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Smashing a perceived direction

Updated: Feb 15, 2021


Words and their effect

I love words and feel they are part of my process; the creation of art to me is driven by communication and informed by things I write and research. Smashing the whole and picking up the fragments that glitter back at me helps me to reconstruct or repurpose the statement.

The following is a word mind map showing how I developed the focus of my research culminating in three draft questions.

My process flows as follows:

J For months I listen, observe and stand in the present day absorbing information and experiences.

J The initial creative spark happened whilst listening to a podcast on on BBC Radio 4. It was about solitude, social isolation and loneliness during the pandemic. It observed how we are driven to the outdoors for social contact, however distant it might be. The related story of a group of people reading the same book together in silence whilst on a Zoom call as a way to socially engage was particularly thought provoking. To reach out to other humans both in a temporal and virtual form is fulfilling our need as human beings to to survive through relying on each other.

J Writing down my interests and knowledge helps me to find where exactly the gaps are that need to be filled..

J Creating a draft summative statement describing my initial creative synthesis helps me find words for the next step in the process

J Taking key words from the sentence I look for synonyms to assist me in sparking creativity and bring me to the next step.

J The creation of refined summative statement that is stimulated by the synonyms is the next step.

J Culminating in the creation of three research questions which will assist me in as a foundation to refer to. Focusing on ensuring that me focus remains steady is facilitated by these questions.


I am interested in trying to understand what solitude and isolation feels like as I very rarely alone for more than a few hours. I understand what it feels like to feel alone when others are around but I have rarely felt isolated when in solitude.

My aim is to express in a visual way what the results of imposed solitude or isolations feels like and how this affects individuals. I hope to find artists who have responded to this in a visual way during historical pandemics or epidemics.

I am interested in how the local population, when faced with social isolation during lockdown, took the liberty of exercising outdoors as a way to cope with isolation. During these periods of being outdoors people still need to be at least two metres from other groups.

My practice has me searching for an emotional response to things I don't understand fully personally. I like to document my response by collecting something. This year I am collecting signs of Corona virus along with portrait photos of strangers walking and exercising in Scotland. My practice will evolve as I am informed by primary, secondary research.

Draft summative statement

In summary I am interested in examining how artist have responded to pandemics, isolation solitude resulting from loss of contact of dear ones through death or social restrictions in the present and the past.

Smashing statement into synonyms


Plague, Epidemic, Contagion, Sickness, Disease, Illness, virus, endemic, deadly disease, virulent.


Separation, segregation, remoteness, loneliness, seclusion, inaccessibility, sequestration, quarantine


Privacy, separateness


Communal, community, common, Societal, Public, shared, collective, group, party, get-together, Do, gathering


Limits, limitations, boundaries, borders, margins, precincts, constraints, restraints, controls, ceilings, kerbs, curbs, checks.


Damage, harm, injury, forfeiture, cost, hurt, defeat, slaughter, failure, beating


Demise, passing decease, expiry, bereavement, loss, passing away, fatality, casualty, mortality, killing, murder.

Draft Summative statement

In summary I am interested in examining how artist have responded to pandemics, isolation solitude resulting from loss of contact of dear ones through death or social restrictions in the present and the past.

Refined summative statement

In summary I am interested in examining the binary opposition between the words in the phrases such as 'social isolation' that proport to keep us safe

Social versus Isolation

My 3 questions are

Is social isolation truly safe when the ultimate socially isolating state is death?

Why do these opposing words make sense when they are used together and how has this opposition been expressed by artists in the past and present and how will this research inform my practice?

How has/does/will this imposed social isolation affect a person in the recent past, present and future?

I wonder if I need to be alone or in solitude to be able to research and creatively express Social isolation

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