MADA2: project report…

To reflect upon my projects progress I need to re-familiarise myself with elements of my original proposal to evaluate how my work has developed since these first ideas.

One of my objectives was to look at a selection of non-places that had the most relevance to me (these being the motorway, underground and the supermarket) with the intention eventually focusing on just one.  Through a process my project is now focused on the motorway as a space.

Broadly speaking, the aim of my proposal was to explore how the non-place affects the individual, and in turn what is the individuals affect on it. To focus this further I intended to investigate, firstly, the importance of movement, and to what extent does movement define the non-place? And secondly, to look at processes in how we may identify and relate to this space. 

With regards to how movement affects how we experience the non-place; I found that the motorway exemplifies in many ways how we experience our modern world, which is as one of accelerated movement buffeted by a constant flow of people and information where everyday experience is increasingly about a fast-paced flow of imagery.  On the motorway our senses are fragmented by speed and repetition, where the sights, tastes, smells and sounds are reduced to a two-dimensional view through a car windscreen.  The speed in which we travel through the space means that we are always in a state of distraction, having to deal with a barrage of visual stimuli.  This has led me to question that because of this accelerated experience, we have we learned to overlook the subtlety and detail of the landscape? And what consequences does this have on how we may identify with the space? 

Because of this constant movement our relationship with the motorway is transient and temporary, and one of the observations that I have made about the non-space is, that like our experience of it, examples of identity within the the space can also be evanescent.  It is the bag that blows through and away from the suffocating trees that stand on the roadside, the last dregs of a Starbucks coffee emptied out onto a hard shoulder that eventually washes away or the flowers that slowly biodegrade on our central reservations.  We experience this space in a state of continuous transience and like our presence; particular examples of identity within this space are also transient.  They are temporary and eventually disappear.  It is these subtle interventions of fleeting identity that I want my project to draw attention too. 

Although this is only a brief evaluation of the observations I have made during this unit, I do feel that my project is well focused now.  I was unsure that when writing my proposal that my initial areas of interest (movement and processes of identity) where too different from one another to convincingly work together.  I thought I may end up having to focus on just one aspect of this proposal.  But as my research has evolved I have found that the two different aspects are intrinsically linked.  This has given my work a good focus and a solid foundation from which to build upon for now and for the future. 

In addition to this and something that I have learned form this unit particularly is that this project is not a finite thing.  I see that my practice will continue to be an ever-evolving investigation into the different ways in which we experience and identify with space.  This project specifically focuses on the motorway as a space exploring how we affect it and how it affects us. But I feel that this area of study has inestimable possibilities for further work and exploration.


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