REVIEW: Festiwal Konsteski

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Above are a few images from my personal performance and installation set up at Festiwal Kontesky, in Sokolowka. For my installation performance, I hung up images of the details of fish, exploring the hidden and overlooked beauty in the grotesque and mundane. This drew a connection between the sublimity of landscapes and mountains, and the mundane i.e. fish, due to both physical similarities and the idea of the body as a landscape.


Nature Bulbs


Originally, I found these bulbs and thought they would be interesting to use as scientific tubes; a way of putting nature fragments inside and observing them. However, I quite like them just as light bulbs. There is a contrast between the idea of the electric bulb and the natural fragments. The way in which the nature is lit up is also a means by which to observe in a better way. I was told that this would be interesting isolated inside a room.

it could be interesting as part of my clay installation; isolated from the clay garden as though the true elements of nature which remain are being preserved; looked at through a glass as a means of observation the rarity.

the wellcome gallery, How We See Animals, could be an interesting reference point for this as the way in which animals were presented was very clinical/ scientific; there for presentation.

The idea of the zoo/ animals being placed inside a specifically designed container to be observed.

Final Assessment


I wanted to lay my work out in an ordered and purposeful way, bordering clinical. It walks the line between urban and natural, coalescing the two. This is following my aim to create an experiment which exlores the purposeful and selective placement of nature in urban environements such as london.

I like the contrast between the fish and the urban layers. This is something I had been interested in for a while but hadn’t much tested out the placement of.

The slightly painted bricks follow the idea of the natural material clay, which is the most abundant material on the earth, being turned into something unnatural i.e. buildings, and doing so with a layer of paint covering the natural texture. With these bricks, you can see the first layer of paint and also the colours and textures of the clay behind it, bearing an interesting contrast between natural and urban.

There are other contrasts aswell such as the black plastic slip wrapped around the leaves, the nails and the pot of grass, the tape against the plants, the lightbulb and the grass/onions.

I am quite happy with the layout (which was quite spontaneous). I realise that a good way of working sometimes is constantly experimenting and then seeing what happens when it is all pulled together.

My next experiment will be forming concrete casts of the natural elements and creating an installation.

Frankinstein Quotes

I have pulled up a few quotes from the book I am reading, Frankinstein. I was recommended this book because of its apparent relation to the sublime, but it has created in  me an interest in the idea of combining scientific research (interesting to consider what constitutes as scientific research) and art; the idea of using objects of nature as a means to carry out scientific research.

“i collected the instruments of life around me so that i might infuse a spark of being into the lifeless thing that lay at my feet” – Victor Frankinstein. – trying to infuse life to make up for his lack of humanity? interesting relation to the placement of plants in london; creating life to cover up the lack thereof; the complete lack of necessary supplements to thrive healthily in the city. Victor’s urge to create life is natural but not through this way; does he have sexual issues? socially inept?

Scientific research definitionScientific research is the systematic investigation of scientific theories and hypotheses. … Scientists use the scientific method, a process that helps construct an accurate depiction of our universe and its processes, in order to answer whatever questions they may have.

Science definition: the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behaviour of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment.

a systematically organized body of knowledge on a particular subject.

systematized knowledge in general.
knowledge, as of facts or principles; knowledge gained by systematicstudy.
a particular branch of knowledge.
skill, especially reflecting a precise application of facts or principles;proficiency.
Should I come up with a theory and create a body of research to explore this theory? Does the systematic placement of nature in urban environments constitute for its lack of life? (quick point: i don’t actually hate the city.)
The book frankinstein highlights the idea that the quest for knowledge has its limits.
“I collected the instruments of life around me, that I might infuse a spark of being into the lifeless thing that lay at my feet. (..) my candle was nearly burnt out.” – candle nearly being burnt out relating to his life/soul; candle represents fragility of life. the phrase ‘instruments of life’ is interesting; a very clinical way to talk about life.
define instrument: a tool or implement, especially one for precision work.
the idea of life as relating to a thing of precision is not particularly natural. yet the similarity of this scene to a surgeon is quite interesting, begging questions about the clinical and unnatural nature of surgical experiments; opening up a human body and slicing/ placing alien objects inside.
define life: the condition that distinguishes animals and plants from inorganic matter, including the capacity for growth, reproduction, functional activity, and continual change preceding death.
despite the difference between the inorganic instruments that can create or sustain life, and life itself, there is a functioning and unnatural relationship between these two things. life and instruments work together, there is rarely one without the other nowadays.
the necessity of cold, hard science for life. the importance of the clinical, logical, exploration for knowledge and black and white, emotionless facts, for the sustainability of life, emotions, colourful experience, love, friendship.
we rely on science and these cold hard instruments for life.
“slip reluctantly into the land of the living”
this definition of the space of life is rather appealing; the use of alliteration perhaps and the connotations of the word ‘land’ as a space of homeliness, expanses of field, and its general positive use, puts the idea of life into a positive light.
define land: the part of the earth’s surface that is not covered by water.
this puts the clinical nature of scientific research and life in two different realms.
human desire to create combined with the desire to reproduce; this happens i.e. in cloning. there is a similarity between the act of cloning and in frankinsteins creation.
victor is disgusted by the creature he has created; self loathing, as this is his creation and perhaps reflects himself. perhaps he loathes the creature because this creature is morally good; perhaps he is envious. perhaps his creating of another being reflects his attempts to restart.
this relates to my interest in the clinical nature of science compared with the unpredictable nature of nature. plants are alive just like animals (and humans, not that these are two different things). they communicate with eachother, just like living and breathing animals.
Frankinstein’s creation’s skin is ‘growing on frames’; taking the idea of a skeleton as a frame literally.
the “larynx” is a hollow muscular organ forming an air passage to lungs and holding vocal chords in humans and other mammals; voice box. interesting to consider if humans did not have a voice box and could not communicate; this is what separates us from other animals. what dictates perhaps how we treat them and our perceived superiority.
Frankinstein ‘studies little anatomy’.
“the structure of a brain is too complex, so implant tissue from brains of several unborn children bathed in internally secreted chemicals that stimulate growth.”
“the desperate loneliness of the staring animal eye, the sudden intake of breath, the shudder”.
the moment between life and death.
the desire to create the ‘monster’ must have bred from a deep loneliness. The motivation for our cloning is for medical reasons of sustaining life. We grasp for control which ultimately we do not have; interestin psychological reflection on the human desire for control, reflected through science; taking control by prolonging life, taking extreme measures such as CLONING and transplantation, mutation etc.
frankinstein; driven by ambition, thirst for knowledge; the ‘ideal man’, breathing life through ghastly experiments.
complex systems, chaos, organics and order, dynamics. to create order in a complex and chaotic system. i.e. the simple notion of cracking an egg.

Nature Compartmentalised

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This experiment was about exploring nature in a way which was along the same vein as a scientific experiment. It was about comparing the chaos of nature with the order of the experiment; it was about a quote i read in Extreme Bodies by Francesca Alfano Miglietti regarding the way in which people take tiny sections to examine rather than exploring the whole thing.  i.e. of huge, extraordinary events; singing out individual segments.

The capsuled followed the idea of compartmentalising for scientific research. i was interested in the juxtaposition between the unpredictability of nature against the controlled nature of science (albeit, as i haven’t studied science in so long i struggle to remember the extent of control infected over the experiments; i believe there is an element of control -the independent variable- and an element which is not controlled but observed -the dependent variable-.

this relates rather interestingly to my experiment because viewers are drawn to very specific parts of a whole; a tin section of a leaf from an entire tree which has so much information behind it; the age, the family it belongs to; the ecological research behind it. There’s something quite humble about taking a tiny section. what can i do with this?

i could find out exactly what they are inside the containers and pull up a mass of research related to it, and research related to that, and so a sort of snowball effect begins. for instance, the history behind these objects, ideas behind the names, information on the founder and their family and friends.

this is interesting because it follows the  idea that there is so much to know about individual things; it highlights the idea of minimalism perhaps, in that with less, we can draw our entire, uncompromised attention onto individual things, and i believe that this is so much more rewarding than having thousands of things that you merely trace a finger across the surface of.

it is the time with people and friends; i firmly believe that a single, pure, true and indefinitely strong friendship is worth more than uncountable relatively close friends. i find, personally, that this is draining; i feel weak, bored and bland even as a person. i find myself searching for satisfaction or happiness in ways which are not true to myself. with too many slightly-close friends, you can merely trace a finger down their spine briefly, rather than exploring each individual vertebrae and uncovering deeper, more intricate and more fascinating and personal truths both about yourself and the other.

