As part of our ideas factory project, we were required to visit the library for a library induction. Below is the research I did there.
Initially, the word "Animism" was unfamiliar to me, so I decided to start my research from the the very bottom; defining it.
"Animism (from Latin anima, "breath, spirit, life") is the religious belief that objects, places, and creatures all possess a distinct spiritual essence. Potentially, animism perceives all things—animals, plants, rocks, rivers, weather systems, human handiwork, and perhaps even words—as animated and alive."
"The idea of animism was developed by the anthropologist Sir Edward Tylor in his 1871 book Primitive Culture, in which he defined it as "the general doctrine of souls and other spiritual beings in general." According to Tylor, animism often includes "an idea of pervading life and will in nature"; i.e., a belief that natural objects other than humans have souls."
"Elements of animism are present in many false religions including Hinduism, Mormonism and all New Age cults. False religion always teaches in some way that the spirit within human beings is really God and the practices of the religion will help us to realize this and develop the god-spirit so that we, too, may be God."
"Animism is the belief that all things have a spirit or soul, including animals, plants, rivers, mountains, stars, the moon, and the sun. Each being is considered a spirit that can offer help or harm to humans. As such, spirits must either be worshiped or appeased. Animists offer sacrifices, prayers, dances, or other forms of devotions to these spirits in hopes of blessing upon areas of life (crops, health, fertility, etc.) or for protection from harm."
"Today, Animism continues in most tribal religious movements, in Shinto, in eastern religions such as Buddhism and Hinduism, and in Pagan/Neopagan movements. In addition to believing inanimate objects have spirits, many believe in revering the spirits of ancestors who have an influence on those who are living. This is a noted practice in Shinto and forms of Native American spirituality, among others.
It is important to note that not all religious scholars define Animism the same way. Some view Animism as a belief or practice while some classify Animism as its own religion. Since many religions practice Animism, it is generally better to consider it a belief. In addition, most Animist cultures have an overall "religion" rather than understanding itself an Animistic Religion."
From the above information, it can be said that;
Animism is the belief that all matter is alive, in the sense that it has a soul/spirit.
Each being is considered to be a spirit, in the sense of a deity, that can give good or bad fortune
Thus, each being is to be worshipped, through song, sacrifice, dance, ritual, devotion etc
Questions I have;
How is worship divided among various beings? Surely each animist cannot worship every single object on earth. Does each individual or household perhaps, choose an object or group of objects that they worship?
"........A central concern of animist thought surrounds how animals can be eaten or otherwise used for humans' subsistence needs. The actions of non-human animals are viewed as "intentional, planned and purposive", and they are understood to be persons because they are both alive and communicate with others. In animist worldviews, non-human animals are understood to participate in kinship systems and ceremonies with humans, as well as having their own kinship systems and ceremonies.
Some animists also view plant and fungi life as persons and interact with them accordingly. The most common encounter between humans and these plant and fungi persons is with the former's collection of the latter for food, and for animists this interaction typically has to be carried out respectfully. Harvey cited the example of Maori communities in New Zealand, who often offer karakia invocations to sweet potatoes as they dig the latter up; while doing so there is an awareness of a kinship relationship between the Maori and the sweet potatoes, with both understood as having arrived in Aotearoa together in the same canoes. In other instances, animists believe that interaction with plant and fungi persons can result in the communication of things unknown or even otherwise unknowable. Among some modern Pagans, for instance, relationships are cultivated with specific trees, who are understood to bestow knowledge or physical gifts, such as flowers, sap, or wood that can be used as firewood or to fashion into a wand; in return, these Pagans give offerings to the tree itself, which can come in the form of libations of mead or ale, a drop of blood from a finger, or a strand of wool.
Various animistic cultures also comprehend as stones as persons. Discussing ethnographic work conducted among the Ojibwe, Harvey noted that their society generally conceived of stones as being inanimate, but with two notable exceptions: the stones of the Bell Rocks and those stones which are situated beneath trees struck by lightning, which were understood to have become Thunderers themselves. The Ojibwe conceived of weather as being capable of having personhood, with storms being conceived of as persons known as 'Thunderers' whose sounds conveyed communications and who engaged in seasonal conflict over the lakes and forests, throwing lightning at lake monsters. Wind, similarly, can be conceived as a person in animistic thought.
