Looking back through the Eyes of Machines

Between the 11th and 15th of March 2019 I visited the Bellas Artes faculty at the Universidad Complutense De Madrid. The visit was part of an Erasmus Teaching Mobility Agreement funded by UWE Erasmus which enabled me to open an exhibition (Looking Through the Eyes of Machines) that I instigated with UCM in 2017. The main activities included talks with postgraduate students and a public lecture about the Exhibition and how this related to my research and teaching at UWE. The lecture also included discussion’s with UCM lecturing staff around teaching and learning that primarily focused on the impact of digital technology within established fields of Art and Design practices.

As previously discussed the premise of the lecture was to reflect on the ‘Looking Through the Eyes of Machines’ Exhibition and how I had developed the content toward international conference papers and journal publications. To shed further light on this evidence I gave examples of student work (produced for the exhibition from UCM and UWE) and discussed the activity in relation to a Post-digital narrative within the Graphic Arts. I also took the opportunity to demonstrate how I had developed the original technologically informed idea from my practice led research activity at the CFPR and the type of research enquiry that the centre undertakes. More over, the lecture described how research in art and design has a number of avenues that can feed into postgraduate study. To do this I discussed three Practice Led PhD projects from the CFPR and how craft based inquiries offer contributions to industry partners whilst facilitating broader maker based questions. To extend the CFPR’s procedural / technical methodologies I presented my own artwork (practice based research) to position the work within a contemporary printmaking perspective (often referred to as the ‘expanded field’) and how one’s relationship with progressive ideas informs my disciplinary interests and pedagogical position. The lecture was attended by UCM MA and PhD students alongside lecturing staff from both Art and Design departments.

Elena Blanch González (Dean of Bellas Arts UCM), Isabel Elorrieta (Director of the Ankaria Foundation), Paul Laidler (UWE) and Ricardo Martí Fluxá (President of the Ankaria Foundation)

The exhibition was opened in conjunction with Ankaria Foundation (part of a pioneering program to promote young graphic artists in Spain) and the Madrid based Print and Art Editions Magazine g&e. The two supporting companies are keen to extend the reach of the exhibition to a commercial gallery in the centre of Madrid. The continuation of the exhibition will also include work produced by UWE MA Printmaking, BA Illustration and BA Graphic Design students who have contributed work to the project.

Further possibilities for continuation of the project have been undertaken through the application for internal funding at UWE. This would include traveling back to UCM next year to develop the post-digital narrative in conjunction with a number of other International Universities that are associated with UCM. It is anticipated that this meeting will forge the development of a network bid.