Assessment Feedback

I received Assessment results on 31stJuly, so I think that now is the time to reflect on the feedback comments.  The grade (67%) was around what I had expected, given the health problems I had experienced during the module and which affected my enthusiasm motivation and energy.  The wording on the criteria sections mirrors that contained on the blue sheet “Assessment criteria for HE5 Visual Arts at OCA” under 2.1. but below are the Overall Comments and Feed Forward:-

A thorough and sensitive reflection on your own progress through this module sums up the work you have done. The work for assignment 4 and 5 have developed strongly into a really interesting and personal piece of playful and pertinent work. This is appropriately backed up with a clear understanding of theoretical context. The videos and postcards provide an appropriate consideration of material presentation.

This is good work from which to consider ways of building and strengthening your own personal voice and practice.

However, I was concerned that the separate blog I had created for my explorations of Second Life had not been accessed at all during the Assessment period, particularly as there was some material there which did not appear elsewhere and also constituted a different form of presentation and articulation of my response to the Project. After giving some thought to this I contacted OCA outlining my concern, noting the places in my Assessment submission where the URL for the separate blog was clearly signposted, and querying whether I had grounds to appeal against the outcome under Document B (Academic Regulatory Framework) Section 3.6 which relates to administrative error.

OCA responded very quickly and, in brief, my separate blog had now been reviewed against my main blog. The view was that it confirmed the marks received but would not materially add anything not already present in the main blog and physical submission. As there is clear reference in the feed-forward section on the results letter to the work submitted for Assignment 4 and 5, then there is no procedural irregularity in the marks or the process and therefore no grounds to Appeal against the Outcome.

That’s fair enough, but I am going to be very careful in future in terms of anything additional I create, submit for Assessment as there doesn’t seem much point in overloading myself with extra tasks to no good purpose. Tutor feedback will obviously be crucial in this respect.

On with Landscape now and my link for this is https://catherinebankslnd.wordpress.com

 

 

 

Assignments Review and Final Submission

Note for Assessors

I have created a new category of for this Review and the posts should appear in Assignment numerical order in this instance on my Home page and at https://catherinebanksdiac.wordpress.com/category/assignments/assignments-review-and-final-submission/

The Overall Self-Evaluation is also uploaded into my personal G-Drive.

Final Overall Self-Evaluation

I remember feeling concerned after Assessment of my final Level 1 Module that, despite an excellent result, the mark was the same as on the previous two Modules. I’d hoped that the mark would be higher, to show improvement.  It took me a while to absorb the understanding that every Module looks for different skills and learning, therefore what I should be doing was concentrating on what I learned so far and what I needed to do next to move forward.  What then happened with this, my first Level 2 Module, was the need for new learning and skills collided with a lengthy period of poor health which slowed me down, affected my motivation and reminded me that I’m not as young as I used to be. Thankfully I got back to renewed health and energy during Part 3 and I hope this shows in my subsequent work.

Memory, identity and my relationship with landscape arose as key themes for me and, wherever possible, I linked back with earlier work to examine how my ideas were developing with new learning.  So far as landscape is concerned I have become very interested in the idea of embodied practice and the first Assignment enabled me to continue with this through my visits to the poppy field and using new learning in layering and composites.  One thing I haven’t done yet is to edit the videos I made at the time, which I regret, and video work is something I intend to develop further in my next Module (which is Landscape).

During Part 2 I became lost in the archives – literally as well as in literature. I was fascinated by the research, linking back through the ideas of Okwui Enwezor, Jacques Derrida and Sigmund Freud to palimpsest and then relating this to my own life and the layers of time and experience that have made me who I am today.  Did I leap too quickly into my own archive, the letters written to me by my father and photographs from that time?  I’m still not sure.  It could be that I was too personally immersed in my own history and this might have got in my way in terms of selection, narrative and focus. I learned a lot about myself though with a stronger realisation of how much the messages in the letters had influenced me, become embedded in my approach to the world even now.

