Thursday, 24 February 2011

Discussion Group

(My Words, Other People’s words)

Works shown

Pavel Buchler’s Mission Statement 

Simon Morris' The Royal Road to the Unconscoious 

Kenneth Goldsmith reading a passage from Soliloquy. In ‘Sucking on Words’  


(In relation to Pavel Buchler’s Mission statement) what was it for? Is it something that he did before a project?
 I don’t know. I just came across it. One day when I was researching Pavel Buchler and I thought it was interesting and quite unusual visually. I’m not sure what his intentions were.

Who is he? 
He’s an artist. He won the Northern Art Prize last year.

Pavel Buchler ‘You Don’t Love Me’ 2007

That’s just a few of the people I have looked at in my research. 

Do you think that?… when you know you’re being recorded you’re a bit different to usual?
I asked him that actually. I contacted him with some questions a couple of months ago and I asked him if he was aware of the recorder and if it affected the results. He said he just got used to it after a while and he didn’t think about it. He said he went on with his day to day life and recorded himself in his every day existence.
So did he record himself having sex with someone? Is that what was on the clip?
 It was an argument with his partner.
 She didn’t want to be on the tape, but his response was “You’re on the tape now, it’s too late ha ha”
For my final dissertation submission, I am planning to write a book that reflects on my research and experiences over the last year. Sort of like a journal mixed with zine like qualities, which I aim to bind myself.

Kenneth Goldsmith is one of the people that you really sort of look at in your work quite intently. Are there any bits of his work that you kind of thought just haven’t worked or that have made you decide to do something similar.  Like the way you have based the layout of your books around his book Soliloquy. Is there anything you’ve done that you’ve not been quite satisfied with or anything that didn’t quite work?
I think the main issue I had when I first looked at Kenneth’s work is that I really liked it and at first I was like “right, I’m gonna try this and that”, but then I realised that I don’t want really want to imitate other artists. Other people do that and it can be quite successful. It’s often done as a homage to a previous work. I really wanted to use my own processes on their work. I thought I would take it a step further and after that every idea that came into my head, I’ve tried to make a book from. I’ve got really addicted to it. But I think that, although I wouldn’t go back to transcribing those sorts of things or imitating others. It was important because it led to everything I did after.

Do you think it has something to do with the role that the artist plays in these pieces and the role that the audience plays? That piece for example (clip of Soliloquy reading). It was a very different experience him doing that and him transcribing his work and like you say when you read it through it sparks off imagining what the other people were saying. You as an artist, do you prefer being on the artist’s side or the audience side, now that you’ve done both?
I’d like to say that I can be both, because I don’t generally do readings of my own books. I tend to get other people to do it because I want to be able to be artist and audience at the same time . Plus it’s a part of the participation of the work and I get to experience that. His books are not his words and my books are not mine. It’s something that has been spoken or written somewhere else, then put into a book and spoken aloud again. I don’t know whether he gets other people to read his books aloud. I should find out.

Can I see your books?
Yeah, they’re here on display. Look at whatever you like.
Those who came to my presentation two weeks ago. What did you think of the work? Not in the sense of if it was good or bad. I just want to know any thoughts that you had.

Can you go through the work you showed again?
I passed my books around the group to look at and discuss.

Have you got people to read your Morse code books aloud? Like dot – dash – dash- dot – dot etc?
That would be very interesting. I’ve not done that yet. I’ve played them though a computer. When you translate text into Morse code using a computer programme. It does take a while. It’s not a quick process, but it’s quite enjoyable. Once I get into it, I don’t want to stop and go and do something else. I’m a bit of a geek you see. It’s quite nice to go through little endurance tests. I enjoy just sitting and going through the motions and enjoying the process of making.

Where would you put your work? Do you see it in a gallery or do you only want it for this kind of format; for presentations and discussions? Where would you have it?
 For the degree show, I would have it so my books were presented like books, as in on shelves. And I would have maybe a couple of them presented with other media. One of the works I am planning to show is ‘Pulp Fiction? Pulp Fiction.’ For which I would have my two books (Pulp Fiction? And Pulp Fiction.) displayed along with mp3 players with readings of the books on. I want it to be that you can read and listen to both pieces. People may not know or pick up on what the relationship is between them, but they can engage with it either way.

You could maybe leave your works in book shops and see if people will take them.
I suppose that would be a way of distributing them. I’m thinking by the time I graduate, I would like to continue producing books and distributing them in different ways.

I don’t think they seem like nice little objects you would want to leave around for people to find. They seem like research type objects. So maybe they would be better in this sort of context.
At the minute, I’m just making them for people who ask for them. My film books, which are a little more accessible are quite popular. I think these are books I would more than likely distribute. They’re more entertaining and more mainstream. It’s a bad word, but it makes sense. My ‘Arnie’ book is very popular. I’ve given away and sold 6 or 7.

If they are popular sell them.
I don’t want to do that though. I want to spread my work around, but I don’t want to make money. Not from these anyway.

You are going to hate me for asking this, but why have you looked at Tarantino?
Well because I love him and because when I first started doing this sort of work, I wanted to transcribe a celebrity talking and he is a person who I associate with talking really fast and using lots of filler words and hesitation. So I went for him, because watching Tarantino speak is quite an experience because he talks so fast and is so animated. After that I couldn’t stop. After I did that, I decided to do the same to all if his movies.

Theres a person you may want to look at called Graham Rawle. I don’t know if you’ve heard of ‘Woman’s World’. It’s a graphic novel and he cut up 1960s magazines and made an entire novel. It’s a very big book. Theres a copy in the library. He’s literally taking that language and putting it into a setting which is of that era. It’s quite interesting.

What is the Spider Man book from?
Basically I transcribed all the dialogue from a Spider Man comic and made this book from it. All the text is a similar layout to the original comic book. Not the exact layout obviously, because the book is smaller than the original comic, but it’s all in a similar position as on the pages of the original comic.
Why have you decided to use different font characteristics like bold words and words with all capital letters etc?
 I didn’t want it to be exactly the same. I’ve used Garamond throughout but I wanted to keep some of the original elements such as the words in bold and words in all capitals, which are supposed to represent them being shouted by the character.

The others are so uniform, but with that one (Spider Man) it’s different. Surely in your ‘Pulp Fiction?’ book, the way people say different questions would come through in the text.
It’s because ‘Pulp Fiction?’ is produced from a script, which is designed to be used in a live action film. But with a comic book, you do have to rely on how things are written. It’s fairly different. I guess I just wanted to keep a little of the comic book’s charm, while also taking it away, by giving it a much more uniform appearance.
Why did you change the size?
I didn’t want to do it A4. I prefer making pocket sized books. A5 is the biggest I would go to and because it fits in with my other books, it’s like a little collection.

There’s something like really delicate about handmade books and they just seem so… You said you transcribed 24 hours of news. The fact that it’s now in this little book kind of makes it easily accessible.
So what shifted you from doing all ums and ahs to doing all the questions from Pulp Fiction?
I think it’s basically that I didn’t want to carry on doing the ums and ahs. I didn’t want that to be it. I wanted it – I just basically thought about all the things I associate with different films and different texts.
I then showed the group a sound clip of ‘The Trance’ by Fiona Banner.
As soon as I heard it, I realised that she had chosen these films because action films… they are very visual and it made me think about why I love Pulp Fiction so much and why people like Arnold Schwarzenegger. They like him for his one liners and I like Pulp Fiction for the dialogue, in particular the questions. I’ve decided to make another book C**ino using star symbols because of all the vulgar language used in it. I really wanted to know how many questions there are in Pulp Fiction and what they would look like on their own.

You could even do the same sort of thing with nouns or verbs or place names or weather.
Well that is one of the things that Kenneth Goldsmith did.  He took a year’s worth of weather reports and produced a book from them. But yeah, I’ve come across a lot of artists that do this sort of thing, where they transcribe things and they extract things that they like out of different texts and films and conversations and I enjoy it too. I guess I’m doing it in a different way.

I kind of like it because it’s a weird taxonomy. It’s like some sort of sado-science in a way.

The only thing is, it’s really addictive. Once you start doing them. You just think “I want to know what that looks like” and then you just go and do it, but unfortunately I have lots of other things I’ve got to do. Like, I’ve decided to do my final submission for practice on context in context as. I want to have the book, but also to read it aloud. I also want a CD of it, so I can put all the works I’ve referenced on it as well.

Have you thought about? You know the way you’ve done the Spider Man book? The movie books are about copying movies, copying TV and breaking them down. Have you thought doing  it to books? By taking books and taking all the ums and ahs out and taking the other words out?
There was a book a bit like that at the exhibition (Perverse Library exhibition, Shandy Hall), that just had the punctuation.
Oh yes, I can’t remember who it was by. There’s a woman called Elisabeth Clarke that does that sort of thing.
 Is she the woman who came to do the workshop?
Yeah, it is. She’s in Paris at the moment, so I can’t go and interview her, but I’m going to send her some questions at some point.
I think at the beginning I was thinking of everything being small and quick projects, but I would like to start doing larger texts. I think it’s partly the fact that I wanted to have lots on the go at once because I’ve got a short attention span.

What if you like picked a word and then like if you were doing a movie or whatever you could see how many times they repeated it like ‘cause these people work a lot with like words and text and sound so maybe instead of the ums and ahs maybe you could just pick a word.
There was an artist that did that and I can’t remember her name. Candice Breitz, maybe. I’m sure it is. I would show you some stuff but I can’t remember if that is the artist I’m thinking of. She got lots of footage of people doing the same thing like slamming phones down etc. And lots of clips of the same actor doing the same thing and saying the same thing and made multi-screen works. If you looked at them online you could put your mouse over the screens and it would show you the different clips of them doing the same things in different movies. She had obviously looked for that certain thing. I was thinking about editing the movie Pulp Fiction and having all the ums and ahs or just the different questions, but I’ve edited movie footage before, so that’s going to be one of those future ventures that will take a lot longer. I’d like to look more into video, but I don’t think I’m quite ready yet.

You could do something that was like ridiculously torturous like go see every film on screen 10 at the cinema in Leeds and transcribe something from those, but you would have no choice as to what the films were so you might end up seeing the same movies over and over again.
I like that. I like leaving things to chance.
You could just be like “what’s on screen 10 today?” and book yourself in for the whole day.
I sort of like the way you bring attention to what exists. For example, there an extremely large number of questions in Pulp Fiction and we’ve all seen it but I’ve never really noticed that before. So I like the way you’re not just doing arbitrary things like not necessarily just the ums and ahs or punctuation but actually sort of doing something that draws attention to what is actually there. You’re not making something up. That’s kind of interesting.
I think I like this process because it’s leaving things to chance. I much prefer that because when you’re not thinking of… When you’re not consciously thinking about something it tends to work to work better. Things tend to work better like from chance. It’s a pain, but for this it works.

Imagine if you were able to find other films and TV shows or whatever and you’ve happened to notice some sort of peculiarity and then you could take that down. That would be kind of nice. For me, that’s my favourite, Pulp Fiction.
I would definitely like to do more things like that. I think I’ve reached the limit of transcribing filler words. I think I enjoyed doing it, but I definitely prefer doing this sort of thing, because I suddenly realised I could be doing stuff that I enjoy. Not that that wasn’t enjoyable but I thought I could really go somewhere with this. “I can watch Pulp Fiction and see how many questions there are, that would be really cool” and then my brain kind of exploded with ideas so now I have another three books on the go that are all half done. I can’t stop starting books. I can’t even finish them now.

Are you doing the answers (of Pulp Fiction) in a book as well?
Yes, it’s printed and I just need to bind it now. Me and Sarah are doing our performance on the 24th of ‘Pulp Fiction? Pulp Fiction.’ We’ve gone through it once and it works quite well. The questions don’t quite fit together with the answers, but that’s actually quite good.
I have another three A5 books that I’m gonna make in the next few weeks and they’re all going to be in A5 boxes.

Are you going to approach some galleries and maybe show them?
I don’t know. I’d love to but I’m not feeling that confident at the moment. The last time I tried to put my work in a gallery it got shot down so. That was a long time ago.
Sometimes it just depends on what it is.
The Wild Pansy Press space is sort of leaning towards artist’s book work.

