Constellation – Year 1

At the beginning of the first term, we were introduced to constellation; at first I had no idea what the word constellation meant, but then after the first seminar I got a clearer understanding. From this seminar I learnt that constellation is all about making connections, and how it will allow me to engage with critical ideas and how I will be enabled to position my own practice in relation to wider contexts of understanding. Later on that day we had to chose our study groups via moodle, mine were ‘the body in society: from Dr. Tulp to handles’ and ‘Visual Thinking’. I chose these study groups because I was immediately attracted to them both out of the whole options, they looked exciting and I was eager to see what they taught.

The first study group session was about how we all have a body and we take it for granted, the weekly sessions continued informing us on, ‘regulating bodies, power, control and why men don’t wear skirts’, ‘bodies and identity: reading masculinity on the body’, bodies and consumerism and reflexive bodies. When thinking about my practice whilst studying this constellation group I found myself influenced by the way body works and how art portrays this. One of the projects in illustration concentrated on agnosia, and how the brain was enable to interpret sensations and to recognize things, typically as a result of brain damage. I found this particular study group gave me great knowledge on how the body and people were accepted, with their disorders.

At the beginning when writing the first essay of 500 to 1000 words I found finding an idea particularly difficult, as the study group was full of new information. I wrote my essay on passports to inform on how a passport can be seen as something that categorizes people and forces individuals to feel restricted. However I wanted to show the opposite of negative affects passports have on people as there are many positives such as it allows people freedom to travel, and regardless of a passport being a source of identity it doesn’t have to control a persons image. I really enjoyed this theory especially looking into the background of citizen’s identity. The downside of this essay was my feedback, I wasn’t too sure about it. When writing my essay, I followed the layout and researched into Harvard referencing, however when I received my feedback my lecturer pointed out that I did not use the correct layout and that I didn’t use Harvard referencing. This knocked my confidence a little bit, as writing essays isn’t my strong point.

The experience of being in an interdisciplinary group slightly broadened my understanding of art and design, I discovered that this study group spoke a lot about masculinity and the body, of course this is related to art and design because some certain aspects of the group were aimed at body transformations, which included a lot of diagrams and illustrations to continue with surgery, or what ever the need for them is. I believe almost everything man made on this planet has been created by some sort of art and design. Illustrations, diagrams, x ray scans etc. These are all pieces of art work that are created in order for final plans to continue. Over all this study group definitely broadened my understanding of art and design.

My second study group was ‘Visual thinking’. This group covered the topics of how we think in pictures, the nature of technology and how it defines action perception and thought, the changing meanings of art and design in modernism, postmodernism and beyond, the idea that a drawing does not have to look like its object, the possibility that thinking can be expressed not just in words but in any medium what so ever. The aim of this study group was to gain an understanding of why things are never as they seem, why possibilities multiply the more you look and think, and why this near-overwhelming expansion of ideas and images is important for your knowledge and future studies.

The influence I have had from this study group that makes me think about my practice is that I now look at images differently before I decide what I let myself see. For me this study group was out of my comfort zone, when signing up for this group my intentions were to get a better insight of the world and look upon objects and images differently. I think I have achieved what I was looking for in these study groups, my knowledge was broadened and I have better understanding of art and design. I have learnt that our understanding is never a complete draft and that we often assume knowledge is a complete, direct contact with something. However, sometimes it isn’t. Ideas or aims that look at different things, but sometimes it takes a lot longer for ideas to filter through. In this study group I also learnt that a tool is not simply a device that does our bidding but something that shapes who we are, our understanding, and what is possible for us. I found this study group challenging and extremely interesting, however, when planning for my final 2500 word essay, I found I was more interested in my previous study group. I felt that I could talk more and gather more information on a topic I was really into rather than finding information on a topic I didn’t know an awful lot about.
However, both study groups have had a big impact on my final essay, experiencing different delivery styles form different lectures has been an over all positive out look as I have took knowledge from both and created a final out come. This has made my academic skills and understanding a lot stronger, and has provided me with great academic writing support. I also found that working in a different environment with a lot of CSAD students from different areas has inspired me because the feedback we gave each other became very helpful when working towards the final outcome of my essay.


Visual Thinking

Metaphor is pervasive in every day life, not just in language but in thought and action.

Every day activity: ‘argument is war’

We can actually win or lose arguments

We attack positions and we defend on our own.

We plan and use strategies.


A verbal battle


“try to imagine a culture where arguments are not viewed in terms of war, where no one wins or looses, where there is no sense of attacking or defending, gaining or losing ground”


“the essence of metaphor is understanding and experiencing one kind of thing in terms of another.


“argument is particularly structured, understood, performed, and talked about in terms of WAR”



“You’re wasting my time.

This gadget will save you hours.

I don’t have the time to give you.

How do you spend your time these days?

The flat tire cost me an hour.

I‘ve invested a lot of time in her.

Thank you for your time”


Time is a limited resource that we use to accomplish our goals.




When arguing we can lose sight of the cooperative aspects.


“Time isn’t really money. If you spend your time trying to do something and it doesn’t work, you can’t get your time back. There are no time banks. I can give you a lot of time, but you can’t give me back the same time. And so on”


Visual Thinking


Greetings phone-beings

  1. The philosophy of technology: what is a tool?
  2. Make like a cyborg: how technology shapes and pictures (abstraction, metaphor) you, your understanding, and what is possible in reality.


  1. One or more ideas or claims of support on one and another


RECAP on last week

The watch = abstraction, it doesn’t show you the event of itself. But, shows you the damage. (reichemer) It is not and explosion but it shows you the impact of the event.
Concept of abstraction: Our understanding is never a complete draft
We often assume knowledge is a complete, direct contact with something, but sometimes it isn’t.
Ideas or aims that look at different things, some ideas take a while to filter through.

It’s taking a while for knowledge to sink in.


Monty Python’s argument sketch – youtube video


  • Paying for an argument
  • What’s the difference between contradiction and an argument
  • Frustrating


In essay: Idea’s on the page, what connections/ideas rest upon. Why should the tutor be interested on the idea?

Ideas that support or challenge your view, to have a really good contrast within your essay.

Fallacies: bad or weak arguments; common errors in reasoning


  • He’s rich, so he should be the president of our parents and teachers organization



Appeal to money

Assumption there is that if the person is wealthy they should have the best knowledge to teach our parents and teachers.

  • Well, its time for a decision. Will you contribute £20 to our environmental fund, or are you on the side of environmental destruction?


Black or white, or false dilemma

Just because I can’t pay at the moment doesn’t mean I don’t care about the environment.

Won’t support someone who is that way inclined to speak to people.

  • What she says about Johannes Kelper’s astronomy of the 1600’s must be just so much garbage. Do you realize she’s only fifteen years old?


Ad hominem

Just because someone is young doesn’t mean they aren’t entitled to have an opinion.

‘Must be’ meaning they must not understand Johannes Kelper’s astronomy


A tool is not simply a device that does our bidding but something that shapes who we are, our understanding, and what I possible for us.
Knowing an argument is brewing: because/on the grounds that/for the reason that…
Tool and technology definition

  1. Haraway (2000). ‘Cyborg manifesto’, p. 292.

We are this hybrid machine. All the artifacts and designs have made us advanced human beings.
For example: using knifes and forks? Before humans may have used their hands?

The idea that machine and organism constructs us completely
A car controls us and changes us completely.

Haraway is a strong believer that technology is the making of the human generation.

We can change our nature

  1. Harman (2002). Tool-Being, p. 20.

‘equipment is not effective “because people use it”; on the contrary, it can be only be used because it is capable of and effect, on inflicting some kind of blow on reality.’

We can change objects and make them into something completely different.

All things are tools; we can use and change almost everything.


Visual Thinking

Donna Haraway

A Cyborg Manifesto

Science, technology and socialist-feminism in the late twentieth century

A provocative, comprehensive argument about the politics and theories of ‘postmodernism’ is made by Fredric Jameson (1984), who argues that postmodernism is not an option, a style among others, but a cultural dominant requiring reinvention of left politics from within; there is no longer any place from without that gives meaning to the comforting fiction of critical distance. Jameson also makes clear why one cannot be for or against postmodernism, an essentially moralist move. My position is that feminists (and others) need continuous cultural reinvention, postmodernist critique, and historical materialism; only cyborg would have the chance. The old dominations of white capitalist patriarchy seem nostalgically innocent now: they normalized heterogeneity, into man and woman, whit and black for example. ‘Advanced capitalism’ and postmodernism release heterogeneity without a norm, and we are flattened without subjectivity, which requires depth, even unfriendly and drowning depths. It is time to write ‘the death of the clinic’. The clinic’s method required bodies and works; we have texts and surfaces. Our dominations don’t work by medicalization and normalization any more; they work by networking, communications redesign, stress management. Normalization gives away to automation, utter redundancy. Michel Foucault’s ‘ Birth of clinic’ (1963)


A practice at once both spiritual and political that linked guards and arrested anti-nuclear demonstrators in the Alameda County jail in California in the early 1980s. Without explicit irony, adopting the spaceship earth/whole earth logo of the planet, photographed from space, set off by the slogan ‘Love your Mother, the may 1987 mothers and others day action at the nuclear weapons testing facility in Nevada none the less took account of the tragic contradictions of views of the earth. Demonstrators applied for official permits to on the land from officers of the Western Shoshone tribe, whose territory was invaded by the US government when it built the nuclear weapons test ground in the 1950s. Arrested for trespassing, the demonstrators argued that the police and weapons facility personnel, without authorization from the proper officials, were the trespassers. One affinity group at the women’s action called them selves the Surrogate Others; and in solidarity with the creatures forced to tunnel in the same ground with the bomb, they enacted a cyborgian emergence from the constructed body of large, non-heterosexual desert worm.

The central role of object relations versions of psychoanalysis and related strong universalizing moves in discussing reproduction, caring work and mothering in many approaches to epistemology underline their authors’ resistance to what I am calling postmodernism. For me, both the universalizing moves and these versions of psychoanalysis make analysis of ‘women’s place in the integrated circuit’ difficult and lead to systematic difficulties in accounting for or even point argument has been developed.

The conjunction of the Green Revolution’s social relations with biotechnologies like plan genetic engineering makes the pressures on land in the Third World increasingly intense. AID’s estimates used at the 1984 World Food Day are that in Africa, women produce about 90 per cent of rural food supplies, about 60-80 per cent in Asia, and provide 40 per cent of agricultural labor in the Near East and Latin America.

Capitalism and racism are usually structurally male dominant.


Visual Thinking reading notes

Visual Thinking

Reading 1

The Invisible Realm

The meaning of being is tool-being

The goal of Martin Heidegger’s career was to identify and to attack the notion of reality as something present-at-hand.

Equipment becomes invisible when serving remote human purposes.

The world is an infrastructure of equipment already at work, of tool-beings unleashing their forces upon us just as savagely or flirtatiously as they duel on another.

We take our brains and our blood cells for granted.

At each moment, the world is geography of objects, whether these objects are made of the latest plastics or were born at the dawn of time.

A tool exists in the manner of enacting itself; only derivatively can it be discussed or otherwise mulled over. Try as hard as we might to capture the hidden execution of equipment, we will always lag behind. There is no gaze of capable of seizing it, despite Heidegger’s claims to the contrary.

We know ontically that most equipment has enduring substantial parts that can be separated and removed; we do not yet have a legitimate way of importing this fact into Heidegger’s ontology.

The key is not to argue that there are independent objects that mean different things “depending on context”, which could be to slip once more into the naturalistic error we have encountered.

The world of tools is an invisible realm from which the visible structure of the universe emerges.



The term “tool-being” was first suggested in Apri of 1992 by Raven Zachary of Dallas, Texas.

It is not enough to say that what is at stake is “transcendence” rather than a primacy of practical reason. For even this view follows Heidegger’s words too closely, and repeats in central mistake by interpreting this transcendence as a property of human Dasein rather than objects themselves.

To think the ‘difference’ only as being itself…[and] no longer as the being of beings. But also “that being never comes to presence without beings…

A chair does not have the mode of being of being-in-the-world; instead it occurs within the intraworldly present-at-hand.

Heidegger contradicts the most interesting result of analysis of equipment.

“Thus, the human being is….a creature of distance” (Vom Wesen des Grundes)

It becomes increasingly clear that Heidegger is simple enough to be taught rapidly to intelligent teenagers. The waters are only muddies when dueling scholars quarrel excessively over shoptalk.

“It has been objected to this thought experiment that I ask the reader to “imagine” something, and that since Heidegger argues Kant and the problem of metaphysics that imagination is inherently temporal, my experiment fails. But this I like trying to defend materialism by saying that idealists cannot object to materialism without using their brain or blood cells: a textbook case of begging the question”

Visual thinking Reading notes

A person who wished to insist that perception is only the recording of individual items can argue that elementary generalities are not due to abstraction at all but rather to imprecise observation.

Perceptual abstraction cannot be dismissed as an inability. It is a positive accomplishment, typically of great precision because of the relative simplicity of the form patterns drawn from the stimulus material.

Little knowledge would be obtained about such organized wholes if abstraction consisted in the extraction of random trial.