Constellation was the one thing about my whole university experience that didn’t make any sense to me. I didn’t understand why we had to attend lectures which had nothing to do with each other and didn’t really apply to our project work either. It was only after the start of the second term, that the pieces finally came together. I was then able to enjoy the rest of my lectures in peace now that I know what they are all about.
Cath’s lectures on meaning proved to be quite interesting since they were all focused on different subcultures and styles. I now have a much deeper understanding of what makes a subculture and how those subcultures present themselves to the world.
I have noticed over the past couple of months how the theories from the Constellation lectures are reflected in my practice. I now take the practice of researching much more seriously. In order to get the detail right you have to know everything about it – what it is, what it’s used for, what it represents, the culture it comes from, what people see it as, and so on… By knowing all these things one can make subtle statements in their work, especially in abstract works, which is something I would like to do more of over the summer and next year.
For the end of the year we had to write an essay on a topic of our choice but which had to be relevant with our Option (Smells Like Teen Spirit: Subcultures and Street Style). Since I have always been interested in Japanese culture, I saw the opportunity to write about Harajuku as one that cannot be missed. I decided to focus on what drives the subculture, what the obsessions are that make that world go round and my main inspiration for that was an issue of Fruits by Shoichi Aoki, where every page was a photograph of a different dressed up person or people and on the bottom of that page were written each person’s name, age and current obsession. I found that really interesting and it connected really well with what I already knew about Japanese culture around personal research and my favourite animes and mangas.
I found the essay quite challenging since I have never had to write anything as long in English, not academic writing anyway. It was also the first time that I had to focus on referencing. What I found most challenging was what I should write down and what I shouldn’t. As I already know a lot about Japan from before, how do I back all my theories up? I really enjoyed going to the library in Howard Gardens and the Cardiff Central Library. I lave a big love of books and choosing the right ones that would help me was a pleasant experience that relaxed me thoroughly.
I enjoyed working on this essay and I really enjoyed the lectures throughout the year. I think it would be great to try it again but probably without this much pressure, just to see what I can do. I think that there are a lot of things in the artistic world that are worth writing about and I really want to do some good research on something interesting. I think working on an idea in a collaboration with someone would also be an interesting development.
All in all I would say that now I truly started appreciating the meaning of things. I started looking at many new artists’works, searching for art with much deeper and more abstract meanings and ideas. I like finding hidden meanings and allegory in Renaissance art. I feel like I have largely expanded my field of perception and that from that I can only look forward to new artistic ideas.