Big Blue Ball: Pictures, People, Place - An Intercultural Playground for Creative Conversations

Dr. Donna Wright
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Big Blue Ball – Pictures, People, Place is an arts based research project that actively engages creative dialogue with a diversity of cultures through individuals responding to pictures. By activating the creative function, the project explores how meaning can be reconstructed through inter-cultural exchange. Project members are recruited from around the world. They are provided with a selection of six ambiguous, visual texts and are encouraged to locate a preferred meaning using the communication tools of the visual and creative arts. These selected images have been digitally modified, lifting them out of their original semio-cultural context. Participants are asked to interpret the images, with little cues as to the direction they are to take; only that each has the opportunity to freely navigate and locate their preferred interpretations by drawing on their familiar cultural systems, cultural memory codes, social practices and language structures. Cultural semiotics suggests that because of the heterogeneous nature of cultural conventions, and the absence of a common cultural memory code, negotiations of meaning will be triggered during the interpretation process. Stimulated by contextual ambiguity, a collision and/or interaction of different ‘meaning spaces’ already formed in participants by imbedded cultural memory codes may activate cultural exchanges of imagination allowing for novel constructions of meaning to emerge. The project extends itself, by way of continuing dialogue between myself, as researcher and visual artist, and project members, through my own creative responses to negotiated interpretations, making specific use of the communicative method of hand made picture making. The conference presentation includes an interactive, visual display of project outcomes.

Keywords: intercultural dialogue, creative arts, cultural identity, cultural semiotics
Stream: Globalisation
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: Big Blue Ball - Pictures, People, Place

Dr. Donna Wright

PhD candidate, Southern Cross University, School of Arts

A practising visual artist for over 18 years, Donna has been educating adults for 15 years, working in the areas of contemporary arts practice, community development, Aboriginal adult education, and has now been lecturing in communication and cultural studies for the past four years at Central Queensland University's international campuses. Donna's Master's research investigated the relationship between the development of non-iconographic abstract painting in the 20th century and an ontology expressive of acute flux within the evolution of our contemporary western consciousness. Donna's current PhD research project actively engages creative dialogue with a diversity of cultures through individuals responding to pictures. It is primarily a creative exploration into how meaning can be reconstructed through cross-cultural exposure and inter-cultural exchange. Donna's interest lies in reviving the communication tools of visual and creative arts practice by placing them into a position to act as a vehicle for fresh and innovative approaches to our continuing investigations into the human communicative process and its complex systems of mutual understanding.

Ref: H06P0060