Turner Prize 2018: Charlotte Prodger

I was very interested indeed to hear Charlotte talk about “fixed lengths of film” and how they “correspond to a fixed period of time”. The intertwined relationship between the body and technology. I’m personally not so interested in this relationship between the body and technology but I am interested in Prodger’s discussion on technology and in particular this idea of the fixed duration fo time determined by the length of film.

I have never really thought about this duration being determined by a physical length of material before and its a really thought provoking idea. Particularly the idea of the family photographs Ive ben looking at are a sequence that ave been determined by a duration fo time and the length of the film.

Prodger also talked about her fascination with 16mm film, and this has come at an ideal point in my research as I have just been looking at my grandparents super 8 wedding video wondering how I can work with these images. Lots of ideas and thoughts about it to come…..

Holy Land Slides

Whilst thinking about the metaphorical journey taken by my grandmother as part of her arts of memory approach in The Holy Land, I keeping looking at both he image and the physical object of the slide. Interestingly these slides are undated and are labeled ‘Original on Kodak’. I find this even more interesting as it seems these aren’t original and are in fact tourist memorabilia. This also links quite nicely to the fact my grandmother spent many a year there as a tourist. One other point I would like to raise is the link these physical slides have tot hat of the family album photographs taken whilst on holiday. Although these are in some ways eluding to be that of the amateur holiday snap but are actually professional reproductions.

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Materiality in Jill Booker's 'Shards'.

At one point, I did wonder whether the photograph of the collage or the actual taped-up paper was the piece, but it always comes down to that final photograph. The collages are quite flimsy, which mirrors the way memories fade and warp over time.
— Jill Booker
 Shards 3 - Jill Booker  https://bit.ly/2EhejN8

Shards 3 - Jill Booker https://bit.ly/2EhejN8

In thinking about the materiality of these images I am working with, I have started to wonder what they all mean and how if at all I am going to work with them. It was nice to see how Jill Booker uses her images to collage with and then rephotographs the collages giving them some depth.

An interesting answer Booker gave as part of a Q&A which describes whats currently underpinning my investigative process at the moment. It seems I am searching for something through the archive i’m studying. This maybe something very real or something not so real, this is to be determined once Ive got everything infant of me.

I am fascinated by memory. It is such a powerful influence on our lives, but it is also ever-changing. Old memories fade and are changed by new experiences and understandings. Memories blend together over time. Sometimes imagined events and wishes even blend in with those memories. In spite of these changes to our thoughts, we trust and believe in them, and they are an important part of shaping who we are.
— Jill Booker

Travelling along a familiar path - Memory Palace

Thinking about the idea of travel, in particular travel in a metaphorical sense along a familiar path is part of the arts of memory technique. I started to think about this in relation to y grandmother and her familiar travels to The Holy Land years after year on pilgrimage. Is this a familiar path? It almost feels like a familiar path to me although I have only travelled it once.

Taking influence form Thomas Albdorf’s use of Google Street view I had a ‘cyber’ look around Jerusalem using Google Streetview. One image was particularly interesting to me.

 Tourists always get in the way, Jerusalem, 2018

Tourists always get in the way, Jerusalem, 2018



Exhibition Space

Ive chosen a rather large space to exhibit my FP in. mainly due to a good discount and its underneath where my co working space is so easily accessible for measuring etc. Its also in Bethnal Green so a pretty good location for people to visit if they should wish.

Installation Views of Four Corners, 121 Roman Road, London where I shall be showing my FMP.

Initial Test shoot

Some initial still life studies shot a few weeks back of some of my grandmothers objects from her cabinet of curiosities. They feel almost fetishised in some way here. Out of context and a little non descriptive. I feel like they are void of anything to do with my grandmother which is what this whole investigation I suppose is all about - MyGrandmother, and me, my identity?

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Grandparents Super 8 Video revisited

I wanted to recreate some more stills from my grandparents super8 video but in colour using a digital camera. They have a certain distance to them which I didn’t feel from the black and white versions. I quite like the blur and out of kilter framing of the images and the almost ‘between' image’ that has appeared where I have shot a frame between the super 8 frames. Perhaps it would be interesting to see if these could be scanned professionally to create higher resolution still frames… Something to look into.

Working with archives: David Fathi - Anecdotal

My recent experiments relating my grandmothers cabinet of curiosities has lead me further down the path of working with archival material rather than making new imagery. I wanted to look at other practitioners who have created new narratives out of existing works and was directed towards the work of David Fathi.

