Behind The Times
Marie Louise Jones Redifined Horizons (2020) A physical, site responsive form exploring the artificial nature of our built-up landscapes. Sculpture made with reclaimed and reworked architectural components of a demolished building, with nanalogue collaged prints from architecture annuals found on site.
Behind The Times
t is easy to feel Behind the Times when a precarious year of study has passed you by, broken and disrupted, reshaped and reduced, with the whole globe seeming to come to a complete halt. It is easy to feel behind the times when your interests about tactile matter, the hand made, the haptic, the sensory has been devalued, has been forgotten, has been erased. Behind these Times, we navigate the non-studio, a nonspace, populating unchartered territory, LCD screens and digital realms, exploring the new terrain; holding hands with those most alien, learning from those whom already inhabit the landscape. But, is there -behind the glass- a real community? Reflection invites a time behind the physical, a time for revaluation, a time that, once explored, emphasises just how important this sense of community we have now become so physically removed from really is. A sense that was formed when we all became the MAFA Class of 19/20 in October 2020 and got forged over the months after that.
Just as we began to find our feet, to question our practises, to share ideas and to form relationships, we found ourselves faced with staff strikes on the lead up to and during our interim exhibition, and then a global pandemic separated us and removed us from our working studio environments, but has this time been a invaluable time of reflection and reworking or has it been a damaging interruption and hindrance on our practises? As we ‘progressed’ on the MA, there was a realisation that a practice is shaped by intent and misfortune, by design and failures, by will and by chance. As we approached the end of our first year, with the absolute uncertainty for the future of art schools and the new ‘blended’ learning model – a promise of limited studio time, online tutorials and complete lack of physical contact with tutors – hanging in the balance, we wondered whether we had be given a chance to progress at all.
Isabel Díaz Catoni
he act of creation has always been a way of living for myself, a mechanism to confront life, a strategy to get my feelings out and manifest my deepest thoughts without explanations about what I am thinking or feeling, something that I struggle to do through words. I do not know exactly if it is the process of creation and doing the artwork piece which represents what I want more than the final piece or if it is the other way around, but certainly, the best part for me is the process of creation. I believe the exercise of creation is something that artists do constantly through their lives, sometimes it could be inspired from outside stimulation, and other times it correspond to a an introspective and reflective process about feelings or situations. I would say that the moments
where I can analyse and develop the most relevant ideas about my work are during my daily routine tasks, commute, chores or when I am reading, listen to music, etc. Although time to time I need to change the scenery, go to unknown places, new landscapes which nourish my visual recollection of landscapes. Another way of getting mental stimulation for the process of creation is visiting galleries, museums, and libraries. However I think these are historical approaches to get knowledge, which are structuralized and filtered. Before you see an art work or book, it has gone under other person recollection, selection, and their own way of displaying the piece which makes an impact on how you are approaching to the content, which might alter your perception. I had always thought of the world surrounding an artist’s life as a poetic and romantic atmosphere, which might sometimes be loneliness and hypersensitive, a very bohemian lifestyle. Through the last couple of years becoming a full-time artist showed me that it is not the case even in the sightless sense. There must be constant hard work, search for new opportunities, a search of outside sources to stimulate creativity, and research about everything that might be related to your interest subject.
As an artist, I have learned that there are more failures than triumphs when it comes to creation, but the nonsuccessful projects sometimes are the most nourishing ones. This projects allow you learn more about the process technicalities and how to work with certain materials. Also about representation, what not to do and many times they led to other ideas that are better than the first ones. My main struggle as an artist it is to be able to represent a very specific idea and what happened in the process to create that piece. Lately, I have been trying to read more about representation in different subjects and how to reach the viewer as I meant. Although, I think that it is part of doing art, the viewer can always make their own interpretations about artwork and that it is part of the game, even though my biggest challenge at the moment is to make this gap smaller.
Acylic On Paper
London Isabel Díaz Catoni
Prueba Isabel Díaz Catoni
Bill Daggs O
n starting the M.A.F.A course, the work consisted of large-scale wall-based paintings.
