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Richard Brooks - Reflective Journal

About the Artist RWB Journal

My work is informed by my personal faith, sense of vulnerability, bereavement, and, my personal experience.

My practice centres on addressing social justice issues of the human condition. I avoid making work of any individual person; so that neither, is the individual stigmatised, nor is the work unduly personalised.

Since January 2012 I have used this blog as part of my reflective journal.
Included in this journal is some of my documentation of my research; the underlined text provides links to web pages etc that have formed part of my research.
The Research Visits category includes some responses to gallery visits.

Current Theological Articles

Other Research Posted on Mon, June 11, 2012 17:18:51

I have just found a useful resource for current and recent theological articles that will help in my ongoing research that will inform my work and practice. These articles deal with a number of current social issues from a range of Christian theological perspectives.

This “Rethinking Mission” website has a very extensive list of articles that can be readily accessed online; this list spans 18 pages and includes many current eminent theologians.

The first one I am going to study is Choosing Life or Second Life? Discipleship and Agency in a Mediated Culture By the Revd Gary P Hall

GH “looks at how the media can blur a person’s perspective of reality, and asks whether this will turn the Christian life into a capitalist pursuit of happiness”.

He considers that: “for many people living in media-saturated, overdeveloped societies, any distinction between actual reality and a mediated pseudo-reality is blurred. Another facet of life in a media-saturated context is that of being regularly confronted with impressions of destitution, violence and ecological degradation whilst at the same time being further distanced from the realities represented through communications media and their „virtualizing‟ tendency. This rapid change in our relation to reality has, I suggest, profound theological and missiological consequences.” [extract from his abstract]



Gallery Visit – IKON, Birmingham 2012-06-09

Research Visit Posted on Mon, June 11, 2012 16:44:30

There were two very comprehensive shows by Yto Barrada and Bedwyr Williams; leaving the rather pleasant problem of being spoilt for choice for material to contemplate.

My visit actually commenced outside the gallery, on the “IKON Slow Boat” narrow boat cinema where I viewed a screening of “Balcon Atlantico” by Hicham Falah and Chrif Tribak (Morroco, 2003; duration 20 mins) [all the films being screened had been selected by Yto Barrada]. This was an interesting piece, subtitled in French and English, that captures a series of excerpts of fleeting conversations that took place on sea front, overlooking the Atlantic ocean. At times it was difficult to follow the duel subtitles, especially when there was also arabic text on screen; but this confusion did actually resonate with the rest of the piece. I thus wonder whether or not it was intentional; either way it did not prove to be too much of a distraction. Watching the film in a long boat, that although mored still moved a little on the camel water, resonated with the film and made for a more immersive experience.

It was interesting to see the Bedwyr Williams “My Bad” show in the light of his “walk a mile in my shoes” that I had seen in Ipswich eight days earlier. I was impressed by how effectively BW‘s work had transformed the gallery spaces where they were situated; I especially enjoyed how he had even transformed the entrance to the whole gallery building by his “Ikon Under Siege” (2012) piece:

This formed a commentary on how the arts are being effected by all the cuts in the current economic climate. I enjoyed his intelligent use of humour, or satire, as he performs his social commentary; this leads me to again consider what place, if any, does/ should honour and satire have in my own work. It has also been interesting to later read Laura Cumming’s review of “My Bad”.

I found my self even more effected by the other show – which I found myself viewing multiple times: Yto Barrada “RIFFS”. I was especially moved by the two films: “Beau Geste” (2009, 3min) and “Hand-Me-Downs” (2011, 14min). It was also good to subsequently find a 7min film that introduced Yto Barrada as the Deutsche Bank’s Artist of the Year 2011. I was drawn to the detail in her large square format photographic prints that draws the viewer into examining the apparently unremarkable scenes in some detail that rewards by revealing almost hidden layers of detail and meaning which are sometimes signposted by her use of titles. I am attracted by the contemplative nature of these works and this has reaffirmed my ambition to be able to make such a significant and contemplative show with my own work that deals with my concerns for social ethics.



Project Proposal Group Session 2012-06-07

NUA - weekly MA sessions Posted on Mon, June 11, 2012 14:05:54

I found it encouraging and enriching for the 9 of us to share together our project ideas; together with the discussions and feedback that followed each idea.

I was reassuring and encouraged to be reminded that the project should be what I want to do, and not what I think might be expected of me. It was also useful to receive guidance concerning the need the envisage the audience and location of display [not necessarily in gallery space] in planning the form and content of future work.

It was good to discuss my past, present and further work, particularly for it to be recognised that my personal concern for the issue of people trafficking was encrypted in my recent beach gleaning work. I also appreciated being able to discuss how this work could be brought to some kind of conclusion, it was good to receive a positive response to my idea of using printmaking to make a kind of log book which would then be completed by hand to systematically document the findings for each beach gleaning session.

I was pleased to be able to share my dilemma as to the best way forward to progress my work towards a final conclusion next year; I had felt in need of some feedback and guidance, which was duly forthcoming. I also find the actual process of discussing my ideas also help me to develop my thoughts.

I was pleased with how frankly I could express my project and aspirations within the group; this was quite liberating in itself.

I thus intend to take note of these constructive discussions and to focus my work over the summer into conducting further research. This research will be mainly focussed on people trafficking/ modern slavery, but I may also explore something of the history of slavery and forced labour. The starting point for this research into modern slavery will be to study the various reports from the JRF [Joseph Rowntree Foundation] and Anti-Slavery International that I have recently gathered together. In addition I would also like to invest some time in undertaking a theological reflection with a particular regard to the theologians who argue the case for “God’s bias to the poor” and who speak of God’s concern for the afflicted and the oppressed; such a theological study would be envisaged to include consideration of key biblical texts [which would include several passages from the Old Testament Prophets and the Gospels].

This research will form the basis for my future artistic response, both in form and content. I envisage that this artistic response will not really properly begin to crystallise until the next unit in the autumn.