Group meeting: Dissertation prep

In this first meeting back I was able to ask some much needed questions in the build up to getting to grips with my Dissertation.

Question options; ??

How imagery is reflected through my practise?

How distortion is reflected through photography in relation to my fine art practise?

-Trying to consider how distortion is perceived through the copy of an image?

-Understanding how other artists use the theory of distortion in the work with imagery?

-How does my work relate to the theory? How do I use the theory in my practise? How does my work counter act and relate to other artists work around the theory? Theorists/essay writers/authors who write about distortion/the manipulated image?

<Summarise whats being said…

-Writing for the person who doesn’t know anything….Setting the scene for the ‘intelligent person’ who doesn’t know.

-Listing artists and selecting the ones with the strongest connections and understandings.

-After around first 3,000ish (which is setting out topic/enquiring) – START answering.

How is the question perceived? – In relation to at the start maybe? – variations of the subject.

-Challenge orthodox representation.

-Not looking for a singular answer – looking at views/questions. – There are many different perspectives on distortion – artists, authors who have their own ideas on the theory!

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In the development of my constellation artistic practise I have really enabled myself to let loose and delve deeper into the understanding of my own work in relation to the building up of my lectures and the continuing processes I’ve continued with since.

The lectures gave me the confidence to consider new words and concepts I never thought I’d even consider before. The lectures entailed an effective case study around the artist called Jessica Stockholder ‘Garbage pails and giddy Cunning: medium & Differential Specificity’ – Where we as a class attempted to unpack and understand the topics medium and differential specificities. For example, by using Stockholder’s installation as an understanding; we were working towards using this idea of a play on with words by possibly specifying identity through a relationship between the T.V. programme and it’s secondary sources. By looking at boundaries and form in particular and whether the materiality and the dimensions of the installation actually have any boundaries Stockholder’s installation was then able to depict the general specificties more appropriately.

Specificity: Each piece of art does something specific. No piece of art is the same.

I found these lectures pretty challenging at times but as time went on I found myself getting to grips with what these specifities stand for and how they actually really help to unpack ones understanding of a subject in a more thorough manner. The medium specificties helped one to consider what the materials are used for; artwork/sources researched to develop – make the work have an understanding. Critical understanding – The artist themselves e.g. could be a performance piece. – Experience – documenting places you’ve been – languages/ideas. And then the differential specificties of ones work would be the questioning of the substance behind ones work and the understanding of the work being illustrated. – How is the work explained/defined? Is it a stable definition? – loop holes?…

Once I came to the end of these classes I found myself overwhelmed but truly inspired! I was slightly anxious to use these definitions for my proposal but felt I had gained too much knowledge to not at least give it ago. In the previous essay I was really happy with the feedback but was told areas could have been touched on more. After reading back on my essay now, I still feel as if I’ve maybe still not gone into enough depth in areas but maybe what I need now is to be pushed to which areas are actually more worth running with.

Distortion is the topic I’ve ran with and been running with a good while now and I feel a growing connection to as it’s the main substance and core to my personal artistic practise. – Distortion is the act of altering something of its original or true state. It could also be defined as the changing, manipulating or transforming in a way, which creates some form of unclearness. Another reason for choosing this as the theory to run my proposal around is was as I’ve been directing the theory to my sleeping disorder.- Sleep Paralysis which is a condition which affects the subconscious mind, most often when one is falling into or out of a deep sleep. Your mind is aware to an extent but the rest of you can take up to a few minutes to react. Distortion has been altering my sleep in many cases and creating disorientation, blurring and so forth and as an outcome creates confusion and discomfort. I’ve gone onto really reinforcing these issues within the proposal in relation to other artists work.

Using subheadings such as collaging, blurring, and deforming, I’ve been able to delve deeper into how artists understand the theory of distortion. It’s been a massive help in the fact of just learning how each artist understands the theory and use it to relate within their works. As happy as I am with the build of certain areas within the proposal, I still feel like I could maybe of expanded areas and even researched further into sleep paralysis to get to grips with comparing how my work goes against or relates to the other artists work.

I have also gone onto using a couple of theorists named Louis Althusser and Clement Greenberg. Althusser made a strong argument which explained basically needing the conceptualisation or text/explanation of the artists work to get a true understanding of the art. So adding that he may argue for one to really define why I’ve chosen distortion as a theory and considering the ‘differential’ specificities has made an interesting debate within my proposal to how we as artists see our own work. Greenberg looks more into the medium specificties and considering the theory of what actually do we as artists see as the medium when creating our art. I was able to consider maybe my mind being the medium as in theory it is the original route to the ongoing creations of my practice.

