Monday, 27 September 2010

Identifying & Evaluating Creative Strategies I Have Previously Used

  • Focusing & Masking: As part of my cities project last year I developed a series of photographs in the style of Gillian Wearing.  I used photoshop to blur out the faces of the people in the shots in order to express their anonymity in an environment lacking human interaction.  I wanted the images to be a series of insights into the lives of the people who share out environment with, rather than a series of portraits.  By masking the faces I drew the visual focus onto the signs that the people has written and held in an attempt to portray my idea of an insight beyond the visual exterior of strangers.
I think that these strategies were effective in achieving my desired intentions regardless of my questionable photoshop skills.  In applying similar strategies with film i anticipate that i could achieve similarly effective results.  I plan to experiment with focus through layered composition of frames as well as lighting techniques.  I'm interested to explore the capabilities of film as a versatile medium to convey the symbolism of objects within carefully constructed frames.
  • Focusing: The body of work i created for my digital photography elective last year explored the beauty of naturally occurring pattern, colour and texture.  I did this by zooming in on tree bark eliminating the recognised object to elevate my desired focus.
  • Dissolving: to conceptually highlight the similarities between the skin on my face and the bark of a tree, I used Photoshop to apply the bark texture to my face merging the two components symbolically dissolving the original object (the tree).

  • Improvisation: In an interactive installation I put together for last year's collaborative strategies project, I interviewed members of the public after they had experienced my installation.  I had a general intention to record their receipt of the artwork to determine weather or not I had achieved my intentions, however the loose framework of questions I had prepared to ask was improvised to react to individual responses.
Improvisation is key to capture the spontaneous and unexpected effectively.  This strategy will be useful in any filming where certain elements are uncontrollable.
  • Diffusion: My installation 'The City Is Nature Too' (, was based around a comfortable armchair positioned in the hustle and bustle of the city centre.  The altered territory of the object provided a different perspective and experience of the space which supported my artistic intention.*
  • Mapping: mind mapping is a consistent component of my ideas development.  Visualising the links and connections between ideas allows me to follow the development process back to make sense of where my ideas are originating from.  Mapping was a vital tool in my collaborative project as joint mind maps identified where mine and my collaborative partners ideas met and connected.
  • Substitution: In last years 'Skin/Trace' project I replaced the surface pattern and texture of orange peel, with a traced laser cut etch of my own skin.  The substituted texture and pattern applied to the material made a visual connection illustrating my conceptual  ideas.

  • *Changing the Context: Furniture as associated with the comfort and safety of the home, created an environment and viewing angle with preconceived notions of relaxation and none-intimidating territory.  The chair in its new context created an environment conceptually conflicting atmospheres and the viewers experience of a space.
  • Artificial Restrictions: In order to focus the visual sensory experience of the city centre, my audience wore headphones playing recorded sounds from the natural environment of Hyde Park.  This restricted audio in an attempt to challenge the ability to observe.
  • Interpretation: The installation manipulated the combination of strategies I have discussed, by providing a situation where by the observer was able to read the surrounding environment from an alternate angle from the everyday 'norm'.

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Receipt of Beauty

'The rose might have its own purpose (to reproduce new roses), but that is not why it is beautiful.  Something about its array of colours and textures prompts my mental faculties to feel that the objects is 'right'.  This rightness is what Kant means by saying that beautiful objects are purposive.'

We perceive 'beauty' by identifying any thing or being etc that triggers the mental pleasures of theses 'faculties' in 'free play'.

'Though the label is prompted by a subjective awareness or feeling of pleasure, it supposedly has objective application to the world.'

Kant believed that in order to have an aesthetic response to the beauty of an object, its form and design has to satisfy our intellect without the need to evaluate its purpose or function.  I too am interested in Kant's ideas of disinterested neutrality in that the visual stimulus of my art is often directed towards a pleasurable receipt.  However in order to convey the ideas that my artworks are derived from, I find that undercurrents of combined strategies are essential.  

Purposiveness Without a Purpose

'Some people advocate a theory of art as ritual: ordinary objects or acts acquire symbolic significance through incorporation into a shared belief system.'

Symbolism is an important re-occurring element of my own art practice as I believe that ritualised, shared recognition of the language of visual symbolism serves as the main grasp of control an artist has over how their work is interpreted and received.

'Artwork that uses blood or urine enters into the public sphere without the context of either well understood ritual significance or artistic redemption through beauty.'

'Hume said that judgements of taste are 'intersubjective' : people with taste tend to agree with each other.  Kant believed that judgements of beauty were universal and grounded in the real world, even though they were not actually 'objective'.'

'Kant noted that we typically apply labels or concepts to the world to classify sensory inputs that suit a purpose.  For example, when I find a round flat thing in the dishwasher that I recognise as a plate, I put it away in the cupboard with other plates, not in the drawer with spoons.  Beautiful objects do not serve ordinary human purposes, as plates and spoons do.'

'Kant's way of recognising this was to say that something beautiful has 'purposiveness without a purpose'.'

Theoretical Creative Strategy

'A theory is more than a definition; it is a framework that supplies an ordinary explanation of observed phenomena.  A theory should help things make sense rather than create obscurity through jargon and weighty words.  It should systematically unify and organise a set of observations, building from basic principles.'

Theory allows us to classify 'art' by understanding conceptual intentions.  For the past year i have struggled with being told that i need to build upon my concepts; when my intentions have been to place emphasis on the 'basic principles' derived from exploration, observation and experience of my subject matter.  The above Freeland quote articulates the explanation of where my artistic strategy has been flawed.  I do not need to switch emphasis to conceptual elements of my work.  I need to develop basic principles and concepts hand-in-hand, supporting my artistic responses with theory in order to make record of my process and development.