PART 2. Project 3, Exercise 1. Contemplation of ‘Place’

The Lost Land by Eavan Boland speaks about place in relationship to identity and exile. The author is watching a shoreline, presumably from a boat, and drawing comparison to how others (her ancestors?) May have felt a they emigrated. Maybe she is returning from their destination to visit her roots and inform her own sense of identity.

The Hereford Landscape by Elizabeth Barrett Browning purely evokes a sense of place. It describes the physical landscape and also the impact of the agriculture practiced by the people who live there, and uses the idea of smells (wood-smoke, gardens, orchards) to reinforce the atmosphere of rural life.

Slough by John Betjeman makes a particularly damning social comment on the town, describing a highly processed, manufactured place devoid of soul.

PART 2. Project 2, Exercise 2 Character Archetypes

Archetype Stephen King’s ‘The Stand’ Function
Bully The Kid Terrorises the already unstable Trashcan Man and drives him to more extreme behaviour
Caregiver Frannie Goldsmith Frannie is one of the earliest characters to whom we are introduced, nursing her dying parents and burying them
Creator The virus The superflu virus wipes out the majority of human life, leaving behind a deserted world through which the few survivors move.
Dreamer All characters Characters are all subject to dreams of either Mother Abagail or Randall Flagg. These dreams are the catalyst that sets people off travelling to congregate with others around one of these two poles.
Everyman Stu Redman The ‘everyman’ is a staple of Stephen King’s work. Stu Redman is the first person with immunity discovered by the authorities after being taken into quarantine along with others exposed to ‘patient zero’ and not developing symptoms. His escape from that facility represents the idealised response of the average person in the face of huge adversity and injustice.
Explorer Ralph Brentner A stabilising influence through his immense pragmatism and practical abilities.
Follower Trashcan Man Mentally ill and taken advantage of by the antagonist Randall Flagg, could also be The Innocent
Hero Nick Andros Another central character, has very strong morals and empathy
Innocent Tom Cullen Man with learning disabilities, sweet-natured and loyal. Contributes to the community spirit in the place of children, who are largely absent among the survivors.
Jester Larry Underwood Narcissistic and wise-cracking, forced to mature and care for others
Lover Nadine Cross Chosen by Flagg for his ‘bride’, Nadine leaves the protagonist group, along with Harold, and goes to him
Mentor Glen Bateman Retired Judge, instrumental in construction of the new society
Outlaw Harold Lauder Teenage misfit, in love with Frannie but turns against the group when she becomes involved with Stu Redman. Betrayer – attempts to blow them up and escapes with Nadine.
Rebel All characters All the survivors have to rise up and fight: in this context against the adversity of societal breakdown.
Sage Mother Abagail The central focus of the protagonist group, and the ‘force for Good’ in the story
Magician Randall Flagg This character is an incarnation of the main antagonist in the entire Stephen King universe, familiar to all Constant Readers. Evil personified.
Monster Randall Flagg
Ruler Randall Flagg
Villain Randall Flagg

 

References

http://soulcraft.co/essays/the_12_common_archetypes.html

(Accessed 22/03/20)

 

PART 2. Project 2, Exercise 1

Mapping the film Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope to ‘The Hero’s Journey’.

This is a film I have loved since my Dad took me to the cinema to see it in 1978 when I was 4. I was instantly hooked and have watched this, and the rest of the series, countless times.

ACT I (Beginning = the Hero’s decision to act)

  • Ordinary WorldLuke Skywalker lives with his Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru on a farm on the desert planet of Tatooine. His life is simple; maintaining equipment, hanging out with friends practicing driving and shooting. He is bored of this life and longs to join friends at ‘the Academy’.
    • His Uncle purchases droids, C3P0 and R2D2, from the Jawas to help with his harvest.
    • Luke sees a snippet of a recording of Princess Leia when cleaning R2D2.
  • Call to Adventure / Meeting with the MentorR2D2 disappears in the night and Luke goes out to find him, taking C3P0.
    • They are attacked by sand people and left for dead. Obi Wan Kenobi finds Luke and takes him in.
    • R2D2 plays the entire message from Leia.
    • Obi Wan tells Luke that his father was a Jedi and fought in the Clone Wars, encouraging Luke to join him and go to Leia’s aid.
  • Refusal of the CallLuke tells Obi Wan he has to stay on the farm for another season but offers to take him to Mos Eisley.
  • Crossing the First ThresholdOn the way to Mos Eisley, Luke and Obi Wan find slaughtered Jawas, conclude that it is the work of Imperial Stormtroopers searching for droids and Luke realises they will likely have traced the droids to his family farm.
    • Luke races back to the farm and finds his Aunt and Uncle murdered and mutilated. This crystalises his resolve to join the rebellion and go with Obi Wan.

