Constellation is beginning to become a very important aspect of both my practical and written work as it is beginning to support my practice in many ways than what I imagined. From reading recommendations through the second term such as Heavenly Bodies, Stardom and Celebrity and also theorists from my first term like Barbara Creed I have been able to combine a list of the key components of beauty and glamour within the celebrity world. Knowing these components have been able to come together to help create work that is personal to myself with imagery that I know will indicate towards a certain direction. As always reading and gathering quotes has been difficult and overcoming this especially for the dissertation proposal has been extremely difficult.
To overcome difficulties like the readings, I have continued using column analysis to un-pack imagery which is always useful, to further this I have begun to pick out keywords based on certain topics within stardom. By doing this I have been able to understand the definitions of them, for example, the term leisure class, and apply it to stars of the present day and also use the terms to then strengthen my writing in new ways. As mentioned in the past, by taking apart theories I have learnt before and also new ones like Richard Dyer’s theory of stars, the components have been able to guide me towards the correct materials that will respond to the theories correctly which again will create a clear indication for the audience to understand what the concept of the work is.
As this term did not have study groups that would teach you certain theories, components and readings that would allow you to research further, I found it rather difficult to start my research. However, with the guidance of my dissertation tutor and also with the notes from constellation levels four and five I was able to find a starting point, this beginning with Freud and Dyer. From past experience, I needed to begin condensing my notes down and when condensing down I needed to be able to understand them. To make sure there was a success in this area I have begun to hand write all notes and highlight important areas in the readings that I had. This enabled a good body of research ready for my proposal and also help decide on one of the stars I wanted to use as the focus of my dissertation. From speaking to personal tutors from subject it was explained to me that to go through a reading much quicker is to look in the index section for keywords, something I was not aware of before. This has helped to overcome my fear of reading and has made it a more enjoyable experience than before.
The experiences in constellation are continuously changing and they are always enjoyable ones. It has only strengthened my passion for cultures and the image of people within different classes and how the elements of these cultures help build the image. As my practice took a major change at the beginning of level five, I came to the understanding that the work I was producing clearly did not work I was enjoying which is the reason why I have returned to the use of celebrity culture and stardom in my work. To continue doing this successfully I will begin to use my own personal values and experiences towards stardom and create work using the components I have found in my research to produce work that is coherent in the use of colour, scale and vivid imagery. The exploration of materials will continue to be used and this is in response to the characteristics that are used to compare the glamour and grotesque to a material.
Constellation is constantly excelling in terms of teaching new theories and how these theories help myself understand not only work for others but my own as well. Using the column analysis to unpack an image helps create an understanding towards the visual representations in the work and also help decipher the theories that have been taught. I believe that it is an easier way to plan a piece of writing as it is a stepping stone for you to write the text in an academic way. The only difficulty I find with the column analysis is the theory part, this is done to me being lazy when it comes to reading texts and also pairing the quotes up with the statements. Overcoming this, I chose a topic that interested me within the study group ‘Goddesses and Monsters’ and this being the supernatural and how they achieve both elements of the study group. By doing this I was able to research into books, essays, journals and all other forms of text, that interested myself and also put me down a path where I could possibly apply these theories and tools that academics spoke about to my own practice. The tools that I have gathered will be able to strengthen both my practical work and written work as I will have a better understanding and the concepts of glamour and the grotesque and how they apply to the celebrity cultures.
Theorists like Barbara Creed, have had an influence on my written work as I was able to engage on a level that I understood. As I have become rather passionate about her work I believe that I will be able to deal with other academics and decipher their theories and apply them to either my practice or written work. Eventually, the two should work together and both practice and written work will bounce off one another to create a coalition. Approaches such as column analysis can be used on my own work and this will give the help that is needed to pull the work apart and figure what components work and don’t work, what needs to be changed and what needs to be added in. From taking apart theories stated by Creed, Freud and Kristeva I am able to have a stronger response towards glamour and its components and what materials and techniques need to be used to create work in relation to this. If the response needs to be strengthened then to take it further I will continue the research in more depth by reading books that influenced academics like the ones mentioned.
When it comes to producing written work like the formative assessment notes taken from the sessions were just as important as the analysis of the work. I believed the notes I had taken from both lectures delivered by Cath and also notes taken from my readings helped build upon the understanding of the theories and also my work. When taking notes in the future I need to condense them and make them easier to read and this being the way I present them to myself. Making them easy to understand is a skill I need to achieve as it will help me prepare notes for my dissertation without re-reading them and being confused. This way of tackling a piece of text and theories i.e. the column analysis and note taking is a technique I will use for my dissertation as ways of working as it helps develop and push my thinking.
Writing about work of others has helped create a way of working that can be applied to my own. This playing with all the other techniques and skills I have learnt during constellation in Level 5 has been beneficial. The way in which I work has improved since level four and this is down to time management and engagement with the subjects. By having this discipline in Constellation, I will be able to apply it to both the Subject and Field modules and plan a constructive and manageable timetable to complete work.
As my experience and learning from Constellation have been a good one, I believe it has helped me realise the passion I have for cultures and perceptions on stereotypes in societies. At the beginning of the second year, I have begun to change my practice to be more experimental towards materials and explore them through abstraction and process. As enjoyable as this has been, it is not what I want to express in my work. Being playful with materials can still be present in my practice, however, I will consider doing it in a way where I can create juxtapositions between the glamorous and the ugly in the celebrity world and how creating these juxtapositions can toy with the mind. To do this, the exploration through materials that are not traditionally used in a fine art practice will need to be used and create the characteristics of glamour and grotesque that I have learnt throughout my research during constellation. Overall, techniques, skills and theories learnt in all three modules can interact with each other to strengthen all work and this will be present in the rest of my studies and especially in the body of work that will be produced for the final year and my dissertation.
The sudden change in my practice came about as my interest in materials grew. I wanted to explore this more thoroughly as I believe a better understanding of materials will help me as both a practitioner and also a better ‘teacher’ when my career starts.
My interests still lye within the celebrity culture world, however, I began to find the interaction between celebrity and society more interesting and it is something that I want to explore more in my written work (constellation) and I found that doing this in both my practice and constellation is a good way to keep exploring both. Hopefully in future work I will be able to find a way to combine the two.