Reflection on Sign Series


Gardening instalment

4 components

Fuscia flower plant, dark green leaves with a light green intricate detailing

Yellow flower plant, bright green leaves

Green leafy plant, sharp pointed leaves

Deep purple flower plant, drooping flower

It is evident within this video that we are in a different environment, a different atmosphere. The lighting is very revealing. The hands appear pale, the colour of the flowers is sharp and distinct. There is a cold, wintery feel to the garden despite the vibrancy of the plants. The movement into the outdoors is clear.

The residue left on my hands shows me getting more and more involved with the material.

It felt like quite a loving, tender process. The plants are like children and I am putting them away to bed. I cushion them with the material, making sure that they’re comfortable.

This had made me think about the idea that the system I am constructing may be in place to provide the best possible conditions for the plants. I.e. space between them allowing for equal distribution of water and nutrients. Nurturing is a system.

Each sign is defined by :

The components present

The order in which they are placed down in

HOW they are placed down

Exactly WHERE they are placed down

Any parts that are lost/gained during this process

Any deterioration of the plants

WHICH plants are watered are watered after the planting process, how much they are watered by, exactly where the water lands.

Cooking instalment

6 components

Flour

Butter

Egg

Caster sugar

Star-shaped multi-coloured sprinkles

Chocolate chips

Each sign is defined by :

The components present

The order in which they are placed in the bowl

HOW they are placed in the bowl

Exactly WHERE, within the bowl, they are placed down

The components present present in the mix but also the FINAL mix. THE FINAL PRODUCT. Texture, consistency, colour, imperfections.

Within this instalment I attempted to create this kind of cooking show, demonstration feel, despite the lack of potential of the ingredients that I was actually using.

I wanted to use cake ingredients because I wanted to use the ingredients that are synonymous with this standard glass bowl, wooden spoon set up, but I wanted also to disrupt the expectations of the viewer. The ingredients I am using hold the potential for a cake, but due to the sporadic combinations of these ingredients, a complete mix is never completely achieved, or at least is disrupted multiples times along the way. Each time a new mixture begins, the audience may start to think that this time, a cake will be made, but each time the mixture ends up redundant. A distasteful but almost familiar mix is created which may ALMOST taste like cake mixture - but something is just a little bit off.

This instalment is not just about the components, the order of the components, but also about what happens when they combine, when they react with one another. The sign IS the components, but it is also what the components exist as when combined with others. The properties of the materials I am mixing together allows them to merge with each other, pick up parts of one another, completely change because of their new situation.

Each video within this series consists of a number of clips. In each clip the necessary action is completed to communicate a specific sign. Once the sign has been demonstrated the video cuts to black and a new one begins. I did this initially to make the differentiation between each sign inherently clear.

Whilst watching the beginning of this playful series I now realise that emergence of the system, the graduation of a structure, would occur much more effectively within a durational performance. The current format of the signs is quite disjointed, jolted, and although previously I thought this was necessary to achieve clarity, I now realise that it isn’t at all. I still want to stick within the order of creating one sign after another, but now think that the parts that occur in between don’t need to be hidden. The action of clearing away the last sign, getting rid of it, and preparing for the execution of another one, can now be present within the videos. This will perhaps create more of a challenge for the viewer, as the important sections, the important moments, are not being pinpointed and laid out. They have to work out where one sign ends and another begins.

Although this will obviously make the distinction of signs less straightforward for the viewer, they may be able to gather the essence of the system more easily as they are viewing absolutely everything involved in its construction and its deconstruction.

This also means that the errors which inevitably manifest are visible. Henceforth, I will utilise these errors. Everything which is recorded, even the mistakes are integral to the make-up of the system. In fact, without the errors doesn’t exist (or at least, a different system exists).

The rubbing out, the starting again, the adjusting, the readjusting - all disclose that a system is transpiring. Or rather, a system is lying right at the foundation of the work.

The realism of the environments I have constructed have to be questioned here - are any of these environments realistic, and if they are not, its this something I need to work on? Or does realism not matter to me at all? All the environments I have constructed - the sand pit, the garden, the kitchen - imitate real environments but it is definitely clear that they are not the real thing. For example, it is obvious that the sand pit and the soil patch are not very deep (we are not on the beach, we are not on a patch of full and nourished land). I need to work out now whether or not this is really important to me. On the one hand, I think not at all - perhaps this is an aspect that has not occurred to me before because I have enjoyed the generation of false environments, it does not bother me that others may also be aware that they have been constructed. HOWEVER, the videos may lose their playfulness if the restriction of the constructed environment begins to make all the activity feel forced, false.

I am also concerned about the fact that the cooking instalment does not seem playful enough. It may seem to contain quite direct references to gender roles (re: semiotics of the kitchen). I thought that the playfulness of this section would be emphasised by elements such as the sprinkles but the kitchen set-up makes the references to feminism quite potent. This insecurity can only be solved by continuing to experiment with new environments - some will work better with my theme than others. Eventually, all the components may fit together seamlessly as a whole.