Welcome to another blog post on mental health and the world of caring from a carer’s perspective. You can check out my other blog posts which sometimes has posts about my thoughts on caring, mental health, reviews, videos and so on. Now on this post I want to talk about another Art event I visited over at the University of the Arts London.
On friday 12th of December, I went along to the PerPlexUs, MA Applied Imagination’s 2014 degree show, which defies myopic ideology and social infrastructures. There were plenty of art exhibitions to view and I even managed to also stay for the talk by artists describing their projects and the work they have produced across the world via the power of collaboration. This talk was on “How can creative collaboration save the world?“.
Now I don’t know if you managed to view my site post about the Edward Adamson Collection Talk on my blog, but feel free to visit the site for the link below.
Going back to that talk I met a lovely artist by the name of Adele Orcajada at that talk done by Dr David O Flynn. She told me about her project on the Masters Applied Imagination degree.
Adele told me about her interest which was on Yarn, where Yarn is a soft fabric used for knitting. Adele told me her philosophy on the texture, colour and uses for yarn.
I almost envied her passion for the fabric. So when she told me she was having an exhibition over at the University of the Arts London, I thought to myself it would be great to go over there and check her project out. Adele also reminded me that Dr David O Flynn was doing a talk at the PerPlexUs exhibition, so I felt it would be great to capture that as well, although unfortunately David could not attend that day due to an emergency.
Now going back to the degree show, I felt the main emphasis of that show was how art could heal and help people recover and connect with each other.
Still the PerPlexUs 2014 event also focuses on the students from the degree course raising projects to engage with many vital current issues and concerns from the personal to the global, being either gender issues, youth, well-being and so on.
If you wish to see the video version of my review of this event, please press play on the video below.
So anyway, as I approached Adele’s stand. Her exhibition was very impressive, I wished I had arrived a bit earlier to take things slowly and examine the stall even further. Each part of the stall told a number of stories and projects about the fabric, which is Yarn. Adele’s focus for her project was “Can Yarn achieve recognition as a distinct material that connects us to emotion, culture and identity?”
Adele then explained to me a number of her projects, one being story book about different types of Yarn. The other being a journal being turned into a ball of Yarn, plus Yarn rings which I thought were very interesting. I was also amazed at how the project aimed itself on dementia issues, where Adele took her Yarn for patients to use, although some would just touch the Yarn and felt at ease with it so they could sleep.
Another thing that interested me at Adele’s project was the Yarn placed in bubble wrap, I was so tempted to press and pop the wrap, but thought I had better leave it alone.
Adele showed me the types of Yarn at her exhibit section and explained further the properties and texture of Yarn, she also encouraged me to touch each Yarn fabric while she explained how it was nice to pull the string of yarn or make something out of the it.
Unfortunately Adele was very busy that evening setting up much of the exhibition and also the talk on “Creative Collaboration”, so I took it upon myself to check out some more exhibits, I was hoping to hear more from Adele at the lecture theatre soon, before Adele rushed off, she invited me to touch and play with the Yarn some more and make my own thoughts about how the Yarn felt.
I also took the chance to go through her lovely stories about the pots of Yarn on her stall.
The Play Machine section by Ritika Jobanputra
So what was the next exhibit I checked out? Well I came across an attractive set of colours near placed near the wall. This was the “Play Machine” section by Art Student Ritika Jobanputra. Now her project aspect was on “How can the art of self-expression reach a wider audience of children through ‘play’ with sound and colour?”
Here is a small explanation from Ritika herself, basically “Play Machine” is a low-tech creative, recreational and educational tool, which combines both sound and colour, giving children the opportunity to freely express themselves.
One of things that struck at the Play Machine Exhibit was the messages on the wall.
Where a quote read out “Through self-expression in play children resolve conflicts, express outwardly what they are experiencing internally” Erikson, 1977
I also took note of how the pattern’s of paint were painted on paper up along the wall as if it was done playfully, but also being rather attractive to watch.
I decided to also take a memento of the exhibit took a card on how I felt play was actually unproductive in a good way.
You are a “pack of cards” exhibit
One of the installations I stopped at before I got to Adele’s exhibit was one done by Mitchell Cutmore. His project was on “How can playing with personality help you play your cards right?” I was wondering why a large number of cards were placed on the wall.
This was rather perplexing, but when I approached to find out more information, the project explained that this was a grounding metaphor to help people know themselves better by playing card games to boost self-awareness. Here people can shuffle, split and personalize their personality and it is suggested the card game “Rummy” to do such a task.
I then turned to check out a large section of exhibits in the middle of the hall and I was drawn to an exhibit nearly laid out.
The “Work as we Play” Exhibit
The next project I saw was called “Work as we play”. Now this exhibit was done by Zerlyna Merilla and this project was on “How can gamification increase millennial employee engagement to the company?”
