BA Honors Creative Arts
Part 1 – Contemporary Art
OCA Blog: www.jeanjeannieocablog.wordpress.com/
What is Art? Eight weeks ago I was asked this question. At that time I believed art to be something that someone created to make you feel an emotion and to make you question. I think that if you are an artist, the aim is to make the viewer feel emotions such as love, happiness, fear, horror, sadness, hatred and anger. This is what art means to me. Having completed Part 1, I still stand by this initial thought of what art is. Researching many artists and their art pieces has made me feel all of these emotions. They have made me question things like religion, politics, racism and terrorism to the meaning of ‘time’ and ‘place’, the history of Art, the mediums available and the perceptions of both the artist and the viewer. Art is more than just a painting or sculpture it is the creation of an emotion.
During part 1, I have used and practiced navigating around online libraries and galleries and researched using magazines, videos and blogs. I have learned to better understand complicated essays by creating a method of note taking. Essential learning has been understanding the importance of ‘time’ and ‘place’ in the art world and also discovering the meaning of new words. At times learning the technical side of a blog has been both challenging and gratifying. I would like to develop understanding the uses of referencing and writing in an academic style. I would also like to learn more about contemporary Arab artists and participate in the OCA forums.
I believe my blog to be a reflection of my understanding of Contemporary Art. I have enjoyed completing all the exercises and have included extensive notes on artists and their work. I have referenced articles, websites and videos and included photos, drawings, printouts, references and copies of my hand written notes. I think www.jeanjeannieocablog.wordpress.comis progressing well. Visually it is designed as per OCA guidance, however, I have added my own menu tabs to include a Glossary and a Time and Place. Each post has included one of my own photographs that I feel is related to my notes on each exercise within the individual projects. In my opinion, improvements, such as grouping, should be made to the style and layout of the photographs. Also, the references need to be added in the correct format and the writing to be worded in a more academic style.
JEREMY DELLER’S THE BATTLE OF ORGREAVE 2001–IS IT ART?
The following essay is my personal opinion on why I think Jeremy Deller’s Battle of Orgreave 2001 is art. I will consider all aspects of the video clip, audio piece and written articles to ascertain whether it is or is not art. In orderto do this,I will discuss the importance of Deller’s reference to ‘time’ and ‘place’ and will provide evidence. I will also provide information that confirms why Deller chose the media format and what influenced him in the making of the film. As this media has provoked several emotional feelings, my belief is that Deller’s portrayal of the events that took place on June 9, 1984, ‘The Battle of Orgreave’– is Art. I think art is something produced by someone that canprovoke emotions such as anger, fear and anxiety, all of which I felt when watching the video clips.
When I first viewed the video clip,it was quite shocking.I honestly thought it was a clip from a documentary or a news report of events that actually happened. Little did I know that the rocks being thrown were made of coloured sponge, the police batons were plastic and the bloodied faces were covered in red make-up. I felt fearful for the miners as they were being taunted and driven back through their village by the police. However, I soon learned it was a re-enactment of the 1984 Battle of Orgreave or as Michael Morris says “in many ways it was a piece of social history re-lived, not re-enacted”. Morris M. Artangel Collection 2001.I believe his justification for this was because it was an event staged in the original village which portrayed the events that had happened in 1984. Furthermore, the police were being played by the miners who were actually involved in 1984.
The importance of time and place is mentioned in the video clips and audio message. Moreover, in the chapter of Politics/Control by Dean & Miller 2005, ‘time’ and ‘place’ are mentionedin the same paragraph showing how crucial this information is to determine where it happened and when. “It was on 8 June,1984 that one of the most shocking incidents of the dispute occurred near the Orgreave Coking Plant in South Yorkshire; a violent confrontation between striking miners and ranks of police which led to a cavalry charge through the village” Dean & Millar Place Room Five Politics/Control 2005. The re-enactment happens in the same, village, the same month, with some of the same miners, 17 years later on June 17, 2001.
There are various representations of the time and eraof the Battle of Orgreave such as the vintage 1980’s t-shirts, the ‘coal not dole’ stickers (there is no dole now), the make of the burnt-out car, denim jackets and jeans and the style of the police helmets. However, the village fete atmosphere with a marquee selling souvenirs and plants, the sighting of a high-speed train and a Virgin advertisement were small signs that it was in fact a re-enactment and a different era, it was not an actual real event happening.
I believe, Deller has used the media of video and audio to gain maximum effect. Everything seems real to the viewer, which in turn, can cause many emotions. When he was younger, he was influenced by the news on TV of the striking miners and had always wanted to recreate the scene to make sure it takes its place in history. To do this, he had to bring it alive again. When referring to the commission he gained from Artangel he said “I’ve always described it as digging up a corpse and giving it a proper post mortem”.Deller J. 2001. To back up this piece as being historical art, Jonathan Jones of the Guardian newspaper refers to it as a “history painting” perhaps after learning that Deller has an MA in History of Art, further confirmation that he knows what he is doing and it’s not just a video showing a violent scene. This was contrary to what I first thought on reading the article in the Guardian online, I thought Jones was going to argue that it wasn’t art as his opening headline said “Missiles fly, truncheons swing, police chase miners as cars burn. It’s all very exciting. Why is it Art?”Jonathan Jones 2001 – The Guardian.
It would appear that for Deller to get his historical message across to a wider audience he created an installation artwork piece at the Tate Gallery using a variety of medium. These included the original video and audio pieces, along with a wall painting and textual frames containing old newspapers of the events of June 8, 1984. The Battle of Orgreave (an injury to One is an Injury to All)The Tate Gallery 2001. The installation is another testament of his desire to be known for his historical art through social groups or communities as Andrew Wilson of the Tate Gallery said “For this work, as with most of his projects, Deller interacted and engaged with different social groups or communities to produce an artwork that can take many forms”.
In conclusion, as I have mentioned before, I understand art is something that has been created by someone to make you feel an emotion and to make you question. Jeremy Deller’s Battle of Orgreave does just that. It makes you angry, fearful, annoyed, anxious and frightened. You realise there is more to this group of men in t-shirts and denim jackets being chased and beaten by policemen. It does make you ask the following questions. Why did this happen? When did it happen? Where did it happen? And how was it allowed to happen? I hope that from the information gained from The Tate Gallery, Guardian newspaper and Jeremy Deller’s website, it has been proved that Jeremy Deller’s The Battle of Orgreave 2001 is art.
Jones J: “Missiles fly, truncheons swing, police chase miners as cars burn. It’s all very exciting. But why is it art?” (June 19, 2001) – The Guardian2001
Morris M: The Battle of Orgreave 2001 – Artangel Collection
Deller J: The Battle of Orgreave 2001
Wilson A: The Battle of Orgreave (an injury to One is an Injury to All) (2001) Tate Gallery
Dean & Millar: PlaceRoom Five, Politics/Control – Thames & Hudson (2005)
I have loved Part 1. Each day I have got excited as to who or what I will discover next, my eyes have been opened to Contemporary Art, I am now contemplating this route instead of Creative Writing, which was my first choice along with Photography. I feel I have been learning more about navigating and researching various galleries, magazines, blogs and websites relating to art.
I have learned how to break down complicated essays by reading them 3 or 4 times. The first time, would be skimming to see what the article was about, second time I would highlight anything that jumped out at me, like quotes and artists names, third time I would highlight words I didn’t understand and add them to my glossary. I would then analyse and make notes of those sections, this gave me a better understanding of what I was reading.
Time and Place were very prevalent, I have startied to see clearly the meaning of these elements throughout Contemporary Art, sometimes I didn’t get it, but it was certainly becoming clearer. I also started to learn the different Art movements and types of Art like ‘Conceptual Art’ and ‘Installation Art’ and ‘textual art’.
I have started to realize the importance of labeling photos and referencing quotes. I learned how to label properly on the blog, making it look more professional.
I have learned new words and set up a menu tab on my blog adding these words.
Regarding my blog posts I have added my own photos to add some of my own creativity I have tried to use those that relate to the exercise in some way, Although I enjoy adding my notes to the blog, I also keep a hard copy notebook as I find it easier to write things down first, adding drawings or photos and then copyying the notes in more detail onto the blog. I feel really pleased with how my blog has progressed, it was quite frustrating in the beginning, with a few technical hitches, but am happy with it now.
I really enjoyed visiting the new Abdulaziz World Cultural Centre and discovering more about the building itself, I researched the company that designed and built it, finding out that parts of the building, above and below ground meant Past, future and present, ‘time’ reference and the landscape it was built on was a particularly important ‘place’, to serve both the local and international community.
I have learned about Installation art and conceptual art and the idea of text playing a major part in both these types of art really intrigued me. I thought it was amazing to see the difference in my first reaction to the installation art piece A Place Beyond Belief by Nathan Coley. My initial thought was it must be religious? its ‘place’ was by a church and hinting possibly of a place that’s beyond belief ie heaven. Little did I know the story behind these words, you can only find this information by looking it up. nothing indicates that it relates to the aftermath of 9/11 or racist views.
On reflection of Part 1, I feel I am learning new skills on note taking, research, technical and writing. What I feel I need to learn more about is referencing and how to write in a more academic way. I would like to get more involved in some of the ‘hang outs’ or forums to get student views and help, as to be honest I don’t know if I am doing any of this right. What I do know is I’m learning so much and thoroughly enjoying the journey.