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Within the buffer : methodologies for drawing as a response to the flow of time

posted on 15.05.2017, 06:46 by Ashbolt, Dena Elizabeth
Abstract Within The Buffer: Methodologies for Drawing as a Response to the Flow of Time This research questions; how the act of drawing might respond to the flow of time and, encourage an intimacy in the act of looking for both maker and viewer. The outcome of this research will contribute to a studio-based discourse that refers to the visual representation of time and Henri Michaux’s (1899 – 1984) term cinematic drawing: "Instead of one vision to the exclusion of others, I wanted to draw the moments that end to end make life, to show the inner phrase, the wordless phrase, the sinuous strand that unwinds indefinitely and is intimately present in each inner and outer event. I wanted to draw the consciousness of existing and the flow of time. . . . Cinematic drawing." (1) To draw the flow of time is an immense proposition; therefore, this project was limited to the flow of time as evinced by movement. Time as framed by narrative, that is the sequencing of events and personal histories, was positioned outside the parameters of this research. The proposition to draw the passing of time developed from a desire to explore how drawing responses or graphic/photographic outcomes encouraged an intimacy in the act of looking. The term intimacy is used to refer to that quality evoked when looking at a work that effects time for both artist and viewer, and permits or entices the experience of ‘suspension’ in the space/time of the image, let’s say, the visual equivalent to being immersed listening to a piece of music. An intimacy of looking that is a concentration, an absorption of looking, devoid of distraction, that functions to diminish or close the gap between the viewer and the artwork being looked at. The ‘poetic’ in the context of this research refers to Maurice Merleau–Ponty (1908 – 1961) on Stéphane Mallarmé (1842 – 1898) in which he cites Mallarmé’s distinction between the poetic use of language and that of everyday chatter: "The poet, by contrast, according to Mallarmé, replaces the usual way of referring to things, which presents them as ‘well known’, with a mode of expression that describes the essential structure of the thing and accordingly forces us to enter into that thing."(2) Therefore, the poetic dimension is considered to operate such that when looked at, drawings of the familiar ‘force us to enter into that thing’ and in the context of this research ‘that thing’ refers to the experience of time passing ‘being looked at’. Cinematic drawing and what that might be is underpinned and informed by an extensive body of drawings. In the studio, the video camera, the camera, the iPhone, iPad, charcoal, ink and the pencil were employed as investigative perceptual drawing tools. This analysis of methodologies uncovered the operation of the buffer to reveal the almost as an instrument of the cinematic. 1. Henri Michaux and others, Untitled Passages by Henri Michaux (New York, London: The Drawing Center ; Merrell, 2000). 7 Essay To Draw the Flow of Time (1957), 2. Maurice Merleau-Ponty, The World of Perception (London ; New York: Routledge, 2004). 100 fn3 Stéphane Mallarmé, passim. See, in particular, his Résponses à des enquêtes (response to Jules Huret, 1891), in Oeuvres complètes (Paris: Gallimard, Pléiade, 1945).


Campus location


Principal supervisor

Euan Heng

Year of Award


Department, School or Centre

Fine Art


Doctor of Philosophy

Degree Type



Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture