Anna Serafin

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about me

hi, i’m anna! a final year creative arts student, living in aberystwyth. my interests include photography – analogue and digital. recently, i’ve been interested in photography as a base for graphic design.
in this project i want to try and explore the animal consciousness, instincts, neuroscience and feel the inner sensations in the body through yoga and meditation. finally, i want to express that visually.

Semester Two

‘ANIMAL’

week 1, jan 25th

~ lecture ~

i’m so excited to be back! in the first 3 hour session we talked about getting back into the creative process, doing something, being open, raw and vulnerable…

wildcat research

~ research ~

the cheetah is the world’s fastest land mammal.

it is the only wildcat that cannot β€šroar’ and the only one who has adapted to hunting during the day. the black tear marks, also called malar stripes run down from their eyes down the sides of their face, attracting the sun away from the eyes.

they gain an acceleration going from 0 to 60 miles an hour in only 3 seconds.

cheetahs are able to gaze over a wide area, with a 210-degree field of view whereas people can see objects within only 140 degrees.

they use their vision to hunt, from spotting prey from 5 km away to locking their eyes on the prize during the chase.

cheetah retinas in comparison to other cats (which have a better vision at night) are expected to enhance their ability to discriminate colours.

national geographic shots:

tigers are the largest members of the cat family and are renowned for their power and strength.

they live alone and aggressively scent-mark large territories to keep their rivals away.

they are hunted as trophies, and also for body parts that are used in traditional Chinese medicine. hunting and forest destruction have reduced tiger populations from hundreds of thousands of animals to perhaps fewer than 2,500.

a tiger’s roar can be heard as far as 2 miles away.

national geographic shots:

animal awareness

~ book ~

when finishing the fantastic book ‘awareness’ by anthony de mello, i came across a lovely quote about animals, and how we as humans have drifted away from nourishing ourselves on the simple pleasures. sunsets, nature, a good movie, a good book, enjoyable work, good company. instead of making demands on ourselves, having constant expectations of ourselves, pushing ourselves, we must understand and live now.

tutorial, jan 29th

the first tutorial went really well, although i have no ‘plans’ yet of what i’m gonna be doing this semester, i feel like whenever i have a tutorial and i speak about the aspects, ideas, thoughts i have, it somehow comes together… and it feels good to talk about them. i told miranda of what i want to explore and that is wildcats, meditation, yoga, photography, neuroscience, the anatomy of the human body, the human and the animal body, how the body moves and what it’s capable to do. i also discussed the ideas of capturing yoga poses visually, trying to illustrate a feeling, sensation in the body through photography (?) there’s definitely a lot of research and exploration coming my way… but i want to take it easy, not be in control as much as i usually am, letting the work flow, and see where it takes me, not think about the final outcome…basically do more and worry less! i want to be more vulnerable (like cheetahs are at the moment) and make the project a bit more personal. Miranda listens very carefully and always suggests artworks, artists, ideas – like Japanese dance movement – Butoh, so these tutorials are always super helpful, useful and very thought-provoking.

week 2, feb 1st

~ lecture ~

today’s animal lecture has been a huge source of inspiration, starting from the lovely ‘becoming animal’ movie by filmmakers emma davie, peter mettler and radical writer and philosopher david abram. it was one of the best, most spectacular documentaries i’ve seen, because of how real, thought-provoking and spiritual it was. it wasn’t just science, but it was deeply immersed in philosophy. it talked about the higher states of awareness in nature, the animal and humanity. the fantastic meditation of the octopus left me feeling calm, relaxed, graceful, as if i were in the salty waters of the sea… other forms of art, such as performance, music, animal in human space, human in animal space was also presented. i am extremely grateful for the session today, my day has started magnificently.

new person, same old…

~ song ~

i recently rediscovered the song “new person, same old mistakes” by one of my all time favourite bands – tame impala. i’ve been playing them on repeat, their music is always so soothing, but vibrant and uplifting… in this particular song the bridge is just so good, so i thought i could document it here, just to come back to it…

[Bridge]
Man, I know that it’s hard to digest
But maybe your story ain’t so different from the rest
And I know it seems wrong to accept
But you’ve got your demons, and she’s got her regrets
And I know that it’s hard to digest
A realization is as good as a guess
And I know it seems wrong to accept
But you’ve got your demons, and she’s got her regrets
But you’ve got your demons, and she’s got her regrets

animal poses in yoga

~ research ~

sourced from: https://www.yogafevergr.com/why-are-so-many-yoga-poses-named-after-animals/

finding space

~ experimentation ~

i tried finding a space in the house to practice my yoga positions and to capture it visually. the environment is just my room, it isn’t a studio or project room, it has quite a lot of things, so making it minimal was quite a challenge. i tried spaces like my room, my living room, i tried hanging up materials to cover up the wardrobes. i put myself in front of the camera as well to know how much space i have in the viewfinder and how far the borders reach. the space surely leaves a lot to wish for, but i’ll try to make the best of it. i decided to take the photos in black and white, to make it even more minimal and less busy. i’m sure i can arrange something in the editing process… experimentation in progress!

hmmm…?

~ thinking thinking thinking ~

week 3, feb 8th

~ workshop 1 ~

the workshop today was fantastic, a bit of scientific information (which i always look forward to) combined with the artistic captures: installations, movies, music… i was also stunned by all the amazing photographs and videos presented today, especially the close-ups of the octopus, the ants and even the tiny fig wasps! i’m really excited to come up with my very own species of animal! for sure it will probably have something to do with wildcats *surprise, surprise*. i have no idea what i’m going to put in the glasswork vile yet, but i’ll let my imagination lead the way. challenge accepted.

opening the parcel

i’m excited about designing my species and i wonder how i can put my animal in here!

p., p. and… p.?

~ experimentation ~

poses, photography and painting! that’s it. it’s what i’ve been experimenting with this week. i’ve started by doing a warm-up (for example sun salutations) in silence, then listening to the animal meditations and doing a yoga pose. i can feel it evolving… i felt relaxed. i wasn’t focused on capturing the image necessarily, but i like the outcome i ended up having. i think the sepia images look nice because of the contrast between my figure and the background, but the colour ones look quite interesting, more lively and warm.

video-call

i recently had a video call with Mai-lyng on teams, which we ended up recording too. we had fun talking about designing our animals and where our concepts are heading. we also exchanged thoughts, opinions and shared the ideas for our projects and where they might evolve. we touched on personal things too which created a sense of closeness :>

panthera auroris

~ preparation for workshop ~

my design of species turned out to be no other than a wildcat. the name comes from ‘aurora’ meaning the northern lights, which are formed by the solar wind coming the Earth. it can reach speeds of 900 km/h and temperatures of 1 million degrees celsius. panthera auroris in a species living in the arctic circles, they are a mixture of an arctic fox and a snow leopard. their fur is waterproof and iridescent, with dark spots. once a month they gather up in a circle and the spots on their fur start to enlarge and spread out, making their fur black, which ultimately attracts the sunlight. this way they capture the restorative energy from the sun, which helps them survive. they are plant eaters, they eat fish such as mackerel icefish and antarctic cods until they are 8 months old, but soon after their diet only consists of antarctic hair grass and pearlwort. the scent of their manure which highly consists of microbes, travels to the forests of taiga and serves as a ‘vitamin boost’. they are very friendly, independent animals, who love solitude, but can share emotional bonds with their mates and cubs. they are very creative creatures, who love to dream and are very good at meditating (as most cats are). they also have colourful visions thanks to the power of aurora, which also leads they way when it comes to finding food. their eyes changes: the colour (feelings, emotions) and the pupil (energy). the fox instincts represent its curiosity and the leopard instincts represent confidence and grace. they are fearless travellers, who are trying to make the best of their life on Earth, but without taking away from it. they try to be as eco-friendly as possible, because they are aware of global warming and the catastrophic results that come with that.

week 4, feb 15th

~ workshop 2 ~

everyone had such amazing ideas, and i really enjoyed every single animal presentation. the aquatic cat, the bulbo, the digger, the shark polar bear and the volcanic lizard-like creature who loves warmth! mine and ellie’s was quite similar actually :> it was astonishing how complicated, but thought-through and scientific they were. some were more unrealistic, but all were enormously creative. i’m really looking forward to the group proposals.

yoga photograms

~ research ~

with their β€œYoga Photograms” project, British artists duo Rob and Nick Carter, portray the yoga world from an unusual angle. the series captures the model’s weight and pose which are imprinted onto a large photographic paper via their movement across the light in a darkroom.

temperature and the body

~ experimentation ~

i took my brother’s microscope and decided to take a look at the human body from a closer perspective… i was amazed at the various textures, shapes and patterns in our veins, lungs, arteries and blood, so i took some shots. i also edited my previous pose, and played around with the hues and colours, which reminded me of the ones taken from a thermal camera.

chasing consciousness

~ research ~

Susan Aldworth’s installation ‘Out of Body (2009) is a series of large monoprints, in which visual imagery taken from brain scans and electrical charges is used as a catalyst for exploring the nature of human consciousness. combining a subtle use of tone, line, mark and impression, it exudes both abstract and ethereal qualities.

β€œSusan confronts us with images of tunnels of consciousness and unconsciousness, passages between life and death. Like Narcissus we are staring into a deep abyss. We are looking at ourselves looking at ourselves.” – Chris Orr, RA, MBE

art in neuroscience

~ research ~

Dr. Greg Dunn (artist and neuroscientist) and Dr. Brian Edwards (artist and applied physicist) created ‘Self Reflected’ to illustrate the nature of human consciousness, bridging the connection between the mysterious three pound macroscopic brain and the microscopic behavior of neurons. it offers an unprecedented insight of the brain into itself, revealing through a technique called reflective microetching the enormous scope of beautiful and delicately balanced neural choreographies designed to reflect what is occurring in our own minds as we observe this work of art. ‘Self Reflected‘ was created to remind us that the most marvelous machine in the known universe is at the core of our being and is the root of our shared humanity.

lead me…

~ experimentation ~

i’ve recently been interested in drawing and painting from the subconscious mind. i’ve been doing this after yoga. drawing from my feelings, but letting the brush lead me, absolutely not thinking about the outcome. i’ve just been enjoying the process of subconscious mark making, trying to illustrate the sensations in my body after a certain yoga pose. it has been enormously therapeutic to visually illustrate them and represent them with a colour. it’s not as easy as i thought! but it just feels good.

i really enjoyed 2 videos explaining the concept of ‘automatic drawing’. one of them, which has shown me how to ‘let go’ was with Tim Gula, who presented applying meditation to art with the exercise and explained the benefits of including it in your routine. the other one had some useful tips such as:

1. don’t have a destination in mind.

2. draw as long as you can without stopping.

3. experiment with various ways to make marks.

joan mirΓ³

~ research ~

Spanish artist Joan MirΓ³ revolutionised subjective art in the 20th century. he worked in painting, printmaking, sculpture, tapestry, and ceramics. his art is known for invoking a childlike sense of expression. his explorations into the subconscious mind changed modern art forever. his studio in mallorca, which i was fortunate enough to visit back in 2016 is absolutely breath-taking.

tutorial, feb 19th

the tutorial today was very quick, clear and easy but enormously motivating! learning through doing and doing through research and persistence… i’ve been enjoying this way of working, it’s not my typical route, but letting the work flow through the process has been so rewarding and lovely to do! i’m excited to see where the work ends up at.

the creation of ‘bopledict‘ (?)

