I began this years constellation feeling quite uneasy due to some negative experience in the year before. I was very unsure about which set of lectures to choose, as I didn’t really even understand what the titles of many of the options meant. So when I decided on this one, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. To be honest I googled ‘Post Anthropocentric Practices’ ,just so that I had a very vague idea of what I was going to be spending an entire time learning about, and surprisingly I soon became very interested in this area and I was excited to begin the lectures. I also decided on this option because it was one of the longer 5 hour slot options, which I thought I would benefit from more as it takes me quite some time to grasp the ideas in shorter lectures. – And after completing these I am certain that I made the right selection , there was so much more time for discussion/answering questions etc which I had never experienced in a lecture environment to this extent.
The first week I found very interesting,(and probably most influential on my practice), it began with the provocation ‘Forgetting and Remembering the Air’ – this seemed like such a bizarre thing to begin with for me, how could you forget the air existed? We looked at several artists such as Paul Klee, and watched a video of the ecologist David Abram, which broke the session up well so it was easy to stay concentrated – we mind mapped the track of the narrative of the video as we watched,using three key questions to help us;
What is being argued? What is being argued against? What is the take home message?
I found this a very useful skill and have used the idea again since for other videos- it really helped me to stay much more focused on what was being said, and make sense of it better, as well as providing a short summary of the main points to make it easier to remember. Another activity we did in the first session was writing a narrative in groups, about dust. I really enjoyed this, it was a fun way to make myself think from a different perspective, allowing me to imagine a personality for an everyday object and see the world from its point of view. This has been useful idea to adopt within my practice to give me new original material to work from as well as helping me to be more aware of the importance of somewhat everyday things which I never really think about. It made me realise that many if not all things can be connected in some way or another, this has enabled me to think more about the connections my work has with the rest of the world and make more meaningful relationships between different aspects within my practice. In this instance we had to write the narrative on dust after reading Alfred Russel Wallace: the Importance of Dust: A Source of Beauty and Essential to Life , I really liked reading this, I learnt so much as I had never realised before just how big a role that dust plays in every day life. In terms of my practice this has made me think more about the role of every aspect of my work, that maybe some things actually do serve a purpose and just because it isn’t majorly obvious it doesn’t mean that it should just be removed and counted as worthless. This also made me consider whether or not I was working in the most sustainable ways as possible, and if there were things which I could be using and wasn’t, like if i’m printing of photos and I only using half the page, i could keep it and use it for another or something else entirely instead of just throwing it away and using a whole new piece of paper for the next image.
Throughout the lectures we looked at a lot of different academic texts , which I would probably not have otherwise ever came across, but not only that, the texts were not all in the usual very wordy, hard to understand format that I often struggle with. This really encouraged me to see different styles of writing as I often get very disheartened when endlessly reading and feeling as though I have no idea whats going on at all. Even the more complicated texts which I would have previously struggled with, like ‘Hippocrates – Breaths’ was made much clearer because we had the time to read through it together and annotate/underline as we went along.
In one of the last lectures we worked through an ‘Argument Analysis Worksheet’, which when I first saw it looked like the scariest thing ever – nonetheless I gave it a go. I can see how this worksheet may be of great help to many people , however for me, to be honest it got quite confusing. I think it did teach me how to break things own and work through it systematically and maybe with further practice using this I might get the hang of it better and it would become of more benefit to me.
It was also interesting to be able to hear from students on other courses, because very often we are very separate as courses and never really get to talk about things as these in such depth. It was great to be able to find out how the things discussed effected them differently in their course and how they dealt with problems in ways which I never would have considered, it was nice just generally to get different point of veiw on things as obviously the motives of a ceramists is very different to that of a product designer or a Fine artist etc.
Overall I think my practice has been influenced a lot for the better due to this series of constellation, I am more aware of the natural world around me and the effect It has on people and vice versa. I feel more prepared and knowledgeable on how to read and interpret text in an efficient way.