Bodyscape 01 is an exploration into the human body in space, particularly looking at the relationships and tension it creates with objects and space and negative space.
Phase 1 - Drawing
The unit began with a series of drawing workshops:
Drawing Workshop 1 - The Edge
Students were to study their perception of edges and how the edge defines space, body and object. The two key rules of these drawings were 1) to keep the line drawing as one continuous line thus meaning to not remove the pen/pencil from the page, and 2) to only look at the subject of their drawing and not the paper they were drawing on. It was important to encourage them to not draw what they think they saw, but what it was they were actually looking at.
Initially they began drawing continuous lines of their palms, which then progressed to the drawing of edges in the studio. They followed them where they led and not just around an object which then created drawings showing relationships between objects and space and the human body. As the drawings often became abstract, everybody was encouraged to begin adding annotations to explain the creation.
Drawings by Dmitrijs Gusevs.
Drawing Workshop 2 - The Surface
Students were tasked with drawing the surfaces they perceive, creating fragmented drawings that disregarded the edges they had just been studying. Using this notion, they began drawing the studio space and separating space, object and body into a series of shaped surfaces.
Being able to take the pen from the page allowed the students to be more thoughtful about the surfaces they chose to draw and the surfaces they didn't. Again, annotations were encouraged to add that extra layer of information to the drawing.
Drawing Workshop 3 - Negative Space
Applying their newly gained knowledge of the edge and the surface and the relationships between space and the body, students were then tasked with drawing the negative space between everything they had previously been drawing.
Of course negative space is intangible so the images they were creating had to be defined by the relationships between body and space: the table to the leg to the floor; the hand to the book to the shelf...
Drawings by Samantha Li
Phase 2 - Casting
The students were tasked with casting the space and objects they had been meticulously observing into 3D sculptural objects. The sculpture they were to produce had to present relationships between space and object and the human body, particularly focusing on how these define negative space.
Initially students began casting relationships with string, forming a basic structure between various points of objects and people and to give them a framework to begin casting on to - papier-mâché was the method assigned due to its easy application, using tracing paper for the firm and translucent appearance it had after setting. They then began casting various body parts and working those into the sculptures they were creating.
Phase 3 - The Exhibition
We decided to exhibit the sculptures (as well as boards of their images) in the disused car park of Arlington House Margate in a one day exhibition. Due to its controversy, it was the last day available for anybody to use the space and thus we seized the opportunity to use it. It was the perfect time to encourage students to start disseminating their work into the public realm and begin to build up an online presence. It was also important to encourage them to start becoming actively involved with social and environmental issues with their design work.
The exhibition itself began with all models hung from existing structural elements, but during the show we decided to take them down and begin moving them around exploring how they worked in various areas of the site. Visitors also became more engaged with the students and the work too.