I wanted someone to bounce ideas off when thinking about how best to display my work so had a conversation in the studio which forced me to consider how I wanted the piece to be read/ understood. It made me consider what it would be like for someone with no prior knowledge fo my work to view it. They need to have some foundational information to appreciate what I want them to understand- or do they?
We spoke about how the work could be a personal discovery which I’ve worked out myself, these cutting and shredding sessions almost becoming ritualistic, performing a memorial to those who are currently working under forced conditions. I think those periods of time where I’ve been alone and cutting up the documentation, I’ve been able to really connect with some small part of what they experience, however, this won’t be a shared experience with my audience.
It was suggested I could make the work performance based and physically continue to shredding the information in front of the viewer, this might enable them to physically understand the labour in the shredding which is ‘the work’ and also have a connection emotionally with the process. Some of the other ideas put forward included :
- Displaying a table which had the process shown. Papers which were whole, shredded into strips, cubed and put into a pile. Making sure I showed the ruler, scalpel knife and scissors as a part of the work.
- If I wanted to pursue this, I should also consider how the hight of the table could alter the viewers perception of who the ‘ worker’ could be. If it was a particular short table, it could be in reference to child labour.
- I could display images which have been shredded, pasting them back together? – I explored this in my sketchbook however, It could be interesting if were to have pasted back the wrong pieces so the images made no sense.
I’ve concluded that it would be beneficial for me to include a list of the articles which I’ve shredding and explain to the viewer that this has all been done by hand, none of it happening outside of human capacity (eg. a machine shredder). I also think I want to pursue a more fluid and subtle piece, where the shredded material is the main part of the piece. I think this will also be reflective of how forced labour is invisible and dispersed around the world and our environments. I also believe that as the shredding becomes slowly kicked around the space it will have a haunting quality to it as it follows the viewer around the space when looking at other works.
A recent conversation with one of my peers in the studio made me question how I could solve the issue of time containst in the run up to my exhibition.
I had been worrying about how much time I had left to create the sack fulls of manually shredded images which I wanted to create. It was suggested that to try to make th work happen faster, I could see how many people i could persuade to work for me in a sweat shop environment.
I found this idea really interested however, may not be feasible at the present time as the work I would be asking people to participate in would be very time consuming and their own project deadlines are fast approaching. However, I do think this is an interesting concept i could pursue later on in my practise. I could be interesting to employ different age demographics such as 60 year olds, students and children to analyse how they react in the labourer environment. I do feel that I could never replicate, nor would i want to, the conditions which people are facing in forced labour camps.
My practise isn’t around the re-creatino of these conditions, even when pressing myself to create a piece which is time consumptive, I am more interested in highlighting the problem through the process of creation.
I found that displaying my work on the walls of the studio helped me to understand how my pieces ‘exposure’ and ‘white tiles’ could work in an exhibition environment. I had struggled to visualise how my work would sit in space and context when creating this tiled piece as when creating the work it was merely squares which id stacked up, unable to see them all in conjunction with eath-other. Luckily the space I’ve been working in has allowed me to use floor space in front of the wall to display and lay out my work.
Currently the desk is placed off the wall but in-front of the space, so as i’m working, reflecting and researching I have been able t visually reference the work I’ve displayed on the wall and subconsciously been analysing it. I found this particularly helpful when I was looking at how my work can be influenced by the changing light of the location.
The studio space I have currently gets direct sunlight onto the walls in the morning, which I found could play a direct part in my work when looking at the minimalist movement through ‘White White White‘. The light was able to inform the reading of the ‘painting in white’- looking more holistically at the piece in relation to the body and environment.
I have found that my work is situated between that of two painters. The work I am currently creating is very white and pure aesthetically therefore I sometimes become paranoid about the cleanliness of my situation and tend to tidy away all of my work to make sure it doesn’t become damaged. This isn’t an ideal way for me to be working in the space as I find having my work around me and out already encourages me to get started, where as the constant preparation which is involved in working in the space can sometimes be off putting.
