WEEK 1 – CONSTELLATION: THE MESHWORK OF OBJECTS

 ‘The somewhat blurry image of the bird above is much more than just a ‘blurry image of a bird’; it makes visible the interconnected nature of camera, the pane of glass in front of the camera, the bird, the landscape and human by revealing the apparatus used to compose the image – the camera – reflected in the glass that sits between the photographer and their subject matter. All are interconnected.

This study group will take a transdisciplinary perspective to exploring the concerns of the maker, archivist, conservationist, curator and anthropologist in the reading, creation and presentation of objects. Each of these positions require a ‘relational’ mode of thinking which looks at the connections between objects as ‘things’ that are interconnected and as part of interconnected ‘meshworks’ rather than as individual objects. 

We will learn how to read different kinds of objects, in varying contexts and identify their different statuses in relation to each other. To do this we will cover a set of theories including; Thing theory, Material Engagement Theory and Object-orientated ontology (OOO) which explore human–object and object-object interactions.

To help explore these ideas, we will undertake a series of practical exercises and experiments throughout the delivery of this course that will equip you with self-reflexive skills and transdisciplinary methods in articulating the processes of making, exhibiting and curating objects. You will also undertake a practical curatorial exercise around a significant object of your choice through which you will learn to explore, read, position and understand objects in terms of their relationships with other objects and spaces.’

This is the subject module brief of THE MESHWORK OF OBJECTS. At first glance it seems rather opaque and intrinsic to someone that is indeed undertaking a Phd, as Jacqui informed us she was doing.

Jacqui introduced us to a different way of thinking through subjects. The overall consensus of the lecture………..LEARN TO LOOK. John Berger would be a hugely beneficial source to utilise within this module. Purchased WAYS OF SEEING, UNDERSTANDING A PHOTOGRAPH, CONFABULATIONS & ABOUT LOOKING , second-hand, on Amazon for £18!!! Bargain.

The Formative Assessment for my 2000 Word Study Group Assignment & 1000 Word Learning Journal Entry is due on the 14th December. Notes should be taken and reflected upon during/after each Constellation lecture day. In Week 7, apparently, I will have plenty of research and information to begin and finish the assignment.

I was presented with four types of discipline when looking at any type of professional practice. They are:

DISCIPLINE – a sole branch of knowledge, typically one studied in higher education.

MULTIDISCIPLINARY – Combining or involving several academic disciplines or professional specializations in an approach to a topic or problem.

INTERDISCIPLINARY – Relating to more than one branch of knowledge. Analyses and harmonises links between disciplines into a coordinated/coherent whole.

TRANSDISCIPLINARY – Connotes a research strategy that crosses many disciplinary boundaries to create a holistic approach.

trans3

I was tasked to create a diagram that would display my comprehension towards the importance of a designer/maker to ‘think outside the box’. Why is this necessary? Why is it so important to ‘think outside the box/journey outside the comfort zone?’ Why is it so imperative to cross-disciplines with other designers/makers?

  1. Sharing knowledge/Best Practice
  2. Problem Solving
  3. Networking(Local/Worldwide)
  4. Stepping out of creative comfort zone
  5. Birth of New Ideas
  6. Sense of Community (Bringing cultures together/acceptance)
  7. Practice remains continually fresh
  8. Become a fully rounded ‘3-D’ Designer
  9. New perspectives
  10. Respect/Curiosity
  11. Technological advances (Universal language)
  12. Breaking down barriers

It is vital to keep pushing the boundaries, explore, ask questions, search for answers, experiment, read, practice and create. Always to think of a bigger picture.

‘An artist’s duty is rather to stay open-minded and in a state where he can receive information and inspiration. You always have to be ready for that little artistic Epiphany’ Nick Cave, Musician.

There is no such thing as a singular truth, only plural realities. Always be reflective, critical and discerning. Provoke new kinds of concerns & questioning/new kinds of answers & knowledge.

