Posts tagged critique
Group Critique

During the group critique I spoke about projecting the filmed cityscape outdoors, and the importance of capturing the essence of the city. Leigh Clarke reacted with a wide range of comments about the work. His main point was that the sound was more powerful than the time-lapse video since it allowed the audience to imagine a larger, more ambiguous space.

He also mentioned that my background as a privileged member of society, and the subsequent "god-like" perspective referred to the panopticon and I should be cautious about the meanings inferred from such choices. Tracey Emin's Folkstone work was mentioned in relation to illustrating a place by using one powerful symbolic object. Leigh Clarke felt that I should focus on a particular object or section of the city instead of trying to describe the entire "forest." He commented that I needed to have an original view of the city rather than something which has been seen before. Ai Weiwei's work Sunflower Seeds 2010 was also mentioned, however I am of the opinion that the work has little relation to mine since I'm looking at sharing the darker, hidden city. In terms of capturing essence however the work is relevant due to the clever play on porcelain versus sunflower seeds, and the issue of handcrafted versus mass-industrialization.

Overall the critique was motivating and provocative because he challenged my project at every level. I explored whether I could go ahead without the visual aspect altogether and looked at various installation concepts that would center around sound as a medium. Another important conclusion was that giving the audience too much information reduced the impact of the work. Overall I realized much more experimentation and research is needed before I can confidently defend my work.


Bentham, J (1791). Panopticon Or the Inspection House Vol1 [ebook]. University of Lausanne. Available from: [Accessed 23rd April].

Calvino, I (1997). Invisible Cities. New Edition. London: Minerva.

Emin, T (2008) Baby Things [online] Available from [Accessed 23rd April 2011].

Foucault, M (1977). Discipline & Punish: The Birth of the Prison [online] Translated from French by Alan Sheridan. Available online from [Accessed 23rd April 2011].

Kennedy, M (Jan 2011). Ai Weiwei's Sunflower Seeds to go on sale at Sotheby's [online] Available from [Accessed 23rd April 2011].

Tate Modern (2010). The Unilevel Series: Ai Weiwei [online] Available from [Accessed 23rd April 2011].

Group Critique

Overall Feedback:Brian Catling (performance artist and poet) mentioned that I could add a layer of virtual shadows to the video installation, in addition to the real shadows thrown by the audience. He also mentioned that since the user's action is central to viewing the work, it's almost as if the user is causing the resulting violence/action, in this case the image of a burning building that becomes visible only in the user's shadow. In answer to my question about the kind of space I should use for the installation, he said that using a clean, "constructed" white room would work best with the concept. There was a brief discussion on the lack of sound used, and he thought that sound was not required at all.

Several artists and films that could help develop my practice were mentioned: such at Kit Wise, Rope by Hitchcock and "London" and "Robinson in Space" by Patrick Keiller. I was also directed to Foucault's theories of Heterotopia, Dystopia and Utopia; "Non Places - Introduction and an Anthropology of Super Modernity" by Mare Ange and the History of the Shadow by V. Strichita.

Reflection: The use or lack of sound is an important issue which I still have to properly integrate into the concept of the bipolar, constructed realities. However I agree with Brian in that the sound itself is not very important to the installation. It is a concern to me that the sound or music could dominate the visuals. The result should be dream-like, since dreams have a tendency to have faded or muted sounds when remembered. Examples of appropriate sounds are: muted voices, very low volume music, or something subtle such as crackling of fire and gunshots in the distance. During the presentation I also realized that a subtle difference between the "here" and the "elsewhere" is better than an overly dramatic and "literal" difference. The space itself is still an issue which I need to work on to some extent. A large part of phase 2 will be building on the space, experimenting with the use of objects along with projectors, and trying the 360 degree panorama. Overall, creating the presentation helped me organize my thoughts in terms of the kind of framework and process I followed, looking at the gaps in my reasoning and further steps I needed to take in my research.

Notes: Topics to read further: Para-Feminism, Invisible artwork, Family photographs as imposed memories, Leonard Talmy: Force Dynamic in language: "door is closed" vs the "door cannot be opened." Uses of Enchantment by Bruno: interesting book about fairy tales, Costume vs. Fashion is the folk (narrative, story) vs. elite (market, consumer); Physiology of taste by Brillat Savarin; Dutch golden age (objects with meaning, symbols) - using a room or a window to project against or using meaningful objects in the installation; Shadows: Using shadows in different tones, different light sources. Also interesting is the book Praise the Shadow; Constructed Reality: creating from photographs, memory, or not even that, but just found photographs is one step down. Films: Many Moons (2008) b Janelle Monae; Coraline (animation); Eraserhead by David Lynch

Peer Critique

We organized a peer critique for the 14th of December to discuss our work. At this point most people are midway through their projects. About 12-15 part-time and full-time MA students attended the workshop. I presented a video and photographs from a recent installation test. Here are some points of reaction to my work: > Simple, yet effective

> Interactive without the use of very complex technology. Since the user is essential to viewing the artwork.

> Use of technology is secondary to the concept.

> Prefer to see it projected on walls, instead of floor since it's more natural.

> Want to see more animation: people, events, day changing to night.

> Want to see a more dramatic difference between the two skylines.

> One person interpreted the "real" city as a doomsday city since it contains images of poverty and burning buildings.

> Important to note how most people who view the work generalize it to any city rather that Mumbai, unless specifically told.

> Prefer the rough sketchy version of the city.

> Almost a film.

Overall, I realized how different each person's work and philosophy was, from Fine Art to Animation finding common ground is not easy since its like each person is from different planets. At the same time it was useful to see how a fine artist or animator would react to my work. Additionally, various topics such as self-reflexive films, and the "axiomatic" were discussed. I also discovered a piece of work which later became vital to my understanding of my practice. It is called Circle of Confusion by Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige, 1997. See my notes on this work here.

Bombay Book Cover

I attended a group tutorial that was held for all the Graphic Design MA students on the 13th of Dec. I felt it was important to gain some perspective on my project, since graphic students would have a different point of view when it came to Interactive Media. Peer feedback is always helpful, and I was simply curious about the kind of projects the other MA students were working on. The one-day workshop was moderated by Phil Jones, and involved all of us creating a quick piece of graphic work based on an open-ended brief. We were instructed to find an object or a photograph that had anything to do with our chosen topic, in my case, Mumbai. Since we had just 30 minutes, I ended up with a Time and Life book on Bombay, and chose the cover as my topic of study.

What followed was a group analysis, dissecting the object in terms of semiotics, its source, context, its materials and other relevant factors that give it meaning. After the analysis each person was given a new brief: to convert or transform the object into a graphic work keeping in mind theanalysis and discussion. Each person was given two hours to create a finished piece of graphic work.

During the discussion several people mentioned "dots" as a recurring shape in the cover, as each person was reduced to a dot. Another point was how the photograph transformed many individuals into one large mass of colour. My aim was to reduce the cover to its basic colours and shapes. In one way the poster is a mockery of the original object, as it strips it of meaning. At the same time is still comparable to the original when placed next to the other because of similar shapes, alignment and colours.