Turnitin Report

As an extra tool to help with essay writing the turnitin report helps to identify areas of writing that may have been plagiarised or cited incorrectly. Initially the report looks a little daunting but the tutorial helped to explain exactly what to do and how to read the report.

screen-shot-2016-12-18-at-13-09-14screen-shot-2016-12-18-at-13-09-29

screen-shot-2016-12-18-at-13-09-42screen-shot-2016-12-18-at-13-09-50

screen-shot-2016-12-18-at-13-09-59screen-shot-2016-12-18-at-13-10-26screen-shot-2016-12-18-at-13-10-06screen-shot-2016-12-18-at-13-10-42
The Turnitin report will be an invaluable tool and will give me the opportunity to check my essay as it progresses. To really see how the report can help me I submitted a smaller essay from a previous module to see the results…

 

 

screen-shot-2016-12-18-at-13-30-55

Screen Shot 2016-12-18 at 13.31.16.png

Screen Shot 2016-12-18 at 13.31.24.pngScreen Shot 2016-12-18 at 13.31.33.pngScreen Shot 2016-12-18 at 13.31.47.pngScreen Shot 2016-12-18 at 13.31.54.pngScreen Shot 2016-12-18 at 13.32.06.pngScreen Shot 2016-12-18 at 13.32.15.png http://www.turnitinuk.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Producing an Essay Plan

In my last post I discussed how after a period of reflection I decided to change the theme for my ‘Critical and Cultural Essay’. I was nervous of making such a change so late and knew that I would have a lot of work to do to catch up.

I am pleased with the new direction I have taken and I have to say it really showed when it came to researching my theme and finding resources to draw from. My new theme of ‘Recording Ruins’ aims to look into the popularity of images considered ‘Ruin Porn’, touching on the historic background, looking into the definition, origin and key characteristics as well as a brief background on Detroit to add context and finally analysing the critical debate that ruin porn raises around ethics and exploitation.

To help with the process I created an essay plan so I could clearly see how my ideas would flow and fit together.

Recording Ruins: What is ‘Ruin Porn’ and is it Exploitative?

Abstract (100-150 approx)

The intention of this critical essay is to examine the rise in popularity of ruin photography and to question what is considered to be ‘Ruin Porn.’ The definition of ‘Ruin Porn’ will be investigated along with how it is set apart from the more traditional documentary styles. . Using the city of Detroit, part of America’s rustbelt, as a focus the essay will then go on to identify and discuss the issues raised around the ethics and exploitation of ruin photography. The differing viewpoints of those concerned with ruin photography from the photographic practitioners to the residents of this economically challenged city will be compared and evaluated.

Introduction  (300-600 approx)

Images of modern ruins seem to be ever growing in popularity. They can be seen almost daily online from media sites such as Buzzfeed, Flickr and Mashable. There are an ever increasing number of books, filled with photographs of urban abandonment and ruination, available on the market. The term ‘Ruin Porn’ is used frequently to describe this genre of images. A rise in popularity has also brought into question the ethics of ruin photography. Concentrating on the city of Detroit in the U.S, a playground for ruin photographers, this essay aims to analyse and discuss the concerns that this popular trend raises. For instance questions such as ‘What exactly is Ruin Porn?’, ‘Is Ruin Porn exploitative?’,  ‘If Ruin Porn is exploitative then who or what is being exploited?’ and other questions will be explored.

Ruin images taken by contemporary photographers such as Eric Holubow, Andrew Moore and Marchand and Meffre* will be compared to images produced by photographers considered to have a more documentary approach such as Christopher Payne, Sean O’Boyle and Camilo J. Vergara.* will be compared. The contrast of their works will help in an attempt at defining what is considered ‘Ruin Porn’ by identifying some of the key characteristics.

This essay will discuss and evaluate questions of ethics and exploitation within the genre of ruin photography and its proliferation. This practice is seen by some to trivialise and misrepresent the deterioration of a city and the affect it has on people still residing there. By evaluating opposing opinions and perspectives from varied sources it will seek to answer questions of who if anyone gains from this upsurge of interest in the decline of the modern city.

Main Body

  • Defining ‘Ruin Porn”
    • Where did the phrase originate and why
    • What does it mean
  • Identifying characteristics of ‘Ruin Porn’ photography
    • Examples of images considered ‘Ruin Porn’
    • Examples of images considered documentary
    • Compare and contrast
  • Detroit a brief history – Detroit, once the fourth largest city in America, has had a turbulent past. Now bankrupt, with many of its buildings abandoned and in a state of ruin, Detroit has become a mecca for photographers seeking to capture a city’s decline.
  • Building a discussion with opposing views on the ethics of ruin photography from varied sources

 

Conclusion (300-600 approx)

Sum up what has been discussed and examined and what conclusions if any can be drawn from it.

Bibliography

This rough outline not only helps me to think about the sub headings for the main body but also allows me to start thinking about how I will arrange my research pieces. I found that colour coding really helped here. Using a different colour to band all my research into together under each header.

The next step is to refine my ideas a little further and to start the writing process…

Reflecting on Potential Themes

It has been some time since my last post entry and since that last post I have spent some time reflecting on the potential themes for my essay. I initially felt quite happy with the direction my essay was heading and had chosen the theme ‘Documentation of our historical buildings and their affect on our cultural identity?’ However it was when I started to compile my annotated bibliography that I felt perhaps my theme wasn’t quite right. I had struggled to annotate my bibliography because I had not refined my theme enough and my notes were too general and repetitive.

