Week 2: Psychology and Philosophy

I really look forward to these weekly summaries. This week the main topic of discussion was what it meant to ‘dwell’ and the difference between just ‘dwelling’ and ‘dwelling poetically.’ I think these blog posts really help me to ‘dwell poetically’ in the sense of collecting and analysing my thought processes.

Monday was a reading day for me. As I mentioned in last week’s blog post, there is a lot of reading on this course. Not that I mind (I love reading) but more specifically we are being taught to analyse whilst reading, which is a new concept to me.

The two essay readings we were given this week were ‘Moses of Michelangelo’ by Sigmund Freud and ‘Poetically Man Dwells’, a passage from Marin Heidegger on a poem written by Friedrich Holderlin.

For week 10 we are discussing the book ‘How to Be Both’ by Ali Smith, so I finished reading the first half of that in the afternoon.


On Tuesday we were lucky to be taken on a tour of the McManus galleries by Professor Callum Colvin who has an exhibition there at the moment called ‘Museography.’ His work interests me greatly as I used museum collections in my degree show work. It was a real treat for our group to be shown around the exhibition by Callum himself, who was able to talk us through all of his artwork. His method uses a unique combination of painting, photography and installation and it was great to see the images up close. I particularly enjoyed his Anamorphosis piece – a cylindrical mirror which clarifies a distorted image placed in front of it; extremely clever and captivating.


It was great to have a look around the McManus collections again and I sat for a while looking at my favourite piece ‘Dante’s Dream’ by Rosetti. I will always have a soft spot for the pre-raphaelites – my SQA higher work was based around them.


On Wednesday we had our first Humanities module lecture. I was a bit nervous about the fact that we were to be discussing Freud as, although I have read him for sheer enjoyment before, I can’t say I’ve ever felt like I had fully understood his work. I need not have worried however, as the discussion was extremely enjoyable. It was intriguing to find out how this particular piece of writing related to his psychoanalysis techniques, specifically ‘talking therapy’ and looking back through a patient’s history. This is what he was doing in ‘Moses of Michelangelo’ just with an art piece instead of a patient. It was also interesting to see how he argued throughout the whole essay with himself to try and come to some conclusion as to why he felt a certain way about the work.

On Wednesday afternoon I went back to the studio and pulled together some photographic inspiration for my studio work. I also changed some of the layout (I like to work over my studio space again and again, like a constantly shifting painting). This included hanging up my bubble prints I had finished the week before.


On Thursday we had our third lecture from Mary Modeen, this time entitled:

‘Thinking about Indeterminate Relations’ – Deconstructing our knowledge of ‘seemingness’ and Embracing the Unknown.

Have you ever heard a more glorious title of a lecture? I’m willing to bet not. It would be accurate to say her lectures are nothing short of spectacular. While my head hurt a lot at the end, I definitely felt my life had definitely changed in some way that I struggled to explain. She spoke about how as children we are taught to see objects by name and that if we looked at language a different way other than just ‘naming’ it can really free us from a lot a preconceptions. For example there is no such thing as ‘solid’. We might say “This ground is solid” but actually the ground is shifting, moving and changing on tectonic plates all of the time. The same way everything in the universe is made up of atoms all shifting around constantly – there are no ‘outlines’ as such.

All of this really spoke to me as I am interested in this concept of ‘shifting’ for my practical work. I like the prospect of my images shifting and changing in front of the viewer – something which I stumbled on completely by chance at the end of last semester with the shifting etchings, but I never fully had the chance to explore – I guess you could say that due to the ‘Aleatoric’ – a chance happening which was the word of the week!

This coming week I intend to get back on to the laser cutter and reacquaint myself with the controls and try some test etchings on a spare piece of acrylic. On Friday I spent the day editing some scanned imaged of the ink tests that I have been working on to prepare them for etching on Monday.

So in summary then I am thoroughly enjoying the course so far. Again, I wasn’t expecting it but it has already introduced so many philosophical questions and thoughts about my artwork that really resonate with me. I am definitely excited to see where this course will take me. Until next week…



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