A semester at COFA

A semester only really lasts three months now: there were twelve teaching weeks in both the subjects I took in my first semester of the Master of Arts by coursework specialising in photomedia at COFA. In that short time though, I feel I’ve gained a good deal. I’m not pleased with any of the work I submitted for assessment, but the process of making it was rewarding. I’ve been exposed to, and savoured, a large number of writers and artists, particularly photographers, and some who do the lot, like Jeff Wall. My favourite quote from him, taken in the context of contemporary art, is from ‘Frames of Reference‘: “It soon became obvious that it was arbitrary what the object was”.

In the practice-based course, Photomedia 1 (SOMA9713), I struggled with how to match a subject to ideas of decay and desire, my chosen theme. After making several attempts to show the interplay of the two, it struck me that the very act of framing an object can be an indication of desire. So I took Jeff Wall a little too literally and just focused on the decay: the nearby Magnolias were an easy choice after that…

Here is the sequence I presented for Photomedia 1, as 9 x 6 inch prints arranged in a ‘V’.

A quick note of appreciation before I move on: the lecturers for this course (and this I suspect is a great strength of COFA) were marvellouos: erudite and encouraging. Thansk to Tanya and Warwick: to see the other students’ end of semester presentations and know where we all were only a short time before is testimony to work well done.

I also started off with a theory course: Current Issues in Art (SAHT9141), which is a few academic trappings around the COFA Talks weekly lecture series. I found this course valuable for a couple of reasons: I was able to research and write about a subject of strong personal interest – social engagement of art, and I was introduced to an array of engaging COFA staff, such as Michael Kempson, Bonita Ely and Paul Thomas. Other standout speakers for me included Gordon Hookey and Djon Mundine, Janet Laurence in conversation with Gene Sherman, and Matty and Justin from the Glitter Militia.


Posted on May 29, 2012

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