Katherine 1st draft giant
STEVE I'M DOING A MASSIVE EDIT JUST NOW SO MAYBE DON'T LOOK AT THIS FOR A WEE BIT...
Introduction Current Practice - Descriptors of works I have made while at PZI
past futures live in this present (after eve, howard, daniel and sylvan)
single channel video to be heard on headphones, duration 03.13
past futures…was made directly after starting the course and was a highly intuitive piece of work. The video uses footage filmed a year previously and marked the beginnings of me attempting to stabilise a visual language of my own in my video work that incorporates footage gathered over time.
The text adopts its form from a description by Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick (2003) of Sylvan Tomkins’ writing style.
“…a potentially terrifying and terrified idea or image is taken up and held for as many paragraphs as are necessary to “burn out the fear response,” then for as many more until that idea or image can recur in the text without initially invoking terror. Phrases, sentences, sometimes whole paragraphs repeat; pages are taken up with sentences syntactically resembling one another (epistemically modal non-factive utterances of the form “It is possible that…,” “If…may…,” “Whether because…”), sentences not exemplifying a general principle but sampling - listing the possible. This rich claustral writing nurtures, pacifies, replenishes, then sets the idea in motion again.”
I wrote several texts about relationships in this style. This was a deliberate attempt to begin to find a way of writing about personal experience that was informed by a reading group I had attended over the summer where I had read Kate Zambreno, Beatriz Breciado, Katherine Angel, Chris Kraus, Travis Jeppeson, Kathy Acker and Masha Tupitsyn. I wanted to be able to include my subjectivity directly in my work through my own voice and for this to include desire and sexuality.
Making this video led me to begin blogging as a way of externalising texts I was beginning to make as part of a regular writing practice which I was trying to develop without any focus on outcome.
This inclusion of my own voice has been one of the most significant shifts in my work while at PZI. The writing practice moves. I’m happy to stay focused on it as a practice for now and see how and in what forms it emerges.
Listening and Speaking Devices 2014 Past Caring, Gallery II, University of Bradford
Listening and Speaking Devices, 2014, are a pair of papier maché parabolic reflectors. They’re 2m in diameter and hang parallel in the space so that they reflect sounds between each other. This was the second time I made these sculptures and the first time that I ever remade a work for another context. They’re becoming a repeated form that I think it’s useful to return to and work with in different spaces. Each time they’re made they have an effect on the sound quality in the space that they’re made and then presented in. They provide a material based break from the discursive nature of much of my working process.
If you stand in the room with them then you’re aware that the sound quality of the space is a bit different. When you stand in between them that difference becomes a lot clearer. It’s difficult to describe but you have a sense that the sound coming into your ears feels a little bit clearer, like it’s on a slightly different channel. I had a similar experience recently standing in Robert Morris’s Observatory - it’s got that clear difference but it’s difficult to say exactly what it’s like. If you stand facing the Listening and Speaking Devices and you speak into them you hear your voice back in a slightly different way. It’s being bounced back to you so you hear your voice the normal way - coming out your mouth, going into your ears, travelling through your facial bones - but you also hear it coming back at you. It’s a bit like when you hear a recording of yourself but it’s not as weird as that - it’s much more subtle. The sculptures amplify sound - it’s possible to speak into them really quietly and have that sound transferred across the space. People can have conversations using them where the experience of talking and listening is heightened in a discreet way.
I’m interested in working with sound in a way that doesn’t involve producing more sound. They’re quiet sculptures and I like that - the possibility of thinking about sound with an object that doesn’t make any sound. The colour was really important too. Listening and Speaking Devices were orange and pink for this show - really vibrant colours. It just would have felt really inappropriate if they were grey for example because it’s about the possibility of…being a little uplifting perhaps.
There’s a tension in the materials that I really like. The first time I made them I had no idea if they would actually function because of the materials I used. Paper is absorbent of sound anyway and then through adding glue the warp of the paper gets wet and dried out and altered. There’s all these processes of change and transformation during the making of them. I was really pleasantly surprised that they worked so well even though they're not smooth and they’re lumpy and imperfect and I couldn’t control everything. Making them a second time was interesting because there is a degree to which I can control the process now but there’s also a degree to which it’s totally out of my hands. I like that. I think I was really happy about that not having control. I was having a conversation with someone who makes sound work - really lovely minimal techie installations - and he was talking about how different it was aesthetically to have this work dealing with sound that’s imperfect and not high-tech. I used all these really precise formulas to measure the cuts I made but then I put water on it - I like that tension between being really controlled and allowing chaos to have a place in the process.
