Try, Try, Try Again.
“One must imagine Sisyphus happy.”
Albert Camus, Myth of the Sisyphus
It is considered an axiom that “if at first you don’t succeed try, try, try again”, but perhaps ‘success’ (in regards to the production of a body of visual work) may not be easily measured or quantified. The judgement involved in naming something a success or failure is symptomatic of the time and place, and contingent on the critical apparatus one uses to define it. We may have specific intentions for our work. But if the stuff that we produce differs from our percieved intentions it is easy to consider results as aberrations and as having less significance, importance or indeed resonance than the results that we set out to achieve. In everyday usage errors usually have negative connotation. I would argue the categorization of these is not necessarily clear and straightforward. Repitiition and process are often traits of contemporary photographic practice in forms such as the series, or the typology but are these forms still relavent ways of working? Is it in the try, try, trying that we make the most interesting, insightful and exciting descoveries about the way we make work?
Essentially this term I want to encourage you to make ‘mistakes’. Enter into a process of experimentation that is not focused on an end result; specifically a final piece of finished photographic work but rather concentrate on developing a way of working that is informed by factors such as what you are reading, what you are looking at, what you are feeling, what you are thinking, what you are concerned about and in consideration of how your ideas evolve. You should demonstrate your ability to create an interesting and ongoing dedication to making work and the willingness to experiment beyond your normal working practice. Take risks. This term what is important is the progression of the work over a period of time and your ability to experiment. It is really important that you produce some new work for every seminar session that is in a form that the whole group can see (whether that is in the production of prints or in a digital format presented on a projector).
For the final crit you will be expected to produce a formal five minute presentation combining digital and/or analogue (ie the use of physical objects) that demonstrates clearly what you have done this term. Within this presentation you will present the evolution of your work and demonstrate the level of interest you have brought to the project. It should succinctly evidence your practical and critical understanding of what main themes and ideas underline the decisions you are making whilst producing pictures. In essence you will be expected to highlight to the group where your current engagements are and how you came to this point. In addition to this presentation you are expected to submit (in a digital format) your extended research (including edits of the work in progress, experiments and well cited references to wider culture) and a short (max 200 words) project description contextualising your work by identifying the main themes and research areas you have been interested in.