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RAE 2008

Rearch Assessment Exercise 2008

Ian Robertson

Research Outcomes

Outcome 1 - Place & Displacement - Watershed II
This project provided a platform for artists to contribute to local and global conversations on the role of post-autonomous art practices addressing issues of ecology, and environmental change.
Research focussed upon the relationship between our "real" experience of place and ways in which place is imagined, constructed and represented visually. What is the relationship between description and interpretation in visual representation?
Watershed II was an enquiry into representational systems, specifically drawing and photography, and their respective contexts and languages. The work involved a re-engagement with formalism through the writing of Terry de Duve and the phenomenology of Maurice Merleau-Ponty.


Outcome 2 - After Hiroshima: Nuclear Imaginaries
Nuclear consciousness in the arts has proliferated since the atomic attack on Japan, becoming a visual culture of global dimensions, incorporating historical witness, dystopian narratives of destruction and commemoration.
After Hiroshima: Nuclear Imaginaries operates within the context of a continuing enquiry with specific reference to formalism and modernism's approach to representations of violence. Addressing Paul Virilio’s contentious claim that representational art has been superseded by a pitiless art of presentation.
The work is a comparison between two stylistic tendencies: one located in a modernism reductive aesthetic using grids and blocks of images taken from newspapers, historical texts, and war records, the second based on eyewitness accounts, metaphor and traditional Japanese techniques of papermaking.


Outcome 3 - Aichi International Exposition 2005
Place/space is open to multiple readings, saturated with histories and competing narratives. Our experience and perception of place is imbued with memory, expectation and desire. As real spatial relations and social relations arise together they engendered social stratification and "relations of difference", of class, gender and race. How do the visual arts contribute to the continuation of these categories through inherited systems of representation, or can the artwork suggest new modes of relationship?
The project brings together in one work a number of systems of representation, comprised of wall and table drawings with models, Boxed models with prints & photographic elements, notes & text. Showing and contrasting various places that have been witness to historic events and conflicts. Modelling and referencing place as the site of ideology but also as the sites/sights of the imagination where the border between the real and the imagined are explored in a work engaging with place and its utopian and dystopian aspects.


Outcome 4 - Rufus Butler Seder and Darren Almond
This contextualizing essay on the artists Darren Almond and Rufus Butler Seder was included in the book, Sequences: Contemporary Chronophotography, which developed from the Sequences exhibition at Peterborough Museum and Art Gallery.
My approach was to compare and contrast the use of time and duration by both artists, and with Almond, his engagement with memory and the relationship between past and present.
Almond grounds his practice very firmly in the fact that we are situated beings and that it is within duration that we think, feel and see. He wishes to impress on us that our experience and perceptions of place and time are constructed and penetrated by a number of economies - political, geographic and aesthetic. His work endeavours to engage with the present through an encounter with the past and the function of memory and expectation in this process.
The essay allowed me to extend my own research interests into representations of place, space and event as they are presented in the visual arts.


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