(I’m including this lengthy descriptor because I am shy of materiality in my work and yet when I go into it I am able to work with a rationale and think through materials. I continue to be interested in making large scale sculpture with non-toxic and biodegradable materials but perhaps this type of work will always rely on responding to a context - it is hard to shake off my BA training in this regard and embrace the production of autonomous objects. The length of this description is a reminder to not neglect this aspect of my work.)
A being in touch 2015 single channel video, duration 06.39 https://vimeo.com/116607015
A being in touch is a single channel video intended to be projected in a dark space with the sound on speakers and soft seating. The soundtrack is my own voice reading an essay I wrote, which begins by describing the experience of having a conversation on Skype. It develops into a meditation on embodied communication, the mediation of intimacy through technology and the limits of language. The video consists of close up images of reflective and transparent materials and surfaces such as water, soap and steam.
The text was developed through a process of daily writing as a method for reflecting on and materialising research and experience from life in order to be able to work with it in the studio. It was recorded in the studio as a straightforward reading of the written text. The video was made by working experimentally with layered projections and transparent materials in front of the camera. It was an exploration in making a single channel work and developed existing techniques further in the video. It marks a shift in approach for me to audio as it is only the second video that I have used my own voice and a text that I have written without appropriating other sources.
The work was made as an attempt to materialise and give form to my thinking about interpersonal relations. This was a useful exercise in developing a form that I can show to others that integrates my current formal and theoretical concerns with brevity. I have gone on to use the video as a work in its own right and as a form of visual proposal for further research.
I intend to make more videos using similar methods - I see this as the beginning of a series of works that develop a particular visual language using reflective and transparent materials to talk about aspects of feeling that are not verbalised. These intuitively describe something like the concept of shimmer that Brian Massumi (2010) speaks about in his writings on affect theory. I would like to develop the techniques I use for recording the audio and the performance of the reading.
Breakfast group critique 2015 facilitated and mediated group conversation
Everyone arrives. They are asked to put their phones in a bucket and everyone does apart from VSR who manages to fb some photos but not till the next day. We sit round a coffee table on all the chairs in the house and the floor and eat porridge with wooden spoons and drink tea and coffee. There is a lot of coming and going and hugs and good mornings and the atmosphere is social and convivial. We begin. We read three texts aloud (I read one so that I am doing what I am asking others to do) and watch a video clip and eat and have a conversation about labour and care and daily life and making change. This takes an hour. I hand out black bits of stretchy fabric without speaking and everyone holds them so we are all connected and Raluca moderates the crit. This takes 45 minutes.
I had been thinking about how much time I spend attending to the working processes of others, how I find it easier to listen through someone else’s problem than to explicate a way through one of my own. Was wondering if this is part of my practice along with the workshops and screenings and bringing things together to have conversations about them.
Originally for my crit I wanted to perform the text of A being in touch within an immersive video environment. The text is exploring what it’s like to be inside a mediated exchange. The video is exploring materials under change. Steam. Water. Movement. Gaseous. Liquid. This relates to Felix Guattari. He is always present in both my practices. There is an ethics of responsibility and care inherent to his work and a commitment to practice as a place for developing thinking and a belief in the political potentiality of every interaction. I want to ask the group to hold each other’s fingers while they listen to be aware of listening from a body. BK and I talk about trans-spatialising the text and trying to make an experience that does what the text is talking about.
I feel pushed. And happy to be pushed. Since the spring I have been trying to think through how to make work that connects with something without only representing it. That speaks to the world and makes a material change for the viewer, even if it is very small or for a very limited time. I like subtlety.
Being here I have accepted that the problem of representation is really hard and have allowed myself to take a break from it and read and write and make things that talk about the world in my voice. I know I will make mistakes and I am accepting that this is ok. I read Moyra Davey again and take comfort in her working through the problems of representation over her whole life. Writing this now I realise that the reading and writing is a solution of sorts but this is for after the crit.
We talk about responsibility: to whom (the group, myself), for what (creating the parameters of the situation, enacting the responsibility to the group and myself). I think I want to make a bubble inside capital using art. A breathing space. I have quite conflicted feelings about the idea of a breathing space or coping strategies in general. Does supporting resilience in people support the system you want to change? Probably in some ways yes. But can supporting resilience allow people to continue with their works towards change? Probably in some ways yes. This is without thinking through the ethics of not-caring and the moralistic elements that can be disguised by an ethics of care.
We talk about the difference between told reality in theatre and the possibility of having actual reality in art. We talk about borders. The ridges between different realities. An image of the artist as a guide on the slopes of different realities, guarding against avalanche, banging holds into the rocks to give points of stability and a route, going up first and bringing up the rear at the same time.
I am feeling pushed to use some of my working processes from my therapeutic practice within my art. This has been rising. VSR asked me about it before christmas. The question is taking shape.
