MCP501 Proposal Year 1
04 – Description of proposed project or body of work – practical element
For the MFA I plan to research aspects of social behavior, neuroscience, psychology and the potential for technology to create intimacy and engagement amongst strangers. To create a shared experience that connects people from different cultures and social backgrounds. I want to explore aspects of the human experience that are universal and to incorporate this into an immersive installation/space. The ritual of story telling, for example, relates to the universality of human nature and has always had a way of connecting people regardless of cultural background.
For the MFA I will endeavor to answer the question of how to create an experience for people that breaks down imagined divides and to grasp the borderless connection we have to the world as a whole?
For this project I plan on extending upon previous work that involved combining technology with 3-D printed forms to create an interactive piece that responded to peoples’ heartbeat. I plan to use the same technology to explore its potential when combined with contemporary drawing. The rhythm of our heartbeat is a symbol of both deep emotional connections and the passage of time. It is the basic biological parameter to check if someone is still alive and can therefore, potentially be considered the foundation of human existence.
I would like to explore the possibility of incorporating heart rate sensor technology into a drawing installation so that when a single person’s heartbeat is detected a small section of the drawing is revealed. The more people that connect to the pulse sensors the more that different aspects of the drawing installation become apparent. Thus, the more immersive the shared experience becomes.
Drawing has a universality that works well as a medium to address the concept. Drawing and mark making are a universal human activity. Drawing as a tool for communication and expression occurs across all cultures and social backgrounds and eliminates the need for language and other barriers that separate us from feeling apart of the collective whole.
For this project I want to create a completely immersive space that uses light, and sound in response to the viewers heart rate; drawings with light; drawings that you can walk though; drawings that change over time; drawings that respond to sound or vibration; drawing as a tool for public engagement are some of the ideas I would like to explore.
05 – Description of project report or thesis – written element
"I am infinitely more interested in the secrets that connect the whole of humankind rather than what separates us by culture, language and beliefs. The universality of human nature – the collective whole is far more fascinating than looking at things that make us different." Carl Jung
This quote will be the starting point for research into social behaviour, neuroscience, psychology and the potential of technology. I will seek to embody the dialectic between our experiences as individuals compared with the experience we share as part of the universal whole. By creating a sense of connection between people you increase the opportunity for people to express empathy towards others. There are aspects of our shared experience that unify us and yet we are quick to forget this when pushing past each other on a busy city street.
By focusing on a single human identity the perception of “us and them” deteriorates proportionally to the increase in empathy and understanding. Neuroscience is an important aspect of this investigation because “the fundamentally social nature of the neural network of our brain is at the core of our potential as a civilization.” (Eagleman, David).
I’m also fascinated by current research that focuses on technology and its detrimental effect on social behaviour. I want to investigate the possibilities of using technology and science to create an intimate, engaging and more importantly a genuine social space as a way of highlighting the links in human connection.
06 – Anticipated results, e.g. documentation, performance, script, intervention, website, exhibition, book, journal
I anticipate that the research will result in an immersive drawing installation as a tool for public engagement and interaction. This will be documented through film and/or photography.
07 – Initial bibliography for written element
Bachelard, Gaston. The Poetics of Space.
Boston, Beacon Press, 1994
Cacioppo, John & Patrick, William. Loneliness: Human Nature & the Need for Social Connection. United Kingdom, W. W. Norton & Company, 2009
Cacioppo, John. Social Neuroscience. United Kingdom, Psychology Press, 2004
de Botton, Alain. The Consolations of Philosophy. United Kingdom, Penguin Publishers, 2001
Eagleman, David. Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain. New York, Vintage, 2012
Eagleman, David. The Brain (Documentary) BBC, 2015
Jung, C.G. Modern Man in Search of a Soul United Kingdom, Harcourt Harvest, 1955
Jung, C.G. The Earth has a Soul: C.G. Jung on Nature, Technology & Modern Life. California, North Atlantic Books, 2002
Kahn, Peter & Hasbach, Patricia. Ecopsychology: Science, Totems & Technological Species. Cambridge, MIT Press, 2012
Romachandran, V.S. The Tell-Tale Brain. A neuroscientist’s quest for what makes us human. New York, W.W. Norton & Company, 2012
Turkle, Sherry, Alone Together: Why we more from technology and less from each other. Chicargo, Basic Books, 2012
08 – Research statement – hypothesis or question you pose
Where could the removal of imagined boarders and a determined focus on what makes us the same rather than different possibly lead us as a human race?
10A. List three works of art, performances, events, etc. to describe, compare and contrast.
1. Mika Tajima’s site specific public artwork: Pink Hot Tub
2. Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Room
3. The Death Room MONA Tasmania
10B. Provide one to three themes, questions, topics, issues, threads etc. to discuss, compare and contrast which are relevant to your work.
· Social interactions, shared experiences, the need for human connection and how this compares to the individual experience, isolation – the individual in the crowd.
· Social alliances and imagined boarders - what potentially happens to these ideas when we glimpse infinity.
· Understanding the fundamentally social nature of our brains is at the foundation of our future potential.
10C. Formulate as a paragraph as in the examples above.
Through research I will seek to compare and contrast Mika Tajim’s Pink Hot Tub, Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Room and MONA’s Death Room as a way of investigating how we experiences the world as an individual compared with the experience we share as part of a universal whole. How do we experience a work of art when immersed in the experience completely on our own compared with the shared experience of a community based public artwork or socially engaged art work.
10D. How will this research support your creative project or practice in general (150 words)?
By comparing the experience of the viewer/participant of these three works of art I can potentially gain an understanding of how to create a genuine emotive response through using technology as a medium.
10E. Are you excited to get started reading and writing about what you are researching?
No, I'd like to meet with someone to discuss the research or project further.