The first term of constellation I studied Smells Like Teen Spirit: Subcultures and Street Style which really interested me when choosing our options. I enjoy learning about subcultures and their style and how they originated. I’m also a fan of Goth and Punk, so learning about those gave me a better understanding. I found the learning process to be fascinating as I was amazed to know why they wore the clothing they did and what significance it had to them. The first subculture we explored was Goths. I learnt a number of things I had been oblivious to before. They took elements from the Victorian era and used it to fit their needs and exaggerated their makeup with black eyes and a pale white face. This wasn’t unfamiliar to me as I have seen what goths looked like, however I never knew the meaning behind it. They also changed the concept of objects. They also considered Gothic Literature and novels that signify their subculture. Which are Dracula and Frankenstein. This conveys the ‘undead’ and horror in which they dressed and looked. This subculture then evolved into many more, as they borrowed ideas and combined features from Goth to link to their subculture.
Punk was my favourite subculture to learn about, and after the lecture I found myself wanting to actually be around in the 70’s to witness it for myself. I can imagine it must have been a culture shock to the society as punks really did want to stand out and challenge the system. I learnt punk enabled women to stand up for themselves and challenge establishment and how women should dress and behave. It was interesting to learn that the punks were so rebellious, and they would have safety pin piercings, which shocked the public along with their crazy dyed hair, Mohawks and dramatic makeup. What I love the most about this subculture, is that it originated in Britain and how fascinating the punks were by standing out from the normative and making a statement to prove a point to the world. Another subculture was Hip-Hop, although in comparison to the others I didn’t enjoy this one as much, although they had similarities to punks. This was clear when learning that they would exaggerate their gold chains and steal the car symbols to wear as a necklace also to signify rebellion and lack of care for society. Hip Hop subculture was also similar to the goths, as they weren’t shy of breaking rules to make a complete statement with their clothing. They changed the function of sportswear and used it as part of their everyday attire.
From what I’ve learnt during the first term is that it’s okay to break the rules within reason, and make something unique to stand out. I have always had a desire to challenge my art practice, as I like combining things and putting things together that wouldn’t usually go. From this study group it has enabled me to make that happen even more so than before. Also how looking at things from the past can be great inspiration as you can gain more research and make old ideas modern. Punk has also been a great influence to me in the way that they combined an object or idea to change the meaning. For example, they changed the meaning of the safety pin as they weren’t using it to hold something together. Punk taught me about ‘Bricolage’ the ideology of putting together two things to combine and change the object/idea and meaning, the punks did this by using objects like tampons and safety pins as jewellery. The Hip Hop subculture also reminded me of that certain colours have a meaning and can link in with cultures and being a textile student colour is very important.
The second term of constellation I studied The Body. I found this to be really challenging as the questions and case studies we were given were complex and really made us think. I enjoyed the challenge and liked learning about identities and body modifications. We discussed how people are always wanting to modify their body in a particular way to fit the way society and the media portrays the ideal body. We also discussed the idea on how when we upload our pictures on social media, we are making ourselves an object. This was really interesting to think about, we then had to upload one onto our blog and talk about it. The lectures were also enjoyable as there was a lot of group interaction which was nice to hear other people’s opinions and views. I also learnt a bit of history of the body in the 19th and 20th centuries. I was fascinated by all of the new information I was containing. During the lecture I also enjoyed the many debates that occurred when we were asked ‘Why don’t men wear skirts?’ and how we are being controlled within contemporary society.
I found all this really interesting and chose to combine The body with Smells like teen spirit for my final summative essay. The process of completing my final work in December didn’t go as well as I hoped due to difficulties I encountered. I didn’t understand how to read academic texts, as admittedly it is daunting picking up a book and the thought of having to read through it all made me less ambitious for the essay, however I then learnt what to do ready for the final constellation submission. I also found it hard to reference correctly within my writing and not to talk in first person, as it makes it less professional. I overcome this by double checking with the handouts on Moodle on how to reference in the right way and making sure I wasn’t referring to myself when writing the essay. Also having a one to one tutorial with the tutor helped a lot and the academic librarian. I now feel confident in writing and I really enjoyed writing this essay. My confidence has grown with writing and reading through academic’s to back my argument and especially finding them on metsearch. Constellation overall has been challenging, learning all of the new theories was difficult at times, but still enjoyable as it enables you to think differently and put yourself in another perspective.