This lecture focused on an analogy developed by the painter Paul Klee, who said that people are like seeds connected to their surroundings. The way the body has developed is dependant on its environment. The ecologist David Abram argues that humans are no longer aware of their ecological surroundings and have lost connection with nature, this has led to conflict with other species and climate change.
Abrams also commented that scientists prefer to talk about the environment in terms of it being ‘chaotic’ when in fact a better word would be ‘wild’. The language used to describe ecology alters how humans perceive their surroundings, this is why people have forgotten the air and now view it as empty space. Abram goes on to say that the air is already ‘full’ but humans view it as a nothingness in which to dump their pollution. This is a theory that has been developed since Hippocrates attested that wind (air) is “the most powerful of all in all”; invisible to sight, but visible to reason.
Using the Kite analogy that “flyer and air do not so much interact as correspond.” we were asked to form groups and write a narrative about Beechams and how it impacts the environment in terms of wind, dust and pollution. Our group discussed the ‘chicken or the egg’ scenario where Beechams is creating pollution whilst simultaneously offering a solution to it. For example, colds and flu are exacerbated by air borne pollution created by the Beechams factory. If the factory did not exist, then the demand for the product would not be so great.
Day 1: We spoke as a group about the coach doing a three point turn creating feelings of the sublime
Day 2: Climbing Garn Fawr, the Iron Age Fort near the youth hostel. Climbing to the top there was a clear view for miles, looking down on the landscape made me wonder how much of the land really was ‘natural’. There is a superficial feeling of wildness but the fort I was standing on was man-made, as was the farmland, paths and evidence of smuggling; the landscape was, in reality, industrial.
In the afternoon climbed onto Rocky outcrop below the youth hostel, sketched some panoramas, seal watching through binoculars that Laura gave me. Made me think of the notion of the sublime addressed in Jon’s Lecture. I could not get the binoculars to focus and looking through them created a sense of disorientation and dizziness that made me feel as though I would fall off the edge, it seems obvious but before that it hadn’t occurred to me how much I rely on my vision.
Day 3: Walked to ww2 building near Strumble Head, the walk was steep, someone suggested that there were no distractions in Pembrokeshire but I found it difficult to take in surroundings because I was constantly distracted by things which could trip me up or making sure the others in the group were fine. Walking the coastal path in the rain also made me think of the sublime and phenomenology. I was aware of the elements but wasn’t worried about the rain because it was the final day; this allowed me to enjoy the experience more. I didn’t take any photos because it thought that it wouldn’t do the landscape justice.
Mark Leckey’s Dream English Kid, on display at the Blade Factory, was the work from the Liverpool Biennial that affected me the most. The video installation consists of found footage arranged into an account of the artists’ life, the idea formed when Leckey realised that most of the pivotal moments in his life could now be found online, and he could use the internet as a tool to reconstruct his own autobiographical narrative.
Portrait miniatures – usually painted using watercolours of enamel. Popular until photographic portraits became available. Developed from techniques used in the paintings of illuminated manuscripts. As well as ivory, miniatures were commonly painted onto chicken skin, cardboard and playing cards. There are also illuminated manuscripts, Persian and Ottoman miniatures, and figure painting.
Hilliard used gold to bring light into the painting.
Goya created these miniatures by coating the ivory with a layer of black carbon then wiping away the colour using water to reveal the white underneath.
I have chosen Peter Blake’s Grand Tour series as my starting point for subject. I saw these works at the Harley Gallery Nottinghamshire in conjunction with a set of miniatures curated by the artist.
Blake’s work isn’t something that would normally engage me, but I found it interesting that you could see his thought processes of how he creates his collages through the way he’d arranged the paintings. Many of the collages in the Grand Tour reflect the history of the places depicted in the 18th century- when the grand tour was at it’s height, but I also like that you can tell Blake enjoyed making the collages and has fun with the juxtaposition of imagery. The miniatures displayed on there own would have been engrossing enough, but Blake offered them a new context and a new way of looking at them which wasn’t based solely on the quality of the painting.