The Culmination of Public Making Group Project – 17/05/19

Throughout the duration of this group project I have kept a digital sketch book that is available here. I kept a record of inspirations, research, group meetings, and my own work contributing to the final product. I like to create these books for any piece of extensive work I am completing and it has become a practice that I have engaged with for quite some time. The process helps me to continually review the project, where it is heading, where it has come from; I found it especially useful while working in a group as it added the functionality of what had been agreed and how responsibilities had been divided. Through this method I have been able to matter of factly show when things haven’t gone as planned/hoped.

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Four Responses to Public Making: Artistic Strategies for Working with Museum Collections, Technologies and Publics by Tim Shaw & John Bowers – 07/05/19

In response to the assigned paper the four students leading the seminar were given the following questions;

Laura – Describe Public Making and give some examples the work draws upon?
Mengqi – How could the Public Making approach extend beyond a museum context?
Yanling – How does Public Making differ from other sorts of creative research?
Leah – On the evidence on the paper, how successful do you think Public Making is in terms of ‘making the practice of artistic production visible’? 

Leah spoke to us first and addressed how public making can introduce the public to the process of public art, and the benefits of doing so. She indicated some key points as to why showcasing the process is a positive step;

  • Showing the process allows for a greater depth of understanding to get more from the project.
  • Allows publics to engage and not be passive.
  • Offer public channels to explore complex things.
  • Gives artists a platform to challenge the preconceptions of their art and show the value of the art.
  • For the public it allows the work to be accessible and empowers them to become a part of it.

Leah went on to show examples of public art to try and demonstrate the points she was trying to highlight unfortunately I am not sure that she was successful. The works she presented, to me, appeared to me more works shown in public than public art, especially in the sense of the paper we were discussing.

She did however close with a statement I liked; public art is successful because it focuses on thee public not just the art making it less passive than traditional art.

Laura spoke to us next and started by outlining some key characteristics of Public Making;

  • A strategy of conducting a creative process while working in and with a public.
  • Opens up the artistic process.
  • Creates work on site.
  • Combines making-in-public and making-with-the public.
  • Involves the audience.

Laura then went onto discuss the projects from the paper unfortunately this covered pretty much the same information that Tim had already covered in his lecture the week before so I haven’t taken many notes except to signify this.

One of the factors that I did find of interest was Laura’s commentary on how public art needs to engage the audience and that part of this is freedom of movement. The audience should be free to move around the work or works to find their own meanings and responses to the art.

Mengqi was the next to speak and introduced a concept that I had been toying with in my own time; that a collection is an object, one with its own archaeological timeline built in. I had recently been reading Tim Inglod’s book Lines where he talks about a similar idea. It was an interesting concept to bring up in relation to this paper where the re-appropriation of museum objects is central. If the objects exist as part of a collection that is an object in itself then what are the artists doing when they disrupt this?

Mengqi went on to discuss how museums have been using technology to enhance their offer, improve visitor experience, and increase access to archival materials. The use of technology can expand the sensory experience and as such is a vital tool for public work. This was an interesting idea to think on when looking at cultural institutions who are increasingly using technology to keep up with the demands of the modern day visitor.

The final speaker of the session was Yan Ling where she described public making as creative research by defining it as research that is tied to a specific location. She suggested that this is a kind of research that is engaged with a space in particular; although I don’t necessarily agree it is an interesting perspective from which to discuss public making.

She gave the example of a project where a musical instrument was embedded into the building of a museum where the ‘playing’ of it responded to the architectural structure. Although I struggle to see this as public making it is an interesting reflection of her ideas of location based research. In its own way this work could be considered as an in depth piece of architectural research through creative practice into one building in specific.

Although some interesting topics were raised during this seminar i found it the most difficult to engage with; the presentations didn’t seem to reflect the ideas represented in the paper which I had been looking forward to discussing, such as assemblages and making in public. I definitely think the paper is something I will revisit in my explorations for my dissertation.

Four Responses to the Introduction to Artificial Hells by Claire Bishop – 19.03.19

In response to the assigned text the students leading the seminar were asked to respond to the following questions;

Kate – Where does Bishop locate the origins of the ‘social turn’ and what political background does it react to?

Justina – Why does the author avoid visual analyses?

Rebeca – What are the author’s criticisms of a ‘positivist sociological approach.’

Kira – What is the distinction between ‘quality’ and ‘value’ that Bishop proposes and what does this imply for participatory art work.

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Three Responses to Digital Art/Public Art: Governance and Agency in the Networked Commons by Christiane Paul – 05/03/19

This week’s seminar was in response to a paper by Christiane Paul, the three students leading this seminar were given the following questions;

Adam – Bring an example of public art where the participants/the public have agency and be prepared to articulate how and where such agency manifests itself. 

Alison – According to Paul, how does the advent of the Internet has changed and expanded our definition of public space? Why has this an impact on ideas of authorship and ownership in artistic practice? 

Calvin – Paul suggests a number of emergent (back in 2008) categories of digital public art, which ones can you remember? Considering the current socio-technological landscape, are these approaches still relevant? Which new/contemporary factors (from political challenges to emerging technologies) would you consider, in addition, if you had to re-write this paper today?

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Three Responses to Chapter 7 ‘Political Ecologies’ Vibrant Matter by Jane Bennett – 19.02.19

This weeks session was seminar focused and led on from the previous lecture; three of us were assigned questions in relation to the text we were all to read. The text in question was a chapter written by Jane Bennett on the ideas of Political Ecologies and Vibrant Matter. The assigned questions were as follows;

Myself – What is the Value of Anthropomorphism?
Daniel – What can we Learn from Worms?
Jane – How do Publics Arise from Problems?

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Physical Computing – Advancing an Interaction

After my failure with uploading the code for my interactive coffee table I attempted to do it again being careful to not let the wires touch and short the circuit out. It turned out to be a success and I am really happy with the interaction.

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Physical Computing – 13.02.19

This was the first session in a new module for this term building upon some ideas relating to the creative and the digital in the first term. This weeks theme was Physical Computing; a term that as Gabi pointed out is quite broad encompassing a lot of ideas.

Gabi started the session by pointing out that computation is not a digital term it has just become that; early days computation was carried out on machines such as an abacus (other examples included a differential engine, and a punch card tabulator). These are devices that allowed for computation to happen and by viewing these items as computational we start to realize how much of our everyday involves computing.

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The Public – What is it and What Causes it? – 12.02.19

In today’s introduction to the new module Public Making we introduced to the idea of a public that goes beyond thinking of the general public. The module was introduced as a way to explore different ways of working, with, in or for the public. But before tackling these larger issues Tom pushed us to critically review the idea of what a public is and to question the assumptions upon which we may be forming these definitions.

To start this session we were handed a selection of photos and asked to, in groups of 3, try and categorise these pictures in a way that we could ask a question. The most interesting thing about this for me was how easy we could form several groups, there was no concrete answer and pictures floated to and from different categories as we tried to form the most coherent questions.

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