Unit 1 Assessment

In this document I will present you with the most relevant of my work and reflections through the last year, I did my best to curate the content and to use a language that would help to present my process in a clear way, although I feel I did include a good amount of examples, you will soon discover that I try to keep it simple with words and also make a huge use of images and multimedia content to express my ideas.

Learning outcomes:

1. Formulate, describe and implement a challenging and self-directed programme of study, relating to your Project Proposal

First of all, I am including a link to my first project proposal: http://gatobarbado.com/2015/11/project-proposal0-v1-0/

Since the beginning of my Master, I wanted to focus my practice around the depiction of the experience of life, or more exactly, I wanted to find my own way to represent my experience on reality. In my initial project proposal I had a strong inclination to explore the “Physical digital boundary” as it had been a big question inside my practice, however, things shifted dramatically as soon as I understood that this separation was just a way for me to try to understand physical/digital reality by separating them, similar to the way Cartesian Dualism separates body and mind.

I have to say that my two aims remain almost the same; on one hand, I  made several activities, sketches and pieces that explore the depiction of digital virtual reality, on the other hand, I had also done a good amount explorations and pieces that involve the hybrid processes.

I also have to admit that some of the objectives I set for this Aims changed along the way, for example, in a very early stage I decided that the focus of my project will no longer be on the “Physical Digital boundary“,so I decided not to spend lots of time or energy trying to define dichotomies between digital and physical world/objects as I felt it would restrict my approach to the bigger issues. Instead, I decided to take advantage on the opportunities I had at hand, like the more or less unrestricted use of the 3D printer located at the Digital Resource Center. This was actually the first and more important step for me to start exploring different Digitalization and Materialization techniques.

At this point I should point out that many times I accomplished this by actually making sketches or even pieces, rather than basic exercises, so I guess that most of my following examples should be treated as a mix of research and active research activities. These are some of the posts I made to keep record, I tried to organize them in terms of my whole process:

3D printing

As I said before, I used 3D printing a lot at the beginning of my Masters, I was very excited to try this technique because I thought that it would allow me to overcome the restrictions I encountered while building my models out of paper (before I came to London):

Giving birth to a Gcode child
3D printing!

By the end of 2015, I had experienced many troubles with 3D printing i.e. models were not big enough, it took ages to print something quite small, and worst of all, the bigger the model, bigger the chances for the printing to go bad. Although I did try to overcome this issues, at the end I decided to move forward, these are some of the posts I made at that time:

Leave that poor little 3D printing alone!
3D printing – no so perfect

Foam sculpting

So I needed to develop my own technique to make 3D physical models, now I was open to the idea of making “not so accurate” 3D models and I was willing to use a different approach; by doing some research and also accepting some advice from Miguel Angel, a technician from the 3D workshops, I started making some experiments with polystyrene foam, it was the post I made at that time:

Sculpting the image – Digital to Physical

I have to say that I was pretty pleased with the results, and as you will see in other post, I still use foam as the main material in my physical pieces. At this point I have to talk about another technique that I am using for my physical pieces although I have to say that the way I use it has shifted a lot.

Laser Cutting

Laser cutting – a lot of smoke and confusion
Laser cutting – Building the canvas

Regarding my whole practice I have to say that almost every single piece I have made in my Master was connected somehow with 3D modeling; among drawing, it is one of my main tools for sketching or even making digital final pieces. These are some of the posts I made involving this technique.

3D modeling
A walk through ambiguity – Sketch #1
A walk through ambiguity – Sketch #2
Walk #2 (sketch)

After making 3D models for a while, you begin to wonder about other techniques that could make your life simpler, specially if you are interested in making life like 3D models, this is the reason I ended up learning about 3D scanning and photogrammetry. I should mention that both techniques are quite interesting, they seem to produce quite useful objects but I also discovered that they also have a good amounts of restrictions, nonetheless, I do keep using this techniques for my digital pieces, this are some posts I made about them:

3D scanning & Photogrammetry

3D avatars – using a 3D scanner
I brought you a boot from Paris
Animated reality

Digital image extrusion

Reality as a material – Object #1
3D Self-portraits1

It is worth to mention that in order to learn these techniques, I had to spend quite a good time watching tutorials online, getting help from technicians and/or learning from try and error, this was specifically the case for 3D printing and Laser cutting.

By the end of last year, I was pretty sure I wanted find my own definition of Reality, or more precisely, to find my own way for depicting it. One of my first influences for this was a small research I did on Francis Bacon.

Francis Bacon

It was fascinating for me to know about his obsession with reality, personally I think Bacon statements really created a profound impression in my mind. This is a small video I presented in my class at the beginning of this year.

Francis Bacon – Inspiration

At one point I also acknowledge that I needed to set a specific frame to focus on my own experience of reality, so far, I stablished 3 different subjects:

My self/the self.
Others (living things).
Space (Landscapes and cityscapes).

This division has helped me to organize mi thoughts and to keep building image banks using my phone or camera, this is a post I did prepare to present this:

Me, Others and the Space – keeping record

I have to add that I have tried to focus on each concept to evolve my reflections and my active research, however I keep being reminded that this division is not present in my experience of reality, therefore, every exploration I have made combines at least two of these subjects.

Since the beginning of this year, I also became interested in the work of David Hockney, at first, I was just curious about him as he is considered a big British contemporary artist, however, after watching a documentary on him, my interest grew up to the point I dedicated one chunk of my research paper to him and his research on perspective systems. These are the post I have made about him:

David Hockney – Vanishing point and time
Big mind – small body

I also wanted to learn how others approached this quite broad concept; I watched DVDs, read or at least took a look on some books and documents. I also did some research about artist whose work attracted me and even visited few museums to take my research further. These are some post I made about this:

Film research

The pervert’s guide to cinema
Mulholland Drive
Lost Highway
A single man with a lot say

I have to say that there have been many artist whose work I found inspiring, however, the following list has the names of those who I have a particular interest on.

Research on artists

Victor Pasmore
Richard Smith
Mariano Fortuny y Marzal
Anthony Caro
Howard Hodgkin
Peter Lanyon

In the last year I have visited the Tate Britain at least 6 times (I go a lot to Chelsea College of Arts), the National Portrait gallery twice, The National Gallery twice and the Tate Britain at least three times, so I have seen in person works from Francis Bacon, Victor Pasmore, Richard Smith, David Hockney, I also visited the Picasso museum in Barcelona, El Prado museum and The Reina Victoria museum in Madrid. I have to confess that most of the times I do not feel the need to take pictures or document the trip, unless I have a good reason because I have tons of images from this kind of visits and I never look at them (like the ones I took at the Frieze a couple of weeks ago), any way, I have made a few post about this topic.

Museum visits

The active viewer
Collage of museums

I have to say that this part of my research also helped me to gain more knowledge about the context of my practice and I am really glad that I was able to integrate this exercise with my practice from the beginning.

I will like to add that at the moment I am still trying to decide the kind of hybrid work I want to make for the final show because now I have an idea about the space and the audience for this show, I have to confess that although I adapted this project proposal again, I think I might have to adjust it again in the future. This is the new one:

Project proposal v2.0

2. Critically engage with practice-based research and contribute actively to debate and discussion

I consider that Active Research has been a huge part of my Masters, when I learned about this concept, I realized that it was already a big part of my artistic practice, however, for this case, I gave my self the opportunity to do practice-based research without the pressure of delivering a finished piece, therefore, I produced a fair amount of sketches or models along with actual “finished products”.

Digital Sketches and Models

Mirror mirror on the… screen.
360 + hours to render!
Active environment
Exploring the physicality of the image
Reflected immersion

Physical pieces

Walk #1 (A walk through ambiguity series)
Landscape #9 – Challenging perspective systems
Self-portrait#4 – Expanding the image
Sculpting the 3D image
Framed landscapes

Digital pieces

Camberwell Rollercoaster – Fishing with VR
Cell Tunnel – Work in progress
Big Boy – self portrait video – work in progress
Bringing the chicken to life

In terms of actively contributing to the debate, apart form the even I called Camberwell Rollercoaster, I did engage in quite a few activities that allowed me to interact with others while exchanging ideas and perspectives of my subjects of interest. This are the posts I made about them:

VR Splash – A collective experience
Digital Maker Week
Interim Show – A lot to think about
Smells like chicken – A collaboration with Jennet Thomas
Landscape on a Black Square – Process as part of the piece


I will like to add that although I do try to post regularly, many of my ideas and reflections are kept in my physical journals, I do consider that sometimes a piece of paper is the best way to keep track of your thoughts and I find it pretty easy to make drawings, not just for sketches but also to clarify complex ideas. (At the moment I am finishing my fifth sketch book for the MA).


3. Critically reflect upon your practice and articulate a clear understanding of methodology and context of your creative practice 


I feel that the use of this blog has helped me a lot to keep record on my reflections, to be honest, it has also helped me to save them and make them coherent rather than just staying as bullet points inside a physical journal or a white board (I had not just one but actually two huge white boards on the walls of my studio back in Colombia), as you have seen in most of my post, I tried to write a small reflection on at the end, I also seated down and try to reflect on fundamental issues connected to my practice, on one hand, I made diagrams in order to clear my head and gain understanding about what I was doing, these are some examples of that.


Diagram #1
Physical-digital miscegenation cycle #1
Physical-digital miscegenation cycle #2
Files as digital objects – part 1
Sandwich #1
A Model for ambiguity

On the other hand, I also made general reflection posts, this include my reflections on reality, the tools I am using, some challenges and the whole of my practice. These are my selected examples:

General reflections

Reality consumers
From the Mind to the tip of the brush
Hands on matter – Evolving the image
So far so lost – Mid point review
So fast so lost – or not?
Mind and body: The problem with perspective systems
Make it look like an accident
No boundary
Connecting the dots into reflection?
Working on multiple interfaces for one unique project

Finally, I have to say that the research paper was quite a challenge for me, specially because I tend to keep a wide perspective and allow things to permeate my practice, however, at the end, I felt that I was doing a deep research on a subject that is central to my practice. To be honest, it has also encouraged me to keep reading a lot about things I learned from the research I made for the paper; like the cartesian dualism, anamorphosis, visual culture, postmodernism and the evolution of the concept of the self/subject. This is a link for the research paper in case you mist it:

Research paper

Thanks for reading this, I hope it was not too long (I got rid of 35 post for this presentation).