Unit 2 Assessment

Hello this is my Unit 2 Assessment post, will do my best to make some sense of what it is I’ve been doing for the last couple of years over the MA.

Firstly the stuff that needs to be here, link to the 2nd symposium video is here;


A link to the required  500+ words post about my own practice;


And now for the other stuff, will try not to ramble on too much.

  • Present a resolved body of original creative practice that has evidenced the systematic enhancement of your knowledge and understanding. 

Over the course of the MA my practice has changed quite a lot, not so much in the physical work (I’m still engraving bits of text from the internet onto physical objects) but more in my approach to how I go about producing the work, my perspective upon it and how I’m now presenting it.

This is most obvious I think after having finished the research paper which was about the idea of digital drift or online dérive, basically an argument in favour of time spent “aimlessly” online for artistic practice and the parallels between physical drifts and dérives. This is something that I feel I’ve followed through on in my practice since the beginning of Unit 2. The change of focus being put onto the actual journeys made in order to source material and the recording of that information.

Here are some (quite a few now I look at it!) posts about that process of making the journeys to find material to engrave. They also contain a fair amount of rambling on about my work in general (or critical reflection if you prefer).





This all lead on and into not only my work for the MA but also a couple of the proposals and applications I did, in particular the Aspen Online Art Award and the Mead Fellowship.

Links about which are here;




I feel like doing these applications really helped develop and force me to hone my practice a bit for each one. They were also important for my professional development as I definitely feel more confident about putting together proposals and applications and also giving presentations about my work.


The combination of all this stuff has I think been really important for me both in terms of my work for the MA and also more generally for my own professional practice. The work for the proposals lead me to using the line from the walks made as a major part of the final piece. That piece being here;


I’m pretty happy with it as an installed work and feel it shows a real change in approach that’s been engendered by the MA. The focus on journeys made and finding a way to visually represent that that I think is interesting and visually appealing. Going forward one of the things I would like to try and do is represent the digital journeys/drifts in a way that is also aesthetically considered and works well within the rest of my process. Something to be getting on with after the MA!


The MA has definitely helped in regard my ability to communicate and present my ideas, both in terms of presenting and being involved in discussion with my peers on the course as in the 2nd symposium


and also presenting to other people, such as during the Aspen prize or giving a talk to students on the foundation course which I found really useful and also had some nice feedback about. Post about which is here;



I’ve also done my best to continue exhibiting my work outside of the course  and managed to get some pieces into a couple of shows that I was reasonably happy with.




The blog has been an invaluable tool to enable me to analyse and critically reflect upon my own practice, something which I’ve done quite a lot of, pretty much all the posts about making the work and taking walks contain a fair amount of reflection on the process as it goes along, I have also made some posts that are specifically about that reflective process.



As part of the marking criteria there is a “summation and evaluation of progress & plans” heading, I feel like this is all kind of covered in the 500 words post so don’t want to just repeat myself, will link to it again to save scrolling up though!


I think that covers it reasonably well. Putting this post together has actually been a bit of a struggle as my inclination and preference is always just to start typing and ramble on but this has forced me to go back through all that (shouldn’t have written so bloody much!) and attempt to put it into a coherent post. Hopefully I’ve just about managed it.









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500 Words(ish)

Critical Evaluation
There has been a significant change in my practice over the course of the MA, a move away from “finished” art object and a deliberate shift in focus onto/into process. This has, I feel, come about quite organically as the course has gone on, one thing inevitably leading to another and multiple influences informing my choices, be that a specific lecture, a tutorial, a particular book, a particular artist, seeing an exhibition or just chatting with my peers in the pub. All these things have played off one another and contributed toward how I approach my work.
Having said that, of particular importance are both the blog and research paper which were instrumental in allowing me to focus and refine my thinking in regards my own practice. The blog allowing me to (somewhat aimlessly) waffle on, reflect and explore my own thoughts and the research paper forcing me to really focus on what it is I’m doing, especially in regards broader theory and art making.
In the work plan of my original project proposal I said a couple of things which I think have been key, they were,
  • I want to make a few trips to various locations in order to source stone and also record the process of doing this
  • Somehow broaden my practise to include other ways of recording information.
this is important as it’s these avenues in addition to the research I’ve done that I think have provided a way for me to broaden out what was a deliberately quite narrow practice. The making of the trips/walks/dérives to source material to engrave and the recording of them becoming an important and meaningful part of my practice.
It’s also the direction I think my work will follow in future. An embracing of the overall process of making art as the ‘art’ itself.
Future Development
Doing the MA has allowed me to reflect upon and develop my practice in a way that has enabled me to consider options I hadn’t previously. The possibility of doing a PHD is something I’m much more seriously considering at the end of the course than I was when I started. This is a direct result of not only the research paper but also the cumulative effect all the conversations, lectures, activities and research that’s taken place over the two years.
After having done a few proposals and applications I’m confident in my abilities to make future applications that, although I might not win them(!), will at least be presented professionally and with confidence.
I also feel my practice is now more sustainable than it was before and is something that I can continue to progress and develop outside of the MA. I’d ideally like to get into lecturing and/or tutoring at BA and above and a lot of the experiences on the MA have made me feel more hopeful about pursuing this avenue, in particular the presentations, and talks amongst my fellow students but also the presentations given as part of applications and proposals and in particular spending a day with students on the foundation course interacting and giving a talk about my own work made me feel as if it was and is something I could not only do but possibly even be quite good at, especially after getting some really nice feedback from one of the foundation tutors.
The whole course has been a really great and invaluable experience, not just in regards the contents of the course but everything that goes along with that, especially the network of people that’s built up over the two years not just professionally but also the relationships between fellow artists which I think is a really meaningful part of the MA. This will I feel also be an important part of continuing as a practising artist in future.
Plus it’s nice to have more cool people to go to the pub with!
Well over 500 words now.
That is all.
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Installing Work pt2 (resolved body of work?)

