Research Paper / Practice Discussion



[16/03/2017, 14:27:43] Jason Murray: Russell, was it Nicholas Bourriaud that did something about post-reproduction?
[16/03/2017, 14:27:53] Russell Miller: @jason yep that’s him
[16/03/2017, 14:27:59] Russell Miller:
[16/03/2017, 14:28:11] Russell Miller: Fascinating essay that’s changed my practice
[16/03/2017, 14:28:18] Sarah Robinson: Thank you. I have spent ages trying to fix this. Will succumb to Microsoft probably.
[16/03/2017, 14:28:30] Russell Miller: Also found this one very useful
[16/03/2017, 14:28:31] Russell Miller:
[16/03/2017, 14:28:47] Jason Murray: “An ever-increasing number of artworks have been created on the basis of pre-existing works more and more artists interpret, reproduce, re-exhibit, or use works made by others or available cultural products”
[16/03/2017, 14:30:06] Jason Murray: Interesting, Russell, does a lot of your work largely focus on ‘Appropriation’?
[16/03/2017, 14:30:15] Jonathan Kearney: so Russell is there a danger that the idea of artwork as simply a remixable piece of data a reductionist approach that reduces the material to almost irrelevant?
[16/03/2017, 14:30:42] Russell Miller: @jason i used to think it was about appropriation but now I consider myself a postproduction artist
[16/03/2017, 14:30:47] Patrick Henry: uncanny of the everyday….the banality of evil..
[16/03/2017, 14:31:14] Russell Miller: which means that I’m not concerned about the origin of the image, of commentating on it (like the situationists did) – I’m using it as a form
[16/03/2017, 14:31:18] Russell Miller: U.F.O
[16/03/2017, 14:31:20] Russell Miller: User Of Forms
[16/03/2017, 14:31:54] Sarah Maria Scicluna: does ethics feature in this?
[16/03/2017, 14:32:06] Jason Murray: It’s a good job you clarified, UFO!
[16/03/2017, 14:32:09] Patrick Henry: what leads you to choose a specific image?
[16/03/2017, 14:32:22] Russell Miller: @jonathan that’s what I’m working toward – the artwork as a piece of data to be moved about (as Duchamp moved the bottle rack into the gallery)
[16/03/2017, 14:32:41] Katerina Psimmenou: clever, using it as a form
[16/03/2017, 14:33:15] Russell Miller: @patrick 100’s of hours of consuming then when I find the right still or moving image it’s very clear to me
[16/03/2017, 14:33:27] Katerina Psimmenou: yes what are the criteria for choosing your forms?
[16/03/2017, 14:33:36] Russell Miller: so part instinct and part looking for non-recognisable situations to reposition
[16/03/2017, 14:33:38] David Somers: Isn’t this a bit like digital collage… taking from here and there… remixing… reforming
[16/03/2017, 14:33:52] Russell Miller: @david that’s exactly what it is
[16/03/2017, 14:34:36] Russell Miller:
[16/03/2017, 14:34:46] Patrick Henry: @russell ok so its a gut feeling/instinct, interesting u call it a form, frees the image from previous connotations?
[16/03/2017, 14:34:59] Russell Miller:
[16/03/2017, 14:34:59] Sarah Robinson: Visual Chinese whispers?!
[16/03/2017, 14:35:16] Russell Miller:
[16/03/2017, 14:35:52] Jason Murray: Some of your work, Russell reminds me of this artist. Hang on
[16/03/2017, 14:36:07] Jason Murray:
[16/03/2017, 14:36:12] Russell Miller:
[16/03/2017, 14:36:20] Russell Miller: Yep Lewis Klahr
[16/03/2017, 14:36:25] Russell Miller: Fantastic artist
[16/03/2017, 14:36:51] Jason Murray: I agree.
[16/03/2017, 14:37:58] Patrick Henry: reminds me of jon rafman also..
[16/03/2017, 14:38:06] Terence Quinn: Russell re appropriation. 1870 quote by Lautreamont “Plagiarism is necessary. Progress implies it”. 2011 quote McKenzie Wark “ for past works to become resources for the present requires …. their appropriation as a collective inheritance, not as private property”.
[16/03/2017, 14:38:53] Jonathan Kearney: SarahS asked about ethics, although you didn’t explore this in your research paper, is it something that you consider?
[16/03/2017, 14:39:02] Russell Miller: “Notions of originality are slowly blurred in the new cultural landscape marked by the twin figures of the DJ and the programmer, both of whom have the task of selecting cultural objects and inserting them into new contexts.”
[16/03/2017, 14:39:24] Russell Miller: @jonathan/sarah – do you mean the ethics of sampling?
[16/03/2017, 14:39:24] Patrick Henry: so u r remixing images
[16/03/2017, 14:39:37] Jonathan Kearney: SarahS is that what you meant?
[16/03/2017, 14:40:24] Russell Miller: “To listen to records becomes work in itself, which diminishes the dividing line between reception and practice, producing new cartographies of knowledge”
[16/03/2017, 14:40:28] Russell Miller: “This culture of use implies a profound transformation of the status of the work of art…it now functions as an active agent, a musical score, an unfolding scenario”
[16/03/2017, 14:40:48] Sarah Maria Scicluna: i meant more along the lines of whether he s applying some kind of criteria to the selection of images, kind of like not using personal ones etc
[16/03/2017, 14:41:20] Russell Miller: @sarah – I would never use imagery that didn’t originate in film, tv, comics etc
[16/03/2017, 14:41:26] Russell Miller: I’m not interested in real life
[16/03/2017, 14:41:40] Sarah Maria Scicluna: i see 🙂
[16/03/2017, 14:41:40] Jonathan Kearney: Russell your quote above describes the current context – the DJ and the programmer but we do live in paradoxical times with strong copyright culture and the ‘aura’ of the original still being considered an important idea — does this impact on your thinking and making?
[16/03/2017, 14:42:03] Russell Miller: @jonthan not since I stopped being concerned about selling work or having physical shows
[16/03/2017, 14:42:09] Katerina Psimmenou: so you raise again the question of whether or not this is a work of art – like the role of the dj for example?
[16/03/2017, 14:42:09] Jonathan Kearney: 🙂
[16/03/2017, 14:42:32] Russell Miller: So I see my work has a series of interventions, not final stops
[16/03/2017, 14:42:46] Jonathan Kearney: so Russell the abandonment of concerns of selling and shows has been liberating?
[16/03/2017, 14:42:52] Russell Miller: and my work is available for anyone to take and use as they want – that’s why I put it all on instagram
[16/03/2017, 14:43:12] Russell Miller: @jonathan deffo – I had loads of shows last year and sold a few pieces
[16/03/2017, 14:43:25] Russell Miller: But I’m just not interested in that kind of practice anymore
[16/03/2017, 14:43:28] Sarah Maria Scicluna: everything sort of becomes like one big data bank
[16/03/2017, 14:43:35] Russell Miller: @sarah exactly
[16/03/2017, 14:43:35] sharon bertram: Like mixing and sampling on the decks?
[16/03/2017, 14:43:44] Russell Miller: @sharon exactly
[16/03/2017, 14:43:57] Russell Miller: I see the work of Strassheim and Botz as the same
[16/03/2017, 14:44:03] Russell Miller: taking an existing thing
[16/03/2017, 14:44:07] sharon bertram: Public Enemy we supreme at this!
[16/03/2017, 14:44:09] Russell Miller: rephotographing it
[16/03/2017, 14:44:11] sharon bertram: Were
[16/03/2017, 14:44:16] Russell Miller: to make something ‘new’
[16/03/2017, 14:44:48] Patrick Henry: @russell has anyone to your knowledge used any of your instagram pieces in the same way?
[16/03/2017, 14:44:58] Russell Miller: @patrick I don’t know
[16/03/2017, 14:45:44] Jonathan Kearney: just thinking about instagram – that platform because of the control Facebook have over it and the way you give up your control and ownership?
[16/03/2017, 14:46:19] Russell Miller: @jonathan yep, I don’t ‘own’ the work that I put on there
[16/03/2017, 14:46:28] Russell Miller: I’ve pretty much stopped updating my website
[16/03/2017, 14:46:34] Russell Miller: and put all work on there
[16/03/2017, 14:46:49] Patrick Henry: open source russell
[16/03/2017, 14:46:50] Jonathan Kearney: so instagram rather than your own platform and use creative commons options instead?
[16/03/2017, 14:47:09] Russell Miller: @jonathan yep exactly
[16/03/2017, 14:47:52] Russell Miller: when I stopped worrying about physical outputs for my work (so I could sell it) my whole practice became much more refined
[16/03/2017, 14:48:16] Russell Miller: The irony being that I’m making a massive physical piece for my final project
[16/03/2017, 14:48:27] Jonathan Kearney: 🙂
