Reciprocity/Reciprocita 2014

 

 

Polaroid ceramic camera ATIC

 

The story of a research project exploring the posibilities and aesthetics of (possibly) the world's first 'ceramic pinhole Polaroid camera'

 

 

 

January 2014


We have been invited to the Accademia de Belle Arti, Macerata, Italy to work with some of the Fine Art students there and exhibit our work.


So far this is the plan:


Convert one of our ceramic cameras into a polaroid version for ease of travel and to avoid processing issues when we get to Italy


Photograph some of Angela's students from The University of Salford using our camera

Travel to Italy


Repeat the process with a group of students from Macerata.


 

Of course, as always, this is subject to change, modification and more than a little polishing!

 

 


 

 


 

Studio shot

Slip cast ceramic cameras Jan 2014

                                                            

 

Update January 2014


Flights - Booked

Hotel - Booked                                                                                                                           

Passports - Checked, both in date


Planning for 'The Italian Job' has bounded forward at an alarming rate.

The trip is from 10-14 March 2014                             


Status:                                                                     


The ceramic pinhole camera works beautifully. In a lovely twist of irony an iphone app measures the light for our ancient technology to work.


We are using two kinds of polaroid film depending upon the light available and the aesthetic effect we want to achieve. Colour FP-100c fujifilm and ultra sensitive FP-3000b in black and white. MANY packs of film have been used to achieve an understanding of the process and to get the best results.


Light leaks on the camera have been more or less eradicated and we are starting to get a feel for focal lengths, composition and contrast. 



 



Test shots, studio Jan 2014



Angela has produced a new camera. The inside is glazed matt black to avoid light bouncing around too much and it has a decorative outer cover. Ian has made a stand which fits the camera beautifully to attach the camera to a new lightweight tripod (perfect for travelling).




 

 

Ceramic camera fitted with polaroid back 2014

 

 

 

Update February 2014


New ideas:


In line with our precedent of producing ceramic businesscards for our viewers a new batch has been designed for participants and viewers of the upcoming show. Priority for receiving a businesscard will be given to students who participate in the project by having their photograph taken. These businesscards are extruded from St Thomas Oxidising clay and finished with a dip in slip mixed with chromium oxide. These are currently being fired to 1250 degree C in Angela's electric kiln. There are 52 in all. The businesscards will serve as pseudo 'payment' for the participation in this project.

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

Ceramic Business cards 2014


 

This week also saw the first set of participant polaroids taken. A full afternoon at Allerton Studeios in Salford devoted to capturing images of some of the current BA Visual Arts students there.


Very quickly we realised the black and white film was too sensitive for our purposes. A bright day and a white room overwhelmed the film and produced extremely light, low contrast results. We switched to colour film which required an exposure time of between 2-9 seconds (depending upon the very fast moving clouds that day).


We anticipate needing eight images from each location....we were overwhelmed by the interest and ended up with at least fourteen willing victims .... err, volunteers.


We are delighted with the results. There is no mechanical interference at all. Merely a tiny hole between the subject and the film. This is the original and the purest image recorded by the capture of light.

These prints are currently being converted to high firing ceramic decals to be fired onto ceramic plates based upon the shape of the polaroid negatives.

 

 

 



 

 

 

 

Kate, exposure 3 seconds

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Carlos, exposure 5 seconds

 

 

 


 

 

 

IC  - Have you packed?

AT - No have you?

IC  - No, I'm going to the pub

AT - Why, does that help?

IC - Yes

AT - Great, I'm going too.

 

 

Later....

 

 

IC - That didn't work

AT - Nor for me, does it usually?

IC - No, but it will one day

 

 

 

 

 

Some of the pieces we have to pack:

 

 

 

 

 

Glass plates with fired on portraits

 

 

 

 

 

Ceramic plates in the shape of the original negatives

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Approx 12 ceramic slip cast and smoke fired ceramic cameras with their 'invisible' fixings 

 

 

 

Research thoughts, updated ideas and tension 

 

 

The Partnership: 

 

Working as a pair isn't always the safest journey. Two vastly different sets of ideas and skills makes for constant tension and (dare we say it?) occasional compromise. The artist's brain v's the designer's and two dimensions v's three, just a couple of examples of the potential for friction.

 

We work this way beacuse when it does work, it becomes more than the sum of its parts. Work which couldn't have been concieved or made by one person alone. Collaborative practice is common. Currently it often refers to two or more professionals coming together for a specific purpose because of their required skill sets. We choose to work together despite our diversity, not because of it.

 

Amalgamating and acting upon two sets of ideas requires constant communication. With six other jobs, one husband, one wife and three teenage boys between us, we often have text conversations which last for weeks. We accept the fact we have to make unilateral descisions sometimes which surprises, thrills and disappoints the other in equal measure. When we do meet to talk through ideas we draw on the same piece of paper. Conveniently, Angela is right handed and Ian is a leftie. If we're drawing we have to sit in the same order to reach the paper, not unlike Ant and Dec really.

 

This collaborative endeavour is the focus for one of our research strands. We ask ourselves questions like:

 

Is there a heirarchy or a leadership structure?

Are there defined roles?

Is there a gender bias?

Does 1+1 = >2?

Is there aesthetic or conceptual compromise?

 

 

 

And many more

 

 

Photography Masters students group shot

 

 

This was one of those 'Does your ceramic camera do group shots?' moments. Who knows we said, lets try. By this time we were losing reflected light from the white building opposite. We extended the exposure time and made a slightly naive attempt at the composition. With a lengthy exposure and plenty of educated guesswork we're delighted with the quality of the image. 

 

 

As usual the final question of each session was 'What next?'. That's easy, what's next is going back to our initial idea. The ceramic polariod camera was only produced for this project. A portable and instant medium for showing our ideas succinctly. Whilst the work we have done this month may have broadened our thematic horizons it hasn't altered our initial ambition.  We still want to produce a camera where the ceramic is both the machine and the substrate for the image....onwards and upwards.    

   

 

 

 

 

 

Statement - Italian version

 

Reciprocity/reciprocità

 

 

Angela Tait e Ian Clegg

 

 

 

Due artisti, due luoghi, due raccolte di lavoro, due spettacoli

 

 

 

 

 

Ian Clegg e Angela Tait sono artisti che fin dal 2010 lavorano in collaborazione su progetti creativi.

 

 

 

 

 

Ian è un fotografo, illustratore e pittore. Attualmente lavora come insegnante in corsi di fotografia presso l'Università di Blackpool ed in altre facoltà nel Regno Unito.

 

 

 

 

 

La sua pratica professionale comprende saggi visivi e collezioni di fotografie tematiche.

 

 

 

 

 

Angela è una scultrice e ceramista che lavora con metodi artistici sia tradizionali sia sperimentali. Insegna presso l'Università di Salford e attualmente pratica all’Istituto delle Belle Arti in Ebor Studios a Littleborough, e come ceramista ai confini delle colline “Pennine”.

 

 

 

 

 

E’ molto coinvolta nella sua vita quotidiana in famiglia e utilizza questa influenza come ispirazione per il suo lavoro scultoreo.

 

 

 

 

 

La pratica svolta da questa coppia di artisti è di una dualità intrinseca. Due insiemi di idee e di talento che si abbinano per produrre progetti che non potrebbero essere concepiti da singoli artisti.

 

Negli ultimi quattro anni di collaborazione la fusione delle loro due discipline (in apparenza non correlate) è divenuto più razionale. Entrambi sono in continua evoluzione artistica, passando da un insieme all’altro, arricchendosi reciprocamente… Una reazione chimica… Alchemica.

 

 

 

Coinvolgendo lo spettatore e ascoltando le sue opinioni ci chiediamo se il lavoro diventa condiviso, comune

 

 

 

Ogni spettacolo inizia da un elemento autobiografico evolvendo poi in un contesto sia fisico sia teorico. Questo progetto è una vera opportunità per riscoprire le idee già esplorate da Ian e Angela nel loro percorso artistico. I lavori precedentemente curati considerano il ruolo dello spettatore passivo come un collaboratore/co-autore.

 

 

 

 

 

All’interno di questo percorso complesso, viene reciprocamente aggiunto un elemento geografico e culturale

 

 

 

Lo spettacolo è composto da due gruppi di lavoro. Il primo è realizzato nel Regno Unito, il secondo in Italia.

 

 

 

 

 

Un gruppo di studenti è stato fotografato presso l’Università di Salford utilizzando la nostra Polaroid con foto stenopeico in ceramica. Ciascuno studente coinvolto ha ricevuto un biglietto da visita in edizione limitata composto in ceramica, una pseudo retribuzione vista la loro collaborazione con gli artisti.

 

 

 

 

 

Lo stesso progetto sarà ripetuto con un gruppo di studenti dell’Accademia delle Belle Arti di Macerata. I lavori che verranno prodotti saranno esposti in mostra sia in Italia sia nel Regno Unito.

