Can We Archive Memories?

Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp and Beyond

I have to admit that I have never heard of the Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp before and almost did not sign up for this panel discussion. But I’m so please I did.

This event was part of “Visions of Feminist Peace”, a virtual programme exploring feminist peace, as part of the Feminist International Law of Peace and Security project (see here for further details: https://www.lse.ac.uk/women-peace-security/secure/Womens-Global-Peace-Congress  ) and co-hosted by the LSE Centre for Women, Peace and Security as part of the AHRC project Feminist International Law of Peace and Security.

The discussion began with an overview from the archivist’s perspective and a bit of background to this archive. The archive began its life in the Women’s Library which dates back to 1926 and manages documentation of women’s suffrage literature and is currently housed at the London School of Economics. There are all sorts of documents in the archive ranging from correspondence, publications, videos and even objects like bolt cutters.

Silvia Galloti and Emma Pizarro, both archivists at the LSE library gave an overview of an archivists role regarding an archive. Their main role it to preserve and make the archive accessible. They are concerned with the provenance of the items in the collection and with the original order used and maintained by the creators. Their job is to maintain the context of the archive.

Each catalogue created follows international standards, i.e. there is a hierarchical structure of categories, each containing many sub folders, as well as sections that describe the material in the archive. However, sometimes these prescribed structures are too rigid.

Emma explained some of the parallels between archives and memory. Archives document transactions and activities and provide evidence of these and are often referred to as society’s collective memory. Memories have a habit of fading or distorting and the act of archiving services as an exteriorization of memory. Its a way for us to transfer memories from individuals to the collective memory, and serves as a way to remember things outside of our human memory.

If we think of an archive as a memory bank which we can all access to recall past events, then we must also acknowledge the power and control that archives have over what will be know about the past. (This is something Ariadne flagged for me to research). Historically records about or by women have been systematically excluded from archival holdings. Both memory and archives are selective and represent only fragments of what has happened in the past. Archives can also capture stories that form group identities and promote social cohesion within a community, which helps to sustain cultural traditions and values.

Archivists play an important role in shaping collective and historical memories. They constantly make decisions about what is worth remembering. This act of appraisal can be both an exercise of power in controlling the shape of social memory as well as an act of resistance against other powers who want to shape social memory for their own purposes. Just like documentary photography, archives are not neutral and neither is archival practice.  The archivists working on the Greenham Common archive found it incredibly liberating to engage with over 400 women who were at Greenham Common. Each had the power to trigger different memories and the archivists found that there was no one fixed memory. I think that this is a fantastic example of heteroglossia – so many different women sharing their own experiences. The archivists found that this input enriched the value of the catalogue providing more insight into the events at Greenham Common. Emma provided a list of further reading for those who were interested.

Fig. 1. Further Reading from panel discussion, Can We Archive Memories? (2020) [Screenshot]
The archivists recorded the women’s impressions ad allowed them to take control of the narrative, and were led by the women who worked laterally and rejected a hierarchical structure.

They found that the women’s memories were going to challenge each other as there was conflicting information regarding timelines. Some of the other challenges were that it was difficult to establish ‘fact’ as each woman cold only recollect her own memory. It is important to realise that history is not always tangible or concrete. They also used a lot of photographic material for memory stimulation. This archive is organic and messy, but the people come to life in it.

Rebecca Mordan who is involved with the archives gave some feedback on how they are trying to get the archive out into the public eye and she is exploring really novel ways such as having a gaming company create a game around the archive/events, as well as an online exhibition and various performances. She found that music was an important trigger for memory recall (something for me to keep in mind for both my CS research as well as my BOW).

Some other points raised were that sometimes traditional standards need to give way to how people want to record their experiences. Objects represent many memories. The collaboration of archivists and community is very powerful. Without community involvement archivists can miss something crucial.

Bibliography

Greenham Women Everywhere (s.d.) At: http://greenhamwomeneverywhere.co.uk/ (Accessed  17/09/2020).

Scary Little Girls – Feminist theatre production company : Scary Little Girls (s.d.) At: https://scarylittlegirls.co.uk/ (Accessed  17/09/2020).

The London School of Economics and Political Science (2020) Visions of Feminist Peace. At: https://www.lse.ac.uk/women-peace-security/secure/Womens-Global-Peace-Congress (Accessed  17/09/2020).

Formative Feedback – Assignment One

I received my tutor’s formative feedback together with annotated commentary on my A1 submission document. My reflections on the feedback follows after the Formative feedback.

