I wrote about it repeatedly on last course, but the best part about the OCA, are the tutors. The course work is interesting, and well-balanced, but it’s the direct advice you get from an actual, experienced, and educated artist which make this course worth taking. I feel quite detached living in Saigon, not only in place, but in community. There’s no one I can bounce ideas off of, no one who is studying art, no one I can learn from. If there’s one thing I must make sure I get from this course is to derive all of the information possible from my tutors, and learn from it.
Carla recommended watching John Berger’s / Way’s of Seeing to help answer the question I had posed about viewpoint. Carla said “The question of viewpoint is an important one, as it provides one person’s interpretation which may or may not be a balanced view of actual events”. I’d had heard of John Berger, but only that he had passed away at the beginning of the year. I cannot express my delight within seconds of watching the first episode. An early 70’s BBC mini series on how our perception of art has changed. A well spoken man, in a beautifully patterned shirt, explaining his ideas so clearly, with accompanied images. He asks all the right questions, and, answers them so poetically. Everything he says is backed by tangible reasons,.. heaven. I love love love Shock of the New – Robert Hughes, but this was equally as good.
Within a minute of episode one, John Berger shifts my perception of viewing art, he said “we shall also discover something about ourselves and the situation which we are living.” The way we see things is only one reality, our own. With the reproduction of images, they hold so many more meanings, the more people view them throughout the years. It had never occurred to me, that before photography, paintings existed solely in one place. To view it you had to go to the place, which in itself influenced the painting’s meaning. Now that so many images exist of the same piece, the meaning is constantly changed in conjunction to its surrounding, whether it is seen in a magazine, on a wall, or on a screen. It’s place in history has changed.
“Uniqueness is consolidated by its surroundings and it’s meaning”
This is specifically pertinent in accordance to religious art when pilgrims would travel far a wide to worship Icons. Once the images could be replicated, people began praying at home, ending the age of pilgrimages.
Perception of reality is key in Deller’s work, because as a viewer, the eye can only be in one place at a time, creating one reality. Cameras can travel anywhere, and with modern media, are exempt from the confines of time and place.
Another great piece of advice was to reference to key text of ‘Place.’ I honestly had no idea the text about the work “The Battle of Orgreave” was in the book. There were so many interesting points. The idea of home in proximity to the coal mines. The inhabitant’s job and identity were so intertwined in place. The text coincides with my essay, when I associated the work with what’s happening today. The idea of time, and how little conflicts have changed. The last phrase in Dean and Millars text say:
“it revealed the extent to which the original battle had been in vain, as the march of global capitalism continues regardless.”