UNIT 1 Assessment

Since I started this MA, a lot has changed. My areas of interest are similar, and my obsession with Goya’s work has increased, but my approach, artistic research and outputs have diverted slightly.

1. Formulate, describe and implement a challenging and self-directed programme of study, relating to your Project Proposal 
In the following link, you can read my original project proposal. It’s titled: Los Caprichos of the 3r Industrial Revolution. Social humour through digital art narratives.

 ( https://xavisolemora.wordpress.com/2013/11/12/project-proposal-v2/ )

As I already mentioned, my research changed. So I updated the project proposal.

Summary Project Proposal v3:

Why is being a motherfucker so funny?

Playfulness, nasty interactions, and the dark pleasures.

  • Aim 1: Achieve an in-depth understanding of Los Caprichos of Goya
  • objective 1: Learn Goya’s conceptual and narrative processes in Los Caprichos.
  • objective 2: Learn more about satirical art in western societies.
  • objective 3: Learn about the dark pleasures of the people and how do they engage with them.  (research paper)
  • Aim 2: Nasty & playful interactions
  • objective 1: research about playfulness and ludic interfaces
  • objective 2: learn to design theses interfaces, actions and rituals.
  • Aim 3: Use of technology to engage with devilish practices.
  • objective 1: to test different technologies and find the best media that suits to each piece.
  • objective 2: learn how to naturally attract the audience to interact without a call to action.
  • Aim 4: Body of work. Use the updated concepts and imaginary of Goya as a base to create a body of work based on contemporary techniques.
  • Methodology:
  • Continuous research > Intuition > Action > Reflection.
  • Context:
  • Satire in Western societies. Dada. Post-postmodernism (Digimodernism). Fluxus. Maker movement. Culture Jamming.
  • Outputs:
  • Physical + digital sculptures and installations. Video and still image.
    Bibliography:
  • The original bibliography is still valid. However, I will complete it by listing books related to playful interactions, and I will increase my reading list about the attraction of evil doing.
_______________________________________________________________
In my research, I’m still using “Los Caprichos” as a common ground. I feel that my original proposal involved too many topics. The main differences between the first and second proposal are conceptual and technical.
Conceptually, I was focusing my research on the use of humour to satirise about society. But after working in different pieces, some aspects were worrying me. Doing the Mid-Point Review helped me detecting the weaknesses of my approach, and after reflecting on it, I knew how to proceed. Currently, I’m focussed on researching how individuals engage with devilish practices (as Goya did) but in my case, through technology. Always with a satirical approach, my critique of society has evolved. My work has shifted to study universal issues rather than to put too much attention on specific political events or ideas.
Technically, my practice changed since the beginning.  I wrote something and I did the opposite. Because of my background in advertising, the creation of new business and services as a form of art sounded like my cup of tea. But after testing and playing with the Arduino boards, I felt more attracted to learn new techniques (digital & physical) and work on a new approach.

During that time, I wrote and reflected on the context of my work:

https://xavisolemora.wordpress.com/2013/10/10/writing-about-scanface/

https://xavisolemora.wordpress.com/2014/01/10/goyas-statement-for-los-caprichos/

https://xavisolemora.wordpress.com/2013/11/28/getting-inside-goyas-caprichos/

https://xavisolemora.wordpress.com/2014/01/22/summary-of-los-caprichos/

https://xavisolemora.wordpress.com/2014/01/22/what-to-do-when-a-masterpiece-has-been-reviewed-several-times/

https://xavisolemora.wordpress.com/2014/06/09/now-reading-digimodernism-by-alan-kirby/

https://xavisolemora.wordpress.com/2015/11/19/now-reading-how-to-write-about-contemporary-art/

https://xavisolemora.wordpress.com/2016/02/01/experiments-in-art-and-technology-eat-manifesto/

To sum up this list of links, I can say that I’ve got an exhaustive understanding about Los Caprichos of Goya and his other artworks, and the more I know about his work, the more fascinating I find him. In addition, I have researched about the context of my work beyond him. I must recognise that due to the changes in my proposal, I have followed the original plan until an extend. I took another route and then I started researching more about other aspects related to my new vision.

My research paper is a good example of it.

“By comparing the Capricho number 43 of Goya and the hoax “Gilda” of the Yes Men, this paper will investigate how satire sets up scenes of sacrifice to bring to light the darkest pleasures of humankind.”

(Full Research paper)

Writing the research paper has been a very rewarding, but intense at the same time. Due to my too extensive range of interests, finding a specific topic that I was genuinely interested in was difficult, but this difficulty has made me understand Los Caprichos in detail. During the process of narrowing down the topic, I walked different paths that I found interesting. I wrote a lot of material that after I rejected. For example, I researched a lot on the different interpretations of Los Caprichos’. Along with the stamps, there are 3 manuscripts with totally different texts and totally different meanings. It was fascinating, but found that the topic was a cul-de-sac. It can be beautiful, but it did not lead anywhere useful for my research.

On the other hand, visiting the Academia de las Bellas Artes San Fernando in Madrid was a very interesting experience. My interview to the Calcography (Intaglio) Department Director was not as useful for my research as I was expecting, but she told me something priceless: the Academia stores all the works of artists whose works are based on Goya. So at the end of the MA, I will send the body of work developed in this course, and it will be saved on a hard drive in a place where Goya used to work when he was in his 30’s.

 
2. Critically engage with practice-based research and contribute actively to debate and discussion 
I have to admit that I am jubilant with my practice – based research. This is a summary of the projects and experiments I’ve been working on:

Scanfaces:

When I started the MA I was in the middle of a project called “Scanfaces” (www.scanface.tumblr.com).
I must admit that Scanfaces was totally based on intuition and randomness. I felt that there was no concept, more than creating curious portraits. For this reason,  I read and discovered artists who were working on similar projects and techniques.
Since then, the project has grown and evolved until the extent of being featured in the UK media, like Metro or the Daily Mail:
And Internationally, too: Scanfaces on NipponTV: https://xavisolemora.wordpress.com/2015/11/16/scanfaces-on-nippon-tv/
After understanding Goya, and his interest in physiognomy I finally have found the “eureka” for the Scanfaces.

Full Greek breakfast

https://xavisolemora.wordpress.com/2013/11/10/faces-showing-up-in-my-meal/

For this project, I started playing with the engraving capabilities of the laser cut, and instead of using it to engrave in paper or wood, I tested how it would look like on meat, and then I let it rot.

https://xavisolemora.wordpress.com/2015/07/21/full-greek-breakfast/

This tryptic has been exhibited in different venues in London.

The Gift of the Gab: 

This project has been my biggest challenge. Not only involved a technology I was not familiar with, but electronics and building physical objects.

I have explained and reflected about my learning of Arduino intensively:

https://xavisolemora.wordpress.com/2014/04/16/learning-arduino/ 

https://xavisolemora.wordpress.com/2014/04/25/diversion-de-pajaros/

https://xavisolemora.wordpress.com/2014/04/30/arduino-led-piezo-servo-pez-dispenser/

https://xavisolemora.wordpress.com/2014/05/23/phase-1-step-2-designing-the-pez-dispenser-birds/

https://xavisolemora.wordpress.com/2014/05/23/phase-2-step-2-arduino-conductive-ink-servos-sound-technical-questions/

https://xavisolemora.wordpress.com/2014/06/09/parrots-in-a-parliament/

https://xavisolemora.wordpress.com/2014/06/17/examples-of-interaction-and-interfaces/

Camberwell Interim Show:

https://xavisolemora.wordpress.com/2014/07/23/the-gift-of-the-gab-private-view-at-camberwell-college-of-arts/

After the show, I was accepted at Fish Island Labs, an incubator program for emerging artists managed by the Barbican Centre and The Trampery. I exhibited an improved version of the piece at the Barbican.

https://xavisolemora.wordpress.com/2015/08/22/the-gift-of-the-gab-at-the-barbican/

What goes around, comes around.

This is a piece I exhibited at the Gallery 80/81 in Derry, Northern Ireland.

https://xavisolemora.wordpress.com/2015/11/23/what-goes-around-comes-around-2/

For this project, I experimented with the touchboard and different materials, like latex, Jell-o and toys to create the bums.

https://xavisolemora.wordpress.com/2015/08/26/test-with-jelly-and-the-touchboard/

https://xavisolemora.wordpress.com/2015/10/03/testing-materials-for-the-interactive-bums/

https://xavisolemora.wordpress.com/2015/05/21/what-goes-around-comes-around/

How to…

This project is still in the production process, but I have reflected and explained the different steps the piece was taking. It has been challenging because I had to accept that the best output were drawings, and because of my digital background, that was an important decision to make.

https://xavisolemora.wordpress.com/2016/09/22/how-to/

https://xavisolemora.wordpress.com/2016/01/25/sketches-and-references/

https://xavisolemora.wordpress.com/2016/02/22/like-a-dog-returns-to-its-vomit

I have also done some tests, little experiments and actions, to keep going. They are not directly related to the subject, but they are tangential.

https://xavisolemora.wordpress.com/2014/07/06/fyi-for-your-interest-a-tate-modern-takeover/

https://xavisolemora.wordpress.com/2014/09/03/repartiendo-hostias/

On the other hand, I have massively engaged with the conversations in class. Lately not as much as I would like (due to my job), but every time I can, I try to be very active and useful for the conversation.

On the other hand, I’ve been involved in other activities related to the master and the university. An example of this is the video I made to promote the Lumen Prize’s symposium.

https://xavisolemora.wordpress.com/2014/03/18/lumen-prize-video-to-promote-the-symposium/ 

I also participated in a Tactical Media Magazine with other students of Central Saint Martins.

https://xavisolemora.wordpress.com/2014/10/15/i-had-a-bad-dream-a-cartoon-for-tactical-press-magazine/

Overall, I’m very proud of my work done so far, but there’s always room for improvement.

3. Critically reflect upon your practice and articulate a clear understanding of methodology and context of your creative practice.
 
As previously explained, the reflections about my work have evolved. But I want to highlight the following post:

What to do when a masterpiece has been reviewed several times?

Discovering the Chapman Brothers’ work was very frustrating at the beginning. How could I review a piece of art and an artist that has been re-worked so many times by such talented artists?

I also tried to use advertising tools to work on my projects. Again, this has changed now.

https://xavisolemora.wordpress.com/2014/02/11/creative-process-advertising-briefings-in-art/

I also felt frustrated by the “expiring date” of my work. That led me to reflect about the “ephemerality of digital art”.

https://xavisolemora.wordpress.com/2014/02/09/douglas-david-and-the-temporality-of-digital-art/

As a summary, I will say that although my point of view about my areas of interest and the topic of my research has changed, it still keeps the original spirit. The midpoint review was a milestone in my progress and the time off the course, although I have not reflected as often as I feel I should, helped me finding my new direction.