Air, Water, Earth, Fire: Home Edition

I have completed the Video Art project and I would like to share my experience, thought process and approach. You can experience the film via this link. The video is called “I’m ok”. Content Warning: It delves into the concept of suicide and it contains -fake- blood/pills.

Having as a base Bill Viola’s work “The Martyrs (Fire, Air, Earth, Water)”, I have decided to recreate such concept as a response to his work, within the context of the pandemic. So, I came up with the concept of mental health, a matter very important to me and that I would like to put it on the spotlight via this piece.

Extract from the film:

Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic and its quarantine restrictions, mental health issues have been impacted drastically. Around 40%* of adults have reported struggling with mental health or substance use with 11% seriously considering suicide.

Having that in mind, I started visualizing images of suicide, in many different ways relating them with one of the elements that I would use, fire, air, water & earth. With the element of water I had the vision of a bathtub and blood. As this was my starting point, I thought out the rest of the images in relation to that. I wanted to create four different images of four different suicide situations. The second image that came to my mind was a portrait shot with someone wrapped with the cable of a hairdryer whilst drying their hair. It is a connotation of asphyxiation and using the hairdryer as a symbol of a gun. Ironically enough, that image portrays the element of air. Next I thought about the shots in general. I already had a portrait shot and a far away shot, so I wanted to create a balance and have two shots of each. I also thought about the environment of the shots. So far I had two shots within my flat and I wanted to keep that as a common element, in order to portray and give emphasis to the fact thta quarantine and isolation are important factors in our mental health. Also, I was inspired by the work of Fischli & Weiss “The Way Things Go” (1987), where they created a video art piece in a garage by household items, so in a way ithis is my attempt to capture that piece within my flat with things that I have around.
Having set the environment and the shots, I started thinking about the element of fire. I had these thoughts of portraying different situations of someone commiting suicide, so as to bring forward the many different aspects of mental health and for the element of fire I had this vision of a candle burning. I placed that candle on a night stand alongside a bed. The bed is closely related to anxiety, stress, depression and it fit the aesthetic as well. Having in mind the short clips of Roy Raz and his aesthetic, I tried to navigate my piece  similarly.Finally, I was left to capture the element of earth. That was the trickiest to do as I was stuck within the mindset of having 4 similar images and I was trying somehow to portray another scene of suicide but luckily, going through the past artists from the lectures, I remembered Pipilotti Rist and her usage of color and flowers in many of her pieces and immedaitely made the connection of earth and flowers. For that reason, I decided to jump to the other side of the coin, that of life instead of death, and create an image that inspires and captivates life. As this image would be on the opposite side of the three previous ones, i decided to play around the concept of binaries, as Bill Viola and Roy Raz, so beautifully portray, hence I decided to use the technique of time-lapse which is essentially the opposite of slow-motion.  The final image that I had in mind was seeds blooming out of the soil as the element of earth.

Throughout my whole process I took into consideration many artists and tried to analyze how they would approach the creation of a piece, what they take into consideration whilst composing an image etc. but also things that had been discussed throughout the lectures. I took into consideration each composition’s color and set, always keeping in mind the rule of thirds as well.

2021

Happy New Year!

Hope all the best and even more; I hope this year that we will be able to turn our anxiety into creativity and the restrictions into new ways of accessing information…

It has been radio silent with my placement for quite a while, something that is totally expected as it is a festival and many artists are involved (and Christmas was around the corner!). Kat, my placement provider, got me up to speed with what’s been going on in the managing aspect of the festival…A lot of communication with the artists, last minute changes with the program (which is always tricky and makes the process much more intense as you can imagine) but it’s still going well and strong. The deadlines are still there and they all trying to catch up with those. The festival is next month and the program is about to be launched!!

In the meantime, I have been thinking ways to put my creativity into work and we decided with Kat that writing a blog would be a lovely idea for the festival…(I’m practically killing two birds with one stone with this blog)

I have been also thinking about post-humanism and materiality in relation to graphic design and within the context of another module, I started developing my skills in Photoshop, which basically gives me the opportunity to create an image composition that feels real and human but it is entirely made via the software, via technology. I can see a connecting thread there, a relationship between graphic design and post-humanism and how each could elevate the other. I find it quite fascinating and I will definitely integrate it within my placement. Laura’s idea for a zine for the festival is actually a very good opportunity to explore that connection and moving forward is a nice suggestion to mention it to Kat.

Here is a meetup of post-humanism, liveness and graphic design:

I have found my place(ment)!

It is happening.

Week 2 for my placement with the festival “Present Futures”… A few words about the festival: “Present Futures” is a festival that will take place –digitally- on 5th, 6th and 7th of February 2021 (save the date!). It will actually be the 4th time of the festival, curated by the choreographer Colette Sadler. This year’s themes include post-humanism, bodily representation and speculative futures, as it is stated in the festival’s website.

In week 1 I had the chance to meet with the lovely Kat, one of the producers of the festival and we talked about the assemblage of the festival, the confirmed (but also the TBC) artists and the various ways I could get involved with the festival. I had the chance to tell her what my interests are and frankly there are more ways to get involved with a festival than I anticipated. I could create a blog, interview the artists, get involved in the technical aspect of it or even talk with the producers and have an insight of what their work is all about. Kat is very kind and helpful and I really enjoyed our “e-meeting”.

Now, in week 2 I received the list of the artists participating in the festival (shhhh it’s still a secret!), so as to have a closer look of their work and all I will say is that each and every one of them is uniquely creative. I did pick one or two that resonated with me a bit more than the others though and i will definitely keep them in mind for a future involvement.

My concern at this point is how I am going to take advantage of this opportunity of “Present Futures” in order to pursue themes and interests of mine. How does materiality or graphic design meet post-humanism? It is a question I am interested to explore and come up with a creative response.

Feel free to comment below with any bibliography or any responses on that question.

Placement - The Beginning (?)

Placement – a context where one can experience and explore their praxis (Freire, 2005: 51) within a real, everyday framework. Most of my peers where able to secure a place, alas that’s not my case.
I have contacted many people, many organizations though only a few replied and 3 out of 4 answers where rejections. Only 1 organization replied asking me follow up questions such as ‘what I am planning on getting out of my placement’.

What am I planning on getting out of my placement?
Currently, I am interested in exploring the crossroads between Contemporary Performance and Graphic Design. It’s a subject that I’ve been thinking about for quite a while and I thought that placement would be a great place to explore that. How could these two, seemingly, not relevant arts, cross paths and what would the end result be? I am sure that their dialogue could be of great interest. There are many tools in both parties that could be used to access creative information within each field, creating a fruitful and rich, artistically, partnership. ‘The Rodina’, an artistic duo based in Amsterdam, were able to make that partnership happen and through their work, one can witness the greatness of that collaboration, performativity within graphic design or else the performative design (Rullerova, 2015).

Graphic Design is not my only interest.
As an artist, I’d like to consider myself a visual artist. I am interested in the visual outcome of a performance piece, as an extra layer, an additional path for the audience to access the information I’d like to communicate through a piece.
In my opinion Visual is inextricable linked with Materials, hence my close interest with that concept as well. Tim Ingold argues that the emphasis should be on the materials themselves rather than the materiality of it, in his article Materials against materiality (Ingold, 2007). I am interested in the stories of materials that emerge through describing their properties, properties that are in constant flux (Ingold, 2007: 14). I am interested on how a performance piece could be used as a medium to express and communicate those (hi)stories.

Bibliography

Freire, P., 2005. Pedagogy of the Oppressed. 30th ed. New York: The Continuum International Publishing Group Inc.

Ingold, T., 2007. Materials against materiality. Archaeological Dialogues, 14(1), pp. 1-16.

Rullerova, T., 2015. ACTION TO SURFACE. [Online] Available at: https://www.therodina.com/actiontosurface/index.html
[Accessed 21 November 2020].

WEEK 6 (Co-Facilitator's Solo Week) - CIRCLE will be logging off…forever

This is my blog of “reflection-on-action” (Schön, 1983: 50), on Short Courses of RCS, working with children of P5-7 through Process Drama (Digital Version).

In this blog I will reflect and write about things that went well and things that needed improvement in each week’s Process Drama plan and digital content.


This was the final week of the short courses placement. It was an emotional moment but also a marking point so as to reflect on what has been happening the last 6 weeks. I made a digital content aiming to engage young participants of P5-7 with a storyline that included capitalism, justice and personal agency. It was a very exiting journey and I feel really grateful that I got to experience that. I have learned how to structure a drama lesson plan, how to lure and engage the young participants even more, especially under the current circumstances of COVID-19. It felt quite stressful at the beginning as I wasn’t aware of what was expected of me to deliver but as the week went by and as I was having more and more conversations with my mentor, the aims were clearer hence my lesson plans as well.

I gained a lot of skills from that process, skills that I might have not gained otherwise. I learned to pay extra attention to details as far as the digital content is concerned, taking into consideration the general aesthetic of it from the fonts to the video transitions. I further developed my video editing skills, having in mind whilst editing the videos, the learning question of the week and what I want to achieve through that. In addition, I researched themes and topics, deepening further my knowledge and understanding of those matters. Moreover, I was able to work within a duo, having team spirit and collaborating quite nicely, uplifting my co-facilitator so as they did to me.

