Positions and Practice – Week Two

Multiple media and interdisciplinary practice – Reflection

I described myself in this week’s webinar as being a little “time-poor” this week. Settling into a new routine of balancing a full-time job with the MA and life in general is definitely going to be a challenge. But a little tweaking of the day job hours should help, and I do like a challenge.

This week’s topic has also been quite taxing for me. Having only come back to my practice properly in the past few years, and being a former journalist and now a communications officer where I spend time explaining complex information in an accessible and easy-to-read way, trying to add depth to my thought processes has made me feel a tad anxious. Am I doing it right? Have understood what’s being asked of me? This is a learning curve though and I’m sure I will feel more in the swing with the weekly tasks as we go.

This week we have been asked to consider disciplines and interdisciplinary approaches. This has asked us to consider differing disciplines and how we relate our work to some and not to others and how they can be interconnected, having an impact on each other. We heard in the Unruly Disciplines film this week that historically the chemical and mechanical elements of photography set it apart from other creative disciplines as it was viewed by some to lack fine art qualities. However Henry Peach Robinson said it was an art in its own right. I agree with him.

Initially, when thinking about the question “what discipline you feel that photography of any kind has a particularly interesting or relevant relationship to?” I wanted to suggest education, but is that a field as opposed to a discipline? So I delved a bit further and decided that Chemistry is one discipline that is very relevant to photography – in two ways.

Firstly, the simple fact that photography, over the years, has been created through chemical processing and experimentation. It wouldn’t exist without this science-based discipline. I use chemical processes now, mixing powders and potions; it’s very much part of the creative process.

For me, it is the scientific chemical process combined with personal input that creates the ‘magic’ of photography. And our ‘personal input’ is also created by chemical reactions taking place in our brains that cause us to feel, think, and express ourselves how we do.

I’m not sure if I’ve quite hit the topic on the nail. My peers spoke about social anthropology, graphic novels, cinematography, music, descriptive language, literature, sociology and literature. It made for some very thought provoking moments for me. One student said that by visualising in our own heads we create unique internal stories – these are often inspired from the internal stories of others that have been created and shared, which are produce by the chemical reactions in our brains and the use of chemical processes, in one form or another, to create artwork.

I find myself drawn more and more to the world of chemistry in relation to my own work. I want to delve deeper into the most environmentally-friendly ways we can produce ‘chemically’ made art.

I find this short-film beautiful. 

Beautiful Reactions from Yan Liang on Vimeo.

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