Well this reminds me of Google, since I tend to feel they aim to merge work as if the employee was playing.
Zerlyna emphasis on this section is How that Work as we Play, is an internet-based system wrapped in a ribbon of fun for employers to engage their employees.
I did not spend too long at this exhibit, but being an IT person, I did attempt to create a character off the laptop placed on the stall.
The “Sound Hanger” Exhibit
I moved on to an interesting section that looked to be called “Sound Hanger”, this one was done by Kwan Hee Cho. Her project was on “How can multi-sensory tagging enhance the shopping experience for the visually impaired?“.
Here it is mentioned that when the blind pick out clothes, they know basic information about material and shape of clothes by using the sense of touch. Here this project provides a new shopping experience through hearing, transferring colours of clothes into sound, plus giving experience to sighted shoppers.
The Dialogue & Bridge Exhibit
I quickly then glanced and explored the project to my right and this was done by Dongran Li, which questioned “How can we break down the barriers and generate the new film co-production possibilities between the UK and China”
I felt this was a fairly interesting project, which looked at how London is a global centre of production for screen industry, but Dongran noticed it was a good time for the Chinese film market to help develop fresh ideas.
The Contemporary Art Section
Soon I found myself at a phrase I recognised in the art movement, contemporary art. Here the artist Lujia questioned “How can online and physical space combine art environments to promote and develop communication?”
Here this interesting project looked at blending the two elements of online and physical environments together, where art does not just exist on the internet. I felt the project was attractive and nicely laid out.
As I looked around the large hall, I kept noticing this sign placed around the place. It looked to be tribal or almost some far eastern symbol. I wished I had asked someone what it was or what it stood for, the symbol was certainly perplexing.
Polymeric Islands exhibit
Eventually I found myself attracted to another symbol and was interested in the word below the symbol called “Join the resistance”. When I stepped closer to examine the stall, I noticed it was completed by art student Jennifer Glein where her project focused on “Can a surrealist approach towards ecological messaging engage people to rethink attitudes and altar their behaviours towards the plastic polluted oceans?”
Ok, ok….that was a long project title, but I guess there are quite a few around.
So what does this polymeric islands mean?
Well I read that this project is concerned with individual action and aims to show that action DOES count. In fact, it proposes that this is the only way in which change can come about, where one person changing one small part of their world, again and again……I like that.
The project looks to attack the problem of consumerism and our ecological myopia.
I spent quite a while looking at the Polymeric Landmark placed near the exhibition.
The Kibi Schultz Installation
The next installation was done by Kibi Schultz. I was really impressed by the use of space and colour and the closer I got to the display, the more I saw the message about the exploitation about female children’s bodies, this being on the topic of Female Genital mutilation and the pressure to change their bodies.
The Consumption exhibit
A few steps away was another exhibit, visitors to the exhibit were asked “What is your inconspicuous Consumption?“.
Going back to the large sheet of paper on the wall, I did not really know what my inconspicuous consumption is or was. So I just noted that I agreed with someone else’s view.
The Self-acknowledgement stall
Out of all the stalls and exhibits that drew my attention, there were 4 of them and although my main interest was in Adele’s stall, this one by was close to my field. Here at this exhibit the project was on “How can self-acknowledgement through the help of a psychologist lessen people’s emotional sufferings?”
Here this project asked if people ever considered consulting a psychologist and looked at the stigma and embarrassment of those who were too afraid to admit this. Here this exhibition has a blog to help raise the awareness of mental health and I glad to see an exhibition whose core aim was mental wellbeing, the project also has a blog, which I not managed to get hold of as yet.
Who is the next Ai Weiwei? Section
One of the last exhibits I checked out was compiled by Belinda Shi whose theme was on “Who is the next Ai Weiwei and can western audiences explore Chinese contemporary art beyond the political perspective?”
What impressed me at one of the last installations I visited was how engaging Belinda Shi was about her work.
Belinda took the time to explain what her exhibit, which allowed people to tear off or cut off the paper on the wall to reveal cards on Chinese art.
You can find out a bit more on Belinda’s work off her facebook page.
Cutting the sleeves Section
Next to Belinda’s work was Yinghui Cao’s project looking at “Cutting the sleeve – How can Chinese gay men be encouraged to refuse sham marriages?”.
There was a video of a young Chinese man cutting off some clothes from what I believe is an ancient Chinese story was mesmerising.
The project is a campaign to encourage Chinese gay men to be honest with their sexuality and refuse to get married to straight women in sham marriages. This perhaps might be the situation in China, where pressure is placed on many to marry, but I guess the same can be in the west on some circumstances.
