned the use of sound that I am going to experiment with having been expoosed to Autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR) sound recordings at the Liverpool Biennale 2018. ASMR recording is used for the hidden sounds of everyday life that often go unnoticed, for example whispering and the flicking of a piece of paper.

I feel using these sounds with the site specific experimentation that I intend to do will potentially provide me with a method to invoke feeling or emotion, not just through the visual communication but through an auditory method also. I definitely am keen on the idea of producing multi sensory work and my experimentation will include elements of this too.

Along with ASMR sound recording Jonathan mentioned Binaural sound recording and Directional sound recording and I plan to research these further so that I can experiment with them.

Very happy with today’s tutorial – positive and excited and now ready to begin experiementing.