23rd November 2017

Why do I make the things I do?  Why am I compelled to make certain ‘ordinary’ objects, and not others?

 

This is a question I have been trying to answer over the last year, and although I feel I have tried to resolve this through my practice, I still feel the answer is fleeting.  I have spent time analysing others work (Skoglund, Kular, Koons, Gormley, Rasmussen, etc.), I still feel that their individual rationale regarding their object choice is fleeting.  I have listed and grouped my own work, I have noted a clear ‘inner voice’ that almost decides what to make, and what not to make, but I can’t answer the ‘why’.

 

I have even gotten to the stage where currently I don’t even see the cactus as a ‘cactus’, and more of an avatar or a placeholder for the eventual form it will become, which demonstrates that the specificity of the object is interchangeable at best, and indeterminate at worst.  The project seems stuck until I can resolve this problem, and I feel very vulnerable to criticism of my work until I can be sure of this answer.

 

In order to understand these questions I have tried to look back into my own personality and interests in the visual and physical, to see if there are any identifiable tropes or themes.  I am curious to see if the are links between my own history and interest with the visual, creative and “play” worlds – from toys, games, stories, films, cultures, objects and things – which might explain my own choices.

 

Another way I could explore my choices may be through deep psychoanalysis, however I am reluctant to make my work seem serious and scientific.  The same inner voice which tells me to make certain objects seems disinterested in taking this route. Perhaps we are talking about artists’ intuition here?  Are there any writings on this, or is it one of those ‘tacit knowledge’ things, where I can only obtain the answer by doing and experiencing it myself? I feel that I have done a lot of contextual research about this and asked this question already and still I don’t find I am any closer to the answer.

 

However, is it 100% necessary to resolve this answer? Even that, I cannot be sure.

28th September 2016

I recently watched a TED talk by Professor Stuart Brown about how the inclusion of play-mechanisms in our life is vital to development and achieving potential… here are a few of my notes and observations

 

A state of play enables a “differential of power that can be over-ridden that exists in all of us”

Absence of play leads to vulnerability of anti-social behaviours, in some cases extreme

Why do we invest so much time playing with infants?

-cognitive development

-sensory discovery

-socialisation

-occupation

– NOT as rehearsal for adulthood or adult situation

“If its purpose is more important than the act of doing it, it’s probably not play”

Object play – fundamental part of being playful. “The brain in search of a hand, a hand in search of a brain, and the object becomes the medium”

Stopping the using of one’s hands (object play) limited the ability to solve practical problems – could this also be applied to mental (psychological or emotional) problems?

Physical play (rough and tumble):

-emotional regulations

-inter-social normalisation

-cognitive and spatial processing

National Institute for Play

-the programme states that the opposite of play is depression

Neoteny – retention of immature qualities into adulthood

“Rules of the Red Rubber Ball”, Kevin Carroll, sites play as a transformative force over his life

‘From Play to Innovation’ – course at Stamford, focussing on group dynamics and development through play

16th September 2016

Yesterday I had the opportunity to speak with London-based French installation artist Romain Meunier.  His work deals with human/public responses to unusual sensory interaction – his work is very playful, free, open-ended and encourages people to participate and respond in their own way.

There is lots to like about his work; the experience of the ‘unusual’, in the sense that the actions themselves are uncommon in our day to day lives, such as suddenly hearing a guitar string plucked high above us, or how our shadows might affect a sound.  I was drawn to how immediate the reactions were and how quickly the participants dropped adult/cultural standards of behaviour to continue to play.  This really links in with some of my themes and concepts.

There is an opportunity to work collaboratively with Romain and my peers, which I am very enthusiastic about.  Although such a project is not designed to be integral to my own project per se, the nature of Romain’s work is very much in the same theoretical vein as my own lines of enquiry.  It would therefore be very beneficial for me to participate, make and observe the affects and effects as a maker and as an ‘end-user’, as well as giving me a case-study environment to draw parallels to my own personal practice.

So far I’m imagining injecting elements of unexpected fun into a serious environment… For example, imagine an office where the tapping of keyboards is replaced by random, xylophonic noises.  How would that affect our feelings about the workplace, and the act of working?  At first it sounds irritation, but why is work work, and why play is play? Is there the possibility for work to also be play, in the most banal of environments?