Lisa Gunn has devoted her art to the study of physical metamorphosis. Her work is defined by an in depth exploration of her incomplete physicality, and her body’s ability to change, evolve and adapt in the most extreme circumstances.
In 1997, at the age of 21, Gunn suffered a life changing physical and emotional experience. She was involved in a road traffic accident that would leave her with painful, debilitating spinal injuries, and change her physicality forever. She did not realise at the time, being so young and vulnerable, that it was not just her body that would suffer from the incident… her social and cultural identity would never be the same again.
Building on the Visualising the Other session for PICBOD, BA Photography and BA Dance teamed up to explore ideas of Embodying the Other. The interdisciplinary workshop was framed with a lecture that pushed forward foundational discussions about marginalisation of communities to consider how the ‘Other’ can be used as a source for types of critique, including questioning how mechanisms of representation operate socially and in arts practices in relation to the body.
In response to these discussions, the participants were given roles that required them to swap their normative roles, respond to each other and to the environment around them. The tasks and developed research can be seen on the G+ community.
Key words to think about:
The ‘Other’ - Objectification – Orientalism –– Colonialism – Post-colonialism – Reclaiming identity – Power & Ideology
Click on the image below for the session slides:
This week's task: A dialogue with a stranger
You are asked to record a dialogue with a stranger. This task needs to be practice based but can be any lens based media or an audio piece. It needs to represent and/or respond to the dialogue with the stranger.
Experimentation is encouraged. What medium are you going to use? Colour, Black and White? What format are you going to use? What presentation may support the portrait? Do you need to make more than one image? How did you negotiate the story with the participant?
List of relevant Photographers/Artists discussed:
Zanele Muholi (2016)
Paul Gaugin (1899) Two Tahitian Women
Edward Curtis (1903/4) The Vanishing Race
Irving Penn (1960s-1970s) Worlds in a Small Room
Al Jolson (Actor) (1886-1950)
Ingrid Pollard (1989) Seaside Series (1992) Wandsworth Heritage
Maud Sulter (1993) Sycras
Dave Lewis (1995) Responses to the Haddon Photographic Collection
Michael Cook (2009) Mother
Yinka Shonibare (2010-12) Nelson’s Bottle
Kara Walker (2014) A Marvellous Sugar Baby
Gideon Mendel (2017) Dzhangel
and some further reading:
(Ed) Behdad, A. & Gartan, L. (2013) Photography’s Orientalism. New essays on Colonial representation. Getty Foundation
(Ed) Edwards, E. (1992) Anthropology and Photography 1860-1920. Yale University Press.
(Ed) Hight, E. & Sampson, G. (2002) Colonialist Photography Imagining race and place. Routledge
Franz, F. (1951) Black skin, white masks. Editions de Seuil
Gilroy, P. (1991) There Ain’t No Black in the Union Jack: The cultural politics of race and nation. Chicago press.
Pinder, K. (2002) Race-ing Art History. Routledge
Pinney, C. (2011) Photography and Anthropology. Reaktion Books
(Ed) Pinney, C. & Peterson, N. (2003) Photographers Other histories. Duke University press.
Pollard, I. (2004) Post cards home. Autograph
Said, E. (1976) Orientalism. Readon Publishing
Art and Empire (2015) Tate
In Visible light (1998) Museum of modern Art Oxford
The impossible science of being (1995) The photographers Gallery
Native Nations Journeys in American Photography (1998) Barbican
Inventing the Indian Richard Hall (BBC iplayer)
There is a follow up masterclass Embodying the Other between BA Photography and BA Dance, that look at the marginalised body through performance and image making.
We discussed the use of light in a range of influence materials. Working in groups, students were will be challenged to consider the quantity, quality and direction of light, how it has been achieved and what meanings it has brought to the image.
Click on the image below for the lecture slides:This Week's task:
This task is based on getting you to think more carefully about the body of work that you want to create for the module. Your task is to experiment and develop your initial ideas of your project with consideration of lighting.
You should demonstrate control of lighting with consideration of how it has impacted on the meaning of the picture. Has it brought, drama or mood to the image? Has the lighting been used to create the impression of objective truth or a subjective interpretation of the sitter? How has it been achieved? What influences have informed your approach?
