How do we express discoveries
when we explore frontiers?
The art that surrounds us, the music that
moves us, the adornments that define us,
the epitaphs that mark our passing -- human
expression leads us into new frontiers that by
social standards may defy convention. It is the
vehicle that allows average people to
undertake amazing journeys and bring life to our
dreams. American artist Robert Henri explains it best:
"The artist is alive in any person, whatever his kind of
work may be, he becomes an inventive, searching,
daring, self-expressive creature. He disturbs, upsets,
enlightens, and opens ways for a better understanding."
It is human expression, the pure joy in being ourselves, that
provokes creation, invokes our spirit and sheds light to the
paths yet traveled. From the mythology of the Ancients to the HONORS IN ACTION
modern primitives, hipsters and geeks, to express our HUMAN EXPRESSION BODY ART EXHIBIT
explorations is to be human.
In contemporary society, body art and modification have gained
EXPLORE MORE! mainstream popularity. Though such adornment has occurred
Gilsdorf, Ethan (December 13, 2011). "Geek Wisdom Goes throughout history, the practice still holds a negative societal
Mainstream." Christian Science Monitor. judgment. This project will demonstrate to our community, through
Gilsdorf supports the concept of how empathy can be developed the use of a body modification art fair, that human expression through
through geek wisdom. The fact that geek wisdom has entered the body art is indeed an art form through which individuals demonstrate
mainstream means more people are recognizing the positive their creativity.
characteristics of the culture through playing cooperative games
associated with the geek subculture. PREPARATION
SELECTION OF THEME After reviewing the Honors Program Guide
Stark, Lizzie (2012). Leaving Mundania. and discussing the themes, the chapter decided that they wanted
Stark discusses how the world of Live Action Role Play (LARP) has to do research about frontiers of human expression. Several of the
become a phenomenon and focuses on a handful of people who are members already have tattoos, and the ones who are not "inked"
involved in a dynamic subculture. She examines their use of personal are fascinated with tattoos and the artwork associated with them.
expression through the characters they choose to portray in LARP. The chapter discussed the variety of themes found in the guide;
but after discussing their thoughts and feelings, they determined
Tharp, Twyla (2006). The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It that their focus would be best suited for the overarching question
For Life. of Theme 3: How has the exploration of creativity, belief and
Famed choreographer Tharp explores the characteristics of creativity individualism opened the frontiers of human expression?
and creative people and the process by which creativity can be
established as a habit. She provides 32 exercises anyone can use to DEVELOP RESEARCH QUESTIONS
foster creativity as a life habit. _ What are the frontiers associated with tattooing and body
VanderMeer, Jeff (2011). The Steampunk Bible. _ To what extent have individuals demonstrated the spirit of
Vandermeer explains the history of the Steampunk movement and how explorations through the act of body modification?
Steampunk artists express their world through their art. He explores _ What causes the emotional desire to modify one's body with
the varied types of art created by Steampunks, including visual art, film, tattoos or body piercings?
literature, comic books, travel, clothing, jewelry and inventions.
ACADEMIC RESEARCH Team members researched the emotional
For more sources related to this theme, go to ptk.org/honors. drive and desire that compels some humans to express their
thoughts and feelings through body adornment, even though a _ Members wrote and mailed thank-you notes to everyone who
majority of the culture often sees this as a societal taboo. To what helped with the show.
extent is body modification associated with negative taboos? In what _ Team leaders secured permissions and technology to stream the
ways is body modification the norm in some societies? Even with safety show live to a larger audience beyond the immediate community.
measures in place, why do so many people still see tattooing and
piercing as a dangerous and destructive act? Why do others see it as a COLLABORATION
way to express individuality? Has tattooing and piercing truly entered _ College speech instructors conducted a seminar on public speaking
mainstream society, and what are their antecedents? And if it has, then for team members.
why do so many people feel a need to hide their artwork from others? _ The Student Government Association donated funds for
These questions guided our academic research into a form of human refreshments during the show.
expression that has endured through the ages. _ Local tattoo and piercing artists donated their time and energy to
serve as living works of art for the show.
