Rationalism & Empiricism and Neoclassicism & Romanticism

Which approach do you prefer and why?

Even though I think that we live our life using both, rationalists and empiricists ideas, I personally prefer empiricism. Abilities to see,smell,touch and hear are main experiences everyday, and even though rationalist says that these experiences comes only later in life and not at birth and therefore they are not so important I still think that without these experiences our intuition and logic would not work so well. Also, empiricists ideas gives more freedom to an artist to explore world and new ideas.

What connections you can find with empiricism and contemporary art ?

Nowadays popularity of installation art (not installation of art) increases all the time, and most of them are very much sense based. I can see connection between installation art and empiricism as both concentrates on person’s experience. This way art becomes more than white gallery space with framed 2D works or sculptures on stands. Viewer is involved in installation as well as installation has impact on the viewer. 

Antony Gormley installation Blind Light, NYC 2007

Bill Viola Five Angels For The Millennium (photo)

Bill Viola (b. 1951) is video artist from USA.

Ocean Without a Shore, 2007

It is mind-blowing to hear how this work was done and what technologies was used, I think every artist waits for that point in his life when you can have any budget to create work that you envision. 

Ocean Without A Shore is really well thought installation. In my opinion Bill Viola created a beautiful piece which fits so well with the space that he got.  This work made me think how important for artist is attention to detail and history (that is why research is important) It is so important to choose venue which goes with your work, and I do not mean that religious work should be in church, but every artist should try to find space which would complement his work. White walls and huge spaces sometimes does not go with work.

What is now? Notions of the contemporary in photographic theory

One of last 4 lectures in my second year was about contemporary relevance by Gemma Marmalade. 

Lecture was very wide and detail, so I kind a lost it, especially with all the technical problems. However, there was a part which was very interested for me. Tutor showed couple works of Retro-Futurism. I never heard of it before so I got very interested to find out more.

Not only I never heard of it, I actually never saw anything like that, so I did spend a lot of time having fun on images and imagining how would that work in reality…

Name of this trend says everything you need to know: past and future interacting with each other. For me it seems quite straight forward.

Retro-futurism (adjective retro-futuristic or retro-future) is a trend in the creative arts showing the influence of depictions of the future produced prior to about 1960.[1]Characterized by a blend of old-fashioned “retro” styles with futuristic technology, retro-futurism explores the themes of tension between past and future, and between the alienating and empowering effects of technology. Primarily reflected in artistic creations and modified technologies that realize the imagined artifacts of its parallel reality, retro-futurism has also manifested in the worlds of fashion, architecture, literature and film.

While looking for inspiration from retro-futurism, I decided to check if there are any photographers interested in it. I found commercial photographer Ben Sandler. 

both by Ben Sandler

Duality and contrary is something I am very interested in. And this relations between past and future is contrary which can have many different manifestations. All I saw was taking retro piece and adding something futuristic. I would like to explore what would happen if you use futuristic view and take away something out from it.

In the end retro-futurism looks like specific form of surrealism…and I do love it. 


The Illusiun of Equality

Feminism-a doctrine advocating social, political, and economic rights for women equal to those of men.

First wave feminists- XIX and beginning of XX century. Right to vote, own property, parenting..

Second wave feminists-started in 1960s-to date. Discrimination,sexism..

Third wave feminists - the end of XXcentury-to date. Also rape, prostitution, outdated traditions for women in some parts in Africa…

Women in full-time work do 23 hours of domestic work in comparison to men’s 8

Working Conditions in the European Union:The Gender Perspective 2007

The Best Thing About Me Is You - Ricky Martin (equality of people, not just gender wise)

My Opinion

I am not sure if I can call myself a feminist as I am not very active but I definitely agree and support them. As inactive feminist it makes me furious time to time to meet people with zero knowledge of movement. So here you are, some very basic insights: 

  • If one is feminist it does not mean she is lesbian
  • Feminist does NOT think that women are better than men. We are all equal.
  • We do NOT want to soften your masculinity and believe me, we are not big, angry and disappointed with men. 
  • There are many feminists who think that there are some areas where men are underestimated and they think it is worth attention as feminism is about EQUALITY.
  • Not only white women can be feminists

Hope that will be useful to someone. I personally believe that this topic is still very much important in 2013!

Mark Wallinger

3rd seminar-screening 

Mark Wallinger (b.1959)- is a British artist, best known for his sculpture in Trafalgar’s square. 

Mark Wallinger was in charge of British pavilion in Venice Biennale 2001

During seminar we watched movie about him and his art. One of the most known pieces is Angel, video filmed in Angel station in London Underground.

However, I found out about his new project in London Underground, which I want to research more.

Art on the Underground: mark Wallinger’s Labirinth

Labyrinth is created for London Underground 150 years anniversary. There is going to be 270 different labyrinths all over London Underground map. They all are unique and each of them has a number.

What I really like about labyrinths is that they are interactive, people can touch them and find way in or way out. Another sensible touch to this project is that because it is raised from 2D blind people can enjoy this too, they just need their friends or family to show where on the wall it is and they can play too. One more pro is that you have some entertainment while waiting for tube. I actually can not wait to go to London to find one of these.

I do enjoy public art, it is great, as people can see it and in this case actually experience on daily basis, you do not need to go to gallery. From artist’s perspective it is so beneficial, as even people who probably  would not go to gallery can see your work. And in this particular case is like few million passengers every day!!



I personally would not have anything against consumerism, why not to be happy if all person needs is something new. You only live once and if you are satisfied with the modern society then why to go against it? Just buy new toy and be happy. However, I see consumerism very much connected with ecology, people buy new things, they crowd their home and then they bin belongings so there is more space for new stuff. Pollution increases with each thing you buy, as companies produces as many product as you are going to buy. I am not saying that if you would stop buying everything would change, but if we ALL would change the way we buy things it would make difference for our nature. When I say the way we buy things I mean just to choose quality over quantity. That would make a difference.

Charlotte Cotton ‘The Photograph As Contemporary Art’

Charlottte Cotton says that this book is to explore photography field as it is today. She divides photography in several different 'types’ trying to assign some photographers to those types. However, while reading the book I can feel it that it is based on authors opinion and knowledge rather than actual facts. 

I don’t really think that you can create photography 'types’ so easily, based on how one sees field. However, even though I do not agree with author on most of it there still were some great ideas that made me thinking.

'Difference between staged photography and performative art is that viewer only gets to see result.' I liked this point as it makes photography even more complex. Photographer can be a viewer too, so it would make most of staged photography into peformative art. Staged photographs can actually be worse quality and can be called records of some kind of performance. So I do like duality that applies, there is only tiny line between photography and performative art. 

'At what point in history and our own lives did a corner of a floor represented in a photograph became iconic, worthy of our attention?' This question in a book sound very rhetorical, but I actually would like an answer. I personally don’t classify this as art and it makes me angry how many people think that less visual quality in photograph means a better work. If you can not see meaning or beauty in piece of art, there probably is none of them there. Do not be one of people thinking  'wow I saw his name on TV and wow this piece is worth 100 000 so PROBABLY he is a good artist’. Probably he is not. 

However, I have to stress that while reading a book I found some new for me and very interesting artist. Great source for new artists to look at.

Greta Sa

The end of 2nd year in university post.

I believe it was productive and important year as I learned a lot of things which will help me later on. The most important thing is that I got into habit of using PS rather than other software, and I can see that every time I do something with it I get better and better. And it is great, as PS is of vital importance for a photographer.

I really enjoyed Performative Portraits project, as I managed to put so many things that interest me in one project.  

Summer Project - No PS Model

After crit, I was told that I am too photogenic and some of the photographs looked too normal and there was not enough irony in them. However, some people said that I did great on replicating poses and face expressions, which proves that research is important.

Aura project and Cut Up

I think that these projects is start of something bigger, as I liked using photographs as material. To edit image physically was something new and exciting. Moreover, results were really good. However, when doing Aura project I did chose material for the base wrong, so next time I will know better. When talking about Cut Up project, I do think that is was one of the most successful project for me this year.

This year my main difficulty was juggling work and studies. I had to work more days a week, so I feel that my struggle is visible in some of the works. I can just see how couple more days for each project would make them better. There is no other option with this, but I will start getting ready for next year during summer so I am more prepared to juggle both again.

Appropriation project

I think I was not enough excited about it. I did my best, but I did not put my heart in it. And this happened last year with the last project too. Maybe i just need holidays is the middle of academic year so that I would be charged with creativity.

I think it was a good year, but I can not wait for third year, as I am indeed motivated to put everything I got into my last year at university. 

Exhibitions II

Saatchi: Out Of Focus

This exhibition is worth all new post in my blog. It was massive: over 30 different photographers. All of them had more than just one photo in exhibition, so it actually took all Saatchi space. I really liked to see so many different photography styles and techniques under one roof. From portraits to landscapes, colour and BW, huge and small…

However from that many artists I honestly liked only few of them. So here it is.

Katy Grannan (1969) is an American portrait photographer. I think that all of people  in photos were really interesting and well chosen to be in this series-definitely all of them had an individuality.

John Stezaker (1949) is an English conceptual artist. I knew that there is gonna be his work at exhibition, so I was happy to see works that I never saw in internet before.

Mariah Robertson- prints on metallic paper. I loved idea of work being any size artist wants, but most importantly I loved all the colours. 

Chris Levine is an American light artist who studied in UK. ‘Lightness of Being’ - is a beautiful and very unusual portrait of Queen Elizabeth II. I really liked an image, but even more I enjoyed reading about technique to get a holographic portrait- I would like to try that.

Mat Collishaw (1966) - British artist based in London. A huge mosaics, image in detail. Each piece of mosaics were like pixels in its touchable state rather than the one we know in our computer screens.

Pinar Yolocan (1981)- Turkish artist based in NY. Well chosen women and unbelievable outfits, specially created for each of them. WE ARE WHAT WE EAT.

Phoebe Rudomino (1981)- is a commercial diver and underwater photographer based at the Underwater Stage at Pinewood Studios. Just unbelievable. Loved it. 

Greta Sa

Year 2- Summer Project

Summary of the brief for Summer Project 2013

  • Come up with a brief for myself
  • Short description of what I am going to do
  • 8 images or 1 video (show diversity)
  • 5 gallery shows (also PV)
  • To read Susan Sontag On Photography
  • To read Geoff Dyer The Ongoing Moment
  • Record everything on the blog

I want you to think about what has inspired you work so far, what do you normally look at? For this project I want you to look at different source material, I want you to produce something that isn’t easily identifiable as your work. Your research will help you.

So for this project my main task is to produce body of work which would not look like my usual work. I need to do research different way, so rather than using internet and go to shows I will read more books and photography magazines. In my previous works you can see I am interested in editorial photography, so there can not be any clue to it on my final work, all I will do for this project has to be contemporary art photography. 


Jonas Mekas at Serpentine Gallery in London.

I knew about this exhibition months before it was opened, so I was eager to see as soon as possible. I do enjoy his work, but even more I like his personality, so I was extremely sad not to get ticket to evening with him. He is one of most interesting and creative people alive. Moreover, he is the best known Lithuanian in the world !

Exhibition was beautiful, informative and inspirational. I did enjoy exposition of film cameras that he used during his life and cinema in the middle of gallery. It was nice to read his texts  as I knew what he is talking about (places,names..)

However, even though I love his work, I really did not liked his work being in Serpentine Gallery. And this did proved to me again : artist do have to take venue into consideration, as not all spaces goes well with works. At this case, gallery was not welcoming, not cosy and his work is opposite:  personal,open and warm.

However, it still was great exhibition, I was so proud to be from the same country as Jonas Mekas.

Anti-Capitalism and Neo-Liberalism

Anti-Capitalism is a movement, which oppose to capitalist ideas. Capitalism is economic system based on goods and private ownership of them. Capitalism is concentrated on profits you get when selling your goods.

The wealth of World’s richest 358 billionaires exceeds the total wealth of half the World’s population (approx 2.7 billion people)

Noel Douglas presentation University of Bedfordshire, 2012

Neo-Liberalism-a political movement beginning in the 1960s that blends traditional liberal concerns for social justice with an emphasis on economic growth.

No personal opinion or other research as I am apolitical by choice. 

However, I did like examples that our tutor showed of different ways to express people opinion. The best of all was Johannes Gees idea, he had laser projected on mountains so people could write what they think using internet and all town could read it.

I think it is great way to make opposition people uncomfortable, to say something very loudly but still to be anonymous. And at the same time to let other people know that they are not alone having similar thoughts. It is indeed a smart and safe way to protest.

Maya Deren

Maya Deren (1917-1961) - was an American filmmaker, one of first people to explore avant-garde genre. She also was a dancer, photographer, poet..  

