Body Projects and The Regulation of Normative Masculinity

In began by reading Body Projects and The Regulation of Normative Masculinity, Rosalind Gill, Karen Henwood, Carl Mclean, 2005, in which focussed on the interests  in body modification practices such as working out, tattooing, piercing and cosmetic surgery. They explored the significance of this analysis and how it extended beyond the topic of body modifications to a broader set of issues concerned with the nature of men’s embodied identities.

“Over the past decade, there has been a dramatic rise in the visibility of the male body in the media and popular culture. Men’s bodies are on display as never before, from the muscular heroes of the cinematic action genre, to the ‘sixpacks’ who grace the covers of Men’s Health, and the ‘superwaifs’ of contemporary style magazines”

-Tasker, 1993;Edwards, 1997; Nixon,1996

Where once images of women dominated advertising and magazines, increasingly men’s bodies are taking their place alongside women’s on billboards, in fashion photography, and large circulation magazines. Looking back when we looked at visual art history and ways the nude ways viewed by the man,men look at women and women watch themselves being looked at” (Berger, 1972, p.47). The male body in a sence has become an object of the gaze rather than simply the bearer of the look.


A variety of explanations have been put forward to account for this shift in visual culture, variously crediting the gay movement, feminism, the media and  consumerism. While the reasons for it are questioned, there is widespread agreement that a significant change has occurred, in which men’s bodies as bodies have gone from near invisibility to hypervisibility in the course of a decade.

We done some further reading on The Fashioned Self, Joanne Finkelstein, 1991 in which she argues that due to the consumer culture of modern society ideology, “physical appearance has come to be seen as an important means for claiming a degree of statues”. She has gone to explain how painters backing to the 18th and 19th centuries have depicted the subject in ways in which don’t show their imperfections, which prevail in todays media using editing tools such as Photoshop. She further explores this idea by stating by “blurring the distinctions between the image and reality by emphasizing appearances has a substantial influence on how we see one another” and how we interpret these signs and modifications of character is “culturally contingent”.


Interesting video below in which we see how dynamic different countries view standards of beauty in males using photoshop:


Jin Eui Kim Demonstration

This event, the first South Wales Potters event of 2016, took part at the Ceramics department of Cardiff Metropolitan University and this being a demonstration my Korean ceramicist Jin (Gin-and-Tonic) Eui Kim. I first came across his work and met him at Ceramics Art London 2015 and also at Made by Hand 2015, but this event was a great opportunity to see the artist at work where we could pick up little tips along the way and yes, he is a graduate from the MA course here in at Cardiff Metropolitan University.

Currently working at Fireworks Clay Studios, so just next door, he done a presentation on exhibitions he had done and possible future ones as well as awards he has received which proves how renown he really is in this small community of ceramics. He also showed us current commissions his working on. Every thing he showed us is on his website.

His work is based on an investigation of the perception between illusion and reality, using colours, tonal changes, intervals in lines, shapes and forms. His pieces play with the viewers understanding of reality . The truth becomes more elusive with changes of light and distance.

Jin throws with LF clay, an earthenware fired to 1120°C and uses 18 shades of engobes to create mainly vessels and wall hanging pieces. He makes his own tools to create the profiles and uses calligraphy brushes with the tip cut off to paint on the lines. The third firing of a matt transparent glaze not only for protection but also it gives more depth to the tone of the lines.

At the seminar space 5 we gathered all around him to see him demonstrate on the making around the wheel and it was a great opportunity to pick up on tips and techniques. He started by turning a cylindrical jar with his own tools as well as the two sided lid. I’m saying sorry in advance before you watch both videos due to the angle of the video, specially coming from me which complains when someone films something vertically.

After turning, he went into throwing where he demonstrated how he throws both the cylindrical jar and the two sided lid. He then showed us how he throws his closed vessels and for our surprised they are thrown upside down, which to be fair makes more sense now.

He used a traditional Korean onggi paddle to show how he beats the clay to create the base for his huge wall-mounted pieces. He then attached a massive coil around the base then throwing it up creating the walls with the help of a Taekwondo belt which with its properties it holds enough water and is stiff enough to give even pressure on either sides of the lift, so I better look for my black belt as its gonna be my best solution to throw bigger pots.

