The ‘practice-based’ aspect of the research will be concentrating on modes of interpretation and perception: design decisions and authorial intent that create narratives from the basic stories, that can make the use of Greek Mythology so adaptable in explaining modern phenomena.
A case study of the ‘myth of Sisyphus’ has been selected due to its historical and recent application in British political cartoons. To this end, a visual lexicon is under construction entitled ‘The paradigm of Sisyphus’. Within a typological study, Sisyphus can be seen to represent futile exertion and the recipient of a great burden. However, so many factors determine the extent of the futility and the weight of the burden. The age, race, class, gender, (images derived from the myth of Sisyphus have been used to convey idea of the impossible task facing the suffragettes-Punch, 13th July 1910), weight and mood of Sisyphus all affect the meaning of the image. The size, weight, texture and material of the boulder, the gradient of the slope, the weather, the time of day or whether he is pushing the boulder up the hill or it is tumbling down the other side offering him a moment of respite, each contribute to alternative connotations to the basic concept of the myth.
Applications and design decisions of visual rhetoric using irony, antithesis, metonymy, pun, metaphor, personification and hyperbole adapt the story and contribute to its versatility to represent so many different narratives. All combinations deliver slightly or drastically different connotations to the meaning.
Drawing practice makes pushing the boulder up the hill possible. Without the practice element the burden would be just hypothetical.