Week 10 – Work in progress

In this week’s webinar I presented the images I took at the decommissioned factory pig farm and my progress in combining the deadbox imagery with the factory being disassembled. I had already been struggling on how to make this work and sort of had a working set, but my tutor pointed out the obvious; it didn’t work.

The power of the composite images was lost on transition to the architectural shots of the facility and the absence of integrated artwork a puzzling and unexplainable absence. Easily rectified by removing the offending images and keeping the work tightly knit with the composite images.

The sequencing of the first and last images referring to the same artwork from Hans Memling was not flowing very well, it could be seen as repetitious and the image crop was too tight. I have to see how to handle that; I do have a new final image which is the last supper from Da Vinci, this I think is metaphorically a fitting closure to the series.

One of the interior images which I thought was cliche and left out of the series was picked out as a good shot and I should consider including it. I was puzzling on what I could use to create a composite to avoid the earlier problem with out of context images, but Andy suggested that the trees through the window already looked like an artwork. Why not leave it as is and let the viewer puzzle it out? I really like that idea and plan to include that image in the series.

The inclusion of a Roman statue towards the end of the series was viewed as a bit disruptive, up to that point all the work had been 2 dimensional, this jump to a 3-dimensional figure was too abrupt. I plan to fix this by substituting one of the decommissioning images with a Roman period relief that provides an initial entry into 3D objects and does not leave the later statue stranded and lacking in context.

The more difficult comment is regarding why I have chosen to treat the factory farm location as an art gallery, and how do I intend to contextualize that. We had a discussion on this and a couple of thoughts came up that I had not previously considered. One is the contrast between the art industry and the meat industry as a form of institutional critique.

This is really interesting to further explore and contextualise, although this was not in my original intent some initial research into the institutional critique genre indicates that my work fits into this by critically reflecting on where art is located and who has access to it. The other aspect to consider was more psychological in how we perceive these artworks as classical masterpieces and what it means to place them in this context.

My intent with the gallery images is to contrast the high and the low, the rarified high culture of-the-art gallery with the base factory whose only purpose is to exploit animals for consumption. Although the more I read into the topic I can see that in many respects the art industry is in itself exploitative.

A further line of reasoning is to have people look at things they would either avoid or never see because of the secretive nature of the meat industry. It is not possible to view the artworks in the images without taking in the location; the images are by design forcing the viewer to look at the underbelly of consumerism and what does a factory farm mean.

Bibliography

ALBERRO, Alexander. 2009. ‘Institutional Critique’. The MIT Press [online]. Available at: https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/institutional-critique [accessed 18 Apr 2021].

‘Institutional Critique Overview’. 2021. The Art Story [online]. Available at: https://www.theartstory.org/movement/institutional-critique/ [accessed 18 Apr 2021].

PLEDGER, David. 2021. ‘Exploitation Is At The Core Of The Arts Industry’. ArtsHub Australia [online]. Available at: https://www.artshub.com.au/news-article/opinions-and-analysis/grants-and-funding/david-pledger/exploitation-is-at-the-core-of-the-arts-industry-251320 [accessed 18 Apr 2021].

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