CURATE – Select, organize, and look after the items in (a collection or exhibition)/select, organize, and present (online content, merchandise, information, etc.), typically using professional or expert knowledge.

How can we organise/arrange what is around us?

What is the art of curating? The Meshwork of an Object. Presentation. Communication. What does it say? What is the overarching theme? What does it underpin? What are the relationships between each other? Are they real, to be observed? Or are they non-material real, invisible? Question each object.

Tim Infold describes this perfectly within his  research article BINDINGS AGAINST BOUNDARIES: Entanglements of Life in an Open World, published only 1st August 2008. Sourced @ http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1068/a40156

‘In this paper I argue that to inhabit the world is to live life in the open. Yet philosophical attempts to characterise the open lead to paradox. Do we follow Heidegger in treating the open as an enclosed space cleared from within, or Kant (and, following his lead, mainstream science) in placing the open all around on the outside? One possible solution is offered by Gibson in his ecological approach to perception. The Gibsonian perceiver is supported on the ground, with the sky above and the earth below. Yet in this view, only by being furnished with objects does the earth–sky world become habitable. To progress beyond the idea that life is played out upon the surface of a furnished world, we need to attend to those fluxes of the medium we call weather. To inhabit the open is to be immersed in these fluxes. Life is lived in a zone in which earthly substances and aerial media are brought together in the constitution of beings which, in their activity, participate in weaving the textures of the land. Here, organisms figure not as externally bounded entities but as bundles of interwoven lines of growth and movement, together constituting a meshwork in fluid space. The environment, then, comprises not the surroundings of the organism but a zone of entanglement. Life in the open, far from being contained within bounded places, threads its way along paths through the weather world. Despite human attempts to hard surface this world, and to block the intermingling of substance and medium that is essential to growth and habitation, the creeping entanglements of life will always and eventually gain the upper hand’. 

Tim Gold catalogued the idea that direct connectedness is a flawed construct; entanglement/habituation is a more palpable design model. Simply put, it means that instead of direct meshwork, the connections are more chaotic and random.

imperato

 

(Above) Ferrante Imperato “The Cabinet of Curiosities (Dell’Historia Naturale), 1599″

Breaking the traditions of chronology and telling a different story. Curating a meshwork of objects to initiate a new and exciting visual language for each and every one of us to interpret.

Things are not always passive. Object becomes a thing when it can no longer serve it’s common function, it sheds it’s socially encoded value and becomes deconstructed to the value used to create the thing. For example, a printer is not really thought about or seen when it is working correctly, but as soon as it stops working we are immediately made aware of it’s function and it’s purpose. It’s like we are blind to what is truly around us, our brains are programmed not to think.

Aristotle argued that to create any thing you have to bring together form (morph) and matter (hyle) – HYLOMORPHIC.

THING – MATERIALS – PROPERTIES – RELATIONSHIPS

However this was found to be an unbalanced concept. Form came to be seen composed by an agent (maker) with an end goal in mind.

After viewing a few slides of Alberto Giacometti, Jacqui gave each one of the group a small lump of clay. We were asked to create a clay man/woman in the style of Giacometti; tall and thin. We were asked to think about the the qualities of the clay. How did it feel? What is the texture? Was it dry or wet? What is the property of the clay? Did it dry out when manipulated for too long? What marks could be distinguished after making? How strong/supportive was the figure? Did it fall over or stay upright? Is the foundation secure? Was human interaction evident in the form of fingerprints? What kind of fine motor skills have been utilised?  These are all valid questions of any designer/maker. These tools can be applied to anything that I create, whether it be practical, oral or written.

IMG_1235

Homework for myself. Re-read Bill Brown’s ‘Thing Theory’ and deconstruct some of the obtuse and academic style of writing. Simplify and learn.

 

 

Author: vmhtdesign

About to undertake my BA TEXTILE DESIGN @ NOTTINGHAM TRENT UNIVERSITY. So Excited. Follow my progress from beginner to professional.

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