Week 6: Project Pitch – The Multi-Sensory Experience.

My idea for a final project for this subject would be to engage the viewer in a multi-sensory experience. During class we were given the chance to mind-map our fields of practice and our interests, and brainstorm ideas that would align with those. My mind map was… messy – however it greatly clarified the type of project I would like to undertake in the future for this subject.

The other students were then able to add their own feedback and ideas – however having overheard other students struggling to work out where exactly I was going with my thoughts (I thought I’d made it clear, though perhaps it was only clear to me!) I decided to come home and make the thought process a little clearer. From our mind-maps we were told to pitch an MVP (minimal viable project IIRC) – however I believe I would be able to turn this into a full-fledged final project.

I started by centering my initial concept – The immersive digital space. Around this, I placed my 4 key interests and practices: Photography, Digital Media, 3D work, and Sensory Experience. I was then able to link these keywords and create new ones by highlighting their commonalities, in which I was able to come up with concepts for works that I could create. From that I managed to combine several points of interest to create one MVP.

I recreated the mind-map at home to make it a little bit clearer:

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Pink indicates the core concepts and keywords linked directly to those concepts; yellow are ideas created by linking these keywords and concepts together.

The MVP pitch ended up sounding like this:
“To create a 360 degree photographic space viewed through a Virtual-Reality headset, accompanied with a soundscape with headphones”.

I realised upon creating this MVP that I wanted to expand upon this concept entirely and create an entire immersive and 3-dimensional space using sound, image, smells and textures.

There are a couple of artworks I could reference from various gallery visits, but I am particularly drawn to those from the 2012 Biennale in Sydney, entitled All Our Relations; and from the 2014 Biennale, entitled You Imagine What You Desire.

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Looking at all the above images of installations that I have previously experienced reminds me of the experiences I had when viewing them and interacting with them – all very clear memories. This is the kind of response I hope to have with my own work.

As stated previously, I want to expand on my own MVP – to include an entire room and incorporate smells, as well as have projections in 360 degrees of images of places with a soundscape in the room, perhaps with objects that can be interacted with.

I have still yet to decide on exactly the subject matter – however having experimented with soundscapes and panoramic photography in the past, I have a few ideas on how to go about it. I feel like this project would be best achieved in a group – however I am not above doing it myself if need be.

Week 5: Researching My Project

I have decided that I am very keen on creating a multi-sensory experience installation for my final project – with or without a group.

For this to happen I need to engage at least 2 senses, but ideally, I’d like to engage 3-4.

There are the so-called “5 senses” that we are all taught from birth:

Sight, Hearing, Smell, Touch, and Taste.

The obvious senses that I would appeal to would be sight and hearing. Touch would be the next step – and then perhaps even smell. I believe with the time and physical constraints however, it would be a bit hard to incorporate taste effectively.

So how do we engage with the senses?

I believe the easiest sense to engage with is sight – it is the foundation of art, after all. There is the colour theory that dictates the mixing of colours to create harmonious effects – which colours go well and which ones clash, for example.

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The basic colour wheel

Then there is colour psychology to consider – which colours and colour combinations can combine to evoke certain thoughts, feelings, associations and memories.

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A more complex graph that also includes basic colour psychology

In basic colour psychology, the following colours mean the following things:

  • Yellow: Positivity, light, warmth, creativity, motivation.
  • Orange: Vitality, fun, playfulness, exuberancee, youthfulness.
  • Red: Aggression, energy, provocativeness, passion, power.
  • Purple: Royalty, sophistication, nostalgia, mystery, spirituality.
  • Pink: Tenderness, sensitivity, friendship, beauty, compassion.
  • Blue: Trustworthiness, dependability, security, integrity, calmness.
  • Green: Wealth, health, serenity, prestige, abundance.
  • Brown: Earthiness, natural, simplicity, durability, rustic.
  • Black: Prestige, value, timelessness, sophistication, formality.
  • White: Pure, noble, clean, soft, freshness
  • Gold: Elegance, affluence, quality, elite, idealistic.
  • Gray/Silver: Scientific, balance, calm, maturity, cold.