After a period of reflection I decided to re think my direction. I wanted to keep my theme related to photography, architecture and ruins as these are all related to my professional practice and my Degree Major Project work. I found that by listing photography, architecture and ruins and creating mind maps around them I started to find some interesting ideas emerging and I felt drawn to the theme of modern ruins. My interest peaked when I thought about all the contemporary ruins and abandonment photography I had seen pop up in my news feeds of various social media sites. After a little time looking into the subject I started to realise that this would make an interesting and more focused theme for my essay.

Due to this late change of direction I have felt a little under pressure to gather as much information as possible so that I could start to think about a rough essay outline but I feel that it is possible and I look forward to starting the writing process.

 

 

Researching, Selecting and Evaluating Sources

In my last post I took a closer look at two of my themes and examined their potential. I started to add in some research sources and notes helping me to form questions as possible starting points for my essay which helped me to choose just one of the two themes to take forward.  

In this post I further examine my research sources evaluating and processing their usefulness and relevance to my essay theme while also looking into their reliability.

Architecture as Artefact is the working title for my essay, and the essays main aim is to look at why the documentation and archiving of our built environment is important. I formed the following questions to help define some possible key points: 

What does the documentation of our built environment teach us about our collective memory/history and cultural identity? 

In what ways has the documentation of our built environment been used to reinforce ideologies? 

In what way does the documentation of our built environment serve as a significant tool for power? 

What does the documentation of the built environment teach us about our social history?

We learn lots of practical lessons from the documentation of our architecture, we learn about the materials used and the progression and influences on design. We can also learn about how we once lived, what social, economic, political, technical and cultural changes influenced us and in turn our architecture. Documentation of our built environment does not simply record it teaches and helps create identity and shapes our cultural memory. 

Now I have a clearer idea for the aims of my essay I can concentrate on the sources of information that will help me.

Looking for good sources of information can be tricky but I have found that using databases like StudyNet, iTunes U and Google Scholar have been invaluable to me. Taking  keywords relevant to my topic and entering them into the search area brought up many options but by learning some tips on how to optimise the way I search really helped to narrow down the results. There is usually a brief description or abstract given for each book or journal and this gives a clear indication of how relevant the text may be. There also tends to be something written about the author, their background and a brief description about who the audience for the text might be. This is all useful information when looking for reliability of a source. 

Of course aside from these databases normal search engines can also give good results but these tend to be results from blogs, websites, magazines and newspapers and while some of these can still be reliable sources of information you do need to be aware. Looking at the author of a piece can help to establish reliability as can the intended audience but you must be aware of subjective opinion, bias and hearsay. Collective websites such as ask.com, wikipedia and so on provide information from collected sources and may not be eligible as a reliable source for that reason. 

What kind of sources have I used?

The research sources I have found so far are mostly secondary sources, meaning that they are interpretations of original work. I am drawn to sources in the form of books, journals and academic papers as I have found it easier to trace the authors, their background and in turn the reliability of the piece. I also have found that they cite other relevant works in their bibliographies leaving a trail of other potential sources of relevant information. 

In addition to secondary sources what are my inspirational sources?

In a previous module named ‘Photography Applications and Cultures’ I was asked to submit a short essay. I decided upon the theme of photography and memory. (Photography and Memory: A critical exploration of the ways in which Photography Recovers and Represses Forgotten Memory) For this essay I found a number of resources that I feel have been my inspiration for both my degree major project work and for my final essay. Below is one of those sources and some relevent excerpts:

Locating Memory: Photographic Acts

  Screen Shot 2016-08-13 at 16.32.18

Screen Shot 2016-08-13 at 16.32.56

Screen Shot 2016-08-13 at 16.33.06

What are the most challenging aspects of bibliographic research?

I have found that the most challenging aspect of my bibliographic research to be the most basic thing, the actual reading of the text. I am not a speed reader and I do not have a photographic memory so I find trawling through information is sometimes too much. I have improved on my skim reading skills, I take lots of notes and copy paste quotes direct from the source and this does help as do regular breaks away from reading.  Annotating my links to sources or annotating a bibliography has been one of the activities leading up to my essay I just didn’t realise I had been doing that all along!

What are my goals in writing an essay for this module?

The goals for my essay may still need some refining but I think my my main goal is to demonstrate why documentation of our built environment is so important. I want to give examples of how architecture, memory, history and identity are intertwined with one another, teaching us about our past and the impact social and cultural changes have on us and our identity. 

 

How tutor and peer feedback have supported my bibliographic research?

Feedback given on my bibliographic research so far has been very positive but, it has been pointed out that perhaps I need to look for other types of sources and not just books, journals and academic papers and to maybe explore more online sources giving more balanced and strategic information. 

References

Kuhn, A. and McAllister, K. (2006). Locating Memory: Photographic Acts. 1st ed. [ebook] New York, Oxford: Berghahn Books. Available at: https://books.google.co.uk/books?hl=en&lr=&id=kRbFYwKUN6sC&oi=fnd&pg=PR8&dq=essays+on+memory+and+photography&ots=s4N3kG7tCo&sig=guDofSk9UCqqMzFEKzr28m8Zz1o#v=onepage&q=essays%20on%20memory%20and%20photography&f=false [Accessed 13 Aug. 2016].

