Constellation has been a mixture of high points and low points. Starting the term from my previous sixth form, I was both nervous yet intrigued by the concept of constellation. Initially I was drawn to my course of graphic communication by the idea of being able to mix and integrate fully with the art school as a whole; making contacts and friends. Yet I still was unsure as to what it would entail.
My original worry was that of past knowledge, when starting the lectures in term 1, all were primarily art/ art history based in which I was unaccustomed to in my previous learning, however I found that I really enjoyed the theoretical side especially the theories applying to my current course including post-perspective and concept of sonic art relating to original art formats. Some of the main hall lectures in my opinion, for example ‘The Sensorial Object’, seemed to just be irrelevant to any learning, although I understood the importance of broadening knowledge of arts and culture, there sometimes was no link to course content and found the ideas very confusing to even understand in the first place. I would dread attending the lecture theatres in fear of falling asleep, which was a frequent occurrence for myself during term 1…
It was quite a shame because I loved the feeling of being in the large lecture theatre with the entirety of the art school, yet failed to establish a connection with the information given to us each week by the lecturers. For myself, constellation lectures were supposed to be the key of a theoretical framework and unison of the art school but it turned out not to be the case.
Study skills were something I found a lot more useful, in smaller groups, debating and analysing the art of argument and image etc. I was given some sightly information and techniques for example, Cath’s columns which have been applied to my essay writing further on in the term. The sessions allowed us to become more familiar with the tutors and students from other disciplines and I found it so useful being able to debate ideas with students who entailed different schools of thought to my own. Obviously a product designer, ceramicist and graphic communicator will have contrasting views but I found this a challenge that helped me to grow in confidence and express the views of my own subject.
The Controversy essay was a great challenge for me. For only 500 words, it would be assumed to be so quick and easy, yet the difficult part seemed to be actually trying to include any detailed information within the limit at all! Most of my blog posts tend to be longer than 500 words, so I found it quite a struggle to keep in the constrains of the word count. In reflection, I can see the reasoning as it enabled the skills to filter and cut out only the necessary information. After receiving formative feedback sheet for my essay, I knew I could further improve in the future. Simple feedback of writing statements not questions is something I continued onto my term 2 essay, as well as formatting critiques including double spacing. In hindsight, I definitely left my essay to the last minute as I assumed the short length would be completed in an instant, however research and referencing takes more time than I originally thought. I am not too experienced with academic writing, however the initial skills learn from the initial essay were key to my development further down the line.
When starting term 2, I still had that initial worry of how my past knowledge would affect my learning in the subject groups. If I was too late applying for lectures, I could end up in a room of experienced art historians with myself not knowing what in the world was going on! Luckily enough I was given my choice of The Body in Society, which initially I did not realise how personally interesting and informative to my course it would be. I have always been interested in more psychological theories, asking questions and debates, as they apply to my interest of graphic design and ideas of how the mind and body are influences for example. I was overjoyed when given the opportunity to learn more. Every lecture was easily comprehensible and I found for the first time I was learning some real in-depth material that could actually help in my future course and career.
Each week had a focus on the essay as an end point, so when it came to start researching and writing I found it simple to have a basic groundwork and knowledge to continue with. I found each of the eight weeks incredibly eye-opening and interesting but had a particular interest in learning about the psychology of what forces influence the body. and makes a body react to the stimulant.
This led me to choose my essay title of “To What Extent are Bodies, Expressions of Individual Preference over Powerful Influences in Society?”. After researching theories of Panopticon, body projects, male gaze, reflexive bodies, habitus and free will, I applied these to my question and took an approach that still tied in with advertising, branding and communication from my graphics course. By integrating the two I found that when continuing my subject lectures and projects, concepts and theories would seep through and give me a greater understanding and knowledge of graphic communication as a whole. I was easily able to find sources and references both in the library and online with summon and webpages/programmes and by using the academic writing notes on Blackboard, established a referencing system simple for me to use with my bibliography.
In conclusion I have thoroughly enjoyed constellation throughout the year, most definitely term 2 and 3, over term 1. Having the ability to learn something that is not necessarily course based, yet still stimulates my mind as much as my passion for graphics, is something I was unsure I would find by the end of the year. I have a strong belief that the theories learnt in my term 2 lectures will benefit my learning greatly in future projects on my course and simply in day to day life. I have found that I have grown greatly in confidence, often being the main speaker of my group and answering questions which is something I would have never imagined when initially being thrown into a room of complete strangers only a few weeks earlier.
All that’s left is to bring on year 2!
This weeks keynote lecture was based on the concept of Sonic Art, a subject I previously knew little about. We learnt about the development of music as art, from simple recordings of music made from vocals or household objects to the progression of electronic music in the modern age.
- additive synthesis
- subtractive synthesis
- synthesis by distortion techniques
- synthesis by physical modelling
- interaction design
What I found most interesting was interaction design as part of ‘current sonic art’. I found it really fascinating seeing the ways sound can be made from installations, for example, 21 swings where notes are created by the movement of the swings. I love how it can only be created by the interaction of a person; the sound is in their hands. Some notes can only be created by the unison of multiple swingers which a cool concept to promote sharing the experience of art.
Imogen Heap ‘Gloves’ and Waisvisz ‘The Hands’ are two other concepts that draw my attention. They both enable the user to create music in their own way just like interpreting art. What I love about The Hands is that it looks like a piece of art in it’s own right, by using the concept of sonic art with shadows and movement, it only adds to make a greater experience for all the senses.