Symposium II: My Video


My practise takes concepts normally associated with contemporary post-colonial theory - hybridity, mimicry, and third space - but instead of applying these to community structures and dynamics (the cultural interactions in a society), I apply them to a conceptual system instantiated as a visual world (the figure/figure interactions in a pictorial space).

Interim Results

My initial exploration resulted in the creation of a set of artworks. These were made across different media: from fiber sculpture, to generative, to digital.

The figure-figure interaction alluded to the tension and harmony that exists within cultural dynamics. The melding of figure-figure construct to cultural hybridity and the third space.

Research — Introduction

For my research paper I wanted to explore motivation. To look at why we do what we do. And in particular, to look at the motivation behind abstract art.

Research — A Break from What Had Gone Before

As an art movement, abstract art was nothing like that which came before. Figurative was out. Something new was in.

The year was 1910, and an abstract watercolor by Kandinsky made its public appearance.

What caused this movement to start? And why was it unique?

The period was one of change. Modernism was in its advent. Industrialization was happening. Society was changing… becoming less religious… discovering spirituality through “Theosophy”… marvelling at scientific discoveries… and starting to adopting a more rigorous and methodological approach.

In the early 1900s, artists followed an epistemological model and wrote their own theoretical corpus. As modernism progressed, there was a gradual and subtle shift, with the 1920s being a cusp. It became one of ontological reduction, and of motivation based on the strategies of essentialism and historicism. The theoretical corpus was now the product of critics such as Greenberg, who positioned it as a specific answer to a formal problem.

This was consistent with Hegelianism, the concept of the tendency towards expression of reality by rational categorization and absolute idealism.

Research — Abstract Art All Looks the Same

It is necessary to look beyond the visual language and aesthetic, and examine the motivation. By understanding the motivation, it could provide new perspectives and may be an instrument though which new possibilities can be discovered.

Research — Repetition and Series

During my research I observed repetition of the visual language, of motifs, of aesthetics.

There are two facets to this. Different artists make visually similar works, and some artists take a motif and run with it as a series.

Although artworks by different artists may look similar, they are different due to a different motivation. Similar artworks by the same artist, the series, and the repetition, could be the natural result of the continuum towards ontological reduction.

Impact on my Practice

My practice started with the creation of discrete artworks.

Based on insights from my research, I am making changes: incorporating the trinity of repetition, series, and ontological reduction through micro, mesa, and macro viewpoints.

At the micro-level, instead of discrete artworks, I am making “captures” of ink on paper.

These are made in batches, each piece simultaneously unique but also repetitive in nature. Each batch becomes a meso-viewpoint that is configured as a “set” where I am layering the inherent visual tones to create a complex visual chord; balancing chromaticism with disconnected neighbouring tones.

Having made one set, another.

And another.

And so on.

With each iteration, another set of repeats, and another step on the path.

These sets of repeats ultimately build on each other to provide a macro-viewpoint and a glimpse of ontological reduction.

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