Green Screen Workshop

In our Green Screen workshop we were taught the basics of how green screen works, and the use of Premiere Pro in order to change the backgrounds. The backgrounds can also be changed through a live feed, like we were using in the session.

Green screens actually used to be blue, but it was found that green is better for technical reasons and the fact that people often don’t wear that kind of green, nor there are many people with green eyes. It has been found, however, that blonde hair and a green background can be a little bit awkward as the blonde can pick up some green. To light it, you can for example use 4 lights at the front, 2 at the side and one at the back. Lighting like this makes people pop out a bit more with depth.

The technology behind the green (or blue) is chromakey. You can substitute this colour for a background, nothing (which appears as black), or to white out a room.

There are some quick tips and tricks that we also found out during this session including not to stand too close the the screen as you will pick up a green tinge. The trick is to light the wall, put the person the same distance as their height away from the wall and then light them too. If you light the two different spots then there’s no green spill.

This is also helped by the material used as it is a high reflectivity and a high saturation material or paint. A polyester material is also better than cotton  as this doesn’t crinkle or crease. This is useful when trying to make the background as tight as possible, and this is normally done using weights (or a filled water container). If it is a cloudless day you can even use the sky as your background – as long this is even lighting.

With live chromakey, the green screen needs to fill the whole image. In post production, you just need enough green around the person and then you can fill everything else in green. Wen filming someone in a black room, you light the person and not the room in order for them to pop out. Again, you can alter this in post production.

Other tips and tricks that we learned also included the infinity curve. This is where the fabric curves before it hits the floor, meaning there aren’t as many lighting issues with the LED soft flood lights. With photographs as well, it is better to put the backgrounds slightly out of focus because if it is in focus all the way, it looks fake.

Overall, we had lots of fun and I really enjoyed learning about the technology behind green screen. I am unsure as to how I may use it in my projects, however I feel as though it could be a possibility.

Adobe Illustrator and InDesign Workshop

Adobe Illustrator and InDesign were easier to learn compared to the earlier Adobe After Effects Workshop. I have previously used InDesign, in my Year 10 work experience at Hyland Edgar Driver Landscape Architects, and it is used for multi-page documents. For single page documents, Illustrator is used. [The images used in this post are not mine.]


As always, we need to make sure we start in a size that we intend to work in. Each time we create anything on Illustrator, it is an individual object. Unlike on many Microsoft Office software, on Illustrator you are able to bleed the project that you are working on, which makes it go all the way to the edge of the paper. You can also make your paper bigger than your project and cut it down afterwards.

Once you have created a shape, you can type of it by selecting the typing tool and selecting the path that you wish to type. This creates a worded outline. On Illustrator, it is all very simple tools, however it is just playing with it all in order to gain the best result. You can also create your own patterns  with a shape previously created. On Illustrator [and InDesign], the different layers means that you can print off different versions without having to print off a completely new project.

When saving, always keep the Illustrator file, but you can also save it as a PDF, JPEG or TIFF file format.


Again, we need the file size to be the required document size. We can always add more, or take away pages while editing. If you’re putting a photo in the centre of the page on all pages, then you can make a master page and put guides in. You can put this master page on all pages, or specify which pages you want it on. To add the guides, you drag from the rulers at the top or on the left hand side of the screen.

The information palette on screen tells you how big your object is, and from here you can resize it to the appropriate size. To resize the image, however, you have to transform it numerically. If you drag the sizes in, you simply cut the image.

If you want to continue the text on through several text boxes, click on the red cross that is on the full text box. This links this text box to the next text box, showing the rest of the text. Through InDesign, you are also able to add Illustrator images.

For a final print view go through view then display and hit high quality. The programme saves memory by not having to calculate the display, but this does not affect the print quality. To save, export for PDF, but always save it as an InDesign document for later editing.

Adobe After Effects Workshop

After Effects (AE) is simply Photoshop for video. It can be more time consuming and clunky in terms of speed, especially when compared to Premiere, and so some projects are easier on Premiere Pro. This blog post will take you through some of the simple things that we learned in the After Effects Workshop, as part of Week 6 activities. I am personally unsure as to what I may use AE for, however I enjoyed learning about it in this session, especially for when I may need something else to edit video rather than Premiere.

The menu bar, such as on all Adobe software, is the same. We can set our preferences under the programme name [on Mac]. On AE, the composition is about the timelines, which is where we find the place to edit at the bottom. The composition needs to be set up for what you want from the beginning. If you are unsure, then it is easier to scale down but much harder to scale up.

Composition – New Composition – 1920 x 1080 for HD composition and set it to square pixels (730 x 576 with rectangular pixels for old standard definition TV’s) – PAL is 25 frames per second – in composition you can set how long we want the video to be.

The different footage clips themselves comes up as different colours in the timeline. They also come up on different lines, as each one can be individually and specially edited. To trim, it is the same as Premiere, but we cannot divide a clip into two separate sections. To do this, we have to have two different versions of the clips on different lines/layers.

To alter the clip, open the triangle for the layer and you can alter all of this here. It is all done through keyframing: give different value at one point and another value at another point e.g. slowly zoom towards the camera. Press the timer by scale, lighting it up making sure AE understands there will be a difference in value over time. This is how you animate things in after effects. If you want smooth transitions through this, you will need less keyframes. The more there are, the bumpier the transitions will be. You can add and copy a key frame to make a pause in the middle (and this applies to everything). The keyframe navigation tool will pin it to the next keyframe. It is ALL about keyframes! To fade in or out you have to use the opacity tool, rather than the pen tool like in Premiere.

When isolating parts go: layer – mask – new mask – use pen tool to add a whole bunch of points and move them to make a specific shape. The mask path is the shape of the mask. You would have to do this frame by frame to change it. Green screen can also be done this way, but it can also be used in Premiere. To edit green screen, go through effects and to keying.

Simple controls including frame forward and frame backward are page up and page down. To trim at a certain point, use the alt button and left bracket at the same time. Just to note: anything that happens at the same time on the different layers, can be seen at the same time. Also, everything that you edit on AE you can change over time with keyframes (it is still about keyframes)

Colour changes can be complicated if you want to change the whole piece. The simplest way of doing so is to nest – put a composition inside a composition (e.g. put composition 1 into composition 2). This is where you can then add effects and make colour changes to the video as a whole.

To do simple 3D animation, the z axis can be rotated, treating the flat layer as a 3D layer. To spin this over time, create a keyframe. You can also work with shapes, including several on one layer. To work with shapes individually, you must make a new shape layer.

Some things that we very briefly went over include; camera (where you can render from a cameras point of view from somewhere in the room looking at the clip), lights (it’s like turning a spotlight on it and you can achieve a night time effect with this. Can also do things like lens flare and control how big it is, where the centre it and how bright it is) and animation (e.g. slowing the zoom – under the keyframes you can do easy ease/ease in/ease out)

Unfortunately, the ore you ask the programme to do, the more memory it will take up. You can then reduce the number of pixels that you work with, which will not effect the pixels for encoding. AE also has a strange saving system, so it is just best to save as often as possible. To preview the work to determine how it will turn out, preview on the right hand side of the screen.

And finally, to export your final video: Composition – add to render queue – get another tab at the bottom which means that you can have a whole list of them to do all together – render settings [test for quality you can bring the quality down]. Under the output module you always use QuickTime – video codex use (font use animation) H.264. Limit Bitrate Settings to 30,000kps for under 4-5 minutes. Audio codec = AAC. Before hitting render, save it first!!

For more guides, the Adobe website has lots of help, and there are plenty of tutorials online. If you’re still confused, find a master of Adobe software!

Above is the short video that we created using found footage (credits to Rachel Glover for the clips).


Careers Workshop Day

During Week 6 in our second year, we have a compulsory careers day in order to show us what careers we can go into, the routes we can take to get there and that it is also normal to not know what we want to do in the future, after our degree [which is two years away]. This time, however, comes quickly.

During this day, we had two talks from previous students of Reading University, to show these various routes that we can go down, and the confusion that they had when they were in our position.

Laura Prime

Laura Prime went on from her BA into postgraduate courses, and into curation. There was a lot of research and applying to other courses, but this is just where life led her. Prime mentioned that the Masters has helped her to grow both academically and with her practice. Through the MA she was able to curate projects such as a masterclass retreat. During this a group of people were invited to participate in multiverses, philosophy talks, walks, and eating as a group.

