COP1 Essay extract

The mere concept of not judging one by their appearance is difficult to imagine in this day and age and almost quite near impossible to do. It is how we as humans decode or decipher someone. If one aspect of their appearance is completely misleading to that of what one may link it to about their personality, it will still hold some link or significance to something else about them anyway. We only judge what we see based on stereotype and our own knowledge about the subject matter at hand, meaning the amount of variables and connotations one element of appearance may have is unfathomable.

Countless cultures, sub-cultures and communities have built that of what they represent or voice around appearance, being only recognisable through that aspect or element of himself or herself. You could think as simply as a uniform; a man dressed as a Police Officer is more than likely to be just that. Uniform is immensely important and almost subconsciously prominent in todays society being almost everywhere and providing a sense of order to what it represents, quite reflective of what it usually is: a public service, a restaurant and so on. Being able to judge maintains order and comfort within society and one of its most important aspects to date, at that.

However, it seems for a lot of sub-cultures, their trends go no further than just aesthetic, leaving impracticalities for what their practices entail. For example, a plumber wear’s overalls with many pockets and a hardwearing layer, to store tools and keep to himself from getting too dirty and damaged when working. However, for someone such as a ‘punk rocker’, ideals may be having somewhere on them to hold accessories and the like which reflect their culture. Women in the punk scene often dress themselves in much more masculine clothing, so would making more masculine clothes, but with a subdued feminine sub-tone be appealing to female partakers in the culture? The outcomes and what would interest someone in their culture are endless, and even more so for punk due to the heavily rebellious tone conveyed in their scene. Designing something just for them could be seen as quite contradictory to what the background aim was in the first place.

A subculture is essentially a branch off from a single theme or subject, explored and endorsed by the occupants who found interest. This explains why sub-cultures such as goths can have their characteristics and attire related to that of the Elizabethan, Victorian and medieval period and tend to express occult religious imagery. Influences can also be drawn from the 19th century Gothic literature as well as modern darker literature and horror films. Interestingly, goth culture was also a branch off of the post-punk genre, revealing reasons to similar fronts and aspects in both..

The punk subculture centres around a multitude of themes, including punk rock, fashion and many forms of expression, including, visual art, dance, literature and film. Notable tropes include the loud and aggressive rock genre, named punk rock, and people in its culture appear to adopt a large sense of individual freedom and rebellious nature to society. As is with most known or notable sub-cultures, a lack of conformity is heavily present.


Visual Exploration Evaluation

Visual exploration has certainly been a helpful start to the course, giving me an insightful taster as to what to expect in future projects, work and module layouts. As the brief was simply ‘Exploring the city’, that’s exactly how I started; exploring Leeds and what artistic value it had and what I could draw from. Of course I realise that it could have been any city I could have explored, but Leeds is as new to me as any City I’ve also never been to so I decided to stick with it.

Although it may seem fairly generic when asked to ‘explore the city’, my initial interests grew to be that of buildings and landscape. I’d taken some interesting photographs with my phone during a study trip Liverpool, and became quite fascinated with composition and contrast in the images. I found my most striking photographs to be that of building silhouettes and landscapes, contrasting with the sky or other empty space. I decided to a screen print of one of these, using colour to my advantage when printing the sky or the ‘empty’ part of the image. I received some interesting results with this, but couldn’t help feel I was stretching the use of the image, and that there really wasn’t a lot more I could explore with this concept.

However, when it came to experimenting with collage, a great deal more ideas started flowing. I found so much more experimentation could be done with it, which is why I turned my attention to a more collage and photography type route, which then turned into adopting the theme of ‘fragments’. Collage particularly gave me the idea to carry this theme out, as quite simply when constructing collage, you are constructing fragments of subject and material relating to your topic. However, I still felt as if I hadn’t quite found my self a strong enough process to reflect my topic, so I decided to think about fragments in a less literal sense. I came up with using fragments of conversation, or speech to be a focus and somehow integrate them into my photographs and collages.

