This research paper concerned the subject of how we read and accept reality and also further explored the notion of the sleeping dream which was the focus of my first extended essay on this MA Course. However I also see this research as an extension of my overall interests within my practical work, even that of my BA degree final project. My practical work has always revolved around my interest in people, how we think and why we think that way. Within my BA work I looked into symbolism and tokens, however this was in a much more narrative and literal way. I presented each subject of that research on one sculpture each.
During this research I moved past just looking at the stories and more into how and why we construct the things we believe in. And what better place to start than with what we all base our lives so heavily on, reality.
From my previous research into the sleeping dream I concluded with a list of hypothesised constructs which outline how the mind uses perception and memory to build dreams. These constructs were; merging, fragmentation and heavy/low detail. I then explored how an artist could utilise these constructs as a framework of creating practical work to portray a physical visual representation of the sleeping dream. I therefore decided to tackle the subject of reality in the same manner.
During this research I began by looking at how the individual understands reality, how we alter our external selves to present to the outside world the person we think we should be, or want to be.This led to exploring societies affect on reality, as the perceptions the individual has about reality stems from the collective agreement about the rules of reality by society. Society is created when a group of people create and agree to a set of rules as to how to live their lives, what is normal and real based on their perceptions.
These rules are then cemented into the minds of people by the products and tools we create to back them up, for example being healthy is an ideal we back up by building hospitals, selling medicines and vitamins etc. However once an ideal becomes so accepted and due to consumerism, the reality of that ideal shifts and we find ourselves in a hyper reality. In which we try so hard to live up to our ideal that we push past reality altogether. An example of this is the idea that a signifer for health is white teeth, so we produce products which bleach our teeth to an un-natural extent.
One of the most influential aspects of my research in term of my practise was that into how we use the physical work to build reality. As humans we rely heavily on our senses, especially sight and touch. Because of this we take the things we can see and feel to be the best examples of reality, we believe it to be real. However everything we believe about the physical world is built on our perceptions of it. We create a set of rules about objects by how we perceive their value, function and worth.
Not only did researching into the constructs of reality help give strength to the research into the sleeping dream, as it became obvious that the two link and affect each other due to their dependence on perception, but it also strengthened my practical work. I had new constructs to work with in conjunction to the dream constructs. Therefore my full set of tools were as follows:
- Detail (low and high)
These combined constructs allowed me to produce a range of object tokens. These tokens, unlike my more specific BA work, do not dictate any intended information or narrative. This proved vital to my work as I was then able to group and collage the objects to challenge and question some of the theories and constructs of our construction of reality.
- How we base reality of an agreed set of rules of objects dependant on our perceptions
- How we alter how reality is read due to pre-conceived ideas about it
By challenging our idea of reality I have created work which acts as our sleeping dream, processing and questioning our perceptions.
Therefore without conducting this research my practise could not have reached a point of being successful.
However this research has also raised a range of new questions, therefore I aim to continue my research into how and why we think as we do, whilst using my practical work to further explore my theories. I hope to narrow my research down to a specific question in order to complete a PHD utilising my practical ceramics.