Mia/Thesis

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Go back to Mia Paller

The cocoon

guidelines thesis outline

[Steve notes: a great start on the annotated bibliography which could be integrated into your text and/ or serve as an appendix to your text. Your thorough research last year will pay you dividends as you now synthesise the knowledge you have gained into a thesis.To that end, do not be afraid to use the the texts you produced last year within your thesis, this has been a research which is still in development.]

1. THESIS THEME (see below - what do you see?)

2. 5 CORE TEXTS (OR STARTING POINTS)

  • Vilem Flusser: Towards the Philosophy of Photography

Flusser analyses the distinction between technical images, i.e. photographs, and traditional images (such as drawings and paintings). The latter are, according to him, primary abstractions, because we abstract them directly from the concrete world before us. Contrary, technical images are abstractions of third order, because they signify texts, which are abstracted from traditional images which abstract from concrete world. Flusser states that technical images are images, produced by 'apparatuses'. The camera and the person operating it form a complex which directly conditions the outcome. Moreover, the camera acts as a black box – its operator can control its input and knows how to manipulate it to produce specific output, but what exactly happens in-between, remains hidden. The actual encoding of technical images takes place in this very mechanism we cannot fully understand.

  • Susan Sontag: On Photography (Chapter Photographic Evangels) + Martin Jay: Photography and the Mirror of Art

Sontag and Jay disclose that photography as a medium is valuable in the context of art because it subverted the very tradition it became a part of. Sontag also touches on painting’s relation to photography, which is reciprocal – the two informed one another in terms of technical, aesthetic, and conceptual influences throughout history. Both Jay and Sontag emphasise photography’s inherently hybrid status in which they find its very potential and value.

The book provides an extensive analysis of drawing's fundamentals and its different modes from 15th century to the present. The author shows that drawing is not only an (artistic) medium, but is a way of externalising the first thoughts (the mode of sketch). She touches on its primality, straightforwardness and sensitivity, this instant(aneous) nature of drawing and its position in western art. Petherbridge also analyses the changing role of drawing in relation to contemporary and conceptual practice.

  • Philip Rawson: Drawing

The author offers a close analysis of what drawing actually is as a process as well as an (artistic) object and how is it understood as an artform. He breaks it into constituting parts and discusses kinetic, ctructural, contextual aspects of any drawing, based on numerous historical as well as modern examles of drawings. He explains the theoretical basis, technical methods and materials and subject matters on different modes of drawing ranging from Far Eastern tradition to examples of Western art and design. The parts most relevant for my thesis include the first chapter (The Theoretical Base) as I wish to inspect the basis of drawing as a gestural mode of expression and relate it to photography However, I also find some details and examples from other chapters interesting, as Rawson intelligibly describes certain modes of drawing I recognise in my own work (e.g. 'the blob') or calls attention to symbolic and historical meanings of certain materials.

  • Marcel Duchamp: The Creative Act

Duchamp’s approach to an understanding of art is based on so called creative act: from intention to realisation, the artist undergoes the series of efforts, satisfaction, refusals and decisions. He says that this chain has a missing link, a gap that happens between artist’s inability to fully express his intention. This vivid description of creative process resonated with my own approach to making, which means going through different stages of try and error, producing the result that is inevitably different from my intentions. Another point of revelation was his understanding of the viewer, which according to Duchamp acts as a connection between the artist, his artwork and external world. Spectator is the one who decodes the work and its possible meanings and thus contributes to the creative act. Photobook Trace is thus a very obvious illustration of the fatality of this interaction, but by reading about it, I started recognizing it in my previous works and overall began to be more aware of this artwork-spectator unity.

  • Rosalind Krauss: A Voyage on the North Sea: Art in the Age of Post-Medium Condition

Asking whether photography is art, called for a certain definition of art in the first place. This led me to analyse how understanding of medium and the notion of art shifted through time and what is the possible conception of it today. I approached the topic by close reading Rosalind Krauss’ A Voyage on the North Sea: Art in the Age of the Post-Medium Condition. Krauss digs in the core of what we call 'medium'. She illustrates with the example of film that the medium is an ‘apparatus’. Its essence cannot be reduced to merely unworked physical support - its layered, complex structure is constitutive for internal plurality of photography and thus any given medium. She also points out that there is no medium-specificity as the inside of an artwork is always invaded by its context. I find her argument relevant for my research as I myself weigh photography and painting as mediums and question in what ways they feed into each other.