ACT II (Middle = the action)

  • Tests, Allies and EnemiesOn arrival in Mos Eisley, the group are confronted with Stormtroopers searching for the droids. Obi Wan uses Jedi mind control to pass through the blockade without challenge, with the iconic line, ‘these aren’t the droids you’re looking for’.
    • Obi Wan engages the services of smugglers Han Solo and Chewbacca, chartering passage on their ship, the Millennium Falcon. The Stormtroopers find them in their hangar preparing to depart and they have to fight their way off the planet.
    • Having evaded capture, the group relax on their journey and Luke begins his Jedi training with Obi Wan, to gentle ridicule from Han Solo.
  • Approach to the innermost caveUpon arrival at their charted destination, Alderan, the group discover that the planet has been destroyed.
    • The Millennium Falcon is caught in a tractor beam from the nearby Imperial space station, the Death Star, which destroyed Alderan. The group hide in smuggling compartments and are not discovered by stormtroopers who search the ship when it sets down in the loading dock of the Death Star.
    • In attempting to disable the systems keeping the ship in the dock, Luke discovers that Leia is held captive in the station and determines to rescue her.
  • OrdealLuke and a reluctant Han and Chewbacca embark on a hastily improvised rescue mission which is discovered almost immediately. There follows firefights and near death in a trash compactor through either being drowned by a mysterious creature or crushed to death.
    • On the way back to the Millennium Falcon, Luke sees Obi Wan killed by the principle antagonist, Darth Vader.
  • RewardThe group escape the Death Star with Leia and convene with her Rebel Forces to mount an attack on the Death Star. Luke is reunited with his childhood friends who have joined the Rebellion.

ACT III (End = the consequences of the act)

  • The Road BackHan Solo takes his payment and leaves.
    • Luke leads the attack on the Death Star.
    • His first shot fails to hit the target, several of his squadron are killed by defending fighters, led by Darth Vader.
  • ResurrectionHan Solo returns and joins the fight, enabling Luke to take another shot at target, which is successful and the Death Star is destroyed.
    • Darth Vader escapes, lives to fight another sequel…
  • Return with the ElixirThe Rebels hold a formal medals ceremony to honour the group.
    • The elixir is Luke’s new-found knowledge that he can become a Jedi and his journey is only just beginning.

Own plot using the Hero’s Journey template:

ACT I (Beginning = the Hero’s decision to act)

  • Ordinary WorldProtagonist Moira: in job to which she is indifferent, living in a rented flat with a partner with whom she is friends but is no longer in love with. Life lacks passion or purpose. Quiet, introverted.
  • Call to AdventureMeets Helene in a coffee shop (spills coffee on her? somehow strike up a conversation). They meet up a few more times and Helene invites Moira to join her on a three month trip around Europe.
  • Refusal of the CallMoira desperately wants to go, having listened to Helene’s plans and being caught up in her excitement. Refuses because she believes she has commitments to work and partner.
  • Meeting with the MentorElderly neighbour Rose – Moira finds her after a fall in the corridor and helps her into her flat. Sees her pictures and mementos of her work during WWII in the Air Transport Auxillary, delivering planes to bases. Talk of the feeling of abandon during those times – today might be our last – and the way this coloured the rest of Rose’s life inspires Moira to go with Helene.
  • Crossing the First ThresholdSplits with partner and resigns from job

ACT II (Middle = the action)

  • Tests, Allies and Enemies M&H travel in H’s old camper van across to France and make their way South but with particular destination in mind. They stay in various Aires, meet other travellers. End up in a small town and meet an elderly lady, Isobel, who reminds Moira of Rose. Isobel’s house and land is an animal sanctuary at which Moira begins to help out.
  • Approach to the innermost cave towards the end of summer, Helene wants to return to UK as planned but Moira feels depressed at the prospect.
  • Ordeal H&M argue about going home and Helene unloads Moira’s belongings and leaves.
  • Reward Isobel takes Moira in