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I love his reworking of images and especially the window the viewer is given to see into his research methods. The projects are all very well researched and then displayed in a very succinct fashion on his website and in print.

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Similarly to what attracted me to Daniel Sheas work, Fathi has a fantastic way of visually showing the narrative by using three similar images showing a sequence of time. There is here also a very clear cinematic approach to his image curating.

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Family Album - Scanning the archive

Having been given a box of slides from my grandmother I wanted to look at another strand of where I came from - my identity. Apart form the nostalgic feelings surrounding looking at archived images, this is the first time this slide has ever been scanned or even seen larger than through a slide viewer. In some ways this also comments on todays digital workflow where images are shot digitally and then uploaded to a cloud.

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My Grandparents Super 8 Wedding Video

After listening to David Campany talk about photographing his television screen as a young photographer I wanted to give it a go but with something of value to my project. The relationship between time and duration interlinks here with the moving image being frozen in time. The refresh rate lines appearing on the image because I had chosen a shutter speed to slower the refresh rate on the television. This however is an element of new technology, and nothing to do with the actual super 8footage being viewed. I would like to photograph these again using a more appropriate shutter speed to see what results.

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Grandmothers Archived Material

Whilst completing my project proposal, I wanted to start looking at and spending time with some of the objects I am to work with on this project. I had thought of shooting these with window light to add a little character into he images. However, even on my first look at them through an iPhone camera I realised that the background will need to stay consistent throughout. Ideally this means shooting in a controlled studio environment and all at the same time.

Another issue I have thought about it actually the Cale of some of the items and the minimum focus distance of my camera lens. Im going to look into Macro lenses to see whether I can hire one to shoot this project on.

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Mapping The Territories - Lisa Barnard

 From Mapping the transitions, Lisa Barnard -  https://bit.ly/2QPDXuB

From Mapping the transitions, Lisa Barnard - https://bit.ly/2QPDXuB

I’ve looked at Lisa Barnards work before whilst in Krakow at Photomonth last year (2017). However, this revisit is for the specific reason of looking at her additions of line and shape as overlays to her work. In this case, Barnard has drawn the drone flight paths over the top of her Images. I feel currently, there is almost at trend in contemporary art photography of sing elements of graphic design and drawing along with photographic practise, and it really interests me.

The reason for this continued investigation into the graphic elements here are based on ideas I found out about memory techniques. At The White Cube last month I saw a fascinating exhibition of work titled ‘Memory Palace’ (previously mentioned here). This title comes form ancient scholarly and chinese techniques of memory whereby objects to be remembered are placed along a geographical route familiar tot he person wanting to remember.

Thinking how I could encapsulate this Idea of the ‘geography of memory’ into my current practise surrounding my grandmothers possessions, I started to think about familiar routes taken by her and my grandfather.

 Pilgrimage map - https://bit.ly/2yDHSU4

Pilgrimage map - https://bit.ly/2yDHSU4

My grandparents are both Christian, and have been active in the church community for their whole lives since my grandfather became a priest when he was 18 years old. They regularly (until a few years ago) went on pilgrimage to The Holy land, Israel where they would be guided by an old family friend around all the holy sites of Israel. This familiar route was one such route I thought I could incorporate into my work alongside my grandmothers possessions. I shall test out a few ideas in the coming weeks and see where this thread leads me.

Rosy Martin - Too Close To Home, 1999

  Screenshot, Rosy Martin ‘Too Close to Home’, 1999, 8 min

Screenshot, Rosy Martin ‘Too Close to Home’, 1999, 8 min

I was very interested in the two very different relationships seen during this video piece. One being the other and daughter relationship, and the other being the patient carer relationship both heard through recorded answer-machine messages.

What really drew me to this work was how I related to both of these relationships with my grandmother. The first being the Grandmother Grandson relationship and the second being the Grandson and patient relationship when she tells me about recent hospital visits and especially when she was really ill last year in hospital, which was actually when this investigation started.

The relationship to childhood shown through this film is also very interesting to me. I instantly recognised the lamp with the little baubles hanging off of it which I remember playing with a sa child at my grandmothers house. A memory I hadn’t recalled for some time until I saw this piece of work. However it was not all happy memories whilst watching. It gave me a feeling of sadness at the same time. Sadness that Martin’s Grandmother was alone, and it made me reflect on how life will be for my Grandparents once one of them passes away. This is something we has a family had a glimpse of when my grandmother was in hospital.

