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Claire Leggett (born 1987) received her BA from Trinity University in 2010. In 2011, she attended an artist residency at Monarch Studios in Kansas City, MO where she was additionally a member of the Artist Collective of the Kansas City Boiler Room. Prior to this, she was selected as first alternate (2011-12) and finalist (2010-11) for the Harriet Hale Woolley Scholarship, a 9-month living stipend to reside at the Fondation des Etats-Unis, an artist residency in Paris, FR. In 2010, she was nominated for the Outstanding Student Achievement Award with the International Sculpture Center, and has received an annual art award from the Rhode Island School of Art and Design. She has exhibited in London, UK; Paris, FR; and in the US in: Kansas City, Austin, and San Antonio. Galleries include: Saatchi Gallery‘s Education Space, MI*Galerie, Monarch Gallery, Space 12, High Wire Art Gallery, Espresso Gallery, Michael and Noemi Neidorff Gallery as well as Robot Art Gallery. She is currently pursuing her Masters in Fine Arts in Transdisciplinary New Media with Paris College of Art. Leggett currently lives and works in Paris, France.
Statement of Work: Transcending, folding, realizing new planes
- (Book: Le cantique des quantiques by Sven Ortoli)
Proprioception (various scientific articles)
- Defined as: The unconscious perception of movement and spatial orientation arising from stimuli within the body itself. (resource of definition: The Free Dictionary by Farlex who additionally cites the American Heritage Dictionary, 5th Edition)
Conceptually Understanding Balance in Physics:
- Thesis Paper by MIT Researcher: Abbott, Jonathan E. “Engineering balance: the conceptual approach”
Note: There are a couple footnotes in my statement below:
The Unseen as Real
Le cantique des quantiques by Sven Ortoli on quantum physics starts by discussing two different schools of thought in this field. One being “materialisme quantique” and the other being “idealisme quantique.” In order to discuss the two different schools of thought about quantum physics he uses the analogy of a fisherman fishing, posing the question: when does a caught fish appear in the reality/metaphor of quantum physics? In “materialisme quantique” the fish “appears” when you see it come out of the water. In “idealisme quantique” the fish “appears” when you feel it on the end of fishing line, while it is still in the water.
The questioning of what is real and the study of quantum physics connects with other dialogues going on in art at the moment of: when does that which we call “reality” become present or does it exist at all. For me, I place myself and my work in the “idealisme quantique” school of thought. Through the personal discovery of such analogies as Sven Ortoli’s of the fisherman, taking the ideas of “idealisme quantique” then connecting that to my own experiences, my current work points to validating that the proprioceptive experience(1) is truer than the visual one of reality. Through asking the viewer to accept this proposition, I am asking them to let go of thinking that that which is visual is true, something I call, conventional reality attachment; I’m asking the viewer to adopt an inverse thinking: of that that which is kinesthetically felt aligns more closely with grasping what is truly reality.
To summarize my work into one sentence: My work is describing the unseen as real.
The work is often presenting raw canvas as wall volumes, such as in my piece, Perturbed (One and Two Point Perspective Lines) where I am asking the viewer to see perspective lines as coming at them rather than receding into space. The proprioceptive process of making these works is important and the kinesthetic becomes the final work. This is why I leave these works unpainted. Sewing and feeling every inch of every seam of the material run through my hands; making decisions to leave the canvas blank; these are purposeful in conveying the kinesthetic experience through my work, and experiencing the work kinesthetically. I’m addressing questions of how can you move the viewer’s eye in a kinesthetic way over a surface that is usually a painted portrayal of illusionary interpretation of story telling. How can you remove the narrative story typically on a canvas and the traditional desire of moving people emotionally, and instead move them in the physical body. Perhaps this moves them emotionally as well, but it is not an aim or a desire that the viewer necessitate an emotional experience through viewing the work.
I want to make the viewer a participant, even if just through the movement of their eyes, and additionally increased brain processing through that movement. There is research that improvement in proprioception can improve the working memory. Improving the brain’s capacity in such areas as the working memory is important for me to give back to the participant (the viewer). One study published in the journal Perceptual and Motor Skills just this summer in July of 2015, studied an age span of 18-59. They did tests on people’s working memory. Then they put participants through “proprioceptively dynamic activities, designed by the company Movnat, which required proprioception and at least one other element, such as locomotion or route planning”(2). Then after two hours of these activities the participants’ working memory was tested again. Results showed an increase in working memory of 50 percent.
