Study Skills – Theo Humphries: Handling History and ‘ism’s, and the Close Reading of Texts

Theo told us that the problem with history is that it is linear, based on facts and chronology. However this is what we believe to be fact by looking at and trusting the evidence that we are provided. What is presented to us is a fact is actually, when you think about it, just a weight of opinions alongside a collection of evidence.
This idea provokes a lot of thought, about the years of having those ‘facts’ rammed down your throat at school and college etc., you realise that they really are just someone’s opinions, if very well supported ones.
Theo told us that all histories are constructed: someone has taken the chaos and you are being presented with a fraction of that. ‘Ism’s are moments which emerge from that chaos and naming it give a sense of stability and permanence. (E.g. feminism, fundamentalism, radicalism etc.)

Theo raised the point that when we look at an image, our brain processes the pixels of an image instantly in order to work out what we are seeing as the bigger picture.
Likewise a flock of birds are connected; they all move and change direction at the same time. There is no leader, no choreography, but they all form one body in perfect synchronisation.
As an artist, you must take in and be aware of what other artists and designers are doing and move along with that. It is all very well working in your own bubble and not caring about the others, but this wouldn’t get you very far.



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