The Conscious Subconscious


‘What I want to show and talk about for now doesn’t have so much to do with the appearance of this particular object as such, but rather focuses on those things an object is generally possessed by, the thoughts and meanings that are preserved inside an object. Not necessarily with a spiritual approach, although spiritual perspectives will not be excluded either incase it feels right to mention them. My main focus point will be to gain more insight into that which underlies and determines an object which is normally difficult to perceive clearly, but in the end does affect our relationships with objects and things and the way we deal with them on a daily basis. I’m not claiming that these underlying ideas are impossible to observe – on the contrary – but sometimes it’s just much harder to locate and recognise them in the daily grind’

Hedwig Houben

Positioning research around the reception and transmission of information, this module will explore metaphysical or unverifiable qualities of materials, objects and processes to survey how the sensory may function and how it may have evolved. During this project we will investigate four different approaches to making objects, investigating theory, process and making techniques, resulting in an end of module exhibition.

Using language as a way to understand how we might think differently about objects, we will examine the French word terroir, the German semiotics expression umwelt and the philosophical term qualia, which will frame experimental approaches to materials and object making. These terms attempt to define the non-physical essence or experience of objects and will be used as an entry point to understand how form and matter might communicate actions, places, histories or futures.

‘It is never we who affirm or deny something of a thing; it is the thing itself that affirms or denies something of itself in us’

Baruch Spinoza, Short Treatise ii

Departure points: If an object can transfer knowledge of a place or time through its ‘essence’ it could be said to be future-telling? How can you write intentions / ideas / actions into materials? How can you use time as a making process? Can you make materials ‘perform’ an action?


‘I must let my senses wander as my thought, my eyes see without looking… Go not to the object; let it come to you’

Henry Thoreau, The Journal of Henry David Thoreau

With a focus on intuition, physical/metaphysical action and intent in the making process, this module will incorporate a mix of conscious and unconscious making, control and loss of control, influenced by both materials and process. The resultant works present a complex mix/coming together of materials, process and our engagement with those processes – being ‘in’ the experience.

• Studio workshops with Lauren Gault 

This project will begin with an intensive 4 week workshop led by artist Lauren Gault. The workshops will challenge you to make a body of work out of limited materials, focusing on sensory contact with the space and physical matter. A guided ‘material vocabulary’ focused exercise will be the inspiration and starting point for a series of exercises and art works.

For the majority of the four weeks you will be encouraged to work independently in order to develop your own work from the workshop processes. Lauren will encourage you use your own environment, body, voice or work collaboratively to produce the process based objects.

You will be introduced to techniques that you can employ in future practice to develop your own material or process based language which could be applied to film, photography, performance, writing etc. You will also be encouraged to consider your own approach to these ideas and can incorporate alternative media / processes that you feel are integral to your developing practice.


To support the Project you’re asked to bring one object during week one, research examples of artists whose practice you feel relays this dynamic – this should be ongoing in your sketchbooks and research journals, as your ideas may change as your own understanding of intuition / process develops and shifts over the course of the project.

It is important that you find your own ways of recording this process – how will you reflect on this, there will be start and end points that you may not be aware of as they happen, how do you document these and ensure you can present the rigor of your learning at progress review? For example, do you capture moments through writing, drawing, photographs, video? Do you work with others in your group to capture and observe this dynamic and share documentation?


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