Exercise – The Research Question

Scoping the Research Field – Notes

Practice-based or practice-led research.

Art practice is reflective
More focussed
More engaged with theory
Conscious experimentation
Challenging assumptions

Why do you need questions for research that’s practice-led?
To clarify your research
Ascertain your objectives
Plot your trajectory

Can develop the project although there is tension when developing research questions. Embrace uncertainty is difficult.
Questions establish parameters and there is a need to develop strategies when accumulating research. View this research as a passion or a hunch

Graduate School Symposium 7-2-18

Present/Report on development of the research
Map out what I am doing
Work in progress

Short Word Circle Task

Reflect on area of interest and choose 20-30 relevant words
From this list create a word circle
From this word circle, choose two or three words to create a question
Remember Why, Where, What, How
Try to create 4-5 questions
Answer these questions using “free writing” technique, don’t worry about grammar, spelling, syntax
Take words from the answers to form new questions
Discuss with peers
Use as prompts for making creative work

This technique is useful to overcome being stuck and to clarify your thinking and to keep it moving along.

My Word Circle Task

Glass
Transparent
Technical
Processes
Public
Community
Narrative
Communication
Craft
Context
Materials
Opaque
Light
Texture
Form
Architecture

How can the inherent qualities of glass (light, texture) be used for public engaged artistic interventions?

What form can glass take to be a suitable medium for community engagement?
Usually windows, limits the format
Dangerous to work with if inexperienced
Can glass be a suitable medium for community engagement?
Discuss with peers
Add to our group presentation
Present my segment

“Can glass be a suitable material for public engagement?”

Presentation

"r3Pr0b8s" Group presentation

“r3Pr0b8s” Group presentation

“ My question is, “Can glass be a suitable material for public engagement?”. I will first discuss the pros and cons of glass as a material.
Pros:
Glass is beautiful
Can inspire, inform, present a narrative. Religious building for example.
Cons:
Dangerous material to handle if inexperienced.
Health and Safety
Public liability
Difficult to work as you are limited to what you can do with glass.

The two photographs illustrate two aspects of community engagement.

The top photo is a project I did in the 2nd year of my BA, shows an example of the community contributing to the creative process. The Unity Hall used to be a well known popular venue for rock concerts in the 70s/80s. The plan was to get people to send in any mix tapes or bootleg tapes that may hold some special significance to that individual. The labels would be copied and sandblasted onto a central column of glass on the foyer.
The second photo is from a one-day taster session that I ran in stained glass. The participants were shown how to make a glass panel using the copper foil technique, which i walked through the process with them, demonstrating at each stage of the process. The community engagement was the participants creating their own panels with my assistance.”
My overview is that I need to investigate the “notion” of ownership within community based interventions.

Notes on Eloquence From Intractability by Martin Harrison

Eloquence From Intractability
Martin Harrison on Brian Clarke

Clarke’s paintings generate his abstract language and life drawing is a vital discipline in his art. Painting reflects light whereas glass transmit light and its constant changes in the quality of light, its kinetic modulation which attracts Clarke to stained glass. He does not use opaque paint for this reason, using only the glass and lead.

The paradox of glass art is that it is inextricably linked to architecture therefore ignored in the art world who view architecture as commodity capitalism. Clarke combines both roles as painter and glass artist, without compromise. There is as symbiotic relationship with both disciplines running in parallel. Before the renaissance art wasn’t anything other than ‘applied’ art yet critics have a problem with the ‘craft’ element of stained glass. Maybe the ecclesiastical links deter serious appraisal.

Clarke leant about the Pre-raphaelites during his time at Burnley School of Art. They also designed stained glass, which was fabricated by William Morris’ firm, and this did not seem to be detrimental to their painting. Ruskin’s dictum of “truth to materials” where involvement in all the craft process would lead to better design. Clarke’s craft training will enable him to instruct fabricators, unlike the Pre-Raphaelites who did not involve themselves with the craft process at all. From 1978, with the increase in the scale of his work and the time consuming nature of craft, Clarke now has his windows made outside his studio.

In 1974, Clarke was awarded a Winston Churchill Trust Travelling Fellowship which allowed him to travel to Germany. Britain was a creative vacuum and particularly slow to embrace modernism in the 1930s, and like architecture, the leading exponents of stained glass were not British. Ironically, “Das Englische Haus” by Hermann Muthesius in 1904 was a major influence to modernist architects, who eventually migrated to the Werkbund. During this time grew a flourishing stained glass school inspired by Jan Thorn Pikker who in 1921 rejected symbolist and expressionist styles of his earlier work to embrace geometric abstraction. This was important to Clarke who found there was no modern British glass movement for him to align himself and found that Europe offered a framework for his own ideas. In Germany, Clarke was able to locate stained glass from notable pioneers such as Josef Albers and members of the Dutch De Stijl group. These artists used a gridded format for their paintings and this gridded matrix is the basis for his compositions. Also during this first trip to Germany, Clarke made contact with artist Johannes Schreiter, who although worked in glass was first and foremost an artist.

Johannes Schreiter

Johannes Schreiter

Clarke began to realise that he was working within the traditions of Constructivism. His essay “Towards a New Constructivism” in 1979 he echoed the belief that the distinct disciplines of architecture, painting and craft should be dissolved. He was also affected by the dialogical tension between the static and dynamic, order and chaos. This duality remains at the core of his art. The architectural context provides the starting point for the designs. The static, ordered, structural defines the architectural space. The chaotic, dynamic elements act as contrasting counter-points, subtly eroding it.

