This project is mainly about the relationship between imagination and reality. I often wonder what is reality and whether our common sense is true. Our "reality" might be affected by our imagination. I would like to talk about my opinion and show the example with some actual phenomenons.
Research of phenomenons
"Imaginary friends are a psychological and social phenomenon where a friendship or other interpersonal relationship takes place in the imagination rather than external physical reality. Although they may seem very real to their creators, children usually understand that their imaginary friends are not real. Imaginary friends are made often in childhood, sometimes in adolescence, and rarely in adulthood. They are people or other characters created in the mind that the creator interacts with. In some studies, imaginary companions are defined as children impersonating a specific character (imagined by them), or objects or toys that are personified." (Taylor, M.)
"What are imaginary friends?
Imaginary friends are pretend friends that your child makes up in his imagination. Imaginary friends come in all shapes and sizes. They can be based on someone your child already knows, a storybook character or even a soft toy with human-like features. Or they can come purely from your child?s imagination.
These friends can always be there, or they might come and go. They might exist only in certain spots like the cubby house or at the kitchen table. And they will appear and disappear for no apparent reason along the way." (Raising Children Network)
"Why do children have imaginary friends?
Your child's imaginary friend could be someone who:
- listens to and supports your child
- plays with your child
- can do things that your child can't do
- is special and belongs only to your child
- doesn't judge or find fault with your child
Your child is in charge of what the imaginary friend says, what the friend does and who this special friend can 'play' with. This could be part of the friend?s appeal too.
Imaginary friends allow children to explore a make-believe world that they create all by themselves. In fact, children with make-believe friends might be more imaginative and more likely to enjoy fantasy play and magical stories.
The way children play with or talk about their friends can tell you a lot about how they're feeling. Make-believe friends give you insight into your child's inner world, and likes, dislikes and tastes." (Raising Children Network)
I think imaginary friends are one of good examples of my project, Taking Place in the Imagination. As these children have strong imaginations and believe in the imagination purely, their imagination is being reality in their life, and seeing imaginary friends is normal for them. But other people, especially adults, who do not see the friend, think it is not real because they can not see it.
"Synesthesia is a neurological phenomenon in which stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway. People who report such experiences are known as synesthetes." (Cytowic, Richard E.)
"Synesthesia is an anomalous blending of the senses in which the stimulation of one modality simultaneously produces sensation in a different modality. Synesthetes hear colours, feel sounds and taste shapes. What makes synesthesia different from drug-induced hallucinations is that synesthetic sensations are highly consistent: for particular synesthetes, the note F is always a reddish shade of rust, a 3 is always pink or truck is always blue.
The estimated occurrence of synesthesia ranges from rarer than one in 20,000 to as prevalent as one in 200. Of the various manifestations of synesthesia, the most common involves seeing monochromatic letters, digits and words in unique colours; this is called grapheme-colour synesthesia. One rather striking observation is that such synesthetes all seem to experience very different colors for the same graphemic cues. Different synesthetes may see 3 in yellow, pink or red. Such synesthetic colours are not elicited by meaning, because 2 may be orange but two is blue and 7 may be red but seven is green. Even more perplexing is that synesthetes typically report seeing both the colour the character is printed in as well as their synesthetic colour. For example, is both blue (real colour) and light green (synesthetic colour)." (Scientific America)
I have had Synesthesia since I was little but did not know it is uncommon until quite recent. I feel colour from words, atmosphere, music and wind, etc. and had never thought other people did not feel it. I actually have asked my brother about it when we were younger, and he also had it and said "that's normal. It happens!" That is why I did not notice it is unusual. I suppose that the brain of the person like me is stimulated by an object or something to feel colour, or have a system to connect each other between colour and the object. My brain also let me feel the colour from something or believe it strongly.
Paranormal beliefs linked to brain chemistry
Peter Brugger, a neurologist from the University Hospital in Zurich, Switzerland, has suggested before that people who believe in the paranormal often seem to be more willing to see patterns or relationships between events where sceptics perceive nothing.
To find out what could be triggering these thoughts, Brugger persuaded 20 self-confessed believers and 20 sceptics to take part in an experiment.
Brugger and his colleagues asked the two groups to distinguish real faces from scrambled faces as the images were flashed up briefly on a screen. The volunteers then did a similar task, this time identifying real words from made-up ones.
Seeing and believing
Believers were much more likely than sceptics to see a word or face when there was not one, Brugger revealed last week at a meeting of the Federation of European Neuroscience Societies in Paris. However, sceptics were more likely to miss real faces and words when they appeared on the screen.
The researchers then gave the volunteers a drug called L-dopa, which is usually used to relieve the symptoms of Parkinson's disease by increasing levels of dopamine in the brain.
Both groups made more mistakes under the influence of the drug, but the sceptics became more likely to interpret scrambled words or faces as the real thing.
That suggests that paranormal thoughts are associated with high levels of dopamine in the brain, and the L-dopa makes sceptics less sceptical. "Dopamine seems to help people see patterns," says Brugger. (Philips, H.)
I think that there is a ghost in the reality of the people who can see it. The person strongly believes in his/her imagination as the reality, so the other people can not see the ghost that the person can see because the other people believe in the view that he/she can see with his/her imagination.
I think an optical illusion is also just a mistake of our brains, and our brains believe in the view mistakingly even if a different thing happens in the reality.
After watching this video, you will see unusual visuals being that objects will vibrate and pulsate. This is one of the optical illusions and causes temporary hallucinogenic effects to your brain.
This video also has an optical illusion that a dancer is turning clockwise or anticlockwise. Our brain imagines the dancer is turning the way the dancer appears to go. That means our imagination affects our reality(visuals). When I watched this video, it circled anticlockwise.
Blue and black dress? or gold and white?
This picture became famous in the beginning of this year whether this looks black and white dress or white and gold. The picture effects people's brain as an optical illusion. I completely feel this is blue and black.
When something weird happened, the person who does not believe in a ghost completely, would not feel uncanny to the event because he/she would analyse it logically. The person who completely believes in a ghost also would not feel uncanny about the event because it is natural phenomenon for him/her. The person who is not sure whether there is a ghost or not, would feel uncanny about the phenomenon.
The Psychology of Imagination
Means of representation
When I thought of the content of my project, I felt that collage making was fit for the project. For the reason that, there are both the realistic and imaginative elements, which is using photographs taken in the reality and making something different with one's imagination, in collage works. The use of collages can be also to get my originality to the painting. I usually apply a photo from the Internet as a sample of my works, and it made me think that it might not have my creativity or personality. For that reason, I decided to make collages at first and transform it into a painting.
The reason why I chose oil painting is just I love the texture and colour of oil that I found the texture is much smoother and the colour is much deeper than acrylic painting, but the disadvantage of oil paintings takes time to dry so I should finish working as soon as possible.
Conflict Time Photography
This exhibition was about the photography of various conflicts, and the pictures lined up in chronological order, namely, moments later, days later, months later, 5 years later and 20 years later etc. This exhibition had a wide range of images from powerful ones to something like inorganic substance with beautifulness. This exhibition impressed me because it showed the real fact/information of the wars. The strong message in the exhibition was moving and affecting me.
Marlene Dumas: The Image as Burden
"I am the third person
observing the bad marriage
between art and life
watching the pose and the slip
seeing the end in the beginning." (Dumas, M.)
Entering to the exhibition, many portraits greeted guests to Dumas's world of art, and the each faces had strong impact and seemed like telling something to us. I found many of her works had beautiful deep and rich colour but also looked soft and gentle against the colour. I was really into a work titled Glorious Venice, which was in Room 7 and a painting of a lady who hold her breast, because the colour of the painting was very beautiful even though she is using muddy colour. Despite her works seemed to be unbalanced, they are sophisticated and not unnatural. It was one of great shows, and I really enjoyed it.
Y.Z. KAMI: Paintings
It was my first time to visit Gagosian Gallery, and since the gallery was located on the outskirts of Kings Cross, it was quite difficult to find the building. In the gallery, there were several free pieces of paper, which was greater quality than other galleries distribute, and I thought I had to pay for them.
