Build, deconstruct, rebuild our reality to shape our well-being
Creating a sculpture by modeling clay or playdough, assembling objects and materials, creating an installation or a collage, are examples of artistic and creative 3D techniques that can support the individual during his educational and personal growth, and promote communication and collaboration within groups. In this short article we will discover how the alternation of construction and deconstruction, of representation and presentation of material and objects can be a valid support to the work of health and education professionals, in individual and group interventions.
The three-dimensionality of an artistic work can be a starting point, or the final one: it can in fact be attributed to the element-input that was deconstructed and subsequently re-used in 3D or 2D, as happens for example for the reuse of the tetrapak as a support to the painting or as an object in itself. Furthermore, three-dimensionality can be attributed to the final element built starting from two-dimensional elements as in the collage or to real objects (found, reused, or affection) that alone or assembled with other objects and painting constitute a final work. Finally, three-dimensionality can be achieved starting from plastic material such as clay or plasticine, modeled by the performer. In the history of art we find innumerable works of art in 3D, such as sculpture, but starting from the artistic avant-gardes, even assemblages, object trouvés and happenings as a vehicle for abstraction, expression and communication.
In the helping profession and in the educational field the materials that can be used are the most varied, but the choice must be considered as much as possible taking into consideration the objective of the intervention, the time factor, the manual abilities of the performer, the psychological power of any objects used, the variety of materials.
Sensitivity of the experience in 3D
In the artistic activities in 3D the tactile aspect of the experience is accentuated, compared to other activities such as painting, photography, drawing that generally involve the use of an intermediate instrument, be it a brush, a pencil or a machine photo etc. Touch passes into 3D to be the protagonist of the activity, especially in the case of modeling clay and playdough where the hands leave prints and transform shapeless material. If we think that the first stages of human life are dominated by skin and oral contact between the child and caregiver (Hunter & Srtuve, 1998), then it seems clearer why these activities can be very powerful and engaging for those who experiments, given that they spontaneously reconnect a bridge with his mental and emotional realm, expressed with primitive non-verbal communication methods.
The other sense involved in the artistic experiences in 3D is the view, intended not only as a vision of the created object, but as an opportunity of perspective, a moment of reflection that leaves open the opportunity to changes in view and interpretation. The created work can be manipulated, turned, turned upside down, viewed from different positions, and with the help of a smartphone it is possible to see details from different perspectives.
In addition to height, width and length, the created works possess weight, depth, texture, consistency, all elements that contribute to a real visualization of an event, of an emotion, of a part of Self, of a situation, maybe difficult to verbalize or understand.
Build, deconstruct, rebuild our reality.
“I want people capable of recognizing the power of the object” is a quote from Claes Oldenburg, the pop artist famous for his giant sculptures representing everyday objects but in scale, which I could not fail to mention at the end of this short article. As with Oldenburg’s sculptures, the works created in 3D assume an alternative communicative form to the verbal one, a new meaning, a new function in the eyes of the observer; they become narration, introspection, vehicle of change, rejection and criticism, as in the case of the quoted artist who represents with his works his complaint to the American pop and consumer culture.
Through the modeling, the assembly, the presentation of a work in 3D, the person reflects, assigns a meaning, re-signifies itself, meeting constructive and destructive aspects of the Self. Shaping shapeless material and assembling various objects provides support and speeds up processes involved in the development of experiences, identity formation and transformation (Sholt and Gavron, 2006).
This process is very evident in the assembly or installation where various objects are reused. Such objects can be recycled objects such as bottles, boxes, but also objects of affection, which have been given to us but we do not make any use of them, or that we liked before but now no longer and we do not have the courage to throw them away (frames, alarm clocks, statuettes, wallets, etc.). Each object in itself has a value and contains a physical, social, ideological, functional but also psychological pleasure (Jordan, 1999) and work with old objects (ours or others) to treat or re-signify an experience, reflect on future prospects from alone and in groups it is an activity that depending on the objective (therapeutic, educational, social) can facilitate a deep communication with oneself and with others.
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