The Meaning of The Body; Aesthetics of Human Understanding, by Mark Johnson,

The majority of what the book has to say has the overarching theme on the idea that what we commonly call the mind and what we call the body are not two separate things, instead Johnson believes they are in fact both just parts of the one single process.  The first section of the book – ‘Bodily Meaning and Felt Sense’ and here the author looks at engagement between the body and the world. ‘Life and movement are inextricably connected.’ (Johnson, 2007, p19) – the opening statement of chapter one, although this seems very obvious when stated in this way , it is something that is often forgotten, and movement is not just about making a journey from one space to another or general bodily functions, ‘…through our movements we get “in touch” with or world, taking its human measure.’ (Johnson, 2007, p19) Movement is therefore something which should not be overlooked as if meaningless, but it has so much more which it can tell about the nature of humans and the world around.

  • The book discusses the importance of a sensory experience and how this corresponds with the movement we incorporate in our daily lives
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Juhani Pallasmaa – The Eyes of the Skin

Pallasmaa (a well known architect ), wrote this book which  primarily tries to highlight the importance of the entire sensory experience within architecture, and not just the singular focus on the visual impact which a building can have on a person. He had become aware and subsequently worried by the dominance of vision as the primary sense – which is the same argument I seek to address in my practice. This bias towards vision above the other senses is often referred to as Ocularcentrism.  Pallasmaa  goes further to explain what might be the consequences of this, as creating a sense of detachment and alienation – were we cannot make connections between the body and the building, the two are so separate that the body cannot make sense of itself within the space.

–  In order to make sense of ourselves and the things around us we must have the ability to use all our senses to interpret whats happening – a multi sensory experience.

Wolfgang Tillmans

weed

Tillmans work often incorporates everyday mundane things, he see’s the beauty in the small things and turns what could be said to be an ugly weed into something with an almost luminous quality. Tillmans said in an interview “what is at work in every picture of mine is a mixture of actively doing something, encouraging a picture, while also letting it happen – letting chance play a role” –  In my recent images documenting journeys I feel I have allowed a similar situation to occur.

 

melon

Tillmans is often criticised for photographing incredibly uninteresting things like this watermelon and plate, but why does the every day have to be so uninteresting. I like Tillmans work because of the familiarity of it, its easy to imagine the smell and taste of that watermelon the way it was cut up and the traces it would have left all around the kitchen.

Most Influential Key Concepts

 

From this series of lectures I was reminded that work does not always have to be displayed in the stereotypical white wall gallery space. The lecture I was most interested in was the one about Portable Galleries, in particular the work of Destil and Duchamp .

museumofdrawers

 

BoxValise

I like the organisation in these works, generally I am a really messy person so things with so much order as these really intrigues me . I’m not sure if it is the portable nature of these that truly attracts me or if it is this aspect of organisation , taking somewhat random things and creating relationships between them which I love.

I think this is what has influenced me to think more about the relationships between things – and what has made me begin to bring different objects together from my garden and thus making new relationships between them .

Personal Statement

The heart of my current work is an exploration on my own love and connection with the nature around me in every day life , in particular my love of wild untamed grasses.

For me grass is not merely an object, plant or a thing. It is a concept; it holds the reality of home,childhood, safety, familiarity and family and so this project has been loosely autobiographical. I have always been drawn to grass, initially to its aesthetics and the way I can interpret it through different mediums. But the more I explore, the more I am discovering that it is the experience of the grass that is significant.

Back home, I am surrounded by grass which can be seen as mundane and humble thing; it has no vibrant flowers, it bares no fruit, it gives no fragrance. Yet it is there, it is present. Just like my home; firstly my house, it has always been there, it houses our family. Home in a sense of my family, they can sometimes seem just an ordinary, humble and an obvious part of my life, yet when I am away from them their significance is brought to my attention. Their existence is all that matters, just like the grass, they are present. In my current student house, there is no grass. It is not present. Perhaps, it is this sense of home that I want to bring into my work. This new life, in my current house is becoming a home, I am bringing my sense of ‘grass’ here and making a new sense of home.

My main medium has always been photography, it has become second nature to me and I never go anywhere without a camera, I am also interested in ideas of bringing nature in from outdoors into different surroundings in order to examine it better – and so my work has taken a more documentary approach in recent days.

My New Understanding of Material Culture and Values.

After having visited Morocco and immersing myself in the rich culture of Marrakesh I feel I now have a much more informed understanding on what the terms material culture and values actually mean and how these differ in Morocco from those in the UK. There were vast differences of culture and values within each of the communities residing in the city, these differences were highlighted as I wandered through the souks by the different approaches the men took to making deals and advertising there various spices, carpets and fruit etc. Without wishing to stereotype the people I came in contact with these are the things I found; the shop owners from the Sahara desert were generally older and took a more private approach to making deals, in never saying prices out loud but working in a system of writing figures down and sharing only with one person – often being quite rude to those who were with the person trying to buy, but the men wanted no interference from anyone else. The Arab shop owners took a much more light hearted approach, by firstly trying to entice you to buy things with charming words and then a lot of playful haggling. Although both ways were equally effective for each vendor I think it just shows how differently the two have experienced life and thus this is shown the values they have towards selling .

Robert Smithson

Robert Smithson is most well known for his work in the field of Land Art, particularly spiral jetty.

spiral

‘Instead of causing us to remember the past like the old monuments, the new monuments seem to cause us to forget the future’ – This quote from the artist himself describes for me the very thing I love most about his work, it allows you to be immersed in that moment surrounded within the landscape to experience the almost impossible feeling of capturing what should not be captured. Using the landscape to further the landscape , such ephemeral qualities , many rocks so landscape. The use of natural materials an using the landscape as a gallery is something which I am increasingly interested in.