Formative feedback

As this is a diagnostic assignment, I provide you with an extensive written report. In future, we will follow the audio-visual tutorial feedback mode, where I will provide you with verbal feedback and you will fill in the report and send it to me for amendments, additions and sign-off. Please let me know asap if you disagree with this or you have any concerns.

Feedback in this document should be considered in tandem to my comments on your submission document, also attached to this email. We can have a post-feedback online meeting should you need further elaboration.

Key points

Most feedback is prompted by your submission but also pertain to strategies you need to implement for your future submissions. This will ensure that you remain on the right track and that you continue to have a good practice and methodology which you can follow.

General writing, flow of document and thread of argument:

Your writing is clear and eloquent and your text flows well and logically. There is one small confusion at the end of your text which I highlight in the marginalia and we can discuss in a tutorial. You show your methodological intentions and follow a concise argumentation path which links your work to visual cultural and critical theory. You have evidently done a lot of work for this and have a clear understanding of your reading; perhaps more so than you admit in your text. You need to take this one step further now with the more complex considerations (see marginalia).

I include some suggestions below which should help ensure you remain on the right path in the future.

Quotations and their analysis: This is a key way to practice, prove and develop your methodology. It is also the main way to give authoritative credibility to what you are saying. You should regard them as using the words of an authority on the matter to develop and support what you want to say. Quotations need to be introduced as to their relevance and importance; if the topic is not quite the same as yours you need to explain what it is and why you have chosen to use the source. The quotation then needs to be regarded in the context of your own argument and analysed. You can then conclude on a thesis which is supported by and developed through the quotation and which furthers your argument.

You use your research very well in this document and you reference accordingly. In addition, it is evident that you situate your work in the work of others and vice versa; this is very good practice. Some of your sources require more particular amalgamation into your own analysis and /or more elaboration to allow you to assert the most profound theses possible. Quotations need to flow in the sentence, both syntactically and grammatically; you can make well-delineated alterations within them in order to achieve this. The only time quotations do not need to flow is when they make their own sentence; i.e. when the quotation is an autonomous syntactical construct.

Criticism: You need to consider the importance and meaning of the topics you discuss and, further, their greater cultural relevance. You have identified your relevant theories well and have a good and plausible research topic. The reason it is plausible is that you have situated it well within the theories and disciplines which you discuss. You need to consistently sustain this by the explanation, elaboration, analysis, questioning, examination and support of your ideas, position and overall argumentation. Most importantly, CS should encourage a deep consideration of the concepts and their implication to your work (see marginalia for examples).

Analysis and interpretation of images (this is for future use and reference): Consider images in a similar way to quotations. They are there to instigate, highlight, support and further your own concepts. Ensure you introduce them according to their relevance and importance, describe them and then analyse them extensively. Then conclude on how they prove your point and extend your argument.

Summary of Research Proposal

Your proposed topic is promising and well researched, so far. Make sure that you exhaust your own theoretical development in your argument and that you do so by linking key concepts and themes together (see marginalia).

Future research recommendations:

The suggestions listed below are extensive. It is not my intention to overwhelm you, neither do I expect you to read all the sources before your next assignment. It is a short but comprehensive list of further primary sources that arise from your argument and will certainly prove helpful for the development of your approach and methodology. I have highlighted the ones of priority. (I have marked with with asterisks as there is no highlight function on the blog tools).

Banks, Marcus. Visual Methods in Social Research. London: Sage Publications, 2001.

**Edwards, Elizabeth. “Talking Visual Histories: Introduction.” In Museums and Source Communities. Eds. Brown, Alison and Laura Peers. London: Routledge, 2003.

**Edwards, Elizabeth. “Photographs, Orality and History.” In Visual Sense: A Cultural Reader.        Eds. Edwards, Elizabeth and Kaushik Bhaumik. Oxford: Berg, 2008.

Geertz, Clifford. The Interpretation of Cultures. New York: Basic Books Inc., 1973.

Geertz, Clifford. Local Knowledge: Further Essays on Interpretive Anthropology. New York:         Basic Books, 1983.

**Langford, Martha. Suspended Conversations; the Afterlife of Memory in Photographic      Albums. Montreal: McGill & Queen’s University Press, 2001.

Scholte, Bob. “Towards a Reflexive and Critical Anthropology.” In Reinventing Anthropology, Ed. Hymes, D. N.Y.: Vintage Books, 1974.

