Final Evaluation of FMP

Visual Research

I spent a lot of time thinking about the physicality of my work, and how it would look the most effective based upon the images that I collected surrounding the idea of Altruism. I was thinking about creating a fake campaign at the beginning of the project as the best way to tackle my initial concept, and I spent time considering using certain pieces of imagery and lettering how to go about presenting the campaigns that I wanted to create, and I also spend time to create my own posters/ adverts to show people the campaign.

I also did make some simplistic drawings of some of the chairs that I wanted to use when I had changed the idea for my final piece, which I wanted to be an installation with chairs acting as figurative sculptures, suggesting different types of people in society. Making these drawings helped me to really look at and simplify the shapes of the chairs which then made it easier for me to think about how each chair would mould to the type of person that I wanted it to represent. As the simplistic drawings highlighted the basic shape of the chairs ( if they were more square in shape/ more circular).I also created a diagram with a key so that I could play around with the way that I wanted the chairs to be presented. The use of this diagram with clear imagery, made it easy for me to change my mind and switch the way I wanted to present the final installation, whilst showing to others in a simplistic way the changes that I had made.

I have also taken reference photographs in this project of various different people that I have spoken to and interviewed regarding altruism. These photos have helped a lot as they have grounded my experimentation, so that it is not all completely random and shows that I have spent time studying different people and have make an effort to consider the images that I have before going straight into taking photos.

Another angle to my project has been the incorporation of hair, flesh and bone into my final sculpture. Which meant that it was important for me to take photographs as reference points of these human attributes, so that I could try and and interpret these physical bodily elements as well as possible. I wanted to create a spine and so I took multiple photos of a human skeleton with particular focus on the spine. I also took photographs of my father sitting on a deck chair with his hairy belly out, just wearing a blue tie, which I needed to do to help envisage how well my hairy tie might look.

I do feel like it has been hard for me to incorporate a lot of visual inspiration into my project as the idea behind the project is Altruism, which despite all of the research I did for the concept does not have  a lot of visual imagery to go alongside it to take inspiration from. I definitely think that compared to other areas of this project, visual research has been on the weaker side. However, when I have used visual inspiration, whether it be through photographs I have taken as reference points  or by using simplistic drawings/ diagrams it has helped to clarify the direction of my project and can also help an outsider looking in to see the way in which images have helped inspire and develop my final installation, so that the idea and realisation of the final outcome does not look as if it has not just been plucked out of thin air.

 

Contextual Research

When I first decided that I wanted to do a project based on ‘An Exploration of Altruism’, it was because I had watched a documentary where the investigative journalist had been extremely judgmental towards all that she interviewed, and whether she had or not, it did not come across to me that she had spent much time actually immersing herself in the culture and truly trying to understand more than her own point of view.

After watching this documentary, I watched some more investigative documentaries, which then allowed me to form more a rounded opinion about those who created documentaries addressing an issue, and then never talking about it again in their day to day life, and those investigative journalists who are committed to a cause or an issue around the world. Doing this contextual research was a very good base to start my project with quite a clear idea in my mind about our society’s ability to seem concerned and then, after they have done just something for that cause they can drop it and forget all about it.

I also read a lot of books explaining Altruism to me as a concept, even on the most basic level. This was all very important for me to do because without  some kind of basic knowledge of what Altruism is about, and what contributes to altruistic behaviour in society, how could I possibly come up with a comprehensive response? I decided to also go a bit further, and look into some philosophers, and Freudian speculations, to help deepen and richen my research.

The difficulty with research for me came when I had to start thinking about artists that could potentially help with the development of my ideas and give me inspiration. I struggled to find any artistic commentary on the subject of altruism, which meant that I had to think further afield to looking at particular artists whose whole artistic philosophy might contribute in a positive way to my project. When I had started to become more invested in my final piece idea of using chairs as figurative representation of different groups in society, I came across the performance artist Marina Abramovic, whose use of the physical body is very powerful in her work, as if people wish to interact with her performances they are forced to view the human body in a new and fresh way that they would not in their day to day life. The way that she achieves this through her work often has an extremely powerful impact on the viewer. The idea of using the human body in this way for art, I have found incredibly inspiring, and led to me considering her influence as an artist in my work.

In terms of the artistic references that  I looked at for visual inspiration, I considered Marcel Duchamp and his creating of ‘Readymade’ art, as my final piece was mainly a carefully considered combination of readymade objects. When creating the sound clip to go alongside the installation I also considered different ways that artists had used sound in art pieces to create certain effects, like Gillian Wearing’s video ‘2 into 1’ and Susan Hiller’s  installation ‘Witness’.

Overall, even though I struggled at the beginning of the project to find artists that I thought had a lot of relevance to my project, and could help inspire me, I ended up finding artistic influences both for the idea behind my piece and for the visual side of my piece.

 

Experimentation

At the beginning of the project when I thought that I was going to create a fake campaign, and then  talk to lots of people and see their reactions and hopefully spark discussion and debate, I felt as though the project was going to be so conceptual that their would be next to no experimentation with artistic materials. However I decided that I wanted to create a physical installation for my final piece, in which I wanted to incorporate elements of the human body like hair, flesh and bone. I wanted this combined with lots of ready made objects, with the base of all of the sculptures being various different white chairs.

There were two main parts to my experimentation. The first part was the picking and refining of readymade objects, that I wanted to use to represent the different characters I was trying to present. This was by far the hardest part of the experimentation because when you are playing around with two or three objects for each sculpture, there are endless variations that you can create. Furthermore. I had to consider the fact that all of these sculptures have to combine well with each other as a whole installation. I believe that I went through a long tow/three week process of just combining many, many different objects to create the most, simplistic, suggestive, figurative sculptures that I possibly could. Even when I finished the piece within the time that I had left. I still felt as though their was much more that I could have done to make some if not all of the sculptures more effective through more experimentation with different objects.

The other element of experimentation that I had to contend with was creating the suggestive physical bodily elements like hair, skin and bone. To create the bone I used air drying clay but, I had to spend time moulding the clay to create the shape that I wanted for the segments of a spine, the same happened when creating the arm bones, which took many attempts to get to a shape that I could live with.  I also had to mix acrylic paint  a lot to get the perfect shades for the bone. I also had to spend a lot of time moulding various piece of latex, trying to create a modrock torso with liquid lat and eggshells stuck on top and had to sew lots of synthetic hair into one of the readymade objects.

I do think that I did a lot experimentation and tried copious variations of all of the objects for the final installation, however I do believe that their is a lot more experimenting with the placement of objects that I could have done to  take some of the sculptures to the next level.

 

Idea Development  

I do think that a lot of the experimentation that I have conducted has helped to influence my idea development, as a lot of the ideas that I was having were to do with how I wanted my sculptures to look for the final installation would not have developed if I had not tried then out first. For example, the development of the idea of how I would layout all of the chairs came about as I took all of the chairs that I was thinking of using and placed them in different way until I came up with an order for the chairs and the way that they should be arranged that would be the most effective.

When I had my initial idea of creating a fake campaign, it was through my experimentation of creating posters and different scenarios for the campaign that I began to realise how difficult it would be for my to come to a coherent conclusion if I carried on directly down that route. This then lead me to think about creating an installation which would be a much more tangible way of sharing my thoughts and opinions on the topic of altruism through art. I thought that an installation would overall be more accessible to a wider range of people on some level. I was initially thinking about having an identical number of chairs with identical dummies on them and having  voices playing in the space all with different opinions and stories talking about altruism. The idea behind this was to highlight the importance of anonymity for someone who is trying to reach a certain level of  altruistic being. However, I concluded that this could potentially just add to much confusion to the piece and that their would not be enough physical differentiation between the sculptures that would not match the differentiation of the voices.

I do think that I did have quite a lot of idea development from my first idea, however this idea development did happen fairly early on in the project, and when I had decided on the installation my core idea for the final piece did not change, and also the idea that I wanted to present through the project about altruism did not really change throughout the project, which I think is fine because what did develop was the idea of how to present the initial concept in the most effective way. I think that presenting the concept in the most effective way was key to my project as the initial concept is much more complex.

 

Final Pieces

The initial idea behind my final piece was conceived in my mind quite straightforwardly quite early on in the project when I had decided against focusing all of my attention on a fake campaign. However, the majority of the time after this point was spent making agonising decisions about the eight individual sculptures which I wanted to be visually simplistic whilst having lots of different levels incorporated within every item, which would then combine together to be coherent and have a certain flow.

Basically, I had a basic idea for the final piece near to the beginning of the project and every experiment that I did was to go towards helping to create the best sculptural representation of my ideas to do with altruism. I think that there are definitely individual sculptures in my final piece that are stronger than others, like the spine screwed onto the white bars stool as the presence of a human figure is heavily suggested and, with very little, and the barstool has a lot of connotations within itself of whom that sculpture represents as a type of person. There are a couple of the sculptures that are definitely unbalanced and are lacking some unique enticing quality, like the chair representing a middle aged woman, with the scarf and necklace. I definitely think that this sculpture could do with a lot more experimentation of the placement of objects.

In terms of my final piece satisfying the criteria outlined in my statement of intent, I think that I have partially kept to all of the questions that I wanted to address in my final piece that I spoke about in my statement of intent, as I have spoken to a lot of different people about their opinions towards helping others and how this works  in society, and I have incorporated all of these ideas in a sound clip which will be played along side the installation. However, what I did not outline at the start was the fact that I would end up using tangible/ physical objects to try to present my findings about altruism. Although, my project has changed from the statement of intent at the beginning of the project, I just think that it shows that I have been constantly experimenting and developing my ideas to try to get the best outcome possible. I do think that the final piece has an overall impact especially when the voice clip is playing along side the installation as it brings the sculptures to life. I do think that there is potential for the final piece to be pushed further in terms of the composition of some of the sculptures, however I think that how the final piece is now is fairly satisfactory for the time that I have had to complete it.

 

Presentation

For the presentation of my research I tried to make sure that there were clear visual links between the research and how it had influenced my experimentation. For example when I was looking into Marina Abramovic, and I found secondary imagery of some of her work and put it into my sketchbook I wanted to make sure that it was near to the pages with reference photos of the skeleton and also photographs of the process I went through to make interpretations of bone out of clay,as it was a lot of her philosophy as an artist, using her body in way which forced people to step outside their comfort zone which influenced me to incorporate bone, hair and skin into my sculptures.

For my final piece I had decided that I wanted all eight of the sculptures in a square shape with a space in the middle to look as if all of the figurative representations of the sculptures are having a conversation. I had painted all of the different chairs white, to help simplify the sculptures and draw attention to the objects that had been added to them, to represent specific categories of people in society, (also the colour white symbolises purity and often has connotations of  innocence and light, which links to the idea of altruistic behaviour, as pure and light- but also therefore unattainable for humans, who have physical bodies of flesh and meat to lug around, and human appetites that cannot be ignored). When I started thinking about how big the square should be (I decided on quite big to get the full effect of each of the sculptures individually and as a group), I also began to consider the use of some kind of white flooring to emphasises the sculptures. I decided to buy over 100 lino tiles which I painstakingly stuck to the floor, initially I had wanted the white floor to cover the whole space, but and did not have enough so, the tiles created a patch of white floor, with borders of the normal floor around it. I think that this ended up being very successful as the differentiation between the two floors meant that my final piece was contained in one space and looked more like an art piece.

For the sound clip, I wanted it to be played through loud speakers so that the noise would be very impactful when people walk into the space, however, I have to consider the other final pieces that will be in the room for the final show, and so I have begun to think about the possibility of the building small white boxes to attach to the wall which contain some kind of a device so that people can put headphones in and listen to the sound clip whilst looking at the installation.

 

Final Reflection

From doing this final major project, I have learnt a lot about time management, as I discovered whilst in the middle of the project that if I had done a lot of the stages of creating the final piece earlier in the timeline, like painting all of the chairs white for example (which is a time consuming job) then I would have more time to experiment with the placement of objects on the white chairs.

