Arts and environment hangout: 25th September 2019

I joined the meeting half way through because I could not make the link work.

Dan presented the film “Our Daily Bread” he had watched at the V&A exhibition Food Bigger Than a Plate on until 20th October.

The biggest link for me was to the Lord’s Prayer & I saw in the one minute extract the greed behind all the global mass-production, the crop-spraying , the labour-intensive picking and processing, and, despite all that , we still have mass famines, hunger and people starving all over the world. Dan related it to the massive photos of Andreas Gursky .

Melissa mentioned the contrast between what we saw in the film and the romanticised aspects of rural life.

Melissa spoke of her experiments using “The roving microscope” a community initiative based around Bethnal Green. People are invited to see through the microscope what you don’t normally see = bacteria and fungi. they discuss the relationships between the people and the bacteria = the cycle of planting, growing, eating , composting and putting it back in the soil.

Melissa spoke of the rice project she is working on – she will send us all photos of the process as she goes through the project this weekend. She will also send us her recipe.

Dan encouraged us to upload our images to the Padlet. I tried but could not upload anything. I shall try to upload a link to my Instagram account: anna.goodchild

I have been uploading to Instagram an image every day taken with my iPhone microscope.


OCA Europe on exhibition curation led by Helen Warburton. 4th September 2019.

Mitze Cunliffe, sculptor, designed the Jason mask trophy awarded 11 times during the year at BAFTA.

HW is currently curating the pop-up exhibition from July 2019 to September 2021.

her creative brief is determined by what makes a good story which is the central premise of the pop-up exhibition.

Three tenets of a good story: characters; narrator and environment.

The exhibitions are guided by:

  1. ethical principles – sustainability.
  2. context: cultural / educational.
  3. materials
  4. ambitions for the content vs practicality.
  5. identity of the gallery/space/brand values.
  6. use of Pro-Dropbox.

A. Content: always think about what’s most important to show.

  • Selection criteria are determined by the theme.
  • Walkways & flow: always think of public safety first: estimate dwell times
  • accurate dimensions for preparation
  • visualise the space
  • zone the exhibition space
  • visual research: visual identity of things; get research folders for image collecting to motivate the stakeholders- you always have to justify yourself and your work to convince people that what you’ve got is a good idea.
  • what’s the brief? How does your presentation meet the criteria?
  • use of venial is more sustainable than frames / glass for the images.
  • Do you have storage space for all the frames?
  • projecting images at 72dpi; Printing 350dpi
  • Branding & signage – the interpretations don’t have to have the same font or style – they have to inform the visitor.- where it is is important – can the visitors read it?


Art & Environment hangout: 31st July, 2019

Starter culture : looking at tactile things, in this case, at sourdough in the bread-making process. there is a social collaboration aspect to this which is centuries old.

In the Petcha-Kutcha session: Observation as a tool- just witnessing but doing nothing else.

Tony Oursler: eyes and mouths – film collages ; changing the scale – working on very small scale and with different lights in the background.

They mentioned Robert Smithson 1938 – 1073 – a sense of displacement in his sculpture and land art

Jorge – performative art; Luis Borges poems “mirrors’

I think I need to investigate the use of mirrors in my work.


Music collaboration: 27th May, 2019

Deborah and I had a phone call to discuss our progress & decisions regarding our / my project.

Regarding the second version / chance of the film ‘Doing Time’:

DJ felt that there was no longer that sense of monotony which was evident in the first version of the film. I had also shown OCA Tutor Andy Hughes the films and he suggested a more staccato presentation rather than blending one clip into another, particularly with the Archimedes screw footage. He also asked me if Ido short videos often, implying an accusation of amateur film making on my part. My defence is that going to prison is not a polished performance – you don’t do it often enough to make it a polished drama!! I need to redo the water wheel video because even I am not happy with it. Andy also said that the natural sounds in the video clips worked better without the musical interventions and I agreed with him. Following the telephone conversation with DJ, I went off to shoot the water wheel but found that because this is a particularly strong Spring, the Cow Parsley has grown to unprecedented heights virtually obliterating the water wheel which meant that I had to shoot it from a different angle. Despite the different perspectives, I think the film works well.

