Mitigating the Impact of Coranavirus on the Delivery of the Project Proposal

All the thinking, conversations, experimentation, making, and reflection that has taken place during the MA, has been instrumental in developing a methodology able to mitigate in large part the effect of coronavirus. Its impact by making the completion of the project proposal by the end of year impossible is by no means the end of working on the pieces. The process I have engaged in means that I am in a position not only to finish them after the last term but also to install them with their corresponding multimedia components and curatorial assets.

For now and over the next few weeks and months, as the works are finished, they will be sited in some wonderful locations I have identified near to my studio and documented using a variety of means. This will pave the way for future shows, including the one for UAL graduates proposed for sometime in the future.

Having said all this, the lockdown has also brought with it positive outcomes that I have written about elsewhere. These include an introduction to Cables, identifying a possible demand for non-documentary photography of work, and recording a music album that brings together the voice and sculptural forms. I feel that there is coherency as I go about my work that makes continuity and equal progress possible outside the context of the MA framework, knowing that my thoughts are held together by a strong and flexible core backed by well-defined skills.

The Kiln, the Kiln, Oh the Kiln

Things have changed again. The kiln has been connected. But this does not mean that the works can be completed in time for a hypothetical final show.

All the interruptions, changes in direction, blockages of the past months have rendered it impossible to finish the work in time for July. Let me explain why. There are only four to five weeks left. The timetable I had originally set out was tight but it did allow for a certain amount of contingencies. However, it did not account for a lockdown lasting three months at least. Had everything gone to plan, the kiln would have been functioning by the beginning of March – we have been isolating since then.

The lockdown, decoupling of the final show from the assessment, and the online alternative, meant that I had to redirect my energies in other directions. These have taken precious weeks which cannot be recovered within an end of June, beginning of July deadline. As it is, I have had time to rethink and become more reflective than I would have otherwise been in the adrenalin rush of the preparation for the show.

Right now, I would have to first learn to programme the controller and carry out two test firings as indicated by the user manual would take up several days, and that is just the start. I would need to make at least twenty firings: two firings per load, one low and the other high, in between inspecting, repairing and altering if necessary the pieces. If each one takes three to four days, that is sixty to eighty in total, two months minimum. Add another twenty days for finishing, mounting and fitting the audio equipment, a total of one hundred days. This was possible after the low residency – Now, impossible. I might get to finish some pieces but as for assembling and installing them, that is out of the question if I am to do anything for the online. So, I shall have to be content with showing on the blog the planning for the show as though it were taking place. Here is a list of what I need to set out in the plan.

  • packing
  • logistics
  • risk assessment
  • installation of works
  • ideal location and setting
  • modes of interaction
  • supporting material
  • deinstalling

This post is not so much an apology as a form of catharsis for the frustration I have had to endure for the lack of the physical show. A presence where the work would be seen by many and by those that are normally difficult to attract to shows such as agent, dealers, collectors and perhaps even galleries. This is such an important part of the final show. It is not just an examination event but a showcase in London which be difficult and expensive in any circumstance. What is more, my work very much relies on physical interaction with people. I imagine that people will visit the university site when it is up in the absence of the show. However, I think that my work does suffer a great deal by not being experienced in a real setting. After the online show is up, I may get the opportunity to set up some shots of the work in a suitable location for the showcase.

Whatever happens, I have a clear idea of how the works will be when finished and just as important, I now have many new ideas which arise from my original plans and from the new situation. For example, photograph the works or part of the works and develop images that form works in themselves – somewhat akin to my approach to the online show – using them as ‘subject matter’. Another example is installing the work at the abandoned church near the coast – a spectacular setting.



Some miniature components of Logos model/maquette

Logos is clearly not going to be finished on account of the large kiln not being connected due to isolation. So, I have decided to use it, as described in previous blogs in its ‘green’ (unfired) state. However, I am also making small scale models of the pieces to play around with and create miniature scenarios for physical exhibitions.

In this case, I have laid out the four pieces completed so far in the large work. The round form on the left is slightly smaller proportionately with respect to the original. I shall make another to the correct scale but also use this one to create alternative forms.

This miniature scene helps me think in terms of animations for the online show. On a small scale, the handling of the pieces and space required to do so, become much more manageable.

I find this an exciting prospect as I can make a ‘theatre’ of the works very simply, thereby making the process much more agile.


A Moment of Change


I have variously written about changing direction in previous posts. These reroutings have been about process and content but always with a physical outcome in mind that has absorbed and embodied the notions and feelings that have led to its emergence. The virus has imposed a change of circumstances that has made me rethink how I can work what I have done so far into an online experience.

Sample virtual rooms as indicators by Aristotle

I have also written about how the online presentation cannot substitute for the physical presence of the work. So I have adapted my thinking to this new set of circumstances by shining a light into gaps that would have remained out of sight in a gallery show. I see this adaptation as enriching my practice by explicating in some way the content of the work.

However, yesterday’s Skype meeting resulted in something more profound in terms of outcome. I needed to ask questions of Aristotle in order to fully understand both what is required of me and what is actually possible: it can be so easy to get carried away.

It has taken a while to digest the implications of what Aristotle has developed and so generously made available to us as a group. I have communicated with him since, and have come to realise that this is the moment of changing direction in the way I express my ideas. I am by no means rejecting any of my current way of working, but for now, I need to concentrate on how things will develop online and envisage how I shall present it online. This will necessitate a different way of thinking and content form.

The online environment offers a very different way of communicating and importantly, I will not be present, at least in reality. You see, just saying that makes me think that I can have a presence. Perhaps more on that later. I see this online show as an opportunity to develop a new strategy to reach out in different ways and people, and start developing a methodology for:

a) working with others – so far my work has been a solitary endeavour
b) putting together complexes of ideas in a synthetic way
c) transmission
d) to be more in line with platforms, institutions and so on.