ANALYSIS AND CONCLUSIONS We found cultures throughout history _ A local event planner conducted a workshop to help team members
that have embraced body alteration as a form of human expression better understand the logistics of organizing a successful art show.
and those that have shunned it. As a result, our team's analysis and _ City and venue officials worked with the team to ensure all legal
conclusions included the answers to the following questions: Describe obligations were met.
the reasons an individual would choose a certain picture or design for _ A local print shop consulted on the publicity campaign and flier and
a tattoo. What are reasons people get their ears pierced but refuse donated its services.
to have other parts of their body pierced? What are the ramifications _ Team members facilitated an online discussion during and after
associated with tattoos within professional fields? What is the beauty the live stream of the art show to people in and beyond our college
associated with gauging one's ears, and is there a point when they are and community.
too big? Tattooing and body piercing have been around for thousands
of years and are some of the oldest forms of art, so why do some ACTION The chapter hosted a local body art show where the art
societies consider it taboo or "tacky"? How and why have cultures consisted of professional displays of tattoos and body piercings on
embraced or shunned body art? In what ways could tattooing and human beings. The show demonstrated artists' ability to capture the
body piercing be shown in a positive fashion to mainstream society? essence of human expressions on living canvases. The show
demonstrated to a diverse audience that body alteration has its roots
DETERMINATION OF ACTION Based on our research about frontiers of in history and has become part of contemporary mainstream society.
human expression in body alteration, our team developed a human art
show in which the art pieces are tastefully displayed tattoos and body REFLECTION
piercings on individuals from the community and surrounding areas. To EVALUATION Many individuals use their bodies as a way of
accompany the human expression art show, team members prepared expressing their thoughts and feelings. Our show helped us grow as
a presentation about the roots and rich history of this form of human scholars of human expression, and we were able to see how people
expression. Artists and team members discussed the ability to use the choose to adorn themselves. We hope to break down some of the
human body as a personal canvas to demonstrate expressions of life negative connotations associated with body alteration. Being able to
with art show patrons. stream the show live and facilitate a meaningful and lively discussion
allowed us to share what we learned with people beyond our local
LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT Prior to working on the project, team community. At the conclusion of the show, participants submitted an
members realized there were several things they did not know about evaluation, and our team reviewed their comments. We had a lot to
hosting an art show. So members attended a workshop with an event learn about the legal and ethical requirements when working with
planner. They went to a training session with the Chambers of Commerce humans in a setting like our show, and we grew as leaders who know
to learn the legal requirements of hosting a public event. They worked the right questions to ask when working on a project. We found that
with the college's speech department to develop speaking techniques not everyone appreciated body alteration as a form of human
needed for talking to a large audience. And a sensitivity trainer expression, but we overcame obstacles and learned from the
conducted a workshop to help team members understand the challenges and opportunities inherent in tackling a subject that is
appropriate behavior necessary when working with human subjects. controversial to some groups. Ninety-five percent of the people who
submitted evaluations applauded our efforts and encouraged us to
IMPLEMENTATION consider another human expression art show. Team members invited
LEADERSHIP ROLES college administrators and Board of Trustees members to the show
_ Members contacted local tattoo artists and individuals to ask them and provided an executive summary of our research findings and
to present their work at the show. project outcomes to both groups.
_ Research team members worked with local venue managers to
gather information about the physical items that would be needed FUTURE IMPLICATIONS Will body alteration endure as a topic of
to host a professional art show. interest and as a way to express interests and feelings for college
_ Team members publicized, organized and hosted an art show. students? Our team believes it will and has mentored members of the
_ Members created fliers to publicize the show to campus and Student Government Association to organize the event next year. They
community organizations. supported us this year, and we plan to support their efforts, even as our
_ Team members facilitated discussions during the human chapter moves on to tackle another Honors in Action project.