Project Ideas III: Zoning Out

Following on from a previous most I made about possible directions for BA7, I thought I’d investigate the subject idea of ‘zoning out’. Referencing back to my post about my ideas:

Linking back to the studying of people’s personal responses to stimuli…
The idea of ‘zoning out’ is something very interesting. When people stare into space or go into a bit of a waking comatose, its really interesting to know what they were thinking about or what they physically do when they ‘zone out.’ It could be a good point of study to focus on information and scientific study and trying to manipulate this and manifest it into something visual and unique. I’ve previously done a project on sleep and how the brain responds to this, so the prior research could come in useful when looking at the subconscious state of a person when they, essentially, day dream (but I’m avoiding the word ‘dream’ like the plague… it just screams unoriginalality at this time.)

I’m interested in investigating both the reasons people have for zoning our (what cues it, what situations are they most likely to be in when they ‘zone out’ etc..) and what they think about when they zone out. Often you have no idea what you’re thinking about at the time but once you snap out of it and return back to the real world, its not uncommon to have a bit of a ‘why was I thinking about that?’ moment. I find this particularly interesting in the way that it emanates the personality of the person in question. It seems to be a really raw and intriguing way to find out what somebody is like. However, this could cause some issues with the project.

As its quite a revealing and private part of somebody’s thoughts, it may be difficult to collect first hand research and findings that aren’t just from my personal experience. There are ways around this;

I could move away from a collection of real peoples experiences all together and instead look at something more from my imagination. The project could still communicate and reflect the idea of ‘zoning out’ but in a way that doesn’t require other people’s input or stories. Perhaps focusing more on the scientific elements, creating infographic style illustrations to illustrate the science behind the everyday activity of day dreaming.

Or, instead of the scientific approach, I could look more into the abstract and fantastical elements. Often what our brains play back to us when we’re not concentrating makes very little sense. Time is jumbled, physics simply doesn’t apply and new, impossible things are created. I could attempt to capture these elements visually, somehow. Avoiding a direct translation of them, I could experiment with mark making methods which suit whichever element I would be exploring at the time, perhaps a more abstract approach, something pretty far out of my comfort zone (not a bad thing!).

I’ve recently come across the excellent artist, Kevin Tong. 

His illustration below is what drew me to his work. The composition and abstract feel to this poster in particular reminded me of this possible idea for my project, its definitely in the region of what I was going to be aiming for if I were to go in the zone out direction.

His work is expressive and surreal despite retaining figurative elements. He finds an excellent balance between the two, allowing the audience to understand and relate with the figurative, literal areas of the compositions while injecting some real meaning and idea into the image with the strange use of line and unnatural colour palettes.

I’ll continue to look into the idea, finding existing artists like Kevin Tong, looking into any data I can find about the subject matter, seeing what inspiration of ideas these bring out!

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