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Crit: Tutor feedback 18th March

A discussion of progress with Liz Libor introduced a number of artist references as well as a wider consideration of how to fit my work into one or more genres of art. It was interesting that Liz mentioned that my work doesn’t necessarily have to fit into a single genre, in fact, much breakthrough contemporary art overlaps several genres and this can lead to the most exciting innovations. There is a risk that, for example, if my work sat within the land art genre it may be too closely allied with an existing artist and not generate its own unique difference in the world. This reminds me of the reference, deference, difference formula of Griselda Pollock, which I’ve always got in the back of my mind. The difference is what we are talking about here, yes we should refer to a number of artists and show them respect, but we should also strive out in a new direction and this may well involve crossing a number of genres in the process.

Looking at my sketch below, my work seems to cross the genres of land, kinetic, political, installation and environmental art. This is exciting but also challenging as it gives me a huge array of influences to consider. It seems sensible to have one genre more prominent than the others and dominating the project. This would be based on my core reason for embarking on this project and as I consider this, I think land art is at the centre of this work. The project started with a study of landscape and the piece will sit in the landscape so it seems most sensible to use this as my main influence.

Liz mentioned Andy Goldsworthy as an artist to look at, and I’ve referenced him in the past so I’ll do yet another analysis of his work with this project in mind. There is also the iconic Robert Smithson, the walking art of Richard Long (Turner Prize winner), and countless others.

A discussion with Julian led to him sending over the video links below. I started this project with an interest in video work and it had moved in an installation direction but video of the event may well be used in the final exhibition so Bill Viola is still a relevant artist to study.

I really enjoy how William Kentridge integrates kinetic art and video, with kinetic art acting as the generator of the video projection. This is a powerful connection as it jumps the viewer from one domain to another, from the physical world to the imagined world. Could I connect kinetic and media elements in the exhibition? How powerful it would be if I could link the physical force of the river which was turning paddles and hypothetically generating electricity to power a video projection. It would be as if the river was calling out to us in a desperate attempt to make its voice heard. Maybe this is the purest form of land art – that where we experience the land connecting with us.

This makes me think about the words I plan to place on the paddles as maybe the most powerful words would be those ‘spoken’ by the river. What would a river want to say to us if it was under threat of destruction? Would it be angry, sad, complacent, or warn of armageddon? What language would it use? Would it make any sense? Who would it be targeted at? This is an interesting angle but I need to find a way into this language, in many ways I need to remove myself from language completely.

The two video suggestions below relate to building kinetic sculptures and waterwheels. Useful as they are, I plan a more detailed study of kinetic artists in a future post.

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