Officially, I am a First Year at ECA on the Painting Programme. There seems to be students already specialised in Product Design, Landcape Architecture, Illustration, Animation, Sculpture etc... the list could go on. The divide is fluid however, with Generalists still to decide and those who thought they have - like me - able to undecide/decide and redecide up to the last minute before successfully graduating in ... something.
The first project - one covering five weeks is entitled Menagerie. To inspire, instruct and inform - we were given a day's research at Edinburgh Zoo. Not having been there since the days I exposed myself - not only to the elements on the blasted Corstorphine Hill- but also to the possibility of serious injury whilst pushing a double buggy containing two small children, I wondered what I would find a good fifteen or so years later. I rather expected negative responses and they were forthcoming. Sadness at the enclosing of frustrated and lonely animals and cynicism directed at the marketing of fluffy animals in the shop we had to walk through in order to gain our escape. Bizarrely though there was a lot of fodder on which to base a project on. Those negative responses I dreaded were resoundingly shared by others and this lead to very animated and productive discussions. One of the themes almost universally picked up on was that of the enclosures. Were they there to keep the animals in or us out? Perhaps not that profound but a good starting point quiet contemplation. Some people noted the electric fencing - not very successfully camouflaged on the outside of the cages and the disproportionately large number of notices carrying warning signs about the dangerous beasts that the cages contained. Also, rather worryingly, we were left wondering at who was actually doing most of the observing - them or us?
Carol E Duff