Keynotes: David Hieatt

The overall gist of the Hieatt keynotes was the usual entrepreneur speil of follow your dreams, school isn’t important, you can achieve anything you want in life etcetera, etcetera…..I’m amazing. “Don’t let your dreams be dreams!”
That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy it or like listening to him, but I did feel like most of what he had to say was all marketing bs that was designed for american board rooms and $1000 life coach sessions in L.A. While an interesting story, Hieatt’s success and life advice, seems to be quite out of date and I feel that it could not be applied to a modern economy.

I doodled a lot throughout this talk, as I usually end up doing, not to say that I wasn’t paying attention, there were just a few funny characters involved that made for interesting drawings. I also found it amusing to make an exaggerated character of of Hieatt himself, maybe I’m too much of a cynic to take someone as business minded as him, maybe I just enjoyed have a bit of a laugh with the idea of him as a real Dreamer and how he found so many ways to praise himself and his work. Not to say that what he does isn’t important or admirable, he’s just clearly extremely self confident; either way, it entertained me.
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Future Generations Democracy Talk

After the aggravating panel, I headed off to my second elected seminar group, ‘Designing  Democracy’. This was a much more interesting talk on the idea of democracy with in art and how it was be explored as both an individual study and as a mass peice of protest art.         The first speaker had done a study into ballot papers and how they are graphically designed. He found that the poor design of mass ballot papers is a ongoing issue, the poor design of the voting papers has proved to be a big issue in countries across the world, both in america and europe specifically. The most controversial example being that of the Algor v.s G.W.Bush in the american election campaign. A very poorly designed paper lead to many votes either being lost or miss counted, as the lay out of some state ballot papers made the boxes unclear or so poorly marked that people placed their mark in the wrong boxes, thinking they were voting for someone else. He pitched his idea on how to fix this, simply by adding a simple graphic design solution, to make sure all the ballot papers are set to one uniform design, that would be used in all elections nationally, or even internationally. This was a really interesting proposal for two reasons; I’d never even considered that ballot papers might not be uniform already and how that might effect a vote if they weren’t, also the fact that this was so simple and yet no one had ever done it before is a bit odd, the idea that no  one had so much as considered that it might be a good idea to make something so important to a specific design before seems so odd and narrow minded.
The second guy talked about about two projects that he’d done, one was simply an experimental piece that could have a pretty cool real life application, and the other was more of a protest piece open to the public. The first project involved a simple program designed to lock onto peoples phones when they came in range of the transmitter, it allowed the team to record not only peoples movements but also their basic activities on they’re phones. They placed a devise in a busy public area, with a clear explanation as to what it was, and recorded how many times that they picked up peoples phones as they passed, recording everyone individually. It was a cool social experiment, which also wised people up to how much their phone can do without them even being aware of it and how it can be manipulated. The second piece was a project based in a simple set of stickers that people could purchase, the stickers looked like signs and warnings that you can add to objects to show your dislike or comment on it. This was a really interesting project, in that it really effectively involved the public and gave them a voice.
But as usual when anyone tries to involve they’re audience, no one said anything, so i tried to get involved and talk a bit, but when no one else is interested or even listening, it gets pretty annoying and tedious. I liked the discussion portion at the end, but if they’re resounding silence is anything to go by, no one else was very enthused and this bothered me.

Future Generations Conference Panel

The future generations conference was a bit of a mystery, though we knew roughly what would be happening due to the fact that Christ is our tutor, the actual purpose and what exactly would be going on during the two day even was somewhat a puzzle. We’d all signed up for the workshops that we’d like to attend and thats pretty much all we were certain that we’d be doing, until the actual day came.
While this was mostly okay with the illustration dep., the other subjects seemed a bit confused and a little annoyed; illustration are used to the haphazard organisation and ‘will we, won’t we’ kinda plans that the department is practical too. Unfortunately, this kind of attitude doesn’t work on a grander scale, in having the whole year take part in this conference somehow destroyed the charm of the illustrative organisation.
On the first day, I unfortunately missed my first workshop due to the fact that I’d overslept quite badly and therefore only came in after the initial confusion of the day, in which there had been a bit of a queuing disaster when everyone had come in to collect their schedules for the day. It also meant that I missed my first workshop, ‘into the woods’, which I was kinda annoyed about, due to the fact that I’d actually been looking forward to doing the workshop, the idea looked really cool. Instead, I arrived just in time for the panel in one of the main lecture halls. The main question that they debated during their panel was ‘Is Art Usefull’. This was an interesting concept, that did insite a lot of debate, but as usual in any arts debate, everyone is annoyingly quite. I mean people is it really that hard? No one ever says a freaking thing! no one has any trouble complaining how much of a waste of time something is, but they wont actually contribute. Not that I feel strongly about this or anything.
The panel were interesting, but there was this one dude who was really really annoying, he had some weird tweed outfit, which kinda looked like yorkshire had puked on him. He was really loud, kinda odd and very dense, not that he was stupid, but I feel like he didn’t really realise how much of a dope he seemed. He made some interesting points, but hammered them home a lot and certainly didn’t seem to understand how old the audience he was talking to was; something which is guaranteed to grate on me no end. I found it both annoying and amusing, because while he’d been sat listening to everyone else, I’d done a very quick doodle of him and labeled him a ‘dark horse’, which, as it turns out, he was exactly that. 20160212_144051
Other all the panel was interesting but not an engaging as it could of been, in part due to the attitude of the crowd and also due to the fact that the speakers they they had didn’t engage the crowd or activity united us against them. Again, not that I feel strongly. Not at all.