Different Perspectives and Constructing Essay Questions.

In my last post I elaborated on my potential themes for my critical and cultural essay. In this post I look at my two favourite themes and will continue to examine their potential add further research notes and form questions as possible starting points for my essay. 

The two themes I have chosen to take forward I feel work best in regard to their connections to my professional practice, my interests, their connection to my major degree project and also to there scope.  

Does how the eye sees affect how our memory recalls in fragments?

Cubists wanted to make pictures that reached beyond the rigid geometry of perspective. They wanted to introduce the idea of ‘relativity’ – how the artist perceived and selected elements from the subject, fusing both their observations and memories into the one concentrated image. To do this the Cubists examined the way that we see. 

When you look at an object your eye scans it, stopping to register on a certain detail before moving on to the next point of interest and so on. You can also change your viewpoint in relation to the object allowing you to look at it from above, below or from the side. Therefore, the Cubists proposed that your sight of an object is the sum of many different views and your memory of an object is not constructed from one angle, as in perspective, but from many angles selected by your sight and movement.

http://www.artyfactory.com/art_appreciation/art_movements/cubism.htm

Most of us think of memory as a chamber of the mind, and assume that our capacity to remember is only as good as our brain. But according to some architectural theorists, our memories are products of our body’s experience of physical space. Or, to consolidate the theorem: Our memories are only as good as our buildings.

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/the-architecture-of-memory-14396375/?no-ist

As David Hockney said “We see through memory.” and that is, in part, why we each see a scene differently. One of the most striking common threads of Beyond the Visual was the way memory influences our perception and engagement with the landscape.

http://photobookbristol.com/walking-memory-and-darkness-a-review-of-beyond-the-visual/

“Cubism was an attack on the perspective that had been known and used for 500 years. It was the first big, big change. It confused people: they said, ‘Things don’t look like that!’ Actually cubism was concerned to claim: yes they do in a way.

“In Picasso’s pictures you can see the front and back of a person simultaneously. That means you’ve walked round them. It’s a sort of memory picture; we make pictures like that in our heads.”

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/art/9081303/David-Hockney-interview.html

https://issuu.com/smmcalister/docs/lumiere_mysterieuse

Other interesting and relevant links to look into :

https://skelly01.wordpress.com/his-relation-to-cubism/

https://shapersofthe80s.com/seismic-shifts/hockneys-new-vision-of-the-world/

http://www.tate.org.uk/learn/online-resources/cubism/technique

https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Alejandro_Lleras/publication/7624482_Rapid_resumption_of_interrupted_visual_search_New_insights_on_the_interaction_between_vision_and_memory/links/0912f50981c292e8b5000000.pdf

http://www.nap.edu/read/18891/chapter/6#60

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/49762308_Vision_and_the_representation_of_the_surroundings_in_spatial_memory

http://thecreatorsproject.vice.com/en_uk/blog/glitched-vintage-photos-offer-an-artistic-perspective-on-our-fragmented-memory

http://tigerprints.clemson.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2810&context=all_theses

After looking into this potential theme a little more I have posed two questions that could possibly work:

Is there a connection between our physical visual capacity and the fleeting and fragmented ways in which we recall? 

How does Cubism and Joiner photography explore the ways we physically see?

As much as I like this theme I do not feel there is a broad enough field of questioning and I find myself more drawn to the theme below…. 

Documentation of our historical buildings and their affect on our cultural identity?

“The concept of places of memory refers to concrete symbolic objects such as monuments, museums and archives, linked to a self-image of heroism and pride by the nations” 

http://www.iea.usp.br/en/news/cultural-memory-the-link-between-past-present-and-future

Most of us think of memory as a chamber of the mind, and assume that our capacity to remember is only as good as our brain. But according to some architectural theorists, our memories are products of our body’s experience of physical space. Or, to consolidate the theorem: Our memories are only as good as our buildings.

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/the-architecture-of-memory-14396375/?no-ist

Restoration of historic buildings or sites can engage local communities encouraging community interaction, which contributes to community cohesion and revival of civic pride.

http://culturehive.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Scot-Exec-architecture.pdf

“Greek temples, Roman basilicas and medieval cathedrals are significant to us as creations of a whole epoch rather than as works of individual architects. Who asks the names of these builders? Of what significance are the fortuitous personalities of their creators? Such buildings are impersonal by their very nature. They are pure expressions of their time.”

– Mies van der Rohe

“Often the way to understand a given society is to understand the physical and, by metamorphic extension, the social architecture of its organisation. Architectural organisation inherently reflects in itself, in the styles and elements it employs, an affinity or an agenda.”

Victor Buchli, An Archaeology of Socialism (Oxford: Berg, 1999)

https://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=5&ved=0ahUKEwjUhMjiz-vNAhVgGsAKHdr4BGMQFgg3MAQ&url=http%3A%2F%2Farchitecture.uonbi.ac.ke%2Fsites%2Fdefault%2Ffiles%2Fcae%2Fbuiltenviron%2Farchitecture%2FChapter%25201%2520%2520identity%2520through%2520symbolism.doc&usg=AFQjCNE5G4nxZpNSH8mNasnjrASQ8sgaaA&sig2=2_ySd-ngEeh7bxFpXYSZqw&cad=rja

Defining Documentation

Documentation of cultural heritage, broadly defined, includes two main activities: (1) the capture of information regarding monuments, buildings, and sites, including their physical characteristics, history, and problems; and (2) the process of organising, interpreting, and managing that information. Reasons for engaging in documentation include:

• assessing the values and significance of the heritage in question;

• guiding the process of conservation;

• providing a tool for monitoring and managing heritage while creating an essential record

• communicating the character and importance of heritage.

http://www.getty.edu/conservation/publications_resources/newsletters/20_3/feature.html

Not all heritage is tied to positive values and pasts. For example the Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau, Poland, and the Fort Apache and Theodore Roosevelt School National Historic Landmark, Arizona, are heritage sites that have been preserved as cautionary memorials for humankind. Negative heritage is also carried forward in stories, songs, poetry and other oral and literary traditions.

http://www.sfu.ca/ipinch/sites/default/files/resources/fact_sheets/ipinch_chfactsheet_final.pdf

Other interesting and relevant links to look into :

http://www.massobservation.amdigital.co.uk/Introduction/TheDocuments

http://culturalbase.eu/memory-and-heritage/

http://www.history.ucsb.edu/faculty/marcuse/classes/201/articles/95AssmannCollMemNGC.pdf

http://www.iea.usp.br/en/news/cultural-memory-the-link-between-past-present-and-future

http://gradworks.umi.com/33/85/3385435.html

http://library.fes.de/pdf-files/ipg/ipg-2001-2/artheller.pdf

After looking into this potential theme  I have posed three questions:

In what way has our historic architecture and the photographic documentation thereof contributed to our national and cultural identity? 

How does our historic architecture and the photographic documentation thereof contribute to our modern society?

What do we learn from the documentation and preservation of our historic architecture?

I found that this theme offered much more scope than the first and the research materials were more abundant.

After some discussion with my tutor and my peers my initial feeling that this would be the theme to take forward was reinforced.

In my next post I plan to examine my research sources more thoroughly concentrating on their reliability.

References

@Sarahrich, F. (2012). The Architecture of Memory. [online] Smithsonian. Available at: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/the-architecture-of-memory-14396375/?no-ist [Accessed 17 Jul. 2016].

@Sarahrich, F. (2012). The Architecture of Memory. [online] Smithsonian. Available at: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/the-architecture-of-memory-14396375/?no-ist [Accessed 17 Jul. 2016].

➢➢ Shapers of the 80s ➣➣. (2009). 1983, Hockney’s new vision of the world. [online] Available at: https://shapersofthe80s.com/seismic-shifts/hockneys-new-vision-of-the-world/ [Accessed 17 Jul. 2016].

Anon, (2016). [online] Available at: http://culturalbase.eu/memory-and-heritage/ [Accessed 17 Jul. 2016].

Architecture and national Identity. (n.d.). 1st ed. [ebook] unknown: unknown. Available at: http://“Often the way to understand a given society is to understand the physical and, by metamorphic extension, the social architecture of its organisation. Architectural organisation inherently reflects in itself, in the styles and elements it employs, an affinity or an agenda. [Accessed 17 Jul. 2016].

Artyfactory.com. (2016). Cubism – the first abstract style of modern art. [online] Available at: http://www.artyfactory.com/art_appreciation/art_movements/cubism.htm [Accessed 17 Jul. 2016].

Assman, J. (n.d.). Collective Memory and Cultural Identity. 1st ed. [ebook] unknown: unknown. Available at: http://www.history.ucsb.edu/faculty/marcuse/classes/201/articles/95AssmannCollMemNGC.pdf [Accessed 17 Jul. 2016].

Crawford, C. (2009). Architecture and cultural memory: Iconography and visual program of the Solomonic Temple in historical, political, and social context. 1st ed. [ebook] Harvard University. Available at: http://gradworks.umi.com/33/85/3385435.html [Accessed 17 Jul. 2016].

David Hockney. (2010). His relation to cubism. [online] Available at: https://skelly01.wordpress.com/his-relation-to-cubism/ [Accessed 17 Jul. 2016].

Gayford, M. (2012). David Hockney, interview. [online] Telegraph.co.uk. Available at: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/art/9081303/David-Hockney-interview.html [Accessed 17 Jul. 2016].

Getty.edu. (2016). Newsletter 20.3 Fall 2005. [online] Available at: http://www.getty.edu/conservation/publications_resources/newsletters/20_3/feature.html [Accessed 17 Jul. 2016].

Hargreaves McIntyre, M. (2006). Literature Review of the Social, Economic and Environmental Impact of Architecture and Design. 1st ed. [ebook] Edinburgh: Scottish Executive. Available at: Restoration 1.13 Restoration of historic buildings or sites can engage local communities encouraging community interaction, which contributes to community cohesion and revival of civic pride. http://culturehive.co.uk/resources/a-review-of-the-social-economic-and-environmental-impact-of-architecture-and-design http://culturehive.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Scot-Exec-architecture.pdf [Accessed 17 Jul. 2016].

Heller, A. (2001). Cultural Memory, Identity and Civil Society. 1st ed. [ebook] unknown: unknown. Available at: http://library.fes.de/pdf-files/ipg/ipg-2001-2/artheller.pdf [Accessed 17 Jul. 2016].

Identifying the Culprit: Assessing Eyewitness Identification. (2014). 1st ed. [ebook] National Research Council. Available at: http://www.nap.edu/read/18891/chapter/6#60 [Accessed 17 Jul. 2016].

