I record on the afternoon of October 12 an audio message to reflect, to direct first, then reflect. I realise it is extra: too long (the direction element seems unasked for). I realise too that as submission this reflection is where it is at: it stands, at course end. I create a blog post that contains too the audio and names the six months since course end, I add it to the Learning Outcomes document too and there it is: reflected, and reflected again.
Listen to the longer (12 mins) audio file here:
The reflection post from early April is copied below:
It’s time. There is one week left on this, I take the laptop and my notes to the Trafo, to write one more time in site. I hadn’t taken it much since last summer, now it is warm enough for it again.
It is the last project that my dad will have taken part in. That he commented on, the progress of which he took keen interest in.
I talk about this in the see (through) 2 conversation; as opening and then later too around ‘not making memory’; to John’s question if I knew I was going to archive when I was making the work, and no, I didn’t, it became bigger and more generative than that.
In see (through) 2 I talked about archiving and participation, of the bridging projects I started as such in early summer 2021, and of how these supported the transitions of that time. And that was good.
They also sit as ‘new works’ in SYP, alongside the pinhole images and the New Years’ Day expanded meadow, but much quieter so, or rather: not concluded yet (other than generating insight about site, archiving and participation.
I had started SYP in earnest with a view of archiving the site, of writing myself out of the site. Neither is quite possible as any engagement creates yet new insights, objects, relationships and questions.
At the end of BoW/Research SYP was configured as developing a mobile toolbox of my artistic practice; mobile, to be tested in different sites and contexts as to what these methods of site-based, contact investigations as practice as research could yield.
Such toolbox would seek other sites by means of residency applications and other forms of networking. I did not travel, though I applied for a digital one with Museum of Loss and Renewal; I also signed up for a Poetry School course on Expanded Screenwriting as Poetry. I furthermore investigated a future residency at Dundalk, Co Louth, Ireland to collaborate with one of my close artist contacts of the past year, Susan Farrelly. Travel remained complex throughout the duration of this module, but now seems a little easier and at least I am moving fairly freely between Glasgow and NW Germany again.
The project plan, also following the first tutorial, became refined around three engagement strands (a simple distribution process of instructive self-print PDF zines; a series of workshops; and also to explore circulating, through sales, some of the many objects that resulted from the practice as research.
The first tutorial also pointed towards conducting SYP as research: of exploring the means of engagement as drawing/contact and thus of testing and exploring what in this speaks methodologically and substantively to the preceding BoW and Research. I thus begun to orientate SYP around When and when is the work, the audience, the artist.
So, what at the start of Research has been called near space as geographical concept became refined as contextual distance.
It is quite fabulous to be sitting here, warm sunshine from the back, a flask with good coffee and to be typing these reflections. It’s by far been my biggest project to date, the most expansive site, and at the strangest time (pandemic, Brexit, stroke and later palliative care, and now after the current escalation of war in Ukraine).
I feel I made good use of the module: of considering my professional practice, its strands and taking serious of a where to with this next. Admittedly, with the social dislocations that went alongside my Level 3, the what with myself as practising artist had slipped into the background, at times I also felt it was fairly open if I would continue with the degree work. The field in which I now move forward to seems more open and precarious, and yet I am glad for the focus some of the dislocation, notably the move to the small village (and fairly stable financial security) had allowed to focus on the artistic practice, I fear that would have not been the case had I stayed in Glasgow (hello, resilience coaching for academic staff under pandemic hellscape by zoom).
I took the engagement serious, the questions around participation, audience and contact. I found forms that foreground these in the event series and even more so the expanding library a A/Folder zines. I also begun to investigate and engage in new networks and build on existing ones. There is more to be done with all of this, there always is; and still SYP allowed for the establishment (and considered reflection, testing, adjusting) of forms of professional practice that I would otherwise have hesitated to instigate.