List of relevant Photographers/Artists for research:
Leonardo Da Vinci, Caravaggio, Gregory Crewdson, Bill Henson, Maurice Scheltens, Juan Sanchez Cotan, David LaChappelle, Picasso, Damian Blottiere, Daniel Gordon, Lua Ribeira, Max Pinckers, Dan Winters, Jono Rotman, Stefan Ruiz, Piero della Francesca, Terry Richardson, Weegee, Annie Leibovitz, Nadav Kander, Piero Martinello, Richard Avedon, Nick Knight, Albert Watson, Vivian Sassen, Rob Hornstra
Check out the lecture slides below:
This week's task...'A Familial Portrait'
Your task is to create an image or series of images of someone you know well, either a family member, partner and close friend. The image needs to explore the space in the personal relationship. Consider how this could be visually illustrated? Experimentation is encouraged. What medium are you going to use? Colour? Black and White? What format are you going to use? Do you need to make more than one image? Whose image is it? How did you negotiate the story with the participant?Task Deadline: Post on G+ collaborative open space by Wednesday 15th March for class feedback
Relevant Artists and Photographers:
Nan Goldin, Larry Clark, Mike Brodie, Stacy Kranitz, Corinne Day, Wolfgang Tillmans, Ren Hang, Juergen Teller, Erik Kessels, Julian Germain, Penelope Umbrico, Lee Friedlander, Tony Rae Jones, Martin Parr, Richard Billingham, Zanele Muholi
We looked at primary artists who have influenced contemporary thinking about self portraiture and some contemporary practitioners who build on these ideas. We discussed the intentionality of the work and discussed the appropriateness of self portraiture.
Key words to think about...Performance – Embody – Self Portraiture – Selfie – Identity – Phototherapy – Stereotype – Role play
Click on the image below to see the lecture slides:
This week's task: A ‘Self Portrait’ Portrait...
Building on the class discussions your task is to make your own self portrait. This brief can be interpreted as broadly as you like. Consider what point you would like to make and how best to perform that role. Experimentation is encouraged. What medium are you going to use? Colour or Black and White? What format are you going to use? What presentation may support the portrait? Do you need to make more than one image? Whose image is it? What are you trying to reveal in the image?
Task deadline: Post on G+ collaborative open space by Wednesday 8th March for class feedback
List of relevant Photographers/Artists and Bodies of work discussed:
Juno Calypso (2015) Honeymoon Suit
Claude Cahun (1912-1932) Self Portraits
Catherine Opie (1993/4) Self Portraits
Jo Spence (1979) Beyond the Family Album
Jo Spence (1981-82) Remodelling Photo History
Jo Spence (1982-1986) The Picture of Health
Frida Kahlo (1944) The Broken Column
Sam Taylor-Wood (2001) Self Portrait in a Single Breasted Suit with Hare
Elina Brotherus (2009-14) The Annunciation
Cindy Sherman (1977-80) Film Stills & (2008) Society Portraits #Untitled
Gillian Wearing (2003) Album
Hans Eijkelboom (1970’s) Family Portraits
Trish Morrissey (2001-04) Family Portraits
Nicki S Lee (1997-2001) Projects
Samuel Fosso (1970’s) Self Portraits
Shadi Ghadirian (2008-09) Self Portraits
Amalia Ulman: (2014) Excellences and perfections
Tracy Emin (1998) My Bed
Tim Soter (2001) Self-Portrait
Ben Eldin (2016) Self Portrait
Grayson Perry (2015) Who do we think we are?
For further reading...
Bright, S. (2010) Auto Focus. Thames & Hudson
Doy, G (2005) Picturing the self: Changing view of the subject in visual culture. I. B. Taurus
Hall, S. (1997) Representation: cultural representations and signifying practices. London Thousand Oaks, California: Sage in association with the Open University.
Miller, D. (2015) Photography in the Age of Snapchat. RAI
Olin, M. (2012) Touching Photographs. University of Chicago Press
Moorhouse, P. (2014) Cindy Sherman. Phadion Publishing
Smith, C. (2011) Enacting Others. Duke Press
Spence, J. (1986) Putting myself in the picture: A political personal and photographic autobiography. Camden Press.
(2010) Identity & Identification. Black Dog Publishing. London
(2016) Performing for the camera. Tate publishing
In Nude and Naked; Questioning Power and Challenging Representation we looked at moving from a historical consideration of the nude/naked binary in art and photography into a critical consideration of representation and power.
Key Themes and Ideas to think about:
Nude and naked
The role of the nude in art and culture
The male body and censorship
Power and representation
This week's task:
We have discussed nude and naked in the context of reclaiming
representation. We have looked at some classical photographers who
challenge notions of representation and contemporary photographers who
use the body to comment on the body as an object, representation and
Working in pairs your task is to make an image of your partner, that reveals
something about them. This brief can be interpreted as broadly as you like. It
could be anything from a favourite food, idiosyncratic habit, what they like to
do in their spare time. The challenge is to navigate a successful way of
representing this in the image.
Experimentation is encouraged. What medium are you going to use? Colour,
Black and White? What format are you going to use? What presentation may
support the portrait? Do you need to make more than one image? Whose
image is it? How did you negotiate the story with the participant? What are
you trying to reveal in the image?
All tasks need to be added to the Google+ collaborative open space by
Wednesday March 1st. The seminar session will be online peer to peer
You might want to look at:
We are signing off for another year! To celebrate all the work that has been produced the #PICBOD cohort class of 2016 took over Coventry University photo hub. The hub was transformed and the audience were asked to participate in a number of interactive installations. The students responded to the tasks and developed highly personal bodies of work. You can see more examples of the different bodies of work on the G+ community page - it would be great to hear your responses and thoughts!
Images ©Niall O’Connor