So far as the technical aspects are concerned, I continued experimenting with layers, using Photoshop tools and welcomed a return to Blurb for creating a photobook. I also did a large volume of work scanning, retouching and then re-working old photographs before editing, selecting and sizing sequences. In feedback, my tutor suggested I look at the work of Sara Davidmann and doing so was very helpful in reviewing my images for Assessment.

I re-calibrated myself during Part 3 with renewed health and improved focus.  I agreed with my tutor that my idea for looking at ‘the Female Gaze’ was far too ambitious and instead decided to follow-up on my previous writings on the work of Martha Rosler’s, and her views on photojournalism, and look at the effect of the digital revolution on this. This received a positive response from my tutor, no corrections were advised and, furthermore, my research re-introduced me to the work of Marshall McCluhan (studied during the 1970s), which pushed me to read Jean Baudrillard.

My tutor encouraged me to explore two ideas I had for Assignment 4 (as the lead-in to Assignment 5) and also ‘to have fun’, which I did. Looking at ’The Art of Bonsai’ and ‘Exploring Second Life’ might seem to be a strange choice but it was through thinking about bonsai that I gained understanding of Jean Baudrillard’s work on “Simulcra and Simulation’ (1994) was then able to apply this to the virtual world of Second Life and consequently read Plato’s Allegory of the Cave. This was an important step for me in integrating knowledge of my own educational experience both past and current and thinking about imagination and creativity – an aspect which Plato appears to discount and isn’t mentioned by Baudrillard.

I had some regrets in ‘parking’ the Bonsai work (although this is something I may return to in the Landscape Module) but enjoyed the experiential aspect of becoming a resident in Second Life, and exploring a virtual landscape. My technical skills improved through using Snagit and Wondershare Filmora software to take ‘snapshots’ and create short videos and I think that my idea of creating a separate ‘Travel Blog” Journey into Second Life https://kitdumont.wordpress.comprovides a relevant/appropriate presentation for the work and I was pleased that I was able to upload a poppy collage created for Assignment 1 onto the wall of my new ‘home’ there .

I was determined to limit my time on the computer, and not get too lost in a virtual world, so was surprised initially by the sense of delight I felt upon coming across some virtual cows. I hadn’t thought that entering a virtual reality could touch upon memory in quite such a way – the force of a ‘punctum’ enters into so many experiences not just through a photograph. Another longer-term Second Life resident actually made a comment on my student blog commenting positively on my exploratory videos and referring to ‘the beautiful whimsy” that can be found in Second Life.  It’s this aspect that’s fascinating.

In discussing presentation for Assignment 5 during our pre-assessment tutorial, my tutor suggested that, in addition to the digital presentation of snapshot, videos and the travel diary, I should do prints of screenshots.  I have developed this idea into having postcards printed and then adding handwritten messages that link real memories with virtual experiences.

Thoughts for the future

I need to carry on improving my technical skills and to ensure I pace myself with research and reading. I’m looking forward to returning to Landscape and using new techniques.  I’m always more aware of what I don’t know than what I do know which tends to hold me back from experimenting, so I know I need to work my way through that. Throughout the Module I have continued to gain feedback and support from fellow students through being part of the OCA Thames Valley Group, participating in hangouts and exchanging emails. These contacts were particularly invaluable in encouraging me with my exploration of Second Life and will continue.

 

Catherine Banks
31stMay 2018

 

Final Submission for Assignment 1: Combined Image

Final Submission : Assessment July 2018
Digital Image and Culture – Level 2

Assignment 1 : Combined Image

 

All the work towards this Assignment can be found here https://catherinebanksdiac.wordpress.com/category/assignments/assignment-1-combined-image/

The specific original Assignment submission is here
https://catherinebanksdiac.wordpress.com/category/assignments/assignment-1-combined-image/assignment-1-submission/

 

I originally shortlisted 18 from:

