Developing the Project.

So it is coming to the final few weeks of the digital residency. I am in Warsaw, where I have seen all of the rest of the family. There is one final family member who I would like to find, he was mentioned by my great aunt Irene- Jacob Biszewski. The great-grandfather’s brother’s son.
I have no idea if he is still around or not. It is hard to say.
I will have to do some serious digging as I dont feel like Irena was the type to have email addresses.

Follow more on http://digitalartistresidency.org/artists/charlotte-biszewski/

In the meantime I have found a place to work. A great studio in the heart of the City. Vigoda Press, is one of the city’s first book art gallerys and Letterpress studio.

It has been great, I have felt really at home here and in the city. I have discovered so much. I cant believe it is coming to an end of my digital residency. I feel so far from finishing the project. We visited the graves of Kaszia’s ancestors in preparation for All Saints Day- more of that to come!

I have begun playing around with translating the images onto Unity. Which I have to admit was a bit of a head *** I promise myself over and over I will learn code, and I did manage to get it to do what I want. But it looked simple and then I fell at the final hurdle. So I found an online panorama maker, which does what I want.

This is a first test
https://www.charlottebiszewski.com/panorama

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To Hel and Back

On Process

The processes I am developing during this project are Cyanotype and Van-dyck Brown. These are two similar pre-silver forms of photography, (well actually van-dyck does have a bit of silver nitrate in it), one producing a beautiful Prussian Blue and the other a rich Sepia.The advantages of both is that apart from the chemical formulas of each, there is little required to develop prints and they are far less light sensitive than traditional photography- not requiring a dark room. Infact the bathroom of many of the places we having been staying have done the job more than adequately, having forgotten my scales, I have been able to successfully eyeball the measurements and it seems to work. You can work with acetate negatives, sketching onto tracing paper, found objects and stencils. It is super fun.

 


It has to be said, travelling with someone who is doing this is a pain in the arse, Charlie finds that he is having to wait for the chemicals to dry before he can shower, and asthe aux-in cable is defunct on my laptop, we have been forced to listen in silence to the recordings I have been taken on loud speaker, while my laptop captures the sound through microphone.

In between all this we drove to Hel, (and back) the other day. Stopping in Sopot and Gdyynia along the way. Check out the Grand Budapest Hotel!> The beach was beautiful, I dont think I have been anywhere so empty in my life.

 


Along the trip I managed to expose a few prints in the back of the car, to use as kind of a photographic sketchbook.

 

I have been collecting objects and prints and rubbings along the way, but due to the nature of the process, it is better to do the exposure over one or two days.  So there will be more on the visuals to come.

Family #2

Irene lives in Gdansk.

She was the Niece of my grandfather,  she lives in an old people’s home in Gdansk, she speaks no English. I went to visit her with Kaszia, who is the Granddaughter of my Grandfather’s sister. Confused? I think I will draw a family tree.
So there was Edmund (great-grandfather) who worked on railways in Russia and Ukraine, (him and his wife were put in a work camp in siberia after the Communist Revolution – for being the beaougouis. They had 5 children at the time, who were taken care of by a priest in St Petersberg. Great-grandmother wrote to Lenin, explaining she had 5 unacompanied children and they were released.

There were 3 girls and 2 boys.Maria Antonina ur.Biszewska ur.~1905; Jadwiga Biszewska ur.1907; Halina Biszewska ur.1908;Edmund (Muś) Biszewski ur 1910Stanisław Biszewski (najmłodszy) ur.~1912.Anyway I will maybe do a family tree, but heres a bit of the interview and some recordings from the trip to the beach, driving across Poland and more all mixed together. 

 

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Poland – Gdansk you very much

So I am beginning my Digital Artist Residency in Gdansk. It is here where I know of some relatives, here where I have heard of. It was also the first place in Poland which came under Nazi occupation. But don’t worry, this wont be too war heavy. It just feels relevant in this story.
DSCF0493.jpg

My grandfather, Edmund, son of Edmund, grandson of Edmund, yes. All were civil engineers, building the transsiberian railway, my great-grandfather got citizenship (I think he was originally Belarus?) in 1913, after the Russian Revolution.
My Grandfather became an officer in the army and was one of the only to escape when the Poland was invaded. He travelled his way across Europe, avoiding arrest until arriving in the UK, where he was enlisted into the army there.
Oh he left behind a wife in Poland. Her daughter might be on my list of people to find.
Apart from that I don’t really know too much.

