FINAL MAJOR PROJECT. ASSESSMENT RECESS.

UNTITLED DIPTYCH. James Bellorini, August 2020.

For the past couple of weeks my mental space, my project motivations, and my output have become confused. I have had to confront a lot in myself and in the Final Major Project process. This confrontation is ongoing. It is shocking and challenging, and has resulted in me now working from a space that is unclear in terms of what I thought my project was about and where I thought I was heading when I submitted my project proposal at the beginning of FMP. This leaves me with a multitude of unanswered questions and a working plan that I have had to discard.

I am hoping that this is for the best, but at the time of writing I really have no idea.

Looking back I can see that I was already at a delicate part of my process when this breakdown began. In attempting to support my Peers by watching some of their project presentations I broke my (temporary) self-imposed need of not looking at other photographers work while I am attempting to find a voice for my FMP. In so doing, I didn’t support myself and, when I saw how clear my peers work was at such an early stage of the process, the confusion I was already feeling as a result of some disorientating tutorials, spilled out. I fell into a complete crisis of confidence in the project, in my work and in my ability to see this through now. It had already been suggested in tutorials that my project was nebulous, unclear and that my proposed plan (despite it getting a strong mark) wasn’t helpful and it was recommended that I discard the main focus and seek a more refined one. This put me on the back foot and subsequently my work began to flounder. So, by the time I watched the peer presentations, it was obvious that I was lost.

UNTITLED DIPTYCH. James Bellorini, August 2020.

I will admit that for a time I contemplated postponing my FMP. But, that would not be practical or financially viable. Instead, I have had to remove myself from the M.A. process as much as possible and just make work in a form of creative blindness which is both liberating and frightening at the same time. I have had to let go of my personal ambitions for the M.A. as well. Work is being made, but I do not have a clear idea what I can say the work is about at present. There are floating remnants of what I’ve been looking at across the past 18 months, but at the same time it is morphing into something else on it’s own. Food is still there. The quest for belonging in migrants and mixed-heritage people is present, though less explicit. But my fear is that it is shallow and baseless and that concerns me. I freely admit that the thought of showing anything I’ve made to my tutor fills me with abject fear.

I have also started a process of looking at all my work created for my project during the first 18 months of the M.A. Building streams or ‘acts’ of work to see what threads there might be to help drive me forward now. I am not sure yet what I am learning from this exercise, but it’s interesting to see certain motifs were present in the past that are being re-evaluated and expanded on now (almost by chance).

Owning this process is not easy. Trusting in the work is not easy. Even more so in isolation. Keeping away from all manner of negative influences is a necessity right now.

So, I am working in this self-imposed critical ‘void’, hoping that something is happening in the work, staying away from photography but reading extensively about fine artists and musicians, dumping learning objectives for now, and having let go of my hoped-for outcomes of the M.A. Perhaps this is a liberation, but I wouldn’t wish the anxiety on anyone.

RESOURCES

Bayles, D and Orland, T. 1993. Art and Fear. (10th Ed). Santa Barbara, Capra Press.

Chemaly, S. (2018). Anger is fire for creativity — and it’s time to let it burn. Ideas.Ted.com, 11 September. Available at: https://ideas.ted.com/anger-is-fire-for-creativity-and-its-time-to-let-it-burn/ [Accessed 1 Sept. 2020].

Lack, J (Ed). 2017. Why Are We ‘Artists’? 100 World Art Manifestos. London, Penguin.

Smith, P. 2019. Just Kids – Illustrated Edition. London, Bloomsbury Publishing.

Sylvester, D. 1975. Interviews With Francis Bacon. (4th Ed). London, Thames and Hudson.