Prime was then asked to showcase an LGBTQ+ archive exhibition, which travelled to several locations. Aside from this, she was also invited to curate a double page spread in a magazine along with other former Reading students. Here, she given several artists of whom she could look at, and then finally look at one in order to create a piece for an exhibition.

From this, Prime went on to work with sound, along with other artists. ‘Sound Field’ was something that she had never worked on before, especially in collaboration with others. For this, a catalogue was also produced, in which Prime was able to create an extract for, and also run a panel. Prime was also invited to talk about her dissertation and sound research to a room full of scientists.

Through all the networking, Prime was able to select artists for her own exhibition in the space that they gave her in the MA course. She was able to pick UK and Austrian artists such as Joey Holder and Paul Purgas [sound art] for the exhibition ‘Only Human’. Within this, she also picked out an author and a specific book which she helped write – he then read this in the forest as a video piece for the exhibition.

Life had a big turn around after this and Prime moved back home. Before, she had never thought about teaching, but went into her old middle school, and ended up loving the work. She is currently doing her PGCE at Reading University, where she has met people from various backgrounds. Through working in schools, she has been able to bring in new projects, including looking at artists such as Errow and creating a piece that had half of your face and half a face of a fictional character or celebrity.

Prime has also worked with Sue Mundy, a local ceramic artist, and run several after school clubs and community art classes. Through all of these expereinces, she has learned lots of new art skills including heat transfers, batik, textiles and lino printing, much of which she had never done before. Prime also helped out at the Tate Modern with the Tate Exchange this year.


Emily introduced herself with the work from her degree show, in which she collaborated with Emily Pope to look at feminism and the backlash of the internal dialogue in young women. Straight after her degree, Emily worked as a visual stylist in London, putting installed displayed together and putting together window curation. She soon found that this wasn’t her thing and moved back home to work in Plymouth School of Art as Student Support. This move helped Emily decide which route she wished to go down.

She then began initial courses in counselling studies and began volunteering in this area. A Masters in Art Psychotherapy is where this led her, but after one term she admitted that she did not particularly enjoy this. This was due to the fact that she wasn’t training in the way that she wanted to, in order to become a counsellor. This led her back to counselling at Reading College, but the eventual goal is to move this back to Devon and put her theory into practice.

The key skills that Emily feels that she has developed, especially through her degree are; time management, organisation, self-motivation and adaptability. These skills have helped throughout the experiences after university. In Plymouth, she found that everyone approaches artwork and engages with art making that benefits the person going through their difficulties and issues. This highlighted Emily’s passion about creative approaches in helping people.

Emily also found that volunteering engagements in primary schools, community projects and through working with adolescents and adults with complex needs have enabled Emily to grow her necessary skills. As well as these, she has attended free lectures on mental health and art. She also found that the MA allowed her to engage with materials, not being too constrained or confined, as it is about living the work and feeling it, not analysing it. This also opened her up to a variety of approaches in creative therapy including drawing with your eyes closed and touching your face.

Emily has decided not to specialise in art therapy, but it is something that she would bring into her therapies.


Letterpress Workshop

The letterpress workshop was held in our Typography and Graphics department, around the corner from the art department. We were able to see the original design of a letterpress, including a copy of the script that Gutenberg used to produce 400 bibles over a few years – this was an impressive feat considering it would take that long for scribes to produce one bible. The letterpress process stayed the same, however it switched to a more mechanical iron casting. This allowed a higher level of production, and as technology improved, more and more books were printed in the same amount of time.

We were also allowed to play around with three letterpresses and primary colour inks. We used the iron cast press and roller presses in order to create different prints. I was working on the iron press and because we didn’t have to fix anything, we could make patterns with the letters. Our theme was fireworks, which gave me the idea of making the work ‘firework’ look like a firework! The three groups who were working with the three colours and we shared the prints around to ensure that we got some really different designs.

I really enjoyed learning about the history of letterpressing and how we are able to accidentally mix the colours when layering the presses. One of the pieces I took was really effective in terms of being able to see colours behind each of the fading letters. Some of our prints were really strong, and others were very faint due to the number of prints that were done on one roll of ink.

ArtLab Workshop

The ArtLab workshop was used to introduce us to the aspect of 3D scanning and printing and these resources we have within our art department. By using a Sense scanner, with integrated sense programme, a scanner compatible with iPad and Cura (3D printing programme), along with a Cube and WASP Delta 3D printer, we were able to scan multiple objects and rooms, and see one of these come slowly to life in 3D print.

Throughout this workshop, there was also discussion of how we can translate this into an activity, or a workshop in the Tate. There are large debates and copyright infringements if we walk in and simply start scanning the artworks. We were effectively attempting to document the undocumentable. However, by translating this into a different medium, we would mainly avoid this problem. At the same time, we would loose meaning in this translation. We can exhibit the system, exhibit the document and document this translation all through this process.

Voids were also a big part of what we were look at, as you needed to fill in the voids in order for the printer to print a clear model. In many of the scans that we took, both with the iPad and Sense scanner, we had many voids, especially when we were scanning things that were in action.

Another thing we were looking at and constantly thinking about within the workshop was the use of these tools when working with the schools. One activity we thought of was scanning and then drawing from this scan – this could end up as line drawings, figurative drawings, paintings and possibly even further sculptures. Along the way in the schools workshops, there was the idea of creating ‘working’ 3D images using the handheld scanners to make a final story or comic, and possibly be able to 3D print some parts of this. Animations were thought about, however this was at then end of the workshop, and would therefore be something to explore in the future.

I enjoyed this workshop and the way in which it made me think about other uses for both the scanning and the 3D printing. I feel as though I could now easily bring this into my artwork, and working with technology, rather than against it.

Other works and our own from this session can be found on the ArtLab Flickr page.

London Week 6

As I have a few more hours off than usual in Week 6 of term, I end up in a gallery in London with other art students, because we simply want to know what is going on [and this is not university led].

This term, we ended up at Tate Modern Gallery, London, and explored all the free exhibitions that the Tate had to offer, from Salvador Dali to Jack Whitten (American artist), across the four floors that held the free exhibition spaces.

My favourite part about going to a gallery such as Tate modern is the diversity of not only the artwork, but also the artists that they show. One work that captivated my eye was that of Sergio de Camargo and Large Split Relief No. 34/4/74. This piece is completely one shade of white, however the positioning of each ‘cork’ and slit creates a wide range of blacks, whites and greys, without having to mix a single colour. The entanglement of each of these ‘corks’ as they layer up, without necessarily getting in the way of each other is also quite calming in some respects.

Another work that caught my eye is the work of Gilbert and George, which was part of a ‘pop up’ interactive section of one of the exhibitions. It allowed you to step into the light to find out more about an aspect of performance and sculpture. I had a look at the human body, and the way in which Gilbert and George decided that you didn’t need the objects in order to be the sculpture. Hearing this from someone who wasn’t a lecturer allowed me to take a step back and really think about that statement, perhaps changing my view of what sculpture is for a while to come.

One other work that struck me was the photographs of Kaveh Golestan, and the personal factors behind each  of the photographs. These were of prostitutes, in their ‘work space’ and in their homes, waiting for the next customers. I found this particularly striking because through each photograph, you were getting a small window into something that many find grotesque, many others put up with, some others go to, and a surprising number live through. It is this window that reveals so much, but leaves many questions unanswered, and lets you into the life of a prostitute. It is this personal factor that I found to enticing, and something I want to welcome gladly into my own work.

I hope to look further and complete separate posts for those artists who have peaked my interest in the Tate Modern today.

London Trip Adventures

Once again, as part of the week six activities, we decided to dive in to London to visit some of the galleries on the activity list, and some of those that were on the way.

Castle Fine Art

This was a small little gallery, that looked very personal to those that we in it when we walked in. The metal sculpture works which were highly detailed and layered attracted us to this particular gallery, which could be viewed through the window. The artists that caught my eye included Robert Oxley who paints thick, gloopy, and highly fluorescent animals. I also enjoyed the work of Nic Joly, who makes little people, 3D sculptures and scenes within box frames. I love the intricacy and intimacy of each of the pieces, and also somewhat the irony that they are so small, but make a big impact. There were also the landscape paintings of Scarlett Raven, which were also thick and very textural.

