Understanding the Inhabitants of space : 1

The Visual and Spatial Representation exercise is a parallel exercise where we had to dedicate an hour every morning before class (4 days a week) to exercise multiple skills. Initial thoughts on this exercise were, why do we need to do this? I realized I wouldn’t ask anyone this question, nor myself, and would wait for the exercise to reveal itself.

The three parts of the exercise was to draw a portrait of yourself through a mirror or a camera screen, draw a live portrait of a co-inhabitor or to draw body postures of through quick sketches. i would try to finish the work with atleast 10 minutes to spare and then look at the work and understand what my mind tried to capture, what was i naturally/consciously focusing on, and what was the actual subject showing. The answers varied through the weeks and so did the results of the exercise accordingly. None of these sketches were made aiming at obtaining realistic results. they are all attempts at understanding how the subject, medium and mood of the person (here, myself) come together to produce a result.

Me, Myself and I.

One’s observation of oneself is can’t be generalised, as it depends on the mood of the person. I tried to choose a medium based on my mood to see if the results reflected the same. On a generally calm day after having breakfast, i chose a charcoal pencil and was able to capture, in a blurry but resemblable way, what i saw while looking into the mirror. Although the features were a little distorted, i was able to grasp the features. On another day after not getting a full night’s sleep, i attempted it with wax crayons. here i realised the mind wanted to use bolder strokes and the output resembled the same, while in actuality my hair wasn’t as messed up. on a third attempt, i tried with graphite, another normal day. There was more focus on details and i took longer as the tool demanded it.

While drawing myself, i realised i wanted to subconciously focus more on drawing what i wanted to show than what was actually there. I considered it an activity of intimacy in some sense, and engagement with myself, my emotions and my mood.

Portraits of co-inhabitors.

Drawing portraits of co-inhabitors had multiple stages of engagement. I decided that i would go to the place where the subject was and then draw them, this also enabled me to analyze what kind of spaces and how they are inhabited by different people. I am a very social person but my interaction with my family members is quite minimal. My expression of affection towards them is also quite faint in larger gestures but is something I realized I gave utmost importance to from within during this exercise. I tried to use this as an opportunity to examine my family members, not only how they looked physically but also what made them look like that. I asked them stories about scars and marks while I sketched them, asked them where they got their glasses from or what was their favorite memory from college. I found peace wile doing this activity, a sense of content within. Solitude through interaction.

Body studies of inhabitation.

The Body studies was an exercise i tried to do focusing on the activity and how the weight of gravity acted on the user while in that space. The dropping of the body towards the earth was something that always fascinated me and this exercise really made me focus on how the body resists this while trying to hold another activity. Spaces are created for the users but it is the user who decides how they would like to use the space. space can only suggest an inhabitation, too much suggestion is never good as it becomes a purely function driven space (which is needed in certain spaces but this is through a general spatial lens). It also fascinated me how posture is magnetic towards comfort. One would slouch, lean, take support or move rather than stand straight while waiting.

The understandings through this exercise are never ending, as one can develop new lenses to look at oneself, another, or an activity. Each one bringing forth new learnings and features of the subject. The Exercise was also a warm-up to the class before the day to ensure one doesn’t jump out of bed onto the zoom call, so that is quite energizing as well. As we move forward onto the next Visual and Spatial Representation exercise, I look forward to understanding the aspect of expression, gestures of suggestion and any other realization that is bound to come up.

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