FMP - Guest critique sessions with Stella Baraklianou

Very helpful session this week with Stella Baraklianou - the tutor on the previous modules.

I shared with Stella the website flow, exhibition layout and the text on “About project” section which I just begun writing. Thanks to the feedback I got rid of some confusing sentences and made it more concise.

The subject of selling works, limited editions and certificates of authenticity raised by other student was very helpful too. Stella shared with us her experience in regards to selling, editions and certificates. This stopped me from signing the works on the back, luckily I signed just a couple of them. I will create the certificate of authenticity template and print a few copies in case someone would be interested in buying some works.

There is still a lot to add to the “About project’ page on the website but apart from that it’s finished and it will be ready to launch soon.

I like the format of the Guest Critique sessions. It is one of the very little opportunities to meet other students and also keep in touch with tutors from the previous cohorts.

FMP - Final edit

The editing of images I produced during the last five months was I think the hardest part of this project. I should have started earlier to be able to create a few versions of the final body of work and select the one which I think works best. I simply did not have time for this. So I worked in the method of adding and removing until I felt it works. But at this point I lost the ability to see the ‘bigger picture”. It will be clear in some time when I’ll come back to this project with a clear head and will judge it not based on the whole process of production and the chain of thoughts, but on how and if it conveys what I intended and articulated in my statement.

Designing the exhibition layout was really helpful as I realised that some images even if attractive/interesting as a single pieces, did not worked well with others and I had to change completely the tactic. I think I finally got what it means to create a narrative within the body of work, even if the images are abstract, experimental and process-centric.

I realised also that to make the the images work together, some of them must be stronger and more aggressive with the form, and some quieter and interesting in a different way. All images in one body of work cannot “shout” with strong forms and striking compositions because then all of them loose prominence. There must be a sense of growing tension and then a relief, like in a musical composition. This is what is missing in my previous projects.

Designing the website in the form of a horizontal strip which can be moved to left or right was also helpful to see the flow. The website became my empty wall, which I in fact don’t have, and this is where the final selection of work was established.

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FMP - Scanning at Printspace in London

Encouraged by my tutor Wendy McMurdo, I checked the prices of the scanning services at Metro Imaging. I know I can expect the best quality for the scan of my luminograms from them and Wendy mentioned it may be expensive but the price was nowhere near I could afford. One scan of the 16”x12” luminogram would cost me £66.

I found much cheaper option at Printspace in London where I paid £ 28 for one hour of self-service. The scanner quality was great there but it was in a very bad condition. The glass was scratched in many places and I had to retouch the scanned images to be able to use them.

I’ll pay the required amount for Metro services in the feature.

FMP - Printing

Having the layout for the exhibition at Centrala gallery, I was finally able to define the types of prints and sizes. The gallery space limitations determined the type of the print for the central wall which is in fact a projections screen which will be used during the music event. Because I want to have there the strong visually scaled up luminograms of the glyphs (full stop, slash) I had to come up with the option to take the prints easily off the walls, and the most obvious choice was the print on fabric. I ordered samples and really liked the quality, texture and the fact that the image became a tactile object I can interact with, without the fear of destroying it as it is in case of the paper prints.

I decided to have one more print on fabric with the detailed luminogram of the source code. I will also have a medium size C-type prints on Fuji matt paper mounted to Foamex. The unique gelatin silver prints will be framed with the very slim, custom made (5mm) black aluminium frames. I saw similar ones in TPG on the Trish Murtha’s recent exhibition and I loved them. I looked for the similar ones. It took me quite a while but I found them eventually, probably not the same but similar and ordered the required 10”x8” and 16”x12” sizes.

The downside of framing with glass are the inevitable reflections. The non-reflective museum glass is too expensive unfortunately.

I ordered the test strip for the works I have never printed before to make sure they have, esspecially the large prints, the correct, hue, contrast and intensity on the selected Fuji matt paper. They will be printed by Printspace in London.

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FMP - Ian Cheng - Live Simulations

“Darwin said the greatest live simulation is nature herself, who incessantly tries and fails aloud, never stopping at perfection. But nature is often too fast, too slow, too big, too small for us. We need live simulation at scale with human spacetime, but unending in its variety and blind to our barometers of quality. A live simulation that we can feel, but does not give a fig for us.” (Ian Cheng

I just purchased the first Ian Cheng book: "Live simulations” and can’t wait to get it. I stumbled on his works couple of weeks ago on Instagram and I really love them. I used some algorithmic open source 3D shapes generators in my works and wrote about them in earlier posts but I never mentioned the aspect which is quite significant - the irresistible impression of their organic, sentient qualities. I have that eerie, irrational and piercing feeling that those forms are alive, in a different sense which can’t be compare to what we define as organic life but…it is very hard to articulate that really…Perhaps that book I ordered will be helpful in finding the right words to describe it. The Theo Jansen’s kinetic sculptures powered by wind (Strandbeests) makes me feel that too…

In his works Cheng let the situations/images happen in the algorithmic world. He can’t really predict the visually represented chain of computational events, he only let them be and observe what is then happening on the screen. And the beautiful, intriguing and powerful things happen... I am very much interested in the aspect of the involuntary forms and what Cheng does is a feast for someone finding the unintentional harmony of forms significant.

There is a great deal of chance and serendipity in my works and it is one of the interesting subjects which I will explore further in my practice. I learned to accept the involuntary forms and also provoke them. I am vigilant during the process of making works and happy to change direction/concept just because some unexpected but visually wonderful things take place. It is a very important change in my approach to the process of creation.


FMP - Statement

This is an eleventh version of the short statement I have been writing and rewriting during the last weeks. In these four paragraphs I’d like to encompass the essence of the project and I hope in this latest version I got it all concise and clear:

‘On dichotomies’ is a visual reflection on the omnipresent phenomenon of binary oppositions. It originates in the simple realisation that the nature of dichotomous pairs which I often understood as divisive and antagonistic, is in fact harmonious and complementary.

In this body of work, I revisit my perception of the seemingly conflicting entities and explore the balance and synergy that can exist between them. I focus in particular on dualities intrinsic to the photographic medium, which are in my works both the subject matter and the means of expressing it.

The images, created in the language of abstract forms and various experimental photographic techniques, tell a story about the coexistence of the analogue and digital, physical and virtual, organic and geometric, human and non-human, and many more dichotomous configurations which make up our contemporary world. 

It is a story that challenges what is real and exposes the relativity and fluidity of everything. A story that reveals the genius of chance and serendipity, and exposes the beauty of light manifesting its presence as pure blackness. It is also a tale of desire to see the unseen, and the joy from letting it be visible.

FMP - Christopher Wool, Roman Opalka, Idris Khan

During the recent 1:2:1, Wendy McMurdo suggested to take a look at works of Christopher Wool - a painter working with the motif of letters in his large format works.

Christopher Wool

According to Wikipedia “Wool is best known for his paintings of large, black, stenciled letters on white canvases” a radical and recognisable "word paintings" in which he refers to common phrases or quotes.

I like more his later works which are spectacular. He combines the static, define shapes of the printed letters with the dynamic, spontaneous, gesture lines. Some works dimensions exceed the human scale what brings the shapes of the letters closer to abstract forms than the symbols with recognisable semantic value. He works also with silkscreen and it think those are my favourite. He seems exploring the confrontation of the dynamic, emotional human calligraphy with the austere, machine-made typographic forms.

Other artists I know who explore visually the motif of writing/letter/code:

Roman Opalka

One of the most famous conceptual Polish painters. His works are fully dedicated to digits which he placed on the canvas in the same hypnotising manner for most of his life. In 1965 he begun the series “"1965 / 1 – ∞"” and painted the continuously growing numbers for the rest of his life. All paintings are the same size and have the same neutral background (with some brightness variations).

Idris Khan

I saw Khan’s works last year at Victoria Miro gallery in London. I thought about them and his other works quite often recently in context of my luminograms with source code. He exploits writing and letters in his monumental paintings and sculptures. The monochrome compositions built up with layers of sentences and words are very characteristic to his practice. Despite their coherent aesthetic qualities, the context and meaning in Khan’s works, in oppose to for example Opalka’s works mentioned above, is different in each project.

I like the poetic and contemplative character of his works. The layers of the lines of letters, words and sentences are a mysterious, abstract code.


FMP - Failures

I don’t know where to start really - there was a lot of failures…But are they really failures? Perhaps they are but it was necessary to let them happen to get where I am today so perhaps it is better to think about them as a byproducts of a journey. Very long and exciting journey with periods of extreme excitement and total despair. Five moths of looking for something unimaginable from the point of departure, which began to reveal itself slowly only month ago or so.

The biggest “failure” was to stick for too long to some methods which were not very promising or it was very unclear how they may be incorporated to the whole concept of the project. The most spectacular example is the wet transfer from the acetate sheet onto paper which I came across by accident and found very interesting conceptually and visually. I liked the way the printed photograph change the form when submerged in water and then pressed onto paper. The watercolour qualities of the photographic records printed onto the paper this way were really seducing and I spent weeks on trying to make it spectacular, beautiful, significant…But it was very tricky to make it work and the acceptable effects were consuming a lot of time, paper, ink and patience.

This image consist of two separate A4 images created using various techniquest (algorithmic shapes printed on the acetate sheet and wet transferred on the paper, the organic pattern as a result of pressing the paint, hand drawing). Those physical, unique images were then scanned, digitally merged and then placed as a background for the browser based algorithmic “shape generator' to capture the computational forms on top of the composition.

This image consist of two separate A4 images created using various techniquest (algorithmic shapes printed on the acetate sheet and wet transferred on the paper, the organic pattern as a result of pressing the paint, hand drawing). Those physical, unique images were then scanned, digitally merged and then placed as a background for the browser based algorithmic “shape generator' to capture the computational forms on top of the composition.

Planning photobook as one of the primary means of dissemination and in the end not making it is perhaps a bigger failure. I underestimated the effort involved in producing a printed publication. I don’t want it to look like a quick mockup printed with Blurb so its better to focus on the exhibition and make it right.

I didn’t manage to produce any moving images which I’d be happy with. I created a lot of screen recording videos based on the algorithmic animations. They’re very attractive visually but there isn’t enough thought and intention involved there…

FMP - Exhibition design

Finally got something I am quite happy with. I had to narrow down the selection and there are still some details to work out but I have the concept/vision so the rest should be rather straightforward now.

I shared the layouts with Wendy McMurdo, my tutor, and I was really glad to hear that the exhibition plans and the overall final direction of the project looks good. The idea to print some works on the fabric seems to be a good decision too.

Wendy suggested to look up Christopher Wool - a painter who deals with the text in his works. Also Jessica Eaton’s abstract photography.


FMP - Patchlabfestival

Interesting find on Instagram: Pachlab Festival

From their website:

“Patchlab Digital Art Festival is an annual event for art based on the latest technologies and new media. We are interested in the creative potential in machines, algorithms, programming and databases. We show works by recognized artists, but also by those from beyond the mainstream. We explore key phenomena in contemporary culture and art, including VR, augmented reality, artificial intelligence, hacking and digital identities.

Patchlab is exhibitions, performances and audiovisual concerts, films, workshops with artists and technology specialists, meetings and discussions.”

The virtual space and what is happening in art in context of the new technologies became really important to may practice. It won’t be manifested in the prominent way in the project I am developing now but it is a very important finding for my practice in the future.