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Shape

Our word for the week is shape. What even is shape? I like the video below because it shows how shape can be changed and gives me the impression of how hard it is to define shape.

Definitions of shape on the Web:

  • any spatial attributes (especially as defined by outline); “he could barely make out their shapes”
  • the spatial arrangement of something as distinct from its substance; “geometry is the mathematical science of shape”
  • human body: alternative names for the body of a human being; “Leonardo studied the human body”; “he has a strong physique”; “the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak”
  • a concrete representation of an otherwise nebulous concept; “a circle was the embodiment of his concept of life”
  • form: the visual appearance of something or someone; “the delicate cast of his features”
  • determine: shape or influence; give direction to; “experience often determines ability”; “mold public opinion”
  • condition: the state of (good) health (especially in the phrases `in condition’ or `in shape’ or `out of condition’ or `out of shape’)
  • make something, usually for a specific function; “She molded the rice balls carefully”; “Form cylinders from the dough”; “shape a figure”; “Work the metal into a sword”
  • Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe: the supreme headquarters that advises NATO on military matters and oversees all aspects of the Allied Command Europe
  • give shape or form to; “shape the dough”; “form the young child’s character”
  • form: a perceptual structure; “the composition presents problems for students of musical form”; “a visual pattern must include not only objects but the spaces between them

So shape can be many things! This is not much of a progress because it is so broad.

My first thought was about how shapes are formed in sports such as cheerleading, rugby, gymnastics and football. I participated in cheerleading last term which must be why it was my first thought. The forming of shapes is beneficial to these sports such as in cheerleading all the stunts make a shape. All shapes have a name and in cheerleading this is also applied to stunts such as libs and baskets. A lib is when the flyer is being held up in the air on one leg and a basket is when the bases hold onto each others wrists and throw the flyer in the air then catch her. Whilst the flyer is in the air, they make shapes with their bodies to make the stunt look good.

I thought of filming the Coventry Cougars cheerleading squad but we have to include shadows in our piece this week and doing stunts in bad lighting conditions would not go well!

I have researched shape artwork and found a German artist called Marc Franz. He worked with shape and animals mainly with oil on canvas.

Marc Franz is one of the popular impressionist artists because of the colour and the use of nature in his work.

In December 1908 he wrote a letter to Reinhart Piper:

I am trying to intensify my feeling for the organic rhythm of all things, to achieve pantheistic empathy with the throbbing and flowing of nature’s bloodstream in trees, in animals, in the air.

Marc Franz gave an emotional meaning or purpose to the colors he used in his work: blue was used for masculinity and spirituality, yellow represented feminine joy, and red encased the sound of violence. His work is full of shapes and in the picture below, there are barely any curved lines, just lots of points. I think it gives the animal a wild feeling about it because it seems sharp and frozen like it is waiting to pounce. The surroundings are shaped in a similar way but it is still easy to tell what is the animal and what is the background because of the way the shapes link together plus the colour varies.

Shape is part of everyday life, everything has a shape! I have been researching the Bauhaus in Germany. This is a school that combined crafts and the fine arts to teach art, architecture, graphic design, interior design, industrial design and typography. I read through the Bauhaus manifesto, I found it difficult to read at first but I understood it when reading it the second time. They talk about the split between the arts and craftmanship, this is what they are trying to prevent by this school because it teaches students to link them together creatively. This manifesto begins with the sentence – The ultimate aim of all visual arts is the complete building! The first thing I thought of was linking visual arts to architecture although in the manifesto it links to fine arts. I normally think of fine arts as drawings but this is not the case as the Bauhaus manifesto shows. Visual arts need to be linked to craftsmen but the manifesto states how art cannot be taught but those artists should learn a trade because ‘art is not a profession.’ This join of artist ad trade creates the ability to achieve great architecture and sculptures. They will be able to create everything to do with the building including furnishings. From this one school, they have shaped our world today. The shape designs they came up with are used in all major cities.

Shape is drummed into our society in terms of looks, although I feel like this is trying to be changed. Everyone is a different shape although many people do have an ideal shape. I think this is mainly due to the ideas drummed into people’s minds, especially girls it seems. The ‘ideal figure’ is shown through the media in the form of role models. Actual models are usually size zero, a size I would personally not like to be. Although this seems to be slowly changing for example, when carrying out research I found this article. This talks about how Australian fashion industry is preparing to reject skinny models. It talks about how these models influence people to be like them which sometimes causes diseases such as anorexia or bulimia. I think it will be a good influence if all models are not a size zero but am not sure of the effect this will have on society. I do not think there is an ideal size, everyone has a different idea even if the changes between ideas only differ slightly, they are still different. I do not know how much it will change society if size zero models were no longer used because those who want to be that skinny will not get put off by this instantly. This would have to be a long progress but could gradually work and will hopefully reduce the amount of people getting anorexia or bulimia. I have been researching how the media affects eating disorders and found this website. It talks about how the media may influence people into having an eating disorder because of the images shown through in the media such as beauty and dieting. 1 in 11 billboards have a direct message about beauty and there are always new diets advertised. I think the media shows it is good to be skinny but whenever I see anorexia in the media, it is not encouraging it, in fact, it is usually talking about the negative side of it. Anorexia could be causes by being bombarded with the message of how being skinny is good but I do not think it is the main cause of anorexia. This article backs up my ideas by saying it is more the genetics/environment that leaves the person open to getting a disease like anorexia and there are many factors that go into it. I found the video below when researching anorexia and it explains the disorder well. It is a more mental disorder than an eating disorder because the person does not see themselves for what they actually look like.

Leading on from this research, I have decided to look into being double jointed because this changed the generic shape of the human body. Being double jointed means you can bend joints further than most people, it does not mean that you have an extra joint. This website has an easy way to explain being double jointed and some pictures that may make people with a weak stomach queasy! The website explains that the shape of the bone and the ligaments that join it determine the flexibility of the joint. Double jointed is also known as joint hypermobility, this basically means the joint moves more than it should but is more likely to be called this if the hypermobility causes problems such as joint pain, back pain and dislocated joints according to the NHS website. I decided to research this because I am double jointed in my fingers and knees, members of my family are also double jointed in their hands so wanted to find out if it was hereditary. On the NHS website, it has confirmed by suspicion and says it runs in families.

My research so far has developed and I have decided to use the human body to create shapes. We rented out dedo lights and a Z5 to film us and the shadows we created. I used my joints to make different shapes so you could see it in the shadow. Here is our final shape project -

I thought this turned out quite well, but if I were to do it again, I would make sure you can see the shadow more clearly. We found it quite difficult adjusting the dedo lights to create a shadow without the person being in the way. We did not have enough time in the studio to play around with it anymore which would have improved the shadows. I like the shot of the bird shaped shadow because you cannot see the persons hands, I would have liked to do more of just shadows. I received feedback from Steve Dawkins who said this shapes video seems like it could be two separate videos, one about shadows and the other about shape of the body in gymnastics. I agree with this, some of the parts that are put together look quite random and are only related by the shadow and background. Steve also said about how it could have looks better visually with a black background with the lights instead of blue. I enjoyed doing the gymnastics and the shadows looked good during the front walkover, especially in slow motion. It was good to do at least one project in a larger group because it can be more fun. I certainly enjoyed myself even though we were only in there for an hour. I took the tape and completed the editing with the help of Lydia. We had nearly forty-five minutes of footage so it took quite a while to cut it down to an appropriate size. It was fun to watch back because I had not been behind the camera so did not know what any of it looked like. I am happy with how it turned out, it is a happy piece which reflects the fun we had with it such as Lydia’s failed handstand!

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