3. Other potential texts

  • Hans Belting: An Anthropology of Images - Picture, Medium, Body
  • John Berger: Berger on Drawing
  • Jackson Pollock: Drawing into Painting
  • Rosalind Krauss: Notes on the Index: Seventies Art in America
  • Jonas Storsve: Cy Twombly (Pompidou exhibition catalogue)

Thesis statement

17.10. 2019

1st draft:

The element of gesture in my recent practice exposes the bridge between drawing and photography. I understand the gesture as a recording of a hand or material itself in movement and as such a constitutive element of drawing. At first, photography as a contemporary? medium for producing technical images, may seem to have little space for or connection with such gesture and thus appears very different from drawing and painting practice. However, having examined the historical development of both mediums, I realise they are tightly related and in fact share some of same the conceptual foundations. They both emerge from the urge to leave a trace. The need to make a record of an event or existence is, I believe, in the very human nature and is the motivation for image-making in general. In this text I will bring an awareness of this bridge, because the image itself is not a static entity tied to a specific medium, but is constantly in flux. Therefore, I can outline the reciprocal relationship between the two mediums that lead from early-photography to contemporary post-mediality. Theoretically, and through my practice, I explore the gesture as a space for expressing the tight relation.


2nd draft:

The element of gesture in my recent practice reveals the bridge between drawing and photography. I understand the gesture as a recording of a hand or material itself in movement and as such a constitutive element of drawing. At first, photography as a medium for producing technical images may seem to have little space for such gesture and therefore appears very different from drawing and painting practice. However, having closely examined the historical development of both mediums, I realise they share some of conceptual foundations. Both originate from the urge to leave a trace. The need to make a record of an event or existence is, I believe, in the very human nature and suggests the motivation for image-making in general. Through the following text but also through my recent practice, I explore the gesture as a space for expressing the tight relation between photographic and drawing principles of image-making. I outline the reciprocal relationship between the two mediums that emerges in early-photography and leads to the contemporary post-mediality. I wish to bring awareness of the link between the two because the image itself is not a static entity tied to a specific medium, but is constantly in flux.

3rd draft:

The element of gesture in my recent practice reveals the bridge between drawing and photography.

I understand the gesture as a recording of a hand or material itself in movement and as such a constitutive element of drawing. At first, photography as a medium for producing technical images may seem to have little space for such gesture and thus appears very different from drawing and painting practice. However, having a close look at the historical development of both mediums, I realise they are in fact share some conceptual foundations. Both originate from the urge to leave a trace. The need to make a record of an event or existence is, I believe, in the very human nature and suggests the motivation for image-making in general. Through the following text I outline the reciprocal relationship between the two mediums that emerges in early-photography and leads to the contemporary post-mediality. Through the prism of theory as well as through my recent practice, I explore the gesture as the space in which to express the tight relation between photographic and drawing principles of image-making. I wish to bring awareness of the link between the two because the image itself is not a static entity tied to a specific medium, but is constantly in flux.


[Steve notes: This is a great intro- overview and is succinctly written. I have made a few minor edits (suggestions) to this version <<which, I hope do not change your intended meaning. A precise research question which has a direct relation to your practice and follows from your earlier research. The proposal and the thesis have real integrity. Good work.]

First PRE-draft of the thesis outline

http://pzwiki.wdka.nl/mw-mediadesign/images/2/24/Thesis_outline_Mia_Paller.pdf

Thesis outline 1st draft.jpg

2nd draft Thesis outline

0. INTRODUCTION

1. MY PRACTICE between drawing and photography

  • Trace & Drawing Camera project descriptions
  • Mark-making
  • Why the need to leave a mark - an elementary mode of expression
  • In what ways do I leave a mark

2. GESTURE

  • …of a hand/material or as an artistic gesture?
  • Analysis of gesture in my work

3. INDEX

  • photography as a recording of objects’ shadows vs. ‘the birth of drawing’ – shadow tracing
  • print-making (matrix, print, reproducibility, repetition, seriality)

4. DRAWING & PHOTOGRAPHY (comparison)

  • Historical context
  • Theoretical basis
  • ‘As art’
  • ‘traditional’ vs ‘technical’ picture
  • Gesture-based vs. lens/light-based practice/image
  • What is an image, what is a medium  no medium?

