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Low Residency at CSM

I have mixed feelings about the intense time I spent in London for the low residency, but the strongest emotions are definitely heading towards the positive spectrum. That's what I need to focus on.

  • Meeting my classmates was absolutely fantastic. A bunch of weird extraordinary people that I am so lucky to call friends. When I first arrived at CSM I just couldn't stop smiling. All the familiar faces appeared one by one, with a body attached! I am not a very physical person (despite being Italian), but the first reaction I had was to hug everyone. The time we spent together, simply hanging out, was incredibly precious to me. I am certain that it will open up a whole new level of interactions during are next virtual classes and meetups.

  • Walking through the school made me somehow realise that yes, I am a student at Central Saint Martins. I think I didn't truly digest that information until now. The space is immense, filled with people, equipment, creative life. Walking through the studio spaces gave me a bittersweet feeling, oh I wish this could be my daily environment! There is such a contrast between my lonely practice in a tiny apartment and the bursting energy of the studios.

  • I'm used to show my film work at festivals and in movie theatre, but this was is my first exhibition ever, it has been so wonderful to see something I made among all these different artworks together. The more we grow up and become "responsible adults", the more it becomes rear to feel unprecedented emotions. This was a feeling I never felt before. My dear friend Ataman came a couple of days later. I was genuinely happy to share this part of me with him.

  • The planning was super busy (sometimes maybe too busy). Jonathan made a fantastic work. Even more so as he is going through a very difficult time. The passion and care he puts into the course is a true source of inspiration. There couldn't be a better person to lead us on this path.

  • Collaborative Making with Alex Shady: I had fun for about half of it. Then I kept thinking about the photography department we passed through during the class. I was physically wrapped with pink ribbons, but my mind was somewhere else. The performance part reminded me of my dramatic arts academy days. Something I now feel very distant from. But I think for most of the class it has been a new and inspiring experience, so I'm happy it was included in our planning.

  • The Bookart Workshop with Rosie Sherwood was amazing. I think I love books, though I never stopped to reflect about "what is a book". I loved the freedom in the definition that Rosie shared: "a number of pages attached to each other in some way". A few days after the workshop, I spent a beautiful day with Karen, Daniel and Dionne. We visited Sheperds together and Karen shared her wisdon on the subject. That day together was one of the best days of residency for me (I don't function well in big groups).

  • The etching workshop was also great. I've never approached this technique before. Daniel and I were particularly eager to learn about photo-etching, because we are both photographers but also because we're both really bad at drawing! Paul was very knowledgable and kind. He offered to teach us that another time. Sounds like a great reason to come back to London soon...

  • I must admit that I had little expectations about a class on archives. But I was wrong. I enjoyed the passion with which the archivist introduced us to her work. And, well, I believe Stanley Kubrick to be a divine creature, so going through items from his archive was like going on a holi pilgrimage. Touching the objects he touched or the papers he wrote onto transported me in a dimension of ecstasy. I loved his "key worries list". I make those kinds of lists too :P

  • The selection of galleries and art spaces that we visited on the last day offered us a great overview of the alternative art scene in London. I particularly connected with the concept of Studio Voltaire. It made me very nostalgic of the time I used to live here...maybe someday I will do a residency here?!

  • During the low res we received the feedback of our unit 1 assessment. I was confused and honestly disappointed by the quality of the feedback. Not because it was positive or negative, but because it barely mentioned the work at all. More than an evaluation of the work, it felt like a judgement of the individual. I was prepared and actually looking forward to constructive critique. But what I got from the feedback was pretty much indifference. This element certainly spoiled my day. And it probably wasn't worth it.

  • I managed to find the time on the last day to visit the photography and video department and introduce myself to the technicians there. I want to understand how they can support me in my research and practice and what kind of work I could do in the shared studios/labs. Ray, Glen and Tim were very kind and happy to meet me, although none of them knew of the existence of MA Fine Art Digital! They said they'd be available to support me via email about my experimentations and that they could reserve a space for me in the darkroom if I was to come up all the way from Paris to use the lab.  I'd be willing to commute to London for the day to have the opportunity to learn and refine my techniques. I asked about workshops or tutorials focusing on alternative darkroom techniques but unfortunately the lab is mostly dedicated to traditional B&W printing. On the other hand, the technicians told me that there’s a great tutor specialised on the subject, Guy Peterson, and that he teaches a short course at CSM about this. Excited about the idea of learning from him, I asked how I could have access to his course. They answered me that I would have to apply to the short course directly, the cost of which is 820£. Considering the sacrifices I'm already making to pay my very expensive international tuition (thanks Brexit), it doesn’t sound like viable (or fair) option. I shall enquire with the administration to see if there is a way for me to assist to the course without practicing or at least talk to this tutor. I think these 10 in London with my peers marked an important milestone in the course. I can't wait to do it again!

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