in a true friendship or relationship, you give yourself in your entirety and full acceptance takes place. completely vulnerable; we must allow ourselves to be completely vulnerable to be completely accepted, happy.

the capsules also are a protest, almost,against the fast paced nature of society and an inability to sustain concentration.

this is personal to me currently because i feel this is something i am having issues with currently; an inability to sit still, delve deeper into specific things, uncover details. i am struggling to retain concentration and this is apparent, i feel, through my art. i am realising that this speed doesn’t gain much contentment, but surface level happiness and excitement.

the use of nature, therefore, is relevant because it is far easier to retain concentration when in this environment, especially when isolated. (alternatively, perhaps this inability to sit still is something which must be largely embraced, creating more spontaneous and sporadic art rather than that which requires sustained attention and slowing down, especially given that i am studying in my first year of university).

the idea of taking a single object and gathering masses of research into this object is similar to the fact that (i learnt in the film Snowdon) that the CIA used to have to research into thousands upon thousands of lives merely to research one person properly; family, friends, their friends, and the list goes on.

it is slightly inspired by my current reading of frankinstiein; connecting fragments of nature for research purposes; i am very compelled by the idea of combining art and science i.e. genetic modification.


Review: How We See Animals

I visited the Making Nature: How We See Animals exhibition in Euston, and it was very relevant to my own interests. The exhibition encouraged viewers to consider the way in which we view, think, feel and value animals, and the consequences this has on the world around us. It brought together over 100 objects from literature, film, taxidermy and photography to reveal the hierarchies in our view of the natural world and consider how this affects our actions/ inactions towards the planet. The exhibition was ordered around four themes: ‘Ordering’, ‘Displaying’, Observing’ and ‘Making’ — the exhibition brought the approach of learning through looking, including a wide, fascinating array of different mediums which examined the search for an authentic encounter with nature and how humans have intentionally altered other organisms.

The exhibition made a point of how we perceive animals as being an important factor in how we understand ourselves; for instance, in 1735 human were first classed as animals by Linnaeus, while later redefined as ‘homo-sapiens’, meaning literally ‘wise-man’. It is our ability to recognise ourselves as human which separates us from other creatures.

The first piece which stuck out to me was

quotes: nature alientation

The analysis of Nature into its individual parts, the grouping of the different natural processes and objects in definite classes, the study of the internal anatomy of organized bodies in their manifold forms — these were the fundamental conditions of the gigantic strides in our knowledge of Nature that have been made during the last 400 years. But this method of work has also left us as a legacy the habit of observing natural objects and processes in isolation, apart from their connection with the vast whole; of observing them in repose, not in motion; as constraints, not as essentially variables; in their death, not in their life.[5]

Man and Nature, Part II: The Marxist Theory of Man’s Alienation from Nature

The parks, forests, and zoos can provide some comfort to a humanity yearning for its lost relationship with nature, but in the final analysis such artifacts (and yes, they are artifacts) can only serve as a reminder of the extent to which mankind has already transformed, and sometimes disfigured, nature.


is this good or bad?

Green Bronx Machine Inspired Photoshoot

I recently discovered the Green Bronx Machine, which is a project based in the Bronx, started by Stephen Ritz, revolved around growing more greenery for people (school children specifically) living in the Bronx; a very urban and built up environment. He found it increased their graduation rate from 17% to 100%. It made children want to attend school. I have been interested in the battle between urban environments and nature since moving to London, thus this project was naturally of interest to me (also seeing as it is one which raises money/is charity related, which has also been a brewing interest of mine). Below are some photos from this project.

I’m interested in the Green Bronx Machine because it seems to have started off as such a simple idea of planting greenery in the teachers’ classroom, but it escalated vastly and is still doing so. The projects are simple but seem to be getting more and more ambitious, taking on a snowball effect. Similarly, from an aesthetic point of view, they become more and more appealing; I am unsure whether or not this was taken into consideration, but I believe that as the projects gained more and more popularity (through means such as TED Talks), these factors became more important, seeing as so much of the population are drawn to these factors. Using art projects as a way (regardless of whether or not you could call this art) to reach out and directly help the public is very appealing and a very interesting way by which to tailor projects. London is also a very grey and concrete city so I think it could do with some greenery to help people. i.e. on the tube ceilings. This is a beautiful aspect of the Barbican.

