I need to test out my new character and begin to implement different elements of my experience I designed a workshop to test out which activities work on a participant. The workshop consisted of speeches about the navy and the importance of a collective, physical tests such as drills and codes cracking under pressure. I had a lot to remember and I kept coming out of character, I felt much more in character. Although the drills and the speech about the collective were successful I felt that the code cracking was not as it broke the tension between me and the participants and made them feel safe being sat down at a desk.
Research on the history of the navy
Where am I going next?
We are living in an age of the “hyper- individual” where we are at the centre of our universes. We no longer surrender ourselves to the collective. “Most of the time, without having any choice in the matter, we are dominated by our ego” (Botton, 2012, p.48) and we strive to be powerful “because we are afraid of what will happen to us without high rank” (Botton, 2012, p.33).
We don’t surrender ourselves to political movements, religions and communities like we used to, we live in a time where the design and oneself the “true individual” is at the centre of society. However despite of this lack of collectivism “we are in most situations rather simple entities in want of much of the same kind, firm, basic guidance” (Botton, 2012, p.77).
Through exploring this idea of surrender I want to place a participant within the collective, to detach themselves from their individual daily role and experience
himself or herself in a new one, in what I believe to be the most literal form of voluntary surrender in modern day society- a navy captain.
I have started using myself as a test subject through exploring how to turn myself into an admiral- what elements make me feel authoritative, what are the speech, mannerism and qualities of someone of this role. I have based my transformation on a singular admiral (Admiral Nelson from Voyage to the Bottom of the sea) and externally through receiving training from ex navy cadet Alex.
I want to design an experience, I am working alongside an ex navy officer to help design the piece. I am interested in how people feel as though they are in role by others reacting to them as that role. For example the participant will start by being sent a uniform that they must put on at 11 am and be stood outside their house at 11:15. Then, they will then be met by 20 navy members or navy actors, who will stand in a row and salute them. They will then march to a space that has been set up to simulate a training bunker and they will carry out a variety of tasks with the team reacting to the participant as if they were the captain.
I see this project as being a kind of self- help. We are in a society where we are constantly being fed information about being the best you; for example being the best at your job to get the best pay check, but sometimes you would be better off acting as someone else, to surrender yourself to a new practice, there are obvious reasons why collectives such as Scientology has been so successful- we long to be part of something, to place our faith in something else other than ourselves. I asked Alex on why she took part in the cadets, what appealed to her about placing yourself very literally at the command of someone else. “ You don’t have to think about you, you’re there to do your job and follow your orders”. Botton describes religion as “sublimely obsessive and calmingly thorough” and I think the same could be said for the navy (Botton, 2012, p.132). “To be made to ‘feel small’ is, to be sure, a painful daily reality of the human playground” (Botton, 2012, p.261). But to be made to feel small by something mighty and noble which allows a permanent status for individuals simply on the basis of their membership allows us to be saved us from our ego centric demands and to understand, even for an afternoon, what it feels like to shed your role as an individual and place yourself within a collective.
Author/editor surname, Initials. (Year of publication). Title of book in italics. (Edition if not the first). Place of publication: Publisher.
Botton, A, D. (2012) Religion for Atheists. London. Penguin Books
We are lacking “collectivism”- religious, giving yourself up, love.
In the age of “hyper- individual” this doesn’t happen.
We don’t believe in collectivism anymore, people gave themselves up Don’t surrender yourself
46.22- Because we are living in a world where we are at the centre of the universe, in an age of indivuialsim we feel lonely. In the past ages you were part of something whether that was a political movement that you might not be able to see the outcome of but you are surrendering to “people fought for things”.
Punch trunk (experience design) – We want something that is not just distanted from us but that places us as a individual in the narrative.
“We willingly surrender our attachments to class and titles”.
What is my project about? Although I started focusing on a Navy captain I think my project is about the Collectivism of the Navy and out lack of it in Society. Why do we not commit to a cause like we used to?
Religion for atheists
Allen de Botton
- Taking on another role in role-play enables us to see how we would be happy without
- Religion: “We willingly surrender our attachments to class and titles”.
- “We strive to be powerful chiefly because we are afraid of what will happen to us without high rank: we risk being stripped of dignity, being patronized, lacking friends and having to spend our days in coarse and dispiriting surroundings.”- surrendering to a rank we don’t have to think to strive
- “There is greater wisdom in accepting that we are in most situations rather simple entities in want of much the same kind, firm, basic guidance as is naturally offered to children and domestic animals”.
- “Our deepest wish may be that someone would come and save us from ourselves.”
