Through researching concepts and theories for my dissertation I have discovered what has already been written about the subject I will be discussing, female monsters and the materials that they have been made of. I have also looked at theories and concepts that relate to my topic such as, research on femininity, female monsters, monsters in general, abjection and the grotesque. Through reading many books on these subjects I have discovered theories that I will be able to apply in my dissertation, where I will analyse selected images of female monsters from stop motion films.
I will be able to apply what I have previously learnt from the study group Glamour and the Grotesque in the first term of this year at uni as we looked at monsters and how they look. We also explored theories on materials and material ‘CVs’, the different connotations that materials can have on an object or an image and the massive impact that these ‘cultural CVs’ can have. What I have learnt about objects and the materials that they are made of made me consider the materials, textures and colours that I use in my own work. It allowed me to choose elements in my work more carefully and consider the connotations and meanings attached to them when including them in a piece of work.
From this study group I also learnt about how an artist can contradict themselves in a piece of work that they have created. I have, and can now look for contradictions in an image and identify what aspects of the image that create those contradictions. This will be useful when writing my dissertation as I will be analysing images of female monsters that will most likely contain contradictions between femininity and monstrosity.
In the study group I also learnt about liminality and shape-shifting. This will be applicable to the female monsters that I will be analysing as two of the monsters that I will be looking at go through a transformation. This theory is also similar to the concept of abhuman bodys and abject bodies, bodies that cross the boundaries of the inside and outside, bodies that are falling apart and vulnerable, these are theories that I read about when doing research for my dissertation.
The analysis techniques that I learnt from this study group will help me greatly when analysing the images in my dissertation. I will be able to confidently identify aspects in an image, explain the connotations of these aspects and then back up my analysis with theories from academic papers and books. I have also learnt to revisit my analysis in order to include further arguments. I have also been able to apply what I have learnt about analysing images to my own work in my practice. When reflecting on my work or explaining decisions that I have made I will now be able to use ‘Cath’s Columns’, a tool for analysing images that was given to us in the study group, to effectively analyse my work and others, including any artists work that I have researched for a project.
The theories that I have learnt about from the study group and from doing research for my dissertation have taught me how I can use motifs within my work to convey these theories. From learning about these theories I now also know how I can show them in my work, for example after learning about abhuman bodies and abject bodies I now know what I need to include in my work or what to look for in others work in order to portray these theories.
I also now look at images differently because of the theories that I have learnt about.
I think that the way that I read academic books and papers has changed and improved. I find it easier to skim texts looking for information that applies to what I am writing about. I have also found it a bit easier to find books and papers that relate to what I am writing about. However I have found it difficult looking for applicable information in books that I thought were related to what I am writing about. I have found it hard as I have read through many books that I have been unable to find anything applicable that I can use in them but I have discovered that this is just part of the process. I have also changed the way that I work slightly as I now find it more effective to do an analysis in parts, I find it easier if I return to analysis after a few days with fresh eyes and I also find that after reading theory I can find new connotations in a piece of work or an image that I hadn’t noticed before. I have also found that by analysing one image it can give you ideas for theories that can apply to another image and that by comparing them it can result in new arguments.
I have found the process of planning and researching theories for my dissertation informative but tricky. I have struggled with writing about the research that I have done as this isn’t really something that I have done before, however, I tried to apply what I have learnt about essay writing from completing previous essays for various study groups. I also found it difficult when writing about how I will set out my dissertation, for example what I will put into each chapter, but looking at examples of dissertation research proposals helped me to understand a bit more what I needed to do.
Overall constellation has helped me to be more considerate when selecting the materials, textures and forms that I will include in my work as all of these things have their own connotations. It has also taught me to be more inquisitive when looking at other peoples work and to be mindful of the theories and concepts that I have learnt about from study groups and from doing my own research.