- Adam Chodzko – newspaper ad, creating networks/connections
- Tino Segal – human connections, blur between real/concept
- Sophie Calle – peoples belongings
- Andrea (Butler? Buther? Butner?)
- “Museum of everything”
- “Museum of the unwanted” Clare Goodwin
- Mark Jenkins
- Mark Dion – collections
- Edward Ruscha – books
When taking the photos for my “found” posters I had to think carefully about which objects I selected. The idea was that I was bringing an invented meaning to meaningless things, but I didn’t want to start bringing in rubbish/litter as this has very different connotations to what I wanted: artwork featuring litter becomes artwork about environmental issues, climate change etc which isn’t at all what I wanted to do. On top of this, for me, discarded belongings have much more interesting connotations. They are things that once had a meaning but are now in a state of complete nothingness. Rubbish has never been anyone’s property, just a piece of matter in a kind of void. For these reasons rubbish is a strange thing to work with – it is meaningless yet carries meaningful connotations. I like the idea that now I have brought these things (or photos of these things) into my work, they are now in a sense mine even thought they once belonged to someone unknown and now belong to no-one. Even though I left them where they were I have some kind of claim over them.
Once I had set these guidelines I couldn’t be selective; I photographed everything that I found on my walk from my flat in North London to the Barbican. The photography itself was very important, although photography isn’t my greatest skill. I wanted the photos to be almost dramatic – they needed to have the feel of serious posters and poorly taken photos would make the posters feel more like a joke. I think I was, for the most part, successful in my photography and editing, however a few of the images (for example the wooden model and the flowery canvas) were for some reason less impactful.
For most of the photos I left the objects exactly as I found them – thinking about the comment made in my labelling work about how it appeared that I had arranged the scene, just because I was presenting it as art. I regret the few items that I did arrange or move, even though the viewer wouldn’t know that I had done this, and it made for a better image.
This is an interesting thing to think about. When working in this way I need to set rules, but since the viewer will never know if I have stuck to them or not, does it matter if I follow them? As long as the viewer believes I have.
The layout of the poster was also very important. There is obviously a strong element of humour in this work which I wanted to embrace, however, I did want it to have a strong resemblance to an actual “found” poster so it could blend in and go unnoticed when walking past.
I took phrases from actual lost/found posters I found online as well as language used in advertisements e.g please no time wasters. I also took aesthetic features from these sources such as the large eye catching title, tabs along the bottom and neutral, automatic font.
In this one-day long project, I ended up with Jorja’s drawing from childhood to work with. For me, the most charming part of the drawing was how she had started to label the elements of her drawing. It is funny how a 5-year-old was self-aware enough to know that no one would know what the images were supposed be, so took the time to label them. These labels were what I decided to focus on – knowing a day wouldn’t be long enough to explore the entire drawing, meaning I had to be selective.
I started by replacing all the elements of the drawing with a label, then filled a page with these labels in order. It was interesting seeing the effect of taking away the drawing from a drawing, making this lovely child’s drawing into something more clinical and intense in its repetition. I am really interested in this breaking down and organising of things that shouldn’t be broken down or organised.
I went on to bring this into the studio space; labelling everything in one corner and therefore claiming ownership of this stuff that was already there (and in most cases belonged to someone else). I became slightly obsessive over this. Initially I only labelled the key items in the space but then realised that if I had decided to label everything, then I should label everything. This was essentially setting myself up for an impossible task as ‘everything’ can expand into infinity. Perhaps this is something I need to think about if looking at collecting/compiling: what parameters do I need to set for myself in order to stay true to my intention while fully exploring the subject?
Some interesting points were raised by the group regarding this piece. Firstly, the idea of a narrative. For example, what does it say that I used scraps of paper with rough orange sharpie lettering and bright red washi tape? What would happen if I changed the labels into museum-style plaques? Maybe even with a full description? Or if there was no label but rather spoken descriptions? (Relook at Martha Rosler “Semiotics of the Kitchen”).
If using descriptions rather than one word labels, do these descriptions have to be true? As an artist how much power do I have to create stories? Can I sell lies as truths? And if I do do this, do I have to acknowledge that I have done it? Found objects will always have connotations – continue to play with this as in “Odd One Out”.
While showing my work a class mate asked if I had arranged the objects because it “was laid out very well”. I hadn’t. The only intervention I had was opening the cabinet drawer. I love this idea that an artist can find things that aren’t art and make them into art just by calling it such. This again relates back to the ‘London Still Lifes’ in my “Odd One Out” work. If an artist calls something art, how do the viewers ideas about it change?
Going forward, my main focuses are the organisation of what needs no organisation and how I as an artist can make this organisation (or lack of) into art. Just by calling art.