The 2021 lockdown restrictions have thrown out my intended plan of work on my project. The photographic studio I found was closed, the sound recording was closed and I felt this project was so much about a human, a dancer, that I was very wary of going too far without working on photographing the body. I stalled ...
However, discussing the photographic sessions with the studio made me think about using studio flash. I've always restricted myself to daylight photography, thinking that any kind of studio flash was out of my reach and impractical. But I completed an excellent Skillshare online course on using off-camera flash in order to learn the concepts of flash photography (I had previously only used studio lighting on a City & Guilds photography course many years ago, and I think that was with static lights not flash). I bought a relatively inexpensive Speedlight for my Nikon and I've been playing.
The manual settings are so straightforward (at least when you are going for a trial and error approach) that I wish I had tried this years ago. The flash power is just another factor to adjust to get the right amount of light on the subject - in conjunction with aperture, ISO and so on. And the consistency over daylight is just so fantastic because I am repeatedly photographing the same thing over and over.
It is an unexpected outcome, but this is certainly developing my creative practice - so thank you to the Arts Council and the DYCP award. It is already making a difference.
The photography studio is now open again and I'm going for an induction later this week. Then I will plan the session with the model - and I've got more options than I would have had. I'm feeling nervous, but its another step into something new which is exciting.
Oh … Premiere Pro … how do I get frustrated by you … let me count the ways …
Working on single films I had pushed and pulled and screamed, and got to a happy method of working with Premiere that enabled me to combine and layer my sequences of images. Now I’m building up the ground work for a series of ten films, I (possibly mistakenly) tried to tidy up and organise my folders by deleting temporary and render files.
Aaagh! Premiere started to endlessly give me error messages.
OK .. now what to do. Will I fall at the first hurdle? Clearly too risky to carry on with my current workflow. I use so many thousands of images that the software or my system is not going to work when I multiply this by 10. So I had to find a new way of working.
Thankfully (for now at least) I have solved the issues and Premiere and I are friends again. It has been a reminder that however much it is important to learn to focus on my creativity and the journey not the outcome, there will also always be the technical or practical problems along the way. I’m quite good (I think) at solving those and I’m not failing if I concentrate on them for a bit. They will always be a necessary part of that journey.
My positive from 2020 was working through the year with a mentor - Rosalind Davis - through the a-n Mentoring Programme. I have written about this experience on the a-n website
My goal was to build my own confidence and to challenge myself to build a body of work. The project evolved and changed throughout 2020 as the pandemic brought in restrictions and challenges. And I certainly didn't get as far as I'd hoped. However I think this constant refining of my project and focussing in on the essentials was ultimately no bad thing (as frustrating as it was along the way). By the autumn I had clarity and a clear plan, and put together my application for an Arts Council Develop Your Creative Practice grant. At Christmas I heard I was successful. An amazing ending to the year!
So now ... 2021 - the project takes shape and really can get underway. The funding will mean I can be a little more ambitious with the production, and more importantly work with collaborators and be able to pay them. I am collaborating with an amazing writer - Rosie Garland, and we are creating a series of ten 60-second films inspired by the life of 1930s dancer Tilly Losch. We are looking at the creative credibility and equality of women - thinking about how far we've come in 90 years, and yet how far we've still got to go.
Because goddess is never enough.
There is an online program, and there will also be a program with live streams during the festival days: The festival will officially open on October 22nd at 6 pm with the special program "Focus Africa". The award ceremony will start on Saturday, October 24th, at 6 pm (CET).
Proud to say that Blue Flash Flash will be shown again as part of the special program: WINNERS OF THE WEIMAR POETRY FILM AWARD 2016-2019
The festival will be happening as an online screening event. Please check their website for the latest details. https://www.artlitlab.org/events/midwest-video-poetry-fest-2020
As of writing this post - the details for the online event have yet to be updated from the originally planned 'in real life' festival.
Moss - poem by Natalie Whittaker - published by Ignition Press
An 'at home' edition of At The Fringe, Sweden is coming up next weekend.
There's a full programme from Saturday to Monday. A masterclass, five talks and a showing of the complete Poetry + Film programme curated by Marie Craven. Not to mention two curated themed programmes of experimental and poetry films:
ENCOUNTERS WITH YOUR STRANGER
THE UNIVERSE AND I
DANCE OF MATTER, DANCE OF VISION
ANIMAL AND HUMAN
LIVING IN FILMS
'Moss' is showing in 'The Universe and I' on Saturday.
Excited to be invited to share 'Night Walk MTV' with The Front Room in their curated section of Campfire Convention Summer Solstice World Harmony festival.
Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/944382825980321/
Digital Graffiti 2020 at Alys Beach, Florida was postponed from May until 2-3 October. On the original dates, curator Brett Phares put together a 'Digital Graffiti from home' experience. A selection of highlights from past years of Digital Graffiti festivals were combined in a showreel film and Brett invited people to download and enjoy it - if at all possible by projection - in whatever environment you found yourself.
I was delighted to find my film 447 Intellect - N was to be included.
We had great fun playing with the images in the garden, projecting on trees, the children, the fence and the church opposite. It seems my aged projector is rather on the green side. But despite this - DGatHome has made me think about being more creative and experimental with what I could do with projecting and rephotographing images. This was a process that I explored a little in my 2019 piece for Visible Poetry Project - letter to anyone who is listening, where I projected images on myself and rephotographed them.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the Atlantic, 2014 Digital Graffiti artist Zlatko Cosic captured some really gorgeous images from his home in St Louis. Zlatko has kindly given me permission to share his images - I wanted to show how beautiful the work looks when it is not all green!
Above: Video montage captured by Zlatko Cosic from projection of Digital Graffiti at Home reel
Zlatko will be showing a new piece - Dirty Look - at the rescheduled Digital Graffiti festival in October. I would love to be able to see this projected at Alys Beach. I wonder which location has been chosen?
In 2016 I made an installation for South Hill Park Arts Centre in Bracknell commemorating it's history during the Second World War - the Mansion house became the evacuated home of the Royal Sea Bathing Hospital of Margate in Kent.
'Loose parts' was a set of screenprinted pillows that were laid out on grass beds on the lawn in front of the South Hill Park terrace during the Engage with Art Festival (2-3 July 2016). Patients of the Royal Sea Bathing Hospital, including very many children, were suffering from surgical tuberculosis. Treatment involved being outdoors day and night, those with a diseased spine restricted to a plaster bed, or those with infected joints with splinted limbs. At a time that was pre-antibiotic treatments, if the disease abated the best possible outcome was an immobile back or limb - forever seized up into the least worst position. The outdoor installation of 'beds' and pillows also celebrated that children in this country are largely now free of this disease: with healthy limbs and free to play without limitation.
During its stay at South Hill Park, the hospital also cared for many injured Servicemen - who we remember on VE Day on Friday.
Since the beginning of April I have been making up scrubs for Scrubs Glorious Scrubs - a fantastic collective of volunteers who are making non-surgical scrubs, hats and scrubs bags for the NHS during the current disease crisis.
In what feels like a lovely twist to the tale of my artwork - I have now converted the remaining pillows into scrubs bags which will be distributed to be used in GP surgeries and other healthcare settings around Bracknell to help with the Covid-19 battle.
Versopolis (pan-European cultural magazine) - has launched 'Festival of Hope' - a global virtual poetry initiative https://www.versopolis.com/festival-of-hope
Included in the cornucopia of material is the Poetry + Video programme, which was due to screen this month as part of Lambeth Readers and Writers Festival. One door closes, another one opens ...