My current art practice is exploring the effects of social anxiety that I experience in my daily life. I have used video to show a direct and immediate documentation of the aspects of social anxiety and how I feel and perceive them. The work on show today investigates my experience of two different aspects of anxiety. When I’m in public I have an increase sense of awareness that moves my mind uncontrollably into the fast lane. In comparison to when I am in my safe zone of my bedroom, a moment of calm amongst the anxiety. This is not a just a time of relaxation from the social stresses but it forces me to relive the passage of time that I am unable to consciously experience.
I have found that during my artistic journey I have learnt more about myself and ways to express and communicate. Art has helped me personally to reach parts of my unconscious and gain a sense of control through understanding. I hope this show of work can give you an understanding of myself and the effects of social anxiety.
5 Contextual Posts:
- Francesca Woodman – Documentational photography exploring herself and the relationship with her body and the space she is in.
- Bruce Nauman– videos about identity and the physical and mental relationship and exhibition set up.
5 Documentational posts:
As an artist, I have continued to learn about myself as a person and express areas that I didn’t realise I was holding on to. I have struggled in my work to pin-point what it is that I am trying to say, however recently I have come to the realisation that my work has always be revolving around one particular subject; my social anxiety. Towards the beginning of this project I was trying to express the idea that I had multiple selves (as a result of anxiety changing the way that I act around people and in certain situations). I produced a series of paintings that reflected different aspects of myself that I felt was important in my life. Towards the end of this project, I started to realise what was more important; it wasn’t the concept of multiple selves, instead it was the idea of living with social anxiety that was paramount. I am including this part of my project as the start of my 5 Key posts because it has played a very important role within my work and how I have got to where I am today.
I received an extension after this point and felt it was crucial that I get back in touch with myself and where I want to take my practice. I experimented with blind drawings as a way to bring my sub-conscious self forward. This idea was informed by my dissertation which was researching how art can be used as therapy; the key point being that art is a tool to access the unconscious. I found it quite difficult at first to draw so loosely but it was quite liberating not to worry about the finished product and to just feel the drawing. I really enjoyed creating the blind drawings and felt as if each drawing was a representation of my unconscious self at that specific time. These blind drawings are a key moment for my practice because it led me into film and photography; the speed at which I was able to produce these drawings and the amount of information that was in them made me realise that I wanted that immediacy in my work. The time taken to produce a painting, or detailed drawing etc meant that the original meaning got altered and almost lost through the process of creating (often due to my lack of self-confidence which is linked to the social anxiety).
I’ve used photography as a way to document myself in my bedroom and as a way to explore the relationship between my mentality and the space I am in, inspired by artists such as Woodman, Calle, and Goldin. My photography mostly consists of self- portraits. After the ‘my bed’ piece that was created in the ‘multiple self portraits’, I became aware of the importance of my bedroom in terms of my social anxiety. I have taken photographs of myself on my bed, shadows in my room, in my bathroom and film stills which ar explained further in the next section. The main photograph that I have taken and has had an effect on my work is the ‘my bed’ photograph. Following that it is the breakdown in bed/ falling series. I will include both pieces in as part of my Photography section.
I made a film of myself whilst waiting for a bus experiencing anxiety – at the time I was trying to identify what it was I was doing in reaction to the anxiety. I noticed that I felt like I couldn’t control my body and its movements- I felt very fast and jumpy and my attention was caught by every little noise and movement. Alternatively, whilst at home and feeling anxiety about leaving my bedroom and thinking about the effect it has on my life I felt the opposite. I was drained and exhausted from all the overwhelming senses- it manifested itself in a slow, apathetic and distant persona. Having a mental issue like anxiety or depression causes one to be dominated by their own mind and self. I’ve noticed that due to these thoughts and my way of life, I am always conscious of myself and how I feel. I’m tired of being my only thought and problems. It’s quite a narcissistic disability. Within the slow videos of myself, my face becomes distorted, this reflects the way in which I perceive things when in a state of anxiety. Everything starts to feel too close and too overwhelming and too distorted and difficult to separate. The videos emulate a typical ‘bad day’ for me and this is what I’m trying to express. its a difficult subject for me to discuss, my anxiety and state of min, however through this video I feel like. I am communicating what it is like.
My practice has enlightened me to what I have been wanting to say with my art and it helped me to express in words – I believe I experienced what Natalie Rogers calls ‘The Creative Connection’. By being able to create something that I had known all along but hadn’t been able to access until now, it gave me a powerful rush of emotion that I wanted to write and speak. I created some poems in relation to some work I had done and felt better for it – if there was any confusion of misunderstanding with the art I made, my words paired with it perfectly. I originally had the idea of using my words as part of the film, to appear word by word as if spoken.
I’m including Kriwet’s Mediawake project because it made me consider my poems/written work and how I could present them or increase their importance.
Santiago Sierra – The Punished (2006)
I am looking at artists that use video installation to compare the effect it has on me as a viewer and the way that their work is shown.
This piece underneath is from Sierra’s The Punished piece where Sierra hired homeless people to stand facing the wall for long periods of time. It was reminiscent of when a child was sent to the corner of a room for a punishment at school. Sierra did this as a performance piece but also a video installation. The image below shows four identical monitors on plinths in a line; I think the effect of having them in a line showing different angles of people facing the wall is very effective. Especially as the wall in the film is the same as the wall of the exhibition room. The videos are in black and white and this flows to the room they are being shown in with the black tv and white walls and plinths.
Metzger used a collection of projectors to create a truly immersive environment. Walking into this room there was a dark corridor and then you walk round a corner and then suddenly you are surrounded. Each projection changed colours and patterns simultaneously which gave the sense of movement constantly.
I’ve decided to use this because I was taken by the effect of having a very dark room and being completely surrounded by ever- changing chemical reactions. Although I enjoyed walking into this art space and found it to be a powerful room, I don’t think this is that relevant to my own videos.
Whilst looking round galleries I started becoming more aware of how the work was being shown. I’d like to put my work on the wall in a professional way that makes the work stand out. I like the idea of having the work float off the wall and only being able to see how it has been mounted if you look behind it, as opposed to it being framed or pinned on.