The exhibition titled Y.Z. Kami: paintings, became one of my favourite shows as soon as I saw, and especially I was keen on Kami's portraits that were huge paintings with oil on linen; his works were blurred as if the viewer has forgotten wearing a pair of glasses, and it made me feel dizzy a little (but it's still great!) As the works appear to be, they seemed like photographs or photorealism paintings but was actually painty at point-blank range; we can see the brush stroke on them. Even though the exhibition space was not that big, I had a great time so much.
John Stezaker is an English conceptual artist who was born in 1949 and experimented with collages.
"BREMEN, GERMANY John Stezaker GESELLSCHAFT FÜR AKTUELLE KUNST August 30-November 9 Curated by Janneke de Vries Not long ago, John Stezaker was better known as a teacher (the inspirational "Stez" of London's Royal College of Art) than he was for the frequently marvelous neo-Surrealist photocollages he has been evolving since the 1970s-mysterious inverted landscapes, deft physiognomic hodgepodges, silhouettes with miniature worlds inside them." (Herbart, M.)
The fist time that I saw his works was when I was in the Orientation course. I had a collage making class during the course, and then one tutor showed us his works. I felt attracted to his collages because even though it is a really simple work, it is very sophisticated and has a great composition. The photos that he is using for the collages are portrait and landscape. I am interested in the combination of them. I love the works using portraits and landscapes, and it seems like a couple facing each other.
Jesse Treece is a collage artist living in Seattle. I think this artist is not that famous as same as John Stezaker or Hannah Hoch.
His works are very playful and exciting. He is using various photos such as land scape, life objects and people, etc. I guess this artist is collecting so much photos from everywhere and get inspiration from them. I feel Treece's works are graphic-design-like, and am interested in how the pictures in the works are connecting each other because this artist is using various different photographs and being a new picture.
Annegret Soltau is a German visual artist. Her collages have quite different impression from other collage artists, and the photos are coming from mainly portrait but also something seems like nature or creature. I found stitching the photos is very creative and new idea. Her works are very playful and I can enjoy to see them.
"Höch's incarnation within Dada was represented by pieces such as the collaged Porträt Gerhard Hauptmann, 1919, which splices a smiling female face straight through the Weimar literary lion's wrinkled mug, or the tiny photograph Weltrevolution (World Revolution), 1920, a reworking of details from Höch's famous photomontage Schnitt mit dem Küchenmesser durch die letzte Weimarer Bierbauchkulturepoche Deutschlands (Cut with the Kitchen Knife Through the Last Weimar BeerBelly Cultural Epoch in Germany), 1919. Sure, the latter work allows great scope for media-studies-style "decoding," but it's weak; its slack lines and shaky handwriting, plus the need to cite the actress's name to render the image legible, all strike a lame note." (Withers, R.)
Hannah Höch is a German Dada artist who experiment with collages. She is using photos coming from fashion magazine.
I knew about her when I was in the Orientation course as well and love her creative and playful works. Her works are very mysterious, but at the same time, they seem like coming from picture book or fairly tale. She has her style of artworks and we can recognise her works quite easily. The pictures that she is using is not very unusual but they transform into unique images by her creativity.
Richard Llewelyn Wathen, born in 1971, is a British painter. He lives in Norfolk, England. Wathen's works have been closely linked to that of Thomas Gainsborough, (Smith, R. 2005) adopting a strange and eerie character. Supporting the description, I too found this eerie and somewhat uncomfortable but strangely nostalgic. His works seem like a historical portrait like people are posing nicely and wearing dress, and I think the composition also makes the pictures traditional. But also they are illustration-like, not very realistic like historical paintings.
Cecilia Edefalk is Swedish artist born in 1954.
Her paintings have a strong brush stroke, which make them painty, and seems like rough but actually sensitive, I think. She has her own atmosphere in her works. I want to get my originality and style of painting that people can recognise easily. I like a painting which is on the top of these photos because it is very beautiful and interesting. It seems like the woman is floating on the water and thinking about something. When I am thinking about something, I think I look like the woman and actually my view becomes like the background of this painting.
