ADZ5999 Constellation 5: Critique

The lecture that I found I understood the most was the first lecture linked to Sustainability. I had never had any interest in the environment until I had a little understand into what sustainability was all about. After looking into Sustainability and watching a few keynote lectures explaining what the causes were and what we could do to help it really sparked an interest in me.

What I have learnt from this constellation is a lot of knowledge on what sustainability is, how it works and what we can do to impact it positively. Before starting the critical material culture brief I only had a basic knowledge on global warming and how the effects of our actions can damage the environment so greatly. I have learnt a lot from watching Lecture videos of people like Stuart Walker and Leyla Acaroglu who speak passionatly about sustainability and know we can improve it. I never really understood how important it is to give back to the earth when we take a lot of it for granted. A lot of damage caused by the human race can be fixed but not all of it will be. The ozone layer is something that will slowly heal and will go back to normal but destroyed habitats and pollution leading to extinction for some animals can not be. A lot of the pollution caused by us was never intentional and sometimes we forget that leaving a light on for an hour is effecting the environment and driving to the shops when it’s raining outside is effecting the environment when there was a pollution free way to do it.

This constellation has made me think about what I do everyday that might contribute to harming the environment and what I might be able to do to prevent it. It’s made me think twice about turning on my lights in the day and just opening up the curtains to let in as much sunlight instead or even just air drying clothes instead of using a tumble dryer all the time. Going back to Sustainability I am looking at ways I can link this in with my subject work. I think that creating a piece linked to the effects of global warming could be a very powerful piece. One of the main focuses when learning about sustainability was a lot about the double effect of recycling. When people see a recycling symbol on the side of a bottle or any kind of packaging they automatically think oh recyclable. Like buying that bottle was one of the important steps in actually recycling it. But what people forget to do is to recycle the bottle after they finish using it so instead it goes straight back to landfill. What needs to be done realistically is to just pay £3-£4 for an empty durable bottle and fill that up continueslu with water. But people see £3-£4 for an empty bottle or 70p for a filled thin plastic bottle. This seems like the easier lazyier way which is the way people usually favour. But almost every bin that you see outside in the city centres and he little towns are double sided bins for recycling and general waste. Doing this is now going to make it easier for people to recycle and people will be more inclined to do so. Since moving to Cardiff for uni I’ve noticed how much recycling is done here compared to when I’m at home. Wen I’m at home I have a general waste bin and a recycling bin that’s it. In Cardiff your given a food waste bin which I found really handy because it helps me keep track of how much food I’m wasting. Once you start to understand what can be recycled and what can’t its very easy to separate daily.



ADZ4999 Constellation: Concept (Things Can Be Otherwise)

The Things Can Be Otherwise lectures have benefited me greatly by helping me to grasps a better understanding of philosophy. During the lectures we were introduced to a diverse range of theories by philosophers such as Plato, Nietzsche, Donna Haraway and many others. In Plato’s theory of knowledge he talks about knowledge relating to what is and ignorance relating to what is not. Between these two lies opinion. Through out these lectures I have read through many theories from many philosophers who discuss things such as technology and cyborgs. Reading through these and listening to what others around me made me realise that these kind of philosophies are neither right or wrong. They are either one but all this depends on the opinion of the reader. One of the readings in particular that I found very interesting and help mixed options was written in 1960 by Manfred E. Clynes and Nathan S. Klines.


The article ‘Cyborgs ad Space’ really opened my eyes to something not many people have realised or just refuse to come to terms with. In this article Clynes and Klines discuss how by creating machines that are able to aid us and help us with simple tasks we will be able to better our quality of life. They believe that using a machine will leave man free to be able to explore, create and learn. They name this Cyborg. I agree with this as technology is something that we use everyday to help us with the simplest tasks. Even communication. Being able to just pick up a phone and let someone know where we are, what we are doing in a matter of minutes saves us a lot of time. If these types of technology were not to exists we could be spend a lot of hours finishing tasks that could take a machine an hour. Whilst a machine is doing a job for me like washing my clothes I am able to concerntrate on my art work or I am able to sit down and read. This is benefitting me as I would have to spend a few hours washing my clothes in a well or a lake if technology ceased to exist. Using technology is permitting me more time to be creative. Also having technology to communicate leave us open to better business opportunities not just with people and businesses  on the other side of the country but people working for businesses all around the world. Being able to just pick up a phone a call someone across the globe makes it a lot easier for us all to be connected for personal and business purposes. Clynes and Klines also believe that one day we will be able to use technology to help us adapt to and live in different environments such as space. By using technology we were also able to send people to space to explore and see what was beyond our atmosphere.


‘Human life is throughly mediated by technology. It is hard to imagine a life that didn’t involve at least some tools, devices, or implements. Today, it is harder to imagine a life without complex technological systems of energy, transportation, waste management and production. Our world is largely a constructed environment; our technologies and technological systems form the background, context, and medium for lives. We rely on what we make in order to survive, to thrive, and to live together in societies. Sometimes the things we make improve out lives; sometimes they make our lives worse.’

(Kaplan, 2004)

Above is a reference from David M. Kaplan’ book called ‘Readings of the Philosophy of Technology’. I agree with what Kaplan says above because he gives a very good point on how our world is a ‘largely constructed enviroment’. The is a very correct statement as the environment that we live in revolves around and includes technology in every way. And this is all to improve our quality of life. A lot of us are able to live longer using technology. For example, some one who is in need of a heart transplant. We use technology to preform the heart surgery needed which is the safest way for the patients. We also use technology to store the organ to keep it fresh and usable for someone who is in need of it. Doing this is giving someone a second chance at life therefore bettering our quality of life.

