Beyond Fiction: Group Tutorial


Today my Beyond Fiction Field group each took turns presenting our own work. There was some disparity in what was presented between those from an Illustration background, and those from Fine Art and Maker’s courses. The illustration presenters definitely presented their work as a work heading towards a finnished article, even though there were many differences between what people considered an ‘article’. People coming from other courses to the Beyond Fiction Field course were more much prouder of their processes, I felt. And less end-goal orientated.


My dialogue which decorates these classical paintings is my ‘found artifacts’ of the project. A couple of times in the last few weeks, I set out by myself with a pen and pad with the intention of writing down what I saw and what I heard. Quite quickly, what I heard became the main focus, as i positioned myself, in various pubs and on trains, next to people who’s conversation I could hear well enough to jot down the bulk of their words.

It’s an odd process to write down what people are saying exactly how they are saying. It’s hard to describe how much we rely on tone, emphasis, and the fore-knowledge of our listeners, when we speak. A lot of standard grammar is dropped (with the most odd omissions being the ends of sentences) and replaced with a nod or an altering of intonation.  The end result seems to suggest that in conversation we rely on either the listener’s telepathy, or imagination, or the use of more than just the audio sense, and a deep understanding of the person that we are conversing with.



The feedback on my work was mostly my being informed that what I was doing with the found material  (the dialogue) wasn’t getting across what it was that I thought they represented. I felt that the lack of thought process that goes into dialogue with a friend would be shown exaggerated, by the elegance and painstaking craft of the classical paintings I had used for their backgrounds. The response of the group was generally that the paintings I’d selected were made redundant by the foreground text as the dialogue is the interesting ingredient, with or without the pictures.



With this in mind, It was suggested to me that I drop the idea of classical Art as accompaniment images to the text. More than this; It was suggested that  I drop any images, completely.  To better focus on the text, whilst still putting strained focus and intellectual expectation on the text.  by placing the text in a book in the format/layout of classical poetry (the collected poems of Emily Dickinson sprung to my mind, a collection I have studied in depth, and many of her lines are quite short, so the layout of her poetry would suit dialogue).

Another suggestion, for something quite different but using similar techniques wast to use old, pompous fonts on modern illustrations, or at least illustrations of modern people.


Artists it was suggested I should look up were:

1)Adam Dant; A graphic artist interested in context and possibly sarcasm in his work (I’ll look him up in more detail soon and update this)

and 2) Graham Rawle, who created the wordplay series ‘Lost consonants’. These are sentences ruined by an altered or missing letter, accompanied by an image which illustrates the new meaning of the fractured sentence. I really enjoyed looking at his work when I got home, and I’ll dissect it soon  for inspiration for future works.

3) Grayson Perry


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