PDP Constellation Summative 20/04/18

The formative essay I wrote in term one seemed much easier to write than my dissertation proposal. I felt I had a lot of knowledge and I felt more relaxed about writing an ‘essay’ than a ‘dissertation proposal’. My overall grade was a steady ‘good’, which usually means a 2:1. I was pleased with this mark as I tried hard to get as much research done and wrote the best essay I could which will hopefully help my dissertation. My formative essay was based on, ‘A Discussion on the Emergence of the Feminist Art Movement, from the 1970’s; with Influential Feminist Artists and Artwork Discussed’. In year one, I had a satisfactory mark for my overall grade in constellation so I feel I’ve improved already. Once I had received feed- back from my formative essay, I began to think about my summative dissertation proposal.

The summative essay will be a 5000-word dissertation proposal with an overview of what will be discussed. A literature review, this will be the main bulk of my dissertation proposal and will help me when I write my actual dissertation. It must be a minimum of 2000 words. The proposal will also have a research plan. This is a plan of what form my dissertation will take. The bibliography is for the books used when writing the dissertation proposal, and also books I intend to read for my dissertation.

I then had to decide on what to write my dissertation on. This was difficult for me as I was worried about self-plagiarising myself when submitted through Turnitin, and so I wanted to change the dissertation topic from my formative essay. One of the criticisms I received was to narrow the essay down as I talked about so many different artists and different years of feminism. I decided to base it on Louise Bourgeois’ life and her artworks. I recently visited New York and saw her exhibition in MoMA. I am very interested in her work and my subject artwork has been inspired by Louise Bourgeois as I am looking at maternal bonds and the family. I started off by gathering books and reading articles on Louise Bourgeois’ artwork. I found it difficult to find books with a lot of theory in as they mostly had images of her artwork but no information. There aren’t many online articles that I found useful either.

I had my first tutorial with Jon, I had done a small amount of reading into Louise Bourgeois so I knew a small amount of information to tell him about Bourgeois and some ideas to start thinking about. The tutorials were only 10 minutes long so I felt I had to cram everything into a short amount of time. Even though this could be stressful if I forgot to ask a question, I could always just email Jon. I also found it efficient to have the tutorials every 2 weeks as it would give me a time slot and motivation to get things done in time for my next tutorial. In the tutorials, I would discuss concerns and ask questions about the proposal. My initial thoughts on the 5000-word proposal was that I would never be able to complete it.

As I have been writing my proposal, I have realised that writing about Louise Bourgeois would have been extremely difficult to bring in an argument. I could argue about what I think of the artworks and bring in argument from other critics or articles, however, there is no substantial argument. This worries me as I feel it would be a boring read for my dissertation and unmotivating to write. I know that it was a stupid thing for me to do, but I decided to change my topic of dissertation through the Easter holidays to Feminism in Art. I felt like I had wasted my tutorials, however, it was worth it as I feel I have much more to talk and argue about. I can extend on my formative essay on feminism in art, and focus on less artists, but in much more detail. Also different artists, which will be useful for my dissertation. I have talked about the emergence of feminism in art and how it has changed and developed since the 1920s to present day. I have discussed artists such as Mary Cassatt and Tracey Emin.

I feel it has been such a mission to complete and such a stressful essay as it is summative, however, at times I felt that I was dragging sentences out to make up the word count. I didn’t want to go into a lot of information as I wanted to make sure I had something to write about in my dissertation, without self-plagiarising myself. I only made it to just over 4,500, 10% less than the expected 5000 words.

I used most of my reading from the first essay, but used more books on feminism and the artists discussed. I feel my dissertation proposal is so much better now than what it was when talking about Louise Bourgeois. I feel much calmer about my actual dissertation and the preparation needed to write it.

Overall, I feel this dissertation proposal has been very hard to write. I have changed my mind a lot with the ideas and artists to use which has been bad organisation from my behalf. I feel I have done a large amount of research, and improved my knowledge of feminism in art. I am nervous about writing the dissertation, the thing that I find most daunting is the word count, and also the reading.

As a next step, I need to be prepared for my dissertation, with plans, research, theory and arguments in place and ready to use. After my summative essay is submitted, I will continue to work towards my dissertation and research over the summer to begin writing when advised. This understanding of feminism in art will is also be useful to me as a practioner as I am approaching my final subject artwork exhibition, and am making work which has been inspired by Louise Bourgeois.


What are my responsibilities to the wider world?

Joseph Beuys, Overcome Party Dictatorship Now, 1970- 72Screen Shot 2017-11-06 at 15.39.26.png

Beuys was a German activist artist. Buys found out that the wood was going to be cut down and decided to make a poster. The photograph/ performance are the aesthetics in this piece of work and the socially useful task is the ethics in this piece of artwork.

What are my responsibilities to the wider world?

  1. Duty: as members of society we have a duty towards other members and the wider environment
  2. Ability to respond: many of the structures of contemporary society tend to numb or dull our response to the world in which we live

Bevy’s work challenges people to respond with action and to participate.

Koki Tanaka, Painting to the public, 2012

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Painting to the public, 2012, Koki Tanaka

Artworks are created in studio, then moved to the gallery. Public ‘miss’ the work. Tanaka walked the streets of Japan with other artists and their work.

The form of art in any given society is linked to the forms of production operating in that society or inherited from earlier times. In the west, we tend to think of art as either:

  • craft based (handmade)
  • industrial

Conceptual art is an exception, as nothing needs to be made in order for it to exist. Conceptual art is is indifferent to production.

3 roots for socially engaged art:

  • Joseph Beuys, 7000 Oaks, 1982-87. Beuys planted 7000 oak trees around Kassel, Germany. The oak trees improved the environment, he also brought the community together. The trees are a forever changing sculpture as the trees change throughout the seasons.
    Screen Shot 2017-10-19 at 15.06.14
    Joseph Beuys, 7000 Oaks, 1982-89

    2. Institutional Critique

    Screen Shot 2017-11-06 at 16.14.56.png
    Michael Asher installation at Claire Copley Gallery, LA, 1974

    This installation stops viewer from looking at any artwork, instead the viewer looks at the human social engagement at work.

    3. Public Art

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    Elmgreen and Dragset, Powerless Structures, fig 101, 2012

    The boy on the rocking horse makes the sculptures around look ridiculous as it is a young boy on a toy.


    Claire Bishop argues that instead of thinking about ‘a generalised set of moral percepts’, we should instead focus on ‘the disruptive specificity of a given week’.

    What does she mean by ‘disruptive specificity?’

    Something distinctively artistic to her but does not mean it is ethical.

    What would be an example of this?

    She argues that ethics alone cannot replace aesthetics where art is concerned. Art’s purpose (for her) is not therapeutic it’s not intended to make us feel better about out lives. Instead, the value of art lies in its ability to expose injustices and contradictions that everyday life renders invisible and unthinkable.

    She talks about being worried that aesthetics is the only thing that matters in art, she is worried art will only be art if it is pretty.

    Socially Engaged Art:

    – Artworks that address political issues

    -Artworks that perform a function

    -Artworks that prompt or enable a (new?) form of sociality: Participation

    Ai WeiWei, Straight, 2008-12

There was no evidence of how many people died in the earthquakes. The schools collapsed as their walls were built out of steel poles and concrete. Ai WeiWei wanted to create a memorial for the children who died in these schools. He tried to find out the names of the children and found 1800 names. He took the steel rods from the rubble and straightened them. Each rod represented a child that died. The number of rods don’t match perfectly to the number of people who died but the visual mass of steel and names is relatable. The memorial for the children meant more to Ai WeiWei than whether the work was classes as art or not art.

Who is the other?

Adrian Piper, The Mythic Being, 1973- 5. Piper is a light skinned woman with mixed race heritage, she transforms her self into her alter ego, the mythic being. The mythic being wears Afro wigs, sunglasses and a mustache. She adopts the behavior of a conventional male. She then explored how she and others responded to the Mythic Being. The mythic being is directed at societys perception of race, gender and class.


Otherness is sociology. With any society, the dominant group(s) set the norms.

Mike Kelley, Deodorized Central Mass With Satellites, 1991-9. Kelley stiched together old toys from hospitals based on colour and likeness, The piece of work is not about toys, but the togetherness of society. Screen Shot 2017-11-06 at 12.32.58.png

Cultural Tourism

The other is re-packaged as ‘exotic’. Shigeyuki Khara, Culture for Sale, 2012

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Shigeyuki Khara, Culture for Sale, 2012

This artwork is slightly like begging. Audience have to give money in order for the dancers to dance. Shameful for the dancers. The dancers are exhbiting their culture, feel exploited. While watching the video on this artwork, one dancer said he felt like he had to dance for money. He first felt like his talent was being reduced to money but then reconsiders. Now he feels the money can signal when to perform his talent. We arent encouaged to see dancers as people. The dance has more meaning to the dancers as it is thier culture. The environment plays a big part in the performance. As it is in a gallery environment, people walk in and out. If it was in a theatre environment, I think people would act differently towards the dancers.


The other is understood to be everytthing that is not self. In this sense otherness is crucial to the construction and maintenance of a sense of self; without the other we are not real. Self and other, while opposites, are bound together; the existance of each depends on the existance  of the opposing term, like black and white, male and female etc.

‘Othering’ used as a verb which describes process of being turned into an other. A form of alienation.


The other describes:

a) the internalised representation of other individuals

b) a mental structure of self- surveilance

The argument is that desire is mimetic:

  • ‘Desire is the desire of the other’ (Jacques Lacan)

We want things, not in themselves, but because other people want them (or so we think). It is the desire of the other that makes the object desirable.

Lacan: mirror stage. Where is “I”? What happens if the mirror was taken away? Mirroring will still happen without a mirror as we mirror people around us. Mirroring might be our schema for looking at artworks too. Artwork makes suggestion of how we should react.


Yinka Shonibare MBE, Victorian Couple, 1999

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The work tricks the mind. We look at the work iggnorantly as we see African costume to begin. However we also look at the artwork innocently as we dont know the costumes are victorian outfit. The costume contradicts the viewers first point of view. There is conflict between the African and European aspects in this artwork. It combines 2 stereotypes. African-ness shown as ‘pretend identity’ in this work as it is not authentically African.

Mr and Mrs Andrews, c. 1750, Thomas Gainsborough. Screen Shot 2017-11-06 at 14.20.15

Mr and Mrs Andrews Without Their Heads, 1998Screen Shot 2017-11-06 at 14.20.28

The interpretation of Mr and Mrs Andrews without their heads, 1998, seems more humorous that Gainsborough’s, Mr and Mrs Andrews, 1750. In Gainsborough’s artwork the couple look smug. In Shonibare’s artwork there is no land, so it takes away the possesion. The land in Gainsborough’s piece suggests slavery as Mr and Mrs Andrew’s have made money through slavery. The African clothing implies slavery in a modern way.

Who is the Other? 

  1. Modernism and Feminism
Screen Shot 2017-11-06 at 14.33.32
Alexander Rodchenko, Make Way for the Women, 1935

The women are separated from the men, the men are stood in a line all looking at the women passing by. The women are like a parade, like an object to the men.

2. Questions of Identity

2 facts about this sculpture:

  • It is of a working class, disabled, single mother
  • It is by a middle class, able- bodied man
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Marc Quinn, Alison Lapper Pregnant, 2005

The sculpture looks like a greek sculpture. Subversion of a typical, classical sculpture. Used ironically and non- ironically. Marc Quinn could be congratulating these people, but it could also mean double standards in our society.

Julia Kristeva- 3 moments of feminism:

  1. Equal rights
  2. Advocacy of a separate women’s culture
  3. Total re- evaluation of ideas of masculine and feminine

Re-evaluation of masculine and feminine? 

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Passage, by Jenny Saville is more uncomfortable to look at than Collier Schorr’s piece of artwork. It is brutally honest of someone transitioning.

Collier Schorr’s, Untitled, isnt 100% clear to be someone transitioning. Its more innocent and shy than Saville’s, Passage. Male and female body images have been separated for so long that we cant get used to viewing a mash up of both. I feel we need to be more open minded to artwork lke this.

What does the world look like?

We have Google maps to help us look at the world. The images on Google maps are an augmented version of the world.

Which is the truthful Caerphilly? Screen Shot 2017-10-23 at 16.10.49.png

The model of Caerphilly castle looks more 3D than the street photograph does on the maps. The photograph looks flat compared to the model.

What do we mean by ‘realism’? Would a realistic image look realistic to everyone regardless of their culture?

Alternatively, if ‘realism’ is dependant on culture, is it actually realistic at all?

Gombrich V. Jackobson

Gombrich’s Argument

Gombrich thinks we can’t see or represent anything without some previous image or object to refer to. This is what he calls a ‘schema’.

Example: Unicorn. We have ideas of what a unicorn looks like as we have seen drawings and fantasies of them. We have a schema of a horse to help visualise.

Albrecht Durer was given second-hand, written information to create a woodcut of rhinoceros. He created the schema of a rhino.

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Albrecht Durer, 1515



Nowadays, we know better and have photographic evidence of a rhino. People make fun of Durer’s rhino, however, he was actually drawing an Indian rhinoceros. It is actually a pretty accurate representation.


