N.C.A.D. Diploma in Art & Design
Multidisciplinary (Final Work - Project 7)
See below for Final Project Work
See here for Project Outline, Artist Statement and Research notes for this project
1. TRASH THOUGHTS
Using a white bin and black thread, I created this piece to reflect the zig zagging of a multitude of synapses/thoughts that are contained and racing back and forth within the mind of someone suffering from panic and/or anxiety. I used the bin as a symbol of how the majority of these anxious thoughts, that are consuming and draining our head space, are usually just junk thoughts. They are therefore not benefiting us in a positive manner and so should be discarded of.
Ironically, I found the weaving of the thread quite therapeutic and relaxing!
2. CAFFEINE CONSTERNATION
We often turn to caffeine when we are stressed and busy, however, caffeine is often described as being a link to causing an increase in anxiety and it is likely to thus act as a catalyst to our stress. Therefore, following the consumption of a large amount of coffee, instead of finding a calmer state of being we are actually overflowing our bodies with a product that tends to increase the symptoms of anxiety such as ones heart beating faster, sweating, shaking and an overactive mind.
When someone is suffering from panic and anxiety the world around them can become distorted and mutated. It was my aim to portray and mirror these factors and sensations when creating the below work.
The cup full of the green, furry material was created in order to act as a symbol of overflowing energy that we feel we are unable to contain within us while suffering with anxiety and panic. This energy can become built up as it is feels contained within you, however, it is ready to overflow and push its way out. This work is a prime example of how Meret Oppenheims work, 'Object' , had a strong influence on me.
The cup containing toothpicks, which are piercing through its exterior, was created as a symbol of the sharp stabbing thoughts and stress that one may feel is constantly blasting through their body and trying to escape while suffering from panic. I also included a small stone covered in an elastic band at the bottom of the cup; this stone was to act as a symbol of the feeling of a heavy and tight rock within our stomach and thus that feeling of heaviness and an unshakable knot that is contained within us when suffering from stress and anxiety.
3 (a). SPEEDING SYNAPSES
Similar to the first piece of work for this project ('1 Trash Thoughts’), in this piece I again used the idea of the zig zagging of multiple synapses of thoughts that speed through the mind of someone who may be suffering from panic and/or anxiety.
I first made 3 small boxes from paper and painted them black as a sign of the darkness that one can feel surrounds them when suffering from panic/anxiety. I then used red thread to symbolize the dangerous thoughts that can race back and forth through our minds and thus overpower us from thinking in a clear and focused manner.
3 (b). SPEEDING SYNAPSES
For the second piece of this work as part of 'Speeding Synapses', I again used the idea of the zig zagging of multiple synapses of thoughts that speed through the mind of someone who may be suffering from panic and/or anxiety.
However, this time I symbolized the internal darkness that can be felt within a person by painting the interior vacuum inside of the cones in black and the exterior of the cones in white. This was to highlight how one may be surrounded by light but yet still feel the darkness inside of them as these dark thoughts flicker throughout their mind.
I first created cone shapes from heavy print paper and I then painted them white on the outside and black on the inside. As mentioned above, the black was used in order to act as a sign of the darkness that one may feel within them when suffering from panic/anxiety while the white acts as the light that we are unable to see from within this darkness. I then used red thread inside of the cones to symbolize the dangerous thoughts that can race back and forth through our minds and thus overpower us from thinking in a clear and focused manner.
4. LATENT LIGHT
For this piece I used black ducked tape over a light bulb and enclosed it within a jar. The idea behind this work was to symbolize a light that has been blocked out and hidden underneath of a darkness. I placed it inside of a jar to ensure that it was fully contained and smothered of air and also to make it more difficult for someone to gain access and reach inside in order to remove the black tape (ie. the darkness).
The idea of the light being latent is that it is lying dormant somewhere beneath the surface; similar to how the light may still be lying somewhere inside of a person but it has unfortunately been taped over and blocked out as they have become smothered by the darkness. The closed jar symbolizes how they have locked themselves away from seeking help and withdrawn from society.
5. SEEKING SPEED
The title of the below book, 'The Quest For Speed', reminded me of how society has become quite obsessed with a constant quest for speed in every aspect of our lives. We feel a need for immediacy in everything; from a demand in our technology to constantly pressurizing and pushing our own limits and capabilities towards a breaking point. People tend to become sucked into this way of living and become caught up and contained within this web of panic, thus finding it difficult to take a step back and away from this style of living.
After deciding upon this book as my everyday household item, I then needed to successfully manipulate it in order to create an unexpected finding inside of it. I measured circles onto each page of the book - the largest circle being on the first page and then a gradual decrease in the size of each circle until the smallest circle on the last page. I then cut out each of these circles in order to create a vacuum like affect throughout the book; this was to symbolize one being sucked into this funnel of a quest for speed. Finally, I threaded the pages together in a zig zag style throughout the book in order to create a spiderweb affect to mimic how we can get caught up within this vacuum.
6. EGG EXPIRATION
Eggs are often associated with the prospect of life, however, I wanted to create a darkness to this symbol. I attempted to achieve this by having a black substance pouring and escaping outwards from inside of the cracked eggs. It was again my aim to use everyday kitchen and household items and to distort them in order to create a sense of horror, fear and a detachment from reality.
I first cracked the eggs and poured hot wax inside of them and let it flow outwards. Once the wax had hardened, I then painted over it in black paint.
7 (a). PANIC BUTTON: Push if Panicked
As the majority of my work for this project had been quite dark so far, I therefore decided to diverse slightly and look at my subject matter in more of a colorful and playful manner (though keeping the dark subject matter of containment/panic in mind throughout this process).
I first glued a bell call (which is used to alert for attention) to the bottom of a pink box which was full of colorful elastic bands. I then used the zig zagging of colorful wool to enclose the bell within the box and to thus act as a blockage to being able to reach in to ring this bell. The idea behind this piece was that the elastic bands and wool barriers symbolized the various blockages that we ourselves can sometimes place around us and hence block us from seeking and calling upon others for help.
Also, although all of these colorful images may surround a person, what is hidden underneath the exterior may actually be a person who is suffering and in need of help. This can especially be true in many cases for people suffering from panic, anxiety and depression - due to the fact that there still tends to be so much stigma attached to the request for help in regards to mental health problems. The elastic bands also symbolize the idea of a person being stretched to their limit.
7 (b). PANIC BUTTON: Push if Panicked
Similar to Meret Oppenheims work 'Object (1936)' (that I discovered during my research for this project), my aim here was to have an unexpected finding within an everyday object and thus create a sense of uncanniness, shock and disillusionment for the viewer/audience.
I again stuck a bell call to the inside of a box, however, this time I used a Brown Thomas box as it is so well known for its luxury goods and so this would increase the distaste upon the viewers discovery of these unexpected items inside of it. I placed straws and thumb tacks inside of the box and I then poured wax into the box in order to capture and contain these items within the wax. The straws surrounding the bell call symbolize the idea of the air being sucked around you and thus feeling like you are unable to breath or shout for help. The thumb tacks symbolize the prodding of sharp thoughts and sensations throughout your body, these thoughts and sensations are increased when suffering with fear, panic and anxiety.
8. MARSHMALLOW MADNESS
I again decided to look at the subject matter of Containment in a more colorful and playful manner (as I previously had in 7(a)).
I decided upon a press drawer as the household item for this piece and I then used found materials and placed them inside of the press in order to distort the scene. The press acts as a symbol of being locked away within darkness, the feeling of claustrophobia and the feeling that your surroundings are closing in around you. This thus results in an urge to break free and escape. There is again a sense of discovery and playfulness in this work due to the fact that you are not quite sure of what is hidden within the drawer when opening it.
In the corner of the interior of the press there is a key captured within a cage (made from chicken wire). There is also a hammer, within the press, which is completely covered in cotton wool so as to muffle its attempt to break out. Both of these items symbolize the wish to break free but suffering from blockages that are in your way and thus muffling any attempt to call upon help. These may be your own blockages that you place upon yourself, or, those of which society places on you.