Born in Italy, 1968, Margherita Manzelli's skill lies in portraits of haunted female figures with wide, translucent eyes and pale and unhealthy-looking bodies.
Her works make me uncomfortable because they are very odd and fearful but it is the goodness and character of her paintings. I feel unease to look at the works.
Victor Man's interest lies in focusing on the position of art history. He believes we are only at the beginning redefinition of painting. The artist is working with images taken from the media.
I like the rich colour and the strong atmosphere of his paintings. Every painting seems like a picture in the shadow in the afternoon or evening. The colour of the paintings is integrated with dark and cold colour.
His works are the same way with me like making collage at first and transferring to painting, and the paintings have the part that we can recognise it is from collages. I did not know there are some artists who is doing the same things with me.
Born in Ghent, Belgium, Cris Brodahl's paintings reveal new ideas of colours to the artistic world.
She is also an artist who is making collages and transferring to paintings. I am really into the style and atmosphere of her paintings because they are not only uncanny but also beautiful at the same time. We can recognise they are originally collages.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Eternal Sunshine is an American film about an estranged couple who have each other erased from their memories.
My friend who lives in Japan recommended me to watch this film before, and I started watching it, and it was not that bad but also was not that impressing me that much. The setting is interesting because it is kind of scientific, but the whole of the film is blurred and complicated. But as Joel's memories were hallucination-like and dreamy, the part is related to my project as well, I found.
Bill Cunningham New York
Bill Cunningham New York is one of my most favourite films ever. We can see his passion and affection for fashion photograph, and he does not care about money, status, other people's sense of value, and actually himself as well. He has firm conviction for his job and enjoys doing it purely. His life seems like very exciting and is filled with what he loves.
the Wind Rises
The Wind Rises is an animation film, which is about an airplane designer and engineer named Jiro, directed by Hayao Miyazaki. This is one of my favourite films and impresses and affects me so much every time I watch. Jiro is a real person in history. He is really into his jobs, and I can feel his strong passion for his work impressively from his attitude, and he consumed his life for his job. I am always encouraged by this film and feel I should be like him in my life. In the film, an Italian character, Giovanni Battista Caproni, said "Artists are only creative for 10 years. We engineers are no different. Live your 10 years well, Japanese boy." This phrase is moving and inspires me strongly. I think imagination is very important for creators, and the creators make a real product which came from their imagination. Out imagination and reality connect each other.
Herb and Dorothy
Herb & Dorothy is an American documentary film about an old American couple, famous as art collectors. They were an ordinary husband and wife working at United States Postal Service and Brooklyn Public Library. The film shows their passion for art and their lovely relationship as a couple.
Herb and Dorothy 50x50
Herb & Dorothy 50x50 is the second film of Herb & Dorothy, which is an American documentary film about an old American couple, famous as art collectors. They were an ordinary husband and wife working at United States Postal Service and Brooklyn Public Library. The film shows their passion for art and their lovely relationship as a couple. When I watched this film, I was sad because Herb was getting older and weaker obviously.
Exit Through the Gift Shop
I thought this was a documentary film of Banksy, but it was actually about the Mr. Brainwash. It was funny and made me laugh. Mr. Brainwash was an ordinary man who loves graffiti and admired Banksy, and he could have the opportunity to meet Banksy and offered to take a documentary film about Banksy. But actually his editing was terrible and Banksy adivised him to make his graffiti, and he named himself, Mr. Brainwash, and started his life of art. I do not know whether he is talented or not, but I felt he has a strong passion for art, which artists should have. I watched it when I was quite down and did not have energy for making artworks, but this film encouraged me to do so.
I think this story strongly connects to the imagination because it tells that important things cannot be seen by our eyes. The Little Prince is originally from a French book and filmed in 1974. The original book is very famous and popular in Japan. I felt the little prince is a hallucination of the pilot whose aircraft made an emergency landing.