This week CIRCLE logged off forever. It was Felicity’s last video message informing the young participants of this end whilst they also received an e-mail from Quinn Wright, one of the founders of CIRCLE, letting them know that their data are deleted and they no longer have access to CIRCLE. But with every end comes a new beginning, so the facilitators asked the young participants to think about what the future might hold. They asked them to imagine they are the founders of new various virtual worlds and write a manifesto of what would the principles be of those new worlds. Would they still discriminate against people or would they aim for equality?

It was a very powerful and important theme to explore throughout all the given weeks along with the young participants because if we want to change the future we need to start from the people of the future, the young participants. As Darren O’ Donnell successfully says in Social Acupuncture: Life in the Shit Factory (2006):

Okay, so you want to make culture and creativity a central part of civic life? Fine. Then I want in on the institutions that form – at ground level – the fabric of the city. I want to use these as material in my art practice. (O’Donnell, 2006: 24)

I believe that engaging the young participants through the method of Process Drama, with the themes that we have been exploring all these weeks, we act just like O’Donnell mentions in his quote about trying to achieve a change through the institutions, in that case RCS, starting from the ground level, in that case, the young participants and I am glad I got to be part in all of that.

Reference List

O’donnell, D. (2006). Social Acupuncture a Guide to Suicide, Performance and Utopia. Toronto Coach House Books.

Schön, D.A. (1983). The Reflective Practitioner : How Professionals Think in Action. S.L.: Basic Books.


Digital Content: CIRCLE 6th WEEK

Process Drama Plan: Process Drama WEEK 6

Rafael’s Feedback: Rafael’s Feedback

Mentor’s Feedback: Mentor’s Feedback

WEEK 5 (Solo Week) - Choose your side…

This is my blog of “reflection-on-action” (Schön, 1983: 50), on Short Courses of RCS, working with children of P5-7 through Process Drama (Digital Version).

In this blog I will reflect and write about things that went well and things that needed improvement in each week’s Process Drama plan and digital content.


The creation of this week’s material was the most fun of all. I had this core idea of prompting the young participants to drive the drama from within through a decision making concept such as choosing opposing sides within the story.

There were two sides to choose from: The side of the Hacker No 251 and the side of Felicity Bell, representing CIRCLE. Both characters presented their arguments and their beliefs on the matter and both asked for the support of the participants. Later on, the participants are faced with a slide within the .pdf file that asks them to choose a side, whether they want to support the Hacker No 251 or Felicity Bell and click on the icon accordingly. That led them to the assignment of the week which was different for each side.

The way that the slideshow was constructed made it more active and further enhanced the belief in the drama as it was more interactive than ever before.

The learning question for this week which was infused throughout the process drama plan was about justice and how ‘personal is political’ regarding our decisions and how choices and specifically the existence of choices is important. bell hooks says “being oppressed means the absence of choices” (hooks, 1984: 5) and this week’s core idea was to amplify the democracy and justice around the act of decision making.

The participants were exposed to two different opinions, from two different leaders that were trying to gain their support and afterwards the young participants were critically engaged with both ideas and asked themselves the question of “who should I believe? Whose beliefs align closer to mine? Who should I support?”. It’s a way for the young participants into decision making for later stages in their lives such as supporting, by voting, a political party, decisions that, ultimately, shape their future.

Next week is the final week that concludes the drama and the short courses in general. The storyline of the drama had a very clear arch from the very beginning, following a natural flow of events with plot twists, such as the one of this week where the participants finally met who the person behind the hacker No 252 is, keeping their interest to the peak.

Reference List

hooks, bell (1984). Feminist Theory from Margin to Center. 1st ed. South End Press.

Schön, D.A. (1983). The Reflective Practitioner : How Professionals Think in Action. S.L.: Basic Books.


Digital Content (1st Draft): CIRCLE 5th WEEK

Digital Content (Final Draft): CIRCLE 5th WEEK

Digital Content (Annotated): CIRCLE 5th WEEK (Annotated)

Process Drama Plan (1st Draft): Process Drama WEEK 5

Process Drama Plan (Final Draft): Process Drama WEEK 5

Process Drama Plan (Annotated): Process Drama WEEK 5 (Annotated)

Mentor’s Feedback: Mentor’s Feedback

Co-facilitator’s Feedback: Co-Facilitator’s Feedback

WEEK 4 - We are BRONZE…We are circlers….We are united!

This is my blog of “reflection-on-action” (Schön, 1983: 50), on Short Courses of RCS, working with children of P5-7 through Process Drama (Digital Version).