BK: “The experience becomes the reflection.”
(Phones and their quiet perpetual presence will be separated from bodies during the crit.)
How and through what process is it possible for a group to move from a state of competition to a state of coexistence and cooperation?
So I can do something that exists in between people in a moment and in conversations afterwards but where does that leave me? I knew I could do that already so what has doing it in the frame of art made me understand differently?
That there are ways of materialising invisible processes for an existence in another space for a different audience without using recordings.
An immediate response was to make a video and do some writing. I placed my writing through my voice in the video for the second time. My voice is becoming a material. This feels ethical somehow. I make a performance. I want to do something completely opposite to this situation making. I work with vulnerability and generosity by making a performance reflecting on personal experience of depression. I address care and intimacy through a different lens.
(I try to hold onto the personal/universal matrix by reflecting alongside my experience on the chemical shifts in urban water supplies brought about by mass antidepressant use, the branding history of prozac and the best current neurobiological theories as to why SSRIs work.)
The process of writing and rewriting conversations that happen in social life. The process of writing and rewriting my understanding of being in groups. The process of writing and rewriting sensory and material experience. The process of writing and rewriting ideas and situating them in the matter of the writing.
The potential for fiction, the potential for polyphony, the potential for a flattening of the voices into a multiplicious flowing text where the beginnings and ends of individuals is not clear, addresses problems I have with appropriation and representation.
But in order to have agency I need to claim some authority provisionally. This is a role.
LR: “Authorship is temporary…It’s not our language and that’s the problem. But we have to make it our language.”
What are the parameters of my practice?
Is doing something invisible a withdrawal from the world a well as an act of refusal to a market? Can a withdrawal be political?
There is a problem of a moralism that accompanies certain social practices and the aesthetics that accompany them. How to place this moralism into the sphere of the participation rather than the aesthetic form? Can it be more active and ambivalent and disruptive if it’s about the participation?
I have ongoing questions about bringing together experiential modes and an uncertainty about doing this within art. The uncertainty is of the type that encourages me to continue thinking and make an effort to consider how elements of a therapeutic practice can be integrated into an art practice. Up until this year the two have been separate entities with some crossover of research interests and ethical frameworks in both directions. My research on power relations, ethics of relating and the non-verbal, sensorial and embodied aspects of subjectivity has manifest itself through practice as public installation or event and as private ways of working with people in therapeutic contexts. The work I made with Transmission in spring 2014 involved a series of closed workshops with refugees which was the first time I had activated a transfer between the two practices using embodied and experiential modes with the possibility of a public outcome. The DIY deep listening workshops I have been facilitating as a regular practice are another form of this transfer. Both of these experiences raised many ongoing questions about visibility and product. I am currently seeking ways in which to bring some of the relational and ethical aspects of therapeutic space into the spaces of art. Considering how and for what these modes of being and becoming can function when removed from the institutional stabilisers of therapy involves questioning how this reframes responsibility, mutuality and authorship when applied to collaborative discussion and expression in the framework of art. While I am keen to emphasise the practice based nature of this research I would like to situate it theoretically by highlighting the importance of Felix Guattari’s theory and descriptions of practice in the ethico-aesthetic paradigm to both my artistic and therapeutic practices over the last five years or so. I find in these, and in the work of Suely Rolnik, complex and thoughtful approaches to negotiating the intricacies of working with revolutionary intent under capital while being considerate to care for, from and with others.
Con-sensual 2015 performance
Con-sensual was a performance made for the Open Studios event. I read with a microphone from the front of the space a text about the experience of having depression and taking anti-depressants. The audience were seated facing me. The text was scored into sections that were picked up and placed on the floor as they were read. Two fellow performers - Angharad and Natalia - moved round the audience blowing bubbles throughout the performance until the final section when they scattered confetti over the room. The three of us wore white baseball caps. A silent video of a bath draining, me applying lipstick repeatedly and footage from the woods round the Teufelsberg listening station in Berlin was projected on the front wall behind the microphone.
This text was also developed through the process of daily writing as a method for reflecting on and materialising research and experience from life in order to be able to work with it in the studio. I decided to make the text into a performance in order to give the material an emotional charge as it was transmitted via my embodied reading to the audience. The video was made once the text was edited and laid out as a script for performing. The fellow performers were students I had worked in a study group for the performativity seminar with - this study group and its supportive structure had encouraged us to think about taking risks and being vulnerable in our work. Performing with them was a way of being vulnerable while also being supported.
The performance was written to bring together material about the way wellbeing, illness and cure are categorised and understood with personal experience. I wrote it to understand my somewhat ambivalent position of having a critical professional awareness of psychopharmacological research paradigms and their limits and problems while also using the results of this paradigm in order to cope and feel well.