For research at this point, I walked around Leeds on a Saturday afternoon with my journal, and noted down any conversation or speech that sounded interesting, humorous and stood out. I feel this was the exact missing part my project was lacking so far, and was what I could use to complete my work with. My final piece consists of three digital collages, with speech fragments reflecting the area being portrayed. However, it is admittedly quite hard for anyone seeing this for the first time to decipher properly, due to the brief very speech fragments I included and the array of structures featured in my images. Although overall I feel what I was trying to personally demonstrate was conveyed enough to my liking.


Visual Exploration Final Pieces

My final pieces are made to display fragments of speech heard around the city, reflected by the fragments of buildings integrated into the images (i.e. where the speech was heard  and where they person might mean in their conversation).

ive got bad friends

I was walking past the long bus shelter near the corn exchange in Leeds, and noticed three teenage girls just loitering around in there. One of them wouldn’t stop talking about how much she hated and couldn’t trust her best friend, whilst clearly making it awkward for the girls she was with. I thought about my position at the time of this encounter, and reflected this in terms of the collage composition: a long but clear line of sight down a bus shelter where these girls obviously had no idea of what I’d been hearing them talk about.

guns and blankets

Whilst I was out on a photo shoot I was walking along near the industrial district when I saw a father and his young son. I hadn’t thought about taking fragments of conversation at this point but I caught the conversation of the child talking about being a shop-keeper and wanting to sell guns and blankets. This immensely oxymoronic statement from a child was both amusing and insightful to what was going on in his head.

stop snitching audio murderer

Upcoming emcee ‘RICHIE ROOTS’ stopped me to ask if I’d buy his mixtape off of him whilst walking through the city centre. I asked him what his two best tracks were on the tape and he answered, ‘Stop Snitching and Audio Murderer’.

Short Film

We were challenged to make a short film documenting a subject matter of our choice about the city. My group and I chose Leeds Market and had only a couple of hours to complete it.

However, we did come across a huge dilemma where we couldn’t finish filming because our camera ran out of charge. We concluded that the best way to solve this problem was to simply make the film my any means necessary, and so ended up using my group member mobile phone. Despite the clear lack of quality and maybe slightly hasty filming we gathered and assembled our shots to best display Leeds Market.

Artist Research, Miler Lagos

Miler Lagos, Fragmentos del Tiempo (Fragments of the Time), 2012

Piled and carved newspaper

What drew me to this Lagos’s piece in particular was the basic concept of how he thought about a fragment. A fragment can be literally anything, but I believe Lagos’s piece to that of the most important fragment we have.

‘In Miler Lagos’s work, time runs backwards. The title of his work alone – Fragments of Time – suggests an attempt on the artist’s part to slow things down, but the form of the work itself goes further still: these are branch-like forms composed entirely of sheets of newspaper, densely stacked together and sanded at the edges, which generates both a mottled, trunk-like surface and a wood effect colour. Lagos’ work enacts both a fantasy of return (the paper turning back into its natural source material) and a parody of it: these broken branches are, after all, dead, and their listless slumping has something of the exhausted body about it, something worn-out. The density of the work’s structure recalls, in cross-section, the striations of cut wood, and points out the uselessness of the dated news stories contained within – these can’t be read, but they wouldn’t be, anyway.

Where the branches stop, the newspaper – a Colombian daily called El Tiempo, from which the title’s pun springs – is revealed, in thin slices, like a preserved sausage. Fragments of photographs appear, or half-legible headlines. What the thin lines of text most strikingly evoke, though, are the rings within tree trunks – which, of course, point to its age. Time, here, is measured not in organic growth, but in the reception of information. Set against the impassivity and quiet nobility of natural forms, this is a quiet critique of a contemporary world drowning in unprocessed information; little wonder there’s a sadness in these idling forms, scattered in our path.’


Metalwork Induction

We were asked to acquire an image to photo etch into our metal, so I decided to choose a building landscape to coincide with my project. These were to be printed onto acetate at an A5 size and brought with us. We were shown through how to prepare our image; first the side we were going to use had to be completely cleaned through using wet and dry paper, making it so the film would stick onto it. We then applied the layered film and peeled one layer off, ready for exposure. The machine exposed our images and al that was left to do was to extract the final layer of film using film chemicals, and finally to give it an acid bath: