Monday, 29 November 2010

2nd summary

So here it is finally! My 2nd 500word summary for my dissertation proposal.

Summary of the book Being wrong by Kathryn Schulz

In her book ‘Being Wrong’ Kathyrn Schulz examines how we as human beings in our everyday lives perceive and react to things. She poses the question what if everything you thought about being wrong is wrong? Taking this different approach looking closely at human error and how being wrong is part of everyday life. Using a combination of philosophy, history and neurology to illustrate this. She explores attitudes towards making a mistake and why when confronted with being wrong we nearly always insist we are right. Giving you a very different perspective on what it means or should mean to being in the wrong.
Schulz looks at many different aspects of being wrong that are often not realised. Also why as human beings human error is inevitable and is fundamental to our development. She examines not only the attitudes of today’s society but also throughout history on why making a mistake is so frowned upon and in most people’s eyes makes you a lesser person.
She examines the notion of how what we see is not always right. Instead almost an optical illusion. Tricking the brain into seeing something else. Schulz makes reference to examples in history to illustrate this. One in particular is that of the Scottish explorer John Ross who whilst sailing through Arctic waters he saw a mountain range. His fellow explorers following behind him in a separate boat did not see these mountains at all. When they went back a second time his fellow explorers did indeed see the mountain range Ross spoke about and sailed straight through it. In other words the mountains were in fact a mirage and not actually there. Another example is through the quizzes she uses. Asking you a question about what you see in the following pictures or diagrams. Then offering three different possible answers. These quizzes appear at first glance pretty easy and straightforward, almost childlike. However when you get to the end and see your answers, which are all wrong, you realise things really are not what they seem.
Throughout this book Schulz uses a wide variety of primary and secondary sources such as interviews, both formal and informal, radio broadcasts, news items, websites, journal articles, conversations and books
This is an intriguing book which offers a fascinating insight into the meaning of being wrong. Schulz offers you a different take on how and what it means to make a mistake. Making you wonder if being wrong is really being wrong? And why should we have such negative attitudes towards it. She concludes that instead of seeing this as a negative thing we should really see it in an optimistic way. Giving examples of how her neighbour insists that he’s smoked his last cigarette and how a friend of hers during a four week holiday decided to read one of the longest and hardest works of literature ever written.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Dissertation Ideas

So it's hard to believe but we are already having to come up with ideas of what we might base our dissertations on. I've been really struggling with this over the last couple of weeks. Mainly because I really want to make sure that I base it on something I am interested in and also I wanted to link it into my studio practice.

After doing a narrative jewellery project recently, which I based on perception, I thought that it might be a good thing to look into perception further. In other words how people perceive and react to things. After all no two people are the same.

Finally I had a starting point!

Off I went to the library to find some books on Ethnography and Anthropology. The books I did find at first glance seemed to be what I was looking for but once I started reading them I found them a bit too clinical which kinda lead me back to square one. So once again I was racking my brains for ideas and I kept coming back to the same thing. I like making narrative jewellery and the books that I had borrowed from the library kept going on about the narrative of life which lead me to think that I should run with the narrative jewellery theme for my dissertation. Something along the lines of Narrative, the jewellery interpretation. This would allow me to Look into the difference between jewellery which is either purely decorative, or functional or both. And jewellery which allows personal interaction by the wearer through interpreting a possible story, captured moment or emotion. Also this form of jewellery can very much be observed as purely a piece of art with a life of its own.

We had to find two key texts relating to our dissertation topic and write a short 500word summary for both.I've been trying to find books,journals etc on this subject. So far I have found quite a lot of information online but not so much in the way of books. However I will keep looking. So I am a little behind but it's not for the want of trying. Plus I'm still recovering from glandular fever which is not helping me one bit:(

I did come across Jack Cunningham's PHD Dissertation online which is based on Narrative jewellery. I found it quite interesting so I have written a summary on that. I also have found a book by Kathryn Schulz called Being Wrong. Which is all about how people perceive things. However I only got this book yesterday so I haven't started reading it yet let alone writing a 500word summary on it but hopefully I will get this done soon.

I've also recently discovered the world of Automata and kinetic sculptures due to a research project I am currently doing. I'd like to incorporate this also somehow into my dissertation but am not sure how to as yet. Will have to talk to my dissertation supervisor about this on Tuesday.

Anyway enough of my ramblings. Below is a copy of the summary I wrote on Jack Cunningham's PHD dissertation.

Summary of Jack Cuningham’s PHD Dissertation on Contemporary Narrative Jewellery

Through his PHD dissertation Jack Cunningham discusses the genre of Contemporary European Narrative Jewellery. How it is perceived, defined and ultimately worn. Looking carefully at the relationship between the maker, the person who wears it and the person or persons who observe it.

The key question raised in this PHD dissertation is how Contemporary European Narrative Jewellery is perceived and defined. Whether society and culture play a big part in this, if there are any recurring themes that stand out and how the different creative processes interact with each other

The most important information in this article is that Jack looks at a large variety of jewellers who specialise in Narrative jewellery making, paying close attention to their practise and what they are trying to achieve through their work. He also looks at where the first beginnings of narrative jewellery appeared and how it has evolved over the years through certain art movements such as Dada and Surrealism. He then goes on to discuss how jewellery, especially narrative with its symbolism, can be or is a statement to the world about personality or individuality. Jack also looks at the design processes from beginning to end examining their relationship and differences.

The key secondary resources used are various quotes from narrative jewellers, artists and gallery owners, cultural theorists and critics to back up his views and arguments. Most jewellers mentioned in this dissertation are supported by photographs of their work.

The key primary resources used in this dissertation is the setting up and curating of an exhibition called ‘Maker, Wearer, Viewer’, the largest European Narrative jewellery exhibition ever mounted, with addition of a symposium. European narrative jewellers were invited to exhibit their work and took part in a discussion and peer review. The purpose of this exhibition was to see if there were any similar underlying themes to European narrative jewellery and also to judge people’s reactions. In other words was what the initial idea the maker was trying to get across still relevant to the person wearing/ viewing it? Or had the meaning/ interpretation changed completely?

Jack also reflects on his own personal perspective of the design process from sketches and environment to finished piece and exhibiting.

The main conclusions that Jack comes to at the end of his research is that there were more questions raised than answered. Which in itself would lead Jack into another area of research on Narrative jewellery? Stating that there was no satisfactory way of defining this form of jewellery. However his research did indicate that social and cultural factors did indeed influence the creative process and that there is indeed a relationship between Maker, Wearer, Viewer whether this is realised or not.

The key concept/ concepts we need to understand in this article are firstly and foremost Narrative jewellery is hard to define. There is obviously more to this type of jewellery than meets the eye and there is a definite relationship between the maker, the person who wears the piece and the observer.

I found Jack’s PHD Dissertation to be very informative opening my eyes more to the world of narrative jewellery and its possibilities