Surfaces and Strategies: Week 8. Independent Reflection W/C 20/07/2018

Looking at workshops this week I knew I wouldn’t really want to do my mould work as it is somewhat hazardous and whilst I am happy to work with it I wouldn’t want to inflict it upon other people. (This was something that we considered wise at our webinar)

What I would be interested in would be the Macro and also iPhoneography side of my work that had been so pivotal to my work prior to this module. Its also something that people are interested in.

With this technique being quite tricky I would want to keep the group numbers quite small so it would be possible to give everyone a good amount of attention.

With my given skill set I feel I can offer something to people who are not so confident with their camera phones to take some really beautiful images and I am sure that I will also find this very rewarding.

Workshop notes
Workshop Preparation

Working on the details for the workshop was a valuable experience and it shows how much work goes in to becoming an instructor, it is certainly making me work to explain myself more clearly and this is something I’ve needed to work on for a while.

Whilst I would work with other people, I think this project has become really quite personal. Working with my mould I am still really excited by this project and this has further been ignited by some of the images I’ve been able to capture this week.

Grape 5 iphonestrawberry-10-iphone.jpgraspberry-4-iphone.jpg

I’m really enjoying the abstract nature and the dreamy nature of some of the images. It reminds me of some of the abstract expressionists work that I studied earlier in the module. Perhaps this research has influenced my work more than I had anticipated.

With this weeks webinar we started to discuss whether my work actually needs to be tied to triptychs anymore or whether they are now powerful enough to standalone not longer also constrained to the square format. From the previous modules in this course, my work has taken a huge leap in terms of my practice. My direction is now very much directed towards an exhibition, I can see the work really taking on its own character in a larger form. I have begun to research where I can hold an exhibition. Although a photo-book is still a viable option and I have enjoyed this element in this module.

The workshop

I held a 1:1 tutorial as if was the first time I had to carry out this type of task. Not being a hugely confident person it was daunting. Hence I thought this was the best route to take.

I created a Facebook group so that people could get involved and so the images could easily be shared.

I was really happy with how it went and I feel I was able to connect with the student and confidently offer advice but also answer the questions that were asked of me. Most of all I really enjoyed the experience what made it even better was they achieve and image they were really happy with and also happy they managed to get the image they wanted. It has a hugely fulfilling experience.

It has made me understand that there can be a certain satisfaction in working with and helping others.

Workshop feedback


This week I want my research to be project based and focus particularly on the beliefs behind behind transformation/transmutation and life after death.

One of the aspects that I started with was Memento mori. This is leading from my research from the last module. Memento mori is a Latin phrase meaning “remember you must die”. I can accept this my items have to die to be reborn.

I found an example of an image which incorporated the Momento Mori genre the best in my interpretation, but sadly there was no reference with it. It incorporates the skulls, decompostion familiar with the Momento Mori genre.
Momento Mori example Sadly unknown origin

This type of art was highly popular in around the 17th Century a time where religion played a big role in life with the breaking free from the Roman Catholic church and reform of the Church of England and also the early stages of Puritanism, it was a time where it was a popular belief that life on Earth was simply preparation for the afterlife.

A modern day example of Momento Mori is the work of Damien Hirst. With one of his notable pieces For the Love of God (2007), which is the diamond encrusted skull. Whilst I don’t necessarily agree with some of Hirst’s work its good to have a contemporary artist to which I can refer and observe and see how views have changed over time.

My work still has links to this concept particularly in that I am still working with fruit that is decomposing, which is on of the themes of Memento mori art.

I have moved away from the Vanitas side as my work does not feature symbolic objects in the way this genre would. I feel as the work is looking for abstract shapes rather than the still life images that I had been creating, I don’t feel that there is a vanity to my images.

I don’t think  my imagery is the same as the art from this time because of the abstract nature of my work (although Pablo Picasso did make some art that should be considered as momento mori), but I can see how the principles can me applied due to growing the mould.

My work can relate back to the religious beliefs of the Ancient Chinese and Egyptians, Tibetan Buddhism, and Christians – there have been quite a few links between my work and religion which I find interesting since it is a route I didn’t think I would be taking.

I find that the cycle of death and rebirth which the Tibetan Buddhists call the cycle of transmigration which consists of the cycle of rebirth and redeath. Plato also believed in an immortal soul that participates in frequent incarnations. This then links into the belief of reincarnation which had been found to derive from the Latin meaning of “entering the flesh again” – Learning of this definition I found surprisingly fitting to the work in my project as my images when the light has been passing through my items has been described as fleshy – like there is a probe inside the body taking images. Perhaps this is something that could link into the naming of my project if rebirth doesn’t continue to be the appropriate title.

Two terms that I have come across in my research is Transmigration – meaning “implying migration from one life to another” and Transmutation – meaning “the action of changing or the state of being changed into another form” both of these definitions are so appropriate to the work that I am doing in fact I don’t think I could find better terms to define my work.

The changing state aspect of transmutation is a key point as I am waiting for the items to mutate. I am willing them to change form. This links me back to the work I completed during the informing contexts module on Sam Taylor-Johnson.

In this CRJ entry I said the following:

“I also explored Sam Taylor-Johnson’s moving image sequences of Still Life (2001) and A Little Death (2002), and they captured what I would like to be able to in stills. Having items in place showing the degeneration – the transformation from one to another – passing – it is the cycle.

The difference in the feeling from the two sequences was quite unbelievable to me at first and then it clicked! With the fruit in Still Life, the mould slowly creeps over, becoming an new organism, this appears quite gentle and almost a beautiful process. To then go straight into A Little Death is quite a different experience. The dead rabbit doesn’t have the dignity curtain of the mould encapsulating it. It is instead eaten from the inside out with the creeping blackness of death moving around it. It is possible to see the maggots coming and going and transforming into flies, in the next stage of their lives. Whilst you are watching you are witnessing a whole new life-cycle which is the whole point to my project, but this sequence comes over a brutal, almost a violent horror story. It is this emotion, these feelings that I want to be able to put into my images. It was another turning point for me to see these moving image sequences. It gave me some motivation back.”

Like Still Life and A Little Death I want to see the changes happen however the meaning behind out work is very different, Taylor-Johnson referred to her work to people who try to prevent the ageing process, where as my concept is different in that I want to see the joy of the rebirth.

I still want to keep the transient nature of the items an important concept as I am capturing different stages of a life cycle and once I have captured it can never capture that moment again as the item moves through its cycle.

Wabi Sabi, Anthropomorphism and Animism will still take a part in my project as I do feel like my objects have a soul that is moving through a cycle but in terms of Wabi Sabi my items are imperfect, they are impermanent and they are incomplete as the question is is a life cycle ever complete? This will lead to some really exciting insights in my future research.


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