ACT III (End = the consequences of the act)

  • The Road Back Sanctuary needs some renovation which Moira throws herself into, raising funds online through a social media page documenting the sanctuary and its residents, wildlife releases etc
  • Resurrection Moira realises she has found her purpose
  • Return with the Elixir Moira stays, looks after Isobel and inherits the sanctuary when she dies. Turns it into a place tourists visit and is able to help more animals and employ a teenaged girl from the town. Settles permanently.

PART 2. Project 1: The craft of writing, Exercise 1

What happens to a story when you take it from its source, make it permanent in print, and disseminate it to a wide audience?

Specifically in contrast to a story that is passed along verbally, it stops changing. Certainty of the source is lost (even if cited), but it takes on a gravitas simply by being in print, which makes readers more inclined to accept it without question. These two factors contribute to the current epidemic of misinformation on social media sites.


Implications arising from the printing press.

– Ultimately the person with control of the press controls whether a text is printed or not.

– Setting a page was time-consuming, and therefore relatively expensive, so presumably only those with funding had access to the service and an audience.

– knowledge and news spread faster

– revolutionary ideas were heard more widely

– Scientific advancement was facilitated through sharing of accurate data (hand-copies texts were more prone to error) and discoveries

PART 2. Project 2 Research Point

How ‘Dune’ by Frank Herbert (1965) made use of Aristotle’s first four elements; plot, character, thought (theme), diction (expression of meaning).

The plot of this book is complex, covering several decades, and weaves sociopolitical, religious, technological and ecological strands together in a way that feels familiar and feasible 55 years after it was written. Whilst all these elements carry equal weight in the plot, I felt that ecology, namely the extreme constraints with respect to water and the way the planet’s inhabitants adapted to it, was the overriding ‘theme’, colouring every aspect of the tale.

The character development was done in various ways. Each chapter is preceded by an excerpt from a biographical account written by one of the minor characters. These provide a historian’s view of the protagonist, Paul Atreides, and sets context, again without the reader really noticing they are building this knowledge.
The development of the Paul Atreides character is largely achieved through the eyes of the other characters, particularly his mother, the Lady Jessica. There is far less development of the other characters, but I think the author found a good balance here; enough to make them tangible in the reader’s mind, and to demonstrate the importance of loyalties to both people and ideology, without slowing the pace of the plot.

I found Dune to be one of those rare stories where the style of writing and the plot are immediately so immersive that unknown words are understood just from context almost without the reader noticing.
I find myself still thinking about this story weeks after finishing it. After analysing it through this particular ‘lens’, I think it is exceptionally, subtly clever.

PART 2. Project 1, Exercise 2

List of everything read, written, seen, heard in 24 hours:

i) Quiz questions, picture rounds, anagrams, music clips – team-mates debating answers, speeches about fund-raising element. Chatting with friends and family.

ii) Texts with friends, Facebook posts, emails, scientific articles

iii) Road signs, diversion instructions, satnav instructions, conversations with friends about routes and local roadworks

iv) Music on car radio, anecdotes of listeners choosing 80s playlists, news, weather reports and warnings.

v) Dune by  Frank Herbert

vi) Sheet music for choir practice

vii) Tariffs in car park, menu in friend’s restaurant, shop signs, receipts

viii) View from Portsdown Hill

ix) Audiobook whilst working on a quilt

 

How many stories in list? i, ii, iv, v, ix

Which do I consider ‘art’? some of ii, v, vi, ix

In my view, art is something created, with a degree of skill. All writing is created, I see a general theme in my response that says he functional is not art.

 

PART 2. Introduction Exercise

REASONS PEOPLE READ REASONS PEOPLE WRITE
  For leisure – novels, poetry   Creative outlet – novels, poetry
  Academic study   Academic study
  To follow instructions – manuals, maps   To give instructions
  To garner information – newspapers,        non-fiction   To share information
  To correspond with others   To correspond with others

PART 1. ASSIGNMENT 1

PART A, Reflective Learning

What is Art?  I don’t think my views have changed substantially on this subject, having worked through this module. I have the beginnings of a better understanding about art made from found objects through learning about contextual information. I think that contextual information is part of the art itself; the experience of the viewer is altered by knowing it.

