Art & The Conscious Mind; Workshop with Craig Thomas

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‘Labyrinth’, Craig Thomas

We entered the AV Studio today and were greeted with a strange sight; a maze crafted out of a thin meshed fabric. Lines are projected onto the object, and they shift up and down in opposing directions. One was invited to experience the piece, to walk amongst the fabric and ruminate upon the feelings that were evoked upon you by these seemingly sentient projections. Ironically, I experienced this piece in an earlier stage last year, as the artist was setting it up in the AV studio in Howard Gardens. Nevertheless, I was excited to try it out once more, and as I experienced the ‘labyrinth’ once more, I began to feel something strange; my body felt elongated somewhat. As the lines descended, I felt the experience of gravity grow in strength and drag me down into the floor, but the lines that rose made me feel as if I was floating, and when the two opposed, my body was drawn in opposing directions; strange, I thought. Under further discussion, I also found that others felt emotions similar to my own, and therefore changed my perception on the piece as a whole. Craig implored that this is what he wanted us to become aware of through the exercise; this idea that we, as humans are conditioned to feel things upon rumination, upon reflection. He wanted to remove this, and started a discussion about why, we as artist, make art. I found this discussion interesting at first, but after around half an hour of discussing the same points over and over and constant reiterations of previous statements, I felt frustrated at the exercise that we were doing. I felt, like, as an artist, I create art sometimes for the sake of art. But, the tutor did not understand this, or at least felt inclined to push this further. With hindsight, I can understand why this was done, and this makes me feel a little sheepish for getting riled up, as Craig wanted us to state things under duress in order to say things close to the forefront of our minds; pre-reflective perception, is what he calls it. The idea that things that are said and experienced without reflection, without awareness, are potent in themselves; they are guttural, almost instinctive. This is interesting, but a great frustration to myself.

I have experienced writing this post in a dream; I’m having a great deal of deja vu right now, which is very interesting.

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