When I make an object I recognize that the conditions must feel right both internally and externally. But I cannot clearly define, let alone conjure up the ‘perfect’ conditions conducive to a successful making experience in any given moment.
I could attempt to list every aspect that I think might be conducive to a satisfying attempt at making something, but I sense the list would be an incomplete recipe and that it would say more about my habitual patterns and my powers of reflection than any set of conditions I could re-create in reality for future success.
We are highly nuanced beings with highly nuanced needs engaged in a complex world of external conditions not entirely of our making or under our control.
In other words, there are zillions of possible variants in this equation. It would be an impossible task to prescribe a set of conditions that would provide a perfect teaching and learning environment for everyone- as impossible as knowing everything there is to know about the human body from all points of view.
What are the conditions in this particular anatomy classroom that encourage students to engage with the subject matter so directly and so enthusiastically? What is the nature of these experiences and what does an individual gain through this direct engagement? These are big questions worth addressing when considering the relationships between the processes implicated in making art that explores and expresses embodiment and the processes involved in medical education. Even though the catalyst for an initial engagement may vary between individuals there is much to be gained in an exploration of the differences and cross-overs in how and what we embody of the subject matter in the process.
It’s the final week of the musculoskeletal course for 2011. On Friday the 2nd year medical students will attend their last formal lectures, tutorials and prac classes and they will have a chance to attend the final practical anatomy review before exams. It will be my last chance to observe them in the anatomy laboratory for this year. I’ve been able to collect some valuable and unprecedented data. Writing, film and stills- observations of the role that touch and gesture play in the students’ experience of practical anatomy education- documentation of an entire course from a very particular perspective.
Now it’s time for a concentrated review of this material in collaboration with their teacher, Professor Ian Gibbins.