PDP

The two different topics that I studied during the first year of Constellation have been quite challenging to link to my subject – especially Things Can be Otherwise. However, after completing both modules, I think I enjoyed this one much more as it was completely different to my study content-wise, as well as being unlike anything that I have ever learned or researched before.

There have been many more obvious links to my second subject of After Modernism. This is as it has helped me broaden my research by allowing me to discuss famous and important pieces of artwork and their significance within culture, philosophy and society. Looking at artwork that wasn’t just graphic design reminded me that I could find inspiration anywhere – not just in work directly related to my practice. However, I found the reading material quite hard to read as it seemed quite opinionated. Whilst studying my second topic, I began to understand the significance of the first, and links started to become clearer between both Constellation subjects. Unfortunately, I was still not able to uncover that many links between Subject and Constellation. This changed after a talk from Martyn Woodward about the different ways Constellation and Subject link, and that if one of the subjects that we study doesn’t appear to link, it’s not an issue. Another key point from that conversation was that constellation is about exploring different ideas and themes and becoming aware of not only design and art-related things, but important worldwide topics. At this point, my attitude towards Constellation as a whole began to change – I began to see it as a way of collecting more ideas and further research to support my practice.

One of the biggest things that I struggled with during both constellation subjects was reading the academic texts; more often than not, these articles, journals, and book extracts contained lots of academic language, long sentences and lots of themes, with the ideas all intermingled and usually from a perspective with a certain opinion or agenda. I have found it difficult to grasp what the piece of writing is talking about and which the important parts are that I should be quoting to use for the essay, as well as to link them to my practice. Trying to figure out this problem led me to trying lots of different techniques and ways to read the texts. Firstly, I would find the page relevant to what I was researching, then highlight the important information and, then try and link it with my own practice. I found that printing out the information and physically getting rid of information that isn’t important allowed me to focus on the main points or themes within a piece of writing, however this is more time-consuming than simply reading the article. I have also found that summarizing the points in each paragraph can help me to understand what it is that the writer is trying to convey. When it comes to retaining the information, I have found that in the text I researched in the first term, it was better for me to write up the notes I had already made to refresh my memory and reacquaint myself with the topics that we’d covered in the lectures. I found that this could become time-consuming as my notes were sometimes jumbled up or not cohesively stored, so I sometimes found myself to struggle. To fix this I went back over the slides from the lectures whilst writing up notes to try and match the notes to the individual lecture’s content. When it came to using this information to plan my essay, I realised I had large gaps in the actual content of the essay. I think next year I definitely need to work harder in creating more-focused notes and information, which will ultimately make it much easier to gather all of my ideas to write the Constellation essay. Doing this will also enable me to organise my ideas, and if the ideas are organised I believe I will find it much easier to see the threads between key ideas in Constellation and the ideas in my practice. After studying both topics I have realised I could have done more to understand the topics, and in the future, I realise I need to put more effort in to actively doing my own research around the topic as well as the provided work, such as the reading for the lecture. The ultimate meaning of this is that I need to become more self-motivated when it comes to Constellation in order to keep on top of the work load and ensure that I am fully-prepared for the actual writing of the essays themselves.

During my first year of study at university, I was diagnosed with dyslexia, which explains the problems I had been having with sorting information and organising my work both in general and the more academic-based work that constellation entails. Now that I am beginning to get help and support from the student services team, I feel less anxious and stressed about tackling the essay. The support will be in place for my second year of study and I feel more optimistic about, instead of dreading, the more academic, text-based work as I have done this year. Most importantly, the struggle with the type of work carried out during Constellation prompted me to seek help from student services in finding out why I was experiencing what felt like enormous difficulties in completing Constellation work and the amount of stress and pressure I felt as a result of struggling with it. Similar difficulties didn’t tend to arise as often in my graphic communication practice, which is a very visual topic, with most communication with peers and tutors being verbal instead of written. This means that I am able to take this information down in a way that suits me, so having to work with large texts and collating ideas acted to highlight the problems I was facing, and so I was able to seek help for them. Once I have all the tools recommended by the disability advisors, I feel I will be able to organise and become a lot more efficient and effective in my written work, and not feel overwhelmed by the prospect of having to complete an essay and be able to coherently communicate the ideas I want to.

 

Tate Modern Constellation Visit

During the visit to the Tate we discussed the work by Carl Andre in relation to Rachel Whiteread’s in terms of how the works are very similar but Whiteread’s seems to be much more interesting as its not an everyday objects, has variants between the different blocks and textures, you start to wonder how and why the artist has made this work, it changes as you move around it as the light travels through the resin and how the resin itself is inconsistent unlike the industrial appearance of Andre’s bricks. The scale of Whiteread’s work also influences its effect upon the viewer as its comparison to the human scale, you have to look across it like a landscape whereas Andre’s bricks you tower over and look down on disappointedly.

