• Ashton Blyth

Supposed to

Today we had two visiting artists, alumni of the course, share their experience with us. Janet Waring Rago and Alexis Rago completed the course in 2019 and 2020, respectively.


Below are some of the notes I made from the talks:


Janet Waring Rago

  • Practice based research can also take a while to unfold itself

  • Always keep in mind in-practice, as in in-reality, something that is not fully known or recognised until it appears or is recognised

  • Deploy different modes of thinking in your doings

  • Record everything intensely and systematically

  • Moved further into the digital realm – catalysed by the pandemic

  • Using Instagram to reflect more on time-based work, as a digital sketchbook

  • Making something for the future

  • Affirm what she’s doing is worthwhile – which is enough for her, to be able to do that is enough


Reflecting because we’re supposed to, in a way we’re supposed tobut how are we supposed to?

  • The path of me creating an animation may seem like a narrow tunnel, but there’s actually this really big sky at the end

  • I should look at why I’m creating an animation – to animate, to bring something to life, bringing my story to life – as much about bringing me to life as the context

  • You and the work are tied together in that presence of it and you

  • A form of fact derived from a primary source and is inarguable



Alexis Rago

  • To cut through the noise, and pull out an authentic noise

  • Because of he blog his writing style shifted – conversation with himself, with the awareness someone else was reading it

  • Looking back on blog posts and thinking I could’ve written that better, but with others thinking I couldn’t have put that better myself

  • Six phases: research, planning, implementation, documentation, evaluation, and imagination – reflecting throughout the whole process, reflect both in the present and retrospectively

  • Used to construct things architecturally, but in the MA, he decapitated/amputated pieces and put them back together – an act of love, this emotional moment of destruction that leads to construction/reconstruction that leads to a new perspective of how he looks at something

  • Fragility embodied with permanence


Contingency – events that cannot be predicted and cannot be constructed, can enrich life through joy and tragedy and spark off a new direction or affirm a direction you’re on.


I've highlighted the wisdom I found of most value to me. There isn't a right way to reflect, if what I'm doing is right for me then it's right.


In terms of contingency, the fact that some of these more recent moments in my life that I want to add to the animation affirm that what I'm creating - I should be creating. Having just found out that I got taken off of the NHS waiting list for a Gender Identity Clinic 3 and a 1/2 years ago, is something that has affected me psychologically, emotionally, and physically in that I could have had top surgery years ago - the fact that this moment has affected me so, says it belongs in my film, and affirms that this film should be made for all those people that this has/will happen to.