so far (week 7: testing boundaries)

where i am at: half way through the task, now seems as good a time as any to pause and take stock of where i am at in relation to my testing boundaries task. the plan i set out for myself was to find audiences for my work, first by researching and submitting to open calls (respond to opportunities) and secondly by creating opportunities to reach an audience (that may not yet exist). both of these approaches are intended to find out where i am at, where i think my work belongs, where i feel comfortable, where i feel uncomfortable, where i have success and less success, what my criteria for deciding success and less success are, who my audience are, who my audience could be, what risks i can take in relation to finding an audience, what risks i can take in relation to making work to reach an audience.

open calls: in relation landscape, body, gender, as part of this task, i have submitted existing and new work in both print and video to national and international open calls.

print open calls: my first open call was for a print art fair in galway arts centre/gallery where my work relating to the analogue and digital image was exhibited (and sold). this was followed by a submission to ‘trasna 8’ where a print from the same edition was exhibited in a group show in the courthouse gallery in ennistymon. responding to landscape and the haptic and optic line, i also made a new edition and submitted it to ‘lunch money print’ exchange where my prints are currently being promoted on their website and will be part of a group exhibition in the marquee gallery in new london connecticut in march. ‘lunch money print’ studio also asked for a short video of my making process which they will use on social media to promote the exhibition. this was something quite new for me and was not totally convinced of its merits. however, i have shown the video to a ‘non-artist’ audience (what to call them?) and their feedback has been surprisingly positive, alerting me to the question of who do i think my audience is, have i assumed an audience that can read the work without some ‘in’?

reflection on print open call process so far: it seems that there is a lot of opportunities for my print works to reach an audience through open calls. there is usually no theme specified so i can work on the things that preoccupy me to my heart’s content, namely landscape, body, gender etc. however, print open calls usually specify a print size (paper and/or image) and edition number. so far this has not been an issue for me as they tend to be small in scale which i like to work with anyway. i find open calls really useful in helping me to shape my ideas and reach a deadline. while there is usually an open selection process, i still get excited by sharing my work with others and reaching an audience in national and international places, be they local or more established galleries. i guess the downside is that the open calls are almost always for a single edition so do not lend itself to developing a body of work. however, there are open call opportunities that are not print specific but often theme orientated that a body of work could be developed for by a selection jury/process. i made enquiries at a local pub, asking for an opportunity to show a series of print works and while they did get back to me initially, i did not chase it up because i wanted to pursue other things that developing a body of work would not allow in terms of time (maybe another time). i also felt that i have gotten to know this boundary now and need to push on with testing others.

video open calls: submitting my work to open calls is new to me. anytime i have researched opportunities for video open calls, they seem more prescriptive than print open calls, giving themes, durations and technical specification briefs that do not seem to relate to the kind of work i have made or am in the process of making re landscape, body, gender image/lens etc… or so i thought! after spending a lot of time going through search platforms for video works, i realised that some of the specifications are actually like the way a print open call gives a paper size – it does not necessarily change the content of my work or the ideas i am interested in exploring but maybe formats it differently. some briefs might even bring something new into the mix of my video making that can add to my understanding of what i am exploring. so, i have now submitted my video work ‘i shiver and i shit’ to ‘real to real’ craft and moving image festival open call. while i think the work might be too great a sideways look at craft, i think it really resonates with their call for work about making and materiality and it says something about craft and women. if the work is accepted it will reach a large audience in picturehouse gallery in london and travel to other locations in england. even if the work is not accepted, i have gained knowledge of the video submission process and i see that on my website statistics, the day i submitted it, it got 38 views which means it did reach a new audience! another open call i just sent off is for ‘every second counts’ 30 second film festival. i had great fun working on this and enjoyed bringing the idea of 30 seconds, the time people give to looking at art works in a gallery or adverts to my stereo landscape footage, which as yet had no shape – beginning, middle or end, no audience (except for peers) and most importantly had me experimenting with the act of looking and not looking in terms of landscape and the body. currently i am in the process of working on another open call submission which is highly competitive and almost had me put off except for the fact that it seemed relevant to what i was working on and again could help me put shape on the work.

open calls, creating opportunities: i have given myself the deadline of the end of january for exploring and pushing the boundaries of open calls for my print and video work. i have gained a better insight into the possibilities of reaching an audience and understanding who they might be through these ‘pre-made’ opportunities. as opportunities created by others, i really feel the need to also create my own – find ways to reach an audience which are not given, not not exist yet but i must make. i am really excited and yes a little nervous about some of the ideas that have been gathering in my mind as i have been working on open calls. so for the weeks of february i intend to make and test my work in ways i have not before. while not fixed on any one idea yet, i have already gathered cardboard boxes and sticky labels to print on with the idea of leaving them in un-designated art spaces – i like the idea that they might need to be put together in order to complete the image which is very relevant to my landscape, image, body work (stereo). i have also stocked up on some fabric inks for printing on t-shirts with the idea of wearing , hanging, leaving them or giving them away – again as a way of reaching an audience and also as a way of making links between landscape, image and body. i fell i should work quickly and not over think, which could help me get over any fear i have about pushing through these boundaries to a more unknown (and perhaps uncomfortable) place. speaking of which, i almost forgot to mention that in the interest  of really pushing my boundaries i signed up to a choreography and movement workshop titled ‘no church in the wild’ which i thought might link into landscape, ideology etc. as i posted about, it threw up all sorts of questions about how i define landscape and how the body interacts with space (be it landscape) and with each other. i guess the ‘work’ created was live work and the audience were also makers in this one off workshop. what surprised me was that i was more comfortable that i thought i could ever be in performance of this kind.

some images/links: 

link to every second counts, 30 second film festival submission:

link to real to real craft and moving image festival submission:

link to movement workshop:

link to lunch money print exchange/exhibition:

link to trasna 8 and galway arts centre print submission and exhibition:











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