 

 

 

 

Statement - English version

 

 

Reciprocity/reciprocità

 

 

Angela Tait and Ian Clegg

 

 

Two artists, two places, two bodies of work, two shows

 

 

Ian Clegg and Angela Tait are artists who have been working collaboratively on creative projects since 2010.

 

 

Ian is a photographer, illustrator and painter. He is currently lecturing in photography at the University of Blackpool and other venues in the UK.

 

His personal practice includes visual essays and on-going collections of thematic photographs.

 

 

Angela is a sculptor and ceramicist who works in mediums from the traditional to the experimental. She lectures at the University of Salford and is currently practicing Fine Art from Ebor Studios in Littleborough UK and her own pottery on the edge of the Pennine hills.

 

She is immersed in the domesticity of family life and uses these influences to drive her own sculptural work.

 

 

 

The practice of this pair of artists has an inherent duality. Two discrete sets of ideas and skill sets combine to produce work which wouldn’t be conceived by the artists individually. Through the last four years of collaboration the merging these two (seemingly unrelated) disciplines becomes more rational. Both involve an irreversible change from one state to another… a chemical reaction…alchemical even.

 

 

 

Each show begins with an autobiographical element and grows responding to context, both physical and theoretical. This project has provided another opportunity to pursue some ideas previously explored by Ian and Angela. Earlier work considered the role of viewer as passive collaborator/co-author. Harvesting information from the viewer asked questions of shared ownership and cumulative endeavour. Reciprocity/reciprocità adds a geographical and cultural element to this complex process.

 

 

 

The show consists of two bodies of work. The first made in the UK and the second in Italy.

 

A group of students from the University of Salford have been photographed using our ceramic pinhole polaroid camera. Each involved student has received a limited edition ceramic businesscard as pseudo payment for their collaboration with the artists.

 

This process will be repeated with a group of students from the Accademia de Belle Arti, Macerata. The resulting works will be shown in a dual location exhibition in both Italy and the UK.

 

 

 

 

 

And when we arrived home in the UK

 

 

Reciprocity 

 

 

The work we did in Macerata pushed the parametres of our practice with the pinhole polaroid beyond its existing limits. We took our ceramic camera outdoors to shoot architecture and the landscape; we shot groups; we took long exposures in ancient churches and introduced the concept of the shoe portrait to our new friends.

 

 

 

During the course of three days we presented ourselves and our work to over 200 students and professors. We spoke in possibly the most stunning lecture theatre in the known world and captured dozens of images.

 

 

 

Being intensely immersed in our work for a whole week helped us focus without distractions. Answering endless questions from students and academics alike reminded us what we find so enchanting about the process and the aesthetic we are establishing.

 

 

 

 

 

The exhibition we had in Italy will be replicated in the UK completing our circle of reciprocal arrangements. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Astonishing 11th century lecture theatre 

 

 

 

 

 

Gallery shot from Reciprocity show in Italy

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gallery shot of ceramic smoke fired cameras installed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photography Masters students group shot

 

 

 

This was one of those 'Does your ceramic camera do group shots?' moments. 'Who knows', we said, 'let's try'. By this time we were losing reflected light from the white building opposite. We extended the exposure time and made a slightly naive attempt at the composition. With a lengthy exposure and plenty of educated guesswork we're delighted with the quality of the image. 

 

 

As usual the final question of each session was 'What next?'. That's easy, what's next is going back to our initial idea. The ceramic polariod camera was only produced for this project. A portable and instant medium for showing our ideas succinctly. Whilst the work we have done this month may have broadened our thematic horizons it hasn't altered our initial ambition.  We still want to produce a camera where the ceramic is both the machine and the substrate for the image....onwards and upwards.    

 

 

 

 

Summer 2014

 

The UK leg of our project has taken place. The full exhibition now consists of 16 ceramic plates, Glass plates, smoke fired cameras, hundreds of polaroids and the actual camera.

 

 

 

 

 

    

 

Allessa, ceramic with portrait 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The book is also published. A full documentary record of each piece in the show and is now available from our publishers for a very reasonable £39

 

Visit here to view and/or purchase 

 

 

 

We are now in a position to complete the entire project. The lasting legacy of Reciprocity/reciprocita will be two identical boxes. Each will contain one of the ceramic polaroid tiles and a copy of the book. the two boxes will be held on the sites of the two exhibitions. Based upon our drawing we are now searching for the perfect presentation box.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

August 2014

 

Eight months from the start of our project and it's complete. Keep an eye out for a write up in a popular ceramics journal very soon.

 

We're still fascinated by the possibilites of our idea. We want to go on pushing the boundaries of our research. Keep watching the website and Facebook for updates on our progress.