[16/03/2017, 14:48:50] Jonathan Kearney: also talk about the idea of ‘detective’ – is there something you are seeking to find out, or simply discover, almost stumble over?
[16/03/2017, 14:48:59] Sarah Maria Scicluna: the idea of a proper show and being concerned with selling is very restrictive i find
[16/03/2017, 14:49:05] Sarah Maria Scicluna: so good for you 😀
[16/03/2017, 14:49:46] Russell Miller: “Artist as detective” from my paper is a key insight for me
[16/03/2017, 14:49:54] Russell Miller: Following clues
[16/03/2017, 14:50:02] Russell Miller: seeing where I end up
[16/03/2017, 14:50:10] Russell Miller: viewing 100’s of films as casework
[16/03/2017, 14:50:12] Russell Miller: etc
[16/03/2017, 14:51:19] Russell Miller: Ok I think everyone’s brains are a bit hammered so I’ll wrap it up I think
[16/03/2017, 14:51:41] Jonathan Kearney: but just wondering if detective is correct…
[16/03/2017, 14:51:57] Jonathan Kearney: you are almost describing the idea of an explorer?
[16/03/2017, 14:52:09] David Somers: Art as a journey.
[16/03/2017, 14:52:15] Jonathan Kearney: a detective has a goal, an objective to solve something
[16/03/2017, 14:52:19] Russell Miller: Navigator is probably closer
[16/03/2017, 14:52:44] Patrick Henry: do u need to put in x amount of hours before ‘culture of use’ point has been achieved? or can u feel ok using a ‘form’ u discover straight away?
[16/03/2017, 14:52:53] Russell Miller: But detective appeals more due to my penchant for crime / noir etc
[16/03/2017, 14:53:06] Russell Miller: @patrick time isn’t a concern at all
[16/03/2017, 14:53:10] Russell Miller: so something like this:
[16/03/2017, 14:53:11] David Somers: Inspector Colombo?
[16/03/2017, 14:53:36] Jason Murray: or Morse?
[16/03/2017, 14:53:37] Jonathan Kearney: I think there is a sense of detective in that this space is unknown, the full implications of art in this way are not fully realised and therefore you are finding something, solving a conundrum?
[16/03/2017, 14:53:41] Russell Miller:
[16/03/2017, 14:53:45] Patrick Henry: ok interesting, michael powell/peeping tom feel to some of the imagery on jpeg
[16/03/2017, 14:53:52] Russell Miller: is ‘used’ by opening the book and taking the pic
[16/03/2017, 14:53:59] David Somers: Morse? or I was thinking of the new Sherlock Holmes 🙂
[16/03/2017, 14:54:43] Russell Miller: @jonathan I couldn’t believe that there isn’t a definitive history of appropriation art that’s been written yet
[16/03/2017, 14:55:03] Jonathan Kearney: that instagram links leads nowhere, is that deliberate?!
[16/03/2017, 14:55:04] Patrick Henry: there are books on music sampling
[16/03/2017, 14:55:09] Russell Miller: oops hang on
[16/03/2017, 14:55:14] Russell Miller:
[16/03/2017, 14:55:20] Russell Miller: that one
[16/03/2017, 14:55:38] Russell Miller: and just have a scroll down my page anyway, loads of work on there if anyones interested
[16/03/2017, 14:55:40] Jonathan Kearney: Russell I thought it might have been a detective challenge!
[16/03/2017, 14:55:44] Terence Quinn: You might find this interesting in the context of this discussion –
[16/03/2017, 14:55:58] Jason Murray: @ David I was thinking Marlowe, Marple or Nancy Drew
[16/03/2017, 14:55:58] Russell Miller: @terence cheers I’ll have a look
[16/03/2017, 14:56:13] Leonie DuBarry-Gurr: i like the juxtaposition – you as a detective – but also as a forger of sorts..
[16/03/2017, 14:56:25] Russell Miller: I like this quote “To read, to view, to envision a work is to know how to divert it: use is an
act of micropirating that constitutes postproduction. “
[16/03/2017, 14:56:44] Russell Miller: use is an act of micropirating
[16/03/2017, 14:57:01] Jonathan Kearney: where is that quote from?
[16/03/2017, 14:57:09] Jonathan Kearney: not in your paper I don’t think
[16/03/2017, 14:57:19] Russell Miller: from The Practice of Everyday Life by Michel de Certeau
[16/03/2017, 14:57:33] Jonathan Kearney: of course!
[16/03/2017, 14:57:36] Russell Miller: No I read that afterwards!
[16/03/2017, 14:57:44] Jonathan Kearney: great quote
[16/03/2017, 14:58:06] Jonathan Kearney: thanks Russell, I know you have to get back to work now
[16/03/2017, 14:58:19] Russell Miller: Yep cheers and thanks all for the insights


Unit 1 Assessment

Formulate, describe and implement a challenging and self-directed programme of study, relating to your Project Proposal 

“I have no idea what I am going to produce – except that it won’t be as outlined in my current proposal”

My current proposal:


I’m happy with the direction that my research and practice has taken me, based on the existing proposal.  Appropriation, remixing and re-outputting of art works are key to my creative practice, and I feel that I’ve produced a volume of work that explores these areas.

Using cinema as the primary source of my work has been a constant. The physicality of the viewer, of the angle that they view the work at has also been revealed to be important to my practice – the parallels with cinema are apparent again – the audience looking at light reflected on a surface, each one seeing a slightly different rendering of the image to the other.

I’ve rewritten the proposal to place my own work in context, and have identified the kind of work that I want to make during the second part of the MA.

Project Proposal


To create a sculptural work (let’s call it a lightbox) that changes the imagery displayed within it depending on how the viewer interacts with it. The data that feeds the sculpture (the source being a narrative film created using appropriated footage) and the film will be used to create an online artwork.



‘L’art pour l’art’ (Art for art’s sake). A French slogan from the early 19th century.

The appropriation (and modification) of cinema imagery as viewed through Nicolas Bourriaud’s interpretation of this act (imagine Chris Marker’s ‘La Jetée’ made from photographs that already exist).

Art made from existing imagery that is only about art and is divorced from any other function.

Ars gratia artis – Art for art’s sake


Stage 1: Research, test, produce the film.

Stage 2: Extract data from the film, get it to talk to the motion sensor (or similar) and display imagery that changes due to the position of the viewer, or alters the surface of the ‘screen’ using light. I have the code and kit from my installation (see below) that utilised Arduino, sensors and data so some initial research is already done.

Stage 3: Make the sculptural piece (‘lightbox’), link it up to the feed and sensor.


A sculptural work to display in a gallery

A data-driven artwork to be viewed online

A linear film to be viewed as a projection


Dec 16: Research footage for film.

Jan 17: Gather footage

Feb 17: Edit, sound, final cut

Mar 17:Create code to control imagery and talk to sensor, test, finalise

Apr 17: Research, create sculpture

May 17: Link code / sensor / screen to sculpture, test

June 17: Create online work using film, data,


Bourriaud, N. and Schneider, C. (2005) Postproduction – culture as screenplay: How art reprograms the world. New York: Lukas & Sternberg.
Broeckmann, A. and Tates, S. (2008) Deep screen: Art in digital culture: Voorstel tot Gemeentelijke Kunstaankopen 2008 = proposal for municipal art acquisitions 2008. Amsterdam: Stedelijk Museum.
Evans, D. (ed.) (2009) Appropriation. London: Whitechapel Art Gallery.
Freud, S., McLintock, D. and Haughton, H. (2003) The uncanny. Penguin UK.
Hrsg, Clauss, I. and Autoren, G.B. (2013) Kaboom!: Comic in der Kunst. Heidelberg: Kehrer.
Manchester, E. and Sachs, S. (2012) John Stezaker: The nude and landscape. London: Ridinghouse.
Rose, F. (2011) The art of immersion: How the digital generation is remaking Hollywood, Madison Avenue, and the way we tell stories. New York: W.W. Norton & Co.
Royle, N. (2003) The uncanny: An introduction. Manchester: Manchester University Press.
Schwartz, H. (1998) The culture of the copy: Striking likenesses, unreasonable facsimiles. 4th edn. New York, NY: Zone Books.
Sonvilla-Weiss, S. (ed.) (2010) Mashup cultures. Austria: Springer Vienna Architecture.

Critically engage with practice-based research and contribute actively to debate and discussion

I’ve made a lot of work since starting the MA, with plenty of experiments and wrong turns as well as some successes (my redacted comics, the sensor-controlled video installation, having a lot of shows). I’ve created work that spans print, painting, moving image, digital and installation. I’ve probably spent too long on creating lots and lots of very small pieces of work (especially all of the instagram pieces I’ve been making) but….I’ve think my creative practice is a lot ‘looser’ because of it and I’ve had a lot of fun making the work. I’m very excited about working on a major project for the next seven months and really pushing myself to learn more about my practice.

I’ll go through the rough arc of work created so far.

Work on paper

The bulk of my creative practice during the first year of the MA has been initially making collages, which then evolved into ‘Redacted Comics’ – appropriated comic pages which are literally redacted, blacking out sections to change the meaning, the mood and the narrative. These began as a series of tests:

Before evolving into dense, reflective pieces that play with notions of narrative and the act of seeing

Timeline of works:

These have now been refined, upping the paper thickness meant that the engine enamel didn’t absorb so much and coated the surface more thickly, resulting in a higher gloss, reflective surface that changes as the viewer moves in front of the piece, highlighted redacted areas and revealing the narrative in different ways to different viewers.