The source for this is quite a fantastic read in itself; although there are flaws – in particular, cultural ones. For example, colours in different countries can mean different things – red in western culture may symbolise passion or aggression – in Chinese culture, it is the colour of luck.

Moving on to sound – sound is a great way to evoke certain feelings – such is the theory of music. Beautiful melodies can evoke feelings of gaiety, and carelessness. Harsh shrieking tones may evoke fear responses – common in soundtracks to horror films; while high pitched notes held for a period of time with harmonies in minor tones emit an overall feeling of melancholy or sadness.

Let’s for one moment divert from these theories and look at how I could apply them to my own work, though.

For example – I will create an immersive, intimate scene of a warm, sunny afternoon at a beach. Here’s how I would do this in a single room with a single projection screen with no images, which the senses engaged.

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Close your eyes and imagine yourself on a beautiful, calm beach, surrounded by white sand…

Sight: Lights firstly – shine the lights on the screen and use the colour yellow for warmth. The brighter the light, the warmer it will ‘feel’ to look at – we wouldn’t want the light to be too bright or it will feel too harsh and look hot, instead of the relaxing warmth we’d want. The ground could be blue.

Sound: create a soundscape with stereo speakers or even surround sound – being sure to create a “3 dimensional” space by engaging with each speaker in production of the sound. Having the sounds of rolling, gentle waves emerging from the front speaker, with perhaps the sound of a gentle breeze blowing from behind. Throw in the occasional gull, perhaps moving from the left rear speaker, to the right front speaker. This places the audience into an immersive space in their head.

Smell: Here’s where it gets tricky. When I go to a beach I smell salt and seaweed. The most obvious way to recreate these smells is to bring the source into the location – however this isn’t always practical! Perhaps a small amount could be placed into a box, and we would direct the audience to go into close proximity to the source.

Feel: There are a few ways to approach this, too – lay a tarp or large box down and cover it with sand, for example, and instruct the audience ember to step inside without shoes. However, this may also not be practical. In this example, the most obvious approach to me would be to have a fans circulating around the room (perhaps in front of the salt) to imitate the ocean breeze.

Taste: For this example, I would not deliberately go about engaging with taste, however the effect of tasting the salty air may coincidentally be achieved by combining the fans in front of the salt.

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Faiyaz Hussain and Kelly Nicholson’s work for their final MEDA302 project on display at the DMC. Photo credit: Paul Jones

I have attached the above photograph of the final work of two friends of mine for MEDA302. The installation consisted of balls of ice suspended by fishing wires and frozen on to fishing hooks with a light in the corner and a candle suspended in the centre. The work was over a tarp which had salt spread on it during the UoW Grad Show Out There (2016). I have included this work as an example of the above; I remember that upon being present for this installation, one of the first things to hit me was the very strong smell of the salt on the floor. As I recall, they sourced the salt from bags of pool salt. It was so thick in the air that you could almost taste it on your tongue!

Of course that is just an example of how I would approach one single project; I have not yet decided on which feelings I’d like to evoke, or how. All I know is the general area that I would like to work in, and what general concept I’d like to approach.

Week 1 Blog Post – Defining My Practice and Expanding My Field.

I find it hard to limit myself to one field of practice. This is evident through the degree changes I’ve made in the past, and even now, with my double major in Photography and Digital Media and Communications. This explains it all really: I dabble in photography, as well as creating an assortment of digital content, as well as maintaining an assortment of different social media profiles for both my personal business and my gaming ‘habit’ (which I really count as content creating). I also like to expand some of my work to include bits and pieces of animation, design, filming and editing in addition to photography. I would one day love to explore the world of virtual or augmented reality, too. So if I were to really put it down to five key words or phrases, it would be the following:

Photography; animation; design; film; editing.

However that just scratches the surface of what I’d like to do. I consider myself a bit of a creative all-rounder. This is me now. However, during today’s exercises, what I’d like to do over the semester paints a very different picture. There is almost a completely different set of key words here:

Media Arts; photography; manipulation; installation; sensory.

Ideally, I want to always be expanding my skill set so that I can continue having being a bit of an all rounder – as I am to understand it, having lots of different skills is a benefit to many job positions as it encourages creative problem solving and can be a great management tool to connect with peers who specialise in these areas.