It was also inspired by (insert)

Below are my responses.

DSC_1785DSC_1787DSC_0001DSC_0013DSC_1775DSC_1783DSC_1784DSC_1788DSC_1791DSC_1809DSC_1812The idea behind these are to create a contrast between the grass ‘growing from inside the box’ and the mass manufactured box. It was just a very quick experiment, however I think that the idea holds potential. The mass manufactured nature of the cardboard box and the designs lathered onto this box signify our capitalist society and urban environments, while the growing of the grass out of the box signifies a natural battle against this, while also touching on the disposable nature of mass produced items i.e. cardboard boxes. From an aesthetic point of view, i am quite happy with some of the results of these experiments, such as the bottom and those which incorporate the brick wall.  However, I think that the photos would be stronger if the cardboard box was positioned surrounded by grass and the grass had grown though it, rather than such an out of place group of grass positioned so randomly inside a box. However, the white of the box does work quite well.

I would quite like to develop these by turning it into a sculpture piece with a collection of boxes through which plants will be “accidentally” growing.

I am rather pleased with the turn out of the photos of the brown leaves growing against the pole; there seems to be a physical tension between the grey pole and the plants, which stands for an interesting metaphor of man against nature in quite a delicate and subtle way which I think works quite well.

The close up’s of the greenery were inspired by Tillmans.


Below are my favourite Tillmans DSC_0835DSC_0836DSC_0837DSC_0838DSC_0840DSC_0859DSC_0861DSC_0862DSC_0863DSC_0867DSC_0870DSC_0872DSC_0876DSC_0877DSC_0879DSC_0881DSC_0889

I was very impressed by the Tillmans exhibition. I was inspired by the way in which he took photos of almost anything; there was no strict guidelines. His work engages with themes of community and sociability, empathy and vulnerability.

All of the works had been created since 2003; at time at which global events prompted Tillmans to address different series of political and social concerns in his work. Around the 2000’s he also started to address different sets of political and social concerns in his work. These are subtly addressed, however, there was a room with numerous tables set out with masses of sheets of papers printed with research laid out in a documentary way. I think this is an interesting way to raise awareness about issues and if I am to be looking into raising awareness for an issue in my next topic, this could be a way by which to do so.

I feel like I haven’t quite finished looking into what I am looking into; I feel like I was never completely certain what it was that I was looking into but that I work  much better when I do, so perhaps I should make a mindmap to get the ball rolling to find an area of interest, talk to people and see what comes from it.

My favourite image is the image of a group of people sitting down in a red tinted room with the mirrors. I like this because it is so atmospheric. This goes well with the photo of the two men lying back on the green moss. Human connection. In the booklet, it highlights his interest in social life and our participation in society; “we are all vulnerable, and our well-being depends upon knowing that we are not alone in the world”. He refers to clubs as places which emphasise the importance of places where people can go to feel safe, included and free. The orange in the photo creates a warmness and the scratches on the mirror create a wornness to the environment; there is a comfort in shabbiness; the feeling that people have been there in a carefree way so as create accidental damage. Observing human behaviour is a common interest in photography, so the tables with sheets of psychological research is very fitting. Perhaps I could include in my brain-storm mindmap some psychological research.

Texture and colour was also a common element in Tillmans work. I was very drawn to  photograph of someone cutting a squid-like sea creature with a large knife, because it was repulsive yet attractive at the same time. the colours and textures and details were very attractive yet the understanding of what it is was repelling and uncomfortable.

I have been trying to work out the concept behind his works, as they are very vague; what determined the closing o the shutter? But he says he describes his works are scientific evidence of natural processes, which is intersting. thus, it fits that it was put with the psychological evidence i.e. the psychology behind lying.

below is an article on why self deception can be good for you:

lying is a social issue, thus relating to his interest in social lives.

I suppose using these documents turns the exhibition into a kind of educational experience. so hee is raising awareness for social issues. however, the fact he got it from so many sources shows conflicting results, thus relating to the idea of lies and how far we should believe what we are told. laying them out as he did legitimises them yet they contradict each other, so they are a collection of reserach for the photographer, conducting his own experiment.