Final Proposal & Evaluation – AD7801 Establishing Practice

Revised Proposal and Evaluation

I have set out to address issues of ageing and memory. I had hoped to concentrate on my work on the subject of my mother, which I have done. I was interested in her deterioration of memory and how my shared memories with her have held a different significance as her recollection has faded.

I have explored various darkroom processes that describe transitions from one form to another, which I have recorded. These transitions concentrating on the change to images with time and light and chemistry that evokes change to photographic material when exposed to light of one form or another.

During the first stages of this project there was an incident: a fire that destroyed my mothers belongings and the buildings that were on her allotment. Gardening has always been a central activity for my mother in her life. She has dedicated much of her life to her garden and has become over the years quite accomplished with in horticulture. The fire destroyed her gardening belongings her workshop, shed and greenhouse.  The fire also destroyed all of her gardening belongings. This incident gave me a platform on which to investigate memory and recollecting through photographing her and the burnt debris and interviewing her about what had happened, what she had lost and what she could remember of what she had before.

This opportunity was presented to me and fortunately my mother was cooperative and allowed me to photograph her on the site within the burnt out greenhouse in a very similar way as I had done at the end of the when all I was attempting to take a portrait of her amongst her belongings in the place of interest(green house).

The photographic material I have gathered I have used to explore darkroom processes, and believe I have achieved to capture the transitions in a way that prompts questions about memory, to look at change in recollection of form and detail.

I have produced 4 final clips. These versions differ with various audio tracks. Having shown the work to a variety of audiences and had critiques and tutorials, I realise the different interpretations are mainly influenced by the audio tracks. Initially I wanted to produce the work without sound. To just have the transition between the image forms as the main interest. However, I was encouraged to record conversations with my mother with a view to use these recordings as a backing track to accompany the image change. The interviews worked well, the small interesting and lively anecdotes were perfect for the subject.  There was some need for editing, but not a lot, the natural breaks and the conversation fitted well with the transition in the clip. Having considered the sound and how it may be further added to, I considered using the ticking of a clock. To be used as a rhythm in the background a gentle reminder (although quite literal) of the passing of time during the interview, and within memory. This element will support the transition from the clock through the fire damage to the final version- burnt and photographed hanging with just the metal surround remaining.

The version without sound I believe works and is engaging to the viewer. One has to be patient and to concentrate, the changes I’ll subtle through the transition, it’s hard at times to see and quite slow and difficult  notice at points.

Using just the voice-over audio alone with the clip gives the viewer extra information and interest.  As soon as I added the voice audio and played the clip to various people, I was interested to note that at times people looked away from the piece, concentrating only on listening to the words being said.

Using the voice/ticking audio adds an interesting element to the piece with a fade in and out of the ticking giving a rhythm and the subtle element of time in the background gently passing.

The first version with the clock ticking audio has caused the most reaction. Interestingly the clock becomes an annoyance, the ticking is too loud and overbearing (literal…..”it’s a clock ticking!”). I was aware of this potential to add a ‘too literal’ element- pointing out the obvious! However, I’m quite interested in the feedback.  The ticking clock causes offence in this piece in this version, people are put off as often they are when a clock is ticking too loudly- time is quite clearly passing and this obvious ticking of time passing for some is to worrisome and distracting.  It causes an anxiety, an emotional upset an annoyance or irritation.  Often we do not like to be reminded and faced with the overwhelming sense of time passing.  Especially by the mechanism of a clock, it is measuring, constant notifying us of units of time literally  ‘ticking away’.

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