I have also learnt that the presentation of your final outcome can sometimes nearly be as important as the final outcome, as people come to view artwork and so you have to consider every eventuality of the presentation, so that you can do your final piece justice. In this final major project for the first time I realised the important of presentation as when I put the white floor tiles down underneath all of the chairs, my piece was immediately lifted and the visual impact became a lot more striking.

I feel as though I have massively improved my ability to resolve a piece no matter how disappointed I am before I finish, as with other projects on this course especially I have not been willinging to fully committee to some of my final outcomes as I am already too disappointed with how they have turned out before they are finished. I feel as though I tried really had to push through this kind of negative thinking, so that I could get one of my final piece to some standard of completion. Although I would not consider the final piece I created finished, it is completed to a standard where it does not look particularly unfinished, which I personally think is a big step forward for me, as I prepare to move onto the next stage of my life.

I think that doing this final major project has definitely proved to me the importance of context, especially when you are starting of with such a conceptual idea. As it is important that you are able to ground your ideas in legitimate theories and explanations that mean that you are not just plucking information out of thin air. I definitely think that context and research in general is something that I would like to put more emphasis on next time I am doing an art project as the more information you know about the subject you are taking about in your work the better the work will be.

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Week 7

At the beginning of this week I was keen to focus on experimenting with latex and considering how I could potentially incorporate some flesh tones into the piece and also add some latex body parts, to try to link in with the theme of confronting the physical human body, which I had already portrayed through the arm bone and spine.

I knew that I wanted to create a sculpture based around the characterisation of a farmer or at least someone who lives in the country, and grows their own produce. I firstly decided to use some wellington boots that I already had, which were fairly filthy and covered in mud. I wanted to try to get across the idea of a fanatical, obsessive type of personality when it comes to food and home grown produce, as if healthy and home grown produce was seeping from every pore. So I decided to buy some pasta and rice, which I noticed sitting in clear jars when I was interviewing a middle aged woman from the country who had her own chickens, and I mixed this uncooked food with glue and then placed it into the wellington boot, so that it looked as if it was overflowing from the boot symbolizing the organic/ natural/ healthy food seeping from every pore.

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I do think that this was a successful experiment as it conveys the sense of obsession with specific types of food that you often find with middle aged country folk, therefore am I keen to incorporate these boots within the final sculpture.

I wanted to find a way of putting eggs into the sculpture some how, and after seeing how successful the boots were, in conveying the idea of seeping from every pore, I decided to create a part of a female torso with egg shell placed on top, whilst also taking this as an opportunity to incorporate latex into the experiment.  I made a cast of a female torso using modroc and then began to crush eggshell onto it, as well as painting skin colored liquid latex between the egg. I also caste a female nipple with the liquid latex to place onto the torso to help suggest the female form.

IMG_0096What I ended up creating was this intrinsically horrific combination of flesh tones and egg that blended into some kind of warped skin, the aesthetic does have some value and appeal, although I am unsure yet whether this experiment is appropriate for the final sculpture although I feel as though I have created the best possible example of ‘seeping from every pore’ that you can with eggshells and liquid latex.

I bought a bright yellow blouse to try to tie together all of the pieces involving food experimentation, the blouse being the colour of an egg yolk.

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After seeing all of the potential components of this piece together, I began to think that the piece seemed cluttered and over complicated and there stopped being room for interpretation from the viewer, I then decided to scrap the torso and the blouse entirely, and began to glue eggs to the chair and layer them up slightly.

I fell as though the simplicity of the eggs and the wellies is much more successful than having the egg/flesh torso hybrid that I had created, as the chair is also being used as more of a sculptural and figurative form in its own right, instead of just being a dumping ground.

After completing the farmer sculpture I wanted to move onto the Grandmother/ old lady sculpture, as using latex on the farmer sculpture had been unsuccessful, I felt as though there was more potential to incorporate latex into the Grandmother sculpture. I decided to use flesh/ pastel tone pillows as the base for the Grandma sculpture as they are pale and have the potential to be easily manipulated into a hunched over fragile state like a lot of older women are. I decided to stain one of the pillows to add a grotesque quality as if a human had been sitting on that pillow everyday, leaving their ingrained marks and stains from overuse. I then added a latex nipple to the other pillow that loosely formed the shape of the body, so that it was sagging slightly.