Jacobson’s Argument 

‘Realism’ has multiple meanings. Often incompatible ones. Jacobson believes no society will ever get an image that will stay realistic for a long period of time, it will always change as the realism of yesterday become the unrealistic conventions of today. The effect of realism is produced by breaking conventions.


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Hans Holbein, The Ambassadors, 1533

This is good example of perspective. When looking straight on at the painting, there are 2 men. There is a strange feature painted on the carpet on the foreground which is difficult to see what it actually is. If you stand on and look at the painting from the side, there is a skull. Maybe Holbein was suggesting the idea of death intruding on the scene.

Is it possible to record just what we see?

John Constable does this in a sketch, he recorded the view by creating a home-made method of using string attached to his canvas and holding the string with his teeth to insure his perspective would not move. Screen Shot 2017-10-20 at 21.24.10He then created the painting.Screen Shot 2017-10-20 at 21.23.46 However, the painting does not match up perfectly with this mapped out drawing questioning if there was any point in Constable’s method.


Reading –  Hito Steyerl, In Free Fall (2011)

In the reading, I learnt that the vanishing point is the viewing point. In a painting that has perspective, it will automatically position its viewer.

In some paintings, there will be a physical perspective and a political perspective with meaning behind it.

How do we know the horizon is flat? We make it flat.

In Turner’s painting, The Slave Ship, 1840, the perspective is all over the place and there is no definite horizon.Screen Shot 2017-10-23 at 16.27.47.png

In another of Turner’s paintings, Rain, Steam  and Speed, 1844, the linear perspective disappears and the border between land and sky is not clear. Steyerl feels the viewing point is in the middle floating somewhere. Screen Shot 2017-10-23 at 16.30.59.png

I get a sense from the reading that Steyerl is more comfortable in a world with fragmented perspective than a world of perfect perspective.

Constellation Reflection Post

During my first year at Cardiff Metropolitan University, I have participated in Constellation. From the start of Constellation, I was told I had to write essays in order to pass the first year. This was overwhelming as I hate writing essays and anything to do with reading. After choosing what Constellation class I preferred, I was glad to be in ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit: Subcultures and Street Style’ study group.

I love fashion and knew this class would be about that but I had never heard of subcultures. Throughout the classes, I learnt about the Goths, Punks and the Hip Hop Subcultures to name a few and analysed them in-depth. I learnt about where the subcultures emerged and who they were inspired by.  One thing that was interesting to learn was the use of Bricolage used in most subcultures. This means a creation from many different diverse things. For example, the Goths used bricolage by taking Victorian dress and adding their own touches of death to the outfit by adding things like spider jewellery to symbolise the insects that would crawl over the body underground, and red lipstick to symbolise vampires and sucking blood. Bricolage could definitely be something I might apply to my own practice and throughout the subject/ field modules. For example, bricolage in my own practice could be creating a painting using all of the art movements as inspiration.

Throughout the class, there was a lot of note making and it was fast paced, the amount of information given to use was hard to take in. The lecturer, Cath Davies, showed us a way to filter the information into columns made up of the titles, ‘Describe (the features)’, ‘Analyse (connotations)’ and ‘Theory (quotes)’. This made the notes much easier to read through and easier to piece together to write for the formative essay.

My formative essay was based on the Goth Subculture. I explored the meanings behind their style and where it came from and how the subculture has become well known in Japan with the Harajuku girls, for example. I think I left it very last minute as I did not have many references and didn’t give evidence to back up what I was stating in some cases. From the Formative essay, I have realised that I need references for everything I am going to talk about and that I need to look over the Harvard Referencing Guide. Also,  to start the essay weeks before to write to my best ability. These are all things that I have worked on whilst writing my Summative essay.

On Thursday afternoons, Keynote lectures were delivered. These were often interesting and there was a wide range of different lecturers talking about a different subject every week. These lectures have added to my knowledge in some areas but I often found it difficult to be attentive to a subject that is not something I enjoy.

The second constellation class I attended was The Body. In this class, I learnt about previous medical practices such as plastic surgery,  identity and power and control in the human race, for example. I was happy to be in this study group as anything that involves the body intrigues me. I found this study group a lot harder than Smells Like Teen Spirit as the readings were much more complex and I struggled to understand most of the words. To try to solve this problem, I would try to read the readings in advance a few times and research words I did not understand the meanings of.

During The Body study group, the lecturer, Ashley Morgan wanted us to always be in groups with people we did not know. This has definitely helped me in my field module as field is all about group work. It has made me much more confident speaking to people and being part of a group that I have never met before.

