Peer Led Session
This week’s session was much busier, and we had a lot of input from quite a few students. I find it really interesting that Gary’s project topic has so much in common with mine, but both projects are so very different. I’ll be really interested to see how his turns out. Cat has also offered to connect me with a possible interview subject, which is promising.
The other big news this week is that we finally have the chance to attend a study trip to Berlin. This is the first time we’ve had the opportunity to attend a study trip as Covid has meant any others we would have been offered did not go ahead.
Plans include a workshop with Patrick Thomas as well as studio visits and a chance to meet up with others in the cohort face to face. I’ve never been to Berlin, and I have to admit I’m a bit nervous about travelling, but I’m sure the experience would be great.
The webinar got off to a bit of a rocky start, we started a bit late and there were some technical issues with the presentation. But Celine had some great suggestions for me when I talked about looking for an expert connection, and I’ve looked into a few of the people she suggested. I am anxious about this particular requirement, as I don’t feel I have enough of a handle on the project to explain it succinctly when reaching out.
Olivia Twist is an illustrator and lecturer from London who’s work deals with place. According to her bio: “The key threads which can be found in her work are place, the mundane and overlooked narratives. Her striking visual language comprises of a myriad of esoteric layers informed by a propensity for human-centered research methodologies.” (Twist 2017) Twist’s work is bold and graphic, often with thick black linework on a single colored background or a tight restrained palette. Her work is rooted in the mundane, celebrating the life she observes around her, and anchored in a deep sense of place. Illustration is always a love of mine, and something I would like to experiment with more during this project.
Peony Gent is another London based illustrator, and I fell in love with her work immediately. She creates fluid, abstract work, full of scribbles and dynamic movement, and she has self published a number of small run comics and poetry pieces. She tries to capture the emotion and sense of place in her illustrations and this really struck a nerve. Similar to Olivia Twist, her linework is so full of character. I need to move away from feeling tied to create “pretty” linework or trying to be strictly representational, and both of these illustrators are perfect examples of capturing emotion and resonance.
This week was my floating session. I was quite nervous before going, this was always something I had been interested in, but it was also intimidating and strange. I had booked into a ”room” rather than a ”pod” as I felt that having more space would be more comfortable and reduce the risk of panicking.
I really enjoyed the experience! To be honest, I would do it more regularly if it wasn’t for the cost. The only negative is that one of my earplugs came out halfway through and I got a bit of water in my ear, but that could be solved with better earplugs.
I was a bit worried I would panic or feel uncomfortable, but it was a thoroughly relaxing experience. After a shower and time to get situated, you push a button on the wall to turn the lights off, slowly. Eventually I could barely tell the difference between having my eyes open or closed, but I think I defaulted to closed as it was the most relaxing. The water was body temperature, and the air was humid and also warm, so you feel as if your body disappears and melts into your environment. I was only reminded of it a few times if I accidentally strayed into the wall or moved. The lady running the room advised not to get out to check on the time or anything else to disturb the process as that is when people panic or don’t enjoy themselves, at the end of the session she brings some music up slowly to bring you out of the experience and to let you know it is time to turn the lights back on and get ready to leave.
I left with a very loose limbed feeling, similar to after a very relaxing yoga practice and I really enjoyed myself. Apparently it takes a few sessions to have the full effect, and I would be interested in going again!
Yi-Fu Tuan is the founder of the Humanistic school in geography. He wrote extensively about space and place, and the human need for connection and attachment to home. Lots of books to research!
Wrote about the definition of personal experience narrative – track down this book, Life Stories: The Creation of Coherence