London Trip with mentors

Today we visited my mentor Suky Best in London. When we arrived she wanted to show us an exhibition running at the University of Westminster’s Ambika P3 art space. The exhibition ‘End Piece’ by David Hall was an installation of 1001 televisions, designed in response to the upcoming digital switch over on the 18th April. The old monitors were positioned at different angles resting on a net at waist level, all tuned in to play one of the five analogue channels so it was very noisy. The exhibition is running until 22nd April so I wonder what it will be like when the digital switch over happens … will it all just turn to white noise? There were also some sub-sections of the exhibition. ‘TV Interruptions’ was a set of seven old-fashioned monitors set on top of speakers, showing film footage with audio from the 1970’s. Another ‘Progressive Recession’ was an installation of modern TV monitors mounted on the wall, each with a camera fixed on top, which appeared to be filming us as we walked around so that we appeared on the monitors in unexpected places.

Then we took a trip to Suky’s studio at The Great Western Studios in West London where we had a round table discussion over lunch in which we showed her our work since our last tutorial. I had brought with me some of the finished images for my final major project that the students had drawn and written on. Suky really liked the ones that had been drawn and painted on, especially two landscape images in particular. However she said she was not as keen on the images that had been written on. I still plan to include these as to me they do still show the personalities of these dyslexic students but I have taken Suky’s opinion on board that the drawn on images might be more interesting for my audience. However the other students in my mentor group said they liked the ones with writing on because they help tell a story. In my opinion the ones with writing on are just as interesting because a lot of them convey the students experiences of being dyslexic (which was my main focus of doing this body of work). And although I am aware that dyslexics often use this visual language to express themselves instead of using written language, in this case they are using words to compliment their images, which at university level they have already learnt to do. Also I feel that by including the text on top of the images they can stand alone at exhibition to be understood by the audience, without being completely reliant on the accompanying audio. I still have some sessions planned for the students who still need to draw on their images but I don’t feel that I can ask them to avoid writing because then I would be controlling their expression and putting my stamp on their work which I don’t want to do.

Following this we went to the Tate Modern where I found an exhibition I liked in the ‘New Documentary Forms’ section by Boris Mikhailov. This photographer had produced a body of work documenting life in the Ukraine during the Soviet era and it’s aftermath. I particularly liked the layout of his work. I took some photographs because I think this style of presentation could work for my degree show. I will have lots of small images, some landscape and some portrait so I would like to do something similar to this but on a smaller scale. Having looked at some of this work again on the Internet I found out that this photographer is well known for his complex arrangement of photographs and installations. He also uses colour to communicate a narrative, for example in this work he uses red in every image as a symbolic reminder that the Soviet regime was everywhere.

Overall I enjoyed my day in London. The exhibitions that we visited were inspiring, and it was interesting to see where Suky works from at her studio. Also it was nice to have the opportunity to travel around London with Suky for the day, as we were able to go off the beaten track to areas we don’t usually see on our trips to London.

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