14th September – 27th September 2020
Working on the Proposal
In my 4th year I would like to work towards creating an interactive insight into consciousness and personal assessment/analysis under the title ‘What Makes Me Calm’. I aim for the work to include a personal fragment of my own feelings and emotions allowing the viewers to see and learn more about my chosen subject matter through a series of works. I hope to portray a personal artwork of my own insight into what calm means to me and through different media such as video, soundscape and illustration to affect the 3 stages of consciousness: conscious(thoughts), subconscious(feelings) and unconscious(beliefs) of the audience. This is a very large subject matter, but I hope to narrow this down when I have a stronger understanding of human consciousness so that it is clear to me, for example, how visual work like photographs can affect the human brain. Facing difficult questions, possible futures and analysing first person experiences, feelings and visions in relation to a narrowed theme/topic of ‘Feeling Calm’. The choice of ‘Calm’ as a result of the pandemic and my feelings of stress across many areas and aspects of life while becoming used to a reality of fear and anxiety. This would be a way to challenge and confront myself hopefully through this pressure creating something meaningful and personal.
Critical Positioning and References
I was originally inspired by Rafaël Rozendaal’s work ‘I don’t need a studio, I need a pool’ RRHaiku 154 (2015) displayed in the V&A in Dundee during the ‘Hello, Robot.’ exhibition(photograph attached below) due to the scale and minimalistic display of the work, surrounded by intricate robots and technological/digital processes it almost seemed out of place. The second inspiration was ‘Zima Blue’ Episode 14 from series Love, Death And Robots. (Netflix, 2019). Firstly, the commonality of the blue rectangle intrigued me in thesetwo works as it’s something I find visually appealing and calming however thecommonalities and differences seemed to be more than just a common visual, both works also mention a swimming pool as well as robots. The difference becomes apparent in the viewing of the work as Rozendaal believes “Each time the haiku is read, a moment happens,the algorithm runs, the three lines of code start a process in the mind of the reader,”1almost stating his audience is seeing/thinking from the perspective of a digital programwhile the message in ‘Zima Blue’ portrays a fictional robot’s self-discovery through art and a struggle to find a purpose in life which in contrast is very relatable to human goals and emotions. These works initially inspire my theme of discovering what makes me calm while providing me with intent to consider how I want to present and portray future work to the viewer.
‘When a person has a conscious experience, …It involves their long-and short-term memory, their language center, their emotion, their imagination. It is not something that arises just insome localized part of the brain. It is global, integrated, distributed, holistic property.’2 I aim to research more about the human brain and consciousness, for example how sounds can affect feelings or how certain puzzles and small interactive tasks can provoke thoughts in the viewer. * To make sure the work I create has some sort of grounding as well as researching topics like Medical Technology with subtopics like Robotics, AI, Nano technologyto allow me to create examples of informed ‘possible futures’ especially when considering the unconscious(belief) part since this isn’t easily accessible to trigger in the viewer likefeelings or provoking thoughts is, meaning this part of my project may be executed with Speculative Design in mind rather than a real-time first hand interaction.
I will be looking to have a very experimental and hands on approach across a few different methods most likely starting with Processing sketches as a quick and simple way of portraying visual and interactive ideas, using physical prototyping methods then documented through short staged video, possibly looking at different illustrative techniques to portray ‘possible futures’ and Speculative design approaches such as comic strips, digital drawing maybe AR technology (this would be a possibility if I decided to create an illustrative book but it’s something I’d have to decide and revisit when I do more research and practical experimentation). My general thinking right now would be not to limit myself as I like to really experiment and try out various software and physical techniques of creating work and while I have a general idea of a starting point, I hope it will take me to new methods and combining techniques to create some multimedia/hybrid works.
*(note to self) Possibly find a quote for this of how audio affects the brain or how to evoke feelings in the audience.
2 Shanahan, Murray, ‘The Technological Singularity’ pg. 125
I started my sketchbook with the references that initially inspired my proposal. I really want to make use of my sketchbook this year and rather than just taking notes and drawing practical diagrams I want to include sources of inspiration, colour and imagery to help me keep on track and if I’m ever feeling stuck there will be something visual there I can come back to.
Before I started writing my proposal I made mind maps and wrote down a lot of my ideas and thoughts on paper trying to find connections and figuring out the direction I want to head in. I was trying to gather a lot of artists that have inspired my pervious projects to see if there was anything I wanted to take further, this allowed me to consider which ideas I really didn’t want to take forward and what I felt would cause me a lot of panic and struggle. Finally settling on my direction it was something I felt would keep me inspired for a long time and getting to know my working progress over the past 3 years, I realised I will spin off and find new directions from any topic I chose and this seemed like something I would enjoy and it will keep me driven throughout my final year.