Since finishing my AA2A placement at Teesside University I have continiued the next phase of my film project that I worked on during the AA2A period. I still have to finalize the editing.
However, the subject of this post is a workshop I attended last week at Cherry Kino in Leeds on processing Super 8 black and white film in coffee! This is a technique I have been interested in for a while, and though you can find information online, there is nothing like experimenting with a group of other interested individuals. The day was fun and informative, led by Martha Jurksaitis, and was part of a series of workshops in Leeds, Bristol and London on different aspects of analogue filmmaking. Like many artists in these penny-pinching, austerity-weilding times I am increasingly seeking DIY approaches to sustaining my art-making.
It is a rough and ready method but its creative possibilities are there to be explored. The coffee technique is only used for black and white footage, and is on reversal film, so you get a negative effect. When I made my film The Hungry Ghosts for the AA2A exhibition I made a deliberate decision to leave some of my black and white 16mm footage as negative images as I felt that this was appropriate to the work.
Following the workshop I got out an old Super 8 projector I bought a local auction sale a couple of years ago - hey presto it worked! So I have photographed some images from the projection to give an idea of the outcome. I have put them in a separate album on this site. The footage is all of Leeds city centre in and around one of the markets.
I have posed upon myself a ridiculous idea, that How To Get Results With People can work across all abilities and mental states. It is of course an absurd deconstruction of the purpose of Jeff Salzman's lecture. The juxtaposition of the repetitive actions of schizophrenia patients (see video below) and the instructional methods used within the lecture causes for me an element of pattern, as both provide an individual with actions to take.
In the video, the doctors exploration of echopraxia gives me a method which I'd like to work with. Echopraxia is the involuntary repetition or imitation of the observed movements of another. It is closely related to echolalia, the involuntary repetition of another's speech.
I am essentially aiming to repeat, imitate Salzman's speech as a sort of mantra, for transformation of myself. These actions are mirrored perfectly with hebephrenic patterns.
I know I'd like to use this footage in the work, as projections or as part of a body of video works.
Really excited to have made a start with this prioject by making some screens with Katherine Anteney, which served as a good refresher and made use of a few images I had knocking around. In the course of this I've had some great conversations with the technical teams and am keen to meet Alice from photography to discuss cyanotypes, which is a technique I have been playing with over the summer. I am keen to persue this technique for one of the book illustration series I am making for the Theatre Royal Winchester solo exhibition in February 2013.
Meeting Sarah Dryer from interiors, who I am attached to throughout this residency, has inspired me to try out developing some photographs directly onto cloth. I'll look forward to working with the team and students from this dicipline and am expecting to get quite fit from scurrying between the two sites!
Been making more collagraph plates ready for inking up and printing when I go to uni this week. At the moment, I am just experimenting with materials and technique to see how textures are affected and sculptural qualities formed, rather than trying to create final images, so I am just making very small plates which can be inked and printed individually.
From years of digital fine art printing I learned the value of a good workflow, so I am starting to build one for this, from collecting and preparing materials through to pulling the print - that should ensure I don't forget something important, like soaking the paper in time!
I still feel a bit out of my depth, as everyone else seems to know what they doing but I will get there. Slowly, but surely.
Well, this is going to be interesting... can't access the training video from home, it won't work on my apple. I'll wing it for the time being. I've started my printing, and currently got one completed (I like it so much, I'll not add to it) and 14 prints in various stages of completion PLUS loads of ideas for more. The paper situation is being resolved slowly, so in the meantime, I'm using 100cmx70cm, 250gsm smooth cartridge paper. I do like the somerset newsprint but it will work out too expensive as I'm making large prints. The GF Smith paper 135gsm is too thin, the oil in the ink seeps through to the back so I think the 175 will be more appropriate. I'm adding some photos - if i can.
Thought I may as well start my first blog with a bit of shameless self promotion....
This Thursday (15.11.12) sees the opening of Whitebread a group exhibition (which I am proud to be a part of) of work by Northumbria students. I will actually be doing my first live performance on the preview night.
There will be free booze and a free after party at the Empty Shop HQ.
I've got back into the Prelinger Archives - there are visuals and sound that I'd like to extract from much footage surrounding business, success, and mental health (or mental states).
Below is a selection of what I have discovered so far, and I will add to it as things progress. For me I will begin to cut and group these elements to allow me to create a dialogue between the loosely linked subject matter.
I'd like to use some of this: http:/
An early example of 'simple' advice that will 'change your life forever', including statistics and the definition of success. This may not feed into the final performance, but will probably be used to inform that work, as well as for juxtaposition within filmed video pieces. I can't seem to find much about who is speaking but I'll have to do some more research if it doesn't mention it at the end.
Some links below that will allow me to contextualise with other historical examples.
The business of American Business 1972
Rileys business venture
In my practice repetitive movements or patterns are of interest to me - the schizophrenia symptoms resonates for that reason, but also shows quite a stark reality for those in institutions in the mid-20th century.
How To Get Results with People (1987) is a four hour lecture by Jeff Salzman, teaching people in businesses how to better manage their working relationships to get results, success and higher productivity. And, at the core of all these aims, money.
My basis for the work How To Get Results With People - although looking at the business and success side of self help - has hugely autobiographical undertones, in that the idea of self help has always eluded me. It feels an impossibilty. A course of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, which largely teaches you to help yourself, made me more aware of my anxieties, and essentially less able to help myself. This may just come down to my nature, the ever-present desire to deconstruct, to understand, and to be aware. However, the constant overstimulation of our minds leaves us wanting, needing more, seeking answers, and where possible, quickly and easily. Hence the understandably popular genre self help.
The industry, which when you walk into a bookshop now is ever expanding in its content, is absorbed by the majority of western society. Just take your pick of the subgenres; business, money, weightloss, finding inner peace, sex, relationships. Yet what do we gain from this deconstruction and step by step instruction? How does what sits on paper actually translate in our daily lives?
Renata Salecl looks at exactly this in The Tyranny of Choice. In the Guardian's review of her book, Killian Fox says,
"Several years ago, an American magazine editor named Jennifer Niesslein decided to iron out all the imperfections in her life. Using only the advice contained in a stack of self-help books, she set about cleaning her home, losing weight, becoming a better partner and parent and generally cultivating a more serene approach to existence. After two years of trying, she found that she was less contented, not more, and started suffering from panic attacks."
Salecl mentions that "The idea of choosing who we want to be and the imperative to 'become yourself' have begun to work against us, making us more anxious and more acquisitive rather than giving us more freedom". This feeds very much back into my own observations about myself - this heightened awareness of the self, the pressures to conform to many contradictary and opposing models.
Self help will be something I explore for many years in my practice. For How To Get Results With People I am very much looking at the human desire for success, and how 'success' is largely related to money, growth, yet is not necessarily imperative to happiness or fulfillment. On the flipside to this, the consequences (anxiety, depression, other more severe mental states) are of a huge interest to me. Many of these states are the hangovers from the under/overstimulated mind. The mind that evolved instead of the body, full of ideas, evoking change and invention. The increasing degradation of mental health in western society is something I explore as a tangent, something which loosely connects to this strand, but is more about the scientific and physical actions that take place when undergoing stress and in more extreme cases, psychosis.
I wish to use the model within HTGRWP to forge my own success, through artwork and through my interactions with students, staff and fellow artists in the residency. The work, while ultimately becoming a body of video, performance and writing, is also embodied in all the interactions I have in between.