So, it’s the end of June, and I’m halfway into my Honours project—SCARY THOUGHT. If you don’t know what my project is about, you might want to read this post though my objectives have altered slightly as time’s passed. Now is the perfect time to critically reflect on my progress throughout the first semester. We were given the opportunity to present our process and findings in a quasi-formal verbal and visual (poster) presentation on the 10th and 16th of June. (Well, actually, it made up 75% of our total grade, so it’s a bigger deal than I’m making it out to be.)
Luckily for me I was assigned to the latter date, so that gave me a while to collate my ideas together, following my marathon completion of my artist book for my elective unit. In a nutshell, I formulated a new question/thesis, emphasising the merits of ornament over modernism, excess over restraint, maximalism over minimalism. The difference being a lot of me mixed into the concoction. I turned to critical theory and other texts to validate my arguments, and I believe I was able to confidently and convincingly articulate my ideas on, and more importantly my passion for, this subject.
I’m pretty amazed at just how much I bared my soul to everybody (despite my having known most of these people for well over 3 years it isn’t exactly like we’re close chums); I felt strangely bereaved and liberated. Like OH MY GOD WHAT HAVE I DONE, NO ONE WILL LOOK AT ME THE SAME WAY AGAIN! And conversely, NOW YOU SEE THE REAL ME; IT’S NOT ME, BUT IT’S ME. JUDGE ME, I DARE YOU. This project is as my blog title suggests a “part observation, part confession”. I stole this quote from one of my research texts, In Flagrante Collecto, but I’m sure this is not an exclusive sentiment.
Essentially this project is all about my love for kitsch. It enriches my social, cultural, intellectual, physical and emotional experience, and I need to—and want to—highlight this sensibility throughout. Of course, this makes my project an extremely self-indulgent undertaking, but I don’t think this makes my project any less worthy of investigation than exploring the history of type design, or designing a nation’s identity, or discovering more effective modes of way-finding in a city space. What these presentations ultimately made me realise is how diverse our interests are, but we are all linked by a genuine keenness to push the boundaries of art, design, sociological and anthropological discourse. It’s exciting (and terrifying!) to consider where we’ll end up 5–6 months from now…
My poster designs, with my observations and (elusive) goals for next semester:
The great part about this presentation is the scope of feedback I received, from both peers, lecturers and guest assessors. At one point we had 6 lecturers, which wasn’t as daunting as I’d imagined it was going to be. As usual, everyone had something to say about it. Egos flew (haha, I wish). I’ve scanned in notes that I found constructive, funny and … not so helpful. I didn’t post all of them here, but perhaps I will.
FYI, I wrote an entirely new essay with new material, building on what I had already argued, so it’s not like I was cheating… Granted maybe I shouldn’t have read my speech but I spoke with inflection and expression, so with that I hope I could engage my audience and not induce them into comatose sleep…
LOL I sound defensive don’t I.
Way to inflate my ego! But that’s just what I wanted to emphasise.
This was very helpful… Thank you ever so much.
Aha, kitsch WILL be taken seriously!
Making a mockery of minimalism has been frequently mentioned by others, so I will definitely consider this…. though I may not commit to that path. I’m not crusading explicitly against minimalism (it’s beautiful in its own right), but marrying the stark contrast into something kitsch completely undermines modernism’s agenda. I like the subversion.
I know this was by Nat, since she said afterwards I ought to “write porn” (her words!) and that she would “totally read it”! So as not to feel mortified (nah, totally amused), I’m reminded of a quote by Australian romance author, Anna Campbell: “it’s emotional porn!”
More like understanding Saturday Night Fever. :P
I don’t know how much more personal I can make an already deeply personal project! But I am very heartened by that last comment.
I have looked at kitsch’s origins for half a year… I should have mentioned this. I did mention it, albeit implicitly… But I like the alignment of kitsch to what isn’t fashionable, that’s basically what happened to Art Deco, and look now, totally chic art style and movement!