MODULE 4: INFORMING CONTEXTS. WEEK 11.

Unused Triptych (from FEARS OF SUBURBIA sequence).
James Bellorini 2020.

As Informing Contexts draws to a close, it’s time to reflect a little on where I am at with my practice and what I am carrying forward with me as I head towards my Final Major Project.

My work-in-progress portfolio for the module is completed and can be viewed here: https://www.jamesbelloriniphoto.com/mawork-in-progress4moduleinformingcontexts

The work has had a strong focus on narrative, though not necessarily linear, and the exploration of otherness and hybridity in relation to cross-cultural and third-culture people. It has utilised Barthes’ notion of the signified in an attempt to distil meaning within images and across their relationship to other images in the work. This gave me a theoretical framework to hold the diversity of my cross-genre approach.

LEARNING & EVALUATION

The following are some bullet points of learning and evaluation I need to consider:

  • I need to be rigorous with the narrative in my work and clear about what I am trying to say. It might be that the foundation of the exploration of hybridity and otherness is enough but, if so, I need to bed into that project ‘spine’ (Tharpe, 2006. p.142-144) and ground my work in it.
  • Stand on the strength of my editing skills and discernment. This part of my process is so pertinent to the long-term narrative ‘success’ of the work.
  • To strengthen my approach, maintain what Lucy Soutter discusses as important: ‘a palpable sense of inquiry’ (Soutter, 2018, p.99) and ‘an aspect of the self at stake’ (Soutter, 2018, p.103).
  • Keep developing the tropes of my practice that are working and speaking to the project: the elements of the performative, the constructed realities, the ‘found’ aspects etc. Moving them towards a unified fictional reality.
  • Is it time to work with a working title for the project? Currently my favourites are: What We See Does Surpass Us, and On A Crooked Orbit.
  • Research & reading to do: Sugar Paper Theories by jack Latham. The Seventh Man by John Berger.
  • In the recess between modules I want to return to the manipulated images I touched in early in the module, just to define for myself whether or not these might be a way to go especially if Covid-19 halts my further ability to photograph the people I’ve planned to collaborate with.
Digital Manipulations.
James Bellorini 2020.

LOCATION OF PRACTICE

So this is just a brief reflection on where I’m at with regards to the presentation and public of my work going forward – bearing in mind that this is also in flux due to Covid-19.

I have always envisioned the work as part of an installation, a kind of museum of the self showing the work alongside physical artefacts, sound and contributions from the people I’ve worked with across the project. As part of the process towards this I had planned on showing a small selection of the work mid-way through my FMP at Brighton Photo Fringe. By small selection I mean about 20 images or so from some of the work already made during all four modules and which might be carried forward into the final selection of my FMP in December. As mentioned elsewhere in my CRJ XXX I even started working with a curator, though we literally only had a couple of meetings before everything was put on hold when we went into lock-down. At the time of writing it is unclear if Photo Fringe will go ahead and, if it does, in what form.

So I am considering alternatives.

Firstly, in the form of a virtual installation using a platform such as: www.artsteps.com

Secondly, although I had initially steered away from any form of book (or similar) at this stage, it now seems like this might be a more secure way to go as a means to disseminate the work. this opens up new considerations for me.

I guess there might be some way to turn the work into a form of film or video as well, at least to mirror the audio-visual aspects of an installation.

Alongside all of these ideas (new or otherwise), it has always been my intention to approach pertinent magazines with the work. These include:

AESTHETICS

Briefly here, just a few things that are coming to the fore to be considered more deeply:

  • Digital manipulations – as I’ve stated above, I want to take a bit of time in the recess to experiment further with the manipulations and layering approach I took early on in the module.
  • Self-portraiture and the self as subject.
  • Explore further the importance of chance in the found elements within my work – especially (though not exclusively) as it relates to found locations.
  • Shoot as an alter ego or with a subject that becomes one for myself?
  • Consider developing the graphic layouts made as experiments during the module.
What We See Does Surpass Us (Test Layout).
James Bellorini 2020.

QUESTIONS

  • Are the different genre streams within the work better served by separating them into several projects that sit under the same umbrella theme? Would this help to refine the narrative exploration?
  • What strategies and adaptations do I need to consider if Covid-19 compromises my ability to physically work with my contributors and subjects to the degree of planned engagement I was hoping for?
  • What adaptations would best serve the project should they be necessary?

REFERENCES & RESOURCES

Soutter, L. 2018. Why Art Photography? 2nd edn. Oxford: Routledge.

Tharpe, T. 2006. The Creative Habit. New York: Simon and Schuster.