I then wandered around the free exhibitions at the Tate and found the work by Kelley Walker – a reworking of the Volkswagen Beetle advertisements from Nazi Germany time period. I found them especially interesting as you begin to notice how she has manipulated them using Rhino and you begin to pick out the different shapes and folds of the scanned advertisements. the contrast between the manually created images and the digitised architectural style its emphasised by the bright colours they are surrounded by. I was also interesting to see Marcel Duchamps ‘Fountain’ after reading into it last week, and the fact its not the ORIGINAL fountain but somehow still holds the same importance and value.

Conceptualism

What is it?
Conceptualism is ‘idea art’ it is not categorized with painting or sculpture but uses the materials an artist deems appropriate to put their idea across. There is no certain style or trend that outlines conceptual art but there are common ways that emerged between the mid 1960’s and 70’s. Conceptual art spread across Europe, North America and South America. The most widely used techniques include;

  • performance art
  • instructions (Sol LeWitt’s wall drawings instructions and diagrams)
  • actions – similar to performance but letting things happen (Beuys sat in a room covered in felt with a coyote as an expression of his anti vietnam war stance.
  • land art – physical intervention with the landscape (Richard’s stomping of onle row of grass to flatten it which showed in a photograph when the light was shining at the right angle)
  • body art
  • found objects (challenging what we class as art objects)
  • documentation (documenting a process or period of time like “post partum document 1975 – the documentation of a mother and sons relationship over 6 years)
  • written statement
  • http://www.tate.org.uk/learn/online-resources/glossary/c/conceptual-art

Conceptual artists emphasised the processes and methods rather than the finished object as a criticism of the commercialised art world as because there were no ‘finished’ objects they couldn’t be bought and sold placing the value of the work on its ideas. Much conceptual art comments/ addresses social and governmental issues.

Marcel Duchamp is known as one of Conceptualisms forefounders specifically his work “fountain”

Joseph Kosuth, Art After Philosophy (1969)
I think the main ideas behind this text are that artists should be questioning art and philosophy and Kosuth thinks this isn’t happening. More than anything it seems he comes from a position of opinion that conceptual art is most valuable and “half or more of the best new work in the last few years has been neither painting nor art” which kind of takes you back to the debate of what separates painting and sculpture and the ‘flatness’ issues.  Found the article very hard to read and I’m unsure if I at all got the jist of it?

Read Sol LeWitt, Sentences on Conceptual Art, (1969)

Theses numbered sentences that seem to follow some kind of flow from one leading to the other are almost equally as confusing as the first article but I think it highlights the importance of the idea and its value in creating new ideas, leaving logic behind but following illogical/ irrational ideas logically?

“When words such as painting and sculpture are used, they connote a whole tradition and imply a consequent acceptance of this tradition, thus placing limitations on the artist who would reluctant to make art that goes beyond the limitations.”
The nature of Conceptual art according to LeWitt should not be limited by labels of outcomes “Ideas implement the concept”. He talks of one concept creating different idea chains between artists and no form is more superior to another but the right form is that which is appropriate to the idea and they are all equal.

However the best ‘sentence’ in my opinion is “Banal ideas cannot be rescued by beautiful execution.”

Repetition and circulation and readymades

Duchamps readymades, mainly Fountain are curious as the are repeated but there was never an original because the objects are that of mass production, and in the case of fountain the initial fountain has been lost so it exists only it its repeated forms.

The readymade is a ‘snapshot’ a ‘rendezvous’ or a moment between artist and object and becomes a readymade due to inscription or relocation/ repositioning. The signature on the urinal is a repetition of the comic Mutt and Jeff a ‘household name’ used as a linguistic pun, Richard in french a slang term for rich man – each part of the work is considered. The urinal is repeated (not exactly) in different context to comment on different issues or different purposes. Reproducing work in complicated or elaborate ways to emphasise the importance of process even in reproduction. Reproductions in different forms e.g blueprints for the replication of the initial fountain.
The overarching message of the lecture from David Joselit is that an object can disappear into reproduction. How exact reproduction of the notes on Duchamps bachelor and bride gives them value because of the extensive processes he goes to to make them exact copies

Constellation and Subject

Talk from Martyn Woodward on how constellation links with subject.

Design in the 21st century is not only about making things look pretty. As designers we have social responsibility, what we design can change lives. Constellation allows us to explore other channels in a way not purely focussed on design. The topics we explore, suggested Martyn, are there for us to widen our understanding of what art and design is in a wider context and we should use this wider context to enhance our practice. Although not all of the topics we explore may be relevant and useful at the moment but could be in the future BUT it is also ok if it feels like it’s pointless – that’s why we study two topics. The point is to explore the world we live in to allow us to design for the world. The way I engage with constellation will affect the type of designer I become during and after university; speculative designers, critical designers, socially aware designers and market led designers.

