Week 5 begins: I have made the submission for the FMP. I decided to do the submission and proposal completely under my own power. I did not consult with any-one about the concept, or any parts of the proposal, I did not even have it proof-read for mistakes. I wanted to do it on my own, completely, from beginning to end.

Of course, after the submission, I noticed mistakes (spelt my professors’s last name incorrectly) and some other spelling mistakes. Just the kind of faux-pas that I normally make in these situations. It always amazes me how these mistakes are not caught before a submission of a paper, or when writing a letter. Only caught after the fact.

I will wait and see what the outcome of the proposal is and what my pass mark is. I feel somewhat okay about fulfilling the learning outcomes, and trying to get my idea down and the grade will of course reflect this. I felt well prepared after the last module (702) I am very glad that it came late in the MA (The 4th module) as opposed to the 2nd module. This is because I began in January of 2018. Had I began in September 2017, Module 702 would have followed Module 701, instead of being a year later.  Module 702 was very challenging, however it was very well supported by Dr. Steph Cosgrove, and Paul Clements. I managed a distinction, so it was an indicator over the former modules that I had made progress.

However, the module was very heavily tutored (and I really needed this) So this module (705) I want to go it solo to see if what I have gleaned over the course so far has made an improvement of my cognitive functions as to apply the knowledge to my current practice and present module.

I found it strange that the FMP was ordered so early in this module. I would have liked a few more week to reflect, however, having to fulfill the submission early has been very beneficial. I may not have managed to get my ideas and concepts across critically enough, but it was a good foundation.  After the submission, I did have further clarification on my subject matter, and now will re-write it myself and fine-tune the project. I take courage from a fellow student (Rita Rodner)  (who’s FMP proposal was available to us.)  She also spoke to us on the last Module about her FMP. She did mention, that if one is not happy with the work, to keep on working at it till one is satisfied. Also it was only towards the very end of the FMP module that she got her act to-gether with how she was actually going to execute it.

I have been having nightmares about my FMP, every idea seemed great before I go to bed and the next morning I wake up hating everything about it.  This has been a pattern throughout the MA, also, at the beginning of every module, I feel like one of those bad dreams of going to school and you get there. Every time I begin a module I feel like I am beginning the whole MA all over again. By the end of it I feel like I have accomplished something. This time I took note fo those feelings, because when I started my FMP, again I felt like all my idea were useless, the project I had picked was waste of time, boring, uncreative.

I made a promise to myself at the beginning of the MA. I would enter a mechanic and leave an artist. This has been my battle this whole 1.5 years. I keep on sliding back to the mechanic. It has also been a battle my entire film and photo career. Always working on some-one else film, some-one else project, some-one else ideas. So I decided no more of the kind of work. I am done with it. That  ‘Fence’  in my life needs be crossed/vanquished/bridged once and for all. This is why my FMP subject matter is about “FENCES”   not the physical kind the mental kind. The physical is the mechanic part of me, the mental is the artist part of me, that is fenced in. I know it, have always known it, now, positions and practice really defines the loci of my self and the work I do.

Weeks 1 thru 4 Project Development

While on vacation, I decided to go a visit a few Galleries in Johannesburg a long time friend of mine who was a music producer arranged a few meetings at Everard Read/Circa; Gallery Lizamore,  No-End Art Space, and MOMO all in the Johannesburg arts districts of Linden and Parkwood.

Everard Reed/Circa Gallery. Johannesburg.
MOMO Gallery; Johannesburg

I was surprised, [but not really] to hear that the “Photomarket” is difficult at this moment in time. It does not surprise me as these institutions are primarily a for profit  market based enterprise, it is important that works sell, and that there is a market for it.  I do not want to get caught up on paying for a space. This happens to so many students, and myself included in my BFA years, only to be let down in the end. I am really trying to get a show where I do not have to pay for the space, because this way the gallery shows some form of interest or feels that there may be an opportunity to sell some works.

Lorraine Hurdus/Circa

So Lorraine and myself approached the curators, I did prepare a portfolio, business cards and information about myself. I got no interest at Lizamore, however the curator was interested in my abstract piece more than she was interested in my FMP series: “Fences”  At Everard Reed/Circa, I did get some interest, and the possibility of getting a show on their top floor of the gallery, and the same with No-End Art space, which is a small space in a nice art district that curates independent shows.

The Gallery is very small, even so they are all booked up through next year, I will send a proposal, and the Gallery curator said: “Sometimes things Change.”

