Recent work in progress

At the moment I am working on several different experiments. Using one of Zoella’s ‘What’s in my Handbag?’ vlogs I am working through the technique that Lenka Clayton uses in ‘Qaeda Quality Question Quickly Quickly Quiet’. I don’t plan this to be a piece as clearly this is literally copying Claydon’s idea but instead I see this as a task that will develop my ideas and my editing skills. In feedback from the crit exhibition I was told I needed to start working with the material I am commenting on in a more direct way so this is an attempt to start doing that. Using Claydon’s technique heightens the importance of what Zoella is saying in her videos (looking at the public analytics of this video on Youtube I have found that it has a total viewing time of 48 YEARS, which demonstrates how widespread this information is).

<p><a href=”″>Qaeda, quality, question, quickly, quickly quiet</a> from <a href=”″>Lenka Clayton</a> on <a href=””>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

To make this re edit of the video I have already had to watch it multiple times despite only being on the letter E, so not only is trying to cut the exact moment she says ‘a’ or ‘and’ frustrating but also watching the same thing over and over again. This experiment also focuses on language in a way that I have never explored before but am very interested in. Language is something that I feel we take for granted all the time in society but talking to each other and expressing ourselves through language is the only way we can evoke real change in society. I feel that language in its every day use is mistreated, we don’t take advantage of this fantastic mode of communication, instead we often waste it on bitching and moaning (which builds up human relationships but after these relationships are built moaning should be abolished).

This realisation led me to start recording myself whilst walking places on my own. I have got into the habit of recording myself speaking into a microphone that I disguise as a phone. I record myself saying out loud the thoughts in my head, the things I observe as I am walking, what I have observed that day and my after thoughts of these events and what I am doing later or just how I feel. I thought that maybe by getting all these things out I would maybe then have more time when I got to my destination to talk about real things to people, to use the power of communication more effectively. I guess what I am trying to work out is if I get out all the bitching and the mundanity in my own head then I would not need to talk about it to other people.

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Emma Hart installation view ‘Big Mouth’

This experiment was inspired by Emma Hart, in particular a piece that she had in a recent exhibition ‘Big mouth’ where she had a radio playing out clips of her talking to herself. I found this piece to be funny but also really touching as I really gained an understanding of this artist even though I have no idea what she looks like etc. In this way I got to know the artist much more that a painted self-portrait. I have also been inspired by the work of Alison L. Wade, in particular her work with voice mail machines. In an interview I read with Wade she talked about how, if a voicemail machine has more than 10 messages left on it you can begin to build up an image of the person without ever hearing anything from their perspective. For years I have been collecting shopping lists which do a similar thing, so possibly now is the time to start incorporating that into my work.

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Alison L. Wade ‘Beep’

I have experimented pairing these audio recordings with webcam videos of me in the evenings sitting at my computer editing, showing the mundanity and boredom that I feel surrounds my life at the moment. This is neither interesting to watch or listen to and I am not sure where this is going but I am enjoying doing it. I am worried that it is more narcissistic and self confessional than I wanted it to be. I tried playing one of the voice recordings to a close friend and actually found it too painfully embarrassing to sit through. This is interesting as everything I said in the recording I would say to my friend, but watching her listening to it knowing that I was talking to myself at the time made it really uncomfortable. I don’t think I would be able to display this as work. No one would care as it is me just sharing my human experience and also I would find it too embarrassing (also in a lot of the recordings I talk about my course and sometimes the people on it so that would just be a huge terrible mess really). This is more of a personal project that I hope will help me to make more expressive work, or at least help me realize what it is that I am actually trying to make work about as these are really stream of consciousness recordings.

The other thing I am working on at the moment is a painting as I recently learnt how to stretch a canvas and began thinking about what I wanted to paint on it one night. These thoughts turned into a crazy dream which led me to stand in front of the canvas the next day, paint brush in hand. I had no idea what I was aiming to paint but using a strict colour pallet of only, primary magenta, yellow and blue I began painting faces. These are not realistic faces but instead are made out of block colour that creates the forms that we can recognize as a face. These paintings are reminiscent of Picasso’s painting style along side many other expressionist painters which is interesting. There is no real substance to this painting, but again this is something that I really feel like I need to work through after using these paints in so many of my recent works.

Canvas painting (detail)

I feel that these faces have come from an internal loneliness that I am experiencing at the moment. Again this is another process piece that is taking a long time to complete, and when I am painting I begin creating narratives for these anonymous portraits so in a way this is a real expression of myself at this time. There is clearly something about these colours that interest me as well, and I feel like this comes the plastic aesthetic of them. I have no idea how I will complete this painting but I am enjoying the process and the time it is taking.

All of the experiments I am currently working on are process based and time consuming which seems to be the basis of many of my works. Reading Seigfried Kracauer’s essay ‘Boredom’ recently has also encouraged me to fully express this in my work. Ultimately these experiments enforce the diversity of my practice and interests where I am working with, painting, colour, found footage and audio.

Whitechapel First Thursdays

This is the second month in a row that I have attended the White chapels first Thursdays of the month walking tour. Last month (November 2015) I was disappointed by the exhibitions on the list, at the Leyen Gallery I saw a poorly curated exhibition of nude portraits that littered the gallery in an overwhelming complexity. This month on the other hand they exhibited ‘Camera work’ a show of newly post-graduate LCC Photography students.