The Liberation of Art – LUMAS

The second gallery, was also one that we stumbled upon in our adventures. This seemed more like a gallery in which they placed a lot of artwork, in order to be sold, rather than viewed. Nevertheless, we had a little look. There were many perspective pieces, in which you take many photos and place them together in order to create a landscape. The first of these that we saw, was that of London, and you could see where they had taken photos all around London and placed them all, quite cleverly, together. All of these pieces, which were the majority of the style within the gallery, were mounted under acrylic glass, which created almost a floaty feeling for the piece. However, because there were sometimes large chunks missing out of each of the images, because they had been cut, cropped, and pieced together again, I wanted to know what we were missing from the image. This, I have a feeling, is something that I will not learn of.

EDEN Fine Art

Our third gallery of the day, was once again, one that we stumbled across. In this gallery, butterflies have been preserved, making them seem more shiny than previously thought, and more somewhat alive. All of the sculptures that were displayed we very subtle but at the same time, very bright, especially when the pieces were displayed against the white background. The mesh sculptures, by Rahely Cooper, were thinner than anticipated, but when photographing them, they seem to have a high depth volume. The effect of using mesh was also interesting. Calman Shomi has organised linear work, and also used a simple yet effective colour palette. A mixture of feather and photography is also used to make portraits. The feel of the large proportion of the gallery is very Cuban. (David Kracov and Daniel Gast.)


The first piece reminded me of the pieces that you tie up horses with, but it does not seem to fit in with the theme of white that the gallery put on. It does though, look like the piece has been used in order to gain this colour. The rest of the pieces are very linear and very angular compared to this piece. Barbra Hepworth’s piece made me feel as though you should be viewing something through the two holes within the piece. The marble and plaster of the four our of five piece created a clean look of the sculptures. Three of the pieces were smaller than an A4 piece of paper, which makes them seem vulnerable, even though they are made with a very strong material. The natural imperfections are kept within the sculptures such as cracks, divets and holes. On one of the larger pieces, one side is beautifully carved and smooth, but the other side is full of imperfections, and it so happens to be the side that is not facing the main space of the gallery.

ORDOVAS Monochrome Press Release

Stephen Friedman Gallery

Luiz Zerbini was featured at the Stephen Friedman Gallery, with his many linear paintings. However, there were also pieces with squiggly lines, that almost seemed parallel, but they would often come together at certain points to create a wave sensation. There were varying colours within all of the pieces, and spreading throughout the works. Behind the lines, there would also be a large change in shades, tones, and colours, all of which would be very precise. Many of the pieces are geometric, or have a geometric basis behind it. The larger pieces seemed almost glitchy, as if there are so many things coming together, the painting isn’t quite sure what to do. There is also a soapy, pale and dusty feel to some of the pieces. However with others, are wild and contain many layers (all of the pieces contain many layers). There was also a surprisingly high volume of metallic paint, however it did look somewhat like duct tape at the same time. I also enjoyed the unfinished look to some of the paintings (as I felt happier if I was unable to finish a painting, with pencil marks etc).

Stephen Friedman Gallery Luiz Zerbini Press Release

Goodman Gallery

In this gallery, I was very confused as to why there are words at the bottom of each print – are these supposed to alter our understanding about each of the prints and paintings? For me, it adds a layer of confusion to as to what each piece is about. This is also partly because I do not understand each of the words, nor can I give a definition to them. Once again, would this effect my perception of each piece? The layer of paint that is on top of the print adds not only another layer, but also texture in a newfound way, compared to the visual texture of the print underneath. The pieces were also all displayed in a light, and quite empty space. This makes me question whether our perception of the pieces would be altered if they were grouped together in a line? The giant camel also confused me, but it was somewhat seamlessly perfect, and yet trapped in a small room with little else.

