Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Space & The Everyday - BCOP100

Today we focused on the concept of space. We started by trying to figure out what space was, which ranged from: the galaxy, distance, the universe and everything around us…
Descartes describes space as being extension, and so anything that has extension exists in space. 

A place becomes a space when someone occupies it, for example when a street performer occupies a street, it becomes a performance space. The way that we see a space, is how we affect it. 

We can walk in all directions in space: up, down, sideways... and Georges Perec believes that we should look in the direction that others do not. We should take notice of the mundane, common and ordinary and to make them essential to us. In this day and age it's always the rare occurrences and extraordinary events that are brought to light in the media. However, it's the quotidian that we should focus on.

When someone asks you, "what did you do today", commonly we answer "nothing". But really this is not the case, as each day we do so many things and see so many things. We are so quick to gloss over them because they are 'the normal to us'. It's only when we begin to stop and notice the ordinary things is when we can make them essential to our life and recognise the beauty of them. Very often we do things automatically and live without thinking, when really we should be observing every little detail of what surrounds us. 
"question your tea spoons" - Georges Perec [2]

As artists we should document the everyday and question everything, rather than ignoring, assuming and just accepting things that have become 'normal' to us. 

I decided that in response, I would try to look into something 'ordinary' to us all: bus seats. It's something that we all just glance over and don't think twice about, but really there is a reason for the typical crazy patterns that we find:

Really they serve a purpose to mask, hide, and disguise the dirt that accumulates over the years. The busy fabric print works as an 'illusion' which seems to make the dirt invisible. So what seems a 'normal' occurrence to us, really is there to make the seats appear clean and acceptable to sit on. 

"Their complex mind-reading designs are employed to hide unwanted graffiti and disgusting stains so that to the commuters eye, it's a normal (albeit, ugly) seat." [1]

To further my response, I created a collage focused on trying to replicate the fabric pattern on my bus:

Even the simple process of trying to replicate something, whether it be a drawing, painting or collage, you are forcing yourself to notice the details that you would never have noticed before. During this task that I set myself, I looked at each element of the design in order to recreate them accurately: the background 'block design', and then the orange and yellow shapes, which ended up reminding me of bananas and jelly beans - which is something that I would have never observed before.

[1] Short List (2015). [online]. Ever wondered why bus seats always have rubbish patterns? Available at: http://www.shortlist.com/news/there-s-a-good-reason-why-bus-seats-look-so-ugly [Accessed 17th January 2017]
[2] Georges Perec (1973). [online]. The Indra-Ordinary: Approaches to what? Available at: http://daytodaydata.ellieharrison.com/georgesperec.html [Accessed on 17th January 2017]

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