Shape is where Jin has a bit more freedom on his creative practice and it is the painting of the concentric lines on the pots that his work is most famous for. Jin starts by soaking his bisque work on water to control the absorption so the engobes flow smother from the brush to the surface. He makes pencil lines which are numbered corresponding with his engobes.

He demonstrated a range of wedging techniques including this peculiar one called slab wedging.

He finally demonstrated how he throws bigger pieces using section which are then joined. And this should really useful as I am not particularly good at throwing bigger pieces. This technique involves throwing a cylinder and cutting sections off the initial cylinder then replacing and throwing them more when the initial cylinder has been thrown higher. He showed us how he used a hair from his head to check the angle of the joining rims.

It was great having Jin Eui Kim over at the studio as we have learn so much from him, even from the most simple of techniques and tips that he kindly shared with us. Amazing set of skills and really amazed by the sense of patience, sensibility this ceramicist has which I believe captivated us all. So thank you.

Tea for Two – Final Tea Set


And our final tea set that me and the amazing Emily have constructed is finally complete. So, do I love it? Hate it? I really like the key concepts we touched upon and it was a great opportunity to be part of a team where equal parties contributed to the development of this set. We initially had two weeks to build the tea set and two weeks to work on the surface and glaze it, so being in a tight schedule made us rush a few aspects of our tea set especially the surface and how it could of been much more developed exploring patterns and textures, bringing a bit more from Anne Gibbs workshop’s skills as well as looking more into imagery that could reflect Emily more. When we finished our tea set, we got to know  that our deadline got extended to the end of the term, which could of been a great opportunity to explore those technique and glaze testing; however, having short deadlines is great in a way to make us think outside of the box, having solutions to problems and finding ways around things.

Opening the kiln is always a surprise,we always expect one thing (sometimes this, too good of an object to be true – a gem of a piece) and you will get a few pieces that are alright, and some that are just completely atrocious (some of which we learn to love). During the glazing process we wanted to add a black glaze to the inside of some of our vessels (adding 10% black oxide to a clear earthenware glaze – stupidly without any tests before hand) and as you see by the pictures the horrendous  burnt caramel graze. But compared with our mug that has a massive crack around the base, which lefts us heart broken when we found out by pouring some lovely mango infusion tea in it and it just leaked.

Luckily we had a spare mug, so I am still joining the rest of the group on the tea party at the end of the term.

Overall, really enjoyed working on this project, Tea for Two. Let’s say group work is not my favourite thing in the whole world, but it really depends on the people we work with, and Emily was a great partner in crime. Of course there is always ups and downs with loads of compromise but its always helpful when we are stuck on something and there is someone to support our ideas and help us develop them together. I feel that over this project, I got to know a bit more about Emily through our conversations and now that we have our tea set we can always have a cup of tea and keep our conversations going learning about each other.

And now, that this project is over or in other words concluded, how can I develop or look into some keys aspects of our research into developing it even further which I could possibly carry it into our Field project, There’s many a slip.

Working on the surface

From our conversations, research  and perceptions of each other we wanted to add a bit of what we have been acknowledging and add little elements and references into our tea set. Due to timescale we had, some interesting aspects which were included but would of loved to of put more into it, more of the skills learned on Anne Gibbs workshop and possibly exploring more glazes. However, its our personal tea set and we are both happy with it, so another reason to drink more tea now Emily.

Identity, Cross Gender, Gender Performativity

In this weeks session in connection with last weeks session, we looked at how we are controlled by our identity and gender.


In 1999, Spanish artist Santiago Sierra paid six unemployed young men in Cuba to take part in one of his installation pieces. The men were offered $30 each to participate, and stripped to their shorts to become a part of  its human experiments, this time in the Espacia Aglutinador, Havana’s oldest art space.Santiago Sierra had the men tattooed, one straight, horizontal line reaching across each of their backs.

“Having a tattoo is normally a personal choice. But when you do it under ’remunerated’ conditions, this gesture becomes something that seems awful, degrading—it perfectly illustrates the tragedy of our social hierarchies. The tattoo is not the problem. The problem is the existence of social conditions that allow me to make this work. You could make this tattooed line a kilometer long, using thousands and thousands of willing people.”

-Santiago Sierra

We looked at an extract from Identity: Sociological Perspectives, Steph Lawler, 2008 which looks at sociology and anthropology in regards to identity and how its hard to define is due to the fact that there isnt a single over arching definition of what it is. Jackson (2002) says that, “one’s humanity is simultaneusly shared and sigular” (p. 142) which implies that we similarities and differences with each other which makes us identical with ourselves.

There are various forms of identity with which people identify. You may identify with a wider category, being a woman, but overstating the case you may dis-dentify from certain features of being a woman. Perhaps identity with some features attributed to a man. Lawley goes to argue, “identity must be managed”. One simply does not have one identity and the combinations of these “identities impact on each other”. For example how does a white woman compare in terms of meaning or experiences to a black woman? I would argue that these differences should be seen as dynamic and a way to celebrate life and its differences. Lawley says that there are identity categories which are understood as being oppositional which are the examples of binaries of man/woman, black/white, homosexual/heterosexual, in which the context, “identifications rely on their own dis-identifications”.

Looking at Obama and Cameron, even though we see shared identities such as being men and being leaders of countries they share also singular identities such as race and nationality.

People can further be categorised into smaller identities or groups, such as names, colours, , styles, body art, music, things people do, which are constructs we as a society follow.

Warner, 1991. “Belief that society is built upon such strict norms of different genders, and that heterosexuality is the ‘norm’.” From this I get that when a thing is defined as a norm, anything outside that definition transgresses the norm such as homosexuality and transsexuals.

Judith Butler’s Gender Trouble explained with cats:

We went to further discuss Cross Gender/ Cross Genre, Mike Kelley, 2000 in which an extract intrigued me in which discusses the unfairness on the sexes when it come to cross gender and ways they dress and are viewed by society, “In Western culture,men who dress in female clothes are considered funny,while the opposite is generally not the case. A woman dressed in male clothes has little comedic value. The sexism at the root of this difference is obvious, for why else should the adoption of feminine characteristics a man be abject.”

Connell (2005) describes how there are different types of masculinity, hegemonic masculinity in which men enjoy high social economic and cultural status which is portrayed globally and on the other hand, subordinate masculinity which is described as the marginalisation of some men despite their high social, cultural and economic status in general, for example homosexual men and black men.

I have learnt that identity is not fixed but its embodies. It is also a way that we read, judge and know people. Sexuality however in society is mostly fixed. Gender though is not fixed and is a cultural construction. Really interesting new information that could be potentially be explored furthermore.


Presentation – Who’s the Winner?

At 4 pm we were asked to come back to the Illustration room to show our final videos of our kickstarter project to the rest of the groups  (8 in total) as well as to the Director of Enterprise (seems fancy) and do some Q&As, and got to know it was a competition.

I was actually excited to see everyone’s ideas due to the time scale we had to produce them and I must say I was really impressed with ideas around the room. Some ideas really impressed me and could have big potentials of becoming real things. My vote went to the Selfie team and I absolutely loved their idea, it consisted of making some sort of public art piece involving a selfie from people of Cardiff, something that could potentially be lost and making it permeant using clay around the city, so well done team Ady.

So after all the presentation were done everyone had their vote for which project they thought was the best, so they counted all the votes and started to announce who got the most votes and guess you came on top? Us, team Light It. We were all completely shocked with the result and very happy as there were such good ideas around the room. The Director of Enterprise also commented that our idea could have potential to have success around the world as an interactive sustainable idea which left us really happy.

We didn’t end up with figures as to how much its would cost us or how much each investor/backer would get but I guess with a bit more time and a bit more research much more could be accomplished and perhaps become a reality.

Winners (Larrisa, Jessica and Me) and amazing trophy


Final Animation – Light It

Our technology can be used to help power low energy LED street lighting to help our community safe. Enabling an efficient, of grid and cost saving solution at the same time. The energy harvested from the Light It tiles can be used to power low voltage, low complication such as lighting and ways finding lighting solutions. The greater the foot floor, the larger the number of tiles, the more it can power.

I really like how the animation turned out and its sense of comedy but yet informative as to what our concept and idea is. At first I wasn’t too excited about this project as group work, lets say, is not my favourite thing, and especially on our first day our ideas weren’t flowing as we would like for the amount of time we had to conclude this project and we must thank both Chris Glynn and Ingrid Murphy for their support and ideas, I ended up enjoying this project as it was great working with both Larissa and Jessica and having a better knowledge of their skills even tho we all had to do some compromise but for the time scale we had we produced a piece of work that could potentially be a real thing and something that could potentially improve communities world wide.