1-2-1 February 28

It is refreshing to speak with my lecturer Wendy McMurdo about my project, and this 1-2-1 was no exception.

Sometimes we can become so embroiled in a project that it’s hard not to become blinkered to certain ideas you hold.

This is why speaking about my plans with Wendy is so beneficial. Initially, we had a discussion regarding my Final Major Project Proposal, which did gain a higher level score, and the ways in which I can further clarity to my work plan.

But we focussed on next steps, which for me mean to perhaps step away from the research (as I have so much of that) and to begin to clearly focus on how I want my work to be displayed, but more importantly to bring in the personal to the project – why is it important to me, what is it about the global sand crisis that moves me, where did the idea come from and where is it going and why am I doing this?

The why stems from my long-term interest in environmental issues. Many moons ago my husband and I were members of Greenpeace and even took part in non-violent demonstrations such as tying ourselves to petrol pumps during the Stop Esso campaign in the early 2000s. But as life moved on, and we moved our lives to Cornwall, other interests took over and this is my way of reconnecting to one of my passions.

But it also connects me to the coastal location I now call home. Our village beach, Trevaunance Cove, is towered over by majestic red-tinged cliffs. You can look out at the ocean blue and imagine where you would sail to or turn around and look up at millennia in rock formation. Yet our local cliffs are prone to crumbling, tumbling to the shore and eventually turning to sand. And this is simply natural erosion. It leads me to question why we are mining this resource to such an extent by non-natural means for a booming global construction industry that it could potentially run out.

How I create this work reflects my desire to keep my processes as environmentally conscious as I can; simple techniques with minimal chemical input that produce camera-less images that are akin to images of our universe.

When I step out on a clear, starry night and look up at the sky, I am awed. It makes me marvel and feel inconsequential at the same time. It is a sense of awe that I hope my work will create – that something so beautiful and reminiscent of our universe can be created by such simple means.

Which leads me back to how by taking the time to consider our impact on the planet, we can make positive steps to remedy the negative steps we have taken, and still are taking.

As an aside, It was at this point in our discussion that I had to thank Wendy for encouraging me to order international photography magazine Foam #49, as inside it I discovered a creative I can’t quite believe I have never come across before.

And that is August Strindberg with his Celestographs. Looking at the images, I commented that I felt as if I’m somehow channelling his work. Despite them being made by slightly different means, the results are uncanny.

Figure 1: Josie Purcell. 2017. Harena Now
Figure 2: August Strindberg. 1894. Celestographs. Courtesy Royal Library, Stockholm.

We also discussed how I envisaged showing my work. Throughout this course I had always wanted to create some type of outdoor installation from my work and step away from a gallery style show. Yet I seem to have come full circle and I now see it very much including a gallery-style element.

Wendy helped me realise that even for my MA final project, I do not have to stick with one venue or even hold the different strands I have in mind in the one place. This in itself has helped me understand how a multiple venue/event could prove even more useful for sharing and promoting my work, even past the end of the MA.

One of the first things I need to do, other than make some new cyanotype and lumen images, is to begin printing out my work and living with them on my walls.

Moving house and having a place that has ample white walls at the moment will be a great space to replicate how they feel and how they interconnect in a gallery-style space. It will help me determine scale and layout.

Along with this, I need to try and get to the potential venues I’m hoping to use. Again, by taking images of the space I will be able to determine how the images will work.

Best get on with placing a test print order via the Uni Print Shop.

List of Figures:

Figure 1: Purcell, Josie. 2017. Harena Now.

Figure 2: Strindberg, August. 1894. Celestographs. Cabinet [online] Available at: http://www.cabinetmagazine.org/issues/3/celesographs.php [accessed March 3, 2018]