Manuela gave her report on the feedback she received. She wants to break away from the restrictive terminology of ‘Rites of Passage’ and instead think of her enquiry in terms of ‘Adaptation’.
Language can lock us into a system of repetition – Be aware of this!
The theme of blood and menstruation was discussed in length and could be an anchor for Manuela’s enquiry
After coffee break, I explained briefly where my work is at the moment and asked for feedback from the class in the form of artists who work with places of slippage, or ‘thin places’
We then talked about the Placing Practice report that we need to complete for May 4th
500/600 word report with at least 3 images
3 parts –
1: Overall trajectory of the research and why it is important to my work
2: How are the interjections informing my work – outline briefly what stage the enquiry is at
3: Summary of how I plan to bring these interjections forward during the summer and how will the findings be presented.
Include the methodologies that I used during the interventions
Discuss key activities over the summer – ie interviews, workshops, gatherings etc
Attach a bibliography of books etc that I am reading at the moment that are relevant to my work
Attach any correspondence to date
Think of this as a working document which will be discussed on May 4th.
Print a version. I can also email Jesse in advance if I want
Think about how my work or intervention creates a platform for the other knowledge bases to rest on
Art can be a compelling material encounter. Something that is obvious to me as an artist might be uncanny to other professionals (lateral thought of an artist as opposed to linear thought of other professionals?)
We discussed Yvonne Rainer – Privilege
Think about modes of knowledge that can exist outside of language in relation to my own practice
Cat asked that we bring a ceramic object tomorrow for an experiment she wants to try.
Situations 26th April 2016 Jackie
• Wants to have an exhibition – public and open = outdoor exhibition near the library. Would have a roof. Standard exhibition, opening with wine, artist talks and invigilators between 9 – 6. Then left open – whatever happens, becomes part of the exhibition. She would make works specifically for this space – stuck to the walls – people could paint over them etc. 1st day would be the only day that the work would be guaranteed be ‘unharmed’
Cat – what about cameras – Jackie, not sure – it might discourage tagging (reclamation of public space). Wouldn’t make a big deal of it – just let it happen
Manuela – what about the care of the work – how much security are you going to provide to preserve the art. – Jackie – let it happen – is art viable in a public space like this?
Manuela – imagine if it was a month -duration…. people would feel they have a right to damage the work after the time….Jackie – a non stated experiment….don’t tell people…
Max – what would the artwork consist of – Jackie – her paintings 1 m2 images – be off the wall (but studded into the wall) Aimed at considering how we perceive our position in public spaces. Peripheral talk but no control over public space.
Lucy – Will you have any interventions – or put it there and that’s the last thing you do….Jackie – more or less. There would be an artist’s talk on the 2nd week….
Cat – invite one the taggers
The tragedy of the Commons –
Lucy – brave juxtaposition of heavily controlled space but put in a public space
The chance being part of it…
provocation to invitation… people non offey with gallery work
Michael Asher – architectural space. Issues about the white cube
Me – Lynda
• I explained my proposal of a building hosting several interventions. General feedback was that there was a lot going on and I need to hone it down to what is related to my practice. The following artists were mentioned in relation to some of the work that I brought up
– Christian Boltanski – in relation to light and shadow interplay
– Sophie Collier – in relation to her large glass/water/light pieces
– Nina Cannell – for her minimalist use of light including fiber optics etc
• There was also a discussion about whether I would have info blurbs on the scientific background – or talks – or on-line info
• Glucksman – Folly: Art after Architecture, 2014 – I looked this up and am interested in the following artists
– Jane & Louise Wilson – For their use of large screens and video work
– Hiroshi Sugimoto – for his lightning photographs
– Pierre Huyghe – for his incorporation of light and shadow
• I need to present something with more focus
• Ask myself how effective it would be to select just some of my proposals
• Think about the art/not art balance
• Think about where my own practice fits
• Think about me as curator – take ownership of what I have done
Manuela – Knock on the Head
A large iron head with a swinging pendulum- male – generic in a basement or celler of a church – cold, dim light – open to the public between 7 – 10pm – every 10 minutes the pendulum would strike the head, creating a loud bong. She wants this piece to have an intimate feeling. People will have to discover the place – secrecy – no info related to the place
• Rebecca Horn – steel pendulum. mechanical piece – machinery – tension and anticipations.
