Constellation: Literal & Phenomenal in art & design

Lecture on 14/11/13

In this lecture the concept of what is considered to be literal and what is considered to be a phenomenal was questioned. The dictionary states that literal is that something is original and usual or in its most basic sense without metaphor or exaggeration. A phenomenon is something that exists and can be seen, felt, tasted, exc., and is considered unusual or interesting. However when it comes to art we deal with these to in close proximity all the time. When working on your practice, you must constantly question what is literal and what is phenomenal, what is real and what is not, what makes sense to us and why it makes sense because it might not make sense to someone else from a different background. This lecture made me realise that in our work, we must question everything and why we do anything and if it is just a concept or out perception of something.


Constellation: Teenage Kicks – Cultural approaches to Dr. Martin boots

Lecture on 7/11/13 –

For this constellation lecture we looked at the idea of giving objects, artworks and concepts cultural meanings. Our lives and upbringings affect our perceptions of things and form the way we process and register things. What things matter to us, what we think is unique or new, what we think is unacceptable or strange or even what we think is perfectly relevant and correct. Our mindsets are based off our upbringings and the generation and era we were born in.

The lecture was explained to us with the idea of the famous Dr. Martin boot brand. The boot used to be known as the masculine boot  worn by workers and later on in the 70s by the Skinheads (who were also known for being masculine and slightly scary).  However throughout the last few decades; Dr. Martins reputation has changed again, from becoming a workers shoe, to a statement of power and masculinity and unique style, and even that has changed, over time. The boot is now known as the boot to customise and one you make your own, whether by changing up the laces or throwing some paint onto them; Dr. Martins are now selling themselves as a statement piece that each individual can customise and ‘own it’ therefor giving them a purpose and a meaning behind the brand; which now advertise their products using this as a focal point.

By the end of the lecture it was clear to us that when working on and selling our practice, we should focus on the cultural meaning and the meanings we put to our work, and think about and question everything we do. Putting a meaning behind our work gives out work meaning. Giving our work a purpose is just as important as the process to produce it.

Time & Change

When thinking about the theme of the project that was set for us; time, a thought popped up into my head about change. I always seem to gravitate to the idea of change. Growing up in and Arab county, despite being classed British and Greek and going to an international school, has made me accepting of change. See, being in an international school people come and go constantly, and you become somewhat used to and less sensitive to the pain that comes with letting go of someone. Although it is always hard, knowing that that person is still well, healthy, and just moving on with their lives makes it okay and easier to cope with (plus it’s damn great having friends all over the world.)

However, living in the Middle East comes with a big reality of poverty, hardship, loss and especially conflict. Although Jordan (where I was born and raised and where my family still live), is a safe and ‘conflict free’ area in comparison to our sistering countries; issues still arise. Moving to the UK made me realise how different life is here. While watching the news here one day, a story about the Middle East and the Arab Spring was mentioned. Having lived there all my life,I  realised that what the news casters were saying was actually far from the truth and extremely misleading. The situation within the surrounding countries of Jordan where conflict was occurring, being Egypt, Lebanon, Israel and Palestine, and not to mention Syria; was getting pretty bad. However there were never any bomb attack threats to Jordan, or any threats of any kind of conflict for that matter. In a way Jordan has always been known as the ‘safe haven’ and peace land between it all. The media had made Jordan to be an extremely dangerous and hostile place to live or even visit, which in tern has had a massive effect on our lives there as a consequence. This made me furious and made me think about the reactions and shock from people here when I told them about what Jordan was really like. This is what made me decide to relate my work to this theme, and I became more and more fascinated by the idea of how peoples perceptions of things can change dramatically over time.  Continue reading Time & Change

Time: Arab Spring and Syrian refugees – an understanding.

I began research into the Arab Spring further. I wanted to look at the way lives were affected and what sort of stories I would tell and what life was actually like there. I wanted my work to show the effects of conflict and the impact it had on lives. I looked into the effects especially on the Syrians, who have been forced into refuge and out of their homes. I was deeply saddened by the way people where treated and dehumanised. Over 40,000 Syrians moved to Jordan and into the Zaatari refugee camp in the last year. The camp has become somewhat of a ghost-like town of its own, with families living there mourning loved ones and silently trying to move on with life, shattered by the chaos back home. The reality of living at the park is one I do not think many know of; children work and are treated as adults and are expected to provide for the family as well as the adults and most families live in UN provided tents. Thousands of lives were sadly lost and many injured. Mothers lost children and mourn them, fathers lost brothers and neighbours. All were affected and still suffer everyday. However one thing i noticed and I was extremely fascinated by through  my research (such as videos and articles which I will list and link below) is that children remain innocent. By saying this I don’t mean normal learning process and lack of knowledge, but the honesty and pureness of children. Despite all the chaos and trouble, the sadness and depression, children always find a way to cheer themselves up and make the best out of a situation; no matter how stressful. This was something I really want to research further.

This is a link to a documentary about the problems occurring in Syria and the effects it has on the lives of the people who live there. (WARNING: contains very graphic imagery – viewer discretion is advised!)