42 digital photographs taken in the poppy field
9 analogue photographs from a Mamiya MF camera
An iPad drawing
2 of the Mamiya prints layered with two of the negatives which had been photographed on a lightbox, then enlarged and composited onto the image they related to
12 photographs layered with poppies, buttercups and daisies from the field and then re-photographed
46 photographs – prints and drawing on iPad returned to the field and re-photographed amongst the poppies, plus one of my hand holding a print against the scene it depicted
A photoshop collage 

Six were then chosen to present to my tutor for the Assignment

In feedback, my tutor had referred to one composite created with a photograph of my great-uncle who died in WWI, with a suggestion to work further on this and experiment ‘perhaps using many flowers to almost obliterate the image/meaning.’ However, I did not feel comfortable in manipulating that particular photograph in such a way even by using copies etc. This might well seem over-sensitive to a detached viewer but it just didn’t seem right to me.  The idea itself appealed to me though and I experimented with the technique later (Assignment 2).

Review and selection for Assessment Submission

Having examined prints of my original six I decided that the background was too blurred because I had focussed on my hand holding the print.

 

I therefore created a new digital composite instead

and added another from my shortlist because this seemed more representative of the project.

Below is a contact sheet of the 7 prints I will be submitting for Assessment.

 

The following printed material is included in my Assessment Portfolio Box

A

  • Tutor Report Form
  • Two A4 contact sheets – shortlist for original Assignment submission
  • A4 contact sheet of the original six images selected

 

B

  • Seven A4 prints of my Final Submission

 

Conclusion

I enjoyed working on this Assignment which enabled me to carry my interest in landscape and embodied practice forward into this Module.  I actually continued to work with the poppy images with personal projects such as videos and cyanotypes  here https://catherinebanksdiac.wordpress.com/category/personal-projects/)  and some of the work is in my Paper Log. Sadly, the poppy field was destroyed last year – mown over, fenced with barbed wire and awaiting planning approval for a new housing development – although the odd poppy did wave its petals.  It’s quite likely I’ll return there during my next Module, Landscape. Maybe to leave a memento print on the barbed wire.

 

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Final submission: Assignment 2

Final Submission : Assessment July 2018
Digital Image and Culture – Level 2

 Assignment 2 : The Archive

 All the work for this Assignment can be found here

https://catherinebanksdiac.wordpress.com/category/assignments/assignment-2-the-archive/

The assignment itself is here

https://catherinebanksdiac.wordpress.com/category/assignments/assignment-2-the-archive/2-assignment-2-submission/

and this contains a PDF of the original book I created, plus a link to it on the Blurb site.

Review and selection for Assessment Submission

My tutor suggested in feedback that I look at Ken. To Be Destroyed (2016) the work of Sara Davidmann which I did – buying her book and visiting her Exhibition (see here https://catherinebanksdiac.wordpress.com/2017/05/10/sara-davidmann-ken-to-be-destroyed-2016/

Additionally, my tutor commented that I had a tendency to make juxtapositions and montages a little too complex so I took Davidmann’s work and my tutor’s comments into account in reviewing the book I produced. I also sought feedback from members of OCA Thames Valley Group and fellow students I communicate with through informal meetings, hangouts and emails.

Changes

I slightly simplified two of the composites

       to

 

and

to

 

 


 

It occurred to me that some viewers might question the inclusion of those composites plus the one of my parents wedding.  I wanted to give some kind of flavour to what was happening at the time – war-time restrictions and the call for National Service hanging over young men, yet fashion still being important and everyday life carrying on as best it could.  I could have written about this but wanted to keep to a visual narrative.

I also removed the two composites from the Milly Molly Mandy books

 

 

These books were my favourites when I was small and when I looked at them again I had a sense that it was these stories that lead me to asking my mother why I didn’t get letters from my father as she did. Maybe not – but it’s a nice thought.  Still, these composites don’t quite fit with the rest and I felt some concern about copyright issues so I decided it was best to remove them.