In this blog I will reflect and write about things that went well and things that needed improvement in each week’s Process Drama plan and digital content.


We are BRONZE…We are circlers….We are united!

This is the week that I enjoyed most so far. I was so happy with the result of the video and this time our workshop was full of drama. The short courses have started as something vague but now that we approach the end of it, almost, it has solidified in my head and that is a skill that I will definitely take with me and use it in the future.

This week I had to re-do the planning as the 1st draft of the week made things more complicated for the young participants and they wouldn’t be able to engage that much. For that reason, I stripped it down to the layers and the material that was already there from the previous weeks, such as the point system and the theme of capitalism and tried to push it further from the point of view of drama.

That led me to an unexpected turn of events. A hacker hacked into the system of CIRCLE asking for a fairer point system and asking the young participants to join their cause but at the same time, on the other side, CIRCLE asks the young participants to report the hacker and they will get benefits as a thank you. Two sides and the young participants are asked to decide.

That twist drives the world of CIRCLE even further, building the belief of the young participants to the drama world and engages them fully with the world of fiction (Clark et al., 1997: 132) as the young participants are given the choice to be engaged even more and drive the drama from within.

The learning question for this week, which is also infused throughout the digital content, was prompting the young participants to think about fairness and the capitalist system. I wanted the young participants to think whether a capitalist system’s fault is either the principle that it is based on, which is “if you work hard, you will get paid more”, or the unfairness that is embedded in the system which is that someone who works hard but does a job that is considered less important, is paid less as well. In the workshop’s scenario, BRONZE members of CIRCLE work hard and for the same, or sometimes less, effort the GOLD members of CIRCLE are rewarded significantly more points. It’s an issue of justice that Plato dealt with in Gorgias (Plato, 2008) where he argues with Callicles whom suggests that people in the upper levels of hierarchy deserve to have the power and to be happy and Plato immediately shuts him down by invoking an example of a tyrant who has the power to do as they pleased but they end up unhappy (Plato, 2008).

The upcoming weeks look promising with the rise of the drama and the new characters that were introduced this week, suggesting a clear arch of drama.

Reference List

Clark, J., Dobson, W., Goode, T. and Neelands, J. (1997). “Lessons for the living: Drama and the Integrated Curriculum.” 1st ed. Mayfair Cornerstone.

Jowett, B. (2008). Gorgias, by Plato. [online] www.gutenberg.org. Available at: https://www.gutenberg.org/files/1672/1672-h/1672-h.htm#link2H_4_0002.

Schön, D.A. (1983). The Reflective Practitioner : How Professionals Think in Action. S.L.: Basic Books.


Digital Draft (1st Draft): CIRCLE 4th WEEK

Digital Content (Final Draft): CIRCLE 4th WEEK

Digital Content (Annotated): CIRCLE 4th WEEK (annotated)

Process Drama Plan (1st Draft): Process Drama WEEK 4

Process Drama Plan (Final Draft): Process Drama WEEK 4

Process Drama Plan (Annotated): Process Drama WEEK 4 (annotated)

Mentor’s Feedback: Mentor’s Feedback

WEEK 3 - Capitalism. Good or Bad?

This is my blog of “reflection-on-action” (Schön, 1983: 50), on Short Courses of RCS, working with children of P5-7 through Process Drama (Digital Version).

In this blog I will reflect and write about things that went well and things that needed improvement in each week’s Process Drama plan and digital content.


The short courses have proven to be a very pleasant surprise. I am really enjoying creating the content for each week and it’s a process that really drives my creativity levels to the edge. My collaboration with my colleague is fruitful and I have a very positive experience so far. The development of the story within the drama world is becoming stronger each week, taking into consideration my mentor’s feedback.

On WEEK 3, the theme that I wanted to explore with the help of the participants, was Capitalism. It could be a very complex subject and that is why I decided to create the circumstances within the world of drama, for a Capitalist system to be implemented. I created an award system by giving out points to participants depending on the tasks that were given but at the same time, giving extra points to participants fulfilling certain criteria such as owning an iPhone for example. In that way, the system is supposed to treat the participants unfairly, depending on their socio-economic background for example, and they were to question the system and its criteria on the reflection part of the workshop.

In general, the quality of the digital content feels of high standards with attention on details. The Capitalism theme will be continued on WEEK 4 in order for the young participants to delve into a deeper engagement with the issue and explore and experience it a bit better.

Reference List

Schön, D.A. (1983). The Reflective Practitioner : How Professionals Think in Action. S.L.: Basic Books.