- “A catholic mass is not, to be sure, the ideal habitat for an atheist… the ceremony is replete with elements which subtly strengthen congregants’ bonds of affection, and which atheists would do well to study and on occasions learn to appropriate for reuse in the secular realm.”
- “Church establishes conditions under which we willingly surrender our attachment to class and title.” P. 33
- “we strive to be powerful chiefly because we are afraid of what will happen to us without higher rank : we risk being stripped of dignity, being patronized, lacking friends and have to spend our days in coarse and dispiriting surroundings”. P. 33
- showman ship
- Mass “speaks to an essential aspect of human nature which benefits from being guided in how to behave with others. To ensure that a profound and dignified personal bonds can be forged, a tightly choreographed agenda of activities may be more effective than leaving a group to mingle aimlessly on it’s own” P. 37
- “Religions therefore present us with an array of rituals, many of them oddly elaborate at first glance, whose function is to safely discharge what is vicious, destructive or nihilistic in nature”. P. 58
- “It demarcates a space in which our egocentric demands can be honored and at the same time tamed, in order that the long term harmony and survival of the group can be negotiated and assured.” P.59 (maybe I am creating a new services like a religion. Centre to the project- surrendering in the age of individuals)
- “We are in most situations rather simple entities in want of much of the same kind, firm, basic guidance as is naturally offered to children and domestic animals”. P. 66
- “our deepest wish may be that someone would come along and save us from ourselves” p. 77
- “sublimely obsessive and calmingly thorough” p. 132
- “sit us down in unfamiliar spaces, adjust our posture, regulate what we eat, give us scripts detailing what we should say to one another and minutely monitor the thoughts that cross our consciousness. They do all this not to deny us freedom but to quell our anxieties and flex our moral capacities.” P. 145
- “most of the time, without having any choice in the matter, we are dominated by our ego… because the ego is inherently vulnerable, its predominant mood is one of anxiety” p. 48- our ego is maintained by the rank, you don’t have to show your dominece is it designed into your role- through outfit and title.
- Secular Americans …“perhaps the most anxious and disappointed people on earth, for their nation infuses them with the most extreme hopes about what they may be able to achieve in their working lives and relationships”. P. 185 filled with hope which can only really lead to dissapointment where as we would be better surrendering to a greater cause. Put our hope into something else and someone else rather than ourselves. Removing the pressure on ourselves to be the best that we can be and commit ourselves to a cause.
- “To be made to ‘feel small’ is, to be sure, a painful daily reality of the human playground. But to be made to feel small by something mighty, noble, accomplishment and intelligent is to have wisdom presented to us along with a measure of delight. There are churches that can induce us to surrender our egoism without in any way humiliating us. In them we can set aside our ordinary concerns and take on board our own nullity and mediocrity. We can survey ourselves as if from a distance, no longer offered by the wounds inflicted on our self esteem, feeling newly indifferent to our eventual fate, generous towards the universe and open- minded about its course.” P. 261
- “Institutions have the added benefit of being able to offer permanent status to individuals simply on the basis of their membership, saving them from having to earn it on their own, over and over again, year by year.” p. 283
- “We need institutions that can remind us that we need them and present them to us in appealing wrappings- thus ensuring the nourishment of the most forgetful and un-self-aware side of our souls.” P. 298
- Comte recognized “that a secular society devoted solely to the accumulation of wealth, scientific discovery, popular entertainment and romantic love- a society lacking in any source of ethical instruction, consolation, transcendent awe or solidarity- would fall pray to untenable social maladies.” P. 300
- Comte “believed that capitalism had aggravated people’s competitive, individualistic impulses and distanced them from their communities, their traditions and their sympathies with nature.” P. 303
- “He blamed the cult of romanticism for putting too much strain on the conventional family and for promoting a falsely egoistic understanding of love.” P. 303
I have made a 2.5 by 1.5 meter submarine cabin in my bedroom out of timber and mdf. Surprisingly only taking three days to erect I have started to decorate the space and place myself with as a student attempting to understand what it means to have to qualities of a captain. I am using myself as a test subject but eventually plan to use this as a kind of self help for others to become a captain. I am aiming to extract the qualities of captains from the film and externally the navy and understand what it is like to run a collective.
I met up with Alex (an ex navy cadet) and interviewed her about her time there. She told me that as a women she was treated the same as other members in the group, that she wanted to be part of a collective where everyone is seen as equal in your rank. She showed me various commands that are done in the navy such as marching, attention and turns. Through this I have decided that I need to make a space where I can practise my routine every morning, although the uniform allows me to transform myself into a captain, through creating a space I can allocate a time and an area to my practise.