BA Fine Art Year 1, Term 1, Weeks 1-7

In love with my uni and everything about it right now, just discovered that there is a maths department (!!!!), which is really exciting as my work is based so much about string theory right now. I was struggling a bit at the start of the term as we had a project called “Studio as Machine”, where the studio was intended as a catalyst for our work. During this 2 week project all I found I could produce was writings, fiction and non fiction, and a short film of myself reading these out, along with some online collaborative work. This was perhaps because I fetishise beginnings, and see them as this perfect blank space brimming with prospect that I am anxious about fucking up. I enjoyed the collaborative work, but I think because we were all so lost and all we did was talk about the studio and the process that we just lost ourselves even more. I kind of shut myself off at this point, making a film of myself reading out my writings on my phone alone in the project spaces, but I did not present any of my work in the group crit. I think this is because I have never put myself in front of the camera, and also there is that residual anxiety about not being good enough. The work I did on the collaborative online space, which was meant to be a parallel virtual sphere, was small compared to what other people did, just typing out some of my writings and posting an edited screen cap of a toaster on the Argos website. toaster-dick(The link to our online space is here: http://studioasmachine.wixsite.com/space). Whilst I liked the idea of the space, and might actually switch to using this platform rather than wordpress as it is much more visual, it struggled with having 10+ admins and as people were free to delete stuff as desired some people’s contributions were completely lost. I also didn’t like how this project required us to be in the studio every day, as I wanted to use new equipment and materials but felt constrained by the space. In fact, this project pushed me back into my old habit of compulsively searching concepts until a tutor reminds me I have to actually have to so some fucking work. As a response to this, I decided to just try out all the new equipment we had available. After having researched a shit ton about string theory and multi dimensions I was looking for a way to incorporate this into a film.

I had a brief for a 1 minute film, which I was kind of ok with, I had been thinking about John Cage and sound and how it physically fills a space and is movement. I filmed myself cutting lengths of string from a ball, and then made my own sound track using synths in GarageBand to match my movements. I also had the image darkest at the beginning and increase to 100% at the end, and had noise on 100% to kind of represent vibrations and light and interference, as I had been thinking about light a lot since Diwali and all these fireworks outside my window. Also I completely fucked up by having the frame rate when I recorded it on my DSLR at 24fps and exporting it to 25, but actually I really liked the disjointed effect of this, disturbance and all that. I don’t think I did very well in the group crit though as I fell asleep and was also probably on Tinder at some point. Oh well. I tried. After this debacle I had the idea to present myself on camera as the character of the tarot card “The Empress”, a kind of witch, and edit footage I shot of myself in my local area at night to look as though I am warping spacetime, as The Empress was intended to be my 6th dimensional self from the 7th dimension, descended to our dimension to have a look around. I did some test shots on my DSLR of me cycling on my bike and holding out the Empress tarot card, which came up in a tarot reading for me as my ultimate hopes and fears, The Empress representing the pinnacle of creativity and feminine energy. There are these sports courts across the road from me which provide really interesting lighting at night, so I played around there.

Borrowing a microphone from uni, I tried to record myself reading out the meaning of the tarot card in my room, but whilst it allowed me to get to grips with Audition the acoustics in my room were shit so I didn’t use anything I recorded, but booked out a sound studio to record in there the following week. I also borrowed a Canon XF100 and did some test shots of around where I live, editing them together, layering and adding waves, masks etc.Using the sound studio was great, as was being able to use the editing suites. Overall I am happy with the short film, and I learned so much by just doing.

This week I was in the metal workshop and made a quick prototype crown for The Empress, as in the card she wears a crown of stars. My crown was made of spot welded wire and had crosses, as these were easier to do than the original pentagrams I intended, and based it on the Capricorn constellation, as I am a Capricorn and liked the analogy of the goat and the occult. I taped a pentagram, hexagram, and hectogram to the wall of the studio, representing the transition the empress made from the 7th dimension to the 5th, and placed a pomegranate on the floor in front, a symbol of fertility also present on the tarot card. I then played around with the space further, taping up my notes from Studio as Machine, as I wanted to actually utilise the space and respond to it. I enjoyed doing this, perhaps because I feel more comfortable in the studio now, as though I belong maybe. Also I feel less like people are watching me. I don’t know why but I have a strange relationship with people watching me. I’m pretty narcissistic but I have this fucking anxious streak left in me that is pretty hard to budge. Anyway. That’s the past 7 weeks in a nutshell, now to send off my report on London’s art scene and take a photo of nothing lol.

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