We watched documentary movie about Deren 'In The Mirror of Maya Deren’ by Martina Kudlacek,2002.

At Land

Even though Maya Deren is known for avant-garde genre, my favourite piece is At Land (1944) which personally for me is full of surrealism. 

Meshes of the Afternoon

This piece is one of first avant-garde movies which has narrative. What I really enjoy about this piece is a soundtrack. Soundtrack was done by Maya’s husband Teiji Ito. 

Maya Deren with no question was a very talented woman. I enjoy her first films most, as they are not yet 100% avant-garde. Both of films I mentioned before has parts which for me is very much like surrealism. When watching her’s work you can feel that it was done by female filmmaker, there is attention to detail and narrative, which is so easy to understand if you are woman.

However, the best part of her films for me is frames and camera movements. Camera is used 360 degrees, which becomes as an special effect.

Human Condition 1&2 - Female Touch and Independent Animation

Disney employed Linda Wolverton for Beauty and the Beast as scriptwriter.  She knew that something has to change to work for 90s audience. 

“Belle is a strong, smart, courageous woman… She’s a Disney Heroine who reads books… We’ve never seen that before.”

Linda Wolverton,Disney’s Art of Animation, Bob Thomas, Hyperion

Independent Animation

Because of more affordable technology, more animators can create freely and that way to be more objective and experiment with view more, than those in big studios. 

I think that is great, as independent animation stays more like an art form rather than just business. And artists like to push boundaries, to question society norms and make their own manifesto’s and all of that is so much more likely to happen in independent studio that big corporate one.

Feminine Aesthetic

Woman animators number has increased because of independent animation and therefore female aesthetics has emerged. Female animators benefit the most of independent animation as they could create different image of modern woman. 

The representations of aspects such as sexuality in triangle or the more general human condition are particularly interesting when presented by female directors. They delve deeper than the stereotypes presented by the patriarchal studio productions.

Mark Collington, Human Condition presentation, 2012

 I think that in any art form male and female perspectives are quite different. For instance, female photographers are more about idea and feelings, when male photographers are much more interested in technical part, as camera, composition etc. Thus, I think you can find some ‘female aesthetics’ in many different art forms and not just animation.

Human Condition 1&2 / Existentialism

Existentialism- a philosophy that emphasizes the uniqueness and isolation of the individual experience in a hostile or indifferent universe, regards human existence as unexplainable, and stresses freedom of choice and responsibility for the consequences of one’s acts.

I have read Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s book Crime and Punishment,which is considered to be existentialist book. Main character Raskolnikov murders moneylender lady called Alyona Ivanovna in the beggining of book. Raskolnikov has a choice to make to kill her or not, but he feels that his good work after she is dead and he has her’s money would make it even. He lives in world where he can decide.

Even though Dostoyevsky was religious and respected human’s life he had same idea/question in few books ‘If God does not exist everything is permitted’. 

by Edward Hopper

My perception

This phrase suggests that person has freedom of choice if God would not exist. One could do anything he feels like if there is no God to judge him. However, I think that it is not religion keeping us from killing everybody and going wild with our instincts. From one hand some people justifies killing using religion, because of understanding it incorrectly and from other hand  there is so many people who do not follow any religion and majority are not anarchists. So what does keep us from going wild? 

I think it is simple like what mums says to a child: Behave the way you would like others to behave with you. 

Watch on

The Century of Self is a television documentary by Adam Curtis.


Notes that I wrote during lecture while watching first episode called Happiness Machine:

  • Sigmund Freud - new theory about human nature( primitive sexual and violent urges) 
  • Primitive forces lead society to destruction
  • Theory used to control dangerous crowds
  • Edward Bernays- Freud’s nephew in America
  • Bernays was the first person to take Freud’s ideas about human beings and use them to manipulate the masses
  • Want things people did not need
  • Political idea how to control the masses, consumption
  • Psychotherapy,psychoanalysis
  • America starts war with Germany and Austria, Bernays was employed to promote America’s war to press, as this war promised  to bring democracy to Europe
  • Peace conference in Paris, Barneys was asked to go together with the president Woodrow Wilson
  • If you can do propoganda for war you can definitely use it for peace- Bernays
  • Irrational emotions to be played with
  • Campaign to persuade woman to smoke Torch is a freedom
  • Link products with their emotional desires and feelings
  • Make people not just to buy product, but to make them think that they will feel better and happier if they do so
  • Danger of overproduction made corporations to understand that they have to shift America from needs to desires country
  • Bernays used celebrities in magazines to promote goods and he was first to place products in movies
  • Psychology of dress
  • Consumerism
  • 1924 first time politics involved with public relations,Bernays invited 34 actors to visit White House to promote president Calvin Coolidge
  • Bernays helped to print Freuds books
  • Way to manipulate masses by stimulating their desires and than making people happy with consumerism . Engineering of concent
  • 1929 president Hoover agreed with Bernays, and wanted to make consumerism the key for America’s economics. He thought of people as happiness machines 
  • The biggest stock market crash in history,1929
  • Recession and unemployment, so consumerism stopped
  • Hitler promised that he will end democracy, as democracy led to chaos and unemployment, free market was too unstable
  • 1933 president Roosevelt, he listen to people
  • 1936 Roosevelt reelected
  • Sept 1939 Freud died.

My tutor gave a task for each of us to find installation artist and one of his works that we enjoyed so that we could show it in class. I did not think a lot and decided to show the best installation that I have ever seen. In 2010 spring I visited Barbican gallery in London to experience something new. There was installation by Celeste Boursier- Mougenot. You enter The Curve gallery space, walk couple metres and in the end space is transformed into small park with grass, sandhills and tiny lake. All of this is background for what is really happening. There is guitars and drums connected to speakers and displayed all over the park, but the real fun is small birds which are flying around gallery space , jumping on guitars and making noise. I absolutely loved this installation and hope you will like it too.


This installation was so simple but really powerful. In the middle of one of the biggest cities in the world you can come indoor and watch how birds are playing human instruments. Process really takes you in and then you can stand there not thinking about anything else but those small birds playing guitar all day long. To be honest I was thinking about different instruments that birds could also play:)

While my course mates showed artists which they liked we all really got into discussion about installations, and at what point sculpture becomes installation. Somebody said that installation has to be so big that viewer could enter it, others thought that is more about feeling when you stand next to it and somebody even mentioned that it depends if work has one point of view or more. However, now I can see that there is something more complex about installation, as it can be installation of art or installation art.

I read introduction of Claire Bishop book ‘Installation Art’. In just first page she wrote couple very important things about installation:

'But there is a fine line between an installation of art and installation art.’

I agree with her and think that even though sometimes this line is really blurred you can still recognize which is which.

'An installation of art is secondary in importance to the individual works it contains, while in a work of installation art, the space, and the ensemble of elements within it, are regarded in their entirety as a singular entity.’

So after all this I got 'Aura’ project to do, I made two 3D pieces, and I was quite interested that even though it had more then one point of view it could never be described as installation. 

I really enjoy installation art, but personally I prefer ones where you enter and get a feeling that you are in some different world. And if it is interactive too than it is guaranteed joy for me.

Greta Sa

I Shine is a series of square sized images, where I explore myself in roles of different famous people. Images are staged and presents work of those people during one period of time. I hope you will question who is supposedly shown in images and why.

This is my final images on Performative Portrait Project.

CLICK ON PHOTO for more information, my research, ideas, first shots and creative process or go on page ‘Performative Portraits’ on my blog.

Greta Sa

The London Design Festival 2012

I was checking my computer and found some photos from The London Design Festival 2012. So I decided to share artists that I really liked.

Eley Kishimoto ‘Living With Patterns’ at The Aram Gallery

Eley Kishimoto is a British fashion and design company, founded in early 90s. I was suprised to learn that it is a company, all patterns and things looked personal and cosy. The best thing was presentation, you enter patterned tent and it looks like you are in different world (much nicer place to live).

'Hot Tools’ at Gallery Libby Sellers

It was a small exhibition in small gallery, but impact was unbelievable. All glass work was done by the Product Design Master students of ECAL, the University of Art and Design Lausanne. I liked all pieces, but what really made it extremely likable and interesting was video, in which they recorded how everything is done. Absolutely loved it. 

'Be Open Sound Portal’ at Trafalgar Square 

In the middle of Trafalgar Square, strange exterior black round 'building’. I wait in line for 15 minutes to get inside. And there was a very bright space, with soft seats, perfectly created to forget that your are in the middle of London. It was a sound istallation but what I really enjoyed was people who come in (some of them where tourists, others knew about installation and couple came third day in a row).

Greta Sa