Marian Goodman Gallery John Baldessari Press Release

Sadie Coles

The initial impression of the gallery is ‘wow’, as the first thing we saw was the wooden structure, the height of the lower ground, and which the photo does not do it justice. It is intricate and yet symbolising a stairway up to industrialisation. The painting pieces that are separate from the rest of the gallery a calm, and yet I believe that they wish to tell me something, but I cannot figure out exactly what. In the main room upstairs, I felt like I was slapped in the face with light, which was exaggerated by large mirrors, coupled with small sounds. Even though there was a slap with sunlight, the whole atmosphere is not overwhelming, but rather very calming. The pieces were also very interactive as you were able to walk up and even into some of the pieces, and somewhat experience them. I sat down for a little while and listened to a video with headphones on. I felt as though I was there in the video and also a feeling of exclusivity because I was the only one who was listening to that piece, at that particular moment in time (I do believe that I was listening and watching a music workshop that the artist had previously ran). There was also a lot of playing around with the use of colour throughout all the installations. I did feel as though I should have interacted with the pieces more than I did. In another room, there was a small amount of work by another artist, and one of the pieces included milk dripping down the face of someone in a loop. What I learnt then, was that the milk reduces the effects of tear gas, and made me look at the few other pieces in a very different light.

Sadie Coles HQ Room Press Release

David Zwirner

Yellow! All of the pieces are seemingly different colour combinations, and some of white remind me of mundane things such as egg on toast. All of the pieces are also very geometrical at heart – they are slightly offset from the edges of the canvas to where the frame is. Some of them, I also noticed, had little notes on them, as almost as if they were little testers to determine how to produce the piece on a somewhat larger scale. There were many different colours, shades and tones used in each of these. On these pieces, you were also able to see the grid underneath that the artist used. In general, the pieces were very spaced out and so there was not an overwhelming amount of yellows, but some were surrounded by metal and some by wood, creating a different effect for each piece and group of pieces. Upstairs, the palette changed, and greens were added, but some green paint had started to crack (but was this intentional?) There was also the mixture of adding grey to create a further complimentary colour palette.

David Zwirner Gallery Josef Albers

Simon Lee

This exhibition was filled with Black people, Asian people, and those of a non-British orientation. But what hits you first when you initially walk in, is the apparent smell of oil and the noise of the TV that accompanies it (I later learned that this was in fact Indian ink and turpentine), where someone is talking. The noise was reverberating throughout the room, and so I could not clearly understanding what they were saying. What made the noise even more prominent, was that it was the only noise within the gallery. I felt strongly as though this exhibition was somewhat looking a commercialism and how humanity has grown, but individuals have not, especially those in the minority ethnics groups. There was also an interesting piece of a city in a bottle, and at certain angles, the city disappeared, and at other angles, the whole piece could not be seen, except the orange background. The downstairs was also open, and there was a somewhat unidentifiable sound on the video downstairs. The layered video, especially the black on top of the coloured image, was very effective. The folding of the paper is the folding of each image to slowly reveal a new image. There were also small cartoons that had large sections cut out – I wanted to know what are we missing and how important are these parts? And must we know this information to understand or continue with the comic story?

Simon Lee Gallery Screen Memory Press Release

Lisson Gallery

Journeys and connectedness seemed to be the theme in Bouchra Khalili’s work and many of the pieces looked at the fact that simple journeys, and sacred journeys, take much longer because of the barriers that man has put into place. All of the work is in the artists native tongue, which makes it all that more powerful and somewhat shocking, and a much more personal piece of work, as you read through the subtitles. The rest of the works show the way in which they have had to drastically change due to history and due to man. The journey pieces also have headphones, which makes the journeys almost seem more personal as though they are talking just to you. The only video that is played aloud was in a separate room entirely, which draws you in to have a watch. Watching a history of their people and those that influenced the situation that we have nowadays, was very interesting, and also very shocking. What added to this shocking feeling was that Bouchra Khalili and Emma Gifford-Mead did not look at the camera at all, but rather each other. You also had to watch this video on a bench, where anyone could sit, and portrayed the message that you should not judge who you sit next to, but rather just sit next to them.

Lisson Gallery Bouchra Khalili in conversation with Emma Gifford-Mead

Lisson Gallery Lisson Presents

Lisson Gallery Bouchra Khalili

Performance workshop 

On the Thursday of the Spring term week 6 activities, I decided to have a go at a performance workshop. I decided upon this as I believe we are moving onto performance in one of our modules, and also I generally wanted to have a go at this type of art that I have never done before.