I then re-sequenced the photographs, after adding some more material – a photograph of me with my father on a leave visit, an extract from a letter written when he returned to Egypt and a final page extract where he writes of coming home.  I also took the opportunity to reduce some of the images which seemed over-large and shorten some of the letter extracts. See below

A PDF of the new book is here V3.LettersHome

Alternatively, below is a link to it in the Blurb website

http://www.blurb.co.uk/bookst

Final Submission

I am therefore submitting:-

 

A

  • Tutor Report Form
  • Two A4 prints showing four page-layouts for the original book

 

B

  • Seven A4 prints of the final composites created for book pages 
  • Supplementary Material – amended printed Blurb book created following feedback from tutor and fellow students and further review. This is to provide a material/tactile sense of the book and also how the layout works in practice.

 

 

 

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Final Submission : Assignment 3 Critical Essay

All the work for the original submission can be found here

https://catherinebanksdiac.wordpress.com/category/assignments/assignment-3-critical-essay/

and the assignment itself is here

https://catherinebanksdiac.wordpress.com/2017/10/10/digital-image-and-culture-assignment-3-critical-essay/.

My tutor advised no corrections in her feedback and so this Assignment stands as it is. The Essay has been uploaded to my G-Drive and a printed/bound version is contained in the Portfolio Box which has been posted to OCA Assessment Team.

Final Submission: Assignment 4

Final Submission:  Assessment July 2018
Digital Image and Culture – Level 2

 Assignment 4 – Digital Identities 1

All work for this Assignment can be found here https://catherinebanksdiac.wordpress.com/category/assignments/assignment-4/

With encouragement from my tutor I experimented with two separate projects which were  intertwined through my reading on the work of Jean Baudrillard on Simulacra and Simulation.  These were  The Art of Bonsai  here  https://catherinebanksdiac.wordpress.com/category/assignments/assignment-4/2-the-art-of-bonsai/and Exploring Second Life  here https://catherinebanksdiac.wordpress.com/category/assignments/assignment-4/4-exploring-second-life/

At my tutor’s suggestion, I will not be submitting prints (digital and polaroid) of the Bonsai trees so as to leave a clear route to Assignment 5 which we agreed should be a continuation of the exploration of Second Life.

As this is a Project in progress, leading to Assignment 5, I will be submitting printed copies of

  • Tutor Report Form
  • Initial Planning – mind map
  • Contact sheet of snapshots from ongoing visits to Second Life virtual world at that point in time

 

I would also draw attention to the two short Vimeo videos embedded in my blog post Exploring Second Life referred to above https://catherinebanksdiac.wordpress.com/category/assignments/assignment-4/4-exploring-second-life/

 

 

 

 

 

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Final Submission: Assignment 5

Final Submission:  Assessment July 2018
Digital Image and Culture – Level 2

Assignment 5 – Digital Identities 2
Living as an Avatar in Second Life

All the work for this Assignment can be found here https://catherinebanksdiac.wordpress.com/category/assignments/assignment-5-digital-identities-2/

The specific Assignment blog post is here https://catherinebanksdiac.wordpress.com/category/assignments/assignment-5-digital-identities-2/4-assignment-5-living-as-an-avatar-in-second-life/

I would also like to draw attention to the separate blog, Journey into Second Life  here https://kitdumont.wordpress.comwhich was created in the guise of my Second Life Avatar, Kit Dumont.

During our pre-assessment tutorial (here https://catherinebanksdiac.wordpress.com/category/assignments/assignment-6-pre-assessment-tutorial/)  my tutor suggested including prints of snapshots/video screenshots from my Second Life Explorations in final submission.    However, during our discussion I made the comment that, really, exploring the virtual world was similar to visiting another country for me. I usually read about it beforehand to get an idea of what it’s like; orientate myself on arrival by exploring the landscape and observing how people live; look for similarities and differences, and also send postcards to friends and family. Thinking about this afterwards, I initially thought that the snapshots would lend themselves well to a comic book layout.  On reflection though, this didn’t seem feasible given that I have no experience of creating such layouts and there wasn’t sufficient time available to learn!

