Thoughts on my week… I spent this week feeling ill again, as I have three times over the last couple of months. For 3 days I just didn’t move as I so achy, feverish and tired, I even went to hospital for a bit as I was getting worrying symptoms. Athletes unfortunately have quite depleted immune symptoms. I’ve found it hard to do work and I’ve got a bit behind where I’d want to be. Obviously I can’t actually run either which is an interesting thing.
I didn’t know before how important running is to me really. Sometimes it is only when we are apart from things we realise how much they mean to us as running for me is normally an everyday thing. Obviously with missing training that makes me feel anxious that I am losing improvements. It gives me a sense of routine, purpose and control. I feel like I can empty my mind when I’m running so being stuck at home my mind feels full. I guess that I am missing the socialisation and the sense of reward/accomplishment you get.
I find it quite paradoxical – That I can’t do the thing that I am making work about, but also that that withdrawal is making me look at the project in a different way.
Where I want this project to go… Although I haven’t been able to do much work, I have had time to think and I now have a better idea of what I want to do. I have thought about maybe being slightly mysterious and try to show running in an abstract way leaving a lot to the imagination, so it is not obvious that it is about running. I know know that I would rather be more documentational though and try and reveal how I feel about running, what my day is like and use myself as the art/the subject. I think that I want to take what might seem a bit mundane and give more meaning to it, as running is a very big part of my life I would like to display that and make people understand why maybe. I would definitely like to include lots of text and writing in the project/final work – descriptions, poetry, prose, stats. Anything that gives the photos more meaning. When I think of this it does remind me of the work by Hamish Fulton that I discuss later.
I do keep thinking how can I be more arty and ‘creative’, but for me at the moment I don’t think that is where I want to go. I believe that I’m more going down a vis-com, documentary way and I think that is ok. The thing is though, is it brave enough, how can I feel more out of my comfort zone? I haven’t combined text/prose or creative ish writing with photos before so that is something new. I think the task of having to represent something quite ordinary and mundane is a big task as well, it will be interesting to see how it will work as I haven’t found many either artists who have done similar.
In this workshop we had to cook a Thai red curry as a group in a relational aesthetics/fluxis style live performance piece. I found it interesting in many ways. I work in a kitchen and cooking is one of my favourite things to do. I have often thought about how chefs move around and work in the kitchen is quite artistic and performative – Then you obviously have the making and plating of the food itself which is extremely creative. I did feel a bit at times like I was performing but also I felt very relaxed doing what I love, making food and also the atmosphere was really nice.
I also noticed the meditative and thoughtful process as I normally don’t have a much time to focus on each task and think. The colours and sounds and smells were also very noticeable and I found making food with people and eating together a very homely and core experience. I liked how each person had their little piece of the meal to take care of, it was like having different pieces of a painting to paint.
I can relate this workshop to my project as it is as well something I love and that I do everyday. Running is also a subject that is rarely seen as artistic or a source for creative inspiration so it was interesting to see how something like a run could be seen as art.
The inspiration… The artist who this exercise was based off is called Rikrit Tiravanija, who is a Thai artist whos installations took the form of sharing meals, cooking, and eating in the gallery. His work explores the social role of an artist and is known for his conception of relational art. Relational art is a mode in fine art practice where the artist can be viewed as more of a catalyst than being at the centre of the work. I find this concept a little difficult to get my head around at first but I can see how I might be able to use a theory like this in my own work about running – for example getting a group of people to have a ‘mindful run’ as a group.
Hamish Fulton. Born 1946.
Hamish Fulton is an English walking artist and has made work on the experience of walking since the 1970s. He translates the experience of walking into photography, some illustrations and writing work/wall texts. The work often combines text based descriptions with the photographs and wall vinyls. More recently Fulton has started to emphasise the environmental degradation has become slightly more political in the thought behind his work. Fulton has described his ‘group walks’ as “artworks that are created and observed by the participants”.
I find the work at first a bit flat, but then when I began to see the meaning and the connection it began to make sense. I am quite drawn to the sometimes dry and matter of fact text that goes with the photos. I get the feel of a poster or a still from a documentary film. I sometimes think that the writing almost seems a bit satirical and deliberately confusing and not also explanatory.
I like the plain and consistent font that is unstricking artistically, I like that juxtaposition that is cerated by the very bold and the natural. The use of only one colour as well is interesting as you can’t see all the words that well because the photo is too light in places. I think that that shows the artist is just as concerned with the look and consistency of the text as the readability.
This is one of Fulton’s more modern large vinyl pieces that are looking more at the design and writing aspect than the documentation photography. I like the considered use of red to create more contrast and interest. The style of text again reminds me of a lot of advertising posters and propaganda from the 1970s and 80s.