There are very mixed opinions on wether or not we could live without technology. And personally I believe that we not only couldn’t but we shouldn’t. Many people will say that using technology is slowly brain washing us and making us forget the ways we used to live without it. But I have never lived a life without technology and seeing all the good we can do with it I believe overrules all the bad things we use it for. If technology ceased to exist we would not be able to make the medicines we make today to cure the diseases and infections that affect people around the world. Using technology in this way is not only benefitting our health but also our quality of life.

One of the benefits I have had by being involved with the Things Can Be Otherwise lectures is I feel as if my mind has open up to the world around me. I feel like I have a better understand on technology and the different ways we use it to benefit us. I’ve also learnt a lot from reading through the different theories about technology.


Clynes, M. and Klines, N. (1960). Cyborgs and Spaces. Astronautics, [online] pp.26-27, 74-76. Available at: [Accessed 5 May 2017]. (2017). The Definition of Cyborg. [online] Available at: [Accessed 5 May 2017].

Kaplan, D. (2004). Readings in the Philosophy of Technology. 1st ed. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, pp.xiii-xvi, 1-5, 89-93.

Martin, G. (2014). Don’t Worry, We’re Already Cyborgs. [online] Available at: [Accessed 15 May 2017].

ADZ4999 Constellation: Concept (After Modernism)

The After Modernism lectures have benefited me greatly as I feel as if I have learnt quite a lot about the different art movements and what these movements entail. During the eight weeks of these lectures I learnt about movements such as modernism, abstract expressionism, pop art, minimalism, fluxus and conceptualism. One of the art movements that I enjoyed learning about the most was abstract expressionism movement. Abstract expressionism is an art movement born from artists living in the 1940s in New York. Around this period of time in America we’re two world wars, the Great Depression, atomic devastation and also a Cold War which prompted art pieces that reflected a very dark time in American history. One of the artists that really interested me about this art movement was the works of Mark Rothko.
Mark Rothko was an American painter of Russian Jewish descent. He is one of the most famous postwar American artists as well as Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning. Although Rothko did not tether himself to any specific art movements his work is generally identified with abstract expressionism and colour field. One of the reasons I was drawn to Rothko’s work is because his pieces pay a lot of attention to elements like colour, shape, balance, depth, composition and scale. A lot of his later pieces from 1949 and onwards all have a similar look to them. The size of these pieces are all large scale still but instead of being able to have an idea of what the painting is, to me his work seems to base itself more around the colours and space he uses then what the painting is actually meant to be of. Rothko would always avoid explaining what his work was about and he believed that abstract image could represent the nature of ‘human drama’.


‘It is a widely accepted notion among painters that it does not matter what one paints as long as it is well painted. This is the essence of academicism. There is no such thing as a good painting about nothing.’ (Rothko)

Above is an oil painting created by Rothko in 1950 called ‘White Centre (Yellow, Pink and Lavander on Rose). This is one of my favourite pieces created in Rothko’s signature block colour style. What I love about his ‘block colour’ pieces is the layered effect they have. This is to do with the technique of layering paints and also from the colours he chooses to use in his paintings. The colours he uses compliment each other in each of his paintings especially the one above. Also the brighter colours appear to be more forward then the other colours in the back ground which creates a colour illusion. What also helps this aspect is the darker colours that frame each coloured rectangle. This helps to give his paintings a more three dimensional effect and makes the colour contrast very effective. Rothko’s work has also inspired me to use colour for one of my final outcomes in my Outside/Inside project. With my own work I really want to achieve a very colourful and textural look so that I can create a three dimensional effect and hopefully my work will have the same colour illusion Rothko has. Unlike Rothko I will be working on a collection of more small scale pieces. Doing this will help me by being able to concerntrate on the texture and detail on a smaller scale.

Another artist that has inspired me through out these constellation lectures is the work of Willem de Kooning, in particular ‘The Woman Series’.


Above is a painting called ‘Woman I’ created by Kooning between 1950-1952. It’s took Kooning quite a while to preduce this piece as he kept working on top of what he had already created repeatedly until he finally came up with this outcome. The painting itself is quite a bold statement as it ‘reflects the age-old cultural ambivalence between reverence for and fear of the power of the feminine.’ (Museum of Modern Art, 2017) What I really enjoy about this piece is the use of line that Kooning has used. The outline of the abstract Woman in this painting is very harsh and I really like the effect this has on this piece. By doing this he has broken the painting up into segments which I find quite effective and makes the colours of the painting really catch your eye. Kooning has also layered his painting using the oil paints when working on top of areas. This has helped to make the brush strokes in the oil paint more perceptible and leaves a very interesting texture on the painting. The white areas on this painting also help to highlight and make the other colours surrounding it stand out. With my own work I want to use the white as a highlight like Kooning’s work to make the other colours around the area to look more layered and also brighten areas. Kooning has also used colours that compliment each other really well and make this painting very aesthetically pleasing. The little pockets of yellow also bring a very fluorescent and bright vibe to the painting also.

After looking at both Mark Rothko and Willem de Koonings work from the abstract expressionism time period I feel as if I have a better understand of this particular art movement. I have learnt a great deal about how to use colour in different way from two amazing artists and I have also grasped a better understand of ways I can create layered effects and texture using mixtures of colours and also by layering paints.

References (2017). Abstract expressionism. [online] Available at: [Accessed 5 May 2017].

Tate. (n.d.). Mark Rothko 1903-1970 | Tate. [online] Available at: [Accessed 5 May 2017].

The Art Story. (n.d.). Mark Rothko Biography, Art, and Analysis of Works. [online] Available at: [Accessed 5 May 2017].

The Museum of Modern Art. (n.d.). Willem de Kooning. Woman I. 1950–52 | MoMA. [online] Available at: [Accessed 5 May 2017].