Exhibition plan & research

In planning my exhibition show, I have always had in mind the idea of my work being presented in a way which encourages the viewer to interact and engage with the pieces. My set of bronze medal are specifically designed in order for them to be handled, and cannot be appreciated fully being displayed on a stand or plinth merely observed. All of my work intrinsically involves an intimate and personal engagement with objects, as extensions and reflections of ourselves, which can only truly be formed in their handling. In order to encourage this, the setting and display is extremely important, as we fundamentally know that the contextual setting of an object dictates our behaviour towards it. If an object is put upon a white plinth, it is clear that it is an object of significance, to be observed and admired, but certainly not touched. Even objects that are usually playful, or mundane, have the ability to be viewed in a completely new light and re-contextualised when placed in a different setting,

For example, Marcel Duchamp’s classic “Fountain” is a perfect example of the setting defining the object.


While the object of the urinal has obviously been taken off the wall and laid on it’s back, it is the setting that defines it as an art piece. If a urinal were simply laid on the floor of a bathroom, one would not regard it as anything other than an obstacle. It would not be examine in terms of it’s form, it’s values, the effect it has on the surrounding space or the motivations of those who placed it there. However, in putting it in a gallery setting the object is suddenly given an entirely new platform and a way in which for people to interact with it. It’s form is now regarded in terms of the sculptural, rather than utility; the exceptional, rather than the mundane.

This is the power that the presentation of an artwork holds, of putting an object on a pedestal to be displayed and observed, taken in with time and consideration rather than being merely a background setting for our lives. In this sense, this is almost something that I am trying to avoid. The fetishism of objects within the art world is something that is rife, with pieces being hailed as priceless, beyond all monetary value and worth, so exceptional that they could never possibly be given a value even within the millions or billions of pounds. It is this worship of artwork that separates the viewer from the artist, the god-like creator of beautiful and outstanding pieces that the laymen could never hope to create or even to understand, and can merely marvel and bask at the artwork’s glory. This worship-like regard of artwork, and by extension the artist, has always felt to me to be a largely self serving and self perpetuated ego boost within the art industry. To validate the whims of an artist as being incredibly important and influential, by making all those underneath them as lesser. The separation of object and viewer creates an atmosphere of value, in which the objects in the room inherently have more value than the people who are viewing them. They are the focus of attention, like celebrities on a red star carpet only able to be viewed at a distance by those lucky enough to be able to attend, those who cannot simply looking at photographs.

My ethos however is entirely opposite to these notions. My work explores the inherent relationships between all people and the objects within their lives. Some may hold a very personal significance tied to a person or event within the mind of the owner, while others may be seemingly mundane parts of a daily ritual such as making tea, with their significance and familiarity physically worn into the object through use. Rather than to separate the person from the object, I aim to embrace and exemplify that relationship, encouraging the viewer to engage with the objects on a personal level in order to examine their meanings, ties and histories. In order to encourage a viewer to interact and handle the objects I set out for them, I feel it is important that the objects themselves are not given too much prestige and are presented in a way where they were easily accessible to handle. Height of the object is very important in display; if a piece is displayed on a piece at chest height it may give the sense of a body, giving it a sense of importance and a need for personal space. However a piece displayed closer to stomach or hip height, which is in the range of most of our hand movements is instinctively more appealing to reach out and  touch, to pick up and handle, as this is how we are accustomed to interacting with objects in a domestic setting.

I feel the key for my display will be the idea of a domestic, informal setting, where the viewer does not feel intimidated by the nature of the environment (being in an art gallery) and that they are allowed and encouraged to investigate the objects in front of them.


Rather than a plinth or a shelf, I feel that perhaps a free standing desk would be more suitable for the display of my objects. A desk, rather than a plinth, are inherently more informal forms of display and we are entirely comfortable with interacting with objects left on desks in our daily lives.  We as humans have an internal framework for how to behave around certain objects or settings, and as we have established already we have been conditioned to treat plinths in a very particular way with a level of respect and awe. Desks however, are a method of display we are entirely familiar and at ease with, and do not feel intimidated by its contents.

Another advantage of the desk is that it can be very versatile in its display. It can be free standing or against a wall, with a variety of different arrangements upon it. Another key factor of the desk is that they are often accompanied by a seat, but can be approached standing or seated. Having a seat is also a strong idea for my display, given that it both welcomes the viewer into the space and puts them at ease yet without putting them under too much pressure. An empty chair is an open invitation that does not have to be taken, the viewer can still inspect the objects from a distance if they choose to, they are not being forced into a foreign space or given an instruction to behave in a certain manner. If they do choose to then sit down, it hold them in place and immerses the viewer in the display, they are sat with the purpose of investigating the items in front of them. Again, this plays upon the domestic setting putting the viewer at ease, putting them in a position that they feel comfortable and familiar with and that they have chosen to engage with and therefore allows them to interact with the objects in front of them in a more naturalistic manner and explore their meanings in the way that you would when entering another person’s home and investigating the objects that they have chosen to surround themselves with.

Perhaps this is the atmosphere I should aim to emulate, the sensation of entering a new person’s house and taking a friendly curiosity in their surroundings. This would involve making the setting as informal as possible, and give the impression of somebody stepping into my own personal space full of my personal objects which are mid-use.

Considering that my work focuses around the relationships between people and the objects in their lives, it would make sense for the display to then emulate that relationship in its setting. Rather than being put on a plinth and admired as Marcel Duchamp’s “Fountain” was, they should be understood in the context that they are displayed in naturally. The context in fact for these objects, it almost as important as the objects themselves for the viewer. While each of the objects in my work is a link for me personally in terms of memory or experience, these are not necessarily qualities that are obvious to another person, devoid of context. It is the setting in which they are used and displayed that can offer that suggestion of an object’s sentimental worth and value, and then encourage that person to question further the nature of that value to the owner.


Examples of this manner of display, the sensation of stepping into another person’s personal space in order to investigate the objects and environment they lived or worked in in order to gain a greater understanding of that person’s personality and values, is one that is seen widely in museums dedicated to people of importance throughout history. Their living environment is meticulously reconstructed, from either the real objects themselves and furnishings, or approximate replicas which convey the same meanings, displayed as if the person had simply stepped out of the room.
freud desk


One example of this suggested to me is the desk of the world famous Sigmund Freud, displayed in the Freud museum in London. Here we can see that the room has been entirely recreated, down to the decor of the carpeting, and even the papers and stationary on his desk are true to as they would have been in his life. From this we get a very clear sense of a man, not only his interests but his meticulous nature in the way in which the objects are displayed in a very orderly and precise fashion, which we can see is true in his life and is not simply a choice by the museum to display the objects in an orderly fashion.

my bed tracey emin

Another classic example of this style of display, but in a more relevant artistic context, is Tracy Emin’s “My Bed”, which is a recreation of her bed which she spent a week in after a traumatic breakup with her partner. The bed is truly an intimate insight into her life, strewn with empty vodka bottles, pregnancy tests and cigarettes, it is almost intrusively personal to the point of the viewer feeling uncomfortable. However, it is undeniably expressive of both her life, her experience, and in this instance her intense pain and turmoil, all of which are expressed wordlessly through a collection of objects in a contextual setting. Through both Freud’s desk, and Emin’s bed, we have a strong and holistic of two completely different sets of people, living entirely separate lives with diverse and differing values, all of which we can interpret entirely from their collection of personal objects and belongings, and the context in which they are arranged. Yet each creates a powerful sense of intrigue as well as understanding in the viewer, and a satisfaction in having made some small degree of connection between themselves and another human being, even if that connection is only ever one sided. It is inherent in our nature that we want to reach out and understand others, and the investigation of personal objects allows us to do this without the pressure of social interaction, and in a manner and pace which is comfortable to us. We are simply allowed to investigate, and to draw our own conclusion without any pressure to qualify or quantify our opinions.


It is this environment that I wish to emulate, a sense of personal space created entirely by personal objects, which hold both meaning for me and serve to facilitate a link between myself and the viewer in order to promote a sense of shared experience.




Research – Journal artists

Not only have I been having trouble with imagery, but I have also had difficulties in finding relevant artists to research. While I have looking at other art medallists, in terms of their use of the medal as an object, of front and obverse, but this does not speak of the actual subject matter of my work which I am trying to tackle; of personal narrative, growth, loss, change and development over time. I have found it very difficult to find artists relating to these topics, as when researching on the internet using these search terms doesn’t yield many relevant results, and I’ve found that most artists while they may have their work online, is largely presented purely as a set of images and titles with no explanation or context as you might get in a gallery. Because of this, while there are likely many artists who are relevant to look at in relation to my work, I am struggling to find them as I have no point of reference in which to search them by. On the advice of a tutor, I took myself into the library and looked through a variety of journals for the day.

This piece is a series of everyday hand held objects, all of which are linked to techonology (remotes, a modern day mobile phone) are carved from stone to create these beautiful, dead objects. The way in which they are half formed, eroded, yet still recognisable and clearly designed for the human hand, and yet are also from nature. To me this piece speaks of loss, and there is no other word I can use to describe these objects other than “dead”, inert. In their very nature is a heaviness and they are cold to the touch, they are no longer extensions of ourselves, but broken and their only purpose is to be disregarded and abandoned. I am unsure how I would tie this into my own work, and I certainly do not want my pieces to speak so profoundly of loss, but I found these pieces very striking nonetheless. Perhaps the weight and coldness of the bronze is something I could factor into my design in this manner.

"Each other" - Helen Carnac

“Each other” – Helen Carnac

Another piece that spoke to me was this series of bowls, or in particular the center bowl, by Helen Carnac. The use of patern, which is reminiscent of text, almost transcends being mere pattern and has an energy and expression of its own. The bowl itself seems to be merely a canvas with having little importance placed upon it, the white chipping off in large pieces around the rum, and having brown smudges across the white surface, the pattern is the focus here. Despite being the focus of the work, it does not lay where the viewer can easily observe it, on the rim or the inside of the bowl, but rather the lower two thirds, all the way to the underside of the piece and even seemingly spilling over onto the surface below. The pattern itself seems to have a sense of agency, its purpose is not to serve you and pander to your needs and desires. There is also the nature of the bowls being in a set, which is relevant to me as I am looking to create a set, although the other pieces in this set do not interest me so much.

"Hole from carrying wallet in pocket, number 1" - celia pym

“Hole from carrying wallet in pocket, number 1” – Celia Pym

"Norwegian sweater" - Celia Pym

“Norwegian sweater” – Celia Pym

Celia Pym’s work is something which really speaks to me of narrative. She is a textile arist who takes old and worn clothes, and brings them back to life by darning the holes with cotton. However, rather than using a colour which blends with the original piece of clothing, she chooses colours that are distinctly different and obvious. This creates a piece of clothing which is functional, and yet has been transformed in terms of narrative, and wears its history for all to see. The banal and ordinary, holes made socks and pockets through every day use are pulled into the foreground, made to be celebrated and witnessed, rather than an inconvenience to be discarded and forgotten about.

"Scotts Cumbrian Blues, Cow in a Medow" - Paul Scott - 2007

“Scotts Cumbrian Blues, Cow in a Medow” – Paul Scott – 2007

"Scotts Cumbrian Blues, Fukushima" - Paul Scott 2014

“Scotts Cumbrian Blues, Fukushima” – Paul Scott 2014

Paul Scott is an artist who subverts the classic blue and white ware imagery, often using willow pattern, and changing the context or meaning of the piece to something much more humorous. These always have a political and serious undertone to them, and yet the manner in which it is executed and presented with this play on classic imagery is inherently amusing, to see something being repurposed and recontextualised.

This reminds me of Banksy’s paintings in which he often takes a seemingly unremarkable, classic style painting, and adds elements into the background or foreground to completely change the context of the image

"Carwreck" - Banksy

“Carwreck” – Banksy

By doing this, these arists are changing the narrative and meaning of the piece you are looking at. It then has a sense of duality in that it still contains the original context and ideals behind it, but this has then been layered with a new meaning which has given the piece a completely new perspetive and message.

"Eight Unsaid" - Louise Boscacci - 2007

“Eight Unsaid” – Louise Boscacci – 2007

This is a piece that is in fact very relevant to my work, which is a set of eight cups. Each of these are designed to be held in the hand, and are functional in their use, but also fit together as a set interchangeably. Despite these cups not sharing an image, they still work very clearly as a set. This may be due to the fact they are hand cups, without a ringed base to sit on and so cannot stand by themselves, so it is a more natural assumption to fit them together, rather than having them stand on their own in a row. Although they may not have a shared image, they do very clearly have a shared aesthetic, both in their form and decoration, and are very distinctly part of a set. The cups are interchangeable, and unlike my previous ideas do not in any way have images that fit or link together in some way. While this works very well for this piece, I’m not sure that this style of disjointed patterns or images set in the same aesthetic would work for my medals for several reasons. None of these pieces individually strike me as representing any particular thing, and seem more visually decorative than conceptual. While I have read that this piece is supposed to represent a sentence, and each cup a word in the sentence, this is not something I would have gotten from simply looking at them or even from interacting with them.

"Bowl for 264 species"

“Bowl for 264 species” – Louise Boscacci – 2007

Much of Boscacci’s work involves the use of text, but is often made unreadable and forms more of a scrawl than legible text, taking on a life of it’s own much as the pattern earlier in Helen Carnac’s piece “Each Other”. This very physical use of text is something I find very striking, and considering that text is often a significant feature of a medal could be something to investigate and potentially emulate or synthesise into my own pieces.

"Ven Guapo #1" - Todd Cero-Atl 2007

“Ven Guapo #1” – Todd Cero-Atl 2007

I was most struck by this piece by Todd Cero-Atl, which consists of a pair of teacups and saucers, which are held together by a halo of safety pins and pom-poms. This piece is truly personal, with what may seem to be innocent teacups to the viewer representing the discrimination that Cero-Atl’s lover who was suffering from AIDs faced in a cafe having seen the waitress throw away their teacups after the two having used them. He then sadly passed away, and this piece is part of Cero-Atl’s reconciling with his grief. The halo of safety pins represents his grief, piercing and yet enclosing, binding the two together.

It’s the holding together of the two separate objects that interests me here, the fragility and the tension between them, and this directly influenced me to try and incorporate this into my medals.

handheld medal stack

In order to be held together, it then makes sense for the medals to fit the hand, the fingers, in a way that makes them both intuitive and comfortable to hold. In this way the piece is also responding to the viewer in a physical sense, and that sense of compromise, of the object adapting itself to you in a very obvious and inoffensive manner encourages the forming of bonds and attachment to the object, a sense of warmth and engagement. As the medals are looking to express the states of being in the human experience, and act as a platform or as a mirror on which the viewer can reflect, this physical relationship with the object is key. The medals are then seen less as “the other” and more as an extension of the self, and the viewer willingly picks up, engages and invites the object into their own personal space. This is also an excellent use of the edge of the medal, learning from the previous year where I had given almost no consideration to the edge and then when the physical object was made found myself completely taken aback by it, and certainly an idea I am going to carry forward with the design.

Research – Porcelain

During my feedback for my work this year we discussed my plans for my project next year and what mediums I intend to use. Having greatly enjoyed the BAMS project, and having not been able to create my medals to the standard which I had hoped in terms of design, I discussed the idea of moving forward with the basis of medals. I find sticking to the confines of creating  a “medal” comfortably narrow but with enough room to innovative and experimental when needs be. I find I work well under more constrained briefs, as being told that I can do “anything”, as we often are in an artistic setting, makes me very uncomfortable as I have no grounding to work with and I spend far too long trying to find a beginning point for the project. A “medal”, is a finite size, usually fits in the palm of the hand, and generally (although not exclusively) is a rounded, two sided object possibly featuring a edge space. This allows me a starting point, a blank canvas  to work on that can then be adapted and molded according to my needs as they arise.

When discussing my potential medal project in the third year, it was suggested to me that I incorporate porcelain into the bronze medal, as well as some intricate sculpture and illustration. My tutors commented that my sketchbook is full of beautiful and detailed illustrations, and yet this has rarely been used in the final outcomes of any of my work in the past two years. As I am on a fundamentally making based course, it had never occurred to me that I could combine illustration and making, and while I logically know this is possible, I had never thought to do this with my own work, and therefore had tried to keep all my drawings separate in my sketchbooks.

With this thought in mind, I started doing a broad look into porcelain work, to get a feel for what is possible, having never done any in depth work with porcelain.

The first artist who I stumbled across was Katsuyo Aoki, a Japanese artist who creates intricate, semi abstracted, decorative objects using porcelain.

Katsuyo Aoki - Predictive Dream XXXI - 2011

Katsuyo Aoki – Predictive Dream XXXI – 2011

Katsuyo Aoki - Predictive Dream XVII - 2011

Katsuyo Aoki – Predictive Dream XVII – 2011

What I appreciate about these sculptures is the intricate, hand sculpted nature, combining unrecognisable patterns to make a recognisable object. What I find most powerful is the use of space, the open areas inside the sculpture allowing you to see through and inside the sculpture, which really emphasises its three dimensional nature.

Another piece that struck me is these porcelain rings with a band of gold  being sold on the craft website etsy. Their simplicity and clean design struck me, as well as being a good example of the often used combination of porcelain and gold

porcelain ring

As always, I come back to Claire Curneen’s work. I find her pieces completely captivating, again a combination of the purity and contrast between the white of the porcelain and the gold lustre embellishments, in a form which is both simplistic and yet complex.

Claire Curneen - Book of Hours - 2013

Claire Curneen – Book of Hours – 2013

Claire Curneen - Urchin - 2010

Claire Curneen – Urchin – 2010


Irish artist Nuala O’Donovan creates large scale, hand built structures created by repeating yet irregular patterns which are taken from nature. These structures, according to the artist’s statement, take weeks or even months to construct, and the finished form is the result of intuitive construction lead by the direction the structure itself begins to take. This interplay between a sculpture being both created by the artist and yet dictating it’s own form, structure and tone, is one that all artists face, although it’s rarer to see the creator relinquishing control and becoming merely an enabler for the piece to grow.

Nuala O'Donovan - Radiolaria, RD - 2009

Nuala O’Donovan – Radiolaria, RD – 2009


When trying to research the combined use of bronze and porcelain, I found almost exclusively the results which came back were vintage home ware pieces such as urns, candle holders and dishes.



Hand_Crafted_Colorful_Dish_Set_Set_4_Porcelain_Bronze__27939.1388873236.1280.1280From what I can find it seems that bronze and porcelain is a combination that while having a strong history of use, has rarely been applied to sculpture and art. Even when searching specifically for art and sculpture pieces, I found largely kitsch decorative sculptures with a handful of basic sculptural pieces.



David Wiseman 2014

In many ways this is frustrating, as it means there is very little research I can do in this area and draw inspiration from. However, on the other hand it means that I am potentially going to be creating highly original work which will be unlike anything else in its field, which is an exciting notion.


Internet of Things: disgusting humour research

Although my main idea for the project is to look at dead flies and insects in food bowls, while researching to look at similar works I also started expanding into looking at the idea of disgusting humour. I think the main appeal of the idea of a fake fly in the bottom of a bowl is the base instinct of knowing that you’re witnessing something disgusting, and that you instinctively feel repulsed by (flies being repulsive to humans at the best of times, let alone dead and in your food which you are eating and has already been inside your mouth), but then contrasted by the relief of realising or knowing that it isn’t real and will not do any harm to you. I think it is this that causes you to find the situation funny, and there have been plenty of studies done linking laughter to anxiety and a release of tension. I think this is best exemplified in objects where the psychological link we make to the object directly contrasts the function, so in this instance the idea of filth and bacteria which would usually be a cause for you to avoid or stop eating a food, directly built into an object which is designed to contain food. Other humorous examples I’ve found are

b1785bc7034bf3ac4f99e3db30f7b78bA soap shaped like a dog turd, something which we would usually avoid making direct skin contact with at all costs because of it’s filthy and germ ridden nature, but in this instance is necessary in order to make your hands clean. I think this is probably the best example of this that I have found as it contrasts so perfectly between it’s function and it’s associations.


