Month: October 2008

where its at – two turntables and a microphone

I started looking at the Poetics of Space by Gaston Bachelard – a classic look at how we experience intimate places.

“The house shelters daydreaming, the house protects the dreamer, the house allows one to dream in peace”

“The places we have experienced daydreaming reconstitutes themselves in a new daydream”

Words that I have been thinking about are; visible and invisible, memory, exorcising ghosts, nostalgia, time shift, sacred spaces, rituals, letting go, negative space and history.

Gregor Schneider           “I never throw anything away, I just go on …”

Gordon Matta-Clark        “dealing with nothing more complex than the limits of human scale”

I decided to THINK a lot – I walked to college and noted down all my thoughts during the journey trying to work out why I had a problem letting go of my house.  I planned to explore me, what makes me tick and what I enjoy/hate doing/thinking.  

Then I realized that was complete bollocks and my sanity would be highly compromised if I continue in this vein – so I started again…….

I love my old house, some of the rooms are beautiful, the spaces created when the sun shines, creaks in the floor boards, chips in paint.  I am selling the house so I want to create something that reflects this.


So I took my camera to the house and photographed my memories – not the rooms, the bits I love.

Idea 1 – I found an article in the Times about Frank Warren who had asked 3,000 people to mail him an anonymous secret on a postcard.  I like this idea perhaps I will send postcards to my house, I have written a couple using my dads quill pen and ink and will put this forward as one of my ideas.

Idea 2 – I am looking at The Making of the Boite-en-valise – the Portable Museum by Marcel Duchamp.  I found the box from my mums wedding dress and am considering making smaller boxes or envelopes to hold dust or pieces of wallpaper from the rooms.

Idea 3 – I have made the beginnings of a collage and have stuck photographs onto a cardboard insert of a clear portfolio bag – to create my own portable memory.

Idea 4 – design a tattoo – a permanent reminder.


Alan said if I was not prepared to paint inside the house then I must want to sell it – he’s right so I have!   My neighbour made me an offer, I still have the house till December, he will store my friends furniture whilst she is in Madagascar and he wont dig up my cat!!!!




Produce, over a 8 week period a response to the theme “My House My Old House”. The final idea can be either digital or two dimensional but must be conceptual.


To increase my knowledge, awareness and understanding of the processes involved in the research, development and production of contemporary art projects in rsponse to the given brief.

A range of media will be employed to produce the work however sketchbook and drawing should be used when developing a creative visual response to the brief.


14 Oct – 1st draft of brief

28 October – 2nd draft

6 November – mid project crit

week 1 Produce a brief for conceptual artwork in response to the theme “My House My Old House”

look at the work of Gregor Schneider and Gordon Matta-Clark

week 2 Produce comprehensive visual and contextual research materials in response to the brief.

library research, internet research, gallery research

week 3 look at my house, the space, the layout and the memories

week 4 explore 2d responses to week 2 and 3 – produce research evidence that demonstrates an understanding of the theory and context on contemporary art and how it relates to my work

Look at work of Marcel Duchamp and Sigmar Polke

week 5 – 7 Production : select and evaluate creative solutions that can successfully be developed into a final work. 

Show progression of my ideas.

THE SUBLIME – a greatness

The concept cannot represent reality so by making the concept the important part thus removing all traces of reality the concept itself becomes sublime reality.  I think!!

The following is from wilkopedia the above was my attempt.

The sublime (from the Latin sublimis ([looking up from] under the lintel, high, lofty, elevated, exalted) is the quality of greatness or vast magnitude, whether physical, moral, intellectual, metaphysical, aesthetic, spiritual or artistic.

The term especially refers to a greatness with which nothing else can be compared and which is beyond all possibility of calculation, measurement or imitation. This greatness is often used when referring to nature and its vastness.




This 3 week project is based on the subject of the Empress Messalina.

In 43 A.D Emperor Claudius was leading Roman legions into Britain. Rome was left to Messalina and she turned the city into her private boudoir.

The work should be idea-based and the final form should be relevant to the subject.

The emphasis on this project is as much on the research and analysis as it is on the final artwork.

The final artwork should be thoroughly researched and developed within the confines of a 3 week timescale.