5. *optional - NEW TECHNOLOGIES

  • How does it relate to the contemporary context of new technologies? Why is it significant?

6. CONCLUSION

FINAL Thesis Outline (11. 11. 2019)

0. INTRODUCTION / THESIS STATEMENT

The element of gesture in my recent practice reveals the bridge between drawing and photography. I understand the gesture as a recording of a hand or material itself in movement and as such a constitutive element of drawing. At first, photography as a medium for producing technical images may seem to have little space for such gesture and thus appears very different from drawing and painting practice. However, having a close look at the historical development of both mediums, I realise they are in fact sharing some of the conceptual bases. Both originate from the urge to leave a trace. The need to make a record of an event or existence is, I believe, in the very human nature and suggests the motivation for image-making in general. Through the following text I outline the reciprocal relationship between the two mediums that emerges in early-photography and leads to the contemporary post-mediality. Through the prism of theory as well as through my recent practice, I explore the gesture as the space for expressing the tight relation between photographic and drawing principles of image-making. I wish to bring awareness of the link between the two because the image itself is not a static entity tied to a specific medium but is constantly in flux.

1. MY PRACTICE between drawing and photography

  • I noticed that projects that I started last year - Trace and Drawing Camera – are both an exploration of same concepts such as mark-making, gesture and index. They form the practice between gestural and technical image-making
  • Project descriptions (basic what-how-why)
  • other practices exploring similar field – relation to a larger context (throughout the essay)

2. Mark-making

  • I understand mark-making as a basic type of drawing: A loose definition of drawing is ‘the recording of a moving point’. Mark-making corresponds to this conception.
  • The support is just as significant for the marks as the substance applied to it. It is the underlying symbol in the drawing (typological series Trace analyses this aspect or mark-making)
  • In what ways do I leave a mark  abstraction

3. GESTURE

  • Understood as the gesture of a hand or material itself (as used in Drawing Camera and documented in Trace)
  • Understood as an artistic gesture (for example to let visitors invade one’s work and leave stains in it as manifested in Trace photobooks)
  • types of gesture in my work: intuition, physicality of the material, chance, texture and touch (Rawson)  drawing with the implement, stamping, staining, smudging, a blob, a fingerprint

4. INDEX

  • fingerprint as the model of an index
  • Stamping as an indexical print – monotype (present in Drawing Camera and collage works)
  • print-making (matrix, print, reproducibility, repetition, seriality, copy-machine printing as a duplication with dust – the way I printed Trace)
  • Indexicality of both photography and drawing as seen through the myth of the ‘birth of drawing’ (photography as a recording of objects’ shadows vs. ‘the birth of drawing’ – shadow tracing)

5. PHOTOGRAPHY & DRAWING (comparison)

  • Comparison of the theoretical basis - ‘traditional’ vs ‘technical’ picture (they are fundamentally different (Flusser – apparatus) BUT at the same time share some principles (Rawson – drawing machine)
  • historical context – rivalry with painting in early years of photography
  • The relationship between the two is reciprocal (technical image defined the perception and representation of space in Western drawing – ‘monocular box perspective’ whereas painting influenced the notion of space in photography)
  • Gesture-based vs. lens/light-based practice/image
  • What is an image, what is a medium  no medium? A picture is always invaded by the outside thus it is not bound to a single medium. Therefore, we cannot talk about medium-specificity. (Krauss, Belting)

6. CONCLUSION

  • There is a certain common motivation imbedded in the image-making, no matter the medium
  • Why the need to leave a mark - an elementary mode of expression
  • My motivation of expression manifests through the element of gesture
  • How does it relate to the contemporary context of new technologies? Why is it significant?

7. CORE TEXTS (OR STARTING POINTS)

  • Vilem Flusser: Towards the Philosophy of Photography

Flusser analyses the distinction between technical images, i.e. photographs, and traditional images (such as drawings and paintings). The latter are, according to him, primary abstractions, because we abstract them directly from the concrete world before us. Contrary, technical images are abstractions of third order, because they signify texts, which are abstracted from traditional images which abstract from concrete world. Flusser states that technical images are images, produced by 'apparatuses'. The camera and the person operating it form a complex which directly conditions the outcome. Moreover, the camera acts as a black box – its operator can control its input and knows how to manipulate it to produce specific output, but what exactly happens in-between, remains hidden. The actual encoding of technical images takes place in this very mechanism we cannot fully understand.

  • Susan Sontag: On Photography (Chapter Photographic Evangels) + Martin Jay: Photography and the Mirror of Art

Sontag and Jay disclose that photography as a medium is valuable in the context of art because it subverted the very tradition it became a part of. Sontag also touches on painting’s relation to photography, which is reciprocal – the two informed one another in terms of technical, aesthetic, and conceptual influences throughout history. Both Jay and Sontag emphasise photography’s inherently hybrid status in which they find its very potential and value.

The book provides an extensive analysis of drawing's fundamentals and its different modes from 15th century to the present. The author shows that drawing is not only an (artistic) medium, but is a way of externalising the first thoughts (the mode of sketch). She touches on its primality, straightforwardness and sensitivity, this instant(aneous) nature of drawing and its position in western art. Petherbridge also analyses the changing role of drawing in relation to contemporary and conceptual practice.

  • Philip Rawson: Drawing

The author offers a close analysis of what drawing actually is as a process as well as an (artistic) object and how is it understood as an artform. He breaks it into constituting parts and discusses kinetic, ctructural, contextual aspects of any drawing, based on numerous historical as well as modern examles of drawings. He explains the theoretical basis, technical methods and materials and subject matters on different modes of drawing ranging from Far Eastern tradition to examples of Western art and design. The parts most relevant for my thesis include the first chapter (The Theoretical Base) as I wish to inspect the basis of drawing as a gestural mode of expression and relate it to photography However, I also find some details and examples from other chapters interesting, as Rawson intelligibly describes certain modes of drawing I recognise in my own work (e.g. 'the blob') or calls attention to symbolic and historical meanings of certain materials.

  • Marcel Duchamp: The Creative Act

Duchamp’s approach to an understanding of art is based on so called creative act: from intention to realisation, the artist undergoes the series of efforts, satisfaction, refusals and decisions. He says that this chain has a missing link, a gap that happens between artist’s inability to fully express his intention. This vivid description of creative process resonated with my own approach to making, which means going through different stages of try and error, producing the result that is inevitably different from my intentions. Another point of revelation was his understanding of the viewer, which according to Duchamp acts as a connection between the artist, his artwork and external world. Spectator is the one who decodes the work and its possible meanings and thus contributes to the creative act. Photobook Trace is thus a very obvious illustration of the fatality of this interaction, but by reading about it, I started recognizing it in my previous works and overall began to be more aware of this artwork-spectator unity.

  • Rosalind Krauss: A Voyage on the North Sea: Art in the Age of Post-Medium Condition

Asking whether photography is art, called for a certain definition of art in the first place. This led me to analyse how understanding of medium and the notion of art shifted through time and what is the possible conception of it today. I approached the topic by close reading Rosalind Krauss’ A Voyage on the North Sea: Art in the Age of the Post-Medium Condition. Krauss digs in the core of what we call 'medium'. She illustrates with the example of film that the medium is an ‘apparatus’. Its essence cannot be reduced to merely unworked physical support - its layered, complex structure is constitutive for internal plurality of photography and thus any given medium. She also points out that there is no medium-specificity as the inside of an artwork is always invaded by its context. I find her argument relevant for my research as I myself weigh photography and painting as mediums and question in what ways they feed into each other.

  • Other potential texts
  • Hans Belting: An Anthropology of Images - Picture, Medium, Body
  • John Berger: Berger on Drawing
  • Jackson Pollock: Drawing into Painting
  • Rosalind Krauss: Notes on the Index: Seventies Art in America
  • Jonas Storsve: Cy Twombly (Pompidou exhibition catalogue)