I do worry that I ramble on sometimes and maybe when I do find a relatively strong quote as such, I lose the substance and go off track. At this point I do feel it’s the best time to venture into different areas to be able to find out where I need to focus in the build up to the dissertation.

Bruce Nauman’s weird installations and video work have lately help me to open up a new door within my art and find many pointers for within the proposal. Considering the many ways you can look at the theory of distortion just pushes new possibilities and I hope to keep reading and developing my practise to a point ready for assessment.

Bruce Nauman: BBC 1 DVD

(Imagine:Bruce Nauman; The God Father of Modern art, 2004)

-At vast turbine Hall – Sound art – coming from 20 pairs of loud speakers: Using greetings, jokes, statements etc. -emotions.

-Always doing the unexpected.

-Turning the ideas of art upside down quite literally (video – pioneer)

-Never painted, infact used almost every other medium around painting.

-1980’s: Sexually explicit signs

-Recently filmed what had happened with his studio once he had gone to bed (nothing much)

-What art can be? Anything could be art?

-“Enigmatic and reclusive giant of the contempory art world” – Alan Yentob

-“Allows you to play with anything, anything could be art” – Daimen Hirst

-Controdictory and yet surpprising.

-Hardly ever goes to interviews or explains his work.

-Wark – 1994: Conventing a group of sounds into once space.


-Assembling groups of videos into one video.

-Uses his body throughout: “Treat your body like an object, give it tasks” – Bruce Nauman

“Making negative space into something positive so that you become aware of it” – Michael Craigmartin

“Commununication not advertisement” – Robert Storr

-Minimal intervention

“How can an everyday activity be transformed into art?” – Yentob (repetition)


How tension is created from this? – Tiredness – not so much a story but an activity of reaction – passage of time.

-Language + physical – altering of perception – recurring themes and scary consequences.

-Making the viewer almost take the artists place

“More orless experience what I did, dictating what a piece can be” – Bruce Nauman


-Didnt essentially want viewers to have too many of their own thoughts.

This dvd has helped me to not only distinguish areas within the artists work to use in my essay for in relation to distortion but to also re-consider how I manipulate my own work and lay it out for an audience.

Breakdowning proposal


What is Distortion?

How do I wish to discuss this topic within relation to my own practise? – How I wish to break the heading into subheadings: such as layering, blurring, deforming. – Artists in relation and how their work’s relate to the theories. – Is there a main aspect of something within their work which demonstrates the theories effectively?

How medium and differential specificties come into play? – What do these specificties mean? – What are they within the theories/theorists/artists explainings-

  • Understanding distortion, not only through the sub-headings but through specificties also.



Considering areas to write within for proposal

-Possible areas = key designers, artists, theorists, case studies

-Considering possible questions/angle of investigation

-Key words which are strongly associated with the topic

(2,500-4000 word essay)

-What is it I am investigating? – include key concepts

-Why am I interested in my chosen topic?

-Background reading

-Conceptual research – inform your ideas?

Referring back to Stockholder

Installation notes:

Paint/bright colours are there to react to the subtleness of the objects.

The bowling ball at the entrance is a form of bell – It signifies this idea of VIP entrance. You don’t need to ring and be let in by anyone, you’re walking onto this red carpet as a guest. She’s trying to show us as viewers that there’s never one way of doing something and so on with the hanging of the Industrial items, she’s pushing away from the idea of things being the ‘everyday’. stockholder wants to kind of have a new outlook on everything, there’s more than way of looking at something.

The carpets and clothes are there as a form of skin – layering=differential specificity.

Engages the viewer by multiple objects being spread around the installation.

Pushes boundaries – expressive and can also be not repetitive but have the same object multiple times but often in many different positions/angels. wanton-heed-7905-007-web

Essay planning

Chosen question: ‘Apply the ways in which this idea or theory informs your practise’ – Medium/Differential specificity.

Don’t start the essay with birth, age, all about what they work with!

Chosen topic: Distortion- Research into distortion – What is distortion? It’s medium and differential specificities?

relate Distortion to some theorists, how do they relate to the subject? what is it they say which makes sense of distortion? Are they for or against the subject?, along with Stockholder. – How does her installation tie in with my subject of distortion?

be clear and ‘specific’! Continue to link back to Distortion and make sense of it as a subject through the specificities as well as some theorists and stockholder.