Study Skills

This was the final study skills session and was probably the most useful which is why I have posted as seperate to the rest as opposed to two post together. It looked at analysing visual culture; applying theory to images and objects. Cath Davis began by saying how everything in Constellation is about being able to situate your practice in realtion to other people practice and what has gone before. Its also about the difference between description and analysis. Constallation is about analysis, not about just describing things the way they are.

We then looked briefly at controversy, to help us with our essay. We explored the fact that what is seen as controversial changes with time, and what is seen by one person as controversial may not be controversial to another person, therefore it is a problematic concept to be dealing with. What one needs to do is unpick the concept of controversy. One needs to know the rules in order to question them and potentially break them. So with the controversy essay we could explore why it might be a controversial design, explore what the academics have to say on the topic of controversy and then pick another image that you find controversial and explain why you see this as controversial. Then relate and compare this to the baby cage image. The essay should be about analysis and theory and not about description. The essay brief is below.


So with this in mind we looked at the technique for unpicking an image and finding it potential meaning(s). Cath Davis gave us a very useful table to fill out to help in doing this;

Describe the components of the image Analyse the symbolic meanings, the cultural meanings and connotations Theory, get academic support and evidence to back up claims from analysis
Red rose Red Rose suggests love and romance in western culture, connotation of love Go and find theorist to back up claim of love and romance. In essay say “this theorist said….”

We then took the image below and used the table to explore its possible meanings;IMG_0628.JPG

Describe the components of the image Analyse the symbolic meanings, the cultural meanings and connotations Theory, get academic support and evidence to back up claims from analysis
Bowl Eating and consuming, consumption in east Asian culture Back this analysis up by researching to theorist. So for example look into the connotations that go with Barbie.
Doll in bowl in parts Doll being eaten as it’s in the bowl and chopstick is around one arm ready to be eaten. No head so head has already been eaten. The doll (Barbie) is a western artefact, has feministic and racial connotations.

So from this one could say that the picture is addressing how east Asia is consuming western culture. This is just one of many interpretation that could be taken from this image. There is also a fourth column that goes with this table and this is relating all of the analysis back to your own practice. This gives you the ability to critically analyse ones own work. You should be able to say why certain feature have been used as opposed to other features, such as why did you use metal as opposed to wood. One should be able to unpick the decisions made and the decision making process.

This is a very simple method for unpicking images and decisions made, I really like it and will use it in the future for essays similar to the one we have been given where we are asked to explore images, alongside using it in my own practice to unpick my own decisions.


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