Liverpool Trip!

20151208_154927As part of our first term, we had the opportunity to go to Liverpool for a couple days to see some of the museums by the docks and the impressive architecture the city has to offer.
The day that we arrived, we headed straight to the tate to looking at the Matisse exhibition currently on show over the autumn, I also took the opportunity to do some observational drawings of the pieces and the occasional bit of scenery. 20151208_154916
We also visited Liverpool Cathedral, to see both the impressive building and the Tracy Emmet on display under one of the main stain glass windows in the church.
That night we had an entertaining evening decorating the paper table cloth of a chinese restaurant that we mobbed and took over for a couple hours. This of course was lead by our tutors Chris and Anna, we can therefore blame them for any inconvenience caused to the restaurant and staff.20151208_154912
The following day, we traveled out to Crosby Beach to see the Antony Gormley sculptures ‘Another Place’. The piece consists of 100 life-sized casts of Gormley spread out on the beach and into the surf; It makes for quite an impressive sight, even on a bitterly cold day with a fierce wind.
After this we had some time to ourselves to either explore the city or to go back to the museums at the docks.
Due to the fact that my sister happened to be in Liverpool for the day, up visiting 20151208_154936

the university on a self lead tour, I took the opportunity to have a look
around the university with her, as the buildings and the are is quite pretty.
Once we were done there we headed back to the museums, as I’d not had as much time as I’d of like to look around the Matisse, and I also had one or two things that I wanted to show to her.
Once we’d been around the tate and the docks, it was time for me to head back the bus to head off home again.

Theorizing the body: Understanding Practice.

The body is shaped and molded, directly and indirectly, by aspects of the environment and culture it inhabits. 1c9cc5f2f9550e43b6eabff2c3f27706Corset are a prime example of this cultural effect on the body. First making an appearance in the 16th century, corsets were highly popular up until WW1; When corset, which had been made using steel bones since the 1860s, declined as women took to brassieres and girdles which used less steel in their constructions.
Worn in order to decrease the waist and emphasise the chest and posture of the wearer, corsets were, by nature, extremely constricting; the tighter and smaller the waist of the corset, the more attractive and fashionable it was deemed to be. Due to this, prolonged use of corsetry cause a alarmingly drastic change within the body. This disfiguration of organ-repositioningthe body, while culturally an attractive fashion, had adverse effects on the female body. For about as long as they have been worn, their use has been discouraged by doctors citing drastic risk to the wearer’s health; though their claims were often based on the limited medical knowledge of the day, and incorrect assumptions about the female body.
These self imposed restriction on the body effect both movement and posture quite drastically. Owning a few modern corsets myself, I can say from experience, that when wearing a corsets you are made to sit and stand with a very straight back, as the steel bones support your back in such a rigid way. In addition breathing and eating are also effected, both are restricted when wearing the corset; as the corset puts pressure on both your lower lungs and stomach, meaning that you must breath more shallowly and eat less (illustrating how corsets were a popular diet aid in the victorian era, as you simply cannot eat a great deal when wearing one). The most telling side effect of wearing a corset, however, is how after prolonged use, the corset makes your ribs ache and strains your stomach and back muscles. This is, of course, why they’re not advised for prolonged wear; much like a modern binder, any tight constraint on the chest and ribs is detrimental to one’s health.
When relating this kind of body modification to artist practice, I considered what it might feel like to do my own illustrative work while wearing one of my own corsets; how the change in posture and movement would alter my usual slumped posture when drawing. I concluded that without a proper slanted drawing desk, it would be far to uncomfortable to sit for so long when bent so oddly at the waist. This is mostly due to the simple fact that it is far more comfortable to stand when wearing a corset than to sit, as standing lessens  and distributes the pressure placed upon the torso. This is perhaps something that I will try at some point just to truly explore the physical effect upon my work, but for now the mere thought of how uncomfortable it would be is too off putting.
However, as a simple thought experiment, I feel it is safe to assume that the wearing of a corset would cause a huge amount of discomfort and limited movement when drawing. The constant constriction upon breathing and the forced posture would hugely distract from the mental processes of creativity; it would be hugely difficult to allow your mind to wonder and become enwrapped within the activity when you are in such discomfort. In addition you would be forced to compensate for a lack of movement in the torso and, to some extent, the upper arms (though this of course subject to style; under bust or full corset).
When considering this scenario, it of course has to be taken into account that practising female artists of the 16th century would of had to do their work in such garments. For example, Sofonisba Anguissola, an italian Renaissance painter born in Cermona, whose apprenticeship with local painters set a precedent for women to be accepted as students of art. In this self sofonisba_anguissola_a.jpgportrait, showing herself at work painting, she is shown to be wearing a full corset; as is obvious, due to her posture and full dress. Whether or not this is based on the actual attire she would have typically painted in or if this was done simply for vanity and convention, is unclear. But it could be construed, from this painting, that women did in fact wear corsets when painting. As it obvious that Sofonisba would not have been the only female artist to do this, it would then be interesting to consider, how this might have altered their practice and affected their technique, in a way that would not have affected the male painters of the time.