Feedback and networking

I suppose I have always sought exposure. I think that confrontation, positive confrontation, is a good thing and when used correctly will help a discussion to develop. Ten years ago the Forum Group that I set up as a print critique group enabled my printing to develop where, if I had been left to my own devices, it would never have done so otherwise. I am very confident with the print quality and even more sure that the critique I get from Forum will challenge me if the quality falters.

The single greatest lack on this course of study is the dearth of critique – feedback on work in progress. The TVG meets every two months and looks at work, mostly with a tutor present. The presence of a tutor has its benefits, but also its downfalls. Clearly an informed presence can add authority, but it can also stymie the voice of hesitant presenters and commenters. And so this is why I value the burgeoning network I have in obtaining critique’s on my work.

The course suggests the development of ‘networks’ to not only turn to for support, but also to promote work, and for resources &c. I went to my ‘support network’ (I’ve never thought before to collectivise them in that sense) to provide a view on the work in development for Ass 5. I provided them with a video and asked them to consider the work, not the video. The result was a salutary lesson in communication! I am planning to develop a web-site and think that maybe a better presentation method than video.

A good deal of the respondents commented on the ‘filmic’ component of the work. I had assumed that viewers who thought they hadn’t enough time to view an image would simply press ‘pause’, or ‘rewind’ and if it became boring ‘fast forward’. If I share work in this vein again I will need to think very hard about how to ‘package’ the request so that the viewer looks and comments on what it is that I searching for critique on!

I received over 3000 words from those that I sought comment from regarding the Ass 4 work. I had sent the work to fellow students across all levels – 1,2 and 3. I think one of the real benefits of this course is that students exist across the levels with hugely varying levels of comprehension of work. And those comments from level one students were of equal value to those at higher levels. I also asked practising artists who have nothing to do with the course and other practitioners who have a connection to the subject. I can’t think that I would ever reveal the network, there are those who know their opinion is highly valued by me and to whom I regularly ask for help. What is true to say is: networks are a work in progress.

The main feedback points from ‘the network’ are:

Video: – as said above, many viewers had difficulty seeing beyond the ‘video’ nature of the video – timing was a particular issue, this is despite trying to judge the timing of the text images.

Texts:  – Variable presence of parentheses confused many viewers and which didn’t induce the kind of ambiguity that I sought. As Wendy suggested in her review (of the physical assignment) it was “too rich’ in narrative and needed to be refined by some sort of concept.

Artefacts: – some confusion over the size and position, but most importantly was the notion of context. One reviewer, a practising artist, wondered why they were there in the first place. Arrogantly I had assumed that everyone knew what they were. Providing an artist statement which would have contextualised the work would have removed this anxiety.

Narrative: – there were some comments about the narrative arc the work appeared to reveal. This is probably because the last image was an apparent ‘nice’ blue sky. Whilst I like this image a lot, it has a great deal of emotional content for me, it won’t work if it is construed as a resolution image. I need to think whether I place the image within the body of the narrative i.e. rework the sequencing/edit or let it go from the work.

I was really pleased when a few reviewers said that they had strong emotional connection to the work, that they felt is reflected some of their own personal histories, or at least evoked them. Very gratifying.



2 thoughts on “Feedback and networking

  1. I’ve known that you have a quite a varied support/feedback network. What you haven’t written is how hard you’ve worked to build this. I should also say that you’ve provided a model for me in terms of seeking it out.


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