A review of technical processes: Process as Concept (round 1)

I’m getting ready for my MA review.  Thus I am thinking about how to communicate my process and my thoughts about my work with my review panel.  Much of what is here can also be found in snippets in other blog postings — I think.  I am trying to connect the dots between what I’ve already written here, in other documents, what I’ve said to my graduate adviser, and what still exists only in my brain. This should really be labelled “ramblings on process, part 1.” Part 2 can be read here.

Construction, Deconstruction, and Reconstruction

A review of technical processes: Process as Concept

Jennifer Lee Hallsey, 31 August 2014

The text is a tissue of quotations drawn from the innumerable centres of culture… the writer can only imitate a gesture that is always anterior, never original. Roland Barthes, “The Death of the Author.” In Image, music, text. 1977.

Sometime within my second term of my MA candidacy I began to look at my making practice not as a means to an end, but instead as a constant, on-going practice of a larger whole. One piece was not simply born of a single concept or aesthetic ideal and then constructed and concluded; instead I began making forms that exist in a continuous state of flux.

I stopped looking at my work as jewelry. I rarely use the word ‘jewelry’ or similar words such as ‘ring’, ‘brooch’, ‘necklace’, or the like to describe pieces because I find them limiting. When words such as ‘ring’ or ‘necklace’ are used to describe pieces, they place too much emphasis on function as opposed to object itself. The only time I use such words is when it is necessary to describe a piece’s function, and this is rarely imperative in an artist statement. Instead I prefer to use words like ‘form’ or ‘object’. I actually prefer the word ‘text’, but I regret that this is too confusing for a general audience.

[A] text is any object that can be “read,” whether this object is a work of literature, a street sign, an arrangement of buildings on a city block, or styles of clothing. It is a coherent set of signs that transmits some kind of informative message. This set of symbols is considered in terms of the informative message’s content, rather than in terms of its physical form or the medium in which it is represented. [1]

Through process I have become very aware, objectively, of the words that I use in discussing my work. I have evaluated, through the use of text analyzing applications, my artist statements over the past year. This has given me insight into the way I write for an audience. For example, out of the artist statements analyzed, I know that ‘piece’, ‘language’, and ‘process’ were the third, fourth, and fifth most used words (after ‘I’ and ‘my.’)[2]

My artist statements tended to be quite short. I only used 1,018 words to discuss my work in a year. I often used definitions of words or quotes because I don’t believe that it is my place as the artist to tell the viewer exactly what my piece is about. I would much prefer to write about process if I have to write, but writing about intent is a requisite of the MA candidacy.      

To give a text an Author is to impose a limit on that text, to furnish it with a final signified, to close the writing. Roland Barthes, “The Death of the Author.” In Image, music, text. 1977.

Intent is ever-changing and often personal. Post-rationalization is also a large part of my process. When working often I can’t see the forest for the trees, and I don’t see what is happening until I step back and take a look. Often still, that meaning will change.  Thus, speaking of intent is imposing a limit.  Whereas speaking of process is an open-ended discussion where a viewer is able to bring meaning and read the piece without my overt influence.

(…. round 2 I will begin discussing my work processes and how they tie into process as concept. Part 2 can be read here.)

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Text_(literary_theory)

[2] Before evaluating my artist statements through text analyzing software, I removed common words such as ‘the’, ‘is’, ‘if’, and ‘so’, as well as combined the same singular word with its plural form, such as ‘piece’ and ‘pieces’. I left the words ‘I’, ‘my,’ and ‘you’ to determine how much I spoke about myself versus others. It is imperative to note that there was absolutely no science involved in which words I kept and which words I removed.

One thought on “A review of technical processes: Process as Concept (round 1)

  1. Pingback: A review of technical processes: Process as Concept (round 2) | (title in progress) the work and research of artist jennifer lee hallsey

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