To conclude this artistic research project I will discuss certain aspects of what I have learnt, what were the limitations, possible further research, and where the results of this research can be applied.
I began this project by asking the main research question: How can art and music enable us to process difficult societal issues, emotions and give us hope?
I learned from the theory of psychology that the creation of art helps bridge the external world with the internal, which is a reparative process of symbolic expression (Kogan, 2018; Stratou, 2014; Hagman, 2010). This is true and present in the practice of music composition. Art and music creation is also a process of reflection, which inspires a deeper understanding of the topic being expressed in the art. Through artistic expression we attempt to repair the individual relationship with the wider society and gain understanding of the societal issues that cause difficult emotions. This also enables us to process societal issues and difficult emotions with hope.
This project opened a new perspective to music creation for me by shining a light on the importance of environment and place where creative inspiration comes from. Going to nature as a haven to reflect and turn the reflection into art is a powerful and releasing approach to music composition.
This research also reveals the importance of art that speaks of societal issues both as a process of gaining hope as well as raising awareness. Through art the person makes themselves heard and seen by translating the difficult emotions into an artwork, giving them their own life. Art doesn't give ready-made solutions, but helps raise awareness and gives a platform for release and expression. This leads to further solutions and inspiring action for the audience. Genuine, sincere artistic expression and art is very important in society. Art raises questions and starts important conversations. It is one the most subjective mediums and sharing of personal opinion leads to discussion.
I developed awareness of individual moral responsibility and awareness of expression, by processing the external world through our internal worlds and making an artwork, giving the internal worldview an object or entity of its own. I understand the importance of gaining courage to go through the process of finding my personal perspective on a societal topic to create artwork.
Even in my daily life, my moral compass has been impacted from this project and I am spotting more information and searching for solutions on an individual level to the societal issues we face. At the start of the project, I wanted to find a perspective that justifies my hope that it is acceptable to focus on my individual priorities and to mute the world's societal issues, as I was having difficulty processing the huge volume. However, I found that we cannot mute the surrounding world, it is more that we have to build an individual relationship with the external world where we can take action in our small ways. This without overwhelming ourselves but to still be an active participant in our society. My perspective of individual moral responsibility is important and the small actions we take, do matter.
My limitations for this project were mostly connected to time constraints. I wish I had more time to see more artworks, performances and concerts to find other artists as subjects of my research question. As for references, the needs of artistic referencing are specific and collecting like-minded art requires time.
I also wish that the composing period could have happened during a time with more sun and warmth. It was a challenge to bring instruments to the forest with snow everywhere, restricting my composing outdoors in nature. At the same time, the challenge had some positive impact. If I could bring the drums, balafon or violin to the forest, the music would sound quite different. Due to the ambient weather limitations, I composed music based on strummed kokle, bowed kokle and kalimba, as these instruments were more mobile and less fragile in the cold winter weather.
In future research I hope to continue exploring the philosophy from psychiatrist Jordan Peterson (2019) to inspire individuals taking responsible, moral actions for a higher good. I also intend to continue developing ways of putting those ideas into my own practice of being a responsible artist who is aware of present societal issues and giving them a voice. I wish to spread this philosophy to other artists, to inspire artists and myself to act as responsible individuals who have the power of giving a voice to the necessary issues and topics. To be responsible artists.
The outcomes of my project could form the basis for other artistic research studies, perhaps exploring music composition in other natural environments or during other seasons, for individual musicians or groups of musicians. My work could also be used as part of a study programme to further develop the relationship between music creation and mental health challenges and the ways we are able to process difficult emotions arising from societal issues and carrying on with hope.