‘Observation Judgement Action’: or (Foil, Jumping, Daisies)’

Research output: Non-textual formPerformance


The cultivation of ‘Judgement,’ ‘observation’ and ‘action’ were three founding principles named by John Andrew Rice in the setting up of Black Mountain College in North Carolina. This film poem takes these terms alongside the teachings and writings of Josef and Anni Albers as points of departure and translation.

Collaboration from within and by a community was an essential feature of much of the work produced at BMC. In this work Olsen chooses to foreground the family as producers of the art-making environment. In this ‘Observation Judgement Action or, Foil, Jumping, Daisies’ she explores the possibilities of Albers’ interest in form, colour theory and design as an affinitive practice to be translated out of purely abstract contexts into considerations of everyday activities such as the play of children.

In addition to colour theory, Albers’ taught a course on matières (studies in materials) in which students were encouraged to combine diverse sources from various sources to produce artefacts that dissembled the perceptual anticipations and expectations of the viewer. In this work, Olsen is interested in transposing and expanding the possibilities of Albers’ matières through the juxtaposition of film, performance and poetic language.

This performance work was originally commissioned for Black Mountain College, A Celebration in South Wales (2018) and in homage to that environment some of the source texts for the final section of the poem are taken from the Welsh book of myths and legends, The Mabinogian (trans. Charlotte Guest).


  • Josef Albers
  • Black Mountain College
  • Anni Albers
  • Poetry and Film
  • Performance

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