Strengths Areas for development
  Good research and discussion   More development of concepts and their links to one another and to your project
  Good writer -clarity and consistency   More development of sources/quotations
  Good topic  

Further notes:

For assignment 2 – literature review – you will find the following resource very helpful. This is the most comprehensive resource on the subject. The other topic tabs in the resource are also very helpful.

https://advice.writing.utoronto.ca/types-of-writing/literature-review/


Reflection on Tutor’s Feedback

I really was pleasantly surprised by my tutor’s feedback and the annotations on my submission. She confirmed my dilemma about the postmodern vs post-structuralist visual practice that I had, pointing out that I had used post-structuralist theories in my argument. So I will make that amendment in my conclusion. I will also do a little more research regarding the differences between the two practices  and hopefully be able to understand them better. Although I have been reading that the boundary between postmodernism and post-structuralist is not very clear, and to complicate matters further, the two visual practices share many features.

My tutor pointed out a few instances of incorrect punctuation usage and grammatical errors, which I shall correct. She gave a few excellent suggestions regarding Nora’s Les lieux de memoire and how I could move forward by considering photography and history’s common objective, namely, representation and the archiving of culture and experience. She also mentioned researching the abundance and danger associated with liminal spaces in relation to the use of archives, and photographs in oral history and story telling.

I have managed to locate most of the recommended readings suggested with the exception of:

**Edwards, Elizabeth. “Photographs, Orality and History.” In Visual Sense: A Cultural Reader.        Eds. Edwards, Elizabeth and Kaushik Bhaumik. Oxford: Berg, 2008.  This is only an eight page essay, and I’m not prepared to pay $16 (used) or $70 (new) for it. I’ll access some of Edwards’ other texts instead.

Scholte, Bob. “Towards a Reflexive and Critical Anthropology.” In Reinventing Anthropology, Ed. Hymes, D. N.Y.: Vintage Books, 1974. Again this is just one essay in the book for $34 (used).

Assignment One: Visual Culture in Practice

For this diagnostic assignment we are required to “explore and develop initial ideas and research as part of a dissertation scoping and planning process” (Alexander et al., 2020). Writing a 1,000 word essay, we need to reflect on any possible synthesis with our body of work, relating our ideas to a visual culture, using Harvard referencing and illustrating it with our our photographs and supporting figures where appropriate.

My essay is in PDF format below:

Assignment One: Visual Culture in Practice

Assessment Criteria

Demonstration of subject based knowledge and understanding

Application of knowledge outside its original context. Systematic and critical detailed specialised knowledge and understanding of some specific aspects of visual and material culture.

The main problem I encountered with the essay was that I become quite confused between the postmodern and post-structural visual cultures. I had slotted my visual culture practice as postmodern. Some of the background reading that I had done, which was written by academics, had pegged my themes as postmodern. However, the more I read, the more I vacillated between the two methodologies. At the end I decided to submit the essay to my tutor and discuss this with her.

Demonstration of research skills

Capacity for critical, effective and verifiable information retrieval and organisation using primary and secondary resources.

I am quite comfortable performing research and sourcing academic texts. I mainly use the UCA online databases as well as other OpenSource databases for obtaining reliable sources. I use Zotero to organise and categorise my research themes.

Demonstration of critical and evaluation skills

Critically review, consolidate and extend a systematic and coherent body of knowledge, with specialised skills. Critically evaluate concepts and evidence from a range of sources; transfer and apply
diagnostic and creative skills and exercise significant judgement in a range of situations.

At this stage I feel that I have only dipped my toe in the contextual studies water, so my confidence is a little shaky. I know I need to acquire more skills and knowledge in order to review critically. I realise I will acquire this skill over time and with a great amount of reading and research.

Communication

Well structured and relevant arguments supported with evidence, engage critically with established ideas. Balance and present alternative points of view, use unfamiliar arguments constructively.

I think that I provided a well structured argument, but personally felt that it was a little on the ‘light’ side.

Bibliography

Alexander, J. et al. (2020) Contextual Studies. Barnsley: Open College of the Arts.

Beach Still Lifes & Abstracts

After looking at Minor White and Wynn Bullocks’ work yesterday (their abstract work to be specific), I realised I could explore some of the natural elements occurring around the lake (beach debris) as a possibility to use in juxtapositions with some of the landscape or portraits (that I hopefully will be able to take). So I looked back at my four photo shoots that I did for A1 and pulled out some more images. Some of these images were not taken at the best time of the day – too bright, but they will serve as a basis for some ideas. I photographed the beach debris as I found it.

I particularly like the idea of using the birch bark (the conical roll at the top left in Fig. 1) as it links to the Indigenous community. The First Nations use birch bark to make all kinds of baskets and other utensils. However, the gravelly background doesn’t provide enough contrast and the image is a bit flat.