The importance of place is also a recurring element of animism, with some places being understood to be persons in their own right.
As a base case study, my group chose to focus on the Maori tribe of New Zealand, is Animism is their traditional religion. We decided to look into their customs, cultural art pieces, and traditions to learn more about them in relation to animism. We found that one deep rooted custom that stood out among many was that of the Maori tattoo, referred to as Ta Moko.
"Tā moko is the permanent body and face marking by Māori, the indigenous people of New Zealand. Traditionally it is distinct from tattoo and tatau in that the skin was carved by uhi (chisels) rather than punctured. This left the skin with grooves, rather than a smooth surface. The Tohunga tā moko (or tattooists) were considered tapu, or inviolable and sacred."
"Tattoo arts are common in the Eastern Polynesian homeland of Māori, and the traditional implements and methods employed were similar to those used in other parts of Polynesia (see Buck 1974:296, cited in References below). In pre-European Māori culture, many if not most high-ranking persons received moko, and those who went without them were seen as persons of lower social status. Receiving moko constituted an important milestone between childhood and adulthood, and was accompanied by many rites and rituals. Apart from signalling status and rank, another reason for the practice in traditional times was to make a person more attractive to the opposite sex. Men generally received moko on their faces, buttocks (raperape) and thighs (puhoro). Women usually wore moko on their lips (kauwae) and chins. Other parts of the body known to have moko include women's foreheads, buttocks, thighs, necks and backs and men's backs, stomachs, and calves."
"Since 1990 there has been a resurgence in the practice of tā moko for both men and women, as a sign of cultural identity and a reflection of the general revival of the language and culture."
Questions I have considered
How is the maori tattoo related to their religion of Animism?
Project: Ideas Factory
As a material, my group received light ss a material. We decided to not look at light directly, but laterally, as something that affects other materials. Using that viewpoint, we came across the following (smart) materials that involve light or light stimuli;
("Smart materials are designed materials that have one or more properties that can be significantly changed in a controlled fashion by external stimuli, such as stress, temperature, moisture, pH, electric or magnetic fields.")
Photochromic Pigment - such pigments usually have an off-white appearance, but when introduced to UV light, they change colour
Photochromic Ink - This is ink containing aforementioned photochromic pigment, that when applied to a surface initially appears colourless but changes colour when introduced to sunlight.
Glow in the dark Pigment - After exposure to natural/artificial light, this pigment absorbs and stores energy to produce an afterglow in the absence of light
These materials also related to our process word 'hide', as the hidden colours or effects or hidden under certain circumstances, and are then revealed upon the introduction of UV light.
For a process, we got the word "hide".
In the modern world of today, with technology getting more advanced, there have already been several advances in digital software, including that of virtual reality.
Virtual reality can be defined as ....."the computer-generated simulation of a three-dimensional image or environment that can be interacted with in a seemingly real or physical way by a person using special electronic equipment, such as a helmet with a screen inside or gloves fitted with sensors."
In relation to the topic "hiding", virtual reality can be said to both conceal and reveal different worlds from/to the unknowing individual, hiding it from their own personal reality.
COLLECTIONS - Experimentation on Methodology and Presentation
Nicholas Nixon - The Brown Sisters
Susan Hiller - After the Freud Museum
Dieter Roth - Flat Waste
Haim Steinbach - Once Again the World Flat
Thoughts on Artist/Practitioners' Work - COLLECTIONS
Above are my notes on various artists, including Haim Steinbach, Nicholas Nixon, etc
Primary Research - Site Specific Text
Above are scanned images of my primary research for the site specific text project. We were told to go around archway campus and record interesting spaces through drawing. As well as drawing the spaces I found interesting, I also explored the colours, lighting used in the area, original purpose, alternative purpose (if any) and possible associations and ways I could use the spaces. One space that interested me the most are the sink in the 3d workshop and the storage divider in the outdoor eating area. I could see the work of Alex Peemoller being able to fit into both of these spaces. I feel that the curved sides of the sink, as well as the repeated compartments separated by the diagonal lent themselves to his style of work. Figures or words could be draped across theses spaces in ways that are similar to that of the anamorphic figures used in Peemoller's work.
