journey through as far as the eye cannot see
preparation for making day: as we are doing a combined making day with MA2 and MA3, i will have to introduce my practice in a couple of sentences. I have been chipping away at those questions for my LandEscape review interview so have been trying to put what i am up to into words recently which should help. on a practical level, i have been preparing some screens for printing – reclaiming those from the summer, emulsifying and drying them for making day. importantly, i have also been thinking about where to go to next with my work and where i might already be starting to head. one of the ideas that came up in my tutorial with CW was the idea of how we know a landscape physically through the body and mentally as a frame or construct. so this is where i set off to explore now. i intend to use various lens-based media to explore the landscape through various scales – micro and macro, still and moving, visuals, sound and touch etc. so – taking the idea of micro and macro through the use of still and moving image, for making day, i will start exploring landscape as moving image where the frame will be somehow completed by a still of this landscape through a still image print of this landscape.
my work in a couple of sentences(a statement of sorts): my work explores my relationship to the landscape. i use lens-based media predominantly – such as photography, video and photo-based screen printing. i see lens-based processes very much part of an embodied practice, where the lens becomes a point of contact between the body and landscape it inhabits and moves in. this extends to how the landscape is viewed and experienced according to gender, questioning the validity of binary gendered relationships, in terms of the framing of the landscape and differentiated viewpoints. as landscape has played a major role in the construction of irish identity – an identity based on an idealised landscape, i also explore the relationship between the real and bodily experience of the landscape against ideal or romantic notions of landscape and femininity.
my intention for making day: taking the idea of how we might know a landscape physically, bodily and mentally – i have been editing a short video which i shot earlier this year and have edited it in such a way that it is incomplete and will be completed by a smaller, still, single frame screen print. this is something that i have been curious about trying for some time so am looking forward to learning what potential this might have going forward. scale will also play a part in this exploration, where the large video will be completed by a small print and vice versa – a large print will be completed by a small video. so for making day, i will work on the small print, maybe working in black and white or degrees of black transparencies to see how things fit together with my video which will also need to be cropped to act as one ‘complete landscape’.
making day: i started off by checking my projectors which needs a bit of time to sort out cables etc but i managed to get my small projector up and running and seeing as the colours are very pronounced on this projector i am better off sticking to black and white until i decide how i will approach colour.
top crop landscape screen print
reflection on screen printing: i had already cropped a still of the video and translated into bitmaps for screen printing during the week so i just needed to print them on the emulsion screens i had also already prepared. i decided to just expose 2 layers of bit maps in different degrees of black transparent inks. i think that i might need to adjust these levels to suit or match the video. i have been having anothre idea of using these incomplete prints with some stop/go annimation where something appears to give context and cpmlete the landscape in some way.
reflection on video editing: i also spent a bit of time editing the video to back and white (which i might also need to scale to suit the print size) and cropping the video so that only the bottom half of the video will be seen against the still screen print. i think i link the print as still image so before i go working still and moving image together i need to work through the exaggerated rectilinear frame of the landscape -maybe take its horizontality further. i have started to do some research reading (Alexander, 2015) about the rectilinear framing of the landscape image – how it was increased to depict an idealised pastoral landscape of peace and repose – wide and expansive and all things not domestic, close up and confined – gender binaries rear the heads again.
FURTHER DEVELOPMENT: ANOTHER MAKING DAY
plan for making day: for making day i plan to revisit the framing of the landscape using the rectilinear frame but this time really trying to stretch it horizontally as much as i can. i have had head my stuck in my contextual study these last few days – discussing how the horizontality of the rectilinear frame is rooted in patriarchal values connected with male gaze visions of beauty and pastoral idylls. i did begin this type of work before christmas and now feel i could stretch it further. so for today i will work at a small scale and then decide how to proceed.
preparation for making day: i started by looking through my images and then deciding how to crop the image either pre or post bitmap printing. there would be no difference in outcome but one method might be more authentic than the other – maybe i will edit both ways to see which feels right (a working on instinct – also gendered!). i also decided to take new shots of the garden landscape to work with. while as a domestic landscape it has a lot of gender associations i feel under the current (covid) confinement it seems appropriate…. the landscape is already framed in quite a cropped frame…. anyway here goes.
initial images to work with
reflection: i think i need to scale up but keep the depth of the image the same and lengthen the horizontal dimension – the word ‘vista’ comes to mind. i also would like to look at this with its projected image perhaps also cropped. no doubt to screen printing’s wet materiality as the ink bled from the rectilinear frame – the relationship between the digital and analogue processes might also be teased out somehow – also loaded with gender associations.
FURTHER DEVELOPMENT: LANDSCAPE AND EXTENDING THE PARAMETERS
extending the parameters. i am working my way through my contextual study and discussing the extension of the rectilinear frame in the gendered framing of the landscape. i decided to redevelop a print idea that i started last october. whereas last week i extended landscape’s rectilinear frame through body (hand) manipulation. this time i extended the frame by exaggerating the horizontality of rectilinear frame – pushing the geometry of the rectangle which seems to have an opposite effect as if omitting rather than extending it towards a picturesque idyll. in my CS i discuss gendered association between geometry and rational thought – a binary to subjective acting on impulse. i do however work on instinct through the process of choosing colours, mixing quantities of pigment to medium etc etc. anyway here are some images of today’s printing process.
reflection: the a3 printer printed the bitmaps in stripes which came out in the image exposure – more geometry of grids i suppose and looks almost like a fabric weave. i plan on printing it again at a smaller scale so i can print the bitmaps on my better printer even though i loved scaling up. oh well. i think this image as a black and white really suits the misty landscape. i’ll go at it again and add to this post when done. reminds me of all i have been saying about the unreliability of wet processes in my contextual study. if things were straight forward and perfect, i guess i should let a machine print it – clearly human intervention and indexical marks is where its interest lies for me as an image maker. when printing i am always striving to make the image uniform – a battle between an imperfect bodily process and the perfection i strive for in my mind. i like the way the light in the top left corner also seems to leave the image unfinished – to be finished by the spectator using their subjective imagination to complete it.
reprinting 07.05.20): i decided to go at this print again as i was unhappy with the quality of the bitmaps at a3 (must check the nozzles on my a3 printer). scaling down to a4 yielded a much better print and the first printed layer contained so much detail that i thought nothing could be gained from over printing with another bitmap layer so i am leaving it as is. i reclaimed my screens straight away as i need to move on to my still and moving image development. i did keep an exposed screen with a 0 degree bitmap as i liked the look of the spaced pattern of the bitmap dots. i think i will mess around with another print using a coloured block as background layer and print this bitmap in black on top just to see – a working on instinct again and then a systematic process of repeated printing. when the shut down has started to loosen up i might try and get my bitmaps scaled up at a proper printers as although i love working small i need it to be a choice rather than a necessity. anyway – here are the images from today.
reprinting the image
reflection: there are often unintended qualities that emerge through physical printing – the more i print the more i think i can anticipate the results but materials and human action can add (or subtract) unanticipated qualities to the work. in this print the vanishing of the image in the corner from light exposure seems to be saying something about the horizontality of the image – an omission or reduction of the landscape rather than an expansion. might explore this whitening out of the image at another time. maybe it connects with my incomplete landscape series. another area i want to look at also is the layering on top of 2 images a little like my triplopia and contemplating a mountain video installation work. no idea why i didn’t think of this already but it just came about when i saw the seams of the bitmaps exposed when i tried to connect 2 a4 bitmaps to make an a3 bitmap because my a3 printer is doing odd stripes when printing. i am also rethinking the title. its gone from sliver landscape to horizon to across these plains. – that’s what i thought of when the print emerged today. i googled this and see it is a chapter in R.L. Stephenson’s biography describing his arrival in the US. i usually start with a title that just differentiates one piece of work from another for myself. the second one came about when i was working on my contextual study which sits the best. i usually know when the title sits right. its not sitting completely right yet. makes me think about what i want the function of the title to be – either for myself or to hint at something that this work might be about… reminds me of my difficulty with the contextual study title too – trying to keep it simple and to the point is easier said than done.
… turns out posting on instagram provided the title – as far as the eye cannot see as i condensed what i was working on. of course that’s 7 words instead of 1 word in my contextual study.
Alexander, J.A.P. (2015) Perspectives on Place, Theory and Practice in Landscape Photography. London: Bloomsbury Publishing Ltd.
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