In some ways it has actually conjured up questions of my own in terms of how to tell the story I am trying to tell. Is the work Im making about me?, is it about my grandmother? or is it about something else entirely.

At present it just seems like a need to record.

I have contacted The Family Ties Network to try and gain permission to post the video on my CRJ. Otherwise you can view the full video here.

Since experiencing this work I wanted to read about the project. Rosy Martin emailed me a link to an essay about the project that I hadn’t come across before. The essay positions the practise and gives some detailed back story about Martin’s reasons for making the work. A few pointers below that resonated with me:

Firstly the opening line is something that I feel explains entirely the urge I had at the start of this investigation to photograph my grandmothers possessions as she was being taken off in the ambulance and that was that; “I am making this work because I must” (Martin, 1999)

Martin, R 1999 Too Close to Home? Tracing a familiar place, ‘N.Paradoxa: International Feminist Art Journal’ vol.3. ‘Body, Space and Memory’

David Campany in Conversation with Wendy McMurdo and Pauline ...?

I’m interested in the “Hybrid space between photo & video.” - David Campany

Technology has now enabled us to have a stills camera, a cinematic camera, a sound recorder, a mobile editing tool and more all incased in an Iphone. This however is not a new idea. David Campany Introduced us to The Sept camera, manufactured by Debrie, France, 1922. This was a camera capable of all these things in one device and covered all aspects of this Hybrid space mentioned earlier. This multi use device fulfils the “desire for fluid ability to switch between still and cine”(Campany) and has ignited some ideas for my final output of my FMP in terms of how to publish to multiple platforms using variations of the project for different outputs. In the coming weeks I shall be writing a project proposal and these influences and ideas gained form this conversation will be part of my initial proposal.

Notes On: Damian Sutton - Further Delay

 Screenshot from Damien Sutton Lecture at University College Falmouth, 2012

Screenshot from Damien Sutton Lecture at University College Falmouth, 2012

Damian Sutton gave an incredibly eloquent lecture on a basic level about the processes we have almost become so custom to that we don’t even realise it.

The duration of time produced when we make an image, The ‘communicability’ of taking a photograph. The Aura, as in the ritual surrounding objects when we decide to make an image. These are all things that at some point or another I have looked at in the past, however, from this lecture have returned to them but as a whole rather than individual ideas.

The theme that I kept returning to whilst listening was that of duration. How can the duration of time really be represented in this digital age? Personally, to explain this notion of time to an audience who may not have read or written about photography, would be through moving image. A way of showing time through a still image but as a piece of moving image. A still object recorded on a loop so that there is no movement but nevertheless it is still a moving image. This idea of the still moving image brought me back to my last post of using some of my grandmothers archived antiques as these moving stills. You can read my initial ideas in this post here.

You can watch the full lecture by Damien Sutton below.

Final Major Project Starting Point(s)

  Display dome with atmosphere,  circa 1880. Alexander Mourant -  https://bit.ly/2Dv5NdX

Display dome with atmosphere, circa 1880. Alexander Mourant - https://bit.ly/2Dv5NdX

This still life on it’s plinth against the black background has given me ideas surrounding the object, display on the plinth and also my grandmothers objects previously photographed in situ for My Grandmothers Cabinet of Curiosities. These items she has shown, talked about and displayed in [her] Cabinet of Curiosities is going to be the staring point for this Final Major Investigation.

Thinking about the different platforms and surfaces available, I like the idea of recording some ‘sound stories’ to accompany the still images. This int turn feels like it would lend itself to then be more of a moving image piece of work, and the idea of a revolving plinth where there is no beginning or end that there is with a still image or a cine sequence.

There is also the relationship my grandmother has to these objects where she has collected them and also collected the antiques magazines that they appear in with the amount they are worth circled for my mum and I to know where to sell them and for how much after her death - A sort of list of instructions after her death.

 Memory Palace, The White Cube Masons Yard, 2018.

Memory Palace, The White Cube Masons Yard, 2018.

Another starting point I would like to consider working towards is something informed by the ancient classical and Chinese scholars technique, “where the subject mentally places the objects to be remembered along a path through a familiar location, recalling them by retracing the journey.”

From visiting the white cube ‘Memory Palace” exhibition I’m very keen to explore wider themes of memory: Historical, Traces, Collective and sensual. These could all be explored through my living Grandmothers archive.