Iea.usp.br. (2016). Cultural memory: the link between past, present, and future — en. [online] Available at: http://www.iea.usp.br/en/news/cultural-memory-the-link-between-past-present-and-future [Accessed 17 Jul. 2016].

Lleras, A., Rinsing, R. and Ends, J. (2005). https://www.researchgate.net/publication/7624482_Rapid_resumption_of_interrupted_visual_search_New_insights_on_the_interaction_between_vision_and_memory. 1st ed. [ebook] Unknown: PubMed. Available at: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/7624482_Rapid_resumption_of_interrupted_visual_search_New_insights_on_the_interaction_between_vision_and_memory [Accessed 17 Jul. 2016].

Massobservation.amdigital.co.uk. (2016). The Documents – Mass Observation Online – Adam Matthew Digital. [online] Available at: http://www.massobservation.amdigital.co.uk/Introduction/TheDocuments [Accessed 17 Jul. 2016].

mcalister, s. (2009). nothing disappears completely. [online] Issuu. Available at: https://issuu.com/smmcalister/docs/lumiere_mysterieuse [Accessed 17 Jul. 2016].

Muckier, R. (2013). Cultural memory: the link between past, present, and future. 1st ed. [ebook] Sao Paulo: Institute of Advanced Studies of the University of Sao Paulo. Available at: http://www.history.ucsb.edu/faculty/marcuse/classes/201/articles/95AssmannCollMemNGC.pdf [Accessed 17 Jul. 2016].

Photobook Bristol. (2016). Walking, Memory and Darkness: A Review of Beyond the Visual. [online] Available at: http://photobookbristol.com/walking-memory-and-darkness-a-review-of-beyond-the-visual/ [Accessed 17 Jul. 2016].

Prince, A. (2013). REMEMBERING AND THE EVERYDAY: THE FLEETING, F GMENTED, AND SENSUAL. 1st ed. [ebook] Clemson University. Available at: http://tigerprints.clemson.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2810&context=all_theses [Accessed 17 Jul. 2016].

Tate.org.uk. (2016). Cubism student resource: Cubism explained – ideas, techniques and materials. [online] Available at: http://www.tate.org.uk/learn/online-resources/cubism/technique [Accessed 17 Jul. 2016].

Tatler, B. and Land, M. (2011). Vision and the representation of the surroundings in spatial memory. 1st ed. [ebook] The Royal Society. Available at: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/49762308_Vision_and_the_representation_of_the_surroundings_in_spatial_memory [Accessed 17 Jul. 2016].

The Creators Project. (2016). Glitched Vintage Photos Offer An Artistic Perspective On Our Fragmented Memory | The Creators Project. [online] Available at: http://thecreatorsproject.vice.com/en_uk/blog/glitched-vintage-photos-offer-an-artistic-perspective-on-our-fragmented-memory [Accessed 17 Jul. 2016].

Welch, J. (2014). CULTURAL HERITAGE What is it? Why is it important?. 1st ed. [ebook] Chicago: Simon Fraser University. Available at: http://www.sfu.ca/ipinch/sites/default/files/resources/fact_sheets/ipinch_chfactsheet_final.pdf [Accessed 17 Jul. 2016].

Research into Potential Themes

In my last post I discussed my potential themes for my critical and cultural essay. These themes were related to my strengths and interests within the field of photography but also related to my professional practice of architectural and landscape photography and my concept for my major degree project.

In this post I will be looking at those same potential themes but adding notes and images from some of my research. By doing this I hope to give a better understanding of my thought process and to possibly start thinking about more specific lines of enquiry.

Does how the eye sees affect how our memory recalls in fragments?

Below are just a few excerpts from pages relevant to my first potential theme. The aim of this essay would be to look into how the eye physically sees and how this visual information is stored and recalled. Does this affect how we remember scenes, places, events and so on, does it explain why we often remember things in fragments? 

The human eye belongs to a general group of eyes found in nature called “camera-type eyes.” Just as a camera lens focuses light onto film, a structure in the eye called the cornea focuses light onto a light-sensitive membrane called the retina. 

http://www.livescience.com/3919-human-eye-works.html

It is the contrast between memory and vision: where we came from, and where we are going. Some people, at any age, are happiest when looking back. Like historians they believe they can understand the future best by looking at the past. By contrast, some people are so future-oriented that they cannot endure sitting in a train facing backwards. For them the past is another forgotten country. It is the destination, not the origin, that is important. The trick is the mixing and fusion of the story of where we came from and also where we are going.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/sideways-view/201412/memory-and-vision

Memories are distorted, constructed and reconstructed over time, particularly if events are frequently or very rarely retold. People interpret the meaning or significance of events rather than the details. Equally they may have one or two very strong images (pictures, sounds) which are integrated into a whole. There is all the difference between an autobiographical fact and a generic personal memory.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/sideways-view/201606/the-remembrance-things-past

One of the paradoxes of vision is that the world as it appears to us and the image on the retina at any moment are not much like each other. The visual world seems to be extensive and continuous across time. However, the manner in which we sample the visual environment is neither extensive nor continuous. How does the brain reconcile these differences?

http://rstb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/366/1564/596

This question around how we see has strong connection to the Cubism movement and contemporary joiner photography.

The Cubists challenged conventional forms of representation, such as perspective, which had been the rule since the Renaissance. Their aim was to develop a new way of seeing which reflected the modern age.

