- Talking about the Ephemeral in Art
- Thinking about the Literature Review
- Understanding the role of the second supervisor
- In addition, we spoke again, briefly, about the positioning my work in contemporary artistic practice and considering whether a sense of place is important in my work.
The Ephemeral in Art
In previous meetings I had spoken about my search for the ephemeral in my photography and my supervisor had given me some weblinks to follow up. After a quick piece of research, I realised that perhaps we had been talking about different things as I discovered a whole Ephemeral Art genre that is transitory in terms of its life as a piece of art. That is to say, that the artist creates a product or experience that is intended to be short-lived. The artists often record their efforts through photography or film. In contrast my explanation of the ephemeral in my work is that I am trying to capture a transient moment when the essence of Skye is revealed. The essence itself being permanent with the revelation experienced by the transitory withdrawal of the veil of presence. Through ceasing to focus consciously on the object allows me to focus on that moment of awareness of the essence.
My supervisor had previously referred to NVA public art who have staged many public projects with the aim of observing and drawing peoples’ attention to the landscape in novel ways. For example, The Storr – Unfolding Landscape (NVA 2005) involved people walking around The Storr, with lights revealing particular aspects of the landscape accompanied by live creative events along the path. Whilst some might consider these spectacular in their approach and an encroachment into a fragile environment, others might see them as a means to encourage engagement with the landscape that might not otherwise happen.
Our thoughts turned to my photography and whether it was possible to capture everything I was trying to record through an image alone. My supervisor suggested that a photograph “fixes things” and does not record what happens before or after. It made me question whether I should consider the recording of the environment and my experience in other ways to accompany my work? We talked about the journal that I keep and also about poetry or the recording of the sounds of the landscape. Some feedback I received about the film I made for my MA was that it would have been elevated to another level by the inclusion of the sounds of the landscape. My supervisor encouraged me to listen to the landscape and also to think about books, films or collaborating with a sound artist to experiment with this idea. She recommended a book entitled What is a Photograph? by Margaret Iverson and suggested I take another look at the work of Hanna Tuulikki who works with sound in the landscape and Margaret Tait who produced films about the land such as Land Makar.
My supervisor suggested that there is a significant story to tell about how I make my work. I should “write about the practical experience of going out to take photographs and marry the action of practice and the thing and bring it together”.
Thoughts about the Literature Review
I took the opportunity to talk to my supervisor about the work I had done in the context of the Literature Review and my intention to use a Reconstruction Review approach. This involves picking out the key journals in Photography and reading through the contents to pick those articles that might indicate a philosophical approach to photography. I will then read the abstracts to identify the privileged citations and then work back. When I have a conceptual map for 2020, I will then move back in time to 2017, 2015 etc. From these maps I may also derive the key thinkers that have engaged in the area. In time this will lead to a network of ideas. By Christmas I hope to have the mapping exercise complete.
I have also started to map out a provisional structure for my thesis. At this stage it looks like this although over time I may choose to integrate the Literature Review through the various chapters. I am sure the most appropriate approach will emerge as I work through the reading and other sources.
Provisional Literature Review Structure
- Introduction – 4,000 words
- Ontology – 5,000 words
- Literature Review – 20,000 words
- Methods – 5,000 words
- Practice – 20,000 words
- Conclusion – 5,000 words
Role of the Second Supervisor
My supervisor explained that the expectation is that I should meet my second supervisor on a monthly basis. Once a semester we should all meet together.
Finding my Place in Contemporary Practice
In the context of finding my place in contemporary artistic practice, a topic we discussed in our first meeting, my supervisor referred to the work of Sue Grierson, a visual artist from Perthshire and after taking a look, I was immediately drawn to some of her projects and approaches. The detail in her work and her farming background coming together to produce beautiful observations of the landscape. Also, the sculptor, Richard Long who makes art by walking in the landscape:
“In the nature of things:
Art about mobility, lightness and freedom.
Simple creative ats of walking and marking
about place, locality, time, distance and measurement.
Works using raw materials and my human scale
in the reality of landscapes.” (Long).
There are further weblinks at the end of this post to other artists that I intend to explore. My supervisor encouraged me to expand my knowledge of contemporary art practice and referred to the Contemporary Art Practice Events held at the University of Dundee.
A very helpful meeting with much to explore and reflect on.
References and Weblinks
Aesthetica Magazine and Art Prize
https://aestheticamagazine.com/artists-profiles-2020/ [accessed 4 November 2020].
Artists’ Books Collection Dundee
https://www.dundee.ac.uk/museum/collections/abcd/ [accessed 4 November 2020].
Artist – Marcus Coates – Tate Shots
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BfBgWtAIbRc [accessed 4 November 2020].
Artist – Sue Grierson
https://www.sugrierson.com/ [accessed on 4 November 2020].
Artist- Richard Long
http://www.richardlong.org/ [accessed on 4 November 2020].
Artist – Elaine Shemilt
https://www.elaineshemilt.co.uk/artworks/ [accessed 4 November 2020].
Artist – Hanna Tuulikki – Into the Mountain
https://www.hannatuulikki.org/portfolio/into-the-mountain/ [accessed 4 November 2020].
Centre for Remote Environments
https://sites.dundee.ac.uk/cre/ – :~:text=The Centre for Remote Environments,, University of Dundee, Scotland. [accessed 4 November 2020].