September 13, 2008

This has been the 1 st. week back at college.

For Monday’s chat session we were introduced to the Wimba virtual class room environment.

It is a more flexible environment than Blackboard was. But I found myself floundering when confronted with a new format to learn at short notice and my computer froze repeatedly while trying to use it in the group chat.

I have tried Wimba classroom a couple of times since without these problems occurring so am hopeful to be able participate more fully next week.

To follow up my ideas about the seeming need in society for women to under go some physical metamorphosis in order to gain acceptance I have been looking in to Fairy stories and their symbolism and there is often found in classic fairy tales an idea of physical suffering or mutilation in order to achieve a transformation and reach a level of acceptance in some way.

Such an ethic can be found in the story of the Little Mermaid. In order to fulfill her love for the Prince the Little Mermaid has her tongue cut out by the Sea Witch in exchange fora potion which gives her legs instead of a mermaid’s tail, although she looses her voice and walking will feel like walking on knives.

During  on line research came across philosopher Luce Irigaray

And Elaine Scarry’s book ‘The Body and Pain’ which I am ordering from Amazon

Further researches lead me to the work of dancer, choreographer and hybrid artist  Yann Marussich.

U2 W10

June 22, 2008

The work that I looked to as a degree student contained a lyrical content.

This maybe was reflective of the era and society that produced it.  Between or after the wars there was a need for nationalism, romanticism, reassurance and the lyrical with the aim to create a nationalist propaganda identity through drawing on the countries’ folklore and idealistic stereotypes.

A few weeks back when doing the mail art issue I was exchanging some emails with Bob Milner and discussing guillotines for paper cutting. For some reason the imagery in that exchange reminded me of the Little Red Ridding Hood story.

So I did some on line research into this folk story using the links below.

Here is a quote from the  Path of Needles page.

‘The bzou (werewolf) gives chase, and soon the girl can hear him on the path just behind her. She runs and runs until she reaches a river that’s swift and deep. Some laundresses work on the river bank. “Please help me cross,” she says to them. They spread a sheet over the water, holding tightly to its ends. She crosses the bridge of cloth and soon she’s safe on the other side.

Now the bzou reaches the river, and he bids the women help him cross. They spread a sheet over the water — but as soon as he is halfway across, the laundresses let go. The bzou falls into the water and drowns.

The werewolf is finally destroyed not by a passing woodsman or hunter, but by a group of women engaged in traditional women’s labor. Verdier comments: “This double role held by the laundresses — on the one hand allowing the girl to pass, thereby rescuing her, on the other drowning the wolf, killing him — is consistent with their role in the social reality of village life. In fact the job of assisting in ‘passages,’ of helping in childbirth and helping people to die, is held-at least in the Châtillonnais-by one and the same person, an aged woman, a woman who can at the same time handle the swaddling and the shroud, who washes infants as she washes the dead….If the laundresses bring about the death of the wolf, they bring about the [re-]birth of the girl.” ‘

My attention was caught by the laundresses role and symbolism. It tied in with the work of artist Alison Watt who I came across on a search round the National Gallery web site when researching artists who had been of interest when on my degree course. While I was at Chelsea on my Foundation course one of our tutors was artist in residence and I remember visiting the studio  there.

I was interested in Alison Watt’s use of fabric and interest in it

In ‘Fabric and Flesh’ podcast Watt says

‘the body becomes a series of lines and creases and folds and becomes abstracted.’

This idea began to link to the idea of the traditional role of women outlined in the original Little Red Riding Hood story and my thoughts around identity and movement.

I have been looking for smaller movements than those made in the dance studio and that tie in with an identity.

I spend much time washing and ironing  because of my son’s skin condition so thought to try to draw together some of these references in this small sequence.

This is a still from the above slide show. I am using slide show as I am having resolution problems when saving video files and need to look to find some solutions to this. I have brought a cheap 2nd hand digital video camera in the hope that the files will provide better resolution videos to work with.