• Bust – male head
• Cat – like mediation – do people sit or stand – Manuela – no seats available to sit down, but can sit on the floor if they want
• Generic male head
• Max – it is like public decapitation
• Collective memory, Place and global community
• Women come into a place of government and bring a piece of ceramic/textiles that means something with them – evoke conversation
• historical parallels taking over public spaces – having a voice where women don’t historically have a voice
• history = male historical perspective – woman’s stories lost because they seem small
• multi cultural = women’s histories that get recorded and put on-line
• ceramics? or objects of identity
• government buildings – joyously disruptive – feminist taking over the city as opposed to masculine commercialism
• What am I learning about identity – inter social practice -Show that
• Sophie Call – museum in the Hague – put pieces from contemporary society – like plastic cups etc into the collection – the value of subjective private stories, particularly women – museums are about demographic info but missing the female voice Linda
• Project mapping – projection is projected onto unusual shapes – augmented reality
• Tongue Theatre
• Cork city gaol
• projections of tongue coming in and out of the rooms
• 3ft high tongue
• unnerving noise
• goal – tongues hinting towards events that happened there
• Karen Power – radio connection – recording the women – event during the summer Max – Apparitions
• Apparitions = title
• making 2 video pieces – 1 female, 1 male, – simple portraits with white background
• Warm, compassionate faces – then 6 small but very bright monitors, 3 male, 3 female – set up 8ft above the ground around the city – disused places – carparks etc 11pm – 4am – come on every hour for 4 minutes – nothing in between -how disposable the moving image is – real possibility they would never be seen – what sort of person would be around at this time of night – potential power of that encounter = dream of his idea – invisible audience – audience of ghosts – image we could have of what might happen – imaginings of the reactions this could create…- the encounter of art is something that continues in your mind Vicky
• Dream festival = situate an experimental music and sound festival in the country – near the coast. Bring in different performances to do with sound and wildlife – creating a piece on a currach – 1 audience 3 rowers – host of interesting performers etc – situate different people – bee keeping – do a collaboration with an artist – small chamber orchestra performing in the woods at dusk – 3 poets in a cow-shed – space for workshops, talks, very curated and experimental – field recording- not just this – thrusting 2 worlds together, – she has experience in making events happen – she wants it to be conceptual and experimental – situated in wilderness – audience as well
• Turrell in Lismore
Placing Practice – Meeting in Blackrock Castle Observatory
Friday, 22nd April 2016
This was an initial meet and greet meeting to discuss the possibilities of a collaboration. I sat down with Clair McSweeney (centre manager), Alan Giltinan (Systems Manager) and Denis Walsh (astronomy outreach worker). Clair premised the conversation by saying that she is very happy to have a collaboration of some sort as Blackrock Castle Observatory would gain from reaching a wider audience. This reciprocity could be achieved by my showcasing either my results to date, or some form of workshop or an exhibition in or around Science week, which is the 3rd – 8th October. I explained briefly that what I would hope to gain from them is a better understanding of the phenomenon of light, from an astrophysics point of view. I also explained that I am interested in perception and cognition and that I have, or soon will be, in contact with professionals in the field of psychology, photonics and neuroscience. I talked briefly about wanting to find a way to link these various strands and broached the idea of a group meeting/workshop/event with these various professionals. Clair mentioned that this could possibly happen during Science Week.
Clair mentioned that last year was International Year of Light and that I could find research online
Alan Giltinan and Niall Smith (director of research) will be the people to talk to about instrumentation and optics
Caoimhin and Padraig are PHD researchers at the observatory and will also help me with research
Frances McCarthy (astronomer) has been earmarked for future interviews
Clair mentioned that BCO is currently collaborating with Pauline Gibbons, Trish Brennan, Lynn Marie Dennehy and Catherine Hehir – I need to follow up on this and see if there is a way of participating in a joint collaboration, or if indeed this would be a feasible option for me.
Clair mentioned the possibilities of a joint exhibition with the above
I mentioned that I had a preliminary set of questions drawn up and Clair asked that I email this to herself and Alan. By so doing, they could get an idea of who would be best suited to answer my inquiries.
At this point Clair had to leave the meeting but Alan showed me around the research lab and onto the observation deck. As it was raining, we could not open up the dome for the telescope but this can be arranged for a future date. I took some documentation in the form of photographs, videos and sound recordings. I continued to talk informally with Alan about my concept and optics in general.
Padraig and Caoimhin
I came away from this meeting feeling very excited about the possibilities of this collaboration. I then travelled to CIT with Denis Walsh to attend a talk in CIT about gravitational waves and the recent observations at LIGO (The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory) in America. This talk was relative to my work in the sense that it approaches exploration of the cosmos in a way other than the visual and this use of other senses and ways of knowing interests me as a contrast to my explorations about light, sight and perception/cognition.
We serendipitously meet Niall Smith who could not make the morning meeting in BCO. We had an informal chat about the meeting outcomes and I explained to him about the general gist of work. Niall proved to be very interested in this line of inquiry and the way that the conversation in scientific/astrophysics fields has changed in the topic surrounding the nature of Being.
He mentioned that there is an interesting interplay about what makes beings sentient and the quantum idea of existing simultaneously in parallel universes.
He talked about Kevin Knowles who is a physicist who discusses the concept of the consciousness flitting between planes of existence and interestingly, how this makes some mathematical equations fit better.
Niall talked about his article which is published in an upcoming publication of IFAS (Irish Federation of Astronomy Societies) in which he muses about how our perception of the universe has changed drastically in our lifetime.
We disembarked, slightly groggy from the earlier start to a baltic Edinburgh from whence we journeyed to Glasgow (bus delays notwithstanding!) After a reviving breakfast, we began our Glasgow International exploration in GoMa. This venue hosted 2 artists – Cosima von Bonin (Who’s exploiting who in the deep sea?) and Tessa Lynch (Painter’s Table) and was part of the Director’s Programme.
Cosima von Bonin – Who’s exploiting who in the deep sea?
Tessa Lynch (Painter’s Table)
The sheer scale and quirkiness of von Bonin’s work was intriguing and incorporated a variety of media. While elements of Tessa Lynch’s work was interesting to me on an aesthetic level, I wasn’t particularly gripped by it.
Next stop on our whirlwind of art exploration was Tramway. This venue hosted 5 artists and was also part of the Director’s Programme. According to the festival guide ‘works by the five artists focus on ideas of production, manufacture, material culture, design, history and labour, which all in turn reflect back out upon the city…’ The five artists were Akexandra Bircken, Sheila Hicks, Lawrence Lek, Mika Rottenberg and Amie Siegel.
Mika Rottenberg -NoNoseKnows (2015) and Squeeze (2010)
Alexandra Bircken – Trolley I annd Trolley II (2016) and Combinations (2016)
Sheila Hicks – Mighty Mathilde and her consort (2016)
Amie Siegel – Provenance (2013)
This was a varied show with many strong pieces but the stand outs for me were Mika Rottenberg’s -NoNoseKnows (2015) and Squeeze (2010). These bizarre and incredibly well edited video pieces were thoroughly gripping and immersive. The venue itself was of interest, with Amie Siegel’s video installations receiving a generous and evocative cavernous dark space.