I did attempt to con-tact those curators upon my return back to Los Angeles and I am still awaiting a reply.  Not that I expected anything better, one always hopes for that miracle email, but as yet it has not happened. It is close to the end of the year and these spaces are booked up to two years ahead, so I need to figure a way to get in to a space to exhibit my work.

Weeks 1 thru 4 Coursework

This week I presented my Petcha Kucha and met with Dr. Wendy for my 1-2-1. Feedback is positive. Wendy recommended that I make it personal, which I think is a good idea, because most work is personal, and as to is my aim for the MA to come out with a body of work that is my own, as opposed to working on other peoples projects. I think this will be a good move forward, a kind of practice to wards that aim.  It will test the old adage, practice makes perfect.

Of course this entails opening ones self up, and open to criticism. So this insecurity creeps up, it is yet another “Fence” that needs to be crossed. I paraphrase Gertude Stein who said that as a writer, if one cannot write the truth, why do it?  And, she is correct, however, it’s easy to understand the advice, however, the application of it is a different matter and I find a fence, and resistance, because its difficult and scary.

I have always loved quotes. They are truths that help me get through difficult time.  Cognitively, I get them, however the application of them is a fence I have to cross. This module will be about crossing fences, difficulties, fears and challenges that I have battled my entire life with the subjects of film, photography, and art.

Here is my PK task for the first week:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YGwyXHVcPuU

Weeks 1 Thru 4 Contextual-Research


Film by Luis Bunuel. Courtesy of: imdb.com

This week, I did some research on fences, online.  An old film came up during my search, by Luis Bunuel, called Exterminating Angel. A Black and White film that was written and directed by Bunuel back in 1962. I have always appreciated the Avant-Garde/Surreal art, films and literature, so this type of film appeals to me greatly, and wanted to see if there were any ideas I could glean for my own work.

Basic Plot: A group of aristocrats attend a dinner, at the end of the dinner instead of going home as normal guests would, they start taking off their ties, jackets, furs and clothes, and make themselves comfortable to retire for the night. They find themselves unable to leave the living room, as if there is some kind of invisible “Fence” preventing them leaving. This mind-fence imbibed everyone, and no-one could leave. Eventually, one aristocrats figures a way to get by everyone having to re-enact the events when they came in, and eventually they all mange to get out of the mansion a week later.

What I liked about the film most was the fact that Bunuel introduced the surrealism slowly and right from the beginning. The servants had to suddenly leave,  for no reason, events became stranger and stranger, all with-in a “normal” type narrative. By the time a dis-embodied hand crosses the carpet, it is almost normal and expected. It was not an ‘art’ film for art sake, with weird pretentious  events and happenings, occurring for the sake of weird.  Everything happened weirdly within a well crafted narrative, so I could enjoy the film as a “normal” film, with surreal events and occurrences, happening that did not jar me out of the film story and plot.

This is something I would like to  achieve with my series for my FMP, my constructed images will be surreal and avant-garde but would like it to be accepted as the status quo. I found the piece to be a good lesson in “artisitc” restraint. Also discovered a new composer I had never heard of until this film – Pietro Domenici Paradisi   https://youtu.be/vihM0HbuiPI 

Played by a magnificent pianist. Annarita Santagada

I watched the case-study of Dana Lixenburg. Her project: Imperial Heights. I find it interesting that she new exactly how she going to photographer her subjects, and using a large format 4×5 field camera. Although been done before by Richard Avedon and Dorothea Lange both of which used large format, what I liked was that she was focussed in a small area of Los Angeles. The fact that it started off as a simple magazine commission then blossomed out into exhibitions and a web piece is every artists dream. Unfortunately I do do not have decades of gently unfolding time for this to happen, so I have taken steps to try and get into a gallery for part of my publication. I did like the way the images were shown in the galleries, in a mixture of line and grid, as well as incorporating different sizes. This opposed to exhibitions I have seen where they are all one size and in a single line. hopefully I would like to exhibit this way if I get a gallery exhibition.

Dana Lixenberg exhibition at Photographers Gallery in London 2017

Personally I do not like representational and objective photography, this is a trap for the modernists, so my work will focus on the abstract. I have been working on images since the beginning of the MA, and in the last module I went completely abstract, I may throttle back a little for my FMP, and will most probably do them in B+W, and because the images will be constructed, I will be using a myriad of camera’s ranging from 35mm, widely, stereo and 6×6. The reason being that these formats behave in different ways, and I will be compositing images from these cameras to make my final image. I embrace the digital age, so  I will incorporate digital and well as analogue in my FMP, and attempt to bring these disparaties together into  co-hesive whole, through th abstract image. I will hold it to-gether critically through a theme, as opposed to a singular format.