October 1, 2009

This week has been spent researching for the essay which seems to be a huge wall to scramble over. My peers finished theirs this week and posted them having read through them it is obvious the level hat is expected. The comfort is that reading Tuesdays chat archive (couldn’t attend Tuesdays chat due to a hospital appointment) everyone seems to have taken a journey to get to the finished paper.

I decided to do some online research in to the context of walking.

This is the resulting thread:

Walking definition





Totality of everyday life:

And this article by Guy Ernst Debord

Everyday life is not everything – although its osmosis with specialized activities is such that in a sense we are never outside of everyday life. But to use a facile spatial image, we still have to place everyday life at the center of everything. Every project begins from it and every realization returns to it to acquire its real significance. Everyday life is the measure of all things: of the fulfillment or rather the nonfulfillment of human relations; of the use of lived time; of artistic experimentation; of revolutionary politics.

It seems to me that this phrase “critique of everyday life” could and should also be understood in this reverse sense: as everyday life’s sovereign critique of everything that is external or irrelevant to itself. The question of the use of technological means, in everyday life and elsewhere, is a political question (and out of all the possible technical means, those that are implemented are in reality selected in accordance with the goal of maintaining one class’s domination)


Have also been considering developing the ideas in the August steps video.

Been thinking about how people walk heel to toe, about the way the physical action of walking moves through the body.

Wondering about ways to film people walking to see what might be revealed.

Have a couple of ideas around this, based on the small pieces I did at the end of the course last year at the local community centre here. Need a couple of small video cameras, seen some cheap ones on ebay. Thinking of a mobile structure to house them on to attempt to film different view points simultaneously while moving and reduce camera shake.

Tracked down a lecture posted on the Dance Tech web site by philosopher of embodiment Alva Noe, talking about his book ‘Out of our heads: why you are not your brain.’

In this talk Noe states that:

‘Consciousness is not something that happens inside of us- it is something that we achieve’.

‘It depends on a dynamic, on an interaction… it depends on our larger bodies, environment dependent capacities, on our emplacement in a landscape of a particular kind and indeed ultimately on other people as well.’

Have also been doing some research on Stelarc’s and his ideology. His statement that the architecture of our biological body is now obsolete, that humans already exists as cyborgs due to our use of technologies and are developing even further in to a hybrid cyborg creations.

Have ordered a monologue on Stelarc and am hoping to build a better contextual understanding of his position.

Artist Patti Belle Hastings takes on some of these same issues in her artists’ book and website Cyborg Mommy.




September 25, 2009

Writing my MPR this week helped bring in to focus a question that had come to a head from doing the August step video project.


This was:


 The role of location (and of clothing) and the relevance of this added information it threw in to the mix when photographing or videoing walking. Initially I  had thought to concentrate on the focus being about the physical act of walking, but was finding that the steps were being inevitably connected to a location and was getting confused by this.



At the very start of this project in 2007 my aim was to find out whether there was a link to every day movements (e.g. walking) that we didn’t necessarily pay much attention to establishing, maintaining and as repository for  our identities. My initial idea was to present these movements in some way as a portrait, as something that could be seen to relate to a particular individual and their identity.



Because I had little prior knowledge of the theories and  philosophies that might support my initial idea it has taken me a deal of reading to create the thread to help clarify the idea behind my project, that is that our identities  are partly rooted in these movements, and that we process all sorts of information through our bodies, at a conscious and sub conscious level and that this information directly feeds into making us who we are and the person others perceive us to be which in turn then feeds back in to our understanding of our self.


The body and its movements when seen in the light of embodiment theory, as a ‘lived body’, can be seen to act as a sort of conduit which allows us to give and receive constant information about ourselves, others and the world.


‘The surface is where self meets what is other than self’.


Leder, D.  ‘The Absent Body.’ University of Chicago Press 1990 (p.11)



So the surface and/or environment where these movements take place (interface?) could be seen to become as relevant as the body movements themselves as the body movements don’t happen in isolation but take on meaning by happening in a context. (That context will need some defining too…e.g. geographical, sociological, environmental, and political to provide it with understood frame work of relevance?)


‘The body is at once a biological organism, a ground of personal identity, and a social construct.’