The inclusion of grids and a more abstract approach meant that by 1977-78 Clarke and the Church of England parted company, when he refused to bow down to their impositions. He was now able to work on large-scale secular commissions and the repetition of patterns and grids in his work has drawn comparisons to minimalist music, inducing rhythmic meditative states.

final norte sequence_w-people(Stack)_0

Norte Shopping, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. 1996. Brian Clarke

Clarke embarked on the first of a group of projects for roof spaces at Buxton Thermal Baths in 1987. These require an alternative approach as there is an absence of contrast between window and wall. He provides the ‘frame’ and therefore he becomes the architect himself. Usually stained glass reduces the transmission of light and also encloses the interior space, creating a curtain. At Haus Der Energie, Kassel in Germany, he opens up the interior space. The outside is drawn into the composition, subverting the two-dimensional aspect of the window by introducing exterior imagery and perspectives. At night, lit from within, the views of the window from the outside are equally compelling. The ‘disorder’ of organic shapes within the rigid geometry presents a spiritual polarity, a dualistic tension. Organic elements ‘Amorphs’ have preoccupied Clarke’s work and have become increasingly dominant, subvert the formality of the grid but he has integrated these diverse elements and his responses to a space are governed by aesthetic and functional need of the building.

Design 1: Reflection and Invention MADE101

We have received the first brief of the MA which focusses on experimentation.

“During this module, the main focus of your practice-based work will be experimentation. By questioning your own assumptions about craft and glass practice in particular, and placing conceptual development at the centre of your practice, you will challenge preconceptions about materials, their role in design and their status as bearers of meaning. You will begin to map the markets that might be appropriate for your work and to imagine your project at different levels of scale, as you examine what artisanal production means with the advent of the 4th industrial revolution. You will undertake inductions into equipment and processes in the 3D Design Crafts workshops in order to be able to use a range of technical procedures. You will be encouraged to try out research methods that allow you to think about what you do in new ways, risking failure so that you can understand better the potential of your project. Finally, you will be required to document and evaluate this experimentation, providing a clear record of how it has helped you to develop your thinking about your project.”

I made a few notes on this brief:

“Craft in this century is a recent invention”
Social awareness
Respect for tradition
Craft is a contemporary pursuit
Re-invented artisanal production


Respond to these issues. Explore and refine glass research project.

Experimentation
Question my assumptions about craft and glass
Conceptual development
Challenge preconceptions about materials, their role in design and their status as bearers of meaning
Map markets
Imagine project at different levels of scale
Examine what artisanal production means with the advent of the 4th industrial revolution
Try new research methods
Document/evaluate

Record thoughts and responses
Refine research project
Establish clear aims
Regularly evaluate progress

Demonstrate a systematic, organised enquiry into materials and processes.
Provide evidence of risk of failure and familiarise with ideas, approaches to my discipline in an intellectual context.

Body of Work

Experimental successes and failures to be included in evaluation:
Material tests
Samples
models/maquettes
Technical journal
Contextual research
Sketchbooks
Prototypes

Evaluation 2,000 Words

Analysis of body of work include successes and failures and next steps.
Record of reading to identify theoretical context of the work.
Intellectual property considerations relating to the work.
Update research proposal to include aims for this experimental module.

Illustrated Journal (Blog)

Must be regularly updated
Record thought process
Contextual research
Response to talks and readings
Change of direction
Problems and solutions
Combine images, evidence and commentary
Ideally a blog or digital journal

Evidence of networking

Short contextual report explaining:
Trajectory of work
Cite relevant artists and research networks
Document efforts to contact
Talks/conferences

To do list

Set up blog
Keep maintain a technical journal
Research reading contextual research

MA Project Proposal

This is my project proposal for MA Glass at Plymouth College of Art. This is the basis of my research and will in due course be updated as I form research questions.

MA Project Proposal

I would like to focus on architectural glass and site-specific installations. During the 2nd year of my degree I had the opportunity to work on proposals for public arts briefs. These projects were inspired by the work of Bernhard Hubert and Alexander Beleschenko. Unfortunately I did not get to develop this fully during the course and I feel that this is unfinished business.

inspirationdevelopment

final design

Presentation boards for Unity Hall public arts commission, 2013

 

I am particularly interested in socially engaged practices and my BA dissertation discussed the community engagement of football ultras and their motives. I have attended seminars and spoken to architectural glass artist Kirsty Brooks about this and I feel that I need to focus on what my work can offer the community. I have been running taster sessions in stained glass but I feel there is a lot more I can offer.

SAM_2346

 

Architecture has been a common theme with the cast-glass work that I have been doing. I am drawn to abstraction and geometry that is found in modernist architecture as well as an interest in typography, photography and printing processes.

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I need to research more on community-led public art. Talks by visiting artist during my degree were a source of inspiration, particularly Keith Harrison and Michael Petry. I plan to investigate digital and traditional techniques including:
· 3D printing for texture and geometric patterns
· Graphics and surface design
· Photography
· Lamination and decals
· Printing on glass
· Painting and leaded glass

The final body of work would probably consist of project proposals, models and samples for presentations.”

I have already come to a bit of a dead-end with regards to the notion of socially engaged practices. I predict that this section of my proposal will change. Community engagement, like most site-specific artistic interventions, are not predetermined but are considered during the proposal stage of a commission. I have been researching artists who engage in architectural glass commissions and this aspect of the commission process does not seem to be apparent, particularly with private commissions.