The Workshop as Art: Insight Into the Subjective Experience of Perceptual Illusion Through an Expanded Art Practice*
Understanding how and why we experience illusions can highlight the limits of our senses and open a window into the cognitive processes that underlie our perceptions. Experimental psychology provides tools and methods to explore these kinds of experiences. This practice-based artistic research builds on techniques used in experimental psychology. It exploits the creative possibilities these mechanisms of experience afford within the context of artistic practice.
The workshops developed through this research are based on multisensory-perceptual illusions, which use combinations of touch, sound and light, and sensory deprivation to create hallucinatory effects. These workshops can be understood as toolkits for exploring perceptual experience with applications in the arts and beyond.
This virtual exhibition presents a new body of work exploring perceptual illusion and the workshop as art. The workshops explore the effects of simulating illusory experience through combinations of sound, light, and touch, as well as sensory deprivation. The workshops highlight the extreme subjectivity of everyday experience and raise some more unusual questions: What is it like to be invisible? What is it like to be outside of our bodies? Or to embody an entirely unfeasible object? And what is the role of imagination and sensory suggestibility in perceptual illusion?
In thinking about the workshop as art, a new significance is rendered beyond its function as a ‘research’ or ‘engagement’ tool. Attention is drawn to the workshop as an experiential laboratory as a reflective space in which ideas are developed and tested with others. These interactions generate feedback and new ideas that inform the practice. The workshop’s function within the practice can be understood as a process of exploration and meaning-making [‘Interface Objects’]. They are iterations of a continuing cycle of experiential research, interactions that ask questions of the world, provoke, and in doing so, necessitate interaction, sustaining the practice.
The documentation used in the exhibition is taken from workshops and other workshop-like experiences that took place between 2017-21 some of which were shown during the exhibition Sum Total of All the Actions Rogue Artists’ Studios project space 2019, upon which this exhibition plan is based. Three limited-edition workshops will occur throughout the course of the exhibition [see the boxed resources in the display case]. The following exhibition key can be used as a guide to navigating the exhibition.
*The alternate title for this show is ‘Sometimes Noting Happens’
Read my thesis here: https://e-space.mmu.ac.uk/629382/1/AH_Thesis_TheWorkshop_As_Artv2.pdf
Exhibition instructions: To explore the exhibition, roll over the gallery plan and click on the links; this will take you through a series of pages that constitutes the exhibition each page will contain this same gallery plan. If you get lost in the blog, you can return to the exhibition via the ‘PhD EXHIBITION’ link in the main menu at the top of the page.
PhD Exhibition instructions: Roll over the gallery plan above and click on the links; this will take you through a series of pages that constitutes the online exhibition, each page contains this same gallery plan. If you get lost in the blog, you can return to the exhibition via the ‘PHD EXHIBITION’ link in the main menu at the top of the page. [ See the exhibition press release here >>>]