Since finishing a B.A in 2017, I had embarked on a ‘journey into painting’. It had been the intention to continue on that journey and hone the craft as a painter during the time on the M.A.F.A, then a global pandemic and the birth of my daughter changed the initial plans directions. Music has always surrounded my environment, my father was a professional musician and recording engineer, and before choosing to study visual art I had spent the previous 15 years making, writing, performing & recording music. In the run up to my daughter being born I found myself making ‘sounds’ again - though this time I was finding it hard to technically call it ‘music’. I was unaware of sound art at this point, possibly even ignorant and dismissive of it. Questioning and learning to understand your intentions behind making is something I was not used to, I made, therefore it was. But something happened somewhere that made me excited about the thought process behind the making - this may have been when Alex Landrum gave me the Stockhausen catalogue, or during a dialogue in which we agreed the more exciting artist is the one who does not limit themselves to a canvas - at some point I was ready to open my practise up again, to understand how these different ways of making sat together.
The painting journey, like the sculptural one before that, and the musical one before that, had been invaluable and now they waited with baited breath to play with and inform one another, to co-exist in and populate the same studio space. When the hand is forced to utilise what is close, you upgrade an old PC and download whatever cracked software you can find. During the final semester of year one, staff went on strike and we found ourselves in the middle of a global crisis, universities shut down along with our studios. There was no longer the opportunity to paint large works, so I taught myself to use Premiere Pro and After Effects and started to make video work. I dug out old musical equipment, FX processors and synthesisers and found an Ableton crack and collaborated with various different artists remotely on different projects. I continued to write poetry and prose but considered where these writings now belong within the bigger narrative, what their purpose was aside from being works on their own. Probably the most important thing to happen was starting to draw again. There is a lot to be said for scaling down, for having limited space, tools and time available. There seems to have been a direction made from it. Deadlines emerge and are met. Space is made in the head and perhaps half of the work is completed before you’ve even had time to pick up a 2B pencil, a guitar pick, a mouse. Without this time of reflection, of realisation, I may still be just making big paintings, and I’m not sure how exciting they would be.
More Than Me
Wish We Didn’t
Infbaf004 - The Site & Process Orchestra - Like Plaster on Walls; Observing The Inner: A Performance in Two Acts Bill Daggs
s spaces of congregation were deemed no longer fit for dwelling occupance, we mourned the loss of proximity, of exchange, of a community we had so faithfully invested in. We now hung like plaster on walls; observing the inner, trying to find a reason to dress up for occasions that no longer existed. Peering into LCD landscapes, navigating a new contemporary; a static, battered dessert. Guided by un-human gestures. Latency incompatibilities obscuring the natural rhythm of the order - there is no order. The only order exists on lists, which grow, torment, consume. Trapped up towers we long to let our increasingly unkempt hair down, though not a soul passes beneath the ledge to receive it. When the straw that suffocated intuition was realised, with all our might it was forcefully removed. That’s when the natterings began. “Pick up everything you can! Learn these new, ancient systems! Find solace in space! In the silence! Meditate! Or fill it! Fill it with howls and ruckus, with colours and beauty, with despair and fear, laughter and cheer!” Though the celebration would not happen until the straw had been destroyed, but that could only occur once it had been understood. The first feeling; that of melancholia, evoked frequencies of the Earth; low rumbles - the hunger for knowledge, for action, in the bellies of the malnourished. In a digital realm we grew closer, lamenting, wailing. In separate boxes connected by the fragility of invisible erratic signal, an exorcism began to relieve the plaster of its confines. Inanimate objects became transmitters, receivers, life saving devices. This new landscape; unlearnt, unnerving, anxious, presented itself virgin for the explorers - perilous, uncertain, embarrassed - but held no judgement of their play, of their new rituals, of the ceremony.
