Project Proposal

Disgusting/Beautiful

– Can research in to aesthetics and human instincts help me create something that is both beautiful and disgusting at the same time?

Aims

My current practise was developed during the last two years of my bachelor degree in fine art, it started with a simple idea of wanting to fool the viewer, wanting them to experience something as beautiful and then later see that what they are looking at is made up of things like slugs, bugs and raw meat. My work is currently limited to digital prints and photographies, but my main objective for this project is to move in to new mediumz, specifically moving image and possibly installation. At the moment my main idea is to use a mixture oftime lapse animation and digital image and video manipulation, probably using after effects or flash.

The other main aim is to further develop the theoretical background for the work, by researching aesthetics and the human mind. By understanding the aesthetic tricks I use in my work, like mirroring and repetition, I will be able to use them better and more effectively. By looking in to why we find certain things disgusting and repulsive i hope to be able to create more successful images.

Objectives:

– Further understand the theories behind my work.

– Develop an understanding of aesthetics and using the things i find more actively in my work.

– Learn basic skills in necessary to create time lapse films and learn how to manipulate them using the necessary software.

– Find out what people find particularly disgusting or beautiful.

– Create something that is fun and playful, with a darker side.

Context

The work makes use of similar imagery as some artist identifying with the Brit Art movement in the 90s, like the raw meat and dead butterflies of damien hirst, and the kind of play with objects that Sarah Lucas and the Chapman brothers use. I take inspiration from some illusrators, like the beautiful work of Si Scott. The work could also fit with the somewhat safe and superficial but decorative work of LA pop surrealists, in that it is without any political or social cometary…

The decorative nature of the work holds some similarities to the work of William Morris. It can also give associations to the work of Miriam Schapiro, on of the founding figures in the Patter & Decoration movement 1970 – 85, where traditional and forgotten female crafts where reinvented. Symetry and repetition has often also been associated with religious art, particularly Hindu or Buddhist works, where the repetition is used to symbolise the endless cycle of birth, death and  rebirth, known as Samsara. The patterns and colours used in this form of art was also the inspiration for the fashions of the 60s flower power movement.

Theories of aesthetics are incredibly varied and the philosophy goes back thousands of years, and the mention of its connection with symmetry goes all the way back then too. Plato thought that beautiful objects incorporated proportion, harmony and unity. Aristotle in the Metaphysics mentions order, symmetry and definiteness. Modern aesthetics developed mainly in Germany and in England. In Germany Kant talked about the differences between taste and aesthetics, and stated that taste is a result of education and culture but beauty is universal.

Methodology

-I have created a website (www.disgustingbeautiful.com) where people can enter any word of any thing they find beautiful or disgusting, the words are displayed in a word cloud and I am going to use the words in the final pieces.
-The theoretical research will tie in with my research paper and learning about why we find certain things beautiful and disgusting should be very helpful to my work.
-Attending workshops should leave me with a basic knowledge of the software i need and then learn threw trying and failing, aswell as taking advantage of the resources I have available at uni and outside.

Outcomes

The main outcome would be a moving image piece presented at the degreeshow, threw the creation of the piece and the research leading up to it i hope to develop a series of new skills and knowlade:

– New softwares, like After Effects and Final Cut Pro
– New contextual understanding of my work
– Learning to use the software i already use better and in new ways, like photoshop
– Learning to use my cameras better, and in new ways
– Learning more about video editing and  HD technology

Workplan

From start to finish

– Attend workshops for After Effects and Flash
– Keep dabbling with processing
– Start making the time lapses, making some smaller ones with individual or a few things only, as well as larger ones.
– Play around with the software, and figure out what works and what does not work.
– There should off course be pretty regular reading/ researching
– Once the lapses are looking good start putting them together and mixing everything up as well as adding digital animation.
– Looking in to possibilities of interaction, at-least try some out
– Researching potential screens vs projection
– Prepare the final show and graduate

Bibliography

Scanlan, J. 2005, On Garbage, Reaktion Books Ltd, London, England

Laporte, D. 1978, History of Shit, Translated by Nadia Benabid, The MIT Press, Massachusetts, USA, 1993

Miller, I.W. 1998, The Anatomy of Disgust, Harvard University Press, Massachusett USA.

Waters, J. 2005, Shock value: a tasteful book about bad taste, Thunder’s Mouth Press, USA

Freidrich, G. W. 1993, Hegel: Introductory lectures on aesthetics, Penguin Books, London, England

Pontynen, A. 2006, For the love of beauty : art, history, and the moral foundations of aesthetic judgment, New Brunswick, USA

Sartwell, C. 2004, Six names of beauty, Crispin Sartwell, Routhledge, UK

Darwin, C. 1965, The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, USA

Doghlas, M. 2002, Purity and danger: an analysis of concept of pollution and taboo, Routledge classics edition, Routledge, New York, USA

Kant, I. Pluhar, W.S. 1987, Critique of judgment, Hackett Publishing, Indiana USA.

Menninghause, W. 2003, Disgust: the theory and history of a strong sensation, SUNY Press, New York USA

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