Next stop on our whistle stop tour was the Centre for Contemporary Arts. While there were several artists and group shows in this venue, the stand-out artist was Pilvi Takala. This quirky and highly amusing video pieces completely enthralled me and left me with huge respect for her ballsy approach to social and ethical issues.
At this point Trish and Ailbhe had to leave us for a pre-arranged meeting. Myself and Vicky decided to visit the Reid Gallery as part of the Glasgow School of Art, as it was very close by. This work hosted the work of two artists – Serena Korda (Hold fast, Stand sure, I scream a revolution) and photographic work by Christina McBride (light becomes silence).
I was intrigued by the installation/sculptural pieces by Serena Korda and found them to be a good balance between the aesthetically pleasing and conceptually interesting. The hanging ceramic mushroom bells which were ‘conducted’ by the disembodied ceramic heads were enhanced by the mystical sound/music from the provided headsets. There was also a ‘research’ room which gave another layer of meaning behind the main installation work.
Serena Korda (Hold fast, Stand sure, I scream a revolution)
At this point I headed to the hotel to check in and I was quickly on the art trail again. I visited a number of smaller venues including Mark Smith (Pussycat) and Emily Mae Smith (Honest Espionage)
Mark Smith (Pussycat)
Emily Mae Smith – Honest Espionage
Our little posse regrouped and after some well needed sustenance, we continued onto an evening event – Materialia by Heather Lander and Simon Harlow. This consisted of an installation of hanging transparent sheets which acted as a conduit for a holographic effect light show. This piece closely resembled my concerns with light and the mysterious. I found it both intriguing and inspirational.
At this stage, we were all pretty much exhausted so headed to our respective hostelry establishments.
Day 2 – Tuesday
The next day began in the beautiful settings of the Glasgow Botanical Gardens. We ventured into the glasshouses and were transported to, not only another climate, but another state of mind. Nature far outshone the artwork insitu as part of the festival
And so began our epic trek around Glasgow. We made our way to the Kelingrove Art Gallery and Museum. All agreed that while the setting and the building were awe inspiring, the actual work listed in the festival guide was wholy underwhelming
Whilst there I took a quick look at their permanent gallery and museum displays.
We stopped in at the Hunterian Art Gallery to visit ‘The Dead Teach the Living’, a group show by Damien Hirst, Scott Rogers and Catherine Street. This exhibition explored the synergy between art and science and included Damien Hirst’s Necromancer, 2007 and objects from William Hunter’s 18th century collection. I enjoyed the aesthetics of this show and was intrigued by the scientific type displays.
After this pit stop we proceeded to Kelvin Hall. After navigating crumbling corridors we were led to a large open room which hosted the large hanging paintings by Helen Johnson. Each large piece had it’s own style and contained ‘story’. As a painter, it was refreshing to see these impressive contemporary paintings holding their own in the festival.
Helen Johnson – Barron Field
And then up a dilapidated stairway to another impressively large room to the work of Claire Barclay (Bright Bodies)
Feeling heartened by the caliber of this work we went on a trek through the backstreets to the SWG3 Gallery. This post-humus solo show by Don Levy featured rarely before seen film and video pieces. I was completely blown away by the aesthetic of this work and was completely enthralled to the point that it was difficult to tear myself away. This is an artist that I want to research some more
We strolled from the backstreets back through the impressive Kelvingrove park to a beautiful building – The Common Guild. Spread over two floors was the work of Akram Zaatari. This was a combination of intimate and intriguing video pieces, drawings and photographs. The quality of the work was impressive and the subject matter affective. I was quite taken with this work.
Adam Zaatari – The End of Time
At this point we realised the time and made a frantic dash to Glasgow Sculpture Studios. After managing to acquisition a cab, we arrived with 4 minutes to spare! Needless to say, we didn’t have a huge amount of time to spend with the work but managed a cursory viewing.
We were all feeling pretty exhausted at this stage but decided that the proximity of The Glue Factory warranted it a visit. This venue hosted several artists working in a variety of media. While I felt some of the work was interesting, the general consensus was that the work was not fully resolved and that the building itself outshone the work.
At this stage we were thoroughly done in and decided to meet up with Julie and Angela who had just arrived that day. After a quick bite to eat, we sojourned to The Old Hairdressers, which was a pub with a cinema space upstairs. Vicky and myself tottered up the stairs to Fantom Cinema. An hour of hilarity and entertainment ensued after which I was definitely done in and headed back to my hotel. The next day we managed to squeeze in a final visit to the Reid building as Ailbhe and Trish had not seen the work of Christina McBride and Serena Korda. Afterwards a quick canter brought us to the bus station and the end of our Glasgow International experience.
It was a whirlwind of art and events. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and feel it will take some time to filter in all the information! There was definitely some stand out pieces for me including Materialia, Don Levy, Adam Zaatari, Serena Korda, Pilvi Takala and Mika Rottenberg.
Martin Healy – A moment twice lived
4 March–7 May 2016
The exhibition, displayed over two floors, includes a number of new photographic and sculptural works and a key new single screen installation entitled, A moment twice lived (2016). The film’s circuitous narrative makes reference to JW Dunne’s writing, in particular the book An Experiment with Time (1927), by way of a curiously overlooked painting in the Crawford Gallery’s collection by Nathanial Grogan
During the course of the film, a voice-over periodically refers to dreams and experiences of temporal dislocation that raises questions about our perception of reality and relationship to the physical world.
– information from http://www.crawfordartgallery.ie/Martin_Healy_Twice_Lived.html
After a meander through the ground floor with its offerings of photographic and sculptural work by Martin Healy, we ventured to the top floor to the top floor to sit awhile with the video piece ‘A moment twice lived’ (2016). Afterwards we settled into the adjoining room to have a discussion about these works and their affect. There was a vast array of responses to the work, varying from exclamations of detritus to finding the video piece in particular visually beautiful and affective. What follows are some points raised during this discussion
Max – found the video a prime example of rubbish; He felt the artist used modernist techniques which are now uber academic and cheesy He thinks the whole thing was a box-ticking, academic exercise.
Manuela – Found it clean-cut and hyper staged
Jackie – felt that in this enforced scenic stillness that the actors couldn’t stay still (hand jerks etc) which came p against the cleanness of the aesthetic
Helle – Why this woman (actor) and why the younger woman’s voice
Lucy – Preferred the filming of the painting
Lucy asked – Does this piece question film or art
Max – John Luc Goddard – Passion, 1982, – about the idea of painting. This was more disruptive and questioning
Vicky – liked the shots of the old people from behind
Max – found it very banal.
Linda and myself found the piece beautifully shot and quite affective in parts
We had a discussion about remembering flashes of dreams and how things are lost and found in history
Affective time = time that we experience and this cut with our own experience.
Brian form MA:AP 2014 will be able to tell us more about the intention of the artist with this work.
We then relocated to the Harry Clarke room to continue our discussion about Affect theory
We briefly discussed the course timetable and came to agreement about assessment dates which are as follows:
Tues May 3rd – Placing Practice presentation to Jesse
Mon May 9th – Studio assessments
Tues May 10th – Situations Presentations
Tues May 17th – Blog (80%), initial 1,000 words (20%). Starting the Chris Clarke from Glucksman in the afternoon
What follows are bullet points of notes on our discussion about the Affect theory essays
Vicky – Read the Susan Best piece: – The piece looked at interpretations of ruptures as blasting new paths for feminism. They became the operating factor – that rupture or cut is related to feminine thinking, which is not necessarily gender specific
Helle – Read the Edward Casey piece. – It states that a piece of art has 3 components -1. The Affective, 2. Perceptual qualities and 3. Import or meaning; the narrative
Can you have affect without all your senses?
People disagree about what affect actually is
Cat and Jackie read Massumi – The Autonomy of Affect
Language is redundant when it comes to affect
In the snowman study they were measuring pleasure as opposed to what was remembered
Story of the missing half a second – you cannot experience things in the exact moment they happen because you have to process them cognitively
Merleau Ponty – The theory of Perception – We think that our brain is in control, but is it really? Our body has knowledge that doesn’t have rational input – body memory – LOOK INTO THIS FURTHER FOR MY WORK
Max – Read Seigworth: Affect arrives from the inbetween-ness. It is prove of the body’s on-going emersion. Internal/external = gets broken down a lot – READ THIS ESSAY
Barthe – wrote a series of essays after his mother died. He talked about remaining neutral – not taking a fixed position on something – incremental shimmer – LOOK INTO THIS FURTHER FOR MY WORK
Me and Manuela – read the Introduction piece. Manuela was struck by the Snowman ad study. I read a passage that summed up a lot of the conversation we were having around the various essays
Lucy – talked about the relationship of breathing to looking
Tina Kinsella will be visiting us at the end of May. She lectures affect theory in NCAD, UCD, DIT, etc. She has a background in the classics and feminist theory
Bracha L Ettinger – psychologist/artist/theoretical writer – LOOK INTO THIS FURTHER FOR MY WORK
Transcript of interview with Dr Marcin Szczerbinski
April 14th 2016
Dr MarcinSzczerbinski is a lecturer of Applied Psychology in UCC
Lynda – Hello Dr Szczerbinski. Thank you very much for agreeing to agreeing to chat with me today. So, I sent you a list of questions that you had a look through. Maybe the first thing we’ll do is go through those questions and if anything else comes up we can stop and branch away from that
Marcin – Absolutely
Lynda – Ok, so the first question I have for you is basically… What is your area of expertise? Can you talk to me a little bit about that..
Marcin – I would like to call myself a developmental psychologist. So I am interested in issues of child development, especially with how children learn language. But also I am interested in special educational needs. I have done some work on children learning to read and write and having some problems with it, a condition called dyslexia
Lynda – Ok, great. So your main area of focus is in language and special needs
Lynda – The next question I had for you was ‘From a psychologist’s point of view, how do you think cognition affects the senses or indeed how stimulating the senses in a deliberate way affects cognition and perception. Thinking of it from your point of view and your expertise, I think it’s a more a case of in the process of learning, especially special needs learning, do you find that there is any apparatus that could help, for example, like a certain shade of light in a room…Do you find that helps the child learn or is there any sound that can help the child learn. Any thoughts on that?
Marcin – That’s actually quite a controversial issue but there is a bit of evidence suggesting that some individuals when reading find it actually rather hard to precise the contrast between the white page and the black ink. Actually ‘hard’ is not quite the right word. They find it disturbing and tiring for their eyes to have this contrast. For those individuals it might help to read on a background that is not white. What particular colour it is that is optimal can be person specific. There was a devise invented and patented called ‘Intuitive Chromometer which allows you to find the optimal contrast by playing with various permutations of colour. It is controversial. There are some researchers who rubbish this line of enquiry saying that it’s all nonsense, that there is no evidence for that. There are individuals who claim that it helps them to read when the contrast is not between black and white but instead between black and the other colour.
Lynda – What are your personal views on that?
Marcin – I think it’s plausible that it is helpful for some individuals. But it should not be confused with dyslexia and some people who are doing research into this topic say that it is somewhat different from dyslexia. The core problem with dyslexia is probably quite different. For a start there are many kinds and causes of dyslexia but probably the most common one would be to do with the processing of speech sounds. Individuals who find it hard to learn to read have subtle difficulties in processing speech signal which then might make it hard for them to map visual symbols which is letters onto speech sounds which is the essence of efficient reading. It’s not the only factor but it is probably the most prominent one in what we call dyslexia.
