Week 3: Invention & Innovation

Read the assessment outline carefully and jot down what you need to include in the profile statement.
“A professional profile statement (250 words) that describes your practice. For example, what medium/ media do you work with? What are the ideas, concepts, and techniques you explore in your practice? What are the broader contexts or fields you work within?”

Find and compare biographies of 2 creative practitioners (look at least one of those listed below and find one other). Look at the style of writing and the structure the biographies take. Look at how the work is presented and where. Assess the logic of the design – does it support a coherent narrative about the persons’ practice?
Chris Anderson – Yes
Jess Cochrane – Yes

Does the platform adequately support the content and its claims? What perspective is used?
Chris Anderson – Yes, I like the way his design works and projection works are separated into different tabs on the website.  The biography is written in third person.
Jess Cochrane – Yes, this website seems to have more content, so the layout of the website compliments it well – the works/commercial/press/shop are all separated. The biography is written in third person.

What elements are included?
Chris Anderson – Has stills of each of his works, when you select each still, it opens a page that has a short description about the work and more images of the work.
Jess Cochrane – Has a list of her works under the drop downs in the menu, when you select a work it opens up several images which you can scroll through, or look at all of the thumbnails.  Her works don’t have descriptions.

How is the interaction design – does it support a narrative unfolding? Does it follow a STAR structure or something like it?
Chris Anderson – The narrative unfolds here yes, but not as specifically as the STAR example; however, it showcases the same narrative, it is just written differently.
Jess Cochrane – The narrative unfolds here too, but in a much more minimalistic fashion, which is seen throughout the whole website.

What tone does it take?
Chris Anderson – Expressive and showcases the people he has worked for.
Jess Cochrane – Minimalistic but informative.

Which statements are effective?
I found it interesting that I found that they were both just as effective as one another at explaining their practice, despite they differing approaches.

Which fail and why do they fail?
I believe that both are successful.  However, it depends on how the viewer receives information.  Jess’ was brief and presented the information succinctly, whereas Chris’ was more informative and you learnt more from his description and didn’t have to look as deeply into his website to learn about him. This could be a negative, depending on how you look at it – Jess’ forced the viewer to look deeper into her website to learn more information, which, if the viewer was interested enough, would work well, but if they were just quickly looking briefly it may not be as effective. Whereas Chris’ gave more information about his practice, which could deter and viewer for exploring further.

Draft your story by using by listing 5 skills or qualities you need to include in your statement that relate to your field – think about how you can demonstrate them using the STAR systems. Sketch these narrative out as a means of clarifying your story. You can include software skills generically (e.g. 3d visualisation), there is no need to be specific here (e.g. Maya) – this may be listed in your list of works.

  • Video Production
  • Multimedia skills
  • Attention to detail
  • Organisation and Administration
  • Initiative and Creativity

Draft your own short statement that will provide the introduction and frame for your portfolio given the evidence and examples you’ve developed above.
Chelsea is in her final year of a Bachelor of Digital Media at The University of Wollongong.  Her works are focused on the creation and design of all things digital using the mediums of video, 2D and 3D animation and photography.  Her works explore the ideas of experience and how we, as a society, interact with the world around us.  She explores these ideas in several different ways using different mediums that aim to help us to think about the world around us. Her works and experience have honed her skills in good communication, organisational skills and the importance of attention to detail.

Week 2: Some Questions on Theory and Practice

Our class discussion revolved around Theory and Practice:

Have a brief look at Terry Eagleton’s introduction to his classic textbook Literary Theory: An Introduction. Note how he begins to address literature as a theory.

Given this approach can you provide a definition of what theory is?

  • Theories govern everything we do
  • Everything we do every day has some kind of thought behind it
  • Contemplation and speculation
  • “If there is a thing called literary theory then there must be literature.”
  • Discourse affecting practice

Given this definition why ‘do theory’?
To understand the process behind something – i.e. a text, work of art

How is theory different from research? How might they compliment each other – does one require the other? Are theory and practice fundamentally different practices? Why? How? In what ways are they similar? In what ways are they different?

  • Theory is empty without research – Stephanie Garner 2k17
  • We need context
  • Marcel Duchamp’s fountain – relevant to art at the time
  • Understand how discourse is played out

Is theory useful to art practice? how? How might the use of theory (a critically engagement and /or invention of concepts) – propel a project?
“I’m always doing theory when I’m making.”  Theory could propel a project in a certain direction, having followed the ideas of the theory/ist.

Many artists resist theory. Can theory dangerous/counterproductive to art practice? how?
Whilst I previously listed that following theory could be useful, it could also be interpreted negatively.  Instead of allowing a project to develop by itself, following the ideals of a theory could allow a project to steer in another direction.

Can you name an example when theory has moved your practice forward? Which theories? Why?
Jo?
Walter Benjamin – thinking about practice, rather than making an artwork, shifts your lens from looking at it differently.

What is future?
We were then asked to form groups and look into the works/texts that we brought to class.

How many versions of what is future can you come up with? How many theories can you generate by asking this question? Which ones generate the most interesting questions? How do the particular futures which you have found work? Or rather ask what work do they do, or functions of they serve within our culture and society, what work do they do, or function do they serve for the individual?

My group discusses three ideals:

  • Restorative Futures
  • Impact of Technics
  • The Unknown of Technics.

Restorative Futures stemmed from my research of Hayden Fowler’s work:

  • Humans have ‘destroyed’ the planet and it’s desolate, but nature is coming back.
  • Nature will prevail.
  • Different dystopian interpretation of what could happen to our world.
  • Art is now being used as an avenue of creating awareness, particularly with political issues. It tries to bring about change in society.
  • Artists use art to predict their own idea of the future.

The Unknown of Technics:

  • Unlimited possibilities.
  • Dependency in life and in art.
  • Transferred art practice.
  • Art never sits still anymore, it transforms very quickly because of technology.
  • Art becomes a fad, then fades, then becomes art again.
  • Society depends on technology.

Impact of Technics:

  • Technology had alienated us from nature
  • A melancholic picture of what people once enthusiastically hoped would be better for the future
  • Julian Rosefeldt’s work.

These ideals/theories in relation to tense:

  • Restorative Fantasy: projected very far into the future, but it stems from current, contemporary issues.
  • The Unknown of Technics: Living in this now, constant, always unknown, no answer.
  • Impact of Technics: Past, current, future. Technology had shaped out contemporary society.

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Week 1: The Creative Process

This week we were introduced to the MEDA302 subject and ‘The Creative Process’.  We looked into the terms art, craft, research, futures and technology and what they meant in general practice.  We then moved into groups to workshop these ideals and how they can be interpreted in art practice.  We did this using a Venn Diagram.

My group began by working out the relationships between Art, Craft and Research.  Within our diagram, we looked at what we thought was a basic definition:

  • Research is existing knowledge that passed on or investigated.
  • Craft is following steps or instructions to create something.
  • Art is creating something without following rules/steps.

We then looked deeper, discussing what that meant in the world at large:

  • Research is a documenting process which fuels art and crafts.
  • Craft is a practical/tactile/tangible skill, it requires understanding materials, allows the creator to refine their skills and is used for a functional and commercial use.
  • Art is driven by passion, it challenges ideas, comments on social, political and cultural issues and is subjective and can be interpreted in many different ways.

We then decided to think about how these words would fit into a tense:

  • Research looks at things that have come before – past.
  • Craft looks at present days thinking – current.
  • Art looks at possible outcomes – future.

We then filled in the gaps between these three terms:

  • Between art and research was culture, materialising ideas and innovation.
  • Between research and craft was practise, discovery and trial and error.
  • Between craft and art was material, medium and aesthetics.
  • The centre, or cross-section between these three terms was time and power.

We then put our projects from last semester into a category we thought was the most appropriate:

  • Chloe was in my group and we decided that our work would fit between research and art.
  • Our work was also a piece that reflected on historical events that acknowledged what was happening in our contemporary society and looked forward into the future.

We also thought about other examples and where they fit:

  • Artists who used all three were, Quentin Tarrantino, Picasso and Ai Wei Wei.
  • Kevin Townsend was between art and craft.

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We then were asked to introduce the idea of technology into this diagram and shuffle the groups.

  • We placed the idea of digital art and technology between research and art.
  • We placed new technology and invention between research and craft.
  • We reinforced the idea of materials between craft and art.

We looked at energy and technology and where they would fit:

  • In art/potential energy there was VR and AR.
  • In craft/kinetic energy thee was drones and 3D printing.
  • In between we had Bitcoin/Crypto Currency.

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We were then asked to analyse our project from 301, as we didn’t get time in class to work on it, I have reflected on it individually.

What other works were suggested or potentialised/marginalised in these junctures or turning points?
Our group went through a huge amount of development during our time working on the assessment.  At the beginning our work’s iterations weren’t that different, but as each week progressed, they began to look completely different.  We endeavoured to try out any ideas we had for the work, sometimes even trying several ideas in one week before deciding they weren’t the avenue we wanted to go down.  Therefore, most of the paths that we thought we could possibly take the work were explored, however, if we had more time to continue working on it, I think we would have tried to make the technological elements more refined and potentially have played around with the space a bit more.

Describe at least three other forms this work had taken or what alternative paths may have it developed along?
– Our starting work was the idea of an interactive typewriter, where we had a photograph of a typewriter on a television laying flat that sat atop a table, with a letter being typed out on a television screen in front of the table.
– We then tried to branch out by presenting other stories about power, we had three different stories being told: a projection of a storybook, a hand written letter that hung from the ceiling and our original letter and typewriter.  We realised, however, that this was showcasing other ways of storytelling, rather than actually telling a story ourselves.
– We also created a ‘room’ out of sheets and tulle and had the letter projection and the television inside the space, but it just didn’t flow the way we wanted it to.  However, it was the seed that created our idea of making the space a ‘room’.

Make a list of 5 questions that your work posed? They may be technical or conceptual?
What was the writing explaining?
Who had belonged in this space?
Why had they left a space they obviously cared for?
Does this work resonate in contemporary society?
If so, what does that mean to me?

What was successful or interesting about your work – or the ideas it suggested or evoked in its virtual forms?
Our work was an immersive space that invited the audience into the piece.  I think our piece had enough information that the audience could understand what message was contained it, but it left enough room that the audience had to work it out themselves.  I think the most interesting part of our work was that, despite it being rooted in the experiences of the Vietnam War, it could be interpreted or relevant or another war/refugee experience.  I think it also caused the audience, or at least for me, to think about how this resonates in contemporary society and what our current stance is on the refugee crisis.

Do you feel motivated/compelled to continue some aspect of this work or process?
Do you have another project or interest in mind?
We have been asked during this semester to think about the idea of futures.  Our work drew from the past, represented our contemporary society and asked its audience to think about what it meant for their future.  I would be interested to try and express this idea in another way.  Next week we have been asked to look for a piece of writing about Futures.  The media or writing needs to act like a seed for thinking about futures.  I chose to look at a work New World Order by Hayden Fowler and I think this could potentially be an avenue of exploration as he creates works that are spaces the audience can interact in.

Hayden Fowler’s works are exploring our natural environment, but rather than commenting on its current status, his works are all different dystopian interpretations of what could happen to our world in the future.  “His practice explores the unsettled human relationship with the natural world in the emerging Anthropocene, drawing on the historical conditions that have influenced this engagement” (Human Animal Research Network Editorial Collective 2015, p. 258).  His work New World Order is one of these dystopian interpretations. “Its physical construction and wildlife are a blurred mix of anthropogenic nature, and the work denies a restorative fantasy through the depiction of nature as depleted and transformed” (Fowler 2015, p. 244).  Fowler has created a space that resonates the concept to contemporary society, but the most confronting part is that unlike a lot of recent blockbuster films about apocalyptic scenarios, this actually seems possible.  “Its apocalyptic aesthetics visualise a conceivable future, based on the prevailing environmental crisis” (Fowler 2015, p. 244).

In this work Fowler looks very much into the relationship between art, craft, research and technology and I think it will be a very interesting point to start my investigation into the concept of futures.

https://vimeo.com/61385184

Hayden Fowler – New World Order

References:

Human Animal Research Network Editorial Collective (eds), 2015, ‘About the Contributors’, in Animals in the Anthropocene: Critical Perspectives on Non-Human Futures, Sydney University Press, Sydney, pp. 255-261.

Fowler, H 2015, ‘Epilogue New World Order– nature in the Anthropocene’, in Human Animal Research Network Editorial Collective (eds), Animals in the Anthropocene: Critical Perspectives on Non-Human Futures, Sydney University Press, Sydney, pp. 243-254.

Week 15: Final Touches

This is our final meet up as the assessment is due tomorrow.  On Friday the boys changed the orientation of the whole work, flipping it so that the paper came from a different corner.  They did this to try and fix the problem we have with the messiness the projector brings into the work by being on the floor, so they moved it to a wall to at least hide the power cords and put a sheet over the top.  The problem with this was that even though it helped with the projection issue, the table still looked very ugly and you could see the projector clearly under the table.  As well as this, the actual projection was right next to the table and so the audience couldn’t move around between the ‘book’ and the table.  We spoke to Jo and she agreed that it wasn’t as immersive orientated this way as it was before, so we decided to move it back.  Jo also suggested that we should try and make the window animate slightly to give the perception of time passing there.  We started with the setup while Sam and Sonny went to buy a few knickknacks to adorn the table with as well as white spray paint to colour them to match.  They found a few photo frames and small glasses which we painted white.  When we started to rearrange everything we decided that we would still have the projection issue, so we decided to try on of the electronic photo frames at the bottom of the paper.  It still had a power adapter, but it was much easier to disguise than the whole projector.  We decided that it actually looked quite good and related back the television that we used in the second week.

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We then spent a lot of time ironing the sheets to cover the furniture and making the paper trails while I tried to animate the photo.  I was going to try and change the sky and a few parts of the plant in the photo to look like they were moving.  I began by editing it in Photoshop and separating the layers.  I copied the section onto a new layer with each element and then opened it in After Effects, however because I had copied the element instead of cutting it, the background image remained the same so it didn’t work.  I went back into Photoshop, this time cutting the element onto a new layer, but I had further problems as the window had a very defining fly screen which made the selection process almost impossible.  It was very difficult to do and I wasn’t very optimistic as to how it would turn out when Chloe suggested that there was an app you could use on your phone that could add animated leaves, rain etcetera onto an image.  I looked it up and found a very basic application, which at first I declared useless as it cropped the photo into a square and watermarked the video and we were looking at falling leaves, but they were falling inside the window, not outside.  However, I realised that if I made the image very small in Photoshop and then opened it in the app we could still have it at the correct orientation and remove the watermark, which I did.  It still looked very ordinary so I decided to put a black image into the app and place the filter we liked – a light leak – over it and then I put the image and the video into Premiere and changed the opacity of the filter so that the effect overlaid the image.  I then had to play around with the cropping and mirror the image but it actually ended up looking quite good.  We put the video up and I had to play with the scale again after testing it, but eventually it looked quite good.

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We then set up the paper and the furniture, which went well and it looked good.  We had one left over cut-out sheet left so we decided to put it in one of the frames.  Steph then had the idea to put the cut out words into the other frame, which we did and they contrasted each other really well as we purposely used a black background.  We also installed another red light to brighten the scene.  Finally we just played around with the positioning of the furniture and decided what to do with the remaining words.  We eventually decided to drop the words on the floor as though they had been spilled, this caused us to think about smashing one of the glasses as though it had been knocked over in a hurry.  We broke the glass and arranged it on what would have been a coffee table next to a single lounge chair, it contained some of the works and the rest spilt down onto the floor.  I was worried that it just looked like a pile of paper, so we created another three miniature streams of paper that came out of the other slanted glass and went out to the wall.  The paper on the floor was then strewn out next to the table between the broken glass and the undamaged one, rather than being in the middle of the piece.  We decided that this was the final touch as we were all really happy with it!

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Week 14: Group Meet Up

This week we wanted to solidify as much as we could so we didn’t have a huge amount to do on Monday.  We began by setting everything up again, without the paper trail.  Sonny had created a poem from a story his grandfather told him about coming to Australia to use as our written story.  We came up with the concept of having the story on the paper to better showcase that the story was going from words to the actual physical room surrounding it.  We worked on this throughout the day, but eventually we came up with the concept of printing it on the stronger paper and then cutting out certain words from each sheet so that the paper was filled with missing words.  We wanted to use the cut-out words but we hadn’t deeded how to yet.  We also spoke to Glenn about how we should set up the projector for the typing video, he said that it couldn’t be mounted on the ceiling so we would have to have it on a tripod on the floor.  We put it to the left of the paper, hidden under a sheet-covered table, rather than in front or behind as we felt that it would disrupt the trail of paper or the position you should be in to read the projection.  The problem with this was that we had changed the orientation of the video, which turned out to be a very difficult problem to rectify as whenever I tried to change it, it would warp the footage and it wouldn’t look right.  I said I would work on it on the weekend and the boys were going to come in the following day to play around a bit more and finish the paper with the letters so they would ask Glen how he would fix it.

We just have to install/recreate the paper on Monday and set up everything properly and we should be done!

Study Recess: Supplementary Workshop

We decided to come in during the Study Recess to further improve our work.  Our main objectives for this week were to rearrange the furniture to maximise the space and make it more interactive as well as making sure the concept behind our work was clear.

We didn’t re-do the paper this week as we had to dismantle everything at the end of the lesson, but to make it more interactive and easier to move around, we are going to move the trail of paper out.  To link the paper and the room, I suggested that we should have a book at the bottom of floating paper and it could be a representation of the book pages we are exploring coming to life.  Chloe had the images of the window so we began installing a projector and working out how to arrange the furniture around where the projection would be.  We placed the door in the corner, with furniture on either side and in front of it.  The window then sat to the left of the door.  We thought it looked great, but was very big so we had to scale down the image so it was in proportion to the rest of the space.  I then edited the image so that it was only the window and its frame (as it had the wall on some sides of the images).  We also tried projecting an image of Chloe’s dining table to see what it would look like but unfortunately it just looked like an image on the wall rather than a portion of the space like the window.  We played around with different kinds of furniture including a single and double lounge chairs, but when we put them all together it felt like a lounge room that just didn’t suit the space.  We also tired hanging a plastic chair from the ceiling (which was shown to us as inspiration), it looked okay, but it didn’t really suit the message we were trying to portray and just felt a bit unnecessary.  We decided to use the door, the coffee table and the single double chair – but we’re meeting next week to finalise this.  At this stage we don’t have any screens, this wasn’t a definitive decision, but with the two projections it might not be necessary, but we may include one static television to add to the feeling of a deserted place with no reception.

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Rough production shot as we didn’t have a final presentation. The blue projection is where the window is located.

We then received feedback, which was basically that the message was good, but we needed to reinforce it a bit further as it wasn’t really clear.  The biggest question was what book we were going to use – which we hadn’t decided.  Chloe suggested that we could project something onto the pages at the bottom, and for today we could practice with the video we made in the first week.  We started to work on this to see what it would look like, Sonny and David starting researching what we could put on the pages, while the rest of us started setting up the other projector.  We set up a Qumi Projector but we couldn’t get it to work, so we decided to go back to a big projector.  Glenn has a device that is basically a miniature computer that we plugged into the projector to play the video, but the device hadn’t been updated in months and it didn’t have a video playing program so we had to wait for it to download and update.  It took such a long time that we had to pack up and uninstall in the meantime as we had run overtime, so there was no point in us waiting as we didn’t have anything to project onto.  Glenn said he would have it all ready for us and we will test it next week when we meet up (after the second years have presented their assessments).  We also will work on the text this week so we didn’t pick it in a hurry and it is the right choice for us.

Week 13: Presenting Your Work

This is the final week for our classes.  Our plan this week is to settle on a work we are happy with and then jam with that until the assessment is ready/due.  We were much happier with the work we produced last week so we wanted to build on that.  We decided to break up into smaller groups to get everything done.  David and Sonny were going to put together better videos for us to install in the assessment and were going to experiment with the smaller/frame-like screens.  Chloe had an idea that we should have flying/hanging paper coming out from the floor with the furniture surrounding it so she started creating that.  Steph, Sam and I cleaned up the area we were working in and then started jamming with the space, with the idea of having Chloe’s paper trail in the middle.  Sam found a door that we could use, we put a cardboard box on top of a plinth to try and disguise it and we used a small coffee table.  Chloe started to set up the paper so we then started to set up the lightning.  We put a red light to the right of the paper so it would cast a shadow on the wall.  We decided that it needed to be more vibrant so we put another red light up.  Once all the paper was up we decided to grab a yellow-toned light and close the barn doors so that it formed a thin line that ran from the bottom of the paper up.  We decided that we were going to remove the keyboard this week as it really didn’t have a purpose anymore.  We then added the screens into the installation and jammed a little bit more with the location of all the furniture and we then asked for feedback.

The general consensus was this was the most conceptual-filled work we had done thus far.  The main advice we received was that the furniture was very squished into the corner, so we should bring it out a bit more.  We were also told that it still didn’t really feel like a house, so we discussed projecting an environment onto the white sheets, but we quickly decided that that would be very difficult – particularly as everything has to line up perfectly, which takes a lot of time, and we have to uninstall the work so that the second years can install their assessment in before us.  We then discussed the idea of projecting a window in the empty space to the left of the exhibition.   Chloe said that she has an older-style home so she could photograph her window and we could use that.  We then asked if we could come in next week during the study recess and practice again, which we could, so we decided we would work on it next week.  Our plan is to include the window and concentrate on the placement of the furniture.  My biggest concern was that there wasn’t a huge connection between that pages and the installation, which I think was also reflected in the feedback we received.  Next week I think our main priority is to make sure that the link is clear between the two.