Printing the Past
Year 8 Visual Arts students recently completed a unit of work where they used archival images of Old Boys in different contexts for inspiration. A cropped, focused section of the image was then used as a starting point for the artists as they created their unique etched designs. Luke Canter (8/JN) shares his process below.
I have chosen this image due to heavy, unintentional symbolism of the original photo – the appearance of a periodic table in the background was the main stylistic inspiration; I noticed the lack of elements such as Nihonium, Tennessine, etc. and the theme of linear historical presentation formed. I interpreted the sudden change of hue from black to lighter shades of grey to be symbolic of disruptive innovation, whereby education is permanently altered. The hands of the teacher are central to the meaning of the image; due to the unique permutations and intriguing polymorphism of the fingerprints, and the capability of the hands to impact humanity’s future by artificial means further reinforced these motifs.
This work represents the way in which historic progress affects personal identity – in this case, from the perspective of the student, where disruptive innovations lead to fundamental change in the way teaching occurs.
To depict the often cyclic, Hegelian dialectical nature of modern history, where one innovation invariably leads to another synthesis of a competitor, I have divided the frame into three distinct sections, where an abrupt, high-contrast gradation of dark to grey shades occurs. The asymmetrical composition of the cropped frame is an analogy for the chaos resulting from such systematic changes, wherein there is no orderly structure.