What will happen when children who need educational support can’t get it? What does their future hold? How will they access an education system that is for profit? How is it that there is no funding if you have a need? How will parents who do not have hundreds of pounds spare to get an assessment see how to best help them? If they do find out what help is there? When the school cannot pay for enough teaching assistants to enable these students, our children, where will their future be? When they become young adults and do not have the required qualifications to gain college placements or the jobs that they would like to strive to achieve, to enable their goals as they grow what will their future be? When they try, try and try but the system has NEVER supported them what will happen? Do we really believe, in this society, that they are not worth the effort and have nothing wonderful to contribute? This is now.
When profits are prioritised at the cost of everything else, when environmental practises ruin the world for your children’s children and there is no way of pulling it back who will be accountable? When you could have banned plastics, toxic waste, fossil fuels and done everything in your power to protect our planet and you prioritised profits what did you do? When you could have enabled, when you could have cared for the vulnerable instead of passing over the problems and protecting the wealthy, giving contracts to failing business, cutting funding for local government, social care, learning and education, failing to enable the future to even exist in an optimistic way what then? This is now.
When all of our children are having children and striving, will only the rich be able to afford to be in a hospital with a maternity ward that is not overcrowded and understaffed? When the funding completely dries up and my daughter cannot afford health insurance because of her employment situation and my mother has died in a draughty A&E corridor who will be accountable? When there is no social care and our family assets are gone to pay for it and there is nothing left for our children who never had a chance at a home anyway, who will be accountable? This is soon.
When higher education becomes inaccessible because of debt that can and will never be repaid what then? When we do not have philosophers and artists, when our society is less rich and more hopeless what then? When you have destroyed a culture of voices and crushed the hope out of us what then? When we the people realise you stopped listening and didn’t care for us and the future of our children what then? By then it will be too late.
But, it will not be your mother, because you are privileged, it will not be your daughter, because she is privileged. It will ,however, be your grand children because they will suffocate alongside mine.
It is a small request for a history to be recognised and a future to be remembered.
Making work is one thing, showing it is another. Resolving work can have different outputs, the book, a show, online galleries and maybe competition submission — some work can include all of the above. How do we know if it is ready for any of these? Over the time I have spent on this degree we have had three shows and interestingly I have not felt that my work was ready for any of them. However in the case of two out of three, Experiment and Tacenda once the work was hung I felt different and it seemed right and ready to show the work. The way the images were chosen was a collaborative process that included work prints, peer critique and tutorials. And the making of the work was supported by a team of technicians and outside industry to fabricate some of the display elements, it is important to understand and appreciate the roles of those who help us as artist to realise the vision of what our work can be.
For the current Tacenda show I knew that I wanted the foyer space to show my work as before this I had been frustrated by the hallway spaces and felt that I would like a more installation type space that could be entered into. This is because I wished my book to be an intrusive element in the space because it is a sculptural piece. The meanings and writings are also a challenge so this seemed to fit well. The previous show came out of the experiment module and I used large scale prints that referenced the body, this was experimental and also worked. I had made decisions based on this space prior to the show and this was a large part of the resolution process. I felt the horizon images should be large scale to draw attention to it, also the actual horizon we experience is vast so there is both a reference to and rejection of the sublime, the real horizon and distance exist but the image does not contain it. I was hopeful to include the Fice’s Well work but only found a display solution at the last minute, after trying many ideas. The round positives that were contact printed in the darkroom are displayed inside the petri dishes the original filters were designed for, the connotations of the filter are resolved — a filter we see through, a camera filter and the filter membrane used to either clarify liquid or show what is present in any given fluid.
The final element is the book, displayed in a closed glass plinth, spread as if it has been ripped open to view but the realisation remains incomplete, we cannot see most of the content and as such it remains somehow latent, powerless. I am happy that this is effectively rendered. The overall effect draws me into the space to look further, I want to see the back of the book case and see the Petri dishes at closer proximity. The large images draw me back out to view at a distance, which is in turn again blocked slightly by the book. The display is as I thought it would be, I planned it like this and am happy with the outcome. There can always be improvements though, there are also contact prints that are framed that I would have liked to show and the Event Horizon work has further images to complete the set, but for the purposes of the space available any more images or work would not fit and clutter the space and lessen the impact.
One other thing to consider is that at first all the displayed work were separate projects, through critique and tutorial I realised the links and that they could work together. This flexibility and accordance is part of the conscious effort to remain unfixed.
So I have been making limited edition prints with the photo etch process, using ink to individually create ‘pages’ for an unbound book. The process is a beautiful way of using the photographic medium in an alternative way. Each print is different, a one off and together they seem to be asking different questions and creating a more intimate experience for the viewer, somewhere between a book, family album and postcard. The book will be finished off with written pages hand made in letterpress. This has taken two months so far and the finishing letterpress pages should take another month to complete, watch this space.