Richard Clarkson has always been fascinated with superpowers. Presented with the opportunity to study Superpowers for his Masters thesis, he began by researching where the desire for powers comes from. Early psychological experiments included ‘Sculpt-your-own-power’ and ‘Masks of power’ which encouraged participants to reflect on what their true power was. Richard comments that Superpowers could be dissected into two distinct elements:
“Firstly ‘the super’—a fantastic abstraction of oneself. This is based primarily on the wish fulfillment for powers we covet but can never posses. Secondly ‘the power’—an intrinsic understanding of oneself, one's weaknesses, strengths and uniqueness. This form of power is something we already posses, hidden, forgotten or undervalued. In conversation with expert, such as Superhero artist Issa Ibraham, Richard discovered that the second kind of power was accessible through discourse of the first.”
Further research into mythology, psychology and philosophy (including works from Joseph Campbell) led the thesis from exploring discourse to one of creating experiences. These experiences of the joy and delight relating to power can be leveraged to create a kind of inward reflection. Richard calls such experience-objects "Moments of Power."
Moments of Power represent a series of referenced gestures, actions and postures that allow participants to feel powerful; a sensory experience of being more than human, followed by a reflective experience of discovery. The extrinsic and the intrinsic come together for a brief moment to create meaningful delight.
In the following semester Richard will expand on and refine certain areas of research such as experiential design, further exploration of what denotes remarkability in different cultures, and methods for better reaching inward reflection through sensory experiences. He continues to develop the Moments of Power collection in preparation for his Masters Thesis Presentation show in May 2014.