Viva Reflections and Feedback

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Today I got my feedback for my viva mock presentation. I got told that I did really well so that has boosted my confidence. I tried to make the presentation interactive as this is what I am aiming to do with my work. I also want my work to appeal to the senses so I gave the tutors objects (a rock each) to hold while I was talking about them, which made it easier to communicate my ideas and allowed the tactile nature of the object to hopefully keep them engaged in my talk, which from my feedback today I have learnt seemed to work as I had hoped.

In the viva my ideas and research was well received and the discussion at the end allowed me focus my thoughts on what to develop in the final few months. It was decided that the book idea didn’t work as I had replicated a rock to create the cover and back. This was for the logistics of making the book however I missed the bigger picture, that by replicating the rock I lost the curiosity surrounding it as the marks were now made by me and not the sea creatures, however I enjoyed the process of replicating in clay as it allowed me to take a closer look at the object and in a way follow the path of the worm. An interesting conversation emerged in my viva about replicas and their place within museums. This is something that I have been thinking about since the viva. Although I am steering away from my previous idea of creating a cave structure and replicating rocks in clay for my degree show work, I still have an interest in the latter in particular, Henry Moore’s Wunderkammer juxtaposed his sculptures heavily inspired by natural objects next to the real objects themselves and I loved this effect as you could instantly see how they informed each other, although slightly differently Moore didn’t replicate but took inspiration from and maybe this is the key.

After having a few days away to reflect on the viva and seeing one of my favourite artist’s talk in Falmouth, I now feel refreshed and inspired to take the project forward. Next week I will have a space in order to create my latest installation idea however for this week I am preparing for this in making sure I have materials I need and measuring up the space. I have also decided to create more paintings, I have been meaning to do this for a while and as I have this week free to do this, I want to get back to painting. The paintings I have done so far have received good feedback and I am happy that they achieve my aim of taking the viewer into the worm’s world, therefore I thought I’d create a few more and delve even deeper into the world of the worm.

Although previously I have had many ideas about ways I can include the paintings in some way for the degree show, maybe not the physical originals, but in print in a book etc however in my viva we also discussed the paintings and how they as originals are more powerful than when they are replicated and reduced to be put in a book. I definitely agree with this as when I have printed off images of my paintings on a smaller scale, they lose a lot including their texture and detail. Therefore I was advised to not include images of my paintings in my book but instead make the book a separate creation, thinking more about the structure. I think I need to take a look back at my tutorial with Tom Martin a few weeks ago as he brought up some very interesting ideas about ways to push the idea of a book so that it becomes a sculpture in itself, where the form of the book reflects the narrative of my story ie: the worm travelling through the network inside the rock. How can this be portrayed? Cut out sections and thread to weave though it? Also what about creating a rock structure from the paper and having the thread going through?

Sound became a subject of major discussion in my viva. I introduced this as a way I am currently thinking to create atmosphere and add to the multi-sensory aspect of my work. I also love the idea of portraying the presence of the worm through sound, as I have steered clear of drawing the character throughout the project, this could be an effective and subtle way of enhancing the narrative.  It was also suggested that sound can go beyond creating atmosphere and create music. I’m unsure about this but if I was to invite people to make sounds with the rocks this would make the piece more interactive and the collected sounds could form a symphony of sounds that could be made into something… as the project continues….

My favourite moment of my viva was when it was jokingly suggested that I should.. BECOME THE WORM! Maybe I’ll dress up as a worm for my real viva! We’ll see… but thinking in a more serious way, in many ways I am already becoming the worm as I think how it would travel through the passages in the rock, what it would see, feel and hear to translate these sensory qualities into my work.

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