Fig. 1. Bark, Sandy Beach

The piece of birch bark in Fig. 2 is more ambiguous as it resembles a squashed metal can, or maybe it is? There is a little more contrast around the right hand side of the image with the greenery shading the surface and the texture of the other driftwood is also intriguing.

Fig. 2. Bark, Sandy Beach

I like the textures of the driftwood in Fig. 3 but their layout is not too appealing.

Fig. 3. Bark, Sandy Beach

Evidence of passing wild life on the beach perhaps – Fig. 4.

Fig. 4. Broken branch, Sandy Beach

I have never seen mushrooms growing on a beach before – could be a metaphor life or death I suppose – Fig 5 and Fig. 6. The tonal values are quite uninteresting. I think I will find more interesting varieties in the forest.

Fig. 5. Mushrooms, Sandy Beach.
Fig. 6. Coprinellus micaceus (mica caps), Sandy Beach.

I just liked the particular shadow interacting with the dandelions growing on the beach in Fig. 7.

Fig. 7. Shadows and dandelions, Sandy Beach

I think I may have something in Fig. 8 and 9. The water abstracts are ambiguous and I like the contrasting texture of the mix of plant material and found objects at the bottom of the pool, as well as the refractions on the water’s surface giving a sense of movement and mystery.

Fig. 8. Water Abstract, Sandy Beach
Fig. 9. Water Abstract, Sandy Beach

While I rather like the tonal variety in Fig. 10 I feel the subject matter is too obvious. I think the smaller pebbles at the top detract as they are not submerged in the water.

Fig. 10. Water and stones abstract, Sandy Beach

So I have cropped out the small pebbles and I think the image is much stronger now. There is more emphasis on the water and the bubbles are more prominent.

Fig. 11. Water, Sandy Beach (cropped)

Fig. 12 is not working for me at all. There are too many specular highlights reflecting off the water, and not enough depth visible in the water.

Fig. 12. Water Abstract, Sandy Beach.

I think the most successful images were the water abstracts and this would definitely tie in with the main series as it does reference Shuswap Lake. I also think that if I want to photograph more of the birch bark I might have to remove it from in situ and position it in a more suitable setting with more contrast – maybe in some wild grass, or even consider a studio setting.

Lie of the Land – E. Shinkle

Eugenie Shinkle, writing about the New Topographics in 2010 and its influence in the world at risk society (a concept associated with major disasters and accidents, e.g. floods, hurricanes, Chernobyl and Bhopal), mentions the demise of the stereotypical chocolate box landscape occured in the 1970s with a movement started by Minor White. White’s landscape were more abstracted and had a spiritual quality about them.

Following in his footsteps were photographers like Harry Callahan, Ansel Adams and Wynn Bullock. In 1975 there emerged another group of radical photographers who set about photographing the changing urban landscape in documentary style. Concentrating on urban sprawl, housing developments and industrial big box complexes, Lewis Baltz, Joe Deal and Robert Adams brought attention to the growth of industry and capitalism. Their photographs brought attention to the banal and mundanity of life.

The subject matters’ locations in the photographs were difficult to pinpoint. The scenes could be anywhere in the USA and “their deadpan neutrality was an ideal platform for articulating social, political, and environmental concerns” (Shinkle, 2010:86). This type of banal urban sprawl continues still and concerns have arising about the impact on climate change and world economies. Shinkle concludes that landscape today is “grounded in a newly global sense of place” and “a desire to incorporate both the near and the distant into our collective sense of place, belonging and identity” (Shinkle, 2010:86).

This urban sprawl and corporate/political desire to cram families into tiny apartments, thereby overpopulating towns and causing infrastructures stretched beyond capacity was the main reason that my husband and I decided to move to the country – to get away from all of this. Apart from houses around the lake, there really is not much industry or retail outlets situated closeby. To experience that we have to travel between 30 km and 60 km. For the moment, where I live, “urban sprawl” means more buoys in the lake for the influx of boats during the summer months.

Reference List

Shinkle, E. (2010) ‘Lie of the Land’ In: The British Journal of Photography April 2010 pp.85–86.