audio recording option on a conference call platform and a Tascam DR-05. The second act was captured as audio files on separate recording and mobile devices belonging to the artists in each of their respective locations. The performance was curated and conducted, then later mixed, edited and mastered by Bill Daggs, and performed by artists James Canty, Charlotte Cuny, Isabel Diaz Cantoni, Kathryn Gee, Talia Golchin, Justine Hounam, Yuge Hui, Marie-Louise Jones, Yeeun Kim, Zhengwei Li, Louise Richards, Elisabeth Tomlinson & Susan Trangmar. Words by Bill Daggs. Cover image: ‘The Encompassing Current of Greyscale Protrusions’ by James Canty. https://infbaf.bandcamp.com/album/like-plaster-onwalls-observing-the-inner-a-performance-in-two-acts
like plaster on walls; observing the inner - a performance in two Acts’ was performed on two different occasions during a period of global pandemic via conference call platforms. The two acts were made with various instruments and objects that were ‘to hand’ for the artists at their different locations - ranging from a Microkorg to a handful of pennies. The first act was captured via the
Blood Boiling is the beginning point of a collaborative project
between artists John (Bapou) Costi and Bill (Daggs) Cuthell. Both with roots firmly established in the Hip Hop culture, both working over a plethora of media, Costi and Daggs bring us the first in a series of broken narratives; poems written and performed by Costi over the soundscapes and moving images created for them by Daggs. Made at distance during a period of lockdown, and with this first piece to be screened at Costi’s EN5 “Avant-Garden” Gallery. https://vimeo.com/421642108
Determination Zeynep Sagir Acylic On Paper
ooking back at my first year of the MA, several things occur to me. On starting the course, I had imposter syndrome and I simply could not understand how I had managed to be accepted by Central Saint Martins. On the first day I stood in the biggest pile of dogshit outside Archway campus, I then proceeded to fall down the stairs! Not an auspicious start! I spent the first month questioning how and if I was going to proceed. However, I was dazzled by the facilities and opportunities I now had access to and embarked on using everything at my
Louise Richards disposal. This meant, on reflection, I got side-tracked, but I could have taken up residence in the print room if I was allowed.
After Christmas break, time accelerated, the interim show, a ‘crit’ and the first draft of our research papers all had to be in. Almost immediately after the interim show the country went into lockdown! No more studio, no more lectures, no more facilities, no more interaction with fellow students. Home was now my studio and luckily for me I have space at home.
Between The Lines And The Kitchen Knives
Inside/Outside Two Sides Of Being An Artist In Lockdown Notes from early lockdown
utside, is my retreat from inside. My daily walk is a time to meditate on my art practice, mull over and riff on ideas. The walk itself has become a ritual; I feel at a loss if I miss one. I have decided on no distractions from podcasts or music. I am focused, totally in the moment while I walk. The weather, colours, sounds, and encounters have become magnified. I value things I have previously taken for granted and the dog is getting thinner!
Boredom has played a part too, I do not relish housework, but I realised I could combine this with my art practice. Boredom is believed to be essential for creativity, and during lockdown we have plenty of time to be bored, to contemplate and be ‘present in our lives’. Being mindful and conscious of the rhythms within house has informed my practice, repeating and performing actions, such as sharpening a knife, until this action becomes a kind of ritual, if a little menacing!
Inside has become my muse. I value exploring the domestic environment and opportunities to make art within it. I am playful, experimental, resourceful, intuitively responding to materials and locations. I am a flawed Domestic Goddess. I look at everyday chores in a new light and have made video’s titled Cleaning, Ironing, Chopping. I am obsessed with onions and have written haikus to them. I have taken inspiration from TV chefs, especially Nigella Lawson, who seasons her performances with sex appeal. Bobby Baker’s condiment of choice is humour and satire while Joan Jonas peppers her work with curiosity. All share a pinch of feminism. I take elements of their work and combine to make my own Art Recipe.
I see endless opportunities for making art in the domestic environment utilising the different spaces, materials, ingredients, recipes utensils and equipment. I am intrigued by the idea of making different worlds or realities from everyday objects and have been experimenting with video and animation making works titled, ‘Ironing’, and ‘Between the lines and the Kitchen Knife’.
During the lockdown’ period I looked at my home differently, things that I had become blind to the dripping tap, the stain on the carpet were now a focus point. I can curate my environment, my small world and imagine new worlds within. I set about cleaning the hob, deconstructing and removing the rings and grill. I looked at the collection of rings on the kitchen work surface and saw pattern, form, and mark making. With these elements, I made rubbings, instant art! Enjoying the surface textures and forms I found this exercise to be exciting and remembered, Bernd Steigler’s essay a History of Armchair Travel. ‘Objects are turned into symbols of their owner, who expresses his existence through each one of them, while also seeking to transform them into miniatures of the external world’
Ironing My Face Louise Richards
‘Between the Lines and the Kitchen Knife’, is a video set in the kitchen, an environment that is both the beating heart of the home, and a hazardous space. Sharp knives and boiling substances cause cuts, burns, and scolds the everyday injuries’ that scar us. I have used, knives and domestic objects, along with boring, monotonous, undervalued household tasks to explore an imagined space. Ironing, not only a comment on gendered stereotyped domestic roles, but the need for women to conform to beauty stereotypes in the ‘selfie’ rid culture we find ourselves in. Darkly humorous but I have found I need humour now more than ever! I feel lockdown has been a gift in terms of my practice as it has made me focus. To keep me inspired I joined various projects although endless ‘zoom’, ‘collaborate’, ‘jitsi’, and ‘teams’ meetings were not an ideal way to interact. I learnt new technical skills along the way, but it often felt strange talking into a vacuum. This is certainly not how I envisaged my first year of an MA would be, and it has been challenging in ways no one could have foreseen. I sincerely hope things improve going forward.
Knife Blood Louise Richards
Chris. Dugrenier All change, please, All change!
he refrain to my first year on the MA Fine Arts… The first half… Since the Autumn 2019, 3 days a week, a daily commute… Finding a routine and learning flexibility Accepting that ‘on time’ will be the exception Making good use from the time spent rolling back and forth to the Capital Thinking, reading, looking forward, catching up sleep, Thinking now how little is remembered of those months’ past,
3 turning points
doing so, I might lose some viewers along the way. Also, Reworking this text in the context of having no choice in making a ‘settled status’ application, a prorogation and brexit felt important. I became aware of how those ‘things that are done to us’ affected how I now saw this ‘Great’ Britain that had welcomed so many of the people I know and myself here. A latent sadness, Not felt until the words characterising an open Great Britain needed -this time round- to lose their colour...
1. It was on the train that I pondered about how to best
2. It was on the train that I watched Walter Ruttman’s
rework my phonetic poem | ðə ˈraɪtɪŋ z ɒn ðə wɔːl | for a new Language Art exhibition at Central Saint Martins.
As I thought about the presentation, I was in two minds. Either, give viewers the English translation of the phonetic text -thus making it ‘accessible’ and give literal-ly the meaning away. or add the International Phonetic Alphabet as Keys and demand of the reader an effort of translation, to convey the travail of learning/speaking English as a second language. This effort - in fact - easier if subvocalised- was - is - the raison d’être of the piece. Deciding against ‘easy’ accessibility was crucial in accepting that my work makes demands, and that in
1927 movie ‘Berlin, Symphony of a City’. As the train entered Berlin in 1927, mine left Northampton in 2019. For the duration of that scene (about 5mn) there was a strange marriage between the there/then and the here/ now The matching thrust of the machine, The matching landscape zooming by, black & white over colour The matching journey toward a capital I grasped then Paul O’Kane’s comment that ‘Artists should make themselves historical for when they are…” I was intrigued at the idea of thinking of ‘now’ as ‘history’, but could never have anticipated that a few months later, we would all be living through a historic time, Thinking historically of the present and living through a historic time are two very different things.