Lynda – That is very interesting as it is touching off one of the questions that I had further on which was ‘Do you have any experience of dealing with people with synaesthesia. When you say that the visual patterns of the word cause problems with the ‘Speech Sound’. Is that a cognitive thing, do you think?
Marcin – Yes. The technical term for what I am talking about is called phonological processing. phonology is basically our capacity to process speech sounds – not just any sounds, not just music generally or environmental sounds like noises car horns but just speech sounds. There is something quite specific about that in our mind and in our brain. There seems to be areas in our brain or circuits within our brain that are devoted to just language. Some individuals have problems specifically with the processing of phonology, with receiving, remembering and then retrieving speech sounds in order to speak. And it is not that they are deaf, they don’t receive the signal but because centrally within the cognitive system the information is not processed precisely enough or fast enough so that the final information that was extracted and stored isn’t of high enough quality for certain tasks.
Lynda – Do you think it is a problem with the synapses?
Marcin – With synapses, with connections between neurons; – it might be… every aspect of learning is to do with synapses because that is the nature of learning. We have neurons; cells, each synapse cell in our central system is connected to, on average, another 5,000 neurons. That’s how dense this network of connection is and our long term memory is effectively having a vast elaborate network of connections between neurons and connections mean synapses. Two neurons don’t really touch. There is a little gap or cleft between them and how electrical chemicals are sent between them is that certain chemicals get from one neuron and travel onto the next which then sends an electrical impulse further down the line. That’s how it works. So any long term memory or long term learning is effectively about neurons connecting to each other through synapses. Problems with learning could be to do with those connections being too few or too many or not being specific enough. Or indeed, it might be to do with the mechanics of those so called neuro-transmitters on the synapses and not travelling the way they should.
Lynda – I’m veering a little bit now off my own topic, but just as a matter of interest; People who would be on the autistic spectrum. Is it a case of there is too much information being transmitted?
Marcin – Ya, that’s an interesting one. Just like with dyslexia, with autism you have several different competing theories and we don’t know for sure. It is possible that with autism, just as with dyslexia there are many different sub types. So you may have autism for a variety of different reasons, just like you could have dyslexia for a variety of different reasons. The symptoms may be the same but the causes could be different, so yes, one of the dominant theories of autism which is quite well tested by evidence is called the Central Coherence theory. It says that in the brains and in the minds of typically developed healthy individuals we have this drive for coherence meaning that we try to extract the meaning from the information that comes to us. We put things that we receive into meaningful Gestalts that is entities, wholes, and discard information that doesn’t fit; that is surplus to requirements; that doesn’t fit the broader picture. Whereas people with autism don’t have this drive or have this drive much attenuated, much weaker and as a consequence it is harder for them to make coherent wholes out of experiences that they have, putting information into meaningful entities; interpret information if you like. But there may be also, in some contexts, advantages to this. In that those individuals are better at picking up some peripheral details within a particular pattern. Details that generally don’t matter but in some contexts they might. There is a task that measures that. It is called an ’embedded figure test’. It basically shows a complex geometric pattern, or sometimes it can be a meaningful pattern like toys, or silhouettes or trees and so on and so forth. The task is to find that figure embedded in a broader pattern. What is interesting is that for typically developed individuals it is quite hard to pick out the figure. For example if a triangle is embedded in the leaf of a tree, we [as typically developed individuals] see the leaf of the tree, first of all, not the triangle. It actually takes an awful lot of mental effort to extract that little element out of the whole because we see the whole, we don’t see the elements. But individuals with autism are better at this task. They see these embedded patterns much faster because they have less of a drive to interpret things holistically.
Lynda – That is interesting in terms of my research in terms of visual perception and it ties in with a further question that I sent you. How one’s views on the world affects what they see and how what they see affects their view of the world – That cross over and I think you hit on it there when you said that people with autism can see details rather than the gestalt. I find that fascinating. I am sitting here with you talking here today but how do I know that you are actually the way I perceive you to be sitting on this particular chair. How do I know that it is actually real because my gestalt; my way of putting together the image/information and removing what is unnecessary to the main image could be getting rid of vital information. I find that absolutely fascinating
Marcin – If you really drill down to this, it’s ok to acknowledge that you will never know if I am a real person sitting in front of you. It’s just an interpretation. I think the main thing to understand about perception generally, not just the visual, but also the tactile and all the senses is that it is interpretation. And that is what people normally get wrong. When people think about perception, they think about it in terms of photography; our eyes receive information and somewhere up in our brain it is passively registered as if on a photographic image. Or often when they think about how they hear things they think about this being passively registered on a rolling tape in our mind. It doesn’t work like that. The main thing about perception is interpretation. We discard certain information, extract that information, attenuate some signal, foreground some other signal depending on what our needs are. This happens automatically. It’s a natural process. It may sound like a sad thing because there is so much coming to us and we discard most of it. Yes, this is true, but without this ability we wouldn’t be able to make sense of the world around us. We would end up as being severely autistic; being overwhelmed by stimuli which might be interesting but would ultimately make no sense. Discarding information is the price we pay for making sense of the world. Thinking about the world and perceiving the world are intimately connected. You can’t really separate them at all.
Lynda – What I am trying to do with my art work is get people to stop for a moment and step out of their sometimes severally routine day; there’s drills in the road where people walk every day, it’s so routine – and make them pause, and think about – Hang on, did I just really see that or making them realise there is another way of seeing or of thinking.
This next question ties into what we are talking about – but it is quite specific – maybe too specific – I asked – Do people with neurological disorders such as schizophrenia ‘see’ the world differently. What I mean by this, in the case of sight, does the visual cortex behave differently, especially with hallucinations. What I was trying to get at there was basically what we were just discussing about the discarding of unnecessary information
Marcin – People with schizophrenia may experience so called ‘Productive symptoms’ which is hallucinations – they see and hear things which are not there so they have perceptual experiences that would not correspond to reality as seen by other people. They don’t just ‘believe’ that they hear or see something. They have the experience of seeing and hearing
Lynda – In a way – why is that less real?
Do you have any thoughts about phenomenon such as mass hallucinations and the power of suggestion in manipulating a person or group into ‘seeing’ an event or object
Marcin – Group hallucinations are ‘group’ hallucinations – they are a phenomenon that happen within a group. It seems to me plausible that some minor perceptual distortion gets enforced by other people agreeing to that. It becomes contagious in a sense. Social psychology has researched this quite a bit. There are two strands to that – peer pressure and peer conformity. Peer pressure is when someone imposes a pressure on you to behave or feel or experience things in a certain way. Peer conformity is different and in a sense more interesting – It’s about wanting to belong to a certain group. And when those dynamics operate, you may actually agree to things that you would never otherwise agree to and you actually ‘see’ and ‘experience’ then.
Lynda– Do people with depression physically ‘see’ the world in darker tones
Marcin – There appears to be some evidence that that might be the case. Some experimental work has been done showing that people with depression may find it harder at perceiving contrasts between colours. They need more information to perceive contrast between black and white. The experiment involved a checker board like pattern of black and white which flickered and the contrast between black and white was gradually diminished up to a point where nobody could see any distinction. People with depression required far more of the contrast to be see if there was anything moving there at all in contrast to people without depression which would indicate that there is some perceptual contrast issues there – very subtle – we are not talking about obvious apparent black and white contrast. There is also another study that I came across that would suggest that in depression that the perception of colour is more shifted towards the grey. So all the colours that they receive are saturated with grey. It seems to me that it is at least plausible that there are subtle shifts in colours and contrast perception
Lynda – Which is nothing to do with the physically make up of the cones and rods in the eye. Is this something that is happening cognitively?
Marcin – That I don’t know. I don’t know if there has been any work done on the rods and cones in the eye and whether that would link with depression. But I would be surprised if that was the case – probably more on the cortical level
Lynda – What are your thoughts on light therapy in its various facets, for example using light to mediate mood
Marcin – I think this area is murky in that it mixes up some approaches which may have good scientific grounding and other approaches which from a scientific point of view are completely bogus, at least theoretically. People who suffer from SAD syndrome suffer depression based on the seasons and specifically tied to the amount of light arriving at their eyes. The mechanism is that the lack of light messes up the production of melatonin which is a hormone in your body responsible for sleep and wakefulness cycle. The treatment for this condition is exposing people to the frequencies of the spectrum of sunlight, so not an ordinary table lamp which would have a different spectrum but a broader spectrum which includes ultraviolet. This makes sense scientifically. Then there is alternative medicine and approaches and crystalology and what not, which clearly from a scientific point of view have no grounding in how we understand the world, how we understand the physiology, psychology and the mind. I suppose it might work on the placebo effect on a certain level. You would have to take each and every therapy one at a time, because each and every therapy may have boni fide medical grounding in them whereas others are nonsense.
Lynda – Do you have any experience of dealing with synaesthesia
Marcin – Not directly. It is something that gets mentioned very often in psychology lectures. It’s the type of topic that gets people interested. It has been most explored in the context of mathematics in that some people (quite a few people it turns out) perceive numbers in terms of colours or sometimes in terms of smells. So now numbers are not just abstract entities for them. Their processing of numbers is tied with a subjective experience of a colour or a smell and some people claim that they solve mathematical problems that way. If they carry out a calculation, they perceive it as colours shifting or changing which is quite interesting. (Lynda – quite poetic). Many people perceive numbers in terms of a number line. When they think about a number they imagine some kind of line along which those numbers are aligned. Sometimes it’s a horizontal line, sometimes it can be a vertical line like a well. Sometimes it can even be a twisted line. This is quite common for many people to think of numbers in these terms. I do or at least I did when I was a child and was learning numbers from 1 – 10. I recall learning in that way. My perception of numbers were tied to a particular spot in my home town, on the outskirts. Numbers from 1 – 8 I think lived in a well, so 1 was on the bottom and 8 was half way through it and numbers 10 – 12 lived on a field just outside of that well, 12 was living by the edge of a forest. I didn’t have an image for numbers beyond that. I am not sure if it helped or hampered me, it was just the way I felt about numbers and many people have similar perceptions. Now when I carry out calculations that image doesn’t come back but I can still recall it. So when entities which can seem quite abstract to us may in our mind correspond to concrete perceptual experiences.
Lynda – That’s very interesting. Would you use that experience in your dealings of working with people with learning difficulties/disabilities?
Marcin – Not directly. It would be an interesting thing to do, perhaps. One connection, but it’s an oblique one really, would be mnemonics – helping people remember tricky things by conjuring up consciously in their mind some vivid association with that information that they already remember very well . My students have done some work on this in the context of children and adults trying to learn tricky spellings. It seems to be a sensible strategy that if you have learnt to spell most words correctly but there is a dozen or so which by and large you can’t remember, is to imagine a sequence of letters of that word and then conjure up that sequence with some kind of image that would anchor those letters in your memory. This is not specific to spellings. Also when you try to memorise pronunciation of some tricky words, you can try to play tricks like that. The way I remember the name of the pub Hensheys is that I came up with this image of two henchmen dripping blood having a french kiss. That kind of glued it in my memory, so it now sits there and I can remember that. So, that’s slightly different yet related in that you can use your associations which your mind has already formed, and most of those associations will be perceptual ones to do with images or sounds and then connect it with a meaning for something that you find difficult to acquire. The more crazy and vivid this association, the better as some kind of crutch that helps you remember until such time when it is so committed to memory that you no longer need that. It is a bit unclear as to why this works because it does work to some extent. One possibility is that those vivid or already well established crazy connections actually support the memory for the new stuff. The other possibility is slightly more trivial is that by coming up with this connection you simply think about this word that you need to process more times
Lynda – Do you think that it is done on a sub-conscious level? While you are thinking of an image to associate with a particular word, that the word is being processed through that time space unconsciously?
Marcin – Usually it’s conscious. This conscious processing involves rehearsal and it ultimately becomes subconscious or cognitive psychology prefers the word ‘Automatic’. – something just happens without the need for conscious awareness/ processing. This is different from synaesthesia but it is also an example of trying to use your perception to harness something that is new or that is perhaps abstract.
Lynda – The final question that is on this list is – What are your thought on the creative process and how the creative process affects the behaviour of a person. Do you think the act of being engaged in a creative process change the way a person sees their reality.
Marcin – Do you mean making art or perceiving art?
Lynda – Lets break that down a little bit or unpack that a bit. Let’s think about the act of interacting with art in an audience capacity
Does their concept of reality change from an expose to a creative process
Marcin – I don’t know. I guess it depends largely on how deeply you engage with that artistic process or product which you are exposed to. It can be superficial and then it is probably going to be transient. Or you might interact with it on a deeper level which might change the way in which you perceive the world at least occasionally. I can think of one example myself. I think I was a teen when I first came across Impressionists and impressionistic art and how these guys approached and were interested in the business of perception. How they dealt with the process of producing a piece of visual art different from the generations of art before them. That intrigued me. I remember some years later travelling on the way to university from my home town on the train. It was a lovely bright morning but it was raining too. We travelled by the road which was covered with rainwater and the sun shining on it and there were clouds in the sky – all that. And it struck me that this very moment that this piece of asphalt; of tarmac is actually never black. That we think of tarmac as being black and that’s the kind of semantic information encoded in our memory – tarmac is black, but actually, from travelling by this road for quite some time on that train, not for a single second was the asphalt black because it reflected blue sky, it reflected white clouds, it reflected the glitters of the sun. None of it was black. I remember being struck by this and connecting it what I had learnt or seen earlier on in the work of the Impressionists. Sometimes when you put aside your presuppositions about what things ought to look like you start to realise that they are quite different.
Lynda – That is what I am trying to do with my art!
Marcin – What your senses are receiving is actually quite different from what your conscious mind is believing. I don’t think an accomplished artist would do this kind of suspension of belief for much of the time. It is something we can do occasionally when we are at leisure because I think the daily business of going about our lives, we default to our assumptions. Probably not really possible to get away from it for any length of time. Occasionally we can stop and step back or step aside and look at things differently
Lynda – Unless you become an artist and you immerse yourself in that mind frame!
Have you engaged in a creative process
Marcin – No, not really
Lynda – Would you like to?
Marcin – maybe.
Lynda – That could be my reciprocity to you is to have some sort of a drawing class with you.
Marcin – My problem is that I am not a very disciplined person and I could never put aside time to engage systematically in those activities. Always immediate business of work and family encroaching on that.
Lynda – I know a few art activities that only take a minute or two and can be great fun.
Marcin – I would be quite intrigued in exploring visual medium and I would also be quite intrigued in exploring sculpture, especially clay – some amenable matter, something that would yield
Lynda – We don’t have to create masterpieces to engage in the creative process and find it cathartic.
Marcin – Maybe a psychiatrist would be interesting to talk to about hallucinations.
Lynda – It would be great to chat again. I need to pinpoint what it is exactly what I am trying to say from an artistic point of view. Where is the artistic in all these scientific and maybe alternative therapy investigations.
Marcin – One thing that occurs to me now is that we haven’t touched off Art Therapy, which is obviously a huge field. It has bearings on depression and on other conditions. There has been a systematic use of music and visual art in making people better and indeed poetry – verbal medium. This whole field of art therapy is showing that engaging in art can change you emotionally. It shows the connection between the two.
Lynda – Thank you Dr Szczerbinski for your time. I look forward to future ventures together!
Lynda (me) Committing to an outsider group in order to oppose the system
Rosemary sent a link to an article about police in the US school system – kids get treated as criminals and as teens the way you are treated is hugely informing who you think you are = producing criminals. – linked to funding if you have more police in the school
Drills for active shooter situations = kids get completely freaked out – atmosphere of constant state of fear
Max – Made in Britian, 1983 – judge – “You don’t invite leniency do you” – the pretense of why we do the things we do…. think we are contributed to society
Manuela – Papillon.
Linda – Silence=Death: Speak up against censorship at the Smithsonian – movie directed by Rosa an Praunheim, 1990
Hella – Okand, kvinna, 2009 – performance – tries to jump off bridge to highlight the gaps in the mental health system
The Swedish Theory of Love, 2015 – documentary about loneliness – no cultural responsibility of family
Vicky – A performance where the artist was tortured. ” As painful and horrific as some of the tortures I experienced were, I knew full well that these acts would end and that I had final control over them”. Jesse – Sado-machoism – is when there is consent. Torture happens when there is no consent
Jesse (about discussion how artists are viewed -Manuela asked if it was a doctor who staged jumping off a bridge, would it have been viewed as violently? Jesse said that a doc would never do that because they are trained to feel they don’t have the power to do that, artists tend to ‘given’ permission) stations of power – artist has a different power set than, for example a doctor
Cat – link to piece of technology that incorporates touch and technology – you feel like you can push through the screen, MRI. Jackie – the touch screens – How her work deals with the non-touch of technology.