Illustrations

Figure 1. White, M. (1958) Root and Frost, Rochester, NY. [Photographs, Silver gelatin print mounted to museum board] At: http://www.artnet.com/artists/minor-white/root-and-frost-rochester-ny-a-AH7Dz4Ir0DmqZiny35tuig2 (Accessed on 13 September 2020)

Figure 2. White, M. (1960) Sun reflecting on ocean Capitol Reef, Utah Abstract Composition aerial view Antlers on Gate. [Silver prints] At: http://www.artnet.com/artists/minor-white/sun-reflecting-on-ocean-capitol-reef-utah-XBly42IyfQzvuSUsezv7-g2 (Accessed on 13 September 2020)

Figure 3. Bullock, W. (1970) Pebble Beach. At: http://www.wynnbullockphotography.com/galleries_bw/1970s/index.html (Accessed on 13 September 2020)

Figure 4. Baltz, L. (1979) State Highway 224, 0.1 mile north of junction with State Highway 248, looking North. [Photo-Gelatin silver] At: https://www.icp.org/browse/archive/objects/state-highway-224-01-mile-north-of-junction-with-state-highway-248-looking (Accessed on 13 September 2020)

Figure 5. Adams, R. (1973) Northglenn, Colorado. [gelatin silver print] At: https://fraenkelgallery.com/portfolios/denver (Accessed on 13 September 2020)

Figure 6. Deal, J. (1984) Sunning, Country Village, California. [vintage silver print] At: http://www.robertmann.com/joe-deal (Accessed on 13 September 2020)

Bibliography

Cantelli, F. et al. (2010) Questioning World Risk Society: Three Challenges for Research on the Governance of Uncertainty. At: https://www.globalpolicyjournal.com/articles/health-and-social-policy/questioning-world-risk-society-three-challenges-research-governanc (Accessed  13/09/2020).

Shinkle, E. (2010) ‘Lie of the Land’ In: The British Journal of Photography April 2010 pp.85–86.

Weekly Check In – 12 September, 2020

6 September, 2020: Rest of the World hangout: We were only three on this hangout as we are all in between assignments, we just brought each other up to speed as to where we were. So I am just reporting on that here, instead of a separate post. Michele gave some feedback on her latest photoshoot of the women of Ngawi. She might be nearing the end of her photoshoot as there is only one lady that she still has to make contact with. Mark shared an idea he has for A2 in I&P. A lovely granny of 70 who is very tiny and is a volunteer firefighter. I think she drives the truck if I remember correctly. She sounds quite the character. I just brought the group up to date with the problems I was having in reading/understanding Bakhtin’s Discourse on the Novel and gave some feedback on my BOW A1.

7 September, 2020: I have decided to delay my interview with Pat Ogden, which was supposed to take place on Wednesday. Purely for personal reasons – I want to stay close to the phone as my first grandchild is about to be borne and I don’t have a cell phone. I will also be down in Vancouver towards the latter part of this month. Pat, who is busy with house renovations, was quite agreeable, so we will meet up in October instead. Mean while my journey with Bakhtin continues.

8 September – 9 September, 2020: Well my first skim of Bakhtin’s very lengthy essay (excess of 200 pages – I’d call that a book) is done. I don’t know if I’ve misread anything but it seems that Bakhtin repeats himself quite a bit, which I’m hoping is the case, otherwise I’ve missed something crucial.

We had another L3SG hangout with some wonderful suggestions for everyone on various aspects of our work. I had signed up for another Griffin Museum of Photography artist talk which would have been quite relevant to my BOW, but I had got too involved with Bakhtin and totally missed my Outlook reminder.

10 September, 2020: Another talk laden day, kicking off with Lecture #2 of The Aftermath Project featuring Glenna Gordon, followed by The Photographers’ Gallery Curators’ talk on Jan Svoboda’s work. What was fascinating about Svoboda’s work is that he treated his photographs as objects by mounting them onto boards or cards and then added a wire frame to the back which causes the photograph to stand away from the wall when hung. He used to work as a window dresser and used techniques learnt in that trade to present his photographic work. Svodoboda was mentored by Josef Sudek and there are definitely similarities in the tonality of his work. Interestingly he seemed quite fixated with his dining room table as he photographed that from every possible angle and with all sorts of paraphernalia on top of it – probably the quintessential study of a still life I’ve ever seen. I exited during the Q&A session to attend the Documentary hangout – so a really hectic morning for me. Later that afternoon I attended the University of Sydney‘s first series on the Image Complex, featuring Jolene Rickard on Indigenous Visual Sovereignity.

11 – 12 September, 2020: More research and time spent writing up all these talks.

Jolene Rickard – On Visual Sovereignty

Jolene Rickard is a member of the Tuscarora nation, and an artist, curator and associate professor in the department History of Art Visual Studies at Cornell University, specializing in indigenous peoples issues.

The series of four talks which took place via Zoom, of which Rickard’s is the first is put on by the University of Sydney’s Power Institute. The lecture series will “… crack open the history of the US image complex, and its imbrication with processes of capitalism, imperialism, racialisation, and militarism” and “illuminate the practices and visual regimes that have long resisted these processes” (The Power Institute, 2020).

Fig. 1 Haudenosaunee commemoration of the signing of the Cananadaigua Treaty of 1794 in 2012. [Screenshot: Artist Talk]
Rickard began by providing a whistle-stop account of the history of the Tuscarora nation, which I have to admit was quite confusing and I wasn’t able to take it all in. The Tuscarora territory is located near Niagra Falls, and interestingly extends across the border into Canada as well. In 1794 the Jay Treaty was signed between the US and Britain, which essentially was to foster trade and stipulated that Aboriginal people from Canada be allowed to live and work freely in the United States. However  the Canadian federal government does not recognize the reciprocal provision as binding. Rickard stated that the Tuscarora people felt that they were not citizens of the settler states (USA and Canada) as they hadn’t ceded any rights. The US legal system acknowledges their rights and they are allowed to determine their own sense of autonomy – one of the few nations allowed to do this. They have their own identity document, but haven’t been able to have their own passports yet as this has been vetoed by the Canadian and US governments.

Fig. 2. The ‘red card’ by Jolene Rickard (2020) [Screenshot: Artist Talk]
Rickard provided some of her own experience of growing up in the  US, mentioning some of the turning point events that occurred during this period:

  • 60s – assertion of civil rights
  • 70s – second wave of feminism push occurred against the patriarchal views in the arts.
  • discourse of diversity which was multiculturalism
  • Wounded Knee protest
  • White Roots of Peace – turning point
  • During the 70s she moved to New York City and started practising as an artist.
  • Terminology: Native American -> Indigenous.
  • In the 80s/90s the concept of sovereignty  emerged.
  • 1992 – 500th anniversary of Columbus and also a landmark year for Indigenous art. Some artists at that time who came into prominence were: Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, Bernice Steinbaum, Jordan Bennett and Phil Young.

Rickard stressed the need for a retooling of history. Treaties, relationships, settler states and symbolic languages need to enter into the discussion. Her use of the word “sovereignty” is not meant in the Western sense i.e. of settler state oppression, but she rather sees it as “visual sovereignty” which expresses itself in different ways in different communities. Within it exists a relationship with the territory and it is based on observational practices that have developed a storied landscape.

She spoke a little about Indigenous iconography where the artist brings a synthesis of art and physical material and relationship to place into the work.

Fig. 3. Jasmine Gunn, Collage, n.d. [Screenshot: Artist Talk]
The concept of sovereignty has many framings. There is a political and philosophical, e.g. food sovereignty, neocolonialism.

In the Q&A session Rickard stressed that Indigenous nations need to decide what they are sharing and how to position themselves. There needs to be space so that there is not an Us and Them scenario. Following up on the idea between the political and philosophical connection form of thinking she added that in art history there exists a language of multiple world views, there is not just one way. This is an exciting time to negotiate between multiple realities for the Indigenous people where they can have exchanges. They share common experiences of the neocolonial system and they need multiple perspectives at the same time to understand the changes. It has to be done on a global scale.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this write up, the information was densely packed into a short time frame and I would personally have liked the lecture to have been spread out over at least four separate events as there is a lot to take in and learn, especially about some of the art that Rickard showed in her presentation.  What is abundantly clear is that societies/nations have to include their Indigenous history within their curricula, not at the exclusion from one or the other, but an amalgamation. We learn from history and it won’t help anyone in future generations to come if certain segments of a nation’s history is wiped off the slate. When the link to the talk becomes available I’ll post it here.

Bibliography

Bennett, J. (s.d.) JORDAN BENNETT. At: https://www.jordanbennett.ca (Accessed  12/09/2020).

Bernice Steinbaum (s.d.) At: https://www.bernicesteinbaumgallery.com/about (Accessed  12/09/2020).

Chertoff, E. (2012) Occupy Wounded Knee: A 71-Day Siege and a Forgotten Civil Rights Movement. At: https://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2012/10/occupy-wounded-knee-a-71-day-siege-and-a-forgotten-civil-rights-movement/263998/ (Accessed  12/09/2020).

Indian Country Today (2003) Dream of the Earth: Salute to the White Roots of Peace. At: https://indiancountrytoday.com/archive/dream-of-the-earth-salute-to-the-white-roots-of-peace-sHhcwF7-80265TDEylWSwg (Accessed  12/09/2020).

