PDP – Constellation

Learning to see, learning to know, learning to do.

At  the start of constellation module of my course I was a little uncertain what to expect……….I had chosen to part take in the lectures and workshops for Things could be otherwise and New Materialism. After the first couple of lectures I got the point of Constellation, and it was really interesting. Both my lecturers were passionate about their subject, which encouraged myself to get stuck into.

Its enabled myself to reflect and draw from history of art and design, philosophy, historical and contemporary theoretical concepts. I have been able to visualise new possibilities as opposed to the pre-conceptions of my discipline and worldview, challenging the status quo of my thinking. Which has given me the impetus to think about how my own work and how different audiences will react. Taking into account different cultures and demographics, was not something that I hadn’t taken into consideration before. My aim was to please my lecturer to get the grades, but it is really getting me prepared for a competitive world of creativity and consumerism! Having some strong views on the world already it has given me the foundation to argue and voice my views in a more academic way, not just a fallacy!

Constellation consisted of writing two essays From not having written an essay for a number of years (15 years) and the thought of academic research  and the bibliography was a little daunting to start with. However it has opened up a whole new world for new opinions, concepts and philosophies. Our lectures give us the key concepts and opinions in the subject, which from there made me want to learn more. For instance I had never heard of Google scholar before. I literally spent hours researching, encouraging me to buy books on subjects that I would not have looked twice at before. I have discovered that I like psychology and what it is that makes us do what we do. James Elkins, The Object Stares Back, was a real eye opener (literally) to the way that we as a western culture view and digest information, the world around us.

My research into Are we Cyborgs? for my Things can be otherwise essay took me off on many different tangents. It has opened a new insight into other peoples lives and  their own creative perspective on the world. From the Cyborg artists to people that consider themselves part cyborg. There is a beautiful and varied world out there.

I can now debate about support an argument into whether or not we as humans are cyborg or not, going beyond my own ideas and views.This subject was a new idea for myself, I had only thought of Cyborgs in the Movies, It was interest to learn about what some class as being human, already taking on the traits of being Cyborg or not. Its a question that has opened up a new view point on us as human beings.

Within the lectures we were encouraged to part taking in debates with our peers,  I found particularly helpful, it encouraged myself to be more vocal about my opinions and views. It was interesting to how see how other views differed. As well as our debates, there was practical side within the lectures from drawing and afternoons out in the elements. It was great to use my hands and explore different art concepts, as from being in the studio sat at the computer, which is a majority of the time within modern graphics.


The process of looking at wider theoretical concepts outside of my graphics discipline, has enabled myself view my course from a different position, almost steeping out of my work to see how others would view and take in my final pieces. I have been able to critically reflect on my own ideas in Graphic Communication as well as those with in my own discipline and others while working in the trandisaplinary module for field, something that I would have never experienced fully, if this was not part of my course. The information and views from Constellation, has had a positive effect on my work. I have been able to research wider, looking a lot of different subjects and art from other cultures and disciplines. I have found that I really enjoy researching for my projects and essays. Something I will continue to do throughout my time at Cardiff Met and on to my careers as a Graphic Communicator, by which time I will have had a vast amount of influence from the constellation part of the course.

I have really enjoyed this part of my course, and feel that it is a great and unique way of learning, helping me to see that bigger picture of the wider world outside of my own demographic and experiences. I am really looking forward to next two years Constellation Lectures.

Difference between observing and feeling

During our lecture which we where discussing vision as a heirachy, we were asked to pick a object out of a bag and without looking at it, and just by feeling it we had to draw what we felt. Once we had made a sketch of it we had to then draw what we saw. Below are the two drawing that I made during this activity.


As you can see from the sketches above I was almost right with the shape of what I was feeling, but you can see differences between the two. The one that was being felt whilst drawing is a lot more sketchy, as I was unsure of certain sides of the object due it being turned around in my hand to figure out what i needed to be drawing. Another noticeable difference is that fact that the sketch of the object whilst I was holding it is smaller than the other. I think that this is due to the fact of uncertainty of what it was, and not fully trusting what I was feeling. Why are we not fully trusting of our hands? Are we too reliant on our vision? If I had been more confident in what I was feeling, perhaps I may have been able to draw the object as it was.

Provocation 2 – How the body hides from view

In our last lecture we discussed  our western ideas regarding our senses and how our vision is depicted as the heirachy sense. This all stemmed from Classical Greece ideas that eyesight was the noblest of the senses. This is know as Ocularcentrism, and it has been disputed by many psychologists over the last century, such as Pallasmaa who puts forward his argument of vision (to know the world) vs touch, taste, smell (to feel the world), he states that Ocularcentrism……”has left the body and the others senses, as well as our memories, imagination and dreams homeless.” – when we see things we don’t necessarily see the complete picture. This surely depends on our mood, what are particular thoughts are or/and our experiences that we have effects what we see. I also feel that each of our senses have to work together in order to get a greater sense of what is going on in the world around you. Our eyes can not always be trusted, two people can be looking at the same thing, but they may come away with two very different visual experiences.

When we think of Buddhism, which is practised all over the world, but derived from the far east, they have a different life style to what we as westerners have. Just by looking at their culture, art, architecture you get a sense of this. By using their senses in a completely different way, they see they the world very differently. Why is this? Is it the fact they have not been exposed to this notion of Ocularcentrism.

Is seeing really believing, or is just what we have be conditioned to see, as a western society. How much are we missing out on in the world by not crediting our other senses with the merit that they deserve. This is something that I am sure that I will be exploring more.


constellation – New Materialism – Provocation 1

Meaning of the term body – What model of body do I think of when I relate it to my own practice (Graphic Design) How do we perceive our bodies in the world. Author M Johnson explores this notion in his book ‘The Meaning of the body’ – In chapter 12 he breaks this down to five different models of the body and its meaning;

  1. The body as a Biological Organism – The principal physical focus of the body in the world, made up of living flesh and blood
  2. The Ecological body – Our bodies in the environment around us
  3. The Phenomenological Body – As we live and experience life
  4. The Social Body – The human environment in which we live
  5. The Cultural Body – How the body interacts / grows in different cultures


My initial thoughts after reading this part of the book, from a graphic design point of view was the Cultural Body, as in our everyday life we are surrounded by text and graphics within our own culture. Its everywhere and almost merges into the background as it is so familiar to our everyday cultural life. However I am not looking at the boarder picture of what Graphic design is, as it is worldwide stemming over lots of cultures and environments. Graphic design is the art of visual communication or creating something that is visual to the eye. It involves a creative and systematic plan to solve a problem or achieve certain objectives with the use of images, symbols, words, and ideas to convey information to an audience. It is an aesthetic expression of concepts and ideas using various graphic elements, our own experiences and desires of the client. Also an important part of graphic design is to listen and interpret what the client needs. So when looking at the different models that Johnson talks about we need to use them all to get an overall balance, as there lots of different representations of body throughout the world as a result of the different cultures and life experiences.