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  • martinamargaux

Tutorial 1 (30.10.2023)

It was my first tutorial of the course and my first tutorial ever. At a distance, I’m wondering if I used my time in the best way. Let’s go through it. Jonathan started by asking me what I would like to see happening in the course. I heard two questions in his query: what I’d like to happen to the course, and what I would like to happen to me/the work within the course. Sure enough, I gave two answers.


In the course, I hope to see connections amongst us classmates grow and deepen. I highly value the importance of a community, and every Thursday I find myself wanting to know and exchange more with the others. I am impressed by the variety of backgrounds, personalities and practices. I believe our differences can make our shared path in the next years truly extraordinary. Of course I knew I was signing up to a remote-led course, but I’m missing the opportunity for casual chats that often spontaneously happen at uni, outside the classrooms. I came up with an idea to create a Virtual Pub - I’ll propose it to whoever is interested (the idea came after the tutorial).


In my work, I would like to see my voice grow louder, stronger, clearer, more courageous.

The obstacles appear to be very clear to me (according to Jonathan!). I feel a strong need/obligation to produce, deliver, perform, impress, achieve…not deceive (others or myself), and this acts as an impediment to my creative process and sometimes triggers paralysing insecurity. Perhaps this is also due to the fact that I have a creative job in the art industry, where I do have an obligation to come up with creative solutions and deliver them in order to get paid.

But this is a totally different and new context. Uncertainty is not necessarily bad, the unknown is the territory where I can be surprised, not setting a predefined, fix goal can lead to much more interesting work. I need to reclaim my creative space. And this is the time to do that.


Jonathan and I talked about my post on Risk, in which I described my experience creating what I call “the blobby red thing”. We discussed the meaning of this experience to me. It made me realise that the process can be frustrating but can also be fun! Most importantly, the discoveries that can arise in the process. This experiment reminded me why and how strongly I feel about working with the lens. This is my language, my point of view, my portal. And that’s what I need to explore. Video but also rediscover photography.

Jonathan remarked on the sensorial aspect of the post. That’s something I also should explore, especially could within my macro work.

How to deal with the feeling of insecurity/inadequacy and the pressure of delivering/performing?

I’ve been thinking about this idea of creating a “persona”, another identity that is both close and distant to my authentic self.

At first, I thought it was a coward way to avoid directly implicating myself in my own work and therefore avoiding judgement , but there’s more to that. The more I think about it, the more I am intrigued. Even if it’s just an embryo of a though, I decided to share it with Jonathan, who supported the idea and suggested experimenting with it.

A lot of artists adopted a persona. It can serve as a mask that allows artists to step outside their comfort zones, to give themselves the freedom and permission to act.

A persona can be a useful tool for self-discovery and self-expression, allowing an artist to explore facets of their personality, experiences, or desires they may not be aware of.


What would this persona be like? It could have the qualities that I feel I’m lacking, maybe? How would that play out? It is me and it’s so not me. I still have a hard time saying “I am an artist” out loud - this persona has no doubts, they are an artist.

I cannot avoid thinking about my past experience in theatre, having studied and worked as a professional actress for a good 10 years. I thought I closed that door and threw away the key. But now it seems someone is knocking from the other side.

I am intrigued and terrified to see how I’ll develop this idea. I also believe in connections, serendipity and chance. Maybe it’s time for me to face the fears and the ghosts of what I think I left behind but I’m still dragging around.


Jonathan then spoke about my previous work with the artists’ portraits and asked a question about what’s next/what’s more (something like that, I don’t remember the specific question as I suspect it was intentionally cryptic). During my admission interview, I mentioned my interest in investigating further the concept of portraiture and potentially turning my focus on a self-portrait.

Can the persona project evolve into a self-portrait project? What would my portrait look like? That’s maybe a project for the end of the course…It’s hard to project myself two years or more from now. But I sure can start experimenting on it. Let’s see where it leads.

If the lens is my language, what does this persona look like? What universe do they inhabit? How do they express themselves? What would an interview be conducted? Where am I in the making of this portrait?

If I enter the space of the portrait, the image is the image of a double. The lens becomes a sort of mirror, as I am both the subject and the object. There’s something in there.

It feels like pieces are being joint together outside of my control. Unexpected. Mysterious. Intriguing. Fun?


Overall, during the tutorial, I feel that in some moments I fell into a performance trap and vomited a thousand words; I wish I had more time to listen and dialogue with Jonathan. But I also found this tutorial very useful to regain focus on the direction I’m taking and on the ways I can make things happen.


Jonathan reminded me that this course is based on process. No one is expecting or demanding me to get to the end with 10 pieces (although I would like that!). Last question: When you work well – what is it like?


I work well when I believe in something. When I feel I have a clear goal or objective, I become unstoppable. I am not good at multitasking, but I have a very high capacity to focus on one thing, if I believe in it. To the point that everything else becomes secondary.

Exploring the territory of the unknown can be an objective.


If part of me is not 200% convinced, I tend to get lost easily in ideas and not take them till the end. I start something, then change my mind, then start something else, then get frustrated and drop everything - multitasking mode, overload, system crash.

Maybe if I set smaller goals, daily goals, timed goals, it could help me keep the focus on what I’m doing and actually finish things, take them to a deeper level. Start with one, trust the process, and grow exponentially.

I need to create my own rituals to access creative space.


RECAP:


I work at my best:

When I believe in something -> leap of faith (possible exercise – act as if)

When I feel I have a clear goal -> change needed to favour process – set shorter goals and focus periods and follow them When I feel supported–> change needed (needing support is not praise seeking)

When I work with people -> to be extended (see support above)

When I am pressured -> urgency good. Performative pressure bad

When I am healthy (physical/spiritual routine prepares me for a work session) -> to be extended When I have fun -> to be reminded every day!


Obstacles of which I am aware:

focus on achieving, producing, delivering, performing, not deceiving (others and myself), are the source of fears and insecurity and an impediment to my creative practice.

Resolutions:

- Develop my personal artistic language through lenses (literally and metaphorically)

- Explore deeper the practice of experimentation and challenge myself to work well without setting a predefined result

- Create my own ritual

- Experiment constructing a persona

- Research and inspiration (get better at navigating the library!)

- Trust the process. Don’t think, DO

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