My work is focused on creating a narrative by manipulating images to both subtract and add information through folding techniques. This provides an alternate view of the surfaces of structures created by migrants on their journeys to either flee injustices and persecution in their homelands, or those that are often disparagingly referred to as “economic migrants” who have often left their families at home in order that they can provide the most basic of requirements for them.
Migrant workers are the backbone of the Texas construction industry. As a migrant, my intent is to make work about the surfaces that are maintained by their hands, while making objects with my own. This will be a record of this continually evolving area, and a way to connect with other migrants. The aim here is not a message or to raise awareness, but a way to understanding and to work toward erasing the vilification of fellow Texans. The photographs of the surfaces are used in folding, bookmaking and origami techniques. The paper used is handmade using an ancient skill developed the Aztecs, it is currently made by Otomi Indians in Mexico.
This guest lecture interview was really interesting, as Anna and Maximus were talking a bit about social media. Being very new to instagram, I am quite cautious about what I post. In their conversation, it did seem like you could almost make it a full time job, but since this is the only platform that I have running I feel that it may be best to get to know it a bit better before making it a full time commitment.
Photography has been the starting point for my art work for many years. My fine art background has allowed me to give myself permission to experiment without fear, break rules and push boundaries. Working in a conceptual way gives me freedom to add and subtract information from the initial photographic images.
The ongoing pandemic lockdown has led to a shift in my work in this module. My work about surfaces and migrants continues with explorations in folding, sculpting, bookmaking and origami. Printmaking has been a constant in my practice, so I am passionate about all different types of paper; from how it is made, to how it looks and performs, to the deckled edges, preserving them, where possible. These edges can also be simulated by hand ripping your paper.
Anna Krentz’s thesis on the various types of deckle edges in photography is a facinating read. This irregular deckle edge below feels inspired by handmade paper as handmade paper dries on the mesh frame, it can form this finish around the edges. This edge can be removed if the desired edge is a straight one however, it is beautiful and organic and you can tell by looking that it is a handmade paper.
KRENTZ, Anna. 2014. Snapshots With an Edge: A Study of the Deckle Edge in the North American Snapshot. St. Francis Xavier University.
As a lifelong migrant, I have lived and travelled across the world, some of the difficulties related to leaving your homeland can, in even normal circumstances cause distress. The intention is to create a series of work that reflects those journeys by manipulating my images of building surfaces that have been shaped by migrant hands. The aim is not to bring a message or to raise awareness, but provide a series of objects and images related to migration. It is important to have a connection to history in the materials used, bridging continents, surfaces, visual language and memory.
Ed Ruschas’ accordion book is a great example of the accordion fold. He captured every building on sunset strip and chose an accordion fold as a support, a simple, but effective way to show this work. Ruscha had the intention to become a commercial designer, he signed up for courses in the history of photography where he became aquainted with the works of Eugene Atget, Walker Evans, Robert Frank and Man Ray. He learned how to use his newly aquired Yashica a twin lens medium format camera. This was 1956, ten years before he made Every Building on Sunset Strip.
Just as the name implies accordion folds are named after the musical instrument, it operates by contracting and expanding the mountain and valley folds. It is one of the most versatile of folds for making books and it’s possibilties are endless.
“Brilliant, very helpful how to and indeed why you should, make accordion books.” A YouTube guide to help you connect with your work. I found this just a few days ago and it is posted here since it maybe helpful for others who are looking to work in this way.
The art of sequencing has been an important topic in our group sessions and it is particularly important to me, due to the visual range of my work in this module. It has been difficult to make this series of photographs and objects to cohere but it may be easier to curate in a different setting, such as a gallery.
Digital has created a shift in my work, although I feel comfortable embracing these new challenges. My social media is limited at this time to instagram, which I am fairly new to. Some time has been spent keeping up to speed with this new area however, my current available time is being spent finalizing assessment work for this module.
At this moment I have a jumble sale of imagery that really need a master curator to sort out and I am feeling desperately short on talent right now. Challenges this week have been reworking ideas that were considered failures and this is very much still a work in progress although I am hoping to be surprised that my next idea actually works.
During to a conversation with the Houston Police Department some years ago, we were advised as a family to avoid social media and up until now we have managed. I knew that this would probably have to change once I started the MA and freely admit that I know absolutely nothing about instagram. Posting things in groups, road trips and some experiments is where I am at the moment. Like others have noted, it does feel a little like it is something else to do however, that could be driven by my lack of knowledge. It has resulted in me picking up some work which has been good however, I am probably not using it to its best.
This week’s guest lecture on instagram and various other social media sites was interesting. To note that twitter had a good selection of street photographers sharing information and giving feedback would be interesting to explore, especially as we go forward into FMP, since I suspect that we will need those feedback venues. It was noted that instagram gives the opportunity to show work quickly however, there was plenty of debate about where your images could end up and how you can be targeted by sales sites.
“Do they work together?” This was the question for tutor and peers in this week’s webinar. Do these images work in this sequence for WIPP? Working on sequencing is always tricky and I appreciate having critical feedback. My thoughts were that while they sit together conceptually, perhaps they were not as successful when considering the palette of the handmade objects. With input from my peers and tutor, it was decided that the last image should be reworked, so for this week my aim is to rework and finalize my work in progress portfolio.
“Evidently it is not enough to regard the surface as a taken-for-granted back-drop for the lines that are inscribed upon it.” Tim Ingold.
Ingold was a Professor of Anthropology at Aberdeen University and delved into the history of the line. He studied the general history however, when he looked at writing in the Western world, in particular the transition from the manuscript of medieval times to modern text, he found that there was so much more about not only the lines, but of the supports and surfaces upon which the lines were placed.
Ingold talks of types of line traces, threads and surfaces and how each surface and application of line is quite different. Speaking also of the Old English term writan where one would write a line by pulling a sharp implement over stone to create runic letters.
Ingold also writes about another class of line in the cut, the crack and the crease, whereby the line is created not by adding, but by subtracting. For instance, Ingold references here his own study of fieldwork in Lapland and how the Saami people would cut patterns in the ears of their reindeer so they could be easily identified as belonging to a certain family.
This page is from a book of reindeer earmarks which were collected by the author on a field trip. The pattern was cut into both ears and there are the line patterns along with the written name of the owners.
Due to a dynamic shift in my work for this module, this book on lines and surfaces has been a great help in understanding why these ways of working have always been so important to me. It is about a familial ties, family history, runic and ogham writing and the things that we as migrants, leave behind on the surfaces that we work on.
INGOLD, Tim. 2016. Lines: A Brief History. London ; New York: Routledge.