So the idea of this residency is to follow this story to find those who were there those left behind, and create a long and winding scroll:

Charlotte Biszewski Rodzina 
Inspired by notions of home, what is means to the individual, how we use objects to adorn our surroundings, to tell stories and store memories. Incorporating work as a traditional printmaker within a range of communities, Charlotte Biszewski strives to find new relevance in traditional crafts through the incorporation of new technologies.
During October she will be travelling across Poland, an unknown, yet familiar territory. Using this trip to research a history, she will integrate analogue practices in photography and tape recording, mirroring ancient scroll forms, creating a giant camera film spool on a 10 metre roll of wallpaper which works in conjunction with the winding of a cassette recording to tell a journey, an unwinding story which travels back in time. The final will result in a digital scroll which will be streamed online, linking the two processes in unity, the audience will scroll backwards and forwards through this journey.

So I have started with an interview at Grandma’s house. It was tough, I know that there are parts which she doesn’t want to give me with this story. So I didnt want to push it. But here is a small sort of recording I did on a tape player.

It was important. It taught me 2 things. 1 was that the original suitcase exposure unit, kindly donated by Hackspace Bristol, was not suitable for collecting 3D objects. 2. My family is a bit closed off.
So I spent one week in Oxford and during that time managed to make my own exposure unit (as originally suggested by the wonder Bristol hackspace members). And it works, 2.5 meters of LED strip lights in a suitcase.
It made me very nervouse taking it through aiport security. What with my suitcase all full of silver nitrate and all.

So now I am here in Gdansk, It is beautiful it is an unexpected treat. Old buildings and cranes as far as the eyes can see.


I have spent some time playing with Vandyke Brown Print and Cyanotype and I am ready to meet aunt Irene, who doesnt speak a word of English.

życzę mi szczęścia!

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Blog one

So it is time, a new beginning, a new practice, a new approach. I have fallen, like the fate of many a post-graduate artist into bad habits, those which serve to deteriorate my ability to create. It comes from juggling a number of commissions, not focusing, losing the love and writing about 100 rejected applications. It is no wonder.
But I have hit the bottom, well I am skimming the stony bed with my bare-behind and I need to kick back into deeper waters. This is my attempt.

A Blog.
A blog is more than a blog. It is my space to think. I need to have a practical output, even when I am using a space to contemplate. It makes me feel better that I have used this space to make something, visible and measurable. I am an infuriating mixture of my fathers anxious inability to relax, and my mothers determined high achieving standards. So this is why I write, so I feel less guilty for the space in which I develop my thoughts. Also the massive underlying narcissistic skeleton, driving the joints in my fingers and loving every self-indulgent moment.

Cornwall. More than just a county.

Alex Goodman stole me away for 2 days in Cornwall, it saved me from a whole hell of serious moping which I would have otherwise been excecuting. Instead I ran the coast and swam in the waves of Peranporth, experienced an immerisive theatre performace of the Wolf Child- more on this, explored Plymouth, the letterpress studio of both The College of Art and The Plymouth University, oh and went for another swim, and smoked a lot of cigarettes – well I am grieving the death of an academic future after all.

Wolf Child, set in the grounds of Trelowarren estate, a

beautiful country manor and house. It was an immersive tale told around the surrounding woods and the grounds. It began in the courtyard, whilst we all drank down our pints, finished our pizzas and killed our zillionth fag (morning), we were greeted by the lord of the manor. A funny introduction into our journey. We were sent into the woods to explore our tale. It consisted of a matriarchal community –lead by mother, who every night would fight off the wolves who roomed the manor’s surrounding woodlands. Between each stage the audience walked, led by the guide of a crow. We follow Rohan, the mute bedraggled daughter sent on the mission to kill the wolf lead. There she meets (and is shamelessly, objectively seduced- god I am a bit bored by these traditional roles – but now is not the time). The walking between acts, the audience chats, shares or silently contemplates. The mud underfoot the smell of the dewy leaves and the mist. I found the woodlands to be the strong element of storytelling. It allowed you to become lost, lost in the way a book loses you, in the way which is unlike a play or a film which shows you in which way your imagination will be directed next, this allowed for the same level of deep contemplation.

