Deciphering Text

Author, Author: Reporter, Projects, Visual Research, Workshops

Author: Reporter Studio Introduction

Today I was introduced to the Author: Reporter studio whereby, Susanna Edwards briefed us all on the first project that explores the role of the ‘Author’ and the relationships between text and image. The brief is specific to Southampton being the geographic location to be investigated. However it feels incredibly open as we are expected to do this remotely, through initial sources provided; fiction, fact, past and present. These sources are meant to act as a springboard towards the final outcome. The designed outcome could potentially be selected for inclusion at a symposium next year.


Note taking at the briefing.

Dissecting the Sources

To kick start the process of working from the sources provided, which include audio, written and photographic mediums, in groups, we started to read through some of the texts in order to see what visual imagery stood out.

I found this task quite difficult surrounded by a lot of people in the studio, mostly because I’m a slow reader and often need to be in complete silence to focus on reading or writing so my mind can take it in and make sense of it. Therefore, attempting to read an extract of Owen Hatherly’s ‘New Ruins’ wasn’t really getting me anywhere, so I made very few notes. Feeling quite self conscious of this, I still presented what I read and interpreted. it made no sense and felt a little random but I did think it sounded like describing an unknown place.


Handwritten notes from the text

Susanna’s response was that the abstract nature of the sentences I selected, made her think of strange landscapes and almost mythical new worlds.A theme i’m very much interested in as demonstrated in the past where I’ve looked at the work of Max Ernst. She continued to say that abstract is okay but I do need to make sure it has context and is linked to Southampton, as the brief requires, if going down this route.

After Studio Hours

When I got home and could focus, I attempted the texts again and found them much easier to read and actually enjoy. I continued New Ruins by Owen Hatherly but also read Spike Island by Philip Hoare and Southampton Zoo (emailed story) by Anna Vickers. My favourite of the texts was Spike Island because I enjoyed the immense visual imagery present and the link to gothic, nature and the sublime. It was key for me to find a way into the texts and when reading them on my own, I thought I would try to read with an agenda, looking for my favourite thing in the text. Nature. I found it in this particular text with quotes such as:

“Gothic patterns of windows, wrapped round and round with ivy- many trees are sprouted up against the walls”

“Abbey’s ruins… more wondrous and magical, as if it were a vision revealed at Nature’s whim”

However as the brief states to look at three minimum, I imagine I could use the other two to contextualise any ideas I have. My next stage is to begin looking for images relating to the things I’ve pulled out of the texts.


Beginning to research starting images of Netley Abbey, Southampton


Also researching Gothic architecture as I feel as though the grandeur of it is insinuated in the text.



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