Constellation Summary

This is my summary of how the concept of constellation will help me with my dissertation and my artwork. The Course: The Many Guises of the Absurd, was the group I was in. The module gave us an insight into theories about Absurdism and Existentialism. Some of the concepts we talked about were Existence Precedes Essence, Facticity and Transcendence, Alienation, Authenticity, Freedom and Values, Anxiety, Nothingness and the Absurd. This constellation group had a lot of influences from a lot of authors that were in the Existentialist movement. Some said that they were not true Existentialists as they spoke and wrote a lot like the concepts and ideas within the movement but not within the criteria of so-called true Existentialists and what they talk about. Albert Campus had a very big influence on the scene of Existentialism. His ideas were discussing the same theories as that of the Existentialist t but he had a more positive outlook on life and was using humour in his work. So, from this Constellation group I like the idea of humour in my work to get a point across so have used this as one of my main influences. These concepts and theories were discussed in depth by Absurdist. They asked the questions about ‘the meaning of life’ and what is the point in living or existing. I didn’t think this was relevant to me and was more intrigued about the humour side of Absurdism. This talked about how we find things funny when in fact they are very upsetting or an environmental or political problem. 

This then went onto give me the idea of how Banksy’s work can be funny but the meaning behind they work is a about much bigger issues, but by using the humour and simple images he manages to get, very clearly, deep meaning into his art. This, in turn, shows that what they did in the Existentialism movement by talking about certain problems within their society and bringing humour into the artwork can now be passed through into modern day culture.

In some of my work I have used these ideas by taking a big problem and adding a touch of humour. This work is some Graffiti I have done previously but also some Propaganda work I have produced, trying to capture environmental issues but making it understandable to people by trying to add humour and clear graphics. I try to depict problems that are going on, but still keep a sense of humour within it so it does not scream in your face about the problem. That work was for field. It was about how the world is being destroyed by us. In both of my years at university I have used the idea of ‘numbing the pain’ which helps when depicting the problems that are going on in the world. I have produced some art work about how people are careless when it comes to recycling and the future consequences of this. I used recycled coke cans and other big brand-named items when producing the work. This is not entirely the big companies fault but they do have a part in how the rubbish that is produced when manufacturing the items can effect the environment by causing pollution and subsequent landfill debris and in turn more polluction when getting rid of the landfill debris. The ideas behind my work for this had elements of the concepts talked about in Existentialism, Absurdism, and Propaganda. 

Other work I have produced is also influenced by these movements. It was some Graffiti art work that was inspired by Banksy’s work. The work I choose to use was “Only when the last tree has been cut down and the last river has dried to a trickle will man finally realise that we cannot eat money and reciting old proverbs makes you sound like a twat”. This work thrilled and entranced me and I was determined to produce a piece of work based on this quote. I decided to use Graffiti as the art form to try to reach as many in society as possible. It was a field of tree stumps in various shapes and sizes with just one tree left standing. I tried to add a touch of humour to the work to make it more appealing to those around me by masking the meaning behind the work. This didn’t just inspire my practical work but also my dissertation by the work made with humour. 

These movements and concepts have sparked my imagination and my own ideas for the dissertation I’m going to write about, which is The Relation between Propaganda and Graffiti. This title has come from ideas regarding absurdism and the way it talks about humour. I think humour is one of the best ways of getting a point across, so I have looked at books which involve these topics. To me, Graffiti is one of the best of showing a point in a humorous way but it still can give the work a very big meaning. The art work that graffiti artists make is always uncensored, which is great because that means there is no restriction in their work. There is a major problem with Graffiti, it is illegal. Propaganda has a sense of humour but it’s not as intense as graffiti due to restriction it has. But propaganda has great theories about how to get points across. These points may be negative meanings but it works. These ideas of mine, come from ideas talked about in the lectures, about how humour helps us to cope with bigger problems, although some of the Existentialists thought humour was a bad thing because it can ‘numb their pain’ so making it not as strong an impression, it has such a relevance to normal society. More ideas that come from this constellation group helped me understand art work more, this is because you start to look at the work trying to find the meanings and problem which lie within the work. This make analysing others work more interesting and helpful for when you need to pick out ideas and influences for your own work.


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