Research: An article on Huck about prisons and photo projects

I am in talks with a prison about venturing in to do some work. So this was interesting. Will return to post and comment more later:


Oxford House…Development

After touching base with Wendy about A2 possibilities,  I have decided to submit the Oxford House/Nexus work. It is possible to tie this in with the requirements; i.e. to tell a social story, with a concern for ethics in the making and presentation. However, I still have all the section 2 exercises to do, which I’ve had not had time for, due to a heavy work load which includes getting Nexus ready.  As such I will continue to take notes here and draw the work together for the assignment after we have opened on November 10th. It is a probably a bit overdue in an ideal world but I cannot pre-empt my work, nor the other artists who I will need to link to in order to show the full depth of the project.

This morning I spoke with John Umney, one of the other artists, who will be printing most of the images for me. I wanted to ask him about how he’d like to receive the images, format etc. But I also value his advice and asked him about some editing decisions.

Key image

We discussed the freedom evident in the images and also some of the sequencing. Some show a more structured story, whereas others less so, and hearing John explore his impressions was very useful. I will be printing one image larger than the rest and needed to talk about which out of two possibilities. John helpfully suggested I look at the detail in one of them which has quite a lot of black in, and expressed his immediate possible interpretations between the two which was also useful to explore. I will need to go and speak with the printers (who will print this single large image) and in the end some of what they have to say may also determine which of the two I choose as the key image for the whole piece.


The work will be presented in three sections and Keith Greenough had asked me how I will title them. I was torn between two options. Not to title them at all, or I had thought about the possibility of using relevant quotations as headings to help determine each section, but my worry was that this would be too didactic. It would narrow the meaning down and while Wendy had asked me to ‘keep it simple’ in the previous assignment, I would always much prefer to leave the reader with some work to do. I cannot forget the person whose work I admire so much, Robert Wilson, who is described as using “the ambiguity of language to undermine the concept of a stable self” (Holmberg, 1996. p64) He says he tries to “open up meaning” rather than narrowing it down by dictating interpretation (p7), and presumably therefore moral value.  I am concerned moral value will be read and am loath to imply it.  And so after a brief chat with John have decided to forgo headings. It is enough that I state in the opening statement the work is presented in three sections. This along with layout will be sufficient.


Holmberg, A, 1996. The Theatre of Robert Wilson, Cambridge Press, Cambridge. Pg’s. 7, 64




General research: AI

The Nexus work has helped me to clarify a subject I have been tackling inadvertently over the last couple of years with all my work I do, one way or another – how to be a human in the modern world, all that entails in relation to AI and a dramatically changing social landscape/reality. Ever since I first got an iPhone I have wondered about how we humans are stored on those little objects and how all those apps are a digital record of who we essentially are.

The following article is a fantastic summation of so much of this and asks some excellent questions:

“Human creativity has always been a response to the immense strangeness of reality, and now its subject has evolved, as reality becomes increasingly codeterminate, and intermingled, with computation. If that statement seems extreme, consider the extent to which our fundamental perceptions of reality – from research in the physical sciences to finance to the little screens we constantly interject between ourselves in the world – have changed what it means to live, to feel, to know. As creators and appreciators of the arts, we would do well to remember all the things that Google does not know.” (Finn, 2017)

This is a super important article for me, and although my Nexus work is inherently linked to the questions in this work, I must stay focused on education – but of course it relates to much, much more and beyond.  And I may well need to read the book (along with all the others on my shelf!) …




Research: General – but related to Oxford House and potentially other projects

Mothers and Others, Sarah Blaffer Hrdy – page 162; The AKA tribe, both parents spend a lot of time with offspring, since AKA fathers are in camp often, they remain within eyesight of babies 88% of the time  – highest paternal figure for any human society -Hewlett 1998, Tables 16.4 and 16.6 – See also Konner 2005 for overview . Resulting in secure/safe relationships due to amount of time available through leisure = more time parenting, comparative minimal time devoted to ‘economic’ activity (2009)

See also Our Babies Ourselves for references on economic needs affecting social relationships. These references are in response to someone saying that a post capitalist society, where AI takes over the grunt work, leaving citizens to ‘work’ less and pursue passions, seems like a luxury for westerners only. While it is critical and right to be aware of how some non-western societies are struggling to survive, never mind pursue passions, there are two points to consider. Looking at pre-agrarian societies we see a long history of more equalised balance between economic and non-economic activities (in some cases). And also, we might think about the impact western governments, capitalist – based economic policies have had on poorer nations, effectively colonising them through the World Bank at times (Dialectics of Liberation, Verso, 2015)

Also, Frithjof Bergman whose talk I recorded here a few weeks ago, has worked with communities in Michigan, poor though, not rich  – people who suffer under capitalism. He has worked elsewhere in non-western countries, albeit societies that have been affected by western economic history -i.e. colonisation.  And importantly states he is thinking globally in New Work.  Available again here:

Research: Oxford House

Just a few more links I have come across recently that would be good to keep here as background:

Some more about AI and technology –

Crisis of Capitalism (lots of great stuff here)

Slightly unrelated but about changing way we are educated relying on technology

I need to search for examples of pre-agrarian societies toiling a lot less than us lot  – I think I recall there being a section in Mothers and Others by Sarah Blaffer Hrdy.



Oxford House: Beginning to bring this work together

I recently worked with Honor on the images for the Oxford House exhibition, Nexus. I have another shoot planned soon and a review on Saturday at TVG (OCA) of what I have so far. Time is marching on, so I am not sure if there will be time to do very much more.  I have been thinking about recording an interview with Honor and putting it on a webpage along with links to ideas and sources of information that I have tried to incorporate into the work. The interview would be accompanied by images from earlier sessions photographing Honor’s class as well as images from the Oxford House archive if possible, or perhaps other images with creative commons rights, of Bethnal Green in the late 1900s.

Here is a link to information I published today online for the first time.