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Process #2

My degree project was a book documenting the Irish Diaspora’s journeys from Ireland to England. I photographed and interviewed people in the various Irish centers around London: the London Irish Center, the Luton Irish Forum and the South London Irish Association. The book itself was hand-printed and bound but my bookmaking skills are very lacking! As such, I enlisted the help of my friend Chloe (a 2015 UAL Wimbledon graduate in Print and Time-based Media) to help me fix the binding and structure of the book itself.

Chloe won the Wandle Studio Prize for 2015/16 so she has use of a studio space at Merton Abbey Mills where she runs an “alternative book-makery” called Object Book.

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Original book
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How it stood
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Lying flat

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Attempt at attching the covers

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I attempted to attach the covers and put too much glue on the front
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The binding was too loose so pages would move
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Cutting the binding off each folio
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Placing the first cover
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Sewing the first section
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Tying a kettle stitch at the end
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Sewing the fourth folio to the third with a kettle stitch
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The cross stitch was made by putting the thread through two layers of thread on the folios and making a X shape and tying a kettle stitich
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Exposed biding
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Kettle stitches at the end of each folio

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Flattening in the nipping press

PS: I’m doing photo-book narrative workshops at Object Book on the 6th of August. More details to follow.

Process #1

My absence on the blog lately can be explained by attempting to pass my degree (haven’t yet, so posting might still be a bit sporadic). I’m starting a new series, looking at what I’m reading at the moment, which also ties into my current research interests and writing so I suppose I’ll just combine all that into one series – reading, researching and writing in one!

I’ve been researching and working on my graduate project which is titled “Is e Eire mo Bhaile”, which means “Ireland is my home”, in Irish. To that end, this post is about what I’m doing to research this project.

Books:

Rodinsky’s Room – Rachel Lichtenstein & Iain Sinclair

Lichtenstien and Sinclair take a very upbeat stance on the disappearance of David Rodinsky and trace this through the archive of ephemera left behind in his room in Whitechapel. The book traces Lichtenstien’s research of Rodinksy through writing and photography and gives a good example of a book using both photography and writing to illustrate.

The Photograph – Graham Clarke

Spectral Evidence: The Photography of Trauma – Ulrich Baer

The Texture of Memory: Holocaust Memorials and Meaning – James Young

The Painter of Modern Life – Charles Baudelaire

On the Natural History of Destruction – WG Sebald

The Pivot of the World: Photography and it’s Nation – Blake Stimson

The Burden of Representation: Essays on Photographies and Histories – John Tagg

Photography Degree Zero: Reflections on Roland Barthes Camera Lucida – Geoffery Bachen

These books deal with the photographic image as carrier of memory, the memorialisation of the journey, the journey itself, the ontology of the image and photographic archives.

Images of the final book and project itself to follow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New directions

My current body of work is continuing my research practice into notions of identity and “Irishness” (see artist statement). As such, I’m concentrating my current body of work around Irish emigrants and second-generation Irish who live in London. This project aims to explore the theme of “home” and what this means to people who are not necessarily in a place they call home. The concepts of what and where home is will be explored through a photographic project using medium format analogue photography and transcribed interviews. I plan to document my research and process on this blog for research and my personal blog for process images.

Stay tuned for research and process images and info

Surrealist / minimalist collage

My research at the start of this semester centered around surrealist collage and Gothic painting. My research has since taken a turn into looking at museological display and artifact studies. This is documented in my purpose-built research blog which can be accessed at Aisling Keavey Art Research

Joan FontecurbertaMind Games, British Journal of Photography, November 2014

Joan Fontecuberta constructs false narratives and false archives using photo-montage and photography. This work is particularly interesting as it displays the power that the manipulation of photography as over the audience’s perception of a work, and also questions about the validity of archives and the arching process.