While not such a direct association as the turd-soap, I find this toilet shaped mug both clever and funny, making an association that never would have occurred to me with the colour of a cup of tea and filthy toilet water. It shows how important context can be, and that putting the dark coloured water into the context of a toilet gives it a completely different association. However I think this is far less “disgusting”, probably due to the change in scale of the toilet breaking the illusion of the context change, and therefore making it easier for us to recognise that it is not in fact dirty toilet water.


I think what amuses me most about this picture is the absurdist element of trying to use a fair of fish for flip flops. Everything about this image is ridiculous, imagining how a person would balance on the slippery fish, the sound that they would make slapping along the ground, the smell as they start to decay, they are just completely unfunctional in every sense. However I don’t think this quite hits upon the idea of disgust, as I don’t think dead fish are something we immediately associate with disgust. Perhaps if they were more obviously rotting, as rotting fish is widely considered a disgusting smell, but these fish look too similar to live fish which we have no issue with.


This image however goes in the opposite direction, with it being entirely based on disgust, but then having no real functional element. What made the fish sandals funny is while they were “unfunctional” in the sense that they fulfilled their purpose so poorly as to be ridiculous, it was ridiculous because you could imagine a scenario in which they were being used. These “shoes” however do not in fact have any function at all, and while disgusting as images they do not engage the viewer, you do not imagine trying to place your foot inside it and use it as a shoe, it is disgusting simply because it is feces, and while the laces add to the narrative of the image it does not make it funny. These two pictures go to show that its a fine balance between disgust and function that makes an item humorous.



Looking at these two pieces by Kina Ceramic Design, they are good examples of my idea. However, I would say that the very deliberate way in which the insects are laid out across the plate, in almost a pattern with ants walking in a line across one side, with various other insects in groups elsewhere, detracts from the illusion of it being “real”. Not only this but the insects aren’t necessarily technically accurate, and strike me as being more “drawings of insects” than accurate representations of insects themselves which I tried to capture in my drawings for my bowls in France.

BAMS – Medal project – Thoughts

We have for our Subject brief been given the project of creating an artist medal, which can then be submitted to the British Art Medal Society (BAMS) for the competition that they run every year. If we want to submit for the competition, our medal must be finished by late February and while not specified, it should probably be made out of bronze or silver to have a chance of winning. However if you’re just aiming to submit for the course, you have until May and can be more experimental with the materials of your medal.

Personally, I would like to submit for the competition, which means I will have to be the best of my class as only one will be chosen, although only a few other members of my class will also be aiming to submit for February. This means I’m going to have to get the ball rolling with my ideas pretty quickly, considering that bronze casting is a pretty lengthy process and has the potential for things to go wrong and set you back quite easily, so I don’t want to leave it until the final hour.

While some other people in my class have already started sketching designs, I personally am trying to focus on a theme. I feel it is too early in the process to begin designing when I have no point to focus on, and the strongest works are the ones that have a solid concept behind the design. So with this in mind, I have tried to begin some basic research.

My first port of call was to go to the university library and look for some books regarding artist medals. However, all the books that were relevant to me had already been taken out, and were all to be returned on the same date, so I can only assume it is one person from my course who had the same idea as me, but was quicker off the mark than me. But I have at least reserved the books, so when they are returned by the 22nd of October, they can’t be renewed by the same person, so I will have to wait until then.

This lead me to look at the BAMS website instead, where they do in fact have an extensive gallery of medals. However, I’ve found the gallery is very poorly laid out and difficult to navigate, with the thumbnail of each image being too small on the page to give you more than a very vague idea of each medal, and even after clicking on the link to an individual medal’s page, the images are still unnecessarily small. If you click on those images, it then takes you a larger pop up, however even then you cannot navigate between the front and the back images. So I feel as if I have only seen a very small amount of the medals to any significant extent.

