Peer Feedback 28/03

I was encouraged to share my project with peers more often. Something that I know but definitely need a constant nudge to ensure that I do it. This is especially necessary whilst producing my current work, which is quite personal to me. I feel I have been keeping it to myself. I shared the same iteration as the portfolio reviews (Fig: 1) with my peers to gain some insight into the work.

Figure 1: Phil Hill (March, 2021) Unreliable Narrator portfolio review PDF

Peer Feedback
  • Isabelle: I love the title, the general feel and the variety of the images. I am a bit lost as far as narration goes…maybe some slight hints with some text?

This is a general impression that I am getting at this stage. People enjoy the images but are somewhat lost with the reading of it. At this stage, I am actually ok with this. My project is still in the early stages of development and I have not collected any of the depositions from people within the images yet, so it is understandable that there is little to no context to the images that I presented. I also deliberately didn’t explain any of them to the group in order to see how far the concept would carry at this point.

Interestingly, Isabelle’s feeling of being lost could be useful for the series. The idea of the unreliable narrator could be constructed to continually undermine the perceived reading of the narration. It might be argued however, that my sequence wouldn’t feel completely resolved as result. I do quite like the idea of the reader being unsure of exactly what is happening, although at this point of the work could be because I myself so not quite know or understand what happened.

  • Claire: Phil,  I think these are really good and the title really positions the work – I  definitely get the link between challenging truth of image and family albums.  I think the diary entry points to an event – maybe more of archive material/written words.  

It was good to gain insight from Claire with regards to the title, I think that the idea of unreliable narrator does frame the work in the way that makes you consider it in a certain way. Again, Claire is keen to review more text to contextualise the images, which is fair and an area I am keen to develop as the project progresses.

  • Marcel: Hi Phil, I agree with Isabelle – the title is very good and I like the mood and the sequencing. I see a coherence, but perhaps a short introduction or some some quotes between the images would make it easier accessible.

Marcel supports the other feedback that I received and I agree that an introduction would be beneficial to set up the journey through the sequence of the images. This I would expect to come more towards the end of the project as I consolidate the idea and finalise sequences. However, on the theme of unreliability, I could also create a few of these as the project evolves as a means of undermining and creating confusion – should my project focus more on those elements.

  • Tim: I hadn’t see this before, and I really like it as it is. It comes across well. I know a bit about the project and the family history/story that you have mentioned but not too much. What you are showing at the moment (youthful pictures against current portraits); the small amount of text; made me go back and forth to look for clues and make conjectures. It spoke of distribution; a conflict; uncared for… How to push it forward with just visuals and where (may be) you see yourself in all of this. Can you re-build a history; statements from those that remember; revisiting before the conflict/break… It answers some of your questions. I agree for the moment, hold off on a commentary and push the visual. How much content do you have. The layout is great as you compare the 2 images and work out some connection. May be there are visual stories (archival newspaper etc.) of events that can lead us into interesting thoughts about what has happened. 

Tim’s comments support the direction that I am taking the project so far. My intention should be to build mystery. As I am still in the experimental collecting phase of the project, this construction of the narrative will come later. I quite like the idea of also collecting some archive stories, potentially there are some contextualising events recorded in local newspapers that can support the narrative I intend to create. There may also be some references to my own family in the form of birth/marriages/death announcements. Tim’s feedback is useful as it confirms direction and consolidates what the others are saying.

Figure 2: Phil Hill (February, 2021) Flatbed scan of St Christopher Pendant Christening Present

Jonjo: I also had the opportunity to catch up with Jonjo Borrill, from another cohort not currently in the FMP and it was really valuable to get his insight into my project. It also gave me the opportunity to go through its progress with someone who was not familiar with the work. Jonjo was able to make some really useful observations regarding the objects in the archive that I had not considered. For example, the St Christopher pendant’s (Fig: 2) association with being the patron saint of travellers is a kind of metaphor for the journey that I am going on during the process of this project. I felt that the necklace is significant because of how it was gifted to me by my grandmother as a baby however, I have not made the connection to the idea of travel and journey. St Christopher’s are typically given to those about to go travelling to keep you safe on the journey, Jonjo has one himself. Potentially the pendant represents this idea and also part of a collection of sentimental objects that we apply additional meaning to.

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