Week 2

Week 2 has turned out to be an interesting one. I’m challenged by how much I have to learn but also intrigued by a great deal of it. This is the start of bringing some attention, focus and critical understanding to my practice and to seeing it in a much wider context than hitherto. In addition, it’s been necessary to go back to first principles and work out what certain terms really mean. So, these things have caught my eye:

  • The difference between discipline and discourse.
  • “Interdisciplinary” is not just a casserole of ingredients. It means teasing out more precise relationships beyond the work and influences inside the work.
  • The particular qualities of the still image, discussed at length by Barthes and Sontag.
  • The importance of the moving image and understanding it in a world where video increasingly dominates.
  • The vital importance of context. This was discussed in some detail in the example of the zeppelin image by Sam Shere. News soon becomes social comment which soon becomes history which soon becomes art which soon becomes pop art on album covers et al. The image has a life far beyond itself.
  • Aspect, discussed by David Campany. I think this one may be really useful. Am I making a photograph of a state, a process or an event? Good questions.
  • Identity and what we really mean by this. In fact identity turns out to be extremely difficult to pin down, as experiments with police-type identikit imaging have shown.

I was surprised by the extent to which other disciplines are already present in my work even though I had not consciously thought much about it. And by the huge variety of influences which fellow students showed and talked about on the discussion board. Fascinating and full of energy.

I am also surprised by now much I warmed to Susan Sontag and did not warm at all to Roland Barthes. Maybe that will change. Need to persevere.

I offered three images in the discussion group trying to show interdisciplinary influences on my practice: one on the influence of Dharma Arts and Miksang (Good Eye), one on the question of wildlife and conservation in a planet in crisis, and one on history and its many interpretations.

Miksang, looking for a dot of red.
An Amur Leopard
An Amur leopard, unlikely to survive in the wild so how do we protect the species in captivity?
Interpretations of History
The many interpretations of history and culture.