The marshmallows (stuck onto the wood throughout the interior of the press) were to reflect a muffled padded cell similar to that which can be found in a psychiatric hospital.
9. HAZY HAND
I created this figure of a hand (using chicken wire) in order to imitate a tired / fading, ghost like hand which is seeking out and attempting to grasp for something to hold on to. It was interesting to note how through placing the hand in different locations the subject matter could change quite dramatically.
In the first picture; I used the 2nd press drawer of the drawer (as used in piece 8 above) as the everyday household item and I then distorted the setting by placing unexpected items within it. I first created the overlapping of hair inside of the press and I then placed the ghost like hand reaching outwards from this hair as it attempts to reach out of the press. I created this piece as a homage to horror films and to create an eerie feeling of fear as the viewer opens the drawer and is met with this unexpected scene. It also aims to make the viewer question what the hand may be trying to escape from, or, what it is reaching outwards for.
In some of the other photographs that I took it is not clear (depending upon the setting) if the ghost like hand is seeking something in a haunting and horrorful way, or, if it is a symbol of a faded invisible hand that is cut away from the rest of the world. This is represented in the picture of the hand looking out through the glass window to the outside world - here it represents the feeling of both being invisible, or, the wish to be invisible.
10. HOUSE SUCKED OF LIFE
Keeping with the theme of being captured/contained and surrounded by darkness, for this piece I created a matchstick house in which I had the house remain windowless in order to symbolize a dark home that is shut off from having light entering inside of it. The straws emerging from the front door act as a symbol of how this home is being sucked of light.
I again used everyday household items as the underlying setting for this project piece. I placed the house within a cake container to further enhance the idea of being caged in. This cage also keeps the audience at a distance from the home and makes us feel as though we are peering in upon the scene, from an outside world, and separated from the situation.
11. SMOTHERED SEEDLING
The unexpected and distorted is again present within this everyday household item as the softness that one would expect to find within a tissue box has been replaced by the roughness of tree branches that are attempting to break outwards from within the box.
This piece represents the wish for growth but being contained within a place or situation. It also insinuates the requirement to have a roughness within you in order to grow and thus one can not become too soft and complacent within their life if they wish to grow and evolve. I previously discussed this subject in the 1st work of my first Arte Povera project of the Diploma course when I looked at the idea of wrapping yourself in cotton wool. 'While some may believe that you are protecting yourself through this act, you can actually be running the risk of smothering yourself from opportunities and hence losing out on so much that life has to offer.'
12 (a). SULLIED SIGHT: Blurred Vision
Here I decided to use a teabag box as the everyday household item. I then needed to mutate it in some fashion in order to create a state of distortion and confusion.
I tried to achieve this sense of confusion through the overlapping of several mirrors within the empty teabag box; this was so that when the user opens the teabag box they are unexpectedly met with multiple images of themselves which are distorted due to the many different reflections looking back at them. This was created in order to portray a symbol of the dizziness, confusion and distortion that may occur for someone, (even within their mundane and everyday normal activities) suffering from anxiety and panic.
12 (b). SULLIED SIGHT: Blurred Vision
I chose spectacles as the everyday item for this piece. I then covered them in cotton wool and caffeine in order to create a feeling of dizziness, haziness, distortion and confusion.
One of the reasons as to why I used spectacles for this work was to symbolize the haziness and blurriness that often occurs in ones sight when they are suffering from anxiety, containment and panic. The cotton wool was used to act as a symbol of this haziness and blurred vision surrounding the person. The coffee grains were used to reflect the idea that, although caffeine may provide us with a short term feeling of energy, too much caffeine may lead to a sped up heart rate, anxiety, lack of sleep and thus over tiredness and increased symptoms of anxiety.
13. BLENDER OF BAGGAGE
Here I focused on the idea of the never ending list of tasks that we constantly face and can feel contained and panicked by.
I used a multitude of post-its and inscribed numbers on them in order to symbolize the long list of tasks that one can feel is weighing them down. I then placed these post-its into a food blender. The food blender was used to represent both (1) the wish to destroy the list of tasks by shredding them in the blender and (2) the idea of your mind constantly being torn apart and inundated by this pounding list of duties.