The Story of Art School and the Red Tape

With the degree show just over the hill and everyone around me starting to get tense I find myself dealing with institutionalized red tape (a-fucking-gain). Why do we student artists have to deal with so many barriers when all we are trying to achieve is some form of conclusion to the past four years of blood, sweat, and tears.

Let me put this in context for you. I, for my degree show, have proposed to exhibit four works, two instillations, one photographic/sound piece, and one performance. Originally I proposed to hold most of these within the building at Grays (excluding one of the instillations), but later decided to adapt one of the works so that it could be held outside so not to take up space unnecessarily for a one-off performance. Personally I thought I was being considerate, doing both the school and my fellow students a favour. But all I have seemed to have encountered after proposing this is a massive pile of the proverbial ‘red tape’. Their response was this…

“Anything between both buildings for the duration of the show is problematic – power, security, equipment left outside overnight etc etc…. The quad is a more controllable and safe area but it’s starting to get busy in there.”

I really think they failed to understand the whole notion of this being a ‘one-off’ performance. I only plan to do the performance once… I say again once. Not for the “duration of the show”. And I am now being encouraged not to do the work, something I have spent a long time researching, organizing, and developing so that it could be accommodated. Their main concerns seem to be power, equipment, and that ultimate failure of legislation, health and safety (the legislation of common sense). And I am still unsure as to what major health and safety issues I will encounter. Someone tripping on the cables? Someone eating a cable? Both seems as likely to me. For me it seems to be a waste of both my time and my energy to put so much into this for it to be cancelled just because their worried someone might cause themself a ‘You’ve Been Framed’ moment.

The next problem was the suggestion to hold it in the quad. As I explained in both my proposals is that this performance is extremely loud and would therefore impose on the other work being held there, another reason I considered and the main reason I asked to do it outside the Grays building.

Basically I think the only thing that is causing any problems with this work is the school seeming inability to both understand what I am proposing and they’re lack of encouragement. They clearly have ‘better’ things to deal with. All I want is to feel I achieved something with my time at Grays, and to be able to share that with the public (the whole point in making art, no?)

Bridge of Dee Flood Tunnels

This is the first in a series of works I have started where I go to public spaces, some obvious some obscure, and create a piece of music using the objects and natural resonations of the chosen spaces that I feel represent each individual space and my experience of it.

I chose the flood tunnels underneath the Bridge of Dee because it has always intrigued me as a space, the long damp chambers interconnecting, twisting, a labyrinth hidden under the foundations of Aberdeen city. As with all spaces of this nature it remains unoccupied: both humans and animals aware of the dangers when the rivers tide is high. Yet it still has an aura of activity, a life not of the conventional city scape, a calm activity, a soft touch. The tunnels had a fluid ambience, the echos drifting through the space subtlety caressing the hard walls always dwindling before escaping from the cold caverns.

Bridge of Dee Flood Tunnels

And Here It Comes… The Degree Show

Well it’s that time with the big end of degree show looming its ugly, but very exciting, head. I believe it  is costumery for 4th years to begin to freak out at this point, or at least start worrying that everything they’ve done is not good enough, or that they’ll never get everything finished in time, or that they’ll have to compromise their work too much to accommodate their fellow students, etcetera etcetera. So why is it I do not feel worried? Even though I’m just back from holiday where I done no practical work, though my workbook is filling up nicely, and still have a fair amount to do?

I think reasons for my calm state are that I am one of the lucky 4th years who has a clear idea of where they are, what they are doing, and what they need to do to get there. I don’t want to seem over confident because I am considering the worries listed in the previous paragraph and understand that my work may have to go through some drastic changes due to the issue of space, but I think that if I started to freak out now I wouldn’t use my time nearly as efficiently as I should be at this point. I still have quite a bit to do, but, I used my time away to look at where I was from an outsiders point of view and began to grasp the extent of what lay in front of me, both practically and conceptually. And for the first time in my life I saw the advantages of lists. Lists allow you to see the volume of what you have left to do, they convert the magnitude of tasks into easily categorized chunks which you can then set about organising into the most practical plan of action. Praise be to the list!

The only issue I find myself dealing with is that I keep having more and more ideas for works that I want to do for the degree show. But can I really achieve all of them? I guess its a matter of prioritising the ones that are both achievable and fit in with the work I have already been creating. It would be nonsensical of me to start giving up my time to works that are so fresh and out of context to the works I am currently trying to ‘resolve’, as I have been trained to call it. But I do feel it would be a waste not to at least try them out. I don’t want to give up on an idea which could grow into something striking. But I know for a fact that I am not the first, or the last, 4th year art student who has, or is, having this dilemma. All I can actively do is give the ideas a small, but fair, go and from this determine the best course of action.

So onwards and upwards to the finale of my educational life.

Chaos In Notion

How could one create their own living moment? A cell in the transience of reality, responding to disordered stimuli, merging and transforming to fashion an ordered form: the cell adapting to the conscious experience of itself.

A show of my work happening on the 12th August, at Gray’s School Of Art, with all invited.

The first work is an audio performance based on the notions of order and disorder, their binary, yet synchronous, opposition in relation to the subjectivity of consciousness. Using the feedback produced by guitar amplifiers and microphones I want to create a piece in which chaos and order are indistinguishable and flux between the elements of each other in a sythony of the audible senses
Inspired by complexity theory and collective-consciousness psychology the work intends to allow the audience and participants to experience a form of order which is souly subjective to the moment, their personal perceptions colliding with that of the collective, these notions projecting onto the noise, patterns and sequences emerging from the chaotic sound.

The second work is again based on the notions of order an disorder, and how they realte to our perception of forms and non-forms (distortions of reconisable shapes ect). This video based sculpure is an abstract inspection of the human form, the base of our understanding of order, and how its dimentions can be contorted into unreconiseable and arbitrary formations.
The work intends to question our notions of order against the disordered fashion of consciousness, how perceptions of reality, time, and even truth are rarely objective. Motivated by the works of Robert Anton Wilson and he Dune novels written by Frank Herbert, the piece is meant as infution of esoteric approaches and visionary possiblities within human consciousness.