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.
Elisabeth Charlotte “Pipilotti” Rist
Fuses nature with technology. Makes work of life. Loves colour. Individual and idiosyncratic. fight conventionality.
Im interested in Pipilottis video installations
enlight my space- I thought this piece was very interesting for its set up and the way the video was incorporated into such a small space.
Im not the girl who misses much – Rist made this video in response to John Lennons song about Yolo Oko. It is my understanding that this piece is a recognition and appreciation to the popular culture because it directed Rist into contemporary art. Rist uses her voice and editing to create louder and different pitched noises to go along with her dancing. What I notice and take from this piece is Rist’s exploration of time and speeds and pitch.
After realising the importance of the fast paced videos I made, in terms of conveying anxiety, I think I need to use it or them for my exhibition. Following this revelation, I have created a film that consists of video, photo, video, photo. I have started with a fast walk video which gets cut off by a film still of a slow motion video. I think the contrast creates a powerful message that describes the effects of anxiety.
Alternatively, I could have two monitors set up with one playing the slow and one playing the fast:
I have made this video so that the fast part is the exact same time as the slow video. I have made two of these, with the other one having the slow first instead. The idea behind these two videos are that they can be on a separate monitor next to each other playing and the viewer will see both fast and slow at the same time.
Below is the opposite way around but I’ve also used black and white to compare with the colour.
Nauman investigates concepts of the body, who we are, space, and communication. Nauman uses a range of mediums within his work including sculpture, neon and video. The work Nauman creates is similar to that of Post-Minimalism because of the integration of styles; his work is conceptual, minimalist and performance. In his performance pieces/ video art, Nauman used repetition to emphasise the mundane movements we make without conscious thought and to increase its powerful message.
Violent Incident – 12 monitors stacked each with videos of a man and woman going through a series of attacks. This piece exposes the harsh reality of how some people treat others and how misunderstandings or little moments can spiral rapidly. (1980s).
Good boy Bad boy (1985) – This consists of two monitors side by side with a different actor/actress in each video. They were both given a 100 line script to recite to the camera of which they slip in and out of synchronicity. The videos last up to 1 hour with regular progressions of intensity and emotion. The lines start with “I am a good boy, you are a good boy, we are good boys“, and progress to other human conditions such as “I like to eat, you like to eat, we like to eat, this is eating.” and then ends with a very intense “I don’t want to die, you don’t want to die, we don’t want to die, this is fear of death.” I found the length and increased emotive responses that is visible on the actor and actress to be very powerful. I found myself listening to every word quite intently waiting for the next human condition that they will mention.
Raw material washing hands, Normal (A of A/B) Raw material washing hands, Normal (B of A/B) (1996) – This piece shows the mundane and routine activity of washing hands, but through double exposure and the length on an hour it becomes a vigorous and uncontrolled activity. This piece made me feel anxious, worried and a sense of fear. I thought it was incredible powerful that having a double exposure and ongoing video of the same action with also the sound of water trickling could have this effect.
This piece in particular has enforced my own face-paced video of myself walking and in response I am going to explore the effects of having both videos in conjunction with each other.
I have made 5 different versions of loops with alternating patterns of the videos- this could ensure that when the viewer walks through or stops at my exhibition they will all have a slightly different experience of the piece of work. Just like each anxiety attack is slightly different. The loop emphasises the idea of occurrence because if you stay long enough to see the video change you will get the experience of viewing another version of the piece. It becomes repetitive and long which reflects living with an anxiety disorder.
I used Movie Maker to add the videos together and used a fading effect for the transition between videos.
Ideally I’d like to experiment with video overlay but at the moment I am unable to find a way to do this on the programs I have.