After Modernism

Pop art and consumerism.

Discussion about the idea of Alloway’s “taste pyramid” with the most tasteless reproducible things with most support at the bottom and the ‘one of a kind’ things at the top with the least support.

Warhol’s “192 Dollar Bills” sold for $43,800,000 – is this work a criticism of consumerism or not.

Bill Drummond bought Richard Long’s “A Smell of Sulphur in the Wind” for $20,00 and proceeded to split it p into 20,000 pieces and sell each square for $1 – showing that the value of a painting is not given this way – similar to Warhol’s dollars the actual value is not the value.

Art has little USE VALUE (you can’t use it to do things it has no useable purpose) but it has high EXCHANGE VALUE in that people pay lots for it because it brings them a sense of power.

Food and consumption in Pop Art –

Food in pop art is shown in an industrially produced, templated and isolated way in that they aren’t surrounded by the theatrics of traditional still life scenes of banqueting tables. It’s standardised and depersonalised and interchangeable.

Gender in Pop art

Women are domestic, often shown as or in the context of domestic scene or domestic appliances. In Richard Hamilton’s “$he” the fragmented woman is made up of shapes and hints of the female form, with aspects mimicking Duchamp’s “Large Glass” the failings of the male organ with the stream of dots failing to reach its target.

Men are seen as masculine and there’s lots of car imagery used in many artist’s pieces of work.

We were shown the work of Rosalyn Dexter which I found really interesting.

Pop art and consumerism

Discussion about the idea of Alloway’s “taste pyramid” with the most tasteless reproducible things with most support at the bottom and the ‘one of a kind’ things at the top with the least support.

Warhol’s “192 Dollar Bills” sold for $43,800,000 – is this work a criticism of consumerism or not.

Bill Drummond bought Richard Long’s “A Smell of Sulphur in the Wind” for $20,00 and proceeded to split it p into 20,000 pieces and sell each square for $1 – showing that the value of a painting is not given this way – similar to Warhol’s dollars the actual value is not the value.

Art has little USE VALUE (you can’t use it to do things it has no useable purpose) but it has high EXCHANGE VALUE in that people pay lots for it because it brings them a sense of power.

Food and consumption in Pop Art –

Food in pop art is shown in an industrially produced, templated and isolated way in that they aren’t surrounded by the theatrics of traditional still life scenes of banqueting tables. It’s standardised and depersonalised and interchangeable.

Gender in Pop art

Women are domestic, often shown as or in the context of domestic scene or domestic appliances. In Richard Hamilton’s “$he” the fragmented woman is made up of shapes and hints of the female form, with aspects mimicking Duchamp’s “Large Glass” the failings of the male organ with the stream of dots failing to reach its target.

Men are seen as masculine and there’s lots of car imagery used in many artist’s pieces of work.

We were shown the work of Rosalyn Dexter which I found really interesting.

After Modernism

Notes from the seminar;

Modernism was a movement of self criticism

Causes of the rise of abstract expressionism

  • Desire to claim cultural leadership
  • Official sponsorship (art as a weapon of the Cold War)Desire to synthesise the main trends of European art
  • Desire to claim cultural leadership – cubism and surrealism

In 1940’s New York Cubism was-

  • Fragmentation of form
  • Politics and engagement with the outside world.
  • Line and plane
  • Flatness vs. volume

Surrealism was-

  • Automatism, the carrying out of actions without thought.
  • Hidden imagery
  • Desire, engagement with the internal world

FEATURES OF ABSTRACT EXPRESSIONISM

  • Gesture
  • Ideogram- a character symbolising the idea of a thing without indicating the sounds used to say it
  • Size and scale- large canvases to renounce the illusion of depth
  • The ‘all over’ effect

Modernist painting became so when Kant used philosophy to investigate philosophy rather than to investigate the world.

Greenberg’s formalist definition of painting is that it is two dimensional, the support is rectangular in shape(canvas) and the properties of the pigment.

Duchamp is about humour and intellectualism in the complicated meaning of “The Large Glass” reproductive organs and finding a husband/wife. These ideas challenge Greenberg’s definitions of painting and such.

“Tyrrau Mawr” – Bedwyr Williams

The blacked out room in which Bedwyr Williams’ “Tyrrau Mawr” is displayed immediately immerses you into his utopian city; a mixture Snowdonia and the idea of a super city. Stretching from floor to ceiling the screen dwarfs the viewer as you sit on the floor in marsh-mellow type beanbags. The film is accompanied by Williams’ narration of the monotony of city life, and how the residents feel about their city. Several  skyscrapers are set into the hillside surrounded by smaller corporate looking buildings which border the lake in the middle of the screen. The presence of the inhabitants is only shown through the turning on and off of lights in buildings and the narration – no figures are seen in the film giving the city a ghost town vibe.

MAKE THE POINT AND UNPACK