Tea improves everything

In Edinburgh College of Art, Rambling on January 25, 2013 at 8:40 pm

Not that it really needed improving. But spare kettle is now back in the studio and it’s so nice. Tea breaks are really wonderful things, and now I can be warm and not wrapped in hundreds of layers. Studio is slowly becoming home again, more and more of my flat is being moved into my poor desk/locker – although my locker is sort of being a display…space at the moment, sticking them to the walls is easier than propping them up behind stuff to keep drawings flat. I have a studio mug and everything, although it’s not quite big enough for a decent sized cup of tea so might buy a new one…

Ehm. I’ve done…stuff. Quite a lot of stuff. Just not writing stuff, because I’ve still got cotton wool for a brain. I went and got something cut with the laser cutter, one of the separations of squares onto a piece of paper to use as a stencil. Which was amazingly quick and lovely (laser-cutter-man gets even more plus points for playing Blondie), but possibly too neat. All my drawings are a bit wonky/all over the place, the lino and woodblock prints even more so and the colouring in squares are all smudgy. I’ll probably still try and make a printing block or something with the laser cutter, but it’s too neat. Not quite…human – like the Photoshop version of the square pattern is too neat, too perfect. I’ve messed the colouring in ones up quite a few times and I kind of like that, like that it’s obviously not something machine-made, mass produced. Not that there’s necessarily anything wrong with that, before I dig myself a huge hole, but it doesn’t quite…fit. A lot of this project has turned into drawings, and I can barely walk in a straight line let alone draw one, so to make such perfect things would be weird, I think. Maybe. I don’t know!

Wednesday was almost entirely printmaking (mono prints, lino and woodblock), which was lovely (and strangely satisfying – ink smells nice, in an inky sort of way, and cleaning it all up and making everything neat again is always nice. That and lifting paper off a board and finding a nice print – good stuff). Laser stencil first I think, I was originally going to put coloured paper behind it so the right coloured squares showed up, but it got inked.


Using it as a stencil – and ghost prints from the inked up board – do make it less accurate, perfect, but I’m still not quite convinced. I’m still beyond excited about what I could use the laser cutter for, but I don’t…want to use just for the sake of having used it.


Doing wood things is so much easier when the wood isn’t impossibly dense, I have a new found love of MDF, I can actually do things with it quickly and sort of accurately! They look quite nice, just as inked up bits of wood too. The first is an outline of the square pattern, or a section of the red squares really. I was going to do it so there was squares, instead of lines, but I liked the lines. And it looks my train maps. So my data has turned into a map, somehow. Which is neat. I’ve done three different colours and on different things, but I like this one. The ones on tracing paper look quite cool backlit (so I stole window space as well as wall space…eek)


I finished an A3 wood thingy this afternoon – of the drawing round of rectangles – so I printed that (without a press, because it was late and I have no idea if my huge paper would even fit and I wanted to fill the paper) and the small one again, there’s a layered one that I really quite like. I need to go over the lines again I think, they weren’t quite defined enough, and I’ll do it in a press next week. I was cleaning the A3 one off and got some nice patterns on bits of tissue, which I kept.



I got distracted from video/sound things, maybe I’ll come back to it. I spent last night (stayed for a long time – I get in about 9 every day, and left sometime after 8 yesterday. Need a life, honestly) colouring in an A1 piece of paper to make into a bag, because Steph has amazing ideas (I owe you!) and taught me how to make a paper bag, I’m going to end up making hundreds and hundreds. It’s – I want to say ‘nice’ but I need a word other than ‘nice’ or ‘lovely’ – neat turning what was a very flat thing into quite an unflat thing. Having something to hold – to fill with phenomena, actually – is different, but good different. I’m going to try making other 3D things from the patterns, bracelets or something, I don’t quite know. I’m so easily impressed, a bag full of phenomena and evidence and a travelling bag. Apparently it’s the best thing I’ve done in my life, which makes my life a) incredibly dull and b) possibly pointless.



It looks annoyingly similar to these, well it’s a bag and there’s squares coloured in with felt tips. It’s just annoying because paper-bag-man is also an intermedia-man (strangely like writing he-who-must-not-be-named), and it’d kind of be awkward I think to show up with paper bags covered in squares. I know they’re not really that similar. Just…yeah. I didn’t mean for that to happen… anyway it links nicely – deliberately, sort of – to the new project, which is kind of just…phenomenon + some.

Outside the white cube

“If one accepts the proposition that the meanings of utterances, actions and events are affected by their ‘local position’, by the situation of which they are a part, then a work of art, too, will be defined in relation to its place and position.”  Nick Kaye

“Museum and mausoleum are connected by more than phonetic association. Museums are like the family sepulchres of works of art. They testify to the neutralisation of culture.” Adorno

It is normally taken for granted that art is seen in a ‘neutral’ white cube gallery space. However, as you have learned, Intermedia challenges commonly held assumptions about art. Though the white cube gallery purports to have a neutrality and emptiness, in fact it is a bastion of Modernist ideology and conventions.

“It was a confrontation with the body. It was a notion that the object recedes in its self-importance. It participates in a complex experience that includes the object, your body, that space, and the time of your experience. It’s locked together in these things”.Robert Morris

You are asked to explore the relationship between space, viewer and art object and how this affects the  experience of your work by making an intervention within the College, in spaces not normally associated with showing artwork (avoid the Sculpture Court, Andrew Grant Gallery for instance).  So, make something, place something, change something within the College that allows the viewer a new experience of a familiar space. An important aspect of an intervention is that it works with the space rather than being imposed upon it. This blurring between the artwork and its site is an important trope within Intermedia; there are no footnotes or frame that tell you how to view the work. The more the object recedes, and the more the experience becomes foregrounded, the better.

The site may offer

a particular and unavoidable history
a particular use (kitchen, workshop, corridor, office)
a particular formality (shape, proportion, height, disposition of architectural elements, etc)
a particular political, cultural or social context

The blurring of art and life situations can result in new and surprising relationships and experiences.

So that’s three weeks, and fits really nicely with what I’m doing, or thinking about doing. Which I was kind of thinking about before I knew the project, always good. As well as making things I’m going to…alter things. In a temporary, impermanent, way so no one gets horribly angry or something. It sounds a wee bit crazy (I’ve been Scottish-ised, sort of, although most certainly no haggis – vegan or otherwise – tonight) at the moment, and I’m not sure if it’s actually a good idea (having done the best thing in my life why bother?!), but I was looking at wall tiles earlier, as readymade squares I could use. There’s some really depressing toilets, with kinda mucky grey tiles and it’s just cold and a bit damp and embarrassingly scary if I’m in at the weekend or something, and I’d quite like to make them a bit…nicer. Everything seems to be quite bright/colourful that I’m doing at the moment, so I don’t know…covering horrible tiles with nice paper cut outs or something. Really I just find the idea of making everyone come down to a toilet cubicle to see work for the crit quite amusing, which has to be a good reason to do something.


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