Studio/Seminar Reflection post
My name is Katharina Fischer and have recently changed from Fine Arts to Interior Design as a major. Throughout our studio and seminar class this year I have learnt a lot through studying as well as making. Through seminar we conduct research and look into great depths of certain topics and during studio we bring these topics to a physical artistic form. This gave me a greater understanding of the topics and allowed me to learn about things through a different lens that is usually not a possibility in other universities which only require the research part. This course requires a great amount of creativity and encourages you to think for yourself whilst simultaneously researching your given topics to base this creativity off of something. It showed me to have a balance between both the research side and a fragment of my own thoughts based off of this. Generally it is one or the other, which is what triggered some difficulties throughout the course in choosing which one to pursue.
Both seminar classes throughout first and second semester were similar in their research and analysis aspect. They offered topics which were important past, present, and future despite the times they approached topics for which we can speak about at any period, something that is timeless. However, the first seminar class approached more existential timeless problems in a broad aspect (ethics, morality, utility etc.) whereas the second seminar class in a sense was a more specific version of this, it discussed timeless problems of race, body image etc. but specifically in our time and how we can approach this problem. Therefore, we discussed the specific body image of our time, which involves generally very thin women (due to the increase in social media access, modeling has become no longer a topic limited within fashion but it shows interest in all types of people), and because our time has become so involved with this image, it has increasingly negative effects specifically on women as well as sometimes on men. The question arose of why this is so important? who decides you NEED to be skinny? who decides if you’re not you are worthless? These are many questions we have discussed in class. We have also seen the different body trends throughout history and how past years have sometimes cherished curvier women and it was seen as more feminine even and shapely, however, as the years have gone by this image changes along with new fashion trends etc. Now we have concluded fashion needs skinnier models in order to make their clothes truly be shown at their best, and somehow this trend has sunk into the norm. This is one of the topics I found most interesting in class that we discussed to great depths and watched several videos (like the commercial that was banned for ‘indecency’ yet still shows the Victoria secret fashion show without a problem).
However, this is the main difference between both classes. In Seminar 2 we looked at body image which although is a broad topic we approached it in a more specific sense than what we looked at in Seminar 1. Something we spoke about in Seminar 1 was the question of life and death, ethics, and a big part language. Most of our topics took the approach of the difficulty of expressing these broad and important topics through the limitations of language. This was a reoccurring theme through every topic we approached, it showed us the side of how we cannot express something such as ethics if there are no words to express it, we cannot imagine something that is not there because we do not have the mental capacity to put it together. We can put different pictures together that we have already seen or already have in our heads but from the very basis we cannot just invent something from scratch, and language mirrors this idea. We have our limited set of words to begin with even if we knew every single word in the world there are a limited amount, on top of this, nobody knows every single word that exists, which causes for an even stricter limitation. Similarly to seminar 2, we discuss problems that are still relevant nowadays even though they have altered through time (due to language changing throughout history).
This is an vague idea of how approached the course, talking about an important topic commonly analyzed and discussed within society. Our main projects in seminar involved slowly approaching a point where we were able to successfully analyze something into depth through visual perception. We started off describing places we were at (Grand Central station) in great depth and observing more than we normally would, with a glimpse of observing what research could be put into this station. We continued with observation while slowly fitting in the research aspect more and more into our analysis through the MET mask project. This allowed us to combine observation along with the research part of it. Which led us up to our main final project which involves all aspects of observation, analysis, and conclusion of both.
Studio 1 and Studio 2 were more similar as they followed the seminar classes, therefore, whatever we did in seminar would lead into our studio project. Studio was in a sense a physical representation of our analysis of the work we studied in seminar. For example, in my Seminar/Studio 1 we studied language, and for studio we chose one word and represented this word in a physical artistic form in our own way. Similarly to Seminar/Studio 2 which requires us to represent our final essay topics with a physical representation in our own way. Since my project involves Andy Warhol and how he desexualized sexuality (in simple terms) and my physical representation will be a series of drawings of non-sexualized bodies in a graphic style to show my Andy Warhol perspective (although it will not be his style specifically, it is my own embodiment of his style).
To conclude, I feel as though both semesters of these courses fell in combination with each other. The first semester studio and seminar classes were a ‘starter’ for the more in depth topics followed in our second semester. Both semesters connected the classes greatly in their analysis and research through to their physical portrayal. Without one we can’t have the other and without having the other we don’t have the full understanding we achieved through these two aspects and different lenses.