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Urban Studies
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The peculiarities of emotional impact and therapeutic properties of wooden sculptures / Особенности эмоционального воздействия и терапевтические свойства деревянных скульптур

Чеглаков Александр Дмитриевич

художник, член Творческого союза художников России

117593, Россия, г. Москва, бул. Литовский, 13/12, кв. 507

Cheglakov Aleksandr Dmitrievich

Painter, Member of the Union of Russian Artists

117593, Russia, g. Moscow, bul. Litovskii, 13/12, kv. 507

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Аннотация: В статье рассматривается способность воздействия деревянных скульптур и объектов на психоэмоциональное состояние человека. Автор подчёркивает, что постепенно расширяющаяся пропасть между человеком и природой, выражающееся в масштабном и стремительном развитии крупных городов и перехода природного фактора в них на второстепенный план, порождает совершенно новое проблемное исследовательское и прикладное поле, требующее создания оперативных механизмов снятия нарастающего напряжения в ситуации отчуждения от природы. Говорится о том, что одним из последних достижений европейского научного сообщества является выделение данной проблематики в качестве nature deficit disorder (синдрома дефицита природы), а также появляющихся первых шагов в попытке разрешить данный вопрос в формате природных терапий – особых способов взаимодействия человека с природой. В статье прослеживается и анализируется возможность использования деревянной скульптуры в качестве одного из инструментов стабилизации психоэмоционального и физического состояния человека посредством взаимодействия с натуральным материалом, с достаточно лаконичным и с естественными формами. Тем самым, разработка деревянных скульптур и включение их в тренинговые, образовательные и реабилитационные программы позволяет говорить о свойствах деревянной скульптуры, как о доступном и эффективном инструменте терапии.

Ключевые слова:

мегаполис, арт-терапия, экотерапия, деревянная скульптура, художественная обработка дерева, синдром дефицита природы, художественные произведения, экологическая психология, декоративно-прикладное искусство, урбанистическое пространство

Abstract: This article explores the ability of wooden sculptures and objects to influence psychoemotional state of a person. It is noted that the expanding gap between man and nature due to the rapid development of large cities along with the natural factor receding into the background, generate the fundamentally new problematic and applied field that requires the creation of operational mechanisms to release the growing tension in the context of alienation from nature. It is stated that one of the recent achievements of the European scientific community consists in classification of this problematic as the nature deficit disorder, as well as in first steps towards resolving this issue in form of natural therapies – specific ways of human interaction with nature. The author traces and analyzes the possibility of using wooden sculpture as one of the instruments for stabilization pf psychoemotional and physical state of a person via interaction with natural material. Thus, the development of wooden sculptures and their inclusion into training, educational and rehabilitation programs indicates the properties of wooden sculpture as an affordable and effective therapeutic instrument.


a metropolis, an art therapy, an ecotherapy, a wooden sculpture, artistic woodworking, a nature deficit disorder, works of art, environmental psychology, arts and crafts, an urban space

The peculiarities of modern existence of a citizen in the rhythm of multitasking and incessant haste due to the constantly increasing speed of life of a metropolis give rise to many problems associated not only with obvious medically diagnosed physical complications, but also with the properties of the psychoemotional state, which may turn out to be not so noticeable, lurking in themselves dangerous consequences. At first glance, the gradual disappearance of the natural component of human life does not lead many people to tangible stress and painful conditions – indeed, there is a certain part of the city’s residents who feel more comfortable in an urban environment, feel a certain freedom, thanks to the constant availability of all kinds of goods and services. However, physiologists, psychologists, sociologists, educators, i.e. representatives of many scientific research areas are inclined to see megacities as a huge threat to the “natural component” of a person, which consists in disrupting the natural biorhythms of human life in a difficult ecological situation – it is a fundamental problem for a city dweller.

The role of ecology has become vital in the modern world. The pursuit of a sustainable lifestyle is becoming not only a necessity, but also a fashion trend, giving rise to a huge industry of numerous companies that proclaim an ecological lifestyle, but do not follow it in reality. However, the word “ecology” has an important origin (it means a dwelling and a place of residence in the broadest sense of the word from the Greek “oikos”). Thus, ecology is already becoming not only a science about a complex multistructural system of living organisms, studying its organization and functioning of biosystems at various levels, their relationship with inanimate nature [4; 9], but also in the modern sense of this word implies a lifestyle of society that is in harmony with the environment, as well as the actualization of the problem of protecting the flora and fauna of the earth. First of all, it is important to note that ecology in the modern sense acts not only as a complex of information about the mutual connection of all living and inanimate in the world with all around us and it is not only an object of human understanding of a path of scientific and technological progress and attempts to master nature or to find some kind of harmony in existence with it at different levels of human development, but it also contains a psychological aspect. One of the new research areas that are at the stage of formation is the branch of environmental psychology, which consists in the study of the relationship between man and nature [7, p. 31].

The problem of the relationship between two sciences: psychology and ecology, namely the interaction between man and the environment, lies in the fact that the rapid technological progress has made the familiar natural habitat of man, to which he has become accustomed for several centuries, now practically alien. The indicated process set the basis for such a phenomenon as the dehumanization of human existence and a departure from nature – this trend reaches its apogee in the current generation of children, who may not distinguish domestic animals from wild ones and may not even know their species. The abrupt development of modern technologies has a very tangible effect on the human psyche; it is ecological psychology that deals with the study of this kind of problem.

One of the recent issues in this research area is the identification of a nature deficit disorder, which is encountered by almost every person living in fairly large cities and metropolitan areas and, according to a number of psychologists, carries a danger especially for the nervous system of children at the stage of its formation. Richard Louv, a contemporary publicist and a researcher of the relationship between the society and family, is one of the founders of this research direction, the main principles of which he outlined in the world famous essay “Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder” (2005). Having initiated the use of the term “nature deficit disorder”, Louv tried to draw general attention to the problem of negative consequences for individual health and social structure in a situation of a lack of physical contact with the natural world. Especially, in his opinion, each person and children in particular lacks the unrecorded secluded experience of communication with nature, which ultimately leads to a number of physiological and psycho-emotional disorders, namely obesity, decreased cognitive and creative abilities, depression [10]. Gradually developing researches in this problem area, highlighting the ecological, social, physiological, psychological consequences of the growing gap between man and nature, create a field for the development of a completely new instrumental apparatus, which allows, if not completely eradicate the problem, then at least find ways to reduce the emerging and ever-growing tension.

Psychologists, physiologists, educators, artists and other specialists are currently in an active search for methods that will allow a person who is in a state of constant pressure due to living in a metropolis to reduce stress levels through direct and indirect communication of a person with nature as such or its components in the form of natural products, utilitarian devices made from natural materials, audio and visual effects.

One of the most obvious and trivial ways to reduce the deficit of nature is the search and construction of fundamentally new ways of communication with the outside world and, first of all, with nature [1]. Of course, it makes no sense to proclaim the rejection of the achievements of scientific and technological progress, to return to the lifestyle of a primitive man who is in the closest and the most dependent relationship with nature, but the search for some new means and tools for everyday communication with the natural environment for humans is undoubtedly one of the promising and priority areas. For example, in a joint project between the USA and Canada, the animated soup opera “Nature cat” [11] was developed, the purpose of which, through the development of sympathy for the protagonist, was to create an exciting appearance of the environment, and to inspire children to discover the external world outside the comfort of their home. Indeed, using modern technologies that are interesting for today’s generation of children, one can try to establish a contact between them and nature, however, the use of digital and multimedia technologies in solving this problem is not the best way, since it only additionally increases the background level of stress from supplementary moments of communication with the man-made world.

Another, of course, more effective without accompanying negative consequences method is dendrotherapy – a successfully developing modern direction of psychological assistance and supportive therapy. First of all, dendrotherapy can be both active and involved in nature, and rather indirect, consisting, for example, in large-scale citywide landscaping of the urban space [3], aimed at improving the general situation, emotional and physical state of the urban population, however, not included in the individual characteristics of each member of a society and various mechanisms of experiencing stress from a lack of connection with nature.

Dendrotherapy consists not only in the process of inclusion of the natural environment into the urban space by means of greening large cities and areas of important infrastructural significance, but also in the formation of institutions of “forest education” [2], which originated in the 20th century in the Scandinavian countries and is widely spread today. The so-called “forest schools” in the phase of active development can be found already in countries such as Sweden, Denmark, Great Britain, and Germany. The Scandinavian model of the “forest school” is a long-term educational project, the purpose of which is, first of all, to maintain the social, emotional, physical development of children by maintaining constant contact with the natural environment in the form of outdoor activities, long trips, etc. This direction, of course, is quite promising and represents a fundamental solution to the problem of nature deficit, which is especially acute for modern children. However, the creation of the institute of “forest schools” requires either large-scale public investments and the construction of a new educational standard with a long-term perspective, or private initiatives that will not have a unified nature and may carry completely different understanding of the existing problem, offer completely absolutely diverse ways to solve it.

