Research Paper- The Politics of Space: The Class War in Our Galleries

Assessment, UNIT 1

The Politics of Space The Class War in Our Galleries Kat Outten Research Paper

I won’t lie, I’ll never be 100% happy with this, as it is too deep a topic to thoroughly explore in 3000-4000 words, but I am very pleased that I managed to finish, despite my mental health being very bad over the last four months. I can’t deny that the majority of this paper was written in the last month… cough… week… cough… day… but even still I am deeply proud of myself for persevering and getting it done on time.
Enjoy x

Project Proposal

Assessment, project proposal, UNIT 1

My research questions:

  • How can social issues such as rape culture and the rise of poor mental health be explored through art? What is our role, as artists, in bringing these issues to light?
  • What is my role as an artist dealing with mental health issues?
  • How can I use art to express my own difficulties- can my practice be used therapeutically or does it need a higher purpose?
  • What is rape culture, and how can I educate people about the topic through the medium of video games?
  • How can discarded objects be given a new life and made desirable once more? Can these objects be given a new life?

The context for my work is provided by not just artists but also the world around me- I am a firm believer that art should not exist separately from the “real world”, and that art should be for the masses, not for a classist elite. I grew up revering the art of the YBA- but I feel that they have lost their working class roots, and become the opposite of what they started off as. I do not wish to turn out like that- I acknowledge that to make the work I want to make I require funding, but I do not want to sell my soul, metaphorically speaking, in order to achieve this. I am particularly fond of the work of Grayson Perry, as he tackles class, gender, and British culture, all of which interest me. I recently saw his exhibition at the Serpentine, “The Most Popular Art Exhibition Ever!”, and it was incredibly inspiring to witness it in person, rather than seeing images online. Unfortunately most of my previous favourite artists are men, and this is something I hope to rectify; in this patriarchal society I wish to celebrate and uplift fellow female and non-binary/gender non-conforming artists, as well as artists of colour, so my goal is to research into as many as possible throughout this course. I am personally tired of the art world being dominated by straight, white men and wish to explore other identities through my work and research. My three key themes are: mental health, feminism, and death. These are all topics I have worked with before, and topics that I am deeply invested in, and I hope to explore them from different perspectives and via different mediums.

PROJECTS:

MENTAL HEALTH
Aim: to explore the topic of mental health through a body of research, personal reflection, and exploration of materials.
This project is incredibly personal to me, as I have dealt with mental health issues for most of my childhood, teenage years, and so far into my adult life. With a recent diagnosis of Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder, also known as Borderline Personality Disorder, and my much older diagnosis of severe Anxiety and Depression I am left wondering who I am, and where I fit into the world. Can I use my own experiences to help others? How, as an artist who is mentally ill, can I explore the topic, and raise awareness for others? How can I explore the topic through various mediums? Finally, can my artistic practice be used purely for therapeutic means, or does it need to have a higher purpose? These are all aspects I hope to explore through my research and work throughout this project.

PERFECT VICTIM VIDEO GAME
Aim:
To create a playable video game exploring rape culture, using research and critically engaging with the topic.
What is rape culture? How can I best educate people about the topic? By making a video game I hope to discuss the issue of rape culture, and the effects it has on women/female-presenting people. By engaging players in scenarios faced by women daily I hope to show people how harmful behaviours, actions, thoughts, and words can all contribute to rape culture, and through this how it can negatively affect all genders. Important areas of research will be engaging with female presenting people of colour, and trans women- as I do not have life experience of this, and their experiences will differ to mine, as a non-binary female presenting white person. I also want to engage with lesbian and bisexual women, to see if their experiences differ, as despite being bisexual I feel that just my experience alone will not be enough to give an accurate depiction. This subject is important to me, both as a female presenting person, and also as a survivor of rape myself, and so I want to handle this delicately- but still create a game that hits people hard.

DEATH AND REBIRTH
Aim: To explore the form and function of found objects through 3D processes.
How can I take discarded objects, and from them create something beautiful? Can these “dead” objects find new life through various mediums? I see this project as a continuation of a previous project, titled In The River. That project involved making photograms of objects I found along the river Thames, in order to show the beauty of these objects that would be considered rubbish. I feel that I did not push this project far enough, and I never got to take the objects into 3D- I would like to cast the objects in different materials to see how that changes them, and manipulate the forms into something new. Can they be made wearable or will they exist purely as sculptural documents of the original objects? How can an audience interact with these objects, and what is their new function, if any?