Well I visited a few more installations and exhibits, obviously I could not visit all of them and I am sorry I could not mention any more artists since there was so many to mention, but all the stalls and exhibits offered something for the viewer, but now I want to move on to the next part of the Perplexus art event at the University of the Arts London
This part was the talk about how creative collaboration can save the world
We had several hosts at the talk, who were so happy to see people coming together and being creative and where there are ways making people think in a new light. The thing is that socialising can be a creative process and bring a community connection.
At the talk we got to hear from 3 students the first being Adele who talked through a cycle of pictures each representing her projects. Unfortunately the pictures cycled fairly fast, so I could not capture all of them, but for Adele her projects were on
1. Using Yarn to make Tangible network
2. An Unmake project where old sweaters are turned into to new sweaters to aid recycling
3. The Awareness champion of a person knitting as he walks to raise awareness of dementia
4. Sharing messages to the world
5. Turning stories into yarn, mainly because people couldn’t read her writing
We also got to hear from 2 other artists.
1. The use of the Imagination symbol
2. Workshops on recreation of old
3. Creating art on the cups to enhance objects
4. Projects portraying the Art of history
5. Examining the paintings of Mary Dubin’s sea horse
1. Rehabilitation on child abuse
2. Somewhere over the rainbow.
3. Daughter working with the artist on FGM awareness
4. Raising awareness of the wasting of water
5. Inconspicuous consumption – old clothes to new clothes innovative.
Next we heard from the 3 artists at the panel who two I have briefly mentioned already.
The first was Regina frank
Now Regina talked about on one project where she Worked on an art piece for 28 days to emulate the workers on slave wage. E.g. developing country workers.
She talked about how she has travelled around the world while using the internet as digital information and found words that she felt she had some connection to.
Made a kimono out of her favourite text while over in Japan
Went to Atlanta to make an art on a game where no one wins, felt amazing experience of people contributing on poetry.
One project was on a Mushroom dress where mushrooms were grown on a dress and shared with others.
An interest project using sound where she used Cracking out from a mould and also used the sound of cracking the fruit open and painting with it, the sound was an amazing experience for Regina.
Another project was on the Powerful perspective of painting a brush on a dress, how the brush moves and not us. If you want to hear more about Regina’s work then visit her site at http://www.regina-frank.de/
We then heard from Maria Dubin
Who told us of the experience she had when trying to explain to a big company about a piece of art work, but it showed how difficult it is to make an art piece. The problem was on how nobody understood her about how hard art is to make. Something was wrong. Now Maria wants to be part of the world, no more artist language, she felt she spent too long with other artists.
Her mission was not to be so private, but take her art studio out into the world. Into museums.
Her Studio was also taken into a hospice, and although as we know people die there, the project was challenging on how art would be taken to a place like that, but maria was nervous about the interest.
Maria found out she was in dialogue with other people, she noticed art can HEAL.
Maria also painted sea horses near business, which helped a business because people wanted to have their picture taken by the seahorse.
Seahorses painted around the world, seems to be connecting people and she has made film “sea horse symphony.
Feel free to check out Maria Dubin’s site at http://www.mariadubin.com/
The last artist on the panel was Jazz Rasool
Now he Works with people a lot on transforming their skills. Jazz spoke about his transition model which has 3 processes, where the first is Awaken then collaborate and transform – ACT
Here on this model, it is a Working wheel, where each Spends time in each cycle, but relies on it to build up momentum.
In order to be creative, have intent, cook it, transform it.
Explains a bit on Awakening cycle, connecting better with yourself and the world around you. Half of the cycle is about waking up.
He the moved on to the collaboration cycle, where he explained on the use of committing to collaborate with others, half the cycle is cooperation and building of trust of people. Need commitment, but can lead to bigger things as influence the world as a whole in itself.
Jazz warned on avoiding the competitive cycle, this is where you go in reverse, which is backwards, the thing is we need to contribute.
The last cycle was the Transformation cycle, but half the cycle is planning, but after a while this turns into action, and if this is done well it can lead to impacts and that is done really well it can lead to another spin of the cycle.
I am sure I have missed so much out of Jazz presentation, but you can read up on more of his ideas at http://www.jazzrasool.com/
After the talk, I actually got involved in the event with the students where we participated in several group workshops. One was writing a word or phrase that can relate to the community in which we are drawn to. We then used the words or phrases of other artists to make a story. We then moved on to learning about our abilities and talents and learning about other people’s talents who are opposite from us, but also opens up room for learning from our weakness.
The last section was connecting with each other through A web of Yarn, each with a different colour, texture and length.
Overall I enjoyed the event and to be honest this was the students final projects before they graduated and I wish them well with their future projects on pushing the boundaries of art, using art to make a statement or activism, help raise awareness with art and most importantly experiencing creativity in their lives where art helps them in their journey.