I’ve enjoyed learning about conceptual art, but do find that aesthetic still heavily influences whether I ‘like’ a piece or not. I am drawn to the clever ideas with layers, or with humour, or that relate to the future and are out of reach. I have been surprised by the strength of my response to various pieces, from disgust and anger at Hirst, to acute irritation at Dean & Millar’s essay, to utter enchantment by Longplayer. Certainly the strength of response is increased the more I study something, and the guiding questions in each exercise are helping to reawaken my research skills. I graduated in 1995, pre-internet, and the experience is now entirely different. I find myself disappearing down virtual rabbit holes looking at art and watching interviews. What I’m not so good at is writing up what I find and think, and this is largely due to time pressure. I need to plan better.

I feel I am still missing something when reading critics’ articles. I struggled with this in the Drawing 1 module as well. I occasionally read one that is in a more journalistic tone that I can appreciate, but I often find them comically pretentious.

My learning log is this electronic blog (even my exhibition ticket was an e-ticket!). I have a notebook alongside in which I scribble notes simply because sometimes I prefer to write on paper than tap away at a laptop – it’s more organic – but those scribblings are mostly all written up in the blog. This is also something I was lacking in Drawing 1. Documenting minutiae doesn’t come naturally to me – in my practice, I keep and develop ideas in my head and rarely sketch them down, usually only if they’re keeping me awake or stopping me concentrating at work. I will consciously try to do this more as I progress through these studies.

PART B, Interpretation of Jeremy Deller’s Battle of Orgreave (2001)

In this essay I will describe my personal response to and interpretation of Jeremy Deller’s ‘The Battle of Orgreave’ (2001), both the original performance and subsequent installations. I will consider the role and impact of both Time and Place on the work, and explore the contextual information around it.

I do not remember the original event, having been only 10 years old in 1984, and was not aware of it. A first glance at the picture provided in the course material, ironically, gives the impression of a right-wing march because the participants are white males (as such groups tend to predominantly be), and the shaved heads and 80s clothes they wear have since been adopted by some of these groups in the UK. Closer inspection reveals that the banner they carry is of the Yorkshire Area of the National Union of Mineworkers. This changes perception immediately, and even with only a secondary-school level of history education, one realises that this picture is likely not of the present day, and has political connotations. My personal politics are fairly far left of centre, so my emotional response to a close look at this first picture is one of sympathy and interest to learn more, especially since the title is so evocative – there is clearly a dramatic story attached.

Time plays an important role in this work. The relatively short period of time that had passed since the conflict means that emotions are in some cases just as raw, with some participants allegedly being a little too exuberant in the fighting. This was surely to be expected by Deller, having met and spoken to original participants on both sides. Subsequent political and social changes are essential contextual information to this work. Jonathan Jones commented in the Guardian, “…what we see is as much about now as then. How did things change to such an extent – and so violently – that an entire history of the labour movement … is now safe and distant enough to be restaged like a battle that happened 500 years ago?” https://www.theguardian.com/culture/2001/jun/19/artsfeatures (accessed 18/01/20)

Time, or rather the misrepresentation of time, played a role in the public perception of the original event. In Mike Figgis’s documentary of the re-enactment, MP Tony Benn talks about how BBC footage was deliberately edited to portray the picketing miners throwing stones at the police, followed by a mounted charge, when in fact the charge took place first and the miners threw stones in retaliation. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=3ncrWxnxLjg, 13:40 (Accessed 18/01/20)

