Tutorial with Prof Stephen Farthing 27 Oct 2016 in his studio at Chelsea

We managed to cover all topics on my agenda I had sent him a few days before https://terencemquinn91.org/2016/10/25/preparation-for-tutorial-with-prof-stephen-farthing-on-27-oct-2016/ .

When I walked in Stephen had the Veronica Scan of himself on his screen, which he had done at The Royal Academy during their exhibition 2-11 Sept 2016. We talked about this for a while. Apparently he helped initiate this exhibition with the Factum Foundation, and the Rothschild Foundation who funded it (apparently to the tune of about £150,000). The Rothschild family also own Waddesdon Manor, part of which is operated by the National Trust, and where my wife Suzy and I went for our scans at their Veronica Scanner exhibition (on this week only). After this, the exhibition, goes back to its base in Milan, for some fine tuning.


I said that the people there said that they wanted to exhibit in Universities and I suggested UAL, and also the possibility of participating in our sessions during next years’ Tate Exchange. Stephen said that he knows the top man at the Factum Foundation, and who to contact at the Rothschild Foundation if I wanted to follow this up. I said that I would speak to Jonathan Kearney and Chris Follows about this, to see if they wanted to pursue it. Diary note for next week.

We then talked about my MA Display Metamorphosis, which Stephen thought had been my final MA Show exhibit. I explained the artwork, its meaning , how it was made and how it functioned. I also explained the resolution of the issue of ‘touching’ a naked female sculpture, raised by Jonathan, and which Stephen and I had discussed before. I said that I had come up with another solution, by triggering Vanessa’s narratives when a visitor picked up the book also entitled Metamorphosis , which I had found in the bookshop at Tate Britain. This involved proximity sensing with the Bare Conductive Touch Board, an adapted Arduino microprocessor.

Moving on to one of my key issues: how to make a meaningful and distinctive piece of art using Augmented/Mixed Reality. We discussed this for some time. I suggested that what the viewer got from this approach to artistic expression was  an immersive experience, which could trigger emotion much more effectively than most other visual art forms, as you the viewer were actually in the artwork not just viewing it. I said that if you were watching TV, or a film, you were detached from the screen and the screen displayed something that was happening somewhere else, other than where you were. He got this, but said that it depended upon what you immersed the viewer in. Stephen suggested I move away from the life figure or even dance movements as this was insufficiently engaging, if the full potential of the Mixed reality was to be realised. He suggested considering an event in history that had some meaning today. He cited an example of Strange Fruit, fruit hanging from a tree, which represented the lynching of Negroes in America, during the time of the Klu Klux Klan. A poem, immortalised in a song by Billie Holiday. I have ordered the CD and a book entitled  Strange Fruit; Billie Holiday, Cafe Society and an early cry for Civil Rights, by David Margouck. I want to understand more of the message Stephen was giving me, and took this as a good example to follow.

Stephen recommended that I find a theme that resonated with me. We discussed some, which I won’t go into here, but will later when I have given the subject a lot more thought. To see whether Mixed reality was adding to the experience, he also suggested that I write a script, and try to implement it in two or three ways including Mixed Reality. The idea was to see what the new media added to the experience. I said that I had limited time as I need to produce a finished piece for my MA show. He disagreed and said that an experiment, even unfinished, would be very meaningful and offer new insights and knowledge, and that would be quite acceptable as an MA show piece. I will talk to Jonathan about this.

Interrupted by a fire alarm (a real one), we talked about the PhD outside in the street (joined by Donald, who I was due to meet next). He echoed my thoughts that it was difficult to find a University which offered art and science at a high level that could offer someone as a suitable supervisor. We talked about CSM, and CCW, but he thought that they did not have the breadth of knowledge needed to support me in my proposed PhD (digital art conservation). He ended up recommending that I apply to Oxford University Ruskin (where he had been Master of Ruskin College), and when I asked, said that he would act as a reference (Thank you. Thank you). I said that he knew my background (no BA Fine Art), and said that only your MA mattered (you need at least a Merit and preferably a Distinction). He thought I could certainly do a PhD (more certain than I was). A reassuring vote of confidence).

He also thought that as I wanted to do a practice based PhD, that I should offer digital art conservation as a potential side benefit of my PhD, which could be about exploring emerging technologies for Museum Display. I talked about the Sydney Museum and the videos of characters at the time of early settlements and penal colonies. He talked about the Buffalo Bill museum in Colorado, where Bill Cody’s talking image was displayed through a fog-screen, which you walked through to get to the exhibition.

Overall a very interesting meeting (as usual). We agreed to meet again in late November.



2 thoughts on “Tutorial with Prof Stephen Farthing 27 Oct 2016 in his studio at Chelsea

  1. Pingback: Unit 1 Assessment | terencemquinn91

  2. Pingback: Ideas for a Mixed Reality short film for my MA Show | terencemquinn91

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