Concept behind the development of the final body of work stemmed out from my exploration of the relationship between a human body and an urban environment with both physical and spiritual implications.It refined into an exploration of the ways that with a combination of images, objects, aroma and text the audience could be guided through different parts of their physical body by drawing on associations that they get from an installation. I have come back to the initial source of inspiration- concerning an experience of a sedative, laptop centered lifestyle of an average office city worker and an office chair as a symbol of it. Prior to this stagee, my text was always black and white or otherwise only used in a form of an audio
Inspired by recent `quarantine` edition of Douglas Coupland`s Slogans For The 21st Century being posted on his Instagram feed, I have chosen Instagram Feed as a base visual format for the design of the images with slogans and printed cushions in installations . I have also started using humor more in the text as an element of healing and discovered the way of using color of background and a text to reflect an aesthetic of a typical office environment as well as chakra healing combined.
Social media, especially Instagram for me associates with that division between mind, body and spirit in that it often is used to display a superficial physical representation of a person that in fact comes with a depression and various expressions of a social anxiety.
When looking over someone`s Instagram feed, we are as if guided through their life and often experiences of their body, recreating their physical and spiritual puzzle in our mind.
People often resort to browsing Instagram on their breaks from studies and work as a means of stress release and for the sense of loneliness to go away.
I became interested in the possibility of using a digital platform that disconnects the physical and the mental parts of us as individuals to become a platform that reconnects them back together .That came in line with thinking of the ways to develop a piece in a quarantine environment limitations where a digital exhibition is a primary goal.
Through this I could explore how text and image without the presence of an object can draw associations that evoke physical sensations, like in those meditation apps such as Calm.
That have also led me to develop ideas where in a physical installation without the presence of a digital image, associations with the digital can be created,redeeming its usual role as a `stressor`, bringing it into a `meditative zone`.
People often hashtag the themes, issues, brands, celebrity as a tool of a social belonging and to draw the attention of like minded individuals to what they are posting and ultimately their account.
What if we started hashtagging parts of the body, would that develop a stronger connection between our mind, spirit and the body?
Humour is healing
Top right and bottom left corner: Slogans I have developed specifically influenced by concerns that my clients at the spa expressed in regards to how their sedative lifestyle and screen time at the office affects their neck and shoulders, as well as hips, lower back.
Bottom right: a screenshot from Temple Spa Youtube channel promoting their wellness service for office workers
Top left and middle: Sketch displaying an idea of a therapeutic office chair , where the padding is filled with dried lavender and aromatic candles are inserted. A photo of a stool in my treatment room at the spa
THE FINAL ONLINE DEGREE SHOW PROPOSAL
Find @chakrafeed on Instagram to engage with the artwork there by commenting on individual slogans making up the feed and by sharing them
Above: A screenshot of an editing view with a sound file layered over the images in Windows Movie Maker on my laptop
Below: Screenshots of my phone display capturing the process of picking tones of lavender from a color range and matching colors of the font on Canva using a chakra color chart ( image on the right) as a reference
In this video piece i draw from the work and the approaches to practice i have developed in the past academic year in that i combine an original recorded audio with the text that i have written and design that i have created for the text. The voice is aimed to reinforce the text, lead into a guided meditation on an image, in this case the colors that draw the connection to chakras and text- top parts of the body. As a result of the combination the whole video is a meditation enabled in an online screen only type pf interaction between the audience and the work.
The technical approach to the piece is very basic, utilising the tools that were naturally, readily available to me at my family home in New Forest during quarantine. I have used pen and paper, Canva text design app, Voice Memo on my Iphone 7 and Windows Movie Maker on my personal Lenovo portable laptop. This simplicity also reflects the concept of the work- searching the purpose of life, the relaxation, the positive in our lives from the raw connection between the mind and body not getting stressed, wound up by the material resources, which seemingly make our lives more sophisticated.
CALM AND BALANCE IS IN THE ENERGIES THAT WE PLUG INTO NOT THE DEVICES THAT WE STARE INTO
Firstly, the text of slogans was drafted on a piece of paper by hand and edited over a period of about a month and a half, then the nine shades of purple background were created through Canva and text inputted into a design, matching the color of the font to the colors corresponding with chakras, drawing on Carol Tuttle`s guide. The designed images with slogans were posted to make a @chakrafeed on Instagram in order to guide through the body from feet to mind in the grid of nine images in total (I am including the note mentioning the feed under the video).The direct inspiration for that was a `quarantine collection` of Slogans For The 21 st Century by a Canadian writer and visual artist. Douglas Coupland on his Instagram feed that i follow.
After the feed was created, I have worked on the ways of presenting the images to reflect the feed as a format in a both the online and the physical gallery environment.
This form of presentation of the images, one by one, with the voice over reinforcing the meaning and the power if the text as a tool for creation of this meditative state that i am aiming to create on the computer screen specifically, I realised is most effective out of the options that i have looked at. It was better to not over- complicate the piece but to create a version of display of the text where it relaxes and even enables an option to just switch on the video for laying or sitting back and simply listening to it after having taken in the visual component of it during first times of playing it.
