At this early stage in my project I have been deliberating over the exact research area that I want to explore further. Originally I had thought to transfer ideas across from my photographic art with particular emphasis on the aura (which I will elaborate on in my next post) and theory’s I had acquired from my dissertation in order to apply these to the digitalisation of print media. I swiftly began to accumulate a range of books that I felt would provide a direction in which to take my research further and became interested in ‘The Medium is the Message’ by Marshall McLuhan. The notion that the medium had the ability to alter the transmission of the message immediately related to my own ideas with regard to the intangible digital and what had been lost by surpassing the physical. Progressively I expanded my research into technology theory having spoken to Dr Stephen Thompson on disregarding the ‘how’ and focusing on ‘why’ were these digital or non-digital mediums fashioned; clearly the answer was communication.
Devising a new appreciation for the overarching premise that technology remained a facilitator for humanity prompted an interest in how technology in turn modifies our history, hence I was driven to read ‘Does Technology Drive History?’ by Merritt Roe Smith. During the same discussion I had with Stephen last week I put forward another idea that referred to what my project could perhaps end up being. I had an interest in documenting ‘the history of design’ by engaging with traditional and contemporary forms of visual communication and in what manner did they alter the messages intended interpretation. From this discussion arose a thought-provoking ideology triggered by my use of the term ‘the history’ that challenged my preconceptions concerning the formation of history altogether. Although I was aware of history’s biased appraisal I had not entirely considered this proposition in relation to my current frame of mind and in a recent seminar by Dr Jonathon Clark I began to place an emphasis on history as a partial assemblage of events.
I approached Clark’s seminar on ‘The Visualisations of History in Constable’s Paintings’ with a curiosity to John Constable as a celebrated landscape painter and did not expect to find it as enlightening as I did. Granted the seminar would no doubt revolve around an element of history bearing in mind the title, Clark elaborated on certain contextual components found in Constable’s own circumstances and reflexions on the model of history society upholds. Taking into consideration the aforementioned thoughts I had been pondering before observing Clark’s presentation, a particular statement caught my attention in which Clark defined ‘history as an abstract concept’. This notion of history existing as a kind of intangible entity poses many questions on the often excepted truthful clarification of the past. Clark goes on to contemplate the ‘Mysterious Monuments’ found in Constables paintings and in what way they become valuable to society having lost their function. I recognise this as a profound comment that can be applied to all objects in society as soon as its function has become null and void and in what sense do observers imprint significance on such artefacts.