I am considering developing the text into a video work. By putting the same text to work in a different form I am attempting to bring a rigorous methodology to the question of whether the text or the form that I use to present it with are the crucial factor in the eventual work.
My research into mental health and wellbeing is ongoing. I have considered how to activate similar concerns through experiential group work. The exploration of the use of personal experience as material for writing is ongoing. I am continuing to read writing that integrates personal, fictional and theoretical as a way of thinking about how to develop this further. I recently visited a video archive to think about artists moving image work that addressed this in the 70s and 80s.
I am currently working on a video for the interim show. The material was developed at a shoot with four actors and a two person camera crew. The actors were filmed in an empty theatre space as they rehearsed and workshopped the script. This work uses a script based on an exchange between a family on a bus. The point of the script is that there is a shift in the group from being in conflict over the competing needs of individuals to being in cooperation with everyone’s needs being adequately enough met.
During the shoot I was perhaps trying to do too many things and as a result there are a lot of decisions to be made during the editing process. I need to decide whether to focus on representing the workshopping and the actors methods or the narrative of the script itself.
The script is coming from a research question around the generation of empathy - if empathy is most easily felt towards experiences that are closest to one’s own, can role play function as a tool for widening the possible field of felt empathy? I need to answer questions about why making a film that represents the emotional experience of others on screen as they represent the emotional experience of a character has anything to do with this background research question.
Following the shoot I am left with material that I will edit into a work. Through my mistakes I am also left with a better understanding of how I would approach working with a script and actors again differently. I perhaps need to explore this method again in order to know if it is a good method for me to represent what I am trying to say through my work.
Relation to previous practice continues preexisting research strands and develops them develops use of materials develops writing into a central role as material
Relation to a larger context Outline practices or ideas that go beyond the scope of your personal work. Write briefly about other projects or theoretical material which share an affinity with your project. It is simply about showing an awareness of a broader context, which you will later build upon in your project proposal and writing component in the second year (resource: here you can draw on the texts from the interviews and from the session using Jstor and the session ‘what is context and why’ [oct-2])
Research strands Consider the possibilities open to you and where you would take your work in the near future
mental health empathy intimacy embodied speech the mediation of intimacy through technology
Recent projects have used performance, sculpture, video, experiential workshops, programmed screenings and discursive events to address themes relating to the intersections and mediations of affect, subjectivity, power and identity. Recent research considers the embodied ways through which language is communicated with a view to proposing alternative forms of listening, speaking and being in touch with others.
Conclusion close future plans - screening event looking at the use of confessional voice in moving image by female artists academic/analytic essay with accompanying in-school screenings looking at artists moving image and presentations of trauma for VSR seminar you tube channel of readings from female poets (for fun) publication with Transmission gallery on voices spoken in public make some paper mache sculptures - perhaps to wrap around monitors or to become screens embed daily writing as a practice develop Con-sensual performance into a video version continue the green screen water video into a loose series gather more video footage write more continue to work without aim with video and writing to allow connections to emerge organise a Testo Junky reading group voice recording
possible 2 projects with my voluntary work at Pauluskerk Open Atelier - 1 we have to make something for the art weekend in september that incorporates the work of people who use the studio with the work of the artists who facilitate it 2 possible exhibiton in november making visible refugee experience as a way of pressing for a change in Dutch government policy on treatment of refugees
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Manon de Boer - (not all her work but the trilogy based on interviews with women subjects) Resonating Surfaces Let’s Talk About Wood Let’s Talk About Metal Sylvie Kristel Paris New York
Emily Vey Duke and Cooper Battersby
Sidsel Meinke Hansen
Lynne Hershman Leeson
Xavier Le Roy - Product of Circumstances
Wendelien Van Oldenborgh - esp the work Instruction, 209
To read soon…
Trauma stuff for VSR seminar - Elaine Scarry, Dominick La Capra
Sarah Ahmed Giorgio Agamben - the coming community Jaques Attali - Noise Karen Barad - Meeting the Universe Halfway maybe some Bergson? Lauren Berlant Mikhail Baktin esp Speech Genres, the Dialogic Imagination Donna Haraway - simians, cyborgs and women, Situated Knowledges: The Science Question in Feminism and the Privilege of Partial Perspective, Feminist Studies, Vol. 14, No. 3. (Autumn, 1988), pp. 575-599. Thomas Kuhn - the structure of scientific revolutions Jean Luc Nancy - Listening, the inoperative community Michel Serres - the five senses Bruno Latour and Michel Serres - conversations on science culture and time Adriana Cavarero - for more than one voice Mladen Dolar