~ preparation for workshop ~

the ‘creation of bopledict’ is a group workshop focused around designing a species for our group, made of the species we already created last week. it’s getting in touch with nature (the walk) and with our imagination and creativity. the outcome are the responses coming from any medium and reflections on the process and the workshop itself. i wanted to do something most of us would enjoy and something that would bring pleasure to us all. the idea isn’t very sophisticated, but the simplicity in which it is embedded, can often illustrate the most exotic parts of our subconscious mind.

week 5, feb 22

~ workshop 3 ~

today we proposed our ideas for the group project! we had: a zine and manifesto, audio recordings and performance, echosystem, bopledict cell and letter of apology. and the winning project was… ‘the creation of bopledict’! i’m very happy that my idea is the one which will take place in workshop 5! i’m also happy about the fact that my explanation was clear enough to understand. i used to struggle a lot with getting my ideas across (which i still do), but today i succeeded ^.^ i wish we could do all the projects… it’s so sad to see them go. i’d love to see them come to life, perhaps during the summer we could pursue them?…

cutting

~ experimentation ~

i have tried to cut my figure from the background using many *many* many software… my laptop cannot handle photoshop, but i’ve managed to find alternatives :)) and yes far from perfect…

the last of their kind

~ research ~

the ‘Last Of Their Kind’ is a series by photographer Joachim Schmeisser, which focuses on the beauty of african, endangered animals as well as on the creation and its fragile transience. “the images can be interpreted on different levels: as depictions of a distant past, or as iconic memories in the not too distant future in which we can only admire these majestic creatures in zoos. they are both a homage and a final warning – visual revelations that sharpen our clouded view of nature in all its infinite complexity as well as recognising what treasures we might irretrievably lose”. i love the compositions and how detailed the images are. we can admire the textures of the skin, scars, fur. the fact that they are in black and white evokes sadness and a feeling of loss that is yet to come if we do not keep these animals safe.

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week 6, mar 1st

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funfunfun

~ experimentation ~

i’ve playing around with different backgrounds. looking if the simplicity would look best or perhaps a pattern of some sort… i’m enjoying the process and getting the most of it.

the ccc

~ experimentation, and yet again another letter shortcut ~

the cow (Bitilasana), cat (Marjaryasana) and camel (Ustrasana). i’ve been trying to capture the moment after letting go from a pose, (which is usually a couple of minutes) and seeing how my body reacts after. sometimes it was painful or hard to ‘let go’, but what fascinated me is how it bent, released – and went straight to drawing. that’s what i’ve trying to capture although the documentation itself has been quite tricky. having the thought at the back of my head to actually document and capture the moment successfully has been taking away from the process itself. i think i might just do this, and hopefully document it – at least once successfully.

yoga on the brain

~ research ~

the University of Illinois has shown that yoga just like aerobic exercises has been proven to have a positive effect on the brain, especially when it comes to the part that is responsible for memory. it contributes the growth of new neurons, and major parts of the brain such as: the hippocampus, amygdala (emotional regulation), prefrontal cortex (planning, decision-making, multitasking), default mode network (thinking about the self, planning, memory), cingulate cortex (learning) are larger in people who do yoga regularly. it also has a huge impact when it comes to reducing stress, anxiety and depression. enjoy a few of my mri scans below.(:

hike

having my head in the clouds, enjoying the mountains, the crisp, cold air and a light breeze of the ‘halny’ wind in the Tatra National Park has been rewarding. and getting away from the everyday life in town has made my creative process a whole lot better. we should remember to sometimes take some time off for ourselves and ‘sprinkle’ some of that well-being on our routines. definitely some poor photographs down below, but i wanted to enjoy the moment rather than document it as i usually do.

animal spirit

CELL

~ preparation for workshop ~

i loved making this presentation which was focused around the word ‘cell’. firstly, i had a scientific approach to it in which i could release and work around my fascination towards science. in the second part of the presentation i explored as much art as i could (to fir in 15 minutes) related to this very specific word – ‘cell’. luckily i managed to find two watercolour artists – David Goodsell (also a scientist), Michele Banks; an animation – illustrating the sensations connected with cells happening in our bodies every second (made by Harvard University); Amy Karle (bioartist) who creates artwork by combining materials such as human tissue and cells with sophisticated biological technology. lastly, i introduced quilts made by students of the University of Michigan. creating this made me really happy as it was just another excuse to endeavour into science.(: