Culture Swap; Research

On: Construction

I have interpreted the 'idea of construction' as described in the brief as a cue for me to do the complete opposite; I want to deconstruct, and even destroy. Having visited the Borough, I decided to base my research around the everyday lives of people who lived in Lewisham, on visiting the area this seemed to me to be the best way for me to visualise the Borough - I was thinking through my feelings and this simply felt right to me. I realised as soon as I arrived that this was a place well under way along the process gentrification. I wanted this to be an important aspect in my project, I want to reject the place as is and reimagine it. I decided to research anything I could get my hands on about the Borough in the UAL library catalogue - this was a very enriching experience as the library has a wealth of information on the Borough's niche art house community that was present in the late 90's as well as two particular roads, Walters Way and Legal Close that were envisioned by the modernist architect Walter Segal in the late 70's and early 80's and then self-built by the local community over two decades.

Wagner Analysis

The energy of Wagner's epic Der Ring des Nibelungen, for me specifically Götterdämmerung I find beautifully dark and vigorous, I can see a similar lucid energy that I get while listening to 'Unknown Pleasures' by Joy Division. 'Lohengrin' has a delicate otherworldly feeling that I can get engrossed in, the sounds that are created by the delicate foreground of strings are engulfed by the roar of the brass instruments, intermittently. Sometimes upbeat with imaginative escalades as if we are flying. Other times it is as if Wagner is journeying with us along very muddy terrain, a sonic landscape.  Knowing, understanding and appreciating sounds is an important part of my everyday life. When on the tube I prefer to not listen to music, the ever changing surroundings of London provide a soundtrack to my life. It's like some sort of jagged, depressing continuous episode that I find carries me through the day.

Beuys, J. 'Joseph Beuys' at Dia Art Foundation (1987).

Beuys, J. 'Joseph Beuys' at Dia Art Foundation (1987).

Wagner, R. 'Das Rheingold' (1979).

Joseph Beuys Analysis

Joseph Beuys is a hero of mine. Throughout his life he was unrelenting in speaking his truth about art and the human experience, he knew that art was as crucial to life as food or water. He deconstructed the so called notion of modern art directly through speeches and lectures, never shying or hiding from the public in speaking about his work. He always did this openly. He was very much a part of his work, inside his work during performances such as 'I love America, America loves me' where he spent several days in a cage with a coyote. Joseph Beuys was curious about life, he sought to heal himself of the wounds of growing up in a post-war Germany. His sensibility is one that I would like to think that I share, I am not concerned by making something 'pretty' and 'neat' - I embrace mess and enjoy deconstructing ideas and assumptions about life that are in the way of getting closer to experiencing a sense of meaning.

Beuys, J. 'Joseph Beuys' at Dia Art Foundation (1987).

Young Men Analysis

It is through music that I find my main source of inspiration for everything that I do, in fact the first thing I do in the morning is play some Joy Division (Post-punk) or some Wagner (Classical). I choose these two artists to frame my project because I get the same feeling from both, which in and of itself is interesting to me given that these are two genres which are seemingly unrelated. Ian Curtis was a man who had many life struggles including depression and intense episodes of epileptic fits, he eventually decided to take his own life. I find that the music that his band produced is a beautifully dark representation of what it means to be a young man in society - it is as if it was made for me. The music helps me to detach from the unknowable, intense feelings I get just in daily living. It is as if Ian Curtis said it and lived through it all for me, so now I do not have to.For me music is and will always be my primary source of inspiration in designing fashion, it simply has to be.

Young Men; Ian Curtis of Joy Division (1979).



While pondering on the brief I had strong feelings toward being asked to look at my ethnicity within the context of 'showing who I am' to somebody else. I don't have a strong connection to my ethnicity, I do not speak the languages which my parents speak. I have never been to Pakistan nor India, I believe that in order to show who I am to somebody else that my ethnicity is the last place that I would look. You can identify my ethnicity I you want, but that does not say a thing about me, you are no closer to knowing who I am - it is the wrong approach. This has brought into consciousness that there is a trend or a need at present in popular culture for people to know and own where they are from, one that I find tiresome and boring. To this I respond, 'I don't care where you're from' and I look to the art of Joseph Beuys for support as my favourite artist. This for me is an much more interesting starting point from which to know me.


If I engage with a 'vertical' approach to understanding my identity, by looking at what was passed down to me from my parents and ancestors, I say that it is more accurate to use psychoanalytical theory. Knowing what my parents are actually like in terms of character, as individuals. This has much less to do with where they came from, but instead why they are who they are. Since I am not prepared to explore this in the context of a school project I have decided to leave my ethnicity out of this project, it makes no sense to me to attempt to convey who I am through my ethnicity - I think it is silly.


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