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My “mind map” from today’s exercise – very messy, and no where near resembling an actual mind map.

Seeing as I’m not limiting myself to just one field of practise, there are many many skills that I wish to have – I don’t intend on mastering all of them however; I believe in diversity and I would always like to keep myself open for opportunities to learn more. For the sake of this exercise though, I will limit myself to exploring a few skills that I may need for the second set of keywords – the ones that I aim to work on this semester.

I would, for example, like to learn a little more about the After Effects and Premiere Pro Adobe programs, so that I may make my content creation (specifically videos) a little more polished. I have begun to dabble into Illustrator a little bit, which is essential for some design aspects. I already know quite a bit about Lightroom and Photoshop as I have been using those for editing photographs for quite a few years. I would also like to look into learning more about Google Sketchup – a sort of program where you can build and render objects or scenes in 3D which would be great for working on installation concepts. In terms of the sensory aspect – I would need to do more research on sound production. I do know a bit about sound – however my skill set in that regard is also quite limited. I would also like to dabble into learning more about psychology and ways to evoke certain responses in people through a range of different ways, as I’d like my installations to be a multi-sensory experience; which may effect hearing, sight, touch and even smell (though I think I’ll steer away from taste for now).

I am not the first to appeal to multiple senses and construct my installations to evoke a certain response in people. Installations are a great way to interact with an audience and invite them to explore a space, perhaps even touch or feel objects, and get really close to details. This is something that I hope to achieve. One such example would be the “Google Train” (real title: The Other Side), which I had the privilege of experiencing myself in 2014’s Sydney Biennale. I’d like to look at this work a little more closely as a research point in the future.

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The entrance to the work, The Other Side (2014) Image retrieved from the Biennale Website.

I feel like I’ve pretty much got my thoughts out for today – and I risk rambling (which I’d rather avoid). I will elaborate and further develop some concepts however in future posts, while I brainstorm ways to move forward with the semester.

Enterprisingeneurial Makingerfacturing.

What does this abomination of a title mean?

We were asked the question: what do the words enterprise, enterprising, entrepeneur and entrepeneurial mean to you? How about the words making, maker and manufacturing?

Let’s be completely subjective for a moment (when am I not, though?). Without looking into the history of each of these words, they all have similar meanings for me.

Enterprise: an innovative or large business venture.
Enterprising: undertaking a large business venture or a business expanding innovatively.
Entrepeneur: a person who seeks to turn an idea into a viable business venture.
Entrepeneurial: the act of an idea being turned into a profitable business.

My definitions did not differ wildly from Merriam-Webster’s dictionary definitions;

Simple Definition of enterprise

  • : a project or activity that involves many people and that is often difficult

  • : a business organization

  • : the ability or desire to do dangerous or difficult things or to solve problems in new ways

Simple Definition of enterprising

  • : having or showing the ability or desire to do new and difficult things

Simple Definition of entrepreneur

  • : a person who starts a business and is willing to risk loss in order to make money

Draft Proposal

One Sentence Summary of Project:

Exploring materiality and using materials to craft different objects that are not representative of the original object.

Initial Concept:

To explore materiality using a range of different media, using craft practices such as shredding, crochet, and knitting to create something unexpected; for example, taking a canvas photo print, shredding it, and turning it into a crocheted blanket; or unravelling a second-hand knitted jumper and turning it into an artwork canvas for painting on.

This relates to my practice of expanding photography into materiality by incorporating my photographs into the project.

It does not build on previous works; rather branching out into a completely new direction. See Fiona Hall’s works for reference.

Feedback: Expand on ways that photography may be incorporated into the piece.

Aesthetic/Installation:

A series of wall ‘prints’ mounted to the wall; crocheted tapestries and papercrafts will be mounted into or onto frames and hung, or strung down from the roof. Sizes of the projects will range from huge (3x3m) to small (15cm x 15cm).

The work would be suited to a room with walls. Rather, large walls that are able to actually fit a large scale wall print.

I may need bigger knitting needles…

Feedback: Find a reliable way of mounting the huge tapestry piece to the wall and sourcing the materials

Audience engagement:

Depending on where the work is displayed, the audience may end up walking past it. I expect only a few people to be truly interested in the work and the concept behind it.

I anticipate most people briefly looking at the works and moving on to something more interactive; however I expect further engagement should the audience member be aware of the way the materials have been transformed.

The impact may prompt the viewer to consider more carefully the materials they surround themselves with.

Feedback: Perhaps encourage interaction by allowing the audience to touch the objects

Logistical notes:

I aim to work on the larger parts of the project first and the smaller, or more expensive parts further on in the semester. The advantage of this is that should I not have anything besides the largest ‘tapestry’ completed, I will still have something very large and meaningful to show. I will also not be out of pocket any unexpected expenses should they arise.

This is a project I intend on pursuing alone, using the skills in knitting and crochet that I have recently developed.

Feedback: Set a goal for how large and how many pieces should be incorporated. Make note of the original materials used, ie. Accompany with images of original materials or written words for sizes/description or abstract representation of object.

Of Practice and Craft; of Entrepeneurs, Amateurs, and professionals; and, a post-mortem.

This will be quite the substantial post to launch off this semester’s foray into the subject of MEDA302. My mind is currently bouncing from topic to topic, perhaps due to the staggering amount of red cordial I have consumed to get me through today; so forgive me if my thoughts do not spew forth coherently.

I walked into MEDA302’s first class of the semester with a sense of renewed hope and purpose, and to set me on the path forward, our task for the week was several lists of questions. For convenience I will sort them by their subject matter and include the question itself instead of just blithering on. I feel this is more for myself to keep focussed. I am digressing already – so let’s just get into it.

Entrepreneurs and Amateurs; Practices and Crafts:

Expectations for the Semester:

We have read the subject outcomes, but what are the outcomes you are aiming for in this subject?

Personally I just want to make it through to the end. I have had a bad run with health and life that has gotten in the way. This semester I am determined not to be a victim of my circumstance, and actually have something tangible to show for it. And not only that, but to actually do bloody well at it as well!

I have a lot of projects in mind to work on, and I am rather excited to see them on display at the end of the semester.

How can this subject help you substantiate your learning in your chosen practice or field/major of study?

It would only make sense for me to work on an area in which I would want to improve. Currently my ‘practice’ is somewhat one-dimensional; digital photography. In the past I have worked with Arduino, lasers, interactive displays – however my resources since moving away from home have been somewhat limited. Last semester I continued on this one dimensional path, however this semester I intend on branching out a little. I have recently been experimenting with textiles, knitting and crocheting, and I would love to incorporate that into my work somehow. I know of many artists who have done the same, one outrageously so. I may write on this later on should I choose to pursue a textile-oriented project.

How can it extend your learning and your practice into professional life?

It wasn’t until over the holiday break when I had a chance to rethink my entire direction on life did I actually manage to find a solid path to follow. I had previously only wanted to pursue photography through my own business, and get a boring 9-5 job during the week. However, I now have higher goals to some day be a creative director in the long term. I feel this subject, with it’s focus on practice, will enable me to channel my creative thinking into something to display and to curate, which will be an invaluable skill in the future.

Practice and Craft:

What is your practice?

If I were to say I was in the practice of anything, the one thing that pops to mind currently is a photographer. That is my main medium, it is what I do to earn money, it is what I do for fun.

What is your Craft?

If I were to describe my practice as a craft, I would further go on to say that I engage in macro still life and nature photography, small-scale landscape photography, and general portraiture.

What elements of your practice would you like to develop during MEDA302?

Over the holidays I began expanding upon my practices and I would like to encompass broader mediums. Whether that be with working with film, or more traditional media, or even incorporating my knitting into my work, will be decided when I can flesh out a concept to be excited about.

What elements of craft would you like to develop/practice/learn during 302?

In able to get where I want to be with the aforementioned practice development, I would like to expand the styles of photography that I am comfortable with. This may mean undertaking photoshoots with models of different genres than I am currently comfortable with and breaking down the barriers that I have tied myself to for conventional production.

Additionally, I would like to continue developing my textiles work. The more I write about it the more I would actually like to find a way to combine these two elements together for my major project this semester.

Fiona Hall is one such artist who mixes media and uses textile knowledge to create works.

 

Motivations:

What is your motivation? What motivates you to keep at this practice?

My motivations are simple. I want a good life. I want a good job. I want to move to Melbourne and incorporate myself into the rich fabric of media entrepreneurial and professional scenes down there. I find it very exciting and it is something I would like to work towards. I never again want to be stuck working 35 hours a week in a job that stifles creativity to go home to someone who never appreciated the sacrifices I made.

Are you pursuing a ‘love for’ something? What is that something that you are pursuing for the ‘love for’?

I have been stuck in a job that I had absolutely no passion for. After leaving behind a somewhat toxic life I have discovered (and I am still discovering) love for creative outlets. I had previously picked up photography as a very easy way to express myself. Don’t get me wrong, I love taking pictures – but at the moment they are just that. Aesthetics. I want to dedicate myself to my craft and develop my practice into something that actually means so much more than, ‘ooh, a pretty flower!’. I love my art. I love to create. I love to produce work. So yes, I am pursuing a ‘love for’ something; and in the process, giving it meaning.

Feature picture related: a recent photoshoot I did to expand my stylistic approach to photography.

A Post-Mortem analysis:

The scope of answers I can provide for this section are somewhat limited. I didn’t have much input into my group’s final project other than dropping some suggestions and knowledge, as well as advice on how to pursue the project that was had in mind. Due to time and budget constraints, the final project ended up being very very different to what the groupmates had in mind. I do feel partially responsible for the direction it went, and I am unsure that my groupmates were particularly happy with the results. But regardless of that, I do believe the project itself had potential.

MEDA301 final project:

What Aspects of the work functioned well? What are the reasons you think the aspects work? What is your evidence?

Our project ended up being an exploration of colour and screen interactivity – a look into the science of how monitors and screens produce colour by using an additive colour technique. Basically, when you add more light as colours, the colours would overlap and produce different colours. The work itself was 3 projectors aimed at a white wall, each projecting a colour which progressed through the RGB colour cycle.

It was a very shallow production at its core but worked brilliantly. The projections mimicked what actually happens through TV screens and LCD monitors quite well, and it showed. When colours overlapped, other colours were produced successfully as hypothesized.

Are there aspects in the project that can be extended or taken further? If so, how? Why were these aspects not developed?

I feel this project has a lot of great potential for expansion. More exploration on the way colour interacts would be great, as well as the addition of how colour subtraction techniques (ie. through the use of colour filters) would impact the projections would be quite interesting. Making the project a little more interactive and adding a few more shapes and perhaps even some more animation would be something to work on as well.

If it is the end of the road, why?

I feel it is not my place to take over a project that I had so little contribution to. I was more an advisor to the process than actually participating in the work’s creation. I would love to see an expansion to the project, however I will not be undertaking it myself.

What were the decisions made that may have impacted on the work?

Initially the project was going to be much, much different. The group wanted to create a drawing machine however quickly found that time and budget constraints made it impossible to do by the end of the semester. When the idea was change to investigate the way LED screens worked, I feel a part of my research on the difference between additive and subtractive colour sciences had a major impact on the direction of the project, as the science of colour management through screens would not allow the second iteration of the project to be possible either.

Entrepreneur and Amateur:

Expectations for the Semester:

To recap from earlier, and to finish up this blog post, here the answers I would have had for a ‘speed-dating’ activity during class that never came to fruition. However I feel it valuable I write my thoughts down should the opportunity come up again.

We have read the subject outcomes, but what are the outcomes you are aiming for in this subject?

To create something tangible and impressive for display at the end of the semester, a project that I will be able to keep and take with me throughout my career.

How can this subject help you substantiate your learning in your chosen practice or field/major of study?

By setting a goal to work with my mediums of craft I can produce a work that aligns with my chosen practice and also give me the skills to expand my studies and beyond.

How can it extend your learning and your practice into professional life?

Simply put, the skills I develop (and have developed all through uni) will directly impact the path I take beyond university. For the job I want in the future I need a broader ‘bank’ of knowledge and skills to be considered a viable candidate.

How would you have done this differently?

My biggest regret is not knowing my direction sooner. If I had known what I wanted to do after graduation I would have had more time to develop relevant skills and knowledge, as well as more of a drive to succeed and do as well as I can.

Stills from the final project. Credit: Emily Gegg