not another derive?!

I heard the word pyhchogeography and knew what was coming.

We’ve been sent out with a task, A walk. Not just a walk. A derive. 

Ive done one of these before, I actually loved it. Ive always been interested in value and material culture. How do we as a society decide what should be celebrated as ‘special’ or ignored as the mundane/ everyday. Even within the art world, some things can be classed as ‘readymades’ where as the gum stuck to the floor in the corner of the gallery (which as just been dropped by your fried) isn’t art?

Derives excite me. There an opportunity to look for those mundane things which are on the streets, inside buildings etc. Your forced to observe. To look. To take TIME. I wanted to challenge myself  to avoid using photography as a medium of presenting my work. This has always been a favourite, especially when expressing things which are overlooked and putting them on a pedestal.

I turned around to Sania to ask her where she was going – Brixton. I wanted to be carful going to this culturally rich resource where so much of the location is already being recorded. If I was trying to draw attention to the overlooked, I would need to avoid focusing on the graffiti and the markets because, although on paper these things sound mundane, in that area they’re celebrated already!!

‘Potted Plants’ 2017 by Ruth Linnell
‘Shoes on Grit’ 2017  by Ruth Linnell

I started to do sketches, to communicate the location though things which I felt were visually interesting. I naturally started to pair the rubbish from the street with the drawings i’d made of plants, people and scenes which I saw played out. Looking at the work form a reflective point of view, my drawings had captured the colour and characters of brixton in the most minimal way. Using simple linear drawings and singular lines of colour I was able to capture a scene.

‘Street Character in Brixton I’ 2017 by Ruth Linnell
‘Street Character in Brixton II’  2017 by Ruth Linnell

I’m interested in testing how little information can be shown in order for a scene, or expression of a figure/environment to be communicated. Visiting Whiteread’s recent exhibition had influenced this work. Her communication is through form yet I have said something similar by focusing on line.

‘Lifted Words’ 2017 by Ruth Linnell
‘Stealing Lines’ 2017 original photograph by Ruth Linnell

I think that my most successful piece touched on topics of ownership which came from a conversation I had with a shop owner who was NOT happy about be taking photos. ….

(please see: Stealing Ideas)


First Exhibition

We started off the course with an opening Exhibition…

Visual Display for Exhibition by Ruth Linnell
Visual Display for Exhibition by Ruth Linnell
Visual Display for Exhibition by Ruth Linnell

I chose to display some recent work which discussed our limited capacity to empathise with refugees. DETENTION CAMPS <—– BBC Broadcast at 10PM on 06/09/2017 Reported the conditions of Libyan Detention camps. Although these were shocking, the report showed films of smiling faces which made me start to question how our perspectives are completely constrained by personal experience and background.

I wanted to discuss this by using repetitive imagery, alternating each printed imaged to convey a different perspective, both physically and conceptually. I found containing images within boarders had a lyrical connection to the issue of immigration, boxing a human situation into a form or government document. This was discussed through the positioning of the image on a filing cabinet.

How does written documentation contain our perspective?

How can we look at things holistically?

 Is this even possible considering we can never escape the boundaries of our own experience?

The back story…

‘A memorial to the lives of Syrian Refugees lost at sea’ by Ruth Linnell

I wanted to start my blog by referencing where I have come from. I am interested in using Art as a platform to reconcile and create space for reflection of events which occur in the world around us, both historically and presently.

Living in a world which is moving faster than ever before, where thousands of visual images are processed in seconds through social media, I want to provide space for us to question and reflect.

A simple act of looking.

During my Art foundation I started to create memorial art for the lives of Syrian Refugees lost and drowned at sea. My work discussed material as a form of communicating an abstracted physical repetition of their deaths. I created rectangular sculptures in ice, which were representative of an individuals soul. As these were left floating in water, their ephemeral quality resulted in evaporation of any previous physicality. This meant that the process of performing what became a memorial ceremony, was very personal and only could be documented through photography and film.

The exploration of how material comments on social, historical and political issues is key to my practise.