Friday 28 July 2017

On what we call natural landscape:

“It is the product of human design and human labour, and in admiring it as natural it matters very much whether we suppress that fact of labour or acknowledge it. Some forms of this popular modern idea of nature seem to me to depend on a suppression of the history of human labour, and the fact that they are often in conflict with what is seen as the exploitation or destruction of nature may in the end be less important than the no less certain fact that they often confuse us about what nature and the natural are and might be”.

Raymond Williams, Problems in Materialism and Culture, 78.

Sunday 16 July 2017

Photography and abstraction

“Since they lack three-dimensionality, color and motion, black and white photographs can never be truly realistic; hence to strive for superficial realism is a waste of time. In photographs, reality is expressed through symbols: projection stands for space, gray shades represent colors, blur signifies movement, halation expresses the radiation of direct light. They are abstractions in the same sense that speech and writing are, in which specific sounds, letters, and words symbolize specific concepts”.

Jussim and Lindquist-Cock, Landscape as Photograph, 40–41.

Friday 14 July 2017


Invisible Women at Whitespace, Edinburgh

Yesterday evening, I attended a fantastic event entitled 'Invisible Women' at Whitespace in Edinburgh, which consisted of seven screenings by pioneering women filmmakers. Many films were dated from the 1930s and 40s and had ties to both the UK and Canada. The filmmakers presented included: Ruby Grierson, Marion Grierson, Mary Field, Evelyn Spice Cherry, Kay Mander, Evelyn Lambart, and Jenny Gilbertson. Each screening was truly fascinating and led me to consider the following notes:

- voice over narration is often by men (authoritative male voice?)
- docudrama as pedagogical film
- labour/leisure
- city life/rural or pastoral
- machines and industrialisation 
- the woman in the home and outside
- moral storytelling
- historical storytelling (through narratives within the larger narrative)
- natural observation (science)
- family
- women and illness
- mobility/immobility 
- media and methods for transportation / access to rural places (e.g. Highlands and Islands, Arctic Canada)
- collaboration between UK (or Scotland) and Canada
- Grierson's position with regard to his sister's filmmaking careers and women more generally 
- humour and politics
- humour and information 
- seaside / inland 
- autobiographical documentary
- journeys 
- histories of 'forgotten' filmmakers (often women) and how to recount these histories and explain for their absence in film studies/history 
- how to address the overlook of women filmmakers/artists

I hope for more events like this one!

Tuesday 11 July 2017

Mary Jacobus on Clouds

clouds draw the eye upward: to movement, distance, and height, to the dynamics of space and the overarching sky. For most of us, they provoke ideas about both transcendence and inwardness. When we look up, we lose ourselves

clouds, I want to argue, make us think not only about form and vacancy, mobility and change, but also about the peculiar realm of affectivity that we call ‘mood’… mood is like the weather, changing and unformed, yet always with us. In classical landscape painting, weather and mood tend to converge on the drama of the sky

they evoke fleeting states of mind, feeling, and atmosphere. As they mount or move across the sky, they become a language for inner activity: darkening here, lightening there, here an ascent, there a draying or an accumulation of intensity; a passage of calm before a storm or a glimpse of cerulean sky

Mary Jacobus, "Cloud Studies"

Alfred Stieglitz, Equivalents 

Monday 10 July 2017

Donna Haraway quote

no species, not even our own arrogant one pretending to be good individuals in so-called modern Western scripts, acts alone; assemblages of organic species and of abiotic actors make history, the evolutionary kind and the other kinds too”. 

- Donna Haraway, “Anthropocene, Capitalocene, Plantationocene, Chthulucene: Making Kin”, Environmental Humanities, Vol. 6, 2015.

Friday 7 July 2017

Elliott Erwitt 'Cuba'

Three photographs from Elliott Erwitt's show on 'Cuba' from 1964 and then again in 2015 at the Botanical Gardens in Madrid.

Lee Lozano at Reina Sofia

Some favourites... really was so impressed.  

Picasso - Guernica

Here are some images by Picasso I found interesting and unusual at the Guernica exhibit, Reina Sofia, Madrid.