However, before we actually began to perform, we learnt some basic theory of performing, for the benefit of myself and those who had not performed before within the group. Looking at before the performance, you have to take into consideration where you want your audience. You can also take into consideration that  you can control what your audience do, by having chairs in a certain way, by having no chairs at all, or by sitting on the floor, inviting everyone to sit on the floor with you. You must think about where the audience is and where you want them to be. You may even make them look through a doorway, a live feed from another room, place or country, or even through a slit in the wall (Katrina Palmer). This leads on to what we do afterwards, and often people leave simple interventions or debris from the performance, This debris can be something from the performance, or something that links to your performance. However, when trying to gain people’s attention, you can be unnoticed or even seamless, but one big gesture can get everyone to look at you. This can be as big as blowing out a candle, or smashing a bottle.

Thinking about different effects very quickly, using a projector on a white t-shirt or a body can create very different effects to that on a wall. You can also play around with the image literally on a computer and in the performance too.

Source: Piero Manzoni, Piero Manzoni signing a living sculpture, 1961

Performance has become very western and came around mainly in the early 60’s. When it first started coming around as a more well known art form, there was a large question of ethics, and there still is now, as some performances become more and more wild. Within any performance, it is important to ensure that people are in a position where they are able to leave, and also have that choice to leave. Ana Mendieta looks at the absence of the body and the link between the outside, the environment and the body. She also reproduced a scene of a rape but people were walking in and out of the performance, unaware of what they were walking into. Liv Wynter  also gave no warning for her pieces, especially those that she performed on Skype – yet another platform that which you can perform.

Source: Yves Klein, Anthropometries

Source: Yves Klein, Anthropometries

Yves Klein dragged naked women across canvases creating body prints and smudges. This was one of the first artworks to truly introduce the body as a canvas, and also as a paintbrush. In terms of documentation of a performance, different types of documentation can be created such as video, photography, or prints. For Klein, the traces of the performance are the prints and are an artwork in their own right.

Source: Shigeko Kubota, Vagina Painting, 1965

Shigeko Kubota performed this piece at the performer festival, where upon she had a paintbrush in her vagina, and proceeds to paint with red paint. What is interesting about the documentation of this performance, is that this is the only photograph that can be found of this work. This raises the question of how does the performance have a life after the moment that it ends?

Source: Janine Antoni, Loving Care, 1993

Source: Janine Antoni, Loving Care, 1993

There are also ways in which you can somewhat pick up the history of performance when you begin to perform. It is much like when you pick up a paintbrush to begin painting, you have the whole history, and a much longer history, behind you, and on that paintbrush. Janine Antoni also uses specific references to Yves Klein in the way in which she uses her body to paint, and the way in which she documents in black and white photography. Antoni also did a piece of Lick and Lather, involving a whole block of chocolate, and a whole block of lard, both with chew marks made by the artist. The presence of the body and the presence of the artist is still there through the use of these giant blocks of food in the gallery.

Source: Athi Patra-Ruga, Ellipses in 3 part, 2011

Athi Patra-Ruga does everything from DIY tp things with ridiculous budgets in swimming pools. Some of his pieces, especially Ellipses in 3 parts, is very difficult to watch and engage with, because as the audience, you are unsure of where your position is within the performance. With this piece, it is done over three different days, and each day brings a new colour of paint, and looks at the relationships between race and gender.

With many pieces, such as Ellipses in 3 parts, consent must be given by all participants. Costume must also be carefully thought of, and within this piece, only high heels and fishnet tights were worn This can be a little controversial, especially when seemingly black men are wearing these. Each of the boards that were on the walls were then sold as prints at the end of the exhibition.

Source: Heather Cassils, Becoming Image, Performance Still 3, Edgy Woman Festival 2013

Source: Heather Cassils, Becoming Image, 2013

Another way of documenting the piece, is not only a 1500kg piece of clay that have been pummelled, but also the act of photography. Within this performance, the performer and audience are in a blacked-out room, and the only way to view the performance is through the occasional flash of the camera, recording and documenting.

Source: Marina Abramović, Art Must be Beautiful

Source: Marina Abramović, Art Must be Beautiful

Source: Marina Abramović, Art Must be Beautiful

Merle Ukulele (I think), washed the stairs in a gallery everyday for a week. She specifically looked at the things that go unnoticed in galleries, and how performances, that like everyday life can have these repetitive moments that are unnoticed.

The second part of the day we learnt about different lighting and sound that we could use within our performances. First, we looked at lighting.

Quite a few performances that we were looking at could have been performed outside, however with lighting, you have to be cautious with the weather and power. To overcome this problem, we can use floodlights such that they use in building sites, which are intense, buckets full of light. You cannot, however, adjust these, but you must make sure that the audience does not mingle around on top of the cables. It is better if you use two lights at 45 degree angles to each other in order to be able to see fully what is happening. This does depend on the effect that you are trying to achieve with the lighting. You are able to also mask the lights slightly with metal only, as other materials may catch fire.

Gel is a useful tool in order to change the colour of the lights that are being used. This needs to be theatrical gel because it is more heat resistant and is less likely to catch fire. Colour correcting gel makes the light look more natural and that of daylight, and so if you are switching between inside and outside, you do not see a massive colour change between clips. With green, it is a general rule of thumb that everyone looks awful. We were told that we should try and get LED spotlights when possible, where we can use different coloured gels on the same light. You can also get UV gels instead of getting a black bulb, and this is also a cheaper option.

There are also lights with barn doors, and so you can more or less control the intensity of the square of light that you want. Tungsten light is more yellow, whereas LED lights are a white colour You are able to open and close the barn doors in order to get a more refined spotlight. You cannot dim the LED lights, but these are not generally very bright in the first place.

Theatre lights are somewhat a whole other story, and the university has these, but not necessarily in our department. With these lights, you can move the lenses further and closer to the light source in order to get a general area, or gain a more concentrated spot (spotlights and floodlight are used in theatre). You can steer people to specific places and attract attention to a person, place or activity very easily. There is also a focused beam, which is used within profile lights. You are able to place gels with these lights as well, and you can create a stained glass window look, with several colours, with the use of ‘gobo’s. With these, you can have a custom design and it’s three slides that come together, that sit between the light source and the focus point of the light.

We then had a brief look at sound. We were told, very simply, that you cannot just use a microphone on its own, as you need a speaker or an amp to go with it. The proper use of the microphone is important, for example, moving your face away, hand away, making it louder and softer at appropriate times when singing. You also have to think about where the speakers are relative to your audience. Two smaller speakers would be more effective than one large one. You can also use wireless headphones in conjunction with microphones and make a performance very intimate (for example a silent disco).

Colour workshop

During Spring term week 6, we once again had a week of workshops. To expand my knowledge of painting and the use of different colours and palettes, I thought the colour workshop would be a useful tool. We were introduced to some basic colour theory first of all, which we were able to expand upon in our own works. We were also introduced to some artists that use basic colour theory;

Source: Ellsworthy Kelly – Red Blue Green (1963)

Source: Ellsworth Kelly – Curves on White (2011)

Source: Mark Rothko – No 14 (1960)

Source: Mark Rothko – Orange Red Yellow (1956)

Source: Mark Rothko – Orange Red Yellow (1956)

We initially looked at a colour wheel, primary and secondary colours, and then the gradient of a particular colour that we liked. We also had a look at colours that we do and don’t like. I found that the colours that I do not like, they are individually horrible and not a colour that I would intend to use. However, I soon found that these colours could come together to create a varied palette that I would enjoy using.

We also looked at the four seasons, and the colours and paintbrush expressions that we may use. These go from spring, to summer, autumn, then winter. I found that I could portray spring, summer and autumn well using traditional colours that are thought to go with these seasons, but I could not think of what colours would portray winter. As I find it often a bleak time of year, I looked at a darker colour palette.

Lastly, we had a look at emotions, colour and expression. There was anger, joy, tranquillity, and love, among other feelings. The colours that I used were the ones that I initially felt that I should used (I trusted my gut instinct in this). I didn’t particularly enjoy this as I could not determine the colour or expression that I should use, because I was not in that mood at the time.

Overall, I really enjoyed this workshop, and I feel that it has opened up my mind to other colour palettes and techniques that I could use within my own future paintings.