HB/BH Reflective Journal

5th October 2015

I really enjoyed todays lesson! I found it very enlightening and felt comfortable. I found the things were were taught extremely interesting for example on what it means to be a human being [cognitive revolution, ability to categorise information, use of symbols], understanding the study of anthropology furthered as well is ethnography. I loved the clash between the objective approach in the study of the "human being" and delving into the subjectivity of what it means to "Be a human". At first when we were told about the project and about the goal, which was to create artwork/an offering to individuals from another planet, i was honestly fascinated! I thought it was a really beautiful way to capture the meaning of human existence, sincerely. Especially conveying it to a group of individuals (aliens) who know nothing about our world. 

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6th October 2015

Today we had to present our totems to the entire class. I found all the presentations extremely interesting! I thought everyone had such fascinating ideas and presented them really well. The first presentation was called "Society of Consciousness". This groups totem was represented through a mask like garment which only covers the front and leaves the sides bare, prevents nightmares from occurring and allows for dreams to be imprinted on the inside of the mask. In my opinion, the act of sleeping is very personal, and the use of the mask unleashes a sort of vulnerability. To me it acts as a shield and protects the individual from various different aspects of life including nightmares. I offered the idea to the class, of the mask being a deeper analogy from shielding yourself from society. Often, we mask our selves in front of society as we are afraid of numerous circumstances, such as being judged, disrespected etc. This is a survival mechanism and allows for humans to understand themselves better. The next group was called Ataragatis and this group focused on water life and giving back to the sea world, which i thought was a really powerful idea. They spoke about how the ocean only gives however we've forgotten how to give back to them. They emphasised on the importance of living in harmony with nature. After this group, our group went on to present. We spoke about how

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8th October 2015

I learned so much through the course of the day, today! I went into class prepared with my drawing and just had to stick on the flowers with a hot glue gun, which i did in the beginning. We were given the day to work and improve our project until 3pm which is when the "martian" was scheduled to arrive. Until then we had to add onto the work we had already done. For a while i was quite confused about how i could add to it. I spoke to our tutor and we had a conversation about my ideas. She said she understood where my ideas came from and she seemed to appreciate what i wanted to convey. She asked me to note down all the words that come to mind when i think of what i want to convey. These are the words that surfaced:

Mortality

Control

Time 

Illusive

Existence 

Belonging 

Transience 

Transcendentalism 

Humanity 

These words encapsulate the crux of the concept of my drawing. My tutor then spoke to me about the depth of all these ideas and that expressing these ideas in one artwork may be going to fast. She told me "you have your entire life to explore all these ideas, plenty of years, so just start with one of these ideas today". I was so moved by this, just because of how true it is... Which is why i decided to take one of those words and explore that. "Mortality".

I was thinking of things associated with mortality, i asked a few classmates and various answers i got had to do with skulls, one of my friends said mortality reminded her of ashes, which is something i found interesting. I spoke to my tutor once again, regarding the answers i got from my fellow peers, and she told me that the use of skulls almost cheapens the seriousness of the matter/topic of mortality and transience. It is extremely commercialised so it loses its essence. Which i found to be really true! 

During the lunch, i went over to Waitrose and bought an air tight jar and white flowers. After coming back, i went into class early and began cutting up the flowers and placing them in the urn. 

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5th October 2015

I loved the first task, which was to think deeply about our tool and subvert its function

I found the concept of subversion extremely interesting! Reversing the intended function of a product or element. I found this concept so beautiful and gripping. Its almost as if you are disrupting the functional ability, rendering it [product] useless. It also speaks about how an object can be used in a way different from its original function.

Each one of us brought in a tool, and subverted their function. For example, i brought in a scalpel and explored its shape, form and function. After exploring the tool, i thought about its use and function and applied that to medicine. In medicine, during surgery the scalpel is an integral component and its use leads to the outpour of blood, thus, my subverted creation would be a scalpel in the form of a blood bag, infused with blood, reversing its original function. As opposed to the loss of blood from a scalpel, the subverted scalpel restores and reserves blood. 

After our lunch break, we were asked to create a Totem, a tribal symbol, which can be described as an object of decoration [carving, including meanings and representations] as well as a tribe [knowledge, strength, forces, symbols, flags]. A totem proclaims and validates a groups lineage and importance, which is a concept i found very interesting. Some totems include: Family, species, clans, cults, religion, ideologies etc. Along with my group [tribe] we decided on our belief system and totem to represent the appreciation of blood. Depict the way in which blood is an essential component of our lives and interlinks various different elements of our body, mind and soul. Our totem was represented by 5 different masks each symbolising different core elements that create our belief system. 1) Emotions 2) Ability to think and wander beyond what we believe is our limit 3) The ability to breathe and live 4) Our roots and relationships 5) Our senses.

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7th October 2015

Today i spent the day drawing for tomorrows deadline. Tomorrow our Human Being/Being Human project is due and we have to present something that expresses this. For me both of these terms encompass so much thus, it is difficult to focus on one element. Through my drawing, i wished to express mortality, the flower represents the birth and fall of life and the hourglass (shaped by human hands) depicts the human desire to control every aspect of it. With some prior knowledge and further research into vanitas symbolism and Momento Mori, i was able to integrate this knowledge into my artwork. I have always been extremely interested in exploring all these different elements of life such as mortality, existence, transience, belonging, transcendentalism and so on. Through this artwork, i also wanted to express the brevity of life, elements of transience as well as the abstinence of materialism. The abstinence of materialism is a concept that is culturally significant to me as it is a huge element of my religion, Jainism. I wanted to show this through the flowers as in my research i understood that flowers symbolise death and decay. They also depict the transience of life and were inserted in paintings showcasing expensive objects as a reminder that life is temporary and moral considerations deserved more attention than material things. Thus, tying back to what i wanted to convey about the abstinence of materialism. 

To convey all of this i went in the morning to the closest rymans and got A3 drawing paper and began my drawing. After i was done with the hands and the skull i was contemplating whether i should draw the flowers or add real ones into the drawing. Today was also the day where there was an open day for art students at the CASS art flagship store at islington, and they had good deals for art material so i decided to go and on the way back i bought yellow sun flowers from the station, which i added to the drawing later on in the day. 

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