During this unit, I have made a couple of submissions to competitions and worked up one submission that I decided not to proceed with.
In July, for the National Open Art I submitted 2 of my long-exposure photos. I wasn’t successful and I think I didn’t deserve to be. I hadn’t worked up the images enough. That prompted me to take the process more seriously and the images and the prints I have made are much better than those shown here.
In August, for the Aesthetica Art Prize I submitted these two photographs:
which are much better as images. I heard on 16 December that I have got through round one of the judging. There is a further round of judging to determine both the longlist, which means you get published in their Art Prize Anthology, and the shortlist of artists who are exhibited in the group show as well as published in the Anthology.
In October, I put together a proposal in response to a call for proposals from the UCL PsychoAnalysis Unit for work to be exhibited at the Freud Museum and on their website, on the subject of secrets. In the end I decided not to submit it, as the decision would be made on 24 October and the work was due to be delivered on 9 December. Given that what I proposed involved making a book, then making a film, then sealing the book in wax – which last time needed a lead in time of a month – and I was away for a week in November, I didn’t think it was realistic to get it done, or not without damage to my other work for the course. But the idea is one I would like to pursue.
This was the essence of the proposal:
Forgetting plays a crucial role in the formation of our personality, our memories and the narrative of ourselves. It is a necessity for us as individuals who would be unbearably burdened and distracted if we remembered everything. And it seems important for societies, enabling us to constitute ourselves as coherent groups with a continuous history.
And yet the evidence of the past remains. It is accessible if we wish it through analysis – psychological, historical or archaeological. The evidence may be fragmentary and include things seen but never spoken, or things heard but never brought to light. But the constructionist theory of memory suggests that all memories are in some way sets of fragments needing to be activated by the act of remembering and affected by the circumstances of the remembrance.
Such remembrance has a cost: we cannot be sure what we will uncover, how it will intersect with who we are now and whether it will provoke a new forgetting.
I propose to create a book that embodies a process of finding and losing fragments; which is silent, but which could be accessed at unknown cost.
The book would:
– be approximately A5 size, intimate and easily held in the hands
– contain drawings of apparently familiar childhood scenes, both original and digitally printed, and fragmentary text
– be bound by hand in a drumleaf structure which makes for easy opening of each page spread. This facilitates the next step.
Once complete, I would make a video of the pages being turned at a speed which does not allow full comprehension of the contents.
The book would then be wrapped in linen and sealed in wax. Thus the video would be the only means of ‘reading’ the book, but without full access to the contents, unless the seal on the book was broken but that would risk damaging the book.
In December, I submitted Legion, my large collage portrait to the Royal Society of Portrait Painters Annual Exhibition 2017. It’s a bit of a long shot, but they say they are interested in new models and perspectives as well as the classical. The long-list will be announced in late January.