An Icon of Change: The Kiln


The kiln, a symbol of transformation, from the flesh of clay to a ceramic fossil of its former plastic life, is now a symbol of change of direction in my practice caused by COVID-19. This change is taking the shape of a translation from a larger physical, touchable scale to a smaller one imprisoned behind the smooth, cool surface of the screen, exchanging a sensual presence for the vicarious sensation of virtual dimensions and prosthetic ears. This theatre will have no living wings, nonetheless, I hope that it might transport the imagination to a point where an altered perspective offers a different view. One that enriches what might have been remaining hidden behind my mind’s eye.



The electrician can no longer come to connect the 11 kilowatt beast to its source of energy in the wall. I now have to revert to the lesser capacity of its antecedent smugly ensconced, like a vizir set behind a boy Sultan, whispering considered suggestions.

I am evolving tactics that one by one are beginning to coalesce into a strategy. The aim is not to produce a final outcome for a show, but rather to present a process that responds to the exigencies and contingencies of the present, but most importantly offers broadened possibilities for the future.

The final works will eventually come about. So as I finish them as far as I am able to, the idea is to weave a world around them that reaches out and catalysis responses and notions in the gaps that would otherwise be left unseen in a physical show.

Creating models, projections of the ideal exhibition; focusing on elements that would not appear in the show, lingering over details, augmenting them, are some of the ways that I see myself working at the moment. I do not know whether I can do all I have in mind in the time given, but completion is not the paramount thing now. I am thinking of how to represent concepts that inform the process and developing my practice instead of using the process to bring about the expression of ideas. This confirms the end of the MA as a point of completion, not stasis.

For now, I need to continue the time-consuming work of inscribing the component parts of Logos. In the meantime, I am building ideas and planning their implementation.

Adapting and Videoing


It does not look as though I shall have the kiln connected in time for the ‘final show’. No matter, the change in circumstances due to coronavirus offers tactical opportunities to develop strategies post MA. In any case, displaying fired and finished works in the studio is not really satisfactory as the images or videos would fall short of what I would consider a fair representation of the works. However, taking each component of the exhibition as a model for digital works is catalysing a wealth of ideas, time being the only constraint.

Visual artworks today are most commonly revealed in the first instance as images or films. This kind of imagery often misrepresents the reality of the works in some way and serves more as an illustration of some alluded to idea. They are entry points into the work itself which may surprise or disappoint but almost invariably present very differently. I wrote about this some time ago in another post. Therefore, to create works for online or print presentation using the physical works as far as possible is the obvious way to go. Not in an attempt to replace their physical presence but as a way of exploring the world they inhabit and discovering new processes and meanings along the way.

The beauty of creating works that stand alone in print or online is that I am embarking on a dual approach over the next three months. One, I continue to make and finish (as fas as possible) the physical works which in turn become enriched by their online reflections. This is both an artistic and professional enrichment, extending the meaning and context of the works as well as building a platform for wider distribution and promotion.1 This ties in with the idea of creating different open levels of interpretation whilst offering the viewer a way in for their own narrative building. The temporary, possibly permanent, loss of the physical show may, in the long run, bring with it positive outcomes.

By not having to install a physical show, the time spent testing, packing, travelling and transporting, installing and curating the work, can now be spent representing the work variously. I will miss the excitement of the ‘real’ exhibition, of meeting people and showing the work and ideas, but there is no use in lamenting the fact. Fortune has dealt a different hand which may end up being a winning one. I will of course still document the detailed planning for a hypothetical show and its curation but parallel to this, I can create a whole new experience within the limits of the time available.

The obvious way to go is to create videos. I have decided against scanning, photogrammetry, 3D rendering. Why would I want to create a facsimile of the works when I have them in the flesh? I do not have the time to make such works, let alone develop the skills, to create something worth looking at. But why not try to create a virtual world that is powerfully engaging, perhaps more so?, I might hear someone say. This question, I imagine would be asked by someone who has a higher level of skills in the relevant software than I. I am an expert in what I do, it is a time to work to one’s strengths.

So videos and photographs, drawings (digital), words and sound it is. But what sort of videos? To produce something worthwhile as a straight video I believe would require equipment and facilities I do not have. I have come to the conclusion that animating films using stop action capture provides the control I need for smooth movements, camera angles, pacing, dynamic lighting, green screening and so on.

In the next post, I shall go into more technical details as to how I can approach this and what equipment and facilities I have and might need.


  1. At this stage I am not so concerned with promotion but it is good to keep it in mind[]

Binary Vision



It is clear that with the coronavirus pandemic, things will change. Not least the end of the MA and final show. In view of any difficulties that might arise, I think it prudent to take a twin approach to the project proposal and how it will be delivered.

I don’t think that the show will now take place which is a great disappointment. Materials and equipment supplies may also be affected. I must also take into account the fact that the kiln may not be connected (although I hope this is a remote possibility).

What to do then. First, I shall continue making: that is the priority. Second I shall continue to plan for the show at Camberwell, describing the installation in situ, logistics, how it would work and so on. Equally important and perhaps more so, in reality, is how would I present the work online in the great likelihood that the show will not physically take place.

The latter scenario presents an opportunity preparing me to show the work to a wider audience in digital form. I could set the works up in various locations and video them there, narrating, presenting text, creating an online unfolding in a dedicated website. Many possibilities present themselves, not least the fact that I could show work in greater depth in a virtual presentation. However, I must also be realistic in terms of the time it would take to complete a complex presentation.

In conclusion the blog will now take a twin path, real and surreal, actual and hypothetical.