Finally started to make again! In January this year I was invited to be the guest artist in printmaking at the University of Texas at Austin. During this time I began working in the fabrication department with Professor Eric McMaster (Lecturer, University of Texas at Austin; Manager, Digital Fabrication Lab) to create a laser cut matrix. The laser cut tests are part of a body of work that aims to bring together ideas associated with ‘Remake’ and physical making approaches that align with Post-digital practices. The image above entitled After Clement Valla was constructed at UWE to begin visualising some of my ideas for the series.
In the first academic semester of 2018/19 I will be exhibiting the international student print exhibition ‘Looking through the eyes of machines‘ in UWE’s F-Block Gallery. The work will be on show for two weeks between the 17th and 28th September 2018. The exhibition will present artworks from UWE’s BA Illustration, BA Graphic Design and MA Multi-Disciplinary Printmaking programs alongside the BFA Printmaking course at MICA (Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, USA). The third and latest addition to the show includes the Faculty of Fine Arts of the Universidad Complutense de Madrid. UCM were included in the exchange show as part of a graphic arts symposium that I attended in 2017.
UCM students approached the technologically themed brief in a variety of different ways. The multitude of approaches maybe best interpreted as either creative responses to a question, or extensions of existing ideas that resonated with the brief. Interestingly the UCM student’s explored similar perspectives to the previous student participants, namely dystopian undercurrents and possibilities toward the humanisation of digital technology.
For example, artist Edward Jobst Andrews Gerda responded to the entanglement of loss and memory in a moment where digital technology (and especially social networking) has enacted the possibility of outliving our physical bodies.
Artist Tania Tsong de O’Pazo practice explores the relationship between material and sentimental space emphasizing the need for contemplation in an age of immediacy and mass production.
Laura Valor’s print combines intuitive methods with automated systems, bridging communicative strategies toward a fusion of human and binary languages.
Estela Barceló Molina series Prememoria offers insights into the humanisation of digital technologies. Here manual labour aligns with a critical making movement where time is uncompressed and ‘imperfection’ offers possibility.
Julia Garcia Gilarranz project attempts to bridge the mapping of space through body movement. The work explores sensor technology and the interactive potential of digital tools to record external information and represent physical phenomenon – as ghost images. The complete set of images from the UCM students can be seen below and a PDF description of each project can be viewed here.
After recently attending a workshop entitled Volume to Voxel (put together by the UWE fabrications team) I have been able to begin considering the mediated relationships between drawing, modeling, scanning and printing – using virtual reality software. Although initial thoughts are still processing the possibility to experience a space that enables one to create (and manipulate) images as virtual forms is somewhat ‘physically’ liberating – yet visually perplexing.
The images below are a continuation of an idea started during a residency at the University of Texas at Austin in January 2018. The work builds upon the idea of the remake (associated with printmaking as a reproductive medium) and the possibility to enact a physical / material characteristic associated with digital images and environments.
Laidler, P. (2018) Mapping Post-digital Practice in the Graphic Arts, Printmaking Today, Vol 27 No 2 Summer, p.15 ISSN 0960 9253
It has been suggested by a range of established commentators that digital technology may have potentially created a ‘mental change’ within the creative process of making images and objects. Although this statement is somewhat broad and our ability to understand change often requires a certain amount of time to have passed (before the significance of an event may be better understood) the compulsion to begin considering these ruminations has been central to my own practice and the subsequent initiation of the ‘Looking Through the Eyes of Machines as Students’ exhibition. The project is an international print exchange between Graphic Arts programmes at UWE (University of the West of England, Bristol, UK); MICA (Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, USA) and UCM (Faculty of Fine Arts of the Universidad Complutense de Madrid). The curatorial premise for the exhibition is a practice based inquiry that aims to begin mapping a Postdigital response to making in the graphic arts. The exhibition presents a cohort of emergent student and graduate practitioners from the disciplines of Fine Art Printmaking, Graphic Design and Illustration and will be exhibited at the Impact 10 Printmaking Conference in September 2018. Full version of article available at Cello Press
Many thanks to The Eugeniusz Geppert Academy of Art and Design in Wrocław, Poland for hosting an exceptional conference in December 2017. The team at the Wrocław School of Printmaking invited a range of speakers including artists, theoreticians, researchers and students to comment on the topic of Post-digital Printmaking. The event also included a number of exhibitions that demonstrated the breadth of ideas being explored in this emergent area of the graphic arts. I have recently had my conference presentation Looking Through the Eyes of Machines accepted for publication in the Summer 2018 edition Printmaking Today. The article is an overview of the presentation and provides some insights into an ongoing inquiry.
