Is it Love?
This module presents the opportunity to focus and to further develop a professional attitude to the production of a coherent, theoretically opposite and mature body of work, based upon an informed context as the result of rigorous research. It aims to display a high technical standard that addresses an informed and sophisticated audience, well aware of the contemporary critical context, issues and themes. A critical awareness of the practice and the contemporary context in which the work can be located will occur.
The main research done for this project included exploring the human/non-human relationship further this consisted of watching Misty (the subject) and her behaviour around me. To help me capture her actions I have set up a camera in my room and filmed what she does around me during the day.
Further, I have done more in-depth research on Joseph Beuys and his How to explain pictures to a dead hare. That helped me find out the reasons behind his performance in the gallery and allowed me to transcript his piece.
The start of the project began being about placing animals in everyday situations such as driving a car. This development work aimed to make the viewer relate to the situations in which the rabbit is placed and perhaps see her as a representation of themselves or even the artist. Not long after getting into developing this idea further, a decision has been made to move on from it and create something that I thought would be more meaningful and further explain and explore the human and non-human relationship.
I have put all the videos I gathered from my research together. The outcome then felt really plain, and it was missing something that would bring significance into the work. That’s where the love letter written to Misty has been created and it also became the title of the piece, it aims to feel honest, moving and revelatory while read or heard by the audience. It shows vulnerability and expands our relationship into a broader context. A recording of the letter being read oud has then been placed over the video and after a careful evaluation of it all being put together a few parts of it had to be changed as some of the videos didn’t necessarily do anything for the work and the audio needed the be rerecorded in one go instead of being recorded in pieces and it had to be made to sound like it is coming more from the heart.
The second version of the video is much more successful. The one long video in which I interact with the previously recorded in one take audio gives out the importance of having Misty in my life to the audience. It underlines the emotional relationship we have and allows the person watching to see and hear aspects of it that have not previously been expressed in my art. The viewer can perhaps even relate to the feeling expressed in the letter as it was written from the heart.
The love letter itself Reception has been given to Misty and framed afterwards which makes it almost a ‘souvenir of feelings’, the letter becomes a more important piece, and it elevates the relationship.
The first draft of the transcription of Beuys’ How to explain pictures to a dead hare required me to apply my research to the practice and although not in all parts, seemed to be pointless and dragging. You see me very briefly talking about the art to the rabbit while making her touch, sniff it and look at it. The film did look quite personal as the first draft of The love letter is featured in it.
The second draft worked out much better than the previous one. It shows the reperformance of the original to reposition the role of the rabbit in it while I try to explain the work to her like I am seeing it for the first time. The film is still showing Mine and Misty’s relationship while Beuys was not interested in that. It aims to update Joseph Beuys’ original piece for a new audience by the contrast created by me being an emerging, female artist working with an alive rabbit and him being a well known male artist working with a dead hare. The transcript created by me seems to be posthuman and more caring and understanding while Beuys’ work is almost absurd even though both the alive rabbit and the dead hare cannot understand the artwork, Misty is given a chance to appreciate the pieces by simply being alive, while the dead hare has not had that chance. The point is that I am hopeful that the communication between me and the rabbit could actually be successful somehow. The use of quotes by Beuys shows that I neither agree nor disagree with his work and his views and it also helps to spot that this transcription is in fact of his work.