Tuesday, 30 January 2007

Creative Thinking Processes – “What’s on TV Tonight?”

Here’s a quick short post for you, as this was more of a workshop than a lecture and unrelated to the rest of my lecturers and more related to my studio work. We were discussing Creative Thinking Processes and how to generate ideas (particularly the wacky ones).

Through the lecture we covered the usual brainstorming and mind mapping which I think everyone on this planet knows how to do since the do it to death now, despite it not being useful to everyone and despite the fact that there over two hundred different processes.

First of all lets begin with one very important person in the realm of Creative Thinking and his name is Edward de Bono. I well recommend reading one of his books, especially “How to Have A Beautiful Mind”. He is an important person to look up as he has not only written some truly inspirational and interesting books but he came up with the term “Lateral Thinking” and created some of the creative thinking processes we use now. For example the Six Thinking Hats was one of his.

So how does the Six Thinking Hats work?

Well really it’s quite simple. Imagine 6 hats (or make them if you like out of paper). Now colour them, one red, one black, one yellow, one green, one blue and leave one white. Each hat represents a different mode of thinking. The white hat represents objective thought i.e. the facts. The Red hat represents emotion or emotional thinking i.e. listen to your heart and what your gut instinct tells you. The Black hat represents negativity or critical thoughts. The Yellow hat represents the exact opposite of the black hat, positive thoughts. The Green hat represents new ideas or trying things a completely different way i.e. the green hat breaks the trends. The blue hat represents the summary of things. The whole system is a way of breaking stagnating thought processes to discover new solutions.

But there are far more processes than that. Take the random word input for example. Most brainstorming sessions consist of listing things connected to the subject you are looking at. Now this can be helpful but you could end up with just continually having the same ideas over and over again. So how about picking a word at random from a dictionary or a bookshelf and trying to connect it with your subject? This method can work quite well at bringing up new and fresh ideas to the table, for example connecting onions to a mobile phone. Onions make you cry, phone conversations make you cry, maybe you could create a mobile phone that reacts to emotion caused by the phone call and communicates it to the other phone?

To end this extraordinarily long post let me bring up the “What’s on TV Tonight” process. Again like the 6 Thinking Hats this process encourages you to adopt other points of view. Pick up a TV guide or just think of TV programs off the top of your head (try and include a mixture of comedy, soaps, serious programs and documentaries) then try and think how the characters or speakers on the show would go about solving your problem.

How would Doctor Who re-design the mobile phone?

Keep thinking
Be creative
Rachael Kavita


  • Structuring Creativity with Adrian Agusto

A Small Change

Well life got on-top of me, which wasn’t totally unexpected although I wasn’t expecting it to happen in quite the way it did. Because of the amount of uni work I now have to do I am temporarily stepping away from the whole learning “Anatomy” line of posts I have been doing up until recently (although I will still cover it from time to time when I have time). Instead I’m going to cover things I’m looking at in my uni lectures in preparation for my essay writing. Again I don’t expect these posts to be read by anyone else, they are more of an aid for myself.

Anyway on with the Lateral Thinking...

Friday, 5 January 2007

A Difference in Illustration

You wouldn't draw pictures more suited for a teenager with a story for small children and you wouldn't illustrate a book for adults with illustrations suited for small children. Each subject needs to be complimented in a different way. The same is true for the different aspects of Anatomy.

There are several different areas that use anatomical illustrations.


Like my example of the children stories each area needs to be treated differently with its approach. Anatomy is the "Description of the interior of a perfectly formed body". Pathology shows "What can go wrong" and Surgery shows techniques i.e. "how to heal the body".

Because of this the illustrations or diagrams accompanying each area are profoundly different. Pathological ones are disconnected with the body and are preserved or illustrated plainly. Pathological illustrations are a catalogue of abnormalities, disease, atrophy and malfunction.
Surgical illustrations need to show technicalities or a method of procedure. The subject is often passive or victim to the overlaid hands and tools.
Anatomical artworks are used to illustrate the wonder of the human body. They are devices used to intrigue, beguile and astonish us.

Art is powerful.

"A Picture tells a thousand words"

The History of Anatomy - Jacques Fabien Gautier d'Agoty

Jacques Fabien Gautier d'Agoty lived between 1711 - 1785, he was a french artist, engraver and published and helped develop the colour printing process by experimenting with techniques and 3-4 colour printing. In 1746 he published the "Anatomical Study" which contained colour illustration/ diagrams of the body with the flesh pealed back showing the various organs and their placement within the body.

His paintings are not only beautiful they somehow manage to loose the grotesque nature of the subject matter in the posture of his subjects. They seem to have a calm nobility about them. The soft pastel tones also seem to detract from the butchery in front of us.


The History of Anatomy - Andreas Vesalius

24 years after Leonardo Da Vinci's death in 1543 a man named Andreas Vesalius published a manuscript called "De Humani Corporis Fabrica", (On the Workings of the Human Body), which completely overthrew the previous Galenic anatomy. He also developed an interesting morbid interest in anatomy having studied the Galen anatomy texts and could be found studying bones in the Cemetery of Innocents in his spare time (whatever turns you on).

Galen although having made some very good observations had unfortunately until this time been considered unassailable and none of his claims had ever been checked in all this time. Before Vesalius the Galen texts would be preached and a dissection of an animal would follow, Vesalius however took a far more hand-on approach and taught by dissection believing that direct observation was the best way to teach, like Leonardo Da Vinci he also kept notebooks filled with illustrations and diagrams. After some students started copying his work he published these. This produced an attack response from one of his former lecturers.

Sometime later a judge became interested in Vesalius's work and allowed him access to the bodies of criminals for dissection. Because of this Vesalius was able to make the first anatomical correct drawings of that kind (Leonardo's having not been published yet). He also discovered that Galen's research had been mainly based on the dissection of Barbary Apes and began to disprove Galen's observations with proof he had discovered while dissecting the bodies of criminals.


Thursday, 4 January 2007

The History of Anatomy - Leonardo Da Vinci

At Last I come to possibly one of the greatest influences on the study of anatomy. Although leonardo never really contributed to the medical side of the study of anatomy, (as they were not published until around 300 years after his death), however his illustrations, diagrams and observations are still considered as some of the greatest in the history of anatomy.

He used two instruments primarily in the study of anatomy, his scalpel to "remove the flesh and define structures" and his pen and ink to "add to paper and define structures". His sketches often clearly reveal the bone structures, muscle layers and nerves that he discovered in the course of dissection.

He noted down his observations in notebooks and from studying the human body via dissection he came to understand how muscles worked and how the various organs worked within the body. In his book Anatomical Studies (published in 1510) he describes his work as a "thinking hand".

From discovering the Divine proportion in man to making stunning illustrations of anatomy Leonardo left us a legacy. His drawings enabled people to understand the inside of the body more clearly as other artists would discover.

If you have time I strongly recomend you take a look at the weblink "Artwork by Leonardo Da Vinci" (under Resources) and see his work for yourself.


The History of Anatomy - Anatomical Theatre

In 1594 the first anatomical theatre was built at the University of Padua by the anatomist Hieronymus Fabricius ab Aquapendente (what a name, imagine what that must be like to go around with a name like that...

"Hello there my name Hieronymus Fabricius ab Aquapendente"
"Erm what?"

"My name is Hieronymus Fabricius ab Aquapendente."

"Heroine-wh-mus fabricatus and Aqua-pendent?"

"No Hier-ony-mus Fabri-ci-us ab Aqua-pen-dent-e."

"Right... and what do you do then?"

"I cut up dead bodies for a living."

Anyway I digress). It was designed so that the dissecting table with the body would sit at the centre of the rows of seats so everyone could see the dissection happen before their eyes. The architecture later influenced the building plans for Opera Houses in the 16th Century.

