My Dissertation Proposal is done!

So I have finally handed in my dissertation proposal, I am a step closer to completing the real thing! The working title being The Importance of the Physical Touch in Installation Art.  I have really enjoyed writing it actually, as the topic is something I find particularly interesting.  Although I have 3 chapters, one on Installation Art, one on Experiential touch and the other on comparing the the upsides and downsides of having touch in a gallery environment; after speaking to Dr Mahnaz Shah, my dissertation tutor, I want to change the structure. We realised that as I was speaking to her, I  have an interest in the psychology has within art rather than philosophy. I want to see hard evidence for why something is the way it is, instead of just a theory. People have suggested for me to look at Merlaux Ponty’s work, but I don’t really want to go down the philosophy route. An example of psychological evidence supporting physically engaging with museum objects would be Chatterjee et al’s paper Museopathy: Exploring the Healing Potential of Handling Museum Objects. They went into hospitals and actually let patients handle museum objects. This touch led to patients (with memory problems) reminiscing and accessing memories which probably would’ve still been forgotten if it wasn’t for engaging with these objects.

My next step will be to continue researching. Interestingly I found a book the other day-whilst waiting for my train home- called “Touch The Science of the Sense that Makes Us Human” by David J. Linden and so far its been a good read! Both fun and informative, this book shows how interpersonal touch defines us. Along with this book, I have other studies to look into, such as the importance of play for adults and how touch is beneficial when people don’t have  strong hearing or sight.

*Update*

After receiving having a tutorial to discuss my mark- I wish to introduce some of my own opinions into my dissertation; although I have been marked with a 2:1, Dr Shah believes I can up this to a 1st, by being more brave with my writing! So instead of saying, this person said this about that, I need to challenge what that person said with my own views and evidence. And since my dissertation does link to my subject work, I could include what I’m currently making in my thesis.

 

 

Dissertation Planning

Well it’s been such a busy day! It started off with a dissertation tutorial with Dr Mahnaz Shah. It’s my 2nd tutorial so far with her and thankfully, I come away from her tutorials with a bit more understanding of what I am going to write. Our dissertation proposal is due in in about month’s time, so I need to knuckle down with my research in order to produce a decent plan. The more detailed my plan is now, the easier my dissertation will be to write in 3rd year, and the more time I will have to write it.

The direction I want to take is to investigate how ceramics engages with an audience on a physical level, through direct touch; and possibly comparing installations to interactive objects. For research I used Bonnie Keepsake’s paper “Touching the Body: A Ceramic Possibility” as a starting point. Her findings (after placing her “huggable sculptures” in galleries) stated that

“Some people, mostly men, straddled the plinth/bench and then used both hands to touch, sometimes turning a hand over and running the back of the arm over the surface of the work or trying to fit their arm into depressions in the forms. However, few actually picked the work up until they were told they could, read that it was made to fit the body, or saw others handling the work in this way. Even then, some people asked for permission before lifting the work.”

This suggests that gender differences contribute to the way work is handles and responded to within a gallery environment. Interestingly, Kempske also placed her work in a gallery in Kyoto as well as in London. She noted that there were some cultural differences too; stating that “more people at the V&A fit the work to their bodies than did viewers/touchers in Kyoto”.

I think there is a huge scope for research into this, but to start with, I just need to figure out what other artists I’m going to look at! There is just so much to research! And of course I would actually like to do some primary research too, as I feel the findings from it will enrich my dissertation.

 

Essay hand in- done!

Today I handed in my first essay of the term, and it feels great! Inspired by Art|Science lectures I’ve had this term with Dr Alexandros Kontogeorgakopoulos-I’ll just call him Alex. We went through various ways in which Science is connected to Art; from looking at fractals in Jackson Pollock’s paintings to the ratios found in music.

I’m not going to lie, some of it I didn’t quite understand, such as our lecture on sonic arts (it’s probably because I’ve never really played a musical instrument); however, some were eye opening as soon as I had a grasp on the concepts. Take the Golden Ratio for example. I knew of it, but not much else. Alex showed us the ratio and how it has been applied to many works of art: from Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa to Middle Age cathedrals. The concepts from his lecture are things  I will continue to research and the whole idea of science linking to art.

I feel that using science to explain Art isn’t always necessary, but it has helped me practically with wheel throwing. I ended up writing my essay on wheel throwing and physics. Knowing the forces involved and how one can impact the other has given me another depth of understanding to my practice, and I wish to apply further scientific knowledge to other areas of Ceramics.

More posts on this subject to follow!

Reflections

So today I handed in my essay for constellation titled ‘If Anything Can Be Art, What Makes Good Art?’ I’m very happy that it’s out the way but at the same time, it’s sad that we don’t have our constellation lectures on a Thursday anymore… I learnt a lot about the links between philosophy and art. Writing the essay showed me how much we’d covered over lectures. Descartes and Hegel, for example, are philosophers I had no idea about before but now I do, having just written an essay including their views!