Cubists wanted to make pictures that reached beyond the rigid geometry of perspective. They wanted to introduce the idea of ‘relativity’ – how the artist perceived and selected elements from the subject, fusing both their observations and memories into the one concentrated image. To do this the Cubists examined the way that we see.

When you look at an object your eye scans it, stopping to register on a certain detail before moving on to the next point of interest and so on. You can also change your viewpoint in relation to the object allowing you to look at it from above, below or from the side. Therefore, the Cubists proposed that your sight of an object is the sum of many different views and your memory of an object is not constructed from one angle, as in perspective, but from many angles selected by your sight and movement.

http://www.artyfactory.com/art_appreciation/art_movements/cubism.htm

How do you see the world? Look around you – do you see the scene in front of you as a whole scene, a neat little square with every thing visible at once – just like a photograph or painting? Or do you see a variety of elements and fragments? For example if you look at a person in a room do your eyes see the whole or do your eyes flicker between different parts of the scene – from……  

This is probably a closer description of how we see the world – from multiple viewpoints that are then pieced together by our mind. In this joiner by David Hockney he has tried to create this effect out of 24 Polaroid prints. He did this because he was interested in how we see and depict space and time. His is interested in how we turn a 3 dimensional world into a 2 dimensional image, how perspective is used in western art and how space is treated differently in non-western art. He did not particularly make joiners because he liked the novel effect of using photographs in this way. However, he did like the way this technique allowed the viewer to read space. He sometimes laid the images out in a neat grid and sometimes Hockney would overlap the images to create a whole scene out of smaller fragments.

Ways of seeing joiners
Figure 1, example of single images used to create a joiner available @ http://thedelightsofseeing.blogspot.co.uk/2011/03/cubism-joiners-and-multiple-viewpoint.html
Ways of seeing joiners 2
Figure 2, Finished joiner, http://thedelightsofseeing.blogspot.co.uk/2011/03/cubism-joiners-and- multiple-viewpoint.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

http://thedelightsofseeing.blogspot.co.uk/2011/03/cubism-joiners-and-multiple-viewpoint.html

 

My second potential theme:

Arguments for and against the rise of modern/contemporary architecture

This theme can be linked to my professional practice of architectural photography and the same debates around modern/contemporary architecture can also apply to debates around how architecture is photographed.

Links can be drawn to several historical art and architectural movements such as Neoclassicism (inspired by the “classical” art and culture of Ancient Greece or Ancient Rome), Gothic revival (The Arts and Crafts movement has its roots in the Gothic revival and was famously championed by Pugin and Morris) and New Objectivity (a direct reaction to the stylistic excesses of expressionism) these are just some of the movements which signified great changes brought about by economy, technological advances, political unrest and so on. 

ANTHROPOLOGY AND ARCHITECTURE are strange bedfellows; their relationship has never been made very clear. Yet culture and environment are interrelated, interwoven, and integrated; they invariably complement each other. 

http://www.jstor.org.ezproxy.herts.ac.uk/stable/pdf/3630089.pdf?acceptTC=true

Modern debates mostly concentrate on gentrification with Will Self being one of its most vocal opposers…

Design for the One Percent

Contemporary architecture is more interested in mega projects for elites than improving ordinary people’s lives.

Not so long ago, the world’s leading architects debated how architecture could be used to transform society by providing housing for workers, improving public health, and fostering social solidarity. Today, global architecture is peopled with “starchitects” like Hadid who specialise in mega projects for the global elite. 

Some of the starchitects’ projects are beautiful, to be sure. But they also often waste public money, facilitate corrupt and exploitative practices, and strengthen a planning model that excludes the populace from decision-making.

Gentrification example
Figure 3, Zaha Hadid, Japans Proposed National Stadium, image available @ https://www.jacobinmag.com/2016/06/zaha-hadid-architecture-gentrification-design-housing-gehry-urbanism/

https://www.jacobinmag.com/2016/06/zaha-hadid-architecture-gentrification-design-housing-gehry-urbanism/

 Whereas Victorian London was built on the trading profits from a world-girdling empire, its 21st-century successor is being airily spun from the aerated finance frothing  atop money flowing from other less stable economies. For flight capital, the important thing about the city is that it’s not St Petersburg, or Kiev, or Beijing for that matter. 

It’s become a shibboleth of contemporary architectural discourse to lisp this play upon Adolf Loos: “form follows finance”. But the idea that the design of buildings is predicated upon a coefficient of investment and revenue stream is really nothing new. It certainly was applied to the great herringbone of dormitory streets lain down in London by the spec’ builders of the 19th century – and I daresay also to the construction of the Roman city walls as well.

Londons city skyline
Figure 4, Londons city skyline, Photographer unknown, available @ https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2014/jun/09/londons-high-rise-future-skyline-will-self

https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2014/jun/09/londons-high-rise-future-skyline-will-self

Top architects lack principles, says Will Self

http://www.bdonline.co.uk/top-architects-lack-principles-says-will-self/5039573.article

Prince Charles is also extremely vocal on his views on modern architecture…

Prince Charles was invited to address the Royal Institute for British Architects’ 150th anniversary dinner on 30 May 1984. But instead of congratulating them all for doing such a jolly good job, he took the opportunity to excoriate the profession and their modern designs, with his immortal description of the proposed extension to the National Gallery in London as a “monstrous carbuncle on the face of a much-loved and elegant friend”. What was remarkable was not so much the ferocity of the Prince’s attack, but its success: the design for the extension was dumped, and the career of its architects, ABK, nosedived. In its place, a jokey and quite flimsy fake-classical design by Venturi Scott-Brown stands there today.

https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2014/dec/27/prince-charles-10-principles-architecture-10-better-ones

From these excerpts you can see clearly how architecture throughout history has been affected by changing social circumstance. It is also clear to see the debates around contemporary and modern architecture has been long running. 

