Contexutal Review – Week One
This first week back has been one of excitement and exhaustion! My first Contextual Review class expanded my understanding of how I will approach my research so rapidly I felt terrified my brain wouldn’t keep up with the threads I am starting to pull!
Below are the questions we have been asked to answer for our first homework assignment. Sorry if you have come here from Research Methods, the questions are quite similar, so have similar answers.
- Why do I make the things I make/create/compose/design/strategies?
When I am following a spark, a thread, something that ignites my curiosity, especially when it leads to something creative, I can’t leave it alone, I can’t put it down, I can’t stop thinking about it. When something becomes important to me, I will even dream about it, and I won’t stop chipping away at it until I am satisfied that it’s done.
This phenomenon isn’t new, I have been swept away with the tide of my interests before, but this is the first time in my life where I have started to create pieces of tangible art work, things of a personal nature.
My medium used to be hung on walls, or stuck on packaging, branding other people’s vision. Now I want to create moving image art work that will provoke the viewer to learn something new, to look inwards, and perhaps alter some small aspect their perspective, in my case the viewers understanding of, and often, the misconceptions they have of my own ethnicity and race: The Romanichal Romany.
- How are the things I make located in relation to a wider context?
There has been enormous disconnect of my generation from our cultural and heritage. Little remains from my family’s original values and way of life, including our language. Even my Father has forgotten his birth tongue due to disuse.
The art I create will not only serve to teach me more about my heritage, but also preserve this for the generations to come. Along with creating an accessible, accurate ledger of the Romany people my art will also address the misconceptions held by the majority. The Roma are a minority that have been more persecuted than any other race in history, a persecution that is still alive and kicking in a decade where many of us like to think of us as culturally sensitive and evolved.
By researching a variety of ways to communicate my message I hope to find a medium that becomes accessible to all generations of people.
- What impact do I want my work to have, what will people understand from my research outcomes/findings, creations?
I want to create something that stays with people. I want to create an educational art work that confronts bias, challenges misconceptions and inspires social change. I’m not sure how I create a balance between challenging long held beliefs and inciting a desire to change bias without feeling like they lost something in the process, but that will be the crux of my research.
- What are the specific “intellectual neighbourhoods” my work is informed by?
Behind my desire to spend the next few years researching this subject is the fact that I am disconnected from my own culture. A few years ago, I knew next to nothing about where my people had come from. I even believed some of the many misconceptions! I have also experienced the negative social beliefs from within my own family, my Gorga side (non-Romany). Discovering their feelings about my race was upsetting and confronting for me. Causing to examine if I have contributed to these misconceptions. And asking questions like: How much of what they believe, and think is ‘true’ from their own experience. Are their beliefs valid, or part of the wider causal racism that exists about the Roma?
- How will thinking about these things advance my practice?
While I am drive to learn more about my own people and educate others, I need to keep in mind that what I believe and want for my race may not align with what others believe. For a long time the Roma have kept themselves apart from the rest of the word, which from my perspective has a lot to do with systemic persecution. While being mindful of this I hope that my research will help me design a way to educate without leaving my own people feel like they are being betrayed.
- What discipline-based methods will I use to advance my practice?
I plan on employing a range or research approaches to draw upon for my Masters project. I am primarily a 3D character animator, but I will experiment with different ways I can use animation to convey my message. Some of the mediums I am also considering is the use of Virtual reality, and augmented reality.
I believe to make a though investigation into the issues surrounding the Romany people I will need to go deeper than only reading scholarly articles and seek information using methods such as questionnaires and Interviews. Alongside this I have already read several autobiographical books written by Romany people in the UK.
I think that I will need to narrow my field slightly if I intend on being truly successful. Although I want to encompass Roma all over the globe I will need to initially at least focus on the Romanichal Romany, my race, meaning we are Roma descended from those who travelled migrated across Europe.
An example of my work
Below is a piece of work that I am very proud of, not only because it was played at the Melbourne International Animation Festival, and was a finalist in the Best Awards, but because it truly means something to me. Maya Angelou was an amazing woman and she was very correct. Words are things, they hold power; the power to hurt and the power to build a person up. I always try to be careful with the words I use when speaking to people, and I also know the struggle of not being able to find the right word, sometimes there is just a blank space where the word should be.
Words are things was created by using a mixture of techniques, including Motion Capture, Adobe Illustrator, Autodesk Motionbuilder, and Maya.
Although this is not the specific work of art that sparked the initial concept for Words Are Things, this artwork was influenced by New Zealand Artist who is known for his use of abstraction and text.
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.“Maya Angelou
And of course, I strongly believe this piece wouldn’t have been anywhere near as successful without the wisdom of Maya Angelou. I can only hope to find truth in my research and discover the best method to share this with the world.