mapping my terrain

below is the final video map that i made for the task mapping my terrain (use full screen mode and full brightness mode if possible)

week 4 / final map: mapping my terrain elaine crowe

below is the working processes and my step by step process for the task mapping my terrain. 

week 1: maps

beginning the task of mapping the territory of my art practice. i think the word terrain rather than territory seems to fit how i see the scope of my practice – more geographical than possessive claim. maps are somehow part of my practice anyway in terms of the work i have made about space, place, movement and gender. maps are often a means of starting my exploration and genertion of ideas and have also been my work in itself – a way of link all things back to a place, a context or a landscape either diagrammatically and through drawing or marking and movement. james elkin’s has much to say about maps as an exploritory method in his stories of art. for me, maps seems a useful way of externalising internal preoccupations , ideas and questions. i will begin by mapping the terrain of my practice by mapping the areas i explore and the places i go.

week 1 / map 1: a map of places i go

Screenshot (2)

it is interesting how the much of my work can be reduced to 3 areas of movement, gender, space and place, returning to the same preoccupations again and again. it’s a;sp interesting to see how the areas relate to each other – they seem more linked then i would have anticipated. this might be useful way of generating new ideas by drawing and linking across the map in new ways, maybe even randomly.

week 2 / map 2: a map of ways i work 

Screenshot (4)

this map highlights how i much i am not media specific but instead led by ideas. the balance of working alone and working with others is worth noting and might be something i address or try to challenge myself with a little. no mention of paint as a process…. i used to paint!

week 3 / map 3: a map of my work in context 

Screenshot (5)

for this map i thought about how my work could be categorised in the context of contemporary art, using the categories outlined in Heartney’s Art & Today and Ossian Ward’s Ways of Looking. so many categories might suggest lack of focus. i think its because i don’t like categorising my practice and would prefer to leave that up to others. the categories might be worth considering at times i seem to be faltering and am not sure where the work is going or what i’m trying to say.

week 3 / map 4: a map of questions i ask

Screenshot (6)

my questions are as much about how i work as about the content and processes of my work. i usually like to start with questions as a way of formulating what i want to explore. i don’t think i’m ever looking for a definitive answer though but just chipping away at a question. questions about what my work might communicate to others or an audience is also something that i try to keep in focus.

week 4 / map 5: a map of my areas of research

Screenshot (8)

this map could have gone on and on. i suppose i see research as making as well as reading etc. i like to throw the net wide in terms of research but that might mean going off on tangents and getting side tracked. i suppose all research is relevant in some way but wide research needs a lot of time.

week 4 / map 6: a map of my concerns.

Screenshot (10)

no surprise that a lot of my concerns relate to the breath of my practice – where to start, how to pinpoint and be specific, when to stop. in relation to gender – i am always conscious of avoiding cliche and outdated binary discussions. also, my work relating to movement and the body can lead to a very personal perspective and i am aware that the work needs to be ablout something more that myself and relate to others. other concerns that i have relate to staying playful and working away despite research or identified reasons.

week 4: postscript

this has been a very useful exercise for me. it has put a shape on the wide content and context of my and found anchoring points to work around, namely, movement, space and place, gender. each of these maps could have expanded even wider, as i tend to do, but perhaps moving in instead of out will help me in my practice. that said, despite maps identifying possible directions i always like the idea of going off the map and finding something unexpected and unanticipated.

Screenshot (11)

post postscript:

lots of  feedback to respond to from my presentation last monday so i’ll try and respond to the questions i was asked and found in the chat box.

was the task overwhelming? not at all, i just took it one step at a time or one word at a time then one map at a time. i worked very organically. although the timeline of title frames was very large on my video programme but i got used to that pretty quickly.

did i struggle with the word territory as i changed it to terrain? no i didn’t struggle with it but i decided to change territory to terrain as i felt my approach to ideas and my work seems more like a geographical place i explore physically rather than a claim to an area or set of ideas.

why do you not paint any more? i’m not sure why , i suppose i just found other ways of working that seems to be more suitable to what i’m trying to explore. as usual – i’m always excited and drawn to the new!

the maps seemed like a cloud? to me it felt more like little ‘pings’ as a thought was given the form of a word then seemed to disappear from my mind.

what will i do with all the research? who knows that’s just it – i work away gathering and gathering and it feeds into the work one way or another although not always directly or in any obvious way.

have i read Rebecca Solnit? have i what, over and over many times. it was a foundation text for my degree thesis on  ‘walking as a contemporary art practice’ (2016) where i set out the relevance of walking as a contemporary art practice by proving it could reflect and resist or challenge in contemporary times.

what is the irish constitution? i’s a document published in 1937 which sets out the legal bases for how the Irish state should be governed. it makes reference to women and their role or place in society. it has been a trigger for some of my work in the past. it is now very much to the fore of irish discourse at the moment with a upcoming vote on changing the 8th amendment of the constitution which would potentially change abortion rights in ireland.

was categorising your work a challenge? i think yes it always is, i never think of categories as i work, it is an after thought. i am not sure it is even my job to do so but a job for someone else. the only time i think along the lines of categorisation is when i have to write a proposal or statement for other projects and applications. that said, it might be worth thinking along those broad lines of categorisation when i get a bit stuck and am not sure what i’m trying to say or do.


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