Pitch Feedback Session with Zoe

Now that Ingrid has departed for the far side of the globe on her mission to new Zealand Zoe has stepped in to substitute, to advise and help over see us third years and our projects.

Today I received my feedback from my dissertation tutorial from Zoe and we then engaged in a conversation about the work, how I could improve my standing and the direction that my project is taking from here.

Under the ideas section for my pitch feedback I had a low basic score, I was a bit puzzled by this. I feel that although my ideas where not perfectly polished they were good, and that all the feedback I had been having prior to my pitch had been good. Certainly there was caution noted to me to fully consolidate my idea so that it was crystal clear but I feel that the nature of the work I am pursuing does not allow for an absolute picture, a clear vision, but rather that the work is a process with an uncertain or unpredictable result. I can see however that during a pitch situation this is not a good way to put across an idea. Zoe commented that I can speak about my ideas fairly coherently and competently in an articulated way. It is the lack of models and visual examples of this process of form making which is giving this low grade. The mark for context however was in the good range the comments from Ingrid included “You have a clear understanding of your context within an art historical sense, and have selected an appropriate process and material, now it needs to gain momentum…” and that is exactly it, I have all these ideas, fascinations, interests and desires and yet very little physical proof to show for it. This needs to change. 

So a synopsis of my discussion with Zoe was that I must think no longer and instead do. The what we next did was to search the ideas and context I had built up for a way into this. I expressed that I was to take data (at random from anywhere at all) as I discussed with Ingrid to start building forms in Rhino and Grasshopper (I also considered Processing today – I could utilise the skills I learnt in second year). Taking measurements, counts and just collecting ‘stuff’, arbitrary data I could now begin to build up some forms using the methods that I want to explore as a process. For Zoe, she wanted to understand why just random data as opposed to carefully chosen data. My response was to say that at the moment at least, what the data is will not matter – it is just a means to a form. In a perhaps formalist style approach I want to make forms or sculptures that are not anything, do not mean anything or require ulterior or higher purpose and meaning. Form for forms sake, produced in an interesting way, process and investigation becoming the subject.

At least to start with. We discussed the recording of the data collecting, so photographing and noting down the object and the conditions under which the data is collected. So that whilst the data is at the moment just data, there is an opportunity later to go back and if I so wish introduce narrative to the work should I feel it wants it. For example: The dimensions of my desk lamp are used to generate a form that I really like. This is then appreciated for what it is. Adding a title like ‘Desk Lamp at 7pm on a dark winter Tuesday’ gives the audience more, it is a narrative. The title and the object would most likely be at extreme abstraction from each other, but the data gathered from said lamp has been used to make an abstract sculptural object. Perhaps a series of these abstract forms can create a room or scenario or question or dialogue that would unify them or create an interesting dialogue. Maybe this idea is ridiculous and woolly… However it is one we discussed which I think could be a way into the question of ‘How do you give value to form?’ that Ingrid posed to me in my feedback notes. Whether this idea is explored or not will depend on how the work evolves and is a couple of weeks away.

Zoe talked about Ai Weiwei and his current show in the Royal Academy, London. She indicated that she felt a few of the pieces of sculpture would be very relevant to me and help me contextualise the formalist ideas further. Two pieces she mentioned in particular she felt I should look at. One called ‘Straight’ is comprised of a room which houses a long pile of steel beams on its floor that had been recovered from a earthquake struck building, the walls of the room are covered commemorative plaques of all the children that had perished in the building the steel beams were recovered from. The steel and plaques seeming act as a commemorative monument. How ever the steel is just a pile of long steel beams, a fairly innocuous and unassuming 90 tonne form. Scale is perhaps important here. I should very much like to see it.

So generating the data is my next step,then tomorrow onto Rhino and Grasshopper to use said data to generate a form and then to produce that form. This is the aim for the end of the week. Around that continuing to research artists and designers (especially in Architecture world) and to start filing a sketch book with visual examples and ideas of what sort of forms I want to achieve.

  • Collect several ‘chunks’ of data to play with. These will ultimately be numbers, I could randomly generate numbers but I could also gather it from objects as these objects can then also give me my parameters for what I can do with that data. For example I measure a range of diameters that can from a series of round objects these numbers can then be used in a simple algorithm controlling the output of a cluster of spheres along a curve to create a 3D form.
  • Once I have collected data what is it going to do? What parameters will assign it too? Axis’s? A fractal formula? The numbers for geometries that repeat in a pattern?
  • This then goes into Rhino and Grasshopper. Here I have to play with the forms and watch them develop, respond and react to what is created, where or how do I stop and know that I want to make what I’m looking at?
  • Then the object, what method do I use to produce it? 3D print? CNC? Hand build it in response to what I am seeing on the screen?

Hopefully the result of the next couple of weeks work will be a personal library of forms that I can critique, examine and reflect on.

Time to get cracking and on with the making.

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