Anatomical theatres became popular in the 16th Century (People always like blood and gore, have you noticed yet?), so more were built at the universities of Bologna and Leiden.

In 1597 the University of Leiden created an anatomical theatre in a disused church. The engraving above was done in 1610 and also shows exhibits as well as the dissection taking place in front of the audience along with inscriptions saying...

"Know thy self"
"We are dust and shadow"
"Being born we die"

It became known (the anatomical theatre not the engraving) as the kunstkummer ("a cabinet of wonders") and was the beginnings of the museum, showing exhibits in summertime and keeping dissection for winter time when bodies could be kept for longer periods of time.


Wednesday, 3 January 2007

The History of Anatomy - Crime & Punishment

During the Middle Ages Claudius Galen's work in the research of anatomy would be lectured while a barber-surgeon performed a dissection on a body (usually a criminal who had been sentenced to death) and another pointed to points of interest with a stick. Criminal Executions and dissections often took place at carnivals while an audience watched the proceedings (presumably with morbid interest). In time this form of punishment, execution followed by dissection was feared worse than death and was only given out for either treason or murder. For a long time bodies used for dissection came from criminals who were hanged for their crimes.


The History of Anatomy – Claudius Galen

Claudius Galen was a medical officer to the gladiator at a gladiator school and lived between 129 - 201 AD and later on he became the physician to the emporour Marcus Aurelius.

While working as a medical officer he gained first hand experience of wounds and the treatment of them. Later on in life he described them as "Windows to the body". He became a pioneer in the art of mediciene performing both eye and brain surgery and later moved to Rome where he lecturered on his knowlege of anatomy and became a physician to the Empourer Marcus Aurelius.

Continueing on with his research and to try and work out the purpose of various organs within the body he performed dissections on pigs and apes, his favourite being the Barbary Ape. Although his research was not entirely accurate and many of the assumptions he made from the animal dissections were later proved to be wrong, his work was virtually preached throughtout the middle ages.

So what does the egyptian studies of medicine and the work of a Roman Physician have to do with art? Well it shows how the study of anatomy began and how it lead on to a facination with what lay inside the body and how artists used that knowledge to portray the inside workings of the body to their audiences.




Tuesday, 2 January 2007

The History of Anatomy - Eygpt

With the process of mummification the ancient Egyptians must have learnt much about the human body and it's inner workings there are scarcely any recordings of their discoveries. We do know however from the earliest document of medicine that the Egyptians must have studied anatomy as there are references to the organs and systems within the body such as the heart, liver, kidneys, vessels and bladder. The Edwin Smith Papyrus was an ancient textbook on medical procedures and contained anatomical observations about the human body.

There is also evidence that a Ptolemaic School of Medicine was built/ created in 300 BC within Egypt. As well as the papyrus there are also references in literary texts and ancient documentations from other civilisations such as Homer who wrote sometime in 800 BC

"In Egypt, the men are more skilled in medicine than any of human kind"

Hippocrates (also known as the Father of Medicine) who studied at the temple of Amenhotep credited the contribution that the Ancient Egyptians had made to the study of medicine.



An Introduction to the ramblings of this blog...

Blogs are funny things people tap away at their keyboards, tapping out the daily doings of their lives, the boring, the average, the extraordinary, the weird and the wonderful. For many it's a way to get things off their chest, a way to speak out anonymously. Things that would normally be left unsaid or said out loud over the net.

This blog is not political, it's not going to be used to get things off my chest, instead I'm going to use it as a way to record my journey as I learn about art history and learn about art anatomy and other things. It may not be interesting to others, in fact it may well be boring for many of the passers by, however to me it will record the things I've learned and help me concentrate my thoughts.

So here it is, my thoughts, the books I read and the notes and sketches I make. I hope it will be enjoyable but if not for me it will be a useful record.