Daksha Patel undertook her residency at the UCA this week. Students from BA (Hons) Fine Arts, BA (Hons) Product Design, MA Fine Arts, and the International Pathway have participated in a series of ‘Thinking through drawing’ workshops and lectures.
In her first lecture, Daksha introduced how bodies have been represented and portrayed in arts – drawing, photography, installations, fashion (e.g., Alexander McQueen bodycon dress), and product design. This topic is very “STS”; some art works effortlessly convey the social impacts of technology. For example, I could sense the tension between the doctor-patient relationship and the social and the technical when she pointed out that the invention of laparoscopy shifts the surgeons’ attention from the patients’ bodies to the screen / artefacts. The ultrasound scan also shifts people’s interest from the maternal bodies to the ultrasound images of a foetus (and the same may apply to MRI scan or X-Ray). These medical technologies not only distract our attention and gaze, they also shape what we see and what we know. We are so used to seeing the ‘expert images’, and ignore the ‘unseen’.
To explore the body in practice, the drawing workshop on the 13th of May involved using different hands to draw an object. The participants were given a bag with an object in it.
Firstly, they touched the object in the bag without seeing it for 5 minutes, then used the dominant hand to draw it.
Secondly, on a different paper, the participants touched the object using the dominant hand and used the non-dominant hand to draw it.
Thirdly, again, on another paper, the participants took the object out of the bag, and drew it without looking at the paper solely looking at the object.
Fourthly, the participants draw the object by whatever style they fancied, using whatever hand they wanated, paying attention to composition, light, colour etc.
The participants all looked engaged and had fun. The pictures speak louder than words. Some strong works have emerged: