Day Seven – WITD

29 April

Yesterday I closed the circle on the armature. I now enter into a slightly different phase of completing the figures and starting to work downwards to enclose the whole form. I need to build a stand so I can get underneath and find a way of making that stable while I work. It needs to by so because I will not be able to move it until it is completed and hard.

I had already made a stand and it is dry enought to support the weight. But I am not sure if it is wide enough to make the whole structure stable while I work. I could add to it or make a new one. I shall deal with this matter this afternoon.

As I continue with the work on WITD, I also continue with other aspects of the project and the blog curation. The latter is a lengthy matter, to collate and organise the information, re-read the posts and look at how my ideas have evolved. Regarding the former, I am working on, amongst other things:

  • the narrative prose;
  • finishing as far as possible Logos and Enshrinement;
  • constructing the models;
  • planning the videos,
  • and accompanying soundtracks;
  • building the virtual space;
  • rendering the visualisations of the Camberwell show.
  • drafting Symposium 2
  • rewrite Project Proposal with respect to twin trajectory
  • outlining the Critical Evaluation

Day Six – WITD

Closing the other side will take a little longer than I thought. This is the stage when I have to pay particular attention to balance and rhythm in relation to the areas already set down. Yesterday, day six was slightly disrupted so I did not get as much done as I had hoped, but I am able to keep to some sort of schedule.

It is so tempting to start with the details, but I feel that I should complete all the areas before I place the extremities. It is all how one part relates to the others and this can only be done when all the parts have been roughed out. The character of the work will change when I enter the next phase.

Virtual Space Work Flow

We have been having Zoom meetings every Tuesday during the lockdown, as a means of keeping in touch and supporting one another. The sessions have mainly focused on the online show. Today was particularly interesting because those of us who have started to work with Aristotle were asked by Jonathan, if our experience so far could help others in planning their virtual space. Just before that, I had had a quick conversation with Aristotle over a particular. It then became clear what, at least, my workflow needed to be as I outlined my suggestions.

Based on the principle of taking care of the big things and the details will follow (I alluded to this in the previous post) I outlined these four points:

  1. Decide the nature of the space and build it.
  2. Place objects for textures, their approximate positions, sizes, proportions.
  3. Work out the controls, camera movements, actions.
  4. Place the textures (work files) on the object surfaces.

This simple work flow deals with things in a way so as to not make alterations too complicated.

If the space’s surfaces such as walls are to be textured, these should be added at the first stage. However, what is important is to create the unwrapped meshes. Attention should be payed to images that are complex or need tiling so that they fit well when wrapped. Placeholder files can be used but it is better to use the files intended in the final rendering. Fortunately, I do not have to think of this seeing as my space is as simple as could be, i.e. no space.

The good thing about this workflow is that the final work does not have to be ready until the end. This has the added advantage of dictating how the work will be. It is akin to creating a site-specific work out of my work. Ok, it is not quite the same as curating a physical show but there are similarities, constraints.

Things becoming clearer

I now see that I was falling into the danger of putting too much in, creating both visual and navigational confusion.

For this reason, I have decided to stick to three 3D objects, one for each work: WITD, Logos, and Enshrinement. Each face of the cuboids/prisms would show a different aspect of each work. A lot now depends on the controls and principally the navigation. Is it possible to approach and rotate each object independently?

I think having sorted this out in my head. The whole thing has become relatively straightforward, meaning I can get on with the work. There are only ten weeks left… that is not long.

Day Five – WITD

27th April

The surface is starting to fill and soon I shall reach round completely. At this point details start to suggest themselves, but I must always keep in mind, the big things first. There is a lot of work involved in completing this. The setting out of the composition is perhaps the shortest phase. Many things suggest themselves as I work, ideas that can be applied to future work.

Clinging to this mass of life, of ceaseless movement, love and loss, encounter and recognition, how is each one to measure the solitude of existence against the weight of one another’s proximity?

Day Four of WITD

I finished the essay Cat today and sent it off. I also worked on WITD and managed to get to the top more quickly than I had hoped. I should finish the other side by Tuesday and complete the underneath by Friday as I had hoped. Then I can add the extremities and start finishing. In the meantime, I have also continued working on the virtual space with Aristotle. I now see how Cables might be useful in the future.

Reflecting on the essay, I can see how keeping this blog journal has been one of the most important aspects of doing this MA. It has led me to develop my writing skills which in turn has helped me find my voice. But I am not constrained to only one style or approach. I feel I have acquired a flexibility and methodology in writing that allows me to write pretty much about anything, even when I am not ‘inspired’. I am surprised how easily the essay came to me, particularly when considering that I would never have chosen to write about cats. However, now that I have written about cats and art, I find them really interesting. Moral of the story, never dismiss a subject when you know little about it, the inspiration lies in the doing.

NB I have been reading some of the posts I have written as I prepare for evaluation and assessment. There are pieces of writing I should like to work on and develop as well as those that stand on their own. I have my work cut out for after graduation.

Third Day of WITD

How do we weigh on a species level? Individual and group dynamics are so different, but are we sustainable as a group? Are we descending into an existential struggle or heading towards a progressive future in the light of catastrophe? What part does each one of us as individuals play in the context of the whole and what is the nature of the role of collective consciousness in contemporary times of stress? These are questions that come into play as I bring this work together.

On the third day, I developed the composition further, trying not to repeat patterns but maintain a rhythm that might give the impression of repetition… a little like nature. I think I had ruminated over the concept long enough for it to come without hesitation.

The one challenge I have is handling and mounting it on the porcelain stand I have for it. this may prove tricky but I think I know how I can manage it. I cannot lay the work in progress on its side, so I need to raise it off the turntable in order to be able to work on the underneath.

I am finding myself spending around three to four hours a day on it after having attended to all other matters to do with preparing the show, documenting and other things. This means I should have it roughed out by the end of next week, Friday. Then begins the long process of finishing.

Second Day and New Ideas – WITD

Today I worked on three things, the online virtual space, a written piece for a show and the second day of the second phase for What is the Difference? (WITD). Although the three tasks are not directly related, they nourish one another if nothing else, by virtue of their contrast. Contrast can be a great stimulus for seeing things afresh.

As I was packing away the sculpture, wrapping, cleaning, rustling and wiping, Janet noticed that these noises sound very deliberate. They are rhythmical and I explained that I always go through this ‘ritual’ at the end of a working session. I am thinking that it might make a soundtrack for a video. The sound as background would have dissonance. This composed discordance might prove to be consonant with what I had written about earlier, that the process becomes the ritual and the final work is a reification of the ideas behind it and the process that brought it into being.

This soundtrack accompanying the sculpture might appear out of context. But I think that bringing together the domains of idea and process will foster a synthesis from which something interesting might emerge from each encounter with a recipient. A physical show is a good way of observing and discussing responses, particularly in the context of the work itself. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of an online show. But what the online lacks in efficacy it makes up in reach and efficiency.

Second Phase of Third Work – WITD

Today I started roughing out the forms for this work. The bodies are hollow as I cut out holes in the egg-shaped armature. This is the difficult and exciting stage of the work when the composition is worked out and the character of the work is established.

I thought about how the work would go before starting and tried planning. Eventually, I came to the conclusion that I had thought about it long enough it was something that could not be planned. It is something that develops in the doing. After all, it is not as though I have not worked on this idea before.

This is the first work of its kind I make on this scale. I was daunted before starting but have found it relatively easy as I have gone along. It requires concentration because it is all about translating the feeling and sense of the work into composition through action.

Something that comes to mind is that the title evokes another work in which human bodies form the mass or even a combination of the animal and human. That might be a bit trite but it might also be striking. This kind of thinking can only be resolved in the doing and finishing of a work. Whatever the case might be, I can only make one work of this kind for the show. To think of something else risks not completing (at least in the unfired form) anything at all.

Handling Pieces: The Tactile and the Virtual

My work is textural and tactile. It invites touching and handling. However, oily, dirty hands, accidental damage, are all risks which the work would be subjected to if people were allowed to touch work.

To avoid this problem, I was preparing handling pieces for visitors to experience the material, its surface, density and mass. The pieces would be different shapes and sizes with a common feature: the imprint of my hand. This fossil of my presence would create an identifiably human bridge between the recipient and the work.

In the virtual space, these handling pieces, if included, will certainly acquire a different significance. They cannot be handled, their meaning no longer resides in their tactile quality, the haptic engagement they foster. So what might their role be in an online show? Perhaps, this can only be answered in the doing of it. For now, I must remain satisfied with the notions that these objects give rise to.

NB I took this photograph laying the object on the green screen cloth. It made creating the background quick and simple using the ‘colour range’ filter to delete the background and superimpose the object’s layer on a black layer. One thing to note, though, is that where the object and green touch, a dark area is created which could be difficult to separate if the object were closer in tone to the green than the porcelain. This is on account of the colours becoming hard to distinguish. There are ways around this problem such as lighting and keeping the object away from the green screen.