Art and the Conscious Mind – Field Module 1 Reflection

I was really fortunate that a lot of the content throughout this project fed quite directly into my subject work. In Subject, I was considering the relationship we have with meaning and exploring how we look to find rationality even in disorder. In our initial lecture I found the discussions surrounding visual indeterminacy very helpful and taught me about new perspectives that I hadn’t previously considered. For example the role of the brain and perception, which was very interesting to consider, particularly the way malfunctions in the brain affect perception and how this teaches us about the relationship between sight and reality. Following this lecture, inspired by the work of Rob Pepperell, I began to experiment with the different ways people would make sense of the same set of formless marks. This experiment was also influenced by a workshop that took place as part of this project, the workshop delivered by Theo Humphries, was about surrealism and the use of surrealist games to explore consciousness/subconsciousness. I was interested in how this playful approach could be used to explore such an in depth and complex subject. I began to explore the way in which automatism could be used as a tool, and then following this, in the form of ‘squiggle games’, looked at our relationship with meaning by investigating our ability to create images or narratives from formless marks. Although there was no particular ‘final outcome’ that we were specifically asked to make in response to this module, I consider this ‘squiggle game’ experiment to be one of the main works that I created in response to these lectures and workshops. It was a piece that enabled me to consider the considerably unique ways in which people perceive. I gave the same set of marks to a group of people, and asked them to make sense of the marks (the marks were just automatic scribbles that I had generated), I then collected all of the drawings back up at the variety of images and narratives that were unfolding in the set of drawings. It was amazing to consider the results in relation to what I had learnt in the lectures and workshops – and was a really helpful experiment that helped me to see in  a practical way, the relationship between the conscious mind, perception and meaning. Below are a selection of photographs of the outcomes created in this experiment.

As well as this quite direct relationship between the  project and the content of my subject practice, I can recognise one workshop that has really influenced the way I think about my practice in a broader sense. A workshop delivered by Craig Thomas, about the interaction between the audience and the artwork – and the intention that the artist has for the audience, was incredibly influential in challenging my approach to producing art. Craig’s work (which we had the opportunity to participate in), was  focused on challenging the audience’s sense of self and was very intentional in this. I have since felt challenged to look a lot more intentionally at opening up more of a dialogue and relationship between my work and its audience.



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