251 MC – Research

I began my research by looking in to the idea of nesting and decorating and why we do it. I found multiple articles about home decorating and why people do it. One article that I looked at from the Globe and Mail website was titled ‘Obsessed with home decor? You may have self-image problems’ Throughout this article we are introduced to a woman called Brandon who says she is a decor addict. One quote in this article stuck out to me, ‘For women like Brandon, the home is an extension of the self. Like body image, it has become a measuring stick for their successes and failings – and a full-blown obsession for North American women.’ This interested me because it links in with what I want to show in my work that the rooms we inhabit and the way we decorate them is personal to us but is for show so other people see what we want them to see. This continues on with the ideas that people will inject parts of their personality in to the rooms they live in and will alter the environment to make it a space they want to spend time in and are proud to be in and show off to other people.

I then found the website of Toby Yull, she works in interior design and in one of her google articles says ‘I’ve come to feel that decorating our homes is first of all an act of creation, and an important one. It’s our attempt to bring a sense of order to our lives in the midst of the obvious chaos of the world; our little effort to tame at least that part of the picture over which we do have control.’ This again links in to my ideas about decorating and filling our homes with what we want to show to other people and with things that mean things to us and that are an extension of our personalities.

There are many books, websites and articles that teach people to decorate in certain ways whether this is cost effective and family friendly or entirely to show off. One example of this is ‘A Beautiful Mess Happy Handmade Home.‘ By Elsie Larson and Emma Chapman. This book has ideas, price lists and step by step instructions to make things for your home and to give hints and tips of what to do in the home to make it cosy and presentable to others. This book is very much showing the perfect ideals of life and what everyone wishes their home could be like, but this is not the case in a busy family home. One book that does talk about decorating in a busy home is The Nesting Place: It Doesn’t Have To Be perfect To Be Beautiful by Myquillyn Smith. In this book she talks about how to decorate for real people who have busy lives but still want to make their home presentable and accepted.

Another book I looked at is To Each His Home: Inspired Interiors As Unique As Their Owners by photographer Bilyana Dimitrova. When writing about this book she says that ‘Most of us would agree that, for better or worse, our houses speak for us. They are like a second face we present to the world. But when does a house become your home? It is the moment your house begins speaking to you–in an ongoing conversation propelled by the acquiring, arranging, and rearranging of objects to express your personality in the spaces that you inhabit’ This book shows photographs of the peoples houses and environments and the way they have altered them and made them their own. These are accompanied by an interview that she does with the home owner about the way they have decorated. This is something that I am thinking of doing to accompany my work as I feel then the audience can make their own decisions but also have the actual reasons why accompanying the image as well.

Another photographer that I looked at was Rebecca Gallagher and the project Personal Objects. She explains this project as follows ‘Personal Objects is a photo series, produced as a book, showing young adults with their most important objects. Next to each photograph is a handwritten note by them, giving some more detail about the object. The handwriting is not always legible which just adds to the personal touch of the project.’ Here are some examples of her work.

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This is one way that I could view my project by getting people to decide what they want me to photograph and then say why, but I think it will be more interesting to take photographs of a variety of things in the home and then let the audience judge the people and what they are including in their homes. Therefor linking back to the articles that I have read and showing the way that people are now judged by the appearance of their homes as well as their personal appearance.

The next photographer I looked at was  and the project Mother 2010-2012. This is a project based around memory and loss and nostalgia. These photos are all taken after her mothers death and show her personal objects. These are only some of her objects so Ruibal has decided what to include and what not to include. This project is in a way a therapy and is the process of letting go and moving on without someone you love. I would like to replicate the cleanness of these photographs and the way that they are focusing on one or two main objects in the frame and everything else blurs out and is unimportant.  Here are some examples of the work.

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The next work I looked at was by Camilla Catrambone the project is called Family Portraits. These again are focused around the objects not the people. This body of work aims to show the people, what they are like and what they own through the use of their objects, this gives us hints at their personality. From viewing this work I know I want to keep the objects in their environments and take hotogrpahs of them where they have been placed rather than rearrange them like in this work. Here are some examples of her work.

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From this research I have informed my decisions further and I know know what I want to do in more detail and that I want to choose what I photograph and I want to leave it in the setting that it has been placed in.


252 MC – The Power of the Network

Networks are used every day and we are all affected by them and are a part of different networks and systems. Even our bodies are made up of networks and systems that make us function in different ways.
Here are some examples of different networks and systems digital and natural.
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There are two main types of network in the digital world these are the random network and the scale free network. Random networks are less common and more unstable and scale free networks are more common and spread more quickly than the random networks.
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Power law distribution and clustering coefficient distribution are used to characterise scale free networks. Scale free networks can also be called small world networks as they reflect the larger world they are part of. 
Is it a coincidence that the computer systems/networks are similar to natural systems/networks?
Technology is advancing more and more to make the digital networks more similar to the natural networks, for example the brain. Are these interactive technologies just one step away from having arm and legs and being life like in more ways than just the networks being like human brains. Due to the internet becoming so advanced does this make us want to be involved and enticed in to it even more than if it is less advanced. 
At the end of this lecture we were told to look at this video that explores networks further. This was particularly helpful as it enabled me to understand networks and the idea of how they work further.

251 MC – Photograph Ideas

I had two initial ideas for this module which were influenced by different lectures and the material that we had looked at. The first was to do a project based on my Grandad an how he is degenerating and is becoming visible older, also to see if there was a different side to him that I hadn’t seen before because he is a very jolly and uplifting man and I wanted to know if there was another side that we don’t see of him. This mainly has links to the relationships lecture and partly to the conversations lecture.

My second idea was to photograph peoples environments mainly focusing on their bedrooms. I would explore the little details of how they had made it an individual and comforting environment for them. This would show different peoples personalities that are displayed through their spaces/bedrooms with out showing the actual person. 

I am leaning more towards the second idea because I feel that it is more achievable in the amount of time that I have for this project. I also think that it is really interesting the ways in which people will decorate their homes and their own personal spaces differently and how a bedroom is a safe and private place that not many people will see other than the people that live in the house. For this I am thinking of going to someones house where they have just moved in and exploring what they put in the house first and last and what things they have chosen to bring with them or leave at the parents house or in storage somewhere else. I have two friends who have just moved out of home so I will photograph their new house and the smaller details showing the things that they have chosen to bring with them.

251 MC – Body; Forms, Functions & Interactions & Task 4

Photography wasn’t considered art and was only used by artist where they would have a photograph to paint from because it would be too expensive and time consuming to have a model sitting for them. Then photography became art and people like Bill Brandt photographed nudes and this helped to make it become more acceptable. An example of this is the below photograph by Bill Brandt.
Naked is described by Jonathan Jones as ‘someone with no clothes on’. But naked can also be linked to being vulnerable and exposed. Where as nude is more of an arty term and is more flattering and not really vulgar like naked can seem to be.
We looked at the work of Thomas Ruff who uses stills from porn and puts motion blur on them so some are hard to tell what they are of. This makes us ask if it is still porn or if it is artistic and if it would be classed as naked or nude. Then we think of shows like embarrassing bodies which make it more scientific. But can they still be seen as pornographic. Here are some examples.
We also looked at the work of Sally Mann in particular the project Proud Flesh. For this project she works with her husband who has muscular dystrophy and shows the deterioration of his body by using wet plate photography. Here are some examples.
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Hannah Wilke was the next artist we looked at she worked with her mother who was diagnosed with breast cancer and then she was diagnosed as well. This work is created in diptychs one photograph of each of them. Here are some examples.
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We then looked in to John Coplans. He poses nude and gets his interns to photograph him. He poses in a way that is similar to how women are posed and is trying to make it more normal for people to see men in the same way as women are displayed. He says that the male body is slightly taboo but the old male body is very taboo and is not shown often. Here are some examples of his work.
Self-Portrait (Hands Spread on Knees) 1985 by John Coplans 1920-2003 Self-Portrait (Frieze No. 2, Four Panels) 1994 by John Coplans 1920-2003
We also looked at Katherine Wolkoff and her work deer beds. These photographs show the beds that deers make to sleep in and protect their young. This interested me in particular because it was about the relationship the deer had with the environment and how they used the body to create somewhere safe for themselves and their young. Here are some of the photographs from this body of work.
This weeks task is as follows:
In this workshop task you are asked to photographically consider how you are corporeally connected and/or disconnected with the spaces you conduct your life in. You may wish to examine the structure of the body and how it is distorted to serve certain roles or you may think about the time and locations in which the body shapes the environments it has found itself occupying.
For this task I wanted to focus on the change that had taken place in my room and how I have moulded and shaped that environment to be able to make it cosy and my own. For this task I did a comparison of then and now but if I was to explore this again then I might look more in to the finer details of how I have changed my room to reflect parts of myself. Here are my photographs.