Instead, thinking back to postcards, I had the idea of creating printed versions to fit with the travel theme, and then adding messages. I am interested in Mail Art, having previously participated in an OCA collaborative project https://weareoca.com/education/nearest-faraway-place/  which ran over three years and resulted in a handmade book. Each participant contributed one picture (6×4) with a note, which was added to create a concertina book that grew with its additions and travelled around the world.  I also thought back to the PostSecret ongoing Project https://postsecret.comwhich I follow on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/postsecret/  and OCA BA/MA Graduate Tanya Ahmed’s Project Postcards of Reading http://tanyaahmed.com/postcards-of-reading-1985-2015/.

I posted my first experiment, using a handwritten message, on the OCA Thames Valley Group Facebook page and asked for feedback.  Feedback was very positive and there ensued a discussion as to how large the postcards should be, whether the messages should be printed or handwritten and who would be the ‘recipients’ of the messages.  With all the advice in mind I decided to have the postcards professionally printed by Moo at a 7×5 size and then select a number of them to add handwritten messages and submit for Assessment.  The Moo price allows for 25 postcards (see contact sheets below)

 

and from these I chose fourteen for submission. The handwritten messages are to OCA Assessment Team, Members of OCA Thames Valley Group, myself at different ages and my father. Moo also offer small sticky printed labels and so I utilised a selection of those to serve as ‘stamps’.

My Assessment submission will, therefore, comprise:-

 

A

  • Printed Tutor Report Form
  • Printed Initial Planning Mind Map

B

  • Three printed contact sheets of all Second Life snapshots up to 22ndMay 2018, which include images on my separate Journey into Second Life blog
  • Fourteen printed postcards, images selected from all Second Life snapshots and video grabs as on the contact sheets provided. The fourteen postcards have been professionally printed and then handwritten with specific messages.

Additionally

The specific Assignment 5 initial submission https://catherinebanksdiac.wordpress.com/category/assignments/assignment-5-digital-identities-2/4-assignment-5-living-as-an-avatar-in-second-life/also incorporates two further videos – one of which was also uploaded to the separate blog and the other created in response to my tutor’s suggestion that a create a video with voiceover.

 

 

Assignment 6: Pre-Assessment Tutorial

The purpose of this tutorial was to help me review my work and decide how I’m going to submit for assessment. To begin with I created a five-column table summarising the content of each part of the Module; the brief for each Assignment; content of my submissions; tutor feedback and further work suggested.  This was very helpful because it reminded me of everything covered (a most comprehensive review of the ways in which digital culture has impacted upon photography) and looking through the content of each of my assignments enabled me to see links between them.

I then created another table with four columns summarising the content of each of my assignments; tutor feedback; further work suggested and further work achieved/to be done. This table was then emailed to my tutor in advance of our audio-video discussion. Below are the bullet points I produced during our discussion which comprise the tutor report.

  • Introduction to work submitted: Produce a printed, summary cover sheet which introduces the Assessors to my portfolio of work  – Assignments/Tutor feedback/further work in response to feedback – with clear links to relevant blog posts, YouTube/Vimeo videos,  and/or printed work included within the portfolio box. Include a description of the ways in which each Assignment links with another and how I have developed my practice – making the journey clear.  Consider creating it as an illustrated document.
  • Online Learning Log:Ensure it is accessible and as visually engaging as possible. Check that all the links work.
  • All Assignments:Each to be in a separate folder/section of portfolio with a printed cover sheet summarizing work submitted, including any new work. Plus hard copy of Tutor feedback report. Any prints included should be clearly labelled.
  • Assignment 1: Include prints of work originally submitted in online learning log.
  • Assignment 2:Submit prints of each page in the online book produced in addition to a clear link to the PDF in the online learning log.
  • Assignment 3:Submit hard copy of essay.
  • Assignment 4:Include hard copy of mind map. My tutor thinks that it might be confusing to Assessors to submit the polaroid prints of the Bonsai trees from the alternative Project I explored. However, these can be included in my hard copy ‘sketchbook’ if this is submitted.
  • Assignment 5:Include prints of work submitted and screen grabs of videos. Consider edit of voiceover video – i.e. shorten ‘walking section and smooth out sound.  Ensure Assessors are clearly directed to the separate Travel diary/blog.

