25/05/2009

My 4th degree year is finished! Here is the slide projection I presented!

I had my tutorial for my final project last week and I did pretty well - I was really pleased with the feedback which was positive as to the strength of the work.

My practice this year has been concerned with time, place, memory and meaning. The focus has been on the materiality of the objects; the appropriateness of the material being central to its meaning. In preparation for Year 4 I applied for a place on the DIY project in London ‘Keep your luggage with you at all times’, led by the artist Geraldine Pilgrim. It was the catalyst for the processes I then followed. Having explored the use of suitcases and journeys, particularly holidays, my attention turned to an old suitcase inherited from my father containing a family archive of slide transparencies, mostly of holidays taken in the 70’s, towards which I felt both ambiguity and ambivalence. I was interested in exploring these tensions in my practice, and it has formed the basis for the final presentation of my work. Many of the slide transparencies showed the ravages of time and poor storage, radically altering the reading of the images. Others were of poor quality, out of focus and with little regard for composition or distance. In fact they were so bad they were wonderful material for an artist! I selected 20 to work with, all of lone figures which seemed to predominate in the archive and continued to fragment them even more. I felt that the materiality of these objects connected with the fragmented memories I held of my parents, both dead for several years now. I wanted to delve deeper and somehow extract their essence. At the same time to explore the tensions between the abstract and the concrete. I began by playing with mirrors and projection, using an old suitcase as a focal point, placing the projector within the suitcase and projecting the slides on to fragments of mirror which reflected back a fragment of the image. How to present this turned out to be a major problem and I felt so frustrated by the process that I shelved the idea. The next step I took was to digitalise the slides. These I then printed out on to acetate in various scales. I preceded to inflict minor violence to them in order to extract their secrets, cutting them up, replicating details, continuing to fragment the image, working with the materiality of each slide to render them empty of and separate from their histories. At the same time I have tried to link them to my own personal memories of a coat, a colour, a particular way of standing or sitting, my mother’s handbag…. Memories that show them as something of myself and as something that could be anybody’s, anywhere; that connects with a universal memory. As Susan Hiller so aptly said of her work ‘ which seemed to carry an aura of memory and to hint at the meaning of something’ (Hiller 2000, Afterword) By putting them through a series of processes that threatened to further damage or alter them physically I felt that I was trying to force their secret out of them, only to find that the memory stayed where it was and that I had constructed a new set of objects (in this case new slide transparencies) which in turn contain a fragment or memory of the originals that I supposed to hold memories of the past. I made the decision to present these slides as they would have originally been seen, on slide projectors rather than digital. The slides were spaced in order to emphasis the gap, between the object and me, the work and the viewer; spaces where meaning can be found.

The slides were shown in pairs - it was difficult to photograph the final projection but the images above are a few of my favorite pairs of images - I apologise for the fact they are a bit skew wiff! And of course they were much larger - each image about 3 ft width and very grainy!

20 comments:

Wild Somerset Child said...

I do so admire your tenacity and wish you all the best for the two final years. And I love this slide show. I was thinking only this evening of how I could adapt the way I usually present old photos (as fabric image transfers) and you have set me thinking. Thank you so much; I am inspired to move forward.

grrl+dog said...

This is an amazing body of work and such an interesting journey for you.what makes it fascinating is not only the artistic process but also your internal one, almost a circle. Maybe we all have boxes of old slides badly shot that lie ambivalently.. I do.

Margaret Ryall said...

Congratulations for reaching the end of your four year program. I'm intrigued by the process you used and the connections to memory and the passage of time, two of my main interests. The images in their "raw state" are precious.

india said...

there was something so beautifully clunky about old slide projectors
and those exquisite moments when the slide jammed and the children all made shadow monsters with their hands
now it works, and sometimes it doesn't
but nobody dares to make shadow-monsters against the blue Screen of Doom...

Char said...

looks like a great project - love them

femminismo said...

"Inflicting minor violence" seems to have done the trick. I like the way you set about projecting into mirrors from a suitcase. A bold try! The resulting images are wonderful and I loved the crossed leg showing the ankle and shoe. The purse - yes, universal womanly symbol. It's just great. Would have liked to see the final huge images. Next time, call, and I'll jump a jet! - Jeanne

femminismo said...

Oh, I forgot. Rosie, was it your friend who was collecting dirt? I have mine and her address from an e-mail. Is she still doing this? (Maybe I have gotten this wrong, but I thought you were my "contact.")

lynne h said...

wow... this is absolutely spectacular... i think that you very much 'extracted their essence'. it's gorgeous, and soft, and very moving...

Annie said...

Great post. I love these images - the arm leaning on the railing, the little shadow behind your Mum sitting on the speckled bench, the crossed legs in the beach chair.....

Interesting as well, to read about the suitcase adventures you had last year.

Jeane said...

what an amazing amazing project and final piece of art - I agree with Grrl - it has so many interesting levels to it - congratulations Rosie - you are the real meal deal! :)

Margaret Pangert said...

I think you've created your own genre of art! Cropping to create partial heads or bodies or objects makes the result so mysterious and enigmatic. I know, it reminds me of de Chirico. And that echoes the cropped partial memories that you have. I think the insights and explanation you wrote up coupled with these photos make for an A+ paper. Brava, Rose!

Blue Sky Dreaming said...

This has been a wonderful post and I congratulate you on your slide presentation as well as the completion of your 4th degree year. The images are so beautiful in their fragmented soft light...I couldn't enlarge them but I can just image how profound these mutted memories must appear on a screen.
Wonderful!

Annie said...

Love reading your blog so I'm giving you a blog award - details are on my blog.

A rambling rose said...

Thank you all for your wonderful comments and support -it makes my day to open my emails in the morning and read all your thoughts!
Annie thank you so much for the award - my FIRST!
Jeanne at Femminismo - my friend has finished her project now but thanks for your interest - just so much to do in blogland I understand your delay!
Jeanne - such a compliment to be called the 'real meal deal'! that's a FIRST too!

Bill Evertson said...

Ah well - I'm a little late to the party and most of the comments I was contemplating have been express better than I. A well done exhibit, hauntingly beautiful and your expression of it enlightening.

Marjojo said...

Cngratulations! This looks really interesting, wished I could see it up close. I'm esp. intrigued by the second pair where two views of a woman sitting on the beach combine to make a strange disconcerting body-shape. The monolithic suit-covered back versus the view of the leg trailing out from the skirt, almost dissolving, becoming one with the sand, is eerie and wonderful to me.

BLACK AND WHITE said...

Absolutely brilliant!

notmassproduced said...

congratulations on completing your course and I absolutely love these images.

Luisa Santos said...

well done, congrats!!!! this is just the beginning of more new good things to come :)

Leslie Avon Miller said...

These are compelling. The essence of memories.