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Object v Experience

Exploring surface textures can be a pleasurable pass time. Truly it can! But they’re just things…things to be added to a sea of things that already exist. So the question is, how do I create an experience with my art and not just another thing?

It turns out that our brains are really quite clever. They are programmed to respond to being in or around nature. Now, before you begin to start shaking your heads and thinking “I’m not going camping or climbing a mountain”, let me assure you that this is simply not necessary. This is the clever bit: just by standing next to a tree in a park or sitting in your garden, nature triggers a response in your brain that lowers your stress hormones and calms the mind.

Not only do this planet’s awe inspiring tree and plant species give us visual delights, they release something called Phytoncides. These Phytoncides emit aromas that we associate with a walk in a woodland or even a city street after the rain: sedums draped over guttering, mosses, leaf litter, all earthy and magnificent.

These visual, audible and aromatic stimuli send out messages to our brains; neurons fire off electrical impulses and tell us that we can breathe, feel safe, relax…

John Dewey was a philosopher and educator born in the mid nineteenth century. He believed that in order to learn and grow from our experiences we must be able to reflect on those experiences…how do we do this in a world that is so full of hustle and bustle? No time to stop and smell the proverbial flowers never mind reflect upon their delicate aroma or their translucent petals, caught on the breeze and gently swaying in the morning sun.

So, my task henceforth is to find a way of creating an installation that enables people to connect with a time when life was good and simple and breathing was just something that happened. To believe that this feeling of peace can be a reality in their future…

Happiness is maybe sitting in a field of flowers…?

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(Photo credit for ‘Happiness is…’ to Les Bates)

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