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I also added a pale yellow jacket that helps contribute to the pale/ pastel color theme which is representative of pale and almost sickly older women. I think that all of the elements of this piece combine well together, and the latex nipple also flows naturally with the piece. I think that the nipple works particularly well with the old woman as, the last thing that the viewer is expects to see is a sagging nipple on a old lady.

I also experimented with adding various trinkets, and rubbish tacky little bits and bobs like little houses and people and flowery mugs, to try to help represent the way in which older womens houses are often overflowing with useless trinkets. However, again like with the egg torso the mugs and trinkets just seemed to over complicate the piece and simply interrupt the piece instead of adding to the flow of the sculptures.

Personal Reflection and Evaluation – mid point

Currently, I have been working on building figurative sculptures around my chairs as I have been trying to the combine readymade with human attributes, such as bone and skin. I have drawn inspiration from Marina Abramovic, as she uses the human body as a medium to create an unusual and thought provoking space for the viewer. The reason behind this combination of different elements of clay bone and readymade objects  is because I want to stress the physically of the human body, and show us for what we actually are when all is said and done. We are nothing more than animals trying to create structure and idealised ways of being like the  unrealistic nature of Altruism in its truest form for example, a concept created by our society that is unattainable.

I have come to some kind of conclusion from the research that I have undertaken and the questions that I have asked various people, about what type of person displays the most altruistic qualities, how likely it is to achieve an altruistic mindset and also the particular reasons why people are likely to help. I have found that overwhelmingly, women would preference a human charity over an animal charity, whilst a lot more men would be inclined to support animals, which tells me that women might accept helping and working as a part of a community much more than men would.

I also found, particularly in the older generations that any kind of relationship that they have with a charity would have been instigated by the charity continuously pestering them.

I think that it is important for my final piece that I include anonymity as a main part of the project, as I have found that the more anonymous someone is when they do something helpful in society the closer to being altruistic that they are, as the only pleasure they can derive from doing the act comes from inside themselves and they can’t get any gratification from any source other than themselves.

I think that it is important for me to stay focused and make sure that I am testing out as many different variations for each of the sculptures as possible as even the slightest change to one object can make all of the difference.

I do think that at this point in the project there is still a lot of work that I must do if I wish to realise my final piece to its fullest potential, this just involves a lot of experimentation so that I can get all of the objects to the most harmonious place as possible, making the sculptures as effective as possible.

 

 

Week 5 

I started of the week by thinking about the different categories that I would want to incorporate into my final piece, making sure to think about all of the variety that I wanted to present though the chairs. I think that I decided upon the types of people that I wanted represented in the sculptures based on who had the most interesting things to say when I spoke to them and I want all of the different sculptures to represent different groups that are all very different from each other, I had initially wanted 16 different categories represented through the chairs but then I made the decision that having only 9 chairs would mean that I would have more time to focus on all of the chairs individually, so that every detail was exactly how I wanted without having to worry about having to spread my time to thin and all of the sculptures not being to the same standard. In the end when I started painting the chairs I and I started to create a square shape which had been my intention all along I discovered that I would not have enough room to fully display all of the sculpture in the way that I would want if I created a solid square of 9 chairs, and so I thought that if I had 8 chairs instead, and I put them in the shape of a square with a space in the middle this would actually look a lot better, because would seem as the figures were almost interacting with each other and having a conversation.

The final categories of people that I wanted to represent through the sculpture were:

  1. Middle Aged Men who have had a career and now they have the resources to fund a comfortable life style
  2. Indecisive deep thinkers, like Laura who is the sculpture that I have already created, basically she represents individualistic people who are reluctant to make black and white decisions
  3. Older Lady – someones Grandma who is stuck in the past and can not fully comprehend the changing times and is therefore not always politically correct
  4.  Middle aged women, who have children and are at the center of family life, they may have done some work here and there but they are not the main breadwinner
  5. Young boy who has not developed a fully fledged understanding yet about societal norms, still sees things in black and white and who comes from a generation that has grown up with technology so that their mobile phone and play station have become extensions of themselves
  6. Young working woman who had children very young, is not with the father of these children and is working hard each day for little reward
  7. Young man who is a bit of a ‘Lad’ likes to go out a lot, have a good time and party hard
  8. The last category is a is a middle aged farmer/ country dwelling person who lives of the land and has chickens in their backyard

Although I have obviously missed out big groups in society, what I really want to get across in this piece is the diversity of people who all have different priorities in life based upon their upbringing, their socio-economic factors and so the list goes on. The group that I have brought together cover age, class, ignorance, education levels, gender and many other factors. In other words, it wouldn’t matter how many different types of people that I talked to there would always be someone else with a different opinion on the matter. This is something that I would consider in more detail if I had a longer time to complete the project as I would try and talk to more people and create more sculptures to try and encompass the idea that the subject, Altruism, is a topic that covers the whole of society on many different levels, but what I want to do is put across the point that everyone interacts with people slightly differently and will have contrasting opinions.

Firstly I thought about the category of middle aged men that I wanted to create based upon some men that I have met in pubs and through my dad’s friends and my uncle. They all answered the questions similarly saying they would prefer to give money to an animal charity because humans have the ability to help themselves, and on the whole  they would all rather give a gift because they have the means to buy what they want. When it came to selecting the chair that I wanted to use, I noticed my dad who is also a middle aged man sitting on an old wooden deck chair in the garden one day when it was warm weather,  I noticed the sturdiness of the deck chair, with a strong build and I also noticed the fact that it was very square shape it immediately made me think that it would be the perfect fit for the chair that I wanted to use to represent a middle aged man.

The next chair that I decided to use was an old wooden school chair which I found in the garage of our house. It has a very square shape to it but is also a fairly petite chair which I think would much more likely be associated with a child than an adult the shape of it made me think that it would be perfect for the young boy sculpture that I wanted to create.I also found an old kitchen chair in the garage that I thought would be perfect for the middle aged country/ farmer sculpture that I wanted to create. It has a round shape to it whilst also being very simple and functional, which I think would fit in perfectly with the character of a farmer.

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(this a photo of the Kitchen chair after paint)

I began to paint all of the chairs white. Firstly, I would sand down the chairs to give them a key and then I washed them all with sugar water to get all of the dust and residue dirt of them. I then painted a layer of primer on each of the chair and began to paint them white. To get the full effect of the white that I wanted I had to paint them with more than one layer most of the chairs required 3/4 coats.

I found a bar stool at the local pub which I was allowed to use, and with this chair I thought that it had specific qualities that would mean that the chair would immediately have connotations of a specific type of person without the need for extra explanation as bar stools are found in less places than most chairs.

(bar stool before and after being painted and the photo on the left was also used as a reference photo when considering the size  and height of the spine that I screwed onto the stool)

I knew that I wanted a big chair with a lot of character for the chair representing an old lady, so that it would have a presence and a certain kind of grandeur to it, so that it would command respect,  like older folk often try to do.  I decided that I wanted to use a wooden rocking chair that is a fairly large size, and has a commanding presence in comparison to some of the other chairs that I am going to use.

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(after the rocking chair had been painted)

For the Middle aged women, I found a chair that my next door neighbors were going to put in the tip, which I thought would be perfect as the middle aged woman chair, as it has a lot of soft circular shapes within it that give it a feminine quality. I also was considering this chair for the the young working class woman but then I found a wicker chair at a second hand furniture shop, which is very full bodied, with intricate weaving, and I felt as though the chair had a kind of comforting supportive feel to it corresponding with the way in which the young working class mother takes pride in making her surroundings as comfortable and supportive as possible.

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(chair to be used for the middle aged women sculpture after being painted white)

After deciding upon all of the chairs that I want to use, and once I had finished painting them all in the last week of the Easter, I am now finally ready to start constructing the rest of the sculpture on each of the chairs and making all of the key decisions through experimentation about what will work with the sculptures and what won’t. I think that as it comes to the end of the Easter, I have completed an important step of the project, so that now I am ready to move onto the next part of the project, and although I still have got a lot of work to do, I have also completed a lot of processes that are key to moving onto the next stage of building my sculptures.

 

Week 3 

After having a conversation with one of my peers about how she felt about choosing between charities and prioritising different causes, she said that she would rather just ‘not help or give any money at all than have to pick just one’. This made me start to think about the multiple people that I know who would have a similar response or attitude to my friend. This then made me think about finding a way of  categorising individuals into a representative sculpture that would incompass many different types of people, almost like a cross section of society. I was particularly thinking about all of the different ways that people like to present themselves in society through their styles and the materialistic possessions that they own. I thought back to a previous project when I had referenced Marcel Duchamp who was the first champion of ‘readymade’ art, as he took objects that had an everyday function like a mass produced urinal and put it in the context of a gallery space, turning it into a piece of art. I think that in my project I am keen to use readymade objects and re appropriate them to try to create figurative sculptures.  I decided to use chairs as the base of the sculptures as chairs can already have a lot of figurative qualities to them.

I looked at the artist Nicole Wermers who combined chairs and coats in her 2015 piece ‘infrastruktur’, as she has the lining of each of the fur coats sewn over the backs of the chairs so that the two ready made items became one entity. Through this art piece Wermers was commenting on the way in which people claim public chairs by placing their jackets over them. I think that this piece of art is very interesting and I am also very interested in combining readymade objects with a chair so that they become one entity, as I would like all of the chairs to contribute to the figurative qualities not just act as a dumping ground for multiple objects.  I want to make a solid square out of the chairs so I will either have 9 or 16 chairs. I want them to all be a different kinds of chairs. I am going to paint them all pure white to connote the purity and ultimate simplicity of true Altruism and then contrast that with the physical human elements that I am going to use to build around the chairs and suggest specific characters.

I have spent the week trying to construct one of these sculptures so that I can see how it will look with a solid white chair. I used Laura as the subject for the chair, as the category of an indecisive deeply intellectual person is to be modeled off Laura, as I want this sculpture to be less generalised and seem more individualistic, to act as an encompassing  bracket for ‘the individuals’ category. I took many, many reference photos of her to use as inspiration for how I wanted to put together the chair.

I ended up focusing on three elements that I think best showed of her particular personality, I looked at her make up because she always puts a lot of glitter on her cheeks, and iridescent stars. I also focused on her slouchy oversized knitted jumper and the last thing that I focused on is her love of oranges.

I started of by taking one of the chairs that we have in college and placed her jumper over the back of the chair so that it almost looks like it is engulfing the chair in a similar way to Laura, when she is sitting on a chair she always slouches back into it, and this is a key physical representation of her own personality which is very reserved.  I also added a bit of stuffing to add a small amount of volume to the jumper. I then positioned her arms in the way that she often holds them. I debated adding some wire to the inside of the jumper to position it in a certain way, but then I decided that Laura is so slouchy that it would not lot look quite right adding some rigidity to the jumper.

I then decided to get Laura herself to peel an orange so that it would be completely random in the exact way that Laura would peel an orange. I then put some of the peel on the chair and some on the floor to make it seem as if it had fallen naturally.

I painted the chair white, added the jumper and the orange, and then took some face glitter and placed two strips on the chair in a way to represent the way in which Laura puts glitter on her face. The white paint lifts the whole sculpture and ties it all together very well. DSC_2077

I am pleased with the overall outcome of the sculpture because although it is simple it represents Laura very well but it is also figurative which means that it could represent any number of different people in that type of category.

Whilst I was making this first sculpture I also started to consider  how I could incorporate the verbal opinions of the people I spoke to as a part of the final piece.

I looked at the artist Gillian Wearing, and her 1997 piece ‘2 into 1’. The video shows two boys talking as if they have the voice of their mother and visa versa. Although her reasons for creating this piece are very different from what my project is  about I really liked the way that she contrasts the image and the voices and it got me to thinking about how I could possibly use sound clips of voices in my installation so that each sound clip would correspond with one of the categories of people represented on the chair. But in a way that the viewer of the piece would be unable to tell which sound clip was for which chair, which would tie in with the idea that the closest way to being altruistic comes from anonymity.

