Research and Riso is the PAC Home summer workshop which 5 members have been working on with curator Nick Davies, and overseen by PAC programme assistant Vickie Fear. It will finally take the form of a zine, inspired by the role of chance, mistake & accident in the creative process.
The project started looking at Max Delbrück’s Principal of Limited Sloppiness. In science this doesn’t mean sloppy as in acting carelessly, but working loose enough so that new discoveries can emerge, and structured enough that the experimenter will notice what has happened.
So we have all found ways to apply this to our practices, posting our findings to our shared blog & convening at meetings to see how and if this fits together. There is a lot of serious playfulness to our methods, being generous toward loose associations and allowing failure to happen. For me, the entire project based itself on unexpected results, and how to act on them. The work we were making involved a lot of ‘let’s see what happens’, tacit knowledge in our practice that discovery was now tapping into.
Seeing what happens has all the elements of research to it but also elements of serendipity. Either you can’t help or are forced to connect the dots of your findings.
We are at the stage now where the final layout is nearing completion. It feels right that it has taken time for us each to work through what and how we want it to be, and there is a narrative in the mosaic like structure of the zine to the role of chance, mistake & accident.
It has been a great few weeks connecting with other PAC Home members, Nick & Vickie. There will be a launch event of the zine at the end of summer, we hope you enjoy it!
A warm June evening and 5 PAC Homers arrive at the Phoenix. We are met by Nick and taken down down down to the depths of the building to what some might call an office, some call a studio and some unfortunates might refer to as a broom cupboard! But it is home to Nick and his Risograph, which resides in the corner…waiting. Resembling an overlarge photocopier it has the capability to print colours reminiscent of the muted washed away colours of vintage textiles.
The theme is chance and mistake. The Ground Rules (see Tumblr. https://www.tumblr.com/blog/researchandriso) are a mandate for experimentation and playful associations to be made between related or totally unrelated themes, ideas, images, objects, conversations and so on….
Climbing the stairs to the summer evening light…I wonder what it is that everyone else is wondering…?
Not long to wait before the Tumblr…(as repository of ideas, imagery and text) starts to fill with the seeds of research and sometimes whimsical momentary thought. The collaboration of artists intrigues … as the individual strands of interpretation unravel.
The matter for debate was to zine or not to zine. As the project was collaborative it would have somewhat missed the point to work on individual pieces so a zine it was!
Talking again we begin to see how each artist works to the structure of the project and how the starting points are wide and diverse. There is a common inclusion of text which becomes a principal element in the piece. There are references to chance in the playing with cards rather than playing card games and the misinterpretation of language, the random deterioration of materials through natural phenomenon and more.
I scatter the dead leaves of a plant (gathered on a walk) onto the scanner and blow upon the pieces to make a composition over which I have lost control. The resulting images bring detail to the fore and an observation on the fragility of the material. The plant is a dock..in fact a Rumex Conglomeratus..what lucky chance ..conglomeratus in a conglomerate zine!!
This playful handling of the organic material brings a new dimension to the work which preoccupies me in the studio and hopefully the other participants have had an equally inspiring experience.
What happens now… to make the individual page images zine ready..selecting colours, make decisions on sizes and papers…and what shall it be named…
PAC Home is a peer support network and programme for visual arts practitioners in Plymouth and the wider region. To find out how you can join, click here.