Just four days after I return from Rome and the exhibition, following a day of rest, I start preparing for my artist talk and the presentation takes me a couple of days to complete. I hoped to give a talk that summarises my first 18months of my MA and show the linear progression into the FMP. This revealed a story that started with my own personal experience of the condition M.E and ended with a review of the current UK research. During the talk I was keen to show;
- That I express the whole story from beginning to end, to give focus for the last and final major project and the work on UK current research on ME/CFS.
- That I draw out the interest in art as a platform for discussion on scientific topics.
- That I engage the audience as much as possible and and by utilising the support of Kirsteen Titchener Photographer, in a ‘Question Time’ at the end of the talk to do this.
The photographic work has definitely come full circle and I am delighted with the response I get from an audience of 20+. Since it was the start of the holidays and a blisteringly hot day, it seemed like a reasonable turn-out.
Talk format: I talked for about 40minutes, after which I invited Kirsteen Titchener, local Photographer to support me with a question time. This really encouraged the audience to ask questions and we spent a further 20minutes or so on questions, followed by soup and a roll. The Question Time you can view in the video, and included questions such as:
- What will you do on finishing your MA?
- Will your focus stay on science and art or even on M.E/CFS?
- How do you reach out to a wider audience than those that have M.E/CFS?
- How therapeutic has the journey through the course been for me?
- What was the most interesting aspect of the research?
- I am curious about the expending of energy following a day of activity?
- Which image did you find most meaningful to your work?
I decided to go back over the last 18months in just a few slides to set the scene for the Mapping 1 project. I then introduced the case studies and photographic shoots, and before delving into the detail I played a short 2 minute audio from an ME Sufferer and artist, scupltor. This helped add a human aspect to the presentation and a little reality at the same time. The audio was really well received and gave an interlude in the talk. I went through the themes of mapping and ambiguity, covered layering as a thought and creative process of image development and travelled a journey from early scientific photography through to present and contemporary photographic artist’ work to day. A marked improvement on the talk at Falmouth F2F in March 19, where I realised my nervousness stemmed from delivering what seemed like quite a huge task at that stage. One which was hard to imagine then, that I could accomplish in time.
I really loved doing this artist talk, at the local Arts Centre in Ashburton, Devon and realised just how much support I had locally for my MA too, during the two years including; the photographer Mark Burley Photographer who turned up to introduce me and organised the projector, had previously completed my printing for the IIMEC14 conference and pages for my book, a very experienced graphic designer and black and white photographer. Sarah Newton, colleague from Falmouth whom also attended a film evening last year, and we had tried to support each others work when we could. Other M.E warriors whom I had got to know locally the year before at workshops and kept in touch, and Michael Park, who had given me early video lessons last year and filmed the evening’s talk for me. The Ashburton Arts Centre our local musical and artist centre, run by Andy Williamson, who had agreed a monthly slot within the monthly artist talks.
Supporting Information. For the evening, I created a set of 50 small prints at £5 each, of which I sold 20, to raise some money for the M.E Association. They were absolutely lovely 127x177.8mm 350gms, with a smooth surface, which were very tactile and a pleasure to hold. I had them created at MOO cards where I also previously, had my business cards created for the IIMEC14 in London in May.
Feedback. The audience took a great interest in the talk, the path of healing, the discovery of photographic techniques and the place of science in art from its roots to my work in the present day. I had a variety of questions from those who knew others or had M.E/CFS to those interested in how the historical techniques of photography had influenced scientific photography today in the lesser extent. They recognised the amount of work and I was asked if I would provide a copy of the Critical Review of Practice for the local library. This was something new to me, but sounded like an interesting proposal. Other feedback came via the way of facebook and instagram and here are a couple of those.
This was my last public event, the talk was delivered to sufferers of M.E, other artists and the public for the final major project of my MA Photography. The evening consolidated the 6 months project, as well as the previous 18months of Module learning on the topic of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis.