On checking my blog for assessment I found that some work was missing from Part 2. I add it here. I had viewed the work but for some reason not written it up.
Kaylynn Deveney’s series The Day to Day Life of Albert Hastings achieves something remarkable. The images are gentle and thoughtful but it’s not just that – it’s the way that she’s closed the loop by asking Alfred to caption them. Sharon Boothroyd does something similar with the Polaroid “I’d get my feet in” shown in the course notes, and of course Gillian Wearing’s “Signs that say what you want them to say…” I wonder what would happen if you worked the other way around with the subject taking the picture and the photographer captionning them. It certainly makes me realise that when the same person has control of both the image and the text, there’s a lack of input from anyone else and the possible readings of the work are tightened.
Karen Knorr is someone whose work I still struggle to engage with fully despite the fact that it makes strong points very eloquently. I think it feels very polished, a little cold at the edges, and I know that this is probably the point of the Gentlemen series. Her combination of images and text shows how ingrained the patriarchy was at the time of the work – I know that things have changed a bit since then but I wonder how much. I very much like the method that she has used here and I would be interested to learn more about where the text came from. When I look at this work it reminds me of the Channel 4 documentary when Grayson Perry met Chris Huhne and made a vase that featured patterns inclding Huhne’s head, speed cameras and a penis. It struck me on the documentary that Huhne was quite pleased to be honoured in a pot rather than humbled or pausing to think on his actions. This view is suggested by Perry in a Radio Times piece. (Radio Times 22.10.14)
Grayson laughs. “No, that confidence! I don’t think he has uncertainties. He’s Teflon!” He had wanted this subject particularly because “making the series, from the word go we were looking for differences of race, religion, sex. But I said that I was also interested in the people in charge: middle-class, middle-aged, male – they’re a group too. They hide in a suit and they don’t think they’re an ethnic group but they are. It’s like people who speak RP and think they have no accent. I needed a guy who is all those things but then has a big disrupted moment. Prison!”
I think that Karen shows this approach too – she’s making this “invisible in plain sight” group visible, and her use of text shows how entrenched that group and its attitudes are (or were at the time).