James Richards, Sarah Browne – variations of subtly.
Discussion with me that stemmed from my presentation of my Venn diagram
Find the artistic critical question… what would be the central question that you can gravitate towards in a contemporary sense. Find the artistic space that penetrates your question. How do you propose a new space of knowledge what we are proposing. Intersections of spaces and knowledge. Take these knowledge spaces and bring together
Practice of performance as a space artistically – liquid suspension – the space of interaction. Artistic space of performance – intervention – medium in which I mobilise these specific spaces. Find the space within contemporary art. Think how other spaces make performance knowledge. What is the space and the skill that I bring to the space – behave agile artistically. I am the knowledge agent artistically.
Test out a methodology you can use forever – how do artists have a special place within the production of knowledge
risk and an experiment
Brian Mac Domhnaill – good example of placing practice. People who worked who worked with handling the dead. he tested different ways of peerage between himself and other forms of labour.
What do non artists gain from interaction with an artist/artistic encounter
linking, spacial disruption , estrangement of knowledge, where knowledge gets ‘tidied’ way to, facilitate play
Take documentation seriously – be strategic – get someone to document if nec,
ontological = shared system of knowledge
Discussion about the required reading – Donna Haraway – Companion Species Manifesto
Self figuration – cyborg manifesto – the self being a self actualisation/self reproduction through cyborg….the self is a cooperative identity. prismic entry point = relevant to eco responsibility/political responsibility
in a ecology of companion species – what is the equilibrium between care/responsibility etc interspeciesly
Tausig – flesh and death – imbued with Catholicism
George Pytau Pataou
Cataphatic – to speak of the idea of god that is shared –
Manuala – likes the idea of the domestication of dogs. Dogs are seen as perfect companions but that any ‘faults’ are destroyed….the brutalities of the dog/human relationship
History of inter-human violence – if animals can still love us – this is hope – where we can gain acceptance and forgiveness – and move forward
Submission and dominance – become a reciprocal thing – to consent to be submissive -historical conscious evolutionary path to the submissive – not unconscious or unfree metaphor. Takes responsibility to be submissive. We collectively submit to modes of power.
Victim blaming – Cat asked how this is different from victim blaming
realising that there is a power script between humans and there is a responsibility in this architecture. there might be a mutual construction of power. Political sociological mapping of constructed agency.
The Jane collective – in 1960s – set up their own abortion access.
look for tipping point where agencies or power structures can be tipped
sociological disruptive practice – negate the script of power and capital
you are an agent within the script…. you find others within that script until you have a tipping point
radically abject bodies as a form of agency
Diogenes of Sinope– think of the dog of the philosophical actor…Diogenes is the father of cynical philosophy…didn’t believe in capitalism, wealth. His friend was a pack of dogs. An early political dissenter…exists on the periphery… descent in knowledges
short movie – la vie d’un chein
Deep State – Museum of Non Participation – Jackie is going to send a link
Meeting with John Justice, staff researcher in photonic sources with Tyndall National Institute – 10/04/16
John called up to my studio and I gave him a brief over view of my work, before concentrating our conversation on the preliminary experimental work that I have conducted with lasers. We then went on to have a discussion around light, both from a scientific point of view and from a creative standpoint. Below are bullet points from this informal meeting. John is willing to be part of a more formal exchange in the future, as well as continual informal exchange of ideas and information.
Look into fluorescent paper with lasers. The laser gives a brief ‘echo’ on the florescent paper. This could then be videoed or be part of a performative piece. THINGS TO BE MINDFUL OF: Check the wavelength of the laser I am using. Certain wavelengths will not work on the paper/phosphorescent surfaces. BE AWARE THAT CERTAIN LASERS, ESPECIALLY GREEN, CAN BE DAMAGING TO PEOPLE’S EYES.
Research Ultraviolet excitation using black light. – for installation work
Look into glow in the dark pens and paper – again for installation work/interactive light based display work
John knows a woman who works with crystal healing and transference healing. I need to follow up on this in a few weeks when she is back from holidays. Her name is Sinead O’Sullivan
There is a scientific based light therapy called photodynamic therapy. This involves using directed laser lights in conjunction with chemicals to give localised treatment to cancer patients.
There is on-going scientific research into the healing properties of light. This is done by making the cells more energised by flooded it with light of certain wavelengths, usually near infra-red, and thus increasing the healing process
NASA has been involved in photodynamic therapy studies
We talked about the feasibility of collaborating on a project involving holograms. John is interested but this needs more research and it might be the summer before all parties are available to work on this project. I need to research the process involved with the photosensitive paper and what are the requirements of development. For example, can I use black and white?
John was interested in the sculptural aspect of my work and had some interesting ideas of how to translate the machete idea into a instillation/sculpture. I need to sketch up a few of these ideas and suggestions
John has expressed an interest in calling up to the studio some evening after dark and when there are no other students around so that we can play with laser effects through lenses etc
John is going to try to borrow a pair of protective eyeglasses for my laser work.
There is a possibility that John will be able to cut a miniature led 2D shape that I could then use for LED experimentation. He is getting back to me on this. I will draw up the shape required
After a grueling hour and a half of dealing my broken down car in Friday rush hour traffic, I finally managed to make it the opening of Malcolm McClay’s show in the Wanderford Quay, albeit 40 minutes late. It was very gratifying to be in the presence of the physical work which Malcolm had talked about previously. There was a wide variety of media, from large photographs to video pieces to instillation and interactive pieces. It was a interesting mix of the serious and more playful aspects of his work. The visual language that he uses and the ‘story’ of the work is both interesting and profound as well as accessible and intriguing.