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The University of Southampton
Winchester School of Art

Anna Marris BA Fine Art (2021)

Anna Marris's Photo

I have always loved experimenting and developing my artistic self, initially in drawing, painting and creative writing; this led me to study Fine Art, Textiles and Psychology at A Level, giving me a fantastic platform from which to explore my passion for creativity alongside a deeper understanding of how perception is a fundamental part of this process.

Studying Fine Art at a leading University became a natural progression to really immerse myself in every aspect of art and critical thinking. This is helping me to expand my knowledge, research abilities and specialist skills to develop my fascination of transforming social, political and cultural awareness into an interpretative art form.

Winchester School of Art was my first choice to study BA Fine Art; having visited twice during open days, I was greatly inspired by the diverse range of creativity and the overall atmosphere of this vibrant campus. The interview process was very well organised, which put me at ease in discussing my portfolio and aspirations for the future; I became certain this was the right place for me and was totally elated when I was offered a place!

WSA sits in a beautiful parkland setting and is only a minutes’ walk away from the historic and scenic Winchester city centre which is full of inspiration for the art community to thrive. The city itself feels safe and has great transport links, including a main line rail direct to other cities, such as London, to access major art venues.

The large studio spaces on campus, along with the access to well equipped, high quality resources in Printmaking, Painting, Sculpture and New Media is outstanding too. Another major aspect of choosing WSA is it being part of the prestigious Russell Group University of Southampton, enabling the opportunity to liaise with other academic departments and students through project collaborations and of course the vast array of clubs and societies.

One of my favourite parts of the BA Fine Art course was my ‘Making Visible’ project, which sourced inspiration around the intriguing phenomenon of the world through a microscope. I photographed stunning photomicrographs of thin sections containing various rocks and minerals and thin sections with human cells and tissue from the Biomedical Imaging Unit in Southampton General Hospital.

For my current project I am exploring and reflecting on the rapidly increasing advancements in technology, more specifically Artificial Intelligence. My practice is investigating the concept of how we are creating AI in our own image through connections to human anatomy, covering a range of aspects, such as application of the robotic mechanism, and visual elements. I will also consider future implications for AI in relation to the development of dehumanisation in society; thinking about ethical and legal issues for AI and the potential of losing our identities; what it means to be human.

Through experimentation in both drawing and printmaking, I have been creating art reflecting on primary photography of two recently deployed gliders from BIOS (Bermuda Institute of Ocean Science). These ocean robots both contain AI systems, and although don’t hold the appearance of a human, AI is based off the neurons in our brain, nevertheless, we still anthropomorphize them by assigning human names: Anna and Jack. Examining their structures and tracking their movements, I have produced a variety of screen prints, layering their fascinating patterns with underwater scenes taken just off the coast of Bermuda, to create a beautiful and dynamic depth to my prints. With further research, experimentation, tutoring and critical thinking, I can build a stronger relationship between my practice, how it portrays the concepts I study, and my place as an artist in our current social order. 

An aspect of University I initially found challenging was leaving home and settling into student accommodation. Whilst the accommodation itself had great facilities, on occasion I found it to be very quiet and isolating. Although I made many close friends within WSA and UoS, I often felt there were too many consecutive evenings spent alone. However, I overcame this by making the effort to join societies I really enjoy - made easy by the regular WSA shuttle bus link to and from Highfield Campus. I also made more use of the WSA Studios, which stay open until 9pm, allowing me to really immerse myself in my practice.

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