Apprenticed to Ghosts: accountable for mending shadows. MASK - Conference paper presentation

Julie Montgarrett

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting Abstract

Abstract

Apprenticed to Ghosts: accountable for mending
shadows….
fusion-journal.com/issue/007-fusion-mask-performance-performativity-and-communication/apprenticed-toghosts-
accountable-for-mending-shadows/
Author: Julie Montgarrett
Abstract
This paper concerns my creative practice as research which questions the received
histories of the beginnings of settlement of Van Diemen’s Land – 1803-1825. By way of
drawing and embroidery, I aim to present ‘possibilities from uncertainties’- visual
narratives like unfinished sentences which aim to unsettle fixed perceptions of the past.
By questioning the ways that narratives might be constructed to fold back across time I
hope to reveal worthwhile aspects of the present from visual and material shadows of
the past; to visually question these connections without falsifying history, to create
contemporary meanings in ways denied to historians. Like most artists engaged with
narrative form, my research is fundamentally performative in both its production and
audience reception. It begins through a process of divergent textual, visual and material
methodologies which assist the development of a personal language shaped by the
disciplines and traditions of drawing and embroidery. These strategies generate more
‘enquiries’ to be tested visually and materially, returning to critical and textual sources
to drive the wider research process. These are adaptable methodologies informed,
challenged, re-directed, and motivated by way of an unpredictable process; a
contingent, performative practice driven by a circular methodology. My creative
practice is an ‘attention to the process of creativity’ as defined by Merleau-Ponty. It is a
form of inquiry into the phenomena of visual narrative through artistic, material and
aesthetic means. This creative practice-based methodology conceives research as an
enactive space of living enquiry, a performative, material ‘making visible/tangible’
production of meaning. According to Barrett and Bolt, ‘ the innovative and critical
potential of practice-based research lies in its capacity to generate personally situated
knowledge and new ways of modelling and externalising such knowledge while at the
same time, revealing philosophical, social and cultural contexts for the critical
intervention and application of knowledge outcomes.’ Further, they refer to knowledge
that arises through intuitive understanding closely related to Bourdieu’s theories of a
logic of practice, of ‘being in the game’ where strategies are not pre-determined but
emerge and operate according to specific actions and movements in time. As such my
works emerge slowly through the research process. They don’t appear immediately like
photographs; they evolve unpredictably, reliant on particular material encounters and
chance occurrences that emerge from process. Form and content are gleaned and cross
referenced visually, materially, and textually through wider research and reading as
much as the process of making to generate often unforeseen narratives, meanings and
outcomes. Significantly the methodology of the artist is driven by trial and error and is
profoundly reliant on ‘process’ as well as speculation, or asking the question, ‘what if?’.
Or perhaps better still, as Samuel Beckett said, ‘Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Fail
again. Fail Better.’
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-27
Number of pages27
JournalFusion Journal
Volume7
Publication statusPublished - 2015
EventMASK symposium: Performance/Performativity/Communication - Charles Sturt University, Bathurst, Australia
Duration: 16 Apr 201517 Apr 2015

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