Martyn Woodward is a visual communications designer who has been researching the limits/ limitations of understandings of visual communication since 2004. He began his Ph.D in October 2008 at the University of Plymouth with a research focus on developing new strategies for Visual Communication which are analogous with the emerging research into the Embodied human condition. He is also the research Assistant on HERA project based within Transtechnology research. Previous to this Martyn studied at the University of Wales in Newport, Obtaining a Bachelor‚ Degree in Graphic Design / Visual Communication in 2005 and his Master‚ in 2007.
Enacted Creativity<>Enacted Media
The project explores the relationship between creativity and innovation within the contemporary European media sector, asking how traffic between cultural forms in Europe, such as industrial film, new media arts and commercial audiovisual media, is radically transformed at key moments. The research departs from thinking about this relationship as a formal or economical strategy, and instead focuses upon the relationship between advertising and experimental film as a complimentary mutual interaction, that lies at the heart of human creativity and innovation, that itself produces a creative synergy.
His current research discusses the presence of avant-garde, experimental film techniques within advertising forms during a period of creative change within European advertising during the 1960s. In recognizing a neglect of the role of human agency regarding the relationship within contemporary literature, the research departs from a formal reading to include the perceptual, imaginative and creative aspects of human experience that underlie this creative exchange.
In recognizing the creative human involvement, the research begins to discuss the nature of commercial advertising and experimental film techniques as being structured by and actively involving human experience, uncovering a creative epistemological and ontological nature of audiovisual media forms.
Key Research Outputs:
(Paper) The [unseen] Modernist Eye:
Minimalism, Defamiliarization and the Advertising film
The formal exchanges, convergences and crossovers between early commercial advertising and experimental avant-garde practices have been richly discussed (Gibbons, 2005; Spiegel, 2008). Contemporary accounts of this relationship describe it as an embracing of each other’s formal styles, driven primarily by an economic engine, and one which treats the Avant-Garde and advertising forms themselves as separate, translatable formal styles (Cowen 2010). These ‘cross-overs’ and ‘convergences’ here are considered in the light of the desire of advertising agencies to apply’ cutting edge’ cinematic techniques to draw viewer’s attentions during a period of advertising saturation in the 1960’s (Spiegl 2009 pp.214-216, in which avant-garde techniques within advertising forms are considered to be a formal strategy employed primarily to stand out and to draw viewer’s attention. This paper traces this formal view of the relationship between avant-garde and advertising to lie within the modernist ‘autonomy of the arts’ (Greenberg 1960) during the 1960s, which maintained two fundamental conditions regarding the relationship; (1) that Avant-Garde (or arts practice) and Advertising are treated as separate endeavours, with different agendas and (2) in privileging the formal structure, the literature overlooks the perceptual and experiential dimension of human experience, and as such neglects any human agency within the transaction. Current research concerning the relationship between avant-garde techniques and advertising film aims to compound the formalist approach in highlight the mutually beneficial exchanges of print advertising and art into the practices of audio-visual media, in which the relationship is viewed as a complimentary mutual interaction that itself produces a creative synergy. This ‘Exchange and Flow’ between commercial advertising film and avant-garde art practice treads further new ground by factoring in the perceptual dimensions of the viewers themselves, which has been overlooked within the literature. In proceeding from this position, this paper aims to re-think the relationship between the practices of avant-garde and advertising in light of the involvement of the creative nature of human experience, perception and agency by recognising the centrality of human perception to both endeavours.
(Paper) A Monstrous Rhinoceros (As Designed From Life):
The Epistemological Nature of the Enacted Pictorial Image
The epistemological role of the pictorial image is enjoying a current resurgence within fields dealing with the visual arts, specifically in light of contemporary non-representational models of perception and cognition. From attempts to understanding the drawing process as bringing forth of a reality as apposed to representing one (Cain 2010), to rethinking Paleontological images through its ‘processes’ of becoming (Malafouris 2010, Ambrose 2006), the epistemological nature, understanding and reading of the pictorial image is currently under close scrutiny. Whilst these studies make some headway in discussing the nature of the ‘pictorial image’ outside of a representational bias, they all subscribe to a further preoccupation, that of the privileging of the visual. This paper situates itself alongside these debates and reveals how the pre-occupation with the concept of mimesis throughout discussions of the pictorial image throughout the nineteenth and twentieth century, have left the traces of a visual bias within readings and understanding of the pictorial image and the processes of image production during the twenty-first century. In realizing this bias, it makes a speculative contribution to the discussion of the epistemological status of the pictorial image outside of the privileging of the visual and of representation.
Woodward, M. 2011. The [Unseen] Modernist Eye: Minimalism, Defamiliarization and the Advertising Film. (Forthcoming)
Woodward, M. 2011. A Monstrous Rhinoceros (As From Life): The Epistemological Role of the Enacted Pictorial Image. (Forthcoming)
Woodward, M. 2010. A Brief History and Theory of Not Looking: Toward a Field Theory of the Audiovisual. Transtechnology Reader 2010.
Woodward, M. 2010. Where does Lap go When You Stand Up?: Meaning Making, Expression and Communication Beyond a Linguistic Constraint. Transtechnology Reader 2010.