Whilst getting references for my Summative essay, I did not find it easy reading. I’ve never found interest in reading, especially academic reading. A solution I learnt in The Body study group to find reading easier was to go to the index and look for the word you are writing about. This made it easier than reading through the whole book when it wasn’t necessary.

For my Summative essay, I have expanded on my Formative essay and worked on the areas of feedback. This time, I have gathered much more references and started with enough time to write it to my best standard.

Overall, my experience doing Constellation has learnt me a lot about myself and my learning techniques. I have overcome panic when it comes to group work and reading academic text.  I have added to my knowledge through attending both study groups and keynote lectures. Constellation has been enjoyable and interesting.

As an art student, I don’t feel I am academic. I disliked writing the essays and reading but I have written two, which I’ve tried my best at and am proud of doing so. 


Identity- shared with others, relying on sameness.

Identity and social media.

What does Facebook do? Connects people through visual creativity, sharing information, representation of self through selfies, we see what people choose to post.

my selfie

During the lesson, we was asked to take a selfie and upload it to this post to show that it is a representation of ourselves.

Group work: Consider what Lawler says about identity.

What do you think she means by:

  1. Binaries: organising society into a box, e.g. men, women, black, white. Binaries suggests power, men are seen to be more dominant than women. Labelled, fits into society. However, there are pros and cons of labelling people and categorising them into a certain ‘box’ of society, people fall into a certain category when they are more than that.
  2. Homosexual/ heterosexual: Gay. Men who are attracted to women, women who are attracted to men.

Life Cycle Identity

Baby- hard to tell gender of baby. Very gender specific colours on baby clothing to identify.

Elderly person- pigment comes from hair, skin gets darker, tend to look at an older person in a way where we don’t categorize someones gender because we see them as just an elderly person or group of elderly people.

Identity changes throughout life.

Baby- looks the same

Adult- identity of self

Elderly person- begin to look the same as other elderly people again

Gender is the main sorce of identity. Begins when babies are born, names are ‘gendered’.

Society is ordered into gender, eg. Public toilets.


  • Identity is not fixed, however, babies and elderly have sense of fixed identity
  • Identity is embodied
  • Identity is a way in which we ‘read’ and judge and know people
  • Sexually is mostly fixed
  • Gender is not fixed and is a cultural consruct


Hegemony-the dominant social position of men, and the subordinate social position of women.

Binary- the classification of sex and gender into two distinct, opposite and disconnected forms of masculine and feminine. Gender binary is one general type of a gender system.

Heternormativity- a belief that people fall into distinct and complementary genders (man and woman) with natural roles in life. It assumes that hetrosexuality is the ‘norm’.




Regulating Bodies- Power and Control

Overt and covert forms of control.

Why is it important to consider control in the body?

In the past the body was controlled by:

  • religion
  • suppression of appetites, actual and sexual, i.e. sin
  • concept of heaven and hell
  • poor life would result in ‘just gifts’ in heaven

Consider what Foucault means by, ‘visibility is a trap’?

Panopticon- central point where guards stay and can see everyone. Prisoners can not see the guards and don’t know if they are being watched. This makes them change their behaviour as if they are being watched.

Same context in a selfie. A selfie is an object, a representation of yourself. It’s never a subject of communication. It is passive, might contain information but never an owner.

A subject is free, powerful and does not need to be owned and can communicate freely.

Idea of  power of individuals is dispersed through society rather than in  one location. E.g; school- controlled through bells, timetable systems, rules, it teaches you a social system.

Health- mandatory inoculations, health screening, hospitalisation and health records.

Group work

Consider ways in which bodies are controlled in contemporary society.

Social Media
  • newspapers- powerful source of media
  • changing appearance to post selfies to get more likes, competition
  • popularity, friends, likes on photos
  • controls the ‘norms’ of our society as young people, determines fashion trends
  • feel more confident and powerful on social media
  • cookies- online cookies always internet to see what you have been looking at, tailors sites to be what you want to see
  • knowledge less historical, just search something on google

Control through gender expectation

We expect men and women to dress differently.

Men dressed as a women is usually for a comedic affect. Cultural context: men wear kilts in Scotland.

Marc in skirts (Carreno, 2014) Marc Jacobs wears kilts.

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Marc Jacobs

Eddie Izzard- transgresses boundaries of masculinity. Still quite masculine, still a man but wears women clothing. Some gay men have also added a contribution to fashion.

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Eddie Izzard


  • The body in the past was controlled through relion
  • Now, more complex and pervasive