Digital Content (1st Draft): CIRCLE 3rd WEEK

Digital Content (Final Draft): CIRCLE 3rd WEEK

Digital Content (Annotated): CIRCLE 3rd WEEK (Annotated)

Process Drama Plan (1st Draft): Process Drama WEEK 3

Process Drama Plan (Final Draft): Process Drama WEEK 3

Process Drama Plan (Annotated): Process Drama WEEK 3(Annotated)

Reflection Script: Consider this -WEEK 3

Reflection Script (Annotated): Consider this -WEEK 3(Annotated)

Mentor’s Feedback: Mentor’s Feedback

WEEK 2 - Who are you, as in "Avatar-You" & "You-You"?

This is my blog of “reflection-on-action” (Schön, 1983: 50), on Short Courses of RCS, working with children of P5-7 through Process Drama (Digital Version).

In this blog I will reflect and write about things that went well and things that needed improvement in each week’s Process Drama plan and digital content.


As it was mentioned last week, at the beginning of the process it was quite difficult for me to grasp what I have been asked to offer to the short courses of RCS but as they days go by and I have more discussions with my mentor, along with discussions with my peers, I am able to create content a step closer to the desired result.

The theme of WEEK 2 came easily as I decided to reinforce the belief of children on their Avatars in order for them to have a stronger relation between them. That would open up the space for the following weeks where issues will start arising calling for the participants’ help. That way they will start getting involved with the world of CIRCLE in a deeper level of belief. That can already be seen by the fact that the first posts/proof of involvement have started to sprout in the Microsoft Teams group chat. Already a participant has posted a drawing of their Avatar with some basic information about them, giving me the chance to open a dialogue with them, asking them to expand a bit more about their Avatar. Hopefully that will encourage even more participants to post their texts, images and reflections in the group chat.

WEEK 2 is delving a bit deeper into themes like identity, building on the pre-existent Avatar, asking from the participants to create a fuller more realised version of their Avatar with a background story, personality and life goals and by the end of the workshop are asked to reflect on the same questions but not about their Avatars, but about them. What is identity for them, what is consisted of and who, if any, dictates that identity. Participants are prompted to approach “identity” through the lens of intersectionality. Intersectionality is considered a valuable theoretical framework. The concept of “intersectionality” is used by many scholars and researchers in order to describe the interaction of multiple identities and experiences of exclusion and subordination. Intersectionality is a framework that acknowledges that categories, such as gender, race, sexuality and so on, intersect in the lives of individuals. Furthermore, it views social practices, institutional arrangements and cultural ideologies as the aftermath of this interaction in a network of power (Davis, 2008; Anthias, 2012; Bilge, 2010).

WEEK 2 was a big development for the project as some things have started to establish, such as the letter from the founder and the distinction of the two different personas of facilitators, each persona dealing with a different aspect of the process drama. One of them is in-character, further building belief on the “one Big Lie” (Wagner, 1979: 67) that is “CIRCLE” and the other out-of-character as an introduction to the reflection part of the process drama where the children begin to develop their sense of the drama’s meaning (Clark et al., 1997: 133). My role is out-of-character and I am responsible for the reflection part. I will be there each week in order to re-cap of what happened within “CIRCLE” but most importantly my role as a facilitator will be to offer some critical reflection questions to the participants to consider as an attempt to open a dialogue between them and me or give those participants a stimuli so they could start a discussion with their peers or family members.

Reference List

Anthias, F. (2012). “Intersectional what? Social divisions, intersectionality and levels of analysis”, Ethnicities, 0:0, p. 1-17.

Bilge, S., (2010), “Recent Feminist Outlooks on Intersectionality”, Diogenes, 225, p. 58-72.

Clark, J., Dobson, W., Goode, T. and Neelands, J. (1997). “Lessons for the living: Drama and the Integrated Curriculum.” 1st ed. Mayfair Cornerstone.

Davis, K., (2008), “Intersectionality as buzzword A sociology of science perspective on what makes a feminist theory successful”, Feminist Theory, 9:1, p. 67-85.

Schön, D.A. (1983). The Reflective Practitioner : How Professionals Think in Action. S.L.: Basic Books.


Digital Content (1st Draft): CIRCLE 2nd WEEK

Digital Content (Final Draft): CIRCLE 2nd WEEK

Digital Content (Annotated): CIRCLE 2nd WEEK (annotated)

Process Drama Plan (1st Draft): Process Drama WEEK 2

Process Drama Plan (Final Draft): Process Drama WEEK 2

Process Drama Plan (Annotated): Process Drama WEEK 2 (annotated)

Process Drama Plan (Feedback from Mentor): Process Drama WEEK 2 Aby Feedback

Mentor’s Feedback: Mentor’s Feedback