Moving Image

I played around with taking these works into the moving image, further removing them from their source material:

And played with different ways of navigating the pieces:

and combining them with other moving image work:

And also playing with narrative in these works –

Looking at these pieces all together, they are all concerned with trapped characters or trapped moments in time.



These pieces were experiments with using sensors and arduino for the first time. They’re extensions of the ‘surface / light’ notion I’ve been experimenting with. The viewer directly influencing what they see by interacting with the artwork.


I’ve been using instagram as both a platform to put my ideas and also as a framing device

So these works that are framed auto collages with the camera making the ‘cut’ instead of the scalpel – – I’m calling them ‘Presets’ as there is no disruption of the existing image – these are juxtapositions that already exist with the source material – revealed through framing, that again are concerned with cinema and narrative.



View this post on Instagram

Screen Lovers 3 #movingimage #film #hollywood

A post shared by Russell Miller (@rmillerartist) on



Here are some further posts that demonstrate my engagement with the areas I’ve outlined:

I think that I’ve been very active with my research practice, experimenting with a range mediums, source material and outputs. I’ve exhibited extensively in both group and solo shows in the UK and Internationally, in physical and in online shows – two of my video pieces were selected for The Wrong Biennale 2016:

I learned a lot about exhibiting my work, with negotiating and working with curators and other artists (and curating shows myself). I’ve exhibited a new piece at every show, latterly all video work, and consequently have improved my curatorial, aesthetic and technical skills.

I curated a group show in my flat to see what it would be like to run the whole thing. It was bloody hard!

Critically reflect upon your practice and articulate a clear understanding of methodology and context of your creative practice 

“Appropriation is indeed the first stage of postproduction: the issue is no longer to fabricate an object, but to choose one among those that exist and to use or modify these according to a specific intention.”

Nicolas Bourriaud, Postproduction

My work is made within the tradition of artists like Arturo Herrera, Christian Marclay, Martin Arnold and Lewis Klahr – artists who appropriate imagery from 20th and 21st century culture- from sources like film and comics books – pop culture subverted.

Arnold’s ‘The Invisible Ghost’ – digitally removed characters from an appropriated horror film, the redubbing of the soundtrack and the artworks overall aesthetic provides a link between my redacted comics and moving image works – this artist opening up a new area of insight into my work.

My own practice, when employing appropriated material and subverting it through painting, through digital manipulation, through redubbing the audio on a piece of sampled film, is an attempt to inhabit the liminal psychological space known as The Uncanny, where the subversion of the image creates a feeling both familiar and unsettling.

On reflecting on my work it seems that I am concerned with a moment in time – whether that’s working on paper, with moving image or with digital imagery.

My research exposed me to artists who all inhabit a similar area of creative practice:

My own reflections of my work have included critical reflection, as well as findings from exhibiting. Having to put together the midpoint review video was very useful in collating and reflecting on my work.

This review included the idea I developed for the Aspen Online Art Award (shortlisted) – The Art Machine. Taking appropriation to the nth degree by having an algorythm make art using user responses to a series of situations. With hindsight this was a) bloody ambitious and b) not really about making art, but about posing a question and trying to answer it. I’m glad that I only took this to the concept stage – interesting in theory but maybe more of a piece of interactive research than a project that I can engage with emotionally.–Art/Aspen-Online-Art-Award/previous-shortlists/2014-shortlist/

Some posts reflecting on work:

In terms of the studio sessions in year 1 I pitched in, discussed and debated with my colleagues, took part in group and external shows and engaged with the Low Residency project.

Domesticated Terror: The Ghost, The Double and Death

Writing my research paper was extremely rewarding, allowing me to think critically, research heavily and to formulate an intellectual and theoretical context for my own work, namely about the psychological theory of the uncanny, and how this relates to the act of doubling – of duplication.

Both Corinne May Botz and Angela Strassheim were kind enough to contribute to the paper so I had some first person research to include in it as well as my own secondary research. I’m going to produce one more draft then apply to some journals to have it published.

Combining my research into these artist’s work and the uncanny, and my practice-based research around postproduction has given me the theoretical and aesthetic framework to enrich and challenge my creative practice.

Changing onto the online version of the MA could be going better – in all honesty I’ve been very busy jugging making work and working, so I aim to contribute to these more in the coming weeks and months, as well as taking part in the studio pop up show in November.