Reflections Task 36 + Task 37 – Composition reconstructed

Dear Maria,

Many thanks for task 36.

Blog format

So far it has been mostly an advantage to post tasks and reflections on the TDPT blog where the layout of how we post has its limitations; it has meant that thinking about how the blog entry appears was not something to be concerned about. However, my reflections for task 35 is one of those entries where I feel the blog format restricts my reflections. With composition as the central point for this task, the pre-set font, layout of text and limited ways of adding photos means that there is not much scope to play with the composition. I would have liked to place the images side by side and blow them up much bigger. Anyhow, for today the layout of my reflections below will do.

Reflections on Composition

I did not manage to track down the exact image from Joan Jonas work that you were referring to so I took the instruction from your task and paired it with what I imagined the still image to look like.

Image made on self-timer

Photo by my dad, Niels Andersen

Photo by my mum, Kirsten Hallager

a) The body-in-yoga

The yoga posture I chose for each photo was inspired by how I felt they would work best compositionally in the surrounding environment: what shape would either contrast or mimic the objects in the space, what was actually physically doable and be visible within the frame.

b) The surrounding environment

I did not have time to construct a set-up for the photos and as a result my everyday activities and surroundings had to suffice for photographing myself doing the task. Inspired by the yoga photos by Polly Penrose and other artists (like Julie Blackmon who photographs everyday life in (sur)real set-ups), I used places and spaces that I pass through and interact with daily. I was particularly interested in how the yoga postures were sometimes camouflaged in the untidy and ‘busy’ surroundings yet adding an ‘oddness’ to the photo. It was an interesting process for me to compose the photographs with myself in a yoga posture and relate to my bodily experience of this position in a new environment.

c) The object

The object was not at the forefront of my mind so I would mostly just grab what was there on the scene. Holding an object as part of the posture removed any remaining experience of doing yoga. I was simply posing with an iron, a brick or… a child. I did consider what I was wearing for each of the photos. Mainly that I wanted to avoid yoga wear but again, time limitations meant that I would pose in whatever I was wearing, which then became part of the narrative of the image.

Without having paid much attention to it while composing these images, each of the elements (a, b, c) add their own visual ‘rhythm’ to the images. I was so glad you clarified in your reflections for task 34, that syncopation is not rhythm out of synch but different rhythms  in relation to each other that either compliment or complicate the overall pace. I want to play with this further for task 36.

Task 36 – Composition reconstructed 

I loved the idea of visual rhythm and have in my reflection on task 35 discovered a different way of ‘seeing’. Composition as a manifestation of rhythm between objects, bodies and environment is an obvious choreographic tool where movement is central but I had not articulated to myself that rhythm could apply specifically to images.

For your task 37 I want you to reconsider one or more of the images I composed for task 36 and reconstruct it/them as close to ‘my original’ as you can. For obvious reasons the environment and objects will be completely different so try and resolve the compositional challenge rather than matching objects. Perhaps think of it as a commutation test where you investigate an image by identifying ‘signifiers’ that you substitute with your own environment, body, objects, colours etc. How does keeping composition (more or less) intact but exchanging elements in the frame agitate the visual rhythm of the image? Bring back to the blog the image(s) you create and any reflections on the process.


Reflections Task 35 and Task 36 – Composition

Dear Marie,

many thanks for task 35.

I engaged with the task quite a lot during the week through the way it conditioned my intentionality (this is a fancy way to say that I basically started noticing a lot more the rhythms around me). However, I only got round to actually doing it yesterday. It was then that I discovered that the task required quit a bit of skill, which I evidently do not have (I did suspect this earlier in the week but I was hoping that I will find a short cut. I did not).  The video below shows a very poor attempt to at least keep two rhythms at the same time: with my feet a rhythm that is mercifully recited for me, and with my arms another one (it doesn’t matter which, as long as it is different!). Having these two actions in a syncopated relation was beyond the tricks I can master in a week, or indeed this lifetime. 

Beyond my apparent failure, your task made me think about both syncopation and rhythms. First of all I thought about the various rhythms that go on in the body: circadian rhythm, menstrual cycle, the heart pumping the blood round the body, the secretion of insulin and other hormones etc.  So, the body is made of rhythms and is of course situated within rhythms; day and night, the seasons, the cycle of the washing machine, the football world cup every four years and on and on. However, syncopation is slightly different, because, from the little I figured out yesterday, in syncopation the two rhythms are in relation to one another, the syncopated rhythm fills the spaces between the full on. It complements and complicates the rhythmic structure. I tried to listen or feel instances of syncopation arising spontaneously but I did not manage to trace anything.  The following task is partly an attempt to continue with this search but in terms of visual rhythms, rather than auditory ones.

Task 36 – Composition

I saw an image by Joan Jonas dating from the 1970s. A performer is standing in Vrksasana (Tree Pose) holding a piece of paper that has a painted triangle on it. The performer is part of a wider environment, and probably the still is an image from a recorded performance.

This, and my experience of Task 35, form the basis for Task 36.

Develop structural forms/sculptures with your body in one of the yoga postures positioned in relation to an aspect of a background, foreground, texture of your environment and/or in relation to something you hold or wear, for example an object, a painting, a drawing, a costume etc. Think of a. your body-in-yoga, b. the surrounding environment around and behind the body, and c. the object, if you decide to use one, as one composition. Do this with as many postures, objects, places as you wish. Take a picture of the compositions and bring them to the blog.