Some may find an inclusion of my own voice a bit problematic due to it being a female only voice and myself, as an artist, personally closely being attached to the artwork and the meaning it carries, they may say. The inclusion of my voice is a guiding tool to help the viewer to `digest` the text, engaging with the artwork through a computer screen. I have purposely detached myself emotionally in my diction and the slow tempo of reading the text when recording, i have also not included my opinion as such, the slogans are presented as statements of facts.These are my observations of that struggle in myself and the people surrounding me on the daily basis. I am offering an emotional and ultimately a physical way out.
This piece aims to redeem a website or otherwise, an online screen based laptop viewing as an environment, where text not necessarily stresses and overloads an individual but can act as a tool of relaxation of their body and mind.
TIMELINE AND BUDGET:
Budget is £0, no extra resources used that i had to additionally pay for, only readily available ones
Timeline including the writing of the text, creation of the Instagram feed, making of the images, recording an audio and putting a video together is about 1 month.
Above: (from the left) Drafting text for slogans by hand , thinking of words, themes and meaning in relation to a function of the body part and the chakra that corresponds to it, planning an order in which slogans will go and visualising them as a part of a feed, screenshot of a live Instagram feed dedicated to the piece, a comment on one of the slogans
Find @chakrafeed on Instagram to engage with the artwork there by commenting on individual slogans and by sharing them
Above: An initial idea for the piece to display in the online exhibition- as a group of images with the slogans making up one grid without borders as they do in the Instagram feed.
I intended to include that note about the Instagram feed, purposely having created an Instagram account that is dedicated to the artwork, which takes up effectively a whole feed, so I can create this two way communication with the audience beyond the limits of the online exhibition but using online to overcome the effect of an isolation.
A tutor`s feedback on one of the tutorials, saying that it is difficult to `take in` all the images at once and suggesting to try an option of including them as individual frames in the video, pushed me to create the video above.
While the gradation of the tones of purple in the background of slogans, as well as of the text is very well visible in this format of the display of the images, the text itself and therefore its meaning takes a secondary position. The mind can not focus on that much text displayed on the screen at once.
For me the text is what carries that message to the audience, the main linking point of connection- text acts like an affirmation, mantra through which i aim to connect them with that part of the body, so I had to come up with an option that emphasizes the text, while also not losing color as an element.
FINAL GALLERY EXHIBITION (SEPT/ OCT 2020) PROPOSAL
Above: A visualisation of the nine printed cushions that I have made using a design preview tool on vistaprint.com, cutting out the background from the images i screenshotted.
Below: A sketch showing the final idea for the installation i am proposing for the physical show In Sept/Oct taking place following the online exhibition.
In this installation I aim to include the nine pillows, visualised above, laying them over the carpet in a grid format or otherwise more naturally. Office chair I would place centrally on that carpet offering a member of the audience to choose a cushion first that resonates with them most, dependent on which part of their body is problematic and to sit down on the chair placing that chosen cushion behind their lower back.
I am intentionally choosing as many natural materials as possible for the cushions: organic cotton for the covers and natural dried lavender for the stuffing in order for the materials to be as much as possible in line with the principles of holistic therapy- natural and organic expressed in all the elements- physical and spiritual- in line with the composition of a human body itself.
Idea is that through text, color and aroma will create initial impulse in the participant which developed through a meditation on the remembered slogan and impressions of the physical appearance of the cushion while feeling aroma and a comfort from the softness of it a person can achieve an effect of a relaxation within the area of a concern can be achieved.
The position within the room of the gallery I imagine to be somewhere off center of the larger space around the corner to create more of the feeling of security and privacy for the participant , at the same time exercise the notion of creating a meditative space within the public space through the use of aroma and objects, without creating physical borders between oneself and a social or a work environment.
VISUALISATION OF THE FINAL DEGREE SHOW PROPOSAL IN A POTENTIAL GALLERY SPACE
DIMENSIONS OF THE INSTALLATION AS A WHOLE: A rectangular section of the floor space approx. 1.5 metres in width and 2 metres in length
Organic cotton cushion covers printed for order externally via www.driftingbear.com: 9X 60=£540
Natural loose dried lavender for filling the cushion covers (2 kg bags): 5x 20= £100
Office Chair: £70
Total: 540+100+70x2= £780
SUMMATIVE TIME NEEDED( FABRICATION AND SET UP) :
FABRICATION: 1.5 months ( writing and finalising slogans+ 2 weeks for printing + 1 day for stuffing pillows
SET UP: Half a day
Below: Visualisation sketches I have done when working through ideas of the installation set up with cushions in an imagined gallery space against a photo of me by an office desk with a laptop at home.
This collection of imagery reflects how I have drawn different ideas combining them into a final proposal. I realised that an office chair is a powerful symbol for me of a physical strain and stress that is accumulated by an average city worker and a want to use a comforting soft quality of cushion to induce physical relaxation too, for it not to be just a visual reference to rest.