DJCAD Reflective Research Journal – 3rd Year – Week Four

I decided to go home to Aberdeenshire last weekend and ended up staying all week and working from there (as far as I could gather this was allowed as I am part of a couple who lives apart and there were various other exemptions that seemed to apply to my situation too). This helped my dejected state of mind greatly. Drove back down to Dundee on Friday to catch a day in the studio and arranged to go to see the exhibition at the Cooper Gallery and the DCA on Saturday. The Film by Stuart Whips at the DCA ‘If Wishes were Thrushes then Beggars Would eat Birds’, made me aware of new possibilities for exhibiting film. He had a sort of base film projected onto a huge screen and then a second film inserted over parts of the base film, but carefully positioned to interact with each other. It worked well and some of the textures and patterns created were very rich and beautiful.  

I watched an online talk given by Tai Shani and was impressed by the articulate and personal way she talked about the ideas in her work. The occult and feminism, creating a world she called the Dark Continent (DC) which was Freuds description of female sexuality. She works with a lot of other people, who are the actors in her performances, which I can see would open up new possibilities, but obviously is not an option open to me just now with the current restrictions. I plan to make a film, in which I perform, but will edit in different layers of me. So it’s more film than performance maybe, as it was last semester. I also really need to learn to talk more articulately about my work. I realise maybe this doesn’t just come so easily with time, it might actually require active learning/memorising of words and concepts and practicing them.

I have been doing more research into health, mindbody and the placebo effect. It becomes clearer and clearer to me that our current model of health and medicine is missing so many things. I started reading an essay by Linnie Price titled ‘Art, science, faith and medicine: the implications of the placebo effect.’ (Which I am also considering as dissertation research) which articulated so clearly for the first time, what I have felt is wrong with our model of healthcare (conventional medicine that is).

That its structure formed during the rise of capitalism, rationalism and individualism, that it is about one group exercising power over another and reducing the latter to an infantile dependence. It is more about keeping people ‘adjusted to their environment as useful members of society’ (Sigerist, Henry 1946) than it is about healing. 

I also found an essay titled ‘Descartes and the paradigm of Western Medicine’ by Paulo Nuno Martins, which gave me terminology I was struggling for like; CartesianDualism meaning the separation of mind-body and Mechanism, which describes the body as machine. 

I have been trying to work out how to express these ideas of separation visually and am still struggling, though me playing different characters (elements of myself) is a start and this also connects with Jung’s shadow archetype/shadow characters, which I investigated in my work from last year.

Some possible characters could be: The limbic system, the biome, the immune system, the placebo effect… Some of these are marginalised within western medicine and I could try introducing a comedy element by staging a ‘Rights for marginalised parts of the body (or human garden) protest’ or something along those lines. This would be really hard to carry out though I think… 

And I also started to think about my performance/film and also paintings as being somehow in the form of dance or even a disco. Quantum Disco, Limbic Disco, that sort of thing. I am visualising a many limbed organic creature, moving and flexing in a dance of integration – expressing and exercising basic primal, but forgotten human-garden rights. I could make custom dance music for this. My final work installation could somehow represent a holistic night club. I feel pretty excited by these ideas this week, which is a huge improvement on last week. 

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