252 MC – Here Comes Everybody

We were told that the title of this lecture came from the title of a book by Clay Shirky. In this book the main point he was making was that now is the time when everyone can have their say because of the  internet and various interactive digital media platforms that exist in the modern day world we live in. He also notes that although great changes have taken place up till this point they happen more regularly now than they ever have before. After discussing this we then went on to look at Michael Wesch, he is a digital anthropologist who works at Kansas State University. His work is based on his concern with how the internet has bought media participation up and allowed it to become dominant. This links in to the idea of how the digital world has changed us and has made us more prone to interact via media platforms rather than with each other face to face, for example sitting round the table and playing a game. People think about this and think its a bad thing and that it should change but then never make the effort to change it and carry on living the same way.

There are many things that everyone gets involved in and that trend at different times. Some examples of this are the ice-bucket challenge and neck nomination. In some of these charity is added but others are just about participating and being part of something bigger than you and the world you are in.

We were presented with positives and negatives that are in the age of participatory digital media. Here they are

Participatory digital media – positive

  1. the internet/social media allows you to communicate directly with peers
  2. ideas can be shared/developed
  3. you can create a professional profile and brand your practice so that creating connections with communities of practice around the world is a click (or two) away
  4. you can receive feedback on your work even if you don’t have an established ‘name’
  5. creating and maintaining a profile is feasible and simple using dedicated sites
  6. you can create your own social networks using tools such as Ning

Participatory digital media – negative

  1. your ideas can be appropriated
  2. everyone can get online and ‘present’ themselves as professional
  3. Here comes everybody!

Companies are using and embracing new marketing techniques and opportunities that use interactive digital media devices. These companies are now advertising on the internet rather than on TV. One example of this is a recent Ikea advert.

Another example of this is the Old Spice adverts. This advert made sales increase by 168% after it was shown. This video was then recreated by people which in turn started to increase the brands identity even more. This was a failing brand but due to these adverts it has risen back up and become popular again. 

We also looked at crowd sourcing this is when you gain work, ideas and content for projects from a group of people that you may not know already. Normally this takes place online. These are ways for people to participate in projects in a different way than face to face and with different people to normal. One example of this is Eric Whiteacre’s virtual choir, where he sent out sheet music for the participants to sing and then chose the voices he wanted and linked them all together. 

Another example is the Johnny Cash Project which allows people to colour in and draw frames for a video of ‘Ain’t No Grave’. 

From this lecture I have thought about the ideas of everyone being involved through the use of interactive digital media and how it is constantly changing not only for us as artist but for everyone who wishes to be involved. This lecture has made me question what it is going to mean in future to everyone and whether we will have a choice to be included or whether we will be forced to be involved.

