A painfully early start for some people, meeting at 08.45 for a morning of group tutorials (and this was going to be a long day not finishing until after 22.00!).
09.00 – Four invited artists lead small group discussions with each student having about 30 mins to present about an aspect of their work. The four artists, Jonny Briggs, Kaori Homma, Gareth Polmeer and Rosie Sherwood are great facilitators/tutors and each group had a diverse mix of 1st & 2nd year students, online and London based.
14.00 – After 4 hours of the tutorials and a short break for lunch it was straight into a lecture titled; ‘Demystifying postmodern obscurity’! Gareth Polmeer (who had earlier been leading one of the group tutorials) was drawing on his own research exploring the German philosopher Hegel and how his ideas about art can be helpful in cutting through the often deliberate obscurity of popular art school ideas and theories. He quoted Nietzsche: ‘Those who know that they are profound strive for clarity. Those who would like to seem profound strive for obscurity.’
16.00 – The day was far from over. After the lecture we walked to 3 local galleries, South London Gallery, Peckham Platform & Assembly Point.
18.00 – A more relaxed finish to the day, we went to course leader Jonathan’s home for a meal.
February 2017 – start of the latest Low Residency intensive 10 days.
At Camberwell College of Arts a huge building project has been taking place over the past 15 months. There is now a large empty building, structure complete but inside a simple concrete shell. We were able to get access to the building for a couple of hours to gather material, photos, videos, sound etc. Soon the fit out contractor will start their work so this was a key moment to get inside as the building will never be like this again in the future. In a strange way it was a privilege to both look at and listen to the building at this passing moment in time.
We spent the rest of the day mashing together the gathered material. Small groups worked on what they had collected and at the end of the day we watched and listened to it all. There were videos of juxtaposed images and sound, sketches, strange narrative structures with eerie sound, a virtual reality environment and some 360 degree layered video.
Here is a small taste of some of the outputs, we will add more soon (turn your volume up!):
360 degree video – if you view this link in Chrome browser you can click and drag through 360 degrees, or view on a phone in the youtube app and move your phone around to see the full effect. http://manolis.xyz/day1/ (thanks to student Manolis Perrakis for editing and hosting this video)
MA Fine Art Digital is unique in having students based both in London and online living anywhere in the world.
After 10 years of this unusual but hugely successful delivery, in 2014 we enhnaced the model with a ‘Low Residency’ an intensive 10 days in London for all students to attend if they choose.
A ‘Low Residency’ masters in fine art has a long and successful tradition in North America but our offer is a first for the UK.
With a simple and highly effective way of building a ‘community of practice’ for both London and online based students, adding the Low Residency element provides an exciting and challenging strand.
So in February 2017 and new group of students will join together, travelling from as far west as California and as far east as Japan. Joining with the London based students the 37 students in total represent about 20 different countries.
The 10 days include collaborative workshops, group tutorials, lectures, gallery visits, artist talks, hands on making, food and lots of discussion and debate. Check the rest of this blog for a flavour of the activities.
At the start of a time like this it is always good to hear some good advice, here from a recent talk by curator Lucy Day:
The Contemporary Arts Society and Aspen Insurance run an annual competition for a £5000 commission. MA Fine Art Digital students were amongst 8 people shortlisted, Jack Addis and the art collective ‘su_’ which is a partnership between Virginia Samper and Blanca Ulloa. All 3 are current MA Fine Art Digital 1st year students.
On the 18 June 2015 at Aspen Insurance’s head quarters Virginia and Blanca were announced as the winners! You can read more about their proposal here.
Ben Vickers — Curator of Digital at Serpentine Galleries and one of the judges said, ‘I am delighted to have been involved in awarding su_ this year’s prize. Their work has a vitality and sensitivity to context that is rarely seen in younger artists, together they bring an energetic and thoughtful dynamism that I am compelled to follow into the future.’
The Lumen art prize international tour of prize winners came to London. MA Fine Art Digital students worked as curators with Course Director Jonathan Kearney. This lead to a lot of interesting discussion and a challenging installation in London’s Crypt Gallery.
Despite initial fears, the unusual space didn’t overwhelm the work and instead seemed to give it an open platform, space to breath, allowing unusual juxtapositions to collide and new dialogues to emerge. Put it another way the colour looked great on the old brick walls and the sound bounced around a lot!
Two students, Clara Duran and Jack Addis were selected to take part in the symposium and presented their ideas and in a curated conversation with Jonathan. Several students contributed short curatorial statements, Yvonne Opalinski (online student based in Toronto), Anqi Zhou and a joint statement by Cecilie Waagner Falkenstrøm and Trystan Williams, see the PDF below.