Week 2

After spending the first week of my project conducting in-depth research, by reading various books and articles, I began to consider how I could put my research into practice by creating some kind of fake campaign that would spark a reaction from people, so that I could then ask them questions about how they feel about helping others and their thoughts and opinions on various charities and campaigns.

I wanted to try to think of some kind of campaign, which had a ridiculous message, but that people would buy into if they only looked at the campaign on a surface level. One idea that I had was ‘save horses from being forced to sleep on itchy hay ’ although this may not have been the best message, as it is fairly obvious to a large proportion of the population that hay is not uncomfortable to horses the principle of the example suggests someone on the street telling a story about the harsh reality of horses living conditions whether real or not, would draw some people in to support the campaign, even if this is just through a simple signature. I think that this would prove a point or at least give me more insight into the ways in which people support campaigns or charities, by either, ignoring it altogether, stopping and signing up without questioning or stopping, questioning the charity or campaign and then deciding whether  it is a cause worth supporting or not. I think that it is also important to note that asking people to support a charity out on the street is one of many ways that people are approached or targeted by charities, and that my method would only culminate curtain responses, as for example, whilst someone might walk past you on the street, if they received a leaflet through the door they might take a look and invest time and money into the charity. However, for my specific project its success somewhat lies in me being able to go out and talk to a wide range of people from different classes and cultures so that I can see if it is possible to categorize, find trends and come to some kind of coherent conclusion about altruism, and its realistically as a concept, and learning all of the individual opinions that people have.

I wanted to try to gauge how likely it is for someone to support a campaign in order to clear their conscious, without having any kind of real vested interest or concern for the charity or cause.

I feel as though what I really want to express and show through this project is that to some extent there is as systematic failure in the way that our society treats charity work.  To me there is a sense that as a society we manage all of the charity work so that people can feel better about themselves for donating or raising a certain amount of money and then not worry or think about that charity for at least another year. I am particularly thinking about ‘Children in Need’ and ‘Red Nose Day’ as our country seems to celebrate those for raising any amount of money. But I think why should we celebrate this person? Should they not want to help children in need without any public celebration or mass counting of money. Of course, this is a massive generalisation, and there are many people who truly are invested in helping others and supporting charities, but I am trying to see how people’s attitudes towards charities differ from person to person depending on their personality, their socio economic factors, and suchlike.

To gather information in the most effective way, about people’s priorities when it comes to helping in society, I began to create a series of campaigns and scenarios that I  was going to ask people to compare and rank in order of importance. I hoped that this mightgive me clarity on which idea to use in a fake campaign.

They were:

‘Giving horses itchy hay must stop now’

‘Raise MP’s salary to £100,000 per year’

‘Help those with paedophilic thoughts get the support that they need’

‘Gain awareness, respect and support for those with mental health issues’

‘ Help women travel to worn torn countries and support women who are less fortunate than them’

‘Stop letting people walk across sand dunes as they are destroying birds homes’

‘Make drama, music and art compulsory on the leaning syllabus in school instead of maths and physics’

 

The reasons that I choose all of these scenarios, as fake campaigns are very specific, some of them seem like obvious choices over others, but this is simply a diversion to see how people view all of the other ideas for campaigns, which fall into a bit more of a grey area. I included examples of animals in need, along with humans in need as the contrast between the two and which people choose can bring up interesting suggestions about their personalities, like wether they are more community minded or not. The inspiration for choosing animals vs humans as examples came from me reading the Guardian’s ranking list for the ‘top 1000 charities’ based purely on ‘donations’. I was surprised to see that the Royal Society  for the Protection of Birds was 15th on the list, above the British Heart Foundation and Marie Curie Cancer Care.  I thought that is experiment would also suggest something about each individual’s personality, conscience and intelligence levels.

However, after counducting this experiment a few times,the results from various people were not as inspiring or interesting as I thought that they would be.  I began to feel as though I had no clear direction for the project, interms of an artistic response. My aim for the next week is to start to formulate a way in which I could turn my concept and detailed research into a piece of physical art.