Ooh, so.. final show it is then. Fine.

I’ve pretty much got all my work up now which is nice and a bit of a relief as a couple of weeks ago I wasn’t sure if I was going to even have all the bits necessary to do what I wanted to do.

But I did!


Here are some pictures of the work. It’s a bit yellow (as are much of the pics I’m gonna post) as I haven’t had time to muck about with them in photoshop yet, will get some better pics with a better camera over the course of the show as well.

Anyway here it is.

Very basically it’s the accumulated material from ten walks made in London (the objects, the etched lines, the photographs and the animation) and a lot of time spent online (the text). It’s presented in a way that I hope is both aesthetically interesting and also informed by the process of making the work. There’s a kind of semi purposeful scattering of the material, in terms of layout but also literally in regard to the scattered objects which have been replaced. Also the pattern in which the work is hung should (in my mind at least) lead peoples eyes on a meandering wiggly path similar to those that have been made physically and then presented in the piece, finally ending up at the looped animations of those same lines being traced out on a screen, an endless looping of line leading back to itself. Hopefully this comes across in the piece.. Hard for me to say.

Also might be worth noting that I was wanting to use just a standard screen and not a mac but due to circumstances (didn’t bloody get there in time!) I’ve just used a mac in order that it can be assessed. Actually think it still looks alright and should have the screen ready for the private view so all good!

I’d consider this a “resolved body of work” (one for the marking criteria there), although I would add a caveat that with my practice I’d consider the possibility of it never really being ‘fully resolved’.  Without wanting to get into meta, deconstructionist talk about anything ever being able to be resolved I’d say that my practice in particular is about an ongoing process or loop that feeds back upon itself (a feedback loop if you will) and slowly changes and shifts. My feeling has always been, and this has intensified over the MA, that what I’m doing is a long term project, in that this process of picking up and returning objects can take place over years if not decades, returning to the places I’ve left the material in order to see if they’re still there and what sort of condition they’re in, the documentation of that becoming part of the work as well.

Having said that, I would still consider this pretty much resolved, or at least a coherent piece of work in and of itself.

Right, here are a load more (yellow and blurry) pics!

As you can hopefully see the work is grouped into specific walks, using the etchings of the routes taken in order to sort by journey. Each of the journeys being represented by the etching, the digital prints, objects picked up, engraved and returned and also objects not yet put back.

More pics.

As you can see the objects vary quite a lot (not just using slate anymore!), both in terms of material and also size, although they’re all still relatively small. I think this works quite well, partly just aesthetically (it looks nice) but also in regards the idea of fragments and things that just get scattered, lost and forgotten, a physical corollary to the found text from the internet.

Even more pics!


You can kind of see what I’m trying to do here with the objects not yet returned. The choices involved in what to return when and where being partly intuitive and partly calculated, as in, some pieces I knew I wanted to show physically and some pieces it just so happened I hadn’t returned them so ended up being used. It’s kind of hard to articulate this sort of stuff as it’s such a fuzzy process even for me, the hundreds if not thousands of small decisions that accumulate to inform the overall piece, I’m not even entirely sure why I’m showing some bits and not others and am just trusting my gut a bit on it. At the same time there is a level of consideration as to what gets shown and what doesn’t, as I say it’s hard to articulate this process, maybe that’s why I’m even doing this sort of thing in the first place!

Even even more more pics pics!!