Has Chris picked up on what you’re doing? Does he know about it?
Yeah I think so. I mean I don’t think that… they’re O.K but they’re not very professional though. It’s not like I’ve done a big novel or anything.
Well why do they have to be bound professionally? They seem like they kind of fit into a handmade…they’re artist’s books.
The worst people can say is no.
You’re right. I’m trying to be bold. This is my bold year.
How about the International Book Fair?
The school has a stand.
Are we going to be doing a stall for the degree show at all? Was that one of the ideas?
The Book Fair isn’t a fundraiser thin. It’s more like a thing to present your work.
People can sell work.
 Last year there were people selling things and putting the money to the degree show.
You could choose whether you want to put your profit towards the degree show. I wouldn’t mind.
I think you should approach Wild Pansy Press and try and set a space at the Book Fair.
Have you spoken to Aymee Smith? She does a lot of this sort of work. You need to talk to her.
As soon as she said she was writing her MA dissertation or her next essay on the best way to read Alice in Wonderland I was like “wow, that’s amazing”.

There’s a woman who is doing a project about the typewriter. She’s making a series of books on words and text and the typewriter. I can forward the information to you. It’s like a project. The submission date is the 21st of February.
Thank you that would be great.

I’m going to turn the recorder off now.

Thank you all for coming.

Presentation Comment Cards

It was very well presented, and an amazing body of work to back it up.
Things to think:
Try to push for a more Q&A
Maybe look at making things more universal.

I love how your books are investigations into speech, extracting parts and experimenting with it, using text. Seems like there’s so much scope for more experimentation. I really like the idea of you doing the voice recordings of pages from your books. Seems like there’s quite a lot of things you could play around with there. Interesting to hear the tones of different people’s voices when reading the same text. 

Awesome! Really enjoyed the sound piece made entirely of filler sounds. More of these!

To Mary. I think you have a really original idea that not only accents your attention to detail with each piece and your self-recognised transition into a book maker! I still feel like you have a distance to come but it is going to be a natural progression so don’t rush J. I would love to watch your journey unfold so book another presentation in the not so long please. Maybe play a recording backwards and experiment with the reverse of the words.

Watches many films. Make clear what you want from your audience. Interesting ideas but why prints for Morse code? Why not holes in page? Consider font type, format, colour of paper (nice but slightly not dyed) Keep it up!

I think the way you present your practice is completely integral to its context and therefore very successful. On a more personal note, I love the anticipation of not quite knowing what you’re going to get us to do! 

I’m so surprised by how many questions there are in Pulp Fiction! I find the system- making, de-coding, re-coding and translating really interesting. I have learnt something new about Morse code. I think that keys to the codes and systems and systems in play would be useful for the viewer – it’s not always immediately obvious what they are.

Post Presentation Discussion

"I really admire your patients and that it’s not necessarily what you enjoy but it’s necessary. For instance, the welfare…maybe not welfare. It’s a bit like “if no one else is going to do, someone’s got to do it”. I like the idea that you’ve done Pulp Fiction. I actually quite like Pulp Fiction"

"I like how you’re sort of giving yourself… You’re thinking before and then going and extracting certain bits from certain things, then altering them"

"I love your books, but I feel there’s somewhere you’re destined to go with this. Like, do something bigger, maybe make films and stuff"

"You know how you’re interested in filler word? Well we are in England and we are English. Could you maybe listen to French news? They use lots of ums and filler words. Even though the languages are different, the filler words are almost universal.
Actually they say ‘ber’ instead of er in France as a common filler word"

"There's a TV show called ‘Ooglies’ on CBBC and it’s amazing. It’s like animated kitchen utensils and the noises they make are universal and anyone can understand it. They have their own personalities. There are no words just noises. But the noises are linked with their nationalities; sort of like stereotypes"

"You could maybe make your Pulp Fiction book into a film montage and maybe put together the film clips of all the questions, but if you want to stick to books, perhaps not"

"You know what strikes me? Just how many questions there are in Pulp Fiction. I didn’t realise there were so many.
As you have done a Pulp Fiction question book, which is full of questions, you should find a film with lots of answers and make a book from them, so the books can talk to each other"

"I was recommended to look at the Simon Morris piece, The Royal road to the Unconscious and to maybe think about distributing my work in a different way, along the lines of a project like that, though perhaps not so extreme"

"You should maybe get people to speak with no guidance and hook them up to an electric shocker and shock them when they use a filler word"

"Perhaps make a device to help people not do it, like speech therapy"

"A couple of people read sections of the books to see how it sounded and felt to read aloud"

"I really liked it I came in and I was like “f***ing hell it’s like a little conference in here. You should definitely do it in like a month or so. I know it’s a lot of work"

"They will always come if you put on tea, that’s the sad reality"

"It seems like you could film this sort of thing and show it as a work in itself"

"You sort of need to shepherd people a bit and perhaps be a bit more instructive. You need to be a bit more bossy to get people to do things, otherwise they won’t. You could get someone to give them instructions. You could have a public relations coordinator"

"You could ask the audience questions to get things moving"

"I love how when you read it aloud (Pulp Fiction), everything that I’ve been taught about punctuation and grammar has just been chucked down the drain"

"It would be interesting to see what everyone sounded like at once. Say if you could put them all together. The pages could be read by different people and play back at once. I wonder if certain words would be heard over others"

"When you read through it (Spider Man) you can still picture it. It’s Spider Man so you can imagine what the illustrations would kind of look like"

Presentation of my work

I recently held a presentation of my work to a group of fellow art students. I wanted the event to be an informative experience to generate ideas and gain further insight into my work and research, within an informal relaxed environment. The whole event was supposed to resemble a living blog; the 20 minute presentation being a sort of live blog post and everything that came after would act as running commentary, similar to the written comments left on blog pages. The presentation was followed by discussion and people also left written comments. During the presentation, I presented my collection of books and sound works that I have produced over the last year. A lot of this material is features in earlier blog posts, so if you are interested, please look at older posts of this blog.

Around 15 students attended the presentation and it was a fairly successful event. It was an enjoyable experience and I received positive feedback from all of the participants. However, I feel that some of my expectations were not met and I learned some powerful lessons. Some people left the straight after the presentation, either due to other commitments or a misunderstanding of the invitation, which was ultimately a fault of my own. Others stayed and participated in post presentation discussion, which was a very useful experience for me as an artist and an events organiser.

After the event, I decided to hold a discussion group about my research and practice. I thought this would be a better way to get feedback from others and create discussion about relevant artists and subjects.
This post will be followed by the results of my presentation and discussion group, including transcriptions of conversation and snippets of written commentary.

Monday, 21 February 2011

Visitor Interviews

Visitor Interview One

Visitor Interview Two

Visitor Interview Three

Visitor Interview Four

Staff Interviews

Staff interview One

Staff Interview Two

Staff Interview Three

Staff Interview Four

Staff Interview Five

Staff Product Meeting

Product Meeting

The Ministry of Making

The first group project I took part in was a performative piece titled the Ministry of Making which involved a group of art students, posing as a fictional production company in a makeshift office space. The project spread over the period of one week and replicated genuine office hours. Great emphasis was put on efficiency and playing the part rather than producing anything. The project began as the attempt to produce art in a production line type environment, and evolved into an act of bogus efficiency. The project was documented through film footage, sound recordings, photographs and the objects produced and used throughout the week. The documentation was presented in the form of a small scale exhibition in the foyer of the Old Mining Building. I took the opportunity to document my experiences of the event in a way that fit my practice. I recorded the ‘initial product meeting’ and held interviews with visitors and other staff members.

recorded staff meetings and held interviews with both staff members and visitors. Although my official title was Minister of Finance, I helped in other departments such as the Department of Human Relations and the department of Cutting, Folding and Sticking, working briefly as a cutter. I am unsure of the company’s situation since my placement.

Here are some group portraits that were taken during the project.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Um...Will Interview

I edited the footage of an interview that I did last year, to create a sound piece. I extracted all of filler words of interviewer and interviewee squashed together to create one track.

Um...Will Interview

Lucy Song

I made a recording of someone speaking without guidance (approx. 3 minute long) and edited the track, extracting the filler onto a separate track, keeping them in the same position within it. I did not want to leave the gaps blank or use white noise, and the track was about the length of an average commercial music track, so I decided to fill the gaps with music. The filler words become like the lyrics, the most important part and everything else is trimmed off and replaces with something else to fill in the gaps.

Lucy Song