To a greater extent, in the proposed article, we would like to focus on the fact that, despite the existing methods of working with the nature deficit disorder, it is necessary to come up with a universal and accessible tool that would allow a person to have constant contact with nature, which does not require energy-intensive efforts and time, which for the urban person of the XXI century is an invaluable resource that requires very careful management.

The problem of human alienation from nature and the search for a solution to this issue set a huge trend not only for an eco-oriented lifestyle, but also for the desire to include nature in urban everyday life. One of the obvious and practically realizable mechanisms is the creation of a space filled with objects made of natural materials, with which a person could come into contact every day, thereby creating a channel for the indirect communication with nature. The most accessible (to reasonable limits) material that has an extremely beneficial effect on the psychoemotional and physical state of a person turned out to be a tree. The sedative and therapeutic properties of wood as an organic material make it one of the leading sources for the manufacture of basic and auxiliary tools, toys, figures and sculptures, used not only for treatment purposes, but additionally in the educational process.

In our opinion, a wooden sculpture, which with its tactile and visual qualities will personify a rather mobile fragment of nature, which can be constantly with a person and help to survive difficult stressful situations, regardless of time and the location of the person, can become an undoubted tool that can restore the connection between nature and man. Sculptures made of wood evoke associations with the forest, nature, and the natural environment in humans. Such associations are especially strongly felt during a contact with those sculptures in which artists strive primarily to emphasize the natural beauty of the material: the texture of the wood surface, shades of color of various types of wood, graceful curves of roots and branches, complex volumes of trunks. Fragments of wood taken from the forest, turning into a sculpture, become a kind of bridge between nature and culture. Various types of contact with nature are carried out when an artist processes wood, seeking to see it as an artistic image; or when a viewer sees the finished sculpture, and also has the opportunity to touch it.

In our artistic practice, working with wood, we came to the conclusion that wooden sculptures become, in a sense, a method of studying nature. Sculptural compositions from wood teach both the artist and the viewer to look more closely at nature, to discover its beauty and endless variability of forms. Wooden sculpture helps to discern something familiar and close in nature, thereby getting closer to it and making up for the lack of contact with the natural principle. Thus, wooden sculptures, which are on the verge of natural and artistic objects, can become an excellent tool in combating the nature deficit disorder, and it is important to note that this tool can always be within reach, for example, as a piece of furniture. Thanks to wooden sculptures, a person does not have to go to the forest to feel contact with nature, because a fragment of it, a reminder of it can always be at hand.

In our opinion, artistic woodworking and a contact with the results of such work can be one of the options for dendrotherapy. The wood processed by the artist, due to its naturally pleasant shape and texture, becomes an excellent object that helps to relieve stress. There are several options for contact with a wooden sculpture: visual and tactile. By examining and touching wood sculptures, a person comes into contact with nature through its individual fragment, which helps to reduce stress levels and improve mood.

In our works, we strive to preserve the natural beauty of wooden fragments as much as possible, without losing, but emphasizing their shape, texture and color. This approach seems to us to be as environmentally friendly as possible: we urge to see objects in trees that are not inferior to cultural objects in their beauty and value. In addition, art objects created according to this concept preserve as much as possible the beneficial therapeutic properties that can be contained in trees.

Communicating with viewers and colleagues about wooden sculptures, we have repeatedly noted the impressions of people. Many of them admitted that art objects made of wood evoke rewarding associations connected with nature and harmonious coexistence with it. They also noted that the sculptures are pleasant to touch, it calms and makes you more attentive to your feelings. In general, wooden sculptures, preserving the natural beauty of wood, incline the viewer to a contemplative, serene mood, and also allow you to temporarily take a break from the dynamic urban rhythm by touching something durable and ancient.

Indeed, there is no better way to cope with the deficit of natural and real in human life than to send him or her to the forest for dendrotherapy, restore harmony and return to the usual rhythm of life. However, therapies of this kind can cause unpleasant consequences in the form of constant adaptation of the body after a sharp change in lifestyle from an urban high-speed rhythm to a slow natural one and vice versa. Constant transitions between these two diametrically opposite states can be for a person no less, if not more painful than permanent living in an unnatural rhythm for a person without a contact with nature, in which the most of urban population of the world currently lives [6].

The main confirmation of the need for communication between a person and nature through interaction with natural materials throughout life and, especially, in childhood during the formation of the nervous system, the development of fine motor skills and abstract thinking is, for example, the currently widespread pedagogical system of Maria Montessori [5], based on the need to create a favorable educational environment for a child, the methodological basis of which is wooden teaching materials and toys [8].

In the current world, where a significant part of the population, living in cities, experiences the nature deficit disorder, the problem of restoring the balance of man and nature sounds even more urgent than before. The task of harmonizing nature and culture is faced by various specialists, including ecologists, psychologists and even artists.

Summing up, we emphasize once again that it is the wooden sculpture that allows you to avoid a traumatic transition from the states of dissolution in the natural environment and/or merging with the urban world. Thus, we offer another effective way and the tool for reducing stress in the nature deficit disorder, which consists in using wooden sculpture as a mechanism for mediated communication with nature in the urban conditions. Wooden sculptures can be an excellent auxiliary tool to reduce the stress level of an urban person and maintain a more stable and harmonious psychological state.

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В журнал «Урбанистика» автор представил свою статью «Особенности эмоционального воздействия и терапевтические свойства деревянных скульптур», в которой поднимается вопрос об исследовании нехватки у современных детей и взрослых, проживающих в крупных городах, возможности общения с живой природой как социокультурного феномена.
Статья представлена на английском языке.
Актуальность данного исследования обусловлена тем, что особенности современного существования горожанина в ритме многозадачности и вечной нехватки времени в условиях увеличивающейся скорости жизни мегаполиса приходит к многочисленным проблемам не только медицинского, но и психоэмоционального характера. Последние представляют собой серьезную проблему, поскольку могут быть незаметны в начале, но иметь более серьезные пролонгированные последствия, так как приводят к нарушениям естественных биоритмов.
Автор исходит в изучении данного вопроса из того, что роль экологии в современном мире невозможно переоценить. Автор трактует понятие экология не только как науку, изучающую сложную систему взаимодействия и функционирования организмов и биосистем, но и как образ жизни современного общества в гармонии с живой природой, охрану флоры и фауны планеты. Автор остро осознает важность изучения проблемы взаимодействия природы и человека с психологической точки зрения как нового уровня человеческого развития, предлагая рассматривать изучаемую проблему с позиции экологической психологии.
Несомненным достоинством статьи является тщательный анализ научных трудов, посвященных проблемам синдрома дефицита общения с природой и путей его устранения. В исследовании приведена полемика ученых, работавших в данном научном направлении, и обзор имеющихся научных подходов и направлений исследования. Автором рассмотрены работы Ричарда Лоува и такие методы как дендротерапия, использование цифровых и мультимедиа технологий, образовательный проект «лесная школа».
Анализируя избранную тему, автор преследует цель – разработать универсальное и доступное средство, которое позволит человеку иметь постоянный близкий контакт с природой, и которое не потребует больших усилий и временных затрат. Для достижения указанной цели автором предлагается механизм, заключающийся в создании пространства, наполненного объектами, созданными из натуральных материалов.
Самым доступным и легко достижимым способом обрести гармонию с живой природой, с точки зрения автора, является создание человеком деревянных скульптур. Этот процесс не только оказывает успокаивающее воздействие на психику человека, но и несет в себе творческий и образовательный компонент, тем самым позволяя создать постоянный опосредованный контакт с живой природой, учиться познавать и ценить красоту окружающего мира. Такой вид деятельности представляется автору особенно полезным для развития детской психики, моторики, абстрактного мышления.
В качестве методологической базы автором использованы описательный анализ и метод изучения научных текстов.
Проведя исследование, автор приходит к выводу, что в современном мире проблема дефицита общения с природой, восстановления баланса между человеком и природой звучит как никогда актуально. Задача поиска гармонии между природой и культурой заботит сейчас не только творческих людей, но и психологов и экологов. Создание и созерцание деревянных скульптур может стать действенным механизмом снижения уровня стресса от проживания в мегаполисах.
Итак, представляется, что автор в своем материале затронул важные для современного социогуманитарного знания вопросы, избрав для анализа актуальную тему, рассмотрение которой в научно-исследовательском дискурсе помогает некоторым образом изменить сложившиеся подходы или направления анализа проблемы, затрагиваемой в представленной статье.
Полученные результаты позволяют утверждать, что проблематика изучения экологической культуры, а именно гармонизации отношений между человеком, культурой и природой, представляет несомненный научный и практический культурологический интерес и позволяет проследить специфику нахождения каналов общения человека с живой природой посредством творчества.
Библиография позволила автору очертить научный дискурс по рассматриваемой проблематике (было использовано 11 источников, в том числе и зарубежных).
Представленный в работе материал имеет четкую, логически выстроенную структуру с выделением в отдельные параграфы введения, проблемного поля и заключения. Без сомнения, автор выполнил поставленную цель, получил определенные научные результаты, позволившие обобщить материал. Этому способствовал адекватный выбор соответствующей методологической базы.
Следует констатировать: статья может представлять интерес для читателей и заслуживает того, чтобы претендовать на опубликование в авторитетном научном издании.