Through group discussions about final idea generation, I presented my thoughts on potential locations to my group members, and I received feedback noting the potential the sink could have, but also to give more consideration to similar spaces to the sink, and even the square frame I had come across earlier for contrast, as well as associations to them. I responded to this through mind-mapping, my ideas on both the sink and the frame as a location. I found that I had more thoughts on the sink,and they even took me in a new direction. Ideas such as material association; (porcelain), end of life, and being washed away made me think of a toilet basin, which I then chose as my final location.
Secondary Research - Site Specific Text
Initially, I was unsure as to what the phrase 'site specific text' actually meant, so I did some research to find out.
"The term site-specific refers to a work of art designed specifically for a particular location and that has an interrelationship with the location" "As a site-specific work of art is designed for a specific location, if removed from that location it loses all or a substantial part of its meaning. The term site-specific is often used in relation to installation art, as in site-specific installation; and land art is site-specific almost by definition."
From this, I could say site specific text refers to a piece of text designed for a certain location. It has an interrelationship with the location in the sense that the location gives the text (more/deeper) meaning, and in return, the text also gives the location (more/deeper) meaning.
Secondary Research - Axel Peemoeller, Eureka Carpark, 2006 - Site Specific Text
"Axel Peemoeller designed this huge colourful typographic wayfinding signage for the Eureka Parking in Melbourne. The characters are distorted by their perspective projection designed to be legible from the driver seat of the visiting cars."
Peemoeller's work uses the concept of Anamorphic imagery . "An Anamorphic Image is an image that appears normal only when viewed from some particular perspective or when viewed through some transforming optical device such as a mirror. ... This is called a "plane anamorph"." (source-https://www.physics.uoguelph.ca/morph/morph.html)
What interests me about this designer's work is the placement of the words, and the use of perspective to create the shapes that can only be seen properly from one point of view.
3d Printer at Design Museum
Prototype for Prosthetic Arm
IMAGES FROM ARCHITECTURE - BUILD IT
3 Dimensional Design and Architecture
Visit to the Design Museum
I decided to take a visit to the design museum on High Street Kensington . I saw various installations, advents in technology, and timeline exhibitions.
Above, is a picture from the fashion section of the design museum. It was part of a timeline of the evolution of women's clothing. I find it quite interesting that as well as constantly moving forward, design, especially fashion design often look s backwards to gather influence. Many the styles that are in trend at the moment are retakes on trends from our parents' or even grandparents' generation.
As well as a museum for design innovation, history and artefacts, the building for the design museum itself can also be classified as a well considered and interesting application of art and design. The architecture of the building was spectacular, with various elements coming together to make an additional experience for the audience and viewers who come to see various exhibitions. Although each room is not identical in construction, they all tie together to give a connected feel I a way.
Above, is an image fro the "Ways of Making " section of the museum. Displayed, are traditional cobbler's/shoemaker's tools as well as various cuts of a shoe.
It was interesting seeing such a craft like method of manufacture in the day and age of assembly lines, industrialisation, and mechanisation. It just goes to show that there is still much value placed on the more art nouveau styles, where craftsmanship is highly regarded and preserved.
Over the course of the summer holiday in fact, I had cause to visit two local shoemakers. The first was to aid me in repairing one of my school shoes who's heel had come off due to an extended period of wear, and the second was to repair the straps of a sandal I had recently started wearing after it been stored in a wardrobe for a few years without use. I had not expected the shoes to be restored to their original condition, and I was surprised to see that even without advanced equipment or machinery, this turned out to be the case. The shoes almost seemed sturdier than they had been before they became damaged.
DISCUSSION WITH ARCHITECTURE STUDENT - Build It
I was also opportuned to have a discussion with one of my friends who is an architecture student at an American university. After completing our own architecture project, it was interesting to see the sort of work architecture students do. She sent me this image of a project she is currently working on.
I found the incorporation of negative space very v=clever, and although scale wise, this does not appear to be a building that would be extremely large, the use of negative spaces, combined with large scale window panels and cut outs give the illusion of more space. This made me appreciate what my tutors had mentioned concerning form earlier in our architecture presentation.
Research from the Presentations - Wear it, Use It,Build It
Robin Day Chair - Use It
The Robin Day chair (which was the basis of our idea development and construction during the use it project), is one of those products that are timeless. Although dated all the way back to 1962, the chair is still extremely popular and about 14 million have been sold to date. This proves the design to be effective, and neutral enough to fit into several situations. Had its design been more feminine, masculine, stylised, (ie fitting more into a trend, or more specific in intended user) etc, the chair would not have had such a large and constant market share, and would not be something we still use so commonly today
Article: How a pair of Orange Scissors Made Design History (Co.Design)
From my subscription to Co.Design, I found this article about a pair of scissors. This reminded me of the Robin Day chair, which has sold over 14 billion to date. This pair of scissors, though not as impressive a number, has also become a household product and widely identified design.
Below are some excerpts from the article I found particularly interesting;
"To date, the company "Fiskars" has sold more than 1 billion of its scissors and thanks to them the orange scissors turn 50 this year.
Bäckström’s use of both–plastics and ergonomics–illustrates how the twin forces of politics and technology gave birth to postwar industrial design.
The company has an unusual way of determining the quality of each finished product: The quality control team listens to the sound of each pair of scissors as they’re closed. “The two pieces of metal and the sound they made is an indicator of how well they’re honed together,” Gillespie says.
Today, it’s rare to find a pair of household scissors that don’t have curved plastic handles that fit your hand, a testament to Bäckström’s influence and the longevity of his design."
PRIMARY RESEARCH FOR USE IT PROJECT
I was able to record through drawing the various ways chairs were interacted with around the archway campus. I found that vary rarely were chairs used in the proper way intended. They were often used as footrests, to hang jackets, or to store bags and other items. Many times, I found people scooted forward in chairs, leaning back on the hind legs of chairs, and other positions which changed the posture of the user. It was these observations that later influenced my design ideas on ways to modify the Robin Day style chair.
OTHER CASE STUDIES TO CONSIDER (Build It)
Geodesic structures - "A geodesic dome is a hemispherical thin-shell structure (lattice-shell) based on a geodesic polyhedron. The triangular elements of the dome are structurally rigid and distribute the structural stress throughout the structure, making geodesic domes able to withstand very heavy loads for their size."
I found the discussion on geodesic structures particularly interesting because of how it shows the triangle to be the strongest shape. I found it a little difficult to understand initially, but once I considered that the angles of a triangle are fixed, the concept made more sense. I am also interested in the lattice form of these structures, because they appear to be simultaneously internal structures and external structures. As they get larger in size, the number of triangles, and resulting edges, make the building structurally sound and also give it a physical visual weight, and a closed off nature. But on the other hand, the spaces between the edges of the triangles create transparency, making the structures appear open and skeletal.
"People have been building domes for centuries. Ancient peoples such as the Romans applied their masonry skills -- and their knowledge of the arch -- to create massive domes. But those domes needed equally large supporting walls keep the entire structure from crashing to the ground. In short, huge old domes were heavy and bound to fail at some point.
Geodesic domes are different. Not only do they incorporate the strength of a strong arch shape, but they're also made up of many triangles. Pair domes with triangles, and you have one extremely durable structure. Triangles are the strongest shape because they have fixed angles."
Coop Himmelb(lau), Pavillion 21, Munich Opera,Coll Barreu Arquitects, Basque Health Headquarters, Thomas Saraceno, Cloud city
Yasuhiro Yamashito, Tokyo
I found this building to be of interest to me because of its unique shape, which lent itself well to functionality. Geographically, the area is overpopulated, so this building accommodates that by creating parking space within the building itself, eliminating the need for a garage, or taking up road space, which would also be limited.
Iran Juarez, Tropic of Cancer, Mexico, Jimenez Lai, White Elephant, Nick Grimshaw, Eden Project
Strandbeests by Theo Jansen
I had never heard of the strandbeests before, and I found them very interesting. I feel they combine both art and science, in that the visual aspects are pleasing to the eye, intricate, and creates attraction through the use of interesting forms that resemble creatures, but they are also extremely well calculated, and deliberate to allow the mechanism to appear to move on its own.