‘The iconography of an artwork is the imagery within it’ – Tate
After my Unit 3 Recorded Tutorial, It was suggest to me to research into the iconography of artwork. I quickly discovered that this is the semiotic reading of symbols within an images, most of which are religious or mythological. These meanings are completely dependant on their context so where a dove is representative of the holy spirit within the Christian faith, it is representative of a goddess in mythology.
‘An iconography is a particular range or system of types of image used by an artist or artists to convey particular meanings’
When reading an article of Russian Artists displaying their work in a Church Cathedral setting was particularly fascinated by how this manipulates the reading of symbols in their work. It reminded me of visiting Peter Liversidge’s work in the abandoned cathedral exhibition space. The location completely manipulated how I understood his LED work, viewing it more as a shrine than a piece of contemporary art. The Exhibition ‘Soul Seekers’ was curated by both journalist and artist. Darren Jones (artist) commented on the exhibition saying, ‘“We thought: let’s expand the notion of what an icon is and how iconography relates to secular culture generally. An icon today can be anything; a sports brand, fast food restaurant; body is an icon for many people. The most interesting part is, how people attach themselves to such ‘icons.’”
I think this is interesting to consider within the context of my work. when searching for the iconographic meaning of windows I was confronted with information on stained glass windows religious paintings which didn’t answer the question I intended. However, I found a blog review of ‘a Room with a view’ which discusses some of the symbolic meaning of windows:
“What is a window metaphorically? A window is a spiritual entrance through which your soul can travel. If you choose to let it go, your soul can break the glass boundaries created by the window and travel into the greater world; soaking in the sounds, the smells, the sights. A window is a portal; allowing your thoughts to roam around freely. However, a window creates boundaries, as your soul can only travel as far as your eyes can see. You cannot move right, or left; you move in an unwavering straight line. As you gaze out the window, you watch life go by, failing to contribute any involvement. Windows aren’t for proactive people; they are for those who watch rather than do. Those who sit outside of a window usually have a narrow point of view, and aren’t open to anything new or different.”
I think its interesting to view a window as a boundary which contains how far your soul can travel. When considering this within the context of a prison or dente ion camp when the windows are small and contained, deliberately restricting views, it makes us consider the spiritual impact of this as well as the emotional.
When explaining to a peer about my plans for looking into the manual shredding of images to be representational of forced labour in dente ion camps, we started to discuss how travellers can also end up in these forced working conditions.
I was told about how two girls who my peer had met on holiday in Thailand had been put on a working contract which claimed they would be working in an animal sanctuary which looked after animals who otherwise would be killed and exploited. However, when the girls arrived, contract signed, their sleeping conditions hosted a number of infected animals and they were unable to go out after working hours to socialise, shop or use their free time. The animals they were supposedly looking after were kept in awful conditions and the girls weren’t allowed to leave their jobs because of the contracts they’d signed.
I think its interesting to head through conversation the idea of forced labour being even closer to home than we might think or experience. Even though these situations might not be as extreme as those of labour camps, I think it could be interesting to research these experiences more.
I might include this information in the format of printed documents and imagery within my own shredded information for my final display.
An impromptu converstation I had with a peer about my work from Crit day started me questioning why I have been holding onto the representational.
It was suggested to me that my exposure images were blocking the viewers thoughts. I feel that I defiantly wanted to hold onto a representative form which might suggest to the viewer that i was dealing with subjects of confinement but including a barred window as a symbolic theme.
It was agreed that the images reminder her of gates, therefore the work was associated with some form of protection from danger which to me encapsulated some of the issues surrounding refugees rights for protection. When living in liminal states they are vulnerable to exploitation
It has been suggested that the further destruction of images might carry the work beyond what we can easily process to a more challenging level. I think I want to start looking at covering the surfaces of images either by direct destruction e.g. sanding or by applying materials onto their surface.