Documentation of our historical buildings and their affect on our cultural identity?

This theme has relevance to my professional practice of architectural photography and my interests in memory, culture and identity. It highlights the importance of photography in both documenting and archiving and in the preservation and conservation of our ever changing environment. This theme is also very closely connected to my ideas for the Major degree project.

Each generation has left a visible trail of its passage across the face of the earth – such as religious monuments, public or private – and it is through the study of these monuments that, today, we may form an exact idea of the various civilisations.’ 

Photography is part of a long tradition of visually recording the built environment. These images have been created, collected, reproduced and disseminated for various reasons, ranging from simply historical interest to complex contemporary efforts to improve the urban environment. Although large numbers of randomly produced and acquired photographs have often served such purposes, the capacity of photography for large-scale systematic documentation is increasingly being recognised as an extremely important tool for architects, planners and historical researchers. 

Lambert, P., 1978. Photographic documentation and buildings: relationships past and present. Archivaria.

Jan made a distinction between two types of memory: the communicative one, related to the diffuse transmission of memories in everyday life through orality, and cultural memory – in which the speech was focused – referring to objectified and institutionalised memories, that can be stored, transferred and reincorporated throughout generations.

Cultural memory is formed by symbolic heritage embodied in texts, rites, monuments, celebrations, objects, sacred scriptures and other media that serve as mnemonic triggers to initiate meanings associated with what has happened. Also, it brings back the time of the mythical origins, crystallises collective experiences of the past and can last for millennia. Therefore it presupposes a knowledge restricted to initiates.

Jan pointed out the connections between cultural memory and identity. According to him, cultural memory is ‘the faculty that allows us to build a narrative picture of the past and through this process develop an image and an identity for ourselves’.

Therefore, cultural memory preserves the symbolic institutionalised heritage to which individuals resort to build their own identities and to affirm themselves as part of a group. This is possible because the act of remembering involves normative aspects, so that ‘if you want to belong to a community, you must follow the rules of how and what to remember’, as stated by the researcher.

He also highlighted that, by working as a collective unifying force, cultural memory is considered a hazard by totalitarian regimes. As an example, he mentioned the case of the Bosnian war, when Serbian artillery destroyed the Library of Sarajevo in an attempt to undermine the memory of the Bosnians and minorities in the region.

The goal, he said, was to make culture a blank slate so that it could be possible to start a new Serbian identity from scratch: ‘This was the strategy of the totalitarian

“The concept of places of memory refers to concrete symbolic objects such as monuments, museums and archives, linked to a self-image of heroism and pride by the nations”

http://www.iea.usp.br/en/news/cultural-memory-the-link-between-past-present-and-future

Most of us think of memory as a chamber of the mind, and assume that our capacity to remember is only as good as our brain. But according to some architectural theorists, our memories are products of our body’s experience of physical space. Or, to consolidate the theorem: Our memories are only as good as our buildings.

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/the-architecture-of-memory-14396375/?no-ist

I found that the work of Anselm Kiefer was also closely related to the themes of cultural memory and identity. 

 “Anselm Kiefer critically engages with myth and memory, referencing totems of German culture and collective history. “Germans want to forget [the past] and start a new thing all the time, but only by going into the past can you go into the future.”

Anselm Kiefer Ash Flower, 1983-97
Figure 5, Anselm Kiefer, Ash Flower, 1983-97 available @ http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2014/sep/28/anselm-kiefer-royal-academy-review-rembembrance-amid-the-ruins

https://www.artsy.net/artist/anselm-kiefer

In this post I have tried to explore my potential themes a little more thoroughly and have tried to expand on my possible approaches to the essay. In my next post I will continue to examine the potential of one or more of these themes and will form questions as possible starting points for my essay.

References

@Sarahrich, F. (2012). The Architecture of Memory. [online] Smithsonian. Available at: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/the-architecture-of-memory-14396375/?no-ist [Accessed 17 Jul. 2016].

Artsy.net. (2016). Anselm Kiefer – 69 Artworks, Bio & Shows on Artsy. [online] Available at: https://www.artsy.net/artist/anselm-kiefer [Accessed 17 Jul. 2016].

Artyfactory.com. (2016). Cubism – the first abstract style of modern art. [online] Available at: http://www.artyfactory.com/art_appreciation/art_movements/cubism.htm [Accessed 17 Jul. 2016].

Cocotas, A., Burtenshaw, R., Frase, P., Ferguson, T., Stein, J. and Aronoff, K. (2016). Design for the One Percent | Jacobin. [online] Jacobinmag.com. Available at: https://www.jacobinmag.com/2016/06/zaha-hadid-architecture-gentrification-design-housing-gehry-urbanism/ [Accessed 17 Jul. 2016].