The event made a significant impression on 18-year-old Deller in 1984 and for a long time he wanted to research and re-enact it. I think the motivation to make the work was to highlight an injustice, evidenced by Deller’s own description; “Basically, I was asking the re-enactors to participate in the staging of a battle that occurred within living memory, alongside veterans of the campaign. I’ve always described it as digging up a corpse and giving it a proper post-mortem, or as a thousand-person crime re-enactment.” https://www.jeremydeller.org/TheBattleofOrgreave/TheBattleofOrgreave_Video.php (accessed 26/01/20). His intent may have been, in part, to afford some closure to those involved in the incident by inviting them to take part, some taking the role of a member of the opposing ‘side’, or to spectate from the sidelines and experience the atmosphere. Deller said of the veterans prior to the re-enactment “They’re excited I think … because no-one has spoken about these things in public for quite a long time. There are a lot of things that still need to be resolved” https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=3ncrWxnxLjg, 4:15 (Accessed 18/01/20). I believe Deller decided to re-enact the conflict in Orgreave for the same reason. Search engine algorithms notwithstanding, an internet search for ‘Orgreave’ reveals very few results that are not related to the battle. In this virtual environment at least, the place is synonymous with the event and holds momentous meaning in the history of trade unionism and British industry representing a pivotal moment in the doomed fight against Thatcherism.

Orgreave had such an impact on Deller that it featured in a number of his works in the years leading up to his securing the commission to realise his re-enactment vision. It appears as one of the links between Acid House and Brass Bands in ‘The History of the World’ (1997), and even earlier, in 1994, Deller was signalling his aspiration with a poster that he displayed to advertise other exhibitions “announcing the Sealed Knot’s re-enactment of ‘the bloody battle of Orgreave’ under the title ‘The English Civil War (part 2)’” https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/deller-the-battle-of-orgreave-archive-an-injury-to-one-is-an-injury-to-all-t12185 (accessed 27/01/20)

There were clear stages to the conflict that took place over several areas; the original stand-off, the charge of the mounted officers and snatching of targeted individuals, the retaliation of the miners, the dangerous drive onto railway tracks and the pursuit and clashes through the village. To capture all this in a single work, Deller almost has to use live actors and film as his medium. One might consider the entire village as an installation piece for that one day; the spectators were afforded an immersive, time-bound experience.

The subsequent, more permanent, art installation at the Tate was in two rooms. In one, a collection of workings, research documents, artefacts such as clothes, newspapers and a riot shield, from both the original conflict and the re-enactment, archive TV news coverage playing on a screen, all displayed around a timeline of the clash and surrounding events. In the other the Mike Figgis documentary film plays. The description on the Tate website is objective, and makes the work seem all the more poignant. I would like to have seen it.

Jeremy Deller was deeply affected as a young man by a traumatising social conflict played out and twisted on television. He spent years processing his thoughts and ideas about it, a process culminating in the re-enactment, described by Hettie Judah as ‘A monument of sorts, the performance was at once participatory ritual, spectacle, living archive and a space to mourn’. https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2019/sep/17/the-best-visual-art-of-the-21st-century (accessed 27/01/20). Both the film and the Tate installation are powerful portraiture of the end of a chapter of British history which particularly affected the North of England, absolutely evocative of that time and that place.

PART 1. Project 3, Case Study: ‘A Place Beyond Belief’

‘A Place Beyond Belief’, Nathan Coley (2012)

 

Initial Response

It looks like an advert for a carnival – ‘come and see this wondrous place you won’t quite believe’, then I notice the silhouetted church and wonder if the context is something else, does ‘belief’ refer to religious faith?

Questions to ask to make sense of the piece would be around the presence of he church, which leads to whether the work relates to its surroundings – is it site-specific? Is it a comment about religion? What is the concept behind it?

Type of work – installation, possibly site-specific, conceptual

The text is ambiguous, both the word ‘place’ and the word ‘belief’ have several meanings, both alone and in combination with each other.

 

Reflection on Coley’s Practice

Coley is a conceptual artist. He makes objects ‘that speak in his absence’ http://www.parafin.co.uk/nathan-coley–films–tate-shots.html (accessed 26/01/20)

He believes that it is important in this fast digital age to make things without any purpose other than to be looked at.

Ideas he is interested in are location, specific places, how people articulate their moral or religious or social ideas, http://www.parafin.co.uk/nathan-coley–films–a-place-beyond-belief.html (accessed 26/01/20) also how communities create architecture that relates to how they see themselves http://www.parafin.co.uk/nathan-coley–films–tate-shots.html (accessed 26/01/20)

He chooses phrases that relate to particular events and opens them up to interpretation by the viewer. In interviews he often ascribes more than one possible meaning to elements of his work. He asks questions with his work.

 

Further analysis

After listening to that Nathan Coley’s monologue about the piece, I understand that the word belief most likely refers to religion, or at least to preconceptions. Place does not refer to location, it refers to a state of being of human society.  The work is actually situated in Pristina in Kosovo, between the Christian church that Milosevic began to build in this largely Muslim community, and the library.

This contextual information has altered my response to the piece. I can see that it is far more political than I first perceived. My views have changed in that I feel I understand it better and am more certain that it is a hopeful symbol to be projected to the international community by a young country eager to escape the label of being war-torn. It asks us to learn from past horrors that we must stop doing damage to those with different views and values.

Contextual information is important in order to understand contemporary art on a deeper level and in the way that the artist intends. I don’t believe it’s essential in order to experience art in a valuable way- a viewer may simply enjoy the superficial aesthetics of a piece – but it supports a richer and more enduring encounter.

I think the piece has a simple beauty in the dark, it grabs attention immediately and makes the viewer wonder about its meaning.

Coley uses this theme of words or phrases picked out in light-bulbs in several pieces. Most of them have been shown in more than one location, here I assume Coley is playing with the site-specificity of the phrases and seeing their meaning changed when mounted somewhere new.

He also uses cardboard extensively. I like his commentary around ‘The Lamp of Sacrifice, 286 Places of Worship, Edinburgh 2004’ (2014), piece which is “a snapshot of a place and its faith”, he talks about using cardboard, the cheap material we use to keep valuable things safe. Coley likes the contradiction between the ‘nothing material…. [with] no inherent beauty or strength to it’ and, for example, richly adorned Catholic chapels where the materials have value and metaphor. http://www.parafin.co.uk/nathan-coley–films–generation.html (accessed 25/01/20). In another interview he talks about the response of viewers being to look for their world. The cardboard buildings are not laid out to correspond with their location in the city, and people look for those they recognise. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qyQEiHw7WkM (accessed 26/01/20)

There are clear connections across his work, architecture and society are the underlying themes.

PART 1. Project 3, Exercise 2, Developing Research Skills

Katie Paterson

Vatnajökull (the sound of) 2007–08

Paterson connected a telephone line to an underwater microphone near the Vatnajökull glacier in Iceland which recorded the sound of the glacier melting.

This installation was both site-specific; the glacier occupies a single specific place and cannot be moved to another, and time-bound; the glacier will eventually completely melt and cease to exist.

There is no longer any audio on Paterson’s website, but a recording is available at the following link at time of writing. The sound is reminiscent of corn popping in a pan, with a lot of reverb added:

https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=12317438&t=1578435057449

(Accessed 23/12/19)

Paterson originally exhibited a phone, with the mobile phone number of the glacier displayed as a neon sign above it, and visitors could call the number. In fact anyone could call the number from any phone, and only one caller could connect at any one time. She has subsequently exhibited the work as a retrospective piece: I’ve made a special archive for PKM, with the neon sign of the phone number, photographs of the place and a book which lists the 10,000 phone-numbers that called. When I was compiling the book, I was astonished to find that people from far-reached places like Samoa were calling.

https://www.anothermag.com/art-photography/972/katie-paterson

(Accessed 07/01/20)

Paterson’s work deals a lot with cosmology and geology and time. It is conceptual, designed to make the viewer think about the idea of the piece. Medium is clearly secondary to concept.

Those I found most interesting are the fascinating ‘Fossil Necklace’ (2013), which comprises spherical beads of identical size made from fossilised matter from all around the world, arranged in chronological order from the Pre-Cambrian period 4,570m years ago to the present Holocene, and the quirky ‘Second Moon’ (2013-14) which is a packing crate containing a piece of moon rock, shipped by airfreight all around the world for one year- sent on a man-made orbit. The position of the rock was tracked and charted against ‘user’s location’ and that of the moon and other planets in our solar system.

Patterson has also created a work that adults alive today will never see completed. In ‘Future Library’ (2014-2114) she has planted a forest in Norway, the trees of which will provide the paper for books to be published in the year 2114. Each year between 2014 and then a writer will contribute a text to be included, which will not be read until then. This, like Longplayer, directs the viewer to thoughts of the future.

Another clever piece is a lifelong project called ‘Ideas’ (2015 – ). This is simply a book with short statements that feed the imagination. The viewer is the medium.