Drawing//experience : a process of translation
thesisposted on 13.11.2012 by Deborah Harty
In order to distinguish essays and pre-prints from academic theses, we have a separate category. These are often much longer text based documents than a paper.
How is it possible, through drawing, to identify and translate the elements of a specific experience into drawings? The thesis presents the findings of the practice-led research, which sought, through engagement with processes of drawing and phenomenology (notably Heidegger 1962 and Merleau-Ponty 2002) and/or psychoanalysis (notably Csikszentmihalyi 1990, Bollas 1987), to address this question. The research has been specific to the translation, through drawing, of luminary into drawings. The experience researched and translated, through drawing into drawings, is identified as luminary and refers to the author's experience of a night sky. The research identified the elements of luminary as; external elements - luminosity, blackness and vastness; internal elements - awareness of being, awareness of the continuum of time and fluctuating state of consciousness. The fluctuating state of consciousness generated during luminary was noted to have resonance with the experience of certain artworks (notably Kapoor 2000 and Cardiff 2001) initiating the thought that it would be possible and valid to translate luminary into drawing. The elements of luminary are not specific to the researcher and the drawings themselves are a form of artwork. Previous work relevant to the fluctuating state of consciousness, concentrates on the experience from a third person perspective, through the experience of the artworks of others (Dewey 1934, De Bolla 2001). This research offers conclusions from a first person perspective - the researcher is also the researched - furthering understanding of human experience. The documentation of implicit elements of processes of drawing offers insights into, and consequently, furthers understanding of a creative process. The hybrid methodology adopted for the research is referred to as action theoria, taking its name from the combination of action research (Dick 1993) and theoria (Davy 2006). Action theoria incorporates the cyclical and iterative process of action research - intention; action; review - with a process of theoria - the dialogue of both practice and theory's relationship to a given subject matter. This research responds to luminary - as its subject matter - and is led through the investigations of drawing and drawings. Action theoria also involves reflective practice, as outlined by Schon (1983) as a means of evaluating the research findings. The effectiveness of the hybrid methodology action theoria, developed for this research, made it possible to answer the research question by uncovering the possibilities for translating a specific experience, in this case luminary, into drawings. The research culminated in a freestanding drawing that could be entered into. The drawing was considered to contain the identified elements of luminary: luminous black, infinite black, continuum of time, and fluctuating state of consciousness. The presence of a luminous black was created by the perforations in the drawing's surface. The presence of an infinite black appeared through the vast compressed charcoal surface. The suggestion of infinity was implied by the continuation of the repetitive fingertip marks and perforations drawn between the concertina folds. Evidence of the fluctuating state of consciousness was a visible trace through the marks on the paper. As a consequence, the final drawing of Phase Three, Series 8, (figure 89) was considered to be an effective translation of the identified elements of luminary; external elements - luminosity, blackness and vastness; internal elements - awareness of being, awareness of the continuum of time and fluctuating state of consciousness and therefore, the drawing concluded the research by demonstrating - it is possible, through drawing, to identify and translate the elements of a specific experience into drawings.
- The Arts, English and Drama