Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Reflections on a project

Reflections on what I actually did in this most recent project (repetition, scale, participation project)

Basically it’s a process of letting go of the beliefs and preconceptions I have about what to make and encouraging myself to think of the outcome in other terms, in many ways.

1st I did the first thing that came to mind, knowing that it was just a way to get started and wasn’t the final piece. I now realize that was the preconceived idea. Still, I was trying to play and see what it could say, but it wasn’t successful because I was making it into something or trying to.

2nd Next, I became more specific. I wrote down all the processes I used for my daily practice - from moving the scanner while scanning to adding another image or word to an existing one. I kept in mind the criteria of the assignment: repetition and scale and participation. (I came up with a handful of ideas for the moon paper, but that seemed to easy for what it could become – it already looked like another world. Also, I didn’t want to mess up such a pretty image. Also, I had used the ink square image in the preconceived attempt already, so I went back to that one. It seemed more challenging because it was just a square of ink on paper) What else could it be? What else could it be that would reflect those criteria? I began jotting down ideas for what it reminded me of or what I could do to it. A fish tank/pool? Crumple up? Scan moving? Print out, step on with foot, rescan? Etc. Somewhere around the 15th idea, an image of people jumping on the print as if the black ink square were a trampoline popped into my head. I immediately saw how this idea connected to participation so that is when I decided this was the right image to apply the daily practice to (not the moon paper image)

3rd I began applying the daily practice processes to the image. More ideas came to mind as I went along. The idea to use the light table, placing different colored papers as a background to the image as I scanned it moving, a sequence of the paper unfolding etc. And I thought more about the trampoline idea and the idea came that I should have a video recording in the room with the trampoline that would record and project the people jumping on the wall – (kind of projecting a sort of print on to the wall of that image that is a print to start with, so seeing the relationship to print)

Many ideas could have fit into that criteria. Why did I go with this idea?

In addition to the three criteria: repetition, scale, participation, I try to have the objective for my work that it will give people happiness to see, that it will be beautiful. I don’t always remember this personal objective, but when I do, my work is most resolved and understood.

What else made this project/process successful? Looking back, the solution came to me. I did not overanalyze or over think, though I did get frustrated at the beginning. After I did that first preconcieved experiment, I wasn’t sure what to do next. Applying the daily practice was in the back of my mind. It had been from the time I got the assignment and I had a vision of Laura’s moon-paper as another world. But then I started thinking that is too easy and too repetitive of something I have already done. And I got more frustrated. Then I thought, well, at least I would enjoy doing the daily practice, the image-making aspect of it, maybe it will lead somewhere and if nothing else, it will fill a wall. So that’s when I began to think about how to apply the daily practice to the image and which image would be best to use (moon paper or ink square)

The key to the success of the project? There is not one key. It seems to be a combination of the following factors:

1) Criteria
2) The process to use (the ones I'd used for the daily practice)
3) My approach or mindset – (a question of what could this be?)
4) A given object/subject/image to manipulate

Other pieces of the puzzle:

- I need to be able to create something entirely new myself, to think of something or discover something new.

- It is not only about coming up with an idea, but seeing that a-ha! That idea fits to these criteria too!

- **** The approach. I am not saying this is what it can be (preconcieved attempt) I am asking what can this become? I am pretending it can become anything. Not only what can it become? But also, what can it say? How can it look?

- When something is not quite right, I question it in my mind and I tend to ask others if they think it works or not. In other words, I am not sure. When something is right, I know it right away and there is no feeling to 2nd guess myself.

In summery:

The daily practice application is only one piece and one step. It can help me loosen up and FIGURE OUT HOW TO ASK THE QUESTION OF WHAT CAN SOMETHING BE? But I also must have criteria and an objective and a thing to alter. Sometimes, I am also asking: What can something say? In other words, what can the message become?

****Asking what can this become? Invites my motivation, energy, essentially My CURRIOSITY to motivate me. If I start out thinking I know what something is, I start feeling like what is the point? Indeed, there isn’t one – at least not internally.

This whole realization is easy to forget. I’m sure I have realized it several times along the way and then I end up pushing it aside and going back to the habit of not asking a question of what something can become. (and instead, I make something into something right away without asking what else it could be, then the result can seemed forced) When I see criteria, it is so easy to think, well, that’s what it is, rather than to ask What can the given subject say in relation to the criteria?

Even if I make something into something 10 different ways, that is not the same approach as ASKING WHAT ELSE CAN THIS BECOME? 10 DIFFERENT TIMES!!!

Ideas for applying this project to future projects:

1. Book
2. Use images of books
3. About becoming
What can this book look like? How can these images relate to one another? How can this book of books show this message of becoming? How can it bring happiness to readers? What else can the story be?

1. book
2. use water, food coloring images
3. sequence
4. transformation shown
What can these images be? What sequence can they go in? How can they relate to the criteria?

Finally, what does all this say about my work and can it help me write a thesis?
I have come to realize that my most successful work happens when I define the criteria, and then I ask now what can the given become in relation to the criteria? Regardless of the requirements, I seek to create work that would give people happiness to see. And I am continually fascinated by topics where I can see or show or discover a relationship between humans and our environment.