Strategies & Surfaces – Week 7

The theme for this week of studies was ‘Publication Guidance’ and during the week we read a lot about the history, the making and the concept of the photobook. I found all the week’s literature invaluable seeing that I plan to present, once finalised, my current work, related to the final major project I am to submit at the end of my studies at Falmouth, in the form of a photobook with an accompanying exhibition of selected works from the photobook. During this week’s webinar with our online tutor, I presented some of the photographic work I prepared during the week. My online tutor suggested that I should spend the coming week asking myself a series of why questions: Why have I done this? Why is it focused or blurred? Why is it of that colour? Etc. She suggested that I go back to where I started in order that I can better know why I am doing what it is I am doing.

I spent time reflecting on all the advise given and from those cogitations I formulated the following argument, which essentially acts as a manifesto for my current work. So here it goes!

Whatever the overarching concept of this body of work, to whichever memories this body of work harks back to, these, I feel, are not essential to the reading of the work. Surely all authors must have their secrets. What I find cogent when thinking on and expanding upon this body of work (and therefore what acts as my working concept) is the notion of morphology: how I see metal easily morphing into paper (and into whichever other materials I might explore in the next phases of the work) and vice versa. Essentially, what my attention is focused upon while working on this project is what I perceive as the inherent amorphous nature of all form. By form, here, I do not mean just material forms but also psychological forms such as perceptions and memories. I see the morphing process happening in each of these two domains (material and psychological forms) and also across the two domains, resulting in a fluid morphing process, with material forms morphing into psychological forms and, conversely, psychological forms morphing into material forms. 

The notion of morphology makes me realise that indeed anything can be related. 

A fragmented body of work does not necessarily give up on narrative, and, conversely, a formally logically structured body of work need not impart any message to us beholders. What we judge as fragmented or unitary is ultimately dependent on aesthetics, the rules and forms of which have been handed down to us through schooling (schooling here understood in a more general way to encompass all didactic processes and not just the ones contained within the schooling environment proper). 

Through this body of work I wish to explore the personally unchartered avenues that do not cling on to the classical notions of composition, juxtaposition, presentation, harmony (including chromatic harmony) etc., such as the refutation of classical principles as evinced by the works of Gaylord Oscar Herron, Roe Ethridge and Christian Patterson.

Ultimately, what we perceive as making or not making sense is entirely contingent on arbitrary factors such as the social mores, customs and structures we find ourselves embedded in. 

Saying this, I notice a certain futility and banality in making art creeping in. Following the above argument, one concludes that anything could be made to adopt the status of objet d’art. This conclusion makes the situation become even more intolerably futile and banal when one foresees that ultimately we would end up having to make recourse to the classical (hierarchical) notions of making art in order that we may safeguard the ‘sanctity’ and ‘purity’ of that which humanity deems as its most ‘artistic’. The solution to this impasse seems obvious to most of us: pluralism.

But if pluralism is to give way to a purer notion of a shared humanity, then we can foreseeably acknowledge that even though in the plurality of languages that might still exist in that envisioned state we might still not yet be able to read each other’s literature, we will surely be able to read each other’s images. What is called for, therefore, is to unlearn the current process of decoding images, one based on structural asymmetries reflected from the conundrum of an impotent society vainly trying to colonise desire. 

Eyes Wide Shut 1999 (excerpt)


Eyes Wide Shut 1999, video recording, Warner Bros., United States. Directed by Stanley Kubrick.

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