‘summative assessment’ are the two most terrifying words I’ve seen

In Edinburgh College of Art, Rambling on March 17, 2013 at 1:47 am

Very sad, but true. Logically, it shouldn’t. Last semester went alright in terms of grades, maybe it’s the complete not-knowing-at-all for this semester that makes it terrifying. I’d hope it’s gone better, but who can say. To the point, new (and last – except an exhibition project) project for the year. Maybe that’s scarier than assessment…

The site for your project is the Union Canal; an important waterway in the 18th century linking the commercial centres of east and west Scotland. Like many post-industrial sites it is currently being developed and the area is a mixture of new and old architecture. Although it now relies on leisure, heritage and tourism to survive, journeys along this waterway were of vital importance in the transport of coal, fuelling the industrial heartland.

We consider your private journeys as worthy of consideration as these socially productive ones. What happens when private and public meet?

You will be introduced to the site, then asked to research it using as many means as possible and make a work that intervenes in it, presenting your personal thoughts and actions in a public space. This is what we believe art, a social activity, does; it presents subjective opinions for public discussion. Methods you might employ could be performance, documentation as art work, ambient, experiential, creating objects, posters… whatever you want; except, do not treat the site as an outdoor gallery or merely a source for images from which to make photographs, paintings or sculptures that are presented in a ‘white cube’ art space.

Think about journeys you make every day: the journey from bed to toilet in the middle of the night with no lights so as not to disturb your flatmates. How strange a place does your home become in the dark? Your bus journey to College; a metal box full of people you see every day, all in the same cramped space but never engaging in conversation or eye contact.  Counting the cracks on the pavement as you walk home on a Saturday evening. Can you make work using this? Visually document everything you think about. The most mundane thought or activity might be extremely revealing when further examined.

Funny how often maps have come up recently – I started the semester drawing maps, I was drawing contours for a while, the tape lines looked like maps (or snail goo) and now more. Lucky I like maps I guess. On the plus side it makes all this work quite…unified, or at least look it. And even better I live quite close to the canal, and I’ve walked bits of it… I don’t intend to walk all the way to Glasgow though.

I have no idea why I’m awake now either, or capable or semi-coherent writing. I’ve spent most of today – well, yesterday – glaring at books and essay. It’s…ehm. Coming along. Lets leave it there. It’s changed since yesterday morning at least. I’m sort of starting to get to the point a bit, and actually talk about work. There’s a kinda inevitable bias towards fluxus though, because it’s what I like and what I can write about and I know things about that. Maybe it’s not so bad, because I’m not contrasting art movements, just using two to illustrate a point. It’s just my points are so far quite fluxus-y-points. God knows why I chose cubism at all…it made sense at one point. But there’s not much else I could really choose, it needs to be start of the century seeing as fluxus is later and I know more about cubism (not saying a lot) than anything else at that time. Sadly the bibliography alone is above the word count. It’s becoming less of a history essay though. Slowly. I’m hoping that writing about work I like (or even better, seen, I’ve managed to get Beuys and The Pack in – seen that, interestingly it was also at eca years ago – and all the relevant stuff from New York) will work better than just reading up on lots of stuff (there’s lots of reading going on too, it’s just…easier when you actually like what you’re reading/writing about). I had a vague idea of having a draft done by the end of this week, I’ve got more words but there was a deadline induced re-writing of many things that I was saving for the last week of March, but seeing as it’ll be over by then….pfft. So now I’m hoping to have at least one point finished by Monday. If I’m lucky, two. Or a draft.


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