In December I will be attending and speaking at the Post-digital printmaking. Redefinition of print Conference in Poland. The conference is hosted at the Faculty of Graphics and Media Art, The Eugeniusz Geppert Academy of Art and Design in Wrocław. The conference is a continuation of the numerous events related to the post-digital aspects in printmaking organized by the Wrocław School of Printmaking. In 2015 I exhibited the Print is Dead series as part of the academies exhibition entitled Post-digital printmaking. Redefinition of the Concept of Matrix . This year I will be discussing the Looking Through the Eyes of Machines project, an inquiry that will begin mapping a Post-digital response to making within the Graphic Arts.
Eugeniusz Geppert Academy Conference Call:
Printmaking was always based on experiment. Sensitive to new trends, Printmakers have never been afraid to integrate innovation into their field. This attribute remains symptomatic also in post-digital era when Printmakers are still eager for new technologies. As a result, this discipline is still alive and vigorous. Though evolving into the unknown, leaving many question marks on its path, it can be seen that the digital revolution has not destroyed the printing tradition.
It has been suggested by a range of established commentators that digital technology may have potentially created a ‘mental change’ within the creative process of making graphic images and objects. Although this statement is somewhat broad and our ability to understand change often requires a certain amount of time to have passed (before the significance of an event may be better understood) the compulsion to begin considering these ruminations has been central to my own practice and the subsequent initiation of a practice related project entitled ‘Looking Through the Eyes of Machines as Humans’.
The technologically informed scene for the project comments on the emergence of Post-digital making in the Graphic Arts and seeks to examine how technology has expanded conceptual and procedural possibilities for making prints. The exploration of both digitally mediated production methods and themes that are symptomatic of a digital age attempt to speculate upon or reveal forthcoming incarnations of a Post-digital mindset. For example, the continuous integration of digital technology into all aspects of our lives is having a profound impact on how we physically interact, communicate, make and respond to phenomena – tactile sensibilities that may recede or mutate as the digital native matures.
The initiation of the project has taken the form of an international print exchange between Graphic Arts programmes at UWE (University of the West of England, Bristol, UK); MICA (Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, USA) and UCM (Faculty of Fine Arts of the Universidad Complutense de Madrid). The curatorial premise for the exhibition is a practice based inquiry that aims to begin mapping a Post-digital response to making in the graphic arts. The exhibition presents a cohort of emergent practitioners from the disciplines of Fine Art Printmaking, Graphic Design and Illustration.
The digital version of the Looking through the eyes of machines as students publication is now (and finally) available to view on issuu. The publication includes work from fifteen selected students across three different Graphic Arts based programmes in Art and Design at UWE (University of the West of England, Bristol, UK) and sixteen students from the BFA Printmaking course at MICA (Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, USA). Further information on the project brief and exhibition of the printed artworks can be found in previous posts, such as; Look through the eyes of machines as students, A Bristol Baltimore Print Exchange and Gallery Twenty Two.
The publication also includes fifteen interviews with students from UWE’s BA Illustration, BA Graphic Design and MA Multi-Disciplinary Printmaking programmes. These students were asked a series of questions about their relationship with making, disciplinarity and the impact of technological developments on practice. I have also attempted to elaborate on these themes (as requested from one of the participating students) with a short essay on the final pages of the publication.
The publication is effectively a tangible summary of the student exchange project with MICA, although the outcome provides a benchmark from which future (like minded) activities, opportunities and connections can develop. In this instance the project enabled students to test and develop new process led skills & thinking, connect with other courses in UWE, contribute to a published outcome and exhibit their work in a professional public setting and an international university venue. The project also provided a crossover with my own research activity in the field of print, editions and new technology whilst fostering possible ideas toward a student centred publishing venture. More to follow on this… and yes there will be a printed publication.
* All thirty one students who took part in the project, including UWE’s BA Illustration Olivia Beckett, Tom Handy, Jono Kamester, Steve McCarthy and Willem Purdy; BA Graphic Design Jamie Burns, Eleanor Elliott-Rathbone, Ruth Irvine, Evangelina Anna Papadopoulos and Matilda Scott; MA Printmaking: Stuart Cannell, Nick Greenglass, Judy Lau, Jono Sandilands and Stephanie Turnbull.
* MICA BFA Printmaking includes: Kaitlin Beebe, Amelia Bombace, Evan Christopherson, Kaitlyn Conte, M. McCallum Dickens, Jackson Farley, Alexandra Harmel, Alexandria Henry, Dasom Kim, Ema Koch, Dan Langston, Aida Ramirez, Amber Rhein, Isabel Rosen-Hamilton, Madison Scillian and Morgan Strahorn.
* Jonathan Thomas at MICA for all his help with the collaborative print exchange exhibition.
* Verity Lewis for the publication design.
* Colum Leith and Carol Stevens for assisting with the selection of their Yr 2 Graphic Design students.
* Susan McMillan & Tom Sowden for making UWE funds available toward an external exhibition.
* Victoria Chalmers and Zoe Cox at Gallery Twenty Two for accepting the exhibition.
An exhibition curated by Klaus Speidel that explores what ‘the digital’ means for drawing today: http://xpo.studio/project/project2/ The below quote and conference offers a range of different perspectives where artists are both utilising the associated tools and processes but perhaps more interestingly responses are extending to ‘the digital’ as a subject to coment on. Speidel’s insights also offer possibilities of a ‘mental change’ when artists are conceiving works for todays connected world.
‘…but whatever the themes explicitly addressed by the works in the show, one thing is clear: many of the creations on display will be appropriated, tweeted, tagged, commented on, shared or liked, conveying new meanings and even undergoing visual transformations as they appear on profiles or facebook walls. In a certain sense, the “after digital” dimension of drawing is just one – particularly interesting case – of the influence of the former on the latter and it could be argued that we live in a time where even a marble statue is, in a certain sense, prone to becoming digital’. PDF to the event conference speakers: https://drawingroom.org.uk/uploads/WhatistheDigitalDrawfinalprogramme.pdf
International Student Exchange Exhibition
In January 2016 fifteen UWE Art and Design students were selected from Graphic Art disciplines to contribute to an international student exchange exhibition with Maryland Institute College of Art, (MICA) Baltimore USA. The exchange exhibition was developed as part of a touring exhibition (of US Universities between 2015 & 2017) entitled Just Press Print that is currently on show at MICA. The Just Press Print exhibition at MICA runs parallel to a new 16-week course entitled Print and Technology taught by MICA faculty lecturers Johnathan Thomas and Robert Tillman. The class will examine how technology has expanded conceptual and procedural possibilities for making prints. The work generated by the MICA students during the Print and Technology class will be used to produce a printed edition for the student exchange portfolio with UWE and will be exhibited in both Bristol and in Baltimore.
The UWE student brief continues the technological approach to making from the MICA Print and Technology class and also borrows from part of the conceptual narrative behind the Just Press Print Exhibition. The narrative aims to comment upon a postdigital view of the Graphic Arts and what this sounds like from a maker’s perspective. The inquiry also aims to elaborate on what a postdigital graphic art might look like and what type of thinking is involved. This ‘behind the scene’s’ narrative is also influenced by early writings on The New Aesthetic and technological based statements from the author Bruce Sterling, where his writings felt like some visual inquiry was needed. For example Mr Sterling suggested in 2012 that, ‘There truly are many forms of imagery nowadays that are modern, and unique to this period. We’re surrounded by systems, devices and machines generating heaps of raw graphic novelty’. Some indications as to what this may look like can be found on a Pinterest board that I have begun compiling entitled Analogue after digital. To view the series of images you must first be signed in to Pinterest.
The UWE student brief for the exchange portfolio invites participants to explore the development of today’s technologically informed scene. Students have been asked to respond to one of the following quotes / ruminations below (that allude to many of the artists works in the Just Press Print exhibition) by Bruce Sterling.
‘Looking through the eyes of machines as humans’ and ‘An eruption of the digital into the physical’.
UWE Students have also been asked to document their thoughts and processes during the making of the work with a view to creating a publication similar to the Working Proof: Featuring Just Press Print publication.
UWE courses and selected students include:
BA Illustration: Olivia Beckett, Tom Handy, Jono Kamester, Steve McCarthy and Willem Purdy
BA Graphic Design: Jamie Burns, Eleanor Elliott-Rathbone, Ruth Irvine, Evangelina Anna Papadopoulos and Matilda Scott
MA Printmaking: Stuart Cannell, Nick Greenglass, Judy Lau, Jono Sandilands and Stephanie Turnbull
The portfolio of print will be restricted to A3 sized works on paper (or appropriate substrates) and any print process may be used (mechanical or digital). Each student will produce an edition of 6
prints. The prints will be distributed as follows:
(1/6 & 2/6 to be exhibited in MICA and UWE)
(3/6 & 4/6 for respective archives)
(5/6 & 6/6 for further exhibition opportunities)
The UWE half of the student exchange exhibition had their first group meeting today. Some early workings from the students can be seen below, more to follow in the coming weeks.
Jude Lau, Printed Animation, MA Printmaking
colour variations of LowRes Glitch engraving, now in Rubine Red pic.twitter.com/Rr5fin0d81
— nick greenglass (@nickgreenglass) January 22, 2016
Curated Traveling Exhibition:
The purpose of this curation project is to bring Just Press Print, a cutting-edge group exhibition from the Centre for Fine Print Research (CFPR) at the University of West England, Bristol (UWE, Bristol) to Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) in Baltimore, MD; and to engage local, national, and international audiences through well-rounded academic and public programming. A 16-week undergraduate class, one-day workshop, series of talks and a public lecture at MICA and reciprocal exhibition at UWE, Bristol, will supplement the three and a half month show. Just Press Print is on display in one of MICA’s three main galleries, Meyerhoff Gallery (1,148 square feet), from December 2015 to March 2016. The exhibition will continue to travel in the USA between 2016 – 2017, venues include the School of Art Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, Arizona State; University of Utah, Salt Lake City; University of Wisconsin Madison and University of Texas at Austin before finishing at Museum of Texas Tech University in June 2018.
Just Press Print is an international, traveling group exposition that explores the introduction of 21st century technologies within the predominantly mechanically defined discipline of printmaking. The exhibition will highlight artistic planning, collaborative practices, and the broadening possibilities for the graphic artefact in the digital age. The exhibition includes published prints evolved from collaborations between fourteen carefully selected artists and myself at the Centre for Fine Print Research (CFPR) as part of CFPR Editions. The curitorial premise for the exhibtion and background to the collaborative practice can be found here.
The exhibition draws the attention of the audience to significant, yet often overlooked elements of the printing process. Sketches, correspondence, and draft editions to highlight the importance of the relationship between artist and master printer, the iterations necessary to achieve the final print, and the archiving and recording process accompany the artists’ work. The exhibition also touches upon the evolving nature of digital technology and its potential influence upon established definitions and practices within the field of printmaking. For further insights on the exhibition a preview / interview article was writen by Bruce MCkaig for the What Weekly publication in Baltimore here.
Just Press Print will be supplemented with a 16-week academic course, with workshops, talks and lectures from a visiting artist, and reciprocal exhibition. MICA faculty Robert Tillman and Johnathan Thomas are running an undergraduate class entitled “Print and Technology” to engage students with the subject matter of Just Press Print. Students in the class will use MICA’s state of the art Digital Fabrication Studio to produce their own digital prints. The Digital Fabrication Studio houses 3D printers, laser cutters, computer-controlled milling machines, 3D scanners, and other equipment, and provide students technical support from trained technicians. Student work produced during the course will be curated into a reciprocal exhibition at UWE, Bristol that will include BA Illustration, BA Graphic Design and MA Printmaking. I will visit MICA’s campus to lead a workshop on digital print technology and give a series of talks with a public lecture. Public programs will be free and open to members of the MICA and surrounding community.
Just Press Print features cutting-edge prints that have been exhibited across the world including the Hong Kong Heritage Museum, Mixer Gallery in Istanbul, Christies London and the University of Dundee. The project will provide a forum for raising the public’s awareness of innovative art works and ignite a renewed interest in the art of printmaking. Students will engage with and gain valuable skills in a range of new digital fabrication technologies. Finally, “Just Press Print” will engage professionals in the printmaking field, artists and designers, students and faculty, and art and design enthusiasts.
Intended beneficiaries include MICA students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends; Baltimore City and an extended network of artists, designers, curators, educators, and art patrons across the U.S. Just Press Print’s goal is to engage the public with the possibilities of print in the digital age – aligning with MICA’s commitment and expertise in community engagement. The show dispenses with conventional formats, instead displaying 2D and 3D digital prints along with sketches, notes, email correspondence, and test proofs bundled in bulldog clips that hang informally from the walls. This curatorial approach, which emphasizes the creative process, increases understanding of print practices for artists, academics, students, teachers, and the general public by creating visual narratives for a range of competency levels. Public programming will include an inclusive talk on the iterative and collaborative decision making process.
Participating artists include Carolyn Bunt, Arthur Buxton, Gordon Cheung, Paul Coldwell, Stanley Donwood, Richard Falle, Paul Laidler, Sebastian Schramm, Andrew Super and Roy Voss.
Photography by J. Thomas and P. Laidler
Evidence of presented lectures and talks at MICA can be seen through the links below.
— Paul Laidler (@palaidler) February 12, 2016
— Paul Laidler (@palaidler) February 10, 2016