Thursday, 19 March 2009


Project Proposal

Research question: What are you proposing to discover or explore?
What is the question or issue you wish to explore through the MA course?
Need good question – taking it towards something which is answerable.
Frame the question using the field of inquiry to identify aims, objectives.

I am proposing to represent my dreams in sculpture.

I am interested in interpreting these ethereal experiences and attempting to create representations of the landscape/environments, narrative and emotional content captured.

Inspired by the latest scientific theories that postulate through dreaming the brain organises and files away our experiences and memories, linked together through a web of association. I want to portray my own associations of scenarios combined by feelings, exploring the completely imaginary places, (whole cities for example) which I dream about.

I plan to use the following materials for their specific ethereal qualities: porcelain (fragile, translucent), wax (temporary, melting nature of the material), bronze (paradoxically crystallising the dream in something so permanent and solid) and possibly film (scope for more emotive qualities, sound, narrative, indefinite visual imagery).

Attempting to create these dream experiences in sculpture will certainly be a challenge and I hope that the audience will be able to interpret the work in an individualistic way, drawing their own meanings and significance from it.

Context: What work, both theoretical and practical, relates to your project?
Who are the key figures or developments that are central to your area of interest?
Field of inquiry – history where did the work I’m interested in come from, why changed?
Is it a live debate, long history? Find the boundaries, authors?

Many artists have been and still are fascinated by dreams. Since Freud’s important text at the turn of the century, which influenced artists such as Giorgio de Chirico and subsequently the Surrealists, artists have continued to use dreams as a starting point for their work. In a contemporary context I will be studying artists across a diverse range of media encompassing sculpture, film, video and drawing. For example: Susan Hiller, Joseph Cornell, Charles Avery, Keith Tyson and filmmakers Michel Gondry and Luis Buñuel.

Recently, exhibitions such as Flights of Reality at Kettle’s Yard (2002), The Dreaming & Sleeping exhibition at the Wellcome Trust (2006) showing contemporary work across art and science, Miniature Worlds at the Jerwood Space (2006), Charles Avery at Parasol Unit (2008) Riddle Me at Danielle Arnaud (2008) and the forthcoming exhibition Telling Tales at the V&A in 2009 show that the interest in the themes of dreams, fantasy, illusion and imagined worlds is still current.

Theoretically, The Poetics of Space by Bachelard for his explanations of memory and spaces, Freud, Jung and other books as mentioned in my bibliography.

Methodology: What methods will you employ to research your project?
How will you go about researching your question? Are there particular means that you will use i.e. interviewing, searches in particular collections, drawing/photography?
Methodology is the design TOOL, structure, how will I do this? E.g. oral history is a methodology – find others. Doing this enables the collection and interpretation of data.
Methods – conferences and seminars, monographs of designers, exhibitions, online journals, seminar papers of lectures – published online.

The metamorphosis from dream to sculpture (mind to hand) is extremely important, the first stage will be to collect snapshots of my dreams. I plan to record voice notes upon waking to better recollect the emotions and feelings involved in the dream. From the sound recordings I can make sketches of the scenario and narrative. These can then be developed into three dimensions.

At this stage, there are many possibilities for the three dimensional work, from direct representations of dreamt landscapes, playful juxtapositions of objects to create slightly disturbing groupings, developing an unsettling sense of displacement, illusion and intrigue or even non representational work that attempts to convey more the feeling of the dream.

Miniature work also holds a fascination for me and I want to explore creating work on a small scale, as it involves the viewer in an intense, focused way. A tiny work can seem to exist in a state of haunted isolation, a permanently vacated scene. Physically, the audience can only enter the scene through their imagination, a tiny parallel world forever cut off from reality.

One of the processes I plan to use – lost wax casting in bronze, is very time consuming and I will undertake research through practice exploring faster ways to initially model ideas using card, clay and wax.

I plan to continue using sketchbooks and theoretical written notes collated on my blog as my reflective journal. Using the model from The Contemporary Theory of Dreaming, I also plan to create diagrams of the emotion-guided connections made between objects, situations and landscapes.

Resources: What equipment, facilities and expertise will you require to carry out your research?
Are there particular resources or equipment that you need to access in order for you to successfully engage in your research?

I will need access to the ceramics, 3D and sculpture workshops and the library. I plan to take full advantage of the exhibitions, talks and collections on offer in London. I will also need tutorial support through group discussions and one-to-one sessions.

e.g. Berry, R. (2000) The Research Project: how to write it. 4th ed. London: Routledge


Bachelard, G. (1969) The Poetics of Space 1994 Edition, Boston, Beacon Press
Benson, N. (2004) Introducing Psychology New Ed. Icon Books Ltd
Berger, J. (1990) Ways of Seeing TV Tie in edition, Penguin Books Ltd
Buck-Morss, S. (1989) The Dialectics of Seeing: Walter Benjamin and the Arcades project, The MIT Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Freud, S. (1997) The Interpretation of Dreams (Wordsworth Classics of World Literature) New Ed. Wordsworth Editions Ltd
Goldie, P. (2004) On Personality London : New York, Routledge
Graham, G. (1949) Philosophy of the arts: an introduction to aesthetics 2005 Ed. London, Routledge
Hanaor, Z. (2007) Breaking the mould: new approaches to ceramics London, Black Dog Publishing
Harrison, C. & Wood, P. (2003) Art in Theory, 1900-2000 An Anthology of Changing Ideas Blackwell Publishers Limited (I’ve not read all of it!)
Hawking, S. W. (1988) Brief history of time: from the big bang to black holes London, Bantam
Hyde, M. & McGuinness, M. (2004) Introducing Jung New Ed. Icon Books Ltd
Jung, C. & Hull, R. F. C. (2002) The Undiscovered Self: Answers to the Present World Crisis Routledge Classics
Mack, J. (2007) The Art of Small Things British Museum Press
Parker, D. & J. (1985) Dreaming London, Mitchell Beazley Publishers
Peters, T. and West, J. (eds) (2002) The Uncanny Room, Luminous Books, London.
Raulff, H. et al. (2007) Sleeping and Dreaming Black Dog Publishing (Accompaniment to exhibition at the Wellcome Trust, 2006)
Rucker, R. (1977) Geometry, relativity and the fourth dimension New York : Dover London : Constable
Schreiber, F. R. (1975) Sybil: The True Story of a Woman Possessed by Sixteen Separate Personalities New Ed. Penguin Books Ltd
Siegfried, T. (2002) Strange matters : undiscovered ideas at the frontiers of space and time Washington, D.C., Joseph Henry Press
Sorlin, P. (2003) Dreamtelling Reaktion Books
Thompson, M. (2000) Philosophy London, Teach Yourself Books, 2000
Watson, P. (2000) Terrible beauty : a history of the people and ideas that shaped the modern mind London : Weidenfeld & Nicolson


Journal articles

Norton, Q. (02/03/09) Rewiring the Brain: Inside the new science of Neuroengineering Wired San Francisco, USA, Conde Nast Publications
(2008), Bedtime Stories Holland Herald pg. 17-22
Perez, G. (27/03/06) The Dream Life The Nation New York, USA, The Nation Company L.P
Shanks, D. (24/08/91) Remembrance of things unconscious New Scientist Issue 1783, London, Reed Business Information Ltd


Exhibition Catalogues

Brett, G. (1999) Susan Hiller: Lucid dreams, Oslo: Henie-Onstad kunstsenter
Rugoff, R. & Stewart, S. (1997) At the threshold of the visible: minuscule and small-scale art ; 1964-1996 New York : Independent Curators Inc.
(2002) Flights of Reality Kettle’s Yard, University of Cambridge



Bronze Casting in the 20th Century: The World turned inside out, Saturday, 15 November 2008, Symposium at Courtauld Institute, London


Broadcast material (radio/television)

Horizon Why do we sleep? (March 2009), television, BBC2


Eg. Marnie (1964) Directed by Alfred Hitchcock, Universal Pictures, 130mins [Video : VHS]

The Last Laugh (1924) Directed by F. W. Murnau, Eureka Entertainment, 90mins [DVD]
The Science of Sleep (2006) Directed by Michel Gondry, Warner Independent Pictures, 102mins [DVD]
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) Directed by Michel Gondry, Momentum Pictures, 103mins [DVD]
Luis Bunuel Collection – Belle de Jour (1967), The Diary of A Chambermaid (1964), The Obscure Object of Desire (1977) (2007) Directed by Luis Bunel, Optimun Home Entertainment, 776 mins [DVD]



Surrealism Reviewed (2002) Various Artists inc. Marcel Duchamp, Andre Breton, Max Ernst, et al. LTM, 74mins, Original recording remastered [Audio CD]


Reference to a Blog

06/03/08 Scientists closer to visualising dreams, Rediff India Abroad, Available from: (Accessed 18 March 2009)


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