The previous year of Out to Space was a transition to study at College of Fine Arts. Most of the posts in the year six were still about the education that got very intense. It wasn’t just the posts about the compulsory final project, but the subject I chose to do was also about the mental illness I had been dealing with—depression.
The school prepared us for the project in the second semester from the script development to preproduction. Then the final semester, we got to shoot the film and did the postproduction. But what I liked the most about it was that they forced us to report the progress on their student blog. It came handy for me (probably not for other students). And I published those posts later on this blog. It was the only and the most comprehensive behind-the-scene blog series I’ve done. There hasn’t been a chance I’d do something like that again, sadly.
Other than the posts about the school, there was hardly a motivation to go out the shoot photos and I was done with the dump series from the previous years as well as other photo subjects in the early years. And the blog started to fill in with automated weekly tweets.
2009 was also one of the toughest years in my life. I had no income and relied on the dole to live by. The study was really stressful. I had to work on the script about depression that I went to the deep dark place. It was the year that exposed that side of myself the most.
By March 2010, I officially graduated but this space didn’t seem to go anywhere. It might have needed a break. Looking back how intense the year was. There were ambitious goals and they archived. What an exhausting learning curve!
In the first few months of year five, I still played with two main materials: Thailand trip and the street dumps until the study at College of Fine Arts (now, UNSW Art & Design) commenced in July. That changed Out to Space from those photos to the stories about the Master degree. But the photos weren’t wasted. They were transformed to another medium—videos.
Dump of the Day was my fascination of junks on the streets of Sydney and became an obsession. It turned out to be too many of them on the blog. It would have been perfect to post them on instagram these days. (Hey, the gear was Nokia N90 then N96 on Symbian with GPRS. Imagine 2008) However, they turned into the perfect source for assignments in my study. Significantly, in Video Art class, which we had to produce a video loop and a video installation.
We spend almost half of our lifetime on bed and we are not really conscious of it. I have been photographing abandoned mattresses on the streets for quite sometime. The stains, burn, gash and mold that are left on those mattresses exhibit the subliminal imprints of our dreams and memories.
This work was produced as a project for Sound Construction class and video installation assessment in Video Art class for Master of Digital Media at College of Fine Arts, Sydney.
Finally, I am officially graduated Master of Digital from College of fine Arts, University of New South Wales. No, I did not attend the graduation ceremony and had the Degree mailed to me. It might an honour to be in it but I actually was handed the Bachelor of Arts degree from King Bhumipol. Nothing could really top that. And it was the process of learning that really mattered, not that piece of paper.
What did I get from COFA? It was not the university life. It was the great opportunity to find myself again. After years of living in Australia and not working in a creative job, it nearly killed me. Photography was the major output but the medium was enough for me. I wanted more.
There were ideas I wanted to explore and they helped me realise them. Some were developed from the photography works and some I had in mind for a long time. And I am still very pleased with them today because I believe I did push the boundary, both mine and theirs. To create works without priceless consultants from the tutors there will be somewhat challenging. There are still projects I want explore and do it outside a university wall is definitely another game.
Unlike Hollywood celebrities, contemporary iconic art figures rarely visit Australia. I had a glimpse of Gilbert & George in the talk at COFA. I did not know which one was which but it did not really matter because they declared that they were two people and one artist. Fair point.
Unfortunately, just over an hour could not even briefly represent 40 years of the career. And I thought of live tweet but was afraid I’d get lost along the way. So here is some point I caught they made in the morning:
Even though they didn’t have a studio, at least, they were well dressed from the start of the career. “We are the subject of our art.”
Singing Sculpture became Drinking Sculpture.
Shit asks questions, apple doesn’t.
If your images don’t grab the audience, you lose them.
An artist doesn’t change the world, the emotion from the viewers from the arts could.
When they are creating an artwork, everything they see is not the same as normal and it changes back when the work is finished.
Istanbul is their favourite city because the chaos. Chaos creates tolerance and they depend on it for their works.
They never look back and believe in new ideas. Society changes but a picture doesn’t.
No alcohol or food in their house and they only drink outside or a tiny bit when having guests in the house.
Q: Do you disagree? (working together)
A: Oh! That’s a great heterosexual question.
Later explanation: They don’t use artistic hands, just idea and tools like computers.
You have to be very organised otherwise you get lost in your archives.
They are optimistic about the world right now and believe in connecting to world.
Two pieces of advises:
Each day, before you get out of the bed, tell yourself “What do I want to tell the world today.”