British Library – Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination (03-10-14 => 20-01-15)

This exhibition aims to “reflect the cultural concerns of 18th century Britain” by exploring Victorian Gothic literature and art.
Dan Hillier. (website)
Dan Hillier is a surrealist collage artist working primarily with Victorian images and themes of Victorian futurism, the uncanny and steampunk. He makes screen-printed, digital collages.   
Hannah Hoch is considered an “artistic and cultural pioneer”. She uses collage as an art object instead of using it as a process to work through ideas. She explores the concept of the “New Woman” through collage.
Leonora Carrington was called a “central figure of the surrealist movement” for her multidisciplinary approach to practice which included writing, painting, printing and weaving. She worked with themes of personified nature, Irish folklore and mythology and religious motifs.
This book centres around the collage as an homage and as a reference. The author identifies the collage artist’s ability to recognise the preexisting to create something different. The collage can separate things that belong together.  These artists break the boundary of the flat, glued image that historians have relied upon, the collage can become a material study, a three-dimensional assemblage or even an environment or performance. Collecting of images to collage can be a way of stopping time, of grasping or studying the past.
John Stezaker uses collage as a “genuine response to the tyranny of images that is our contemporary visual culture” and as a way to explore the “absurdity of the present”.
Matthieu Bourel uses images to “evoke a fake history” and to explore the power of the image and its considerations. He uses images as the point of departure for a story to create false narratives.
Office Supplies Incorporated are a collective that explore the formal aspects of the medium of collage such as “materiality, depth and scale”. They focus on what happens to an image after another image is added to it.
Cur3es is a collage artist who mixes photos to point out their inherent mundanity or dark insinuations.
Eva Eun-Sil Han uses “recurring layers of geometric lines and shapes” to repeatedly “mask and reveal the layers beneath them”.

Human Heart in a Heart-shaped Cist, Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford

The strongest reference I have found for my current body of work (which centers around the autobiographical, museological display and the Irish experience) is an object housed at the Pitt Rivers Museum at Oxford University.

The Pitt Rivers museum, founded in 1884, is a museum of anthropology and world archeology.  Its collections include materials by peoples from cultures around the world and from throughout history. While the focus of the Museum is on human cultures and how different peoples have solved the problems of everyday life, the collections include human remains acquired to show some aspect of culture, such as burial customs. 

The artifact that I am researching is one with the object number 1884.57.18, a human heart in a heart shaped cist.

Human Heart in a Heart Shaped Cist

(Click on the image to go to more information)

This object is particularly interesting as it raises questions for me about colonialism, burial practices and artifact studies.

This object, according to the Pitt Rivers website, was found in the basement of a church in county Cork, Ireland by General Pitt-Rivers on one of his expeditions to the country in the 1880s. This raises various questions about why Pitt-Rivers decided to extract this object from its current location and house it in a foreign museum; is colonialism to blame for this object and other objects being housed in British museums; do objects being housed in foreign museums help the discourse around such objects and themes to be opened up to an audience that would otherwise have not been exposed to it?

A sound file of the curator talking about this object can be found here.

I’ll be going further into these themes in subsequent posts as this research and project progresses so watch this space.

 

Research interests

At the moment, my research centers around the autobiographical; post-colonialism, musicological display, artifact studies and the Irish experience. My next project centers around an Irish artifact found under a church in County Cork but housed in The Pitt Rivers museum in Oxford University, England.

My next post will go more in depth about this object

CUE at ArtsLav

On Friday last I had the privilege of attending and photographing an exhibition organised and curated by fellow students from Wimbledon College of Art, Katarina Rankovic and Tahmina Ahkmedov, co-curated by Kosha Hussain. CUE, held at ArtsLav in Kennington, south London, is an exhibition of painting, installation, video and mixed media work. Housed in a Victorian ex-lavatory, ArtsLav was an unusual choice of venue but worked amazingly well; with work hanging off toilet cubical doors and behind cubical doors and on the walls. The atmosphere was decidedly 1920s with Reinhardt jazz music and candles dotting the narrow rectangular space.

The rest of my photographs from the private view can be found by clicking on the photograph.

The work is on show now until the 6th of June at ArtsLav, 180 Kennington Lane, London, SE11 4UZ.