It’s also funny how you can get so absorbed in writing an essay that it’s only after you find quotes and see things everywhere which remind you of what you’ve just written! I’ve just watched Zane Lowe’s interview with Kanye West on the radio 1 youtube channel and it’s amazing how relevant West’s views are to what I think

“Imma try to make something that jumps up and effects you in a good or a bad way whether it’s I’m going into scream in the middle of a track because thats just the way I feel. But I’m not here to make easy listening, you know easy programable music.”
Kanye West

These words are from a true artist! What Kanye is saying relates to this point I made in my essay

“If something is a pointless object, an ornament, does it have to be made to a certain degree of quality and be socially normal? If there are all these pointers to what makes good art, one is always going to question whether their art is good. But does it really matter? The point of being an artist is to express, to respond to the world. Not to please a critic.”

Notes from a February lecture on Taste

Notes from a February lecture on Taste

So in an effort to write my essay titled “If anything can be art what makes good art?” I am scanning through my notes from lectures leading up to our assignment. The particular pages of notes I’m looking at are ones from February and are focused on Hume’s views on taste.

I’m not going to lie, this essay isn’t easy to write, never the less I do enjoy writing, so I’m going to give it my best shot.

I’ve made my mind up that I want to write compare Grayson Perrys’ and Marcel Duchamps work as I feel for this piece of writing to have structure I need to be using two key pieces of art to illustrate the idea of what good art is and the arguments regarding taste.

So, to clear my head, I’m going to type up an explanation of my mind map above, in hope that this will make writing my essay that bit easier…

The whole idea of taste is quite a rich one as it derives the assumption that the majority of people like the same thing. Which of course isn’t true! That would be one’s first reaction…Or is it? And what is this whole “acquired taste” malarky about? It all is rather ridiculous how we have been expected to like certain things and turn our nose up to others…
This brings us to the argument “the world in which I believe myself to reside in is a fiction” (Roger Scruton Philosophy: Principles and Problems). Every thought we have and move we make has all been decided for us. We are not autonomous. Descartes started his Meditations on First Philosophy by deconstructing everything and decided that when there is nothing left one still has themselves, and we what think and perceive… which brings me to people’s taste in Art and what is considered good: if that were the case what would they think of Duchamp’s Fountain? Or Grayson Perry’s Golden Ghosts? If we forget our preconceptions about art work and just be completely present and look at it, does its quality or whether it’f fit to purpose even come in to context?

Siân Ede writes in Art and Science “…Thinkers in the arts and humanities seem part of a playful circular game in which the truth is never privileged in one direction or another and is always out of reach.” What is The Truth? Only what humans have thought as the truth. It is purely an assumption, a judgement. This reflects taste and aesthetics. What is Good to one person may be Bad to another. However, these are still judgements. To truly appreciate an object one must stop thinking about it all together. Echkhart Tolle explains this in “A New Earth” and calls this inner space, when one is conscious, when the mind isn’t absorbed by thinking.

“Without straining, relaxed but alert, give your complete attention to the object, every detail of it. If thoughts arise, don’t get involved in them. It is not the thoughts you interested in but the act of perception itself. Can you take the thinking out perceiving? can you look without the voice in you head commenting, drawing conclusions, comparing, or trying to figure something out?..”

Realisations

Whilst I’ve been writing my essay If Anyting Can Be Art, What Makes Good Art? I am always learning. This is a discovery I made about judgment and taste…

Siân Ede writes in Art and Science

“…Thinkers in the arts and humanities seem part of a playful circular game in which the truth is never privileged in one direction or another and is always out of reach.”

What is The Truth? Only what humans have thought as the truth. It is purely an assumption, a judgement. This reflects taste and aesthetics. What is Good to one person may be Bad to another. However, these are still judgements. To truly appreciate an object one must stop thinking about it all together. Echkhart Tolle explains this in A New Earth and calls this inner space, when one is conscious, when the mind isn’t absorbed by thinking.

“Without straining, relaxed but alert, give your complete attention to the object, every detail of it. If thoughts arise, don’t get involved in them. It is not the thoughts you interested in but the act of perception itself. Can you take the thinking out perceiving? can you look without the voice in you head commenting, drawing conclusions, comparing, or trying to figure something out?..”

Kant says this himself…

“Judgement gives law only to itself, not to nature”

Objects of desire

It’s hard to be unique in the abyss of the world wide web… so many people out there are blogging, vlogging, tweeting and whatnot. My Dad and I had an interesting talk last night as I wasn’t in the best of moods because the realisation hit me that there are lots of artists/designers out there who are doing a similar thing to me, so how can I be different from them? He said, James Dyson designed a vacuum cleaner when there were already lots on the market, did that stop him from designing The G Force and becoming a household name? No. It’s about creating something which you can put your individual stamp on, to bring a different flavour to and improve an object which already exists. Think of all the fashion designers who sell handbags. They create a need for these objects, the Mulberry bag is highly coveted, but why? Won’t a Primark satchel do? No. A Mulberry bag is designed for you, its quality for you to cherish, it’s named (i.e. The Cara Delevingne) for you to befriend. The bag becomes part of you. Without it, you do not feel whole, it is as if you are missing a limb. That is when there is a need for a supply. I do not want a Mulberry bag, I quite simply NEED it.