Field: External Collaboration – Week I

Exploring ideas behind Manifestos and creating our own one, in a group of student from across the whole CSAD.
Stimulating discussion and ideas with Ladybird Books postcards and creating a cake to represent our Manifesto

20160208_120430.jpgAfter an initial introduction to the External Collaboration part of our Field module, we were divided into a groups and handed a pack of postcards depicting book covers of classical children’s books published by Ladybird.
I ended up in a larger group of 6, with interesting and captivating people across the subjects, from Graphics, Fine Art and Illustration.
Choosing a card from the pack individually, depending on how it speaks to us and what ideas we can extract from the images.
I chose my one with the title “Garden Flowers” because I’m simply drawn to plants, have interest in caring for them and filling my living space with life, captured in their limiting plant pots.
However, the ideas that the image represented for me were even more interesting: speaking of a utopian life where the flowers have an abundance of resources, having an organism that takes care of all their needs and diseases. On the other hand, life of no choice, contained in set and limited space, in the mercy of the owner. Utopia is too close to dystopia. These ideas always make me thing of the heaven my parents often talk about. A perfect utopic place of NO sin and suffering; a place of no free will?

In fact almost all of us chose a card depicting nature, or animals; even a card “People at Work: the Postman” seemed to me like a snapshot of a creature in its everyday activities and habitat. This one interested me a lot from others, as it carried ideas around communication and work and how much these aspects of our lives changed in a generation, with the widespread usage of internet, and machines in workplace, etc.

After presenting the chosen cards to each other in the group, we had to chose one that could represented all of us, and present it with ideas arising to the whole class.
My group went with the “Garden Flowers” card I picked, as everyone was vaguely interested in nature, and I could talk about the card in depth, with ideas spreading around utopia-dystopia.

Grotesque inconsistencies – life

Continuing with the Monday session, we had a stimulating presentation on Manifestos from our tutors Duncan and Anna; exploring different manifestos from William Morris and the Arts and Crafts Movement standing for decorative and traditional craftsmanship in opposition to rolling progression of cold industry in 1897, to 1907 Futurist Manifesto of passion and energy, and Dada in 1918 coming within turbulent social and political context, to Gilbert&George 1967 and recent Grayson Perry’s Red Alan Manifesto looking at art itself and its position within a society.

This was to give us inspiration and prepare us to create our own manifestos as a group, on theme of what art means to us or what art school should be like.
The manifestos would be presented to everyone the following day, with a cake that would represent this new movement/manifesto of our group.

Our group met in the afternoon to quickly create a manifesto together.
The draft points were:
-Drawing is universal, not just pen to paper, but the translation of the idea to a physical form.
-Nothing is ever complete, everything can be changed and improved./It’s in the process of change.
-A creation should be inspired by, but never designed solely by the physical world.
-Art school students should re-invent themselves and never let their work be limited by their comfort-zone. Art is never easy.
-Art school should understand that world exists in it’s own reality, that no two people can interpret subject the came way.

The group then decided to just draw the cake, each person one individually to show that a work can exist it its own dimension (2D) and each person’s interpretation would be always different.
However, I wasn’t satisfied enough; the manifesto was too general common sense and no inventive, exciting, phenomenal thoughts, even the cake wasn’t real!!

The ideas of multidimensional nature of art works and how they exist in their own realm, and that doing art is hard, constant re-invention, were ideas that I could work with, and interesting enough to think about them more and explore them through cake making.

Dobos Torte, image from wikipedia as I forgot to take a photo of my one, which disappeared very quickly.

I decided to try and make Dobostorta that night. The Hungarian layered cake encapsulated nicely the ideas from our manifesto, such as art is never easy and an artist should always reinvent her/himself.
The cake was the most challenging and hardest one I ever made, in a limited time and spontaneously. I didn’t let my comfort zone and fear limit me and I baked the cake till midnight, with many challenges and with many faults at the end.

The cake itself would be invented to overcome challenges of its time, to stay fresh for longer in a time with limited cooling technology. Then the perfected cake would be grandiosely presented at the National Great Exhibition in Budapest in 1885 and amongst the first to taste it would be then emperor of Austria-Hungary, Franz Joseph I.

The multiple thin (almost 2D) layers, individually drawn and baked represent the multidimensional/multilayered nature of art; it takes time and skill, thought and plan, you always learn something new by practicing it, moving closer to perfection.

It spoke in complete opposition to the one other group whose cake was store brought, branded Tesco Caterpillar Cake representing the importance of just finding the most easiest way out. However, for me it spoke more of letting someone else find the solutions with not much thought and innovation from the individuals.

It brought me to thoughts about utopias again, how everybody wants to live in a real utopia, but it’s always the other people, or the society that needs to change, somebody needs to control others. Ou ‘not’ + topos ‘place’ = Utopia, or no-place, it’s never a place we can live in, it’s only us and our inner-world that can be utopia, we are the only life/person we can control to be happy and live in utopia.



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Marek Liska

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