Block 5, Week 4 — Research Discussion: David (me) and Leonie

David Somers bio photo By David Somers Comment

For this week’s group tutorial, myself and Leonie are doing our research presentation.

Both myself and Leonie have been experiencing a mixture of panic tinged with heavy-duty procrastination over this (nothing quite like preparing only a day before the event). However, at the end of the day, things went very well for both of us, and it was really useful to present our research and discuss it.

My Research Presentation

I had prepped for my presentation, and this was really useful, and I was able to judiciously use pieces of this as the conversation flowed (and not necessarily in the order that I anticipated).

There were some thoughtful observations and comments from everybody.


what, how and why - always a good framework

There was a lot of discussion about repetition and rhythm:


…is the only way to research in depth. to develop a topic outlooking all the possibilities

Sarah R:

to gain a sense of rhythm, sense within the senseless


repetition can lead to interesting results as a whole body of work or as individual projects … the rhythm of the artist, the repetition of similar ideas and techniques, so as to conclude into something that makes sense

What’s interesting is that in my paper I said that motivation was the vital thing to understand, but as Jonathan commented:

would also have said rhythm is a vital element here

For rhythm, that might be something for me to look into later (PhD?) as it “sits” above the motivation and is about the working practice.

To quote from my research paper:

With the progression towards reductionism in modernist theory, motivation has not only manifested itself through the works that are made, but also through the nature of the works themselves: instead of a single work they are made as a series which attempt to answer the question through repeated interpretation and questioning or to investigate and explore artistic technique and production.

Yes, my practice is evolving. Aesthetically too. The dividing line is there, quite strong, in the digital generative works, but I’ve recently been doing “marbles”, which are more organic and less divisive visually but still exploring hybridity. A different path. A different aesthetic. Same old hybridity.

The newer “marbles” series evoked the following:


more viscous

Sarah R:

So lucid and inviting, high energy colour.

Patrick asked about the scale of these, in terms of scaling them up. This is something I’m working on. The originals are small (90x90). The proofs I made for intermission were about 400x400. Those were small. I have a larger proof at 610 x 610 and it looks great, but still too small. This work needs to go big.

Not really covered in the discussion was that I am going larger by moving into the digital world where I can make big giclée prints or even . Leonie did ask about making them bigger (by using a large bath) and I somehow missed that question. Its something I have thought of, but it needs a lot of ink, and a large working place, which is a bit of a restriction… but is something I have considered.

Jonathan asked this great question:

Are you sort of suggesting a formula or an algorithm — not in negative way — but in the way that a formula or algorithm allows for a safe place to start and then to move on a develop work — i.e. with abstract work you make lots of repetition and in that repetition the motivation is seen and it can then be analysed to see the influencing zeitgeist?

I develop an algorithm. And then run with it to see what comes out. And then modify the algorithm. Rince. Repeat. There’s a link between motivation and repetition.


It’s great that you have a specific workflow — so similarities are there yet every work is different — I guess when you have a ‘formula’ (not negative — awesome!) you can adapt it with different variables

Jason, picking up that thread also said:

Your process all sounds very scientific, David. I imagine you in a lab, wearing white coat and surgical gloves when you’re art making. Am I right?

Yes. See this video of me in action latex-gloved and “capturing” art.

While there was a lot more to explore from my research paper, time is running out with just this to consider: the research paper did help you see the “why” of your practice, has this changed the “how”?


  • I’m more confident in the abstract art that I am creating.
  • I am expanding the number of artworks that I am making; instead of one or three, think batches of 30 or 60. Series. Repetition. Reductionism.
  • And to pursue this practice-based research further: PhD?

And some concluding observations and comments:

  • the volume certainly seems to be vital
  • the need to curate your own work, and be particular
  • its interesting to see how it has all evolved from last year and the thread/rivets work — arriving at your own aesthetic

Leonie’s Research Presentation

Leonie’s research presentation.

As always, Leonie’s practice is difficult to articulate. Where is the boundary between Leonie and ALAN. What is her practice? What is art? Lots of difficult questions and some answers. A really great presentation.


This comment from Jonathan sums it up nicely:

Leonie there is still a lot of of stuff on your blog about this presentation and it is all fascinating, thanks for preparing it all, and David also we only scratched the surface but for both of you there is a sense of much greater depth in your thinking and practice.

With hindsight, researching and writing my research paper has greatly benefited my practice, and provided much thought for where I want to go after this MA. Reading through it now there’s a lot that I covered, and a few hints as to where I’d like to drill down in more depth or expand it in future.

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