Choosing this artefact has been quite the braintwister. Initially I presumed that it could be quite literally anything as long as it can be perceived visually, then the range eventually got narrower as we were told that not all visual media is acceptable and finally, we were told that it has to be a specific item rather than items in a general sense. It’ll make more sense as the text goes on, I promise.
You can imagine how overwhelming it was first being told that it can be literally anything as long as it is visual. For someone who has a rather dysfunctional brain, the task was overbearing. We were asked what we generally enjoyed, whether or not we had hobbies that would tie in to the artefact that we would later choose or maybe, just maybe, we had something we had developed a passion for. And immediately my mind jumped in all 3 directions at once trying to come up with several options for each “category”, but, unfortunately, to no avail. It’s a common thing for me to go on a swift thought rinsing process over several matters in hopes to figure something out for all of them, but end up with a headache and not a single resolution.
After some time laying in bed I started looking around my room to see what my interests are and in the corner I realized I had an entire gem collection just laying around. In that moment I figured I could work on something to do with gems, the question was though – what? I had a period in my life where I was deathly obsessed with Steven Universe and that show’s main species of focus were, in fact, gems. Not in a traditional sense, but close enough. The show tackled a lot of topics, which would fall into the categories of mental health, classism, gender identity and other. But then again.. some people had already chosen their topics and most of them seemed to tackle topics which were more relevant in today’s world, especially recently – for instance – artefacts to tie in with racism, sexism, fascism, government corruption and such. At that time, it felt like a bit of a cop-out to go with “just a cartoon”. I also considered using “Blood Diamond” (2006) and talking generally about the exploitation and slavery which thrive in poor regions of the world (and why so).
Then, my thinking had to be halted as I had to work on my Narrative and Sequence project and by now most of you must know how that one went..
Cut to yesterday and we have another reading group session after a good while. Our assigned lecturer asked everyone if that had anything they wanted to talk about in their essays. Hearing people talk about music, cartoons, comics as their chosen objects of discussion sort of threw me off. And getting thrown off almost always results in me losing my ability to think straight, that’s when the lecturer got to me and asked me what I wanted to do. Instead of explaining my plan I just rushed and said “something to do with crystals”, none of the options I had come up with were on my mind in that moment, everything was a blur, all I could think was “crystals” and “please don’t be disappointed in me for not coming up with something else”. The lecturer made a suggestion to look into Damien Hirst’s “Crystal skull” as an option, then went on a small tangent about the artist and finally mentioning something that turned a light on in that small dimmed brain of mine. “Shark”. Through all this mist that my anxiety had formed I was able to shoot a single arrow and activate a chain of thought which resulted in me finally picking my artefact. Damien Hirst’s “The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living”. Quite the tongue twister of a name, but the piece spoke to me at first glance.
I just knew at initial sight – this is something I could find a lot to talk about. I have been fascinated with sharks since my early years. What started as an immense fear later grew up to be an appreciation and empathy for these misunderstood creatures. There is certainly a lot I can pull out of this single image and the articles about it. I’ve thought about it and, given how much the actual intended purpose of this piece corresponds with my understanding of it, I will write my essay about it, covering the topic of how the image of sharks is distorted by mainstream media. I could make correlations to other situations where the same issue occurs, but that is for later. Now I must start researching the piece and trying to figure out what I can pull out of it. This is bound to be a hefty task which will hopefully go swell.