On monday I was set the brief to create a poster documenting; "who I am and why I'm doing an MA?" This was due in on Thursday, so my process had to be sped up. Firstly, I did some research on similar media, due to time restraints these had to be all digitally based. I used platform like "pintrest"and "dribble" to find out what other designers had done and the methods they had chosen to visualise themselves in a 2d format. The overarching theme I noticed in all of the captivating pieces was that they were all personal to the artist/designer.
My initial thought was to document how over the last couple of year, I've felt lost as a designer, both professionally but more importantly personally. I started to think of visual metaphors, as clinton had suggested; playing with ideas like mazes, puzzles maps, etc and then tried to think how I could personalise those to me. Eventually I came up with using the metro and mapping myself out using the pre-existing metro map. I was toying with the idea of each line representing a piece of my life; professional, home-life etc. However, after thinking about it I realise I had lost my initial goal of making it personal. The metro had nothing to do with my life, yes it was manchester based and yes I had started to use it more now I am a student, but was that enough for it to represent me as a individual? No, was my answer. So I scrapped the idea and went back to basics.
I asked myself what is my intent, not just for this poster but with this MA? The answer I came to quite quickly was to become a digital designer, to understand the process, form of digital websites and how they impact on people, so to better my work and make me a more formidable designer.
Therefore, the idea to make "me" a website. I don't mean make myself a nice website but instead to deconstruct myself and build me back up as a website. This thought was good but I had to make it more personal, so I introduced the idea of showing myself as only half formed, pixelated and rendering. This is to represent how I feel incomplete as a designer, still learning and figuring who I am and what I want to do with my work. I also added the coding language at the top; "<style = id;"james_mellor"> and </yet to; "define"> this is made to look like code but be completely functionless... this is because, my intent this year is to learn code but I wanted to make sure people could see that as yet I can't. It's a metaphor to show as yet I am functionless, my design looks good but has no purpose. At the base I added an index of my life, drawing on the idea I had with the trams but taking it further so it is more me.
After 3 hours of trying to print the dam thing (shout out to Alex from "tech" for the help there) I was ready for it to be seen. I was not ready to present it, which I was told would not be happening. My presentation was hurried, to say the least, but I think I got across my intent to specialise in digital design and made the statement that I was looking to figure out who I was as a designer.
The piece was well received, with me getting a few nice comments and the potential to collaborate with a people in future projects. It was interesting for me to see how I reacted to people looking at it. I kept thinking are people looking at mine more than others, was mine good enough, did it stand up to what other people had done. Even without reason I made excuses to myself, saying; "well you only had two days, some of these people are illustrators" etc. No one had said anything negative but I was drawing these conclusions on my own. What a funny thing to do, to justify your work to yourself. Why did it matter to me? It wasn't a marked piece of work, it didn't have any real value to it and these were only my conclusion. Does your work have to be liked? Is that the intent of a piece of design, for another human being to look at it and see it in the same way you do? After all it is out of you hands, once you create something and then put it into a public forum it is no longer your piece of work anymore, it is merely the audiences subjective view of the work that matters. The designer, doesn't come into it. However like this project, so many designer make there work a self portrait of themselves, why? Is it a need to stamp yourself on society, to announce here I am. Whatever the conclusion, this prelude to the work we'll be doing has already got me thinking about things differently.
After this first experience of MA'ness as Clitnon calls it, we were put into group for our first piece of collaborative work. The task is to identify, analyse and present the key influences for design in terms of Craft Materialtiy and Technology and explore these through the senses, play and collaboration. What this means exactly is yet to be determined. There are six of us in the group, varying ages, some doing part-time some full. I thought that we would struggle with balancing out responsibility and that coming up with ideas to such a loose brief, but, things flowed pretty smoothly. There were some more dominant characters, some who were less keen to stand out, but overall every one was included and we came out with a number of associative words that are linked to the the six different areas of the brief.
These are listed below:
Interactive, tactile, sound, visual, smell, usual, smell, thought process, using your brain, memories, past/present/future, pleasure, emotive, feel, people
Explore, children, fun, collaborative, not serious, inventive, naive, wonder, to learn, making mistakes, act out, role play, try things, experiment, test, trial, fresh eyes, analyse
Physical, real, tactile, object, hands on, properties, exists, with matter, materialistic, consume/consumer, redundancy, invention/inventive, all around you, form, value, history
Future, improve life, clean, consumerism, evolving, cyclic design, in the ether, global, binary/code, tool, interactive, everywhere, all encompassing, infectious
Tradition, to make, material, to excel, master, working with your hands, expression, personal, craftsmanship, practice, physical, create, passion, share skills.
Fun, compromise, together, team, co-operation, sharing, equal responsibility, different skills, wisdom, verbal, respect
We came to the conclusion that we should research our areas very loosely. We each chose a section, mine was technology, and we are to research this area and find out more about it and how it affects design. I have a feeling once we have done some research, and reviewed our finding that our ideas will form from the things that connect all of these topics.
We decided that the full-timers will meet on Tuesday to compare notes and the part-timers will send us there finding electronically so we can use their information as well. On Thursday we are all in and thats when idea generation can really begin.
After meeting so many people and taking about work for so long, we were due some downtime and also some time to get to know each other socially. Almost straight after lectures we ended up in the pub down the street... fast forward through several alcoholic beverages, an MA show that is a blur, back to the bar for more drinks and finishing with me staggering to the tram with my girlfriend dragging me most of the way. The hang-over was a bitch but I'll say one thing, alcohol is definitely a social lubricant. I now have a much better understanding of my course mates and something to talk about on Tuesday.