Leder, D.  ‘The Absent Body.’ University of Chicago Press 1990 (p.99)


September 21, 2009

This project has evolved as a response to my interest in exploring the link between our movements (for the purpose of the MA, specifically non body language movements) and our identities.

My research has come to be  focused  around the link between identity and movement, of embodiment and disembodiment, the materialized, de materialized and the philosophies of Descartes and Merleau-Ponty.


Throughout unit one I have focused on constructing a methodology in order to explore these ideas.

Videoing movement, slowing footage down, lifting stills allowed me to make slide shows and short video animations which explore movements


and to ask questions about appropriate ways of filming these movements. E.g. what areas of the body to film, whether or not to include the face, question the role of background and environment?



I have been using the following programmes

Credo: for animation from video footage of the body.


Korsakow: to experiment with a non linear format.

 Isadora:  to create a piece where video and physical interaction may take place in real time.


Through out August 2009  I attempted to provide a more systematic and structured context for presenting these movements and have done his by attempting to add an empirical element by wearing a pedometer to record the number of steps I take daily and keep a video diary of myself walking for a short period each day.

Steps august 09 video still 9


“But in reality the body is changing form at every moment; or rather there is no form, since form is immovable and reality is movement. What is real is the continual change of form: form is only a snapshot view of a transition.”
                                                             —Henri Bergson, Creative Evolution 


‘The surface is where the self meets what is other than self.’  Leder, D. ‘The Absent Body.’ The University of Chicago Press 1990 (page 11)


The meeting point between our bodies and the surfaces they encounter will be the starting point to explore the link between identity and movement .

In order to continue this I aim to:

1. Develop core project and methodologies employed to a more specific view point.

2.  Create  better definition of key words e.g.: identity/surface/environment/embodiment.

3. Book motion tracking facilities at Newcastle University.

4. continue to produce paper based pieces alongside digital pieces. http://www.slideshare.net/susanmort/steps-august-2009

5. Produce prototype for final piece.

Previous Post

September 11, 2009

MAVA started back on Tuesday with the 1st group chat which caught me on the back foot as I had only remembered in the morning the chat was taking place.


T he chat discussion was around the essay and tagging and curating the weblogs.


Have felt dislocated from the blogging process since the chat with Andy a month or so back and been unsure as how to use the tool. There was an interesting discussion with Jonathan Kearney abut learning and methodologies to achieve learning.


It again brought home to me how entrenched I am in a previous understanding about learning and aims and how I need to make adjustments to my practice.


The area around providing a structured context both with in my own vision and also in terms of others practice is proving to be my biggest challenge, to keep a coherent overview rather than to just go with the flow.


I am struggling to move away from just letting my practice evolve organically and not keep on top of it to build a context.



Have been thinking again about the journey of my questioning of movement that developed through becoming aware of repeated actions whilst printmaking, which then lead me on in to dance practice to try to explore this better. The time spent in a dance focused environment provided me with a valuable way of looking at body movement and awareness.


I am finding myself struggling across disciplines and their languages or terminologies and thought structures and also across what really amounts to over 30 years of disparately weaving in and out of practice. The request to draw this all in to one directed line of discussion is a big ask. But something that feels core and something that is one of the core reasons I have chosen to take this MA despite it challenging me in any areas.


This week I returned to researching movement ideas by looking at choreographers who take repeated movements and build with them.


Choreographer Edouard Locke’s work is very specific and precise.


He makes this statement about movement:


‘the only thing that gives us a shape is our memory of a shape.’




‘Because we are imative creatures if we are not clear about the shape of the body we are perceiving we are unclear about our own shape.’







‘when we look at something we have multiple layers. We look at the thing we are looking at and we often have mental images beside them… we are used to creating multiple series of layers visually.’





And for an example of his choreography:



October 3, 2008

                          some rough notes….    











August 24, 2008

A side effect of the thyroid seems to be that I come up in hives easily.


This has meant that I can blind print on to my skin.


It has been good to have the summer break to adjust to the idea and implications of having thyroid disease. one thing that I had always had confidence was my body. It was strong, quick, flexible a really useful tool. It has taken adjusting my ideas to accept that I have a physical disease. A sense of security has been removed for a while.


I have a sense of frustration at the time lost over the summer because of this. I am very behind in the work needed for the research paper and will need to ask if an extension may be possible.


u1 w20

January 31, 2008


To view please click bottom left hand of the white presentation screen