Smith, J. Q.-S. (s.d.) Jaune Quick-to-See Smith. At: https://www.jaunequicktoseesmith.org (Accessed  12/09/2020).

The Canadian Encyclopedia (s.d.) Jay’s Treaty. At: https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/jays-treaty (Accessed  12/09/2020).

The Power Institute (2020) Jolene Rickard |On visual sovereignty | Power Publications » Image Complex. At: http://www.powerpublications.com.au/new-lecture-series-image-complex/ (Accessed  10/09/2020).

Illustrations

Fig. 1 Haudenosaunee commemoration of the signing of the Cananadaigua Treaty of 1794 in 2012. [Screenshot: Artist Talk]

Fig. 2. The ‘red card’ by Jolene Rickard (2020) [Screenshot: Artist Talk]

Fig. 3. Jasmine Gunn, Collage, n.d. [Screenshot: Artist Talk]

VII Interactive. The Aftermath Project Lecture Series: Glenna Gordon

This talk was the second in Sara Terry’s presentation of The Aftermath Project grant winners and took place via Zoom. A recording can be seen here. Glenna Gordon is the 2019 grant winner for the Aftermath Project. She shared her project on American Women in which she tries to understand the political landscape of women from the far right as well as those working trying to fight for equality and inclusion. Gordon states that the power of women behind the scenes in political landscapes is very often overlooked.

Fig. 1. American Women by Glenna Gordon (2019) [Screenshot: Artist Talk]
For her presentation, Gordon chose to juxtaposition contrasting images from the two groups of women. This has the effect of balancing out our biases. What we see is the human being and some of their stories. She remarked that she really had to work hard to suppress her own prejudices while making this body of work, but she realises that journalism is not neutral. We all gain something if we take the time to stop and listen and try to understand how people come to their decisions. They all really boil down to unfulfilled hopes and dreams from both sides of the coin.

Fig. 2. American Women by Glenna Gordon (2019) [Screenshot: Artist Talk]
The pairing of the images help not to force the viewer into a stereotypical space. The pairings add new layers and meaning and show a shared landscape of history.

Gordon felt that the work held a personal element for her as she is Jewish and she felt that she was honouring her grandparents who had survived the Holocaust. She is part of the postmemory generation. This body of work is still a work in progress and Gordon may be considering a book at the end of it.

For me the main takeaway was the importance and possibilities that juxtapositioning certain images can have on adding layered meaning to work, and the fact that landscapes hold history and tell stories.

 

Bibliography

Gordon, G. (2019) American Women | The Aftermath Project. At: http://www.theaftermathproject.org/project/american-women (Accessed  12/09/2020).

VII Interactive. The Aftermath Project Lecture Series: Glenna Gordon (2020) Directed by VII Interactive. [Online Video via Zoom] At: https://www.facebook.com/watch/live/?v=319487192668033&ref=watch_permalink (Accessed  12/09/2020).

Illustrations

Fig. 1. American Women by Glenna Gordon (2019) [Screenshot: Artist Talk]. At: https://www.facebook.com/watch/live/?v=319487192668033&ref=watch_permalink (Accessed  12/09/2020).

Fig. 2. American Women by Glenna Gordon (2019) [Screenshot: Artist Talk]. At: https://www.facebook.com/watch/live/?v=319487192668033&ref=watch_permalink (Accessed  12/09/2020).

L3SG – 9 September 2020

Another great hangout with Sue, Michele, Helen and Anna.

Sue was having difficulties finding or tracking books down and wanted to know if the rest of us also had the same problem. Michele mentioned using Archive.org where you can loan a book for a fortnight. I’ve never used Archive.org for reference work so will definitely have a look at that. Some of the chapters of the ebooks on the UCA library are also downloadable. Sue was originally looking at liminality, but has shifted now to look at postmemory. Postmemory doesn’t have to be wrapped around trauma. She has worked out a reading list, but this keeps expanding. She hasn’t been able to access the deep theoretical side of things. Helen’s advice is not to do too many in the Lit Review, just pick on 4 or 5 and keep it simple and go in depth on those. Helen also advised checking the bibliographies to see which texts keep popping up to determine who are the key players. Put together a couple of threads that hasn’t been done yet. Anna also mentioned Monoskop to find some of the theory. I mentioned the Mendeley SCOPUS database service that provides good feeds. Sue is getting a few ideas from her reading that may feed into her BOW. Some discussion ensued regarding time management between BOW and CS, whether BOW and CS should be worked on side by side or slightly consecutively.

