Over spring break, I opted for a couple of extended vault sessions in CC’s in the earlier portion of the week. While I did find and analyze some new sources, a good portion of my time was also dedicated to putting all of my information down into a gingko tree to connect it all in a way that I could see. Though it was originally just a plan to organize my thoughts, I ended up finding some connections that I’ve never seen before. I think the one most relevant to my thesis is the subjectivity of art as it relates to the individualistic philosophy of existentialism. I think the argument that art is a fitting medium for existential concepts because it is such an individualized form of expression could end up being a claim or subclaim in my actual thesis.
In terms of actual research, I followed the same path I’ve been on looking at how art affects the stress response in the body and how existential ideas occur in artistic forms. With the last couple of days of my vault time this upcoming week, I’m going to try and take a look at some specific examples of existential artwork and analyze how they affect both their creators and viewers.
This week, I dedicated my time to exploring the history of art as a form of interpretation. The most interesting source I came across detailed the emergence of the performance art movement, which began in the early to mid twentieth century. Performance art was the idea that art should be used to promote social awareness and call attention to something. Generally speaking, performance art was meant to be experienced once and only once, not resulting in any sort of tangible product, but rather to have a mental and emotional effect. This movement emerged at the the same time that the existentialist movement did, so I hope next week that I can make some connections between the two.
Sorry this is a week late, but last week was dedicated mostly to solidifying my topic into something I felt comfortable with and something that accurately reflects my interests. The topic I ended up landing on was a study of how existentialist ideals appear in visual and performing arts and how manifesting those ideas in art affects the human mind’s conception of them. I rewrote my entire thesis proposal (again), and found some new sources to better direct me in this new direction.
Today I finished annotating a source from yesterday about the effects of outside stressors on the brain and how they are processed to target organs. I also found a source from Daily Mail that discusses a study from the University of Illinois that discovered that too much increased concentration has negative effects on brain activity because it depletes glucose levels.
So far, I’m having a very productive vault time! I already have three great sources on the science of noetics and the idea of a “mental universe,” which I think plays into my topic in the sense that we have not only manifested this idea of infinity, but created it as well. Noetics also works with the idea of a soul, defining it as the spectrum of the universe’s energy field with which a certain individual relates in their lifetime. This can tie in not only with this concept of mental infinity, but with the religious aspect of infinity and how the concept of a “soul” has played into so many human conceptions of infinity and how it applies to us as individuals.
These sources deal not only with mental and emotional infinity, but with physical infinities as well, because this idea of a mental universe is closely tied with quantum physics and the research of Albert Einstein and many other notable scientists. I hope to find maybe one more source on this before I move on to another portion of my topic, but thus far I am making wonderful progress and finding some very interesting information on my topic!
I’ve decided that for my organization system for my research, I’m going to use primarily Scrible. I love how easy it is to use and its annotation system helps me to take good notes and stay on task as I’m researching. In terms of organizing my sources, it allows me to tag them with different categories. So, for example, right now my research is focused on the human psyche, which I can tag so as to differentiate when I start going into the manifestations of infinity. Once I actually start writing, I think I’ll use Gingko to organize my thoughts a little more clearly, but for the research stage, I think Scrible is absolutely perfect.
I kept annotating my source from yesterday, as well as finding and annotating two new sources. Right now my focus of research is on how the human mind relates to the world around it, specifically the concept of a mental universe and its stem from quantum physics.