Supported by a Graduate Scholar Award endowed by Common Ground Publishing, in July 2015 I exhibited my artwork “The Filters We Live Through: Representing the Emotional Self in Digital Media” at the Tenth International Conference on The Arts in Society at Imperial College, London. Probing the interaction between the internal character of emotion (its biological causality, environmental induction, and inwardly-directed aesthetic re-presentation) and the external exhibition of these activation states (bodily posture, social valuation, and mimetic expression), through this multimodal visual inquiry I investigate the ways in which emotions encode the aesthetics of photo-editing software, the extent to which cultural learning influences the social expression of these emotion states, and how our bodies and their interaction with the environment inform the ways in which we image the feeling of emotion. With over three hundred art historians, educators, therapists, visual and performance artists from all over the world in attendance, The Conference proved an inspiring opportunity for the critical discussion of this research. Now, having been accepted for publication after the peer-review process, the article in which I further explore the thesis I develop graphically with “The Filters We Live Through” will appear in the 2016 volume of The Arts in Society Collection.
In addition to presenting my own art-based-research, as one of a small number of outstanding graduate students selected to be Graduate Scholars I also performed a critical role at The Conference by chairing sessions. Leading the discussion groups that followed these presentation panels, together as a global Knowledge Community we analyzed research methodologies, challenged theoretical epistemologies, and developed new directions for examining the Conference theme ‘The Work of Art in the Age of Networked Society’.
In a workshop with Dr. Peter Harris, from the Theatre Studies Department at Western Galilee Academic College in Tel Aviv, I used theatre and dance to confront assumptions of ‘otherness’ that may “inhibit dialogues between groups and individuals”. With Diane Rode, Director of the Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy Department at The Mount Sinai Kravis Children’s Hospital in New York, I discovered the “power of creative arts modalities” such as television and telepresence “to enhance healing and wellness”. Though a presentation with Dr. Celia Lam, from the University of Notre Dame Australia at Sydney, I learned about how the aesthetics of digital technologies can be used in film to signify concepts such as “‘reality’, ‘amateur’, and ‘actuality'”. And after a presentation by Paul Grace, from the Media Institute of Design Culture and the Arts in Middlesbrough, I questioned how “digital networks can re-embody” traumatic experience.
Below are a curation of photographs I took at The Arts in Society Conference that attendees say “capture the spirit beautifully” and “so well the joyous yet deep work this unique group produced”.
Text and photographs © 2015 Devon Schiller. All rights reserved.