This was a really positive and helpful session and I do feel much clearer on the way towards formal assessment. The bullet point list looks very organised as well but, of course, I now have to do the work involved in it!

 

Looking at the work of Ed Atkins

In our video meet I talked with my tutor for quite some time around my personal experience of being an Avatar in Second Life.  It is enjoyable and interesting to be able to fly, to run fast, to suddenly transport to a different space and I certainly understand the attraction for people who have disabilities that limit them in their ‘real’ life. The aspect I’ve noticed most though is that no one looks old and there’s no facial expression.  It’s really surreal to watch a video of a virtual conference at Second Life where the staff and developers discuss topics as their avatar selves but there are no non-verbal cues to give any indication of feelings. I had written that I had wanted to avoid an ‘Uncanny Valley’ effect and for my Avatar to look as human as possible and my tutor suggested I also have a look at the work of Ed Atkins. In fact, I had looked briefly at his work a while ago but have to confess that I felt slightly unnerved by his robotic face and movements and digitally altered, deadpan voice.

Below is the video suggested by my tutor:-

 

I spent further time looking at his work, video interviews, such as with Louisiana channel and talks,  and articles about him. With this second look I realised that I am being reminded of some of the young men I worked with in the past who would come to see me having suddenly shaved their head back to a skinhead style and/or having a vivid new tattoo to show me – rainbow crusted colours writhing over their skin. “What’s happened? Will he tell me?”, I would think to myself and wait.

Below is Ed Atkins talking about another of his works.

He refers to alienation, depression. The ‘literalising’ of a working day of a person on the edge of collapse – a disembodied, talking avatar head with a ‘real’ person at the side of him – yet with a hooded head. There is an emptiness about Atkins’s characters and he believes that “Loss, insufficiency inability, failure and in particular melancholy play a great role”. He uses so many different filmic and narrative techniques – photography, video, CGI avatars, installations and performance. I heard him say in another interview that he starts with a title first – ‘a lifeline that enables one to go mad underneath’. Even one apparently simple word such as ‘food’ can be echoed through so many other things.  His work is about what’s not there – never there – real people.

I have the Kindle edition of his first book A Primer for Cadavers (2018) which is a selection of his texts from 2010 to 2016 and below is the beginning of one of his poems Elective Mute (2014)

The afterword of the book by Joe Luna  refers to Atkins as “….. an elegiac, erotic Frankenstein for the twenty-first century”. What did I think? Well, it’s a different experience just to read the words which are like a stream of consciousness, a form of rapping, coming from someone full of words who is attempting to push through to the kernel of something far deeper where words are not enough, although their force might push him over the edge and into the abyss. I can, therefore, understand his reference to his title for a work being ‘a lifeline’.  I did feel depressed after reading through the book but, after a while another thought struck me.  When those words become part of a multi-media performance it takes the edge off them slightly, so they become more like a slowly beating heart. To me Atkins is touching upon those existential anxieties I’ve written about before  –  to be alive, knowing this isn’t permanent; to seek another, knowing that, in the end, I’m essentially alone.  In choosing to be in ‘avatar’ form Atkins is questioning what it is to be human I think

Here is just a little more of him

 

There’s more I want to write about – on the uses of landscape vistas in second Life and also the views of Andy Clark, professor of philosopher and Chair in Logic and Metaphysics at the University of Edinburgh. I was introduced to his ideas through a blog post from my fellow student Sarah-Jane Field, and they really struck a chord with me as, to me, they follow on from Marshall McLuhan’s earlier ideas on how we model technologies on our brain networks. More to come in time then….

 

 

 

 

Atkins, E.(2018) A Primer for Cadavers (Kindle Locations 2046-2050). Fitzcarraldo Editions. Kindle Edition.
http://channel.louisiana.dk/video/ed-atkins-something-missing

 

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