I have been mulling this over for a long while but have realised that I went down a cul de sac several months ago with my idea for the third assignment and have decided to abandon it and pursue another approach.
Studying this part of Gesture and Meaning has opened up some rather unsettling thoughts for me around my own identity and where I fit into the world. This will need some further exploration but it did trigger thoughts around gender as a spectrum rather than being binary and notions of femininity. When I first embarked on the portraiture assignment, I wanted to tackle some of the serious issues over how women are perceived, how they see themselves and how they fit into their worlds. My aim was to provide a visual record of women confidently presenting themselves in all their multi-dimensional glory.
My starting point was that using multiple images, POVs and perspectives would create something much more revealing than a single portrait. Could these perhaps be blurred together to soften the effect and show how the multi-dimensions meld together? Cubism has always appealed to me conceptually but not aesthetically. Could I extend the portraits with additional angles and also possibly by overpainting to bring new colours to the depiction, redefining the edge of the image.
In the end, I hatched a plan to base my images on a game we played as children: drawing different sections of a person, leaving some indicative lines visible, then folding the paper and passing it around for the next person to add another part. The more ludicrous the juxtapositions, the more hilarious it seemed.
Taking this approach with the representation women alludes to the commodification and fragmentation of the female body, with a call back to the past, but also the multi-dimensionality. It would reveal how all women are different even when they are trying to fit in and sometimes actually be the same as their peers or their heroines.
Although a few early experiments were starting to come together in terms of the visuals, I struggled to see how it would be possible to convert a game based on line drawings into successful lens-based imagery. Every path I took seem fraught with technical challenges.
On top of that, researching this project just made me angry and upset. My frustrations were compounded by the general millennial complacency over feminism. I want to tackle social, cultural and political issues and make work about important ideas but I could feel my enthusiasm for this whole angle dwindling rapidly.
I am not abandoning it forever but it is definitely kicked into the long grass and I am pursuing something much more joyous in the meantime.