In proprioception the brain uses our eyes to give a lot of information about balance and spacial orientation. My work seeks to propose questions about that the next step into understanding and grasping theories of quantum physics—of what is physical reality—and the fourth dimension—of what is real time. I propose that in order to answer these questions it involves validating, exercising, and increasing the the brain’s processes as linked to the proprioceptive experience of the world as stimuli over the visual experience of the world as stimuli.
Currently, one of the most effective tools found for increasing proprioception in physical therapy patients is something called joint position matching. I am taking the knowledge of the system of this training and applying it to create a new visual composition training that I’m calling: proprioceptive angle matching. Joint position matching is where patient’s are blindfolded, a joint is put into a specific angle which is measured. Then it is moved out of this position, and the patient is asked to put the joint exactly back to the original angle it was assigned to. The level of their proprioceptive abilities is based on how accurate they were at putting the joint back in that exact position. In my proprioceptive angle matching, the aim is for strengthening the artist’s, but anyone’s, visual-spacial orientation. So, it does not involve blindfolding.
The artist/participant takes photos of the space they walk through in transit between locations, for example from home to work, even if the walking part involves going from the parking lot to the building. Usually these are fleeting moments, moments when you’re in a hurry, and in the field of psychology we know through the research of Malcolm Gladwell in his ideas presented in the book Blink: The Power of Thinking without Thinking, that a large percentage of the time, we make our most effective and dually most complex decision-making in the blink of an eye. So, having the participant take photos while walking in transit encourages quick decision making to achieve the composition.
After these photos are taken everyday over the period of time of a month, they are analyzed. The analysis involves: manually measuring all major angles seen in each photo/composition. The surface instructional aim is to find common angles between photos, to find system patterns that your brain leads to. The real/deeper exercise is increasing our precise awareness of the size of angles of our day-to-day spacial experience. The goal is that through repeating this exercise, we can walk into new spaces and guesstimate the size of angles in front of us with accuracy.
In order to speak to the unseen as real, in my current research, the specific long-term aim is to find links between visual compositional balance and kinesthetic proprioceptive balance. Then, out of the research to design exercises such as the one above, and create works that present these links. It all comes back to the over-arching aim to ask the viewer/participant to put stock into the reality of the unseen. Just as through proprioception, we still need/use visual clues to spatially orient, my works still involves itself as being visual. The work is presenting visual clues into the unseen, through continued research into the still vastly unknown world of quantum physics and the theories of dimensions beyond the third.
Throughout the process, I aim to unlock new compositional balance principles beyond the proven incorporation of physics patterns in nature (i.e. the golden ratio): to research further why a composition “looks” balanced. We have some compositional tools at our disposal such as the rule of thirds, and the golden ratio. I seek to find principles that exercise our unseen existence.
As we move further and further into our increased use of technology, and it’s use for creation in the visual arts, design: industrial, graphic, UX, etc., and music even, among other fields, professionals in those fields are exercising less and less proprioception in their daily work. We know that proprioceptive activities positively effect the brain to increase in processing, balance, and even working memory. Culturally, the reality is that we are becoming more and more dependent on that which is visual which reinforces a culturally linking what is truth with what is seen—as reinforced by the increased use of technology. Technology is progressing Man, and Man has to maintain a dual progress next to technology, not to be held back in the technology, submerged in its increasing visual stimuli. The works seeks to protrude when space is expected to recede [as seen in Perturbed (One- and Two-point Perspective), 2015], to veil when expected to reveal (as seen in Sheer Canvas: Inverted Sculpture, 2015), to press against the time in placement, movement, speed and rhythm (as seen in Convergence of Third and Fourth Dimensional Time and Perspective Lines, 2015).
1 The unconscious perception of movement and spatial orientation arising from stimuli within the body itself. (resource of definition: The Free Dictionary by Farlex who additionally cites the American Heritage Dictionary, 5th Edition)