Further Information:

From “the Nympho and Other Maniacs” by Irvine Wallace
“With a veil draped over her head, she entered taverns and alleys, searching for men.
On one such excursion, filled with wine, she danced naked on a wooden platform in the Forum. Another time, she redecorated a bedroom of the palace to resemble a brothel, hung the name of Rome’s most renowned prostitute on the door, then disrobed, gilded the nipples of her tiny breasts, and invited the male public to enter and be entertained at no more than the legally regulated fee. Emboldened by the heavy traffic, she challenged a particularly noted prostitute of Rome to a contest, insisting that she could entertain more men in 24 hours than her rival. Pliny the Elder tells us that she “surpassed” her rival, “for within the space of 24 hours she cohabited 25 times.”
In his Sixth Satire, Juvenal enlarged upon Messalina’s brothel victory: There she received all comers, Getting top price until the doors shut tight. The lust, though, still raged hotly in her bosom. Dirt-stained, she left the house and journeyed home Exhausted, but undaunted by the sweat. Thus smeared with lampsoot, she returned unfazed to settle odors in the royal pillows.”

My choice of subject “Messalina” was because I had read an article in the Times and it mentioned her briefly, I noted down the name but knew nothing more about her.

I had no idea my final piece would be embroidered, initially I had decided on making a sculpture using the outline and shape of my leg.

Having seen the Illuminations DVD, although I didnt like him, I was inspired by Howard Hodgkin and his placing of modern art next to classical art. I wrote in my sketch book “the past is the only home we’ve got” unfortunately I don’t know who said it but it is really relevant.

I dont want to seem like an Emin freak but it made me think of her embroideries, old style blanket stitches incorporating modern words.

When I read the quote from Irvine Wallace and researched more on Messalina, her femaninity and dissatisfaction became the things I wanted to focus on. She was rumored as having slept with 25 men in 24 hours and was still frustrated. I decided to give myself some stringent rules, rather than sleep with 25 men in 24 hours I decided it would be just as frustrating to sketch in the moment, complete each drawing within one sitting and there was to be no reworking – EVERY mark made would be incorporated in the design through the permanence of embroidery – a traditionally female pursuit.

I bought a 2 metre sheet of white felt to sketch on. I wanted to create a large piece, but chose to cut the felt into 12 pieces, and work one at a time incase the timescale wasn’t feasible. The Romans used to whiten their togas using chalk – as my fabric was already white, charcoal was the logical choice as the texture is very similar. I also wanted to use something that would leave a dark but perishable mark.

I sketched directly onto the felt for a couple of the drawings but could not do all the drawings in one sitting as I had planned due to problems with Life Drawing classes, as I was taking a Life Drawing class at Leith School of Art on a Thursday night I used the sketches I’d done there.

Although I was pleased with the embriodery loads of questions came up so I went back to research the Romans during the time of Claudius further.

Professional metal thread work was done by men using a frame, metallic folk embroidery was done by women who stitched without a frame resulting in a more textured fabric. This led me to dropping the idea of having a wooden frame made to stretch the felt when I was presenting it.

In Roman times clothing had to be simple, there was only one type of fabric readily available and that was wool (although to some extent linen was available) and white was the colour prescribed by law (me and my Roman laws!)

Men wore a toga, women wore a stola, a large draped blanket, pieces of wood were used to make it drape more gracefully.

The stitch I used was a running stitch, (originating from Japan) called a Shashiko, a small stitch on one or more layers of fabric horizonal, vertical or diagonal. Important traditional craft chosen for its grace and beauty.

Black thread was used for mouring – that was one of the reasons I chose it for the abandoned and vulnerable poses of the female and also for the male figures in the embroidery.

Silver stiches were used for military or political use – Messalina tried to rule Rome in the absence of Claudius however the poses I stitched with silver were the most distressing/ dissatisfied poses. Also, the final piece I made was the largest embroidery, the dancing figure in silver – frantic and wild like the name she chose to be known as when posing as a prostitute – the Wolf Girl.

The age of “consent”, if you can call it that was 12 years old in Rome. Although it was considered shocking to sleep around as much as Messalina mass gang bangs have featured throughout history, most notably the one starring Annabel Chong – a porn star who modelled herself on Messalina,

The following is directly from the internet: Sex: The Annabel Chong Story (1999) is a documentary, directed and produced by Gough Lewis, and edited and filmed by co-creator Kelly Morris, which profiles porn star Annabel Chong (real name: Grace Quek). Quek, a sexology student at the University of Southern California, was also an adult actress famous for setting a world record by having sex 251 times with 70 men in ten hours in January 1995. A video of this event was released under the title The World’s Biggest Gang Bang[1].
The documentary explores all the worlds that have touched Quek, presenting the pieces of including her life as a student in Los Angeles California and London, her native Singapore and in the porn industry. It focuses on her reasons for working in porn, and her relationship with friends and family.

Both women had tried to take on the role of men and both women were dissatisfied by the result. Only one piece of my embroidery is dedicated to Chung – since I read the following.

“Her knees are drawn up to her chest and her arms are

wrapped around them – she has no expression on her face – no expression at all.”