3. It was on the train that all changed:
plan, tack, language, art form It was with my head on the window, rain à l’horizontal, that I accepted the Fine Art world was not so fine… And there - sitting in the direction of travel - that I committed to engage (wrestle) with it, come what may! As Pierre Bourdieu wrote: ‘…we can and must intervene in the world of politics, but with our own means and ends.’ So, it was there at the side table that I planned my first response: A pair of padded sleeves, A white-collar shirt hanging by threads from them, Half of a body-shell, No head to bow, No arms to rise, No hands to shake, No legs to stand on, No eyes, No mouth, No voice, No body Nobody but a uniform The uniform is the institutional skin, which makes the disciplined body most intelligible. As a system of representation, it identifies a body’s specific function in a given institution and thus defines the behaviour of
others. DILLER + SCOFIDIO - FLESH – ARCHITECTURAL PROBES – p.37 An apron, a lanyard, a polyester shirt with embroidered logo, a high-vis, … A synthetic surface. These are the uniforms that interest me. Tokens of low status with little to no power, I want to make them fleshy totems and give weight to what hitches, pinches, to what reds the skin, to what hurts and is pulling down, to show the marks of how society conforms. A new series en cours… So, From ‘memory’ to ‘effort’, From ‘effort’ to ‘agency’ now, can I go from ‘agency’ to Action Motion Locomotion R/evolution…? “All change, please, all change…”
Not Even The Minimum
Resistance Zeynep Sagir Acrylic On Paper
Phonetic Poem Chris Dugrenier
Claire Lawrie Red Delicious Revisionism Year One MAFA CSM 2019/20
here is a shop nearby, they sell these red apples, the shiniest most beautiful apples in Islington. The red of the ‘Red Delicious’ has a particular tone, it’s not my favourite Red, (the technicolour Red of Dorothy’s shoes), but a blood Red, a Red that no matter how hard you scrub it, it never washes out. I’d buy them so often that the shop keepers started to comment on it, unsure how to respond to my obsession, they placed the apples into the small brown paper bag, knowing I would be back for more. I had begun to dream about the apples. One morning, having attended a lecture on Archeoacoustics the day before, I heard a sound. A distant echo crunching through the ages, woke me, quiet at first, it became progressively louder until it insisted that I no longer ignore it. The apples had begun to haunt me, as the past always haunts the present, this symbol imagined through time, a ‘multi temporal palimpsest’, an archaeological relic, an ‘active agent’ (Campbell,Ulin,2004), that bothers, and that, as Avery Gordon suggests, requires ‘a something -to -be -done’. The symbolism of the apple is common to folktales and mythologies worldwide, a well-travelled symbol that roams between sites, from the Garden of Hesperides to Walt Disney’s Snow White, even appearing as a contentious piece of evidence in Alan Turing’s suicide. Despite its intertextuality, the apple is forever tied to the Bible, to Eve for taking a bite for transgression and knowledge and to the punishment of women that continues to work ceaselessly inhibiting and disciplining
or simply ignoring the feminine other. All creation myths involve the destruction of one thing to create the other. The impossibility of an escape from violence seems to have been literally written into the origins of life. The violence of forgetting populated many of our lectures last year, which required a radical kind of listening and encouraged a sense of responsibility in art making. We focused on the works of Walter Benjamin, who committed suicide whilst on the run from Nazi Germany. Readings from his posthumously published book, ‘Theses on the philosophy of history’, his message in Thesis IX had a profound effect on me. Our discussion group, ‘Concepts have Teeth’, also focused on the lost object through its work with the Wellcome Trust, who through the repatriation of its collection of secret and sacred objects, begins to come to terms with its past. Continuing a reading group with Adam Saad, we discussed the decolonising of the arts institution, which, perhaps ‘begins with a process of facing oneself’ (Gabi Ngcobo). Ways of seeing and being seen will always transmit themselves through the symbol, through fragments of evidence, between the lines and in many cases over years of longing. ‘Somewhere every culture has an imaginary zone for what it excludes and it is that zone we must try to remember today’ (Clement,C,1996). We were there, We are here, You are too.
Elizabeth Tomlinson I
started at post structured, transdisciplined Study in the Undercommons. And that’s a confusing space to be in – contradictory, not with itself but with like – what you’re ‘spose to be and know and do. Because you get free in these margins by looking for what’s already been there but it’s tiring explaining to the rest and even more to keep explaining to yourself as you lose your grip on that bit of fresh air. So, that’s where I started, trying to convince myself I was in the Undercommons by reading about radicalism, and staring down my selfpolicing, and making little movies. But then I was like – why are you trying so hard, who’re you trying to be? Cause maybe it’s really a lot easier then all this reading to find the words to say what you’re already doing anyway. Like you really think that sitting feet in the Nile, learning who you are while making a film was not the Undercommons? More important, you really think having the word “undercommons” (insert transdiscipline, affect theory, corporeality, all the “post” thinking and so on and all the others) makes it more what it already was? What book/artwork/lecture is going to finally give me the words so I can say “Hey kids, actually my artwork is about feelings, it’s kind of about trauma, and basically like how things seem cool and normal and safe but they’ll fuck you up” without sounding a bit too amateur/ feminine/unsophisticated/dumb. At what point of proven achievement/fame/credential/intellect will I feel it’s safe
to just make some art without the performance of it all? There’s a pretty big comfort in using all the book words as your vanguard – especially when we already know art making is pretty insufficiently grasped with big words. It’s like showing you’re smart/witty/sooo political will mean you don’t have to tell the truth. So, I’ll probably still use those big words, I’ve worked hard enough to get that tool in my toolkit, may as well use it: but what I’m thinking now is that I’ll just speak my mind so I know what to say when someone asks “what are you making work about?”.
There must be a repelling current upstream from the head of the table Film Still, HD video, performance (3:10 minutes) Sound design by Bill Daggs
Yeah, my work is about the corporeal image and the socialized body and affect and empathy and power between camera subject and viewer and a some more things. But like, my art is about my sister, and my best friend, and me, and it’s about how people are punished in their family, and how people are stripped in their religion, and sold for their politics, and ennuied by their education, and robbed of their own bodies. Because that’s what’s important to me - so, what else am I going to do?
A new harvest, one more easily separated the wheat from the chaff Film Still, HD video, performance (3:14 minutes) Sound design by Bill Daggs
Something about the instinct to self control Film Still, HD Video, performance (1:47 minutes) Sound design by Bill Daggs
If you raised up your child in the way he should go Film Still, HD Video, performance (2:25 minutes) Sound design by Bill Daggs
Marie Louise Jones Redifined horizons II (2020) A C-type print exploring the physical in non-physical space, combining surface data captured with photogrammetry and digital imagery to create a siteresponsive artificial landscape.
A Greater Sense of Perspective As the light rebounds, quick as a flash, straight past the face as it leaves the glass pane. I strain to see the connections made like I’m not wearing my glasses the right way round. As I miss the trails that stare back at me in plain sight, as they carefully intertwine with each part of the web so intricately, I’ve lost sight of the breadcrumbs. I have become the Vampire, preoccupied with the lines, neglecting the labour of the build. One must step further back to gain a greater sense of perspective. Perhaps the destination has not yet been reached. Maybe there are answers once one removes their teeth, breaks for a cup of tea, Breathes. I’ve been given a little more room, and though it may not be in the best of taste I have to make the best use of the space. Stretch the limbs. Lay the sketches on the floor for a bit, and ignore them like a boisterous child craving attention. Until they calm, the fuck, down. It’s in these moments of tranquillity we find clarity. The tinnitus stops stabbing away at the back of the brain so angrily and that light that rebounded, quick as a flash; the one we almost let go by, just like that, Comes back and reminds you that you’ve removed your teeth.
Bill Daggs. 2020.
Designer: Justine Hounam Editorial: Bill Daggs & Chris. Dugrenier All work copyrights to the Artists - 2020