Also the words: multifaceted, exploration and documentation. I need to remember the importance of the balance between experimentation, research, and reflection during this project.
My first instinct was to think back to last year when I took my first interdisciplinary module. During this walking and drawing project I explored places I inhabited by walking and exploring the places both psychological and physically. I investigated the duality of being and existing in two places and the feeling of homesickness and yearning I felt when moving between University and home. I was happy with what I made in first year but feel that I would like to start something new so that I may make room for more relevant ideas this semester.
I was thinking about Miranda’s advice to just start doing to generate the creative process. Lately I have been feeling stuck in my own head- I have been feeling self-conscious and suffocated by my own thoughts. I wanted to do something to break myself out of my own mind.
I went on a walk on the seafront, and it started to downpour with rain. Usually, I would turn around and go home to avoid getting wet. Instead, I kept walking and was thrashed by the rain. I felt like the ocean was spitting glass at me as I faced into the waves. Even though I felt freezing it felt refreshing and I felt like it broke a part of my negative mental cycle.
On my walk home, I started to watch the water take it’s journey through the streets. I watched the water trickle through the gutters, and I started to think about where the it had come from.
Maybe it was from the mountains or maybe somewhere even further. What journey hadit taken to get to me?
I felt a connection to the flowing water. I almost didn’t want to leave the puddles and dripping drains as I turned into my road to return home.
When I returned home from my walk I decided I wanted to reflect on my experience somehow. I made the piece below to try and capture the feeling of being on the seafront and being lashed with by the wind and rain. This piece is similar to the drawings that I made in first year. Making this drawing not only allowed me to reflect on the journey that I had just taken, but it also allowed me realise that I definitely wanted to leave behind the way worked in first year. I enjoyed making the piece but I enjoy the idea of progressing and experimenting in different mediums more.
As the overall theme for this semester is Nature I began by contemplating the various elements of nature. A recurring motif that stood out to me was the force of nature, and its strength, particularly in the way that it reclaims the world back if left to its own devices. I became interested in this idea, and found that it made me feel very insignificant in the world, as the human nature could never be as strong as environmental nature. This idea became particularly exciting for me given what we experienced during lockdown; watching the way that nature started to reclaim the Earth due to less pollution, litter and traffic. We experienced cleaner seas, animals walking through towns and villages that usually we would not see, and clearer skies.
A parallel began to stand out to me about the two themes of human nature and environmental nature; although both entirely different concepts from each other, they have strong similarities. For example, although they both have destructive qualities, they both have resounding strength which manifests in different ways. The two are incredibly interlinked because as humans we are a part of nature – it is interesting how they seem to work against each other, as humans often try to control nature and bend it to their own will.
The idea of my project developed when I began to notice the physical ways in which nature reclaims the land. For example, I noticed a lot of fly-tipping when I was walking around my local area. I found the way in which the environment grew around it and in some parts completely embedded and covered the rubbish really beautiful and inspiring. It felt like a portrayal of renewed hope; that whatever is bad, something good will always manage to grow from it. In my project, I hope to explore these concepts further, perhaps by comparing and contrasting human nature and environmental nature, and altogether investigating Natureas a whole.
Reclamation of Nature
I decided to go on a walk with my camera and photograph any signs of nature reclaiming land – this was clearly apparent on sites with fly tipping. It was interesting to see the different stages of reclamation and growth – some parts with rubbish were almost completely embedded into the land with grass growing over the top and flowers poking out through any holes and crevices. Other parts were less grown over, and instead showed the beginnings of nature such as a bramble gently curling around a skip.
I also visited an old graveyard, which instead of being sinister actually had a very serene atmosphere – the graves were completely dominated by nature being allowed to grow over the tops and in some parts, trees were pushing through the grave completely. This became quite powerful for me to see as it made me realise how we as humans are very insignificant in the world; once we die, we become, in essence, compost for the ground and new life. We change physically from being a part of human nature to simply environmental nature.
I used my camera to take photographs of these scenes of nature growing over rubbish and abandoned land, and later edited them using Photoshop. The images were a combination of close ups and more distant shots; when reviewing the photographs later I realised I prefer the close up shots where the subject matter becomes slightly ambiguous and the viewer is forced to decipher what they are looking at.
I experimented with layering different filters and colourways on Photoshop – a filter I quite liked was called ‘Oil Paint’ where you could adjust the way the photograph appeared and make it look more like a painting. This stylistic approach suited one particular photograph more than others as it made the subject matter more romantic than you would expect fly-tipping to be.