Ideas, Ideas, Ideas – Opening the Curtain

mickyates Cambodia, ContextualResearch, Critical Research Journal, Ideas, Installation, Photography, Plans & Notes, Project Development, Rephotography, SSWeek5, SurfacesStrategies, Writing Leave a Comment

An interesting conjunction of events.

First, it’s been made clear that we need to consider mounting an ‘Exhibition’ (‘Landings’, online or otherwise), giving a Workshop, and designing a Publication as part of this module.

Second, I am planning my next Cambodia trip, which starts in a couple of weeks, and it looks like the project is getting quite some local interest.

Third, Sarath sent me his first personal story (My Friend’s Mother Passes Away). A very sad, and, in parts, gruesome tale. Working out how to incorporate this in the project is important, as is how to visualise it or otherwise bring it alive.

Today I had tutorials with both Gary (in a group) and Cemre (1-1), both helpful, though in different ways.

In response to questions from other Students, Gary made helpful comments:

  1. In the three tasks above, he is most interested in understanding our methodologies. Whilst the tasks are not ‘marked’ they do need to feature in our CRJ and thus in our explanations of of thought processes.
  2. Getting a consistent body of work across the threes tasks is also important.
  3. And it should be (mainly) new work. If we do reference old work, don’t analyse, do it quickly – but put it in context to help understand the new work as needed. Of course, there is always an open question on rephotography ūüôā
  4. In any workshop, think about your role – equal or master? Gary shared Jacques Ranci√®re’sIgnorant Schoolmaster‘ as a thought provoker.
  5. Talking about Pierre’s work, Gary also raised an interesting concept of ‘the pause’ versus ‘the still’ Life is a movie …

In response to my ideas for an installation, particularly taking polaroid pix of visitors as ‘mug shots’, we had ¬†spirited debate on the ethics of this. Gary wondered whether it would be too much for the audience, though I probably didn’t explain properly the process of doing it. He’s clearly not a street photography fan, so the conversation drifted that way. Danny and others were more supportive, as long as the context of the activity is clear.

The issue of the current ‘surveillance society’ came up, raising some interesting points about how to see that ubiquity versus the one-off mug shots.

In discussion with Cemre, these points:

  1. Sarath’s story is more like a movie than a set of stills.
  2. Careful not to let these stories take over the project. What am really trying to do?
  3. Are we fiction, non-fiction or a mix?
  4. Is there a more central role for traces rather than semi-fictional stories? How blend both?
  5. Metaphorical imagery could be a way forward to help visualise the stories, even so.
  6. Doing a workshop on the ground in Cambodia (on the next trip) seems a great idea, if I can pull it off. Consider giving everyone the same camera to go out and shoot with, so any imagery is consistent for later use in the project.
  7. Cemre found my CRJ helpful – easy to navigate and (in her view) well written. It did allow her to start to get insights into my thinking and work – and my challenges for the future.
  8. Can I collect found images, memorabilia while I am away from Cambodia? Could I get Cambodian help?
  9. We discussed my archive work – in particular finding the ‘two huts’, which I had forgotten and which cannot exist today. Can my archive help tell the stories, and not just serve as a source for rephotography?
  10. Cemre suggested I look at the Cosmos Arles PDF Competition, for both general inspiration and ideas on using new forms of publication for my project.
  11. In particular, Cemre pointed out Agustin Zuluaga-Olartre‘s powerful PDF. Thought provoking website, too.

I did feel that there was lots of constructive ‘food for thought’ today – ideas, and starting to lift away the fog.

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Rancière, Jacques. 1987. (Trans. K. Ross, 1991). The Ignorant Schoolmaster: Five Lessons in Intellectual Emancipation. Stanford; Stanford University Press