We agreed that we would show the film at the Music Collaboration performance on 20th July.

Regarding the poem One Year:

I will record it and send DJ the sound file. DJ will introduce the performance. I will read the poem at normal speed, then the two of us will sit either side of a human wall (since it is humans who are responsible for the separation). DJ suggests that I will recite the poem slowly – 1 min per stanza (4 stanzas in total). DJ will try some Sprechgesangen with whispering / interjections from the audience relaying the echo & response idea from the exchange of letters during the year Ian spent in prison. DJ is to work a harmonic score for the piece = chords which change according to the rhythm of the stanza which, DJ says, is a colour wash , or a background of sound / musical ideas for the piece.

Ideas on the performance: I had heard the Shoenberg Pierrot Lunaire and felt it did not suit the poem or the subject of the poem at all. DJ had mentioned the Japanese composer Toru Takemitsu whose work I love & whose style would, in my opinion, fit the piece.

DJ & I have exchanged several emails since our hangout and phone call and we are both very excited about both the projects.

Music collaboration: 15th May, 2019

Hangout with Deborah Johnson, Carla Rees and Caroline Wright to discuss how the project was developing. Sadly Deborah could not join in the discussion because her technology would not cooperate!

This was the email I sent to Deborah after the meeting:

Hi Deborah,
I am so sorry that you could not join in with all the conversations this afternoon which, I thought, were quite fun and inspiring.
This is a summary of what I got out of the discussions and something which I am going to upload to my blog later on as evidence of my research and ideas for experimentation.

1.  When Carla and Caroline asked how we had arrived at the film Doing Time which I had sent to you all earlier this afternoon, I said that I had given you an outline of my project and said that I really liked the work of John Cage & his younger, current version Hauschka = Volker Bartelmann, and asked you if you could compose something along those lines.  They then asked how I would feel if you did some composing and I found the film / images for it.  As an exercise, it would not be a problem.  For my film, on the other hand, I found that quite scary because I would be losing control, and because time for my exhibition is slipping by.
Part of me did, however, have a frisson of excitement in going right out of my comfort zone / ability to really create something totally novel / unexpected.

2. For the July 20th performance, i.e. after my exhibition (possibly for my exhibition too if it fits in) I suggested doing something completely driven by chance:  I would do a screen grab of the visual elements of my film – much like the image I sent you early on this afternoon – cut out the components, throw them up in the air & arrange them in the sequence in which they hit the ground.  I should film this & see what happens 

3.  Because an audience likes to be involved in a performance we could try the following:  An alternative for the 20th July is to number the pieces, or give them random names / words, give the pieces to individuals in the audience and ask them to call out the pieces thereby forming a (meaningless?) sentence and recompose the film accordingly.  For my exhibition, I would have to do something different.  The idea of a space outside the performance space, i.e. people coming from the wings, could be incorporated in the performance?

4.  I told C & C that I had written a poem for my project and they suggested that I recite  / sing it in the style of Sprechgesangen along the lines of Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire.  Perhaps you could compose something for the poem? 

5.  At the exhibition, there is a space for reflection from which a recording of Ian’s letters can be heard throughout the exhibition space, including the film room/ cell.  Perhaps one or two of the recordings could be part of the film / the performance in July?
6.  I said that I would like to video the 20th July event for my records & that was ok with C&C.

7.  Finally, C&C said that we would meet as a whole group near the end of June, which ties in quite well with my exhibition timing.
I would love to hear your thoughts on these points and on what you thought of the film – if it panned out as you had anticipated.
Perhaps we could chat over the phone / Skype?  

I have attached my poem.

I started playing around with one idea from the hangout: the random arrangement of the elements: 

Elements of the iMovie film were cut up and labelled with a word from an 18 word sentences taken from my notes from the hangout. There were 18 sections to the original film.
I dropped the sections all together on to a white board but some fell to the ground.
The full complement of sections on the board.
I arranged the sections more or less where they were arranged.

The chance falling of the words / sections:

for composing I would asked found if then I how images and you did it. some feel They the

I will now arrange the sections as they are and see how the film turns out.

Once I had done this I realised I had to arrange the sections in 3 lines as that is how they would appear on the film scheme:

the word order: for it. I would asked found if feel then I some images and the did composing how They you
Because the sound track goes below the video sections, this is how the film scheme will look.


This was Deborah’s response:

Dear Carla, Caroline and Anna,
So sorry once again that technical issues prevented me from joining you all for the hang-out.  I have been talking with Anna informally after her email in which she kindly caught me up with her summary of the discussion and what came out of it for her.  It was very good to get her film with soundtrack  that same evening, cheering after all the frustration!
I thought that I would send you all my reflections on the process so far and fill you in on some of my experiences on the musical side of the collaboration. 

Clearly Anna’s project is a very strong one and it was well developed by the time I joined in with the music.  My role therefore as composer felt to me to have very definite parameters. The music needed to respond to the visual images on the videos without being intrusive, as there already were interesting and atmospheric sounds on the videos that I didn’t want the music to get in the way of.  Something fairly understated with room for silences felt appropriate, a ‘minimalist’ composition, in every sense.

I chose unpitched and pitched percussion (including piano in its percussive aspect) for the soundtrack.  As I contemplated the images and themes of Anna’s project I was struck by the implied relationship between inside (the views of the  prison wall – linear time) and outside (the natural world – cyclical time).  There is repetition with variation in the videos as well as a sense of time passing.  This sense in the context of the theme of imprisonment feels moving and sometimes melancholy.   I wanted to suggest the passing of time with woodblock and tubular bells (ticking clocks, creaking branches, chiming bells, horses’ hooves in the background). It was a new process to explore the visual images and respond to them musically within the parameters that the project would seem to require.
I took up Anna’s Cage/ Hauscher suggestion obliquely with a score that combined elements of patteren with randomness.  One way I set about this was to splatter notes at random onto my score and ‘sculpt’ them into patterns afterwards.  This is certainly a new way of composing for me!   I played Anna’s video clips many times to discover what patterns suggested themselves. I matched the music more precisely in the video of the horses – to reflect the break-up of the rhythm of  the group of horese and riders.  Interestingly, a kind of hunting-bugle suggested itself (xylophone and piano in unison) though I did not discover until afterwards that this was a sequence of horses and riders on a hunt.  Some nice serendipities – such as the timing of a water drop to co-incide exactly with a note on the celesta –  emerged when Anna put the sound-track to the film.  Serendipity and its pleasures have been part of what has made the project so interesting.  (Ideally, I would have a percussion group of live instrumentalists rather than Sibelius sound-files but that hasn’t been possible to organise!)
On the theme of serendipity, the experiments with random redistribution of the elements sound interesting, Anna, and I look forward to seeing/hearing the results!  More in discussion.
Warm regards to all,


New Music Collective collaboration

I joined 10 OCA students involved in the NMC Zoom hangout this afternoon to see if I could collaborate with a musician on my film for my exhibition. The others have all paired up so I offered to bow out of the process but Carla Rees said that there might be an other music student who might want to join.

Carla stressed that the process and what we learned from it was important as was exploring the relationship between sounds and visuals.

She explained that by ‘performance’ she meant any form of presentation.

It was important that we document the process which can be an installation, an exhibition. We must document what each person in the pair has brought to the piece.

The different pairs of students presented their progress to date. I presented my project and my idea for the film.

Carla pointed out that not all collaborations run smoothly & that often pushes the participants beyond their known limits which is when some of the best work is made.

Carla then said she would like to do a hangout with each pair in May = mid way through the time allowance. The pieces would be performed possibly in July but not the first week.

I now need to wait to see if anybody wants to work with me.


Seven of us in the OCA SW group had an unscheduled meeting to discuss our work. It was prompted by Anne Bryson’s need to have some feed back on her current landscape work.