Cooke, R. (2014). Anselm Kiefer review – remembrance amid the ruins. [online] the Guardian. Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2014/sep/28/anselm-kiefer-royal-academy-review-rembembrance-amid-the-ruins [Accessed 17 Jul. 2016].

Hopkirk, E. (2012). Top architects lack principles, says Will Self. [online] Building Design. Available at: http://www.bdonline.co.uk/top-architects-lack-principles-says-will-self/5039573.article [Accessed 17 Jul. 2016].

Iea.usp.br. (2016). Cultural memory: the link between past, present, and future — en. [online] Available at: http://www.iea.usp.br/en/news/cultural-memory-the-link-between-past-present-and-future [Accessed 17 Jul. 2016].

Lambert, P. (1978). Photographic Documentation and Buildings: Relationships Past and Presented. 1st ed. [ebook] Unknown: Simon Fraser University. Available at: http://journals.sfu.ca/archivar/index.php/archivaria/article/download/10566/11412 [Accessed 17 Jul. 2016].

Murphy, D. (2014). Prince Charles’s 10 principles for architecture – and 10 much better ones. [online] the Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2014/dec/27/prince-charles-10-principles-architecture-10-better-ones [Accessed 17 Jul. 2016].

Psychology Today. (2016). Memory and Vision. [online] Available at: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/sideways-view/201412/memory-and-vision [Accessed 17 Jul. 2016].

Psychology Today. (2016). The Remembrance of Things Past. [online] Available at: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/sideways-view/201606/the-remembrance-things-past [Accessed 17 Jul. 2016].

Science, L. (2016). How the Human Eye Works. [online] Live Science. Available at: http://www.livescience.com/3919-human-eye-works.html [Accessed 17 Jul. 2016].

Self, W. (2014). Will Self: London’s high-rise future is thrusting, exhilarating, yet strangely insubstantial. [online] the Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2014/jun/09/londons-high-rise-future-skyline-will-self [Accessed 17 Jul. 2016].

Tatler, B. and Land, M. (2011). Vision and the representation of the surroundings in spatial memory. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 366(1564), pp.596-610.

Thedelightsofseeing.blogspot.co.uk. (2016). The Delights of Seeing: Cubism, Joiners and The Multiple Viewpoint. [online] Available at: http://thedelightsofseeing.blogspot.co.uk/2011/03/cubism-joiners-and-multiple-viewpoint.html [Accessed 17 Jul. 2016].

Turan, M. (1996). Anthropology and Architecture. 1st ed. [ebook] Albuquerque: The University of Chicago Press. Available at: http://www.jstor.org.ezproxy.herts.ac.uk/stable/pdf/3630089.pdf?acceptTC=true [Accessed 17 Jul. 2016].

 

Potential Critical and Cultural Essay Themes

In my last post I discussed some of my strengths and interests within the field of photography. In this post I am looking to see how these interests, my professional practice and my concept for my major degree project can be related and help me to form potential themes for my critical and cultural essay.

Below is an outline of my concept for my major degree project work:

I intend to use the concept of memory as the theme for my project work and more specifically the ways in which we remember in fragments. I will be using historic ruins as my subject matter for this concept to highlight the relics of memory, cultural identity and reinforce the theme of fragmentation in a physical form. 

To create my images I plan to use the method of joiner photography, this will involve taking a number of images from varying viewpoints and orientations and ‘joining’ them to create the whole. This I hope will help to symbolise how the human memory recalls things in fragments or pieces. 

This methodology has links to the contemporary works of David Hockney and the historic works of Pablo Picasso a major influence on Hockney’s work, the roots of which come from the cubist movement pioneered by Picasso and Georges Braque.

My professional practice is aimed at the architect or designer and I wanted to keep that in mind when thinking about my project work, however I also wanted to expand on this professional practice and appeal to a fine art audience. Using a strong concept and well researched approach I think that I can appeal to both my intended audiences. I hope that my concept reinforced by my approach will engage the viewer by appealing to their own personal feelings and thoughts around how they remember and see.

This proposal gives some insight into my thought process around potential themes listed below:

Does how the eye sees affect how our memory recalls in fragments?

 (cubism, joiner photography – my intended approach to the major degree project) 

  • Has relevance to my Degree project work
  • Connection to historical art movement of cubism
  • Connection to contemporary photography of joiners

Arguments for and against the rise of modern/contemporary architecture

 (Economic, political, social change) (How we learn from new building techniques and designs) (Prince Charles anti new architectural styles, Will Self also has similar feelings and is opposed to gentrification) (Think about Morris and Pugin during the Victorian era and their hate of mass produced focusing on the revival of Gothic style and hand crafts)

  • Relation to personal practice of architectural photography 
  • Current and historical debate 
  • Relevance to historical art movements 
  • Example of how economic and social changes affect art in all forms

Documentation of our historical buildings and their affect on our cultural identity?

(Role of the National Trust, Landmark Trust, English Heritage, Britain Express.) Renovation, Preservation, Awareness. (Importance of archiving and documenting, why?) 

  • Relevance to professional practice of architectural photography
  • Relevance to my personal interests of preservation, conservation etc…
  • Brings up debate around renovation and/or change of purpose or ownership
  • Importance of archiving, how we learn from our past 
  • Questions around cultural memory and identity 
  • Relevance to my degree project (subject of castle/abbey ruins ) 

These potential themes need more thought and research before one can be chosen. In my next post I will look in more depth at each potential theme in turn.