Monday, April 20, 2015

Jennifer Crouch - Updates Since Salzburg

I've been accepted on a residency in the Arctic Circle and will be working aboard a research vessel making art in October 2016 - gives me a lot of time to make connections with any researchers in the Arctic, particularly those focused on atmospheric physics and anything to do with water. Meanwhile work at the UCL Centre for Advanced Biomedical Imaging continues. Organising scientists is like herding cats, but progress on the project is going well. I'm running public engagement workshops every month with researchers developing 'experiences' aimed at the public that provide a step by step process of how scientists come to state that certain things are/are not the case. These experiences are scenarios involving problem solving, and ask the public "how do you know?" - we have yet to run focus groups with members of the public. the workshops Im running with researchers are called 'how do you know', where researchers have to explain to me how they carry out their research. Additionally I have assembled my loom (I did that on my own which I'm quite proud of) and will be weaving data over the next ten months. Website and online project archive are on their way, loom photo below.

I agree with Alina; the experience of SGS 547 has fundamentally broadened my horizons and approach to my work. You have all changed my life for the better! Some things were unresolved of course (given that the subjects of Neuroscience and Art are so huge) particularly concerning what happens to people when they leave school. We learn throughout life - of course - but I'm not confident that our agreement of the importance of Creativity in Education was applied, in any practical, sense as being something that is important throughout adulthood, in everyday life and as something that makes us happy (although some time my art makes me angry) and contributes to well being. 

Perhaps we (SGS fellows) are always being creative, thoughtful, analytical and philosophical, but this isn't something a workforce are encouraged to do. I'm worried about this. Having personally (as I'm sure many of you have) toiled away in mysery doing various jobs, desperately and anxiously fighting to afford rent and meet the costs of living, so much so that I couldn't move forward or feel free to create. Doing jobs that were so boring and degrading that i wanted to gouge my eyes out. We need to talk about work I think, and we need to talk about every day life. The banalities of everyday life were forgotten in our discussions.

Making is a process that I think can help people a great deal in everyday life. It gives people autonomy, it's empowering, provides opportunities for problem solving and self reflection. In my ideal world, everyone is encouraged to make and develop what artists call 'creative practice.' More so than they are encouraged to consume.

I can't back that up the universal benefits of creative practice  scientific at all but I think knowing how to make, understanding how rewarding and difficult it is to make clothes or plates or computers could make us more aware of ourselves, each other, economics, the product of labour and tools i.e. lathe, sewing machine or MRI scanner. 

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