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Yes Its a remote control tight-roping unicyclist!

Just wanted to post up the only video I had of this piece.
Its an old piece, but has had some adjustments to the balance (and a remote control)

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Hiding in the Loft

You wait and it all comes at once.

I have been waiting, applying, receiving countless rejections and frustrations. I always find the time between October and January as one of particular down time.

But you know what they say, art opportunities are like buses, over-crowded and then they all come at once. I could go on with bus puns for a while, but I feel like this will be

This weekend has been the ultimate weekend of deadlines, both for an exhibition I am part of at The New Ashgate Gallery. Its called ‘Rising Stars’ – Yes thats right I am a bloody Rising star! There’s my name mum!

Rising Stars 2016 Poster

For this I decided to take my previous ‘Bird on A Wire’ Piece apart, in the hopes of making it remote control operated. A number of hilarious mishaps led to a very frightening sense of not being able to put it back together. However yesterday I think I cracked it and turning on the switch, I was horrified to discover the remote control did nothing, it toook me a while to realise the batteries were in the wrong way round. Oh my nerves have been a laughing in overdrive.

 

At the same time, Bedminster Town Team approached us at Unit 10 to see if we would be up for organising 4 window displays for 4 shops during the Window Wanderland event. It sounded simple, but oh, how everything does. I realised that if you were aware of how much hassle a project would be before taking it on, you would never do half of the work you agree to.

This was no exception. And me, being me, decided it should have a moving element, that working with bike parts and cogs would be simple enough to have a moving window display.

I spent one week testing out ideas for movements and maquetting mechanisms. Some were successful, others big piles of cardboard and glue gun. By the time I came to build, there was only 4 days remaining. So I worked my bloody little socks off through simpson quiz and experimental noise jam.


I dunno if its any good, but for four days work all I care is that it is done. Plus through it all I have rediscovered a drive to make again.

 

To Top things off, one of the artists dropped out two days before the window event. SO I managed to Rope Lisa, my  ever brilliant housemate into the madness of it all. With only two days to create a concept and put up the work, she absolutely saved the day. I am eternally sorry for putting her through those two days.

Favors are owed.

But as ever I turned up to the shop venue and she seemed as calm as ever, just putting the finishing touches to this guy.

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A whole heap of stones

So I’m not sure whether I mentioned past visits to the M-shed stores, but to reiterate, its pretty much ‘The Place’.

I figured my step dad would get a kick out of all the old machinery, so I arranged a trip for his birthday last year,
turns out they have loads of print equipment to geek out about.
(I reckon I outdid the majority of the over 50’s group when it came to getting over-excited about old stuff)(no innuendo)
The holy grail of the whole experience was the 70 odd Lithography stones, which they held, found in the basement of a demolished Bristol Print Building.


Oh that and the old Linotype machine, something which I never knew existed until now.

Anyway, running alongside this letterpress project I am also on a mission to print the stones and create some kind of book/ artwork documenting the images contained on the stones.
The next step was to find the facilities and a printer!
I contacted Stephanie Turnball, she basically has the Litho skills the geek motivation to match when it comes to lithography,
I proper respect her, a self-defined printmaker, I hoped this project would be right up her street….. Yup, I guess it was.

Once filling in all the necessary paperwork, we managed to smuggle one of the smaller stones out of the back of the M-shed and down the fire escape, fleeing in Steph’s vivid green van – To Bower Ashton Litho Department!
There we sat and looked at it, contemplating how best to approach printing this stone with out destroying it.
Well Steph contemplated, I looked looked thoughtful and like Winnie the Pooh, managed to umm and err at the appropriate moments in order to appear like I was contributing.


First she rubbed in a bit of grease, then covered the stone in gum arabic.
Then we went to the library to see if we could find the adequate method. We got a coffee,
we looked at the stone once more and then to hell with it… we rolled on some ink.


The first few attempts were a bit measly and I was convinced it was a futile effort.
But no!
Eventually It Came!!! And its beautiful, it even printed the biro from the printers inscription; dated 13/10/50.
So the final mission is to work out whether it is 1950 or 1850!
And decide how best to print the colours!

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