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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.

Film: Oranges and Sunshine

Research Visit Posted on Mon, November 12, 2012 15:42:54

This moving and challenging, Jim Loach 2010, film Oranges And Sunshine [viewed 29 October 2012] addressed the forced emigration of British children from UK to Australia that continued for two decades up to 1970. Many were wrongly told that they had been orphaned, whilst some mothers had been wrongly reassured that their child had been adopted by a loving family, in the UK. When in fact most of the children were institutionalised and used for child labour, with some being sexually abused.

It was shocking to realise that the film was effectively a dramatised documentary of relatively recent events; which were wholly unacceptable.
Despite identifying individuals and places, it seemed to resonate with something my practice in it’s examination of a social ethical issue.

Assimilation Video

Art Practice -Work In Progress Posted on Mon, November 12, 2012 11:21:03

I have continued to work on the video of the chocolate malted drink powder being absorbed into the hot milk; each observed happening has continued to be unique.

I have made a number of video sketches using a small compact camera on a tripod. I have also been pleased to be able to make a couple of higher quality videos using equipment borrowed from NUCA.

I have selected two contrasting instances to run consecutively in one video. I have now posted a lower resolution copy of this online. [A photographic still from the video is shown below:]

As I continued to reflect on the videos I became aware of some resonances with the student prize winners of the Jerwood Drawing 2010 prize, James Eden and Olly Rooks Burst video of graphite filled burst balloons where the intervention by the artist was limited to the positioning the paper, filling and bursting the balloon and recording the series of happenings. [This was a puzzling, intriguing piece that has remained with me since I first viewed it at the Fitzwilliam in February as part of the Grey Matters: Graphite show].

At present the my Assimilation video is silent which seems to aid the contemplative mood as it avoids potential distractions of audio; however, I also keep finding myself considering using audio to add a juxtaposition to the work and in particular I am attracted by the effect of having a soundscape of the sea on a shingle beach could have on the work. If I were able to have the sound through speakers rather than headphones I think that this soundscape could tie together the different elements of my MA show so that the audio would be the backdrop against which the photographic video and the diptych[s] would be encountered. I decided to experiment using audio.

Having now spent sometime experimenting with using sound and discussing the effects, I have found that unless the sound is at a very low volume it is indeed a source of significant distraction. I have also found that by not having the sound it allows more space for the viewer to bring their own thoughts and layers of meaning to the work, indeed this can include an imaginary audio element [such as the sound of bubbles popping] which providing a real tangible soundscape prevents and can make the work less engaging and contemplative – which is the opposite to my intention. I have thus now decided not to have an audio element to this piece.