My journey through Constellation this term has been one that has challenged me academically. Firstly, I was daunted by the 4,000 word assignment that was due at the end of the term, because I felt that I was not confident or strong in this module. I struggled to adapt to reading theoretical and philosophical texts at the start of the five-hour lectures and I would not participate within the study group itself to begin with. I wanted to contribute to the discussions within the study group, but I was always afraid to speak up because I was scared of being wrong or appearing stupid. However, as the weeks went by, my confidence flourished and the anxiety I felt at the start of this module dissolved into the background as I grew confident through the weeks, which was demonstrated when I started to actively participate in the weekly study groups. As my confidence grew, I began to learn to adapt to reading theoretical and philosophical texts for each lecture – reading such texts may still not be my strongest ability but it is still a hurdle that I have managed to overcome to participate successfully within my study group in Constellation.
Throughout Dr. Morgan’s lectures, I have discovered that I am passionate about exploring the theory of Semiotics in deeper depths than I already have touched on for my 4,000 word assignment. The theory of Semiotics has started to feed into my practice as I have started to question what symbolic nature I want my artefacts to posses and how I want other people to perceive the object when it is displayed.
In addition to the theory of Semiotics, through Dr. Morgan’s lectures I have learnt about the theory of cool, where you look at something that was described as ‘cool’ and apply the theory of why it was to be considered ‘cool’. I have been educated about the importance of transitional objects and how, regardless of age, transitional objects guide you from infancy, to help inform, educate and develop the progression from infancy through to independent childhood, and into adolescence and adulthood. Although the age group changes, the transitional objects remain – the objects also alter with the age groups.
Furthermore, I acquired knowledge about consumer culture, where businesses use gimmicks to convince people that they need an object or item. In further depths, I learned that in some cases consumer culture is used to demonstrate wealth and upper class, who can afford such luxuries as for example, the brand new iPhone X.
Alongside this, within the study group, we studied social and cultural connotations, which piqued my interest and I enjoyed, through my 4,000 word assignment, how social and cultural connotations are established within materiality and objects.
Following on in the weekly lectures within the study group, I explored the concept of a subject and an object, where I learnt how to tell what was an active subject – which is that of conscious being – and an object – which is inanimate unless manipulated by an active subject.
I thoroughly found it interesting to discover social movements such as Shaker Design founded in the 18th century by Ann Lee, who paved the way for many future designers to come. They were crafts people with incredible amount of skill, who created everything that they needed, from crockery to clothing and furniture, Shaker Design is still influencing the world of designers today.
Because of this feed through Constellation, I am now beginning to apply theory to my practice. I am looking at the symbolic nature of the objects or artefacts I create, and I am looking at the symbolic nature in which materiality I choose to create my artefacts with. I am starting to consider social and cultural connotations of materiality within the objects I am creating within my practice, as I am more aware that each materiality has symbolic meaning, let alone social and cultural connotations.
Learning to know about objects and materiality, to me, has been essential to my practice as a maker, because I am always experimenting with new materials and processes that accompany the materiality, and I am constant with creating artefacts within my practice. The newfound knowledge from theories we have covered within the study group has enabled me to consider materiality more carefully, and it has changed my thinking pattern. I am now currently in Field and developing a Viking Nightlight. Before the feed from Constellation, I would have chosen any random colour of acrylic for the body of work but because of my new understanding of Semiotics through the study group, I chose red acrylic as symbolic nature for blood spilt on battlefields and Viking homelands as well as invasions Vikings actively underwent.
I am feeling less daunted at the idea of writing a dissertation as I feel more confident in my capabilities of academic writing skills than I did when the module began at the start of the term. Although I may have a base outline of an idea for what I would like to write my dissertation proposal and dissertation on, I still do not know what artefact(s) I would create for this body of work, but I feel more at an advantage at this stage than a disadvantage as I felt at the very beginning of this module.
It is with thanks to Dr. Morgan’s lectures that I have gained confidence with academic writing as I am feeling confident and prepared for my Dissertation proposal and Literature review that is to come next. It is because through this study group, I feel I have found something I feel passionately about discussing within my Dissertation. I am eager to undertake the Dissertation accompanied with Artefact, where I am considering to continue my exploration into Semiotics of Materiality, because as a Maker, I am passionate about materiality and processes.
“I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.”
– Leonardo da Vinci.