This is what I’d consider the last or final journey made and it’s placed at the “end” of the wall quite deliberately. I’ll attempt to explain why… Basically without going into each piece of text individually and why I chose them there is an underlying method to the madness, a sort of over arching tone or texture I want to strike with the kind of text I use. At core I want the text to express something inherently human and humane, if that’s not too broad a brush stroke to use. These two pieces in particular being a deliberate counter to each other. The text on the piece of returned porcelain questioning wether sincerity is possible in a world of post-modern irony, and text on the oyster shell being an answer to that in the form of what I would consider a possibly rather banal but at the same time just nice and sincere recollection about looking at a “Very pretty.” sky.

The relationships between the rest of the text aren’t necessarily this overt but it just sort of felt right to use this as the final journey. In addition to all that I think the oyster shell is just the prettiest and most pleasing object, finish on a high and all that!

Right almost there, last couple pics then I’ll shut up.

And the screen, which mentioned before shows the same ten routes being traced out on a continuous loop. As I said ideally this would be on a screen and not a mac but it’s fine for the assessment and actually looks okay I think. I’m hoping that having this at the end kind of links stuff together a bit, as in people will recognise these lines as journeys made and notice that they’re the same lines that are represented on the wall with the etchings. If this is actually the case remains to be seen. Looking forward to tipsily trying to explain my work at the private view in any case!

So yeah, that is my final piece. I’m reasonably happy with it.


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Installing work pt 1

Had left a lot of things quite late for the install (still got a few etchings drying at time of writing!) so was a bit worried about getting it all up. Also didn’t really know how I was going to actually configure all the material on the wall until I actually got into the space.

After getting in there realised, after a bit of measuring, that I wouldn’t be able to fit the 10 grouped journeys in a line sequentially which was my original plan. After a bit of shuffling paper around on the floor and talking to my tutor and also a couple of other people decided to just have it grouped into the journeys but have it hung a bit more loosely.

So I did this;

in order to have a rough idea of how it would look and how everything would be positioned using bit of paper.

Have now got most of the actual pics, shelves and etchings together in the space so have started slowly mounting it all on the wall using magnets.

It looks a bit like this;

Obviously still very unfinished but you get the general idea, the engraved objects that haven’t been replaced in will be displayed on the small shelves.

Not a whole lot else to say about it at the moment really, still got a fair bit to do but reckon I’ve got enough time to finish it. Will hopefully get everything on the wall by the end of tomorrow and then it’s just finishing touches really.

Anyway, that’s about it. Here’s some pictures with some lovely light coming into the room!


Almost there..

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Wiggly Walk Animations

As part of my work for the final show I’m going to have a very simple digital animation of the drifting routes I took on my walks.

Also it’s probably worth mentioning that my very good friend, colleague and talented artist  Manuel actually did pretty much all the work for me, so.. Thanks Manuel!

It’s part of the larger installation that’s about trying to represent the longer process rather than just showing singular finished art objects. These routes are also being presented as etchings on the wall as a means to organise and group together the rest of the material I’m showing (digital prints and engraved objects). Hopefully this should also tie into some of the longer running themes within my practice regarding changing technological means of communication, the physical walk being represented both digitally and also contrastingly through analogue printing technology.

Anyway, here is said animation. It’s not the finished one and the ordering is a bit different but should do to give an idea of what it will look like.




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Mead Application

I didn’t get it. Wasn’t like I wanted £10,000 anyway mate. Fine.. no worries.

So I’d applied for the Mead Fellowship which is for 10 grand in order to produce some work/support you as an artist/whatever. Was hoping I might at least get shortlisted as then you can put it on your CV, alas this wasn’t to be. Thought my application was half decent but having had a bit of time to think about it and reread it I can understand why it probably wasn’t considered.

Think it’s all just to diffuse and fuzzy and not focussed or succinct enough to appeal. Like I think it’s actually quite interesting and that fuzziness is kind of central to the application and my practice in general. But yeah can understand why it wouldn’t be easily digestible to a panel of arts people who probably want a more distinct clear idea of what is being proposed.

Anyway, here’s the intro for it as I can’t be arsed to retype it all up for the blog.

My proposal for this fellowship, Gather/Scatter, is to create a deliberately subjective, unreliable but intrinsically human archive that exists dispersed, digitally and physically. This would be constructed through the documentation of both physical and digital psychogeographical journeys, walks or dérives. These will be made in a number of towns and cities in the UK that would be considered “economically depressed”, neglected and marginalised. I would perform the walks within and through these areas in order to source physical material (the accumulated detritus and ephemera of human habitation, bits of brick, glass, ceramic, metal and plastic) on which I will laser engrave sections of text found on the internet. These fragmentary pieces of writing will be sourced using a parallel technique of online drift through the varied digital ambiences of virtual space. The text will be taken from the small marginal and neglected digital backwaters of the internet. These spaces relate to the physical (psycho)geographic spaces that I’m making the walks in. Once some of the objects have been engraved I’ll hold a one night event in a local venue where the engraved artefact would be shown, and where I could encourage (possibly through the offer of a free pint or cup of tea) members of the local community to come and talk to me about their area and living their lives within it. These conversations would also be recorded and some isolated pieces of what was said engraved on the found material, after which the objects would be returned to the locations in which I found them, completing a form of circular ritual that weaves between virtual and physical space.

There would be no “final” show. The archive would exist deliberately scattered both on and offline, partially recorded on websites and blogs, instagram accounts, twitter posts and comments sections, but also on the physical artefacts left on the ground on which they were found. It would consist of written record, the engraved spoken word and internet post, recorded conversations, digital representations of physical walks taken, coordinates of locations, and photo documentation of the over arching process. The longest lasting aspect being the engraved words on physical artefacts that now lie scattered around the various neglected local geographies of the UK. The only way to view these objects “in the flesh” would be to find the routes and coordinates that would lie amongst the digital detritus of the deliberately dispersed and fractured online record.

Here’s link to the whole application just for future reference as well.


Always next year I guess, although unless I have an idea that’s particularly different I’m not sure if I’ll bother. Who knows though, maybe I’ll be a rich and successful artist this time next year and genuinely won’t need 10 grand. Probably not.

That’s all.

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Thinking about things and stuff

Haven’t made a post in a while, mostly because I’ve been running around as if I was covered in feathers and had recently lost my head.

Obviously have left quite a few things quite late (still need to do some prints tomorrow, which won’t dry for 7 days!), part of which might have been avoidable but part of which is just to do with the nature of my practice which is very much process led. The problem being that that process can take a reasonably long time. Which for me isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Although for work for the show could indeed be a bad thing, let’s hope not.

I kind of see my practice (currently at least) as being partially to do with a slow steady accumulation and purposeful dispersal of constructed artefacts, the making of which entails parallel journeys both on and offline. The thing is, to enact and create this slightly odd process involves quite a lot of time, the making of walks, the decision wether to return an object and when, the practicalities of that (tides, weather etc), the mapping of these journeys and the sifting and sorting of this accumulated data, not to get into the time spent online slowly but surely gathering small snippets of human though and expression. This may sound like I’m making excuses (which may be true!) but I feel like for the the way in which I make work that the element of time is actually a very important necessity, and in fact an actual component of the work itself. The time spent being represented through the “before and after” pictures of returned objects and the mapping of routes taken.

In addition just more selfishly, for me personally it’s quite important that the work is more of an intuitive slow and methodical process as it’s pretty much the only way I can create work and stay halfway sane. It’s a necessary method for my own mental health as much as anything else. Obviously the need to show something well formed and coherent for the final show is anathema to this but I feel it’s actually good and creates an odd tension between the practice and the exhibiting of work that is quite interesting. The work being made in such a slow, ritualistic but unfocused way means that the need to form it into something tangible and sharp becomes even more important. This apparent tension between them being the thing that actually makes it work.

Blathering a bit now, will move onto something slightly less abstract.

Probably worth highlighting the difference between the work I presented at the end of year show last year (interim as it was the end of the 1st year for me), which was just a collection of what I would consider to be finished art objects. Those objects were carefully selected from a much larger body of work I’d produced but basically that is what I exhibited. Look, here is a picture;

I was (and still am) reasonably happy with this for the interim show.

Now that my practice has changed a bit, what with the making and recording of walks, the replacing of objects, ideas of dérive or drift both digital and physical etc, I felt it was necessary to attempt to represent that as opposed to any particular physical objects.

So briefly, as I think I’ve mentioned this in previous posts, what I’m going to be showing is a combination of things (objects, digital prints, analogue etched prints and a simple digital animation) that hopefully overall should give an impression (although not overt explanation) of the over arching process which should also (again hopefully!) be aesthetically and conceptually coherent and interesting. Whether I manage to achieve that or not is still very much up in the air!

It’s something I’ve been thinking about as obviously it’s been a bit stressful getting work together for this show and I guess this reflects the gradual shift of focus that’s occurred over the course of the MA. Which for the record I’d consider a good thing, at least in regards my own feelings about it, not necessarily any objective qualitative difference in the work, although I do think that the work I’m producing is personally a lot more interesting.

Also I don’t really have many pictures I can show of what I’ll actually be showing as it’s all sort of going to be put up and documented over the next week. Will try and do a post about the process of getting it all together soon though.

Oh I do have this.


In fact I have 10 of these but I won’t put them all up on this post. It’s just the line from one of my walks basically. I’ve used it both in the animation and also as one of the prints I’ll be presenting.

Okay that’s it!

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