251 MC – Relationships; Fixed & Fluid & Task 3

The majority of this lecture was spent looking at the project Epilogue by Laia Abril. Here is a video telling the basic story of the book and a video of the book page by page.
‘This is the story of the Robinson family – and the aftermath suffered in losing their 26 year old daughter to bulimia. Working closely with the family Laia Abril reconstructs Cammy’s life telling her story through flashbacks – memories, testimonies, objects, letters, places and images. The Epilogue gives voice to the suffering of the family, the indirect victims of ‘eating disorders’, the unwilling eyewitnesses of a very painful degeneration. Laia Abril shows us the dilemmas and struggles confronted by many young girls; the problems families face in dealing with guilt and the grieving process; the frustration of close friends and the dark ghosts of this deadliest of illnesses; all blended together in the bittersweet act of remembering a loved one.’
Matt spoke to Laia via Skype about this project.
She speaks about including the family in the project and giving them time to make choices about what is okay to include but also there story they want to get across. This is because the subject matter is a very personal relationship and Laia began to build up a relationship with the family.
Laia says that the family gave her everything that she asked for – this shows the immense amount of trust between the family and Laia. This is amazing as she didn’t know the family or Cammy before the project so it was a challenge with the family and finding the right ways to display the relationships and the story. In the book there are also documents, letters and transcriptions of the interviews that took place throughout the project. These are linked to photos by Laia or the family and friends.
We then looked at the work of Larry Sultan who took photos with his mum and dad and then with just his dad. This is he says about this project ‘These are my parents.  From that simple fact, everything follows.  I realize that beyond the rolls of film and the few good pictures, the demands of my project and my confusion about its meaning, is the wish to take photography literally.  To stop time.  I want my parents to live forever.’ Here are some examples of this work.
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We also looked at Mike Broodie  and the project A Period of Juvenile Prosperity. This project is about people that jump on the freight trains in America. ‘At 17 Mike Brodie hopped his first train close to his home in Pensacola, FL thinking he would visit a friend in Mobile, AL. Instead the train went in the opposite direction to Jacksonville, FL. Days later, Brodie rode the same train home, arriving back where he started. Nonetheless, it sparked something and Brodie began to wander across the U.S. by any means that were free – walking, hitchhiking and train hopping’ Here are some examples
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Here is this weeks task:

22/01/2015: Relationships; fixed and fluid

Relationships are titled (Mother, Father, Niece, Friend, Lover, Hometown, Prey,) but these categories tell us so little about the intricacies and nuances of relationships we have and hold that are constantly in flux…

In this workshop task you are asked to represent a relationship through any appropriate visual or written medium. Focus not on the participants in the relationship but the space in-between which makes up the relationship – this may be a physical environment, it may be an emotional space or it may even be mediated through objects.

For this weeks task I wanted to focus on the physical spaces that I think of when I think about different people in my family. Here are my photos. The first is the space that I think of when I think of my brothers, it is the sofa in the front room.



The second is the place that I think of when I think of my dad, this is the chair that he always sits in when he is reading.





The third is the place that I think of when I think of my mum, it is the kitchen and the gingerbread recipe that we always use when we bake together.


The fourth is my room and my letters all from my boyfriend Matthew, this is because this is another way that we communicate with each other.



252 MC – Virtually Real, Really Virtual

During this lecture we discussed virtual reality and how and why it has been used. We discussed how the idea of virtual changes based on the time the person lives in for example some people thought this short motion picture by the Lumiéré brothers called Arrival of a Train made people leave the cinema because they thought that the train was going to come out of the screen and in to the audience. Whereas now this sounds ridiculous to us because we live in a world that virtual reality is a natural occurrence. 

Here are some examples of different artists that use virtual reality now.

This is a photographer called Liu Bolin and this work is from a series called The Invisible Man. For this work he paints himself to blend in with the environment he is in so it is difficult to see where he is in the photograph. This is like virtual reality but in the real world.

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Another example is Julian Beever who draws with chalk on pavements. This is an example of 3D art that makes the viewer question if it is real or fake and can confuse them until they look closer. This is similar to Liu Bolin but these are more obviously fake and more fun.

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This lecture made us all think more about what we wanted to do with our work and if we wanted to insert a virtual reality aspect in to it.