We looked at Michele’s WIP of her 6 Ngwai ladies. She explained the background to the group. I’ve been following Michele’s work since the beginning and it has been great to see it gradually unfolding. She has created some very strong images of her ladies. The group suggested that the images where the ladies were not smiling were actually stronger and more ambiguous and therefore more engaging. I suggested to Michele that she include some of the initial images she had taken which show some of the landscape in order to provide context of the area as this would most definitely be unfamiliar to non-New Zealand viewers. I suggested she look at the work of Jon Tonks who had some similar work on communities. Anna also suggested the work of Danny North, Matthew Genitempo and Rhiannon Adams. The landscape, portraits and still lifes in these artists’ work all talk to each other.

We then took a look at Anna’s work where she has presented her Ground Zero Indicator photos alongside photos that she had taken inside a bunker. The juxtapositioning was very intriguing and the mix of B&W on one side and colour on the other worked well. Someone suggested desaturating a few of the colour images which had slight neon tones, but personally I thought those tones help to convey to surreality of the images. The Ground Zero photos have a slight periscopal effect that give the sense that the perspectives were taken underground. Anna explained some of the opening and closing images were of the Faraday cage’s metal rod, and explained the connection to the “wrong sun” (a Cold War expression), and gave some background to the ‘shadowgrams’. Helen suggested removing the photos that were evidence of a museum as these created a bit of a discord with the overall surreal feeling. Its a brilliant piece of work and I look forward to seeing how it progresses.

I just brought the group up to date with what I was reading namely Mikhail Bakhtin – Discourse in the Novel. It is not easy reading at all. Helen suggested finding a few articles that discuss that text, which I had planned to do, and possibly watch an online lecture about it.

Helen is still trying to find a hook for hauntology which she would like to investigate – layers of past and present, which she is finding quite a slippery concept. Her BOW might end up being slightly hauntological.

Next meeting is 7 October, 2020

Bibliography

Imperial War Museums (1966) ROC BOMB POWER INDICATOR AND GROUND ZERO INDICATOR (part 1). At: https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/1060022275 (Accessed  11/09/2020).

Weekly Check In – 5 September 2020

30 August, 2020: The entire day was spent working on my CS A1 essay. The more I delved into postmodernism and post-structuralism, the more confused I’ve become. Now I’m vacillating between the two – have I made the right decision? I’m sure there is a kind of overlap between the two theories as they share the same writers pool. But I’ll be patient and let my tutor put me out of my misery. I managed to get the essay off within the deadline, so I can breathe a little easier now.

31 August, 2020: I need to take a stricter approach with myself. I’ve been chasing various research rabbit holes the entire morning instead of getting started on some reading. As my next task is the Literature Review I want to have a clear understanding of what this exactly entails and I am in the process of working through Oliver’s Succeeding with your Literature Review book. It provides a good step-by-step approach, as well as all kinds of advice and pitfalls to avoid. I also made a start on reading Mikhail Bakhtin’s Discourse in the Novel, which is extremely heavy going.

2 September, 2020: TPG Artist talk – Lindokuhle Sobekwa. Received written feedback from my BOW tutor, which I will reflect on once I’ve worked through all his comments and suggestions.

3 September, 2020: VII Photo Agency Artist Talk: Editing a Documentary During the Pandemic—Working With an Editor via ZOOM, with Sara Terry and Victoria Chalk. Artist talk by Lisa Barnard presented by the Grain Photography Hub. Lisa gave us a good idea of her methodology too.

4 September – 5 September, 2020: I spent some time this weekend making sure that all my write ups for Contextual Studies and other research are digitized in Word. Now I will be able to search my notes, as well as having a handwritten book. I’m finding that I’m having to “relearn English” while reading Bakhtin. His terminology has quite a different meaning to what normal English speakers perceive. Thank goodness the text has a glossary.  Some of the differences I’ve encountered: “stratification” which we normally understand to be a “layer”, Bakhtin regards as a “process”. Another is “ideology”. Bakhtin’s version is an “idea-system”, and not the political connotation we normally apply to the word. Quite confusing to say the least.

 

To Do List
  • Review of interactive website that accompanies the book Alexander: Forging Utopia: http://www.alexander.michalsiarek.com/. I’ll defer this until I receive the book so I can draw some comparisons. My book has arrived! I’m hoping to do a write up on it soon.
  • Per recommendation of Michał  Siarek: Robert Knoth & Antoinette de Jong’s latest work: Tree and Soil.
  • Another of Siarek’s recommendations: the work of Jon Tonks.
  • Take a look at the work of Edmund Clark.
  • Transcribe interviews.