Leyden Gallery ‘Nude for Thought’ 3rd – 7th November

Both the curation and work shown here was incredible. Real consideration of display was demonstrated here in many different ways, from printing on acetate to create life size shadows, constructing cameras for specific uses and carefully chosen frames to bring the works to life.

‘Camera Work’ Installation view

I was able to talk to one of the students exhibiting what I believed to be the most engaging work and it was interesting to hear how the work of Photography students could turn out to be so analytical instead of simple documentary or commercial photography.

Camera Work Installation view

The business cards made by the students was also something worth noting as a student who will be graduating in just over a years time. It was evident that a reasonably large sum of money had been put into these, they were very creative and not only used their own photos but became interactive pieces in themselves, using analogue film as a business card was definitely my favourite.

Subversion 0.5

Between the 2nd and the 4th of December myself and a group of 5 other students studying at UCA Farnham organized an exhibition at hARTslane gallery in New Cross, London. The Private view took place on the evening of the 2nd, the turn out wasn’t huge but we had attendees studying at Goldsmiths and Central Saint Martins and the experience of this project has been invaluable.

Subversion 0.5 poster

The exhibition space itself was fantastic; it is not your conventional white space, the exposed brickwork and wooden beams created a whole new backdrop and context for our work. This space is affordable and the owners gave us full reign over the space, handing over the keys and leaving us to it. Opening up the gallery space in the mornings was a really exciting experience for me, I felt a pride in actually having done something in the ‘art world’ and it gave me an insight into the responsibilities and organization of artist run spaces.

Putting up Posters in gallery space

At the Private view I had the opportunity to talk to a second year Fine Art student studying at Central Saint Martins. It was interesting to hear that the tutor time is so limited at the highly regarded UAL institute, comparing this to my own university experience at UCA I felt extremely grateful with my own tutor – student relationships and realized the support I receive is really quite incredible.

Outside Gallery view

Although there was only 6 of us exhibiting, we managed to comfortably fill the space with our work and unlike our last London show ‘Raw and Unseasoned’ we were able to curate the exhibition in a way that evoked a considerate dialogue between the works. The first room with Laura Rowe, Abi Miller and James Fish’s work had a strong focus on materiality and process. Leading viewers into the second room was my own piece, which continued the conversation of process with my ‘LSTV’ canvas lit up by my muted ‘What’s in my bag’ vlog shown on the painted TV. This second room focused on film presented in a number of different ways; projection and audio, constructed screens and painted monitors. The theme of this curation in the second room talked about technology in a number of different ways, and personally I felt this worked really well.

Gallery layout and curation

For me the most successful piece of work in this exhibition was John Connor’s piece ‘The life of Nikola Tesler’. Originally John was thinking of displaying this on a monitor but due to technical difficulties he ended up displaying it on the projector with the audio of the film dominating the space. At the Private view this is the piece that got people to stay at the exhibition, as it was durational and we provided seats for people to be able to spend time with the work. As this piece was located in the back room of the gallery, walking in you could here the strange audio narrative of the piece without being able to see it, which drew people into the back room. This piece felt confident and was a great piece of parody narrative that made many viewers laugh and created a relaxed atmosphere in the space, which I think worked really well against my own piece.

John Connor – ‘The life of Nikola Tesler’

In the recent crit exhibition I felt that the most successful works were those on the show reel and I hope that in the future I could organize a show just focusing on film based work. John and I spoke about the difficulty of a show that consisted solely of film based works, as to have audio playing in the space would be problematic but to expect viewers to put headphones on for each piece is unrealistic. Using a show reel is also an issue because it makes a lot of works really inaccessible, but I hope in the future I can attempt to tackle these curational issues in an exhibition focusing only on film works.

Installation view

My own piece of work in this show was a little disappointing as I don’t really feel like I pushed myself to create something I was excited about, I only really recycled elements of previous works. I used my ‘What’s in my bag?’ vlog but this time without any cuts, I did speed this piece up by 200%. At this speed you are still able to understand everything that I am saying but my voice is extremely high pitched and just sounds ridiculous. I didn’t have the audio playing out loud as I felt that this highlighted the fact that what I was talking about isn’t worth listening to. I had the monitor showing this footage facing the spotted canvas that I had experimented hanging in different ways. When people spoke about this piece to me they mainly marveled at how long it must have taken me to paint the canvas. This is interesting as durational and frustrating processes is something I work a lot with at the moment to attempt to cure my own boredom.


At night the light from the monitor screen lit up the canvas, reflecting the way that screens shine on our face when we use our laptops and phones in the dark. From this exhibition I have realized that I need to move away from this canvas and vlog work, which I am doing at the moment but possibly I should have made something brand new for this show so that I could have learnt more about the mode of display of this new work.

For me this exhibition was more about the experience of showing independently from the institution in London, and although we had no spectacular turn out it was an amazing experience. Over these few days not only did I learn about curation, gallery spaces and organizing private views but I experienced commuting and staying in London to open up the gallery in the morning I got a small taste of London life which has changed my perspective on London as a place to live in a surprisingly positive way.

hARTslane gallery is a great place to exhibit and I would really recommend it to any students or upcoming artists that are looking for an affordable space to display their work in London. I hope I do not let the success of this exhibition fade away and use this to propel me to organize more exhibitions next term as I am now incredibly excited after having a taste of what I can achieve in London.