Today I sat with Eric and attempted to articulate my scanty ideas. I am rather nervous/dubious about the creative aspect of the independent study, in particular the caveat – ‘you may not like it, (we may not like it!)’ in the guidelines. It is a risk, and I’m not sure I’m brave enough to push the boundaries to such an extent in the final year… however I do have other options to mull over, one of which may involve drawing on the lessons learnt in the Creative Writing Workshop module. Thinking again about what, if anything, we take away from a museum or gallery visit, I looked at ‘The Bell’ by Iris Murdoch. She writes about Dora visiting the National Gallery, and stopping in front of a Gainsborough painting:
‘Dora was always moved by the pictures. Today she was moved but in a new way. She marvelled with a kind of gratitude, that they were all still here, and her heart was filled with love for the pictures, their authority… It occurred to her that here at last was something real and something perfect… Here was something which her consciousness could not wretchedly devour, and by making it part of her fantasy make it worthless’.
Dora is encouraged by this painting. It has a very positive affect on her. Why? It doesn’t have that affect on me? Bit too sentimental for my own liking, but Dora found her visit – ‘improving’ it connected her, and maybe the visitor following her, or maybe not. Each view is unique.
It would be my intention to observe the observer, and to write about connections, tangents, contexts, from their perspective, chip away, probe and somehow log their emotion. So, my independent study will begin with ethnographies – the viewer’s view, adapted, eventually into a form of short story genre. This is very early days, and only the seed of an idea. Grafted on will be research into the subconscious, why do we emote, for example.
Also looking again at the concept of images as narrative within a theme. Can paintings be categorised as plots are? The painting as plot:
Tragedy/Comedy/Quest/Rebirth/The wanderer returns/Good over Evil/Rags to Riches
Does art parallel these basic narratives?