Posts from the ‘COP2’ Category

Image Analysis Exercise


This first image is a piece by Jaremey Deller- it is what it is, 2009. It’s a that was destroyed by a bomb in Baghdad 2007. He displayed the remains of the wreckage e on a tour around america to provoke conversation about the war in Iraq and the controversy of it, raising social and cultural issues. Through this piece he wanted to highlight, and make the public very aware of the consequences of the war in Iraq, confronting them with the realities of war. It was accompanied by a sign explaining where this wreck had originated from and how it had come to such damage, and what it actually original was as it is beyond recognition and appears just as a heap of rusting metal.


This piece is the work of Marc Quinn – Alison Lapper pregnant, it was shown during the 2012 paralympics opening ceremony. A replica of an original piece that stood on Trafalgar squares 4th plinth. the 43ft sculpture is impossible to ignore, and thus confronts the public with the image of a nude pregnant disabled woman, and challenges their perception of her ‘deformity’ forcing them to accept it. The piece is powerful as in today’s society many questions have been raised as to whether a woman with disabilities, especially those without limbs, is able to give a child the care and protection it requires, doubting that they are as capable as those with no disabilities or all their limbs. But this sculpture throws those those judgements out of the window and instead in my opinion celebrates the fact that this is still a woman, and she had the ‘right’ to have children.

the purpose for both images is to challenge the preconceptions of the audience and their possible ignorance or dismissal of the war and of the disabled. They both are very bold statements, approaching two very different controversial issues. However they both succeed greatly in their aims and the raising of these issues.
They both present these pieces without trying to make them seem more aesthetically pleasing, instead they are shown in all their glory for what they really are, making the audience unable to deny this reality.


An illustrated essay which critiques how practitioners including myself have addressed the issue of unsustainability through socially engaged visual communication practice


Fuck ‘Em takes a tour round Leeds

After my piece was prepared to be exposed to the outside world i approached a student from the photography course and asked if they would document the relocations of my piece and capture it in the different environments.
I placed my piece in 4 different locations, leaving it in those locations for half an hour at a time as daylight was in short supply and i felt this would give it enough time to gain a  decent audience. I stood at a distance from the piece, observing peoples reactions but close enough to it so that people had the option to ask any questions if they wished. I firstly by placed it against the fence of an allotment in Hyde Park, to show my support to those already actively working for sustainability as I wanted to address my awareness to the efforts of people who have already taken it upon themselves to start growing, not only to try and encourage others to do the same.
I then took my message to the monument at Hyde Park as this is often a busy location, with lots of passing traffic and students – my target audience for we are the generation that has the potential to make a change. However my photographer accidentally dropped the piece when moving it for a shot, we quickly put it all back in place though it was damaged, an unfortunate accident but nothing that could have been helped and decided despite this hiccup to continue.



before it was dropped ^


_MG_8711 _MG_8712

^ me trying to save my cress and make it look as normal and non flat as possible.

I had also left my message upon the steps of the Leeds University Parkinson building, which i had chosen as a location because of the amounts of students that pass through that area on a daily basis, and being on a busy road it  got lots of attention. Following that i moved it to millennium square, where it was able to be exposed to a variety of people, it got quite quickly so it got less attention, just a few head turns and people stopping, id left it on the steps of civil hall and also on one of the many distinctive benches that are around the square before finally leaving it facing the path and traffic on the outskirts of the square. Unfortunately the images documenting this half were corrupted when they were downloaded, though thankfully I’d taken a final farewell picture of my piece before leaving it.



The damage to my piece I felt had effected its effectiveness as it wasn’t so readable. Also unfortunately the images I’d gotten of the message around Leeds weren’t as I had hoped. But in the spirit of this project, I’m making do with what I’ve got. If I was to do this again however I would make my letters large again, as although this was much easier to move around and relocate, I feel as though it was a much bolder statement before and more readable. I would also document this myself rather than relying on the expertise of others and then only I can be to blame for any mishaps.

Fuck ‘Em

After my crit it had been brought to my attention that perhaps “Fuck It” wasn’t giving the right message, that it gave off the impression we should just give up. So I decided that the best way to summarise going against the large supermarket corporations and the encouragement of self sustainability would be to say “fuck ‘Em”
with the base of my work, newspaper cuttings and shopping bags, providing the context to the piece and giving an identity to “’em”.
Though the size of my initial piece had worked well i found it was very hard to move without damaging it, so for the piece that I would be taking around Leeds I thought it best to downsize my lettering. I used the same process to make my letters but chose to make the base of my letters from cardboard as the paper bases were too flimsy.




Fuck It.

After my last tutorial with Graham, it was once again made clear that I was being too ambitious with the time I had and the conditions to grow in, not having enough sunlight being the main factor, and the fact that I probably didn’t have many things I could grow for my message to be good enough to even convey.
So what could I do? I could grow cress because that grows all year round, and grows fast. I left the tutorial deciding upon using recycled materials to form the base of my letters in which the cress would grow on, and it would say ‘Fuck It.’ placed upon plastic bags of large supermarket chains, and national newspapers.

So I began growing…

I created paper pulp by blending discarded newspapers/paper to form my letters and mixed seeds within it, before sewing some closer to the surface.


This was after the first night.

The next day it showed even more promise…



The fourth day…




After 7 days…


IMG_0429 IMG_0427


On the eighth day we had the show and tell, a session to present to our peers and tutors our projects and get some feedback.
I presented these images so they could see the progression of this piece. It was clear from the feedback I received that the message wasn’t clear enough, it was clear who I was aiming this at or even the context, which I could understand as I hadn’t presented it with the base of recognisable capitalist/consumerist items. But I still felt as though perhaps I needed a change of words, something more direct.

I took from this that I should grow again, this time the message “Fuck ’em”.



psychoanalysis: The Architecture of the self

Common Misconceptions:

  • All about sex – Whilst psychoanalysis does position the role of sexuality, especially in our infancy, as a foundation of our adult lives, it is also about how we treat and examine other objects.
  • Mish-mash of psychology and psychiatry – Although it is linked to the two, it’s also a ‘way of thinking’ that can be applied to all aspects of society, including art and design.

Freud’s Definitions:

  • A discipline founded on a procedure for the investigation of mental processes that are otherwise inaccessible because they are unconscious – A mental concious we are aware of , a subconscious we have no control over.
  • A therapeutic method for the treatment of neurotic disorders
  • A body of psychological data evolving into a new scientific discipline- This third category comprises Freud’s work on culture, which is largely based on the view that culture is a product of the diversion or sublimation of sexual energy. (Sublimation – the conversion of sexual drives and energies into creative and intellectual activity)

The structure of the conciousness:

  • ‘consciousness’ has become synonymous with meaning ‘our awareness of “self”’
  • It is how we perceive the world
  • It can be visualised and defined in many different ways
  • Psychoanalysis seeks to analyse and structure our ‘consciousness’ through careful dissection of the ‘unconscious’ mind
  • The ‘unconscious’ is what lies beneath the conscious mind, although we often don’t have access to it.
Mind’s three structures:
  • ID – governed by the pleasure principle-  Our desires and drives such as sex, death, pain
  • Ego- governed by the reality principle –  the side that we show the world.
  • Superego- the conscious and ego-ideal – it is our ‘conscience’ (moral, social etc)

Iceberg Metaphor:

-this is the idea that conciousness is what appears on the surface, it is only a fraction of what goes on in the mind.


Freud suggests that to live in society we must repress instinctual desires (mainly sexual or aggressive) as we see them as taboos of a society- the ID. This provides a process of socialization- how an individual is formed through repressing desires usually controlled by the super-ego, which leads Freud on to argue that this ‘version’ of ourselves we willingly show to the world(ego) isn’t natural and instead suggests that the unconscious is far more natural.

The Borromean Knot:

bknot   The Self is the section highlighted in the centre

This idea suggests that the ego is constantly pulling and pushing towards and away from super-ego and id but can’t completely break free. Society expects that you wont give voice to desires and that they are always trying to get through.

Why Psychoanalysis?

  • Psychoanalysis is interested in art, design and the media precisely because it expresses ideas about ‘drives’ and ‘repressions’
  • Psychoanalysis interprets the motivations and drives together with the unconscious acts of making and meaning.
  • It attempts to look at how desires and their repressions are interpreted.

Psychoanalysis and Surrealism:

– The Surrealists (Breton, Dali etc) emerged themselves in psychoanalysis as a way of uncovering their unconscious and repressed desires.

1Picture3  Dali, Dream Caused by the flight of a bee around a pomegranate a second before awakening (1944)

Brenton explored his subconscious through his poetry whereas Dali used visual interpretations of dreams as a view into the subconscious as seen in the image above.

Moses of Michelangelo:

One of the first examples of the application of psychoanalysis in art is Freud’s analysis of the Moses of Michelangelo (1914).


Freud looks at what motivated Michelangelo to portray Moses in such a way and supposes that Michelangelo wanted to find a representation of intellectual anger that matched his own (a self-portrait).

Freud on Leonardo:

Freud recounts childhood recollection recorded by Leonardo that as a child, whilst in his cradle, a large bird opened his mouth with its tail he imagines this is a later fantasy transposed on childhood and interprets it as expression of passive homosexuality, the bird’s tail substituting for the penis.
He also suggests that Leonardo’s sexual curiosity is sublimated into a spirit of intellectual enquiry, whilst this produced great works of art, the sublimation of libido into a general urge to know meant that a smaller quota of Leonardo’s sexual energy was directed towards sexual aims, resulting in a stunted adult sexuality.

Leonardo’s parents split up in his early childhood so he was brought up by his father and stepmother, his paternal grandmother also lived in the household. Freud comments on the similarity in age between mother and grandmother in the painting and suggests the subject was chosen due to his domestic setting, and the fact that in effect he had two mothers, his real mother and his stepmother.

Object relations and the Idea of the Fetish:

  • Object-relations is the psychoanalytic concern with how we view and use objects.
  • Because we can ‘invest’ emotional energy into an inanimate object, we can also appreciate art and literature.
  • The ‘investment’ is related to the fetish.
      Object relations:
  • Linus uses his blanket as a ‘transitional object’.
  • It is an object used that represents his transition from his mother (internal world) to the outside world.
  • Winnicott argues that because we can invest such feelings at maternity and safety in a blanket, we can also invest feelings in other objects such as art.
      The Fetish:
  • The Freudian fetish (different from the Marxist fetish) is the investment of sexual and psychical emotion into inanimate objects.
  • reassuring rather than dangerous
  • Freud suggests this originates in our castration complex. We’re seeking safe replacements for the missing female/maternal phallus.
Fetish Fashion –“Fetishism, Freud first pointed out, involves displacing the sight of the woman’s imaginary castration onto a variety of reassuring but often surprising objects – shoes, corsets, rubber goods, belts, knickers, etc – which serve as signs of the last penis but have no direct connection with it.” – Laura MulveyThe castration fear:

  • Realising at an early age about different sexual organs and boys see girls as castrated this creates fears that they will be.
  • The woman’s body reminds the male viewer of the possibility of being without their sexual organ.
  • This is uncomfortable and can cause anxiety, so often desire is projected on a fetishsised part of the body, (eyes, breasts, mouth, feet)

The abject:

Is that which society cannot accept and which we find repulsive, such as: bodily fluids-  urine, faeces, blood, pus, semen, mucus, vomit. It is these which we regard as dirty and are taught to feel distaste for. The abject therefore is anything which crosses boundaries- disturbs Identity.


“The abject is related to perversion. The sense of abjection that I experience is anchored in the superego. The abject is perverse because it neither gives up nor assumes a prohibition, a rule, or a law; but turns them aside, misleads, corrupts; uses them, takes advantage of them, the better to deny them. It kills in the name of life – a progressive despot; it lives at the behest of death – an operator in genetic experimentations; it curbs the other’s suffering for its own profit – a cynic (and a psychoanaylist); it establishes narcissistic power while pretending to reveal the abyss – an artist who practices his art as a “business.”– Kristeva


Theories of identity:

  • Essentialism – Physiognomy, Phrenology: Cesare Lombroso (1835-1909) founder of positivist criminology- the notion that criminal tendencies and inherited and character is based on the different ratios of the brain.


  • Physiognomy legitimizing racism – superior race, first signs of Nazism and racial stereotyping.

physiognomy Picture1frtyujk
Historical phases of identity:

  • pre modern identity – personal identity is stable , defined by long standing roles in society.
  • Modern identity (19th &  early 20th centuries) – modern societies begin to offer a wider range of social roles. Possibility to start ‘choosing’ your identity, rather than simply being born into it. People start to ‘worry’ about who they are
  • Post-modern identity – accepts a ‘fragmented ‘self’. Identity is constructed

Pre- Modern Identity:

In this period institutions determined secure identities, your identity depending on which role you were playing in society. These secure identities included, farm worker- the land gentry, the soldier – the state, the factory worker – industrial capitalism, the housewife- patriarchy, the gentleman – patriarchy, husband-wife (family)-marriage/church

Modern Identity:
Charles Boudelaire – painter of modern life. Introduces concept of the ‘flaneur’(gentleman-stroller). The idea that identities were formed/reinforced by the items/clothing that you bought/wore. Those seen as the more ‘elite’ members of society would be seen to walk about in their best clothing, to make a point that they could afford it, and that they could afford to not work.
Thorstein Veblen- Theory of leisure class. Theory that you identify who you are through what you buy or wear.
“Conspicuous consumption of valuable goods is a means of reputability to the gentleman of leisure” – Veblen
George Simmel – metropolis and mental life. Trickle down theory, Emulation, Distinction, The ‘Mask’ of Fashion. Veblen originally theorised that consumer items such as new technologies and clothing when originally released were at a price only those seen as the ‘elite’ could afford, so over time more affordable imitations were manufactured for those less wealthy.  This theory was applied by Simmel within fashion trends, stating that the ‘elite’ would change styles in order to stand out from the middle/working class again and so fashion ‘trends/seasons’ were formed.
‘The feeling of isolation is rarely as decisive and intense when one actually finds oneself physically alone, as when one is a stranger without relations, among many physically close persons, at a party, on the train, or in the traffic of a large city” – Simmel

Post-Modern Conditions:
‘Discourse Analysis’ – Identity is constructed out of the discourses culturally available to us.
Discourses are a set of recurring statements that define a particular culture.Possible Discourses:

  • age
  • class
  • gender
  • nationality
  • race/ethnicity
  • sexual orientation
  • income
  • education
  • etc.

The term “otherness” however is used for those who don’t appear to fit in with the ‘normal’ discourses.

The Post-modern condition:
Liquid Modernity and Liquid Love

  • Identity is constructed through our social experience- Erving Goffman The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life (1959). Goffman saw life as ‘theatre’, made up of ‘encounters’ and ‘performances’ – the self is a series of façades

Post-Modern Identity:
Zygmunt Bauman –  “Yes, indeed, “identity” is revealed to us only as something to be invented rather than discovered; as a target of an effort, “an objective””
this is the idea that you can create your own identities. His proposition of ‘liquid’ identities is that we can affect/change our identities knowingly whenever we choose.

(Barbara Kruger/Selfridges, Buy Me.  I’ll change your life/You want it You buy it You forget it, 2006)

“The family trip to a shopping mall is the present-day incarnation of the sacred” – Bauman. This is the idea that whereas in previous years families would have descended upon the church once a week, now families dedicate a day of the week instead to do the shopping and that the supermarket has become the sacred place and not the church.

This idea that you can construct your own identities within post-modern society is reinforced when looking upon social networking sites such as Facebook or Second Life. On Facebook it’s not difficult to construct a completely false/fake identity and network claiming to be that person, so you could really choose your own identity. But on second life you have the ability to completely customise your identity, its an online world where anything is made possible, your character can be anyone or anything that you wish to make it. This gives you the complete freedom to create an identity perhaps you wish you had in reality. I believe it to be a form of escapism, often those who use the site are those who aren’t satisfied with their lives or themselves. But it begs the question where’s the border between what is real life and what isn’t to these people. In some ways you can say its very much real, you create it, therefore it is real. But within the imagination of the users of second life their imaginations can be absorbed into the identities/characters they create because they have the ability to be absolutely anything, which in reality is never possible, therefore it can become their reality or their preferred reality at least. I would say that it isn’t real life at all instead it is an artificial life, for it does not really physically exist anywhere but the mind or in the coding of the internet. It can never be.

“Fun they may be, these virtual communities, but they create only an illusion of intimacy and a pretence of community”- Charles Handy (2001), The Elephant and the Flea, Hutchinson

“In the brave new world of fleeting chances and frail securities, the old-style stiff and non-negotiable identities simply won’t do” –  Bauman