I just finished my essay entitled An Empathetic Affair: On the Distribution of Identity in Art Making Today, and am actually pretty pleased with it. I struggled getting into it and exploring external sources. I have a hard time finding visual artists that really resonate with me, in fact most of my research comes from outside the contemporary art world. However I think I managed to situate this idea about empathy in art making in the contemporary art context by looking also at some artists whom I may not necessarily like that much. But most of my essay centers around the work of Hedwig Houben, a Dutch-born Belgium-based artist working primarily with performance lectures as a medium. I really like her. Her work thematises the relationship between mediation and the art making process. She goes about things self-critically, using her own practice as data, and stripping it down into components she analyses in performances. She uses ‘shape-shifting’ as I would call it, as an exploratory tool. These are two ways in which she shares something in common with my practice. My Talking Drawing video is probably what comes closest to her practice. She is not very well known so there is not a lot of writing on her, but I definitely enjoy her humour and wit, and think her work is important. I sent my essay to her. I am thinking of attempting to publish it, just for the heck of it. Why not.
With the essay out of the way, and summer approaching, I am trying to imagine what I would like to do with the space I am applying to exhibit in. I started making some drawings. Initially I intended to use the back room to screen my film Vernacular Spectacular and to show my drawings in the main exhibiting space. But I changed my mind because:
- The backroom is a little small, has too many obstructing doorways (3), is between the main space and the WC, and has a big fuse box protruding from the wall
- Although my drawings are important to me, they make up a slightly smaller part of my practice these days, so it makes little sense to devote a smaller crowded room to my main work
- I actually really like how my drawings and video work go together based on my ArtsLav exhibition and the last WCA assessment exhibition
With that, I think I am pretty settled on devoting the main space to both drawing and performance, instead of insisting on compartmentalising my work based on media. The problems with exhibiting both in the same room:
- The large windows may cause light pollution on the projected film
- Perhaps I won’t get to show as much work as I’d like to
The last point is not such a problem. I think being selective often is a good thing. One needn’t be desperate about showing everything; just putting on a good show in the space provided. Therefore I think that if I can successfully show my film in the main space, that I will proceed with a mixed media, one-room exhibition.
The Back Room (Reading Room?)
As for the back room, so far I’ve been thinking of simply using it as an office (I need to be present for the whole exhibition). Since I also wanted to cheaply sell publications of my own (I think a good deal of my work is suitable for the zine format), I thought of making it a combined office/reading room. Hopefully I can make it look inviting enough with a bookshelf, armchair and lamp (and make myself look unintimidating and peripheral so that people are comfortable spending time there). I thought of providing classics, art books – anything I can collect really, to fill the bookshelf, while also providing a comic-book-stand-type-thing with my publications available for reading or purchase. Ideas for published works include (mainly illustrated short stories):
- The Railway Rocket Dog (Illustrated story)
- 100 Things K Likes (Illustrated poem)
- CV (Illustrated story)
- Parapleure (My photography work involving a series of discarded umbrellas)
- The as yet untitled imitation photos I took, presented in a booklet format
This is my main work, so there’s no doubt I want to show it. So far I think the best way would be to somewhat replicate what I did for my WCA 2015 assessment, and present (what I have kept referring to as) a ‘theatrical’ version of the videos, so that each story is a chapter in a curated series that makes up a 30-40 minute video. I liked also how it looks projected across a whole wall, and would like to do that here too. Hopefully the red velvet sofa I found in the attic of my previous school is still there, so that I can borrow it to provide seating. It is perfect.
I know my way around Bergen though, so if it is no longer there, I know where to get cheap nice furniture (Fretex)! Possible videos to include in my first refined version of Vernacular Spectacular:
(unmade video | Include video | maybe include video | ❊ = video needs finalising)
- Cover Yourself ❊
- Interlude I
- The Map
- Others Will Love Me
- Lyrics Writer
- Credits ❊
- Red Carpet
- Amado Mio
- Interlude II
- Disabled Mother ❊
- Artificial Intelligence
- International Dance Craze ❊
- I Make Shapes with my Body ❊
For the proposal I am currently working on however, I will send them a sample version of Vernacular Spectacular (a single video version of what I presented for the WCA assessment).
While my performance work is perhaps more impactful at the moment, being an ongoing series with its own identity, the drawings are more ‘all over the place’. This need not be a bad thing, in fact I think there is good experimentation going on here. I have started working on some embroidery/textile works.
And I’ve been working with watercolour:
I find drawing in these various ways joyous and musical, but I am not sure what their identity is or where it’s moving. So I will in my proposal simply suggest at my current work with the Railway Rocket Dog Songs (still among some of my better work in my opinion). The larger A1 map-like drawings seemed to compliment the films somehow. I like the map connotation, and its connection to the science revolution, which I wrote about here. I like combining the glamour of the videos, and the science fiction of the literature, with the primitive obsession of the drawings. Together they convey a certain joy, and a certain care for the world. If I could orchestrate those mixed sentiments together somehow into something light but penetrating (conjuring up a ‘momentous historical lineage’ using imagery).
The work mentioned above may well be enough. But my sound pieces are a fairly solid branch of my Vernacular Spectacular series which may be worth showing as a diversifier of notions implicated in the exhibition. I had the opportunity to experiment with presentation at the ArtsLav show, and I think it was effective.
Media players on loop in boxes with portraits printed onto the front, respectively, accompanied by headphones. A broader series of those would be interesting, perhaps six or even nine? At the moment I imagine them hung on the wall as a grid. There is the technical difficulty of keeping these devices powered daily without inelegant wires crowding the place. But perhaps I could simply charge them all over night, every day! Possible voices to include:
(unmade audio | Include audio | maybe include audio | ❊ = audio needs finalising)
- Rainbow ❊
- Grocery Shopping ❊
- Low pressure ❊
- Funeral Plans ❊
- Kelsey ❊
- Late Night Nihilism ❊