Exercise 2: Interpreting Video Art

This exercise asks us to watch the video of Sam Taylor-Wood’s Still Life here: http://samtaylorjohnson.com/moving-image/art/still-life-2001 [accessed 13/03/17]

The main aim of the exercise is to write down our understanding of the piece in 250 words and explain what we think Taylor-Wood wants us to think about or experience from watching this?

There are a few questions we are told to think about:

  • Your initial response after first viewing

It took me a while to realise what the piece was about. Not a lot happens in the first 44 seconds of the 3 min 44 sec video and I fast forwarded … Read the rest

Exercise 5: Finding Out More

This exercise asks us to watch/listen to a discussion from the Khan Academy on Damien Hirst’s shark in formaldehyde piece (here).

We are asked to make notes, paying particular attention to the following:

• Hirst
• the piece
• Hirst’s other work
• information on other artists whose work is concerned with mortality
• references to ‘time’

There is a transcript available under the video, so I won’t type up all of my notes, but I will mention the information relevant to the ideas above.

With relation to Hirst and the piece itself, a lot is said about … Read the rest

Exercise 4: Looking at Context

This exercise asks us to look at Damien Hirst’s 1991 piece title The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living. The work is essentially a steel and glass tank filled with blue formaldehyde and a suspended shark. The piece is also referred to as ‘the shark in formaldehyde’.

We are asked to answer to following questions:

• Write down a few words giving your first reaction to the piece.
Weird. Scary. Ugly.

• Do you have an emotional response to it?
The thought of the formaldehyde makes me feel a bit queasy. The work in general … Read the rest

Exercise 3: Reading About Art

This exercise asks us to read an excerpt from Art History: The Basics by Grant Pooke and Diana Newall (2008, Abingdon: Routledge) and make notes of anything interesting, as well as writing down any new terms or words we come across.

The first thing that struck me was the amount of words that I normally know the meaning of, but had to actually look up to see how they were being used in this context. Here’s a list, along with some other definitions that were new to me:

Arbitrary: Founded on or subject to personal whims, prejudices, etc.

AestheticRead the rest