What I have learnt so far looking at the medals, is while they are made out of traditional materials, they can be extremely nontraditional in design or shape, with some medals being square, cones, cubes, dishes, or even containers. Many of them (or at least out of the ones I have looked at) have designs that seem to be based on a story or narrative of some form, which is interesting.

Personally, I would like to create something that is satisfying to hold in the hand, seeing as these are not pins or attached to ribbons like traditional medals. Also, I still find myself strongly influenced by the piece we were shown last year by Chloe Shaw, “This Living Hand”, and you can read my previous post on it here.

What I like most about it, and would like to be able to incorporate into my own medal, is the tactile nature which necessitates the person the form a bond with the object through interaction, and creates what I would personally describe as an emotional experience. This is what draws me to the object so much and makes me really desire one of my own, or seek to emulate it.

However, a drawback to it is that it is the same image on both sides of the medal, which works for that piece in particular, but personally I would like to be able to use the back and front of my medal. It can be used as a two panel story, or even as a punchline, but it is certainly an aspect of the medal I would like to use (as well as noting that all the medals on the website have used it also). I will also keep in mind that the medal could potentially have as many sides as I like using the edge surfaces creatively, although I think more than three sides (front, back edge) may be over complicating things, but we shall see how the design needs to fit around the ideas.

But I think my current thoughts on themes at least involve some form of expressing intimacy and connections between people. However this is a tricky thing to express as it is such a personal experience that is sparked between two people, and all to often I feel not fully experienced by many. I think if I can manage to capture this well, it has the potential to be a very strong piece conceptually and visually, but at the moment it’s a bit like trying to capture a cloud.

Field – City groupwork – Research – Alvin Lucier

This is a performance piece which uses only the human voice, with the artist reading a narrative which is then recorded and played back. The play back is then picked up and recorded again by the microphone, and played back which becomes an endless cycle. The speech becomes more and more distorted as it echoes around the room, which makes the piece different every time it’s performed and a response to the environment.

This links in really well with my field group project, where we have been investigating the idea of sensory overload involving the human experience. Sound is our second most used sense, and while we are constantly surrounded by a variety of sounds, the human voice is always distinctive to us. The ability to pick out words from our own language is almost inherent, to the point where we often hear words in generic noise, yet this piece is contradicting that taking a sample of the voice that we understand and taking it to a point where we can no longer understand it. Being unable to understand something so familiar can be disconcerting, yet the melodious sounds it creates are soothing and force you to release your only control over the situation (your comprehension of language) and reach a new sense of understanding and peace. In our piece we aim not to bring people a sense of peace through their lack of understanding, but the make them feel uneasy. I think in order to do this we will need to keep the sounds semi recognisable, at least to the point of not becoming abstract harmonies

Field – City groupwork – Research – “The Pool”

This is instillation is called “The Pool” by Jen Lewin and is made up of 106 interactive pads which can each individually detect and respond to movement, and then relay signals to the pads surrounding it. One person on their own can create beautiful patterns, but the true beauty of this piece is when a group of people interact with it and create infinite variations of pattern and colour which responds directly to their behaviour. This allows people to not only respond with it in a detached manner, but actively play and have fun, and the artist found that groups of complete strangers would create their own games involving synchronised jumping from pad to pad.

Again, there is something in our nature that links creating bright colours to a sense of happiness, perhaps from childhood or perhaps it is based on some evolutionary need. Technology rather than separating people using screens, becomes a platform (metaphorically AND literally in this case) for them to have real world interactions and experiences and create a community without being self conscious of having fun. This again links back to childhood, a time where we were completely unashamed about having fun, we ran around in the street and shouted and screamed simply for the joy of it, as you really pay very little heed to what behaviour is socially acceptable. As an adult you become increasingly aware to how your behaviour, how you dress, speak, and everything about you is judged by everybody around you which can be very distressing. However, being able to embrace the childhood joy of play, while also understanding the sense of community (unlike children who view the world in a very egocentric manner) can create an even more rewarding experience.