Of the seven students, 4 had work to discuss and the only free time we all had in common was 9am today.

Anne’s layered images of coal mine sites were very effective, I thought, and she wanted to know how she could combine the idea of memory with her images. Her proposed use of velum was a terrific idea, in my opinion, to bring the transparency and brittle nature of memory / history to her work. Anne wanted to bring actual material from the coal mines into her work and it was suggested she uses coal dust. I mentioned the work of recent graduate Catherine Pickop whose work Catherine Banks & I had seen at London Art Fair. Pickop rubs crushed stone / coffee grounds / crushed rocks over paper which has had holes pricked in it; the material clogs up the holes thus leaving a pattern visible on the paper. From this we developed the idea to rub coal dust over a paper which has had quotes from the miners embossed in it. We also suggested using glue on the photo paper which would then have the coal dust stuck to it.

Krystyna shared her recent work on Sally, a close friend of hers who has terminal breast cancer. Krystyna reported back on her tutorial in which the question of whose voice is coming through in the paintings came up. We as a group discussed the ethics of doing work as an artist or as a friend and how to separate the 2 – tricky question given the circumstances. I felt that the sculptures were Krystyna the artist emerging because there were distinct differences in how she was approaching the subject, and I also felt that the cuts under the breasts, made purely for technical reasons, were rather poignant. Those who had experienced breast cancer, found the sculpture very disturbing, verging on the distressing. It was a terrific topic to make us all, in our own time and ways, question the ethics involved. It also made us evaluate the ways and means of bringing out an artist’s voice in a body of work.

Jane’s oil paintings, an example of which is the featured image of this post, were next and I took to them immediately because, once we had seen the drapes, I immediately made the connection with work I have come across recently by Meghan Riepenhoff : Litoral Drift. It deals with cyanotypes that I want to experiment with too. We discussed how Jane could use different materials, like silk, on which she could have photographs of her paintings professionally printed. the silk could emulate the flowing water and movement of the river which is the subject of her paintings.

Karen shared her recent DI & C exploration on deconstructed images based on a Paolozzi sculpture. I really admired her expertise in making the video as well as the concept she is exploring – a transfiguration of a teenage moment. We came up with various metamorphosis ideas which would give it a more artistic interpretation than simply a physical mutation.

It was a great meeting – I had to leave at 10.30 because I had an appointment so I don’t know what happened next.


These hangouts have been featuring more and more in my study actions recently. I have never written up about my participation in them as hangouts, except for my tutor assignment reviews, but have put the relevant bits in different parts of my learning log. As they are becoming more frequent, I have decided to record them.

A. I have linked up with Selina and Jane on L3 photography a few times and we exchange useful links – not just in the hangouts. Jane recently sent me this link to do with prisons and it suddenly struck me how subtly media reporting on prisons is changing: now we get more about the benefits to prisoners, as this article demonstrates, rather than the blood and guts, prison genre reporting we used to get. The minister for prisons, Rory Stewart OBE MP, last August put his career on the line as he said that he would resign in 12 months if the conditions in 10 of the worst UK prisons did not change. And, an article in January 2019, stated that things had changed. So the emphasis is on improvement of the facilities, provision for improvement of conditions and rehabilitation/re-education of prisoners.

B. I started Bridge, which is aimed at those about to leave OCA and pursuing art careers of their own. The idea is to meet 3 / 4 times per year to discuss projects or collaboration with not only former OCA students but also with those artists in any discipline in our wider communities who would like to joins. An example is a ballet dancer who came to Osmosis, the OCA SW exhibition in November 2018, who would like to collaborate in cross-discipline projects with us. See the discussions on OCA discuss for ideas which came out of the publicity on it here. I decided to start in a month in which we did not have a physical OCA SW meeting scheduled.

Feedback from my project discussion on our Bridge hangout: Put a frame around the seasonal blobs; start the blobs with the missing Spring blob as that is when the letters started – actually, the letters started in February = Winter, so I’ll have to change that again!