My presentation for March Formative Assessment, highlighting key points of development from beginning of our main SUBJECT project – Connections and Object(ions), and reflection on the Ken Stradling Collection. Returning from FIELD module, it shows the significant creative impact it had on my SUBJECT.
From chronological art and history, to subject based curation of artefacts across time and culture; as well as presentation of the nature and its history.
Our third (and technically fourth) was the Pitt Rivers Museum with entrance through the Oxford University Museum of Natural History.
Again, the collections are owned by the Oxford University and displayed for education purposes.
I found a vitrine explaining principles of Darwin’s Evolution Theory through the extensively bred pigeons of different shapes and colours quite fun and interesting. But the overall feel of the impressive building and giant skeletons towering above us, surrounded by aged wood and glass vitrines, was an experience in itself.
A temporary exhibition displaying big digital prints of micro photography of insect life brought great new and different perspective on the subject of the collection, alongside preserved skeletons and taxidermy.
Entering the Pitt Rivers through the Natural History Museum was a different experience.
Still grand and impressive, but with deeper sense of wonder, as the space is filled with antique displays of not natural world, but the phenomena of nature, humans and all their creations.
The taxonomy and presentation couldn’t be different, not just by grouping the artefacts by subjects (such as toys, musical instruments, religious figures, etc), but by less subject writing and more focus on particular artefact and it’s origin, telling it’s story which creates diverse narrative of individual cabinet, and combined, the narrative of the whole human world across time and space.
This really evoke bigger sense of exploration and wonder, with more artefacts hiding in drawers underneath.
It felt like real wunderkammer.
Advertisement for the glass and wood vitrine maker. Over time it became description label, giving us history lesson on it’s origin.
It even housed artefacts that I’m very familiar with from my culture.
I would blow and decorate my own eggs, when I was little, and decorated the house with them on Easter.
Seeing something that I could technically have made, as a cultural ritual, behind a museum’s glass, in an anthropological collection, just made me feel as part of the humanity. Just another way of adapting natural resources around us, in a decorational/ritual way or as a functional object.
It made me wonder what is the most recent object in the collection, as we are still doing the same thing – adapting and changing the material around us, for many peculiar purposes.
It would be interesting how ideas and use changed over the time, how new materials such as plastic changed the visual and practical aspects of objects.
What ideas deceased and what are the new ones, or what improved or what people in past did better?
Final week of collaboration with other subjects, creating and presenting our proposal of manifestation of our group manifesto.
After presenting our manifestos last week, we were asked to now manifest our group manifesto into an object, intervention, zine, poster, or any way best suitable.
It needed to represent and show our ideas and directions of the manifesto to all students of CSAD, even the world.
The group went through all the activities that could show some points of our manifesto or enrich CSAD students’ lives, with proposals such as a feedback artwall, a sort of club room, a quiet space, a quiet room to work in, a new space to socialise. Everybody wanted to contribute with something, meeting multiple of needs, and we tried to include everyone.
To link it to the first group’s shared idea, my suggestion was a garden, and to represent the point of art existing in its own realm and the hardship of making art as well as ever changing nature of it, an ambitious dome enclosing a different world a tropical paradise, would show the idea to the point.
The dome garden could even house all the other ideas, making a new, shared centre for the 2 separate CSAD buildings. The empty paved space needs to be improved and be more inspiring anyway.
The new ‘Hearth Space’ would also include a new reception, cafe, gallery space as well as the first ideas.
There was plenty options to
explore and visualise, prepare for our Monday tutorial and presentation on Tuesday.
We all decided to explore and work on one aspect of the new shared community space, with me exploring further the garden which would be at the rare side of the new space.
Set with the ideas, I took number of photos of the space so I could print them, draw and create collages of the proposed dome.
This proved trickier than expected, I had difficulties with perspective and drawing the dome realistically onto the paper. Collage was a better option, but it showed more of the impression of the idea.
I tried to blow some soap bubbles to see how they would adapt to the space around. The
metal boxes represent the 2 buildings, with the smaller one in the middle the new space that would include activities and ideas of other group members. My dome garden, or bubble would be at the end of the new building.
I wanted to imagine, and show the idea more realistically, ideally even walk around and in the space, so computer software was the only option. As it was a very quick project, with many more ongoing I had no time to install and learn some new, professional software, therefore I went for the most easiest and accessible option: Minecraft.
Not the most ideal, but the best and certainly most fun option in this scenario. It was again just a draft impression rather then design with correct perception and sizes, but this time it was possible to walk around and go in, even fly over, giving at least some idea of the viewer’s interaction with the space.
As we had tutorial on Monday, I had to prepare all my ideas and visualisations for presenting to the group and tutors.
More workshop and lectures attended during the Future Generations conference.
Masks are a wide medium of expression, from actors wearing them and becoming the new subject, to shamanistic rituals, collages of expression, sculptures, guardians of privacy, etc.
We had some magnificent and captivating masks made by our tutor for the day and tutor in Fine Art James Green who’s mask cross between a sculpture, painting or collage.
We’re invited to create our own masks from a paper, masking tape and charcoal – a bit random coming from the elaborate and colourful masks presented.
Having about an hour or less I just started playing with the paper, creating a tube and trying to make the insert for head in the bottom. This actually gave possibility for the mask to turn around and have multiple faces – with the sides of the tube or hollow ends.
In the time I managed to create quickly 3 different faces for the mask with drawing and cutting out pieces as well as ripping the paper to create a face like features.
Another workshop looked at power of mindful meditation and the scientific health benefits of focus, relaxation and reflection; as well as possibility for our creative work, as in ‘flow’ or complete absorption in what we do.
“Flow is completely focused motivation. It is a single-minded immersion… The hallmark of flow is a feeling of spontaneous joy, even rapture, while performing a task although flow is also described as a deep focus on nothing but the activity – not even oneself or one’s emotions.”
The lecture explaining what meditation and the flow is and how can it be achieved followed with short observational meditation of some dried leaves and plants, even drawing them but not braking our gaze with the objects. At the end we had a longer mindfulness meditation where we observed our breath as a point of focus.
I felt relaxed and refreshed, and as very casual practitioner of meditation (5 min few times a week), I agree with the positive aspects of this quiet time of reflection and focus.
My last lecture was on importance of nature in our, and mostly children’s lives. The lecture looked at examples of how art, design and technology can bring more nature in our lives.
There were many examples of art and design being cautious of nature and our relationship with it.
However, I enjoyed listening to the second lecturer from Cardiff School of Education, about her play forest project created at the Cyncoed campus where children can explore, play and learn interactively in a forest are, with workshops happening weekly for the local kids.
I would like to get involved, and think how can I use my newly acquired knowledge in ceramics to deliver a informative workshop and play to children; to teach them something new, as well as deepen their relationship with nature and the outdoors.
2 day intense conference involving interesting workshops with lecturers from other subjects and fields exploring different ideas in art and design, life and future.
Talks, discussion panels and keynotes.
To begin our interdisciplinary collaboration, we had a stimulating conference for the whole first year students.
It was hectic and full on 2 days, with talks and discussions that were not so good and relevant, not mentioning anything about the proposed Future Generation bill or ideas arising from it, and 4 workshops which were more in point and engaging.
The first lecture I chose on Utopia gave me a further insight into theme I was always interested in, a brief tale throughout history showing ideas about utopia and dystopia in art and culture.
From Sir Thomas More’s novel of island ‘Utopia’ in 1516 to Karl Marx’s in 1875 and communism’s equal distribution of work and property, and Lenin’s adaptation and application of the ideas to harsh, totalitarianism of Stalin: from ideas of utopia to reality of dystopia.
Classic books that explore the ideas further in detail: Brave New World 1932 or Nineteen Eighty-Four in 1949.
Bauhaus in 1919-1923 as an art school, manifesting utopia through well designed objects and art, which can influence users, changing the world for better through art and design.
Same time in America Buckminster Fuller – an architect, mathematician, philosopher and inventor is trying to design cars, houses, pods and structures that can help as many people as possible with the fewest resources, expressed in single design of a dome.
Or another American, Walt Disney, expressing utopian, dream and child like world of happiness and dreams, which later transform into typical white, capitalist dream of happiness sustained by surplus of products. More land, resources, products, new, exciting. Going as far as the exploration of moon and space. This utopian almost reality shifts into more dystopian reality of environmental issues, economic crash, debt an power struggles between nations. Followed by unrests and protests against governments and uneven distribution of wealth, and shortly after oblivious movement of happiness, experimenting with drugs, free sex, freedom from capitalism. Where does our future lies in now. It seems we still live in the same time, just more broad and interlinked society and world, with more differences and individuality, controlled with our changing perception of privacy, closer to dystopian control and surveillance of the masses. In the same time a movement to try to be more connected on individual and independent basis such as crowdfunding as well as the recent Turner Prize Winner of regeneration community project in Liverpool.
The future really relies on us to try and shift the world slightly towards the utopian or dystopian world, but one will never be sustained for long.